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as the most amoral state in the world?
what worries me - and yes, china DOES worry me - is that there isnt anything at all I can do about it. Sure, I could boycott all chinese goods, something I try to do anyhow, but thats hardly something thats going to have them quaking in their boots.
Is spying not the 2nd oldest profession?
There's no way for us to know for sure, but I doubt it. Most nations' security services are doing things their citizens know nothing about, but that's not really the point about China, because as I suspect you guessed - there's not much you can do about it.
Boycotting Chinese products would mean not buying a power tool - most of them now have at least one component manufactured in China, and many are almost completely made there. China is now the world's largest manufacturer of small electric motors, and although that appliance in your kitchen may say it's made elsewhere, it probably runs on a Chinese-made motor.
The thing about China is that it is a country with lots of complexities. Of course it is a communist state, and of course it has a disgraceful human rights record. I have no doubt that what MI5 says is at least partially, if not wholly true, too. The fact, however, is that China is emerging as potentially the world's most powerful trading nation, and in future we'll either trade with China or suffer badly - our economy is going to be inextricably linked with that of China, whether we like it or not.
It's a big mistake to judge the Chinese people on the basis of what their government does. You haven't said you're doing that in so many words, but an awful lot of people are doing it. Chinese people - at least the ones I see and meet when I go there - have little interest in spying on anyone, they're too busy trying to improve their standard of living, and striving to acquire the things they see as being desirable in a twenty-first century society - in other words they're much like us.
There are huge cultural differences, obviously, but that's not a bad thing at all - many aspects of Chinese culture are pretty impressive, and we would do well to remember that they lived in a very sophisticated society when we were still running around half naked and painting our buttocks with blue dye. China can teach us a great deal if we're prepared to learn, and we can teach China a lot, too, or more specifically we can teach the communist regime a lot. It all comes down to what we want in the end - a reasonable trading and cultural dialogue with what looks like becoming the world's most powerful economy, or a tense and fragile relationship. It's our choice, and I for one believe that it's a good idea to work towards a good relationship, based on the premise that China will change. The people will see to that - governments are transitory things, even totalitarian ones, and the Chinese people will not tolerate a harsh, inflexible regime for much longer.
Not a lot to say really, the FE has summed up my views pretty well.
What is surprising is that anyone should be surprised and of course as GANDALF <|:-)> has pointed out the profession is hardly a new one which we have not discovered for our own use.
Let me see where are McLaren based?
As you correctly state, China is linked firmly to our economy...I think people imagine that all Chinese people are now reaping the benefits of Industrial progress in the country. This of course is not the case.
Those who live outside the thriving area's are still plowing with oxen, and trying to get by.
As for human right's issues, yes it's not good, but as you say..We all rely on goods from China...It is to be hoped that gradually some kind of balance will result.
"Is spying not the 2nd oldest profession?"
Afraid not, that honour goes to armourers.
I'm afraid people wanted more efficient ways of killing each other long before they thought of much else.
As we always used to say, "I was the Duty Armourer who issued Cain with his sword to slay Abel"!
was an example, not a specific. My use of the word amoral instead of immoral was no accident. I dont think anyone disputes chinas human rights record, or the fact that large amounts of counterfeiting and outright theft of intellectual property rights is being perpetrated by this country. Quite often it is with the tacit agreement of the authorities.
Is china the only place where this sort of thing goes on? Of course not. But I think its by far and away the largest.
Even the FE admits that some problems are coming from this regeon
How can an employee of one company being handed documents of another company by one of it's empoyee's be described as spying?
that I referred to are very little to do with subterfuge and everything to do with entrepreneurialism. The Chinese didn't invent spam, that honour goes to us, here in the west, and you can hardly blame Chinese traders for being opportunists, that's precisely what helped us to establish our great trading empire in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
As for counterfeiting, that certainly is an enormous problem in the whole of South East Asia, but I agree that China leads the field - it's a cottage industry on an enormous scale, if that's not a contradiction in terms. What I mean is that it goes on in hundreds of small Chinese towns, and the cumulative effect is extremely serious as far as the manufacturers of the original products are concerned. The counterfeiting of consumer goods is mainly driven by the ready market - Chinese people themselves want the goods they see on Western TV programmes and films, and in western magazines. Their incomes are too small to allow them the luxury of real Armani suits, so small Chinese clothing factories turn out cheap fakes - and they're very good.
In time this problem will recede. Chinese living standards will rise, and more people will be able to afford the genuine article - the fake Rolex and Cartier watches will still be as popular as ever with European and American tourists, but fewer Chinese mainland factories will be involved. The Chinese government will get around to curbing the manufacture of fakes as soon as they no longer see the business as helpful - at the moment they know full well that a major clamp down would have a detrimental effect on the local economies.
China is full of contradictions and complexities - it's a vast country with vast problems. In fifty years the polulation of China has risen from around 560 million to over 1.3 billion, and it's still rising. One person out of every five on the face of the earth lives in China. All those people, plus rapid economic and industrial growth, plus a totalitarian communist government equals one enormous bundle of trouble, and it can only be resolved in one way - China must rapidly haul itself into the 21st century and provide its people with a higher standard of living. At the same time it has to provide itself with the infrastructure necessary to enable it to trade with the world and satisfy the vast home market. It must accomplish all this whilst remaining politically stable, and at the same time carry through the most enormous social reforms.
The task is frankly monumental, and to some people it appears insoluble. When I go there I see both optimism and despair - almost in equal proportions. The optimism springs from the Chinese nature - these people are innovators, they've been inventing things for thousands of years, and it's going on now. The computer software businesses can compete with the best in the world, and the electronics and engineering industries shows enormous promise for the future.
On the despair front there's the feeling that this government is bent on stifling the baby almost before it can crawl - repression and government meddling is evident almost everywhere you look, and it's debilitating.
Nobody is going to come up with a silver bullet as far as China's concerned, and there will be some major stumbles along the way. In the end it will come down - as it always does - to a matter of the will of the people. If we, in the west think that we can teach China a thing or two about human rights we might do well to remember our own decidely grubby track record in that field. We're way out in front now, but it wasn't like that a hundred years ago, and maybe it would be an idea to remember it when we deliver our little homilies on how to run a country to the Chinese government. The peoples' natural desire for a democratic voice will triumph in the end, just as it has triumphed elsewhere, but the reward may not be as sweet as imagined to begin with - China is big enough to stage some social unrest on a major scale, and the very last thing the country needs is civil conflict.
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