Cadence of Conflict: Asia, December 14, 2020

Hit pieces against China are coming out as if from an avalanche. More dangerous, they are coupled with Western plans of military expansion in China’s back yard. From Xinjiang teens to disappearing journalists to Australian wine to spies in America to colleges—to a global virus pandemic—Western readers have no rest from bad news of China.

The equation has been there and in play. America’s election appears stolen to 75% of Republican voters and 30% of Democrats. Elections require agreement on results in order to function. Lack of agreement on a trustworthy election is unusual as it is staggering. That’s a mandate for Trump to take drastic action, deny Biden’s inauguration, and take measures to remain in office that can’t avoid national inflammation.

As inevitable American conflict in January comes into closer view coupled with such bad press on China, the US strategy in the West Pacific is more and more difficult to deny. China was always the perfect distraction from the mess at home. The problem is that the American populous no longer responds as usual. A national attack may not have the uniting effect it once did—at least not uniting enough to keep any president in office in the face of an election so disputed.

Taiwan continues the role as the “China virus” poster boy. The Taiwanese handle things so well, don’t they. Strict rules on breaking quarantine—punishing a foreigner with thousands in fines for walking in the hallway outside his room for eight seconds—but Taiwanese officials forgot to lock the quarantine door because the world is supposed to believe Taiwan is so careful, right?

At some point, it should become obvious that we are playing a game of charades with who is good and bad—or at least on who is how good and how bad. As China’s role is to be the common enemy for divided Americans and a divided West to unite against, China’s big mistake—over decades and to this day—was to play that role all too gladly. A shoe was made and China chose to fit it.


Britain to send largest warship, carrier strike group to Indian Ocean next year // Hindustan Times


Chinese authorities detain Bloomberg news assistant // Taiwan News

China replies over latest wine tariffs as Australia’s Trade Minister lashes out at Beijing //

Chaguan – China is doubling down in Xinjiang // The Economist

Eric Swalwell says he did not share sensitive information with suspected Chinese spy // CNN

‘Being young’ leads to detention in China’s Xinjiang region // Guardian

Pompeo warns of Chinese threat to US colleges, says many ‘basically bought’ by Beijing // Fox News

South China Sea: Beijing’s military bases in disputed waters would be very difficult to defend, report claims // CNN


Man fined $3,500 for breaking Taiwan quarantine for 8 seconds // CNN

Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s Carrie Lam faces Japan bank freeze-out as Tokyo says it will abide by US sanctions // SCMP

Exiled Hong Kong legislator calls for action after HSBC bank accounts frozen // Guardian

Military Faceoff

Navy’s Future Light Amphibious Ships Will Be Designed to Operate Off China’s Coast //

Makin Island ARG Operating in the South China Sea While Beijing Claims U.S. ‘Muscle Flexing’ // USNI News

The US Navy wants to find ships to kill using aerial drones launched from submarines // Defense News