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  HOME | Opinion (Click here for more)

Carlos Alberto Montaner: The Giant Has Awakened
Carlos Alberto Montaner on the globalization of the power and corruption of Beijing, the arrested Huawei daughter Meng Wanzhou, and the warning of Napoleon on China: “When it wakes up, the world will shake.”

By Carlos Alberto Montaner

Meng Wanzhou’s imprisonment is a huge headache for Donald Trump. Perhaps it will awaken “the sleeping giant”, as the very perceptive Napoleon called China with concern. I do not think the request to the Canadians to arrest her was an initiative of the White House. It was being cooked automatically in the agencies authorized by American law to punish and deter the technological theft, the espionage and the huge kickbacks paid by many of these companies to get big contracts.

The procedure is well known. Once the problem is identified, and the crime is typified, the law is made and pursued ex officio, based on the fact that the American banking system was illegally used, even though the offense was committed abroad by foreigners. The lady is behind bars because US courts have expanded their jurisdiction to the international arena and punish bankers, politicians or anyone who violates American rules. Exactly at the moment when Trump has said that the United States cannot be the world’s policeman, its judicial system functions as such because it is a nation of laws and the machine cannot be stopped without repealing those norms.

Ms. Wanzhou is the heiress of Huawei, a huge Chinese telecommunications company that sells more cellphones than Apple, although it has no presence in the U.S. market. She has many connections with the Chinese nomenklatura, to which her father, an army high commander, belonged. Only in this year that is about to end,

Huawei has spent more than 16 billion dollars in Research and Development, more or less what the whole of Spain invests, but in all areas of scientific research, including the medicine field.

Huawei does this because technological change to the fifth generation (5G) of mobile networks is at stake worldwide. According to the Weekly Report on Foreign Policy, published in Madrid, only in the United States the generalized adoption of this 5G will require investments of 275 billion dollars.

It is true that Huawei steals technology, spies for the benefit of its country and contributes to worldwide corruption, but the company justifies itself with the argument that almost everyone does it. Samsung and Apple are always fighting in the courts, accusing one another of stealing each other’s patents. The National Security Agency, the ubiquitous NSA of the US government, had to apologize for spying on the German Angela Merkel and the French Nicolas Sarkozy during Obama’s presidency, while it is known that in three quarters of the planet big businesses can only be done by bribing generously the officials that assign contracts.

One of the worst consequences of the emergence of China in the financial and technological direction of the world is what the Spanish-Peruvian essayist Luis Esteban G. Manrique calls “the globalization of Chinese corruption.” He adds: “Beijing – which has invested more than 700 billion dollars in 60 countries creating the Belt and Road Initiative, the new ‘Silk Road’ – never demands its partners to comply with international standards of transparency in contracts and awards of public contracts, labor rights, environmental or financial sustainability norms, which feeds corruption and overwhelms with debt the countries that receive the investments ".

The warning of Napoleon was very pessimistic. It kept on saying: “When it wakes up, the world will shake.” I'm afraid he was right.

Carlos Alberto Montaner is a journalist and writer. Born in 1943 in Cuba and exiled, Montaner is known for his more than 25 books and thousands of articles. PODER magazine estimates that more than six million readers have access to his weekly columns throughout Latin America. He is also a political analyst for CNN en Espanol. In 2012, Foreign Policy magazine named Montaner as one of the fifty most influential intellectuals in the Ibero-American world. His latest novel is A Time for Scoundrels. His latest essay is "The President: A Handbook for Voters and the Elected." His latest book is a review of Las raíces torcidas de América Latina (The Twisted Roots of Latin America), published by Planeta and available in Amazon, in printed or digital version.


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