Tag Archives: China


A Linkedin Beta Is Now Available In China

Linkedin (Nyse:lnkd) has formally started a Chinese beta rendition of its expert informal organization under the name 领英, or Lingying.

Linkedin is one of the few western informal organizations that isn’t hindered in China, and it reported four million enrolled clients of its English form on the terrain. A Chinese adaptation has been normal following the time when the organization employed Derek Shen as its new president of China operations.

On the Chinese desktop form, clients will discover Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo choices to import contacts, and also a couple of Chinese email suppliers. Not at all like the universal form, Twitter and Facebook are no place to be found.

photo techinasia


The Chinese Government Unveils New Search Engine, ChinaSo

The Chinese government has started another pursuit site that is apparently run by the VP of Xinhua, the Communist Party of China’s authority mouthpiece. Called Chinaso, its logo’s shade plot nearly looks like (and that is putting it beneficently) Google’s.

As Tech In Asia notes, Chinaso is not the first endeavor by the Chinese government to make its web index. Chinaso is really a blend of Jike and Panguso, two state-run inquiry destinations that united a year ago.

It’s vague why the administration chose to take an alternate cut at starting its entryway. Jike and Panguso saw so minimal movement that they didn’t even make dissection firm CNZZ’s rundown of the main six web indexes in China, which implies that each one had under 0.2% piece of the overall industry. China’s hunt business sector is now overwhelmed by organizations like Baidu and Qihoo, which together hold an over 80% allotment.

photo techinasia

21st Century Pax Sinica | The Golden Age For China’s Entrepreneurs

There is only one country in the world in 2014 that is in ascendancy to empire status and that is the People’s Republic of China. In this blog post I aim to give an insight into what’s going on within China’s thriving community of entrepreneurs. I will show you where they are investing, what some of their visionaries are building, more insights from Beijing and how their new economic power and leadership will affect our world.

Before I start, I will highlight the fact that the Communist Party of China (CPC) has lifted 500 million people out of poverty in the last 35 years, a statistic often not acknowledged in western media.

The Chinese population, 1/5 of humanity, has fully embraced capitalism in some of its rawest forms. So when you next hear that China will implode and is on an unsustainable path, remember that the Chinese people have gone through far worse hardships than those faced in the 21st century and have prevailed.

The Golden Age for China’s entrepreneurs

China, with a population of 1.3 billion, is an economic superpower, re-emerging at breakneck speed. But be aware of the fact that Chinese entrepreneurs unleashed after many years of internal challenges, including the great leap forward and the cultural revolution, have now had 30 years of economic liberalization; they are taking no prisoners in their own relentless quest for wealth, power and prosperity.

“China is a sleeping giant. Let her sleep, for when she wakes she will move the world.” Napoleon Bonaparte

There are now an estimated 330 dollar billionaires and 1,020,000 millionaires in China and this number will expand rapidly as China continues to deliver a GDP growth rate of 7.5+%. 1/3 of China’s super-rich has emigrated from mainland China and they are investing everywhere.

China’s entrepreneur led global expansion

The global media is buzzing with news about Chinese Investors buying well known western brands. One particular Chinese conglomerate that inspires confidence headed by billionaire Wang Jianlin the richest man in China with a fortune of 14.2 billion US$ is the Dalian Wanda Group Corporation with $5 billion allocated annually to acquiring foreign assets, a potent signal of the group’s overseas ambitions.

Tens of thousands of entrepreneurs in China are preparing their businesses for global expansion in Q1 to Q2, 2014. There is not one country, industry or sector that they can’t enter into and compete with.

Where are the Chinese investing? this data sheds some light on China’s worldwide investments and contracts: Link

If you are interested in where Chinese SOE’s and entrepreneurs are investing in the US check out the Rhodium Group Chinese investment monitor tracking Chinese direct investment in the United States: Link

These powerful images and data of rapid Chinese growth display how far China has come with 30 years of economic liberalization.

I will now show you several projects by Zhang Yue, one of China’s self-made multimillionaires with a net-worth estimated to be at $900 million. Zhang made his fortune selling air-conditioners and was the first Chinese entrepreneur to own a private helicopter; he even built himself an Egyptian pyramid and a replica of Versailles.

Zhang is the founder of Broad Sustainable Building(BSB), a 30 story building built in 15 days


Zhang is also building Sky City One in Changsha, Hunan, China.


If the project passes environmental assessments, obtains official approval and is completed as planned, it will become the tallest building in the world, 10 m (33 ft) taller than the current record holder, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. This can be completed at 1/3 of the cost Zhang forecasts. The cost of Sky City One is $1.46 billion. That’s $1500 per square meter, a 1/3 of the cost of the Burj Khalifa.

Think of the impact colossal scale projects like this can and will have on the world as hundreds of thousands of Chinese entrepreneurs search for commercial opportunities outside of mainland China.

Insights from Beijing

I spoke with hundreds of entrepreneurs and investors at the 2nd International Forum on Private Enterprise Heritage & China’s Influence, engaged in long discussions about China’s leadership outside of the mainland and even got the opportunity via a translator to ask a general of the People’s Liberation Army his views on the new economic power of the country.

They all seem to say the same thing: China is a peaceful country and has no ambitions to invade anyone, a people that want peaceful coexistence with the global community and to fight the real issues of poverty and pollution. I hope this is the case but as a student of geopolitics I know that it is not. China will be pushed into making decisions that it doesn’t want to make. China will have to protect its citizens and investments in overseas territory through humanitarian intervention in the near future. As the US continues to draw back from conflict zones and shows weak leadership there will be continuous power vacuums globally and China will have to show leadership. I will address this further on a future blog post.

I have noticed strong nationalist views from several of the net generation within my own age group. Main views where China should be more assertive in East Asia and some of them held very strong opinions on Japan and America.

China is leading the world


This map clearly indicates the economic impact China now wields globally although a lot of this is state led. I envision many privatizations of SOE’s in China in the near future and massive growth of the wealth creators and entrepreneurs.

China will keep expanding economically and will overtake the US in the coming years. It’s not a question of if. It’s a question of when. It all depends on what data source you read from but this transition will happen.

I do have confidence in the (CPC) keeping GDP growth rate at 7+% for the next several years. China has to keep tier 2 to 5 migrants coming into the newly built cities to keep the economic engine running at full speed. The vast urbanization program, the biggest the world has ever seen, is the key reason for the last $4 trillion in growth as the farmers have evolved into factory workers and build everything imaginable for the global consuming market.

I will end this post with a quote:

‘’Empty your mind. Be formless, shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle. You put it into a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can flow, and it can crash. Be like water, my friend” — Bruce Lee

To make meaning of this quote I would have to present my personal view on it but I’m on a very different journey than you. So when you are next meditating or on a long flight, I want you to try and find meaning for yourself in this; you may find it to be one of the finest investments of your time you have ever made.

I’m a facilitator, dealmaker and Chairman of Blackbridge Cross Borders, working with several Chinese Investment consortiums globally. You can find out more here: Link. If you have any questions or ideas/suggestions on past or future blog posts please interact with me via twitter @ajarvis8

Written by

China’s Latest Stealth Fighter Prototype Has, Well, Actual Stealth Features

Possible new camera, nozzles and coating on latest J-20

The third—or maybe fourth—copy of China’s first stealth fighter design has appeared in photos published on the Chinese Internet. The Chengdu J-20 Dragon with the nose number “2011” appears to boast several important improvements and marks Beijing’s continued march towards an operational radar-evading warplane.

In other words, this new J-20 is a big deal—and comes hard on the heels of several other major aerospace advancements in China, including the first public flights of the new J-16 fighter-bomber and a potentially weapons-armed jet drone.

J-20 number 2011. Via Chinese Internet

The J-20 first appeared in photos leaked online—most likely by bloggers on the Chinese Communist Party payroll—in late December 2010. The large, twin-engine fighter prototype with the nose number “2001,” painted a sinister black, first flew in January 2011, commencing a slow but steady test program.

International reaction to China’s first stealth warplane, albeit in prototype form, ranged from panicked to dismissive. “Asian Pacific’s political landscape will be changed,” claimed Arthur Ding, a Taiwanese analyst. But Chinese Air Force Gen. Chen Bingde admitted that there was a “gaping gap” between the J-20 and U.S.-made stealth warplanes including the F-22 and F-35.

J-20 number 2001. Via Chinese Internet

Chengdu added another J-20—nose number “2002” to the test fleet in May 2012. In October, a possible third aircraft numbered “2003” appeared, but some analysts speculated that 2003 was actually just 2002 with modifications to its nose radome in order to accommodate a new, electronically-scanned radar. 2003 also appeared to have a fittings on top of the radome for an infrared sensor.

So far, the J-20s have used Russian-made AL-31F and Chinese WS-10 engines. A new, purpose-built engine for the J-20 is reportedly in development.

J-20 number 2002. Via Chinese Internet

2011 appears to share 2003’s new radome but omits the top fitting for the IR sensor. Instead, 2003 has a housing below its nose for what seems to be an electro-optical sensor—basically, a powerful camera. A key piece of equipment on the U.S. F-35, an EO sensor allows a stealth fighter to detect targets at long range without resorting to radar, which can be picked up by the enemy.

It’s worth noting that EO and IR are not mutually exclusive—the F-35’s camera also includes an infrared function.

J-20 number 2003. Via Chinese Internet

In addition to the camera housing, J-20 2011 appears to feature a metallic stealth coating, giving it the same characteristic sheen as the F-22 and F-35. Stealth paints and coatings, made of materials that can absorb radar and infrared energy, are key aspects of stealth design but are notoriously difficult to formulate, manufacture and maintain.

The coatings can also be wickedly toxic, although it’s unlikely Beijing will worry overmuch about that.

J-20 2011′s new nozzle type. Via Chinese Internet

Finally, 2011 has a new engine nozzle type with serrated “dogtooth” edges, like seen on the canopy of the now-retired U.S. F-117 stealth fighter. These special edges can help scatter radar energy in a way that helps avoid detection.

Just because the new J-20 appears to have a stealth coating does not mean the coating works or is economical. Nor can we be certain the dogtoothing truly contributes to the jet’s stealth or that the under-nose camera is of sufficient fidelity to function as a long-range sensor.

Still, the new prototype’s appearance is a triumph for Chengdu and the Chinese Air Force and brings Beijing that much closer to fielding combat-ready stealth fighters, perhaps as early as 2017, according to some projections.

But China still lags far behind the U.S. when it comes to cutting-edge warplanes. The U.S. Air Force already possesses 20 B-2 stealth bombers plus more than 180 F-22s. The Americans also have around 100 F-35s for tests and training and could deploy those new fighters, warts and all, within two years.

J-20 number 2011. Via Chinese Internet

Russia and Japan are also developing radar-evading fighters. The Russian Sukhoi T-50 first flew in early 2010. Five T-50 prototypes are in testing and Moscow hopes to purchase 60 front-line examples after 2016. Japan’s Shinshin stealth fighter is still in the early design phase and, as Tokyo is also purchasing F-35s, might never enter serial production.

My new book Shadow Wars is out. Sign up for a daily War is Boring email update here. Subscribe to WIB’s RSS feed here and follow the main page here.

Further Reading

Russia’s Stealth Fighter Could Outfly, Outshoot American Jets

 — T-50 is fast, long-ranged and has fearsome new weapons

China’s First Stealthy Killer Drone Takes Flight

 — We know next to nothing about Beijing’s ‘Sharp Sword’

Add This Fighter-Bomber to the List of New Chinese Warplanes

 — J-16 jet fighter makes public debut

Published by

Alibaba & others sink $100M into Asia’s language-learning service TutorGroup (exclusive)

Alibaba & others sink $100M into Asia’s language-learning service TutorGroup (exclusive)

TutorGroup CEO Dr. Eric Yang

Online education provider TutorGroup has closed a massive $100 million in second round funding from Asia-based investors.

VentureBeat has exclusively learned that online shopping juggernaut Alibaba, Temasek and Qiming Venture Partners participated in the round. The company strategically raised its funds from investors in China and Singapore, as it’s building a strong brand in the region. Most of the TutorGroup offices are spread across Asia, although the company has a research and development group based in Silicon Valley.

TutorGroup got its start in 2004 and quickly became one of the fastest-growing English language learning services. It now also offers Mandarin Chinese language learning on a new site, Tutorming.org. To commemorate the funding, TutorGroup is launching a scholarship for students in the United States and Singapore to learn Chinese. Students can apply online at Tutorming.org.

The company was founded by brothers Eric Yang and Ming Yang, who realized that students in China and Taiwan needed an easy and affordable way to connect with teachers online. Bandwidth is still an obstacle for students in rural areas, but regulators claim that the Internet in China will be ‘five times’ faster and cheaper by 2015.

As a result, chief executive officer Eric Yang predicts that the English language learning segment in China will grow at 25 percent per year. This isn’t particularly surprising, as online education is booming in China. New startups are emerging to capitalize on the trend and U.S.-based services are slowly making inroads in the market. Several of China’s Internet titans — Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent — have entered into the fray in the past few years by investing in existing e-learning services or starting their own education divisions.

Students looking to learn a new language are flooded with options. But a company spokesperson said TutorGroup stands out from the pack as its courses are so “personalized.” It competes with massive open online course (MOOC) providers, like Coursera and Udacity, and the various online tutoring services (Instaedu is particularly strong in this space). TutorGroup also faces competition from the slew of free and cheap language learning applications, such as Duolingo.

Signing up to TutorGroup is simple: Students can register online and pay approximately $25 to join an online class. TutorGroup boasts some 2,000 language teachers (most of whom are TESOL certified).

The recommendations engine will then determine the optimal class size and learning pace for each student. The course content is reviewed by the community of learners and is consistently checked for accuracy. TutorGroup often refers to its technology as a “platform” or “portal,” as online learners can access around the clock support and a customer relationship management (CRM) tool. According to a spokesperson, this technology was developed over the course of a decade.

The company has bigger ambitions for its technology than online language learning. Soon, you may be able to take a wine education class online on TutorGroup taught by an expert in the field. The company may also license its content to other companies.

TutorGroup previously raised $15 million in a first round funding, in April of 2012.


Samsung Profit Growth Slows Down, As Galaxy Faces Heat From iPhone And Cheaper Rivals

Next Story

Samsung’s latest financial results underscored slowing growth in the smartphone business and its increased rivalry with Apple, which seems to be closing the gap, at least in the U.S.

Samsung reported its first decline in quarterly profit in two years for the December quarter. Fourth quarter net income was 7.22 trillion won ($6.7 billion), lower than what the analysts had expected. Operating income for Samsung’s mobile business during October to December period remained flat at 5.47 trillion won.

While consumers in both India and China are expected to buy over half a billion smartphones this year, they are going to look for cheaper versions, triggering a pricing battle. This basically means lower profit margins for Samsung’s Galaxy range of phones — the company’s biggest and most profitable business division.

With Apple iPhone at the higher end of the market (and even pushing lower-priced iPhones in markets like India), and aggressive rivals such as Lenovo and Micromax selling much cheaper versions of Android phones, this year is going to be tough for Samsung.

Investor concerns on Samsung’s ability to keep growing its mobile phone business became visible early this year, when the company lost $8 billion of the market value. According to a Bloomberg report, Samsung shipped only 9 million units of Galaxy S4 during the fourth quarter ending December, much lower than the 13 million units it had expected.

Samsung chairman Lee Kun Hee even warned employees last January to watch its back and continue to innovate in new business, as competition increases and the global economy continues to drag.

Earlier this year, Apple finally managed to strike a deal with China Mobile for selling iPhones in the country. Tim Cook also said that Apple sold more iPhones in China than ever before during the quarter. Moreover, Apple now seems to be working on bigger-sized iPhones to address the opportunity in markets like China where many consumers still prefer the 5.7-inch Galaxy Note over iPhones that offer 4-inch screen.

Among new launches planned for this year, Samsung said it will release Galaxy S5 by April and at least one other wearable device during 2014.

The company attributed lower growth to currency fluctuations and one-time bonus payments to workers to celebrate the 20th anniversary of chairman Lee’s new management strategy.

To be sure, Samsung is still the world’s biggest smartphone maker, accounting for nearly half of all the sales, but the challenge is more in terms of protecting its turf — both in terms of volumes and profitability.


The Past, The Future & What This Means For Our Developing World.

Peter Thiel SXSW

There are four quadrants used to organize the past and the future views of the developing world.  These quadrants are optimistic, pessimistic, determinate and indeterminate.


China is currently thought to be pessimistic/determinate meaning it has a clear view of where it would like to be in twenty years but at the same time China is worried about whether or not they will get there in this modern time frame.  China is more likely to save money, then invest money over the next few decades.

“China will be a somewhat poorer version of the developed world, people will become old before they become rich”  -  Peter Thiel, Co-founder, PayPal.

America is thought to have fell in to a quadrant called indeterminate optimism.  Presently, the United States is believed to have both a low amount of investment and a low amount of saving, this is arguably the most unstable position for a country to be in.

“One of the strange things about indeterminate optimism is that its the quadrant that has low savings and low investment.  Is it possible for the future to be better when no one saves and no one invests? Because no one is thinking and everyone is outsourcing all of the thinking to other people.”  -  Peter Thiel, Co-Founder, PayPal.

Both Japan and Europe are thought to be indeterminate/pessimistic meaning the future does not look bright and no body is sure what to do about it.

China takes propaganda war with Japan to United Nations

UNITED NATIONS Wed Jan 8, 2014 8:15pm EST

China's Ambassador to the United Nations Liu Jieyi arrives for a meeting of the five permanent members of U.N. Security Council in New York, August 30, 2013. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

China’s Ambassador to the United Nations Liu Jieyi arrives for a meeting of the five permanent members of U.N. Security Council in New York, August 30, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Carlo Allegri

(Reuters) – China took its propaganda war with Japan to the United Nations on Wednesday, questioning Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s motives for visiting a controversial war shrine and calling on him to correct his “erroneous outlook” on history.

Abe’s December 26 visit to Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine, where Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals are enshrined along with other war dead, infuriated China and South Korea and prompted concern from the United States, a key ally.

“It all boils down to whether the leader of a country should stand on the side of maintaining the principles and purposes of the charter of the United Nations or to side with war criminals,” China’s U.N. envoy Liu Jieyi told reporters.

Both China and Korea suffered under brutal Japanese rule, with parts of China occupied in the 1930s and Korea colonized from 1910 to 1945.

“The question inevitably arises as to what Abe is up to, where does he intend to take his country?” Liu said.

“The international community should remain vigilant and issue a warning … that Abe must correct his erroneous outlook of history, he must correct his mistakes and he must not slip further down the wrong path,” he said.

Japan’s U.N. Ambassador Motohide Yoshikawa said in a statement later on Wednesday that Abe’s visit to the shrine was not to pay homage to war criminals or praise militarism.

“Prime Minister Abe visited Yasukuni Shrine to pay his respects and pray for the souls of the war dead and renew the pledge that Japan shall never again wage war. It was nothing more and nothing less,” Yoshikawa said.

Ties between Japan and China were already strained due to a simmering row over ownership of a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea. China has said it is willing to talk to Japan about the issue but has accused Abe of not being serious about wanting to resolve the dispute.

In the spat over Abe’s shrine visit, the Chinese and Japanese envoys to London both wrote columns in Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper in the past week likening each other to Lord Voldemort, the villain in the Harry Potter stories.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Lisa Shumaker)


Is China doing more to help the global economy than Germany?


By Tim Fernholz @timfernholz January 8, 2014

One of the underlying problems that led to the global recession was the US relying too much on borrowing from the rest of the world and China relying too much on lending. That played out in both countries’ trade patterns: The US ran big deficits, and China huge surpluses. In the brief period when the world’s 20 largest economies were working closely together through the G20, they agreed to fix this problem: China would stimulate domestic demand; the US would work on fixing its trade balance.


How has it worked out? This chart gives you a sense, by showing exports of goods and services as a percentage of each country’s total economy (Germany is included, but we’ll say more on that shortly):


Today, we saw the US trade deficit shrink to its smallest level since 2009 in November—a mere $34 billion separate the country’s imports from its exports, thanks largely to America’s recent oil boom driving a record $195 billion in exports. That reflects a small but real rebalancing, shown in the chart above as a 2.5 percentage point increase in exports as a share of GDP since 2006. China has done even more, reducing exports as a share of its economy by 12 percentage points, a feat made more impressive by the fact that its economy has continued growing like gangbusters.


“Look at the difference between advanced and emerging economies, how much rebalancing there already has been in China—exports close to 35% of its GDP, now close to 25% of GDP, China really has rebalanced to a fairly significant extent,” economist Pankaj Ghemawat told Quartz. ”[That is] one of the reasons why world trade is a bit lower than it otherwise would be—if China simply maintained its share, we might be setting all-time highs of trade as a percentage of GDP. It’s a positive change compared to Germany, looking at the data, to rebalance within in Europe the way the Chinese had already done.”


Germany has also been urged to rebalance its economy toward domestic demand as part of the cure for the euro crisis, which is exacerbated by the fact that disparate European economies share a single monetary policy. As long as Germany exports far more than it imports from its regional partners, they will face a hard slog growing enough on their own to shed their heavy debt loads. But Germany’s reliance on exports has only increased in recent years, surging to a full 51% of GDP in 2012.


That would suggest, at least on this issue, that China is cooperating more with the rest of the global economy than Germany.http://qz.com/164834/popular-porn-search-terms-show-that-east-asia-has-a-serious-japan-fetish/

Killing the Messenger

The US government’s persecution of whistleblowers is akin to the jailing of dissenters in authoritarian regimes, and undermines democracy’s very foundation — the public’s right to know.

I was born in 1984, the year Orwell foretold, in China, the country whose reigning government has ruthlessly implemented Orwellian tactics. My grandfather was a professor of philosophy and political science, the worst job title one can hold during a violent regime change. He was branded “right-wing”, and spent twenty years in “reform through labor” (doublespeak for forced manual labor in subsistent conditions).

China’s record of jailing dissenters is well-known. Controlling information is one of the main tools the government uses to maintain tight grip on power. Well, duh, you might say, it’s China, an authoritarian one-party state. Of course the government doesn’t want its citizens to be well-informed, because a well-informed citizenry would start questioning the government agenda, and ultimately the legitimacy of the government itself.

We live in the United States. We are nothing like that. We have freedom of speech and freedom of the press. We are a democracy.

Democracy depends on the individual voter making an intelligent and rational choice for what he regards as his enlightened self-interest, in any given circumstance. — Aldous Huxley

It shouldn’t require stating, but a functioning democracy depends on well-informed citizens, which is why the US government’s overreaching efforts to hide information from the public and its zealous persecution of whistleblowers is deeply disturbing and cause for alarm.

In China it is dangerous business to seek out and spread information the government doesn’t want people to know. Prominent Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei has been one of the critical voices against the Chinese government. One of his investigations was into how many children died in the massive 2008 Sichuan earthquake from being crushed inside shoddily built schools (an indictment of corrupt construction practices overseen by the local government), because the government has refused to release the death toll. Many believed Ai’s international fame would protect him, but even he “dissappeared” for 81 days, detained under secret police custody.

The way the current US administration has been zealously prosecuting whistleblowers smacks of the same motivation to silence those who are trying to help the public be more informed about government activities — activities which are questionable at best and downright unconstitutional at worst.

A Journalist

Barrett Brown is a journalist who was investigating the emails of a US private security firm, Stratfor, which were leaked by hacktivists. Brown uncovered that “government contractors were attempting to undermine Americans’ free speech—with the apparent blessing of the Department of Justice.” Information that was important enough for a group of Democratic congressmen to ask for an investigation into it (which was denied).

The FBI has gone after Brown on charges of credit card fraud, because the leaked emails contained unencrypted credit card data, and Brown had shared the data with other journalists. The FBI then tacked on additional charges so that Brown was facing over a century in federal prison.

Considering that the person who carried out the actual Stratfor hack […] is facing a maximum of 10 years, the inescapable conclusion is that the problem is not with the hack itself but with Brown’s journalism.

It’s worth noting that the Chinese government also likes to prosecute activists not for dissenting per se, but on some other trumped up charge. For example, when Ai Weiwei was finally released, he was charged with tax evasion to the tune of more than $2 million US, which most view as “political retaliation for his outspoken criticism of the government”.

A Soldier

Bradley Manning is an American soldier that leaked a large amount of military and diplomatic documents to Wikileaks, including the “Collateral Murder” video that shows US soldiers opening fire and killing a group of men, including a Reuters journalist and his driver, who were just standing around. Manning’s court martial for this offense is currently ongoing. Manning has pled guilty to 10 of 22 charges, which already total 20 years in jail, but the US government is trying to pin on the hefty charge of “aiding the enemy”, a claim which Amnesty International has called “ludicrous” that an individual leaking information to a news organisation could be guilty of helping Al-Qaeda. Former chief prosecutor at Guantánamo Bay testified in Manning’s defense the leaked information is of no use to enemy groups and poses no threat to US national security, and that most of the information was already in the public domain, including on government websites. The leaks have not caused anyone harm, and even Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates admitted the consequences for US foreign policy is “fairly modest”.

Manning believed the information should be public so the public can be informed about foreign policy, and to promote “discussion, debates, and reforms.” The way the US government has persecuted Manning — from inhumane and illegal imprisonment pre-trial, to now seeking to put Manning away for life (plus 154 years on additional charges) — is making an example out of Manning to deter other potential whistleblowers, and also dampens further discussion or criticism of the uncovered foreign policy that is embarrassing to the US. Foreign policy that tacitly endorses the indiscriminate killing of civilians.

There is no body of theory or significant body of relevant information, beyond the comprehension of the layman, which makes policy immune from criticism. To the extent that “expert knowledge” is applied to world affairs, it is surely appropriate—for a person of any integrity, quite necessary—to question its quality and the goals it serves. These facts seem too obvious to require extended discussion. — Noam Chomsky

A Defense Contractor

Edward Snowden is now infamous for publicizing the massive surveillance programs by the NSA, gross intrusions on the privacy of Americans that encroach on the US Constitution. The US government is calling Snowden a traitor and is prosecuting him as a spy. Snowden was smart to leave the US to avoid similar treatment to Manning and other whistleblowers.

Obama defended NSA’s massive data collection, saying it’s only applied narrowly, despite continuously more evidence coming out that the amount of data being collected is much more than previously revealed. Obama says it’s only “metadata” that’s being collected, even though anyone familiar with big data in the slightest knows how powerful this metadata is. Obama says there is “transparent” oversight in the form of the FISA court, despite it being a secret court that only hears from one side, the government, and acts like a rubberstamp.

Obama wants to reassure us that all of this surveillance, and shrouding it in secrecy, is necessary for our security, but again, it seems like another case of killing the messenger and squelching debate about the legality of such mass-surveillance programs.

Even if you agree with the government’s approach to wanton mass surveillance, the absolute secrecy under which it has been carried out is inherently troubling. There can be no public discourse about secret policies and secret laws being passed though they directly impact the public. These maneuvers erode the democratic process and wrest away the power of the people to discern for themselves what is in their best interest.

The US government is heavy-handedly going about silencing whistleblowers, while shirking accountability for the information uncovered by them. The government has used dubious interpretations of the law to ensure whistleblowers get the full brunt of consequences for daring to publicize information about the government. Information that helps the public be well-informed about what kind of activities the government is engaged in behind the curtain, which — it shouldn’t need mentioning — are funded by the public. The message is clear: Don’t question the government and keep your mouth shut. Is this how a “democratic” government should behave?

It’s worth noting that China’s Constitution actually asserts that “citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession, and of demonstration.” I was astounded by this, because in practice, anyone could tell you this is patently false. Anyone who dares to exercise rights of free speech and assembly are routinely persecuted, under the guise of maintaining social stability.

I hope that the United States Constitution will not become a similar farce, under the guise of maintaining national security.

Written by

I build web and mobile apps, currently @liftapp. I love food, books, and adventure. @aliciatweethttp://alicialiu.net