If cookies go a few weeks without getting eaten, they turn weirdly soft or dissolve into fine dust. If cookies go 1,300 years without getting eaten, they get carefully preserved in a case at the British Museum.
In the winter of 1915, the British-Hungarian archeologist Marc Aurel Stein opened a tomb in Xinjiang. Known as the Astana cemetery, these gravesites were where residents of the nearby oasis city of Gaochang buried their dead, roughly between the 3rd and 9th centuries. As the membrane between Central Asia and China, and the path to the Middle East, Xinjiang has been fought over for centuries (a fight that continues today, as China uses an iron fist to control it as an autonomous province). Gaochang, meanwhile, lies in ruins. But the Astana cemetery, with more than a thousand tombs preserved in the dry heat of the Turpan Basin, tells the story of the once-prosperous ancient city.
The Astana cemetery shows how Gaochang was once a prominent stop on the Silk Road, especially for Sogdians, a people from Eastern Iran who often traveled across Eurasia as merchants. Opening the tombs, Stein found heaps of evidence pointing to Gaochang’s role as a place of “trade exchange between West Asia and China.” Though the vast majority of the dead at Astana were Han Chinese, Stein saw corpses with Byzantine coins in their mouths and Persian textiles included as grave goods.
But inside one tomb, Stein found neither of these things. Grave robbers had emptied it of everything, “except [for] a large number of remarkably preserved fancy pastry scattered over the platform meant to accommodate the coffin with the dead,” he recalled later. Stein was taken aback by the beauty of the cookies and their wide variety of shapes—flat wafers with elaborate designs, delicate, lace-like cookies, and “flower-shaped tartlets … with neatly made petal borders, some retaining traces of jam or some similar substance placed in the [center].” In the arid earth of the cemetery, the sweets managed to survive to modern day.
Today, the pastries are owned by the British Museum, as part of what Stein described as his “haul” of artifacts sent back to the United Kingdom. During his expeditions, Stein also helped himself to priceless cultural objects, such as the first-known printed book. Stein’s plundering of the Diamond Sutra caused vociferous protests in China. In 1961, the National Library of China released a statement saying that Stein’s book theft was enough to cause “people to gnash their teeth in bitter hatred.” The cookies, in comparison, are regarded more as curiosities. A 1925 article in The Times of Mumbai, describing an exhibition of Aurel Stein’s finds in New Delhi, noted how “the most remarkable of all the objects are the actual pastries deposited with the dead as food objects,” with the author writing that they closely resembled “the ‘fancies’ of a modern confectioner’s shop window.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 8, 2020
Trump tweets video of Chinese professor claiming that Beijing can swing US policy because it has ‘people at the top of America’s core inner circle of power’ in clip that has been deleted from social media in China
Di Dongsheng, a professor at Renmin University in Beijing, appeared on a Chinese television show about Wall Street and international trade last month.
The video was deleted from Chinese social media soon after being uploaded but copies were made which have since been circulating including YouTube.
Professor Di stated how China had ‘people at the top of America’s core inner circle of power and influence’ for years.
Di said the relationship was true for decades until President Trump came along.
He also notes how the Obama administration was easy to manipulate.
Di believes the old ties between China and the U.S. will be restored once President Biden is in the White House.
Excerpts of the video were tweeted by President Trump on Monday night after Tucker Carlson shared a clip on his show.
Video of Phone Call Recording to Chinese Manufacturer Requesting a Bulk Order of Fake US 2020 Ballots
— 薇羽看世間 (@weiyuksj1) November 27, 2020
Via Gateway Pundit:
A video was released on Friday in Mandarin Chinese of a phone call request for fake ballots customized by Chinese factory.
The manufacturer is reportedly in Kwangtung, China.
In the video a caller is heard requesting a bulk order of ballots to ship to the United States.
FYI- Our Mandarin speaker confirmed the translation is accurate.
Two readers say at the 0.54 second mark you can see Charlotte County Florida on the ballots.
Chinese contemporary artist Li Xiaofang uses porcelain to make wearable art that pays homage to China’s past while looking toward the future. Xiaofang takes hundreds of shards of porcelain, some dating back to the Song, Ming, and Qing dynasties, and puzzles them together into magnificent porcelain dresses. His wearable art acts as both a coat of armor and a sculptural masterpiece.
Xiaofang sews together the shards using thin metal wire, and each is lined with a leather undergarment. Looking at the artist’s work, it’s impossible not to marvel at the precision and care taken, not only to find the exact shapes to form the curves of the dresses, but also how the pattern and color of the porcelain are used to create new shades and silhouettes. But Xiaofang doesn’t only limit himself to porcelain dresses, he’s also experimented with creating suit jackets, pants, blouses, and even a military hat.
The Beijing-based artist has seen his work exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and has engaged in collaborations with fashion giants like Lacoste and Alexander McQueen. A visionary in his field, his work was by the rapid development engulfing Beijing. â€œThese blue shards, bathed in the sunny skies of socialism and caressed by the contemporary cool breezes blowing from the west throughout the capital, assume a bewildering array of postures as fashion items entering the new century,â€ the artist once stated. â€œThese are the blue-and-white costumes! These emanate the splendor once crushed! These are the illusions flowing with sorrow!â€
Francis Pike, in the Spectator, warns that China is well on the way to adding strategic domination of the Bay of Bengal and the sea lanes to the Middle East to its ruthless appropriation of the South China Sea. Only the superior power of the US Navy stands in China’s way, but China is planning a massive naval expansion, and the US is not.
The forthcoming geopolitical struggle for supremacy between China and India will not be on land. It will be on water and a much larger body of water than Pangong Lake. The Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea will become the defining-battleground.
Xi Jinpingâ€™s â€˜Maritime Silk Roadâ€™ policy is less talked about in the western press than â€˜One Belt One Roadâ€™. The economic and military strategy is to dominate the sea lanes between China and the Middle East. As in the ancient Chinese board game of territorial control, Go, which inspired the great military theorist, Sun Tzu, Xiâ€™s China is in the process of placing â€˜stonesâ€™ (Goâ€™s playing pieces) on Asiaâ€™s maritime seaboard that will enable it to achieve this dominance.
Chinaâ€™s first offshore naval port in Djibouti, adjacent to the Suez Canal, is already built. Pakistanâ€™s Chinese-financed port of Gwadar on the Arabian Sea, guarding the approaches to the Strait of Hormuz, is another one of the stones. Closer to home, China, by its placement of airfields and naval facilities on reclaimed reefs in the Spratly Islands, has now gained probably irreversible control of the South China Sea.
From Chinaâ€™s viewpoint this is not enough. A third of global shipping and most of Chinaâ€™s oil imports pass through the Strait of Malacca between Singapore and the Indonesian island of Sumatra. As a Portuguese envoy noted in the 16th century, â€˜whoever is lord of Malacca has his hands on the throatâ€™. With the US navy embedded in Singaporeâ€™s Changi naval base, China sees the Malacca Strait as the weakest link in its maritime strategy. Thus, the digging of a $30 billion, 80-mile canal across the Kra Isthmus in southern Thailand is being mooted. The canal would bypass the US-controlled Malacca Strait and give China unimpeded access to the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal. Reputedly, Chinese companies are already buying up land around the projected route of the canal. Importantly, over the past 20 years, Thailand, once a staunch US ally, has become a quasi-satellite of China.
Further inroads into the Bay of Bengal are being established by Chinese financing of the new port at Chittagong in Bangladesh, a country whose relationship to India, if not hostile, is nevertheless equivocal. It is somewhat overlooked that Bangladesh, a country of 165 million people, is now one of Asiaâ€™s fastest-growing economies.
Myanmar is even more in thrall to China. As the old Burmese saying goes: â€˜When China spits, Burma swims.â€™ Here too China is financing a major port development on the coast of Rakhine state, home of the Rohingyas. In January, during Xiâ€™s state visit to Myanmar, there was a joint announcement that they would push ahead with the construction of a new port in the Kyaukpyu Special Economic Zone. It is planned to link both this and the port in Chittagong by rail and road to Kunming, the capital of western Chinaâ€™s Yunnan Province. An oil pipeline is also planned. Meanwhile in the southern reaches of the Bay of Bengal, the Peopleâ€™s Republic of China and the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka have been close allies since the 1950s.
Although India is fully alive to Chinaâ€™s â€˜string of pearlsâ€™ strategy, the West appears to be asleep. …
With 11 aircraft carriers to Chinaâ€™s two, America still commands maritime Asia. However, the balance is changing rapidly. As the US congressional report on Chinese naval modernisation concluded in May, by year end the US will have 297 naval vessels, the same number as 15 years ago; China will have 360, up more than 50 per cent over the same period. A third Chinese aircraft carrier is under construction and the hull of a fourth is expected to be laid down next year.
The direction of travel is clear. The US navy could find itself in Chinaâ€™s wake if current trends continue. â€˜There is no doubt that theyâ€™ve been investing hugely in this,â€™ says Nick Childs of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. â€˜Theyâ€™ve been outbuilding everybody.â€™ Unless the West wakes up to the challenge, it is likely to be outgunned within 15 to 20 years by the Peopleâ€™s Liberation Army navy. The European Union, of course, unwilling even to pay for its own strategic defence, is an embarrassing irrelevance. The risk for India and the West is not armed conflict with China. It is that the struggle for supremacy in Asia will be lost with hardly a shot being fired. Sun Tzu would be proud.
China has announced sanctions on top Republicans after the US imposed sanctions on Chinese officials for alleged human rights abuses against Muslim minorities in Xinjiang province.
Among those targeted are senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, both outspoken critics of China.
The nature of the sanctions is unclear.
China is accused of detaining more than a million Uighurs and others in Xinjiang but China denies abuses in the far-western region.
Ted Cruz is a senator for Texas while Marco Rubio represents Florida. The pair competed with Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.
China also imposed sanctions on Republican congressman Chris Smith; Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback; and a government agency, the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China.
The foreign ministry said the move was in response to America’s “wrong actions”.
“We urge the US to immediately withdraw its wrong decision, and stop any words and actions that interfere in China’s internal affairs and harm China’s interests,” spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.
She gave no details what the sanctions entailed. …
Elizabeth Flux denies that her essay is a eulogy for Hong Kong, but it is.
[I]n 1997 Hong Kong was handed back to China as agreed. From there the clock startedâ€”a 50-year countdown. Hong Kong would be a part of China but remain independent, with its own government and laws and economy. â€˜One Country, Two Systemsâ€™.
Except thatâ€™s not what is happening. What will happen after 2047 has never been clear, but in the interim Hong Kong is supposed to retain control and autonomy. Instead things have gone from a gentle background hum of uncertainty and unease, to a low dread, then to a sudden and accelerated horror that feels difficult to believe.
Brian Stewart argues in favor of Cold War now in order to avoid Hot War later.
The fatal mistake of yesterday was to believe (or at least to pretend) that Chinaâ€™s rise could be safely accommodated without exposing the liberal order to immense risk. The fatal mistake of today, it would appear, is to imagine that America can prevail without a vigorous strategy and capable allies over such a dynamic and formidable revisionist power. The last time liberal civilization faced such a determined adversary it was the Soviet Union. It is common to regard the peaceful end of the Cold War as inevitable, but in truth its outcome was shaped by a series of decisions and policies that were by no means predetermined. Many of the global institutions of the liberal order played their part in the struggle against various forms of communist totalitarianism, but it was the strategic foresight of Washington and the global deployment of American power that made the difference.
Despite the profound differences with Soviet communism, the challenge posed by the authoritarian ideology of the Peopleâ€™s Republic of China is redolent of the long twilight struggle that marked the second half of the 20th century. Nonetheless, prominent voices today allege that a cold war with China would be â€œunnecessaryâ€ and â€œdestructive.â€ But compared to what? The prospect of a shooting war, or even intense competition, is invoked to incapacitate prudent measures to contain Chinese power and deter Chinese aggression. For those who believe in liberal ideals and principles, it is the prospect of Chinese hegemony under the writ of the CCP that presents a more truly unnecessary and destructive scenario.
In the years ahead, the potential for armed conflict between the United States and the Peopleâ€™s Republic is by no means trivial. But as the first cold war largely demonstrated, great power conflict is not inevitable. Beyond capitulation to the CCPâ€™s strategic imperativesâ€”allowing Beijing to quash the freedom of Hong Kong, annex Taiwan, and bully other free peoples into submissionâ€”the surest way to avoid war is by adopting a robust strategy to counter Chinaâ€™s expansionism. This would entail acting in concert with like-minded nations to divest and decouple from Chinaâ€™s economy while deploying and, if necessary, wielding military force to establish what Dean Acheson once referred to as â€œsituations of strengthâ€ in the Far East.
Such a strategy would be premised on observing a distinction once made by Michael Ignatieffâ€”that adversaries whose designs â€œyou want to defeatâ€ are not necessarily enemies whose existence â€œyou have to destroy.â€ It can no longer be credibly denied that China is an adversary of the United States. If it is not treated accordingly, it may prove impossible to prevent it from becoming a full-fledged enemy.
I think his postion is inarguable. The Free World Democracies cannot keep enriching China as a trading partner if China remains determined upon combining domestic tyranny and brutality with adversarial foreign aggression.