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China Is Now the World’s Largest Economy - Digest from Peter Myers

(1) China Is Now the World’s Largest Economy - because of Globalization. Thank you Mr Soros & Mr Rothschild(2) How China's Economic Miracle occurred - from basket case in 1990 to world's biggest economy in 2020(3) US Election is a chance to save Manhood & Womanhood; final decision will be made on the streets - Israel Shamir(4) The Colour Revolution in Belarus; co-ordinated by NED via Poland - Peter Bachmaier(5) China's strategy of  Elite Capture - a review of Hidden Hand by Clive Hamilton and Mereike Ohlberg(6) Hidden Hand review – China's true global ambitions exposed (Guardian)(7) Book Review: Hidden Hand (International Affairs)(1) China Is Now the World’s Largest Economy - because of Globalization. Thank you Mr Soros & Mr Rothschild Is Now the World’s Largest Economy. We Shouldn’t Be Shocked.October 15, 2020China has now displaced the U.S. to become the largest economy in the world. Measured by the more refined yardstick that both the IMF and CIA now judge to be the single best metric for comparing national economies, the IMF Report shows that China’s economy is one-sixth larger than America’s ($24.2 trillion versus the U.S.’s $20.8 trillion). Why can't we admit reality? What does this mean?by Graham AllisonThis week, the IMF presented its 2020 World Economic Outlook providing an overview of the global economy and the challenges ahead. The most inconvenient fact in the Report is one Americans don’t want to hear—and even when they read it, refuse to accept: China has now displaced the U.S. to become the largest economy in the world. Measured by the more refined yardstick that both the IMF and CIA now judge to be the single best metric for comparing national economies, the IMF Report shows that China’s economy is one-sixth larger than America’s ($24.2 trillion versus the U.S.’s $20.8 trillion).Despite this unambiguous statement from the two most authoritative sources, most of the mainstream press—with the exception of The Economist—continue reporting that the U.S. economy is No. 1. So, what’s going on?Obviously, measuring the size of a nation’s economy is more complicated than it might appear. In addition to collecting data, it requires selecting a proper yardstick. Traditionally, economists have used a metric called MER (market exchange rates) to calculate GDP. The U.S. economy is taken as the baseline—reflecting the fact that when this method was developed in the years after World War II, the U.S. accounted for almost half of global GDP. For other nations’ economies, this method adds up all goods and services produced by their economy in their own currency and then converts that total into U.S. dollars at the current "market exchange rate." For 2020, the value of all goods and services produced in China is projected to be 102 trillion yuan. Converted to U.S. dollars at a market rate of 7 yuan to 1 dollar, China will have an MER GDP of $14.6 trillion versus the U.S. GDP of $20.8 trillion.But this comparison assumes that 7 yuan buy the same amount of goods in China as $1 does in the U.S. And obviously, that’s not the case. To make this point easier to understand, The Economist Magazine created the "Big Mac Index" from which the graph at the top of this piece is derived. As this index shows, for 21 yuan, a Chinese consumer can buy an entire Big Mac in Beijing. If he converted those yuan at the current exchange rate, he would have $3, which will only buy half a Big Mac in the U.S. In other words, when buying most products from burgers and smartphones, to missiles and naval bases, the Chinese get almost twice as much bang for each buck.Recognizing this reality, over the past decade, the CIA and the IMF have developed a more appropriate yardstick for comparing national economies, which is called PPP (purchasing power parity). As the IMF Report explains, PPP "eliminates differences in price levels between economies" and thus compares national economies in terms of how much each nation can buy with its own currency at the prices items sell for there. While MER answers how much Chinese would get at American prices, PPP answers how much Chinese do get at Chinese prices.If the Chinese converted their yuan to dollars, bought Big Macs in the U.S., and took them home on the plane to China to consume them, comparing the Chinese and U.S. economies using the MER yardstick would be appropriate. But instead, they buy them at one of the 3300 McDonald’s locations in their home country where they cost half what Americans pay.Explaining its decision to switch from MER to PPP in its annual assessment of national economies—which is available online in the CIA Factbook—the CIA noted that "GDP at the official exchange rate [MER GDP] substantially understates the actual level of China's output vis-a-vis the rest of the world." Thus, in its view, PPP "provides the best available starting point for comparisons of economic strength and wellbeing between economies." The IMF adds further that "market rates are more volatile and using them can produce quite large swings in aggregate measures of growth even when growth rates in individual countries are stable."In sum, while the yardstick most Americans are accustomed to still shows that the Chinese economy is one-third smaller than the U.S., when one recognizes the fact that $1 buys nearly twice as much in China than in the U.S., the Chinese economy today is one-sixth larger than the U.S. economy.So what? If this were simply a contest for bragging rights, picking a measuring rod that allows Americans to feel better about ourselves has a certain logic. But in the real world, a nation’s GDP is the substructure of its global power. Over the past generation, as China has created the largest economy in the world, it has displaced the U.S. as the largest trading partner of nearly every major nation (just last year adding Germany to that list). It has become the manufacturing workshop of the world, including for face masks and other protective equipment as we are now seeing in the coronavirus crisis. Thanks to double-digit growth in its defense budget, its military forces have steadily shifted the seesaw of power in potential regional conflicts, in particular over Taiwan. And this year, China will surpass the U.S. in R&D spending, leading the U.S. to a "tipping point in R&D" and future competitiveness.For the U.S. to meet the China challenge, Americans must wake up to the ugly fact: China has already passed us in the race to be the No. 1 economy in the world. Moreover, in 2020, China will be the only major economy that records positive growth: the only economy that will be bigger at the end of the year than it was when the year began. The consequences for American security are not difficult to predict. Diverging economic growth will embolden an ever more assertive geopolitical player on the world stage.Graham T. Allison is the Douglas Dillon Professor of Government at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is the former director of Harvard’s Belfer Center and the author of Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?(2) How China's Economic Miracle occurred - from basket case in 1990 to world's biggest economy in 2020- by Peter Myers, October 19, 2020Western companies were enticed by the prospect of selling into China's huge internal market. But the internal Indian market could have been an alternative.The difference was that the USA needed China as an ally in the struggle against the Soviet Union. The Cold War was still under way, and both China & the USA saw the USSR as the greatest threat.The Sino-Vietnam war of 1979 showed that the Sino-Soviet split was for real. The US warned the USSR not to intervene in that war, despite its Treaty with Vietnam.Then, during the 1980s, China was an ally of the USA in the Afghan War, supplying fighters and weapons. And China allowed the CIA  to build and operate two spy bases in Xinjiang, to monitor Soviet nuclear tests.After 1991, the West cooled, but Japan continued to invest in China & supply technology. Then later the West resumed. They saw China as a "big Tiger", whereas India was much less organised.One reason China was so organised, was that the Cultural Revolution had made it a basket case. Desperation is what drove the Chinese to seize every opportunity.The USSR had a policy of reverse-engineering Western technology, so for China to do it was nothing new. Western companies transferring technology had no idea of the scale of the transfer under way; each company saw only its own case, not the big picture.The other "Tigers" had not reverse-engineered technology, so the West assumed the same would apply to China.  They forgot its history as a Great Civilization, its sense of humiliation over recent centuries, and determination to regain its dominant position as Central Kingdom. The Jewish Lobby dragged the West into Israel's wars in the Middle East, which distracted the West from China's rise.The speed of China's rise from basket case (around 1990), to the world's biggest economy (at present), is unprecedented in history. Western political analysts have still not explained it. But I offer an explanation at US Election is a chance to save Manhood & Womanhood; final decision will be made on the streets - Israel ShamirFrom: "israel shamir" <> the ElectionsBy Israel ShamirThe world began its countdown to the most dramatic event of this dramatic year, to the US Presidential elections. Will Trump make it? Will this great orange man who beat Coronavirus and came back from the clutches of death manage to beat Sleepy Joe and his multitudes? Or will the Dems take us all into the night of eternal lockdown, where heavily armed Black and Antifa activists patrol the streets and Big Data corporations rule? It is all up to the American people, and to the steady nerves of their captain on the bridge of the White House.It’s not the same for us. The difference is greater than it has been for many years. It is a chance to stop the disintegration of manhood and womanhood into multigender distopia, to acknowledge the Divine Will of "male and female He created them". Class struggle is surely important, but from this point of view there is little difference between the two; while saving our children from forced instruction in homosexual lore, or even castration in due course ("transgender rights" for eight-year olds) now takes a front seat. Trump is rather weak; we would like to see a stronger man who would take US troops out of the dusty fields of Afghanistan and Iraq. Indeed, a man who would be able to overcome Twitter and Facebook and forbid them to censor him. But we have what we have, and this well-intentioned man will have to do.The battle for SCOTUS nominee Amy Barrett nomination is going well. She can answer the annoying insinuating questions of the Dems. She is a good warrior. As a wife and mother, she is immune to the usual attacks and assertions of a sexual character. There is a good chance she will go through the ordeal with flying colours. This is tremendously important – her defeat would make Trump’s defeat almost certain. Her success will give Trump a fighting chance.However, the final decision will be made on the streets. Recently the aftermath of the elections was wargamed. One possibility was played out in Belarus. Its president Alexander Lukashenko is a sort of Trump. He kept industry in his country instead of shifting industry to China. He is a macho man. He bravely discounted the fearsome virus Covid-19 and refused to plunge his nation into the quagmire of lockdowns. He won the elections, but his opponents refused to recognise the result and demanded his resignation. They took huge crowds to the streets and marched to the President’s Palace. Many demonstrators wore masks stressing their adherence to Covid-loyalism. Lukashenko took a helicopter and flew into the besieged compound, accompanied by a few soldiers and his teenage son, and armed with a submachinegun. This vision of a decisive president armed and ready to use his weapons rather than submit was enough to repel the hostile crowds. He won. Not forever, but not many things are forever in this world. He is doing well in the meantime.Another possibility played out in faraway Kyrgyzstan. This country had been undermined by the flow of guest-workers from abroad: they were made unemployed by the Corona crisis. After the Parliamentary elections, crowds of disaffected unemployed converged on Parliament, took it over, sent the President into hiding and enthroned their candidate as the Prime Minister. Their candidate seems to be a frontman for local mafia, or more precisely for the mafia godfather who goes by the name of Kolya Kyrgyz. The legitimate president accepted his defeat and retired, while the new Prime Minister assumed the Presidential post as well.What will happen in the US: the Belarus or the Kyrgyz solution? It depends entirely on you, Americans. You will have to brave the streets and support your president against his armed opponents, and do it with all the hostile media against you. It is a hard job, but an enviable one: what you will do, will decide the fate of your country and of our planet.Faux-JewsWill Russia try and influence the US elections? Well, no. Russia wants to sit it out. As nobody can predict the result of the US elections, Russians want to bide their time. However, there are forces dreaming of starting a war between Russia and its powerful neighbour Turkey. This war would be disastrous for both states, and the cautious President Putin is determined to avoid it. So was the last Russian Tsar Nicolas II keen to avoid war with Germany. Will Putin succeed where Nicolas failed? It is still uncertain.Unwilling Russians were pulled into the WWI willy-nilly by well-organised public opinion that demanded that Russia "save the Serbs", as this Balkan nation had been attacked by Austria with German support. Now, the media pushes Russia into war with Turkey in order "to save the Armenians". This is the background of the Qarabagh war.Anti-Turkish feelings are strong in the West; partly as a result of the activity of the Armenian Lobby, and partly due to the rise of a powerful and independent Turkey after a hundred-fifty-year-long lag. The US is unhappy that Turks buy weapons and generally play ball with Russia. France and Germany dislike Turkey asserting its rights in the Middle East and North Africa. Greece has its long-term obsession with Turks arising from old disputes and ending with oil exploitation rights and the flight of refugees. However, Armenians are unique in their feeling they can make the Russians fight for them.Armenians are faux-Jews, another "people who dwell alone", engaged in trade and discourse. They imitate Jews: Jews have their Holocaust, legally protected against denial. Armenians actually succeeded in protecting their own tragedy of 1915 by a similar law in France. The result was tragicomic. They brought an important Jewish historian (and warmonger of the first degree) Bernard Lewis to the court in Paris, and he was found guilty of denying their tragedy, just like David Irving. But David Irving got three years in jail, and now his name is always preceded with the title "discredited", while Bernard Lewis was <> fined one franc and his name graces various petitions.Imitation is not the real thing: if famous Jews are Einstein and Rothschild, the famous Armenian is Kim Kardashian. However, like Jews, they have a lot of feelings of superiority towards their neighbours. I came across Armenians in 1988, when they explained me that they are so smart that Azerbaijan survives only thanks to their guidance. They occupied privileged positions in Baku in those days. I told them that there are Jews who are obsessed by a similar feeling of superiority, but Jews would never share it with a stranger, but at most with their own wives in the kitchen. This feeling played a bad trick on them: they pushed Azeris out of the areas where they were in the majority, and in response they were pushed out of Baku where they formed the middle and upper-middle class.Again, it reminds me of Jews. If Jews illegally occupied Palestine and expelled its native inhabitants, the Armenians illegally occupied a part of Azerbaijan and expelled its native inhabitants, too. They had made this land grab at the beginning of the 90s, when the USSR collapsed. Armenians contributed a lot to this collapse, as eighty years earlier they had contributed to the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Armenia was the first Soviet Republic to leave the USSR; thanks to its powerful diaspora, Armenia defeated the much more populous Azerbaijan, as Israel defeated populous Arab countries. Now Azerbaijan attempts to regain the lost territories and return home one million Azeri refugees, just as Arabs tried to return Palestinian refugees back to Palestine. In my view, refugees should be allowed to return, whether Palestinian refugees to what became Israel, or Azeri refugees to what became Artzakh. People should live together without ethnic cleansing.For 30 years, Armenians had the possibility of finding a modus vivendi with Azerbaijan on advantageous terms; there were many options. But, like Jews before 1973, they thought this was unnecessary. Azeris commenced the war in the end of September hoping to restart the peace process. Russia convinced them to cease fire on condition of renewing negotiations, but the Prime Minister of Armenia stubbornly refused to negotiate. The war resumed, and Azeris did liberate a part of the occupied territories. Now there is a new cease-fire; if the Armenians won’t negotiate in the earnest, the hostilities will resume.Armenians shifted their fight into the media and PR; they call upon the world to prevent "genocide". (Killing a few dozen Armenian soldiers is "genocide", while killing thousands of Palestinians or Azeris does not count as genocide.) They try to suck Russia into their war, to fight Azerbaijan and Turkey. The Armenians have a very strong position in Russian discourse, mainly supporting a "patriotic", loyalist, Putinist line. In Soviet days they were a minor element outside Baku, but after the collapse a lot of Jews left for Israel, and the Armenians, more clannish even than Jews, took over the vacated places and became the top dogs in the Russian media.The Armenian diaspora in Russia is longstanding and well established. The Russian Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs are partly of Armenian extraction, though this doesn’t mean too much. The RT head Mrs Simonyan is an ethnic Armenian, but she was rudely attacked by Armenia for her lack of support for the Armenian cause. (Not every Jew is a Zionist or even a supporter of Israel.) Now the Armenian Lobby pushes for war – as the US Jews pushed America into its Middle Eastern wars.Armenia is a member of CSTO, a new (and much smaller) version of the Warsaw Treaty. This is the main claim of Armenians on Russian help. However, Qarabagh is not a part of Armenia; it is an internationally recognised part of Azerbaijan. That’s why the Armenians try to provoke an Azeri attack on its own territory. The last provocation took place last night (Friday night), when Armenia fired a SCUD ballistic missile on the Azeri city of <,_Azerbaijan> Ganja located over a hundred miles from the fighting area. A dozen civilians were killed, fifty wounded, a few houses destroyed. This is a step towards open war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, something that the Azeris were loth to entertain. They prefered to fight on their own ground, on their own (even if occupied) territory. Now the Azeris will be under pressure to respond to the source of fire, and that will be Armenia proper. Would this force Russia to enter the fray?Meanwhile, Putin is trying to avoid such a confrontation. He has spent too much effort wooing Azeris back into the Russian orbit after this oil-rich republic was lost to Moscow in the days of Yeltsin. Then the Azeris remained loyal to the Soviet Union, while the Armenians allied themselves to Yeltsin’s democrats, and Moscow supported them. Russia's efforts to improve relations with Baku and abandon unilateral support for Armenia were successful: Azerbaijan also turned from a pro-Western position to a more balanced one that recognizes Russia's interests.Putin wishes to limit the armed conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, and not to allow Russian troops to be involved in the war, as well as keeping foreign troops out of Transcaucasia. Another task is to keep the oil and gas wealth of the Transcaucasia and Turkmenistan in the system of Russian oil pipelines. This calls for shrewd politics. A very useful text for understanding this aspect is the Wikileaks-released confidential dispatch of the US Ambassador in Baku <> 09BAKU109 (I published it <> here in Russian and English). It says that "Russia has stepped up diplomatic efforts to lure Azerbaijan away from its political, security, and energy links to the West. They note that this is part of a broader Russian effort to regain its position as the political and economic arbiter of affairs in the greater South Caucasus region. Recognizing the premium the Aliyev regime places on stability, Russia will likely continue attempts to show that the West is an unreliable partner, that westward orientation and democratization lead to chaos, and that the road to regime stability runs through Moscow."This was written in 2009, and since then Russia succeeded in making a friend of Azerbaijan. Now Putin is naturally unwilling to risk this achievment for the sake of Armenia which is rudely described by many Russians as "a suitcase without a handle – it is difficult to carry and a pity to throw away". More of a liability than an asset, as many Americans view Israel, too.Turkey is a very important partner for Russia, despite many disagreements and even minor confronations in Syria and Libya. Turkey holds the key to the warm seas by controlling the Bosphorus. The warmongers claim that Turkey wants to take over Transcaucasia and other Turkic-speaking states in Russia and in former USSR. This is impossible: Turkey is a successor state to Byzantium, and it never crossed its historical borders. Commonality of language is a good thing for cultural ties, but hardly enough for union in one state. Race and ethnicity is even less of a reason. Adolf Hitler, being a race romantic, believed that the racial unity of Germany and Britain would bring about their partnership, which explains the Dunkirk debacle; but reality slapped him in the face. The conflict between Russia and the Ukraine is another proof that race, ethnicity and language are of little importance in politics. Accordingly, there is no chance for Turkish expansion into former USSR Turkic-speaking territories.However, Turkey wants to play a role in Transcaucasia, and it is a perfectly legitimate wish. Putin recognises that, and he is ready to accommodate it, as we learn from his <> phone conversation with Erdogan two days ago. Indeed the Minsk group co-chaired by Russia, the US and France in 1994 achieved precisely nothing, as all three chairs have powerful Armenian lobbies. Active involvment of Turkey is likely to take the peace process out of the bog where it is stuck, and bring about a modus vivendi between Armenia and Azerbaijan. This modus vivendi will allow Azeri refugees to return home, while preventing the expulsion of Armenians from Qarabagh. Azeris promised to guarantee the autonomy of Qarabagh, so it seems a possible win-win solution. As a Homer scholar (and a translator of Odyssey) I am certain that a compromise is better than an outright victory. The Greeks and Trojans had many options to end the war with a compromise, but they pushed for victory and all perished. Hopefully, the Azeris and the Armenians will take this advice to heart, and Russia will be able to remain sitting on its hands, at least until the US elections are over.P.S. What happened with the Armenians in 2015? Armenians suffered during WWI because they fought against the Ottoman Empire – and lost. They sided with its enemy. They were promised almost the whole of Anatolia by the Allies, and Turks would have experienced the grim fate of Azeris but for the sword of Mustafa Kemal. Armenians made a good attempt to ethnically cleanse the Turks and the Kurds, but failed.<#_ftn1> [1] They were interned or deported by the Imperial government. Likewise, the Japanese were interned by Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Germans were deported by Britain, the Palestinians were deported by Israel, the Turks were deported by Greece - and many perished.Since then, the world has changed. The Ottoman Empire is gone; if Armenians want to return to Lake Van, they may be allowed to come back while fully recognising Turkish sovereignty. The Armenians are advised to take care of the present. Because of their obsession with the past, their republic is in dire straits. Whoever can emigrate does so. There are more Armenians in Moscow than in Yerevan. Playing into neocon hands won’t improve their situation. Instead of aggravating the situation and dreaming of redrawing maps, they should cool it and make peace with their Turkish, Azeri and Kurdish neighbours.<#_ftnref1> [1] A good summing-up by an American historian: Speech given by Dr. Justin McCarthy at the Turkish Grand National Assembly, March 24, 2005 The Colour Revolution in Belarus; co-ordinated by NED via Poland - Peter Bachmaier
From: "israel shamir" <>Subject: [shamireaders] The Belarusian Maidan - by Peter Bachmaier, Vienna The Colour Revolution after the 9 August 2020 presidential elections in Belarusby Peter Bachmaier*, Vienna (Russian), Belarus segodnja of 30 August 2020. The picture that the Western media has drawn of Belarus in recent months has nothing to do with reality. There are also hardly any journalists who have ever visited the country and have an objective idea about it.The model of the social people’s stateIn reality, Belarus is a socially oriented, independent and sovereign nation-state with free healthcare and education, stable jobs and affordable housing. The country is a „citadel of traditional culture", as one official slogan reads: culture is characterised by classical literature and art, traditional aesthetics, realistic style in literature and the priority of the family. There is a renaissance of Christianity of both Orthodox and Catholic denominations. Belarusians come from the Rus, the East Slavic people, which more than 1,000 years ago consisted of three principalities: Kiev, Polotsk and Novgorod, and was Christianized in 988. Later it was largely ruled by Poland and Lithuania, and when only one area in the northeast remained, it was called "Belaya Rus", meaning the pure Rus, not subject to "Latinism". The Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic (BSSR), founded in 1920, suffered under Stalin’s repressions, but the fact remains that without the BSSR there would be no present-day Republic of Belarus. In the end, it was the most developed Soviet republic with the highest standards in industry and education. On 24 August 1991, the BSSR declared its independence and pursued a pro-Western course until 1994, which, similar to Russia and Ukraine, led to the path of neoliberalism. However, in 1994 Alexander Lukashenko won the presidential election with 81 % of the vote – Lukashenko, who did not come from the nomenklatura and did not represent their interests. He retained the state industry and many social institutions of the Soviet system, but disempowered the nascent new oligarchy. Since then Belarus has been a presidential republic in which the president appoints the government and determines the basic lines of domestic and foreign policy. The president is elected every five years and the National Assembly every four years according to a majority vote. The Soviet system was developed politically, economically and culturally. Since then, Belarus can point to growth, stability and social security. In 2005 it was the first ex-Soviet republic to regain the gross domestic product of the era before the collapse of the Soviet Union: 120 % of the level of 1990, compared with 85 % in Russia and 60 % in Ukraine. President Lukashenko chose this path to avoid the extremes of shock therapy and colonisation by Western capital. He managed to avoid economic disaster, corruption, massive capital exports and the ruin of the country. Due to this course, Belarus has become the most successful of the former Soviet republics. Real GDP doubled between 1990 and 2014 (Russia’s real GDP grew by 15 % and Ukraine’s by 30%, according to the World Bank). The widely held view that the Belarusian economy is a relic of Soviet socialism does not correspond to reality. Here are market mechanisms at work, which create quite a fierce competition due to the openness of the Belarusian economy even for state-owned enterprises, which are oriented towards the export of high-tech products. The high technology park in Minsk, founded in 2005, the Belarusian "Silicon Valley", is a growth industry that currently consists of about 400 IT companies (one third are foreign companies) with more than 30,000 employees. A milestone in the cooperation between Belarus and China is the development of the industrial park Weliki Kamen (Big Stone). The park covers 92 square kilometres and has a special legal status that is conducive to business activity, with great incentives for foreign investors. The park is located 25 km from Minsk and in the immediate vicinity of the international airport, railway lines and the Berlin-Moscow motorway. According to statistics from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, there are 63 companies in the park whose investments exceeds one billion US dollars.Spiritual rebirthNational culture is seen as the "cornerstone of independence". Education is given high priority by the government, which, compared to other CIS countries, is reflected in the above-average share of the state budget (about 7 %). The objectives of the education reform adopted in 1998 put the "restoration of the national and cultural foundations of education" in first place. The subject "state ideology", a kind of civic education taught in the upper classes, serves the purpose of education for love of the homeland, the state and the family. The change in values that accompanied the disintegration of the Soviet Union and was associated with increased Western influence is being fought by the government. Patriotic education is also the task of the Belarusian Republican Union of Youth (BRSM), which has carried out a number of actions in this direction in recent years, such as "We Serve Belarus" to connect youth with the army, the "Remembrance" action to commemorate the defence of the homeland in the years of the Second World War, and finally the "Christmas Tree" action, which is held annually at the Orthodox Christmas celebration in early January with the participation of the Orthodox clergy. The annual Cyril and Methodius Lectures at the Minsk State University and the holiday of Slavic literature on 24 May serve the rebirth of Christian values in Belarusian society. The Prize "For Spiritual Rebirth", founded by a presidential decree, is awarded annually on 7 January, the day of Christ’s birth according to the Orthodox calendar, to creative artists, writers, teachers and clergy for outstanding achievements in the field of literature and art, in the humanitarian field and for the consolidation of spiritual values.Corona crisis: no panic in BelarusIn March 2020, the corona epidemic also reached Belarus, but there was a comprehensive plan to combat the epidemic. There were still hospitals for infectious diseases from the Soviet era, preventive measures for an epidemic with medical equipment, institutes for virology and epidemiology and trained personnel. According to the UN, Belarus was well prepared for the crisis, with 41 doctors, 114 nurses and 110 hospital beds per 10,000 inhabitants. In contrast, the average for advanced European countries is 30 doctors, 81 nurses and 55 hospital beds. However, Lukashenko emphasised Belarus’ independent path by refusing to impose a quarantine on the whole country. Belarus is a country that has not had a lockdown. The factories and shops, the inns, schools, universities, and churches were not closed, but remained open and continued to operate. In June 2020, the IMF offered Belarus a loan of $ 940 million, but the head of state described the additional, non-financial conditions as unacceptable. "Belarus was supposed do what Italy has done in the fight against the corona virus. The IMF continued to call for quarantine, isolation, and a curfew. What is this nonsense? We are not jumping on anyone’s command", said Lukashenko.1The mistakes of the authoritiesIt is obvious that the potential for street protest has been accumulating for several years. This accumulation has been facilitated by the mistakes made by the authorities in the socio-economic field: the ill-conceived decree on parasitism of 2017 (concerning some 500,000 people not in work), failures in the introduction of a new method of calculating salaries, the calculation of seniority, an increase in social differentiation, failures in youth policy and the lack of a clear, comprehensible explanation for the chosen position of the state during the pandemic.2 There were also misjudgements in the ideological field. The consolidation of society, understood as the need for reconciliation with those who hold pro-Western and nationalist views (about 15 to 20 % of the population), has not worked. During the riots, symbols and slogans dominated the streets. There were obvious mistakes in the field of information. In the beginning, the radical opposition agenda almost completely dominated the new media (YouTube, Messenger, social networks). There was not enough time for the use of government-related new media; it was necessary to highlight this area as a field of work separate from the traditional media and to provide normal resources for it. There was no sharp reaction to the activities of the Polish-sponsored provocative Telegram channels and the call for violence through diplomatic and other channels. The mistakes in education were the adoption of elements of the Western education system, such as the Bologna system and public schools, which were a result of the EU’s Eastern Partnership.Influence of new mediaThe European Commission is supporting radio and TV programmes of the BBC and Deutsche Welle which broadcast news and rock music five days a week specifically for Belarus. It is also supporting the "Belarusian Humanities University", founded by the Soros Foundation "Open Society", which had to move from Minsk to Vilnius (Lithuania) in 2006. In the early stages of the election campaign, it was obvious that the opposition had developed a multi-level professional political technology project, in which new media played a decisive role. In the first months of 2020, the number of opposition media activists increased dramatically, mainly due to the increase in Telegram accounts. The number of subscribers to the five largest opposition Telegram accounts alone rose from 317,000 on 1 January to 672,000 subscribers on 20 June 2020. The channel nexta (Belarusian nechta, Russian nekton for "someone"), founded two years ago in Warsaw by Stepan Putilo and Roman Protasewitsch, who also works for Radio Free Europe and the BBC, already has two million subscribers, according to its own statement. The channel is mainly providing demonstrators in Minsk with the necessary information about meeting points, dates, banners, and political slogans. The opposition’s protest rallies led to a division of society with aggressions previously unknown. The state power always propagated the unity of the people in an ethnic and religious sense based on the Belarusian national culture. The protest movement used the symbolism of the White Ruthenian People’s Republic proclaimed in March 1918 under German protectorate with the white-red-white flag, which was also used in the years 1991-1995, and the raised fist as a symbol of insurrection, which was also used in various uprisings of the last decades – in Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine and Egypt.3 The driving force behind the Belarusian protests was a new middle class – young IT experts and cultural workers, largely a result of the state’s efforts in recent years. There are already more than 100,000 of them, earning well in Western companies, but without any political awareness.Attempt for a colour revolutionFor the presidential elections on 9 August 2020, 141 election observers from CIS countries and other independent observers from Western countries were accredited to the Central Election Commission. As in previous elections, the OSCE was also invited, but declined to participate, citing the corona measures. After the presidential election, developments followed the classic pattern of a colour revolution. When the Central Election Commission announced on 9 August that Alexander Lukashenko had won about 80 % and Svetlana Tikhanovskaya about 10 % of the votes, tens of thousands of demonstrators in Minsk on 9 and 10 August declared Tikhanovskaya the "real election winner". Two prominent candidates were unable to run for election. Valeri Zepkalo, a former Belarusian ambassador to the USA, had built the country’s first high-tech park, but had fallen out with the president. He left the country after the election commission rejected his candidacy because he was unable to collect the required number of signatures. Viktor Babariko, who for 20 years ran one of the country’s largest banks, Belgazprombank, and a cultural club for young people, was arrested on 11 June on charges of tax evasion and money laundering on a grand scale. Babariko claims that this was politically motivated. However, he sent his campaign manager to lead Tikhanovskaya’s campaign. On 9 August, after the polling stations closed, people took to the streets. Of course, as in all previous elections, unrest was expected, but its scale exceeded the wildest expectations. As it later turned out, organised groups of provocateurs were active in the crowd and clashed with the police. "Molotov cocktails" and cobblestones flew at the police officers. On the second night the demonstrators started to build barricades, blocking the roads and throwing "Molotov cocktails" and stones again. A real urban guerrilla unfolded in the streets, and everything was coordinated from the same Nechta channel in real time from Poland. The protests did not have a clear objective, the people were not even promised anything, as for example on the Kiev Maidan 2013–2014 the accession to the EU, here everything was only aimed at a change of government.The aim of the protestsAccording to Belta from 19 August 2020, the "Coordination Council for the Transfer of Power" called in its programme for the introduction of border and custom control with Russia, the approval of television broadcasts from Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine, the withdrawal from the defence alliance of the ex-Soviet countries OWKS. Furthermore, it called for a gradual ban of the Russian language until 2030, the introduction of the Belarusian language in the army, the establishment of the Belarusian autocephalous Orthodox Church, and finally for the accession to the European Union and NATO (the programme has since been removed from the Coordination Council’s website).4 However, the documents of the Coordination Council do not mention the points also announced on state television. A member of the Coordination Council, lawyer Mr Maxim Znak, stated at a press conference that the Council has no political programme. Also at the demonstrations, apart from symbols, there are only the demands "Get off!", "New elections!" and "Changes!" The traces of the protests lead to Washington. For years, the US state foundation National Endowment for Democracy (NED) has been supporting the Belarusian opposition and "civil society". For 2019, the NED lists 34 projects in Belarus on its website that have received financial support. The main aim is to strengthen the anti-Lukashenko opposition and relevant NGOs. For example, the NED says "Strengthening NGOs: Increasing local and regional civil engagement". Another goal of the Western sponsors of the opposition movement is likely to be the interruption of the New Silk Road, which runs from China through Belarus to the EU countries. US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo was on tour in several Central European countries between 11 and 15 August 2020 with the open goal of convincing them to abandon cooperation with China and Russia. As early as 2018, the Social Engineering Agency (SEA) determined a high probability for Belarus that a classic colour revolution – according to the methodology of the theorist of "non-violent protests" Gene Sharp – could take place in the next two years. The appropriate instruments were already in place – a dense network of several dozen NGOs, think tanks, media and hundreds of bloggers and opinion leaders, financed by companies in Poland and Lithuania with a million-dollar budget. In his speech on 16 August 2020 on Independence Square, President Lukashenko explained the protests: "You have come here to defend your country, your independence, your families, your wives, sisters and children! We have built this beautiful country with you under all difficulties! Whom do you want to hand it over to? On the Western borders of our country, a military power is being established. Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and unfortunately our beloved Ukraine, their leaders, want to command us to hold new elections. If we give in to them, we will hit buffers and will perish as a state, as a people and as a nation. They will kill the President and you will be on your knees. Remember, I have never betrayed you, never! I will never betray you!"5 The signing of an agreement on enhanced defence cooperation between the US and Poland on 15 August has made Poland a "crucial point of regional security" (as the US State Department describes it). Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolay Azarov (2010–2014) said in a speech in Minsk: "As I watch what is happening now, I would like to say that it is very reminiscent of the preparation of the first Maidan, which began in our country in 2003–2004. Western special services started long ago with the preparations for the Belarusian elections. They failed to destroy the Soviet legacy in Belarus. On the contrary, industry has been modernised and competitive companies such as MAZ, BELAZ, Gomselmash have been founded… I do not even mention that Belarus has managed to create a high-tech estate bringing together almost a thousand IT production companies – products for two billion US dollars. It was said on the podium at the time: ‘Tomorrow we will sign a treaty with the EU – and we will have European salaries and pensions’. Where are they now? Real wages and pensions have fallen by half in US dollars and prices have risen incredibly. Ukraine started to import agricultural products. In Ukraine, we now have the highest mortality rate in Europe. Every year, simply because of physical decline, our population is decreasing by 300,000 people. About ten million people went abroad because companies were closed and there was no work anymore. The medical system is completely destroyed. Covid-19 has shown it. With my speech, I would like to warn you seriously: Do not believe in this European ‘carrot’! Do not believe it!"The meeting of the Presidents of Belarus and Russia in SochiOn 14 September 2020 in Sochi, Alexander Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin discussed the state and prospects for the development of bilateral cooperation in various areas, international problems and the situation in the region, as well as issues of joint response to future challenges. Alexander Lukashenko remarked: "These events have shown that we need to stay closer to our older brother and work together on all issues, including business". The President of Belarus also noted that the parties had taken a systematic and gradual approach in the creation and drafting of the Treaty on the Union State. "Our states and our peoples will always be on cordial terms." Vladimir Putin stated at the beginning that Russia considers Belarus as its closest ally and will fulfil all its obligations under the treaties and agreements. "Russia remains committed to all our agreements, including those arising from the Treaty on the Union State (CSTO)". In addition, the Russian President announced that Russia would grant the Belarusian state a loan of 1.5 billion US dollar.6 In his speech at the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly on 18 September 2020, Foreign Minister of Belarus, Vladimir Makei, explained: "Today’s actions by the EU countries undermine the sovereignty and independence of Belarus, despite the declarations of their support." He also commented towards journalists on the adoption of the resolution "Situation of human rights in Belarus" by the UN Human Rights Council: "This can clearly be interpreted as interference in the internal affairs of our state."7 The Foreign Minister continued: "The West side is now closed to us. So we need to maximise cooperation with Russia. This vector, to which we have always been attracted, needs to be developed to the maximum. Hereby, cooperation in the military and information sectors will also be intensified."8 The results of these events will be as follows. Integration into the Russian Federation will be revived and Belarus will generally orientate itself Eastwards. Cooperation with the People’s Republic of China will increase. Relations with the EU will deteriorate significantly, particularly with Poland and Lithuania. A constitutional reform will be implemented to strengthen the parliament and the role of the parties in political life.1 Röper, Thomas. Anti-Spiegel of 17 August 20202 Dzermant, Aleksey. "Die Fehler der Behörden" (The mistakes of the authorities) (russ.) of 13 August 2020, https//<> Sankin, Wladimir. "Regimewechsel in Belarus, Social Engineering Agency (SEA)" (Regime change in Belarus, Social Engineering Agency (SEA), in: rt deutsch of 13 August 2020. The founder of the SEA, Anton Davidchenko, is a former participant of the Odessa uprising in May 2014 against the new Kiev government, who has left for Russia and is studying the strategy of "social engineering".4 Belta from 19 August 20205 Speech of President Alexander Lukashenko on Independence Square in Minsk on 16 August 2020, <> of 16 August 20206 Belarus segodnja of 14 September 20207 Belta of 18 September 20208 Belta of 17 September 2020(Translation Current Concerns)* Prof. Dr. Peter Bachmaier, Eastern European historian and political scientist, board member of the Austrian Institute for Eastern and South Eastern Europe in Vienna (1972-2005), lecturer at the University of Vienna (1993-2007), President of the Austrian-Belarusian Society (since 2006).
(5) China's strategy of Elite Capture - a review of Hidden Hand by Clive Hamilton and Mereike Ohlberg REVIEW | ‘Hidden Hand: Exposing How the Chinese Communist Party Is Reshaping the World’ by Hamilton and OhlbergJason Morgan, Reitaku UniversitySeptember 22, 2020 12:55 pmSuga’s China ChallengeThe new prime minister of Japan, Yoshihide Suga, takes office at a time of extraordinary geopolitical change. Although Suga has reiterated his incoming administration’s commitment to Japan’s alliance with the United States, the People’s Republic of China is actively undermining the very foundations of the Japan-U.S. partnership.In Hidden Hand: Exposing How the Chinese Communist Party Is Reshaping the World, veteran watchers of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) Clive Hamilton and Mereike Ohlberg detail the methods by which the central government of the communist behemoth is systematically dismantling the postwar world order and substituting in its place a new one, controlled by Beijing.The new Chinese order is predicated not upon free trade and democratic ideals, as the U.S.-Japan alliance is, but upon authoritarianism, coercion, intimidation, and the violent suppression of dissent.China’s ambitions are global, and no nation on earth will be exempt from Chinese president Xi Jinping’s "China Dream" vision for a planet under the indirect or direct control of the Chinese Communist Party.China’s Influence Already GlobalThis control can already be felt in many areas of life outside of the PRC. To give just one example, when Hamilton, a professor of public ethics at Charles Sturt University in Australia, attempted to publish Silent Invasion, an earlier book on China’s strong-arm tactics in the West, the prospective publisher, Allen & Unwin, abruptly cancelled publication.As ABC News in Australia reports, Hamilton related that "Allen & Unwin said that they were worried about retaliation from Beijing."In other words, the Chinese Communist Party was able to interfere in a private publishing contract in a country outside of China and forestall the publication of a book by an Australian public intellectual.How does Beijing manage to throw its weight around on the world stage? The answers can be found in Hidden Hand, a chilling expose of the myriad of ways in which the PRC censors and shapes public expressions and even private exchanges around the world.‘Elite Capture’One of the key tactics Beijing deploys in its drive to supplant the United States and force a new world order into existence is "elite capture".The way Beijing "looks at the world," Hamilton and Ohlberg write, is to "study centers of power in each country, determine who the elites are in business, politics, academia, think tanks, media, and cultural institutions," and then collect information on connections. (28) From there, Beijing targets elites with flattery, inviting academics or politicians to give speeches in China or journalists to take junket tours of the Great Wall or the sights of Shenzhen and Shanghai.Think tanks, which Beijing funds by the hundreds, prepare and proliferate PRC talking points and skillfully insert Chinese propaganda into scholarship through repetition, or through strings-attached Chinese largesse received in support of academic or policy research work. (See Chapter 11, "Think Tanks and Thought Leaders)China also targets the families of politicians, keeping, for example, Democratic American politician Joe Biden in check by "elite capturing" his son, Hunter Biden, through infusions of capital into Biden-linked firms from the CCP-controlled Bank of China. (35-36) Joe Biden himself, Hamilton and Ohlberg report, has a "warm personal relationship with Xi Jinping" going back to the time when Xi was a rising star in the CCP establishment. (35)American President Donald J. Trump, by the same token, is surrounded by advisors with ties to China. Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross all have extensive business and personal relationships with the PRC. (38)The same thing takes place worldwide, Hamilton and Ohlberg assert, in Europe, Africa, and throughout Asia and the Global South. Australia is particularly heavily infiltrated.When a government or a reporter or a professor or institute director takes a soft line towards Beijing, Hamilton and Ohlberg argue, there is a good chance that they have been influenced by the "elite capture" stratagem which the PRC has been deploying systematically for decades.One Belt, One Road, Endless Debt EntrapmentAnother major artery for Beijing’s rapidly-extending worldwide influence operations is the One Belt, One Road project (OBOR, also known as the Belt-Road Initiative (BRI)). The nuts and bolts of this "new Silk Road," as Xi Jinping terms it, is to use debt traps to take control of facilities such as shipping hubs, highways, and airports which the PRC builds on margin for mainly poor host countries such as Laos and Pakistan.These massive, environmentally destructive projects also provide outlets for the Chinese construction industry, which would be idle and therefore potentially dangerous, as China’s domestic economy cools.Once a debt-entrapment project is complete, the OBOR facilitates meddling in local politics.Ohlberg, a senior fellow in the Asia Program of the German Marshall Fund, has added a strong component of research to Hidden Hand, especially on PRC maneuvering outside of the Anglosphere. Her reporting on the OBOR in Europe is invaluable.In Germany alone, for example, Hamilton and Ohlberg write, the notorious " United Front" espionage-and-influence clearinghouse operation manipulates an astonishing 190 Chinese espionage and propaganda fronts, making a major European power yet another outpost for Chinese political and corporate control. (89-91)CCP Target: Professors of the WorldPerhaps no global venue is riper, one might even say more eager, for Chinese interference than universities.In recent months, the FBI in the United States has arrested a string of professors at American universities attempting to flee to China with sensitive research information or suspected of accepting large cash bribes in exchange for doing the PRC’s bidding.The "Thousand Talents" program run by Beijing has long "recruited highly qualified ethnic Chinese people to ‘return’ to China with the expertise and knowledge they’ve acquired abroad," Hamilton and Ohlberg write. (150)Beyond this, espionage units in the Chinese government oversee a vast network of spying and influence-peddling in universities in virtually every major country in the world. Confucius Institutes are just one piece of this puzzle. By means of varying degrees of subtlety, from invitations to lavish banquets to "honey-trap" operations, Beijing ensures that academics worldwide conform to the party line. Socialist-leaning professors are only too happy to comply.Hamilton and Ohlberg provide examples from universities in Australia, the United States, and elsewhere in the West of Chinese students and diplomats pressuring administrators to cancel talks on topics Beijing finds discomfiting. The "three T’s" are the main sources of worry for Beijing, Hamilton and Ohlberg argue: "Taiwan, Tibet, and Tiananmen".For example, professors at universities which host the Dalai Lama can expect never to receive a visa to enter China again, Hamilton and Ohlberg write, thus jeopardizing careers and producing a chilling effect on free speech elsewhere. (161-162, 182-183)Pushing Taiwan Off the International StageThe main target of Beijing’s overseas propaganda appears to be Taiwan, which Beijing wants to "push off the international stage," Hamilton and Ohlberg write.The World Health Organization (WHO) under Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus—who facilitated billions of dollars of OBOR indebtedness in his native Ethiopia—excluded Taiwan from meetings during the covid-19 outbreak. (253-254) The WHO also shuns Taiwan’s Red Cross Society. (254)Meanwhile, Beijing prevents journalists working for Taiwanese news outlets from covering World Health Assembly events, even though those events are held not in China but in Geneva, Switzerland. (254) These anti-Taiwanese bullying tactics are repeated in every institution where Beijing has gained influence.Bringing Japan Inside the Nine-Dash LineWhile there is little mention of Japan in Hidden Hand, it is certain that Beijing is deploying its tactics here, too. As a close American ally de facto member of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing group, Japan has long been a priority for Beijing’s subversion efforts.For instance, while the PRC openly tries to wrest control of the Senkaku Islands from Japan, it has been using its influence at the UN to weaponize the UNESCO "Memory of the World" scheme into an anti-Japan propaganda exercise.Also, the "first island chain" doctrine of the Chinese military sees Japan as the keystone of a PRC-dominated zone from which all American military influence has been cleared. As a matter of fundamental national strategy, the People’s Republic of China is systematically working towards the destruction of the U.S.-Japan alliance.Clive Hamilton and Mareike Ohlberg’s Hidden Hand is a tour-de-force of investigative writing. It is also a moral triumph. Resisting the blandishments of money and power which flow to those willing to cooperate with Beijing’s drive for global domination, Hamilton and Ohlberg have told the truth about what the PRC is really doing.About the Book Title: Hidden Hand: Exposing How the Chinese Communist Party Is Reshaping the WorldAuthor: Clive Hamilton and Mareike OhlbergPublisher: London: Oneworld, (July 2020)For More Information: Visit the publisher’s website, at this link.To purchase the book: Book sellers carrying the book are linked at the publisher’s website, here, including Amazon UK and Waterstones. Digital versions, hardback and paperback sales are also available on Amazon U.S., here.Book review by: Jason MorganJason Morgan is an assistant professor at Reitaku University in Chiba, Japan.(6) Hidden Hand review – China's true global ambitions exposed (Guardian) Hand review – China's true global ambitions exposedClive Hamilton and Mareike Ohlberg’s startling book about how the Chinese Communist party has spread its tentacles throughout the world is vital readingWill HuttonTue 11 Aug 2020 16.00 AESTThis is a remarkable book with a chilling message. The Chinese Communist party, for which dominating rural China in order to encircle its cities and win the civil war is part of its historic backstory, is now intent on doing the same internationally. Using whatever lever comes to hand – generously financing a thinktank in Washington, owning a part-share of Rotterdam port, encouraging "friendship" clubs like Britain’s 48 Group Club – it is aiming to create an international soft "discourse" and hard infrastructure that so encircles western power centres that the dominance of the party at home and abroad becomes unchallengeable.China, we know, has very different definitions of terrorism, human rights, security and even multilateralism to those accepted internationally. The book spells them out and shows how intent the party is on winning international acceptance for them as vital buttresses to its power. Acts of terrorism include not eating pork or speaking out against one-party "democracy", as the Uighurs and denizens of Hong Kong are learning. Human rights should be understood as the people’s collective right for Chinese-style economic and social development. Multilateralism means states acting in harmony with China and its view that economic development is the alpha and omega of all international purpose – the vision set out in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).The BRI is well known as President Xi’s signature policy, through which China partners with governments to build and enhance ports and the wider transport infrastructure across Asia and Africa. I knew the way the BRI is characterised as representing a "community of common destiny for humankind" is nothing more than a front for China’s geopolitical aims, but I had not realised the stunning scope and reach of it. The BRI is the centrepiece of China’s efforts to reorient the world around the interest of the Chinese Communist party. It is breathtaking in its audacity.Signatories to the BRI – most small states in Asia and Africa and even within the EU Italy and Greece – get access to Chinese grants and loans for developing their infrastructure. The overt quid pro quo is that Chinese civil and military traffic are prioritised in ports and airports, or as People’s Liberation Army Navy sources put it, within the BRI they "meticulously select locations, deploy discreetly, prioritise cooperation and slowly infiltrate". But the BRI accreditation process also requires signatories to accept "China’s benevolence" – "harmonious" globalisation that accepts China’s definitions of terrorism, security, human rights and multilateralism. Any signatory had better not recognise Taiwan – or object to events in Hong Kong. As party insiders confirm, the BRI is aimed at delivering the party’s geo-strategic dominance.Integral to the BRI’s work is the party’s now huge and sophisticated United Front Work Department – Mao Zedong described it one of the party’s three "magic weapons". Essentially it coordinates the party’s "scientific" efforts to win "friends" – in ethnic groups, foreign political parties, western thinktanks, overseas Chinese communities, private companies, non-Chinese nationals sitting on the advisory boards of Chinese companies like Huawei. Its methods range from organising sympathetic conferences and writing cheques to occasionally organising the clandestine seduction of foreign dignitaries to steal their secrets and the hacking of foreign computer systems.Subverting the Hong Kong treaties and breaking international law have triggered the party’s first major reverses since Tiananmen Square in 1989.Under President Xi the BRI and United Front have become the twin battering rams to project Chinese power. As Hamilton and Ohlberg say, the pretence that party and state are two different spheres has been dropped under Xi. China and the Chinese Communist party are coterminous – and every enterprise in China, state-owned or private, is surveilled by a Communist party committee.All western states have until the last few months chosen to look the other way. After all the Chinese economy is now the world’s second biggest – and its huge investment in tech is conferring leadership in AI and 5G. The consensus has been that you have to engage with it. Britain has been no slouch. Recall George Osborne and Boris Johnson’s visit to China in 2013, innocently opening the door to the party’s control of part of our new nuclear industry – or David Cameron enjoying a beer with Xi in a Buckinghamshire pub heralding a "new golden era" in Anglo-Chinese relations. The party looks particularly kindly on Britain’s 48 Group Club, founded in 1954 to promote Anglo-Chinese trade, whose members include businessmen such as Tom Glocer, former chief executive of Reuters, along with ex-politicians Tony Blair, Michael Heseltine and Peter Mandelson. But its efforts don’t stop there. Academics, former ambassadors and even journalists like Martin Jacques, author of When China Rules the World, advocate of China’s view of globalisation and critic of Hong Kong protesters, are all cited as good examples of how the party indulges its friends with privileged access. There are parallel efforts across the EU and in the US.But Xi and the party’s ambitions have begun to be rumbled and challenged – a development that this book underpins. Subverting the Hong Kong treaties and breaking international law to suppress its millions of protesters under an extension of Chinese law, the suppression of the Uighurs and the growing trade aggression of the Trump administration, particularly on Huawei, have triggered the party’s first major reverses since Tiananmen Square in 1989. Boris Johnson may say he won’t be pushed into becoming a kneejerk sinophobe, but Huawei is to be excluded from Britain’s 5G network by 2027. Yet seven years ago, playing to the Europhobe gallery, he set out to charm China as an alternative to the EU. How long will his determination to confront China, post-Brexit, last? This book’s convincing message is plain. Don’t be gulled by soft talk of global harmony, or the prospect of access to the world’s second-biggest market. The Chinese Communist party aims to construct a world in which Enlightenment values are subordinate to its own. The BRI and United Front are subduing criticism and reaction even as I write. Everyone must stay on their guard.o Hidden Hand by Clive Hamilton and Mareike Ohlberg is published by Oneworld (£20). To order a copy go to Free UK p&p over £15o This article was amended on 12 August 2020. An earlier version said that the pub at which David Cameron and Xi Jinping had a drink was in the Cotswolds; it was in fact in the Buckinghamshire village of Cadsden, which is in the Chilterns.(7) Book Review: Hidden Hand (International Affairs) Review: Hidden HandReviewed by John WestThe Chinese Communist Party’s global influence operations are covert but pervasive, and are undermining Western democratic institutions. Hidden Hand is very welcome in raising our awareness of this, and the stakes involved.Most rising powers endeavour to shape the world order in their favour. Following World War II, the United States did just that as it led the formation of a new rules-based world order, notably through the creation of international organisations like the UN, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. It also forged strategic alliances and partnerships through NATO and with a number of countries such as Japan, South Korea, and Australia. But US actions were motivated by the honourable principles of pluralist democracy, respect for human rights, rule of law, and a market economy, even though its actions could, at times, depart from these principles. From the 1970s, the US progressively opened up political and economic relations with the People’s Republic of China. As the two economies became intertwined, the US assumed that China’s economic opening would foster political openness and freedom, and that China would become a "responsible stakeholder" in the world order from which its economy was benefiting enormously.However, as Clive Hamilton and Mareike Ohlberg recount in impressive detail in their new book, Hidden Hand, that was a pious hope that misjudged the true nature of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Indeed, while the West was rejoicing the end of the Cold War in Europe and the demise of the USSR, the CCP was studying very carefully the fate of the USSR to ensure that the CCP would not go the same way. The authors argue that for the CCP, the Cold War never ended. Their book documents meticulously how the CCP is reshaping the world order to suit its interests.This book is a follow-up to Hamilton’s 2018 book, Silent Invasion, which dealt with China’s influence operations in Australia. The new volume thus focuses mainly on China’s influence operations in North America and Western Europe through political elites, the corporate sector, the Chinese diaspora, universities, media, cultural organisation, think tanks, and global governance. I only hope for a third volume that deals with Asia, a region in which many countries are deeply concerned about rivalry between China and the US.We might read a lot in the press about "wolf warrior diplomacy," threats, and bullying. But Hamilton and Ohlberg argue that much of the CCP’s influence campaign is actually covert rather than overt, and is often not recognised for what it is. While a variety of tactics are employed, grooming and co-opting Western elites as "friends of China" is a very important one. Hamilton and Ohlberg explain how this tactic gives China "discourse power," as these elites parrot CCP narratives and bolster international support for the regime. For example, former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating, who is on the international advisory council of the China Development Bank, once boldly said that the CCP government was "the best government in the world in the last thirty years. Full stop."In addition, since China has become a leading trading partner and financial power, it can use this as leverage to coerce partners into submission. Corporate and university leaders, organisations which benefit handsomely from Chinese business, are usually active defenders of the CCP regime. But when you get on the wrong side of China, as Australia did by calling for an independent international enquiry into COVID-19, the economic sanctions can be severe. And as many countries have discovered, when China is displeased it can arrest and take as hostage one or more of their citizens.The CCP is very keen to break the system of US-centric alliances and to realign those participating countries against the US – the "global enemy." One of the key goals of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (of which the Australian state of Victoria is a signatory) is to offer an alternative system of alliances, one which increases countries’ loyalty to China, according to the authors. The CCP also exerts great influence over ethnic Chinese people living abroad, such as by threatening to harm their family members still in China, or by getting international students to spy and report on fellow students who might deviate from the CCP line.While it might be natural for new great powers to exert their influence on the world order, in China’s case it is exploiting the openness of democracies to undermine democracy itself and impose its authoritarian will. In other words, China’s actions represent a threat to human rights and democracy itself.Why would the seemingly all-powerful China attempt to reshape the world order in such a manner? One answer is that China’s actions are more a reflection of its inherent weaknesses, rather than its strengths, according to Hamilton and Ohlberg. For its legitimacy, the CCP has relied on strong economic growth and nationalism. But President Xi Jinping believes the CCP must do more to ensure its survival, notably by ensuring that the world order supports the CCP and by changing the way that foreign elites think of China. If foreigners start believing that the CCP offers the best governance for China, such international recognition will create a positive feedback loop to China. For example, if Tiananmen Square, Tibet, and the Uyghurs become global taboos, this will stop the infiltration of foreign ideas into China and bolster domestic support for the CCP.Another reason for Chinese activism to try to reshape the world order in its favour has been Donald Trump’s disdain for the current world order and US allies, which has offered China a strategic opportunity. Brexit and dissension within the EU have had the same effect, write Hamilton and Ohlberg. Notably, China has been able to occupy much strategic terrain through a number of leadership roles in UN organisations. Indeed, if Trump’s US worked more seriously in the UN, the World Health Organisation’s actions during the early stages of COVID-19 may well have been quite different.What to do?While the book offers a vast coverage of examples of Chinese influence operations, it has much less to propose in terms of how best to respond. This may be because responding to China’s influence operations is not so easy. Some attitudes of Western elites were formed in the 1980s and 90s, when there was optimism and naivete about political opening in China. Such attitudes may be difficult to change.And then there are the business and university constituencies which profit handsomely from their relationship with China. But as Hamilton’s previous book, Silent Invasion, demonstrated, academic research, think tanks, and the media can help countries improve their awareness of China’s influence operations. These institutions can be very influential in shaping the public debate and motivating a pushback, such as through legislation on lobbying, campaign financing, and foreign interference. One lesson that Australia is learning from its call for an international enquiry into the origins of COVID-19 is that middle powers are unlikely to be able to confront China alone – they must form alliances with other countries.Perhaps the greatest lesson about the CCP’s behaviour has been provided from China’s initial cover up, disinformation campaign, cynical mask diplomacy, and wolf-warrior diplomacy during the COVID-19 pandemic. The attitude of Western countries towards China’s influence operations may now be hardened by a loss of trust in China’s governance.Overall, Hidden Hand is a very impressive compendium of Chinese influence operations in North America and Western Europe, which enriches our understanding of this critically important issue.This is a review of Clive Hamilton and Mareike Ohlberg, Hidden Hand: Exposing How the Chinese Communist Party is Reshaping the World (Hardie Grant, 2020) ISBN 978 1 74379 557 6. The eBook version is priced from $12 from Google Play,, and other eBook vendors, while in print the book can be ordered from the publisher.John West is adjunct professor at Tokyo’s Sophia University and executive director of the Asian Century Institute. His recent book "Asian Century … on a Knife-Edge" was reviewed in Australian Outlook.