Late Night Open Thread: Dispatch from China

When the header is a photo of Henry Kissinger, you know it’s not good news. But sometimes a name just jumps out at you…

The hard-working staff here at Spoiler Alerts sojourned to Beijing for a long weekend to attend a special fall session of the China Development Forum (the big CDF annual event, which involves dozens of chief executives and Chinese Politburo members, is held in the spring). I had not been to mainland China in a couple of years, so I was curious what could be gleaned from this trip about China and the state of the bilateral relationship…

China is both richer and more closed off. What I saw was consistent with the data about China getting richer: The cars in Beijing were nicer, and the traffic was worse.

What was more striking was the stronger reach of the Chinese state. Since last year, foreigners entering the country are required to have all 10 fingers scanned into a database. It is an Orwellian way to enter a country.

The degree to which China has closed itself off from the Western media is also extraordinary. Without a VPN, I could not access The Washington Post, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, the Associated Press, Reuters, pretty much every major American news outlet (oddly, Politico remained accessible). Even the CDF itself was essentially closed off to foreign reporters, as none of them were given any accreditation. Besides the Spoiler Alerts staff, the only attendees who write for news outlets were lunchtime speaker Thomas Friedman and the New York Times Beijing correspondent who advanced for him…

I think I may have an idea about why Politico should be exempt…






11 replies
  1. 1
    Mike in NC says:

    Henry K the war criminal is proof only the good die young.

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  2. 2
    Aleta says:

    OT:
    I would save the life of any insect before Giuliani.

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  3. 3

    Actually, the AP is not blocked at present, either. It’s possible that it was briefly choked off for some reason (the CCP has been known to do that), or Drezner might have just received a bad connection as many sites will load slowly enough here to get a timeout for reasons other than censorship.

    A petty point, but…there it is.

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  4. 4
    Ruckus says:

    @Aleta:
    Add poisonous snakes to that list. It is after all safer to be around them.

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  5. 5
    大芒果 says:

    I lived in China 2016-2018 ; the middle class is growing and optimism abounded. They take a much longer view of things than we do. It is imho impossible for us o win a trade war. Xi had tariffs ready for all red states and is quite willing to shift anything around to minimize the impact of our tariffs on them. Trump cannot play a long game as his days are numbered and he can’ count very high anyways.

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  6. 6
    Ruckus says:

    @大芒果:

    Trump cannot play a long game as his days are numbered and he can’ count very high anyways.

    He can’t play the long game and never has been able to, because he can’t actually think ahead farther or deeper than where’s McDs and a restroom. I also don’t think he can actually count higher than ten without taking off his shoes.

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  7. 7

    @大芒果: The trade war is all anyone wants to talk about, but no one’s especially worried. From dealing with people back home, I gather that whatever detectable impact there’s been in the U.S., no one’s felt it here.

    Overall, Trump is a joke to most Chinese people.

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  8. 8

    When the header is a photo of Henry Kissinger, you know it’s not good news.

    With all due respect, I vehemently disagree. “Henry Kissinger is dead” will be good news, and they will certainly use his photo as the header when he finally kicks the bucket. To be Scrupulously Fair, though, it’s possible he’s only still alive because neither Heaven nor Hell will accept him into their ranks. If that’s the case, we’ll be waiting a while before he dies.

    Ceterum censeo factionem Republicanam esse delendam.

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  9. 9
    Van Buren says:

    Anyone who thinks that both the Chinese people and the Chinese government aren’t more willing and better able to tolerate some discomfort from a trade war than the American people and government is an idiot.

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  10. 10
    Anne Laurie says:

    @(((CassandraLeo))):

    To be Scrupulously Fair, though, it’s possible he’s only still alive because neither Heaven nor Hell will accept him into their ranks.

    My Irish granny’s proverb for such folk was “Heaven won’t have him, and Hell doesn’t want him.”

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  11. 11

    Don’t foreigners have to give fingerprints at us immigration? I have a vague memory of doing this…

    ReplyReply

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