China Hijacking Memes, US Tensions, & More

South and East Asia News Roundup 25/10/2018

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China is dominating the news this week as we look into the Chinese Government trying to hack memes with their new campaign to capitalize on a viral meme. They were also pressed with military pressure as two US warships went through the Taiwan Strait in a show of might. The US and China had a meeting in Singapore amid the rising tensions as well. All of which we will be covering in this weeks Asia news roundup.

 

China Attempts Memelord Status

A popular meme arose this year in China as wealthy Chinese women participated in the “flaunt your wealth” challenge. The meme consisted of women in a face-down fallen position with their possessions spread about visible in the picture. This meme has evolved to go beyond the wealth and into other classes of society. Firemen fallen down with their daily firefighting tools spread about and so on. The Chinese government stepped in to hijack the meme for their own propaganda as they made a picture with a student fallen face first with his textbooks strewn about. Among the books were typical of math and science but also included the works of Karl Marx, Mao Zedong, and Deng Xiaoping in a push to promote communistic propaganda.

 

U.S Applies Pressure Along The Taiwan Strait

 

Tensions rose again as the US military sent two warships to cross the Taiwan Strait from the south going north across the water. In the past, the US would send ships through the area about once a year in a show of almost protection for Taiwan. In the possibility of China wanting to retake Taiwan, the strait would be the geopolitical flash point of such a confrontation. Taiwan is regarded by China as the “province who got away” although Taiwan is a self-governed, democratic, and independent nation. While the strait is considered international waters, China expresses “serious concern” over the movements. The Chinese Foreign Ministry gave a statement given by spokeswoman Hua Chunying “ We urge the US to stick to the one-China principle … and cautiously and appropriately handle the Taiwan issue to avoid harming Sino-US ties, and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.” Taiwan is an ally to the US although their formal diplomatic ties are unofficial, but when the Trump Administration came in, the direction moved towards the US having closer ties with Taiwan.

 

US and China Meet Amid Rising Tensions

 

Last Thursday US and China officials met in Singapore where Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe met behind closed doors for an hour and a half. This meeting took place amid the rising military, economic, and political tensions. With the US posturing, it’s military and waging trade wars this talk was set to ease some tensions and further the dialogue between the Superpowers. The Chinese valued the talks as it shows the Chinese people that the US-China situation is at least handled by the government instead of spiraling out of control. Mattis and Wei did now, however, discuss the Decatur incident. The incident where a Chinese destroyer made aggressive maneuvers in the South China Sea while the USS Decatur of the US was also nearby conducting a navigation mission and a collision almost took place.

China is definitely a nation to watch in the coming months as the US postures and China further responds. One can hope talks will keep further incidents from occurring as well as avoid the prospect of a cold war let alone a hot war. There are better ways the US can pursue their interests in the China region with the surrounding countries outside of military solutions.

You can read more from Amos Joseph on Think Liberty here.

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