Commentary on Political Economy

Wednesday 27 November 2019

Here is what the Han Chinese Rats are squeaking today about the US Hong Kong Laws:

China’s foreign ministry called the laws a “naked hegemonic action” that seriously interfered in Hong Kong and China’s internal affairs, violated international law and “fundamental norms of international relations.”
“The U.S. side ignored facts, turned black to white, and blatantly gave encouragement to violent criminals who smashed and burned, harmed innocent city residents, trampled on the rule of law and endangered social order,” the statement said.
The laws’ basic intent is to undermine Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability along with the “historical progress of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”
It called the measures “extremely evil in nature and dangerous in motive.”
“We advise the U.S. not to act incautiously, otherwise China will be required to counteract resolutely and all the consequences created by this will have to be borne by the U.S. side,” the statement said.
And here is my reply:

Tuesday 26 November 2019

China’s bank funding under pressure as financial confidence drops 
Troubled lenders able to raise only a fraction of funds they have sought China’s government has been forced to intervene in the operations of three banks this year, starting with the takeover of Baoshang Bank in May

 Troubled banks in China are struggling to raise funds as concerns over the health of the financial system grow and confidence in state-led bailouts falters. China’s banking system is facing its greatest challenge in nearly 20 years after years of runaway growth and mounting bad debt levels, which have topped 40 per cent of loans at some small lenders. The government has had to intervene in the operations of three local banks this year, starting with the takeover of Baoshang Bank in May, marking the first instance of a direct state takeover of a lender in two decades. Partial bailouts at two more lenders, Bank of Jinzhou and Hengfeng Bank, were also carried out this year with the hopes of calming nerves in the interbank market and avoiding a liquidity crisis for troubled banks that are heavily reliant on borrowing from the market. Despite those efforts, many banks are facing deteriorating funding conditions. Investors do not fully trust the government interventions

Troubled banks have been able to secure only 20-40 per cent of the funds they have sought to raise in the interbank market for negotiable certificates of deposit since the takeover of Baoshang Bank, according to research from UBS. “They clearly have some liquidity issues,” said May Yan, UBS’s head of greater China financials equity research. Some of China’s weakest banks have been forced to offer up the country’s highest yields on investment products, in a sign of desperation to raise funds. Bank of Jinzhou, which received a partial bailout from ICBC in July, offers investors a 4.83 per cent return on wealth management products it sells, the highest rate in the country, according to data compiled by Rong360, an online financial services group. Bank of Dandong, which was hit by US sanctions for links to North Korea in 2017, will pay 4.43 per cent on wealth management products. Bank of Dalian, which has been bailed out twice since 2015, offers up 4.29 per cent on investment products, putting it among the top 10 highest offerings on bank investment products. “This means investors do not fully trust the government interventions,” said Alicia García-Herrero, chief Asia-Pacific economist at Natixis. “The market is saying there are serious doubts about these banks.”

Funding from wealth management products does not bolster banks’ balance sheets but has become an important source of income. China’s central bank warned this week that about 13 per cent of lenders in the country, or 586 institutions, presented a “high risk”.  Many of those risky banks, according to an annual report on the financial system from the People’s Bank of China, are concentrated in rural areas. The funding constraints will probably increase the level of risk smaller banks are forced to take in order to pay back depositors and investors, analysts said. “The key risk of offering higher wealth management product rates is that banks may match these funds by investing in riskier assets,” said Harry Hu, a senior director at S&P Global Ratings.

Sunday 24 November 2019


New Leak Reveals Orders for China’s Internment Camps

A secret document reflects leaders’ struggle to manage sites swelling with Muslim detainees.
Officials have taken journalists and diplomats to visit this indoctrination camp in Xinjiang, China. 
Credit...Gilles Sabrié for The New York Times
HONG KONG — As the government accelerated mass detentions of Muslim minorities in northwest China, a senior official issued a secret directive giving detailed orders for how the rapidly expanding indoctrination camps holding them should be managed.
Guards should impose pervasive, round-the-clock video surveillance to prevent escapes. Inmates were to be kept isolated from the outside world and held to a strict scoring system that could determine when they might be released. And the facilities were to be shrouded in secrecy, with even employees banned from bringing in mobile phones.
“It is necessary,” the directive from two years ago said, “to strengthen the staff’s awareness of staying secret, serious political discipline and secrecy discipline.”
Now that secrecy has been shattered with the publication of the directive itself. It is one of six internal documents obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists that shed new light on China’s crackdown in the Xinjiang region, where a million or more ethnic Uighurs, Kazakhs and others have been detained in the past three years.
The disclosure of the 24 pages of documents amounts to a second significant leak from inside China’s ruling Communist Party related to the crackdown. A member of the Chinese political establishment shared a different, 403-page set of internal papers with The New York Times earlier this year, expressing hope that it would make it more difficult for party leaders, including President Xi Jinping, to escape culpability for the mass detentions.
While the source of the new documents is unknown — they were provided by Uighur overseas networks — their disclosure may amount to another sign of dissent in the party over the crackdown.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, an independent nonprofit based in Washington, led the inquiry into the documents, bringing together more than 75 journalists from the consortium and 17 partner organizations, including The Times, in 14 countries. Outside experts also reviewed the papers and concluded they were authentic.
“In terms of documentary evidence, we have reached a next level of disclosure,” said Adrian Zenz, a researcher who has studied the camps and a senior fellow in China studies at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, a human rights group in Washington. “The evidence we have now is very comprehensive, very complete. It’s kind of game over for Beijing in terms of the cover-up, the denials and the half-truths.”
The most significant of the new documents is the secret directive on how to manage the camps, which is the only document in both sets of leaked papers to describe the inner workings of these facilities. The nine-page order was issued in November 2017 by the Communist Party committee in Xinjiang that oversees legal affairs.
The papers also include four “daily bulletins” from another regional party committee that provide information about those that have been targeted for investigation and detention in camps and a court judgment sentencing a Uighur resident to 10 years in prison on charges of inciting ethnic hatred and discrimination, a vaguely defined crime.
Uighur women in a settlement called Harmony New Village.
Credit...Gilles Sabrié for The New York Times
Beijing has rejected criticism of the camps and described them as job-training centers that use humane methods to fight the spread of Islamic extremism. Internally, the government often uses language consistent with that position. The leaked directive, for example, refers to the camps as “vocational skills education and training centers” and the detainees as “students.”
But it also lays bare the punitive underpinnings of these facilities, and some of its language on guarding against escapes and other incidents is identical to that used in guidelines for prisons and other detention sites.
The orders called on guards to strictly control and monitor the activities of students. “Prevent escapes while they are at class, dining, using the toilet, washing, receiving medical care or meeting with family.”
Other instructions call for erecting guardhouses and internal partitions inside the camps to prevent inmates from moving around freely; rigorously checking any people, vehicles or goods entering, and recruiting informants to spy on other detainees.
“Evaluate and resolve students’ ideological problems and abnormal emotions at all times,” the directive said.
The document included orders for “full video surveillance coverage of dormitories and classrooms free of blind spots,” and prohibited detainees from having contact with the outside world, except in strictly monitored interactions.
The government says these sites help prevent Uighurs and other Muslims from being drawn to religious extremism by teaching them the Chinese language, job skills and how to be law-abiding citizens. In response to the earlier leak of documents, the government argued that its methods have effectively stifled extremist violence in Xinjiang.
Former detainees, though, have described the classes as numbing, harsh and ultimately futile attempts at brainwashing. And residents have been sent to internment camps for behavior that would be commonplace elsewhere: traveling abroad, showing signs of religious devotion praying regularly or growing a long beard, or installing certain cellphone apps, such as encrypted messaging tools.
One of the leaked daily bulletins orders an investigation of people from Xinjiang who have obtained foreign citizenship or applied for visas or other documents at Chinese embassies abroad.
Another describes how 15,683 “suspicious persons” were sent to centers in southern Xinjiang on the week of June 19, 2017. The government has repeatedly refused to say how many people are being held in these camps.
Other bulletins reveal how the authorities settled on targets for detention by using databases that collect and collate information on Xinjiang residents, especially Uighurs and other Muslim minorities.
The daily bulletins and the document on camp operations were signed by Zhu Hailun, who was then the top security official in Xinjiang. He was assigned to another position in the regional legislature early this year.
Mr. Zhu, 61, appears to have been a key enforcer of the internment campaign, turning the orders of the regional party secretary, Chen Quanguo, into detailed plans. A party official who spent his career in Xinjiang, Mr. Zhu had previously served as the head of Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi, succeeding an official who was fired in 2009 after bloody ethnic riots killed nearly 200 people, most of them Han Chinese.
Like many in his generation, Mr. Zhu was no stranger to the idea that minds can be reprogrammed through intense indoctrination and propaganda: He grew up in Mao’s era, when such techniques were widespread. In an official biography, Mr. Zhu described the two years he spent as a teenager working in a rural commune as a period of “re-education.”
Over 40 years later, Mr. Zhu was uncompromising as Mr. Chen’s right-hand man for security. An internal document from 2017 signed by Mr. Zhu that was among the papers leaked to The Times attributed attacks in London and Manchester in part to putting “human rights above security.”
A dormitory for women interned at Harmony New Village.
Credit...Gilles Sabrié for The New York Times
The directive on camp operations instructed officials to keep extensive records on detainees, and described a scoring system that measured how they behaved to determine their fate.
Inmates should be assigned to one of three zones based on how dangerous they are judged to be — general management, strict, and very strict, the document said. But detainees could be moved between the grades of control depending on their scores.
“Break down scores and manage and individually assess the students’ ideological transformation, study and training, and compliance with discipline,” the document said.
Officials were told to assign inmates to fixed positions in dormitories, classes, lineups and workshops, and to control every detail of life inside the camps, at every moment of the day, including wake-up, meals, studies and showers.
Detainees must meet “disciplinary demands” or face punishment, the directive added.
“Strengthen the management of the students’ hygiene,” it said. “Ensure that they get timely haircuts and shave, change and wash their clothes. Arrange for them to have baths once or twice a week, so that they develop good habits.”
The demands listed in the directive echoed the accounts of former detainees like Orynbek Koksebek, an ethnic Kazakh man who spent four months in an indoctrination camp in Xinjiang after being detained by the Chinese authorities in December 2017.
“There was military discipline in everything we did, how you walk, stand up straight. If you didn’t, they would slap you,” he said in an interview in the Kazakh city of Almaty earlier this year.
A key disclosure in the leaked directive is an official description of the conditions that detainees must meet to be released from the camps. Aside from achieving a good score in the point system, the document said, inmates must be categorized at the lowest threat level and have served a minimum term of one year — though interviews with former detainees indicate that camps sometimes release people sooner.
The directive also emphasized the importance of showing remorse. Discussions with detainees should “promote the repentance and confession of the students for them to understand deeply the illegal, criminal and dangerous nature of their past behavior,” it said.
different document, among the set shared with The Times earlier this year, described how family members outside the camps are told that their behavior can also affect when a detainee is released — a implied threat aimed at silencing complaints.
Former detainees said the criteria for release seemed arbitrary, and there was little clarity on when or why people could leave.
“You enter the camp with 1,000 points. You can’t gain points. You can only lose them if you yawn or smile,” recalled Rahima Senbai, who was held in a camp in October 2017 and only allowed to return to her home in Kazakhstan a year later. “If you ever went under 500 points, you’d have to stay for another year.”
Zharqynbek Otan, who was held in a camp for seven months after his arrest in January 2017 and has since fled China, said the goal of the detention was to impose loyalty to the Chinese state.
“The main purpose is to brainwash you,” he said, “so you forget your roots and everything about Islam and ethnic identity.”
Austin Ramzy is a Hong Kong correspondent, focusing on coverage of the city and also of regional and breaking news. He previously covered major events around Asia from bases in Taiwan and in Beijing. @austinramzy
Chris Buckley covers China, where he has lived for more than 20 years after growing up in Australia. Before joining The Times in 2012, he was a correspondent for Reuters. @ChuBailiang

Keating rides roughshod over reality of China’s aims

People take pictures in front of portraits of late Chinese chairman Mao Zedong and former Chinese leaders Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao and current president Xi Jinping at an exhibition in Beijing marking the country's achievements over the past 70 years. Picture: AFP
People take pictures in front of portraits of late Chinese chairman Mao Zedong and former Chinese leaders Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao and current president Xi Jinping at an exhibition in Beijing marking the country's achievements over the past 70 years. Picture: AFP
At The Australian Strategic Forum in Sydney on Monday, the keynote was struck by Paul Keating. The position he took was very much in character. It very much needs to be challenged. Much of his address consisted of statements of the bleeding obvious. But he mingled these commonsense observations with a litany of others that were seriously in error.
The obvious statements were that China had grown rapidly; our trade had become deeply dependent on it; the US-based international liberal trading order was in trouble; Donald Trump’s America increasingly was fed up with liberal internationalism and inclined to greater isolationism; we should all “want a region that gives China the space to participate but not dominate”; and “it is in all of Asia’s interests, including ours, that the US remains engaged with traditional partners and allies”.
Former prime minister Paul Keating speaking at The Australian’s Strategic Forum: How should we manage our relationship with China? in Sydney on Monday. Picture: Nikki Short
Former prime minister Paul Keating speaking at The Australian’s Strategic Forum: How should we manage our relationship with China? in Sydney on Monday. Picture: Nikki Short


But Keating’s address was littered with dubious and even shocking statements. He declared, for openers, that “China’s historical view is not rooted in ideological aspiration, universal or otherwise. It sees its legitimacy arising from its ethnic oneness and bulk and its geopolitical pre-eminence on the Asian mainland.”
The problem we have is not with China’s view, as if that were unitary and unchanging. It is with the Chinese Communist Party’s intensely ideological approach to world affairs. The party dominates China but it is not China. Beneath the veneer of Xi Jinping’s overweening ultra-Orwellian dictatorship, it’s not even internally unified.
As for the “ethnic oneness” of China, this is a singularly obtuse notion. Keating here rides roughshod over the reality that the Uighurs and Tibetans are suffering relentless ethnic and cultural persecution and Han colonisation. Ethnic oneness? Nor are they the only ethnic minorities in China. Nor was it the Han Chinese who established the borders the party defends: it was the non-Han Manchus between 1644 and 1911, after they conquered the Ming Empire.
The second basic error in Keating’s address has to do with the causes of China’s recent economic achievements. China’s growth since the reform and opening initiated by Deng Xiaoping in 1978 has been driven by three crucial factors: overwhelming foreign direct investment (many hundreds of billions of dollars), the initiative of the private sector in China, which has generated almost all the growth; and strategic mercantilism on the part of the Chinese state. Xi now is strangling the first two and entrenching the third. The consequences do not bode well for China or the international trading system.
Australia has everything to gain from a prospering, opening China, but the party is the big impediment to sound and amicable relations between the two countries; as it is to the kinds of institutional reforms, political and economic, that the best informed experts on China, inside and out, have been urging for years but that Hu Jintao baulked at implementing and Xi is repudiating outright.
Keating would do well to broaden his circle of acquaintances among the hundreds of wealthy Chinese entrepreneurs in Melbourne and Sydney. There are a good many, though not all, who have come here to get away from the party and who see Xi as taking China in dangerous and anti-capitalist directions. They know China and the party a lot better than he does. Our national security agencies should be, if they are not already, mingling deeply with these “fuer dai” emigres from China.
US President Donald Trump poses with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan in June. Picture: AP
US President Donald Trump poses with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan in June. Picture: AP
Keating’s third error is his assertion that the US is “the most ideological major society on Earth”. The US, he declared, “believes, as a nation and as a system, it has the democratic formula and universal values”. He implicitly rejects that claim. This is crucial because we in Australia share those values. Our world view largely is built on the assumption that such values are, indeed, as universal in principle as the laws of physics and chemistry, but that institutionalising them is a long and complex challenge.
Can they be universally propagated? We’ve learned the hard way since the end of the Cold War that there are many anti-democratic forces at work in the world not only unwilling to become democratic but dedicated to undermining the liberal democracies themselves. The party under Xi is among those forces. Keating’s implication is that we should not expect China to embrace democratic politics. But this betrays his ignorance of modern Chinese history.
For a century, the leading intellectuals in China have called for democratisation of its political system. Some were decapitated under the Empress Dowager Cixi in 1898, before she opted to call empire-wide, multi-party elections for a constituent assembly in 1911. Key members of that elected assembly were assassinated by the would-be dynast Yuan Shikai between 1912 and 1916. The 1919 May 4th Movement called for China to embrace science and democracy. Dissidents during the Nationalist era (1927–49) called for democratic accountability and human rights.
The Hundred Flowers Movement in 1957 saw huge numbers of the country’s intelligentsia criticise the party’s “Great Helmsman”, Mao Zedong, and the party’s totalitarian mode of governance, calling for more democratic politics. He had hundreds of thousands of them imprisoned and many killed.
In 1976, on the death of premier Zhou Enlai, students called for political reform. In 1978, the Democracy Wall in Beijing called for political reform and was shut down by Deng.
In 1986, encouraged by reform-minded party general secretary Hu Yaobang, students and journalists again called for democratic reforms but were dispersed. Hu was sacked by the party the following year. In 1989, thousands of students were killed by Deng’s tanks for doing so again, following the death of Hu from a heart attack. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo and his Charter 08 colleagues, in 2008, called for democratic reform and were imprisoned for it.
Keating takes a Communist Party slogan for reality in asserting that Chinese culture is incompatible with or does not need democratisation.
In 1984, Deng sent a secret emissary to Chiang Chingkuo, son of Chinese Nationalist supremo Chiang Kaishek and dictator of Taiwan, suggesting that they collaborate to “bring the country back together” after the deaths of Mao (in 1976) and old Chiang (in 1975). Chiang Chingkuo — as Chinese and as mainland in background as anyone — responded that it was too late for that because “the people of Taiwan don’t want communism, they want capitalism; and they don’t want dictatorship, they want democracy; and we are going to give them both”. He was as good as his word, within two years legitimising the new Democratic Progressive Party as a political opposition.
Deng took a different path, with bloody consequences. Xi has reversed even the very modest political reforms made by Deng and is taking the party back to really regressive and oppressive politics.
Keating has no excuse for not knowing these things and no good grounds for slandering the Chinese people by asserting they lack a democratic culture or inclinations. What they lack is any democratic oxygen because the party is determined to suffocate all dissent. That’s what its deeply intrusive surveillance program and Orwell­ian censorship regime is all about.
A wall made of cardboard boxes with images of China’s President Xi Jinping and Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam during an event to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall in Hong Kong. Picture: AFP
A wall made of cardboard boxes with images of China’s President Xi Jinping and Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam during an event to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall in Hong Kong. Picture: AFP
The consequences are playing out before our eyes in the streets of Hong Kong. The singular irony is that a free and open election at this point, with a conservative faction standing on a law-and-order platform, might well diffuse the riots and return a conservative major­ity. But such an election is precisely what the party will not countenance. It is hoist by its own petard. If it finally moves to crush the increasingly anarchic uprising against Carrie Lam, it will incur an international public relations nightmare and deeply alienate the already sceptical citizens of Taiwan from the idea of any form of reunification with the mainland.
But Keating’s fire is not directed at the party. It’s directed at our own institutions. Our cabinet system is not working, he asserts; our national security agencies have hijacked foreign policy with “phobias” and our free press “is failing to present a balanced picture”.
Hearteningly, two of our most senior former civil servants, Dennis Richardson (former secretary of the Department of Defence and director-general of ASIO) and Martin Parkinson (former secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet), spoke with more good sense. So did The Australian’s editor-at-large Paul Kelly on Wednesday when he wrote that Trump and Xi were bully boys taking their countries in dangerous directions. Keating’s one-sided outburst, as a former prime minister of this country, is, frankly, disturbing.
The line he took is, in fact, the stock in trade of the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front Work Department, or perhaps its International Liaison Department. It is being spouted by all too many public voices in this country. Bob Carr is the least of them, and billionaire businessmen Andrew Forrest and Kerry Stokes, along with many other commentators, have been denouncing criticisms of the party or expressions of concern over its egregious human rights abuses, its growing international hubris or its blatant intervention in Australia’s domestic politics as, “immature” and “hysterical”.
It is Parkinson who correctly points out that what is at stake in the debate we are having very openly in this country about China is our future sovereignty. Keating skirted this issue. For if, indeed, China is rising and ambitious and if the US does not remain engaged with its traditional partners and allies, then we and its other partners in Asia will face a serious security dilemma.
The party flag of the Chinese Communist Party displayed at an exhibition showcasing China's progress in the past five years at the Beijing Exhibition Centre. Picture: AFP
The party flag of the Chinese Communist Party displayed at an exhibition showcasing China's progress in the past five years at the Beijing Exhibition Centre. Picture: AFP
China’s strategic aim is plainly to detach us from the ANZUS alliance and to cow our political class into accepting the will of the party. It must not succeed if we value our sovereignty. We have never before in our history faced a challenge as serious as this, if one omits the open aggression by Japan in 1941-42. That war has shaped our strategic doctrine ever since. It drew us into the ANZUS and Five Eyes alliances. The strategic forum was convened because all this is now in question — not because cabinet, the national security agencies and the free press are generating phantoms and failing to provide a balanced picture. Keating and the others who mouth similar opinions have it exactly wrong.
Moreover, having called for strategic realism and a new strategic outlook, Keating singularly failed to articulate even the most basic elements of a new strategy. Richardson argued that we were pretty much getting it right. However, we need a realistic stocktaking of what we are doing, what we are not doing, what it might be desirable to do and where we must do our hardest thinking. Neither Keating nor Richardson offers us anything close to such a stock­taking.
We clearly need to develop our skills at both walking and chewing gum, as the old saying has it. We need to invent ways to work with all that’s best in China while outwitting the party and checking its strategic ambitions in so far as these impinge on our sovereignty.
The party does think strategically, it plays power games well, and it is ruthless and shameless. We have to knuckle down and grapple with this. We need broad bipartisan agreement that Parkinson is correct (our future sovereignty is at stake). Let’s call this Parkinson’s law. We need to uphold the foreign influence legislation and provide a substantial budget for the taskforce formed to police it but so far left unfunded. We need to strengthen, not deride, the national security agencies that have been attempting to grapple with the party’s systematic efforts to exert anti-democratic influence within the Chinese community here and within our institutions.
We need to bolster the capacity and fearlessness of our press in its investigative reporting and protect it from defamation actions by party-affiliated Chinese tycoons. We need to equip our diplomats to be as suave as their Chinese counterparts, who operate under very tight strategic instructions from Beijing; and to counter the party’s hypocrisy on issue after issue.
Diplomacy is an elaborate theatrical art. The party’s strategists and propagandists are adept at it. We need a cadre of skilled linguists and negotiators who will not be beguiled by them. We need skilled tacticians in information warfare.
We need to make clear, explicitly where appropriate, subtly where this might have more effect, that while we have always applauded Chinese economic growth and have great respect for Chinese culture, cuisine, art and classical wisdom, we are not blind to the Orwellian nature of the party’s rule, its shocking human rights record, its lack of anything resembling due process in law, freedom of the press, strategic transparency or viable approaches to collective security. We will not muzzle our press or our private citizens, nor shall we allow the man­ipulation of Chinese-Australians by the party and its minions.
The central challenges in taking such a path are twofold: if the US does not maintain its commitments or cannot be strongly relied on to do so, we will, indeed, find ourselves in an environment of strategic “anarchy”.
We need to do a lot of war-gaming and diplomatic thinking on what contingencies this could generate and what options we can develop for coping with them. We also need to work hard at how we can defend ourselves against Chinese pushback, its economic and diplomatic blackmail.
Keating made none of these suggestions. The dismaying inference one is left to draw is that he thinks we can finesse the situation by appeasing the party, discouraging criticism of it, neutering our national security agencies and censoring our investigative journalists and editors. In short, that we should subordinate our sovereignty to our hopes of economic gain and our strategic alliances to the feckless hope that the party will moderate its own behaviour and settle for participation rather than domination.
This is not realistic strategic thinking. It’s trapped in a time warp. It’s wishful thinking, the kind that got us into the current situation. We have indulged the party for decades, bending over backwards to accommodate it, defer to it, cajole it, hope it would heed the calls of its best and brightest citizens. That policy was called constructive engagement. It has led us to a serious impasse.
Now we have to get real and grapple with the unpalatable and downright dangerous. We have to adopt a posture of adaptive realism and roll with the punches.
Paul Monk has a PhD in international relations, was the head of the China desk at the Defence Intelligence Organisation in 1994-95 and is the author of Thunder From the Silent Zone: Rethinking China (Scribe, 2005).