Friday, July 21, 2017

Chinese Spy Ship Was Snooping Off Alaska For the First Time During THAAD Test

Chinese Spy Ship Was Snooping Off Alaska For the First Time During THAAD Test

The People’s Liberation Army Navy’s (PLAN) significant and continued expansion, both in terms of advanced ships and vital infrastructure, is one of the best indicators of China’s push to become an international military power.  But, as most eyes were focused on the departure of Chinese forces for their new base in Africa, the country made another important naval move, discreetly sailing one of its most advanced spy ships near the United States for the first time ever, just in time for an important American missile test.
Some time on July 11, 2017, one of the PLAN’s six Type 815 North Starelectronic intelligence-gathering vessels, China most advanced spy ships, arrived in international waters near the coast of Alaska, according to report by Epoch Times. That same day, the U.S. military’s Missile Defense Agency and numerous partners conducted the first ever test of the Terminal High Altitude Air Defense (THAAD) ballistic missile defense system against a mock intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) from the Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska in Kodiak.

Michael Kucharek, a spokesperson for U.S. Northern Command and the U.S.-Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), told The Epoch Times that this was the first time a Type 815 had entered either command’s “area of responsibility,” which includes the coastlines of both the contiguous United States and Alaska. It was also the first time since 2015, when a PLAN task force moved through the Bering Sea as then-U.S. President Barack Obama toured Alaska, that any PLAN ships have transited near an American shoreline. It was unclear what the Chinese ship was actually doing at the time and the spy ship remained in international waters, according to Kucharek.
However, it seems very likely that the spy ship was there specifically to watch the THAAD test. Though its unclear whether or not the North Star-class ships have the radars necessary to track missile flights, the vessel off Alaska surely vacuumed up a lot of information from electronic emissions, including signals from data links and other communication equipment connecting the various components of the THAAD battery, and from that battery to America's greater missile defense "ecosystem" as well. The X-band AN/TPY-2 radar, and its emissions radiated during an engagement was also likely of great interest to the Chinese. 
This could provide Chinese analysts with a more nuanced picture of how the particular system, as well as the broader U.S. military missile defense apparatus, works as a whole, exposing weaknesses well beyond any deficiencieswith the interceptors themselves. In particular, the signals could expose vulnerabilities to jamming and other electronic warfare not just in THAAD, but elsewhere in the U.S. missile defense shield's broader networks. There could be evidence of cyber security gaps that Chinese specialists could exploit, as well.

The Tianlangxing, a Type 815G. 
Of course, the North Star class, originally known as the Dong-Diao or “East Investigate” class, is hardly new. The PLAN commissioned the first ship, now called the Beijixing or “Polaris,” in 1999. It originally featured large parabolic antennas similar to Cold War-era spy ships such as the U.S. Navy’s USNSVandenberg and the Soviet Navy’s Kosmonavt Yuri Gagarin, but at some point these gave way to radome-enclosed radars common to more modern designs. 
While the Beijixing remained the only member of its class for more than a decade, since 2010, the PLAN has added another five of the intelligence ships to its inventory. The first four were an improved Type 815G subvariant. The Kaiyangxing, which just entered service in January 2017, is yet another version known as the Type 815A. We don’t know what particular ship was near Alaska earlier in July 2017.
Though historically tight-lipped about the Type 815s in general, the PLAN disclosed significant details about the class after commissioning Kaiyangxing. The Type 815A had a displacement of 6,000 tons and could reach a top speed of almost 23 miles per hour, Modern Navy, an official PLAN media outlet, announced, according to China Daily, an official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party.
“The Kaiyangxing is capable of conducting all-weather, round-the-clock reconnaissance on multiple and different targets,” China Daily reported. “Until now, the PLA Navy has never made public so many details about its intelligence collection ships.”

A PLAN press handout showing some of the Kaiyangxing's radomes.
Though there is still a lot that remains unknown about the Kaiyangxing, or how it specifically differs from its sister ships, its basic size and shape is similar to the U.S. Navy’s now decommissioned USNS Observation Island, though it is much smaller than her replacement the USNS Howard O. Lorenzen. However, Lorenzen, obtusely classified as “missile range instrumentation ship,” is solely focused on spying on foreign ballistic tests and gathering information on US tests with its powerful electronically-scanned array-type radar rather than acting as a multi-role electronic intelligence collector. China has similar ships, known as the Yuan Wang class

USNS Howard O. Lorenzen
As such, the Type 815-class as a whole seems to share more with Russia’s still active Balzam-class or Nowary's wedge-shaped Marjata. In 2016, the Norwegians replaced that vessel with a new spy ship, also named Marjata, which had a more traditional design.
If the Type 815s have at all similar capabilities, the appearance of one off Alaska earlier in July 2017 is an important development, but not necessarily surprising. As already noted, the ships may be able to grab a wide variety of important electronic information associated with the test, which came four months after the U.S. Army began sending the ballistic missile defense system to South Korea. Though that deployment was long in the works, China had and continues to criticize those plans, arguing that the long-range AN/TPY-2 in particular threatens its nuclear deterrent capabilities by being able to provide persistent surveillance of Chinese skies. 

The massive Yuan Wang class. 
In theory, data from the Type 815’s trip near Alaska could end up informing new weapons designs or other measures to defeat THAAD in any potential conflict. There is always the potential risk that the details the Chinese grabbed could end up in the hands of North Korean intelligence agents, as well.
Beyond the THAAD test, the arrival of one of the Type 815s off the American coast is significant in general. This type of world-wide sea-based electronic surveillance was a capability previously limited mainly to the American and Russian militaries. The Russian Navy has deployed its Balzam-class ships to snoop on large-scale military activities, including a notable appearance near Hawaii during the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) naval exercises in 2016. In February 2017, one of the Kremlin's smaller Vishnya-class spy ship appeared off the east coast of the United States, reportedly the furthest north the type had ever ventured along the American coast. In 2014, the original Type 815 Beijixing also snooped on the annual RIMPAC exercise, even as other PLANEven if the ships are less capable than their American or Russian counterparts, having six of them can only improve China’s ability to collect electronic intelligence on a number of potential opponents from the sea, including South Korea, Japan, and the United States. On July 2, 2017, the Tianlangxing, a Type 815G, transited the Tsugaru Strait separating Japan’s Honshu and Hokkaido islands. The ship was moving in the opposite direction from the Korean Peninsula, where a flurry of missile activity occurred two days later.  
Regardless, the move through the Japanese territorial waters prompted a stern response from that country’s authorities, though it was unclear if the Chinese ship was actively collecting electronic emissions at the time. China countered that it was allowed to pass through the area under international law.
Regardless, if the Type 815’s arrival off the American coast ahead of the July 2017 THAAD test is any indication, the U.S. military may increasingly have to take into account that Chinese could be watching future launches from off shore. ships directly participated in the event.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Top Pentagon commander concerned over Chinese military buildup

    Top Pentagon commander concerned over Chinese military buildup

China is exploiting its economic leverage as a way to advance its regional political objectives, a top Pentagon commander has said and expressed concern over the growing Chinese military buildup in the Asia Pacific region.

By:  | Washington | Updated: July 19, 2017
us china military, us china relations, us China politics, Pentagon commander Chinese military buildup, Chinese military buildup Asia Pacific regionChina is exploiting its economic leverage as a way to advance its regional political objectives, a top Pentagon commander has said and expressed concern over the growing Chinese military buildup in the Asia Pacific region.(Reuters)
China is exploiting its economic leverage as a way to advance its regional political objectives, a top Pentagon commander has said and expressed concern over the growing Chinese military buildup in the Asia Pacific region. China’s military modernisation emphasises development of capabilities with the potential to degrade core US military- technological advantages, general Paul Selva of US Air Force said in written response to questions to the Senate Armed Services Committee considering his nominee for reconfirmation as Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “The Chinese have shown their willingness to exploit their economic leverage as a way to advance their regional political objectives. As China’s military modernisation continues, the United States and its allies and partners will continue to be challenged to balance China’s influence,” Selva said.
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Noting that a long-term, sustained presence is critical to demonstrating that the US is committed to the Asia Pacific region, Selva said the US will continue to develop a security network through multilateral partnerships. “We will continue to develop capabilities to counter China’s improving military capabilities,” he said. According to Selva, China’s leaders remain focused on developing the capabilities to increase its regional influence and to counter any third-party intervention – including by the United States – during a crisis or conflict. “China is also seeking resources and economic opportunities outside of the region to support continued domestic economic growth and prosperity. China’s growing military is being designed and postured to be able to protect its interests both in the Asia-Pacific region and abroad,” he said.

Law isnt really Justice: case in point>Teen who crashed Mercedes at 250 km/h in Vancouver avoids jail time

Teen who crashed Mercedes at 250 km/h in Vancouver avoids jail time

A young man who crashed his Mercedes at speeds of up to 250 km/h into the front yard of a home in a tony Vancouver neighbourhood has avoided jail time.
Image result for Yue Hui Wang

Yue Hui Wang, who was 18 at the time of the collision and is now 21, on Thursday received a suspended sentence with two years of probation and a three-year driving ban. In November he had pleaded guilty to one count of criminal negligence causing bodily harm.
Before the April, 2015 accident, Wang had offered to drive a teenage friend he’d been hanging out with in Richmond back to the teen’s home. The parents of the teen wanted him home quickly.
Driving the high-performance 2015 Mercedes C63 Coupe that had recently been purchased for him by his mother, Wang crossed one of the bridges into Vancouver at speeds his friend later estimated to be at between 160 and 180 km/h.
“They turned west onto Southwest Marine Drive in Vancouver, and that is the last thing that (the friend) remembers before waking up in the totalled Mercedes, enmeshed in the trees in front of 2206 Marine Drive,” according to a statement of facts filed in court.
The crash site on Southwest Marine Drive. HANDOUT, VANCOUVER POLICE / PNG
The caretaker of the property was awoken by his children, who had heard a loud bang. He went to the window and listened but didn’t hear anything and went back to bed but got up later and went back to the window, hearing a very quiet voice saying, ‘Help.’
Shortly thereafter police, firefighters and paramedics arrived and the two young men had to be extracted from the Mercedes and taken to Vancouver General Hospital. Wang had initially been knocked out by the collision, while his friend suffered a number of injuries requiring 17 days of hospitalization.
Police later obtained a warrant and seized the vehicle’s airbag “control module” which indicated that the Mercedes had been moving at 253 km/h in the seconds before the collision.
Crown counsel Mark Myhre argued that a 90-day jail term was needed for denunciation and deterrence of the crime, while defence lawyer Michael Klein called for a suspended sentence, saying that the crime was a “one-off” incident for his client, who was otherwise a law-abiding person.
In imposing sentence, Provincial Court Judge David St. Pierre noted that it was fortunate that neither of the young men were killed and said that people that are inexperienced drivers and young shouldn’t get a “pass,” adding that Wang had shown a reckless disregard for the safety of others.
“Having said all that, what’s the appropriate sentence for someone like this? That’s the hardest thing a judge has to decide.”
St. Pierre said that the crime had taken up a “very small fraction” of Wang’s life and the rest of the time he probably was taking care of the people around him and acting appropriately and living the life of a decent citizen.
“He’s not a bad actor. In the colloquial sense, he’s committed a bad act.”
The judge said a criminal conviction provided significant denunciation and noted the potential immigration consequences for Wang, a Chinese citizen with permanent residency status in Canada who faces possible deportation as a result of the conviction.
Wang was charged on March 9, 2016, and arrested nearly two weeks later after returning to Canada to be sworn in as a citizen.
The probation conditions for Wang include that he complete 200 hours of community work service.
Wang, who was wearing a suit and tie, had earlier apologized to the judge for his actions and promised not to commit any further crimes.

How a little brown book can keep China’s lovers worlds apart

How a little brown book can keep China’s lovers worlds apart

In China, a household-registration system called hukou decides migrants’ social status, where they can afford to live – and who they marry. Nathan VanderKlippe explains how
Chinese couples gather for a wedding photo shoot at the West Bund in Shanghai on Sept. 25, 2014.
The way Lai Jie sees it, there are two kinds of relationships.
There is romance. And there is marriage.
They are not always the same, and in a city such as Shanghai, the deciding factor on who to wed can have little to do with personality, interest or chemistry.
It comes down, instead, to a little brown book, the hukou (pronounced hoo-koh) document, part of a household-registration system that creates distinctions between urban haves and have-nots that influence salaries, education and, it turns out, love lives for huge numbers of migrants.
Li Xue, 21, who does not have hukou household registration documents, shows journalists her mother’s hukou in the bedroom they share in Beijing on March 10, 2015. The documents decide what services Chinese people can access, based on their families’ place of origin.
In China, families are registered by hometown. Each person’s hukou document anchors them to their family’s place of origin and the services available there no matter where they move.
It means that those who move to big cities chasing jobs and opportunities typically do not enjoy full local rights of home ownership or benefits such as public schools. Without local hukou documents they are, effectively, second-class citizens – and despite Chinese efforts to reform the system, it remains largely in place today.
Many of the effects of hukou are well-known: It bars migrant workers in big cities from public services and education, and creates a difficult bureaucratic obstacle to personal advancement.
But it also plays a surprisingly important role in love, forming a major relationship barrier, creating a cleavage that calcifies social mobility and solidifies an under-class of citizens with curtailed rights.
Having hukou is “very important for the ones who don’t have it,” MsLai said. “We must consider married life and then having children, unless it’s a romance not aimed at marriage.”
It’s a problem reflected in new research from the University of British Columbia and Brown University. It found that although migrants make up just under half the population of Shanghai, only 20 per cent of marriages there cross hukou lines. Most unions are either between two people who possess Shanghai hukou, or two people who do not.
It is what researchers call “ assortative mating,” a dry term that describes an important social issue for China.
“Marriage and China’s hukou system can work together to contribute to the growing socio-economic disparities between migrants and locals,” said Yue Qian, a UBC professor who is the study’s lead author. “Hukou just offers little chance for migrants, especially for less-educated migrants, to integrate or prosper in urban cities.”
Conversely, it enhances the ability for those with Shanghai hukou to leap beyond their station.
“Local Shanghainese, with their hukou status, may still be able to marry relatively highly educated migrants. They can use their hukou to gain socio-economicallythrough marriage,” Prof. Qian said.
What it means is “migrants fare even worse in China compared with immigrants in Canada or the U.S.,” she said.
“Children born to immigrants can get citizenship status automatically, as long as they are born in the U.S. or Canada,” she said. “But in the Chinese context, even children born to migrant parents – those children are still migrants. They cannot gain Shanghai or Beijing hukou by birth.”
Debutantes from a local academy laugh as they get ready to take part in the Vienna Ball at Beijing’s Kempinski Hotel on March 19, 2016. Social mobility and economic status are largely shaped by hukou.
Oct. 27, 2014: Six-year-old Pan Yulin, middle, who is from Hefei in Anhui province, rests in his aunt’s house, after his school was shut down by authorities in Shanghai’s Baoshan district. Without the right hukou documents, Chinese children do not qualify for places in public schools, making illegal fee-paying migrant schools their only option.
China’s hukou system is almost as old as Communist rule.
In 1958, Beijing required people to be classified as “agricultural” or “non-agricultural” (since amended to “urban” and “rural”) along with their place of registration. The system is complex, but in general ties people to the homes of their ancestors, a practice that meant little in the agrarian China of a half-century ago.
But its persistence in modern days, with a quarter-billion Chinese who have left home to find better futures, has created numerous stresses.
It is on display at Shanghai’s weekly marriage market, where parents seeking spouses for their children regularly advertise their hukou status. Shanghai hukou is considered the hardest in the country to obtain.
Chinese families are famously open about partnership requirements, bluntly asking potential mates about incomes, jobs and house holdings. Marriage offers one route to local registration, and the benefits it confers – spouses can, after waiting several years, apply to join each other’s hukou.
But the persistence of hukou divisions underlie worries about class stratification and social mobility that have simmered in China. In 2011, Cai Zhiqiang, a professor at the powerful Central Party School, wrote an article lamenting that “the momentum for upward social mobility is being gradually lost,” creating a situation where “hereditary poverty has become a reality.”
Recent scholarship has borne that out. A Stanford study last year showed that a modern Chinese son’s earnings were more likely to resemble his father’s than those of someone in Brazil, the United States, Pakistan, South Korea or Canada, an effect researchers called a “very high level of intergenerational rigidity.”
Countries ranked by the strength of the tie between what fathers and sons earn
Scale of 0 to 1 where 0 = no resemblance between what fathers and sons earn, 1 = direct resemblance
DenmarkNorwayFinlandCanadaAustraliaSwedenNew ZealandGermanyJapanSpainFranceSingaporePakistanSwitzerlandU.S.ArgentinaItalyU.K.ChileBrazilChinaPeru0.
New Zealand0.29



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A 2014 study by Chinese and British researchers pointed out that on the scale of decades – dating back to before Communist rule in 1949 – China’s upward mobility has exceeded that of Britain. But great class divisions remain, and “the prime driver for social inequality in China was the hukou system.”
It can be surprising, then, to discover that hukou remains popular in China, even among those who recognize its role in maintaining social separation.
Take MsLai, who cites former leader Deng Xiaoping’s exhortation to “let some people get rich first.” That has happened, and those living in places such as Shanghai “who got rich first also now enjoy the fruits of being rich first,” MsLai said. Hukou keeps those still poor from descending upon wealthy areas and taking away all that fruit.
That is not a bad thing, she said. “If Shanghai opened up its hukou policy, the city would be unable to bear such a large population,” she said. “China has too many people. That is a fundamental fact.”
MsLai, a manager at a financial company, moved to Shanghai and married a man with local hukou – although his registration, she says, was not the primary attraction.
For many young Chinese today, though, hukou continues to weigh heavily as they venture into the marriage market.
Often, the primary consideration in choosing a spouse is home ownership. That, too, is tightly tied to hukou – which, scholars say, is the single-largest obstacle to buying a home for those not locally registered.
“Some with local hukou feel superior to others,” said Anny Yuan, who recently graduated from a Master’s program in economic management at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, one of the top education institutions in the country.
“For example, if one person has hukou, even if he doesn’t have much in savings, he may expect the other half to be wealthier. The way I see it, it’s a kind of marriage-market ploy.”
Ms. Yuan is not from Shanghai, but her boyfriend is. She, however, has her own path to local hukou, which is granted more generously to top graduate students.
Even for those with Shanghai credentials, meanwhile, there is value in seeking out a spouse with a similar background. Life in Shanghai is not easy: Rents are high, jobs are fiercely sought after and square footage is small.
Most couples need both of them to work, meaning they rely heavily on grandparents to take care of children – which is much simpler when the older generation lives in the same city.
Cultural issues matter, too. Some of the city-born women who attend workshops run by Shanghai relationship consultant Wu Di are not interested in partners whose rural backgrounds may be geographically and culturally distant from their own.
In fact, Ms. Wu encourages this.
“It’s not a question of hukou,” she said. “Locals are better suited to marry other locals, in my opinion.”
But, she said, marriage is complicated – and hukou is just one of a list of reasons that might make one person more attractive than another. Looks matter, as do wallet and house sizes.
“The more advantages one has, the easier it is for him or her to find their other half in marriage,” she said.