REPUTATION OF CHINA IS SUB PAR
Gov. Bill Walker knows China has an image problem. It’s a threat to his plans for the AK-LNG project — the Alaska Gasline.
The image is well-earned: China is supporting terror, killing dissidents, and recently created a system of classifying politically acceptable citizens in a “social credit” system that will keep everyone in line. Think of it as a credit score given to you by the government that will determine if you can get work, housing, or services — or perhaps be assigned to a labor camp.
Ah, communism. It’s all in a day’s work.
China hasn’t developed a love of democracy, even while it becomes a major economic powerhouse. The Trump Administration, following up on the promise of Trump-the-candidate, announced steep tariffs against Chinese steel. Trump is weighing whether to penalize Chinese investments in the U.S. and impose China-specific tariffs on other imports as a way to punish the communist country for its intellectual property theft.
But if President Trump is finding China to be in need of course correction on the trade front, Gov. Walker sees opportunity for Alaska.
What better time to stand up a “reputation management campaign” for China than right now, as Walker is trying to get investment into his newly socialized gasline?
TIME TO HOLD AN UPBEAT PRESS CONFERENCE
CHINA BUYS ALASKA SEAFOOD, TOURISM COULD FOLLOW
China is Alaska’s largest trade customer, accounting for 30 percent of the state’s seafood exports. Alaska has also exported mineral and timber, but in spite of that is at the bottom of the states with overall business with China.
Visit Anchorage CEO Julie Saupe was invited to speak during the press conference and cited anecdotal stories about China’s increased interest in Alaska as a tourism destination. She, too, spoke of Alaska’s aspirations to drive more Chinese tourists this way.
CHINA: POLITICAL REPRESSION ON THE RISE
If softening China’s image with Alaskans was the goal of the press conference, Walker succeeded with the press corps, as reporters didn’t ask him about his views on the nation’s human rights violations and whether that is a problem for Alaska.
China executes more people, including political dissidents, than any other country, practices forced abortion, operates slave labor factories, and covertly has supported rogue countries like North Korea and Iran.
Dissent is being quashed, with censors now banning the phrase “personality cult,” “emperor” and “Winnie the Pooh” — a phrase that has been used to mock President Xi Jinping.
Maya Wang of Human Rights Watch describes the current repression as the worst since 1989’s bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protests centred on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
“We feel we haven’t hit bottom yet,” she said in an interview with the South China Morning Post.
President Xi is being granted increased powers that include an unlimited term of office by China’s People’s Congress, which convened this week. Not since Mao Tse Tung has the country’s leader been able to serve for more than 10 years.
As dictator for life, Xi is consolidating power, and at 64 years old he could retain power for another 20 years or more.