It seems that the Western Paid Rioters are at it again, this time they are ‘protesting’ against the removal of Illegal food stalls in Mong Kok and starting their ‘fishball revolution.’
These Right wing rioters including the HK Indigenous, Civic Passion, Hong Kong Localism Power, Hong Kong Independence Party that has plagued Hong Kong about 18 months ago with their ‘Umbrella revolution’ threw bricks, started fires, and beat up on police and reporters. Western propaganda seems to fixate on 2 warning shots up the air. Sad on the state of Hong Kong that this kind of riots are even tolerated because if this kind of stuff would happen in America these people would be promptly jailed as terrorists.
I remember in early 1960s, I read a book of short stories of science fiction from Eastern Europe in which one portrayed the future of mankind as one bloated capitalist lamenting that he owned everything with robots manufacturing products which no one can afford to buy, in fact the planet is dying with him as the last one. I also read the Michael Lewis book “The Big Short”, in which few have any idea of the coming mortgage failures which triggered the 07-08 financial crisis.
This January the stock markets in U.S. are in turmoil. It’s estimated more than $2 trillion in wealth were lost. This also comes as a complete surprise to all experts. Some economists and market analysts blamed it on China, Chinese stock market, oil price drop, while others consider it normal and totally unreasonable, that is clueless. And the confusion extends to politics. On one hand Donald Trump dominating the Republican polls, with him wanting to impose 45% tariffs on Chinese imports, build a wall to keep out Mexicans and Muslims. On the other hand Bernie Sanders threatening to impose socialism policies on Wall Street and the polls have him leading Hillary Clinton on the Democrats. With Iowa Caucus 10 days away, how do we connect the dots to make any sense?
Marx in his analysis of Capital foretold the struggle between capital and labor, the spreading chasm between rich and poor, the income inequality, globalization, extraction of surplus value from labor and nature to the detriment of both, and eventually the lack of investment opportunities and diminishing return with profit as motive. Now that his predictions seem to all come to pass one by one. Wages for U.S. workers have been stagnant for the last 40 years. Supreme Court is about to deal a crippling blow to government labor unions by making union due check off no longer mandatory in those few states that allow them. People are angry and turn both to right and left. Despite some positive responses to $15 minimum wages in some cities, I suspect U.S. may be turned to billionaires ruling directly rather than proxy as Trump triumphs.
The writing has been on the wall for KMT’s chances in the election this time around for some time. As I had discussed earlier, the battle between DPP and KMT in the 2016 election is not about independence vs. status quo as it had been 8 years back when Taiwan elected Ma Ying-jeou, or 16 years ago when Taiwan elected Chen Shui-Bian. That battle had been won long ago, with this time everyone agreeing that the status quo is the way to go. The battle this time around is about economics, about what to do with Taiwan’s stagnant wages and rising home prices.
Of course, there are plenty of symbolism that DPP – and hence Tsai – still stands for independence. DPP’s charter, for example, still officially endorses independence. Tsai has also been purposely demure and vague about her stance toward the Mainland, including her public avoidance of acknowledging the 1992 Consensus on the one-China policy.
But I think it’s possible all that is just symbolism. Given that it’s election season, and that the 1992 Consensus include details that allowed both sides to interpret things slightly differently under the broad rubric of a one China policy, I think it’s perhaps understandable Tsai want to do everything to avoid the specter of getting pinned into one specific or another interpretation.
The real reason KMT lost is because it has not properly addressed the following political trends. Read more…
Moral Universalism, as often headlined by “Universal Human Rights”, is the philosophical concept that some Universal moral standard applies universally to all individuals, regardless of their culture, race, religion, gender, nationality, etc.
Yet, in implementation, Moral Universalism and “Universal Human Rights” have led to a kind of twisted moral standard, where collateral damage of millions of lives in wars are justified, but giving economic aid to starving “dictatorships” is wrong.
How was this possible? I point to no further than an example of the “affluenza teen”, who killed several people while driving drunk, and yet his defense argued “affluenza”, a medical condition that he didn’t know right from wrong.
New York Times editorial board published an editorial this morning trying to give advice that’s so laughable and I immediately wrote a comment to rebut them.
“I think NYT should have more editorials about the direction of U.S. economy and government policies than China’s. What you complain about China doesn’t really hold water.
1. Despite the trigger of stock market breakers, the Shanghai stock composite at the beginning of 2016 is little changed compare with beginning of 2015, and compare with SP500 at U.S., the performance is similar.
2. Paul Krugman has been complaining of under stimulation in U.S.. The package is insufficient for generating higher growth in U.S.. Now the high speed trains in China might not generate sufficient return in dollars. It has generated social functions unimaginable by your editorial writers. It has knitted the country together in a closer entity with reasonable fares for internal tourism. I wish U.S. has similar trains instead of all the potholes in the highways.
3. China has plenty of weapons to tackle the higher debt compare to U.S.. She can use the QE to reduce the debt cost. Unlike U.S., now with interest rate rising and debt cost rising. Of course the transition of heavy industries to green energies will take time, but I am sure in 10 years, U.S. will marvel how clean the air of Beijing will be.
4. The so called currency devaluation is more a mirage of U.S. dollar strength than a Yuan weakness. For Yuan compare with basket of currencies used by IMF it actually strengthened. It also is a temporary condition with oil in the $30 range. Don’t expect it will last.”
Space prevent me from making all the points. Here I like to expound more on the question of investing for the future. By orthodox economic theory, investing something like railroad to Tibet makes no economic sense by return of asset. Yet for military, strategic, or the need of people it’s invaluable. The same is true for all the infrastructures of highways and high speed trains. Capitalists count the dollars and cents. Is it profitable to invest in education and health? Republicans here say no, and that’s a debate NYT should be engaging.
Why is US /NATO so concerned about the undersea cables for internet? Because they “carry more than 95 percent of daily communications”??!
How can they “carry more than 95 percent of daily communications” on the internet??!! Considering most users and most popular websites are based in US?
It would be an interesting admission, only if most of the daily internet traffic of US is being channeled elsewhere.
Oddly enough, that confirmed what Edward Snowden had revealed, that US government has ordered most ISP’s to redirect traffic to outside US for the purpose of electronic surveillance of internet traffic.
If you see this page. You have reached our new server. If you see things that appear wrong, please let me know, so I can fix them. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a shakeout period for me to see how this new server works for us.
If you are logging in to comment, you may notice that our SSL certificate is out of date. We are working with the host on resolving that issue and other issues.
Over the last year or so, we’ve had several outages even though our traffic was modest. In the next couple of days, I will be periodically putting the site on read-only maintenance mode (where you won’t be able to log in and comment) since I may also be moving the site to a new host. Things should be back to normal by December 24, 2015.
I wish people and governments around the world also think about returning back to China the thousands and thousands of stolen cultural relics that have been looted from China the last century or two. When one takes the politics out, one can see this as the only virtuous thing to do. But alas, when it comes to facing to history of the last few centuries, so many in the West become so self-righteous and indignant.
Still, we can hope and dream … one day … Read more…
With China’s stupendous achievements from the last 35 years it would seem petty to complain about problems accompanies the growth. Yet Xi and his leadership group face some structural problems in reforms necessarily to transform Capitalism to her eventual goal of Socialism. Last month Beijing University named a new building after Karl Marx, and hosted first of hopefully many more conferences of Marx scholars from around the world. Xi has revisited his old home in Yan’an when he was a teenager and invoked Mao’s speech in 1942 in Yan’an Forum on art and literature. There are palpable worries from liberals in the West that Xi might be another Mao in waiting.
Since Xi assumed power, his major focus is on fighting corruption at various levels of government, party, and military. Yet as major cases shown it is not easy as corruption has grown to be integral part of society, intertwined with roots stretching beyond easy reach and facing pushbacks that threaten his own hold on power. Various special interests under the slogan “To be rich is glorious” has married power to money with few immune to the lure of lucre. Xi’s fight against corruption is popular in China, yet it raises unrealistic expectation that threaten the mantra of social stability. An example was the collapse of school buildings during the Szechuan earthquake. It is easy to play the blame game after the fact. Grieving parents together with other public personalities were a powerful force, but can you dig deep enough to affect not only the contractors, but government official and everyone involved? Xi’s solution is trying to contain the investigation of corruption to major ones, a somewhat amnesty for minor past misdeeds and crack down on new or egregious cases. Events seem to expose the inadequacy of this strategy. Tianjin chemical explosions, red alert for smog in Beijing, and now the Shenzhen landslide show that laws is powerless against the collusion of power and money.
I applaud what Xi and his leadership group is attempting. Reducing inequality by health care for everyone, social security for rural farmers, continuing urbanization with household registration open to migrant workers, subsidized and reduced price to sell excess apartments to them, new changes in 1 child policy, reducing military by 300,000 and divorce military from profit and business. Reduce pollution and for a greener less CO2 future, the list is endless and daunting. Compare them with the coming GOP contenders in U.S., where evolution and climate warming are denied, it’s obvious future lies with China. Yet all these will not be possible without a socialist ethic, and Mao looms over it. China has to deal with the legacy of Mao and CR, avoiding or ignoring them will not do. Whatever the positives or negatives must be analyzed and examples learned.
The career of Yu Yonjun is instructive. He rose to became governor of Shanxi province from 2005-2007. He purposed zero growth for coal and steel production there, and closed thousands of small inefficient coal mines which exploited labor and were unsafe. He wanted to protect the environment and made powerful enemies in party bureaucracy and coal barons. He was a most popular governor there, yet he lost his job due to the scandal he exposed in coal mines. I think there are 3-4 more governors there since he left and none were successful. He’s now retired and hired as a professor in a southern university. He gave a series of lectures on CR recently and probably triggered sensitive nerves and called to Beijing for conference.
International law is defined by consensus but ultimately decided by “reality on the ground”. Each claimant nation of South China Sea island should have absolute faith and belief in their position before submitting any claim. That is not wrong. However, each nation should be realistic. To have the notion that “my claim is more legitimate than your claim” is counter productive. And to have this illusion that somehow “world opinion” is backing your claim make it even more laughable. Read more…
When news arose that the killings in San Bernardino last Thursday was probably terrorist related – that the perpetrators Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik had praised “Allah” and pledged allegiance to ISIS moments before they started their rampage – attention quickly shifted to the Muslim communities for their reactions.
Soon enough, civic and religious leaders of the Muslim communities rolled forward to condemn the attack in no uncertain terms. They called the acts horrific and uncivilized and not in line with their religious or social values.
But talking to my Muslim friends privately, I also get a very real sense of fear. Read more…
The Hague via peopleint.files.wordpress.com/2012/07
[Editor’s Note: This is a cross-post of an article I submitted to the Diplomat a few weeks ago. I am wrapping up a more detailed legal analysis of the issues and aim to make it a law review article. I will cross-post here too that once that has been submitted and accepted.]
As a science fiction fan Star Trek was one of my favorite, especially the “Prime Directive” which prohibit interference of other cultures and their developments. Of course it was a doctrine more in violation than its strict adherence since this was entertainment. Recently there was an outcry in Weibo when China joined a few others in voting against an U.N. Assembly motion on Syria. China has been following a Prime Directive like policy in against interference in the internal affairs of other countries. Of course this policy is somewhat defensive and ridiculed by West, but let me expound this a little more here.
China historically has been a non expansionary power. With deserts north, oceans east, mountains west, and south jungles and diseases, China prides in calling herself The Middle Kingdom. Geography maybe a limiting factor, yet at the height of power in Ming Dynasty, admiral Chen Ho with his mighty fleet visited various kingdoms south and west not for conquest, but more as curiosity gatherings. Philosophically, Taoism preaches harmony with nature, and Confucianism morality within. China has been defensive power since Han dynasty more than 2,000 years. It maybe psychologically better to gain pyrrhic victories with punishing expeditionary forces north, but much better for treasury and society by marrying off some women dressed as princesses or even some real princesses to tribal Hun chiefs and the use of the Great Wall.
With the Opium Wars China was forced to face the outside world and the resulting century of humiliation. Mao was a military genius in securing the surrender of local warlords from Xinjiang and ruling aristocracy from Tibet, both outside forces tried to pry away even today. Today with the market reforms and freer movements of internal population I suspect it’s only a matter of time modernization will resolve those problems to the disappointment of West. As for South China Sea, the name should have tell West something. When West stirred up nationalism in China, it should expect blowback. If Vietnam and Philippines are willing to negotiate seriously with China rather than wasting treasury to arm race with China, I expect China will be willing to settle Spratly Islands to status quo for join controls. Philippines especially is unwise to confront China, with the climate warming and yearly increasing exposure to typhoons, most of those islets will be under the sea, and rentals from former Clark Airbase or Subic Bay Naval base will gain her little.
For the last 60 years, even during the height of Cultural Revolution, China has a policy of none intervention of internal affairs of other nations. It may be a necessity before, but China still adheres to it now she’s strong, and from the experiences of U.S. in Middle East, bankrupting treasury while generating enemies all over, I suspect Prime Directive is more than a wise policy in real world.
Ever since Obama has became president in 2009, Obama has taken a different stance towards maintaining its global hegemony. Bush II’s tactics is to take over countries like Iraq and Afghanistan and rebuilding the countries. Obama’s tactics is to fund or promote 3rd parties to do their work for them. Obama’s Asian Pivot policy is to promote other countries like Vietnam, Philippines and Japan as a bulwark towards China to maintain US’ influence in the Pacific. In the Middle east however, Obama’s policy is different than Bush’s policy to fund terrorist/extermists groups to do their dirty work.
Just like America funded the Mujahideen to fight the Soviets in the 1980’s, Obama’s tactics is to fund radical Islamists to overthrow or destabilize countries in the Middle East like in Libya and Syria but Obama is short sighted in its consequences. Unlike Bush, Obama wants to change unfavorable regimes on the cheap and has no desire to rebuild those countries. As the result, this created a flood of new refugees from these war torn regions coming to many Western countries. Many European were open to this option but increasing number of terrorist attacks in their cities like the recent one in Paris and now trying to stop this ISIS plague from spreading to its countries by stopping immigration to their countries.
America on the other hand has no problems letting ISIS operate because of all the oil revenue they generate from Syria, Libya and Iraq. America was ‘bombing’ ISIS for a whole year but ISIS operated openly in relative calm in Raqqa, Syria.
Now these very same Western Politicans start waking to the notion of trying to stop terrorist attacks from coming to its shores and realized the blowback they have created. Many people in European and the US now start to rethink their strategy of fighting ISIS rather than trying to fund these very same terrorists to try to get rid of Assad.
I think it is about time for some lighthearted subject matter. I have written awhile back that China’s so-called censorship does not stop creativity, rather it is the lack of “environment” that is the biggest bottle neck. One can talk about innovation, creativity, freedom etc but without a viable market there would be no cutting edge artistic commercial creation. My favorite for 2015 is Monkey King: Hero is Back (西游记之大圣归来).
If you guys have kids, you should watch it with them. You will not regret it. Either way enjoy the trailer here which is in English:
When China recently announced change in 1 child policy, it was a total surprise to western observers and China experts. Some interpreted it as due to slow down in economy, labor shortages, or aging of the population. Others crowed triumphantly as failure of the population planning program, and human rights triumph over the authoritarian government. It would be pointless to rebut them here as different value systems preclude any logical meeting of mind. For example, the question of human rights for China differs from the western liberals. Here I just want to express my view over the years.
When I left China in summer of 1959, Great Leap Forward was all but over. Shortages and rationings were in full effect. I remember each has coupon entitled each adult 2 ounces of cooking oil per 10 days even in Shanghai. While one has 4 ounces of meat coupon the meat was sold out by daylight. I and other children usually wait in lines at 3 AM as adults have to work. We learned that meat lines didn’t guarantee it has meat to be sold in morning, so we usually waited on the beef stall as usually there were some supplies for Muslims as government policy favored minorities. When I was in Hong Kong during the next 2 years I read about possible famines in the newspapers. About some economist proposed population control and angered Mao. Over the years I have read about Malthus and Paul Ehrlich on zero population growth.
When China announced the 1 child policy I was fully supportive. To me it was obvious the benefits to the society, and the experience of the past 35 years validated it. It would be difficult to enforce and some tragedy was inevitable, such as forced abortions as when one is forced to live under rules they were eager that other were also. There can be no human right if people are starving, and society takes precedence over individual. I also do not want China to beg for help from the West, as advertising on TV asked donations for Care packages for famine victims in Africa which solves nothing except maybe relieve the conscience somewhat. Most people in the West consider the 1 child policy to be barbaric and violation of human rights. Yet looking at Chinese philosophical debates, even Western philosophies the society always takes precedence over individual.
When the 1 child policy was announced, it was understood that change will be necessary in 30-40 years as population stabilizes and ages. So now it comes to pass and West again trumpets the experience of India over China, democracy over authoritarianism. China growth under 7%, while India with fudging of numbers seem to better China. Green Revolution may have temporarily retarded the population problem India will face, but in 30 years I think China will stand as a shining example for all to emulate, and no one will bother to compare India to China again except maybe as a cautionary tale.
US, by claiming the right of conducting military surveillance under “freedom of navigation”, escalated the provocation by essentially the logic of “We are here with guns, what are you going to do about it?”
This story has been brewing for a while. The U.S. has been saying for months that it is going to challenge China’s “increasingly assertive claims” in the S. China Sea … militarily – by sailing warships through some of the most sensitive parts of the S. China Sea. Many have bemoaned when the U.S. appeared to deliberate and delay and delay. But yesterday, the U.S. finally sailed a destroyer right through an especially “sensitive” area of the S. China Sea – the waters surrounding Zhubi Reef – a site where China has been dredging and building artificial islands over the last few years.
I am sure the British Leadership, Cameron personally, believes that it is in the long-term interest of Britain to mend relationship with China. But I don’t believe Britain is really a “Partner of Choice.” It may be a “Partner of Convenience,” but I believe it still cares little for – has little respect for – China … except to make a buck. Read more…
New research, based on China’s aid track record from 2000-2013, shows that much of what the western media propagates about China’s intentions & practices, when it comes to providing official development aid (ODA) to Africa, is simply NOT true. “Coincidentally”, this latest research published by AidData has garnered little (if any) attention in US mainstream media outlets.
Here are a few of its findings. Those who are interested in the details should check out this new report in its entirety.
African states that align with the PRC’s stances in the UN tend to receive more development assistance.
Internal political system is not a factor for ODA allocation; the PRC does NOT favor either authoritarian or democratic governments.
For China, humanitarian need is a stronger determinant of ODA destination than natural resource development opportunities, given that Chinese ODA is more focused on poorer African countries.
Chinese ODA does NOT favor countries with higher levels of corruption.
But very soon in the West, I see popping up everywhere “straw man” arguments 1.
First, there is the line of attack that goes something like this: so what if Dr. Tu found one drug from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that turned out to work. That per se doesn’t validate the whole tradition. As this Daily Kos post noted: Read more…
From a wikipedia entry, a strawman is a common form of argument and is an informal fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent’s argument, while actually refuting an argument which was not advanced by that opponent. ↩
On the Opinion Pages of New York Times of October 13, 2015, there was a piece by Murong Xuecun, pen name for Hao Qun, who used to be a big V on Weibo, and whose account was closed by the Chinese government, titled “A Land China Loves and Hates”, which I used as a title here, but with a question mark. I did so to show my disagreement with his premise, and since my response to him on the comment section was censored, as comments are moderated and usually only those showing approval are published, I would like to expound on the topic here.
His article concerns the attitude of Chinese, ordinary people and officials’ ambivalent attitude toward America. If he stopped there I would whole heartily agree with him. Yet he used an example trying to distort and blacken China to serve his purpose to demonize China which I find abhorrent. He used the example of some unspecified documentary from unspecified TV station which interviewed some Chinese after 9/11 showing glee at the tragedy and suffering. I questioned with 1.3 billion Chinese you can surely find someone with that attitude. Certainly official Chinese government does not take that attitude and any such Weibo postings probably were deleted. Why Mr. Hao wants to show Americans that Chinese were such horrible creatures except to serve the purpose to alienate Americans from China and serve the purpose of neocons which he although profess to be a liberal democrat was truly really a neocon himself.
America translated to Chinese means Beautiful Country. Despite discrimination most Chinese have a positive feeling toward U.S.. I have lived here for more than half a century and certainly do not hate her. I do not agree with U.S. governmental policies in Vietnam War and present morass in Middle East. When 9/11 happened my heart sank and grieve with fellow New Yorkers. Mr. Hao Qun presently resides outside China and taking pot shots at China from Hong Kong. To him China is probably the land he loves and hates.
Even the ultra liberal and Western brain-washed readers of the New York Times see little to like about the agreement. For example, within a day of the announcement of the agreement, the top 10 comments (as voted by the readers) in the piece in which the NYT reported read: Read more…
Recently, there has been no shortage of highly pessimisticcommentariespublished & republished, pointing out the supposed “follies” of Russia’s eastern pivot, by highlighting this year’s decline in Sino-Russian trade, China’s stock market volatility, and its supposed economic “weakness”. The conclusion implied by these articles is clear: “Russia’s economic pivot to China is failing, because increased economic cooperation has not mitigated Russia’s recent economic woes, or the effect of sanctions. China cannot save Russia, and the latter must continue depending on the West.”
This is essentially a straw-man conclusion. One thing should be plainly apparent through even a casual examination of Russia’s biggest recent commercial agreements with China: most of these arrangements with China were NEVER INTENDED to offset the impact of Russia’s current recession, but rather to position Russia’s economy for greater long-term diversification and upward mobility on the global economic value chain.
One of the key conflicts – at least in U.S. view – between U.S. and China over the last few years has been “cyber attack” and “cyber espionage.” During President Xi’s recent visit to the U.S., Obama has scolded Xi very publicly – and with much fanfare – that Chinese cyber espionage against U.S. government and companies must stop. Obama told reporters:
“I raised once again our very serious concerns about our growing cyberthreats to American companies and American citizens,” Obama said. “I indicated that it has to stop.”
“The U.S. government does not engage in cyber-economic espionage for commercial gain, and today I can announce that our two countries have announced a mutual understanding on the way forward,” he added.
The U.S. has long tried to distinguish between economic and political espionage, and tries to claim the high-road that it does not engage in the former. But as I have commented before, that distinction never held any water under closer observation.
In the lead up to Xi’s visit, there has been much posturing in U.S. media that the U.S. will hit back against China for recent attacks against U.S., including one against the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) that allegedly compromised the social security numbers of 21 million Americans, finger prints of 5.6 million Americans, among others.