The following white paper is China’s official response to Trump’s tariffs!
My Articles About China and/or Chinese Culture
The following white paper is China’s official response to Trump’s tariffs!
My Articles About China and/or Chinese Culture
China’s One Belt One Road Initiative connects Asia to Europe. However, visionaries have wondered how to connect China to Latin America as part of this initiative. China-Latin American trade has increased by 1,200% or from $10 to $130 billion between 2000 and 2009. The challenge is physical. There is a vast Pacific Ocean separating China from Latin America. China has the ability to create islands in record time with the MV Tian Kun Hao. Hawaii has acted as a gateway to Asia for the United States. What about the equivalent of a Chinese Hawaii from a strategic point of view? The author proposes that China will create an island in the Pacific that is more or less equidistant from China and Latin American. This island will act as an extension of the One Belt and One Road Initiative.
Would the island be sovereign Chinese territory? If China builds the island on the high seas beyond any national jurisdiction, 200 plus nautical miles from a nation, then China may construct artificial islands that according to Article 87 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea treaty (UNCLOS) would be sovereign Chinese territory! If China was building a military base in the middle of the Pacific Ocean then the US would be opposed to such a project regardless of legality. However, the island proposed in this essay would have peaceful goals!
The island could be named after Zheng He the admiral who might have arrived in the Americas before Columbus. The Island could also be called “Lucky Eight Island” for reasons that will become apparent later in this essay. I think the Zheng He name could be the more official formal name for Chinese audiences and Lucky Eight could be the more vernacular informal name for none Chinese audiences. This island will have both commercial and educational goals.
A traveler traveling from Beijing to Mexico City wastes a lot of time using hub airports that do not support the goal of connecting these two cities. The traveler has to go to hub airports in the US such as Dallas, Vancouver, Chicago, Los Angeles and even Amsterdam that are out of the way. The island will act as a hub airport connecting Chinese cities to Latin American cities. The distance from Beijing to Mexico City is 12,450 km. The Boeing 777, the most common airplane in the world, has a range of 9,704 to 15,844 km. An island more or less 6,000 km from Beijing and Mexico City would allow a Boeing 777 to reach just about any city in China or Latin American from that island. A Boeing 777 has a speed of 950 km/h. In theory with a one hour layover, a traveler could travel from Beijing to Mexico City in 14 hours via the island versus the usual 18-20 plus hours the traveler now has to travel.
The Chinese cities the island airport hub serves might include Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Shenzhen. The following Latin American cities are economically important to China. Bogotá, Lima, Mexico City, Panama City and São Paulo. There are students from five Central American countries that could easily go to the island from Mexico City or Panama City. The diplomatically important countries are Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.
The traveler to cities in China other than Beijing or Shanghai can arrive at other Chinese cities with only one layover rather than two or even three layovers as is currently the case. As a specialized hub airport, layover times should be minimal but longer layovers are inevitable. The airport should be designed with pod style accommodations as a design priority rather than a design afterthought.
Japanese tourists go to Guam to buy US goods! Could the Chinese island be a place where Latin Americans go to buy Chinese goods? Conversely, could the island be a place where Chinese go to buy Latin American goods? Business to customer sales are part of any airport. However, could business to business also be done on the island?
The island will have advanced communication infrastructure that connects China with Latin America either via satellite and/or an underwater fiber optic cable connection. The island could house a submarine branching unit connecting Chinese cities to Latin American cities. Chile and China are already working on an underwater fiber optic cable connection.
The island will provide a place in which Chinese and Latin Americans can learn together and from each other. The island will house a trilingual university. The best and the brightest Chinese learn Spanish. The best and the brightest Latin Americans learn Chinese. English is used as a transitional language in the first two years but eventually the students move to all Chinese classes for the Latin Americans and all Spanish classes for the Chinese. Trilingual graduates will be in demand in any number of fields. However, the university could focus on creating top of the line aviation management, environmental studies, logistics, telecommunications, translation studies and tourism-hospitality departments. The aviation management students can do internships in the airport. The logistics students will act as leaders that have the skills to increase trade between China and Latin America. The tourism students will acts as leaders that can increase tourism between China and Latin America.
The foreign language department will focus on Chinese, English and Spanish. There will be a further emphasis on translations studies and computer-assisted translation in particular. The wide spread use of applications like Google Translate show that ultimately computers will play a larger and larger role in translations tasks. The department may also offer classes in Portuguese and Japanese for those students interested in becoming quadrilingual.
The advanced communications infrastructure capability on the island could be used to promote distance learning between China and Latin America. This distance learning project includes regular and guest professors from China that are on the island teaching students throughout Latin America and vice versa. An advanced communication system will also allow Chinese and Latin American researchers to communicate with each other more effectively. The university can act as a convenient physical space where researchers can finalize research face to face that has already been done largely in cyberspace. The university should be able to host international conferences involving the Americas and China. The university hotel can be used by university guests. The tourism and hospitality students will do internships in the university hotel.
A university affiliated online educational TV station based on the island will take advantage of the communications infrastructure. Telecommunications majors will do internships in the television station. The TV station will send Chinese television shows, with educational and/or cultural merit to appropriate Latin American audiences including students and academics in Latin America. The students in the translation studies program will translate the Chinese shows into Spanish for Latin American consumption. Latin American television with educational and/or cultural merit will in turn be translated into Chinese and aimed at appropriate audiences in China. The translations studies students gain valuable real life translation experience via this project. Large audiences in China and Latin America gain a broader international outlook from this programming.
Later, original programming made by students under the direction of professors at the island university could be part of the project. The student made programming could focus on Chinese-Latin American connections. A series of modules designed to teach Spanish speakers Chinese could be one of the projects of this television station. Also, a series of modules designed to teach Chinese speakers Spanish could be a project of this television station.
Culture shock is always a problem when students study abroad but distance acts as a remedy of sorts for the students in the college. The location of the island means Chinese students are more or less seven hours from home in China. Obviously the Latin American students are also more or less seven hours from home. This means students can more conveniently go home and recharge than if home was 14 to 20 hours away! The communications infrastructure could be used to allow the students easy two way video communication with friends and family back home. The university should obviously have a rich extracurricular environment. Busy students have less time to be homesick!
Student electives and student clubs can act as extensions of the cross-cultural focus of the university. Classes in Chinese cuisine and Latin American cuisine would be logical electives. Chifa is a fusion of Chinese Cantonese cuisine and Peruvian cuisine and could be the signature cuisine of the university. A cooking club could be an outgrowth of these classes. The faculty sponsor should probably be a member of the tourism and hospitality department and the students of this department should take a lead role in the cooking club. Latin American students teach Chinese member Latin American dishes and vice versa. The creation of original fusion dishes that combine Chinese and Latin American elements should be encouraged.
China is of course famous for wushu and classes in wushu make sense in this university. Latin America does have some very effective martial arts such as the Brazilian martial art capoeira, Colombian grima, and juego del garrote. The author of this paper does have some martial arts experience in both Chinese and Latin American martial arts. I think Chinese and Latin American martial arts would complement each other. Latin American martial arts are more modern than wushu and reflect modern realities such as the use of modern weapons like machetes for offense and specialized moves that act as a defense against firearms. The use of hand stand techniques in capoeira seem fantastical until you realize that shooting a moving leg is a difficult task compared to shooting someone in the chest. A leg wound is also less likely to lead to death than a chest wound. In contrast, Chinese martial arts use more ancient and even exotic weapons and generally provide no defense against firearms but have no equal in terms of variety of weapons and variety of techniques. A martial arts club might be a good place for students to explore a fusion of these martial traditions. Surfing and scuba diving could both be classes and clubs that do not serve a cross cultural function but take advantage of the island location. The elective classes act as introductions to an area of interest while the clubs with the appropriate faculty sponsorship allow the student to gain additional expertise in their interest area.
As a central Pacific Ocean outpost of China, the island could make soft power inroads among Pacific island populations. The children of local Pacific island elites could receive substantial scholarships to attend the university or even have full-tuition scholarships depending on circumstances. There will be a need for custodial labor and clerical workers on the island. Most Pacific islands suffer youth unemployment that is estimated at being around 23 percent! The educational television station could broadcast TV shows over the air that are of value to Pacific island populations. China probably has a special interest in better diplomatic relations with the following Pacific islands: Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.
Description of the Island
In an earlier megaproject proposal, I suggested there are several advantages to a donut shaped island. Belgium has suggested a donut shaped island can store energy generated by wind power as described in Wired. The center of the donut is a fresh water lake. This provides a source of drinking water, fresh water fish and a shark free area to practice water sports such as sailing and scuba diving.
If you have two donut shaped islands side by side and touching then you get a figure eight shaped island! Eight is a lucky number in Chinese culture! One donut shaped island is used for the airport. The airport island is bigger because airports use up a lot more space than universities. Plus, there is always the possibility that the island grows from being a hub airport connecting China and Latin America to becoming a hub airport that connects Asia and the Americas as a whole! The other donut shaped island is used for the university.
The B2B center, B2C mall and government services center sit where the two islands meet. Perhaps the building housing both the B2C mall, B2B center and government service center are in an eight story building. The top floor of the building allows a view of both lakes as well as the Pacific Ocean and houses a 5 star fusion seafood restaurant as well as many other restaurants. The B2C mall occupies the lower floors and the B2B center occupies the top floors. Can a floor of the mall be designed so that virtual reality entertainment is more immersive than in a less modern mall.
The area where the two islands meet provides natural shelter for ships and yachts. My own experience with harbors is that big cruise ships and relatively smaller ships such as yachts should be kept separate to some extent but both types of ships need access to similar supplies. The cruise ship harbor and the marina for small boats should have equal access to the B2B center/B2C mall. Hopefully the island becomes a trilingual outpost in the Pacific that attracts both cruise ships from Asia and the Americas and smaller boats from neighboring islands. The marina with student interns from the tourism department can offer tours in Spanish/Chinese and/or English of surrounding Pacific islands.
Security at the Eastern B2B center/B2C mall exits can prevent unauthorized personnel from exiting into the university island. In general I would say the university island should be off limits to all but university related personnel. Do you really want random travelers from the airport, harbor and/or marina wandering around the university? The students of course have free access to both islands with their student IDs. There could be a K12 boarding school next to the university and that extra layer of security will make the parents happy. Cameras can be mounted on the outside of the B2B center/B2C mall. The external cameras mean that the airport, harbor, marina and university can be observed to some extent with these cameras.
One floor of the building should be dedicated to government services including city hall type functions, customs, the police station and the coast guard. I would suggest a hardened basement for the government services. Typhoons are common in the Pacific Ocean. The basement facility should be strong enough to survive even a super typhoon. The people of the island need leadership no matter how bad the situation.
Dubai is planning to create an underwater theme park. The airport island could have a similar type of park from an infrastructure point of view but with a different theme! Swimmers and scuba divers can explore Chinese and Latin American man made wonders of the world underwater. The following Chinese wonders of the world could include wonders of the world underwater from China and Latin America. China has several man made wonders that merit inclusion in the underwater theme park including the Terracotta Army, the Hanging Temple, the Great Wall of China, the Leshan Giant Buddha, Shibaozhai, and the Forbidden City. Latin American is more famous for scenic wonders than man made wonders but the two big ones that would look incredible underwater is the Pyramid of the Sun and Machu Picchu.
Another potential tourist attraction could be a recreation of the Glass Beach of Fort Bragg, California but on a much larger scale. Glass is made of silicon just like sand. Glass left on a coast will be pounded by the waves and turned into smooth rounded pieces! I doubt that China needs to bring glass waste all the way from China. I suspect there is plenty of glass waste all over the Pacific that populations will be more than willing to donate to China! The Glass Beach in California was created by accident.
The new Glass Beach could have one beach that is a rainbow of glass but how about having other beaches that use glass sorted by color. The most common colors for sea glass are kelly green, brown, and white (clear) because many bottle are made of these colors. So building three beaches of these common types of glass should be relatively easy. I would call the beach made of brown colored glass the gold beach. I would call the beach made out of the clear glass the crystal beach. Less common types of colored glass are jade, amber (from bottles for whiskey, medicine, spirits, and early bleach bottles), golden amber or amberina (mostly used for spirit bottles), lime green (from soda bottles during the 1960s), forest green, and ice- or soft blue (from soda bottles, medicine bottles, ink bottles, and fruit jars from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, windows, and windshields). The less common types of sea glass could be sold in stores and used in jewelry also sold in stores. There could be a place in the mall were tourists can make their own sea glass jewelry. The pieces of glass in loose form or converted into pieces of jewelry would be a unique souvenir. Below is a picture of the Glass Beach in California.
One lake could have an aquaculture area that farms high value edible Chinese freshwater fish. Another aquaculture area could farm high value edible Latin American freshwater fish used in cooking. Fish of course is also available from the surrounding Pacific Ocean. The university cooking club and the B2C mall restaurants will have an incredible diversity of fish to use for fusion recipes! Fish produce feces! I don’t want to swim in fish feces or drink fish feces. The second lake is used for water sports and drinking water.
The center of the lake in the university side of the island will have a giant statue of Confucius since Confucius is considered a great teacher. The statue uses Luminor paint. Luminor paint uses electroluminescence technology. Electricity passing through the paint causes the paint to glow like a light bulb. In the day, the statue looks like a giant statue painted gold but at night the activated paint glows! Paint of different metallic hues could be used to give the statue more dimensionality. The center of the lake on the airport side of the island could have a statue of Zheng He since Zheng He is considered a great traveler.
With the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change, China has become the global leader in dealing with climate change. The island could be have an environmental center. Since the island is in the Pacific, the Great Pacific garbage patch is one problem the center could tackle. The Ocean Cleanup project is in interesting approach but I am sure Chinese and Latin American researchers can come up with an improved version of this solution. In particular, Marcus Eriksen et al. (2014) have found 92% of plastic pieces in the ocean is smaller than microplastic and cannot be caught by The Ocean Cleanup’s system. College students from all over the world could be awarded internships to act as crews on university ships based on the island that travel to different parts of the Pacific and perhaps all over the world in order to clean up the world’s oceans.
The island could have a casino! After all the island is shaped like a lucky eight! The island could even have a five star resort area that allows recreational marijuana usage. The potential revenue could be huge and that revenue could in turn fund the loftier goals of the university. A wall could separate the interesting part of the airport island from the rest of the island.
The university offers dual degrees. You get a bachelors from a Chinese university and a Latin American university. The students become trilingual. These are significant academic advantages that other universities around the world cannot offer. Latin American middle class students will probably be happy with the academic advantages. However, students that come from Latin American elites and have the money to study in Western countries and party would be valuable to China but might find the island “boring”.
If the five star resort had a three day minimum occupancy then Latin American students could go to the resort to “blow off steam” during a three day weekend. Marijuana will remain illegal on the airport island and the university island except for the resort area. Marijuana is only legal at the resort and you have to stay at the resort for at least three days or at least you have to pay for three days at the resort. Chinese students with mainland China passports could be barred from going to the resort or maybe not. Overseas Chinese that have passports from other countries other than China can stay at the resort just like Latin American students. Wealthy Overseas Chinese are another group that could be valuable for the projection of Chinese soft power.
The rise of Frankencracy in the US means the US has given up on its traditional leadership role in the Americas. The unilateral attack of NAFTA by the US means the Americas can no longer trust the US as a reliable long term partner in regional development. The rise of Frankencracy also means the demise of a potential tripolar global order. New political structures need to be created for a prosperous global future. China’s One Belt One Road Initiative will bring prosperity to millions in Asia and Europe. Hopefully this proposal means that Latin American can also benefit from China’s One Belt One Road Initiative
My Articles About China and/or Chinese Culture
1) Do address a business associate with their professional title.
2) Do bargain.
3) Do be prepared for random people approaching to you and asking to practice their English.
4) Do be punctual.
5) Do beckon someone by waving them over to you with your palm down.
6) Do carry around a business card of the hotel you are staying in.
7) Do eat all of the rice in your bowl.
8) Do eat what your host offers and orders, including alcohol; it’s rude to refuse.
9) Do fill your companion’s tea cup when it’s empty.
10) Do give your host a gift.
11) Do greet the eldest person in a Chinese family first.
12) Do keep calm when dealing with officials, especially if tense situations arise.
13) Do learn how to use chopsticks correctly.
14) Do present important things to people with both hands.
15) Do present your gift with two arms, and if you are given a gift, receive it with two arms.
16) Do refuse a gift several times before accepting it.
17) Do remove your shoes when entering a Chinese home.
18) Do say hello (ni hao) in Chinese.
19) Do think twice about sharing your opinion especially at formal meetings.
20) Do toast with the word ganbei (“empty glass”).
21) Do touch your glass below that of the eldest person in the group when toasting.
22) Do try to understand indirect communication.
1) Don’t be offended when asked if you’re married.
2) Don’t criticize someone in public.
3) Don’t discuss the three T’s (Taiwan, Tiananmen, Tibet) in class, if you are the teacher.
4) Don’t engage in public displays of affection.
5) Don’t expect to tip everywhere you would tip in Western culture.
6) Don’t give clocks, knives, scissors, white or yellow flowers, or pears as gifts.
7) Don’t immediately put the card away in your pocket or bag.
8) Don’t leave your chopsticks upright in your bowl or tap your bowl with them.
9) Don’t open the gift upon receiving it unless it is insisted upon. Instead, open it later.
10) Don’t point or use your finger (this gesture is used for dogs).
11) Don’t point the bottom of your shoes/feet at someone.
12) Don’t point the spout of the teapot at anyone.
13) Don’t point with your index finger. Instead, use an open hand.
14) Don’t pour your own drink first.
15) Don’t put sugar or milk in your tea.
16) Don’t say “no”. Instead say “maybe” or “you will think about it”.
17) Don’t shake your feet, lest you shake away all of your luck.
18) Don’t take the last bit of food in a serving plate.
19) Don’t touch someone’s head.
20) Don’t wear bright colors or shorts for business meetings.
21) Don’t whistle or snap your fingers to get someone’s attention.
22) Don’t wrap a gift in white wrapping paper.
23) Don’t write anything in red ink unless you’re correcting an exam.
24) Don’t write on the business card unless you are told to do so.
My Articles About China and/or Chinese Culture
The eight types of Chinese regional cuisine are Anhui, Cantonese, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shandong, Szechuan, and Zhejiang.
All – Anhui
Chinese – Cantonese
Food – Fujian
Has – Hunan
Juicy – Jiangsu
Sweet – Shandong
Sour – Szechuan
Zing – Zhejian
All Chinese food has juicy, sweet, sour zing!
Now you can easily amaze friends and family with your knowledge of Chinese cuisine!
Also check out List of Food Adjectives
My Articles About China and/or Chinese Culture
The source material is from articles from the US, Taiwan and mainland China and there is a lot of repetition between these studies so I have attempted to focus on different weaknesses in the Taiwanese military position in the different studies.
A) Synopsis of points taken from Brookings Study (2011)
This study is a bit dated since the military situation is changing dramatically but still makes some points worth noting.
1) The PLA has vastly improved the military capabilities of its artillery, including missiles, air capabilities, naval capabilities, ground and amphibious capabilities, cyber and electronic capabilities, and enjoys a huge quantitative edge in all these areas and will soon have a qualitative edge as well! The Brookings Study does not mention any dates.
2) China has pursued a policy of befriending neighboring nations that narrows Taiwan’s military options. I would have to add this policy has been much less effective since 2010 when the report came out and many Asian neighbors now do view China as a potential military threat. However, I see no attempt by Taiwan to take advantage of this situation as is the case with Japan.
B) Synopsis of points taken from Taiwan’s Defense Ministry (2012) via Reuters.
I would have loved to get a copy of the actual report in English but couldn’t find it anywhere on the web. The study was widely quoted in media outlets around the world.
3) “In the future, the Chinese military will continue focusing on further integration of its military units, with the expectation that it will be able to resist foreign forces’ intervention in any attack on Taiwan.”
4) “Over the long-term, it will be wholly sufficient to engage in a war over Taiwan by 2020.”
C) Synopsis of points taken from an article in mainland China.
The following article has to be viewed with some suspicion since the line between objective journalism and propaganda often does not exist in newspapers in China but I would say some of the points are valid and very interesting.
5) Wartime ammunition insufficient. This point has been verified by Taiwanese military reports in the past that I read while I was in Taiwan in the Taipei Times a long time ago! An almost incredible, surrealistic situation in which Taiwan’s military literally runs out of ammo in days and even hours! Perhaps steps have already been taken to rectify this colossal weakness.
6) “Many men are afraid of dying” i.e. poor morale on the part of soldiers in Taiwan. I think the article exaggerates the number of desertions that would occur in combat among Taiwanese soldiers. Taiwanese soldiers are after all trained professionals. Chinese military thought going back to Sun Tzu puts a lot of emphasis on psychological elements and this article does not disappoint. There are some interesting points about American psychology that I think are difficult to verify logically but the historical events used to make the points did happen. There is a place for this sort of “Chinese” analysis and I would like to add a few psychological observations of my own.
D) Personal Observations
Personal observations are extremely subjective and this is by far the weakest evidence in this essay. However, not everyone has had the experience of living in both China and Taiwan. I hope my observations are at least interesting.
7) I have taught in China and Taiwan and have dealt with hundreds of Chinese students and thousands of Taiwanese students. Taiwanese students in general tend to be better educated and more polished than their Chinese counterparts. However, Chinese students are tougher than their Taiwanese counterparts! Many schools in China still have a physical education requirement in college. Chinese students can put up with physical hardship since frankly as a less developed country there is more hardship to put up with. Chinese students are often ambitious to the point of delusional. Taiwanese students seem to have given up on life before life has even started. Chinese students are like Rocky in the Hollywood movie and have a fire in the belly. Taiwanese students just don’t have that same fire in the belly.
I think calling the current generations of Taiwanese “peaches”, as is common in the Taiwanese press, is an exaggeration but the current generation is softer than their parents and far softer than their grandparents. I like the softness of Taiwanese but not sure it’s a good quality in soldiers! I am not sure how important this point is in modern warfare but 300 hundred Spartans were able to defeat thousands of Persian but 300 peaches would not fare as well!
8) Based on countless conversations with mainland Chinese students I would have to say that the mainland Chinese are united in their belief that Taiwan is part of China and that they personally would volunteer for such an operation. When I have talked with Taiwanese students they have consistently expressed the view that war between mainland China and Taiwan as a big joke and basically feel their only hope is US intervention and would attempt to flee the conflict rather than fight or resist China. I am totally aware that Chinese are more likely to say what is “politically correct” than Taiwanese due to the differences between the governments of both lands. However, in private Chinese students can be surprisingly honest about what they really think. Even Chinese who want more democracy in China and do not support many Chinese government policies do agree with the Chinese government when it comes to Taiwan! One has to say that students are not professional soldiers. However I do think students are representative of civilians in general in many respects. Based on this limited sample, students, I would have to say China wins in the civilian morale department!
Politics is the art of the possible. Taiwan realistically has two options in the long run: peaceful reunification or a war with China that it will surely lose. Economic integration could buy Taiwan time that could be used to address the issues listed in this paper but I think this is very, very unlikely.
Taiwanese simply lack the Real Politik outlook needed to make the sacrifices needed to prevent reunification. Taiwan has a truly mountainous center and giant monetary reserves and could study how Switzerland and Finland resisted giant neighbors using mountainous geography. Taiwan could also study how Israel used a universal military conscription system effectively versus the mockery of such a system that currently exists in Taiwan. China has the largest army in the world and Taiwan’s current big plan is to have even less soldiers than now in an all volunteer force in the future.
To paraphrase a rather famous mainlander, “War is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. The Taiwanese are more refined, leisurely, gentle, temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous than their mainland Chinese brothers and their strengths as humans will be their undoing in war! This seems to be a recurring theme in Chinese history. Taiwanese like their low taxes and creature comforts and do not have the will to do what must be done! In short, Taiwan truly is a paper tiger and a smart paper tiger negotiates before the other side figures what’s up!
The vast majority of Taiwanese do not want to become part of mainland China! Can mainland China become a society that Taiwanese want to join voluntarily? Taiwan is part of China legally but can one ethically ignore the desire of the vast majority of Taiwanese to remain separate from a society that has not evolved politically to a level the Taiwanese consider acceptable?