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This article appears in the January 14, 2022 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

[Print version of this article]

China Briefs

The Only ‘Trap’ in Africa Is Poverty, Underdevelopment—Wang Yi in Eritrea, Kenya

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi completed his trip to Africa on Jan. 7. Africa has been the “first foreign visit of the year” for China’s Foreign Minister for the last 31 years. On this trip Wang Yi visited Eritrea, Kenya, and the Comoros. The visit to Eritrea on Jan. 5 was of special significance, as Wang Yi addressed the civil war in neighboring Ethiopia between the central government and the forces of Tigray province. Speaking the next day in Kenya at a press conference with Kenyan Foreign Minister Raychelle Omamo, Wang Yi announced that China would be appointing a Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa to help maintain stability in the region. The U.S. also has a similar Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa.

During the course of his visit, Wang Yi confronted the propaganda in the Western media about the “sinister” nature of China’s involvement in Africa, and in particular, the lies about “debt traps” based on the infrastructure loans that China has been making to African nations. When asked about this at the press conference with the Kenyan Foreign Minister on January 6, Wang Yi said China’s considerable lending to Africa was “mutually benefiting” and not a strategy to extract diplomatic and commercial concessions. “That is simply not a fact” he said, with regard to a potential “debt trap.” “It is speculation being played out by some with ulterior motives…. This is a narrative that has been created by those who do not want to see development in Africa. If there is any trap, it is about poverty and underdevelopment.”

Ambassador Encourages U.S. Journalists To Work at Understanding China

Speaking to a group of reporters organized by Bloomberg News Service on December 24, Chinese Ambassador to the U.S., Qin Gang, took them to task for the general misunderstanding of China in the media and political circles.

“China is everywhere in the United States,” Qin said. “Everybody talks about China at any instant. But many of them don’t understand China. They don’t understand the Chinese language. They don’t know the history, culture, and the people of China. But everybody appears like a China expert. Everybody appears like they know China much more than I do. China is being treated like a kid being scolded by his or her parents every day: You are wrong. You need not do this. You shouldn’t do this. There are lies and disinformation spreading every day. China is misunderstood, misperceived and misrepresented in the United States,” Ambassador Qin said.

“On the other hand, I find American people are friendly people. They are warm. They are easy-going, like every one of you. And I found that their kitchen table matters are the same as those of the Chinese people, such as jobs, education, prices. Every day I receive letters from American people. They are interested in China. They want to know more about China. I’ve done a lot of interactions with students learning Chinese. They are pure. They are very kind. They have the eagerness to learn Chinese. I ask myself, which represents the United States better? It’s like a coin with two sides,” he said.

Ambassador Qin also rejected the popular description of Chinese foreign policy as “wolf warrior diplomacy.” “The textbook for every Chinese diplomat when they enter the foreign service is to pursue and stick to a foreign policy of peace, treat other people with respect and equality, increase friendship and common understanding, and strengthen cooperation. That’s the handbook for every Chinese diplomat when he or she joined the foreign service. The handbook is still in our pocket. Nowadays, we are facing a more complicated and difficult international environment. China is being blamed, attacked, lectured. Facing unfriendly words and actions which interfere in China’s internal affairs and are harmful to our interests, a Chinese national, not just a Chinese diplomat, will rise up to say no, to argue, to fight back. We are not fighting, but fighting back. If I can describe Chinese diplomats more precisely, I would use this one: They are not wolf warriors; they are dancing with wolves.”

He continued responding to questions about Xinjiang, Taiwan, U.S.-China relations, and the like. He encouraged the media to travel to Xinjiang to see what’s really happening there. He also agreed that there would be competition between China and the United States, but that it must be fair competition. “But the current competition is not fair,” he said. “The U.S. side is using competition to contain China’s development. You have been given examples of how Chinese companies have been restricted, how the national security concept is being overstretched and abused, and how many Chinese companies are delisted or facing the fate of being delisted. It’s like a cut-throat competition. It’s a violent attack. This is what I’m worried about. The United States is trying to mobilize allies to kick China out of the international system. China is now being kicked globally, not only in the United States, in terms of industrial line, supply line and high-tech line. This is unhealthy competition and must stop.” The new ambassador has conducted a non-stop campaign to speak to as many groups and individuals as possible to tell the China story.

Japanese Tourists Eager To Vacation in Xinjiang

More than a thousand Japanese have signed up to travel to Xinjiang after the COVID epidemic passes, in response to an invitation by the Chinese Consulate-General in Osaka. The consulate said that the trip would be arranged as soon as the pandemic is over. While the individuals will have to pay for the trip, there will also be financial assistance for those who could not afford it. Consul-General Xue Jian told Global Times that they would not allow Japanese media to be part of the visiting group, as they have released numerous malicious reports about Xinjiang. He noted, however, that participants would be able to release information during the trip on social media platforms. In addition, individual journalists would be welcome to submit applications, and these would be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The invitation flies in the face of the bogus campaign alleging “genocide” in Xinjiang. More than 1,000 foreigners from over 100 countries and regions have already visited Xinjiang, and have returned with glowing reports—reports that have been boycotted generally by the Western media. The enthusiasm shown by the Japanese public over the one-month period since the invitation was issued shows how little trust they have placed in the biased press reports.

China Breaks Another Fusion Record: 120 Million °C for 17 Minutes

China is going full speed ahead on its project to create an “artificial Sun” by putting money and effort into harnessing thermonuclear fusion energy. While the United States is now moving to upgrade its fusion programs, it had virtually abandoned fusion experimental work in the 1980s, despite the benchmarks that some programs had achieved, which progress had not resumed until the past decade. The U.S. government, in 1986, used what were later judged in court to be illegal means to shut down the widely popular Fusion magazine, with 110,000 subscribers and perhaps twice as many readers, in a vendetta against economist and statesman Lyndon LaRouche, the founder of the Fusion Energy Foundation. The subsequent lack of the organized public support for fusion energy research generated by Fusion and the Fusion Energy Foundation significantly eliminated the pressure on American elected officials to finance fusion research at the level needed to break through to a working machine.

China is not making that mistake. On Dec. 30, the EAST (Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak) fusion reactor in Hefei sustained a temperature of 120 million °C for over 17 minutes. Institute of Plasma Physics director Song Yuntao said the experiment “once again challenged the world record…. We have comprehensively validated the technology, driving it a major step forward from basic research to engineering applications.” In May, EAST had achieved the plasma temperature of 120 million °C for 101 seconds. Song Yuntao said he hopes to generate power by 2040. “Five years from now, we will start to build our fusion reactor, which will need another 10 years of construction,” Song said. “After that is built, we will construct the power generator and start generating power by around 2040.”

The main challenges for producing useful nuclear fusion in the tokamak reactor’s hot, magnetized gas (“plasma”) are the triad of sufficient temperature, confinement time, and density. It means (1) maintaining the plasma at a temperature over 100 million °C for deuterium-tritium fuel (other fuels with potentially more efficient characteristics require still higher temperatures); (2) sustaining the superheated plasma for sufficient time in a relatively stable configuration (so it does not escape from the containment of the tokamak’s magnetic fields); and (3) sustaining sufficient density of the plasma for the collisions of atomic nuclei to multiply by triggering others—producing an “ignited” plasma which “burns” on its own. Director Song’s report makes clear that the EAST tokamak has already achieved the first two challenges.

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