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China’s Chat ‘Xi’PT Designed for Xi’s Rendition of Socialist Propaganda

China has introduced a new player that blends cutting-edge technology with a heavy dose of political doctrine. This new chatbot, named “Chat Xi PT,” represents a significant step in China’s efforts to merge AI with the guiding principles of Xi Jinping’s leadership. The development of Chat Xi PT highlights how AI in China is not just about technological advancement but also about reinforcing the Communist Party’s ideology.

Chinese AI companies face two major challenges in their quest to develop chatbots that can compete with Western counterparts like OpenAI’s ChatGPT. The first challenge is overcoming U.S. export controls that limit access to top-tier artificial intelligence chips, which are essential for training sophisticated models. The second, and perhaps more uniquely challenging, requirement is ensuring these AI systems align with “Xi Jinping Thought.”

“Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” is a comprehensive political doctrine that emphasizes the supremacy of the Communist Party and socialist values. For Chinese AI developers, this means creating systems that not only function effectively but also propagate state-approved ideology. The state ensures that the chatbot’s responses are steeped in the political philosophy of China’s leader, making sure that “these large models need to implement core socialist values,” as noted by Rebecca Arcesati, an analyst at the Mercator Institute for China Studies.

Launched by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), Chat Xi PT is designed to provide cybersecurity and information-technology research. However, its most distinctive feature is its training data, which includes more than a dozen books and numerous documents authored by Xi Jinping, as well as various state media publications. This ensures that the chatbot’s responses are aligned with the political philosophy of China’s leader. According to the CAC, Chat Xi PT can answer questions, generate reports, summarize information, and translate content between Chinese and English.

While these capabilities are impressive, they are heavily regulated to ensure compliance with socialist values. For instance, when tested, Chinese chatbots have historically declined to discuss politically sensitive topics, emphasizing peaceful and constructive conversations instead. There is a clear directive that these AI systems must avoid any content that could “subvert state power.” This is part of a broader campaign to embed Xi Jinping’s political philosophy into various facets of Chinese society, from educational institutions to digital platforms.

China’s ambition to dominate the global AI sector by 2030 involves a complex balance between innovation and ideological control. While the nation boasts significant advantages, such as a vast population generating immense amounts of data, its stringent censorship laws pose significant challenges. AI models in China are restricted in both the data they can access and the responses they can provide, making it difficult to compete with more freely trained Western models. “Given the political limitations and the lack of access to more extended and uncensored data-training sets, they still do quite well,” Arcesati said. However, she also pointed out that in the long term, the gap between Chinese and American AI technologies might widen due to these restrictions and the lack of access to the best AI chips.

The introduction of Chat Xi PT is part of a broader campaign to promote Xi Jinping’s ideas on politics, economics, and culture. The state’s effort to promote its ideology is extensive, reaching even the youngest members of society. Children are taught Xi Jinping Thought from a young age, and popular news apps prioritize state media articles featuring the leader. This pervasive influence underscores the government’s determination to ensure that in thought, politics, and action, citizens are always in alignment with the Party’s core values.

Western AI models like ChatGPT and Google Gemini remain inaccessible in China due to regulatory barriers. Domestic companies like Baidu and Alibaba must ensure their models do not generate content that could be deemed sensitive. This stringent control extends to the AI models themselves, which must restart conversations if sensitive topics arise. Despite some evidence that Chinese regulators are loosening restrictions on AI to allow chatbots to be more globally competitive, the fundamental requirement for political alignment remains firmly in place.

While Chat Xi PT is currently being trialed internally, its potential public release could further entrench the integration of AI with state propaganda. This move highlights the dual role of AI in China: a tool for technological advancement and a medium for ideological dissemination and propaganda.

ACZ Editor: This is one of the huge dangers of AI. It is engaging and compelling and you can program it to influence children, make reasonable arguments for unreasonable concepts and it can reach as many people as necessary. In a totalitarian state like China, a tool like this is very powerful and a true enemy of freedom and critical thought.

China’s Punishment Drills: Why Taiwan is Under Fire

In a significant escalation of tensions, China has launched a series of “punishment” military drills around Taiwan. This aggressive move follows the inauguration of Taiwan’s new president, Lai Ching-te, and is seen as a direct response to his pro-independence stance.

Taiwan, a self-governing island democracy, is viewed by China as a breakaway province that must eventually be reunited with the mainland, by force if necessary. The election of Lai Ching-te, known for his pro-independence views, has intensified this long-standing conflict. In his inauguration speech, Lai emphasized Taiwan’s sovereignty, stating, “The Republic of China, Taiwan, is a sovereign and independent nation with sovereignty resting in the people.” He also called for an end to Chinese threats and aggression, urging Beijing to strive for peace and stability in the region.

The Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) announced joint military drills involving the army, navy, air force, and rocket force. These exercises are taking place in the Taiwan Strait and surrounding areas, including the Kinmen, Matsu, Wuqiu, and Dongyin islands, which are controlled by Taiwan but lie close to the Chinese coast.

The drills, labeled Joint Sword-2024A, started at 7:45 a.m. and aim to demonstrate China’s military readiness. They focus on joint sea-air combat-readiness patrols, precision strikes on key targets, and integrated operations inside and outside the island chain. Chinese state media published a map showing five drill zones around Taiwan and its outlying islands.

Chinese military spokesperson Colonel Li Xi described the drills as a “strong punishment for the separatist acts of ‘Taiwan independence’ forces” and a “stern warning against the interference and provocation by external forces,” a clear reference to the United States.

China’s response to Lai Ching-te’s presidency is clear: any move towards Taiwanese independence will be met with strong military and political actions. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi condemned Lai’s actions, saying, “The ugly acts of Lai Ching-te and others who betray the nation and their ancestors are disgraceful.” He warned that all pro-independence forces would be “nailed to the pillar of shame in history.”

China has not ruled out the use of force to achieve its goal of reunification. The drills are intended not only as punishment but also as a demonstration of China’s resolve to prevent any formal independence moves by Taiwan.

In response to the drills, Taiwan’s defense ministry has placed its military on high alert, condemning the exercises as irrational provocations that threaten regional peace and stability. Taiwan remains confident in its ability to defend its territory, with President Lai reiterating that only the Taiwanese people have the right to decide their future.

“The launch of military exercises on this occasion not only does not contribute to the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait, it also highlights (China’s) militaristic mentality,” Taiwan’s defense ministry stated.

China’s military actions are a message to the world about its claims over Taiwan and its readiness to enforce them. The United States, a key ally of Taiwan, closely monitors these developments, which have broader implications for global stability and power dynamics.

ACZ Editor: Think about it. Taiwan democratically elected its president who stated that Taiwan would maintain its freedom and independence from China. Now China is punishing Taiwan for doing exactly that. Why on God’s Green Earth would Taiwan ever want to be part of such a monstrous country?

UK Defence Minister: China to Supply Lethal Aid to Russia

In a significant and alarming revelation, UK Defence Minister Grant Shapps has accused China of providing or preparing to provide Russia with lethal aid for its ongoing war in Ukraine. Speaking at the London Defence Conference, Shapps emphasized that this development should serve as a wake-up call for the international community.

The Accusations

Shapps’ statements are based on intelligence from both the U.S. and British defense agencies. He claimed that there is evidence indicating “lethal aid is now, or will be, flowing from China to Russia and into Ukraine.” Although Shapps did not provide specific evidence during his speech, he highlighted a 64% increase in trade between China and Russia since the onset of the Ukraine conflict. This surge in economic activity, he suggested, is a strong indicator of their deepening partnership, which now appears to include military support.

China’s Response

In response to these accusations, China has maintained its stance of neutrality in the conflict. The Chinese embassy in London did not immediately comment on Shapps’ remarks. Previously, the Chinese embassy in the U.S. denied supplying weapons to Russia, asserting that China is “not a producer of or party involved in the Ukraine crisis.” Nevertheless, the close ties between Beijing and Moscow have been evident, particularly during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent visit to China, where both leaders pledged a “new era” of partnership against U.S. influence.

Evidence of Military Support

Senior U.S. officials have reported that China is providing Moscow with drone and missile technology, satellite imagery, and machine tools. These types of support, while not directly lethal in themselves, can significantly enhance Russia’s military capabilities in Ukraine.

International Implications

Shapps’ allegations are part of a broader narrative suggesting that authoritarian regimes, including Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea, have been emboldened by perceived Western hesitance to confront repression and aggression. He called for a robust international response, urging NATO members to increase their defense spending to 2.5% of their gross domestic product.

“The world needs to wake up,” Shapps declared, stressing the need for democratic nations to advocate for a values-based international order. This call to action is not only about recognizing the immediate threat posed by China’s alleged support for Russia but also about strengthening global alliances to deter future aggressions.

Editor’s note: The UK Defence Minister is correct in calling for vigilance based on whatever evidence he has. Some believe that our satellites and and intelligence apparati are infallible. They are not – do not underestimate the other side fighting against you. China has an intelligence organization that is very good, and capable of hiding major movements of weapons from our detection at least for the short term. You should have no doubt about that. ACZ’s conclusion is that is it likely that China has been provide “lethal” aid to Russia for quite a while.

The Hidden Hand Exposed: China is Funding Anti-Israel Protests on American College Campuses

In recent weeks, a disturbing report has surfaced, revealing the deep involvement of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in funding and organizing anti-Israel protests across American college campuses. The Network Contagion Research Institute (NCRI) has unveiled a complex web of connections and funding that has fueled these protests, raising concerns about foreign interference in American domestic issues.

The Emergence of SID4P

The organization at the heart of these protests is “Shut It Down for Palestine” (SID4P), which was formed in response to the October 7 attack on Israel. Described by NCRI as an “anti-capitalist, anti-police, and anti-government protest movement,” SID4P operates both online and in the real world. It mobilizes frequent demonstrations and targets critical infrastructure and public spaces, creating significant disruption on college campuses.

The Singham Network’s Role

Key to SID4P’s operations is the “Singham Network,” named after Neville Roy Singham, an American multimillionaire with extensive ties to the CCP. Singham, who lives in Shanghai and has been involved with Chinese propaganda efforts, has used his wealth to support and amplify the anti-Israel protests. According to NCRI, Singham serves as a “conduit” for CCP geopolitical influence, funneling money through a network of nonprofits and alternative news sources.

Operating under the SID4P umbrella are several core organizations, referred to as “Convenors,” including Al-Awda NY, National Students for Justice In Palestine (NSJP), Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM), Palestinian American Community Center NJ (PACC), the People’s Forum, ANSWER Coalition, and International People’s Assembly (IPA). These groups have close ideological and financial ties to Singham and play crucial roles in organizing and promoting the protests.

Financial and Ideological Connections

The People’s Forum, one of the key players in this network, has admitted to receiving substantial funding from Singham. A 2021 social media post revealed that “Marxist comrade” Singham funded the organization, which has been involved in major protest actions in New York City. NCRI’s report indicates that millions of dollars have been funneled through entities like the Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund, which functions as a dark money clearinghouse, obscuring the identity of donors while facilitating the transfer of substantial sums to American non-profits.

The People’s Forum and other groups have received significant grants from various foundations, further complicating the financial web supporting these protests. For example, the Justice and Education Fund, which received $20 million from GSPF in 2019 and 2020, provided a $64,500 grant to the People’s Forum. These financial connections reveal a well-coordinated effort to fund and support anti-Israel activism in the U.S.

The Broader Agenda

While the protests ostensibly focus on Israel, the underlying agenda is much broader and more sinister. According to NCRI, these movements are part of a “well-funded initiative driving a revolutionary, anti-government, and anti-capitalist agenda.” The leading organizations within this network serve as versatile tools for foreign entities hostile to the U.S., using pro-Palestinian activism as a cover to advance their broader goals.

Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla., expressed his lack of surprise at these findings. “I warned the Biden Administration of the ties between the Chinese Communist Party and certain far-left organizations operating in the U.S., but they didn’t listen,” Rubio said. “So, I’m not surprised by the reported ties between a pro-Hamas organization and the Chinese Communist Party given their shared anti-American, anti-Western civilization, and pro-Iran stance.”

Liora Rez, founder and executive director of StopAntisemitism, likened the anti-Israel demonstrations to a “Trojan Horse” designed to advance authoritarian ideologies. “Remember, for radical Islamists, Israel is only the ‘little Satan’ and the United States is the ‘great Satan,’” Rez said, arguing the protests “are part of a pre-planned, well-funded, non-organic campaign to undermine America and Western Civilization.”

The Convergence of Interests

NCRI’s report also highlights the convergence of the CCP-linked network with Palestinian terrorist groups, notably the Marxist-Leninist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Organizations like Al-Awda and the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, which advocate for imprisoned PFLP terrorists, are official endorsers of the Shut It Down coalition. This alignment of interests between pro-Palestinian groups and CCP-linked entities underscores the complexity and danger of the current protests.

Ivana Stradner, a research fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, has pointed out that China’s influence operations have long focused on exploiting social divisions within the U.S. “Beijing has taken notice of Russia’s information warfare accomplishments. China has adapted its playbook for polarizing America through exploiting social divisions,” Stradner said. “Beijing does not miss a chance to exploit American division over Hamas and promote far-left narratives.”

The Future of Protests

The NCRI report ominously predicts that these organizations will continue to incite unrest throughout the summer of 2024 and into the November elections. With well-funded initiatives and sophisticated organizational structures, the protests are likely to persist and potentially escalate, causing further disruption and division within American society.

The revelations about CCP involvement in anti-Israel protests highlight the sophisticated and far-reaching nature of foreign influence on American domestic issues. The CCP-linked network’s funding and organizational support for these protests reveal a calculated effort to exploit social unrest and promote anti-democratic agendas. As these protests continue, it is crucial for policymakers, educators, and the public to remain vigilant and address the underlying influences driving these demonstrations. The future stability of American society may well depend on our ability to understand and counter these covert efforts to sow discord and division.

ACZ experts have reported previously that the war in Israel was instituted at China’s behest with the specific goal of distracting the U.S. from the Russia Ukraine war. China has substantial influence over Iran (to the tune of a $400 Billion agreement) which was more than happy to cause Hamas to attack. With this revelation we see that China’s commitment carries to covert operations within the United States to disrupt our society. This is sinister beyond measure. Hopefully, the FBI will take action, at least to the extent that some organizations are known.



China vs. U.S. in Africa – Is China Pulling Ahead?

In recent years, China has significantly increased its influence across Africa, winning favor through substantial investments and strategic partnerships. As the United States and other Western nations struggle to maintain their influence, China and Russia have made significant inroads, reshaping the geopolitical landscape of the continent. The United States is actively trying to regain its influence on the continent. Through strategic projects and partnerships, the U.S. aims to counterbalance the growing presence of its geopolitical rivals. However, this effort is fraught with challenges, including addressing the controversial “debt trap” diplomacy often associated with Chinese investments.

A Preference for China and Russia

The president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Félix Tshisekedi, expressed a clear preference for China and Russia over Western countries. “Oh absolutely! You don’t quite understand African realities,” Tshisekedi told French TV news channel LCI during a trip to Paris. He criticized the West for imposing their values on African nations, especially regarding human rights.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni echoed this sentiment, criticizing the World Bank and Western countries for funding “capacity building” but not critical infrastructure projects like irrigation or railways. “How many railways have been constructed or funded in Africa? The few that have been were by China,” Museveni stated at a development summit in Nairobi.

The Decline of Western Influence

These remarks highlight a broader trend of declining Western influence in Africa. According to a recent Gallup study, the United States lost its position as the most influential global power in Africa last year. Washington’s median approval ratings fell from 59% in 2022 to 56% in 2023, while China’s approval in the region rose from 52% to 58%. Russia also saw an increase in approval, rising from 34% to 42%.

The fall in U.S. approval was particularly dramatic in Uganda, where it dropped 29 points following the U.S. decision to drop the country from the African Growth and Opportunity trade program due to Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act. Despite the Biden administration’s efforts to engage more with Africa, the U.S. continues to lag behind China, which has been Africa’s largest trading partner and has bankrolled numerous infrastructure projects through its Belt and Road Initiative.

Major Projects and Investments

China’s investments in Africa are extensive and impactful. From railways and ports to power dams and airports, China’s Belt and Road Initiative has left a significant mark on the continent. For example, China has financed the construction of railways that have transformed transportation in various African countries. Meanwhile, the U.S. has pledged to refurbish the Lobito Atlantic Railway, a 1,300-kilometer project that will create a logistics corridor through Zambia and the DRC to the port of Lobito in Angola. However, experts like John Calabrese of the Middle East Institute in Washington believe the U.S. is playing “catch-up” with China and Russia.

Challenges and Criticisms

One major advantage China and Russia have over the U.S. is their lack of restrictions when dealing with African governments. Unlike the U.S., which is constrained by laws prohibiting aid to governments that came to power through coups, Beijing and Moscow have no such limitations. This flexibility allows them to form stronger ties with a variety of African leaders.

Additionally, China and Russia have successfully exploited the U.S.’s perceived failures in addressing global conflicts. They have aligned themselves with other members of the so-called Global South, criticizing U.S. policies and presenting themselves as more understanding partners. Gustavo de Carvalho, a senior researcher at the South African Institute of International Affairs, noted that in West Africa, Russia has filled a specific security demand gap left by Western countries.

Strategic Partnerships and Projects

In Niger, for instance, authorities expelled American troops and invited Russian military aid, along with Chinese funding. China swiftly extended a $400 million oil-backed loan to Niger via the China National Petroleum Corporation. However, de Carvalho cautioned that China’s presence does not necessarily equate to dominance, as the nation is primarily interested in securing financial benefits and market access.

China has also opened a lithium refinery in Zimbabwe and signed a memorandum of understanding with the DRC and Zambia to develop a cobalt supply chain. These projects highlight China’s focus on securing essential minerals needed for the global energy transition, such as cobalt used in electric vehicle batteries.

The U.S. Strikes Back

U.S. Strategic Projects in Africa

The Biden administration has prioritized improving commercial ties with Africa as a key aspect of its foreign policy. One of the most significant projects is the refurbishment of the Lobito Atlantic Railway, a 1,300-kilometer railway that will create a logistics corridor through Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to the port of Lobito in Angola. This $1.7 billion project aims to transport millions of tons of green-energy minerals like copper, manganese, and cobalt from the Congo to Angola’s coast. The U.S. government plans to lend $250 million to support the project.

“This first-of-its-kind project is the biggest U.S. rail investment in Africa ever—one that’s going to create jobs and connect markets for generations to come,” President Biden said, highlighting the significance of the Lobito Corridor project.

In addition to the Lobito Corridor, the U.S. Export-Import Bank is lending Angola $900 million to buy American equipment for solar-energy projects expected to supply power to half a million homes. This move is part of a broader strategy to promote renewable energy and support local economies.

Last month, the Texas-based All-American Rail Group signed a memorandum of understanding with the Angolan government to explore upgrades to another train route running across northern Angola. This route is more focused on agricultural trade, and the Angolan Transport Ministry estimates the investment could reach $4.5 billion.

Addressing the “Debt Trap” Diplomacy

One of the major criticisms of Chinese investments in Africa is the so-called “debt trap” diplomacy. This term refers to situations where countries are unable to repay Chinese loans, leading to a dependency on China and potential loss of sovereignty over critical infrastructure. Angola, for example, has borrowed $42.6 billion from China for various projects, leaving the country heavily indebted.

Shoddy work and maintenance issues have plagued some Chinese-built projects. For instance, the Luau airport in Angola, built with $80 million from China, now sits unused with no commercial flights. Similarly, the computer systems at the train station in Luena have been dysfunctional for years because the Chinese contractors left without sharing the necessary passwords. Such issues have created opportunities for the U.S. to step in with alternative solutions.

A notable example of these issues is the Benguela Railway, which stretches 800 miles from the Atlantic port of Lobito to the Congo. Sections of the railway, built by the Chinese firm China Railway 20 Bureau, suffer from poor maintenance and safety systems. According to Benguela Railway officials, the stations are run down, safety systems are often out of order, and trains are prone to derailment.

The U.S. Approach

The U.S. strategy focuses on offering high-quality, sustainable investments while promoting good governance and transparency. Unlike China, which often funds projects regardless of the recipient country’s political situation, the U.S. is constrained by laws that prohibit aid to governments that came to power through coups or have poor human rights records. This principled approach, while limiting in some ways, aims to foster long-term, stable partnerships based on mutual respect and benefit.

“What I ask Angolans is to give me the opportunity to present the U.S. model, to give me the opportunity to be at the table and to compete,” said Tulinabo Mushingi, the U.S. ambassador in Luanda, Angola’s capital. “I know that our model will be appealing to the Angolans at the end of the day. I know that they will choose us.”

The U.S. is also addressing immediate needs, such as de-risking projects and ensuring their financial viability. Calisto Radithipa, chief commercial officer at Kemcore, noted, “It’s not too late – opportunities for deals still abound. However, the U.S. has not been actively engaged or bidding aggressively for these assets.” He emphasized the need for development funding in the mining sector, where local entities lack access to capital markets compared to their foreign counterparts.

Competing with China and Russia

Despite these efforts, the U.S. faces stiff competition from China and Russia. Beijing has been Africa’s largest trading partner for years, with extensive investments in infrastructure through the Belt and Road Initiative. Russia, too, has increased its influence, particularly in West Africa, where it has provided military support to governments and gained access to valuable resources.

Gustavo de Carvalho, a senior researcher at the South African Institute of International Affairs, noted that in West Africa, Russia has filled a specific security demand gap left by Western countries. “The relationship between Western countries and Sahelian governments became so fractured recently that Russia took advantage of the void left behind,” de Carvalho said.

The Broader Geopolitical Context

Seifudein Adem, a research fellow at the JICA Ogata Research Institute for Peace and Development in Tokyo, argues that the shift in influence is rooted in broader structural changes in the international system. China and Russia, along with other emerging powers, are challenging the current liberal international order managed by the U.S. since World War II. This coalition seeks to replace the old order with an alternative one that favors counter-hegemonic forces.

“These forces are in opposition to some aspects of the current liberal international order that was created and managed – and mismanaged – by the U.S. since the end of the Second World War. China, Russia and others seek to replace this order with an alternative one,” Adem said. He noted that the new order is the “antithesis of the old and is in the ascendant,” while the existing order is “on the defensive and has inherent disadvantages in geopolitical terms.”

Despite these changes, some experts believe the U.S. still holds significant influence, particularly among Africa’s younger population. Michael Chege, a political economy professor at the University of Nairobi, pointed out that many young Africans still aspire to emigrate to the U.S. or European countries, indicating a lasting appeal of the West. “Africa is a young continent with 60 percent of the population under the age of 35. When asked by [public attitude researchers] Afrobarometer a while ago where they would like to emigrate to, the vast majority said the U.S. and the European countries. I don’t think that this has changed,” Chege said.

The U.S. is working hard to regain its influence in Africa by promoting strategic projects and partnerships. However, it must address the challenges posed by China’s “debt trap” diplomacy and Russia’s military support to African governments. The U.S. strategy emphasizes high-quality investments, good governance, and transparency, aiming to build long-term, sustainable partnerships.

As Africa continues to grow and its geopolitical importance increases, the competition for influence among global powers is intensifying. China and Russia have successfully positioned themselves as attractive partners through substantial investments and strategic alignments. While the U.S. is making efforts to re-engage with Africa, it faces significant challenges in regaining its former influence. The future will reveal whose approach will ultimately win the hearts and minds of Africa’s people – the weak, politically correct methods of the U.S. or the sinister but forthcoming money from China?

U.S. Underseas Cables Are Critically Vulnerable to Chinese Repair Crews

U.S. officials are raising alarms about the potential espionage risks posed by Chinese repair ships to the vast network of undersea cables that carry internet traffic across the Pacific Ocean. According to a detailed report by Dustin Volz and others at the Wall Street Journal, these concerns are being communicated to telecommunications giants such as Google and Meta Platforms, highlighting a significant yet often overlooked security threat.

Undersea cables, which span hundreds of thousands of miles and carry almost all the world’s international internet traffic, are crucial for both commercial and military data transmission. These cables are owned in part by Silicon Valley giants like Google and Meta, but they rely on specialized construction and repair companies to maintain them. Some of these companies, such as S.B. Submarine Systems (SBSS), have foreign ownership, and U.S. officials fear that this could endanger the security of these critical data lines.

The State Department has particularly focused on SBSS, a Chinese state-controlled company that repairs international cables. Officials have noted that SBSS has been hiding the locations of its repair ships from radio and satellite tracking services, a move that they find highly suspicious. “The security of undersea cables is rooted in the ability of trusted entities to build, maintain, and repair them in a transparent and safe manner,” said the National Security Council, emphasizing the importance of satellite ship tracking as a measure to support vessel monitoring and safety.

The Biden administration’s concern about these repair ships is part of a broader strategy to counter China’s increasing maritime activities in the western Pacific. Over the past few decades, Beijing has taken steps to challenge U.S. military power in the region, often by trying to undermine the Pentagon’s communications and technological advantages. This is particularly relevant in the event of a potential clash over Taiwan or another flashpoint.

U.S. officials have been discussing these risks with senior Biden administration officials and representatives from major companies like Google and Meta. They have specifically highlighted the activities of SBSS, expressing concerns that Chinese companies could threaten the security of U.S.-owned cables. Despite these warnings, the administration has declined to comment directly on SBSS, and both Google and Meta have remained silent on the matter. SBSS did not respond to requests for comment.

Some industry experts suggest that the gaps in SBSS’s ship-location data might be due to spotty satellite coverage rather than deliberate attempts to hide their positions. They also point out that representatives of cable owners are often present on repair ships, making it difficult for any covert activities to go unnoticed. However, these reassurances do little to alleviate the concerns of U.S. officials, who are particularly troubled by the pattern of SBSS ships turning off their transponders at sea, a practice that is deemed unusual by industry standards.

Instances involving SBSS vessels like the Fu Hai and Bold Maverick, which exhibited erratic transponder activity while operating near strategic locations, further underscore these concerns. For example, the Bold Maverick set out from Singapore in 2019 and hovered over a small patch of sea in an area busy with ship traffic. Over the following weeks, its transponder switched off and on several times, moving around a small area less than a mile across. Similar incidents have been reported with other SBSS ships, leading officials and industry experts to question the motives behind these actions.

The U.S. intelligence community has long been wary of the security of undersea cables. In a 2017 report, it highlighted the potential vulnerabilities posed by industry consortia responsible for maintaining these cables, noting that they might “present vulnerabilities” and could be “susceptible to threats from insiders.” The integrity of these cables is a critical concern, especially in light of Beijing’s rapid military buildup in the South China Sea and its potential to disrupt or tamper with these vital communication lines.

Safeguarding undersea cables has been a priority for U.S. national-security officials since the Cold War. Today, the focus remains on ensuring that these lines, which carry sensitive data to U.S. military bases and other assets around the globe, are protected from potential espionage and sabotage by adversarial nations. To this end, the U.S. government is funding several Pacific cable projects in collaboration with American internet companies. Google, for instance, has announced a $1 billion investment in new cables and infrastructure in the region.

Efforts to shift responsibility for repairing Asian cables away from Chinese vessels pose significant challenges. With a limited fleet of aging ships capable of performing these repairs, finding alternatives to Chinese-owned assets like SBSS is no easy task. Industry analysts, including Mike Constable, who runs telecom consulting firm Infra-Analytics, point out the complexities involved. “You’ve got a Chinese asset repairing U.S.-invested cables,” Constable said. “No one had really thought about that before.”

The U.S. government’s concerns about Chinese repair ships underscore the complex and critical nature of undersea cable security. As global reliance on these cables grows, ensuring their integrity remains a paramount concern for both commercial and military interests. As Volz and his colleagues at the Wall Street Journal have highlighted, the vulnerabilities of these undersea cables could have far-reaching implications for national security and global communications.

ACZ Editor: The fact that China is hiding these ships means that China considers these to be a weapon. These underseas cables are critically important in a lot of ways. In a conflict with China, they will be incredibly difficult to defend – i.e., they are toast.


China’s Tactics to Win Taiwan Without Invasion

In a detailed report led by Dan Blumenthal from the American Enterprise Institute, “From Coercion to Capitulation: How China Can Take Taiwan Without a War,” the potential strategies China could employ to assert control over Taiwan without resorting to a military invasion are meticulously analyzed. While the fear of a full-scale invasion has long dominated U.S. strategic discussions, a more likely and subtle approach involves a comprehensive coercion campaign by the People’s Republic of China (PRC). This strategy, referred to as the short-of-war coercion course of action (SoWC COA), is already in play and could lead to Taiwan’s capitulation without a single shot being fired.

In this report, the short-of-war coercion course of action (SoWC COA) identifies four key centers of gravity that China aims to target to bring Taiwan under its control. Understanding these centers of gravity is essential to grasp the full extent of China’s strategy and the necessary countermeasures. Each center of gravity represents a critical source of strength and resistance that China seeks to weaken through its coercion campaign.

1. The U.S.-Taiwan Strategic Relationship

The strategic partnership between the United States and Taiwan is a cornerstone of Taiwan’s security and international standing. This relationship encompasses comprehensive bilateral cooperation in military, economic, and diplomatic domains. China’s strategy aims to weaken this partnership through economic carrots and sticks, information operations, and military posturing. By convincing both the U.S. and Taiwan that their cooperation leads to further escalation and instability, China hopes to sever this critical link. The goal is to make both nations believe that peace and prosperity can only be achieved by halting their partnership, thereby isolating Taiwan from its most powerful ally.

2. The ROC Government’s Ability to Function

The ability of the Republic of China (ROC) government to provide essential services and maintain governance is another vital center of gravity. China’s strategy includes economic warfare, cyberattacks, sabotage, and pseudo-legal maritime inspections aimed at disrupting Taiwan’s supply chains. These actions are designed to drastically decrease the standard of living in Taiwan, erode public confidence in the government, and portray the ROC as incapable of managing the island’s affairs. By undermining the government’s legitimacy, China hopes to create a crisis of governance that forces Taiwanese leaders to seek a settlement with Beijing.

3. The Taiwanese Public’s Will to Resist

The will of the Taiwanese people to resist unification with China is a formidable barrier to Beijing’s ambitions. Extensive and persistent cognitive and psychological campaigns are employed to intimidate and demoralize supporters of Taiwanese independence. These campaigns aim to sow doubt and fear among the population, making them question the viability of continued resistance. By creating an environment of constant pressure and instability, China hopes to generate a groundswell of demand for political concessions in exchange for peace and stability.

4. U.S. Public and Political Willingness to Support Taiwan

The willingness of the U.S. public and political leadership to support Taiwan is crucial for maintaining international resistance against Chinese coercion. China’s information campaigns target American perceptions, aiming to decrease U.S. support for Taiwan by highlighting the risks and costs associated with defending the island. By promoting narratives that suggest U.S. support for Taiwan provokes unnecessary conflict and distracts from domestic issues, China seeks to weaken American resolve. This decreased support would leave Taiwan more vulnerable and isolated, making it easier for Beijing to achieve its objectives.

China’s Coercion Strategy

The report identifies several methods the PRC could use to coerce Taiwan into political submission:

  1. Economic Coercion: The PRC can use its economic influence to isolate Taiwan from global markets. By imposing trade restrictions, controlling vital supply chains, and leveraging its market power, China can significantly harm Taiwan’s economy. This could include sanctions on Taiwanese goods, restricting imports essential to Taiwan’s high-tech industries, and pressuring multinational companies to reduce or eliminate their business operations in Taiwan. These actions would create economic instability and increase unemployment, thereby undermining public confidence in the Taiwanese government.
  2. Cyber and Information Warfare: By launching cyberattacks on critical infrastructure and spreading disinformation, China can create instability and mistrust within Taiwan. Cyberattacks could target Taiwan’s power grids, water supply systems, financial institutions, and government databases, leading to widespread disruptions. Concurrently, information warfare tactics such as disinformation campaigns, fake news, and social media manipulation can exacerbate internal divisions, fuel political polarization, and erode public trust in the government. These actions would weaken the government’s ability to function effectively and maintain social order.
  3. Military Posturing: Increasing military presence and conducting exercises near Taiwan serve to intimidate and demonstrate the potential for force. This creates a constant state of threat without crossing the threshold into open conflict. Regular incursions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), naval patrols around the island, and missile tests would exhaust Taiwan’s defense resources and keep its military on high alert. The PRC could also engage in psychological operations to demoralize Taiwanese forces and civilian populations, portraying Taiwan’s defense as futile against China’s overwhelming military might.
  4. Diplomatic Isolation: China can pressure other countries to sever official ties with Taiwan and prevent it from participating in international organizations. This diplomatic isolation can erode Taiwan’s international support and legitimacy. The PRC’s extensive diplomatic network and economic leverage can be used to coerce nations into adopting a One-China policy, thereby reducing Taiwan’s global footprint. By isolating Taiwan diplomatically, the PRC aims to undermine its de facto independence and push it towards unification with the mainland under Beijing’s terms.

Recommendations to Counter PRC Coercion

To counteract these coercive strategies, the report provides four key recommendations for the United States and its allies:

  1. Strengthen Economic Resilience: Taiwan must diversify its economic partners and reduce dependence on China. The U.S. and allies should assist Taiwan in building a more resilient economy through trade agreements, economic support, and investment in critical industries such as semiconductor manufacturing. Encouraging multinational corporations to maintain or expand their operations in Taiwan and integrating Taiwan into regional trade frameworks like the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) would also bolster economic resilience.
  2. Enhance Cybersecurity and Information Defense: Improving Taiwan’s cybersecurity infrastructure and countering disinformation are critical. This includes sharing intelligence, providing cybersecurity training, and supporting independent media to ensure accurate information dissemination. The U.S. and its allies can help Taiwan develop robust cyber defense capabilities, conduct joint cyber exercises, and establish rapid response teams to mitigate the impact of cyberattacks. Public awareness campaigns to educate Taiwanese citizens about disinformation and promote media literacy can also strengthen societal resilience against information warfare.
  3. Bolster Military Readiness and Cooperation: The U.S. and its allies should enhance military cooperation with Taiwan, including joint exercises, arms sales, and strategic planning. This demonstrates a tangible commitment to Taiwan’s defense. Regular joint military exercises can improve interoperability between Taiwanese and allied forces, ensuring a coordinated response in case of aggression. Providing advanced defensive weaponry, such as anti-ship missiles, air defense systems, and coastal defense equipment, can enhance Taiwan’s deterrence capabilities. Additionally, contingency planning and intelligence sharing would enable better preparedness for potential PRC actions.
  4. Expand Diplomatic Engagement: Increasing Taiwan’s international presence and support from other democracies is crucial. The U.S. should lead efforts to include Taiwan in international organizations and forums, ensuring it remains a recognized and supported entity on the global stage. Promoting Taiwan’s participation in global health, environmental, and trade organizations can reinforce its international legitimacy. Building a coalition of like-minded democracies to advocate for Taiwan’s inclusion and supporting its diplomatic initiatives can counteract PRC’s efforts to isolate Taiwan. Moreover, high-level visits and public statements of support from international leaders can signal unwavering commitment to Taiwan’s autonomy.

Blumenthal’s report underscores the necessity of a multifaceted approach to counter China’s coercive tactics. By strengthening Taiwan’s economic resilience, enhancing cybersecurity, bolstering military readiness, and expanding diplomatic engagement, the U.S. and its allies can help Taiwan resist PRC’s coercive efforts and maintain its autonomy. This comprehensive strategy is essential for safeguarding the strategic interests of the U.S. and its partners in the Indo-Pacific region, ensuring that Taiwan remains a critical ally in maintaining regional stability and countering PRC aggression.

ACZ Editor’s Note: Add to this more covert methods, like coercion of individuals within the government, discrediting of anti-China, pro-democracy leaders and much more, and you will find this is hugely powerful, and it could eventually work. Taiwan can vote over and over again for independence and democracy, but it only takes one vote in favor of China for it all to do away.


Russia and China: Closer Ties Through the Power of Siberia-2 Pipeline


In a significant development that underscores the shifting global power dynamics, Russia and China are on the cusp of signing a crucial contract for the Power of Siberia-2 (PS-2) gas pipeline. This project, which has been discussed for years, is now nearing fruition. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak recently confirmed that the agreement will be finalized “in the near future.”

The Power of Siberia-2: A Strategic Project

The PS-2 pipeline is designed to transport 50 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas annually from Russia’s Yamal region to China via Mongolia. This 2,600-kilometer-long pipeline is not just a piece of infrastructure but a strategic pivot for Russia as it seeks to replace Europe with China as its primary gas customer. This move has gained urgency as Moscow looks eastward in response to Western sanctions and the ongoing geopolitical rift with Europe following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Deepening Russia-China Relations

During a recent visit to China, Russian officials, including Novak, discussed the PS-2 project with their Chinese counterparts. This visit highlighted the growing bond between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, who have both vowed to start a “new era” of strategic partnership. Putin’s reliance on China to support Russia’s wartime economy has intensified, making the success of the PS-2 pipeline crucial.

“We plan additionally to finish the review and sign a contract for the construction of a gas pipeline with a capacity of 50 billion cubic metres of gas through the territory of Mongolia in the near future,” Novak stated on the Rossiya-1 state television broadcast. This declaration marks a significant step in Russia’s efforts to cement its energy alliance with China.

Economic and Geopolitical Implications

For Russia, the PS-2 pipeline represents a vital economic and geopolitical tool. The loss of the European market is seen as irreversible by the Kremlin, and PS-2 is viewed as a means to mitigate this loss. Although the pipeline may not be as profitable as its predecessor, the Power of Siberia-1 (PS-1), it is expected to generate significant revenue and stimulate economic development in eastern Russia. This development is crucial as Russia transitions to a wartime economy, focusing on large-scale, state-funded infrastructure projects.

Moscow regards gas as a potent instrument in its geopolitical strategy. Historically, Russia has used gas supplies as “geopolitical currency” to influence post-Soviet states. Now, by selling large volumes of gas to China, Russia hopes to tie Beijing into a closer geopolitical alliance. However, Russia’s bargaining power with China is weaker than it was with its former satellite states, making this a challenging endeavor. Convincing China to commit to such a large project during wartime would be a geopolitical victory for Moscow, showcasing its ability to deepen its energy relationship with China despite Western opposition.

China’s Strategic Calculations

China, however, is in no rush to finalize the PS-2 agreement. With a variety of energy import options, including a robust LNG import capacity and potential pipeline projects from Central Asia, China is well-positioned to negotiate favorable terms. The country’s long-term energy outlook suggests that while it will eventually need more gas, this need will not become critical until the mid-2030s.

China’s cautious approach allows it to use the PS-2 negotiations as leverage in discussions with other suppliers, thereby securing better deals. Additionally, the ongoing deterioration of US-China relations could make Russian gas more appealing as a way to diversify China’s energy imports away from US and Australian sources. As noted in a recent commentary, “China has the luxury of time when it comes to PS-2 because it does not need the gas right away. Moreover, China is spoiled for choice in its supply options.”

Impact on Global Gas Markets

The completion of the PS-2 pipeline could significantly alter global gas dynamics. By providing China with an additional 50 bcm of pipeline gas, it would reduce China’s reliance on LNG imports, potentially prolonging a global LNG surplus. This shift could also challenge Russia’s ambitions to expand its LNG exports, as China would prioritize pipeline gas over LNG.

Furthermore, PS-2 could enhance China’s role in the global LNG market. With more flexibility in managing its import portfolio, Chinese companies could become major players in LNG trading, influencing global trade flows and market liquidity.


The Power of Siberia-2 pipeline is more than just an infrastructure project; it is a symbol of the evolving geopolitical and economic landscape. While Russia sees it as a necessary pivot from Europe to Asia, China views it as a strategic option among many. The project’s future will likely depend on geopolitical developments and the economic calculations of both nations. If and when the PS-2 pipeline becomes operational, it will be on China’s terms, potentially reshaping the global energy market for years to come.

In the broader context, this project highlights the West’s diminishing influence over global energy markets as Russia and China forge a closer alliance. The successful completion of the PS-2 pipeline would not only secure China’s energy needs but also reinforce the notion that Western sanctions and policies are increasingly ineffective in isolating Russia. As the world watches, the Power of Siberia-2 pipeline could become a defining element of the new global order, challenging the dominance of Western energy markets and marking a significant shift in the balance of power.

Putin Arrives in China for Two Day Summit, Meeting Between “Old Friends”


Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Beijing marks a significant moment in international diplomacy, as he arrived for a two-day state visit aimed at strengthening the strategic partnership between Russia and China. Greeted by Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People with a grand welcoming ceremony and a multi-gun salute, Putin’s arrival was celebrated as a meeting between “old friends.” This visit, characterized by high-level talks and significant ceremonial events, underscored the deepening ties between the two nations amidst ongoing geopolitical tensions and economic sanctions imposed by the West.

Putin Praises China’s Support During Ukraine War

In an extensive interview with Chinese state media outlet Xinhua, Russian President Vladimir Putin praised China’s efforts to resolve the Ukraine crisis and described his upcoming meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping as a “dialogue between old friends.” He commended China’s initiatives to address the conflict, lamenting that “neither Ukraine nor its western patrons support these initiatives.” According to Putin, they are not prepared to engage in an “equal, honest and open dialogue based on mutual respect and consideration of each other’s interests.” The war in Ukraine began when Russia invaded in February 2022, leading to the loss of thousands of soldiers on both sides and devastating civilian casualties in Ukraine. Amid Western sanctions aimed at punishing Moscow, China has acted as a crucial economic lifeline for Russia, increasing trade and remaining one of the top importers of Russian oil and gas.

Strengthening Strategic Partnerships

Putin arrived in Beijing for a two-day state visit intended to deepen the strategic partnership between Russia and China. Chinese state media confirmed his arrival, describing it as a visit from an “old friend.” At a welcoming ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in central Beijing, Xi greeted Putin while artillery fired a multi-gun salute. Putin emphasized that the cooperation between Russia and China is a stabilizing factor for the world and is not directed against any other power. Xi noted that the two leaders had met more than 40 times and highlighted the importance of cherishing and safeguarding their relationship. “The China-Russia relationship today is hard-earned, and the two sides need to cherish and nurture it,” Xi told Putin.

Economic and Trade Cooperation

The bilateral talks focused heavily on enhancing trade and economic cooperation. Analysts believe that both countries will seek ways to quietly circumvent U.S. restrictions that have impacted Chinese exports to Russia. Speaking to Chinese state media before the visit, Putin criticized “western elites” for their efforts to “isolate and weaken” Russia. He also praised China for its initiatives to resolve the Ukraine crisis. The leaders will also participate in a gala celebrating 75 years since the Soviet Union recognized the People’s Republic of China, highlighting their historical ties and commitment to future cooperation.

Financial Independence and Sanctions Evasion

During the meeting, Putin revealed a significant shift in the financial dynamics between China and Russia, stating that “90% of all payments are already made in rubles and yuan.” This change came after Western countries removed Russian banks from SWIFT, the world’s main international payments network, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The aim was to hinder Russian trade and make business transactions difficult. However, Putin and Xi are exploring sanctions-proof mechanisms to ensure their economic activities continue smoothly. According to Alexey Maslov, director of the Institute of Far Eastern Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences, “China’s major banks are throttling payments out of concern over U.S. sanctions,” and Russia has proposed a decentralized payment system that the West cannot track.

Military and Political Dynamics

Putin’s delegation to China includes his new defense minister, Andrei Belousov, who recently replaced longtime ally Sergei Shoigu. Analysts view this as the most significant reshuffle in the Russian military command since the invasion of Ukraine. Belousov, a veteran economist with ties to Ding Xuexiang, a close ally of Xi Jinping, is expected to play a key role in upcoming economic discussions. Despite his recent removal, Shoigu is also part of the delegation in his position as head of Russia’s powerful security council. Alexander Gabuev, director of the Carnegie Russia Eurasia Center, noted, “Both countries have invested a lot of effort to really get their teams acquainted and establish personal bonds.”

Celebrating Historical Ties and Future Cooperation

Xi and Putin’s meeting celebrated 75 years of diplomatic relations since the Soviet Union recognized the People’s Republic of China. The leaders emphasized the importance of nurturing their partnership, which they view as essential for upholding global fairness and justice. “China is willing to…jointly achieve the development and rejuvenation of our respective countries, and work together to uphold fairness and justice in the world,” Xi stated. This visit, marked by high-level talks and ceremonial events, underscores the strength of their alliance in the face of Western opposition.

Global Implications and U.S. Rivalry

The visit highlights the broader geopolitical rivalry between the U.S. and the China-Russia alliance. Xi and Putin share a worldview that portrays the West as decadent and declining, while they seek to challenge U.S. supremacy in various fields, from technology to military power. This visit follows a recent mission by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Beijing, where he warned China against deepening military support for Russia. Despite these warnings, China continues to bolster its trade and military ties with Russia, illustrating the complex dynamics of modern global politics. Putin’s choice of China for his first foreign trip since his re-election underscores the significance he places on their partnership and his personal ties with Xi. As Putin noted, “It was the unprecedentedly high level of the strategic partnership between our countries that determined my choice of China as the first state that I would visit after taking office as president.”

Editor’s Note: Not much of a surprise, that Russia and China are holding hands and declaring brotherhood. The question is how much of the rest of the world will they pull into their sphere.

The Unstoppable Rise of Chinese Electric Vehicles: A Challenge for European Tariffs

The European Union’s latest plan to impose tariffs on Chinese-made electric vehicles (EVs) has stirred considerable debate. Christina Boutrup, an expert on Chinese market dynamics, sheds light on why these tariffs may not only be ineffective but could potentially pose a danger to European competitiveness.

According to Boutrup, the EU, under the leadership of Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, is looking to protect its automotive industry from what it perceives as unfair competition from Chinese EV manufacturers. These companies have been accused of benefiting from substantial state subsidies, allowing them to flood the European market with low-priced, high-tech vehicles. However, Boutrup argues that the real issue at hand is not just about pricing or subsidies but about the sheer competitive edge that Chinese companies have gained, particularly in the realm of green technologies.

The transformation of Chinese automakers from imitators to innovators has been rapid and remarkable. Companies like BYD have not only surpassed giants such as Tesla in sales but have also established themselves as leaders in battery technology and other green innovations. This shift is a result of a sophisticated ecosystem that supports massive production capacities and technological advancements, backed by aggressive government policies aimed at promoting the green transition of China’s auto industry.

Boutrup points out that the European automotive sector, which once enjoyed the luxury of charging significantly higher prices than their Chinese counterparts, can no longer sustain such a model. Over the past decade, European companies have had to reduce their prices to stay competitive in the Chinese market, which is both the largest and most competitive globally. This price adjustment is a direct reflection of the intense competition and innovation that characterize the Chinese market.

Moreover, the proposed tariffs, which might range from 15-30%, are unlikely to deter Chinese manufacturers who continue to enjoy healthy profit margins despite these potential costs. In fact, to truly level the playing field, the EU would need to consider tariffs in the range of 40-50%, a scenario that seems both impractical and unsustainable.

The broader implications of imposing such high tariffs could be detrimental to the EU’s own goals. High tariffs on Chinese EVs and other green products could make the green transition more costly and slower, contradicting the EU’s environmental and economic objectives. This dilemma suggests that instead of relying solely on traditional protective measures like tariffs, the EU should consider more innovative approaches to safeguard its automotive industry. This could include investing in domestic innovation and adapting faster and more cost-effective production methods.

Boutrup suggests that European manufacturers need to drastically rethink their strategies. Companies like Volkswagen are already taking steps in this direction with their new China Strategy, which aims to develop and bring new EVs to the market more quickly and affordably. Such initiatives are crucial not just for competing in Europe but also in global markets, especially in developing countries where trade restrictions are less likely.

While the EU’s intention to impose tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles stems from a need to protect its automotive industry, experts like Christina Boutrup believe that such measures might be insufficient and even counterproductive. The real challenge lies in embracing innovation and adapting to the new competitive landscape that Chinese companies have excelled in.

Editor’s Note: China has always had the goal of destroying the domestic industries of other countries by heavily subsidizing its industries. This is a bold move on their part, to go after the automobile industry. The question is whether our own leadership sees the problem and will stop China from flooding the markets. In any event, most of the rest of the world doesn’t have a domestic automotive industry and China will certainly flood those places. Their strategy is working.