Singapore: Hong Kong Protesters' Demands are Unrealistic

October 21, 2019 New Eastern Outlook 

It is interesting to note where the Southeast Asian city-state of Singapore sits amid the shifting poles of global power between East and West.

Once a British colony, the tiny island nation has since served as a barometer indicating the ebb and flow of Western influence over Asia, and now, the ups and downs of China's emergence as a regional and global power.

As China's rises regionally and globally, Singapore has shrewdly positioned itself to both benefit from its rise, while continuing to cultivate useful ties with the West. This creates a balance of interests that work to prevent any one nation from gaining too much influence over (or within) Singapore.

Singapore's view regarding ongoing protests in China's Hong Kong region is a good example that reflects these dynamics, with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong undermining the narratives the Western media has been spinning for the unrest.

Singapore's PM is Right 

Bloomberg in its article, "Hong Kong Protest Demands Are Unrealistic, Singapore PM Says," reported:
Protesters in Hong Kong are making unrealistic demands in an effort to take down the government, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said. 

“Those are not demands which are meant to be a program to solve Hong Kong’s problems,” Lee said at the Forbes Global CEO Conference in Singapore on Wednesday. “Those are demands which are intended to humiliate and bring down the government. And then what?”
Firstly, Prime Minister Lee is entirely right.

The protests, confirmed to be the work of foreign interests seeking to undermine and destabilise China, seek only to tear down the current government with no practical plan for what will replace it.

Myanmar Turns to China's Huawei Despite US Pressure

October 8, 2019 New Eastern Outlook

The Southeast Asian state of Myanmar, despite pressure from Washington, has decided to work with Chinese telecom company Huawei to develop its national 5G communication network. 

The move by Myanmar is just one among many by the entire region to build ties with China despite extensive efforts by the US and some Western European nations to encircle and isolate Beijing economically, politically and even militarily.

If ever there was an indicator of just how real the delcine of US primacy was particularly in Asia, it is this steady march of joint progress being made between the nations of Asia and China.

US State Department-funded media platform Voice of America (VOA) in its article deceptively titled, "Myanmar to Keep Huawei Despite Security Concerns," would complain:
Myanmar has decided to keep using Chinese technology company Huawei to develop its new mobile communications system. 

The decision comes despite national security concerns about Huawei by the United States and some other countries.

Huawei Technologies is currently working on building the next generation in wireless technology in countries around the world. The development of 5G has caused tensions between the United States and China. U.S. officials have long suspected the Chinese government could use Huawei network equipment to help carry out spying activities. Huawei has rejected such accusations. 
It is only well into the third paragraph that the VOA article begins to admit "security concerns" regarding Huawei are in reality simply accusations made up by the United States and based on nothing resembling evidence or documented impropriety.

VOA finally admits that beyond alleged concerns regarding "national security," the US has targeted Huawei because it conflicts with US "foreign policy interests."

In other words, Huawei is outcompeting US corporations abroad and rather than look inward at the shortcomings of American industry and fixing them, the US is instead attacking Huawei politically through accusations and economically through sanctions.

Spot the Difference: Real Spying vs. Accusations of Spying 

For those wondering what genuine concerns over security should be based on, the BBC in its 2014 article titled, "Edward Snowden: Leaks that exposed US spy programme," covers irrefutable, documented evidence of the US government abusing its monopoly over telecommunication networks to carry out unprecedented spying at home and abroad.
The scandal broke in early June 2013 when the Guardian newspaper reported that the US National Security Agency (NSA) was collecting the telephone records of tens of millions of Americans. 

The paper published the secret court order directing telecommunications company Verizon to hand over all its telephone data to the NSA on an "ongoing daily basis". 

That report was followed by revelations in both the Washington Post and Guardian that the NSA tapped directly into the servers of nine internet firms, including Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, to track online communication in a surveillance programme known as Prism.
Of course, the revelations made public by Edward Snowden's whistleblowing went far deeper than Prism, involving invasive US spying efforts carried out with the help of not only telecommunication companies, but also software makers and even US-based hardware manufacturers.

MIT Technology Review in its article, "NSA’s Own Hardware Backdoors May Still Be a “Problem from Hell”," would reveal:
Revelations that the NSA has compromised hardware for surveillance highlights the vulnerability of computer systems to such attacks.
In 2011, General Michael Hayden, who had earlier been director of both the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency, described the idea of computer hardware with hidden “backdoors” planted by an enemy as “the problem from hell.” This month, news reports based on leaked documents said that the NSA itself has used that tactic, working with U.S. companies to insert secret backdoors into chips and other hardware to aid its surveillance efforts.
The US is thus guilty in reality of everything it is baselessly accusing Huawei of and serves as another example of the sort of "American exceptionalism" that has poisoned the globe's perception of America.

Vietnam Begins Reclaiming Info-Space From US Tech Giants

October 4, 2019 New Eastern Outlook

In yet another sign of waning Western hegemony, the Southeast Asian state of Vietnam has begun the long-overdue process of reclaiming its information space from US tech giants like Facebook, Twitter and Google. 

Reuters in its article, "Facebook-style app launches in Vietnam amid tightening internet rules," would report:
A Facebook-style social network was launched in Vietnam on Tuesday, following calls by the Communist-ruled government for domestic tech companies to create alternatives to U.S. tech giants Facebook and Google. 

Gapo, a mobile app that lets users create personal profiles and share posts to a Facebook style “news feed”, has received 500 billion dong ($21.55 million) in funding from tech corporation G-Group, its chief executive, Ha Trung Kien, said.
Reuters then complains that the move sought to grant the Vietnamese government tighter control over political dissidents. Reuters omits, however, that the vast majority of these "dissidents" are in fact funded out of Washington.

Just as Washington has done worldwide, it is using its deep partnership with US-based tech giants like Facebook, Twitter and Google to interfere in and influence Vietnam's internal politics.

As is becoming increasingly obvious, control over national information space is nearly as important to controlling a state, its people and resources as controlling actual, physical territory.

Vietnam's move to create local alternatives and displace Facebook's (and other foreign tech giants) from its information space is a matter of both national security and common sense.

Turning West's Hypocrisy Against it 

It is particularly ironic to see articles published by Reuters complaining about the spectre of "Vietnamese censorship" growing simply because the nation has opted to reclaim its information space from foreign firms.

This comes on the heels of Reuters and US-backed "human rights" advocates who recently lauded Facebook and Twitter censorship targeting accounts publishing content critical of Western foreign policy by claiming it was "fake news" and those involved were engaged in "coordinated inauthentic behavior." .

Now nations are turning the tables on the United States and its stable of political agitators using precisely the same rhetoric. The creation of tougher cybersecurity laws and now the creation of Facebook alternatives seeks to root out vectors of malign US influence aimed at the internal, sovereign affairs of nations like Vietnam.

We need not imagine what the US reaction would be to a Russian social media giant dominating US information space and using that platform to organise political unrest within US territory itself.

The US has already baselessly made similar claims and used these accusations to cast a wider net of censorship across its own, global-spanning social media networks targeting and purging accounts, organisations and individuals who simply oppose US foreign policy, policy that directly affects everyone worldwide, not just Americans.

Hong Kong Protests: Fading Foreign Tantrum, Not Genuine Revolution

September 27, 2019 New Eastern Outlook  

Just as unfolded in 2014 during the so-called "Umbrella protests" or "Occupy Central" movement, a growing backlash has begun across Hong Kong against US-funded protests that have attempted to disrupt governance and commerce as part of a floundering movement to maintain Western influence in the region.

The Sydney Morning Herald in its article, "Triads linked to violent pro-China gangs as Hong Kong protests enter dangerous new phase," ignored weeks of violence carried out by US-backed protests in Hong Kong, and portrayed locals retaliating as "violent pro-China gangs." It should be pointed out that Hong Kong is in China.

The article claims:
Turbulence in Hong Kong has reached a dangerous new phase, analysts say, amid escalating violence and the failure of Chief Executive Carrie Lam to respond to the political crisis. 

Television broadcasts on Monday were dominated by scenes of white-shirted men believed to be triad members caning and chasing train commuters as they hunted for democracy protesters on Sunday evening. People screamed as the gangs entered train carriages at Yuen Long station.
Having failed to attract wider public support, US-backed protesters have begun resorting to increasingly disruptive activities including raiding government buildings, storming commercial districts to intimidate visitors from mainland China and even targeting public transportation.

Backlash Follows Weeks of Violence and Vandalism by Pro-Western Protests

Before the SMH's "violent pro-China gangs" showed up, US-backed protesters had admittedly stormed Hong Kong's Legislative Council (LegCo) building.

The BBC in its article, "Hong Kong police evict protesters who stormed parliament," admitted:
Activists had occupied the Legislative Council (LegCo) building for hours after breaking away from a protest on the anniversary of Hong Kong's transfer of sovereignty to China from Britain.
The BBC also admitted the protesters carried out vandalism inside the building:
Inside, they defaced the emblem of Hong Kong in the central chamber, raised the old British colonial flag, spray-painted messages across the walls, and shattered furniture.
The Financial Times in their article, "Hong Kong protesters target Chinese government office," mentioned another government building targeted by the protesters, the Liaison Office for Hong Kong representing Beijing. The article reported:
Demonstrators spray-painted over the lenses of security cameras in front of the building and one threw an egg that splattered on its glass facade. Others wrote graffiti on a wall including an insult against China, and defaced lettering on the building’s gate.
The Guardian attempted to conceal the nature of the protests in its article, "Hong Kong protest ends in chaotic clashes between police and demonstrators," which was ultimately about protesters targeting a shopping centre popular with mainland visitors.

The article would claim:
Violent clashes have erupted between Hong Kong police and protesters at the end of a peaceful demonstration against the controversial extradition bill. The incidents took place late on Sunday in a bustling town between Hong Kong island and the border with China. 

The scene descended into chaos shortly before 10pm local time (1400 GMT), after riot police chased protesters into a shopping centre in Sha Tin.
However, the Financial Times in its article, "Hong Kong protesters try to woo Chinese tourists to their cause," admitted the protesters intentionally targeted the shopping centre rather than merely being "chased into it." The article admits:
Hong Kong protesters against a controversial extradition bill for the first time targeted a busy shopping district popular with mainland Chinese tourists in an attempt to raise awareness of the issue across the border.
A recently built high-speed train station connecting Hong Kong with mainland China was also targeted. AFP-JIJI in its article, "Hong Kong protesters march on station to get message across to visiting Chinese mainlanders," would admit:
Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters on Sunday rallied outside a controversial train station linking the territory to the Chinese mainland, the latest mass show of anger as activists try to keep pressure on the city’s pro-Beijing leaders. 
The US-backed protesters have also targeted journalists. The New York Times in its article, "Hong Kong Protesters’ New Target: A News Station Seen as China’s Friend," attempted to defend the targeting of journalists perceived as being "pro-Beijing" claiming:
The confrontation on Wednesday, when the TVB journalist was surrounded, was not an isolated incident. Last month, protesters heckled another TVB video journalist, unfurling umbrellas to block his camera and chanting, “TVB news, selling out the people of Hong Kong!”
The New York Times fails to mention that opposition media is almost exclusively funded and supported from abroad, particularly out of Washington DC. If Beijing has no say or influence in Hong Kong, territory literally within its own borders, what say does Washington have so many thousands of miles away?

Together, the increasingly disruptive behaviour of the protesters coupled with growing violence and overt endorsement and even support being provided by the United States and other foreign interests, are attempting to target and impact virtually every aspect of life in Hong Kong linked to stability, peace and prosperity.

If the United States cannot maintain Hong Kong as its foothold inside Chinese territory and enjoy the benefits of its prosperity, no one else will either.

Chinese-Thai Military Cooperation Expanding

September 18, 2019 New Eastern Outlook  

Recent news of Bangkok signing a 6.5 billion Thai Baht deal with China to procure a naval landing ship (a landing platform dock or LPD) further illustrates growing ties between Beijing and Bangkok in the sphere of military matters.

The Thai Royal Navy's only other ship of similar capabilities is the HTMS Angthong, built by Singapore, Bangkok Post reported.

The deal comes in the wake of several other significant arms acquisitions made by Bangkok in recent years including 39 Chinese-built VT-4 main battle tanks (with another batch of 14 being planned), China's Type-85 armoured personnel carriers and even the nation's first modern submarine made by China expected to be in service by 2023.

These are more than merely arms deals. The purchasing of sophisticated weapons systems like submarines and ships will require closer military cooperation between Beijing and Bangkok in order to properly train crews, transfer critical knowledge of maintaining the vessels and operate them at sea.

There are also joint Thai-Chinese weapon development programmes such as the DTI-1 multiple rocket launcher system.

The interoperability that is being created between Thai and Chinese armed forces (and arms industries) ensures ample opportunity for joint training exercises and weapon development programmes in the future, several of which have already been organised, with many more on the horizon.

The Myth of Thai Subservience to Washington 

Thailand is often labeled a close "non-NATO ally" of the United States by both the United States itself and many analysts still clinging to Cold War rhetoric.

However, today's Thailand is a nation that has significantly expanded its cooperation with China and not only in military matters, but across economic spheres as well.

Thailand's lengthy history of weathering Western colonisation that otherwise consumed its neighbours is a story of adeptly playing great powers against one another and ensuring no single nation held enough power or influence over Thailand to endanger its sovereignty. This is a balancing act that continues today, with Thailand avoiding major confrontations and overdependence on outsiders by attempting to cultivate a diversity of ties with nations abroad.

Thai cooperation with nations like the United States, particularly now, is done cynically and as a means to keep the US from investing too deeply in the disruptive regime-change methods it has aimed at other nations including neighbouring Myanmar but also distant nations like Syria and Libya ravaged by US meddling.

Despite these efforts to appease Washington, the US still backs opposition parties determined to overthrow the current Thai political order and replace it with one openly intent on rolling back progress between Thailand and its growing list of Eurasian partners, especially China.

What little the US has to offer has been reduced to deals bordering bribery, such as offering free military hardware.

Southeast Asia Ignores US War on Huawei

September 7, 2019 New Eastern Outlook

The Western media has begun complaining about Southeast Asia's collective decision to move forward with 5G network technology from Chinese telecom giant Huawei despite US demands that nations ban all Huawei products.

These demands are predicated on clearly fabricated security threats surrounding Huawei technology. The US itself is a global leader of producing hardware with hidden backdoors and other security flaws for the purpose of spying worldwide.

Instead, the US is clearly targeting the telecom giant as part of a wider campaign to cripple China economically and contain its ability to contest US global hegemony.

Media Disinformation Serves the War on Huawei 

 Articles like Reuters' "Thailand launches Huawei 5G test bed, even as U.S. urges allies to bar Chinese gear," in title alone confounds informed readers.

The article's author, Patpicha Tanakasempipat, fails to explain in which ways the US is "allies" with any of the nations of Southeast Asia, including Thailand. The history of US activity in Southeast Asia has been one of coercion, interference, intervention, colonisation and protracted war.

As US power has faded, it has resorted to "soft power," with its most recent "pivot to Asia" being accompanied by several failed attempts to overthrow regional governments and replace them with suitable proxies.

Considering this, and a complete lack of suitable US alternatives to Huawei's products, there is little mystery as to why the region as a whole has ignored US demands regarding Huawei.

The article claims:
Thailand launched a Huawei Technologies 5G test bed on Friday, even as the United States urges its allies to bar the Chinese telecoms giant from building next-generation mobile networks.

Huawei, the world’s top producer of telecoms equipment and second-biggest maker of smartphones, has been facing mounting international scrutiny amid fears China could use its equipment for espionage, a concern the company says is unfounded.
Patpicha fails categorically to cite any evidence substantiating US claims. She also fails categorically to point out that there is in fact a glaring lack of evidence behind US claims, just as many other articles across the Western media have predictably and purposefully done.

West's "Fake News" Begins to Backfire

September 5, 2019 New Eastern Outlook  

Western special interests have used the term "fake news" as a pretext for widening censorship, particularly across US-based social media networks like Facebook and Twitter as well as across Google's various platforms.

In a move of political judo, many nations are citing the threat of "fake news" to in turn deal with media platforms, often funded and supported by the US and Europe, operating within their borders and often targeting sitting governments to either coerce or unseat them in pursuit of Western interests.

A recent example of this is in Thailand where the government has announced plans for measures to combat what is being called "fake news."

A Bangkok Post article titled, "Digital Economy and Society Ministry outlines fake news crackdown," would report:
The Digital Economy and Society Ministry (DE) is seeking to counter fake information shared online through the Line app because urgent issues could potentially incite mass public misunderstanding.
The article also makes mention of the Thai government's plans to approach tech-giants like Facebook, Line and Google, urging each to establish offices in Thailand for the specific purpose of confronting "fake-news."

Facebook and Google already have a well-oiled process of identifying and removing content both platforms deem "fake news" or "coordinated, disingenuous behaviour," but this is a process that focuses solely on deleting narratives from their networks that challenge US interests. Both platforms, as well as Twitter, are more than happy to otherwise allow false narratives aimed at governments around the world to flourish with impunity.

The offices the Thai government seeks to establish are described as a shortcut for the Thai government to contact these foreign tech companies and spur them into action. However, similar arrangements have already been tried with mixed results and ultimately, with large foreign tech-giants like Facebook, Google and Twitter enjoying net influence over Thailand's information space at the Thai government's and the Thai people's expense.