Sunday 31 December 2023

Heroes and villains of 2023: Xi Jinping or Boris Johnson?

First published at Anna's new website: ANNA CHEN

Boris Johnson’s scary clown career

In the month that Twitter/X deleted my 15-year old Madam Miaow account, the longest consistent commentary from a Chinese Brit (since 2008), it’s hard to take the West’s moral high ground seriously. No violations. Six appeals with ID, all falling on deaf ears. Free speech? Democracy? Really?

At the end of 2023, it’s worth delving into claims of western superiority and taking a look at how heroes and villains have been shaped by media narratives. Which ones are cracking and who’s shining through?

I think most of the public by now recognise Boris Johnson’s role as all the Horsemen of the Apocalypse rolled into one overfed scary clown. It’s hard to overlook his achievements.

Johnson pauperised Britain with Brexit, losing us our biggest market that happened to be on our doorstep. Costs £100bn a year. Poverty kills.

He handed us over to the US war machine so we now do their bidding. World War III in the making.

Partied like Nero unbound while Covid spread. There are now 220K dead Brits, the second highest number in the developed world.

Personally scuppered the Ukraine peace deal negotiation, April 2022. NYT says 500K dead.
We were dragged from the EU frying pan into the US fire, on the referendum's simple majority vote of 37% of the population. And now look at the state of us. Instead of delivering the yummy trade deals with China as promised, Johnson nailed us to the USS Titanic and torpedoed our global lifeboat. Now we send war fleets to China’s coast instead of cargo ships.

Rising China and a thriving West

Is it a coincidence that years of low inflation coincided with a rising China making our stuff cheaply and allowing consumers living in a decaying West to live beyond our means? Instead of winning deals, Johnson ended our hi-tech development. Agreeing to rip out our Huawei 5G infrastructure (for which we’d already paid billions), despite GCHQ having done a thorough investigation which cleared the company, plunged us further into the backwater status that Brexit wrought. And we still don’t have a US trade deal.

All this hollering about purported Chinese human rights abuses has been a useful deflection from October’s Afghanistan war crimes inquiry. Because real civilians killed in their own home by British forces don’t count. Current horrors in Gaza expose just how flimsy the West’s self-image really is.

Despite impressing no-one at the UK Covid Inquiry, Johnson’s been given a job at the Daily Mail.

Xi Jinping delivers his New Year Speech, December 2023

Xi Jinping takes on Jack Ma

Far more column inches have been blared at us about Xi Jinping’s imagined failings than about the effects of Brexit and the Covid pandemic which is still with us. (Wear a mask!)

Just one example of the gaslighting to which the MSM is subjecting us: how Xi dealt with Jack Ma and Ant Group.

It’s a given that Jack Ma is the West’s ideal Chinese capitalist, having created the ecommerce behemoth Alibaba whose shares were even owned by Queen Elizabeth II. He started out as a much-loved philanthropist. Among many charitable endeavors, his Jack Ma Foundation funded an enormously useful Covid pandemic resource, tragically ignored by the West to our collective detriment.

However, that changed on 3 November 2020 when China’s financial regulators, with Xi’s approval, halted the massive Initial Public Offering (IPO) of Ma’s Ant Group which had grown out of Alibaba’s success. Now, with Wall Street investors slavering, why would Xi do that?

In the cage fight of communist ideals versus raw capitalism, the government won. After years of tensions, it quashed the eagerly awaited $350-450 billion IPO of the Giant Ant Group in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Set to be the biggest stock offering in history, this mega-debut threatened to render the giant group too big to fail. Furthermore, Ant Financial defied regulatory protective measures by working outside the rules. Ma openly dismissed the regulations set up to prevent systemic financial risk as “red tape”.

Xi Jinping could have taken the easy route and taken US heat off himself by letting the IPO slide by.

However, China had already saved the world economy from the US Great Crash of 2008 by acting as a shock absorber. It bought up US debt, took the hit of allowing global currencies to devalue against the yuan, encouraged consumption by the biggest middle-class on the Earth, invested hugely to stimulate growth and kick-started the longest-ever bull-run in US market history. With that near-fatal meltdown still in the rear-view mirror, and aware that in the ailing US it’s business that runs the government – reaping low taxes and endless bailouts with devastating consequences for American society – the CPC was never going to allow that to happen in China.

As a result of this eleventh-hour halt, the Chinese economy was no longer allowed to overheat and run into a crash. Boom and bust was not to be a feature of China’s system.

Wall Street was enraged. Xi Jinping became the target for the West’s fury.

Xi Jinping saves China’s economy from the shark fest

To worsen Jack Ma’s fall from grace, he appeared to turn on his own workers, who had made his business empire such a success.

One might have thought that, in a communist society, the people who helped make Alibaba one of the most profitable companies in the world would have been treated as pampered examples of the joys of capitalism with socialist characteristics. In the UK, John Lewis Partnership staff share in the wealth. In Silicon Valley, employees are given idyllic campus conditions with luxurious rest-rooms, indoor slides, entertainment in the very fabric of the buildings. Google employees work 40-45 hour weeks.

Instead of showing how China could do even better, he pushed his luck further by defending the dreaded 996 work conditions: 9am-9pm, 6 days a week, 72 hours a week for workers. Given that he was one of the richest men on the planet, this seemed a little selfish.

By halting the IPO, Xi saved the economy, prevented a slow business coup and preserved the upward trajectory for China’s workers. The subsequent all-out assault by the press tells us more about western objectives for China than it does about Xi’s character. If China’s vast economy is blasted open for a capitalist feeding frenzy, Chinese society can look to America as the model for a 996 future and worse.

Not forgetting Benjamin Netanyahu

Lastly, Benjamin Netanyahu …

Already facing prosecution and unprecedented street protests in Israel for his power grab against the judges, Netanyahu was in deep trouble at home. Earlier in the year he pleaded with America to join him in a war on Iran. America said no.

We now know that he had been funding theocratic Hamas via Qatar to prevent the foundation of a Palestinian state. Israel evidently preferred religious fundamentalists to the secular leadership who might have negotiated a peaceful solution. To make matters worse, he knew there was an attack being planned, which came on 7 October, having been informed about it by Egypt and by locals.

He now has the US and the rest of the axis on board as he wanted. There have been 22,000 Palestinian deaths in less than three months and rising. Meanwhile, Israel has signed oil drilling rights off the Gaza coast.

HAPPY NEW YEAR – MAKE 2024 PEACEFUL – CALL FOR AN IMMEDIATE CEASE FIRE AND A PERMANENT POLITICAL SOLUTION FOR PALESTINE

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NOTE: Taiwan is legally part of China as recognised in the West’s One China policy since President Nixon in 1979. The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to which the US is not signed up, defines the strait not as international waters (as it lies between two parts of the same country), but as China’s territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Running warships through the strait is not legal.

Shakedown Timeline of America’s 21st Century war on China

Anna Chen’s replacement Twitter/X account: @AnnaChenMiaow

Anna's website: ANNA CHEN

Monday 4 December 2023

Has the US had its chips? Chip tech under fire

First published at Anna's new website: ANNA CHEN

The US semiconductor technology war against itself

US chip tech once more faces government friendly fire, courtesy of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo’s rant about cutting off China from AI technology. Severance in the same way you might close a stable post equine scarper: is it the door or the horse that’s bolted?

Welcome to late stage capitalism where making a buck is no longer the name of the game. Trashing your competitor is the aim.

Military interests are now prioritised over straight up capitalist concerns, which must be worrying for supertech manufacturer Nvidia. “Such is life, protecting our national security matters more than short term revenue,” scolded Raimondo.

It’s alarming to see the USA lurch deeper into self-harm as it loses its top-dog ranking. But, however much it yearns for its old supremacy, it can howl at the moon and gnash its teeth all it likes. That won’t rescue the oligarchs from their self-made predicament. Which stage of grief are we at now? Still stuck at anger?

The intellectual, diplomatic and economic skillsets supposedly exemplified by America in the postwar years should have come to its rescue. Instead, it grew old before it grew wise. We’re left with geriatric grandpa having a tantrum and spraying his nappy contents over the world while the rest of us duck and cover.

Behind the rage, however, fear stalks the upper crust. Abandoning cooperation in its bullying hubris, the elite discovered itself to be incapable of competing on a level playing field. A fundamental aspect of its national self-image, this failure to win has been wounding.

A last-ditch attempt to regain past glories resorted to mobster tactics when all else collapsed. Trying to smash China’s kneecaps at every turn was so not a good look. Especially when it rebounded spectacularly, spurring China on to even bigger and better advancements in chip technology.

The glass slipper fitted Cinderella courtesy of a cosmos that was evidently on the newcomer’s side. Cutting off its own toes wouldn’t help the Ugly Sister one bit.

Yet here is America doing exactly that when the chips are down.

Because if it’s Monday it must be tech time. Again.

Joe “Not on my watch” Biden explicitly aims to handicap China’s chip tech for 10 years. China’s had its chips and it ain’t getting ours, says Gina Raimondo, as if this is a brilliant new strategy, even though depriving the rising superpower of semi-conductors has only accelerated its advances. Suffer ye Silicon Valley to save our status.

“Chip tech ours. No way are we letting China catch up. Biggest threat. China not our friend. Protect America. Game on, game on. Exterminate, exterminate, exterminate!” (Okay, either that last bit was a dalek or I’ve been listening to too much news.) If madness is repeating the same act over and over despite getting the same results, then the boomerang must have hit America square in the noggin.

An obsolete system even chip tech protectionism can’t save

The US represents an old mode of thinking for an obsolete system that no longer works for its people. While it may be horrible to live through these events, it is also undeniably fascinating. Like watching the fall of the Roman Empire in a few years rather than decades, in fast motion speed for a modern sensibility conditioned by binge-watching.

It has painted itself unnecessarily into a corner where it behaves like the proverbial cornered rodent when it should have held on to friendship and cooperation. They’d have been better off if military supremacy had never been tested but had remained a mystery. After all, China’s a known quantity when it comes to helping the Numero Uno superpower out of a tight spot. Think of the 2008 US Great Crash, when China raced to the rescue instead of letting the global economy burn.

Now China’s forced to take defensive measures and spend on building up its armed forces. And, hey, guess what? They’re even catching up on that. The US’s only remaining advantage is decades of advertising psychology: whipping up fear, desire, unrealisable self-image. All converging in war fever.

And who is this for? Not the American working and middle classes who’ve seen their share of national wealth drop alarmingly.

“America leads the world in artificial intelligence … That’s because of our private sector,” Raimondo boasted. Private wealth, not public good.

Without a change of heart and a return to cooperation, all the US state has left to look forward to is continued collapse. Or at questionable best, ossification as the world’s military overlord, maintaining its position through brute terror. Suzanne Collins nailed this structure in The Hunger Games with the Capitol, ruled by President Snow, at the centre of Panem’s 13 districts.

“Panem is a sovereign nuclear state and democratic constitutional republic established sometime after a series of ecological disasters and a global conflict brought about the collapse of modern civilization. It is situated in North America, consisting of a federal district, the Capitol, and thirteen outlying districts.”

And there you have it. The American model for the future with a shrinking number of beneficiaries feeding off the districts whose people yearn to be free. “Protect the Capitol! Hide the chips!”

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Tech links below courtesy of William Huo. Follow him at Twitter for reliable China tech info.

HOW HUAWEI MADE A CUTTING EDGE CHIP IN CHINA AND SURPRISED THE US: China’s flagship smartphone maker pulled off the feat despite sanctions. Hush, hush, sweet Charlotte … “This article from Ars Technica tells the story of how Huawei and SMIC managed to produce a powerful smartphone chip, the Kirin 9000S, despite the US sanctions that cut them off from global semiconductor supply chains. It reveals how the companies used vast resources, state support, and innovative techniques to overcome the challenges and achieve a breakthrough in AI chip production.” WH

US CHIP SANCTIONS “KNEECAP” CHINA’S TECH INDUSTRY: The toughest export restrictions yet cut off AI hardware and chipmaking tools crucial to China’s commercial and military ambitions. “This article from WIRED explains how the US export controls, announced in October 2022, aim to keep China’s AI industry stuck in the dark ages by blocking its access to advanced chips and chipmaking equipment. It also discusses how the restrictions affect China’s leading tech companies, such as Alibaba, Baidu, and ByteDance, and what strategies they might adopt to cope with the situation.” WH

BIDEN ADMINISTRATION IMPOSES SWEEPING TECH RESTRICTIONS ON CHINA: New rules include measure to exclude China from using semiconductor chips made anywhere in world with US tools – Reuters/Guardian 7 October 2022. “Report on the Biden administration’s decision to publish a set of export controls in October 2022, including a measure to cut China off from certain semiconductor chips made anywhere in the world with US tools. It describes how the rules are designed to slow down China’s technological and military advances, and how they have sparked criticism and backlash from China and some US companies.” WH

US CHIP TECH SANCTIONS MAY NOT BE ENOUGH TO DETER CHINA’S MILITARY AMBITIONS: “East Asia Forum report, 30 August 2023, analyzes the impact and limitations of the US chip sanctions on China’s military modernization. It argues that the restrictions may not be effective in deterring China’s development of data-intensive AI models, supercomputers, and hypersonic missiles, as China has alternative sources of chips and can leverage its domestic capabilities and partnerships. It also suggests that the US should pursue a more cooperative and constructive approach with China on technology issues.” WH

SHAKEDOWN: Timeline of America’s 21st Century War on China — the Opium Wars on steroids

DON QUIXOTE IN THE WHITE HOUSE: from windmills to stray weather balloons, the monsters inside the American id

US CHIPS AND SCIENCE ACT July 2022 to subsidise the highly profitable US semiconductor industry with $280b budget. Passes in August 2022.

US BANS ADVANCED TECH FIRMS FROM BUILDING FACTORIES IN CHINA: September 2022. Ban to last ten years.

Anna's website: ANNA CHEN

Friday 24 November 2023

The Wars of the Roses: Shakespeare First Folio 400th anniversary

Anna's new website: ANNA CHEN

Review of The Wars of the Roses: Shakespeare First Folio 400th anniversary

By Anna Chen. First published by Asia Times 13 November 2023

On this month’s 400th anniversary of the First Folio’s publication, what looks like a simple squaring up of combative parties is more a dodecahedron of feuding interests.

William Shakespeare’s history play cycle, a cynic’s take on human relations in favour of the strong leader who will restore equilibrium and God’s order, strips bare the mindset that kicked off Britain’s empire now wheezing into a comeback effort. First time as tragedy, second time top-and-tailing the empire years with added farce.


Binge-watching Shakespeare’s The Wars of the Roses — Henry VI parts 1 and 2, and Richard III — you realise nothing changes.

On this month’s 400th anniversary of the First Folio’s publication, what looks like a simple squaring up of combative parties is more a dodecahedron of feuding interests. Scratch the surface and deduce that humanity is less straightforwardly angel-and-devil, even if lunacy and the callous intent of leaders tell us otherwise.

The BBC is currently broadcasting three Shakespeare series to a Britain in sharp decline and waxing nostalgic about the high points of its culture. Out of these, the 2012-2016 BBC series, “The Hollow Crown”, with Benedict Cumberbatch as Tricky Dicky, enthralls the most.

I’m not Cumberbatch’s biggest fan, but in this he was superbad, summoning mesmerizing subtleties of demonic malice and wearing a prosthetic hump a lot better than Richard wears the crown.

If “The Elephant Man” told us beauty is only skin deep, “Richard III” returns us to an age when a deformed body is seen as a corporeal manifestation of the devil within. Yet Cumberbatch injects psychological light and shade into one of theatre’s greatest villains.

I’ve watched the 1965 and 1983 versions of The Wars Of The Roses in the past month, but was confused even while viewing with my laptop open at history pages and stopping to check who was stabbing who in the back and why.

In Peter Hall’s classic 1965 production for the BBC, a modern audience can easily lose the plot. Unkind souls might assume this is because we have the memory of goldfish.

Others might put it down to a now-dated acting style dependent on a booming vocal delivery, exemplified in the much-parodied Donald Sinden playing Richard, Duke of York.

I like David Warner in his later screen incarnations but I never quite believed him as the fragile Henry since the strong character that made him a favorite baddie was never far below the surface. His vocal approximation of weakness is never convincing. The series is also hamstrung by the limited, fuzzy black-and-white camerawork of the period, and by being stage-bound.

There’s a Great Leap Forward with the BBC Shakespeare Collection from 1983, but its faithfulness to the entire unedited text sometimes hampers its narrative thrust and clarity. The children’s playroom mise en scene and hyper-theatrical style also renders it obtrusively stagey.

This beautiful box set is impressive and eminently strokable, but it’s the 2012-2016 BBC series “The Hollow Crown” that brilliantly nails the throughline via expeditious editing (much of Joan of Arc’s arc is left out) and the amplification of the subtext in unspoken actors’ business clarifying what’s happening. Glossy production values and location filming also help.

Shakespeare’s story is an entangled briar patch. Trouble starts with the descendants of King Edward III (1312-1377) and his wife, Philippa of Hainaut. Actually, it goes back even earlier to Geoffrey of Anjou, the French count who founded the Plantagenet dynasty. Yes, our British monarchy is not only German but French. Very French.

It’s a given that Henry VI (1421-1471) is as weak as Richard II (1367-1400) before him, Richard being the tragic usurped son of Edward, The Black Prince, the eldest son of Edward III.

That line of succession is snuffed out with childless King Richard’s death, propelling the line of the second son — Lionel, Duke of Clarence (1338-1368) — to pole position, led, at the time of the play, by Richard, Duke of York (1411-1460) through his mother Anne, Lionel’s great-granddaughter.

York is also father of Edward IV to be, George “drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine” Duke of Clarence, and a misshapen creature named Richard. These are the white roses of York.

However, the snuffing has been done by upstart Henry Bolingbroke — son of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, Edward III’s son number THREE — the regicide who crowns himself Henry IV by clearing out Richard II to make way for the Lancastrian line: the red roses.

Henry IV’s son, Henry V, unleashes the dogs of war and wins back swathes of French home turf for his band of brothers. His sensitive son, Henry VI, loses it all again and leaves the power vacuum without which we would not have had the drama, or, probably, the current crop of Windsors.

You may now have some sympathy for my recourse to the laptop when cutting through the history thickets of the Wars of The Roses’ family tree.

How would Shakespeare manage to flatter his royal audience and avoid offending his murderous patrons by pointing out that, actually, the Plantagenets had the better claim to succession, being descended from the second son?

You could present them as syphilitics, psychos, sadists and child killers whose deformed bodies are manifestations of twisted souls. Or incompetent mad fools who brought it upon themselves.

Henry VI falls into the latter camp. Several times he makes a decision providing a plot point that you know is going to have grim consequences. However, it’s only in the 2012 production that you get the full face-palm revelation that his well-intentioned decisions are going to reap the whirlwind. At times you want to yell, “He’s behind you!”

Henry is blind to the depths of the seething rivalries and hunger for power that permeates even the furniture. The throne is referred to throughout as “the chair” as if this is going to disguise the vaulting ambition of his family.

Shakespeare employs Greek tragic irony, where every step his protagonist takes to create harmony and enjoy a peaceful life is the very move that makes his relatives spit blood.

When Henry’s uncle, the neutral Gloucester, is killed by the Lancastrians, Henry banishes red rose Somerset and Suffolk. So far, so decisive. However, the manipulating Queen Margaret, Henry’s wife and daughter of the current Count of Anjou, pleads her lover Somerset’s case. Henry’s feeble character is further revealed when he relents, enraging the Yorkists and turbo-charging the drama.

This is a cynic’s take on human relations in favour of the strong man (or woman – Elizabeth I would have seen the play) who will restore equilibrium and God’s order. Shakespeare knew how to flatter his audience even if it means abandoning the Christian “blessed are the peacemakers.”

Even when characters do make decisions, hubris abounds and the fallout mounts. A bad decision is as bad as timidity if it’s the wrong choice. No sooner is Edward IV on the “chair” than he seizes defeat from the jaws of victory by rejecting the French princess and marrying widow Elizabeth Woodville, of course, infuriating everyone.

Despite the playwright’s efforts, our sympathy is with Henry VI when he’s traumatized by the Battle of Towton, with carnage which has been compared to the Somme. He strips away his power along with his clothing and tosses his crown into a river. He never wanted this role, having been made king at only nine months old on Henry V’s death.

Not for him dad’s self-justifying rationale, “What watch the King keeps to maintain the peace, whose hours the peasant best advantages.” Henry VI longs for “white hairs and a quiet grave.” “O piteous spectacle! O bloody times! While lions war and battle for their dens, poor harmless lambs abide their enmity. Weep, wretched man, I’ll aid thee tear for tear and that our hearts and eyes like civil war.” The choice back then was defeat or destruction: “If you contend, a thousand lives must wither.” Sad to see today’s power politics reverting to a barbarous age where diplomacy and the common good of humanity are blown up because one side has to crush, kill and destroy the other.

As ever, ultimate blame falls on women, even in Elizabethan times. Joan of Arc is defamed as being a vengeful witch rather than a freedom fighter for France. And Henry’s wife, Margaret of Anjou, is the she-wolf who exploits poor Henry and is the source of the Thirty Years War between Plantagenets and Lancastrians.

It was the French who coined the phrase cherchez la femme — “look for the woman” when incapable of taking responsibility for their own drives and errors. Blame everyone else, indulge your rage, take everything.

The First Folio’s 400th anniversary finds The Wars of the Roses coming full circle, only five years after it seemed peace was breaking out across the world, with a stabilizing global economy and growing prosperity.

As Richard III says,
” I am determined to prove a villain
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous,
By drunken prophecies, libels and dreams,
To set my brother Clarence and the king
In deadly hate the one against the other”

Like I said, nuthin’ changes. Watch out for the Dicks.

More THEATRE REVIEWS

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Thursday 23 November 2023

Masters of the Universe: Stuart Seldowitz race-bait meltdown

Anna's new website: ANNA CHEN

US state department official Stuart Seldowitz arrested and sacked for race-baiting food vendor


When Stuart Seldowitz launched his Islamophobic rant at a New York food truck vendor, he discovered the hard way that his Masters of the Universe privileges had been rescinded.

Gloating grotesquely, “We killed 4,000 kids, it wasn’t enough. We should have killed more”, about the raging carnage in Gaza, Seldowitz hadn’t reckoned on the public’s collective sense of injustice making the vendor’s video go viral. If he had been an average jerk off the street, his hate-fuelled tirade would have been bad enough. The revelation that this oleaginous sophisticate had been deputy director of the US State Department’s Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs, provides a major insight into the perverse attitudes in charge.

It wasn’t even the first time he’d harassed food worker Mohammad Hussein. He’d returned again and again over two weeks to insult him and his religion until Hussein finally caught him on camera. Maybe he couldn’t get enough of the halal cuisine. Or maybe he was a sadistic supremacist venting his inadequacy on someone doing his job.

The authorities dragged their heels for two weeks but have finally detained him. New York police charged him with aggravated harassment, hate crime stalking, stalking causing fear, and stalking at a place of employment.

On top of this, we now know that Seldowitz had spent a year harassing the Russian consulate, calling women working there “whores”.

It’ll be glossed over but, if a picture speaks a thousand words, Stuart leaves us with an indelible snapshot of the state of western hegemony.

He is the walking mindset of the ruling class with its pants down. A glimpse of what lurks beneath the superficial charm.

His assumption that this triumphalist behaviour is socially acceptable demonstrates the distance between the governing class and the rest of us. A picture of the dominant western male whose time at the top is over, Seldowitz is more than just an individual bully. He embodies America at the historical pivot of world power and the failure of character in dealing with it.

More Masters of the Universe: Niall Ferguson and his “Killer Apps”

Anna's website: ANNA CHEN

Thursday 5 October 2023

America blames China for its opioid epidemic

Anna's new website: ANNA CHEN


Attorney General Merrick Garland announces sanctions on China for the US opioid crisis. Photo: Manuel Balce/AP

America blames China for its opioid epidemic 


The United States of Amnesia is at it again. Blasting China with a whole new round of sanctions and indictments, Attorney General Merrick Garland’s claim on Tuesday, that China is responsible for the fentanyl crisis, diverts from the opioid epidemic caused by American companies Johnson and Johnson and others, “profiting from a flood of addictive painkillers that devastated communities”. As a result, J&J faced a $26 Billion lawsuit in 2021 but we’re encouraged to forget this as the social and health damage deepens.

Blame shifting includes: “The companies have maintained that they were filling orders of legal drugs placed by doctors – so they shouldn’t shoulder blame for the nation’s addiction and overdose crisis.”

From US doctors to China, the blame game goes on while the conditions of poverty and despair that breeds drug addiction are allowed to continue. China manufactures the precursor chemicals for fentanyl, a synthetic opioid pain-killer used legitimately in medicine but there is no widespread fentanyl abuse in China. Why is America incapable of tackling criminal drug production and trafficking? What next? Making China culpable for producing steel that makes guns?

This is a useful ploy by western elites to rewrite history, deleting their own role in the 19th century Opium Wars atrocity, when Britain forced vast quantities of mass-produced opium grown in Bengal using industrial methods on to China at gunpoint.

It turned an aristocratic vice into a nationwide addiction, massacred Chinese and made huge profits for British, American and other western narco-capitalists which helped finance their industrial revolutions.

US profits in the richest country on the planet could have been spent over the years on creating a model society for all its people. Instead, wealth was gobbled up by the elites like a giant Pac-Man until the top one percent owns as much as the bottom 90 percent … and it shows.

As rationalisation for war with the successful rising superpower, it’s primitive, crude and relentless. Prepping for Opium Wars 2 and the hoped for carve-up of the China Golden Goose by the declining West builds like some dark age Berserker raid.

Which all goes to show that the western capitalist system of putting profit before people’s needs is doomed to destroy itself. I believe someone else made this observation nearly 200 years ago, 18 centuries after another seer kicked out the money dealers in some temple.

We can do better than this.

Video: more info at Jerry’s Take on the US and opioids

Anna's new website: ANNA CHEN

Monday 2 October 2023

Don Quixote in the White House: Hollywood deconstructs the narrative

Anna's new website: ANNA CHEN

Don Quixote in the White House: Hollywood deconstructs the narrative


by Anna Chen, first published by Asia Times, 29 September 2023

Now that the writers’ strike in the US is over, I can pitch my script for that blockbuster version of Cervantes’ classic crying out to be made: Don Quixote in the White House, updating windmills to stray weather balloons, complete with paranoia and mustache-twirling villains. (Oh. Democrats don’t do facial hair?)

I’ll be putting the donkey into Don Quixote. Maybe work in a nice tune. Hey, Madonna can sing the theme song, give Ted Nugent a break.

We got a red-hot A story – the trials and tribulations of Don Quixote, our hero in his sunset years running the world, getting into scrapes, his mentis not quite as compos as it should be.

He’s an elderly, forgetful, stumbling protagonist, just like the original Don. No, not that one (he’s busy right now – more trial than tribulation), I mean DQ, the lovable old guy from the story.

Character flaws? Plenty. Regrets? He has a few. But then again, too few for the press to mention. A man of mystery, there’s a touch of of something untoward in the background keeping us hooked. Did he? Didn’t he? Loves his family. Is a fool for his reprobate son who, in a hilarious reversal of everything else in his eyes, he sees with a glowy halo and angel wings. Did I mention character flaws?

The B-story is a light romance set in the world’s seat of power. He loves Xi but the sweethearts fall out over a misunderstanding that Xi wants to ditch him and run off with Europe. We open with DQ defending his squeeze: “China is going to eat our lunch? C’mon, man.” Just to show he was lucid once so mebbe, the movie promises, we can get him there again.

What’s at stake? Only the survival of the entire world.

After he falls for this comical misapprehension, the rest of the movie is spent struggling to restore equilibrium against a spiral of decline. The A and B stories intersect and turn each other in a rising crescendo of mistake after mishap after disaster until they come together at the end, the problem resolved in an explosive payoff – Ka-boom!– and we all live happily in the hereafter.

Ker-ching!

At the start, a choir is telling him, “Now play nice.” OK, they’re minor characters: we kill them off in a car crash in Act One. The other, the devil in his ear, is dragging him to hell in a handcart – we’ll give that one a British accent.

He commits a series of boo-boos so comically absurd, they’ll have the audience in stitches. Literally. Crimea river and pass the cookies.

With all this screaming hysteria going on, this is where the weather balloon comes in. We know it’s innocent. Xi knows it’s innocent. Senior American General Milley knows it’s innocent and says so, loudly and several times. But still DQ shoots it down. “No, don’t, baby, you’ll only look silly,” Xi pleads with him but, Grrr, he sets his Raptors on to it and shoots that bad boy down.

As if that’s not enough, there are two massive snakes he has to fight in an exciting sequence of subterfuge, sabotage and derring-do. Actually, they’re only oil pipelines, not the mythical serpents of his imagination. Being the gentleman that he is, though, he won’t take credit for decapitating them but pushes Sancho Panza up front to take a bow.

Is it a misunderstanding? Senility? An over-eagerness to grab his former love’s attention? Who knows? Soon, every bozo is jumping on the spy-balloon bandwagon, radiating in intensifying circles of comic horror tragedy.

Across the world, every two-bit, dime-a-dozen demagogue, any politician or public figure in need of a reputation cleanser or career booster realizes they can play the China “Get out of jail free” card, ready made for every grade ‘n’ shade of no-goodniks.

In Great Britain, there’s fun-and-frolics in deflecting their flaming nosedive on to China. “Human rights” is the watchword for the biggest Empire ever (except for the US). Reds in the bed, spies in Parliament, no charges in court.

They ban Chinese teachers, replacing them with Taiwanese teachers who don’t have Mandarin as first language, because “spying.” In a call-back to Freedom Fries, they’re only allowed to teach Democracy Mandarin. Ho fun noodles are now no-fun noodles because everything Chinese is a spy. And Britain should know. As the longest-lived, oldest spy network in history, they wrote the book.

Not just Johnny English. All DQ’s little friends get in on the act. Nazis in Parliament? The Russians made us do it. Running away with tech? The Chinese stole our IP. A $33 trillion debt? It’s China that’s collapsing.

So, after promising his lost love, “No, honey, I don’t want to contain you. Let your spirit run wild, fly free,” we realize what he really wants is to put a leash and a muzzle on her and take her for walks.

The DQ gets a catch-phrase: “Not on my watch.” Or “Oh, no, better not let peace break out.” Or how about, “Xi’s a dictator.” Or is that too bitter?

We’ve established him as likable, and earned him sympathy by making him good at his job. OK, he fails at that, but he tries – a goldmine of comic relief. As his inner motivation changes places with his outer skin, transforming him into the villain, we recognize the human dilemma: that we are all a seething mess of contradictions and confusion. Especially him! Big Reveal: he was his own antagonist all along!

So: we need an actor who can capture the full range of his complexity.

I was thinking Chuck.

No, “cold, dead fingers” Chuck. Heston. Ben Hur. Remind me about the doll when we cast the sequel.

Waddya mean Chuck’s dead? He’s playing the president – how will they tell?

If we strapped Chuck as Dead El Cid to the back of a charging steed and slapped it into the battlefront, we can do that with Chuck as DQ. CGI is your friend.

Too far-fetched? Nah! Art imitates Life imitates centuries of Art and eons of BS.

What the audience comes to realize at the end is, this is the movies. It’s all projection.

This script is perfect – who can we get to rewrite it?

* * * * *

See also Shakedown: A Timeline of America’s 21st Century War on China — the Opium Wars on steroids

Anna's website: ANNA CHEN

Saturday 16 September 2023

Zoo Time at Operation Circe: How the Wolf Warrior was invented

Anna's new website: ANNA CHEN

Zoo Time at Operation Circe: How the Wolf Warrior was invented

by Anna Chen, first published by Asia Times, 5 September 2023  

When China’s vice-premier and top trade-war negotiator Liu He arrived in Washington in May 2019* to finalise the trade agreement with the USA at the end of tortuous negotiations, neither he nor his hapless opposite number Robert Lighthizer realised he’d walked into an ambush sprung by the capricious president. Even as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that the trade war was on hold, and Wall Street broke out the bubbly, Donald Trump harshed their mellow with yet another round of tariffs and trade blocks.

Gloating that he’d compelled China to buy huge amounts of agricultural products they didn’t need, it was yet another humiliation through which the dignified Chinese politician stoically ploughed in the interests of his country and the global economy.

Accusations had been blasted at China in a character-assassination broadside by both sides of the House from which neither facts nor history could save it. China, not Trump, had reneged on the trade deal. China was stealing IP. It was a currency manipulator, despite the fact that, far from undervaluing the yuan, China was spending vast amounts of its reserves propping it up. China, not the top one percent of the US that now owned as much as the bottom 90 percent, was the cause of America’s misery.

You might suspect, from all the invective in high places, that the US didn’t actually want a stable relationship with its successful partner. China may have saved the world from America’s Great Crash of 2008 when the capitalist system itself was imploding but, suddenly, it was decreed that the rising superpower could do no right and the USA no wrong.

But still China kept a stiff upper lip.

Insult after insult from slap-happy politicians eager to outdo each other drew comment that China was outstandingly polite, exemplary and grown-up, if a tad too passive. A nostalgic fondness grew for old-school diplomacy rather than shoot-from-the-lip grandstanding.

Which was frustrating for the stone-throwers in their glass houses.

For them it was all one big Yo Mama case for the prosecution, with no defence permitted for the country that hadn’t had a war in over 40 years. Western media and politicians made hay with the 2019 Hong Kong riots trashing the city, despite zero protesters being killed in the same year that US cops somehow managed to kill over a thousand civilians. Later that year, a “strange pneumonia” mysteriously erupted in the central transport hub of Wuhan, marking the start of the pandemic.

To everyone’s amazement — part dignity, part rabbit in the headlights — China didn’t buckle even when the far-right Usual Suspects immediately accused it of creating the virus in the lab. Nor did China return the insults, instead turning the cheek to every barb.

After initial fumbles, not only did the Chinese draw up a remedial roadmap and eradicate the coronavirus by Day 43 of an unprecedented 76-day lockdown, they identified, sequenced and shared the genome with the world within days of its discovery. However, if anyone thought America would take stock and say, “Well done, old chap, you came through like a champ,” they were in for a shock.

The leader of the free world, largely aped by the UK, had already closed the US pandemic team and their Beijing CDC office. He delayed action; played down the virus; called it a hoax; held super-spreader rallies; allowed concerts and sports events; misdiagnosed early Covid deaths as ‘flu’; suggested injecting disinfectant, and pumped up the markets into the Mother of All Bubbles while insisting everything was fine.

Then the Black Swan, awaited by a nervous financial press for months, swooped in the day after politicians sold their stocks at all-time-highs, did the damage and disappeared back into the ether. The Trump Pump over and his Phase-One trade deal signed, the president U-turned on Covid in March, declaring an emergency, stating, “I don’t accept responsibility at all,” and launched his “Wuhan Kung Flu” attack.

One Chinese minister finally had enough. Having endured several years of non-stop verbals, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lijian Zhao dared to talk out of turn and posted THAT tweet, raising the Wuhan Military Games as a possible point of infection, opening as it had on 18 October 2019: the same day as Event 201, the table-top pandemic exercise laid on in New York by various illustrious institutions.

Primed, locked and loaded, the western media exploded in an entirely uncoordinated wave of outrage as one. Montgomery Burns might as well have howled, “Unleash the hounds!” In one short pithy Tweet, China was transformed from placid scapegoat into Wolf Warrior for defending itself on this one occasion. And the points made remained uninvestigated. Overnight, Americans who’d been strangers to history and the world outside their borders, instantly knew everything there was to know about China and that “Sin Chang” which they continually fail to find on a map.

Articles blared out lurid “Wolf Warrior diplomacy” headlines in a joint “Gotcha!”. Old tropes linking target groups to filth and pestilence were wheeled out, Secretary of State Pompeo demagoguing that “China has a history of infecting the world.”

Debate was debased to the point where Fox News broadcast a rant extolling “Type-A men”‘s desire to “sit on a throne of Chinese skulls”. People now talk openly of nuking cities-full of people into glass, as if this was normal only five years ago.

And lo! We have always been at war with Eastasia.

Psyops successful.

This, children, is how the wolf warrior got his fangs. Drawn on by hawks with crayon.

In classic Greek mythology, Circe was a sorceress who turned men into beasts, a neat trick if you are prepping your country for conflict. Not only are America’s opponents being dehumanised as fierce, bloodthirsty creatures, but to entertain the new barbarism, the population of the world’s most advanced nation is being dragged to new depths by state magicians and their little helpers on bloated budgets who know how to flip everyone’s amygdala en masse.

The more you hate, the less you think.

The tactic of dehumanising human beings in order to eliminate them is as old as Greek myth, even if the closest the US gets to Homer is Homer Simpson. First we had the Thucydides Trap, then ancient Greek gods and monsters. Is the West plagiarising the cradle of western civilisation for inspiration in its desperation?

This potent force has been tapped by western psychological warfare and financed by President Biden’s $500 million propaganda bounty on China’s head. Operation Circe seems to have succeeded in turning men into beasts.

First, we had to destroy the village in order to save it. But we never thought the village would be ours. Or that the ‘beasts’ would be us.

* * * * *

* EDIT NOTE: The date of Liu He’s visit to the US was originally given as May 2018. This piece has been corrected to May 2019.

READ MORE: For the timeline of America’s 21st Century war on China, see Shakedown

Anna's website: ANNA CHEN

Wednesday 13 September 2023

The Guardian on China and spying

Anna's new website: ANNA CHEN

A shorter version of this piece first appeared as a Guardian comment in response to the Editorial: The Guardian view on China and spying: we need less heat and more light, 13 September 2023. This version published at Anna Chen, 15 September 2023. 

As no charges have been brought against the parliamentary researcher after all these months since his arrest and release in March, all that’s left is smear and innuendo where balanced coverage might have yielded the additional light aspired to in the headline.

Despite no evidence of spying, the Guardian insists, “… whatever the truth of this case, there are reasons to be particularly concerned about Chinese intelligence efforts and Britain’s response. One is simply that China is increasingly powerful, forceful and hostile to the west, and more repressive at home.”

But it’s not so “simply,” is it? America spends as much on its military might as the next nine nations put together, including China. It surrounds China with a noose of hundreds of bases, Obama strangling it further when he started embroiling its mainland neighbours in his Pivot to Asia, having wrecked the Middle East and Libya. Trump bludgeoned China with an unnecessary backfiring trade war and other unpleasantness, doubled down on by Biden’s “not on my watch” objective and a $500m a year propaganda bounty.

Only an idiot would have read THAT room and not taken measures to defend its citizens from the economic and hot warfare being aimed at it. And the Chinese are no idiots.

Self defence is no offence.

You’d have thought the press would have learnt their lesson from the embarrassment of the stray weather balloon, shot down in February last by excitable Don Quixotes tilting at windmills, which it turned out wasn’t collecting intelligence after all (China has perfectly good satellites). Balloons can be sent higher or lower. However, they have no engines to determine horizontal direction so that’s a pretty useless bit of spy equipment. Unlike Pegasus or any of the other surveillance the West is so good at, as attested to by Edward Snowden and the NSA files.

Why would China have wanted to screw things anyhow, just as they were raising 800 million out of absolute poverty, creating a middle-class almost twice the size of America’s entire population and building stunning infrastructure for themselves and around the world? The rising superpower was doing very nicely, catching up with the US without a shot being fired in over 40 years, fattening western corporate profits and providing affordable goods.

Wonderful trade deals with China were promised to Brits once we exited the EU. The UK was riding the wave of China’s rise. They even saved the world economy from America’s greed-fuelled Great Crash of 2008. No-one had any interest in hostilities except for the declining hegemon glowering in the corner.

Cue US pressure to nobble the rival. Trump raged at Boris Johnson in February 2020 for not ceasing trade with Huawei and ripping out billions worth of 5G infrastructure as instructed to by the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo the previous February, and in May 2019, a US delegation to the UK yelled at GCHQ in a five-hour “hair-dryer” treatment. US Vice President Mike Pence said darkly that the Trump administration had made its disappointment with the UK “very clear to them”. Former British ambassador to the US, now Lord Kim Darroch, says there were no “compelling technical arguments that undermined GCHQ’s case” and that the US case was “political”.

Johnson finally caved in, ripped out the Huawei 5G we’d paid for, and it was all downhill from there, unchallenged by the media. We were left nailed to the USS Titanic, torpedoing our global lifeboat and growth engine.

The poisonous tone of the broadsheet’s editorial hit new depths in a line straight out of the 1930s, pointing out who the targets were. “Those who were born in China, and those of Chinese descent, are often most at risk from espionage.”

Good grief. Pogrom, much? What’s the ratio of light to heat here? Are there no grown-ups in the room who will call this out?

Oh, and that 9-dash line was originally the US-approved 11-dash boundary for its Republic of China/Taiwan ally, based on a 1935 map. Later reduced to nine by the CPC.

* * * * * See Shakedown: A Timeline of America’s 21st Century War on China — the Opium Wars on steroids

My Asia Times column 29 September 2023: Don Quixote in the White House – Hollywood deconstructs the narrative

Anna's website: ANNA CHEN

Sunday 3 September 2023

Covid in the UK in 2023

Anna's new website: ANNA CHEN

Covid in the UK 2023


Anna Chen – 3 September 2023

COVID IN THE UK: Here’s the state of Covid in Britain as we head into winter with rising numbers of cases.

A new variant, Pirola AKA BA.2.86, we know little about. Is it dangerous? Meh, who knows, who cares?

No free testing. Buy your own, £2 a pop or £50 for PCR.

Vaccines for care homes and over-65s only. Is it the traditional vax being used? The dreaded big pharma MRNA? The media aren’t telling. The rest of us can’t even buy it for love nor money.

From today’s Guardian article: ‘It is not clear how prevalent Covid has become in the UK. Detailed tracking of the disease has been cut back. “In a sense that is a pity but, on the other hand, we need to be clear about our priorities”‘. Our lives not being one, apparently. Again, this plays down the pandemic, ignores Long Covid and the fact it shortens our lifespan. But, hey, as long as capitalism keeps rolling along on the cheap.

The damage to our immunity T-cells is another major feature. “… findings suggest that SARS-CoV-2 infection damages the CD8+ T cell response, an effect akin to that observed in earlier studies showing long-term damage to the immune system after infection with viruses such as hepatitis C or HIV.”

A reminder that vaccines were specifically never supposed to be a magic bullet. They were supposed to lessen the effects if you caught Covid, while we were eliminating the virus by quarantining, to protect us and to stop the NHS being overwhelmed. Now we have neither vaccines nor quarantine. I did say in March 2020 that it looked like Big Pharma interests were trying to create a Covid industry, facilitated by closing down months too late and opening too early just as we neared zero virus, keeping a reservoir of the virus in the community.

Contrast this with the roadmap drawn up for us by China when it eradicated the coronavirus by day 43 of its 76-day lockdown January 2020. A blizzard of China-hate by a compliant media diverted our attention and denied Brits this strategy while the virus seeded and spread. Three years later, the bombardments of variants we stewed up finally overwhelmed China’s defences they finally reopened in December last year.

The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is RNA, not complete DNA, so it needs a host to survive and reproduce itself. Lockdown deprives the virus of hosts and starves it to extinction. Unless you sabotage the quarantine.

Why were we diverted by government advisers pushing “herd immunity”? This was effectively a mass murder policy; scientists knew one reason it was never going to work was that chickenpox and measles, for instance, mutate very slowly. SARS-CoV-2 mutates FAST.

Where are Boris Johnson’s What’s App messages covering this period & his closure of the UK pandemic team July 2019 and what do they say? Let’s hope the Covid Inquiry finds out.

WEAR A MASK.

Anna's website: ANNA CHEN

Thursday 24 August 2023

We’ll always have Beijing: How political necessity changes the cultural representation of Chinese

Anna's new website: ANNA CHEN

Hong Kong thespian and martial artist Bruce Lee. Image: YouTube


Anna Chen’s debut column for Asia Times, 14 August 2023

In the half-century since Bruce Lee’s early death in July 1973, the image of Chinese in western culture and business has come full circle with an added twist of spite. Prior to the martial arts deity’s explosion onto cinema screens in the 1960s, Chinese men were barely seen except as anonymous hordes reminiscent of the wave warfare that kept America at bay in Korea. Their ultimate sacrifice was presented in the west as an antlike lack of humanity rather than the collective courage we recognise from the allied storming of Normandy beaches.

Chinese characters who emerged from this primordial stew were instantly vilified as Yellow Peril, attributed with every hateful human trait. This malicious template returns periodically as Fu Manchu, Dr No, Emperor Ming the Merciless and other evil Chinese who step out of line. It was “balanced” by lovable creatures like Charlie Chan (played by Swedish actor Warner Oland in eye tape); The Pink Panther’s comical Kato (Burt Kwouk, an actual East Asian) as a sidekick even more useless than his boss Inspector Clouseau, the most useless man on the planet. And also another Kato, sidekick this time to The Green Hornet in the TV series, played by an underused Bruce Lee. So much for American original thought and innovation.

The cycle for Chinese cultural representation through the geopolitical eras goes something like this: Opium Wars – bad; gold mining in California – weak; building the Central Pacific Railroad Road for low wages – good; going on strike for better wages and conditions on the CPRR – bad!; 1870s economic downturn in the US – really bad; 1882 Exclusion Act – GTFOH!; Boxer Revolution to the Republic of China – Yellow Peril; War lord Thirties – well, ding, dong, Anna May Wong!; World War 2 – welcome, bro; 1949 – Wut?; Cold War Korea – here comes that ant wave; 1960s – the Blessed Bruce be upon us.

The swinging sixties was a great decade in which to be alive if you were a member of the post-war (preferably white) working and middle-class in America, Britain or parts of Western Europe. Not so great if you were living in China and trying to rebuild your wrecked country while staring down the barrel of foreign embargoes and a messy Cultural Revolution.

Bruce Lee was born and raised in San Francisco. He was beautiful and graceful with a body sculpted like Roman marble but most impressively, instead of submissiveness to the master race, he exuded pride in his Chinese origins. And, true to the cultural aspirations of the time, he stuck up for the little people rather than sticking it to them.

His divinity was felt keenly in the UK when his Hong Kong-made Kung Fu films came out in the 1970s, Enter the Dragon being their stunning apogee. Even my dad raised his head out of his books for long enough to praise this popular hero. For the first time, young males in the West wanted be like Lee, an Asian male, instead of wanting to kick him. Tough working-class lads of every hue sought out martial arts kwoons and dojos and stuck his posters on their walls. He was an inspiration to men of colour and they loved him for it.

If he hadn’t died on the cusp of the Nixon-Kissinger agreement with Mao that would propel China, ever so slowly, into a Golden Age, he’d probably have had his own movie empire on a par with Jackie Chan: JC to Lee’s John the Baptist.

In the glory years since China proved itself to be the rising superpower, Mandarin has been taught in schools and Beijing represented supreme cool. Ten Cent movies made mega bucks. Marvel gave us Shang-Chi, the first superhero movie to star an Asian lead, and TWO Asian main characters in the Agents of Shield TV series, played by Ming-Na Wen and Chloe Bennet. Benedict Wong and Gemma Chan escaped limited prospects in the UK and built solid careers in the Marvel universe and beyond, while Sandra Oh made the sole reverse journey across the Atlantic and busted out with Killing Eve. Michelle Yeoh was Everything, Everywhere All At Once from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to Star Trek. Asians were being normalised.

However, the screech of brakes and smell of burning rubber as the West performs a doughnut spin threatening to send positive images of Chinese crashing through the windscreen, means all change. How do you persuade the public that it’s okay to have a war with people they’ve been encouraged to identify with if you keep humanising them? Are buddy movies with Chinese as equal partners doomed to history before we’ve finished our popcorn? Is whitewashed Doctor Strange about to morph into Dr Strangelove or be eclipsed by Fu Manchu redux?

The tension between an industry making bank in the two leading economies and the demand by China hawks to slaughter the Golden Goose has to be resolved somehow.

A promiscuous use of backfiring tariffs and sanctions may provide the very catalyst that transforms the greenback signs in oligarchal eyes into yuan, as dumping the global reserve currency accelerates and everyone stampedes for the exit.

One advantage China will always have in this wholly unnecessary contest is the USA’s example of a modern Ozymandias: behold my works, ye mighty, and dedollarise. Never has America needed its original eastern hero as much as now to explain the art of the martial to politicians who keep pristine copies of Sun Tzu’s The Art Of War on display but never crack the spine. You’re supposed to use the weight of your opponent AGAINST him, grasshopper. And Be Like Water doesn’t mean running into the berg that sinks the USS Titanic just becuz we can.

In 2018, the International Monetary Fund’s Christine Lagarde side-eyed President Donald Trump’s imposition of tariffs on Chinese goods, loudly announcing that we were finally emerging from a Certain Someone’s Great Crash of 2008 with Another Certain Someone’s help.

Wall Street had a conniption. Gary Cohn, Trump’s Chief Economic Advisor, fumed, “Peter Navarro ratfucked us into a trade war with China by taking advantage of Trump’s very small brain.”

We watched aghast as, in the words of the British PM whose backbone hadn’t yet crumbled, Trump “let all the air out of the tyres of the global economy”. (Including, presumably, Boris Johnson’s own family’s investments. We sincerely hope he was personally reimbursed after ripping out our Huawei 5G infrastructure at the behest of the First Certain Someone with maybe a loan or sumthin’.)

And now President Joe Biden triples down on the madness.

Ironic that the Kung Fu concept of your own actions rebounding and hurting you when you point a loaded finger and find three fingers pointing back, has taken place in real time in front of our eyes. Every poisonous character assassination, every fusillade of hurt ends up damaging the perp as the target slips further out of reach.

My blu-ray of The Great Wall, perhaps the last of the Hollywood/China blockbuster lash-ups, arrived in 2018, two years after its 2016 release. Tainted by all the ensuing unpleasantness, it sits forlornly on a shelf, still in its shrink wrapper.

I may never find out how Matt Damon saved Chinese civilisation. But we’ll always have Beijing.

We'll always have Paris


Anna's website: ANNA CHEN

US Asian youth bears brunt of anti-China drive

Anna's website: ANNA CHEN


First published 3 August 2023

The anti-China pogrom is having the required effect in the United States, providing a dumping ground for an imploding society’s fears in the form of its Asian children. The feral elite can guage its success in turning its successful rival into a diversion and scapegoat for its own failings by the high number of suicides of Asian kids who are the canaries down the mine and currently bearing the brunt of American aggression.

The US was never going to allow China to develop and overtake it, choosing destruction over cooperation and mutual benefit. When the ruling class has sucked dry its own people, hollowing out the working and middle-classes until the top 1 percent owns as much as the bottom 90 percent, you know they’re not going to slow down their predations for 1.4 billion human beings across the other side of the world.

President Joe “not on my watch” Biden doubled down on Donald Trump’s multi-fronted attack on the rising economic superpower, chucking hundreds of billions of dollars at its military industry and budgeting over $500 million a year for a character assassination campaign, which has been eagerly taken up by its morally bankrupt adherents. From academia to media commentators and bent politicians, the whole of the US has been turned into a playground for bullies in a complete meltdown, trailed by the UK and other vassal states.

Meanwhile, the media keep us mute and invisible, denying a voice to those who would speak for themselves and mount a case for the defence. Any evidence-based debate is suppressed, the target group is dehumanised and thrust into the shadows.

Instead of challenging age-old anti-Asian bias, purported pro-China social media have done the same and created an apartheid industry for themselves. The lack of solidarity keeps the vacuum going where the sleep of reason produces monsters. We continue to be a blank canvas onto which any old phantasms can be projected, providing catharsis for exploited boneheads and a career for gatekeeping “rescuers” who have now become part of the problem.

Asian kids have a higher calling right now and will need every ounce of inner strength. All power and love to you.

“Whatever current western propaganda demands you believe, we are capable of altruism, fellow feeling, critical thinking and original thought. Of course we are. We’re human.”

SEE ALSO:

The Conversation: Asian American young adults are the only racial group with suicide as their leading cause of death, so why is no one talking about this?

What you can do to fight violence and racism against Asian Americans: Although this PBS piece aims to help specifically in America, there are principles that apply everywhere that US anti-China hysteria is having an effect. In Britain there has been no action and little comment by anti-racism groups on the growing anti-Chinese pogrom.

The Monitoring Group: The only anti-racism group I can find in Britain that has stood with east Asians.

Sinophobia: How racism has its roots in politics. In an effort to “contain” China’s rise, the US is using every dirty trick it can muster to retain its status as sole hegemon, promoting hate at macro and micro levels.

Yellowface: How east Asians are almost completely erased from the culture.

Anna's website: ANNA CHEN

Monday 31 July 2023

Julian Assange’s Prometheus pecked at by US eagle

Anna's website: ANNA CHEN


There’s something monumental and mythical about the Promethean figure of Julian Assange having his liver pecked out every day by the US eagle for taking information from the self-styled gods and giving it to us humans.

In Graeco-Roman mythology, Prometheus was the Titan who stole fire from the gods of Mount Olympus and passed it on to humanity, thereby earning their everlasting wrath. Zeus punished him by chaining him to a rock to have his liver pecked out each day by an eagle. To prolong the agony, the live grew back every night so his punishment could start all over again the next day.

It was the mark of small-minded vengeful deities given to spite, not the magnanimous forgiveness of the New Testament Bible, the purported bedrock of the One Nation Under God.

Without Assange & Chelsea Manning (now released), we’d never have known about the US killings of the Reuters journalists and their associates in Iraq. We would never have learnt there was no massacre in Tiananmen Square. Or a slew of more of the kind of information journalists are supposed to expose.

Australia now fails to defend its own citizen, who’d broken no Oz laws nor threatened its democracy. (Assange actually held back information that risked lives.) It has humiliatingly buckled under Blinken’s renewed persecution of his helpless quarry in this vicious fox-hunt: the unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable.

A democracy can only exist if its populace is given accurate information with which to make informed choices at the ballot box. This clearly isn’t happening. Instead, the people trying to keep us informed are threatened with death by the state or actually killed. Blinken’s snub to Australia’s subdued pleas for an end to Assange’s prosecution exposes the unequal relationship between the US and its vassal states.

Australia’s once-excellent trading relationship with China is in tatters, while the US scoops up the lost deals. It’s been dragged into America’s jealous war with an upcoming rival at enormous cost and jeopardy. And now it can’t even defend its own.

If the UK is Airstrip One, what does that make Australia?

Anna's website: ANNA CHEN

Wednesday 17 May 2023

The Taiping Rebellion: What the British Museum's Hidden Century exhibition leaves out

Anna's website: ANNA CHEN


British Museum: posseses the Complete Map of All Under Heaven Unified by the Great Qing, China

What the Guardian's review of the British Museum's Hidden Century exhibition doesn't tell you about the Taiping Rebellion


The Guardian's review of the British Museum's Hidden Century exhibition continues the 19th-century mindset rationalising British imperialism in China past and present while omitting the driving force behind the Taiping Rebellion (1850-1864).

Hong Xiuquan's Taiping Rebellion was a popular effort by millions of suffering Chinese to rid themselves of a decaying Qing government during Britain's brutal Opium Wars (1839-1842 and 1856-1860) and create a fair new society for the masses out of the wreckage.

Hong can be can be seen as China's first communist. Initially inspired by the teachings of Christ, he rejected the ossifying strictures of Confucianism and instead sought the abolition of landlordism, the redistribution of wealth for all, and the prohibition of prostitution, bound feet and the smoking of opium, transforming society into Hong's vision of a 'Heavenly Kingdom'.

This movement was opposed not only by the Qing dynasty it sought to depose, but also by the British whose interests were best served by the corrupt royal court even though they were at war with each other. As with today, the West would rather destroy social progress in China than see its people flourish.

The British had become massive consumers of the tea, silks, spices and porcelain sent to the great ports of Liverpool, Cardiff and Tlbury. Running out of gold bullion to pay for their chinoiserie, British merchants, protected by the armed forces, turned narco-capitalist and launched the Opium Wars in 1839. China was forced  — literally at gunpoint — to import cheap mass-produced industrial quantities of opium grown in Bengal to pay for the trade.

Not content with transforming what had been an aristocratic vice into a nationwide addiction, the British army joined forces with the Qing government to crush the popular Taiping movement and ensure their dominance could continue unhindered. Anti-Hong forces were trained and led by American businessman Frederick Townsend Ward, and later by the British officer Charles George Gordon. They finally defeated Hong at his last hold-out in Nanjing in 1864. 20 to 30 million died, along with his dream of a revivified society — the Heavenly Kingdom.

At the end of the first Opium War in 1842, the Nanjing Treaty, the first of the unfair 'unequal' treaties imposed on China, ceded Hong Kong to Britain. Others would create five ports — Canton (Guangzhou), Amoy (Xiamen), Foochow (Fuzhou), Ningpo (Ningbo), and Shanghai — and divide the spoils among British, French, American, German and Japanese concessions.

The British East India Trading Company's army-backed predations had been joined by the French. In 1860, British and French troops had already looted and burnt down the Summer Palace.

The Boxer Rebellion, a renewed wave of Chinese resistance to foreign occupation at the end of the 19th century, was also met with military might in the Eight Nation Alliance — Britain, the US, Germany, France, Russia, Japan, Italy and Austria-Hungary — which ganged up to crush the Boxers and enforce the continued pillage of China.

Today, the current US-led assault on China has AUKUS and the G7 countries taking shape in yet another alliance to "contain" (read: '"carve up") the new superpower just as it gets back onto its feet.

The Taiping Rebellion and other attempts by the Chinese to give birth to themselves as a stable, developed, thriving nation have always been met with dehumanisation, character assassination and violence. Chinese people have the same potential for raised consciousness, and a willingness to fight for a better way to be, as any other oppressed group anywhere else in the world. We know of Spartacus and the slaves, peasants in the 17th century English revolution and Civil War, Quaker pacifists. You see these sparks and shifts of consciousness throughout history. Yet Chinese people's desire to take the same road to liberation is trashed unless it is a mirage whipped up to serve colonialists who won't leave them in peace.

Unfortunately, the Taiping rebellion was crushed by a combination of backward forces, including the rapacious British Empire whose self-justification and twisted narratives continue to this day.

We're currently seeing a repeat of the same lash-up of imperialist forces to suppress by all means the rising superpower that hasn't had a war in 40 years, all aided by Biden's huge anti-China propaganda budget of more than $500 million a year ($800m a year total) on top of vastly increased war machine funding of $1 Trillion for 2024.

Watch this space.

The British Museum Hidden Century exhibition 18 May 2023 - 8 October 2023

James on Twitter just sent me this fascinating story about my family namesake.

One of the Taiping rebels, a man named Ah Chen, escaped from China in the face of massive man-hunt of the rebel remnants. He became an indentured labourer in the West Indies, eventually landed in Trinidad, and married a local girl.
They had six children. The eldest, Eugene became Trinidad’s first Chinese lawyer, and a very successful one at that. He married Alphonsine A Gantheaume, a local beauty whose family was wealthy.
Eugene heard about Sun Yatsen, and moved his family to London to see if Sun needed his help. Eugene helped Sun in many ways, putting out newspapers, unravelling the dense legalese at the Paris Conference of 1920.
Alphonsine died very young in the 1920s.
He and other revolutionaries, eg Sun’s widow, Mme Song Qingling, considered themselves the true vanguard of Sun’s San Min Chu Yi. And they abhorred Chiang’g betrayal of Sun’s legacy. Both went to Russia to escape the 1927 Nationalist Revolution.
Eugene did not leave China when Japan invaded. When Japan couldn’t persuade him to endorse the puppet Nanking government, he was was executed in 1944.
His son, Jack, who spent his youth in Trinidad and came to China at age 17, didn’t speak Chinese. Jack married former Red Guard, Yuan-Tsung, who helped to translate for Jack when under interrogation during the Cultural Revolution.
I read Yuan-Tsung Chen’s book: Return to the Middle Kingdom, published in 2008, by Union Square Press. The author went to teach at Cornell in 1972. Her book gives a timeline on the Chen’s family, beginning with Joseph Chen (Ah Chen’s Christian name), including the spouses, the children, and the in-laws.


Anna's website: ANNA CHEN

Thursday 11 May 2023

When Jerry met Anna: Online conversation with China commentator Jerry Grey and guest Anna Chen

Anna's new website: ANNA CHEN


Last Sunday, I was an online guest of Jerry Grey, the British-born China commentator who caught our attention with accounts of his marathon bicycle trips around China, including Xinjiang, China's Belt And Road back door which leads across the Eurasian continent as far as Barking in the far east ... of London.

Along with a growing band of Westerners on the ground, Jerry has posted eye-witness evidence countering the wave of US and western propaganda centring not only on this key region coveted by the West, but also a buckshot of deranged claims fired off ever since America's Tonya Harding syndrome kicked off in earnest under former President Donald Trump.

Once Trump's trade war (launched 2018) failed to bring China to heel, the race was on to "contain" China with a crashing reversal of the good relations that brought mass produced affordable goods to the West ever since the Nixon/Kissinger initiative in the 1970s.

Cheap labour in the world's factory enabled American consumers to live beyond their means, disguising Reagan's and subsequent administrations' transferral of huge wealth from poor to rich in the form of tax cuts that have hollowed out the working- and middle-classes until the top 0.1 percent own as much as the bottom 90 percent of the US.

China's fortunes, however, are on the rise. Although per capita income is still only a quarter of America's, China is catching up. It has already lifted 850 million people out of absolute poverty thereby creating a middle-class nearly twice the size of the US population, a middle-class that consumes large amounts of western goods. Contentment with the government is up, according to Harvard research, with 95 percent of polls expressing satisfaction with the governing CPC (Communist Party of China).

The two superpowers will soon cross over as America's mismanagement becomes increasingly apparent. The ruling elite of the richest nation on Earth can't rein themselves in and halt their grand larceny against their own people. They could stop the rot and pour money into much-needed infrastructure, healthcare and education, instead preferring to extract maximum profits for the Military Industrial Complex and fossil fuel companies. They could work with China to bring peace and prosperity to all, but America is blinded by the guilt of its own sins and its rulers can only project their monstrous drives and appetites onto anyone who challenges their supremacy.

American society screams in pain, having been turned into rats in a sack, killing each other and plunging into poverty without hope. Tent cities multiply. Two or more jobs are needed just to keep steady. Most can't find $400 for an emergency. Brutality and killing by cop has been normalised.

The last thing the larcenous elite want is for the American people to look with clear eyes at the rising superpower that has flourished without a war in four decades. It does not want China standing as a model for how human society can thrive, so it throws obscene amounts of funds into twisting the public's perceptions to monster our global lifeboat: over $500 MILLION on anti-China propaganda in one year alone.

The US is dragging us all into a devastating world war to protect the tiny number of oligarchs at the top. They couldn't care less about their own population. Obviously. If anything, the eugenecists among them believe there are too many people populating the planet and that means the masses on their own turf as well as elsewhere.

Only five years ago, the global economy was crawling out of the US's Great Crash of 2008 in sync and with increasing stability under the shock absorber effects of a rising China. The time-warped American state has taken it upon itself to trash that hope as it prepares to do to the world what European invaders did to the native Americans. Similarly grabbing at Empire delusions, some elements in the UK are engaged in a 19th century cosplay thinking they'll replay Britannia not realising that its history is repeating itself in the western axis as simultaneous tragedy and farce.

Jerry Grey on Twitter: Jerry's China
and Jerry's Take on China
YouTube: Jerry's Take on China
Anna's website: ANNA CHEN

Thursday 4 May 2023

A poem for the monarchy revisited on the Coronation of King Charles III: Eating Placenta — Lines on the Royal Birth

Anna's new website Poetry page: ANNA CHEN

A poem fit for a king. Eating Placenta — Lines on the Royal Birth



Anna Chen reads Eating Placenta: Lines on the Royal Birth

Call me a coronation chicken but I'm sorely tempted to duck out of the Big Event this Saturday. I'm only one of a vast swathe of increasingly disenfranchised, pauperised Brits who can't bear to see wealth and privilege based on accidents of birth lionised as if we weren't all sliding ever deeper into the abyss.

Great Britain was once the biggest empire the world has ever seen, owning 26 percent of the planet only a century ago. Today, we're down to the AUKUS* countries which happen to have been given a last-gasp unifying project by the former colonies across the Atlantic: Opium Wars II with World War III waiting in the wings.

Like Nero partying while his city burned, the establishment cavorts in the frothing delusion that this is fine, secure in the belief that it's only a matter of military might before the white nations are restored to their rightful place as last men and women standing in the rubble of our beautiful blue planet. Meanwhile, they seriously expect us to pledge allegiance to some fairly inadequate human beings.

Look up, dinosaurs, that's an asteroid headed your way, not a revived empire.

The monarchy should have ended with Liz 2 instead of dragging us forward to mediaeval times. They had a good, long innings but that was it.

I'm not a poet laureate so I don't have to write anything for the occasion but, to mark the Coronation of King Charles III, here's one I made earlier, written in 2013. It's how I imagine the real celebrations going on behind the scenes once the hoi polloi are put to sleep.

* AUKUS: Australia, United Kingdom, US with Canada and New Zealand completing the pentacle states.

Eating Placenta is from Anna Chen's second collection of poetry, Chi Chi's Glorious Swansong, published by Aaaargh! Press.

Anna's website: ANNA CHEN

Monday 13 February 2023

Stopping the Iraq War 2001-3 20th anniversary: How the press was done

Anna's new website: ANNA CHEN


Stopping the Iraq War 2001-3, from race war to 9/11: How the press was done

by Anna Chen
13 February 2023

Wednesday 15 February marks the 20th anniversary of the unprecedented million-strong anti-Iraq War demonstration in London. 

2001 was a busy year for presswork even before the September 11 attacks in the USA.

In March, we had woken up to lurid headlines splashed across the media accusing UK Chinese of starting the previous year’s Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak which had brought the British countryside to its knees, and which Prime Minister Tony Blair was still failing to bring under control.

With farmers committing suicide as their businesses went up in flames along with the pyres of dead livestock, Blair had no solution to offer other than the incineration of animals, infected or not.

And then out of the blue, every front page and broadcast news bulletin suddenly accused UK Chinese of being the cause.

This was so absurd for anyone brought up on World War 2 history and schooled in how Goebbels had scapegoated Jews by associating them with filth and pestilence, that it was difficult to take seriously at first.

Valerie Elliot of The Times had been briefed by the Northumberland branch of the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food (MAFF) that the outbreak had started in pigswill collected from food outlets including a Chinese restaurant. Without any scientific evidence whatever, the press had taken the heat off the embattled PM by accusing a minority group of a national crime. It felt so mediaeval.

There followed much speculation about Mr Big criminals smuggling bush meat and antelope hooves into the country. Unable to picture herds of wildebeest galloping across the Chinese serengetti, amusement turned to horror. It didn’t matter that Britain was enjoying cheap food and Chinese fooderies get their meat from the butchers, same as everyone else. It was an image tapping into decades of invisibility and Yellow Peril stereotypes, confirming us as a permanent reservoir of scapegoats.

One friend told me it looked like we were being set up for a pogrom.

The Chinese catering industry took a huge economic hit. Abuse of Chinese takeaway workers in remote areas had begun. Someone was going to end up getting hurt.

UK Chinese across the political spectrum joined forces to present our case. I ran the press campaign and, after the business community lobbied Downing Street, we formed a delegation to meet the MAFF minister, Nick Brown, who reiterated his anti-racist credentials and denied that his office had made the allegation.

The Chinese made history when, for the first time this model minority protested on Sunday 8 April in London’s Soho and brought Chinatown to a halt. We marched to MAFF HQ where Minister Nick Brown came out and vindicated us in front of the international media.

Relieved that we’d headed off disaster, I was able to concentrate on the next press campaign: the Socialist Alliance’s run in the summer’s General Election.

* * * *

After three years of New Labour’s betrayals of their own constituents, a danger grew that the electorate would grow so disappointed in Blair’s rightward drift that they would abandon Labour for the Far Right. The aim of the Socialist Alliance, comprising groups and independents from the British Left, was to give voters a left alternative to Labour.

As the new kids on the block, we made a positive splash in the media, fielding 98 candidates including investigative journalist Paul Foot, who didn’t win but kept his deposit. The SA was described as "fresh and exciting" by John O'Farrell in the Guardian. "Easily the best performance for the left in post-war Britain," John Curtice told The Independent.

Mike Marqusee said I’d done the equivalent work of the six press officers who’d publicised the Countryside Alliance with a similar size operation and a proper budget.

These two successful press campaigns within a few months had given me extensive experience with a steep learning curve, but I was eager to return to my writing and performance work.

Strange how the universe trashes your most finely-tuned plans.

So, by the time we watched two airliners smash into the World Trade Centre on 11 September, I was as ready for the challenge as I could ever be.

* * * * *

President George W Bush instantly vowed to punish those responsible for the attacks which many read as a declaration of war. On whom, we didn’t yet know but Iraq was rapidly slipped in to replace Afghanistan as number one patsy.

Stop The War (STW) revived itself for the first time since Yugoslavia was dismembered by NATO, scheduling its first anti-Iraq War meeting for 21 September at Friends Meeting House opposite London’s Euston Station. With Mike Marqusee writing most of our bulletins, I issued the first of our blizzard of press releases under the Media Workers Against The War banner for STW three days before on the 18th. I had my usual media list plus 98 Socialist Alliance candidates and their branches from the summer’s General Election out of which to build a spine of resistance.

The hall was packed out. Speakers, including Bruce Kent, George Monbiot, and Jeremy Corbyn MP, “decried both the horror of the attacks on the USA and the horror of the attacks now being prepared by the USA and its allies against people in south west Asia”.



A day later on the 22nd, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmamant (CND) held a vigil at Downing Street attended by 5,000 people.

The British public were appalled by the prospect of an all-out war with Afghanistan and, even more absurdly, Iraq. Meetings were springing up as they poured into a rapidly coalescing anti-war movement.

At the Media Workers Against The War’s founding meeting on the 23rd, John Pilger, Paul Foot, Tariq Ali and a range of left figures argued for action and issued a statement.

The following week on 26 September, STW formally launched itself as the Stop the War Coalition (STWC), later becoming a three-way partnership with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB).


The left were expert at holding rallies and demonstrations, but often with little to show for it beyond a nice day out. This time, to prevent our activities disappearing as yet another walk in the park, we needed a coordinated press campaign, otherwise we’d be preaching to the choir.

With an expanding anti-war campaign, I expected to be working alongside other press officers, in particular veterans from CND. Instead, my emails went unanswered and all attempts to speak to them failed. CND went AWOL. On 27 October, I emailed the STWC convenor asking for back-up to help me with the media work but answer there came none. This left me doing all the national presswork on my own while Marqusee continued to write the STWC releases.

I continued to publicise the plethora of activities springing up from a galvanised base such as anti-war pickets at the BBC, a MWAW newsletter, coalition benefits featuring plays by Caryl Churchill and Tony Kushner, while encouraging rapid rebuttal activity, building fact files and in constant phone communication with news editors.

It was all hands on deck and, once STWC provided a focal point, everyone joined in. I scored a victory when, after years of under-reporting protest attendance numbers and ignoring our complaints, the BBC’s Head of News Richard Sambrook finally wrote to me admitting as much: “The relevant pages on BBC News Online were also updated. I accept we ought to have known your higher figure a little earlier.”

Unfortunately, the STW barely tolerated my presswork with many of them telling me not to do it because “it’s the bourgeois press, they ignore us and we don’t engage with them”. This was difficult to understand as my presswork was propelling the STWC convenor, Jeremy Corbyn MP and the burgeoning anti-war movement out of the shadows and into the public eye.

However, over the next two years, I worked from home, publicising our activities which included a series of show-stopping anti-Iraq War demonstrations in London. Each protest was bigger than the last with an estimated 50-100 thousand in attendance, exposing BBC reports of 10-15,000 as absurd. On one demo, I stood outside the National Gallery and watched Trafalgar Square filled to bursting while the march was still coming down Haymarket with no end in sight.

Eventually, once something was up for grabs, STWC got some sort of press action running but which Andrew Burgin, latterly a press officer, confessed wasn’t up to scratch: “We badly need good press officers,” he told me the weekend prior to the Mother Of All Demos.

This was on the “Football Match for Peace”, a local event which the Islington organisers had asked me to publicise and which I managed to turn into an international news warm-up for the Big Day. Tony Blair’s sister-in-law Lauren Booth cheered us up with her presence. Bianca Jagger kicked off the match between Americans Against the War (AAW) and a team of Iraqi students. And Andrew Murray gave a speech.

Everyone seemed delighted.

But no good deed goes unpunished.

The following weekend, on Saturday 15 February 2003, I found myself banned from the climactic march and rally by a sectarian leadership and stymied by a rising anti-east Asian bias. I confined myself to getting an ITN news crew to follow and film Bianca Jagger and the AAW’s Gabriel Furshong at the demo.

From across the nation, the huge numbers marching to the Hyde Park rally were breathtaking — over a million and quite possibly getting on for a million and a half. The biggest protest in the UK had been built by the rank and file and all without corporate money. My mood was only knocked when LibDem leader Charles Kennedy stated from the platform that he’d be supporting our boys once the war started.

There was one more key date to deal with: the actual Parliamentary vote on 18 March. Surely we’d have a reasonable turnout in Westminster to remind the Labour MPs who’d promised to vote against Blair’s war that their’s would be the people’s choice.

It was disappointing to see STWC demobilise for this crucial date. Cui bono?

Tony Blair won the war vote and, two years and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens’ lives later, Bush declared his Shock and Awe victory in 2005. Standing in the rubble of Iraq, Dubbya came out with what initially sounded like a non-sequitur: he designated China to be a strategic competitor.

How was this possible? In 2005 China was still a relatively poor country with its workers slaving away in suicide factories making our goods. Having been all but destroyed when Britain forced industrial mass produced opium on China at gunpoint in the 19th century Opium Wars, and during imperial Japan’s savage occupation and the West’s Korean war, why was America intent on waging another war, this time on the most populous country in the world just as it was getting up off its knees?

It was at this point that I saw a long line of boxes being ticked off, beginning with Yugoslavia via Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan and ending with Russia and China.

And then I learnt that Bush Junior had first targeted China years earlier in his 2000 election campaign, calling China a strategic competitor.

So, only months before Tony Blair’s administration had deflected hate, horror and disgust onto British Chinese who’d never done him any harm, we were already in the cross-hairs. Blair had thrown us under a bus to take the heat off himself and prove his loyalty to the new Rome. He would end up being tipped around £2 million a year by JP Morgan which had been granted pole position as the bank coordinating the extraction of wealth from a ravaged Iraq.

Which brings us full circle to the USA’s current go-for-broke policy as the supposedly abandoned Project for the New American Century goes nuclear and the UK, the second biggest force in NATO, nails us to the USS Titanic.

Thinking back to the confidence on display in the early days of the anti-war movement in 2001-2003, I’ve been wondering why there has been so little push-back from the British Left since then over Libya, Syria and Ukraine and while vicious Yellow Peril narratives set like concrete.

Our current rush to war with the rising superpower, losing us our cheap energy, mass produced goods and food, has gone largely unopposed. Where has the peace movement been in the past few years? Facing nuclear oblivion, the left has only just started to hold peace demonstrations and rallies, but virtually nothing about China.

Let's hope those accusations against the Chinese during the Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak of 2000-2001 weren't a practise run for the Mother of All Dodgy Dossiers and World War III.

FURTHER READING:

Shakedown: America's 21st Century War on China More than 20 years of keeping tabs on the incessant crawl of US imperialism since George W Bush declared China to be a strategic competitor in 2000.

Anna's new website: ANNA CHEN

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