Taiwan

China ‘very likely’ to seize Taiwan’s Kinmen as distraction: Official
Given the difficulties of seizing Taiwan proper, the official said the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) may first assault outer islands that are beyond Taiwan’s core defenses, such as Kinmen, Matsu, the Dongsha Islands (Pratas Islands), and Taiping Island (Itu Aba Island). The official suggested China could follow Russia’s model of first absorbing the “pro-Russian” regions of Luhansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine in 2014.
https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/4513028

Wang Wenbin – Foreign Ministry Spokesperson “The US is the master of disinformation.” (We’re not pushing this perspective, just food for conversation.)
“The US purports to maintain the centrality of the UN Charter, but it is clear to everyone that what the US is doing is quite the opposite. When the UN Security Council refused to authorize the US use of force in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Iraq, Syria and other places, the US and NATO bypassed the UN, and wantonly interfered in and waged wars on sovereign states. The US claims to respect human rights, but the wars of aggression launched by the US and its allies against countries including Afghanistan and Iraq and made over 26 million people refugees. Yet, no one is held accountable for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The US even announced sanctions on the International Criminal Court who would investigate the war crimes of the US military. The US asserts opposition to economic coercion, but it is also the US that invented “coercive diplomacy” and excels at coercing countries whether they are big or small, remote of close, friend or foe. The embargo and sanctions imposed on Cuba have lasted half a century, and the sanction slapped on Iran have been there for 40 years. When it comes to stabbing its allies such as the EU and Japan in the back, the US has never hesitated about repeating it one more time. The US is the master of disinformation and coercive diplomacy, and the biggest saboteur of international and regional peace and stability. From the US-EU dialogue to the US-UK-Australia trilateral security partnership, the Quad and the Five Eyes Alliance, the US is using democracy and human rights as pretexts to create division and stoke confrontation, and is abusing rules and order to serve its own interests at the expense of others. Not only small and weak countries are hurt because of this, US allies inculding Europe are also paying a heavy price for the US’ selfish acts. It is hoped that Europe can see the truth and stop holding the candle to the devil. https://twitter.com/disclosetv/status/1518575683143933954

Xi orders senior officials to make sure China’s GDP outpaces US despite COVID-19 lockdowns, WSJ reports
Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered his senior officials to ensure that China’s GDP outpaces that of the US despite an onslaught of COVID-19 lockdowns, people familiar with the discussions told the Wall Street Journal. Sources told the Wall Street Journal that Xi told China’s financial and economic officials to make sure his country’s economy is growing so that China looks better than a Western alternative. In response, Chinese government agencies are eyeing future construction projects in sectors like technology, food, energy, and manufacturing, the Wall Street Journal reported.
https://www.businessinsider.com/xi-jinping-china-gdp-us-covid-lockdowns-report-2022-4

China”s New Normal | Peter Zeihan on Ukraine amd Shanghai Lockdown
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6yceeRiKM0

Student poetry contest in China becomes unexpected outlet for dissent
Another, titled “Unnecessary Leave from School,” received more than 1.6 million views on the microblog Weibo even as versions of it were being wiped from the platform. In the poem, the author, a student at the Central Academy for Fine Arts, questions the lockdown measures restricting students to their dorms except for “necessary” activities such as “internships … or prep classes for IELTS,” the English-language proficiency exam. “What about carrying a bag of chestnuts home/ Being showered by falling leaves/ Sitting sleepily in a school shuttle for two hours to hold hands with your partner?” the author wrote. “The pandemic has made everything into necessities. … Alas, the world of humans is full of unnecessary things.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/04/24/china-poetry-contest-covid-censor/

Bezos launches China conspiracy theory after Musk buys Twitter
“Interesting question. Did the Chinese government just gain a bit of leverage of the town square?” Bezos tweeted in response to a New York Times reporter who noted Tesla’s reliance on China for its large market and lithium batteries.  Bezos’ commentary on Tesla’s relationship with China is peculiar given a Reuters investigation in December that found Amazon had capitulated to demands from China to continue doing business and grow the company there.  In addition, some 38% of Amazon’s top-selling brands are based in China, a report from the firm Daxue Consulting found late last year. And, in 2019, the Washington Post – which Bezos bought in 2013 – included an eight-page “advertising supplement” touting the achievements and talking points of the Chinese government in a section that was off-limits to the paper’s editors.
https://www.foxbusiness.com/politics/bezos-amazon-washington-post-launches-china-conspiracy-theory-musk-buys-twitter

How Far Does China’s Influence at U.S. Universities Go? One Student Tried to Find Out.
But the consulate’s exchange with those on the ground — and the variance of CI programming across insitutions, even — points to another feature of the Chinese state that is often poorly understood by Americans: its fragmentation. Though Americans tend to view the Chinese government as a monolithic block of top-down authoritarianism, it’s actually a siloed system with space for variability and chaotic bureaucratic decision-making. Decisions made as far from Beijing as Las Cruces, N.M., can vary widely. Heaven is high and the emperor is far away, an old Chinese saying goes. Political scientists sometimes refer to this as “fragmented authoritarianism,” where local bureaucrats and administrators interpret, enforce and implement vague state goals in widely different ways, often debating policy among themselves.
https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2022/04/24/confucius-institutes-china-new-mexico-00027287