Washington’s unsustainable deficit hangs over global economy


With the widening US budget gap, it is no longer a secret that such a high level of federal spending is unsustainable and the resulting debt burden has become a worry for the global economy.

According to data from the US Treasury Department, the federal budget deficit went on the rise in 2019, hitting $1.02 trillion and marking the first calendar year the deficit has exceeded $1 trillion since 2012. Given the country’s tax revenues, government spending is obviously on an unsustainable path. While total government receipts grew 5 percent in 2019, federal spending increased at a faster pace of 7.5 percent.

More worryingly, as the economy slows amid headwinds, it is basically impossible for the US government to make ends meet by raising tax revenues. So based on the current trend, it will probably become a norm for the annual federal deficit to top $1 trillion in the future.

Undoubtedly, massive fiscal deficits will prompt a steady rise in public debt. According to data released by the Treasury Department on November 1, the US national debt surpassed $23 trillion for the first time in history. The figure is equivalent to about 110 percent of the country’s GDP.

Of course, it should be acknowledged that US Treasury bonds are still considered safe-haven assets in the current uncertain global markets as they are seen as secure due to their strong ratings. Treasury securities held by foreign holders amounted to $6.78 trillion as of the end of October 2019, up $580 billion compared with a year earlier, according to Treasury data issued on December 16, 2019.

In the meantime, however, the share of US debt held by foreign holders has fallen from a peak of 34.1 percent in July 2012 to about 29 percent today. The decline also reflects the accelerated expansion of US debt issuance.

So far there is no sign of any sort of sustained plan for narrowing the US deficit to at least rein in its debt expansion. Nor does the government show any sign of urgency on this issue. Maybe the only response from the Trump administration is to pressure the Federal Reserve to cut rates, a move that could help lower its interest payments on debt and devalue its currency to ease the debt burden.

Such surge in irresponsibility could be attributed to two factors – its high creditworthiness and the financial supremacy of the US dollar. Since a collapse of the US economy may cause an economic disaster around the world, the US government could be better off counting on the world to pay the bill.

Sadly, there is no way out under the current circumstances, and the only hope now is that Americans will take some concrete measures to reverse the trend before a debt crisis truly breaks out.

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More heartaches than happiness


Many investors get their fingers burned in dubious money-making schemes

M Mall in Penang where MBI investors can exchange their virtual coins is now almost deserted.

IT may seem like it was not so long ago that money-game was practically on everybody’s lips especially here in Penang,

My close friend even invested in MBI Group International which was one of the most popular investment schemes then.

At its peak, one would be considered the odd one out for not investing in the scheme.

How times have changed. Now, my friend is telling me that he has not heard from his upline for months.

It was a far cry from the time when the upline would tell him how good the scheme was, and even spell out a time frame to cash in on the investments.

Most investors have now resigned to the fact that their investments are as good as gone. They feel ashamed to lodge police reports and many just suffer in silence for fear of people teasing them.

However, their counterparts from China were less forgiving.

In October, hundreds of them staged a peaceful protest near the Chinese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur. Wailing and sobbing, they urged the Chinese government to help them recover the hundreds of million ringgit they had invested in the Penang-based company.

In Penang, several groups of Chinese investors also vented their frustration at a hotel and the jetty of an island resort here, where both properties are said to be associated with the company.

The last we heard, three of them even went to the extent of dropping fake bombs at a house in Bukit Gambier out of desperation.

The house belongs to the son of MBI Group International founder Tedy Teow. Luckily, no untoward incidents took place.

Another friend of mine told me that he started believing in karma after putting faith in the money- game.

He is now convinced that what goes around, comes around. This is his story.

He put in a sum of money in BTC I-system, a scheme which claimed to invest in bitcoin digital currency.

Without even knowing how the investment works, he managed to get back his capital within two months, plus a few thousand of ringgits extra in the next few months. Then the scheme collapsed.

He then took the plunge again in another scheme. He was confident of easy money again, especially after being told he was among the first few to join the investment. He was not so lucky this time.

The profit that he got in the first investment ended up paying for the second scheme that went bust.

I have seen many people whose relationship with family members had become strained all because of these dubious schemes.

Direct Selling Association of Malaysia (DSAM) president Datuk Tan Chong Guan reminded the public that there is no free lunch in this world.

“Where there is no sales but a return is promised on investments, this is a sign that it is a money-game, or a pyramid scheme, ” he was quoted then.

If you still could not figure out or get a clear explanation on how the investment will make money, then you better opt out.

If it involves any chain-recruitment that offers commissions for bringing in new affiliates, or sophisticated or complicated investment schemes that sound too alien, then you better avoid it.

Always remember that one has to work hard to earn one’s keep.

But believe me, money-game would always re-emerge in other forms, just like the online scams as long as there is human greed.

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Malaysian authorities crack down on virtual money operator, MBI Group International

https://youtu.be/zzn4zLtw_p8

Smooth operation: Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Ministry
enforcement director Datuk Mohd Roslan Mahayudin (centre) giving a press
conference on the raids which yielded luxury vehicles and cash. Despite the crackdown by the authorities, investors continue to patronise M Mall, which is operated by MBI.

 

Dawn raids on MBI

Key member of MBI Group International remanded 98 bank accounts
containing RM209mil frozen to date Three luxury cars and cash seized

Two virtual coin get-rich schemes red-flagged by Malaysian Central Bank

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Blockchain: Internet of Value/ Currency of Trust; Private cryptocurrency a misallocation among blockchain technology, say research & economist


  • Blockchain embodies the internet of value. How will it revolutionize our lives and our pockets?

  •  And, we look at the qualities Blockchain needs to spark mass adoption.

Blockchain, one of the buzzwords in technology, is set to rise in China. Recently,
Chinese President Xi Jinping underscored the fledgling technology as the country increasingly views Blockchain as key to future innovation. Has a digital game changer arrived? How will a boom in Blockchain impact our lives? Today we delve into the world of the new technology and talk to Don Tapscott, co-founder and executive chairman of the Blockchain Research Institute, to find out more.

Currency of Trust

Blockchain has the potential to be revolutionary. But, what hurdles must it overcome before it can hit the mainstream? In London, we invited Patrick McCorry, founder and CEO of PISA Research, a grant funded by a group of Blockchain companies, to decode this ever-changing world.

Private cryptocurrency a misallocation among blockchain technology, says economist

Cryptocurrency is digital-based cash among the internet world nowadays. Born from blockchain, this kind of “currency” is blooming in terms of high privacy. Acknowledging that, Nobel Prize-winning economist and Harvard professor Eric Maskin commented that private cryptocurrency is a misallocation.

“The most important application of blockchain so far has been cryptocurrency, and that is a terrible misallocation. In my view, cryptocurrency, at least private cryptocurrency like bitcoin is a mistake,” said Maskin.

“Because the public currency like RMB and U.S. dollar are much more useful than private currency. [Public currencies] they preserve the power of central banks to conduct monetary policy. If no one is using the dollar, then the U.S. monetary policy is useless. So I’m worried about cryptocurrency only to the extent that it reduces the use of currencies like RMB or dollar,” he added.

He also pointed out that cryptocurrencies could interfere with central banks’ monetary policies.

Meanwhile, Maskin supports the idea that blockchain is a technology. He noted that it is one of the exciting developments that have come along in recent years.

“Blockchain can make all sorts of transactions much easier and much more secure. It can also ensure that only the information that people need to have gets transmitted,” said Maskin.

“Blockchain is a way for me to guarantee that only what you need to about me gets told. And that’s valuable in a world where we’re beginning to worry about privacy issues,” the professor explained.

Besides, Maskin supports building the country’s own digital currencies. With the backdrop of e-payment booming around the world, Maskin said the digital currency can make transaction easier but it won’t have all of the unpleasant side effects of these private currencies.

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Blockchain with Chinese characteristics

 

 

 

China gets into blockchain race with US


Blockchain is perhaps best known for underpinning the operation of
cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, which Beijing may seek to replicate.
PHOTO: REUTERS
One example of the potential application of blockchain technology is a newly launched app by the Communist Party that asks members to explain why they joined and what party loyalty means to them. (Photo: AFP/Greg Baker)

BEIJING: China has launched an ambitious effort to challenge the US dominance in blockchain technology, which it could use for everything from issuing digital money, to streamlining a raft of government services and tracking Communist Party loyalty.

The technology received a crucial endorsement from President Xi Jinping last week, a signal that the government sees blockchain as an integral part of the country’s plan to become a high-tech superpower.

Beijing is the latest in a handful of countries to have adopted a law strictly governing the encryption of data – particularly blockchain technology, which allows the storage and direct exchange of data without going through an intermediary.

Reputedly unfalsifiable, blockchain is a database shared across a network of computers. Once a record has been added to the chain it is almost impossible to change.

It is perhaps best known for underpinning the operation of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin – which Beijing may seek to replicate as it pushes ahead with its plans for a world-leading government-run digital currency.

https://cna-sg-res.cloudinary.com/image/upload/q_auto,f_auto/image/12059024/16x9/670/377/9e6b6b9b2b6ec007ae2c9a3107f86991/tI/blockchain-technology-received-a-crucial-endorsement-from-president-xi-jinping-last-week-a-signal-that-the-government-sees-it-as-an-integral-part-of-the-country-s-plan-to-become-a-high-tech-superpower-1572750315390-2.jpg
Blockchain technology received a crucial endorsement from President Xi Jinping last week, a signal

Blockchain technology received a crucial endorsement from President Xi Jinping last week, a signalBlockchain technology received a crucial endorsement from President Xi Jinping last week, a signal that the government sees it as an integral part of the country’s plan to become a high-tech superpower. (Photo: AFP/Andrew Caballero-Reynolds)

Although the new law for blockchain “is still rather vague”, the country is clearly one of the most active in terms of regulation, Stanislas Pogorzelski, editor of specialist site Cryptonaute.fr, told AFP.

“China has understood very well that to stay a superpower, you have to be at the forefront of new technologies,” said Pogorzelski.

Blockchain is set to play a key role in many sectors in the future, including digital finance, internet of things, artificial intelligence and 5G.

LESS HUMAN INTERVENTION 

Bitcoin(FX:BTC/USD)Stock market insights from social media

It could also serve to make China’s vast bureaucratic system more efficient.

The official Xinhua news agency said a blockchain-based system had been used for the first time to automatically generate and file an enforcement case in Chinese court against a party who failed to pay damages in a mediation agreement.

With less human intervention, such systems could make judicial enforcement in China “more intelligent and transparent,” the agency said.

Chinese shares jumped this week as investors piled into stocks linked to blockchain, after Xi said China should step up research and development of the technology.

“Blockchain should play a bigger role in strengthening Chinese power in cyberspace, developing the digital economy and promoting socio-economic development,” Xi said.

“The general sentiment of Xi’s comments was simple,” said Anthony Pompliano, who writes a daily cryptocurrency newsletter.

“Blockchain technology is really important for the future and China plans to be the global leader,” Pompliano added.


LOYALTY TEST

According to analyst Kai von Carnap of the Mercator Institute for Chinese Studies, blockchain-backed tools have potential applications that go well beyond improving administrative efficiency in China.

“More interesting will be those targeting party discipline, internal stability and ideological loyalty,” Von Carnap told AFP.

Chinese shares jumped this week as investors piled into stocks linked to blockchain, after Xi said
 https://cna-sg-res.cloudinary.com/image/upload/q_auto,f_auto/image/12059022/16x9/670/377/4fa319d4c8e8c12060091d197dfd0249/sF/chinese-shares-jumped-this-week-as-investors-piled-into-stocks-linked-to-blockchain-after-xi-said-china-should-step-up-research-and-development-of-the-technology-1572750315390-3.jpg

Chinese shares jumped this week as investors piled into stocks linked to blockchain, after Xi said China should step up research and development of the technology. (Photo: AFP/Hector Retamal)

One example is a newly launched app by the Communist Party that asks members to explain why they joined and what party loyalty means to them.

Blockchain technology is then used to store their responses on a permanent, widely distributed ledger – recording their thoughts in cyberspace forever.


“NOT A FAN”

As China trumpets its push for more blockchain technology, it is hoping to outpace trade-war rival the United States, whose President Donald Trump tweeted his disdain for cryptocurrencies in July.

“I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air,” he wrote.

The contrast between the world’s two biggest economies is “striking”, according to Pompliano, who says “bitcoin, blockchain technology, and digital assets are not a priority for America”.

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg had to defend his plans to launch a digital coin called Libra to the US Congress in October, after it faced a torrent of criticism from all sides – including governments who see it as a threat to their monetary sovereignty.

“I don’t think Libra will succeed,” Huang Qifan, vice director of the CCIEE, an economic think-tank that advises Beijing, said this week in remarks widely reported by state media.

“It is better … to have sovereign digital currencies issued by a government or a central bank,” he said.

Last year China released a damning report on existing digital currencies, saying they were “increasingly used as a tool in criminal activities.”

But while Beijing banned cryptocurrencies two years ago, it is fast-tracking preparations for its own state-run virtual currency, which is supposed to facilitate transactions and reduce costs.

The anonymity of cryptocurrencies allows users to buy and sell freely without leaving a digital trail – but China’s mooted e-cash system will be tightly regulated, experts say, and run by the People’s Bank of China.

Source: AFP/zl   Source link


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Investors up in arms after fall of MBI | The Star Online

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/11/06/investors-up-in-arms-after-fall-of-mbi

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BLOCKCHAIN beyond Bitcoin

President Xi’s Blockchain Push Triggers Frenzy in China Technology Stocks


Blockchain endorsement: Xi said China will increase investment in blockchain technology after chairing a study session last week on developing the industry, state-owned Xinhua reported.— AP 

  • Shenzhen tech index surges 5.3%, the most in eight months

  • Investors urge companies to develop blockchain businesses

BEIJING: Chinese investors snapped up every blockchain-related stock in sight after President Xi Jinping said Beijing wants to speed up development of the technology.

The gains were widespread yesterday, with Insigma Technology Co and Sinodata Co among more than 60 tech shares surging by the daily limit in Shanghai and Shenzhen.

The excitement coincided with a 26% rally in Bitcoin, and also boosted stocks with more tenuous connections to blockchain, like baby-food producer Beingmate Co and selfie-app developer Meitu Inc.

Xi said China will increase investment in blockchain technology after chairing a study session last week on developing the industry, state-owned Xinhua reported late last Friday.

The market reaction shows how far an endorsement from Xi can go in China, where high-level officials yesterday began their first major policy meeting since early 2018.

“Most of these companies, especially those that are just beginning to state their connection with blockchain today, are trying to take advantage of the hype, ” said Li Shiyu, fund manager at Guangdong Xiaoyu Investment Management Co. “It shows how much excitement can be triggered by something stressed as a priority by the top man himself.”

Xi Jinping comments spark rally in China technology stocks

The Shenzhen Information Technology Index closed 5.3% higher yesterday, its biggest advance in eight months.

Hundsun Technologies Inc, Easysight Supply Chain Management Co, YGSOFT Inc and dozens more companies with officially registered blockchain businesses rose by the 10% limit.

In Hong Kong, traders singled out Meitu due to its plans for an encrypted user-identification system.

The shares surged as much as 30%. Pantronics Holdings Ltd – which earlier this month said it will change its name to “Huobi Technology”, a reference to a digital currency exchange – rallied as much as 67%.

American depositary receipts of Chinese blockchain companies also surged last Friday.

Investors pressured other firms to jump on the blockchain hype, using an online Q&A platform to submit thousands of questions on their plans to use the technology.

“Please proactively make expansion plans in blockchain to jump on state policies – doing so would be the best reward to investors, ” urged one shareholder of development-store operator Hunan Friendship & Apollo Commercial Co. — Bloomberg

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Bitcoin flirts with US$10,000 after China endorses blockchain

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China’s new digital currency

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China’s new digital currency


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China launching Cryptocurrency

— China’s central bank on the brink of launching a digital currency. How will this revolutionize the monetary landscape in China and abroad?

— and, we meet a scholar whose calling revolves around friendly China-US ties. How can people on both sides maintain the relationship.

China’s to launch its own digital currency

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CHINA’S CENTRAL BANK SAYS THEIR DIGITAL CURRENCY IS READY

From ‘Made in China’ to ‘Created in China’从中国制造到中国智造

Made in China” used to be a synonym for cheap products, but all that has changed. China has made huge progress in innovation and technology. From the Sunway TaihuLight supercomputer, the fastest in the world, and the 500-meter-wide radio telescope in southwest China’s Guizhou Province, to the development of lithium battery and 3D-printed blood vessels made from stem cells and renewable energy technologies, Chinese innovations are making a name for themselves.
CGTN explains China’s huge transformation from the world’s factory to an innovation leader.

CGTN’s special program “New China” gives you an in-depth look at China 70 years on. Our crew is on a 12-day journey around China’s southwestern, southeastern and northeastern regions. Don’t miss it. #PanoramicChina #70YearsThriving

China’s central bank speeds up digital currency drive

 Private-sector players likely to participate in project

Photo: VCG

With internet technologies advancing and cryptocurrencies flourishing amid a broad digital transformation, individual countries are starting to issue legal tender in digital form, and the People’s Bank of China (PBC), the country’s central bank, is also accelerating its pace in this area.

As of Sunday, the PBC had applied for 74 patents involved with digital currencies to the National Intellectual Property Administration, according to a report by the Economic Information Daily on Monday.

The PBC said it will speed up the development of legal digital currency on Friday.

Wang Xin, director of the PBC Research Bureau, said in July that the authority is organizing market-oriented institutions to jointly research and develop a central bank digital currency and the program has been approved by the State Council, China’s Cabinet.

“China is beefing up efforts in digital currency innovation, a trend driven by emerging technologies that is spreading worldwide,” said Huang Zhen, a professor at the Central University of Finance and Economics.

Rather than letting cryptocurrencies challenge the position of sovereign currencies, it is wiser for countries to roll out their own digital currencies, Huang told the Global Times on Monday.

Chinese authorities ordered a ban on initial coin offerings in 2017 and stopped direct bitcoin-yuan trading as the rapidly expanding market spawned concerns over financial risks.

The PBC, one of the earliest central banks in the world to start the process of digital currency innovation, launched its program in 2014 during the tenure of former governor Zhou Xiaochuan. In 2017, the PBC established a research institution for the digital currency.

“China is among the leading countries in terms of its research into a government-backed currency,” said Huang.

Favorable conditions

The basic conditions favorable for China’s implementation of a digital currency include comprehensive and fast networks, broad digitalization in the financial sector, and advanced financial technologies – particularly blockchain, a digital, public ledger that records online transactions, according to Huang.

In recent years, Chinese internet companies have made huge achievements in the mobile payment and e-commerce sectors, helping create a digital economy of more than 30 trillion yuan ($4.36 trillion), according to media reports.

In June, US social media giant Facebook released an official white paper for its cryptocurrency project Libra, a blockchain-powered stablecoin expected to arrive in 2020.

The move stepped up the global race for digital currencies, with China’s central bank paying close attention.

The central bank is closely working with market participants on creating a central bank digital currency, PBC official Wang said.

“China’s private market players have accumulated some experience in the digital currency sector. Their participation in the government’s work will effectively help promote the project,” Cao Yin, an expert in the blockchain sector, told the Global Times on Monday.

It is likely that the sovereign digital currency will be issued within two or three years at the soonest, although the authority tends to take a prudent attitude, Cao said.

Once it is broadly implemented, the new currency will have a big impact on Alibaba’s Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat Pay, the two dominant mobile digital payment tools in China, as the PBC’s digital currency is featured by decentralization, unlike the former two.

Challenges ahead

There are still some bumps on the road to promoting the digital currency.

“For this new kind of currency, its nature actually poses challenges to existing policies in such aspects as foreign exchange control, so it takes time to balance benefits with potential risks,” said Cao.

A flexible and open mechanism is needed by the PBC to attract more talent, he added.

Digital currencies can help strengthen regulation as transaction data can be tracked and analyzed, including illegal money laundering, according to Huang. But laws and rules should be formulated in a timely fashion to protect individual information. “Safety is the biggest issue,” he added.

“Use of the digital currency to better serve the real economy also requires policy guidance,” said Huang.
Newspaper headline: PBC accelerates digital currency drive.

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Escalation of China-U.S. trade tension

Markets sink as Trump presses US companies to leave China

Stocks fall amid fresh tensions in US-China trade war

KUALA LUMPUR: Asian markets started the week on a weak note amid escalating trade war concerns after the US and China announced plans for additional tariffs against each other.

Locally, the FBM KLCI stayed in negative territory for the whole of yesterday, before paring losses to close 8.8 points or 0.55% lower at 1,600.53 points. Before the closing, the index hovered below 1,595, falling 1.17% to an intraday low of 1,590.51.

Despite the fall, the local index was among the least affected by the regional selldown, compared with other Asian indices. The biggest loser among the regional indices was Japan’s Nikkei 225, falling 2.17% to 20,261.04. This was followed by Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index and the Taiwan Stock Exchange, down 1.91% and 1.74% respectively. India’s Sensex notably closed 2.16% higher.

In Southeast Asia, Singapore’s Straits Times Index was the biggest decliner, down 1.45% at 3,065.33, and the Jakarta Composite index closed 0.66% lower at 6,214.51.

Last Friday, US President Donald Trump announced an additional duty on some US$550 billion worth of targeted Chinese goods, following China’s move to hike trade levies on US$75 billion worth of US goods.

Trump said US tariffs on US$250 billion of Chinese imports will increase from 25% to 30% on Oct 1, while an additional 5% tax on US$300 billion worth of Chinese goods — raising the tariff to 15% from 10% — starts on Sept 1.

The president made it clear that the US was responding to China’s threat of additional tariffs on US$75 billion of goods including soybeans, automobiles and oil.

“This looks like a tit-for-tat [response] and I don’t see an easy resolution to the trade war, as there seems to be no middle ground between the US and China. It is very unsettling for the market because there is no direction from day to day,” said Inter-Pacific Securities Sdn Bhd research head Pong Teng Siew.

However, the tensions eased a bit towards the later part of yesterday, as Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said China was willing to resolve the trade dispute through calm negotiations, stating the nation was against the escalation of the conflict.

Trump responded positively to China’s suggestion and, on the sidelines of a summit in France, had hailed Chinese President Xi Jinping as a great leader and welcomed the latter’s desire for calm negotiations.

It remains to be seen how the trade dispute will be resolved, given the constant retaliatory tariffs between the two economic behemoths since early last year.

Several trade talks between the two nations have not brought any solutions to the trade war, still affecting investor sentiments towards global markets. For the KLCI, the trade war remains a major factor affecting analysts’ forecasts.

Kenanga Research said the index’s underlying trend remains bearish but does not discount the possibility of a technical rebound as the KLCI has been in oversold territory for about a month. “Look out for overhead resistance levels at 1,630 and 1,650. If selling pressure continues, the key support levels to keep an eye on are 1,570 and 1,550,” Kenanga Research wrote in a note yesterday. – Source link
Read more: 

 

Clout eroded as US shirks intl duties

I think it’s necessary to include something Liu once said that also applies here, “The world needs a new America. It needs an America that is free of prejudice and intolerance. It needs an America that understands respect, that matches words with deeds, that understands the principles of benevolence, righteousness, propriety,
wisdom, and faithfulness. The world would be lucky if the new America could become such a country.”

Why are the Chinese brushing aside Trump’s tweets?

Trump has turned Twitter into a stage for his political show, where he says things to gain votes for reelection. He repeats what he has done for the US – to provide Americans welfare, and to “make America great again.” But he is actually damaging the interests of his own country and people.

China unfazed by swaying US policies

In today’s world of production patterns, no country can marginalize China anymore. Whichever country forcibly cuts economic ties with China will only harm itself. After Trump tweeted, he received almost one-sided opposition and doubts, which showed how inappropriate was his unrealistic proposal.

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American expert accuses Western countries of double standard in HK affairs

Poking its nose into other countries’ affairs is an American obsession

The past few months have been sad and depressing for those who live in Hong Kong. The safety guaranteed on the streets of Beijing and Xi’an should be available to the people of Hong Kong. China should not be asked to compromise its sovereignty. If Americans want to boycott anyone, they should do so with their politicians who support the
Hong Kong unrest.

West will shed no tears for Hong Kong

Many Hongkongers are confusing right from wrong while Western public opinion constantly delivers the ideological energy that the radical protesters need. The West has shed no tears for Iraq, Syria and Ukraine, which had gone through similar hardships. Now, it is turning Hong Kong into the forefront of the struggle with China, and, as usual, they will shed no tears for the city’s misery.

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