China: Commerce official Gao Feng said that US measures are essentially attacking global supply and value chains and that China will not bow down to threats and blackmail. US Customs and Border Protection officials are due to collect 25% duties on a range of products including motor vehicles, computer disk drives, parts of pumps, valves and printers and many other industrial components.
President Trump is following through on his threat to implement tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese imports, and China has vowed to retaliate. The tariffs are in response to an investigation that accused China of stealing US intellectual property in order to dominate the development of advanced technology. The US imported $505 billion of goods from China last year and exported about $130 billion, leaving a 2017 deficit of $376 billion.
Senator Mitch McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, is the Secretary of the Department of Transportation, and another plum government job may be handed to their family as her sister’s husband, Gordon Hartogensis, has been nominated to be the new director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation at the Department of Labor. Peter Schweizer, author Secret Empires, revealed that Elaine Chao’s family owns a major shipping company in China that is reliant on the Chinese government contracts.
Academics now are saying that, from 1999 to 2010, six-million manufacturing jobs, one-third of all US manufacturing employment, were lost to China and had nothing to do with robots or automation. Blue-collar workers instinctively knew that, and it was one of the reasons they supported Trump who openly said so. According to the academics, the introduction of China into the global trading system is the root cause of the job losses. [True though this may be, we must not forget that none of this could have happened without the eager support of American political, financial, and industrial leaders. In that sense, they are just as much the cause, if not more so, than the Chinese.]
China: Factory workers wear caps to monitor their brainwaves to detect emotional spikes such as depression, anxiety or rage. The company says the technology is being used to monitor workflows which can be enhanced by manipulating the frequency and length of break times to reduce mental stress. However, the technology can be abused by companies to control minds and infringe privacy, raising the specter of “thought police”.
Trump is proposing 25% tariffs on 1300 Chinese imports which, if actually collected, would be $50 billion. This is said to be in retaliation for theft of intellectual property from US companies. If this proposal is implemented, part will be paid by Americans for higher prices for domestic products that use the imported materials. We expect that this proposal will not materialize as currently being discussed.
Chinese authorities have been using a “social credit” system that rates citizens to determine if they may purchase plane or train tickets. The system rates users on personal characteristics, behavior and preference, social relationships. It draws data from a person’s shopping history, use of free time, and complaints from others. It has the appearance of being impartial and based on public demand but, in reality, it is merely a sophisticated method of engineering human behavior.
China’s constitution was amended to wipe term limits off the books for President Xi Jinping who assumed office in 2013 and was due to step down. Now he may remain in office indefinitely. China added term limits to the constitution in 1982, after decades of Mao Tse-tung’s disastrous political campaigns underscored the dangers of one-man rule. Two members of parliament voted against the change and three abstained, giving Xi a 99.8% approval vote.
Conrado Miranda, a former senior software engineer for Twitter, says that Twitter acts in accordance with Terms-of-Service agreements with foreign governments – notably China – and routinely bans users at their request. He also revealed that China often will hack Twitter if it fails to comply with the request.