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Make No Mistake, The Hawks Are Running China

China released a new map where it borrows strips of lands from its neighbors. Although this is far from being the first time the country is involved in territorial disputes, Beijing's growing military shows it has the power (and will?) to try to make it a reality.


PARIS — Imagine if tomorrow, one of France's neighbors published a map that showed entire swathes of French territory as its own. And did the same with many other neighbors. That is, in simple terms, what China did last week — and as you can image, its neighbors are not pleased at all.

The map, published by China's Ministry of Natural Resources and circulated on social media, has drawn condemnation from all of China's neighbors: Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, and of course the special case of Taiwan, which Beijing considers to be a stray part of its own territory.

But the strongest reaction came from India, after two disputed Himalayan regions were presented as being part of China. Narendra Modi's government responded yesterday with a show of military force on the borders with Pakistan and China.

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Meet The Taiwanese Buddhists Head-Banging To Enlightenment Through Death Metal

Death metal is considered the most soulless music of all. But the Taipei-based Buddhist death metal band Dharma is proving otherwise. Their music may also even be a secret weapon in the island's stand-off with China.

This article was update Sep. 1 at 10:40 a.m.

TAIPEI — Six robed figures follow the orange-robed nun onto the stage, gazing rigidly at the floor. A gently swinging sound bowl accompanies her steps. Incense sticks spread the smell of sandalwood. Then the procession stops in one fell swoop. A gong sounds, and all hell breaks loose. Guitar riffs tear through the solemn silence. From the booming basses, chants emerge that the Western listener would most likely associate with Gregorian chanting. It is a mantra written in the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit — "Aryavalokiteshvara Bodhisattva Vikurvana Dharani" — which is supposed to grant the grace of Buddha's light to the one who sings it.

The Taiwanese band Dharma underpins traditional sutras with Death Metal, perhaps the heaviest form of rock music in which violence and death are the usual themes. At the background of the stage, which is now bathed in red light, a Buddhist wheel of life rotates, which draws more and more spectators into a maelstrom of bodies in front.

A spectator sitting in the lotus position above the crowd.This kind of meditative crowd surfing is already a tradition at Dharma gigs. Also, the fist is not raised in the air for the devil's greeting as is usually done at metal concerts. The fans fold their hands for the Anjali Mudra, a gesture of reverence and humility known in this country mainly from yoga classes. But the neck-breaking spectacle has little to do with silent mindfulness and Gong Bath relaxation.

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How Semiconductors Are Fueling The U.S.-China Standoff — With A Taiwan Caveat

The manufacture of a chip requires 500 operations on three continents. Both the U.S. and China want to master this incredible logistics chain. And with Taiwan crucial to the supply chain, there is both a cause and effect to try to calculate.

PARIS — Is the chip inside your cell phone or your washing machine a counterfeit that’s liable to bug? The question is taken very seriously by the WSC (World Semiconductor Council), the organization of the 27,000 players of the semiconductor industry, spread along the trade routes used by these electronic products between America, Europe and Asia.

It’s also taken very seriously by the European Commission, which warned last year that, following the COVID-19 pandemic and the shortage of semiconductors that ensued: “unreliable counterfeit chips have started to infiltrate markets, compromising the safety and reliability of electronic devices.” Computers, data centers, cars, medical devices, industrial robots, artificial intelligence algorithms: the list of sectors at risk is chilling, given that microchips are everywhere.

“They’re at the center of our digital lives, and of our lives in general,” says Alice Pannier, head of the geopolitics of technology program at the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI).

If semiconductors go missing, whole sectors of the economy come to a halt, like the automotive industry after the pandemic. “Wolrdwide, 11.3 million cars could not be produced in 2021 due to a lack of chips,” recalled the European Commission.

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China And Taiwan: The Why, When And How Of An Inevitable War

Beijing is obsessed with absorbing the “rebel island,” but a peaceful reintegration seems more and more unlikely. Despite the risk of an economic, and maybe military, confrontation with the U.S. and allies, an attempt by China to take Taiwan by force is probable, sometime between 2027 and 2049.


BEIJING — In all probability, China will attack Taiwan one day. Everything points to this dramatic scenario, which would lead to an economic and perhaps even military conflict between Beijing and the U.S., vying for position as the world’s leading powers and “bosses” of the Pacific.

Such a conflict could involve European countries and possibly the Philippines, Japan, Australia, Vietnam and India. A Beijing victory would allow it to dominate all of Asia-Pacific.

Indeed, Xi Jinping’s regime is obsessed with the idea of reintegrating the “rebel island,” as it calls Taiwan — arguing that it was under Beijing’s control for part of its history (from 1683 to 1895; the rest of the time, it was under Portuguese, Dutch and then Japanese sovereignty, before the remains of the nationalist regime, defeated by Ma, landed there in 1949).

Giving it up is unthinkable for the Chinese leader, as illustrated by his insistence, in his “Chinese Dream” doctrine, that “Taiwanese separatism” would be the “most serious threat to national rejuvenation.” Reintegration will happen, according to him, by means fair or foul. In all probability, that means by force.

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Pierre Haski

Pacifism Is So '80s! Why Military Budgets Are Exploding, Everywhere

Military spending has increased dramatically worldwide, driven by war in Ukraine and Chinese-Tawian tensions. With $2.24 trillion spent globally in 2022, the amount looks likely to continue to increase.


PARIS — Forty years ago, then French President, François Mitterrand uttered a phrase that caused a stir: "The pacifists are in the West, the missiles are in the East." It was the height of the Cold War, and pacifist demonstrations were taking place in German cities against the deployment of U.S. missiles intended to counter those of the USSR.

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The Socialist president highlighted a dangerous paradox in which pacifism risked leaving Western Europe defenseless.

Today, that era is long gone. Pacifists are now neither in the West nor in the East. One would search in vain for any significant pacifist demonstration, in Europe or elsewhere, while military spending is skyrocketing worldwide.

Figures published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), a renowned source, unsurprisingly reveal that 2022 broke all records for global military expenditures. It does not come as a surprise, as this is the year of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, major Chinese maneuvers around Taiwan, and a general escalation of tensions. And yet, this trend had already been underway for some time.

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Pierre Haski

China-Taiwan: Between Election Maneuvering And Dress Rehearsals For War

The Chinese military's encirclement of Taiwan is above all a political move, not a tactical one. War is unlikely for now: Beijing still has other cards to play in the crisis. But if these fail, anything is possible.


BEIJING — No one, not even China (despite how it may seem), nor the United States or Taiwan, want war in the region. But for the past three days, the world has watched a game of intimidation around this island of 24 million inhabitants, which has become, as The Economist described it a few years ago, "the most dangerous place in the world."

The means deployed by the Chinese People's Liberation Army are considerable, including the Shandong aircraft carrier, the pride of the Beijing navy, as well as the new J-15 fighter jet. The maneuvers, which included repeated violations of the Taiwanese air identification zone, are like a dress rehearsal for a possible Chinese invasion of the island.

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Nicolas Barré

Europe Must Not Be America's "Vassals": The Full Macron Interview After His China Visit

Translated in full from French, here is the exclusive interview French President Emmanuel Macron gave to three reporters on his way back from his trip to China, in which he insisted that Europe needed more autonomy from the United States.

PARIS — "For too long, Europe hasn't built strategic autonomy. Today, that battle has been won.”

In an interview with Les Echos as he returned from his much-publicized visit to China, French President Emmanuel Macron emphasized that Europe must strengthen its position in the world. “The trap for Europe would be the moment when it clarifies its strategic position, but then gets caught up in... crises that aren’t Europe’s.”

For the French President, strategic autonomy is crucial to avoid European countries being just “vassal states” rather than a third superpower, on the same level as the U.S. and China. "We do not want to engage in a bloc-to-bloc logic," added the French President, who also spoke out against the “extraterritoriality of the dollar.”

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Pierre Haski

Macron In China, Tsai In California: Why Europe Must Face The Taiwan Question

The issue of Taiwan has come up during French President Emmanuel Macron's visit to China. The unresolved question of the island's independence shows Europe will find it hard to remain neutral as tensions between the U.S. and China reach a new peak.


BEIJING — If an example was needed of the escalation of Chinese-American rivalry, the visit to the United States by the President of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, would be enough. This visit, and especially her meeting Wednesday in California with the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, are like a red rag to the leaders of Beijing, who promise "retaliation."

This new boiling point — yet one more — is shaking up the delicate balance of the visit to China by French President Emmanuel Macron, joined Thursday by European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen. European leaders hope to redefine the China-Europe relationship by side-stepping the new Sino-American Cold War— but, as Emmanuel Macron himself admits, this path is very narrow.

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Pierre Haski

D.C. Or Beijing? Two High-Stakes Trips — And Taiwan's Divided Future On The Line

Two presidents of Taiwan, the current serving president, Tsai Ing-wen, and her predecessor, Ma Ying-jeou from the opposition Kuomintang party, are traveling in opposite directions these days. Taiwan must choose whom to follow.


PARIS — Tsai Ing-wen, the President of Taiwan, is traveling to the United States today. Not on an official trip because Taiwan is not a state recognized by Washington, but in transit, en route to Central America, a strategy that allows her to pass through New York and California.

Ma Ying-jeou, a former president of Taiwan, arrived yesterday in Shanghai: he is making a 12-day visit at the invitation of the Chinese authorities at a time of high tension between China and the United States, particularly over the fate of Taiwan.

It would be difficult to make these two trips more contrasting, as both have the merit of summarizing at a glance the decisive political battle that is coming. Presidential and legislative elections will be held in January 2024 in Taiwan, which could well determine Beijing's attitude towards the island that China claims by all means, including force.

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Gregor Schwung

China's Military Intentions Are Clear — And Arming Taiwan Is The Only Deterrence

China is spending more money on weapons and defense than ever. The reason is evident: Xi Jinping wants to take Taiwan. Europe should follow the U.S. and support Taipei militarily as the only way to deter Beijing from war.


BERLIN — Fear is never the best advisor.

It is, however, an understandable emotion when China announces the biggest increase in its defense budget in memory. And when Beijing does so after siding with Russia in the Ukraine war with its supposed "peace plan" and justifying the increase with an alleged "escalating oppression" of China in the world.

The budget plan unveiled by outgoing Premier Li Keqiang calls for a 7.2% increase in defense spending. That's more than in previous years — and just the official figure.

Experts estimate the true spending is much higher, as Beijing finances its military through numerous shadow budgets.

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Bosong Xu

Pop And Propaganda — How Taiwan's Teens Are Lured By Chinese Social Media

As more young people in Taiwan use Chinese social media, drawn to the fun and glitzy elements of life on mainland China, they need to learn to distinguish real life from propaganda.

TAIPEI — Su is a high school student from Northern Taiwan, who spends hours every day watching short videos from Douyin, the Chinese-exclusive version of TikTok.

A recent trend on the platform is short sketches based on similar scripts, and he said he is addicted to watching these videos. "I had to set up a mainland China Apple ID to download Douyin, the videos there are funnier and trendier (than TikTok)."

Su is hardly the only Douyin fan in Taiwan. According to the DIGITAL Taiwan survey released by digital platform analytics firm We are social and KEPIOS in early 2022, there are approximately 4.16 million active Douyin users in Taiwan, with an average growth rate of 3.5% per quarter. Of these, the proportion of young users is 38%.

Taiwan's READr 2021 survey of social media usage among high school students found that while Facebook and Instagram are still the most popular social media platforms, Chinese apps such as Douyin are quickly catching up.

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Youyou Zhou

Why Estonia's EU "Digital Residency" Is Getting Popular In China — And Taiwan

An Estonian e-residency that gives holders access to the country's government services and business networks has growing takeup in both mainland China and Taiwan. For both business and political reasons.

For many, paying 100 euros is no big deal. And as some have discovered, it can also earn you residency in a European Union country.

From 2014 to 2022, 90,000 people worldwide decided to invest €100 for an identity card issued by the Estonian government, which wrote "Digital identity card–Electronic use only".

This is the "E-Residency of Estonia." It is not traditional resident status: the holder does not have rights to permanent physical residency in Estonia, and is not exempt from visa requirements. And yet the card allows the holder to connect remotely to Estonia's government and business networks and enjoy services such as opening a bank account, forming a company, making financial payments and other services essentially equivalent to those of an Estonian resident.

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