I am back with journalist and activist KJ Noh, retired SF Judge Julie Tang, and activist/writer Dan Freeman-Maloy. Meng Wanzhou is free and back in China! We painted a pretty pessimistic picture for you in AEP 95 before the ruling, then poof! The Canadian election happened and Meng was on a plane back to China! Dan goes over some Canadian history of anti-Chinese racism; Julie helps us go over the Deferred Prosecution Agreement and what it means; KJ helps us assess whether this was a victory or a defeat. We conclude with some of Meng’s own words, and some ruminations on the future of Huawei, of HSBC, and of the “American Trap”.
Journalist KJ Noh and retired SF Superior Court judge Julie Tang join me to talk about the Meng Wanzhou case, in which Canada has kidnapped a Chinese executive at US request in 2018. As we await judgement which may come in October or November after the September Federal Election, British Columbia judge Heather Holmes has pondered the nature of a fraud case with no harm and where the alleged fraud “victim” (in this case the British bank HSBC) had the facts that were allegedly withheld. I’ve covered this case for a while and understanding it requires knowledge of the law, of extradition, of US unilateral sanctions on Iran, the US tech war with China, Britain’s colonial history with China, and quite a bit else. We try to find you a way through it all in this episode (but you might want to go back and listen to the earlier series too). Having done the wrong thing for so long, is there any hope Canada would do the right thing now? Ultimately, we are advocating here to Free Meng Wanzhou!
Another episode of Kung Fu Yoga with Carl Zha, where we talk about the Indian and Chinese angles on world events. With the US withdrawing from Afghanistan like thieves in the night, the greatest agent of chaos may be gone (or mostly gone, for now) and country’s neighbours (Iran, Russia, the Central Asian republics, Pakistan, India, and China) will be playing a bigger role in the future, and so, evidently, will the Taliban. We talk about the differences we see between the Taliban of today and the Taliban of 2001 in terms of the movement’s apparent support in rural areas and ability to win many of them over without fighting; in terms of the Taliban’s perhaps independence from Pakistan; and in terms of the Taliban’s diplomatic agenda in the region. With the US panic about China taking up where the US left off, we consider China’s relationship with Pakistan (eg., the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) and whether that has any insight to offer about what the China-Afghanistan relationship might look like in terms of priorities like infrastructure, the Belt & Road initiative, and China’s concerns with stability and terrorism on the border with Xinjiang. As well as India’s seeming irrelevance to the situation.
In the wake of Israel’s 2021 massacres in Gaza and violence elsewhere in Palestine, and a few days into the ceasefire, Carl Zha and I talk about the histories of India and China with Israel and Palestine. We speculate about what the future of a multipolar world with a stronger China might portend for the Israel/Palestine conflict and conclude, sadly, that the answer is: not much.
By pure coincidence, we are publishing this episode on the day the world contrasted the the Alaska Summit – a US-China meeting in March 2021, in which China told the US to stop posturing, to the humiliations of the Boxer Protocol of 1901. In this episode, we talk about the terrible famines of 1876 and 1896 in China and India that killed tens of millions of people, the context of the Boxer Uprising of lightly armed but tenacious anti-imperialists, and the further humiliations inflicted on China by the imperialists at the nadir of China’s century of humiliation.
I bring Carl Zha on for another Kung Fu Yoga episode, this time about Canada. We discuss the unanimous declaration by the Canadian parliament (followed by the Netherlands parliament days later) in February 2021 that a genocide is taking place in Xinjiang. What’s really behind this declaration, and how can Canadian history, and Chinese history, help us think about the issue? We reference relevant episodes from the Civilizations Series and from Carl Zha’s Silk & Steel podcast.
Having burned the palace of the ruling Qing dynasty, the imperialists decided to take their side and help them defeat the Taiping. As Zeng Guofan’s encirclement strategy takes hold, the imperialists are running the Ever Victorious Army with figures like Garnet Wolesley (who fought Louis Riel in Canada) and Charles Gordon (who we’ll meet again in the Scramble for Africa). It ends with the fall of Nanjing, terrible massacres, and an accounting of the death toll and what was left of China at the end of the worst civil war in history.
In the midst of the most destructive war in China’s history, the imperialists decided it was time to sack and burn China a second time. In this episode, on the Second Opium War, we talk about the deepening imperialism, get you into the bizarre imperialist mind of Lord Elgin as he rationalizes the burning of the palace in Beijing, show you again how Marx was well ahead of his contemporaries writing about the Peiho stitchup, and talk about the strategies of Ye Mingchen and of Prince Seng.
The end of the first Opium War was just the beginning of the horrors China faced under imperialism. Beginning in 1850, China was rocked by a 10-year long civil war that took an estimated 20-30 million lives. You read that correctly. In the middle of that war, the imperialists attacked China again and fought a second opium war, which we’ll get to next. But first, the first part of the Taiping Rebellion, from 1850-56.
We reach back in time a little bit to start the Civilizations Series on 19th century China – now known as the century of humiliation. The Opium War was one of the moments that turbo-charged imperialism. We tell the story the way Civilizations does – going back and forth between the imperialists and the local forces that tried valiantly (and in the case of our protagonist this episode, Lin Zexu, honorably) to resist. The series will continue with Opium War 2, the Taiping Rebellion, the reforms, and the Boxer Rebellion – but first, Opium War 1.