China Heads West: Beijing’s New Silk Road to Europe – part 1

Published on Spiegel Online International, by Erich Follath, Aug 31, 2016 (Photo Gallery – Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan).

China is building new roads, railroads and pipelines from Central Asia to Europe in an effort to build new connections to the rest of the world. The results may be good for the Chinese – but less so for the other countries involved.  

In Kashgar, on the western edge of the Peoples’ Republic of China, the view is reminiscent of the Bible and the days when the ancient Silk Road began to take shape here in the 1st century B.C. Today, the government plans to use Kashgar as the starting point for a new, global trade route – but at this point, there is still little evidence of it … //

Massive New Project: … //

… It’s clear that China’s Communist Party is investing enormous amounts of money in its transit routes toward Central Asia and in new economic zones. The standard of living among Kashgar residents is rising, and tax-advantaged high-tech parks have created new jobs in the provincial capital of Ürümqi. The economy is growing at 9 percent in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, outpacing growth in many other parts of the country.

In return, Beijing expects gratitude and compliance — mistakenly. For most Uighurs, there is something far more important than having a better choice of goods to buy: respect for their people and their religion, Islam. Instead, they often experience the opposite. Mosques are placed under video surveillance, Muslim men are no longer permitted to wear long beards, and Chinese officials force their children to break the fast during Ramadan.

Economic and political elites welcome the opportunities brought by Beijing’s financial injections, but the local population in Xinjiang view the new Silk Road, and the domination by Han Chinese that comes with it, with considerable skepticism. This is a recurring pattern, with concerns becoming even greater immediately beyond China’s borders.

(full text).

Part 2: Almaty, Kazakhstan;
Part 3: Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan;
Part 4: Minsk, Belarus.


Liberty Reserve, Bitcoin, and the US Bank Regulatory Dog That Didn’t Bark, on naked capitalism, by Yves Smith, Sept 2, 2016: how a toothless US watchdog, FinCEN, has largely ignored money laundering via Bitcoin and other digital currencies;

Wall Street Behind Brazil Coup d’Etat, the Impeachment of Dilma Rousseff, on Global, by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky, Sept 1, 2016;

Populism And Social Democracy’s Distress, on Social Europe, by Anna Diamantopoulou, Sept 1, 2016: the EU’s political landscape is being transformed as the economic and the refugee crises intertwine with terror. Populism is becoming consistently a rising force across Europe. Manifested in left- or right-wing varieties, populism either “defends” the poor against the elites and neoliberalism, or alternatively, the country’s national identity against Islamists and foreigners by thriving on xenophobia. Shared attributes of both sides are cultivation of fear and hatred for their respective enemies …;

Indigenous Peoples: After 525 years, it’s time to actually listen to Native, on Axis of Logic, by Bill McKibben, Grist, Sep 1, 2016: the center of the fight for our planet’s future shifts. But this week it’s on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation straddling the border between North Dakota and South Dakota. There, tribal members have been, well, standing like a rock in the way of the planned Dakota Access Pipeline, a huge hose for collecting oil out of the Bakken shale and carrying it off to the Midwest and the Gulf where it can be made into gasoline …;

Military Insiders and War Profiteers Will Be Reviewing Private Prisons for Homeland Security, on naked capitalism, by Jerri-Lynn Scofield, Sept 1, 2016:

Bob Kerrey, Fulbright University, and the Neoliberal Erasure of History, on Counterpunch, by PAUL STREET, Sept 1, 2016;

Fremd in der neuen Heimat, wer gehört zu Deutschland? 62.11 min, von PolMed2016 am 1. Sept 2016 … bei Maybrit Illner;
(mein Kommentar zur ewigen Burkadiskussion: es gibt zwei Momente, wo Bürger durch Kleidung/nicht Kleidung schockiert werden. Beide werden gegenteilig beantwortet. Zum Recht auf die Burka wird argumentiert, wir Westler hätten uns anzupassen. Das Recht zum nackt herumlaufen, das ebenfalls ein Recht auf freien Lebensausdruck beinhalten sollte, wird hingegen immer noch scharf verboten. Zwei Rechte, zwei unterschiedliche Antworten – warum akzeptieren hier die braven Bürger nicht den Anblick nakter Menschen, wenn man von uns verlangt, den Schock eines grässlichen Burka-Phantoms zu überwinden ??? – Heidi);

A prosperous and equitable development for all is possible – here and now, on Current Concerns, Interview with Professor Richard A. Werner, Aug 23, 2016: it is not real economy but false theories that prevent real economic development;

Zerbricht unsere Gesellschaft? NZZ Standpunkte – mit Peter Sloterdijk, 50.26 min, von NZZ Standpunkte, 2013.

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