In Episode 213 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg notes how divergent responses to the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians and mass internment of the Uyghurs reveal the West's shifting definition of genocide. Tragically, elements of the Palestinian leadership merely reverse the double standard, causing elements of the exiled Uyghur leadership to balk at supporting the Palestinians. Yet another example of how a global divide-and-rule racket is the essence of the state system. Illustrating the irony, the same corporate nexus is involved in putting in place the surveillance state that monitors the Uyghurs for China and the Palestinians for Israel. Fortunately, principled voices of dissent among both the Palestinians and the Uyghurs are calling for Palestinian-Uyghur solidarity.
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Jan. 29 officially accepted the credentials of the envoy to Beijing from Taliban-ruled Afghanistan—a clear step toward recognition of the regime. A month before that, Wang Yi, the Chinese foreign minister, visited Kabul to meet with Taliban foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi—the highest-level meeting between China and the Taliban regime since its return to power in 2021. China has already struck hydrocarbon deals with the Taliban, and has been eyeing Afghanistan's lithium, copper and rare-earth metal mines. This is in line with Beijing's perceived design to establish control over the planet's rare earth minerals. (Eurasian Times, CNBC)
Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee on Jan. 30 announced the commencement of a four-week consultation period for a new local security law under Article 23 of the Basic Law, the city's mini-constitution. Article 23 mandates that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) pass its own laws to prohibit crimes such as treason, secession, sedition and subversion against China's Central People's Government.
Although winning no coverage in English-language media, labor actions are spreading across China in the current economic downturn in the People's Republic. On Jan. 22, workers hung banners outside the headquarters of the Guilin No. 3 Construction Company in Guangxi province to demand payment of outstanding wages owed to hundreds of employees. On the same day, migrant workers in Jinan, Shandong province, raised banners in the city's central business district demanding payment of backlogged wages by the China Railway Construction Corporation. By definition, such actions are not authorized by the state-controlled All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU).
Burma's ruling junta acknowledged that it withdrew its forces from a key city on the border with China after it was seized by an alliance of ethnic rebel armies. The fall of Laukkai Jan. 4 is the most significant defeat the junta has suffered since the self-declared Three Brotherhood Alliance launched its offensive in northeastern Shan state Oct. 27. (AP, Myanmar Now) Days earlier, on Dec. 30, at least 150 junta soldiers fled across the border into India's Mizoram state, driven from their outposts in Burma's northwestern Chin state by the rebel Arakan Army. The soldiers turned themselves over to a detachment of India's paramilitary Assam Rifles, and had to be flown back to Burmese territory. (Tribune India, The Economic Times, BNI)
The US uses its veto on the UN Security Council to protect its client state Israel amid the criminal bombardment of Gaza, while Russia and China pose as protectors of the Palestinians. In Burma, the situation is precisely reversed: Russia and China protect the brutal junta on the Security Council, while the US and UK pose as protectors of the pro-democratic resistance. Yet another example of how a global divide-and-rule racket is the essence of the state system. Bill Weinberg dissects the mutual imperial hypocrisy in Episode 206 of the CounterVortex podcast.
China's government announced Dec. 14 that it had mediated a short-term ceasefire to the conflict between the Burmese junta and armed groups of ethnic peoples in the northern regions near the Chinese border. The conflict has been escalating since the Arakan Army (AA), the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and the Ta'ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) launched Operation 1027 in Burma's northern Shan state in late October. None of the parties to the conflict have commented on the supposed ceasefire.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Ka-chiu Lee applauded the "good turnout" in the city's Dec. 10 "patriots-only" District Council elections—despite a tunrout of only 27.5%, the lowest in any race since the return to Chinese rule in 1997. He also charged that protesters had attempted to "sabotage" the vote. These were the first district-level polls since Hong Kong's government overhauled the electoral system, introducing changes that effectively made it impossible for pro-democratic candidates to run. Several pro-democracy hopefuls failed to obtain the required nominations from government-appointed committees. Most of the city's leading democracy advocates are behind bars, in exile, or have dropped out of politics.