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Showing posts from January, 2019

Howard Schultz' Presidency Would Be A National Security Threat Because Of His Ties To China

On January 27 Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks, told CBS' "60 Minutes" that he is considering running for president of the United States as an independent
Schultz has hired former Republican strategist Steve Schmidt and Democratic consultant Bill Burton. Schmidt was involved in the presidential campaign of George W. Bush in 2004, while Burton was a member of Barack Obama's 2008 campaign and later served as deputy White House press secretary.
Schultz, who as of January 30 is worth US$3.4 billion according to Forbes, stepped down as executive chairman and board member of Starbucks in June 2018 and is now chairman emeritus. He owns more than 37.7 million shares of the company's stock.
Many have criticized Schultz's presidential bid, worrying that it might help re-elect Donald Trump by taking votes away from the Democratic candidate.


But there is another reason why Schultz's run for president is dangerous: his long-standing ties to the Chinese Commun…

Will The Huawei Case Finally Awaken Democrats To The China Threat And The Danger Of Faux Free Trade Rhetoric?

On January 28 the Department of Justice of the United States unsealed two cases against Huawei, China's largest telecommunications company, and its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou. 
Huawei has been accused of trying to steal trade secrets, committing bank fraud, breaking confidentiality agreements and violating sanctions against Iran. One indictment claims that Huawei attempted to steal trade secrets from T-Mobile by promising bonuses to employees who collected confidential information.
Huawei is not a company like any other. Over the years it has benefited enormously from the support of the Chinese Communist regime. The founder of Huawei, Ren Zhengfei, joined China's army during the Cultural Revolution. In 1978 he also joined the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). 
In the early years Huawei's sources of capital were high-interest loans (20%-30%) from Chinese state-owned enterprises. Ren also secured soft loans from the local government of Shenzhen thanks to his personal co…

Wife Of Taiwanese Activist Li Ming-che Seeks US Help After China Denied Her Right To Visit Husband

On 28 November 2017 a Chinese court sentenced Taiwanese human-rights activist Lee Ming-che to five years in prison on charges of subverting state power. The charges were based on statements he had made criticizing the Chinese Communist regime. Li was the first foreign NGO worker detained after China adopted a new Foreign NGO Management Law.
On January 27 Li's wife, Li Ching-yü, received a notification from Chishan prison, in China's Hunan province, informing her that she will not be allowed to visit her husband for three months. The Chinese authorities allege that Li Ching-yü "distorted facts" at a press conference she held on 18 December 2018 after visiting her husband in prison.
The note stated that after visiting Like Ming-che, Li Ching-yü "distorted facts, made public statements that are seriously inconsistent with the truth, interfered with the normal law-enforcement work of the prison, and impeded Li Ming-che's reformation."
In 2017 the US Congr…

China Orders Private Kindergartens To Be Handed Over To Local Authorities

On January 22 the General Office of the State Council of the People's Republic of China (PRC) issued a notice stating that private kindergartens in urban residential communities must all be handed over to local education authorities to be turned into public or non-profit kindergartens.
China currently has a system in which public kindergartens, which are run by local authorities and use material provided by the government, compete with private ones, which enjoy a certain independence and can choose their own textbooks. 
Over the past two decades private kindergartens have become a booming business. According to Beijing-based business consultancy ResearchInChina, between 2003 and 2015 private kindergartens grew from 55,000 to 143,000, while only 15,000 public kindergartens were opened during the same period. From 1997 to 2017, the number of children attending public kindergartens decreased from 95% to 44%.
However, in recent years the government has launched a crackdown on private kin…

China Is Releasing A Cartoon About The Life And Times Of Karl Marx To Popularize Communist Ideology

On Monday Chinese video sharing website Bilibi (哔哩哔哩) will be releasing a cartoon about the life and times of the founder of Communism, Karl Marx. The Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCPPD) and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences have partnered to create the cartoon, whose aim is to popularize Marxism.
The cartoon, entitled The Leader (领风者), has been realized in a style reminiscent of Japanese anime and consists of 7 episodes of 25 minutes each.  The story focuses on the young Karl Marx' friendship with Friedrich Engels and his relationship with his wife, Jenny von Westphalen. A trailer released in December shows Marx portrayed as a young, handsome and energetic leader. 
The cartoon aims at making Karl Marx more accessible the common Chinese people, who may not be familiar with his theories.
Marx has experienced a revival in China after Xi Jinping took office in 2012 and began emphasizing the importance of Marxist ideology.   
Marxism-L…

Venezuela, China, And The New Failure Of Western Foreign Policy

On January 23 United States president Donald Trump recognized Juan Guaidó as Venezuela's legitimate president. The citizens of Venezuela have suffered for too long at the hands of the illegitimate Maduro regime. Today, I have officially recognized the President of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Juan Guaido, as the Interim President of Venezuela. https://t.co/WItWPiG9jK — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 23, 2019
Opposition leader Guaidó had previously declared himself interim president in an attempt to remove from office incumbent president Nicolas Maduro.
Other countries, including Canada, Brazil, Argentina, and other South American governments, soon joined the United States in recognizing Guaidó as Venezuela's president.
The European Union released a statement calling "for the start of an immediate political process leading to free and credible elections, in conformity with the Constitutional order."
Declaration by @FedericaMog on behalf of the EU on lates…

Taiwan Is Debating How To Transform Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall To Cope With The Legacy Of Martial Law

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is one of Taipei's most recognizable landmarks. The giant white structure with the blue roof was built in 1980 to commemorate Chiang Kai-shek, the dictator who had ruled the Republic of China (ROC) from 1927 to 1949 in mainland China, and - after losing the Chinese Civil War to Mao Zedong's Communists - from 1949 to 1975 on Taiwan. 


Chiang Kai-shek's son, Chiang Ching-kuo, succeeded his father as the leader of the ROC on Taiwan and had the huge memorial hall built in Ming Dynasty palace style, which echoed the architecture of Chinese imperial mausoleums.
Until the late 1980s, when Taiwan was still a dictatorship dominated by the Guomindang (Chinese Nationalist Party), it was dangerous to even question the official hagiography of Chiang Kai-shek. That began to change with the democratization of Taiwan. People could finally openly discuss the dark side of Chiang's rule.
Chiang Kai-shek was a warlord and he governed like one. Although he paid li…

Chinese Dissident Zhang Jilin Detained By Police In Chongqing After Calling On Xi Jinping To Resign

Chinese dissident Zhang Jilin (张吉林) has been detained by police in the city of Chongqing after publicly saying that President Xi Jinping should be removed from office.
According to Taiwan-based Apple Daily, on January 17 Zhang talked about China's current affairs on a WeChat group. His ideas received praise from the group members, and he later told friends that he wanted to give a public speech based on the thoughts he had expressed online.
Other dissidents urged him to be careful, but he insisted that he had "the right to free speech." On January 19 Zhang went to Guanyinqiao Square, in the city of Chongqing, and delivered a speech about China's political situation, calling on Xi Jinping to be removed from office.
"I think it's time for Xi Jinping to be removed from office," Zhang told a crowd according to an audio recording. "The Chinese Communist Party will not do anything to the people. If you don't believe me, look, I have been giving a speech…

Four-Faced Buddha Shrine on Yongkang Street, Taiwan (永康四面佛)

One day I was taking one of my long walks from Taipei 101 to Xindian District, when I stumbled upon a Buddhist shrine. It was one of the smallest and strangest shrines I'd ever seen. 
Usually Buddhist shrines are situated inside buildings that are often constructed in a traditional Chinese style. But this one was different. It was inside a narrow cubicle-like room. There was music playing and the shiny yellow Buddha statue continuously rotated. 
The shrine, which is located on Yongkang Street, near the bustling Dongmen night market, is called Yongkang Four-Faced Buddha (永康四面佛).


A plaque inside the shrine informs you that if you want to "prayer [sic!] or redeem a vow to the Buddha" you can buy a flower bouquet that costs NTD200 (about US$6.50). 






Another plaque explains why the Buddha is called "four-faced". Each face represents four aspects of human life: 1) career success and fame; 2) marriage and romantic relationships; 3) wealth; 4) good health and peace. 
If you …

How To Eat On A Budget In Hong Kong

Hong Kong is one of the most expensive cities for expatriates, not only because of its notorious housing problem, but also due to the price of food and clothing. According to a recent survey, in 2017 Hong Kong was the 9th most expensive location in the world and the 2nd most expensive location in the Asia-Pacific region after Tokyo. 
Nevertheless, there are many ways to save money in Hong Kong, if you really want to. Although many Hongkongers claim that eating outside is not much more expensive than cooking at home, in my own experience making your own food will help you save a lot of money. In this post, I would like to share some tips about eating on a budget in Hong Kong.
1- Avoid Convenience Stores
Many people are tempted to buy food from convenience stores like 7-Eleven because they think it's cheap and easy. Well, it might be easy to pour hot water into a cup of instant noodles, or heat a prepackaged meal in the microwave, but this is neither healthy nor cheap. A cup of instant…