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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 26-Oct-2019
26-Oct-19 World View -- Mike Pence harshly criticizes China as US bans Chinese surveillance equipment

Web Log - October, 2019

26-Oct-19 World View -- Mike Pence harshly criticizes China as US bans Chinese surveillance equipment

Backlash grows against Chinese surveillance and AI equipment

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from

Growing Western hostility and suspicion towards China

Nike ad in 2018, part of its laughable 'Social Justice Leadership' program, showing Colin Kaepernick saying, 'Believe in something.  Even if it means sacrificing everything.  Just do it.'
Nike ad in 2018, part of its laughable 'Social Justice Leadership' program, showing Colin Kaepernick saying, 'Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything. Just do it.'

US vice president Mike Pence on Thursday delivered a speech harshly criticizing the entire list of CCP activities that the West considers to be criminal -- jailing Uighurs, jailing priests, destroying churches, IP theft, forced technology transfer, cyber-theft, South China Sea crimes, and dozens more. Pence also criticized the hypocrisy of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Nike.

Pence's speech comes shortly after the US banned Chinese surveillance companies. The speech triggered harsh replies from the NBA and China.

Once upon a time not so long ago, everybody loved China. America saved China in both world wars. Americans considered China to be a strange and wonderful place after World War II, despite the brutal violence of the Communist dictator Mao Zedong. The Tiananmen Square massacre was considered an aberration, and trade disputes were rarely understood by the public.

So China was invited to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, based on commitments that it would open up its economy to outsiders, and would follow all the WTO rules and international law. Western leaders believed that membership in the WTO would change China for the better, encourage it to become a valued member of the international community, and abandoning the hostile policies of the past. None of that happened. Instead, China used the WTO as a tool to make suckers out of Western nations, ignoring WTO rules and playing victim, but angrily insisting that Western nations obey all WTO rules. China always made it clear that WTO rules and international law apply to everyone else but not to China, and signed agreements apply to the other parties but not to China.

Things seriously began to change with the rise of Xi Jinping in 2011. In 2013, the CCP issued "Document Number 9" which listed evil "anti-China forces," including the following. Some of these "evil" forces named in the document include democracy, human rights, civil society, neoliberalism, and a free press. The reason the CCP gives why all of these Western values are considered "evil" is because they are interpreted to be weapons undermining the authority of the CCP.

These "evils" permeated every aspect of CCP policy under Xi. Specific hostile acts were all performed under this doctrine, including illegal activities in the South China Sea, violent crackdowns on Christians, Buddhists and Muslims, the arrest and enslavement of millions of Uighurs and Kazakhs, and crackdowns on free press and democracy movements in Hong Kong.

This doctrine and these acts have steadily eroded the goodwill that people in the West have had for China. Increasingly, Westerners view China with hostility and suspicion.

One of the most dramatic signs of the growing hostility to China is that George Soros, who for decades has been an enormous admirer and supporter of the CCP, has now turned against it, because the Social Credit Score system is turning China into the worst police state in world history.

Mike Pence harshly criticizes China as US bans Chinese surveillance equipment

Pence's speech on Thursday focused on several of China's illegal practices:

"The Communist Party in China has arrested Christian pastors, banned the sale of Bibles, demolished churches, and imprisoned more than one million Muslim Uighurs. ...

Last July, the director of the FBI told Congress that of his agency’s 1,000 active investigations into intellectual property theft, the majority involve China. American enterprises continue to lose hundreds of billions of dollars each year in intellectual property theft. ...

And today, China’s Communist Party is building a surveillance state unlike anything the world has ever seen. Hundreds of millions of surveillance cameras stare down from every vantage point. Ethnic minorities must navigate arbitrary checkpoints where police demand blood samples, fingerprints, voice recordings, and multiple angle head shots, and even iris scans.

And China is now exporting to countries in Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East the very same technological tools that it uses in its authoritarian regime: tools that it’s deployed in places like Xinjiang; tools that it’s deployed often with the help of American companies.

And Beijing has also smashed the barriers between civilian and military technological domains — a doctrine that China calls “military-civilian fusion.” By law and presidential fiat, companies in China — whether private, state-owned, or foreign — must share their technologies with the Chinese military."

China's massive buildout of surveillance equipment is reaching into every country of the world, as China collects information on billions of people, inside and outside China, which it puts into its huge big data database.

There's a backlash growing against Chinese-made surveillance products on multiple levels.

Surveillance cameras have been around for years, and few people were concerned, as long as the cameras were used in places like banks and busy intersections, and as long as nobody ever reviewed the video except a human being.

Public alarm over the general surveillance issue has been increasing as the public has become aware that not humans but computers are increasingly reviewing the video, using artificial artificial (AI) technology that provides facial recognition capabilities, matching faces up to records in databases, allowing the software to track any individual in real time.

Backlash grows against Chinese surveillance and AI equipment

This comes amid increasing global awareness that the China's military is using these same devices for surveillance in cities and countries around the world.

This awareness was boosted by a shocking demonstration in August when a researcher was able to prove that millions of surveillance devices marketed by Dahua Technology, and installed around the world, contain a secret backdoor that can easily be hacked, and used for eavesdropping. That means that if you have one of these devices in your war room, board room, or bedroom, even when the audio is disabled, someone knowing the IP address of the device can access the device remotely and secretly listen in to conversations and sounds in that room.

A Duhua spokesman was quoted as saying that the company "conducted an emergency investigation, and the preliminary results are that this vulnerability does not exist after refactoring—some end-of-life products may have security risks. We have a plan to repair the related products." Wow! That's nice!

US bans doing business with Chinese surveillance and AI firms

The Dept. of Commerce announcement blocked eight Chinese companies, and they can be divided roughly into two groups -- surveillance cameras that capture video and audio and transmit it to the central server over the internet, and artificial intelligence (AI) products that interpret the video and audio being captured, particularly with facial recognition and identification. The eight Chinese companies are as follows:

It's believed that America and the West have been most successful in developing advanced AI algorithms for surveillance and recognition, but Chinese companies have a big advantage because of their huge data base to use for training and testing purposes.

Ironically, China desperately needs surveillance data from around the world for a completely different reason: testing its facial recognition software. All the Han Chinese ("yellow race, black hair, brown eyes, yellow skin") have similar facial characteristics, and the Chinese need millions of faces of people from all countries and races to test its facial recognition software.

China's growing global surveillance tentacles

It's frightening how successful China has been at using these surveillance and AI technologies not only to imprison and enslave millions of Muslim Uighters and Kazakhs, but also to continually identify and track all activities of every Chinese citizen, as well as millions of people outside of China.

Furthermore, a number of incidents have been reported that are increasingly alarming people about the use of surveillance equipment, including equipment made by other manufacturers.

During the last four years in Ecuador, China has installed a vast surveillance system, known as the ECU-911 system, that can be used to spy on all Ecuadorian citizens.

The China-made surveillance equipment contains as many as 4,200 cameras, monitored by 16 centers and around 3,000 employees. The system lets the government track phones, and may soon be upgraded with facial-recognition capabilities. The equipment was manufactured by two Chinese firms, Huawei Technologies and China National Import & Export Corp (CEIEC).

As with all Chinese-made network products, we have to assume that the Chinese military is able to access the surveillance and data, and correlate it with the data in their own databases.

In London, the developer of the prestigious King's Cross 67-acre 50-building Estate was forced to abandon plans to deploy facial recognition technology throughout the site. It had already been used at a busy intersection for two years, but attempts to extend it to the entire site met with sharp opposition and a debate about the ethics of facial recognition.

Surveillance technology in London goes much deeper than King's Cross. Hikvision is generating millions of dollars in annual revenue by supplying its surveillance cameras for use on the British parliamentary estate, as well as to police, hospitals, schools, and universities throughout the country. According to Adm. Lord Alan West, "It’s rather like being able to get a Mata Hari into each office."

The same kind of thing is true in Australia, which may be more exposed to continual surveillance and spying by China's military than any other country in the world. Australia has hundreds of thousands of surveillance cameras, mostly made by Hikvision and Dahua, have been installed in local council offices, at schools and universities, on buses, in shopping centers and thousands of other public spaces across Australia. The surveillence equipment is at use at every level of government, from some of the most sensitive federal government agencies, all the way down to suburban councils.

Australian officials have already been raising alarms about the infiltration of Chinese people in the organs of Australia's government, at a time when tensions are growing sharply because of China's illegal activities in the South China Sea.

According to Fergus Hanson of Australia's Strategic Policy Institute:

"It's a real dereliction of duty to have them in military bases.

But even on the street you've got the potential to inadvertently contribute towards Chinese espionage activity by providing real time information about the situation on the ground, all over the world, and in collective terms, quite an important data feed to China."

There was even a backlash in Beijing, of all places. Parents and students at Tsinghua High School were furious when it was discovered that the school had installed surveillance cameras in all the male toilets. Officials were forced to remove the cameras.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) controversy

In the last month, public hostility in America to China took another huge leap forward, because of an event that's almost impossible to believe. The event involved the National Basketball Association (NBA), which is hugely popular in China, with millions of Chinese following the games and purchasing related products, including Nike sneakers. Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey posted a tweet supporting the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. The CCP has blocked Twitter in China, so the tweet would never be seen by Chinese, and would be quickly forgotten. But the CCP lashed out at the tweet, considering it an insult to the Chinese people, and canceled several NBA games and public events in China.

These events have substantially heightened the public's hostility to the CCP, and awareness of the CCP's dictatorial policies. Many commentators pointed out that the CCP uses violence to control public opinion in China, and is now trying to use economic weapons to extend its control of public opinion to everyone in the world.

The hostility to China has increased even further when basketball star LeBron James made comments supporting the CCP, and condemning Daryl Morey as being "uninformed." This has caused an enormous reaction in the American public. People who previously didn't know how to spell Hong Kong or who thought it was a kind of chop suey suddenly became "informed" about what's going on in Hong Kong.

LeBron's support for the CCP is particularly ironic because of his extremely vocal and vitriolic criticisms of Donald Trump in the past, including this January 18, 2018, tweet, quoting Martin Luther King: "-Injustice Anywhere Is A Threat To Justice Everywhere- Our Lives Begin To End The Day We Become Silent About Things That Matter- #ThankYouMLK50"

These events are important for three reasons.

First, these quickly moving events show how quickly simple events can escalate. This is literally how world wars have begun.

Second, these events particularly affect public attitudes towards Hikvision and other companies that are being banned. The trend has been a growing public anxiety towards surveillance equipment in general. But the massive use by China's military of AI-enhanced surveillance equipment to violate human rights in all of China, particularly in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, has focused public hostile attitudes toward surveillance equipment to hostility to surveillance equipment from China in ways we haven't seen before.

Third, these events show how easy it is for Americans to turn against each other when money is involved. Generational Dynamics predicts that once a "regeneracy event" occurs, such as a missile attack on American soil, then political differences will be dropped, and the country will unite behind the president.

Mike Pence's criticism of the NBA and Nike

Mike Pence's speech on Thursday heightened the controversy over the NBA and Nike. Pence called out the NBA and Nike for kowtowing to China:

"And far too many American multinational corporations have kowtowed to the lure of China’s money and markets by muzzling not only criticism of the Chinese Communist Party, but even affirmative expressions of American values.

Nike promotes itself as a so called “social justice champion,” but when it comes to Hong Kong, it prefers checking its social conscience at the door. Nike stores in China actually removed their Houston Rockets merchandise from their shelves to join the Chinese government in protest against the Rockets general manager’s seven-word tweet, which read: “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.”

And some of the NBA’s biggest players and owners, who routinely exercise their freedom to criticize this country, lose their voices when it comes to the freedom and rights of the people of China. In siding with the Chinese Communist Party and silencing free speech, the NBA is acting like a wholly owned subsidiary of the authoritarian regime."

Pence's criticism of the NBA for hypocrisy and kowtowing to China infuriated former NBA star Charles Barkley, who has substantial money at stake. He responded as follows:

"Vice President Pence needs to shut the hell up, number one. All American companies are doing business in China. I thought the criticism of commissioner Silver and LeBron James was unfair. Daryl Morey — who I like — he can say whatever he wants to. But there are consequences.

I don’t understand why these holier-than-thou politicians — if they’re so worried about China, why don’t they stop all transactions with China? President Trump has been talking about and arguing with tariffs for China for the last two years. I think it’s unfair for them to do all their business in China and just because this thing happens try to make the NBA and our players look bad. All American companies do business in China. Period."

Several commentators have noted the hyprocrisy that Barkley feels free to criticize Pence (and Trump) in the most hostile terms with impunity, but is demanding that no one be permitted to criticize China, so that he can make money.

China's Foreign Ministry responded to Pence's speech as follows:

"The most important criteria on China's human rights situation is whether the Chinese people are satisfied. As the country advances in leaps and bounds, the Chinese people have an increasingly stronger sense of happiness and fulfillment. Our government attaches high importance to protecting and advancing human rights. During the past over four decades of reform and opening-up, China's human rights cause has seen tremendous progress that has been recognized by the world. The Chinese people now enjoy unprecedented rights and freedoms. This is a fact that no one can deny except for those obsessed with prejudice. Nearly 200 million Chinese practice various religions, of which more than 20 million are Muslim. Chinese people of all ethnic groups enjoy full religious freedom in accordance with law. ...

China's foreign policy is aboveboard as always. China pursues an independent foreign policy of peace, a path of peaceful development, a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind. China never advances its own interests at the expense of others, and its development will never pose a threat to any country. China never seeks hegemony or expansion. That's exactly why we have so many friends all over the world. Some people's attempts to wantonly label China or drive a wedge between China and other countries will never succeed. Such attempts will bring nothing but shame on those people themselves.

While arbitrarily accusing and lecturing other countries, Mr. Pence and his like have turned a blind eye to serious domestic problems in the US and tried to cover their own political malpractice by smearing other countries to divert public attention in the US. From the PRISM program to frequent, severe shootings, from extensive racial discrimination to obvious wealth gap, from arbitrary sanctions and use of force on other countries to wanton withdrawals from international agreements and treaties, there are so many cases in point proving that the US has become notorious for lack of moral principles and credibility. We advise some people in the US to carefully examine themselves in the mirror, get fully aware of their own problems and mind their own business. They should cease talking utter nonsense and stop playing mutually detrimental tricks as soon as possible."

It's always exasperating to read the CCP's comments on anything, which rarely have anything to do with the truth.

She says, "China never seeks hegemony or expansion." But China in recent decades has annexed Tibet and East Turkistan, and slaughtered, tortured, beat, raped and imprisoned millions of Buddhists and Muslims. Today, China has illegally annexed the South China Sea, in violation of internation law, and repeatedly lied about it. The CCP considers the Chinese to be the Master Race, immune from international law.

And she says that racial discrimination in America is as bad as China's human rights record, even though we are not beating, torturing, locking up and jailing millions of Mexicans and blacks.

I heard one analyst at MSNBC wonder why China would ever sign a trade deal with the US after that speech by Pence. The answer is that China is desperate to end the sanctions, which have disrupted China's relentless path to war.

John Xenakis is author of: "World View: War Between China and Japan: Why America Must Be Prepared" (Generational Theory Book Series, Book 2), June 2019, Paperback: 331 pages, with over 200 source references, $13.99


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