“The Bible Is Banned” – China Shuts Down Churches, Threatens Christians

‘The Bible Is Banned’ – China Shuts Down Churches, Threatens Christians

December 12, 2019

China’s crackdown on the booming house church movement continued this fall, with government officials raiding worship services and even telling Christians they could no longer read the Bible. Continue reading ““The Bible Is Banned” – China Shuts Down Churches, Threatens Christians”

Technology Transfers to China Still Rampant

World Affairs Brief, November 22, 2019 Commentary and Insights on a Troubled World.

Copyright Joel Skousen. Partial quotations with attribution permitted. Cite source as Joel Skousen’s World Affairs Brief (http://www.worldaffairsbrief.com).

TECHNOLOGY TRANSFERS TO CHINA

Transfer of sensitive technology to China was rampant during the Clinton administration, but kept going on via the Commerce Department during the various Bush regimes. Even under Trump, China is still enticing thousands of US-based scientists to give their research over to China for big bucks, The Epoch Time reports:

China has paid more than 7,000 U.S. scientists and other experts over the past decade through its Thousand Talents Plan (TTP) to hand over their research, according to a Senate subcommittee report made public on Nov. 18.

The TTP is only one of about 200 such Chinese “talent recruitment” programs. While being paid by China, these scientists have also received U.S. government funding. U.S. taxpayers have thus spent hundreds of billions to fund research and development that has ended up in China, according to the report. Continue reading “Technology Transfers to China Still Rampant”

Communist China using masked agent provocateurs in HK to incite violence, to discredit the freedom movement and justify military intervention

A news short from Joel Skousen, posted 11/29/19 at worldaffairsbrief.com

Hong Kong’s Protest Movement Sabotaged by Violence: Kudos to Jeff Nyquist for publishing a piece by a Hong Kong protestors documenting how the Chinese Communist party has created its own controlled opposition movement to sabotage the legitimate protestors demanding freedom for Hong Kong. Chiang Chen details in this link how each of the main protest leaders in the controlled opposition party have connections to the Communist Party, and how the party has used masked agent provocateurs to incite violence in order to discredit the real freedom movement and eventually justify military intervention. It’s an important read.

Secret documents: China detention camps house 1 million minorities who haven’t committed a crime

Mass surveillance system flags Uighurs for detention camps

A sample of classified Chinese government documents leaked to a consortium of news organizations, is displayed for a picture in New York, Friday, Nov. 22, 2019. Beijing has detained more than a million Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and other Muslim minorities for what it calls voluntary job training. The confidential documents lay out the Chinese government’s deliberate strategy to lock up ethnic minorities to rewire their thoughts and even the language they speak.

Pilger’s film, ‘The Coming War On China’ shows how American aggression is viewed in the Pacific

Americans should watch this film to understand why so many view Americans as non-Christlike aggressors who only care about Americans. This is part of the real history of what we’ve done to others.

The film’s goal is to help people see America’s aggressions, including having almost 1,000 military bases worldwide, which Ron Paul so often talked about. Many Okinawans are currently outraged by our base there, and are trying to get it removed. Many of their women have been raped by GIs, etc..

This film is definitely one-sided, whitewashing China, whom many believe does have a world domination plan, and are gearing up to EMP and nuke US. I pulled this quote, which is absolutely not true:

1:00:25 “China’s objectives are modest, compared with their weight. They’re not trying to run the world.”

The film spends a lot of time showing the devastating effects of our brazen nuclear testing on the people in the Marshall Islands, who we treated as Guinea Pigs. Many died from cancer.

The adulterous bikini that blew off modest restraints was named after US blowing up Bikini Island. John Pilger explains:

15:05 “In 1946, the bikini swimsuit was launched to celebrate the nuclear explosions that have destroyed life on Bikini Island. … The bodies of the people of Bikini and other islands are the most irradiated in the world. All these women [in the photo] have had thyroid cancer. Continue reading “Pilger’s film, ‘The Coming War On China’ shows how American aggression is viewed in the Pacific”

Corbett: The China Deception — China is being built up by US approved American technology transfers

7:55 “Once you start to put the pieces of the puzzle together, it’s quite evident that China is being built up by American technology transfers that are being facilitated and green-lighted by Washington and some of the players there.” – James Corbett

– –

The mainstream are framing the rise of China as a competitor to the US in the same terms as they did the Cold War with the Soviet Union. And, just as the Cold War was a charade facilitated by lend lease and technology transfers, so, too, is the New Cold War facilitated by technology transfers to China that are framed as “IP theft.” James Corbett joins Jim Goddard on This Week in Money to set the record straight on how the Clash of Civilizations 2.0 is being used to justify domestic clampdowns, social credit surveillance, and military build up.

Continue reading “Corbett: The China Deception — China is being built up by US approved American technology transfers”

James Corbett: China’s American Arsenal — “China is being given these technologies deliberately”

International Forecaster Weekly

China’s American Arsenal

And now the Chinese are building a carbon copy of the American military, jet by jet, drone by drone, rifle by rifle. Continue reading “James Corbett: China’s American Arsenal — “China is being given these technologies deliberately””

Christopher Jon Bjerknes: ‘The Fake Fall of Red China’

Heavy predictions worth considering!

[DISCLAIMER] I don’t necessarily agree to everything said here. Especially, I do *not* support an armed resistance, like Jon Bjerknes seems to, if it comes down to that.

Continue reading “Christopher Jon Bjerknes: ‘The Fake Fall of Red China’”

(VID) China demolishes hundreds of churches and confiscates Bibles during a crackdown on Christianity — Xi wants absolute allegiance to himself

Article includes video!
– –
From: Daily Mail
China demolishes hundreds of churches and confiscates Bibles during a crackdown on Christianity
7 August 2018

  • Locals in Henan stated concerns of a move by the atheist ruling Community Party to control Christianity
  • Residents were asked to replace posters of the cross and Jesus Christ with portraits of President Xi Jinping
  • Experts say the government is waging the most severe systematic suppression of the religion since 1982
  • Chinese leaders have ‘always been suspicious of the political threat’ that Christianity poses to the regime

‘Chinese leaders have always been suspicious of the political challenge or threat that Christianity poses to the Communist regime,’ said Xi Lian, a scholar of Christianity in China at Duke University. ‘Under Xi, this fear of Western infiltration has intensified and gained a prominence that we haven’t seen for a long time.’

Officials once largely tolerated the unregistered Protestant house churches that sprang up independent of the official Christian Council, clamping down on some while allowing others to grow. But this year they have taken a tougher approach that relies partly on ‘thought reform’ – a phrase for political indoctrination.

Last November, Christian residents of a rural township in south-east Jiangxi province were persuaded to replace posters of the cross and Jesus Christ inside their homes with portraits of Xi, a local official said.

‘Through our thought reform, they’ve voluntarily done it,’ Qi Yan, a member of the township party committee, told the AP by phone. ‘The move is aimed at Christian families in poverty, and we educated them to believe in science and not in superstition, making them believe in the party.’  …

‘Xi is a closet Maoist – he is very anxious about thought control,’ said Willy Lam, a Chinese politics expert at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. ‘He definitely does not want people to be faithful members of the church, because then people would profess their allegiance to the church rather than to the party, or more exactly, to Xi himself.’

Various state and local officials declined repeated requests to comment. But in 2016, Xi explicitly warned against the perceived foreign threats tied to faith, telling a religion conference: ‘We must resolutely guard against overseas infiltrations via religious means.’

Entire Article

80 tons of salmon seized from Chinese fishing vessel

The fishing vessel is suspected of violating the worldwide driftnet moratorium called for the by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 46/215.

The USCG says the captain of the vessel admitted to fishing with driftnets, and investigators on the joint boarding team discovered one ton of squid and 80 tons of chum salmon on board. A driftnet measuring approximately 5.6 miles was also found on board the vessel, according to the USCG.

STORY

We came ‘to let US know’ about close military ties with Russia – Chinese defense minister in Moscow

Beijing has sent a delegation to Russia to show Washington the unity of Russian and Chinese military forces and “support” Russia at the 7th Moscow Conference on International Security.
Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe voiced strong support for Russia during the talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Shoigu. While stressing “the united position” on the international arena, the minister said that one of the main goals of the visit was to send a message to Western powers.
“The Chinese side came to let the Americans know about the close ties between the Russian and Chinese armed forces,”Wei said.
STORY

How Shanghai Became A Refuge For Jews During Hitler’s Reign — Jews controlled the money

From: The Forward (a Jewish publication)

… At the top of the Shanghai social pyramid were the Baghdadi / Sephardic Jews who had established businesses in Shanghai since the 1840’s. They played an active role in financing various programs for the refugees. Entire educational and cultural activities, theaters, arts, music, sports and schools were supported by the Sephardic Jews. Numerically they were in the minority, only about 700 members, but they were the largest benefactors to the refugee community. They also constituted one-third of the 99 members of the Shanghai stock exchange.

In their footsteps came the White Russians, including many Ashkenazi Jews who had fled the Communist Revolution in 1917. They were the “lucky” ones as the League of Nations issued them “Nansen Passports” recognized by most nations, granting the holders certain rights within the members of the League of Nations. In addition, the French Concession issued travel cards to the Russian emigres. No such passport or travel cards were issued to European refugees. The Russian expats capitalized on their status by opening pawn shops side by side with “Chinese moneylenders” and preyed on the refugees who had few belongings and no money. …

Below this social hierarchy were the native Chinese who did all the menial work. In the eyes of the white men, the Chinese were inferior and were there to serve and do the manual labor. … Continue reading “How Shanghai Became A Refuge For Jews During Hitler’s Reign — Jews controlled the money”

Chinese Police Dynamite Christian Megachurch

Under President Xi Jinping, the government has destroyed churches or removed their steeples and crosses as part of a campaign that reflects the Communist Party’s longstanding fear that Christianity, viewed as a Western philosophy, is a threat to the party’s authority.
Global Times, a state newspaper, described the building’s destruction as part of a “citywide campaign to remove illegal buildings,” and quoted an unidentified official as saying that the church had been “secretly” constructed without proper permits and was initially disguised as a warehouse. …

More than 60 million Christians live in China, at least half of whom worship in unregistered churches.

STORY

(vid) Stossel: China's Freedom-Crushing 'Social Credit Score' — Coming to America?

China is starting a “social credit system.” The state will monitor social media and web use to make it “hard for the discredited to take a single step.” Will it come to America? Has it, already?

China's Freedom-Crushing 'Social Credit Score'

China is starting a "social credit system.” The state will monitor social media and web use to make it "hard for the discredited to take a single step." Will it come to America? Has it, already?

Posted by John Stossel on Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Skousen: China Militarization of South China Sea Reefs Almost Complete — The Philippines know they don't have the military might to challenge China, having spurned an alliance with the US, placing itself in the position of being bribed and subtly threatened into believing in China’s “good faith,” which is worthless • But in the larger picture, the real problem is President Trump’s complete failure to stand up to China • Some leaders in the Philippines are clear: “Don’t trust a thief”

World Affairs Brief, February 9, 2018 Commentary and Insights on a Troubled World.
Copyright Joel Skousen. Partial quotations with attribution permitted. Cite source as Joel Skousen’s World Affairs Brief (http://www.worldaffairsbrief.com).
CHINA MILITARIZATION OF SOUTH CHINA SEA REEFS ALMOST COMPLETE
Trump is turning out to be all talk and no action when it comes to China’s aggressive policy of building military facilities on a series of coral reefs in territory claimed by the Philippines. All of the larger islands are already claimed and so to advance China’s “String of Pearls” policy of establishing naval and air bases surrounding Chinese waters, China has taken to expanding unwanted reefs and barely visible sea mounts in order to expand its military bases without directly taking land in use by others.
It’s an insidious and devious tactic that allows China maximum leverage without directly challenging existing land claims. While the Philippines do claim the area, they’ve never done anything with these heretofore “useless” mini-islands. In an in-depth report, complete with extensive photographs, the Inquirer.net documents that China has almost finished transforming seven reefs claimed by the Philippines in the Spratly archipelago into island fortresses, “in a bid to dominate the heavily disputed South China Sea.” I’ll summarize the main points, but encourage everyone to go to the article to see the pictures. Continue reading “Skousen: China Militarization of South China Sea Reefs Almost Complete — The Philippines know they don't have the military might to challenge China, having spurned an alliance with the US, placing itself in the position of being bribed and subtly threatened into believing in China’s “good faith,” which is worthless • But in the larger picture, the real problem is President Trump’s complete failure to stand up to China • Some leaders in the Philippines are clear: “Don’t trust a thief””

Perloff: China Betrayed Into Communism

From: The New American

Friday, 24 July 2009

China Betrayed Into Communism

Written by James Perloff

Although the mass media present China today as “progressive,” especially after the 2008 Olympics fanfare, it remains among the world’s cruelest regimes.

The term “Red China” is not anachronistic. Though certainly less oppressive than during the Cultural Revolution, when it executed millions, China is still governed by a single regime, the Communist Party, which requires members to be atheists. It imprisons dissidents without due process, oppresses Tibet, and enforces a policy, backed by compulsory abortion, restricting most families to one child. (Since Chinese traditionally prefer male offspring, this has led to disproportionate abortion — even infanticide — of female babies, creating an artificial majority of males in China.) The government directly controls most media, blocking criticisms of itself on the Internet.

Perhaps worst is suppression of religious freedom. Christian churches, though permitted, must submit to government control and censorship — either as part of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement or Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. Independent house churches, comprising some 90 percent of China’s Christians, face persecution. The Voice of the Martyrs reports:

The human rights record in China is one of the worst in the world. Its system of “re-education through labor” detains hundreds of thousands each year in work camps without even a court hearing…. The house church movement (unregistered churches) endures unimaginable persecution, yet stands on its commitment to preach the gospel, no matter the cost. China continued its crackdown against Christians and missionaries in 2008, as they sought to purge the country of religion before hosting the Olympic games…. Church property and Bibles were confiscated. Christians were harassed, questioned, arrested and imprisoned. Christians in prisons are routinely beaten and abused.

Japan and Manchuria

What surprises many Americans: the regime ruling China was largely put there by the United States.

Entire Article

Skousen: Russian and Chinese Military Technology Threatens US Superiority — Can sink any US aircraft carrier • Hypersonic weapons up to Mach 10 (10X the speed of sound) | Two Myths: US military superiority • US invulnerability

Continue reading “Skousen: Russian and Chinese Military Technology Threatens US Superiority — Can sink any US aircraft carrier • Hypersonic weapons up to Mach 10 (10X the speed of sound) | Two Myths: US military superiority • US invulnerability”

Bannon to '60 Minutes': “China is cutting out the beating heart of American innovation through forced technology transfer and by stealing our technology

Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon told 60 Minutes that President Donald Trump—unlike America’s elites—understands that “China is at economic war with us.”

Bannon told CBS anchor Charlie Rose that Trump for 30 years has “singled out China as the biggest single problem we have on the world stage.”
“The elites in this country have got us in a situation–we’re not at economic war with China, China is at economic war with us,” he said.
Bannon said, for starters, he wants China “to stop appropriating our technology.”

“China is, through forced technology transfer and through stealing our technology, …  cutting out the beating heart of American innovation,” Bannon said. …
Bannon told Kuttner that to him, “the economic war with China is everything. And we have to be maniacally focused on that. If we continue to lose it, we’re five years away, I think, ten years at the most, of hitting an inflection point from which we’ll never be able to recover.”
STORY
 

(video) 10 Secret Submarine Bases Hidden in Plain Sight, Including Yalong Bay, Hainon Island, China

@5:35 Yalong Bay, Hainon Island, China

I’ve heard that China has a submarine base in which the entrance is about 1,000 feet below sea level. We don’t know how many nuclear subs they have, because apparently, everything they do is underground and top secret.

Joel Skousen and others predict that both Russia and China are preparing to take US out with an EMP and nuke strikes of our military bases, which could be as soon as 5 years from now.

– –

10 Secret Submarine Bases Hidden in Plain Sight

Published on Aug 1, 2017

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Skousen: US Missile Defense Lacking

World Affairs Brief, May 19, 2017 Commentary and Insights on a Troubled World.

Copyright Joel Skousen. Partial quotations with attribution permitted. Cite source as Joel Skousen’s World Affairs Brief (http://www.worldaffairsbrief.com).

[…]

US MISSILE DEFENSE LACKING

Finally, another article on the latest missile defense technology is pertinent to the US ability to stop Kim Jong-Un from following through with his limited ability to send a missile to Hawaii or Alaska. The British Daily Mail takes a look at the new “state-of-the-art Navy vessel that’s designed to shoot down Kim Jong-Un’s ballistic missiles before they start World War Three.” There are errors in this article, which I will point out.

A state-of-the-art navy vessel designed to intercept ballistic missiles is set to be tested later this month. The MV Pacific Collector detects the missile via GPS [This is in error. GPS doesn’t detect missile launches, although other military satellites can.] and shoots out a vehicle which smashes into a warhead in mid-flight to disable it. Known as ground-based mid-course defense, the ship is in port at Aloha Tower in Hawaii for a key upcoming ballistic missile defense test.

The news comes as North Korea test-launched a ballistic missile that flew for half an hour and reached an altitude of 1,240 miles before landing in the Sea of Japan – a flight pattern that could indicate a new type of missile.

The only thing new about this is that US experts are saying this latest ballistic missile is the first fully home developed rocket by North Korea that doesn’t rely on foreign rocket engines. How they can tell that from photographs or rocket telemetry is a mystery to me.

Admiral Harry Harris, head of US Pacific Command, warned Congress that the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, ‘is clearly in a position to threaten Hawaii today’. Currently, the US has 36 ground-based interceptors placed in Alaska and California to theoretically protect the US from a nuclear missile attack. That number will increase to 44 this year.

However, in December, a Pentagon weapons testing office rated the $40 billion system as having low reliability. The ground-based system has a record of nine out of 17 successful intercepts since 1999, or a 53 percent success rate.

One of the problems with this kind of missile system is that it uses a “kinetic” warhead— essentially a big hunk of highly dense material (depleted Uranium, etc.) which has to make direct contact with the incoming missile to destroy it. It is not an explosive warhead that can disable a target even during a near miss. [like Russia’s – editor]

I suspect the US continues using these kinds of “hit vehicles” because they don’t want to really stop a pre-emptive strike by Russia and China, who are developing maneuvering warheads. I do think, however, that current US ABM interceptors could stop several of North Korea’s plain Jane ballistic missiles.

Skousen: Trump Backing Down on North Korea, For Now — This indicates war isn’t imminent but it’s coming sooner than when China will be ready to join NK. Whether or not they will becomes the big question. If they do, we’ll have WWIII early than I expected, if not, there will have to be another trigger event for WWIII later on when China and Russia are ready

World Affairs Brief, April 28, 2017 Commentary and Insights on a Troubled World.

Copyright Joel Skousen. Partial quotations with attribution permitted. Cite source as Joel Skousen’s World Affairs Brief (http://www.worldaffairsbrief.com).

This Week’s Analysis:

Trump Continues to Disappoint

The Voices Trump Listens to

Trump Backing Down on North Korea–For Now

French Election: Ganging Up Against Le Pen

Death of US Military Through Feminism

Don’t Drive in Some European Countries

News Shorts

Preparedness Tip: Vitamin C

[…]

TRUMP BACKING DOWN ON NORTH KOREA–FOR NOW

Naive US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, claims that Chinese pressure on North Korea is working. She’s merely repeating what was presented at the Senate briefing at the White House South auditorium this week. It was an hour briefing led by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford, and Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats. None are high level intelligence officials so it was all second-hand information.

Senators who oppose Trump, like John McCain and Lindsey Graham and all the Democrats claimed they learned “nothing new.” Many Senators on certain committees get constant intelligence briefings as a matter of course, so obviously they aren’t going to learn much new.

But despite the disparaging remarks from Democrats, there was something new in the briefing, which was highlighted by the anti-Trump The Daily Beast.

“We want to solve this through political or economic measures,” a senior administration official [said] ….any unilateral strike would likely lead to a North Korean counter-strike on U.S. allies South Korea and Japan—both within artillery or missile range of North Korea—as well as threatening tens of thousands of U.S. troops stationed in the Pacific.

“We want to bring Kim Jong-Un to his senses, not to his knees,” said Adm. Harry Harris, Commander of U.S. Pacific Command, at a House Armed Services Committee hearing Wednesday. He repeated the administration mantra that “all options are on the table,” but the tone had decidedly shifted from President Donald Trump’s earlier provocative tweets.

The U.S. might lobby to put North Korea back on the list as a state sponsor of terror as one of many options to isolate the defiant Asian nation. It had been removed in 2008 under previous negotiations with the Bush administration.

“It’s clear we are in a phase where unless North Korea takes a more provocative action, attacks our allies, attacks us directly, this is a diplomatic phase,” Democratic Sen. Chris Coons, of Delaware, told The Daily Beast outside the White House after the meeting.

This means Trump is backing down from his vow to disarm North Korea and stop its constant provocations. However, in a wide ranging interview with Reuters, Trump seemed to hint that he thought war with North Korea was a very real possibility:

“There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely,” Trump said. “We’d love to solve things diplomatically, but it’s very difficult,” he added.

Trump continued to promote his naive assessment of China’s Premier Xi Jingpin as a wonderful person, and repeating the assurance that China has told NK not to do any more nuclear tests. My takeaway from this is that Trump is going to let this play out diplomatically, but that he’s skeptical (as he should be) and fully intends to use military action to stop NK’s nuclear and missile development, even if that means NK will respond by going to war with SK—which would draw in the US.

That means that war isn’t imminent but that it is coming sooner tha[n] when China will be ready to join in. Whether or not they will becomes the big question. If they do, we’ll have WWIII early than I expected, if not, there will have to be another trigger event for WWIII later on when China and Russia are ready.

The sanctions Trump is proposing are tougher than ever before, but only in stages, which indicates it’s going to take time to play out: cutoff of oil supplies and isolating NK from all international banking and internet connectivity. There won’t be any food or medical sanctions as they put on Iran, for “humanitarian reasons.” Wasn’t Iran worthy of humanitarian exceptions?

Heretofore, NK has relied on China to bypass any sanctions, but for now at least China appears to play along with the sanctions. But I’m still skeptical. Either China plans to cheat, which would be hard for the US to detect, or it will comply for a period of time to buy more time and try and get Kim to shut down the hostile rhetoric.

I think this does confirm that China really isn’t ready to go to war on behalf of NK, and is determined to make sure NK remains in check for the next few years. Frankly, I’m surprise at just how reactionary Kim Jong-Un has been lately. In response to Trump’s interview, NK said it has no intention of stopping its nuclear and missile programs. Kim seems to be aiming for a bruising war. If it’s all bluster in order to save face with the communist party radicals in NK, that’s one thing, but no one’s going to believe Kim is capable of compromise is he doesn’t tone down the threats. Personally, I think Trump is being suckered into a delay in taking out Kim. I feel the conflict with Kim is inevitable and the sooner he is removed, the better. For each year’s delay, NK only gets stronger.

The bottom line: War with NK is inevitable, but it may or may not lead to WWIII depending on China. There is now a shorter window to prepare….

[…]

As for an EMP blast, which will proceed a nuclear attack, nuclear plants will go off line and some cannot operate again without grid power to absorb their output. But an EMP would not affect the military’s ability to get diesel fuel to backup generators at a nuke plant to keep them from melting down.

Skousen: WWIII Timing: China’s nuclear submarine superfactory soon building 10-12 at one time – “This adds to my prognostication that China isn’t ready yet to fight WWIII with the US”

From: Joel Skousen’s World Affairs Brief, 4/21/17

It was reported this week by nextbigfuture.com that China is going to start multiple production lines to speed up the deployment of nuclear submarines.

Western production lines for the most part can only build one submarine at a time, and only the US is capable of building two submarines simultaneously, but China is now capable of building four submarines at one time.

China already has at least four type 094/094A ballistic missile submarines and at least five Type 093/093G attack submarines, so it is speculated that the new facility is to build the successor third-generation classes of Type 096 ballistic missile submarines and Type 095 attack submarines. The new submarines will be built using modular fabrication techniques. The projection is made that Chinese nuclear submarine production will double its rate within two to three years.

China currently has about three submarine production lines and can build 5 to 6 submarines at one time. This would mean in three years China could be building ten to twelve submarines at one time.

This adds to my prognostication that China isn’t ready yet to fight WWIII with the US.