Democracy Mission – A Conspiracy Theory

August 19th, 2014 No comments

This is a reprint from an old post that I think readers of this blog might find interesting.

Whatever the merits of democracy, I’m more curious about its evangelical preachers.

Democracy is a vague term, like “Christendom”, “Islamic World”, or “the West”. Besides the democratic banner, the political landscapes of the USA, Afghanistan, Iraq, Japan, India. . . don’t share many common features. In the end, I suspect Democracy could be fantastic for some, at some point in time, and disastrous for others, under different circumstances. Any system, like its human inventors, would age, turn insufferable, then die one day. Some reincarnate, others don’t.

The brute force and passion with which democracies export their faith is bewildering, reminiscent of colonial missionaries. Is the missionary complex simply a hangover from the religious past? Could there be an element of altruism in their uncontrollable urge to share a great social discovery with the rest of humanity? But. . . come on, these are ruthless invaders, operators of 21st Century torture camps and lynching drones so. . .
Read more…

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Paul Krugman

August 17th, 2014 4 comments

Despite my politics is far to the left I have always have a soft spot for Nixon. Maybe it’s because of his opening to China, or his hard nosed politics and realism. Someone like Paul Krugman, a liberal democrat, with policies I have more agreements with, yet I dislike those idealistic cold warriors. This morning professor Krugman got me tee off again. I sent the following letter to the NYT after I read his column “Why We Fight Wars”.

“When Professor Krugman asked the question of “Why We Fight Wars”, and stated the total cost of Iraq War exceed 1 trillion dollars, I thought it would be an examination of U.S. policies of military bases all over the world and defense spending exceeding the next 10 countries combined. I wasn’t expecting his conclusion that maybe low economic growth cause leaders to go to war and China may be the threat because her growth of 7.5% is no longer double digit, and U.S.’s growth of 2% is not a worry.”

Maybe I am a little unfair to professor Krugman as most of his column is about Putin and Russia’s meddling in Ukraine. Only in the end he took a swipe at China. He said,

“And if authoritarian regimes without deep legitimacy are tempted to rattle sabers when they can no longer deliver good performance, think about the incentives China’s rulers will face if and when that nation’s economic miracle comes to an end — something many economists believe will happen soon.”

Note the words, authoritarian regime…..without deep legitimacy…..incentive…..economic miracle….. many economist believe.
I guess what’s happening in Ferguson, Missouri is not authoritarian. With overwhelming majority of black population and a mostly white police force and government is legitimate. The incentive for Chinese government is to provide for the well being of Chinese people, and certainly I don’t think not most, maybe not any economist predicted the Chinese achievement for the last 35 years.

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Rule of Law

August 12th, 2014 6 comments

When Chinese dissidents talk about democracy and rule of law, American media immediately start the echo chamber in criticizing China and provide the stage for whomever in the spotlight. It irks me to no end this fetish on rule of law is not based on reality but more on fantasy and rarely examined in depth. Wikipedia defines it as:

“The rule of law (also known as nomocracy) is the legal principle that law should govern a nation, and not individual government officials. It primarily refers to the influence and authority of law within society, particularly as a constraint upon behavior, including behavior of government officials.[2] The phrase can be traced back to the 16th century, and it was popularized in the 19th century by British jurist A. V. Dicey. The concept was familiar to ancient philosophers such as Aristotle, who wrote “Law should govern”.[3] Rule of law implies that every citizen is subject to the law, including law makers themselves. It stands in contrast to the idea that the ruler is above the law, for example by divine right.

Despite wide use by politicians, judges and academics, the rule of law has been described as “an exceedingly elusive notion”[4] giving rise to a “rampant divergence of understandings … everyone is for it but have contrasting convictions about what it is.”[5]‘

As the dissidents use U.S. as the model for rule of law, I like to examine here whether the reality is anywhere near the ideal. As anyone familiar with American history knows that the rule of law didn’t apply to Native-Americans or slaves, considering hundreds of treaties signed and torn up as soon as gold, oil, or the land was needed, and slavery was written into the U.S. Constitution I will not rehash the past history, but limiting the discussion to more recent history. Obviously, the interment of Japanese-Americans, the Chinese Exclusion Act, the immigration policy of treating European favorably over Chinese until 1960s violated the rule of law. The differing sentences of cocaine and crack, differing death penalties for black and white for similar crime, and the prison population of different racial groups violate the rule of law. Consider that Supreme Court is the final arbiter of the meaning of law, those 9 men and women essentially set up the rule of man over rule of law with ruling Bush over Gore, a one time ruling, can’t be used as precedent, by not counting all the votes in Florida, twisting the meaning of equality. By appointing George Bush, we now have Roberts and Alito setting up the Citizen United decision with money as speech, corporation as person, all by 5-4 decisions. I consider all those as poisoned fruits of rule of man over rule of law.

Look at the racket in Chinatown, all those false political asylum seekers from 1 child policy. And more recently with all those Honduran children in camps after fleeing criminal gangs in fear of their lives ready to be deported. How can that be the rule of law, although blind Chen Guangcheng may be harassed and under house arrest, but he’s certainly not in as much danger of his life as those children. He got his fellowship at NYU, but I understand he’s not too happy that he’s not treated as royalty, and NYU is now happy  that’s only 1 year and he’s gone. Consider the Federal Reserve’s QE, saving the Wall Street bankers at the expense of senior’s retirement savings. Such is the rule of law in U.S.A..

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China is a Freeloader of World Order…

August 10th, 2014 8 comments

Check out the following excerpt of an interview conducted by Thomas Friedman on Obama.  In this short segment, Obama states that China is a Freeloader and has been for the last 30 years…

The rest of the interview can be found here.

So is China a Freeloader?  Take the poll below.

Is China a "Free Rider" of the World Order?

View Results

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WSJ Re-reports “37 civilians killed, 13 injured in Xinjiang terror attack”

August 3rd, 2014 2 comments

I have been pretty flabbergasted by how the Western media has been so quick to line up to tote the U.S. government line on Russian or pro-Russian rebel involvement in the downing of Malaysian Flight 17 over Ukraine.  The media blitzkrieg has been very impressive, so have the U.S. drumming up for another round of sanctions.  While I don’t think the stakes this time is that high as say the U.S. government / media deception about Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya etc. in the sense that this round of infowar is not really going to lead to major human catastrophe, I am certainly watching with trepidation on how the same machinery of diplomatic, media, and sanctions blitzkrieg can be directed against China.

Well, while still in my doldrums, I suddenly came upon an article that shows that despite the urgent attention on Russia and tragedies unfolding in Gaza, the media arms against China are fully cocked and ready to go!

Just yesterday, Xinhua reported an attack last week in Xinjiang killed 37 and injured 13 civilians. Read more…

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Rectangular Track

August 1st, 2014 No comments

When I first read the headline from South China Morning Post I was somewhat confused, then I read the article I was in turn angry, embarrassed, and reflective. I am sure it will be fodder for late night comics and anti-China politicians.

I am pretty sure if the same reporter visited the track today, it will show the track back to oval, and heads probably already rolled up and down the chain of command for this embarrassing episode. Yet instead of burying it as old news I think Chinese government should use it as a teaching moment and to revive an old tradition. Instead of blaming it on old feudal tradition, of yes man following orders, of total lack of initiative and common sense, of going with the flow and passing the responsibility down the line, Chinese government can treat it as the same symptoms that generate corruption that Xi Jinping is fighting now on multiple fronts.

I am talking about the tradition Mao used, criticism/self criticism sessions. Of course some hearing me saying that will recoil in horror as conjuring images of the late stages of Cultural Revolution when it became ritualized and lost any relevance. When I was in Shanghai in the mid 50s, my uncle was an ordinary worker who joined the party and received a monthly publication for party members. He usually threw it aside and I usually picked it up and read it from front to back. Inside I recall were various misdeeds by various local party secretaries, critiquing their management styles, and how to be a good communist. Today with the party in crisis, I think it would do well to revive this practice, not forcing confession from everyone, but as a learning process for lessons to be drawn from Chou Yongkang or from the square track.

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“Peaceful Rise” Does Not Mean a “Push Over” China

July 30th, 2014 4 comments

When China (with the collective aspirations of all Chinese) said China will have a “Peaceful Rise”, many in the West decided to twist the meaning of “Peaceful” to mean something completely illogical.  That being, “Peace” without any possibility of “conflicts or disputes”.

In their decidedly 1-sided world, “peace” for China must mean that China must be willing to become a “push over”, and let everyone else walk all over it.

I ask simply, what nation would rationally accept such a definition of “peace”?  USA, UK, Israel?

Read more…

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Opium Wars…….War on Drugs

July 27th, 2014 2 comments

When I came to U.S. in 1961, people who knew I came from China sometimes asked what was it like to be brainwashed. I could only smiled and change topics. To me the history of Opium Wars always stick out more than anything else I learned in school. In high school, cigarettes were ubiquitous among students. In college, every Saturday night, I usually vacated the dorm and left for student center until around 1 AM, so my roommate can entertain his girlfriend coming North from Providence. When I returned to sleep there always was the sweet smell of marijuana lingering even with windows wide open. When I was working on rare occasions I did socialize outside work and was offered a joint which I always politely refuse. To me I can’t imagine being a Chinese, knowing the history of Opium Wars, that I would associate with drug or cigarette. When I was in Hong Kong for 2 years I read about the large heroin addict population I always shake my head and wondered how any Chinese can do drugs. Even today when Singapore executes some westerner drug courier, or the recent news that China executed a Japanese amphetamine seller I can’t really empathize even though I am somewhat ambivalent on capital punishment.

A few years ago a famous designer wanted to use the word “Opium” for his new fragrance, some Chinese-American activists protested and caused some media coverage. Most reporters probably have no idea the word “Opium” has in Chinese history and felt it was over the top stir in a teapot. Recently with the heroin overdose death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, a noted Oscar winning actor caused many sad reminiscences, about the toll on other celebrities, possible stockpile on antidotes, and for a week, sweeps on minor drug dealers in Manhattan. Yet there were few real outrages or possible solutions.

The never ending “War on Drugs” in U.S. has more than half of the prison population related to drugs, yet no solution is in sight. Whether the billions spent on eradicating opium in Afghanistan or cocaine in South America on the supply side, and enforcement and treatments on the demand side. Or the European model on decriminalization on drug users, I don’t know the real solution. But I want China to continue to emphasize and brain wash her young the history of Opium Wars.

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Model Minority and Race

July 19th, 2014 No comments

I have been U.S. for more than 50 years. Every decade or so there would be a flurry of articles about the Chinese-Americans being the model minority. Most of us consider it to be a compliment, hard working, family oriented, responsible, and not making any waves. I myself have mixed feelings about the attention.
For we are being used as a deflection target for other minorities. For white Americans, we are a perfect example for how a minority should behave, law abiding, hard working, not protesting against discrimination, as contrast to African-Americans. We are used as example against affirmative action, that’s until we went beyond some limits, then we are also resented by middle class whites. When we not only get higher SAT scores, but also higher medium incomes, when we get 50% of the entrants to Stuyvesant and Bronx High School of Science. Then there comes informal quotas on incoming class of Ivy League Schools, on limits on H1B visas and immigration. With China on the verge if not in fact passing U.S. on total GDP, the backlash is inevitable.
Growing up in the idealism of the 60s, of civil rights and antiwar protests, I share solidarity with the demands of African-Americans for equal rights. Yet, being part of society, one inevitably also were infected, whether conscious or unconscious, with strains of racism, of stereotyping other minorities, of a sense of superiority, and of course when it affects self interest. The recent fight in California over university admission is a case in point. I do hope we as a community be aware of the pitfall.

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Some Reflections of a Chinese American

July 18th, 2014 12 comments

Recently I read an account of a Chinese Uygur presently in U.S. from the Chinese edition of the New York Times. He talked about events while he was in school in China and how they mark and mold his world views. As a blogger I have been very positive about China and here I would like to share some of my reflections on where my views come from. I don’t pretend to be an expert and happy to exchange different view points with others.
My father was a mechanics working on an American merchant vessel when he was stranded with the liberation in U.S.. He eventually became a citizen and applied for my mother and me to rejoin him in N.Y.. we were granted an exit visa for family reunification and stayed in Hong Kong for 2 years until paper works were in order. I attended school in Shanghai until I left in 1959 after 8th grade. For me school in China was heavenly, others may consider it brain wash. I learned about the highs, the glorious history and philosophies, and lows, the Opium Wars, French park in Bond where Chinese and dogs were not allowed, and mocking title from Japanese as Sick Man in East Asia.
In U.S. I read Edgar Snow’s “Red Star over China” and Joseph Needham’s “Science and Civilization in China”. In over 50 years in U.S. I learned about strengths and weaknesses of American political system and hold no illusion about democracy. This is my self introduction and I hope I can share various topic with others in future. I would also like to thank Allen to open the blog.

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US Censorship Poisons Internet At the Front End, with 100,000′s of Secret Gag Orders

July 11th, 2014 5 comments

national security letter (18 U.S.C. § 2709), an administrative subpoena used by the FBI, has an attached gag order which restricts the recipient from ever saying anything about being served with one. The government has issued hundreds of thousands (100,000′s, exact figure unknown) of such NSLs accompanied with gag orders. The gag orders have been upheld in US court.

This type of SECRET NSLs is warned as far more sweeping than even the web “take down” notices.  Google receives only a few hundred “take down” notices from US government a year, affecting a few thousand pieces of item.  But the SECRET NSLs are in the 100,000′s, by estimate alone, affecting MILLIONS of items of information which cannot be discussed ANYWHERE by ANYONE, under penalty of prison terms.

Read more…

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Growing anti-Beijing sentiment is shifting focus away from Hong Kong’s real problems

1476ed798b8ab46fc87115a950cfc9c7Hong Kong saw another big demonstration on July 1, when more than 100,000 people marched against the local government and Beijing. Despite having established an even closer economic relationship with mainland China since the handover, anti-Beijing sentiment has now become prevalent in the special administrative region.

But this is a manufactured problem. Beijing has been adhering to the “one country, two systems” policy on Hong Kong since 1997. Interference in Hong Kong affairs has been minimal. Instead, Beijing has offered tremendous assistance and support during difficult times. Read more…

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China’s Take on Vietnam’s Dispute with China in the S. China Sea

July 3rd, 2014 5 comments

Recently, the Western media has been ablaze with Vietnam’s confrontation with China in the S. China Sea over an oil rig.  I thought it’s a good time for me to reference two documents that presents China’s side of the story.

First is an article by Ling Dequan in People’s Daily titled “Truth about South China Sea dispute.” Here is a copy.

Updated: 2014-06-14 09:17

Vietnam says it has evidence to prove its claim in South China Sea but is ignoring own historical documents that vindicate China’s position

Vietnam has been using China-Vietnam clashes in the South China Sea, and distorting facts, fanning passions and playing up the “China threat” theory, to vilify China. Ignoring the overall development of Beijing-Hanoi relationship, Vietnam is pretending to be a “victim” in the South China Sea dispute, saying it is prepared to seek international arbitration on the issue.

Vietnamese leaders have said that they have enough historical evidence to justify Vietnam’s sovereignty over “Huangsha” and “Changsha” islands, claiming that Vietnam has been the “master” of the two islands since the 17th century. It seems like they have lifted their remarks straight out of a white paper “Truth of China-Vietnam Relationship over 30 Years”, issued by the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry in 1979 when bilateral ties were not normal. Worse, almost all the arguments in that 1979 document were copied from a “white paper” issued by the Saigon-based puppet South Vietnam regime (or the Republic of Vietnam) in February 1974.

Now the Vietnamese leaders, using the so-called historical documents, are trying to claim that Vietnam’s “Huangsha” and “Changsha” islands are actually China’s Xisha Islands and Nansha Islands. The fact is that, the islands recorded in Vietnamese documents refer to some other islands surrounding Vietnam instead of the Xisha and Nansha islands.
Read more…

The Ugly Side Shows Through from the US “Soft Power” Experiment: Freedom in Exporting Extremism.

July 2nd, 2014 No comments

Take away the more obvious examples of “Arab Spring”, where US and other Western nations were literally sending violent extremists who wanted to join “jihad” in places like Syria, which now culminating in the same extremists armed with US supplied weapons forming into groups like ISIS and streaming across into Northern Iraq, creating a visible blow back against the Western powers that initiated this whole catastrophic reaction.

No, there are other signs of more obvious direct exporting of extremist ideologies, in the recent push for US “soft power”, which are devastating developing nations, with funding from the US government, in the name of “freedom”.

None of it has any thing to do with “freedom” or “democracy”, but all about destruction of poor nations and imposing Western morality (some even outdated ones) to control/maintain Western footholds.

Read more…

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HK’s “civil referendum”, a giant farce in details

July 2nd, 2014 38 comments

Much touted lately is the “civil referendum” conducted in HK, which resulted in nearly 800,000 votes cast.

It makes good headline news among the choir of anti-China media, but in detail, the number breaks down into farce in extreme details:

Read more…

US professors urge Western universities to end ties to China’s Confucius Institutes

June 30th, 2014 126 comments

aaupXenophobia and myopia knows no bounds, especially in America’s highly politicized and ideological and indoctrinating universities.  This has now manifested itself in AAUP’s call for American universities to end or modify their sponsoring of Confucius Institutes in the U.S.

In a statement, the AAUP said:

Globalization has brought new challenges for the protection of academic freedom and other faculty rights. In the operations of North American universities in other countries, administrators often refer to local customs, practices, and laws to justify practices that the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) would not tolerate on North American campuses. In 2009, our two organizations adopted a joint statement—On Conditions of Employment at Overseas Campuses—setting forth appropriate employment standards for overseas campuses of North American universities and stating our commitment to see that those standards are met.

Globalization has also meant that university administrators have welcomed involvement of foreign governments, corporations, foundations, and donors on campuses in North America. These relationships have often been beneficial. But occasionally university administrations have entered into partnerships that sacrificed the integrity of the university and its academic staff. Exemplifying the latter are Confucius Institutes, now established at some ninety colleges and universities in the United States and Canada.  Confucius Institutes function as an arm of the Chinese state and are allowed to ignore academic freedom. Their academic activities are under the supervision of Hanban, a Chinese state agency which is chaired by a member of the Politburo and the vice-premier of the People’s Republic of China. Most agreements establishing Confucius Institutes feature nondisclosure clauses and unacceptable concessions to the political aims and practices of the government of China. Specifically, North American universities permit Confucius Institutes to advance a state agenda in the recruitment and control of academic staff, in the choice of curriculum, and in the restriction of debate.
Read more…

“They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption.”

June 26th, 2014 1 comment

“They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption.  For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. – 2 Peter 2:19

I am not religious, but I find some prophecies appropriately poetic to our times.

False Prophets and Teachers

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell[a] and committed them to chains[b] of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgement; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;[c] and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked(for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials,[d] and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgement,10 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.

Bold and wilful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, 11 whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgement against them before the Lord. 12 But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, 13 suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, revelling in their deceptions,[e] while they feast with you. 14 They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children!15 Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, 16 but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.

17 These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. 18 For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom,but they themselves are slaves[f] of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. 20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”

Read more…

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Why Asia Should Say No to Mr. Abe’s Vision of International Law for Asia

June 25th, 2014 2 comments

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe[Editor's note: the English version of post was first posted on Huffington Post and can be found here; and the Chinese version can be found on Guancha.cn here]

SHANGHAI — A few weeks ago at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Shinzo Abe made a bold pitch to Asia to buy in on a new type of Japanese leadership. According to Mr. Abe, the peace that is at the foundation of the Asia Pacific’s unprecedented growth can no longer be guaranteed. Without naming China by name, Mr. Abe warns of a new danger that looms on the horizon. The Asia Pacific needs Japanese leadership and a new affirmation of “international law.”

These are heavy words for uncertain times. But should Asia buy in? In his speech, Mr. Abe talked extensively about The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, declaring his government’s strong support of the Philippines and Vietnam in their claims against China.

From China’s view, this was a provocative and dangerous articulation of law. China has never taken any actions or made any claims in the South China Sea that limits the freedom of passage. That is made abundantly clear with China’s ratification of the UNCLOS in 1982 and its signing of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in 2002 reaffirming its “respect for and commitment to the freedom of navigation in and overflight above the South China Sea.” Read more…

Deconstructing Japan’s Claim of Sovereignty over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands

June 25th, 2014 No comments

In addition to our post on “The Inconvenient Truth Behind the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands” by Han-Yi Shaw, the article “Deconstructing Japan’s Claim of Sovereignty over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands” by Ivy Lee and Fang Ming in Japan Focus is also worth reading.  The Shaw article focuses more on the political history surrouding the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands while the Lee-Ming article focuses more on the legal history.

Here is a link to Lee and Ming’s article.

Below is a pdf we archived on our site.

If China and the U.S.-led Hegemonic Block Ever Gets into a War, the War Started this Way … with a Lie…

June 24th, 2014 5 comments

The U.S. is know for lying about everything to start wars that destroy lives, peoples, nations… (see e.g. the book titled “War is a Lie”).  That has been clearly the case for Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Syria… perhaps also Sudan.

But is the U.S. also sowing the seeds, planting the lies, to justify it going to war with China?  With all my heart, I certainly hope not.  But here is an article in Forbes by Stephen Harner, written in response to New York Times’ recent editorial titled “Roaring on the Seas China’s Power Grab Is Alarming”, that brings up how the U.S. may be planting seeds of lies everywhere to pave exactly the path.

I have to say, I agree with most of what Harner has to say.  I hope most Americans understand that there is much good will among ordinary Chinese for the U.S., but I hope the American public will also understand that if the U.S. continues to hype China as the enemy, it will inevitably be pushed to become one.  Here is a copy of Harner’s article: Read more…

Chinese Government Tightens Constraints on Press Freedom

June 20th, 2014 1 comment

Oh no … the Chinese government is at it again.  The New York Times is running on its front page today an article with the ominous title “Chinese Government Tightens Constraints on Press Freedom.”  Here is the full text of the article.

HONG KONG — China introduced new restrictions on what the government has called “critical” news articles and barred Chinese journalists from doing work outside their beats or regions, putting further restraints on reporters in one of the world’s most controlled news media environments.

Reporters in China must now seek permission from their employers before undertaking “critical reports” and are barred from setting up their own websites, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television announced in new rules Wednesday.

Read more…

Chinese Guanxi

June 17th, 2014 24 comments

I thought the following exchanges from Black Phoenix and United Chinese Diaspora in a recent thread were very insightful and thought would put that as a post.

Is guanxi really an exotic leftover from an old decadent tradition – as many people, including I, blindingly believed?  Or is it ever-present among us … in “modernity”? Read more…

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Turning a New Chapter

June 16th, 2014 1 comment

I am retracting this post.  It think it’s premature.  I think even if I stop blogging, the least I can do is to maintain the blog and platform.  That won’t take too much time.

As for why I wrote this post, it’s really not about blogging, but my (childish?) desire to do things that matter more.  But as I read Black Phoenix comments in this post and colin’s comment here, I think I really ought to accept the fact that that most people work in obscurity.

Since I am not doing this for money … or fame, I should continue to blog as long as I feel what I write has some enlightening effect.

Of course, I also want to tell people here that I don’t do this for a living, so when I am silent, please don’t think it’s my flaw.  I am just juggling like everyone all the priorities of life.

So, for now, I am not quitting.  But even if I do end up quitting, I will make sure the blog stays here … or that someone passionate takes over. Read more…

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5 Popular Misconceptions about the Sino-Russian Gas Deal

June 1st, 2014 3 comments

The conclusion of a 30-year, 38 BCM/year Sino-Russian gas deal has gotten considerable attention in the media recently. Not surprisingly, much of the coverage – especially in the western media – was emotionally charged, given that Putin’s visit to China & the deal signing coincided with the unfolding crisis in Ukraine. There was no shortage of rhetoric about Putin “making Russia a resource appendage of China” for “good PR”, as if being a resource appendage of the West is so much better. The tirade of rhetoric against this deal reminds me of the type of propaganda we saw when China started boosting trade and investment in Africa. This post will address some of the biggest misconceptions being propagated in the western (& even Russian) mainstream media, and seek to draw conclusions based on facts, rather than anti-Chinese xenophobia. This is a lengthy post, so for those who are not interested in the details, the bold text will give you an adequate summary.
Read more…

Tiananmen and Freedom of Speech

May 31st, 2014 24 comments

FreedomIn the lead up to the “25th Anniversary” of the Tienanmen Square Incident of 1989, we are hearing everything again of how a great sad chapter of Chinese history has been – and continue – to be covered up. A politically activist museum even opened in Hong Kong earlier this month. Old, tired politically activists are freshly interviewed by the major Western media outlets again (Guo Jian by FT, for example). New books are published, as reported, for example, in this Washington Post piece.

Even though times have changed, the narrative has not. As 1989 fades ever back further to memory, Western pundits try to re-frame the issue more and more as a current freedom of speech issue. In the Washington Post piece linked above, for example, it is reported:

The contours of today’s brash, powerful China were shaped by decisions made in the immediate aftermath of the Tiananmen crackdown.

China’s leaders are personally vulnerable because they trace their lineage to the winners of the power struggle that cleaved their party in 1989. … The party’s ultimate goal is ensuring its own survival, and it has clearly decided that it needs to keep a lid on discussion about Tiananmen in public, in private and in cyberspace.

China’s online censors are busy scrubbing allusions, no matter how elliptical, to June 4. As the anniversary nears, judging by precedents set in recent years, the list of banned words and terms will grow to include “64,” “today,” “that year,” “in memory of” and even “sensitive word.” History is apparently so dangerous that China’s version of Wikipedia, Baidu Baike, does not have an entry for the entire year of 1989.

Just days ago, I stumbled across “Tiananmen,” written by the British poet James Fenton less than two weeks after the bloody repression. A quarter-century later, his words are still true, perhaps more so even than before.

 “Tiananmen

And you can’t tell

Where the dead have been

And you can’t tell

What happened then

And you can’t speak

Of Tiananmen.”

Read more…

A New U.S. China Diplomatic Row a la Devyani Khobragade?

May 20th, 2014 12 comments

uncle-same-espionageYesterday, the U.S. Justice Department indicted five Chinese nationals of the Chinese military, living in China, with cyber espionage in the U.S. against American companies.  China has reacted emphatically, calling the allegations trumped up and hypocritical (see, e.g., this xinhua article).

According to this Washington Post Report,

The Justice Department has indicted five members of the Chinese military on charges of hacking into computers and stealing valuable trade secrets from leading steel, nuclear plant and solar power firms, marking the first time that the United States has leveled such criminal charges against a foreign country.

The landmark case paves the way for more indictments and demonstrates that the United States is serious about holding foreign governments accountable for crimes committed in cyberspace, officials said at a news conference Monday.

The Obama administration “will not tolerate actions by any nation that seeks to illegally sabotage American companies and undermine the integrity of fair competition in the operation of the free market,” Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said.

The criminal charges provoked a response from Beijing, which said Monday that it was suspending high-level cyber talks with the United States that began in June.

China has summoned the U.S. ambassador over the hacking charges. According to an online notice posted Tuesday by state-run Xinhua on Weibo, Assistant Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang summoned Abassador Max Baucus to complain that U.S. authorities published their indictment ignoring the strong protests by Chinese authorities. Read more…

Two (Minor) Chinese Fishermen Returned from Phillipines Deny Poaching Sea Turtles

May 17th, 2014 1 comment

When the story of the Philippines Police arresting Chinese fishermen for illegally fishing sea turtles in Half Moon Shoal broke a few days ago, I immediately read saw in the news that families of fishermen highly doubt the veracity of that story since the fishermen did not leave with equipment to poach turtles…

Well, here are a few more details from xinhua.

QIONGHAI, Hainan, May 15 (Xinhua) — Two Chinese fishermen released by Philippine authorities have said that sea turtles they were accused of poaching were actually traded from a Vietnamese fishing boat.

“When we got caught by the Philippine police, it’s true that there were dozens of sea turtles on our vessel, but we had exchanged them with Vietnamese fishermen for food,” said Li Xianghui, one of the two fishermen released by a Philippine court earlier this week because they were found to be minors. Read more…

Some actual HK Data of HK people misbehaving, in need of outrage by HK people

May 2nd, 2014 25 comments

So, for a while now since the “peegate” stories spread on the internet via some angry HK’ers following mainland tourists around with cameras, I have wondered, why was this such a huge deal in HK?

Afterall, NYC subway smell like pee.  If you googled “NY peeing”, you get videos of public urination in NY.

So, then the question is, how clean are the HK people?  (I have been to some small alleys in HK, and they were not that clean).

So, I finally stumbled upon this good collection of data, tabulated by the Public Housing Estate of HK, which issued fines and warnings against HK public housing tenants, from 2003 to 2011.

http://www.legco.gov.hk/yr11-12/english/panels/hg/papers/hg0206cb1-948-4-e.pdf

Among the data, there were lots of minor stuff (category A and B offenses).

“Spitting” and “public urination” are in the more serious (C category), but there is also a D category.

 

Marking Scheme Summary (1.8.2003 – 31.12.2011)
Misdeeds Category Warning

- number of cases.

C1 Throwing objects from height that jeopardise environmental hygiene – 684

C2 Spitting in public areas – 1 412

C3 Urinating and defecating in public places – 11

Read more…

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On the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) Between the U.S. and Phillipines

April 29th, 2014 5 comments

 

Obama and Aquino Toasts

Obama and Aquino Toasts

The U.S. and Phillipines leadership would like to portray their new relationship as rosy, strategic and deep.  On the street though, talking to the average Joe, one might get a very different impression.

Billed as the cornerstone of growing US and the Philippines strategic partnership and of the U.S. pivot back to Asia, the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the U.S. and Philippines has been touted as the highlight of the meeting of President Obama and President Aquino in Manila this week. The official line is broadcast to the world even though many in Philippine vehemently oppose the agreement (see e.g. this response from BAYAN).  Many Filipinos still remember the 1.5 million or so who died during the brutal US conquest of the Philippines in the early part of the 20th century, and they do not want the U.S. to have any military presence on Philippines soil again. Read more…

A Buried History of Taiwan

April 26th, 2014 7 comments

Chen mingzhong

This is the preface of the book titled Memoir of Chen Mingzhong (陈明忠回忆录) written by Lu Zhenghui (吕正惠) who is a university professor at Taiwan Tamkang University (淡江大学), the editor was Lin Na (李娜). Chen Mingzhong has been an activist in Taiwan since the 1950s. I feel that this part of Taiwan’s history is so well buried that it needs to be better known. In the following translation, I left out the part regarding the process of editing the book. Read more…

Categories: history, human rights, Translation Tags: