GCSB, China, and a craven government

It wasn’t until I’d read my way through two-thirds of this morning’s Dominion-Post that I realised what wasn’t in the paper (and I assume not in other Stuff mastheads elsewhere in the country).   On the foreign news page there was a little sidebar piece informing readers of the actions of the US Justice Department targeting People’s Republic of China state-sponsored commercial cyber-espionage, noting that this “coincided with an announcement by Britain blaming China’s Ministry of State Security for trade-secret pilfering affecting Western nations”.   But not a mention of the many other nations who had made similar announcements or (more importantly for these purposes) of New Zealand, or of the GCSB’s pretty blunt announcement yesterday morning.

The Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) has established links between the Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS) and a global campaign of cyber-enabled commercial intellectual property theft.

“This long-running campaign targeted the intellectual property and commercial data of a number of global managed service providers, some operating in New Zealand,” Director-General of the GCSB Andrew Hampton said.

“This activity is counter to the commitment all APEC economies, including China, made in November 2016. APEC economies agreed they should not conduct or support ICT-enabled theft of intellectual property or other confidential business information, for commercial advantage.

I turned back tothe  start of the paper, went through page by page, and even had a look online.  There was simply nothing at all in the Dominion-Post –  paper to the capital’s policy wonks and political people.      Domestic news isn’t so thick on the ground at this time of year that you’d suppose the Stuff editors ran out of room, about a story about New Zealand official agencies reacting to the hostile actions of a major foreign power.

(By contrast, Radio New Zealand covered the story extensively yesterday, TVNZ has a story, Newsroom has it, and the Herald has two substantial pieces in its business section this morning –  even if its journalistic standards remain so low that Fran O’Sullivan is able to write repeated columns about China issue without any disclosure of her membership of the Advisory Board of the government-funded pro-Beijing propaganda operation the China Council, or her role as co-chair of the China Business Summit.)

I guess the complete silence saved Stuff reporting the odd way the powers-that-be handled the whole affair.   The official statement was released by a low-key career public servant, the head of the GCSB.   But there was no official statement from the government –  the people we actual elect and hold to account.  Contrast that with the situation in both Australia and the United Kingdom –  in the former the Home Affairs and Defence ministers issued an official statement, and in the latter, the Foreign Secretary.    At least one report I saw/heard here said that both our Prime Minister and our Minister of Foreign Affairs simply refused to comment at all.  Fran O’Sullivan –  worth reading mostly because influential people talk to her –  tells us that

According to senior sources there was some trepidation at Cabinet level before the decision to name China directly was agreed.

I’m glad the government was willing to go that far, but if they have any backbone at all, it seems like a pretty limp one.  They seem almost embarrassed, and distinctly uncomfortable, having gone even that far.

Later in the day, the Minister responsible for the GCSB –  Andrew Little – finally fronted up.   Little has form as something of an arch-appeaser and apologist for the regime in Beijing.    There was an interview with him last year (which I wrote about here), shortly after taking office, in which he refused to express any concern about the Jian Yang situation, about political donations or, in fact, about anything.

One thing that Little is not concerned about is any perceived growing influence of China in New Zealand.

In his interview with Radio New Zealand’s Checkpoint late yesterday, he was at pains to stress how good our (well, his government’s) relationship with the People’s Republic of China was.  He couldn’t exactly ignore the state-sponsored hacking his own officials had publicly identified that morning, but the language was as weak as he thought he could get away, and (so it seemed) it wasn’t as if such things should be allowed to get in the way of such a good relationships with (we were left to assume) such fundamentally decent people.   Never mind that it involved the PRC going directly against commitments they themselves had given at APEC (and in places like the G20 and in bilateral statements to the Australia, US, and British governments).   Never mind that it is another example of the PRC’s pattern of behaviour on so many fronts (including, for example, around the militarisation of the South China Sea).  It didn’t seem to greatly bother the only senior minister willing to comment at all.

Media accounts suggest that the PRC was informed in advance that the GCSB statement was coming.  That might be courteous and reasonable, but there was no hint of any follow up: of, for example, the government calling in the PRC’s Ambassador in New Zealand and lodging an official statement of protest.  And not a word at all from the Prime Minister –  or, it appears, from the Leader of Opposition, or the Opposition’s foreign affairs spokesmand Todd (“vocational training centres”) McClay.   No doubt, they all just hope the issue goes away as quickly and quietly as possible.

You are left wondering what sort of people –  people who purport to be leaders –  want the sort of good relationship (that our Minister of Justice and minister responsible for the GCSB spoke of) with the Chinese Communist Party rulers of the PRC.    They are, for now, a fact of life, but they perpetrate one evil after another –  and have done for almost 70 years now.  Even close to home, they intimidate members of the ethnic Chinese community in New Zealand, they exert control over most of the Chinese language media in New Zealand, and they physically intimidate a rare local academic willing to stand up and speak out.  All stuff the government and Opposition just don’t seem to want to know about, and wish it would just go away.   They, after all, have donations to collect, PRC-affiliated people to honour.  As for the nature of the PRC regime at home in China, or abroad elsewhere, there is almost nothing to their credit –  they are, to all intents and purposes, at least as evil in our day (and with a longer track record) than the Nazi rulers of Germany in the late 1930s.  Tens of millions have died already, a million Uighurs are today in concentration camps, the surveillance state grows ever more intrusive, churches are suppressed, (Canadians are abducted – the only word for it) and political liberty is non-existent.  And yet Jacinda Ardern, Andrew Little, Simon Bridges, Todd McClay and the rest value their relationship.  MPs and official turn up in numbers to their functions (eg this recent celebration of Belt and Road).  Decent people should be ashamed to associate with the regime on anything but the most distant and formal terms.  But not, it appears, our officeholders.

In fact, they have the bare-faced cheek to use our taxes to run a propaganda outfit promoting the Beijing relationship, and constantly minimising any questionable stuff Beijing does.     The China Council –  with its galaxy of prominent names, including former leading politicians, current senior officials, and business people who sup with the devil (without, it appears, a long spoon) –  only a few weeks ago was out lamenting the GCSB’s Hauwei decision.  It regularly laments any real debate about the PRC and openly states its role as shaping public opinion to see the world their way.     Perhaps not surprisingly there was not a word from them yesterday about the commercial cyber-espionage assessment.   (But there was a newsletter reminding readers of the gala dinner (their description) they had hosted for the new PRC Ambassador earlier in the year: she might be the representative of this hostile power, this rogue state –  that is effectively what the GCSB statement says –  but they put themselves –  at our expense –   in tributary mode.)  Isn’t it past time that the China Council was defunded?    If the people involved still want to champion Beijing, defend its excesses, and trample across New Zealand values and traditions, surely they can stump up their own money to do so.

The Herald’s coverage in the last 24 hours did include some rather interesting comments from Charles Finny.     Finny is a former diplomat and is now a lobbyist

a partner in Wellington lobbying firm Saunders Unsworth, which has represented Huawei in New Zealand. He is also chair of Education New Zealand, the government agency responsible for international education and marketing, with China the largest single catchment for foreign students studying in New Zealand.

He is also on the Board of the supine academic Contemporary China Research Centre.

But he does from time to time come out with interesting, and honest, comments.  Readers may recall last year that when the establishment was closing ranks behind Jian Yang –  perhaps the easiest to relate to concrete measure of how they shame us, and pay deference to Beijing –  Charles Finny went on TVNZ’s Q&A programme, and noted that while he both knew and liked Jian Yang, had no problem with him being in Parliament but that he knew he was close to the PRC Embassy and was always careful what he said around him (or Labour MP Raymond Huo).  Out of his own mouth….

Yesterday’s comments were to suggest that

New Zealand’s relationship with China is rapidly deteriorating as the country is swept up in what long-time trade and foreign policy adviser Charles Finny describes as a “new Cold War”

If it is indeed “rapidly deteriorating” that is not necessarily a bad thing (although it could be consequential), but whether it is or not, Finny’s comment seem a lot more honest an assessment than anything we ever get from the propaganda shop –  the China Council – itself.  In the article, Finny comes across as suggesting that it is the fault of the West if relationships are deteriorating, but it wasn’t clear to me whether he was really attempting to assign blame, or just recognising that when governments –  including ours –  make even a modicum of an effort to push back against PRC abuses (and our government is so feeble it won’t even speak up about Xinjiang –  far away –  or in support of Anne-Marie Brady, close to home), the bully boys in Beijing will take it amiss.  As bullies do, in the school yard or wherever.  Craven subservience is fine, anything else threatening.    In what sort of world does anyone  –  with anything other than dollars in mind –  think we should ignore the endless overstepping by the regime?

(Finny also pushes back against the government narrative that everything is just fine about (a) the Prime Minister’s desired visit to Beijing, and (b) the fact the PM had not seen in advance the Winston Peters speech last weekend.)

Do our politicians stand for anything, other than deals and donations?  It isn’t clear that they do.   They walk by evil and seem to want to pretend they have no realistic choice.  In the process, they dishonour us, and the values that underpin this society.  And they give aid and comfort to the CCP agenda.

Standing back a bit, for anyone interested in a nice piece of analysis of the PRC influence activities globally, but with many references to New Zealand, I’d encourage you to read the latest article and analysis by the independent China researcher who writes under the pseudonym Jichang Lulu and a co-author.   They conclude writing about the recent open letter from 300 overseas academics and others, addressed to the Prime Minister (and which she has not addressed, or done anything to allay the concerns that motivated it) in support of Anne-Marie Brady.

The CCP’s effort to coerce analysts into silence greatly concerns the China specialist community, judging by the unexpected number of signatures the letter attracted. These concerns are hardly conjectural. A signatory, Feng Chongyi of the University of Technology Sydney, was detained and interrogated for ten days in Guangzhou in 2017. The Swedish NGO worker Peter Dahlin, who also signed, was detained in China 2016 and only released after a staged confession. Colleagues who expressed support for the contents of the letter chose not to sign, fearing, in one case, being refused a visa and, in another, being taken hostage in retaliation for the recent arrest in Canada of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou (孟晚舟).

Beyond solidarity with a fellow researcher and interest in New Zealand’s democracy, the extent to which the appeal has resonated within the Chinese studies community points to global concerns over Xi’s increasingly authoritarian rule and the cooptive and coercive modes of its projection abroad.

But Andrew Little values his very good relationship with these thugs.


36 thoughts on “GCSB, China, and a craven government

  1. As I watch the passing parade of multifarious organisations with china affiliations I see a simple policy of divide-and-conquer – keep them small and have many of them – while one is momentarily in the news the rest are forgotten – it is not one giant vampire squid – it is millions of leeches – or squidlets

    These many organisations are conduits for many clandestine streams of money

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Following the economic upheavals of the 1980s and the introduction of MMP a decade later a political elite of largely unaccountable careerists with little knowledge of history and few morals has taken root. It is natural that their primary focus is their own vested interest, including maintaining the flow of CCP “donations” and other perquisites for themselves. There is little we on the outside can do about it, but at the very least we must not allow the craven behaviour of our political class to go unremarked and unrecorded, while we still have the freedom to do so. We owe it to those who come after us.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Corruption

      There is a solution – it requires political courage

      The problem is here in NZ an underling who has knowledge of corruption or wrongdoing has only one course of action to whistlebow and that’s 2-up or 3-up – and that’s it – the result of which the complaint is usually ignored and swept away – and the whistle-blower is often then victimised

      Check the history of Joanne Harrison at NZTA who was outed on several occasions which led nowhere until the amount of the fraud became embarrassing

      Australia has solved that problem with the establishment of ICAC in 1980 – independent commission against corruption – and has brought down two Premiers

      ICAC is available to all-comers and all whistle-blowers independent of where they work. ICAC’s remit is they must investigate every complaint submitted to them

      The key is having an outside organisation to whom the whistleblower can go

      Now in 2018 the corruption rears its head again and the whistle-blowers are ignored

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You queried “” You are left wondering what sort of people want the sort of good relationship (that our Minister of Justice and minister responsible for the GCSB spoke of) with the Chinese Communist Party rulers of the PRC “”. The answer is simple: craven brown-nosers.

    I still puzzle why Ms Jacinda Ardern wants to meet President Xi. I would hope so she could spit in his eye and call him out about repression in China. But I’m expecting a modern ‘Peace in our time’ declaration.

    Wikipedia is useful; here is a quote from Neville Chamberlain speaking in parliament 1938 “” I have something further to say to the House yet. I have now been informed by Herr Hitler that he invites me to meet him at Munich to-morrow morning. He has also invited Signor Mussolini and M. Daladier. Signor Mussolini has accepted and I have no doubt M. Daladier will also accept. I need not say what my answer will be. [An HON. MEMBER: “Thank God for the Prime Minister!”] We are all patriots, and there can be no hon. Member of this House who did not feel his heart leap that the crisis has been once more postponed “”

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Ref Stuff burying a story: David George’s link is still available: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/109318095/brains-and-brawn-abound-in-kane-williamson-and-annemarie-brady with only 11 comments. I have checked several times since it was published on the 15th and it has never been linked to from any Stuff menu that I can find.
    Stuff must be terribly bothered that an article mentioning Prof Brady in a good light might actually be read. They were inspired to give the reader a choice of an academic or a cricketer as person of the year. Next time it will be person of the 20th century with a choice between Mother Theresa and Don Bradman. I also like the sequencing of the talents so we might suspect Kane Williamson has the brains and Anne-Marie Brady the brawn.

    The puzzle is how David George found the article in the first place. Maybe he is a cricket fanatic.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Actually, I first saw that column with a link on the front page of the Stuff website, probably last Saturday.

      Despite my respect for Anne-Marie, it was an odd column. How does one possibly compare two such different people with such different qualities and talents?


      • 30 hours after it was published it was invisible. Of course Stuff has trouble allocating it – it does not fit sport or politics or women of influence. – maybe I’m paranoid; at least they published it even if virtually nobody saw it.


      • Just ’cause you’re paranoid it doesn’t mean “they” are not out to get you.
        Sorry Bob, couldn’t resist that old one.
        It’s becoming increasingly obvious that the globalist agenda is being actively promoted by the mainstream media; stuff is doing it’s duty as one of their mouthpieces. They’re not even trying to hide it anymore. Stuff’s current campaign in support of the global warming theory blatantly states they will not allow comment that questions the narrative. https://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2018/12/stuff-is-allowed-to-keep-silencing-people/
        The UN pact on immigration (which we have foolishly signed up to) clearly states that news media (including digital) that questions the wisdom of immigration will be shut down and those promoting it will receive “investment”. Mana from heaven for a lying/dying sector but where does it leave our democracy? This wonderful column would be killed and Michael Reddell “non personed”.
        The globalists hate democracy, the independent nation state, the traditional family and Christianity.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I am fairly convinced that there is something happening with human induced climate change but it is a complicated issue and deserves all the critics it can get. How else can science advance? It becomes important when the govt is deciding to make us all poorer in an attempt to handle it. No problem with the govt have both the right and duty to act on the best available evidence but the evidence has to be challenged.
        Jim Flynn’s short book was the best for permitting his readers to think for theemselves and come to their own conclusions. He pointed out how some of the objections have led to new useful research (I’m thinking of how cold fresh water from melting Artic Ice has a cooling effect in some circumstance).
        We need evidence that earthquakes occur before we fund EQC and we need to adjust the funding as our knowledge improves. Similarly we need debate about climate science.
        For an interesting article that gives some idea of how complicated the issue is try https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-arctic-is-breaking-climate-records-altering-weather-worldwide/
        obviously written by a believer and not authorative or academic but useful.

        Incidentally try finding Iconoclast’s immigration scam story from the Stuff website not using his link. Note how it has no comments when you do get to it. That is a major story; it is an echo of Prof Stringer’s work from 2016. This has nothing to do with immigration numbers nor ethnic origin; it is simply about widespread corruption. Is New Zealand willing to live with widespread corruption? Has any country which permits widespread corruption ever been successful in the long run? Simpler question: does anyone in Parliament believe in right and wrong?
        Quote “”Lees-Galloway told us he didn’t want New Zealand’s reputation offshore to be tarnished. “” and “” he’s commissioned Auckland University-led research into the issue of exploitation and how Immigration NZ can better police it “”. Remember that whenever you break the law; your defence is ‘do not prosecute me until the govt has commissioned another report’.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Currently the CO2levels are at 400ppm almost double any previous warming period over the last 400.000 years.


      • GGS – I am a believer but the questions are:
        1. is it cause or effect? Or to what extent did CO2 increase because the temperature went up and made more land suitable for plant growth?
        2. how long will it take for the earth’s temperature to increase? I am a pessimistic but if it takes many decades then it is reasonable to assume new technologies will be discovered so leave the problem to later (as I am with the weeds in my rose garden)
        3. what problems will increased temperature cause? The obvious one is sea-level but that depends on the temperature of the sea not the air.

        It makes sense to be pessimistic so the govt should not be approving building close to sea level and we should be ever watchful for tropical pests invading our ecosystem.


  5. Re the appalling state of the Mainstream media, every-so- often their unbounded arrogance catches up with them. Der Spiegel have been caught out big time with a totally fabricated derision of small town America. Their “award winning journalist” has gone to ground but we’re left with the sobering realisation that this is just the tip of a gigantic pile of lies aimed at advancing the globalist cause.
    Time to break out the yellow vest!

    Another write up up on Stuff: https://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2018/12/free-speech-denier-of-the-week/

    Liked by 3 people

  6. They wouldn’t even speak up when National’s Todd McClay was parroting Beijing’s talking points about “vocational training centres” or – in a country with still more self-identified Christians than any other faith – about the renewed persecutions of the Chinese churches.

    Shows how ignorant Western commentators are of the state of affairs in China. Its analogous to say, some Mongolian academic sitting in Ulaan Baator speculating on the relevance of the Treaty of Waitangi to New Zealand life today.

    The facts are clear. China is trying to avoid a full blown civil war situation in Xinjiang province along the lines of what has happened in Syria and Iraq. There have been thousands of ISIS and Al Queda fighters return to Xinjiang, and terrorist attacks which have killed hundreds. The Chinese government by taking relatvively humane measures to control radical Islamism in an area of the country where 50% of the population are Muslim.

    It has to be understood that ethnic minorities in China have actually been encouraged to speak their own languages, follow their own folkways, and even encouraged to increase their numbers (ethnic minorities were not subjected to the previous one child policy). They benefit from generous affirmative action policies. That is why if you visit Tibet or Xinjiang etc today, you will see people whose cultures are still thriving, still speaking their own languages etc, in a way that is not the case for indigenous people colonised by Anglo-Saxons. But it seems this has created problems of their own – by laying the seedbed for separatism.

    China has to avoid, at almost all costs, the type of blood-letting that we have seen in Syria and Iraq over the past 10 years.

    As for these ‘Christians’ – they are likely to be those sort of weird cultish heterodox ‘Christian’ sects that abound in China. China has a history of millenarian religious movements which have caused all sorts of havoc (example the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom whose leader thought he was the son of Jesus). In Africa you have similar groups such as the Lord’s Resistance Army. I’m not saying those arrested ‘Christians’ are at that stage yet, but you rub out these sorts of activities before they become truly dangerous. Hence their crack-down on the Falun Gong.

    People unfamiliar with the country do not realise that the Chinese have only recently come to modernity, and in places the country is still incredibly feudal. The West has had centuries to evolve their current stable modes of government, and Japan commenced modernization in the 1860s. A system that may work well for highly civilized people like Scandinavians say, cannot simply be applied to Chinese and Nigerians and Indians in the same manner.

    To think that a huge unruly country such as China can be ruled in a similar manner to a rich, privileged country like New Zealand is simply absurd. One only needs compare China to India in terms of a whole lot of indices of health and social well-being to see the disadvantages of foisting a Western style ‘democracy’ on people who were very backward up to quite recently.

    The achievements of the communist government in China, right from 1949, are undeniable. The most salient being the very low mortality rates achieved under the Maoist government (for a developing country), followed by the incredible economic takeoff over the past 40 years. All the facts, widely recognised by Western researchers demonstrate this to be the case:

    Chart of comparative life expectancy (China, India, and Indonesia)


    • In the next installment: Why the “harvesting” of the bodily organs of prisoners of conscience is paving the way to a free and prosperous China.

      Liked by 1 person

      • GGS – you have a good point. Would you or I murder a little girl living next door if getting her heart was the only way to save our own child? Hopefully not. So foreigners who can ignore the murder of Chinese prisoners for their own survival are deeply racist.


      • That’s a hell of a stretch Bob, a bit obsessive. Deeply racist,?
        Are the organ recipients even aware of the race of the “donor” or the fact the person was murdered to provide them? Since the vast majority of harvested organs are used in China are they racist as well.
        GGS tries to blame the buyer (ignorant or otherwise) of a human organ that wouldn’t even be available in the first place if the “donor” hadn’t been murdered in cold blood by the reprehensible Chinese fascist.
        Woolly thinking from the pair of you.


      • BTW, in most cases these victims would be executed in anyway. The organs are just a profitable but ghoulish sideline.


      • Change the word racist if you like – I was only trying to emphasize the lack of sympathy and compassion. It is seriously wrong to benefit from some other person’s unwarranted death. To fail to investigate the source of the bodily organs and then to use them is wrong.

        A concrete example – when I went to PNG in 1984 with two very young children malaria was the major concern. It is the main killer of under fives. At that time the malaria parasites were developing resistance to all anti-malarials except one. As a wealthy expat I expect I could have obtained it but as soon as it was in general use the malaria parasite would start developing resistance which would have reduced its effect in the local hospital that used it to save lives. My son did catch and survive malaria. We never regretted our decision.


      • Hi David,

        thanks for your comments. BBC’s reports seem that the organ harvesting thing is a state-run business rather than a profitable sideline. also, the second part of the reports talked about foreigners go to China to get organs transplanted in a way of medical tourism rather than organ “exported” to other countries.

        one of my relatives got one kidney transplanted here before waiting for more than 3 years. but one of my friend’s classmate got one in China in 10 days. shocking.

        Part One – https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3csxyl3
        Part Two https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3csxyl4


      • One would imagine that developing a fractious continental size 34 province country of 1.3 billion, is somewhat more challenging than running Singapore (a uniquely situated city state of 5.6 million people ), or Taiwan (a single province of China of 24 million) which enjoyed massive economic assistance from the US to prop it up in its early years.

        I think you have misread the chart you provided (I also initially did). The life expectancies on the right hand side of the chart are projected going right out to the end of this century.

        Compare the difference between the two countries towards the end of the Maoist era (1970-75).


      • Yes, I didn’t notice how far the x-axis went. But change from 1950-55 to 2015-20 is from a gap in china’s favour of 6.5 years to one of about 8 years. So a small improvement in life expectancy relative to India over the whole CCP period. Over that period China’s economic performance is certainly better than India’s, but as i’ve illustrated previously, far worse than Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore.


    • You make a cogent argument about a country I’ve never visited. Two points bother me – the official lying about prison camps in Xinjiang province. Saying they are reducation while building budget goes up and teachers budget goes down. If rastic measures are called for be honest about them. It reminds me of internment of IRA in Northern Island and the USA with its Guantanamo Bay detention camp – I did not approve of either but both were well publicised – the governments were not ashamed to admit what they were doing. [BTW I realise the risks of terrorism – I was with my young sons when the big IRA bomb went of at the Baltic exchange – we were within 30 seconds of risk from falling glass.]
      My second concern is about ‘democracy doesn’t work for un-civilised people’. At one level we can argue about it working in modern western countries. It is an imperfect system that throws up President Trump and Jian Yang MP. The problem is with the alternatives. A one party system is bound to be undemocratic and result in a single absolute leader. It may give strong leadership but can never respond to all the complexities of modern global civilisation. So countries that can be compared with China have ended up wealthier as they progressed from strong leader to democracy; Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea. Of course you can easily counter with India’s comparative failure. At the very least reframe your argument without use of the word ‘civilisation’. The word means living in cities – as Marco Polo pointed out China had cities when Europe had villages of mud huts.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Just finished reading the first 4 pages so my critique is superficial. It made me think of Chesterton’s when you stop believing in God you don’t believe in nothing, you believe everything. I don’t identify by black and white; my two biggest heros are ‘Jewish’ Einstein and ‘Black’ Louis Armstrong. I had to put ethnicity in quotes because it is wrong to use a restricting adjective; might as well say ‘male’. The Windrush affair was deservedly a scandal in the UK; instructively a survey showed that the inhabitants of the populist white working class areas that had voted for Brexit were more distressed by it than the liberal cities.
      The heart of the book is the short sentence ‘Immigration is central’. That makes sense in exactly the same way that when we hold a party the critical issue is who is invited and then when they arrive how they behave. Compare that to INZ who according to the recent article about immiration scams on Stuff we have less than 30 immigration investigators in New Zealand processing 40k residents per year and 100k work visas let alone tourist over-stayers and tourists working. My conservative estimate is we spend less than 25 minutes per immigrant so of course exploitation is rife, honest NZ businesses are under threat and our international reputation is sinking fast. If it is the will of the govt to maintain a high rate of immigration then at least lets do it honestly.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. For a more balanced view on China, it behooves all to consider the following:

    * All countries, particularly large countries engage in spying and hacking. Period. Some may be better than it than others, but all will do it.

    * New Zealand, and the other four Anglo Saxon powers have been spying on China for a very long long time – Five Eyes. So NZ can spy on China, but not expect to be spied on in return?

    * China is surrounded by a ring of US military bases. The US has around 1000 overseas military bases. China has one or two.

    * China’s activity in the South China Sea, accelerated after Obama’s ‘pivot to Asia’

    * China’s claims on the South China Sea are not recent. They are claims that well preceded the communist government, and are indeed supported by the Taiwanese government (successor to the pre-communist KMT government in China). This is a claim, that would be supported by any type of Chinese government – so called ‘totalitarian’ or ‘democratic’

    * John Pilger’s documentary should be compulsory viewing for any fair minded person: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXFProJC5FY

    * Look at the frame at 3:08 in the video, showing the US ‘noose’ around China. Seen in this context, China’s current actions in the South China sea are entirely understandable.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. >>* All countries, particularly large countries engage in spying and hacking. Period. Some may be better than it than others, but all will do it. <> * China is surrounded by a ring of US military bases. The US has around 1000 overseas military bases. China has one or two. <> * China’s activity in the South China Sea, accelerated after Obama’s ‘pivot to Asia’ <> * China’s claims on the South China Sea are not recent. <<
    The relative recentness or otherwise of these or any claims are irrelevant to their veracity. Everyone outside of CCP influence sees the claims as bogus and outrageous and in clear conflict with UNCLOS. The assertion of sovereignty "since ancient times" is ridiculous since history is clear that China has not exerted sovereignty over this international waterway for centuries. Sovereignty, if it ever existed was lost. China, having become aware that there may be treasure under these seas is pretending to reclaim sovereignty but is not making its claim through internationally agreed processes and law but is asserting sovereignty by recourse to some kind of "might is right" argument. China's building of military outposts, in some cases thousands of kilometres away from its southern most territory, at the expense of the sovereignty of adjacent coastal states, could be seen as an expression of this argument. An invasion in effect.

    The references to Taiwan are disingenuous. Taiwan is not building military outposts even on the islands it controls. Taiwan is not threatening to invade anyone should its claims in the region not be recognized. And the fact that Taiwan is a ("so-called") democracy does make a difference in my view. (And nor is Taiwan a "province of China". For the moment at least it is a mostly autonomous and independent nation.)

    John Pilger is a well-known leftist activist with a lot of antipathy towards the US and its foreign policies. I can agree with him that the US has committed some terrible deeds in a number of countries particularly during the Cold War. But in my view on the matter of China he is just plain wrong. Spectacularly wrong. His contention that China is "under threat" from the US is ridiculous. The bases have been around for decades and the only issue for the CCP regime I can see is that they could be an irritant in the sense of constraining its ability to extend its reach throughout the region and Pacific.


  9. [Apologies part of the reply above got garbled somehow, here are the missing pieces]

    “All countries, particularly large countries engage in spying and hacking. Period. Some may be better than it than others, but all will do it. ”

    As you must know, the issue here is not primarily about spying. The US has always made a clear distinction between (i) spying, which they admit they do, and (ii) the hacking of commercial and government enterprises for the purposes of stealing intellectual property for commercial gain and the competitive advantage of its own industries – which CCP state-backed agents have been doing for near decades, on an industrial scale.

    ” China is surrounded by a ring of US military bases. The US has around 1000 overseas military bases. China has one or two. ”

    I’m not sure what the point is here, but the US is a democracy whereas the CCP is a military dictatorship. A dictatorship that has been increasing its military spending at double digit rates since the early 2000s. And the CCP regularly – vocally – expresses a clear intention to use that military strength to enforce its territorial ambitions. The US may not be perfect but if you had a choice between a belligerent CCP that has already murdered tens of millions of its own people, and a relatively benign US, I would wager most would prefer the US.


    • I think most of the intellectual property has been given to China willingly usually as a part of joint venture agreements to share IP for freedom of access to China’s 1.5 billion people domestic market or by western consultants getting fat salaries offering their intellectual property services. I don’t think China’s spies have the skills to actually recognise or even to steal IP.

      I had a conversation with retired General of the Red army in NZ and he laughingly told me that the reason China opened up was when they captured a French Exocet missile and tried to reverse engineer and found that they were so far behind the west that it was getting rather embarrassing how far behind the technology curve that China was. That was the turning point that China realised a closed economy policy was a dead end and they needed to open their economy and send their young into western universities.

      Frankly my experience with many young Chinese is that they do not have in-depth critical thinking. They tend to memorise and regurgitate and do well in exams when they need to. Then they forget what they have studied and really struggle in commercial application. They need to be handheld and guided all the time which leads me to conclude that western companies are being paid to guide them.


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