Firm founded by ex-Blackwater boss to operate in China’s Xinjiang province

Erik Prince

 

A security firm founded by Erik Prince, the former boss of the private military company Blackwater, has announced a deal with the Chinese state to operate a training facility in China’s largely Muslim Xinjiang province. In the months following the United States invasion of Iraq, Blackwater was hired by the Department of State to provide diplomatic security at several locations throughout the Middle Eastern country. By 2010, when the company was abruptly sold to a group of private investors, its tactics in Iraq had prompted international controversy. Prince went on to help found Frontier Services Group (FSG), another private security firm registered in Hong Kong. The company provides security training to personnel working for Chinese companies. Its specialization is training personnel of Chinese firms based abroad, mainly in regions of Africa. Continue reading

China Significantly Boosts Size of Navy and Air Force, Downsizes Army

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An airman of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force operates an aircraft during a drill on the second flight training day of the New Year at Liaodong Peninsula on January 3, in Liaoning province, China. (Getty Images)

 

‘Transformational changes’ in military priorities are enhancing Beijing’s ability to flex its muscles far beyond China’s borders.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (pla) is undergoing “transformational changes” to greatly boost the size of its navy and air force and to downsize its land-based army by nearly half, the nation’s official Xinhua news agency said on January 20.

“This new data is unprecedented in the history of the pla,” the agency wrote. As a result of the changes, it said, “the Army now accounts for less than 50 percent of the total number of pla troops; almost half of our noncombatant units have been made redundant.” Continue reading

Mattis: China’s Island Militarization Continues

James Mattis

James Mattis (Getty Images)

 

Beijing’s South China Sea encroachment on agenda for meetings in Southeast Asia

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis this week voiced new U.S. opposition to China’s continued militarization of islands in the South China Sea.

“We remain highly concerned with continued militarization of features in the South China Sea,” Mattis told reporters on Monday as he traveled to Vietnam.

Mattis also said China is using predatory economics to seek control over other nations. Continue reading

US Hints At Naval Blockade Of Russian Energy Exports Which Moscow Warns Would Be “An Act Of War”

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Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke speaking at an industry event on Friday. Image source: State Impact Pennsylvania

 

In a interview about fracking and the implications of making the United States less dependent on foreign sources of energy, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told the Washington Examiner that the US Navy has the ability to blockade Russia from controlling energy supplies in the Middle East.

“The United States has that ability, with our Navy, to make sure the sea lanes are open, and, if necessary, to blockade… to make sure that their energy does not go to market,” Zinke said on Friday at a Consumer Energy Alliance event in Pittsburg.  Continue reading

Hong Kong Overtakes New York as City With Most Super-Rich People

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More proof that the Hong Kong transfer was a colossal loss for Great Britain, and a massive gain for China

Hong Kong has overtaken New York City to become the city home to more super-rich people than any other metropolis on the planet, according to a study published on September 6 by the Wealth X research firm.

The study tallies the number of individuals worth $30 million or more, labeling them ultra-high net worth individuals. In recent years, the number of these individuals living in Hong Kong has risen to about 10,000. Continue reading

China’s Command Innovation

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Image: Visual Capitalist

 

Hardly a day passes without some sort of China news in the financial headlines. There’s a good reason, too. China is the global economy’s 600-pound gorilla, second in size only to the US. Yes, it was largely a copycat business economy up until the early 2000s, but Chinese entrepreneurs have really taken charge in the last 10 years. Fueled by the profits from huge consumer demand, they are expanding not only in China but globally. This story is largely ignored in the US and in much of Europe. We hear about a few projects here and there, but we don’t understand the extent.

China is on its way to becoming the largest economy in the world, which because of its population, it should be (possibly with the exception of India, if they ever get their act together). Short-term events and arguments sometimes obscure this longer-term reality. China’s transition from rural poverty to export powerhouse to consumer goliath may be the most consequential economic event in centuries. Possibly ever—I can’t think of a historical example to rival it. Historians might argue the British Empire or even the US from 1800–2000, but that took centuries. China has done it in a little over 30 years. Continue reading

Chinese Communist Party Funds Washington Think Tanks

China's President Xi Jinping

China’s President Xi Jinping / Getty Images

 

United Front Work Department conducts aggressive influence operations in U.S.

China’s Communist Party is intensifying covert influence operations in the United States that include funding Washington think tanks and coercing Chinese Americans, according to a congressional commission report.

The influence operations are conducted by the United Front Work Department, a Central Committee organ that employs tens of thousands of operatives who seek to use both overt and covert operations to promote Communist Party policies. Continue reading

Mexican Radio to Beam Chinese Propaganda

Phoenix-TV

 

U.S. probes links between buyer of Tijuana station and China’s Phoenix TV

A large Spanish-language radio station in Mexico will soon begin broadcasting in Chinese in a deal critics say will bring Beijing propaganda to Chinese Americans throughout Southern California.

A Federal Communications Commission filing on the sale of radio station XEWW AM 690 radio near Tijuana reveals the buyer has ties to Phoenix Satellite Television US, a subsidiary of Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing Phoenix TV. Continue reading

U.N. Says It Has Credible Reports That China Holds Million Uighurs in Secret Camps

Men install a CCTV camera in a shopping street in the old town of Kashgar, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China / Reuters

 

GENEVA (Reuters) – A United Nations human rights panel said on Friday that it had received many credible reports that 1 million ethnic Uighurs in China are held in what resembles a “massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy.”

Gay McDougall, a member of the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, cited estimates that 2 million Uighurs and Muslim minorities were forced into “political camps for indoctrination” in the western Xinjiang autonomous region. Continue reading

China Prepares To Dominate South Pacific With Week Of Electronic Warfare Drills

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While the Trump administration unveiling another round of tariffs on Chinese goods worth $200 billion – for which China’s Commerce Ministry is planning “countermeasures,” Beijing quietly began conducting military drills at five bases for electronic warfare, cybersecurity, reconnaissance and tactical strikes at five training bases, reports the South China Morning Post.

Over 50 combat units consisting of around 2,100 officers are taking part in the war games, which includes airborne troops, special forces and electronic warfare experts from the Northern, Southern, Eastern, Western and Central command theatres, according to official accounts over social media. Continue reading

Leaked Chinese Memo Warns Of “Thucydides Trap” With US, “War Is Unavoidable”

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A series of leaked internal documents reveal that China’s military reforms are aimed at allowing Beijing to “manage a crisis, contain a conflict, win a war” and overtake the United States in military strength, according to the Express.

The leaked documents were published by the Central Military Commission in February for the purpose of spreading President Xi Jinping’s “thought on strengthening the armed forces”.

If the reforms go ahead, they will lead to heightened tensions with China’s neighbouring countries, including Japan, in the East and South China Seas and the US. –Express Continue reading

The China Problem

Un Xi Trump

Getty Images

 

Column: North Korea is just a part of the challenge confronting Trump and the United States

“I think I understand why that happened,” President Trump said Thursday, reflecting on a change in North Korean behavior that prompted him to cancel a planned summit with Kim Jong Un in Singapore on June 12. When a reporter asked him to elaborate, the president declined.

Allow me to speculate.

Until recently, the prospects of a summit were high. Experiencing the consequences of debilitating sanctions under President Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign, Kim Jong Un signaled a new openness. North and South Koreans marched together in the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics. Kim pledged to suspend missile testing and destroy an already-disabled nuclear facility in advance of talks. And most important, at the beginning of May, Kim freed three American hostages in what Trump would describe as a “beautiful gesture” that “was very much appreciated.”

Then the turn came. Continue reading

Ex-CIA officer indicted as Chinese spy

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(Photo by: Jacquelyn Martin) “They continue their malign activities across the region” said Defense Secretary James N. Mattis during a Senate hearing on Wednesday about Iran. (Associated Press)

 

A federal grand jury in Virginia has indicted former CIA operations officer Jerry Chun Shing Lee for conspiracy to spy for China, in a case that has been under investigation for more than six years.

Federal officials say the case represents one of the most damaging spy cases in the CIA’s checkered history of losing recruited agents to foreign spy services.

Mr. Lee is believed by American intelligence and law enforcement officials to be the cause of the agency losing a large number of its recruited agents in China around 2010. The agency and FBI spent the next eight years trying to find out the source of the losses. Continue reading

Chinese Banks Are Laundering North Korean Cash

A truck returns over the Friendship Bridge from the North Korean town of Sinuiju to the Chinese border city of Dandong, in China’s northeast Liaoning province. (CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

 

‘The North Korea crisis is a massive distraction from the real threat posed by China and Russia.’

Chinese support of the North Korean government remains firmly in place and vital to the regime’s survival. Revelations emerged on April 12 that two major Chinese banks are providing a key financial lifeline to the nuclear-armed rogue regime of tyrant Kim Jong-un.

Both the Agricultural Bank of China and China Construction Bank have been “identified in a 2016 U.S. asset-seizure case as providing accounts for a Chinese trading company that helped North Korea launder its money,” Bloomberg wrote.

The two have been shown to hold and transfer cash entering and leaving Pyongyang, and facilitating its laundering through United States financial institutions.

These two banks, China’s second- and third-largest, each have more assets than JPMorgan Chase & Co., America’s largest bank.

In 2016, the Obama administration declined to enforce money-laundering laws against the banks. The Wall Street Journal noted at the time that this decision sent a signal to Beijing that “Chinese banks aiding North Korea are untouchable.”

Continue reading