More on Long Guoqiang's People's Daily piece; Trump tweets tweak China over trade and North Korea; Magnitsky sanctions for Chen Quanguo?; Analyzing PRC official media; Class divides
I hope you are enjoying the last days of summer...Monday is the Labor Day Holiday in China but there will still be a Sinocism issue.
President Trump took to Twitter Wednesday to berate China over its influence on the North Korea talks:
STATEMENT FROM THE WHITE HOUSE
President Donald J. Trump feels strongly that North Korea is under tremendous pressure from China because of our major trade disputes with the Chinese Government. At the same time, we also know that China is providing North Korea with...
...considerable aid, including money, fuel, fertilizer and various other commodities. This is not helpful! Nonetheless, the President believes that his relationship with Kim Jong Un is a very good and warm one, and there is no reason at this time to be spending large amounts...August 29, 2018
...of money on joint U.S.-South Korea war games. Besides, the President can instantly start the joint exercises again with South Korea, and Japan, if he so chooses. If he does, they will be far bigger than ever before. As for the U.S.–China trade disputes, and other...August 29, 2018
...differences, they will be resolved in time by President Trump and China’s great President Xi Jinping. Their relationship and bond remain very strong.August 29, 2018
But, Trump's view of personal ties is always the wildcard that, in the right environment with the right promises from Xi, could lead the US President to cut a trade deal with Beijing that defuses the near-term tensions, even if most of his advisors oppose such a deal.
Any such deal would not change Beijing's view that the US-China relationship is undergoing deep structural change to something much more competitive and adversarial, but of course the Chinese would prefer to buy time with a deal that delays more punitive US measures.
Thanks for reading.
The Essential Eight
The South China Morning Post has a good article on Long Guoqiang's piece in the 8.29 People's Daily that I discussed in detail in yesterday's newsletter.
Long Guoqiang, vice-president of the State Council’s Development Research Centre, also called for “strategic confidence” and “strategic patience” in China in the face of mounting pressure from tariffs and other punitive trade measures imposed by Washington.
The senior adviser made the remarks in a commentary on Wednesday in People’s Daily, mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party.
“The trade war is not just a measure for the US to gain more economic benefits, it is also an important strategy to contain China,” Long said in the commentary.
“With the US labelling China as a strategic rival, Sino-US relations will experience a deep structural change,” he said. “As two major powers, it is normal for China and the US to engage in both cooperation and competition … We should abandon our illusions in facing the [trade] war, while at the same time remain rational and work hard to maintain overall stability.”..
Long’s commentary is the latest in a series of articles in People’s Daily over the last month apparently aimed at addressing growing scepticism over whether the Chinese economy will be able to weather the increasing pressure from Washington...
“China has changed from seeing this as primarily a trade conflict to now seeing it as part of a strategic competition,” said Wang Yong, director of the Centre for International Political Economy at Peking University. “So now China is preparing for a prolonged battle – and also for the worst-case scenario of a new cold war, or even a hot war.”
It has proven extremely difficult for China to deal effectively with Donald Trump’s economic agenda. Beijing responded first with a classic “tit for tat” response, but has now moved to a broader defensive position. This has involved a concerted effort to stabilize expectations and a shift to more expansionary policies. Whether these policies will be adequate remains to be seen, but it is already clear that “tit for tat” has failed to meet China’s needs.
2. Analyzing PRC official media
The last article from Dr. Alice Miller as general editor of and contributor to the China Leadership Monitor.
Dr. Miller was my MA advisor at SAIS and I learned a lot from her about parsing CCP media. As she discusses in this essay, there are more sources and voices coming out of the PRC than when she started at the height of the Cold War, but she argues that analysis of CCP media is still important and useful, even as it has increasingly become a lost art. We certainly saw some of that this summer with the misreading of People's Daily front pages that fueled the frenzy about Xi's stability...
Pei Minxin is taking over from Dr. Miller. I wonder who he will find to write insightfully on elite Chinese politics.
The information conveyed in PRC media may not be true, but there is no doubt about the provenance of the information and so its authenticity. The fact that the information may not be true, in fact, is beside the point; the fact that it is conveyed by media subject to regime control and so reflects political decisions is what makes it analytically relevant.
The media therefore offer an avenue of analysis of enduring value. Political
communication is a variety of deliberate political behavior. All political behavior says something about the actors that engage in it. Given the difficulties attached to other sources, methodical analysis of media behavior may therefore provide better insight into the intentions and purposes of the secretive CCP leadership whose purposes the media reflect.
3. Xi rumors dying down
Xi has held at least four high-level party meetings since August 16, when the country’s political leaders re-emerged from their two-week session at the Beidaihe beach resort in Hebei province. The annual gathering allows the leaders to break from their day-to-day work and engage with each other in a relaxed, informal setting where they can socialise and have discussions...
While the trade war has given his critics more leeway to articulate their concerns, Xi remains the most powerful leader in China for decades, and any political dissent is too weak to substantially change the policy direction, said Steve Tsang, director of the SOAS China Institute in London.
“When things get tough, some noises will be made, but it doesn’t change the basic equation of the power balance,” he said. “Xi is still very, very powerful. What I think we may be seeing is that because these kinds of noises are now being heard – and much sooner I think than Xi was expecting – he will probably do even more to tighten up his power.”
4. China does not want Bloomberg's conference this year
Organizers in New York are moving the event to Singapore, where it is to take place over two days in the first week of November. Mr. Bloomberg made the decision after a Chinese partner asked organizers last week to postpone the event, according to people with knowledge of the planning.
Instead, the partner told organizers, President Xi Jinping and other leaders in China want to spotlight an import expo in Shanghai to bolster international interest in trade with the country...
Organizers of the event said in a statement on Wednesday that their Chinese partner had asked to postpone the conference until fall 2019 and that Singapore was then chosen for this year “because of its position as one of the world’s leading international and business hubs.” The statement was posted online after queries from The New York Times.
5. US to sanction a Politburo under the Global Magnitsky Act?
We therefore urge the Departments of State and Treasury to swiftly act to sanction those individuals and entities complicit in and directing human rights violations in the XUAR. Specifically, we urge you to sanction Chen Quanguo, XUAR Communist Party Secretary and Politburo Member, and other XUAR officials complicit in human rights abuses, under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (P.L. 114-328, Subtitle F). We also urge consideration of sanctions under Executive Order 13818—which expands the actors and entities subject to sanction under the law—against entities assisting XUAR officials in mass detentions and surveillance of ethnic minorities, including Chinese companies like Hikvision and Dahua Technology that have profited greatly from the surge in security spending, reportedly winning upwards of $1.2 billion in government contracts for large scale surveillance projects.
On Thursday in Beijing, the Foreign Ministry said Chinese citizens enjoy freedom of religion according to the law and that the American lawmakers should not “threaten to impose sanctions at every turn on other countries.”
“I would like to advise the individual U.S. lawmakers to focus on and perform their duties well because they are spending taxpayer money,” spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters. “They should certainly serve the Americans properly instead of poking their noses in other countries’ affairs and pretending to be a judge of human rights.”
The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination cited estimates that “from tens of thousands to upwards of a million Uighurs” may be detained in the far western Xinjiang province.
Its findings were issued after a two-day review of China’s record, the first since 2009, earlier this month.
6. God must obey Xi Jinping and the Party?
The Zion church in Beijing, one of the city’s largest unofficial Protestant “house” churches, has operated with relative freedom for years, hosting hundreds of worshippers every weekend in an expansive, specially renovated hall in north Beijing...
The Zion church, which occupies an office building floor that was previously a nightclub, is now being evicted despite previous verbal assurances from its landlord that it could rent the location until 2023, Jin said. The landlord could not be reached for comment…
On July 23, more than 30 of Beijing’s hundreds of underground Protestant churches took the rare step of releasing a joint statement complaining of “unceasing interference” and the “assault and obstruction” of regular activities of believers since the new regulations came into effect, according to a copy of the statement seen by Reuters and confirmed by Jin…
Wang Yu, a prominent rights lawyer who has defended Christians from harassment and was recently baptized at Zion after years of worship there, said she believes the pressure on believers is an attempt to force the church to close.
Local governments around China have been regulating and managing illegal religious activities, including in rural areas, as the country steps up efforts to better combine religions with Chinese society.
The united front work department of Central China's Hunan Province and the province's committee on ethnic and religious affairs will inspect and regulate religions at the grass-roots level, the Hunan Daily reported on Wednesday.
They vowed to be firm to rectify pressing problems on religions, and will prevent overseas interference. For example, they will resolve the over-commercialization of Buddhism and Taoism, such as illegally building monasteries and religious statues, the report said.
Hunan Daily reported that the province will also promote the spirit of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the national flag and anthem, national policies and outstanding Chinese culture at religious venues.
7. Class divides in China
A century-old primary school in eastern China has divided its campus in two, Sixth Tone’s sister publication The Paper reported Friday: One side is for 800 children from migrant families, the other for 400 children whose parents own expensive apartments within the elite school district.
The decision to physically segregate the school in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, follows parents’ complaints of their children having to share precious educational resources with the new arrivals from lower-class households. These 800 students, most of whom are between the ages of 8 and 12, previously attended Lixin Primary School, a private school that catered chiefly to the children of migrant workers. But when Lixin’s land lease expired in June 2017, the school did not move or even try to find another site. Eventually, the land’s owner, a local education investment company, sued the school. In July 2018, a court sided with the plaintiff and ordered Lixin to leave the premises...
Many Qinxi parents have voiced similar grievances. Another mother, surnamed Liu, told The Paper that she couldn’t believe the school “broke the rules” to take in hundreds of migrant children living 5 kilometers away. “It’s unfair to us and the other parents [who purchased homes in this school district],” she said.
The school has promised to set up high barriers to keep the campus segregated, and even assured parents that the students will use communal facilities, such as the playground, at different times.
Since last week, the case has attracted wide attention online, with many netizens criticizing the Qinxi parents for socioeconomic discrimination. “
Class struggle as the key link clearly failed...
8. Global manhunt nets P2P boss who took a runner
Zhu Yidong, chairman of Fuxing Group, was arrested abroad and brought back to China Wednesday, according to the Shanghai Public Security department. Zhu faces investigations of alleged financial violations including stock market manipulation.
Zhu was escorted by police officers when he landed at Shanghai Pudong Airport, footage from the state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) showed. Zhu has traveled to five countries over the past two month and cut off all contact with home to escape police, CCTV reported.
Sources close to the matter told Caixin that Zhu used two Chinese identification documents and possibly a Canadian passport to escape police scrutiny as he fled overseas.
The report did not say in which country he was caught..
Business, Economy, Finance And Trade
China's Plan to Spread Tech Wealth Fizzles With Delay of CDR - Bloomberg The six three-year mutual funds set up to invest in the China depositary receipts of such companies have shifted focus to low-yielding bonds instead, generating returns of as little as 0.3 percent since their inception, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That’s a double disappointment after the funds, established in early July and sold to institutional and retail investors, only raised about one third of their upper 300 billion yuan ($44 billion) limit.
AI May Worsen Structural Unemployment in China: Report - Caixin Global The rapid development of the artificial intelligence (AI) industry in China is expected to exacerbate structural unemployment, according to a new report. AI has replaced humans in repetitive jobs in many areas, but high-tech workers are in shortage, posing challenges to educational and research institutions, industries and the social security system to address structural unemployment, according to the report by the China Development Research Foundation (CDRF).
China Banks Managing $16 Trillion Can't Stop Talking About Risk - Bloomberg China’s six largest lenders, which control a combined $16 trillion of assets, mentioned the word almost 1,900 times in their first-half earnings announcements, up about 9 percent from the same period of 2017, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Chinese Developer Blames Trump, Touts Mao in Earnings Report - Bloomberg World leaders rarely make it into company earnings reports, but China Properties Group Ltd. has managed to pack five U.S. and Chinese top names into its own. After presenting a 72 percent decline in first-half revenue, the management led by Chairman George Wang criticized U.S. President Donald Trump and praised several former Chinese leaders in an interim report published Wednesday night.
China announces tax cuts in move to support economy | Reuters The State Council announced tax cuts that should reduce firms’ costs by more than 45 billion yuan ($6.59 billion) this year, state radio reported...At the meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang, the cabinet also decided to increase the rate of export tax rebates for some products, and increased the amount banks can lend to small firms and not have to pay taxes on interest income.
Politics, Law And Ideology
China launches official online rumor information platform - Xinhua The platform is hosted by the Internet Illegal Information Reporting Center under the Office of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission and operated by xinhuanet.com. The platform operates under the guidance of 27 units, such as the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, and the National Development and Reform Commission. The platform allows the public to quickly discover and debunk rumors floating around online, while at the same time throwing light on pseudoscientific theories. So far, more than 40 rumor-refuting platforms have been integrated into the national one. Cutting-edge technology is also utilized to improve performance at tackling online rumors.
Organized crime faces new crackdown - China Daily Minister of Public Security Zhao Kezhi vowed on Wednesday to redouble efforts, through a three-year campaign, to sweep out organized crime nationwide. As the leading force against organized crime, police must fiercely attack criminal gangs in a variety of areas, Zhao said. Zhao made the remark during a conference on Tuesday about pushing forward the campaign in Shanxi province. He said law enforcement needs to encourage more people to provide tips to the police so that criminal gangs have nowhere to hide.
公安部发布A级通缉令 公开通缉十名重大黑社会性质组织犯罪在逃人员 The MPS released a top ten most wanted organized crime suspects list
人民日报评论员：建设具有强大凝聚力和引领力的社会主义意识形态--观点--人民网 从革命年代靠“枪杆子”和“笔杆子”闹革命，到改革开放以来物质文明和精神文明“两手抓、两手都要硬”，再到新时代“不仅要在物质上强大起来，而且要在精神上强大起来”，我们党始终高度重视和善于做好意识形态工作。各级党委落实主体责任，全党上下一起动手参与，不断增强社会主义意识形态的凝聚力和引领力，我们就一定能巩固党的群众基础、筑牢党的执政基础，汇聚起实现民族复兴的强大正能量。 《 人民日报 》（ 2018年08月30日 04 版）
Dui Hua Human Rights Journal: “All Criminal Defendants to Have Lawyers”: Is Access to Defense Lawyers Enough in a System Designed Against Defendants? (Part 1 of 2) In January 2018, the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) announced that “all criminal defendants are to have defense lawyers.” Pilot projects in various provinces across China have since launched with this goal in mind. Official media reports boast 100% defense counsels assigned to criminal cases in certain pilot project localities. At first glance, these results are impressive considering public defenders have historically been provided in only 30% of criminal cases in China. Increased access to defense lawyers should ensure the rights of defendants are upheld, however the relationship is not always automatic. Access to defense is effective so long as lawyers have the right tools at their disposal to represent their clients. Dui Hua analyzes shortcomings in the pilot projects including their failure to address the role of defense counsel in pre-trial contexts and the overemphasis on measuring success by coverage rather than quality of defense. Additionally, basic principles such as conflict of interest and identifying clear sources of funding and accountability mechanisms are obstacles that reformers have yet to address in their attempts to institutionalize a more robust defense counsel.
Foreign and Military Affairs
To counter China, West plans bigger footprint in Pacific: sources | Reuters The United States, Australia, France and Britain will open new embassies in the Pacific, boost staffing levels, and engage with leaders of island nations more often in a bid to counter China’s rising influence in the region, sources have told Reuters.
Commerce Ministry Downplays Debt Concerns Ahead of China-Africa Forum - Caixin Global Chinese Commerce Vice Minister Qian Keming looked to parry concerns over Chinese projects in Africa in a news conference on Monday, arguing that debt issues in Africa long preceded the rise of Chinese investment there, and that challenges facing African economies were global in nature. “The world economy has been in a difficult recovery, global trade and investment have been sluggish, and commodity prices have fluctuated at a low level,” he said. Qian nevertheless suggested that this year’s China-Africa Forum on Cooperation will see greater emphasis on the sustainable nature of Chinese investment in Africa than in previous gatherings. “China will unswervingly support Africa's development, including providing funds, and we will focus our funds on projects that are more sustainable and can promote economic growth, job creation, and economic efficiency,” he told reporters.
Japan Deploys Flotilla to South China Sea | The Diplomat Three ships of Japan’s Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) departed on August 26th for a two-month deployment to Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean. A JMSDF statement says that the deployment seeks to improve its own operational capability and promote interoperability and cooperation with partner navies, while contributing to peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. The flotilla includes the helicopter destroyer Kaga, and the escort destroyers Inazuma and Suzutsuki, and will make port calls in the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and India.
Japanese diplomat visits Beijing, says he is arranging Shinzo Abe’s visit to China | South China Morning Post Expectations are growing that Abe will visit China around October 23, when the two nations celebrate the 40th anniversary of a bilateral peace and friendship treaty taking effect
Despite tensions, China says navy chief plans to visit U.S. next month | Reuters Speaking at a regular monthly news briefing, Wu said that Shen plans to visit the United States in the middle or towards the end of next month, to attend an international naval forum and also to pay a working visit to the country.
Beijing unimpressed by United Airlines’ ‘flexible’ approach to Taiwan | South China Morning Post China’s foreign ministry on Thursday said no one could violate the “one China” principle, referring to United Airlines listing Taiwan and Hong Kong by their currencies to get around Beijing’s demand to identify them as part of China... It came after state-run tabloid Global Times attacked the carrier for “attempting to fool Chinese”. United Airlines now lists “New Taiwan Dollar”, “Chinese Yuan” and “Hong Kong Dollar” among destination names such as Indonesia, Japan and New Zealand on its website, after the mainland aviation regulator demanded all carriers identify self-ruled Taiwan, as well as semi-autonomous Hong Kong and Macau, as part of Chin
A Global Environmental Threat Made in China by Brahma Chellaney - Project Syndicate Moreover, as if to substantiate the Chinese name for Tibet, Xizang (“Western Treasure Land”), China is draining mineral resources from this ecologically fragile but resource-rich plateau, without regard for the consequences. Already, copper mine tailings are polluting waters in a Himalayan region sacred to Tibetans, which they call Pemako (“Hidden Lotus Land”), where the world’s highest-altitude major river, the Brahmaputra (Yarlung Tsangpo to Tibetans), curves around the Himalayas before entering India. Last fall, the once-pristine Siang – the Brahmaputra’s main artery – suddenly turned blackish gray as it entered India, potentially because of China’s upstream tunneling, mining, or damming activity. To be sure, the Chinese government claimed that an earthquake that struck southeastern Tibet in mid-November “might have led to the turbidity” in the river waters. But the water had become unfit for human consumption long before the quake.
Sri Lanka sinks deeper into China's grasp as debt woes spiral - Nikkei Asian Review Sri Lanka has again turned to China for a fresh injection of cash, which will come during the final quarter of 2018, as it prepares for a crippling debt repayment cycle that will begin in 2019. But the $1.25 billion in loans will push Sri Lanka deeper into Beijing's grasp.
Does China Have What It Takes To Be a Superpower? - Bloomberg China certainly will be one of the world’s greatest powers, with an outsize influence in shaping the 21st century. But whether it overtakes the U.S. as a superpower remains in question; it seems likely, at the least, that it will take China more time to get there than its extraordinary growth over the past 20 years would suggest. A declining and aging population looks like the biggest risk to Xi’s ambitions. When the U.S. was in a similar position, emerging to overtake Great Britain as the world’s dominant superpower, from 1880 to 1950, its population tripled.
Tech And Media
Customers Died. Will That Be a Wake-Up Call for China’s Tech Scene? - The New York Times My conversations with Chinese tech companies and their investors, including some from the United States, revolve around user growth and the amount of time they can keep users glued to apps. On occasion I asked why they lent their technology to the government for surveillance, or what they thought the social impact might be from the videos, games and endless feeds of mind-numbing information they send to the public. They either gave me blank stares or said their technologies were merely neutral tools.
Electric-Car Startup Nio Runs Into Tough Questions Ahead of IPO - Caixin Global “The company has great vison, but what it lacks is something to make it stand out — other than CEO Li Bin’s charisma,” said one portfolio manager who took part in Nio’s first stop at a Ritz-Carlton hotel in Hong Kong’s Jiulong district. The manager’s attitude mirrored that of many others, who said the money-losing company will have to confront U.S. investors’ broadly negative view of Chinese tech stocks.
Chinese Legislators Worry New E-Commerce Law Could Hurt Consumer Safety - Caixin Global The fourth draft of the e-commerce section of China’s new civil code, which is expected to take effect by 2020, weakens language that applies to companies. If a customer is harmed by an e-commerce platform, the company may face “supplementary liability.” This is lesser responsibility than the “joint liability” in previous drafts. The change was made after a period of public and industry input that started in June. The proposal attracted criticism from within the National People’s Congress, which is currently reviewing the civil code, especially given the recent high-profile killing involving a user of mobile ride-hailing platform Didi.
Imperial Concubine Intrigue Garners 13 Billion Views, May Stem Streamer iQiyi’s Losses - Caixin Global China’s top online video streamer has licensed “The Story of Yanxi Palace” to more than 70 markets, the company said in a statement on Aug. 13, one day after the saga of intrigue among imperial concubines attracted over half a billion views in one day — a new Chinese record for single-day online viewership...The series had racked up a total of 13 billion views as of Sunday, when the finale went live, according to iQiyi. A total of 144 new online series were released on China’s online streaming platforms from the start of the year to July 31, collectively racking up around 100 billion views, according to Beijing Business Today. // Comment: I am up to episode 3 on Youtube, already been sucked in...
Netflix to Fly with China’s ‘Rise of Phoenixes’ – Variety Netflix pitches the series as: “a story of power, desire, lust and love amongst people from different kingdoms in ancient China, all with the desire of rising to become The Great Phoenix.” Ning Yi (played by Chen Kun), is the sixth prince of the kingdom who hides a dark past. Feng Zhiwei (played by Ni Ni) hides her true identity and has to cross-dress to survive in the male-dominated world. However, when a secret from the past rears its head, respected warrior Feng is forced to choose between revenge and her loyalty to ruling prince Ning.
Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History
Victim of Violence or Rage-driven Killer? BMW Owner Attacking a Bike Driver Stabbed to Death with Own Knife | What's on Weibo Various media sources report that the deceased man, who is now dubbed ‘BMW Guy’ (Bǎomǎ nán 宝马男), was the 36-year-old infamous ‘Liu Hailong (刘海龙), commonly known as ‘Brother Long,’ who was known to have a criminal record. But in March of this year, this same man, as Sina News reports, also was allegedly rewarded a certificate of Justice and Courage (见义勇为奖励) from a Kunshan foundation for giving out valuable information to the police about drugs trafficking.
Beijing website lists people, companies with poor credit - China Daily People with poor social credit records - including bad behavior or refusing to pay debts - will be barred from booking rooms at star-rated hotels or taking part in high-cost group tours in Beijing, the municipal tourism authority said. The Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism Development launched a website called "Credit Beijing" on Tuesday, which collects the credit records of tourists and people working in the industry in Beijing.
China’s Hui mosque protests blamed on ‘reckless’ local officials | AP “The reckless local government actions caused this incident,” said Bai Shangcheng, director general of the regional Communist Party committee’s United Front Work Department, which oversees religious groups, at a news conference in Beijing. Local officials have been ordered to review the incident and “handle it properly and according to law,” Bai said.
Energy, Environment, Science And Health
Chinese enforcers should be 'realistic' in pollution cleanup: Vice Premier | Reuters Xinhua news agency quoted Han as saying that measures in the battle against pollution should be realistic and sustainable, though environmental protection policies should be strictly enforced to deter companies that violate the rules. He was speaking at a meeting on a plan to tackle pollution in and around the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region during the winter, when smog often blankets northern China
China Focus: New scheme set to protect children's eyesight - Xinhua Authorities have sought public opinions on the scheme, which is jointly drafted by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the National Health Commission (NHC). The scheme aims to greatly reduce the myopia rate among the Chinese teenagers to bring children a "bright future," as demanded by President Xi Jinping in a recent instruction.
Agriculture And Rural Issues
Dim Sums: Rural China Economics and Policy: China Food Security Propaganda Turned Up The Chinese Government has turned up the volume on its food security propaganda this month as the country faces shrinking output of major farm commodities while the United States and Brazil are turning out monster crops. // And then there are the fires at various grain stores around the country...sure looks like cadres are trying to destroy evidence of malfeasance before the inspectors arrive..."cadre lightning"...