Prepare for real combat


Xi Jinping addressed around 7,000 soldiers at a military base in Hebei Province, near Beijing, and ordered the military to be ready for war, a show of strength in anxious times.

With Trump tweeting about his nuclear button and tensions in Northeast Asia as bad as they’ve been for some time, China is not being shy. All Chinese central state media are running a version of this top story (in Chinese): “Xi Jinping — Military training must prepare for real combat, focus strength on building an elite operational force,” or this much briefer version in English.

  • Wearing camouflage, Xi addressed around 7,000 soldiers at a military base in Hebei Province, near Beijing, ordering them to ensure they are ready to fight and win real wars.
  • Soldiers across the country listened in remotely. The speech was televised nationwide, and heavily featured in state and online media.
  • “A tub-thumping display of military brawn involving thousands of heavily armed troops” is how the Guardian characterized the event in an article accompanied by a subtitled video of parts of Xi’s speech.

The 10 commandments of China-watching

China Heritage has a new page containing two interesting short works:

  • “The China experts” by Simon Leys, an essay written in 1981 when many self-professed sinologists were just beginning to realize they had been duped by the rhetoric of the Cultural Revolution.
  • “The 10 Commandments” of observing Chinese politics by the Reverend László Ladány, editor of China News Analysis from 1953 to 1982.

The end of free-riding China?

David Shambaugh, China scholar and professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University, has in recent years been rather critical of the Communist Party. But in a new piece on China-U.S. Focus, he says:

All in all, 2017 must be considered a banner year in China’s global diplomacy. We may look back on it as the year when China cemented its place as a major power in world affairs and reassured the world of its commitment to upholding the existing international system. In my view, Xi’s commitments to contributing to global governance end the long period of China’s “free riding” and reveals that Beijing is finally becoming the “responsible international stakeholder” that others have called for. This is a significant breakthrough for Beijing, and Xi Jinping deserves much personal credit for it.