World View: China's First Lady Steals Spotlight in Africa
This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com:
- Today's Schadenfreude: The 'Ugly Chinese' in Africa
- Peng Liyuan, China's new first lady, steals the spotlight
- Anti-German sentiments grow in Europe after the Cyprus bailout
- North Korea's military goes on highest war alert
Today's Schadenfreude: The 'Ugly Chinese' in Africa
For decades since the end of World War II, the media has been full of
"The Ugly American," as a novel, then a movie, then a stereotype,
always portraying Americans as arrogant and insensitive in countries
around the world.
But now it's China's turn. China's new president Xi Jinping is
touring Africa, telling everyone that China believes in "equality
among all countries irrespective of their size and strength," and
expressing opposition to "the big bullying the small and the strong
lording over the weak." I guess he has to hope that Africans don't
read the newspapers about China's brutal military bullying tactics in
the South China Sea.
China's exploitation of Africa is enormous. China imports oil, coal,
minerals and other raw materials, then sends hundreds of
thousands of traders to Africa to sell them electronics, spare parts,
and consumer goods. The Chinese obey few environmental laws or labor
laws. Chinese investments in Africa rarely benefit the Africans
themselves. There are now 1-2 million Chinese businessmen and women
in Africa, mostly living in their own communities separate from the
general population, doing the day to day work that gets Africa's oil,
coal, and minerals back to mainland China.
According to Lamido Sanusi, the governor of Nigeria's Central Bank: "China takes our primary goods, [such as oil and
minerals, to fuel its economic boom], and sells us manufactured
ones. This was also the essence of colonialism. Africa is now
willingly opening itself up to a new form of
But not for long, according to Botswana's president Ian Khama: "We have had some bad experiences with Chinese
companies in this country. [In the future] we are going to be
looking very carefully at any company that originates from China
in providing construction services of any nature."
He added that other African leaders shared his views. CS Monitor and VOA
Peng Liyuan, China's new first lady, steals the spotlight
China's first ladies have not been very popular, starting with Mao
Zedong's first lady, Jiang Qing. In 1938 Mao married her, a beautiful
actress half his age, after dumping his second wife, with whom he
already had five kids. She rose to power in 1966 when she led the
bloody Cultural Revolution, taking revenge against her political
enemies. She was extremely unpopular and was arrested after Mao's
death in 1976. She died a few years later, supposedly of suicide.
Since then, China's first ladies have remained mostly invisible,
wielding power only in the background.
So China's glamorous new first lady is attracting world wide
attention. Comments about her attire when arriving in Africa -- black
high heels and stockings, an understated leather bag and a light blue
scarf emerging from beneath a dark trenchcoat, collar turned up
against the wind -- have gone viral inside and outside of China.
Before marrying Xi Jinping, Peng was a well-known singer. In one
widely-shared video clip, Peng, dressed in military garb, sings about
"bravely advancing for victory" amid a chorus line of bayonet-wielding
soldiers. The stage show is juxtaposed with stock footage of
battle-ready Chinese tanks, jets, and warships. Sounds like a marriage
made in heaven. Guardian (London)
Anti-German sentiments grow in Europe after the Cyprus bailout
Many of the details of the Cyprus bailout are not yet known. It's
known that private bank accounts under 100,000 euros will not be
taxed. It's known that private bank accounts over 100,000 euros will
be taxed at 40% or more. But it's not known what "capital controls"
will be used to keep depositors from transferring money out of the
country when the banks open again.
Anti-German sentiments are growing in many parts of Europe, because
they are perceived to have forced the harsh deal on Cyprus -- and
indeed, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has expressed enthusiasm for
the final deal. "The Germans" has become a "watchword for domination
or discipline or austerity" in the eurozone, according to one
commentator. According to one Spanish economics professor, "Like
Hitler, Angela Merkel has declared war on the rest of the continent,
this time to secure economic Lebensraum." Deutsche Welle
North Korea's military goes on highest war alert
Saying that it's the country's "crystal clear judgment" is that it
cannot overlook the United States' nuclear threats and military
actions any longer, North Korea's Supreme Command put its military on
the highest war alert:
Our people and army are entering the final stage of
preparations for war against the United States to defend their
country's dignity and sovereignty.
The U.S. nuclear war racket has gone beyond the danger line and
entered the phase of an actual war, defying the repeated warnings
from the army and people of the Democratic People's Republic of
A South Korean official said a statement by the Supreme Command is
very rare because the organ is an emergency body operative only in war
The war threat comes on the third anniversary of the North Korean
torpedo attack on the South Korean warship Cheonan, killing 46.
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