Saturday, December 25, 2010

China-Russia military cooperation - Washington Post

Military strength eludes China, which looks overseas for arms

By John Pomfret
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, December 25, 2010; 12:00 AM 

MOSCOW - The Moscow Machine-Building Enterprise Salyut on the east side of town has put up a massive Soviet-style poster advertising its need for skilled workers. The New Year's party at the Chernyshev plant in a northwest suburb featured ballet dancers twirling on the stage of its Soviet-era Palace of Culture.
The reason for the economic and seasonal cheer is that these factories produce fighter-jet engines for a wealthy and voracious customer: China. After years of trying, Chinese engineers still can't make a reliable engine for a military plane.
The country's demands for weapons systems go much further. Chinese officials last month told Russian Defense Minister Anatoly E. Serdyukov that they may resume buying major Russian weapons systems after a several-year break. On their wish list are the Su-35 fighter, for a planned Chinese aircraft carrier; IL-476 military transport planes; IL-478 air refueling tankers and the S-400 air defense system, according to Russian news reports and weapons experts.
This persistent dependence on Russian arms suppliers demonstrates a central truth about the Chinese military: The bluster about the emergence of a superpower is undermined by national defense industries that can't produce what China needs. Although the United States is making changes in response to China's growing military power, experts and officials believe it will be years, if not decades, before China will be able to produce a much-feared ballistic missile capable of striking a warship or overcome weaknesses that keep it from projecting power far from its shores.
"They've made remarkable progress in the development of their arms industry, but this progress shouldn't be overstated," said Vasily Kashin, a Beijing-based expert on China's defense industry. "They have a long tradition of overestimating their capabilities."
Ruslan Pukhov, the director of the Center for Analysis of Strategic Technologies and an adviser to Russia's ministry of defense, predicted that China would need a decade to perfect a jet engine, among other key weapons technologies. "China is still dependent on us and will stay that way for some time to come," he said.
Indeed, China has ordered scores of engines from the Salyut and Chernyshev factories for three of its new fighters - the J11B, a Chinese knock-off of the Russian Su-27; the J10, which China is believed to have developed with Israeli help; and the FC1, which China modeled on an aborted Soviet design. It also told Russia that it wants a third engine from another factory for the Su-35.
How China's military is modernizing is important for the United States and the world. Apart from the conflict with radical Islamism, the United States views China's growing military strength as the most serious potential threat to U.S. interests around the world.
Speaking in 2009, Liang Guanglie, China's minister of defense, laid out a hugely ambitious plan to modernize the People's Liberation Army, committing China to forging a navy that would push past the islands that ring China's coasts, an air force capable of "a combination of offensive and defensive operations," and rocket forces of both "nuclear and conventional striking power."
The Pentagon, in a report to Congress this year, said that that the pace and scale of China's military reform "are broad and sweeping." But, the report noted, "the PLA remains untested in modern combat," thus making transformation difficult to assess.
'Could be sitting ducks'
One area in which China is thought to have made the greatest advances is in its submarines, part of what is now the largest fleet of naval vessels in Asia. In October 2006, a Chinese Song-class diesel-powered attack submarine reportedly shadowed the USS Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier and surfaced undetected four miles from the ship. Although the Pentagon never confirmed the report, it sparked concern that China could threaten the carriers that are at the heart of the U.S. Navy's ability to project power.
China tried to buy Russian nuclear submarines but was rebuffed, so it launched a program to make its own. Over the past two years, it has deployed at least one of a new type of nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarine called the Jin class and it may deploy as many as five more.
The Office of Naval Intelligence said the Jin gives China's navy its first credible second-strike nuclear capability; its missiles have a range of 4,000 miles. But in a report last year, the ONI also noted that the Jin is noisier than nuclear submarines built by the Soviets 30 years ago, leading experts to conclude that it would be detected as soon as it left port.
"There's a tendency to talk about China as a great new military threat that's coming," said Hans M. Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists. But, when it comes to Chinese submarines carrying ballistic missiles, he said, "they could be sitting ducks."
Another problem is that China's submariners don't train very much.
China's entire fleet of 63 subs conducted only a dozen patrols in 2009, according to U.S. Navy data Kristensen obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, about a tenth of the U.S. Navy's pace. In addition, Kristensen said there is no record of a Chinese ballistic-missile sub going out on patrol. "You learn how to use your systems on patrol," he said. "If you don't patrol, how can you fight?"
Anti-ship capabilities
China's missile technology has always been the pointy edge of its spear, ever since Qian Xuesen, the gifted rocket scientist who was kicked out of the United States during the McCarthy period in the 1950s, returned to China.
U.S. government scientists have been impressed by China's capabilities. On Jan. 11, 2007, a Chinese missile traveling at more than four miles a second hit a satellite that was basically a box with three-foot sides, one U.S. government weapons expert said. Over the past several years, China has put into orbit 11 of what are believed to be its first military-only satellites, called Yaogan, which could provide China with the ability to track targets for its rockets.
China is also trying to fashion an anti-ship ballistic missile by taking a short-range rocket, the DF-21, and turning it into what could become an aircraft-carrier killing weapon.
Even though it has yet to be deployed, the system has already sparked changes in the United States. In September, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said China's "investments in anti-ship weaponry and ballistic missiles could threaten America's primary way to project power and help allies in the Pacific - particularly our forward bases and carrier strike groups." The U.S. Navy in 2008 cut the DDG-1000 destroyer program from eight ships to three because the vessels lack a missile-defense capability.
But the challenge for China is that an anti-ship ballistic missile is extremely hard to make. The Russians worked on one for decades and failed. The United States never tried, preferring to rely on cruise missiles and attack submarines to do the job of threatening an opposing navy.
U.S. satellites would detect an ASBM as soon as it was launched, providing a carrier enough warning to move several miles before the missile could reach its target. To hit a moving carrier, a U.S. government weapons specialist said, China's targeting systems would have to be "better than world-class."
Wu Riqiang, who worked for six years at the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation as a missile designer, said that while he could not confirm that such a missile existed, he believed weapons such as these were essentially "political chips," the mere mention of which had already achieved the goal of making U.S. warships think twice about operating near China's shores.
"It's an open question how these missiles will do in a conflict situation," said Wu, who is now studying in the United States. "But the threat - that's what's most important about them."
Morale trouble
The deployment of a naval task force to the Gulf of Aden last year as part of the international operation against pirates was seen as a huge step forward for China. The implication was that China's military doctrine had shifted from defending China's borders to protecting China's interests, which span the globe. But the expeditionary force has also provided a window into weaknesses of the People's Liberation Army, according to a new report by Christopher Yung, a former Pentagon official now at the National Defense University.
China's lack of foreign military bases - it has insisted that it won't station troops abroad - limits its capacity to maintain its ships on long-term missions. A shortage of helicopters - the workhorses of a naval expeditionary force - makes it hard for the ships to operate with one another. China's tiny fleet of replenishment ships - it has only three - doesn't give it enough capacity to do more than one such operation at a time.
China's navy, according to Yung, also has difficulty maintaining a fresh water supply for its sailors. And poor refrigeration on its ships makes it hard to preserve fruit and vegetables, something that makes for griping on board.
"The sailors during the first deployment had a real morale problem," Yung said, adding that following their mission, they were taken on a beach vacation "to get morale back up."
Empowering local commanders, considered key to a successful fighting force, is something that Beijing clearly has yet to embrace. British Royal Navy Commodore Tim Lowe, who commanded the Gulf of Aden operation for the U.S. 5th Fleet up until May, noted that while other navies would send operations officers to multinational meetings to discuss how to fight pirates, China would dispatch a political officer who often lacked expertise. The concept of sharing intelligence among partner countries was also tough for the Chinese to fathom. To the Chinese, he said, "that was an unusual point."
Tension with the Kremlin
China's military relations with Russia reveal further weaknesses. Between 1992 and 2006, the total value of Russia's arms exports to China was $26 billion - almost half of all the weapons Russia sold abroad.
But tensions arose in 2004 over two issues, Russian experts said. Russia was outraged when it discovered that China, which had licensed to produce the Su-27 fighter jet from Russian kits, had actually copied the plane. China was furious that after it signed a contract for a batch of IL-76 military transport planes it discovered that Russia had no way to make them. After receiving 105 out of a contracted 200 Su-27s, China canceled the deal and weapons negotiations were not held for several years.
Purchases of some items continued - S-300 air defense systems and billions of dollars worth of jet engines. An engine China made for its Su-27 knock-off would routinely conk out after 30 hours whereas the Russian engines would need refurbishing after 400, Russian and Chinese experts said.
"Engine systems are the heart disease of our whole military industry," a Chinese defense publication quoted Wang Tianmin, a military engine designer, as saying in its March issue. "From aircraft production to shipbuilding and the armored vehicles industry, there are no exceptions."
When weapons talks resumed with Russia in 2008, China found the Russians were driving a harder bargain. For one, it wasn't offering to let China produce Russian fighters in China. And in November, the Russians said they would only provide the Su-35 for China's aircraft carrier program if China bought 48 - enough to ensure Russian firms a handsome profit before China's engineers attempted to copy the technology. Russia also announced that the Russian military would buy the S-400 air defense system first and that China could get in line.
"We, too, have learned a few things," said Vladimir Portyakov, a former Russian diplomat twice posted to Beijing.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Nobel Peace Prize (2) - The Economist

Explain in vain
Dec 10th 2010, 8:28 by T.P. | BEIJING

TO HEAR China’s foreign ministry tell it, today’s ceremony in Oslo, in which the Nobel peace prize is to be awarded to Liu Xiaobo, an imprisoned Chinese dissident, is nothing more or less than “an anti-China farce” orchestrated by “a few clowns” on the Nobel prize committee. Whatever the merits of that complaint, the Norwegians will be hard-pressed to match the atmosphere of farce that was achieved by a hastily organised ceremony in Beijing yesterday. Ostensibly, the Chinese ceremony was designed to honour the recipient of the newly established “Confucius peace prize”.
The winner was Lien Chan, a rather dowdy senior Taiwanese politician who has been at the forefront of recent efforts to improve cross-strait relations. (In November his son, Sean Lien, was shot at a political rally in Taiwan; revenge, some suspect, for his father’s work.) As will be the case in Oslo—but for very different reasons—the recipient was not on hand for the ceremony in Beijing. Indeed, a statement from Mr Lien’s office said that he had never heard of such an award and had no plans to accept it.
Unlike the Norwegians, who plan to mark Mr Liu’s absence with the understated eloquence of an empty chair, the organisers of the Confucius prize ceremony recruited a six-year-old girl as a stand-in for Mr Lien. The young Miss Zeng Yuhan (pictured above) seemed somewhat flustered by the proceedings, in which she was thrust before cameras and handed a beribboned stack of Chinese currency in the amount of 100,000 yuan, worth about $15,000.
The event’s organisers seemed flustered too, as they were able to offer only the fuzziest of answers to even the most obvious questions: just who is this little girl? What is the Chinese government’s involvement in their selection of a winner? To what extent is the prize intended as a riposte to the Nobel committee?
The Chinese government, for its part, has been singularly focused on neutralising the impact of Mr Liu’s selection since it was announced in October. In addition to scolding Norway and promising that its standing with China would suffer, it has mounted a heavy-handed campaign to deter other nations from sending any dignitaries to attend the ceremony in Oslo.
China has vastly overstated its success in this effort, citing the 100+ countries that will not attend the ceremony as proof that most of the world supports its position. In fact invitations were extended to only the 65 countries who keep embassies in Norway. Of those at least 45 have accepted. Those who have declined have done so for a variety of reasons.
At home China’s authorities have taken other steps, mounting a stern crackdown against the already beleaguered community of dissidents, rights activists and critics of the government. Mr Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, was placed under house arrest shortly after the big announcement, and an extra contingent of security forces were posted to the streets around her Beijing home on the eve of the Nobel ceremony, 7,000km away.
A number of Chinese activists have been stopped from leaving the country in recent weeks, apparently to ensure that none of them wends a way to Oslo to pick up the award on Mr Liu’s behalf. Chinese censors have been more active than usual in recent days, blocking internet news websites and foreign television broadcasts that are usually allowed in.
Mr Liu is a 54-year-old poet and literary critic with a long history of political activism, including a role in China’s massive pro-democracy movement of 1989. He was sentenced on Christmas Day of 2009 to an 11-year jail sentence on charges of inciting subversion. His crime was to have organised and publicised Charter 08, a petition that called for sweeping reform and the liberalisation of China’s stern one-party political system. The petition was launched December 9th 2008, just in time for December 10th, which is Human Rights Day—so designated because it was the date in 1948 that the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Nobel ceremony is scheduled on that date each year for the same reason.
In October, China was quick to blast the Nobel committee for seeking to make a hero out of a Chinese criminal. The award, China's foreign ministry insisted, constituted misguided interference in China’s affairs as well as a violation of China’s judicial sovereignty. China has held to that line consistently over the past two months. Indeed, it is the same rhetorical line China took in 1996, when the European Parliament awarded the Andrei Sakharov prize for freedom of thought to Wei Jingsheng, another Chinese dissident, then in prison. At the time China accused the European parliamentarians of slandering China and committing “violent interference in China’s internal affairs”. China then foresaw “damage to Sino-European relations and eventually to the interests of Europeans”.
Like the EU's ambassador to China in 1996, who tried to explain that “parliaments in Europe do not take instructions from executives”, Norway this year has struggled to convince China that the government exerts no control over the independent Nobel committee. Neither side seems any more likely to accept the other's explanation.

Nobel Peace Prize (1) - The Economist


Asia view

China and the Nobel peace prize

The empty chair
Dec 10th 2010, 19:48 by J.M. | LONDON

CHINESE leaders probably failed to anticipate the battering that China’s image abroad would suffer as a result of the awarding of the Nobel peace prize to an imprisoned Chinese dissident, Liu Xiaobo. They would have expected that their boycott of the award ceremony in Oslo on December 10th would invite comparisons in the West between China and the Soviet Union, which responded with similar fury to the award of the prize to Andrei Sakharov in 1975. It is unlikely they fully realised that their behaviour would be equated even more prominently with that of Nazi Germany.
The empty chair reserved for Mr Liu at Oslo’s town hall, and the absence of any of his family members to receive the award on his behalf, made this the first such ceremony since 1936 when Carl von Ossietzky, a jailed German pacifist, was a similar no-show. Adolf Hitler refused to let him go to the ceremony. Mr Sakharov was not allowed to pick up his prize either, but his wife, Elena Bonner, happened to be abroad at the time and was able to go in his place.
China is extremely prickly about being compared with Nazi Germany. This newspaper got an earful from Chinese officials in 2001 for publishing a leader arguing that China was not suited to host the Olympic Games because “the world has no cause to honour a government that governs in this way with a sporting event intended to promote human dignity”. The Economist reminded readers of the similar position it took on the Nazis’ hosting of the Olympic Games in 1936.
Chinese officials are less touchy about Soviet analogies. Indeed, they play them up. The state-controlled Chinese media have not been bashful about casting Mr Sakharov and Mr Liu in the same light: both tools of a Western conspiracy to undermine communism (this piece, in Chinese, is typical of the genre). Never mind that Western governments, anxious to secure Chinese help with everything from global economic rebalancing to curbing climate change, have little interest in annoying China by talking about Mr Liu. China’s propaganda machinery prefers to portray the West as duplicitous.
But the propagandists probably had not fully thought through the headlines that would be created by the sweeping crackdown on dissidents since the prize was announced in October. By putting Mr Liu’s wife and numerous others under house arrest, and stopping activists from leaving the country in order to prevent them from going to Oslo, the headlines were recalibrated to reflect a comparison with 1936, not 1975 (or 1983, when Lech Walesa's wife accepted the award on his behalf, or 1991, when Aung San Suu Kyi's son took home his mother's prize). China knows that memories of Nazi Germany evoke a more visceral repugnance in the West than do those of the Soviet Union. Comparisons with Germany early in the last century are also unwelcome for Chinese leaders given their efforts to convince the world that China’s rise will have none of the same consequences that Germany’s did.
The battering suffered by the West during the global economic crisis appears to have made Chinese leaders thicker skinned. But the state-controlled media’s handling of the first “Confucius Peace Prize”, which was awarded in Beijing this week, suggests that officials remain sensitive. The Chinese press played the event down. Officials said the government did not have a hand in it (as the party-affiliated Global Times reported, in Chinese). Perhaps they might have worried that Hitler too organised a home-grown version of the Nobel prize, the German National Prize for Art and Science, in response to von Ossietzky’s award.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A China como copiadora universal...

A gana de crescimento da China
País está determinado a alcançar superioridade tecnológica de qualquer maneira

Viajar em um dos novos trens chineses de alta velocidade, como fiz recentemente, é experimentar o rápido avanço industrial da China.

Fomos de Nanjing a Xangai a uma velocidade com a qual o serviço da Amtrak entre Nova York e Washington pode apenas sonhar.

Caso a CSR Corporation, a companhia chinesa que construiu o trem, consiga o que pretende, os Estados Unidos poderão experimentar essa tecnologia na próxima década.

A CSR fechou acordo com a General Electric para que participem juntas, em competição com Siemens e Alstom, da concorrência para a criação de serviços ferroviários de alta velocidade na Flórida e na Califórnia.

À primeira vista, o trem de alta velocidade serve como símbolo da transição pretendida pela China, de polo fabril para economia inovadora e de alta capacitação.
O trem também serve como símbolo de outra coisa: a determinação de obter superioridade tecnológica de qualquer maneira, o que inclui tomar tecnologia ocidental e alterá-la o mínimo necessário para poder alegar que foi desenvolvida no país.
O uso dessa estratégia pela CSR causou irritação à sua antiga sócia, a Kawasaki Heavy Industries, fabricante dos trens-bala japoneses.

Empresas ocidentais precisam revelar detalhes de suas tecnologias se desejam obter contratos, e depois se veem forçadas a concorrer com estatais chinesas.
Isso vem abalando a antiga fé das companhias ocidentais em que seriam necessárias décadas para que a China as alcançasse.

Nada disso é acidental. A China quer se tornar economia avançada e usa seu poder de mercado para tomar um atalho, ao "digerir" a propriedade intelectual alheia.

É difícil sentir raiva da China por estar vivendo uma fase de fiscalização pouco intensa das leis de propriedade intelectual quando tantos outros países, entre os quais os Estados Unidos, fizeram o mesmo um dia.

Mas existe uma diferença entre pirataria informal, que o governo chinês reconhece como problema e tenta reprimir, e a absorção de tecnologias com aprovação estatal.
A primeira questão envolve um setor privado agindo com exuberância descontrolada, e a segunda é um esforço oficial para permitir que o país pule um estágio de desenvolvimento industrial.

Caso a China esteja tentando se iludir e acreditar que "microinovação" e "renovação inovadora" são tão boas quanto inovação real, correrá o risco de não realizar seu sonho de se tornar uma economia avançada.

Thomas Howell, advogado especialista em questões de comércio internacional no escritório de advocacia Dewey & LeBoeuf, diz que os Estados Unidos poderiam contestar a China por meio da Organização Mundial de Comércio (OMC), mas que mudanças são mais prováveis caso os chineses percebam que suas práticas atuais os prejudicam.

"Há um limite ao crescimento quando a inovação de um país vem de fora", disse.
Até o momento, a China não parece estar recebendo essa mensagem.

É difícil resistir isoladamente quando a China exerce controle sobre as aquisições da segunda maior economia do planeta e sobre o maior mercado mundial para infraestrutura.

E os chineses são mestres em esmagar dissidências e oferecer recompensas aos que cooperem.

Mas, a menos que as empresas ocidentais decidam resistir em conjunto, com apoio das empresas privadas chinesas, as autoridades da China não terão problemas em continuar usando a tática do dividir para governar.


No antigo Kazakistan chines: repressao contra uigures

China Pressed to Account for Uighurs’ Fate

BEIJING — A human rights organization has called on the Chinese government to publicly account for the fate of 20 ethnic Uighurs who were deported to China from Cambodia one year ago as they awaited a determination on their asylum applications with the United Nations.
Until now Beijing has refused to provide any information about the Uighurs — men, boys, a woman and two infants — who were sent back to China on Dec. 19 over the objections of the United States, the European Union and United Nations officials. They were forcibly returned the day before Chinese Vice President Xi Jinpin arrived in Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital, for a visit that yielded a package of loans and grants worth $1.2 billion.
The Uighurs, who made their way to Cambodia with the help of Christian missionaries, said they were fleeing a crackdown that followed deadly ethnic rioting in the China’s far western Xinjiang region in July 2009. Many of the 197 people dead were Han Chinese migrants killed during two days of violence in the regional capital, Urumqi. An unknown number of Uighurs were also killed or injured in a brief spasm of Han vigilante attacks that followed.
Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim people, have long complained about Han migration to the West that they say dilutes their numbers, culture and language. The Chinese government, in turn, often accuses Uighurs of engaging in “separatism” when pressing their demands for expanded religious freedom and political autonomy.
In its only statement to date about the fate of the deportees, the Chinese Foreign Ministry suggested in February that the Uighurs had been tried or were set to face trial. “China is a country ruled by law,” Ma Zhaoxu, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, wrote in response to questions sent by The New York Times. “The judicial authorities deal with illegal criminal issues strictly according to law.”
China has insisted the Uighurs were wanted in connection with the rioting, although they did not publicly provide any evidence of their involvement. In the months that followed the violence in Urumqi, hundreds of Uighurs were detained and at least nine were executed.
Human Rights Watch said they feared that those deported faced torture, long prison terms or worse. “Both China and Cambodia should be held accountable for their flagrant disregard of their obligations under international law,” Sophie Richardson, Human Rights Watch’s Asia advocacy director, said in a statement.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said 22 people initially applied for asylum in their Phnom Penh office but two disappeared before the group was handcuffed and forced onto a Chinese plane. In their statements, the applicants said they feared harsh punishment if returned to China.
“I can tell the world what is happening to Uighur people, and the Chinese authorities do not want this,” one man, a 27-year-old teacher, wrote. “If returned, I am certain I would be sent to prison.’ ”

Friday, December 10, 2010

Liu Xiaobo, jailed in China, honored in absentia by Nobel committee

Liu Xiaobo, jailed in China, honored in absentia by Nobel committee
By Debbi Wilgoren and Keith B. Richburg
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, December 10, 2010; 7:46 AM 

The blue-and-white upholstered chair reserved for him was empty. At the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo Friday, jailed Chinese dissident and intellectual Liu Xiaobo was nowhere to be seen.
Yet his campaign to bring universal human rights and democracy to China was recognized at a somber and formal ceremony made more visible, in many ways, as a result of Beijing's efforts to suppress it.
"We regret that the laureate is not present. He is in isolation in a prison in northeastern China," said Nobel committee secretary Geir Lundestad. "Nor can his his wife or closest relatives be with us....This fact alone shows that the award was necessary and appropriate."
The audience of several hundred dignitaries, diplomats and officials responded with sustained applause and a standing ovation. An oversize portrait of Liu, 54, had been hung on the stage in the stately hall. His eyes, behind his trademark spectacles, appeared to take in the proceedings.
"Liu has only exercised his civil rights. He has not done anything wrong," Lundestad said. "He must be released."
When he finished speaking, he placed the medal and certificate normally awarded to the laureate in the empty chair upon the stage, triggering another ovation.
China blocked broadcasts of the ceremony on television and Internet sites. Just before 8 p.m. in Beijing, as the ceremony was beginning, CNN and BBC television channels went blank - as they had intermittently throughout the day. Chinese television news led their programs with stories on the latest economic figures, and new worries over inflation.
Also, some text messages containing the words "Liu Xiaobo" and "Nobel prize" were being blocked from delivery.
Chinese Internet users, or "'Netizens," tried to start an online campaign of support for Liu by changing their avatars either to yellow ribbons or empty chairs. One image being passed around online and via Twitter showed a black chair, in the shape of a human with arms and legs, and with handcuffs around the ankles.
Meanwhile, police in Beijing maintained a heavy presence outside the apartment compound of Liu's wife, Liu Xia, who has had her telephone and Internet communications cut off for several weeks, since the announcement of the prize.
The government prohibited the Lius and their family members from leaving China to attend Friday's ceremony, and barred other activists from traveling or even gathering at cafes or public places for fear that they would find a way to celebrate the occasion.
The crackdown triggered outrage and condemnation from around the world. It was the first time the award was not presented to a laureate in person since 1936, when Carl von Ossietzky, a German pacifist jailed by the Nazi regime, was prevented from attending the ceremony.
The absence of Liu and his family members also meant that the $1.4 million cash prize went uncollected.
Foreign embassies in Norway were warned that if they sent representatives to the Nobel ceremony, they would risk unspoken diplomatic "consequences." China broke off trade talks with Norway. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu denounced the Nobel committee members as "clowns" and accused them of "orchestrating an anti-China farce."
As of Dec. 6, the Nobel committee said, 46 countries had announced they would send representatives to the prize ceremony. Fifteen countries--China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia,PakistanIraq , Iran, Vietnam, AfghanistanVenezuelaEgypt, Sudan, Cuba and Morocco--said they would stay away.
The government of Serbia had planned to boycott the ceremony in order to maintain good relations with China, but reversed that stance on Friday in the face of an outcry at home and from the European Union and said it would send an human rights official--not a diplomat--to witness the event.
"We had to affirm our relation with China and respond to Serbia's interests with regard to the European Union," Human Rights Minister Svetozar Cipliche told the Associated Press. Serbia is a candidate for EU membership.
President Obama, chosen to receive the prestigious prize one year ago, said in a statement that Liu "is far more deserving of this award than I was."
"I regret that Mr. Liu and his wife were denied the opportunity to attend the ceremony that Michelle and I attended last year," Obama said. "...The values he espouses are universal, his struggle is peaceful, and he should be released as soon as possible."
Liu was jailed after authoring Charter '08, a pro-democracy manifesto that was published Dec. 10, 2008 and has since been signed by more than 10,000 people inside and outside China.
Obama said Liu "reminds us that human dignity ... depends upon the advance of democracy, open society, and the rule of law."
Scores of activists, lawyers and professors have been prohibited from leaving the country in recent days, or placed under house arrest, with their telephone and Internet lines cut. As the Nobel ceremony drew closer, some were also told not to speak to reporters.
The Chinese government continued its furious assault on the Nobel committee in the state controlled press on Friday. The lead headline in the Global Times said; "Beijing firm on Nobel." The China Daily lead story claimed: "Most nations oppose peace prize to Liu."
Activists said the crackdown has had one unintended, opposite effect - that of underscoring the need for political reform that Liu was awarded the prize for championing.
"The more people are barred from leaving the country, and the harder the government works to stifle news of the Nobel ceremony domestically, the more meaning the event takes on for the curious ordinary Chinese," Renee Xia, the international director of Chinese Human Rights Defenders, said in an e-mailed statement.
Wilgoren reported from Washington. Richburg reported from Beijing.
(See other Nobel laureates, including Poland's Lech Walesa and Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi, who were prevented from receiving their prizes in person). (Read about how Chinese media have demonized Liu Xiaobo.)

View All Items in This Story

How China branded Nobel winner Liu Xiaobo a traitor

A afirmação de Liu Xiaobo sobre o colonialismo inglês como tendo feito a prosperidade de Hong Kong, e sobre a necessidade de 300 anos de colonialismo para a China para alcançar o mesmo efeito, é obviamente uma ironia, uma boutade, como diriam os franceses.
No entanto, as autoridades chinesas se baseiam nisso para classificá-lo como agente estrangeiro e traidor à pátria.
Seria cômico, se não fosse trágico, para ele...
Paulo Roberto de Almeida

How China branded Nobel winner Liu Xiaobo a traitor
By Andrew Higgins
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, December 10, 2010; 12:37 AM

HONG KONG -- The magazine is banned in mainland China. So, too, is its Web site. Its editor is barred from visiting the land of his birth. Yet Chinese authorities have repeatedly cited reporting from the blacklisted publication.

"If they paid for using my work, I'd be much better off," joked Jin Zhong, the editor of Open Magazine, a low-budget Hong Kong monthly dedicated to criticism of the Chinese Communist Party.

China's frequent reference to a tiny media outfit it loathes is a curious by-product of its even fiercer loathing for Liu Xiaobo, the jailed dissident who will be honored in absentia Friday as winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Though sent to prison for "inciting subversion of state power," Liu has been pilloried most harshly in China not for his alleged violations of the criminal code but for his affronts to Chinese nationalism. A slew of articles in China's tightly controlled official media lambast Liu as a traitor - and offer as evidence comments published in back issues of Jin's Hong Kong magazine.

Most frequently cited in this campaign of denunciation is an interview Liu gave to the journal in 1988. Visiting Hong Kong for the first time and dazzled by the city's prosperity, liberties and public order, Liu cracked that since the then-British colony had "become like this after 100 years of colonialism, China is so big it will of course need 300 years of colonialism. . . . I have my doubts as to whether 300 years would be enough."

At the time, his comments attracted little notice: they were typical of the provocative irreverence that characterized debate among Chinese intellectuals before the 1989 military assault on Tiananmen Square. "Nobody paid much attention," recalled Jin, who relegated the interview to the back of his magazine, then called Emancipation Monthly.

Today, Liu's words have been revived with gusto by the mainland media, stirring "patriotic" attacks on the jailed literary scholar on the Internet, where criticism of the Nobel Prize - unlike praise for it - has no trouble getting past censors.

Debate over whether China can find its own uniquely Chinese path to economic and political modernization or take the road pioneered by the West has raged since the collapse of the last imperial dynasty, the Qing, in 1911. Liu, a literary critic and essayist, stands firmly at the pro-Western end of the spectrum, a position that has put him sharply at odds with China's prevailing orthodoxy.

Over the last 30 years, the Communist Party has steadily cut its roots in Marxist dogma imported from the West and put Chinese nationalism at the center of its governing ideology.

"This is the best card they've got and they play it to the maximum," said Bao Pu, a Hong Kong-based publisher whose father, a former senior Communist Party official in Beijing, was jailed in 1989 for supporting pro-democracy student protesters. Bao described efforts to paint Liu as a traitor "as ridiculous" and has just published a collection of the dissident's writings to present a more complete picture of his views. But, Bao said, branding critics of the ruling party as unpatriotic "can be very effective."

Attacks from Chinese press
"What on earth has Liu Xiaobo ever contributed to human peace?" thundered a recent article in the ruling party's main mouthpiece, the People's Daily. "Many Chinese remember that the '300 years of colonialism' theory came from Liu. Contempt for Chinese culture and support for thorough Westernization have been his political stand."

Xinhua, the state-controlled Chinese news agency, took up the same cudgel in an angry editorial. Quoting Liu's remarks in his 1988 Hong Kong interview, the editorial asked "what qualification does someone who hails colonial history and culture have to talk big about 'democracy' and 'freedom'?" Liu's true goal, Xinhua said, is to "make China a servant of the West."

Global Times, another Beijing newspaper, delivered a similar attack. Its headline: "Liu Xiaobo: It is not enough to be colonized for 300 years."

The article triggered angry attacks on Liu by writers on Global Forum, an online venue affiliated with the newspaper. Liu "is not a human being and should be shot," commented one.

Not everyone is convinced of Liu's treachery. "I don't believe he is advocating colonialism but only . . . a thorough change in China's national character, system and culture," said He Guanghua, a professor at Beijing's Renmin University. And whatever Liu's real views, added He, "you can't convict him of a crime because he said these words."

But with Chinese media barred from publishing articles written by Liu, his widely publicized remark about colonialism is about all that many Chinese know of his thinking. His less-incendiary contributions to China's political debate have been purged by censors. Among these is "Charter 08," a manifesto in favor of democracy that the Nobel Prize Committee cited as evidence of Liu's "long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China."

This filtering helps explain why a dissident whom many foreigners view as a hero is often seen in China as tool of the West unworthy of the Nobel Prize. In the absence of opinion polls in China on sensitive political issues, it is impossible to gauge what ordinary Chinese really think of Liu.

China's propaganda apparatus
Barry Sautman, a political scientist at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and a critic of Liu's Nobel Prize, says that China's case against Liu cannot be dismissed as mere propaganda. Liu, he said, "wants to see China completely Westernized in a way that most Chinese would not want."

Sautman recently co-wrote an article for a Hong Kong newspaper that, citing Liu's 1988 interview with Jin and ignoring his voluminous writings, derided the Nobel Peace Prize as "morally bankrupt."

China's propaganda apparatus first put the spotlight on Liu's allegedly treasonous views in the aftermath of the Tiananmen crackdown. Liu was jailed for his role in the student protests - and targeted for vitriolic attack by the official media. Liu, said the People's Daily at the time, is a "traitor from head to toe." It, too, used Jin's Hong Kong magazine as a witness for the prosecution.

Writing for the same magazine in 2006, Liu declined to retract his "300 years of colonialism" quip and described it as an "extreme expression" of a core conviction: "China's modernization can only be achieved after a long period of Westernization."

Jin, the editor who conducted the 1988 interview, said he has no regrets about publishing comments that have provided so much fodder for Liu's critics in Beijing. "That's how a free press works," he said. But he wishes that Liu's enemies would quote what was said in full instead of cutting out a key line that makes clear the jailed dissident's true take on imperialism: "The age of colonialism has already passed." Researcher Wang Juan in Beijing contributed to this report.

How China branded Nobel winner Liu Xiaobo a traitor
ARTICLE | HONG KONG -- The magazine is banned in mainland China. So, too, is its Web site. Its editor is barred from visiting the land of his birth. Yet Chinese authorities have repeatedly cited reporting from the blacklisted publication.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

China as Global Power - The Economist (2) - Special Report

A special report on China's place in the world
Brushwood and gall
The Economist, Dec 2nd 2010

China insists that its growing military and diplomatic clout pose no threat. The rest of the world, and particularly America, is not so sure, says Edward Carr

In this special report
* » Brushwood and gall «
* Less biding and hiding
* In the balance
* Friends, or else
* Strategic reassurance
* The fourth modernisation
* Sources and acknowledgments

IN 492BC, at the end of the “Spring and Autumn” period in Chinese history, Goujian, the king of Yue in modern Zhejiang, was taken prisoner after a disastrous campaign against King Fuchai, his neighbour to the north. Goujian was put to work in the royal stables where he bore his captivity with such dignity that he gradually won Fuchai’s respect. After a few years Fuchai let him return home as his vassal.

Goujian never forgot his humiliation. He slept on brushwood and hung a gall bladder in his room, licking it daily to feed his appetite for revenge. Yue appeared loyal, but its gifts of craftsmen and timber tempted Fuchai to build palaces and towers even though the extravagance ensnared him in debt. Goujian distracted him with Yue’s most beautiful women, bribed his officials and bought enough grain to empty his granaries. Meanwhile, as Fuchai’s kingdom declined, Yue grew rich and raised a new army.

Goujian bided his time for eight long years. By 482BC, confident of his superiority, he set off north with almost 50,000 warriors. Over several campaigns they put Fuchai and his kingdom to the sword.

The king who slept on brushwood and tasted gall is as familiar to Chinese as King Alfred and his cakes are to Britons, or George Washington and the cherry tree are to Americans. In the early 20th century he became a symbol of resistance against the treaty ports, foreign concessions and the years of colonial humiliation.

Taken like that, the parable of Goujian sums up what some people find alarming about China’s rise as a superpower today. Ever since Deng Xiaoping set about reforming the economy in 1978, China has talked peace. Still militarily and economically too weak to challenge America, it has concentrated on getting richer. Even as China has grown in power and rebuilt its armed forces, the West and Japan have run up debts and sold it their technology. China has been patient, but the day when it can once again start to impose its will is drawing near.

However, Goujian’s story has another reading, too. Paul Cohen, a Harvard scholar who has written about the king, explains that the Chinese today see him as an example of perseverance and dedication. Students are told that if they want to succeed they must be like King Goujian, sleeping on brushwood and tasting gall—that great accomplishments come only with sacrifice and unyielding purpose. This Goujian represents self-improvement and dedication, not revenge.

Which Goujian will 21st-century China follow? Will it broadly fit in with the Western world, as a place where people want nothing more than a chance to succeed and enjoy the rewards of their hard work? Or, as its wealth and power begin to overshadow all but the United States, will China become a threat—an angry country set on avenging past wrongs and forcing others to bend to its will? China’s choice of role, says Jim Steinberg, America’s deputy secretary of state, is “the great question of our time”. The peace and prosperity of the world depends on which path it takes.

Some people argue that China is now too enmeshed in globalisation to put the world economy in jeopardy through war or coercion. Trade has brought prosperity. China buys raw materials and components from abroad and sells its wares in foreign markets. It holds $2.6 trillion of foreign-exchange reserves. Why should it pull down the system that has served it so well?

But that is too sanguine. In the past integration has sometimes gone before conflagration. Europe went up in flames in 1914 even though Germany was Britain’s second-largest export market and Britain was Germany’s largest. Japan got rich and fell in with the European powers before it brutally set about colonising Asia.

Others go to the opposite extreme, arguing that China and America are condemned to be enemies. Ever since Sparta led the Peloponnesian League against Athens, they say, declining powers have failed to give way fast enough to satisfy rising powers. As China’s economic and military strength increase, so will its sense of entitlement and its ambition. In the end patience will run out, because America will not willingly surrender leadership.

Reasons for optimism
But that is too bleak. China clings to its territorial claims—over Taiwan, the South China Sea, various islands and with India. Yet, unlike the great powers before 1945, China is not looking for new colonies. And unlike the Soviet Union, China does not have an ideology to export. In fact, America’s liberal idealism is far more potent than token Communism, warmed-up Confucianism or anything else that China has to offer. When two countries have nuclear weapons, a war may not be worth fighting.

In the real world the dealings between rising and declining powers are not straightforward. Twice Britain feared that continental Europe would be dominated by an expansionary Germany and twice it went to war. Yet when America took world leadership from Britain, the two remained constant allies. After the second world war Japan and Germany rose from the ashes to become the world’s second- and third-largest economies, without a whisper of a political challenge to the United States.

International-relations theorists have devoted much thought to the passing of empires. The insight of “power-transition theory” is that satisfied powers, such as post-war Germany and Japan, do not challenge the world order when they rise. But dissatisfied ones, such as pre-war Germany and Japan, conclude that the system shaped and maintained by the incumbent powers is rigged against them. In the anarchic arena of geopolitics they believe that they will be denied what is rightfully theirs unless they enforce their claim.

So for most of the past decade the two great powers edged towards what David Lampton, a professor at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, calls a double wager. China would broadly fall in with America’s post-war order, betting that the rest of the world, eager for China’s help and its markets, would allow it to grow richer and more powerful. America would not seek to prevent this rise, betting that prosperity would eventually turn China into one of the system’s supporters—a “responsible stakeholder” in the language of Robert Zoellick, a deputy secretary of state under George Bush junior and now president of the World Bank.

For much of the past decade, barring the odd tiff, the wager worked. Before 2001 China and America fell out over Taiwan, the American bombing of China’s embassy in Belgrade and a fatal mid-air collision between an American EP3 spy plane and a Chinese fighter. Many commentators back then thought that America and China were on a dangerous course, but Chinese and American leaders did not pursue it. Since then America has been busy with the war on terror and has sought plain dealing with China. American companies enjoyed decent access to Chinese markets. China lent the American government huge amounts of money.

This suited China, which concluded long ago that the best way to build its “comprehensive national power” was through economic growth. According to its analysis, articulated in a series of white papers and speeches in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the country needed a “New Security Concept”. Growth demanded stability, which in turn required that China’s neighbours did not feel threatened.

To reassure them, China started to join the international organisations it had once shunned. As well as earning it credentials as a good citizen, this was also a safe way to counter American influence. China led the six-party talks designed to curb North Korea’s nuclear programme. The government signed the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty and by and large stopped proliferating weapons (though proliferation by rogue Chinese companies continued). It sent people on UN peacekeeping operations, supplying more of them than any other permanent member of the security council or any NATO country.

Inevitably, there were still disputes and differences. But diplomats, policymakers and academics allowed themselves to believe that, in the nuclear age, China might just emerge peacefully as a new superpower. However, that confidence has recently softened. In the past few months China has fallen out with Japan over a fishing boat that rammed at least one if not two Japanese coastguard vessels off what the Japanese call the Senkaku Islands and the Chinese the Diaoyu Islands.

Earlier, China failed to back South Korea over the sinking of a Korean navy corvette with the loss of 46 crew—even though an international panel had concluded that the Cheonan was attacked by a North Korean submarine. When America and South Korea reacted to the sinking by planning joint exercises in the Yellow Sea, China objected and got one of them moved eastward, to the Sea of Japan. And when North Korea shelled a South Korean island last month, China was characteristically reluctant to condemn it.

China has also begun to include territorial claims over large parts of the South China Sea among its six “primary concerns”—new language that has alarmed diplomats. When members of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) complained about this in a meeting in Hanoi in the summer, China’s foreign minister, Yang Jiechi, worked himself into a rage: “All of you remember how much of your economic prosperity depends on us,” he reportedly spat back.

Last year a vicious editorial in China’s People’s Daily attacked India after its prime minister, Manmohan Singh, visited disputed territory near Tibet; Barack Obama was shabbily treated, first on a visit to Beijing and later at the climate-change talks in Copenhagen, where a junior Chinese official wagged his finger at the leader of the free world; Chinese vessels have repeatedly harassed American and Japanese naval ships, including the USS John S. McCain and a survey vessel, the USNS Impeccable.

Such things are perhaps small in themselves, but they matter because of that double bet. America is constantly looking for signs that China is going to welsh on the deal and turn aggressive—and China is looking for signs that America and its allies are going to gang up to stop its rise. Everything is coloured by that strategic mistrust.

Peering through this lens, China-watchers detect a shift. “The smiling diplomacy is over,” says Richard Armitage, deputy secretary of state under George Bush. “China’s aspiration for power is very obvious,” says Yukio Okamoto, a Japanese security expert. Diplomats, talking on condition of anonymity, speak of underlying suspicions and anxiety in their dealings with China. Although day-to-day traffic between American and Chinese government departments flows smoothly, “the strategic mistrust between China and the US continues to deepen,” says Bonnie Glaser of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC.

There is nothing inevitable about this deterioration. Peace still makes sense. China faces huge problems at home. It benefits from American markets and good relations with its neighbours, just as it did in 2001. The Chinese Communist Party and the occupant of the White House, of any political stripe, have more to gain from economic growth than from anything else.

China’s leaders understand this. In November 2003 and February 2004 the Politburo held special sessions on the rise and fall of nations since the 15th century. American policymakers are no less aware that, though a powerful China will be hard to cope with, a dissatisfied and powerful China would be impossible.

Now, however, many factors, on many sides, from domestic politics to the fallout from the financial crisis, are conspiring to make relations worse. The risk is not war—for the time being that remains almost unthinkable, if only because it would be so greatly to everyone’s disadvantage. The danger is that the leaders of China and America will over the next decade lay the foundations for a deep antagonism. This is best described by Henry Kissinger.

The dark side
Under Richard Nixon, Mr Kissinger created the conditions for 40 years of peace in Asia by seeing that America and China could gain more from working together than from competing. Today Mr Kissinger is worried. Speaking in September at a meeting of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, he observed that bringing China into the global order would be even harder than bringing in Germany had been a century ago.

“It is not an issue of integrating a European-style nation-state, but a full-fledged continental power,” he said. “The DNA of both [America and China] could generate a growing adversarial relationship, much as Germany and Britain drifted from friendship to confrontation…Neither Washington nor Beijing has much practice in co-operative relations with equals. Yet their leaders have no more important task than to implement the truths that neither country will ever be able to dominate the other, and that conflict between them would exhaust their societies and undermine the prospects of world peace.”

Nowhere is the incipient rivalry sharper than between America’s armed forces and their rapidly modernising Chinese counterparts. Globally, American arms remain vastly superior. But in China’s coastal waters they would no longer confer such an easy victory.

China as Global Power - The Economist (1) - Leader

Global power
The dangers of a rising China
The Economist, Dec 2nd 2010

China and America are bound to be rivals, but they do not have to be antagonists

TOWARDS the end of 2003 and early in 2004 China’s most senior leaders put aside the routine of governing 1.3 billion people to spend a couple of afternoons studying the rise of great powers. You can imagine history’s grim inventory of war and destruction being laid out before them as they examined how, from the 15th century, empires and upstarts had often fought for supremacy. And you can imagine them moving on to the real subject of their inquiry: whether China will be able to take its place at the top without anyone resorting to arms.

In many ways China has made efforts to try to reassure an anxious world. It has repeatedly promised that it means only peace. It has spent freely on aid and investment, settled border disputes with its neighbours and rolled up its sleeves in UN peacekeeping forces and international organisations. When North Korea shelled a South Korean island last month China did at least try to create a framework to rein in its neighbour.

But reasonable China sometimes gives way to aggressive China. In March, when the North sank a South Korean warship, killing 46 sailors, China failed to issue any condemnation. A few months later it fell out with Japan over some Chinese fishermen, arrested for ramming Japanese coastguard vessels around some disputed islands—and then it locked up some Japanese businessmen and withheld exports of rare earths vital for Japanese industry. And it has forcefully reasserted its claim to the Spratly and Paracel Islands and to sovereignty over virtually the entire South China Sea.

As the Chinese leaders’ history lesson will have told them, the relationship that determines whether the world is at peace or at war is that between pairs of great powers. Sometimes, as with Britain and America, it goes well. Sometimes, as between Britain and Germany, it does not.

So far, things have gone remarkably well between America and China. While China has devoted itself to economic growth, American security has focused on Islamic terrorism and war in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the two mistrust each other. China sees America as a waning power that will eventually seek to block its own rise. And America worries about how Chinese nationalism, fuelled by rediscovered economic and military might, will express itself (see our special report).

The Peloponnesian pessimists
Pessimists believe China and America are condemned to be rivals. The countries’ visions of the good society are very different. And, as China’s power grows, so will its determination to get its way and to do things in the world. America, by contrast, will inevitably balk at surrendering its pre-eminence.

They are probably right about Chinese ambitions. Yet China need not be an enemy. Unlike the Soviet Union, it is no longer in the business of exporting its ideology. Unlike the 19th-century European powers, it is not looking to amass new colonies. And China and America have a lot in common. Both benefit from globalisation and from open markets where they buy raw materials and sell their exports. Both want a broadly stable world in which nuclear weapons do not spread and rogue states, like Iran and North Korea, have little scope to cause mayhem. Both would lose incalculably from war.

The best way to turn China into an opponent is to treat it as one. The danger is that spats and rows will sour relations between China and America, just as the friendship between Germany and Britain crumbled in the decades before the first world war. It is already happening in defence. Feeling threatened by American naval power, China has been modernising its missiles, submarines, radar, cyber-warfare and anti-satellite weapons. Now America feels on its mettle. Recent Pentagon assessments of China’s military strength warn of the threat to Taiwan and American bases and to aircraft-carriers near the Chinese coast. The US Navy has begun to deploy more forces in the Pacific. Feeling threatened anew, China may respond. Even if neither America nor China intended harm—if they wanted only to ensure their own security—each could nevertheless see the other as a growing threat.

Some would say the solution is for America to turn its back on military rivalry. But a weaker America would lead to chronic insecurity in East Asia and thus threaten the peaceful conduct of trade and commerce on which America’s prosperity depends. America therefore needs to be strong enough to guarantee the seas and protect Taiwan from Chinese attack.

How to take down the Great Wall
History shows that superpowers can coexist peacefully when the rising power believes it can rise unhindered and the incumbent power believes that the way it runs the world is not fundamentally threatened. So a military build-up needs to be accompanied by a build-up of trust.

There are lots of ways to build trust in Asia. One would be to help ensure that disputes and misunderstandings do not get out of hand. China should thus be more open about its military doctrine—about its nuclear posture, its aircraft-carriers and missile programme. Likewise, America and China need rules for disputes including North Korea (see article), Taiwan, space and cyber-warfare. And Asia as a whole needs agreements to help prevent every collision at sea from becoming a trial of strength.

America and China should try to work multilaterally. Instead of today’s confusion of competing venues, Asia needs a single regional security forum, such as the East Asia Summit, where it can do business. Asian countries could also collaborate more in confidence-boosting non-traditional security, such as health, environmental protection, anti-piracy and counter-terrorism, where threats by their nature cross borders.

If America wants to bind China into the rules-based liberal order it promotes, it needs to stick to the rules itself. Every time America breaks them—by, for instance, protectionism—it feeds China’s suspicions and undermines the very order it seeks.

China and America have one advantage over history’s great-power pairings: they saw the 20th century go disastrously wrong. It is up to them to ensure that the 21st is different.

Related items
* Banyan: Lips, teeth and spitting the dummy Dec 2nd 2010
* A special report on China's place in the world: Brushwood and gallDec 2nd 2010