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 4 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 27 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:

Obama Asia tour: US-Japan treaty ‘covers disputed islands’ – A Case of Dipping into One’s Savings to Live Large?

April 25th, 2014 4 comments
Obama makes toast to Emperor and Empress of Japan

Obama makes toast to Emperor and Empress of Japan

It’s never good to dip into one’s savings just to live large.  Gluttony and largess – when one can ill afford it – is foolish … and a sign of decadence.  To me, the U.S. so-called pivot to Asia – emblemized by President Obama’s trip to Japan – represents just that.

The New York Times – even with its usual spin PR in over-drive – already calls the trip a “setback.”  In an article titled “Obama Suffers Setbacks in Japan and the Mideast,” the Times reported:

TOKYO — President Obama encountered setbacks to two of his most cherished foreign-policy projects on Thursday, as he failed to achieve a trade deal that undergirds his strategic pivot to Asia and the Middle East peace process suffered a potentially irreparable breakdown.

Mr. Obama had hoped to use his visit here to announce an agreement under which Japan would open its markets in rice, beef, poultry and pork, a critical step toward the trade pact. But Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was not able to overcome entrenched resistance from Japan’s farmers in time for the president’s visit.

This trip was supposed to show that the U.S. is back – and that the pivot is back on track.  Yet, on the Washington Post, you will not see any article on Obama’s Japan trip on the top (home) page.  On New York Times Home Page, you see just one (the one linked above) – with that one lamenting the visit’s failure.

If the “pivot” is back, it seems hard to tell.  The U.S. seems distracted by other world events in Middle East Ukraine. Read more…

Helmut Schmidt: won’t sell Democracy to China

April 23rd, 2014 9 comments

The following link is an interview of Helmut Schmidt. It’s rare and refreshing to see a Western politician speaking so freely and honestly about Democracy. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/01/china-democracy_n_5067120.html
 
Based on the above interview, Bill, a thoughtful friend of mine, pretends to be an interlocutor shadowing Herr Helmut Schmidt with his own comments, excerpted from the interview. The result is well worth sharing:
 
Schmidt:

I think it is astonishing and encouraging that you are required to change the leadership every 10 years and that you replace the elder leaders by younger ones. Nobody stays in power any more as long as Mao of Deng.
On the other hand as a foreigner, as the European as I am, I really have no in depth knowledge of Xi Jinping, and I don’t know what kind of people he has surrounded himself with.

Bill:
 
One can compare China leadership selection and term limits with the world largest democracy India and world’s most powerful, the US. Even when a leader is voted out of power, the political dynasties of Ghandis, Longs, Roosevelts, Rockefellers, Kennedys, Harrimans, Bushes, etc. continue to exercise power. Family dynasties dominating established democracies morph into ossified institutions as enterprises, foundations and think tanks. They never have to share power with voters or pay attention to their grievances of social inequality. Someone like Sheldon Adelson and Koch brothers give hundreds of millions every two years to hire and fire politicians to consolidate their personal and family influence.  One-man-one-vote is often just environmental noise in democratic politics.
 
China tries hard not falling into this trap. But her chance of success is also in doubt. Xi Jinping’s chooses his own advisors. However, all leaders, democratic or authoritarian, are beholden to kingmakers and the most powerful stakeholders. They could make or break Xi, though to a large extent he is less vulnerable than Western politicians. The 10-year term limit is meant to give Chinese leaders a longer leash to experiment. However well intended and altruistic, Mr. Xi must move the country forward in the next 10 years. That means he is still constrained by many rules of the perpetual power game. History may glorify leaders’ selflessness. Yet human condition and initial conditions of nations to a large extent define all leadership and social agendas.
 
Getting real on my end is not the same as being cynical. Mr. Xi’s leadership effectiveness should be determined by a 10-year report card, not by the propaganda of Western media. Read more…

Malaysia Airline MH370 – American Media Fanning the Flame Wars

April 22nd, 2014 5 comments

MH370 SearchApril 15 is tax day for most Americans.  It is the deadline for Americans – rich or poor – to file and pay their taxes.  But this year, it appears, it is also smear China day.  You may think with so much things going on in the world, things to do, that perhaps for this one day, China might be spared unnecessary smearing.  But it is not to be so.

Last week, on April 15, both New York Times and Wall Street Journal ran two underhanded articles on China, assigning the blem for the unfruitful search for missing Malaysian airline MH370 squarely on China.  Both papers reported that China was in big on the search for MH370 not necessarily because a majority of the victims were Chinese citizens, but really because Chinese leaders wanted to show off their new technology wares – to grab the International spotlight to to show off.  Unfortunately, the Chinese bumbling not only made China look bad, but may have actually stymied the search. Read more…

Questioning Democracy Goes Mainstream?

April 10th, 2014 5 comments

What’s going on? Criticising the occult of Democracy has suddenly gone mainstream?

Just within the past few weeks, I’ve read, with utter disbelief, first in The Economist, then The Washington Post, warnings that Democracy could collapse unless reformed. Even Professor Francis Fukuyama, writer of “The End of History and the Last Man” who declared liberal democracy to be the ultimate political model of mankind, has joined rank. It’s like witnessing the Vatican expressing doubt over the Genesis.

I’ve listed the links of these incredible but excellent essays, plus a couple of my old blasphemous pieces which questioned the viability of Democracy, especially when coupled with extreme capitalism and mass petulance. Hey, these “eccentric and cynical” views are now kinda mainstream! I still find it difficult to take in, and wonder what the catch is. . .

IN RESPECTABLE AND PREDICTABLE MEDIA

1) Democracy in Trouble? (The Economist)

http://www.economist.com/news/essays/21596796-democracy-was-most-successful-political-idea-20th-century-why-has-it-run-trouble-and-what-can-be-do

2) American Democracy Headed to Extinction (The Washington Post)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/is-american-democracy-headed-to-extinction/2014/03/28/f8084fbe-aa34-11e3-b61e-8051b8b52d06_story.html

3) 弗朗西斯·福山:美国政治制度结构特征的问题

http://www.guancha.cn/fu-lang-xi-si-fu-shan/2014_04_08_220260.shtml

A COUPLE OF MY OLD PIECES

4) Democracy Mission — A Conspiracy Theory

http://guo-du.blogspot.hk/2011/02/democracy-mission-conspiracy-theory.html

5) Democracy Debate and Chinaman’s House (a satirical flash fiction)

http://guo-du.blogspot.hk/2012/11/democracy-debate-and-chinamans-house.html

Categories: Opinion, politics Tags:

Taiwan’s Student Mob?

April 9th, 2014 8 comments

Taiwan ProtestThis is a belated post.  I have been busy with a project at work the last couple of weeks…  Still, I believe what I have to say is still relevant.

It appears that the student protest occupying the Legislative Yuan the last 2-3 weeks is coming to an end.  Depending on which media you read, the significance of the protest meant different things.

Some think this is just a purely economical issue.  The Taiwanese students are not happy with the trade agreements agreed upon but not yet signed into law between the Mainland and Taiwanese side.  This is understandable.  College graduates in Taiwan has had a tough time getting (good) employment this past several years (decade?).  Many – unfortunately – have come to feel protectionism – legal protection from globalism – is the best way to “compete” in the global economy.

However, this is oversimplification.   If you listen to the speeches and talks within the protest, you have no doubt this is about partisan politics between KMT and DPP – and also emotional politics invoked against the Mainland.  As I noted earlier in a comment in another thread, the main impetus of the protest is not about economics, but about the uneasy unsettled status of Mainland-Taiwan relations.  The real reason is unification/independence politics.

But if this is all there is to the protest, I’d not write this post – as there is not much for me personally to write about.  It’s just about normal democratic politicking – built upon base politics, misinformation, distortion, emotional rants, hateful or divisive rhetoric, and what I might call ethno/religious/identity politicking. Read more…

American lackeys of Hong Kong: Martin Lee & Anson Chan

April 7th, 2014 14 comments
It seemed that there is no unending support from NED to ‘help’ Hong Kong’s democracy.  They have brought Martin Lee & Anson Chan with meetings in Washington and Congress in order to get their 15 minutes of fame and go back to destabilize Hong Kong some more.
 
 
In 5:15 American Lackey Anson Chan says: “We are facing an identity crisis in Hong Kong, particularity in the younger generation, people born after 1987 which never known alive than Chinese sovereignty.  Hong Kong people pride themselves that we have an identity a separate from the rest of China, we have core values to the rule of law, a open transparent and accountable government, and protecting rights and freedoms under British colonial rule and is protected under the constitution. But today we see all these values eroded.”
 
Clearly Mrs Chan who has worked under the old British Colonial rule agrees with this and want to go back the ‘glory days’ in old Colonial days.  As far as I know, the Chief executive was appointed from someone few thousand miles away, not from people in Hong Kong.
 
Yes, we have people like Martin Lee who complains about direct democracy where they can vote for their own Chief Executive, however, he didn’t mention that under Hong Kong’s basic law, that he/she is elected by a 1200 people election committee.  Also, Hong Kong is following more like UK, Australia’s democracy where people don’t directly vote for their leader.  FYI, Martin Lee formed the ‘Democracy’ party after it was known that Hong Kong was going to be handed over to China.  
 
FYI, it didn’t take long for the American Lackey duo to appear in Western funded ‘Asian’ organizations.
 
 
Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Fact Checking US Government Propaganda On Maoming PX Protest Death

April 3rd, 2014 5 comments

It is often said Chinese government propaganda like Xinhua, People’s Daily, are highly agendaed and utterly unreliable. But how about America’s government propaganda? Here’s a recent example as illustration.

Recently, news of protesters killed in Maoming over a chemical plant made suspicious rounds – only in the usual propaganda outlets, Radio Free Asia, Voice of America, and ancillary outlets like Epoch Times, Boxun. These accusations of Chinese government killing protesters were accompanied with photos of citizen laying on the ground bleeding. However, a quick Google image-based search revealed these photos are not from the PX plant protest, but were victims of violent crime elsewhere in China:

- RFA used a photo from a hacking attack that occurred in 2012, and was subsequently regurgitated by Falun Gong outlets like Epoch Times:

RFAprop Wenzhoutruth

- VOA used a photo from a hacking attack that occurred in 2013 that was then Echo Chambered by Boxun:

VOAprop Qinhaitruth

As a loyal tax payers I am completely disappointed by how my hard earned tax dollars are misused.