Some China-related links to get you through the weekend…
Earlier this week, I reported on Chinese social media postings indicating that PLA tanks, tank destroyers, and anti-aircraft guns were being moved in the Yanbian prefecture of Jilin province, near the North Korean border. China’s state media stayed away from the story – in fact it appeared that censors were actively deleting the relevant social media posts – and on Thursday, China’s Defense Ministry officially denied the reports.
In the Defense Ministry’s monthly press conference, a reporter asked spokesperson Yang Yujun to confirm what “the Chinese military did to reinforce its positions on the North Korean border,” referencing the photos that appeared on Chinese social media. Yang responded that the “relevant report you mentioned is not true and is merely media hype.” He added that the “the situation in the China-DPRK border is generally stable, and the Chinese border defense troops are maintaining regular level of combat readiness and daily training.”
Also at the press conference, Yang told reporters that China’s upcoming military parade on September 3 will honor World War II veterans from both the Chinese Communist Party and the Kuomintang (KMT), which fought against the CCP in the Chinese Civil War (and is currently the ruling party in Taiwan). Yang said that “the victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression is a victory for the whole Chinese nation.” He also expressed his hope that “through commemorating the victory together, compatriots from across the Taiwan Strait can carry … join hands to make contributions to the peaceful development of relations across the Taiwan Strait and also to the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”
The KMT, however, wants no part of Beijing’s commemorations. Reuters reports that Taiwan’s Defense Ministry urged KMT veterans not to travel to the mainland for the September 3 activities. “Retired comrades-in-arms should steadfastly support the view of Taiwan’s government, exercise self-restraint and refrain from visiting mainland China to attend the Chinese Communist Party’s anniversary activities,” the ministry said in a statement. Taiwan’s government maintains that the KMT, not the CCP, was responsible for China’s victory over Japan and resents Beijing’s attempts to claim credit. “The eight years’ resistance against the Japanese was fought by the government of the Republic of China under Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek,” the ministry’s statement said.
China Power readers have likely been following the story of China’s economic woes. Nicholas Lardy of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, however, thinks the hand-wringing is overblown. Check out his op-ed for the New York Times, where Lardy argues that China’s economy is not headed for a “hard landing” – it’s just going through a stock market correction, which has little bearing on its overall economy.
Also at the New York Times, Chris Buckley looks at the Chinese media response to the stock market drop – which has largely been enforced silence. China’s media outlets have been directed to keep their reporting on the market in line with official pronouncements to avoid causing “panic.”
When Chinese media outlets did address the turmoil in the markets this week, they weren’t shy about placing the blame. According to Xinhua, the problem is not China, but an expected move by the U.S. Federal Reserve to raise interest rates.