(Oct 11): "I’ve got a little list of society offenders... who would never be missed,” sings the Lord High Executioner Ko-Ko in the musical The Mikado. With exquisite timing, US President Donald Trump has produced his little list of Chinese companies that will be banned by the US for their alleged involvement in human rights abuses in China. Exquisite timing because this announcement was made just days before the next round of US-China trade talks.
This, along with his sudden withdrawal of support for the Kurds that caught even the US Army by surprise, is just the latest twist and turn from Trump.
The message from ordinary officials in the provinces to more highly placed leaders in Beijing is the same: They are tired of dealing with an erratic US president whose word is worth nothing and whom they cannot trust. Beijing is restrained in its official comments, but far less restrained in off-the-record conversations.