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Newsweek bottom-feeding

September 8th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

What is a bottom-feeder? It usually refers to some fish swimming and feeding at the bottom of a lake or river. Just imagine what generally falls to the bottom. This is what I think of whenever the Western press engages in putting the most fringe unto a pedestal and worships it.

Recently, Newsweek published an essay by Ai Weiwei titled, “The City: Beijing” with the byline, “Ai Weiwei finds China’s capital is a prison where people go mad.” Needless to say, this byline is stupid and so is the essay. I will get into that momentarily.

The story took an interesting turn in the last few days. According to the AFP, “The article, Ai’s first for a foreign publication since he was released from detention earlier this year, had been ripped from copies of the September 5 issue seen by AFP on a newsstand in Beijing.”

Newsweek is in English and distributed in Beijing, and likely nowhere else in China. That is an important background to remember, because, if there is a real censoring of the article, it would have been limited to Beijing. Newsweek’s customers would likely be limited to foreigners who read English. So, before one get tricked into thinking this ‘censorship’ is somehow affecting 1.3 billion people, think again!

The online version of the essay is obviously available. What we do know is AFP saying it saw ripped copies at a particular newsstand.

Remember this retarded NYT article claiming there is a ban of jasmine flowers in China? We know how retarded Western media can be, so we must read this story critically. Did the AFP check other newsstands around Beijing? It didn’t say, though if they did, I am sure they would say so. Did the AFP interview Chinese authorities to find out if the ripped pages were done by the government? If they did, I am sure they would also say so. What did the newsstand owner say about the ripped out pages? Again, the AFP said nothing about it.

Not answering those questions, we can conclude the AFP didn’t really bother to investigate. Or if they did, it meant the details didn’t corroborate with the narrative they want to propagate.

Nevertheless, it went with the headline: “China censors Ai Weiwei’s Newsweek essay.”

Notice how the Western media machinery works:

The Independent, Clifford Coonan: “Chinese censors rip out magazine article by dissident Ai Weiwei

The WSJ: “China Censors Newsweek Article of Prominent Dissident Ai Weiwei

The Atlantic Wire: “China Half-Heartedly Censors Ai Weiwei’s Newsweek Piece

Telegraph, Peter Foster: “China censors Ai Wei Wei’s Newsweek interview

Washington Post, Elizabeth Flock: “Ai Weiwei’s Newsweek interview censored by China

None of these articles shed any more information about this supposed “censorship.” I have said in the past – the reason the Western media are going bankrupt is because they are not doing real reporting. Why pay all these people so they can regurgitate what some other media outlets have written? I digress.

Furthermore, a Tunku Varadarajan who is the editor of Newsweek International has become the ‘news.’ The Telegraph wrote the following:

“Ai Weiwei’s piece for Newsweek, his first in defiance of the Chinese gag order on him, was a cry from the heart in which he likened Beijing to a vast prison. It ran on the last page of the magazine, and the Chinese censors ripped that page out in every issue,” Tunku Varadarajan, the editor of Newsweek International told The Telegraph.

The clumsy attempt to remove the piece from physical circulation was not however matched by China’s usually vigilant online censors who did not block the article which was still available on Friday for anyone to able to read English.

“We had flagged the piece on the cover, too, but they left the cover alone, so it delights me that astute readers will have seen the coverline, noted the ripped page, and then gone straight to the Web to read Ai’s courageous piece,” added Mr Varadarajan.

What is more interesting is the lack of facts offered by this Mr. Varadarajan about the supposed censorship. Was Newsweek told by the Chinese authorities that Ai Weiwei was barred from talking to Western press? The Newsweek magazine can simply be defaced with and that’s it? There has to be some legal ground for pages to be ripped out. What were the circumstances?

Reading between the lines, it is interesting to note how eager Newsweek is in publishing Ai Weiwei’s essay and in agreement with what the essay had to say.

I am just laughing out loud thinking Mr. Varadarajan might have found out about the ripped pages through the AFP! I am sure he is happy to bask in the attention his magazine is getting in the West. The Washington Post wrote:

Tunku Varadarajan, editor of Newsweek International, told the Telegraph, “Journalistically, you know you’re doing the right thing when the Chinese censors tear up your magazine.”

That is political bullshit. Let’s suppose the Chinese authorities were indeed behind ripping the pages.

The West may have certain values about censorship. The Chinese have the right to have their own take on it too. If he wants journalistic integrity, he should openly state his paper having a different value judgement about censorship.

What about respecting Chinese law; that Ai Weiwei is still under parole? His bail condition is that he not talk to Western press. Perhaps the bail condition precludes him publishing in the Western press too. Isn’t Newsweek engaging in violating Chinese law by publishing Ai Weiwei’s essay in the first place?

Now we must get into the substance of Ai Weiwei’s essay which Newsweek eagerly peddled. And, this goes toward the point I made at the outset, that Newsweek is engaging in bottom-feeding. If you prefer to read a serious rebuttal from someone who actually sympathizes with Ai Weiwei’s politics, you can go here. I have less patience, and here is my take (essay on the left column and my comments on the right.):

The City: Beijing

Aug 28, 2011 10:00 AM EDT

By Ai Weiwei

 
Beijing is two cities. One is of power and of money. People don’t care who their neighbors are; they don’t trust you. The other city is one of desperation. I see people on public buses, and I see their eyes, and I see they hold no hope. They can’t even imagine that they’ll be able to buy a house. They come from very poor villages where they’ve never seen electricity or toilet paper. I suppose people could make such a claim about any city.  Let’s be practical.  With the infrastructure upgrade and revamps of many Beijing neighborhoods, I’d say the opposite is true; people are more upbeat about Beijing than ever.  I was just in Beijing few months ago and met friends who recently bought homes or are thinking of buying homes.
Every year millions come to Beijing to build its bridges, roads, and houses. Each year they build a Beijing equal to the size of the city in 1949. They are Beijing’s slaves. They squat in illegal structures, which Beijing destroys as it keeps expanding. Who owns houses? Those who belong to the government, the coal bosses, the heads of big enterprises. They come to Beijing to give gifts—and the restaurants and karaoke parlors and saunas are very rich as a result. They are not slaves.  What Ai Weiwei won’t tell you is that vast majority of the 19 million Beijingers who live in Beijing today were migrant workers and “outsiders” to begin with.  They have now become part of the city and more people are further taking up residence there!  Beijing cannot accept the whole of China’s rural areas, so we must be mindful of that too.

If Ai Weiwei has a better plan to develop the poorer Western part of China, he should offer it.  China is in fact investing heavily into poorer parts of China to alleviate the phenomenon of people crowding into richer coastal cities.  The new 5-year plan also calls for building more affordable housing.

Beijing tells foreigners that they can understand the city, that we have the same sort of buildings: the Bird’s Nest, the CCTV tower. Officials who wear a suit and tie like you say we are the same and we can do business. But they deny us basic rights. You will see migrants’ schools closed. You will see hospitals where they give patients stitches—and when they find the patients don’t have any money, they pull the stitches out. It’s a city of violence. Ai Weiwei is being very irresponsible here.  Buildings that are unsafe and schools not accredited must be shut down.  If mishaps occur, he will be the first to come out and blame the government.

The Chinese government does not have a policy that says patients unable to afford medical care will have stitches removed.  His attribution of blame to the government in some bad hospitals is retarded.  A city of violence is one where women get raped and murder rates are high.  I suggest he look at cities elsewhere.

The worst thing about Beijing is that you can never trust the judicial system. Without trust, you cannot identify anything; it’s like a sandstorm. You don’t see yourself as part of the city—there are no places that you relate to, that you love to go. No corner, no area touched by a certain kind of light. You have no memory of any material, texture, shape. Everything is constantly changing, according to somebody else’s will, somebody else’s power. I would actually agree with this general statement; that judicial corruption in China is still high.  This is a fact recognized by all segments of society in China.
To properly design Beijing, you’d have to let the city have space for different interests, so that people can coexist, so that there is a full body to society. A city is a place that can offer maximum freedom. Otherwise it’s incomplete. I wonder why he doesn’t convert his art studio into a slum for additional migrant workers.  There is a rational reason.  At the end of the day, it is always about the balance of interests.  If he has better ideas on how to strike that balance, I am sure there will be willing ears.
I feel sorry to say I have no favorite place in Beijing. I have no intention of going anywhere in the city. The places are so simple. You don’t want to look at a person walking past because you know exactly what’s on his mind. No curiosity. And no one will even argue with you. I like many places in Beijing.  For example, Gugong, Guijie (ghost street, full of restaurants), Qianmen Dajie, Temple of Heaven, Wangfujing, and so on.

No curiosity?  Sounds more like he is looking for people to fan smoke up his behind.

None of my art represents Beijing. The Bird’s Nest—I never think about it. After the Olympics, the common folks don’t talk about it because the Olympics did not bring joy to the people. Conceited and delusional statement.  Chinese people all over took genuine pride in Beijing and the 2008 Olympics.  Beijingers appreciate their city having had a major infrastructure upgrade due to the Olympics!
There are positives to Beijing. People still give birth to babies. There are a few nice parks. Last week I walked in one, and a few people came up to me and gave me a thumbs up or patted me on the shoulder. Why do they have to do that in such a secretive way? No one is willing to speak out. What are they waiting for? They always tell me, “Weiwei, leave the nation, please.” Or “Live longer and watch them die.” Either leave, or be patient and watch how they die. I really don’t know what I’m going to do. “Live longer and watch them die.”  That’s really mean actually.  I can suggest some ideas.  How about donating to The Hope Project?  How about stop being a political clown for the Western media?
My ordeal made me understand that on this fabric, there are many hidden spots where they put people without identity. With no name, just a number. They don’t care where you go, what crime you committed. They see you or they don’t see you, it doesn’t make the slightest difference. There are thousands of spots like that. Only your family is crying out that you’re missing. But you can’t get answers from the street communities or officials, or even at the highest levels, the court or the police or the head of the nation. My wife has been writing these kinds of petitions every day, making phone calls to the police station every day. Where is my husband? Just tell me where my husband is. There is no paper, no information. Given his plight, I sympathize with Ai Weiwei.  I do hope that China continues her legal and judicial reforms such that the individual enjoy more rights.  China’s reforms are real, and I see her moving in the right direction.
The strongest character of those spaces is that they’re completely cut off from your memory or anything you’re familiar with. You’re in total isolation. And you don’t know how long you’re going to be there, but you truly believe they can do anything to you. There’s no way to even question it. You’re not protected by anything. Why am I here? Your mind is very uncertain of time. You become like mad. It’s very hard for anyone. Even for people who have strong beliefs.  
This city is not about other people or buildings or streets but about your mental structure. If we remember what Kafka writes about his Castle, we get a sense of it. Cities really are mental conditions. Beijing is a nightmare. A constant nightmare. His parole limits his movement within Beijing, and I am sure he’d like to leave.  What does Washington D.C. say about America’s mental structure?  Lunacy.

 

  1. kchew
    September 8th, 2011 at 19:07 | #1

    Ai Weiwei is surely a loose canon and behave just like a spoilt kid being pampered by many in the West.

    [I would actually agree with this general statement; that judicial corruption in China is still high. This is a fact recognized by all segments of society in China.]

    yinyang, I would like to know if there are any evidences being offered that the judiciary in China is highly corrupted. How does it compares to those in US, Japan, India and other countries? If the claim that you’ve made is true, then I’m afraid China will be in deep trouble. However, I would concede the judiciary independance is somewhat lacking in China as there is no clear seperation between the executive and judiciary in China.

  2. Al
    September 8th, 2011 at 19:53 | #2

    Agreeing on the lack of independence of judicial in China, I would anyway like to remind that such independence is not what they usually want us to believe in the west as well (and the late case of UK government meddling in judicial affairs regarding to the recent riots shows it all too well).

  3. xian
    September 8th, 2011 at 20:13 | #3

    Newsweek has always been virulently anti-China, pay it no attention.

  4. Wukailong
    September 8th, 2011 at 20:22 | #4

    This ripping of pages happens everywhere and isn’t really anything new, but I guess it could be interesting for people to know if they wonder how these papers are distributed here. I bought that particular issue (not for Ai Weiwei, though), and those pages had been carefully removed. Well, I guess I didn’t miss anything then.

  5. Charles Liu
    September 8th, 2011 at 21:40 | #5

    What I find funny is Chinese netters are not complaining about buying a magazine with back page ripped out. I mean I searched on Baidu but I can’t find one person who took a picture of the torn magazine.

  6. September 8th, 2011 at 22:21 | #6

    Wukailong has just confirmed (likely) another newsstand having the pages ripped – which means it is likely the Chinese government censoring the essay.

    In the U.S., when someone violates his parole, I’d imagine that person likely goes back to jail. I am wondering what’s going to happen next to Ai Weiwei.

  7. Ron Jeremy
    September 8th, 2011 at 22:29 | #7

    The blocking of brother Pete North is the equivalent of the CCP ripping out the pages from Newsweek.
    Either way it doesn’t change the truth

  8. September 8th, 2011 at 22:44 | #8

    What is the chance of Pete North and Ron Jeremy having the same IP address? lol. Any more nonsense spam from you will be marked as such.

    Look, save both of us some time. Please.

  9. Ron Jeremy
    September 8th, 2011 at 23:06 | #9

    Since you asked so nicely then Im happy to oblige. The veneer of civility and treating people based on their deeds and words, rather than their perceived nationality or skin colour is pretty thin on a few of your other posters here, don’t you think?

    Words like ‘anglo’ and ‘gringo’ seem to be OK with the forum moderators here, I guess because it doesnt bother them directly. To be honest they don’t bother me either but I know others who would consider them racist and hurtful. It’s the double- standard I find ‘funny’

  10. denk
    September 9th, 2011 at 01:45 | #10

    er, *ron*

    just for the record..
    i asked *bro north* many times which is racist, *anglo* or *chink*
    he didnt response

    lets ask oxford, the gold standard of anglo parlance

    chink
    *informal , OFFENSIVE
    a Chinese person*
    http://tinyurl.com/3sxpdy5

    anglo
    http://tinyurl.com/3pl663b
    just a slang for the anglo saxons from uk, us, australia …..
    thru out the thread, u seem ashamed to admit ur an anglo
    i wonder why ?

    gringo
    http://tinyurl.com/4yk2rqr
    just a slang for anglo in south america

    the oxford dictionary says *bro north* is the racist
    never mind that he deliberately called me *dunk* etc
    an obvious parody of something else

    there’s no double standard here

    ron/north
    *Either way it doesn’t change the truth*

    and just what *truth* ru talking about ?
    he spewed so much bs
    after i shot one down he kept coming up with new ones

    just 1 example…
    he *insisted* i am a gringo
    the only *clue* given was i am posting outside china !

    i regret spending too much time humoring *bro north*
    so i wont repeat the same mistake again

    i rest my case.

  11. Al
    September 9th, 2011 at 01:59 | #11

    Oh my god Pete/Ron/whomeverelseyouwillinventinthefuture, 你真没戏!

  12. raventhorn2000
    September 9th, 2011 at 05:22 | #12

    Are we being hacked by some Porn SPAM group?

    On both counts, Porn and SPAM, I have no problem the “veneer” of banning that group from this forum. It’s obvious that group has no intention of being “civil” at all.

  13. September 9th, 2011 at 07:55 | #13

    Anyway, I think the writing is actually on the wall. I still remember Newsweek going up for sale last year, it was eventually sold for $5 million to Bloomberg. There’s simply no taker!

    “Newsweek had operating losses of $28.1 million in 2009, 82.5 percent higher than the previous year’s loss of $15.4 million. Its revenue declined 27.2 percent, to $165.5 million in 2009, from $227.4 million in 2008, hurt by diminished advertising and subscription revenue.”

    This recent article simply showed its irrelevant, when make-up story becomes the basis of this so-called journalism. Frankly, if those mainstream press kept giving skewed images of China, they would lost out on all future business. Basically, any businessman worth his salt and want a piece of the action in China will noticed the rubbish they published.

    Do you guys remember two famous English language weekly on Asia: Asiaweek and FEER? They become irrelevant and eventually joined the ranks of the dinosaur. Articles like this basically pander to those who never set foot on China, never will and never plan to. So the prejudice and half-fact would go around in circles fullfilling the flawed view of those same narrow minded people.

    Anybody want to bet when Newsweek will eventually go extinct for good? I am willing to bet it will happen pretty soon. In these days of shrinking marketing budget, all major press need to reinvent itself merely to survive.

  14. September 9th, 2011 at 10:52 | #14

    @kchew
    On judicial corrutipn . . . one of the bloggers who started Fool’s Mountain and whom I respect tremendously is Buxi, and he said of the following:

    Well first of all, many in the United States have no idea where the Chinese government begins and the Chinese people start. If Americans criticized the Chinese government for not doing enough to handle health care reform, or not doing enough to curb judicial corruption, or in censoring internet discussions… most Chinese people would simply applaud and agree, not get annoyed or upset at “foreign criticism”.

    But when Americans criticize the Chinese government for committing genocide and invading Tibet, the Chinese people won’t stand for it. When American criticize the Chinese government for imprisoning a US-funded dissident in Hu Jia but don’t acknowledge the far greater amount room given for domestic dissent, it reads like myopic hypocrisy.

    I don’t have any hard data, but even during my last trip to China, many friends said of the same thing to me. This included a friend whose sister is a judge.

  15. raffiaflower
    September 12th, 2011 at 06:29 | #15

    It reads like a laundry list of Things I Don’t Like About My City; could be by any jaundiced urban gnome. Except, of course, that the commentary?/opinion?/rant is by China’s ,ahem, “most prominent dissident” Aww and gets space in a fading title.
    Even the Newsweek editor (inadvertently?) describes it as just `a cry from the heart’. Anyway, the insubstantial piece slagging Beijing as the dark nexus of an oppressed country is totally foiled by American Vogue’s bumper September issue; the magazine writes about and pictures the vibrancy of a city and country in total contrast to Aww’s claims. Glossy maybe,but no worse than Aww’s mostly superficial allegations.
    I would also think that Anna Wintour has a bigger reach than Aww.

  16. hehe
    September 17th, 2011 at 05:39 | #16

    AWW suffers from a terminal stage of delusional narcissism.

  17. perspectivehere
    September 18th, 2011 at 02:49 | #17

    One of the issues raised in the AWW essay is the housing have’s vs have-not’s, the lack of availability of housing in Beijing for migrants.

    AWW is entitled to his perspective.

    However, in matters of housing policy, one needs facts, context, trends and policies. Merely saying “this sucks” does not do much to illuminate why it sucks, how it got that way and what are solutions. In fact, by focusing only on the negatives, it presents a highly misleading picture.

    A good recent analysis on the issue is here:

    “Second Home Ownership in Transitional Urban China” (Forthcoming in Housing Studies in 2011, Vol. 26 No. 3) Youqin Huang Department of Geography and Planning State University of New York.
    http://www.albany.edu/~yhuang/Second%20Home_HS_V2_WithTables.pdf

    This analysis looks at the phenomenon of people owning second homes in Chinese cities. From a position of socialized housing prior to the 1978 reforms, where all housing was provided by the government and no one owned any private housing, the government started a massive program of giving away, or selling at very low prices, public housing to its tenants. Later on, the government started to promote private housing markets with commercially produced residential housing. As a result, as of 2007, homeownership in cities has reached 82%. This is an amazing “success story” by any standard.

    Another interesting fact in the research is that home ownership is almost universal in rural areas – most rural residents own their own homes. This was also the conclusion of this 2005 Gallup survey, which found that whereas 85% of urban residents owned their own homes, 97% of rural residents owned theirs. See:

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/15082/homeownership-soars-china.aspx

    The most interesting conclusion of the article is this: Rural migrants own their own home in the countryside and rent housing in the city. Most urban residents own their own home, and some 11% own a second home in the city which they rent out.

    Here are the “Conclusions and Policy Implications” from the Youqin Huang research paper:

    “China is becoming a nation of homeowners with unprecedented high rate of homeownership and explosive growth in second-home ownership. With the working definition of second home as additional home owned by households (regardless its purpose) who do not currently live there, more than 11% of all urban households (including migrant households) owned second homes in 2005. This is an astonishing result given the fact that public rental prevailed and housing shortage was severe even in the mid-1990s. Different from second home in the West which is mostly owned/rented by homeowners, second home in China can be owned by both renters and homeowners in either public or private sector, and about 8% of all homeowners and 23% of renters owned second homes. The dynamics of second home in China show both similarities and major differences from the West. We argue that second home ownership in Chinese cities is not only a result of the maturing housing market but more importantly an unintended consequence of government policies and housing institutions. We particularly highlight the following four main institutional factors: 1) the massive subsidized sale of public rental housing during housing privatization and associated partial property rights make it difficult for households to sell their purchased properties but easy to afford additional housing; 2) the continued provision of subsidized housing by work units encourages households to live in subsidized housing even if they have already purchased private housing from the market. If the subsidized housing is in the ownership sector, it also offers partial property rights, which constrains households from freely disposing owned subsidized housing; 3) the existing Hukou system prevents migrants from accessing subsidized housing and other welfare benefits/services in destination cities while allows them to maintain housing/land rights in origins, thus encourages migrants to own second home in origins even though they may have lived in the destination for years; 4) the waiver of property tax for residential properties reduces the cost of maintaining second homes, while housing value has been appreciating rapidly over time. These institutional factors contribute to not only high rate of second-home ownership, but also the unique phenomena of owning primary home with partial property rights and owning second home, and renting primary home (in public and private sector) and owning second home.

    The importance of subsidized housing and partial property rights to second home ownership is
    strongly supported by the empirical analysis, as households who are currently living in public rental housing 15
    are more likely to own second home than homeowners, which won‘t be expected in the West. People (or their parents) who are more likely to access subsidized housing such as those with high political status and those in resourceful work units, are also more likely to own second home. This demonstrates the allocation of subsidized housing in Chinese cities is problematic, as subsidized housing often ends up in the hands of people who can afford additional housing instead of people who need genuine help for basic housing need. Thus reforms in the allocation of subsidized housing are needed. Households who can afford to purchase housing on the private market should not be allowed to access subsidized housing. The recent shift to use income, housing condition and wealth to qualify subsidized housing such as cheap rental housing and economic housing is one step toward the right direction (State Council, 2007); yet, it has been well recognized that the enforcement has been problematic due to the lack of accurate and reliable income and housing information in China . In addition, an exist system is needed for households who can afford private housing to return their subsidized housing to the government or work units so that other households in need can access. Of course a detailed and creditable housing and household information system is needed to allocate and monitor the consumption of subsidized housing, which is yet to be established.

    The hypothesis that the Hukou system encourages second home ownership is also supported by the empirical analysis. Both urban and rural migrants are more likely to own second home than local residents. With the persistent Hukou system, migrants are neither allowed to access subsidized housing in cities, nor purchase migrant housing provided by work units (State Council, 2007), even though they can purchase private housing on the market which often is too expensive for them to afford. Meanwhile they are allowed to keep their housing and land rights in origin. Migrants‘ peculiar position in cities leads to their renting/owning primary homes at the destination and owning second homes at the origin. This tenure combination not only discourages their long-term settlement in cities but also waste precious land and housing resources during rapid urbanization. Thus further reform of the Hukou system is needed to allow migrants to have more permanent residence in cities. The empirical analysis also shows that once migrants have access to either public rental housing or homeownership in cities, they are less likely to own second home elsewhere than those living in private rental housing. One potential solution is that migrants can exchange their rights to land and housing in origin for their rights to access subsidized housing and obtain homeownership in destination cities. This should reduce migrants‘ need to maintain two homes, and facilitate their long-term settlement and assimilation in destination cities. Ironically, the hukou system together with the dual land system makes it illegitimate for urban residents with non-agricultural registration to purchase housing built on collectively owned land in the countryside, the so-called ―small property rights housing‖ (xiao chan quan fang) (Deng, 2009). This is why second homes in China have mostly concentrated in cities and suburban areas, with the exception of those by rural migrants.

    The role of property tax cannot be empirically studied in this paper due to the lack of information. Yet, this paper does show the importance of market dynamics to second home. There should be no doubt that increasing the cost of second home by implementing property tax will discourage second home ownership. Policy makers are studying the impact and procedure of collecting property tax, but it is still uncertain if or when it will be implemented. So far the Chinese government has mainly used financial tools such as down payment and mortgage interest rate to regulate the consumption of second home (CBC, 2007), which has not been very successful. One reason is that many households purchase second homes with cash/saving, thus these financial tools have no impact on them. In addition, second home is often purchased as a form of investment. With the lack of investment options and the high risk and volatility in stock market on the one hand, and the ever increasing housing price and the rapid urbanization on the other hand, housing investment has become the main method of investment for many households. The high return from housing investment has significantly reduced the impact of these financial policies. Thus, in
    addition to higher down payment and mortgage interest rate, a more comprehensive set of financial and 16
    economic instruments should be used by the government such as by offering more sound investment options, controlling the increase of housing prices, and collecting property tax at least on second homes in order to successfully regulate the consumption of second home.

    It should be acknowledged that second home is a natural phenomenon as China is becoming an increasingly affluent and market oriented society. Yet, we argue that the high rate and rapid growth of second home ownership in current China is problematic because of the lack of housing resources among low-income households in contrast to high vacancy rate among second home, and the acute problem of housing affordability among most urban residents in contrast to ever rising housing prices driven by large demand for second home by the rich. The increasingly significant housing inequality in a formerly homogeneous society shows there is a need for the government to regulate the consumption of second home to avoid the concentration of housing resources in the hands of privileged few. More importantly, as we have demonstrated in this paper, second home ownership in Chinese cities is often an unintended consequence of the government‘s socialist housing policies and institutions. Thus, in addition to utilizing financial and economic instruments, the Chinese government has to reform the above mentioned housing policies and institutions to remove the ―incentives‖ for second home ownership in order to successfully control the rapid growth of second home ownership. Just like the massive provision of low-income housing in recent years, curtailing further expansion of second home ownership will move China a little closer to the dream of ―a home of one‘s own‖.”

  18. raventhorn2000
    September 19th, 2011 at 06:59 | #18

    @perspectivehere

    I think part of the migrant workers’ housing issue is related to the basic economic model of the migrant worker community.

    A lot of them do have permanent homes in the country side, and thus they remit (send back) most of their savings back home (where their children and elderly parents live), instead of spending them in the cities where they work. (Unless they decide to relocate permanently to the cities).

    This is actually quite usual for ethnic Chinese “migrant workers” everywhere.

    In HK, Taiwan, US, there are Chinese “migrant workers” who live in small “cubicle apartments” 8 in a single room, and in ROTATING shifts (8 hours per “shift”), ie. you rent a small bunk bed and the use of communal bathroom, for about 8 hours each day, when you sleep and clean, and the other 16 hours of the day, you are at work, and some other guys are sleeping in your bunk bed. (similar to how it was on US navy submarines).

    These workers keep everything they own in their own suitcases, and take them with them everywhere.

  19. Common Tater
    September 19th, 2011 at 18:27 | #19

    xian :
    Newsweek has always been virulently anti-China, pay it no attention.

    That’s a pretty strong and sweeping statement: “always” been “virulently anti-Chinese”.

    Perhaps you made it in haste. So, would you care to qualify that? Or perhaps to back it up?

  20. Common Tater
    September 19th, 2011 at 20:44 | #20

    yinyang wrote: ”
    None of these articles shed any more information about this supposed “censorship.” I have said in the past – the reason the Western media are going bankrupt is because they are not doing real reporting. Why pay all these people so they can regurgitate what some other media outlets have written? I digress.”

    The real reason Western media are going bankrupt is because they are not doing real reporting? Oh thank you wise media guru for transcending all issues regarding news media economics economics. It must be wonderful to be so superior to the Westerners that you can criticize them so perfectly and easily. Obviously you are using the mighty example of Chinese newspapers, which are so much better than the West.

  21. September 19th, 2011 at 22:30 | #21

    @Common Tater
    Show us one article from Newsweek where you think it is of high journalistic integrity on any ‘China’ topic. Provide us a link here and I will write a post on it.

  22. Common Tater
    September 20th, 2011 at 21:42 | #22

    @YinYang

    Excuse me, the comment I made was that saying that “Newsweek has always been virulently anti-Chinese” requires some qualification or needs to be backed up. I am not promoting or defending Newsweek so please stick to the letter and spirit of my posts and not try to change the subject or make it seem as if I am the one making unsubstantiated statements. It is you and your bunch of smug Western bashers who go way way over the top with your commentary.

    I repeat my request to Xian. Also, have you no honest response to my post about your off-the-cuff media analysis?

  23. Ron Jeremy
    September 20th, 2011 at 22:27 | #23

    [deleted by yinyang for trolling]

  24. September 20th, 2011 at 22:40 | #24

    @Common Tater
    Look, we all know it would be labor intensive for Xian to do an exhaustive analysis of all ‘China’ articles in Newsweek. We all know he is giving an opinion, and I presume based on the articles he’s read there.

    Now, you are being unreasonable asking him to offer a full analysis here.

    Instead, I offer you a simpler solution. If you presume Newsweek is ‘fair’ with journalistic integrity on ‘China,’ then it will be super easy for you to dig up an article of theirs and share with us.

    If you can’t do something this simple, then what does that say about your argument?

    You said:

    The real reason Western media are going bankrupt is because they are not doing real reporting?

    In my post above, I showed 6 articles where they regurgitated each other. My point there was them parroting each other and not spending the actual effort to do reporting. Yes, in the Internet age, you can easily go to any outlet. How can any outlet justify it’s existence by simply parroting something someone else said? If each one of them did their own reporting, you don’t think that’d help their bottom-line?

    If they each bring more facts and more narratives to the table, that’d give them a bigger audience collectively.

    You said:

    Also, have you no honest response to my post about your off-the-cuff media analysis?

    I thought my post was obvious.

    By the way, some times a no response just means I may be too busy, not interested, not worthwhile of my time, and or even something I agree with.

  25. Ron Jeremy
    September 20th, 2011 at 23:51 | #25

    Yes Commontater, it’s totally unreasonable to expect Xian to actually back up his statements with research or facts. Surely it’s perfectly acceptable for him to just make sweeping generalizations and leave it at that. IT is known to all that if someone makes an assertion, then it is up to other people to disprove it, right?

    Perhaps it’s you that is being unreasonable

  26. xian
    September 21st, 2011 at 07:56 | #26

    @Common Tater

    It is my opinion and I don’t feel obliged to waste time digging up past articles just to satisfy you. I don’t find all Western media to be unequivocally biased against China, but Newsweek is clearly one of the worst offenders. In addition to being a mouthpiece for AWW, which yinyang already pointed out, just look at these two recent articles:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/08/23/america-s-china-threat-u-s-must-retain-asia-pacific-clout-despite-debt-woes.html
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2011/08/14/china-faces-its-own-fiscal-problems.html

    America’s clout in Asia is just fine, but China should be “countered”? The Chinese economy is on the verge of collapse? What a joke.

    In fact every time I come across a Newsweek article on China it’s exceedingly negative or just downright scaremongering. So I say again, Newsweek has always been virulently anti-China, pay it no attention.

  27. Ron Jeremy
    September 21st, 2011 at 08:03 | #27

    2 articles. Well that’s proof enough for me… After all we are only talking about ‘always’ and ‘virulent’

    Compelling, well- researched thesis.

  28. Common Tater
    September 21st, 2011 at 18:36 | #28

    @ Xian and yinyang
    It’s interesting that you choose articles where there are clear facts and analysis but then the conclusions and key points are sensationalized, because this what this site often does. This is in fact what I am criticizing you guys for: exaggeration, hyperbole, loose hip-shots against the West. You are undermining your own credibility.

    The subheading of the second article says,”Beijing has chastised the U.S. for fiscal recklessness, but it may be headed for an economic collapse of its own.” This is slightly different in meaning to your statement “The Chinese economy is on the verge of collapse.” In my view, the first one is more of a possibility if things are corrected, not a near-future probability of doom and gloom. But that is a minor point: The main point is that although the Chinese economy may have some serious problems, saying it may be headed for a collapse is sensationalistic. Why not simply say that there are serious problems in some areas, which, if not corrected, could lead to a number of negative effects, ranging from x to y. Then put in a quote about what the Chinese policy makers have said on the subject, and some analysis of that. That would be a credible article through and through, not something you had to pick through to separate wheat from windy chaff.

    The statement “Newsweek has always been virulently anti-Chinese” is similarly overblown. Why not simply say, “I’ve been reading Newsweek for some years now, and from the articles I’ve read about China, I get the distinct impression that the magazine is only interested in publishing negative news about China” – or something to that effect. Xian’s statement is not simply opinion;he asserts it as a fact in a website dedicated to media analysis, and doesn’t use any words to indicate it is only opinion.

    With respect to my views on yinyang’s analysis of the troubles in the media industry, he did not show that such regurgitation was an uncommon or negative phenomenon, as opposed to SOP in the media for short articles. Nor did you show any credible analysis that this is the cause of the decline in print media profitability, as opposed to a result. Nor did you look at any other factors such as the Internet and mobile devices that may have impacted newspapers and magazines. You just fired from the hip, deftly shooting yourself in the foot and destroying your own credibility.

    Why don’t you guys grow up and stop giving us such immature opinions? Bring your game up a notch guys.

  29. September 21st, 2011 at 21:19 | #29

    @Common Tater
    You have ignored my prior comment. Let’s start with square one:

    Show me ONE article from Newsweek on China where you think is ‘fair’ and with journalistic integrity. If you disagree with xian’s statement, that’d be super easy for you to make a major blow – just show us one article.

    You might argue on technicality that Xian is the one who “exaggerated” and therefore burden is on him to prove his statement. I grant you that.

    But, as I have said, that is a monstrous task and I believe you will likely not be satisfied with his analysis, unless he does something of the magnitude PEW Research did (which I wrote about not too long agao; see
    Pew Research Report, “THE U.S. MEDIA ON CHINA”
    http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2011/07/pew-research-report-the-u-s-media-on-china/).

    By the way, the conclusion from PEW Research was U.S. media narratives on China were only on few themes and overwhelmingly negative.

    So, how about it, show us one article?

    You said:

    With respect to my views on yinyang’s analysis of the troubles in the media industry, he did not show that such regurgitation was an uncommon or negative phenomenon, as opposed to SOP in the media for short articles.

    This is what I said in the OP:

    None of these articles shed any more information about this supposed “censorship.” I have said in the past – the reason the Western media are going bankrupt is because they are not doing real reporting. Why pay all these people so they can regurgitate what some other media outlets have written? I digress.

    Isn’t it clear I am not doing the analysis here? By the way, I do plan to do such an analysis some day in a full post.

  30. xian
    September 21st, 2011 at 22:22 | #30

    @Common Tater

    And did you actually read those articles? It says, clear as day, “Countering China’s advances”, in a tone throughout the article that implies it was America’s God-given right to extend military presence across Asia. I don’t think a potential real estate bubble equals economic collapse, which you admit it says in the subheading. So is it me who’s exaggerating, or Newsweek?

    These are only the first few that come up on a search. Going back it is Newsweek that employs hyperboles to magnify every negative thing that they can find on China.

    What I said about Newsweek is no different than the words you wish I’d said. You just don’t like it because I was more direct. Anti-Chinaness is not a quantifiable quality. I said it, of course it’s my opinion. Would you feel better if I prefaced everything with “I think…”? Or did you want to dance around linguistic technicalities a bit longer?

    I care about what China does, not so much what people say about China. As far as I can tell media bias is pervasive all over the world. I think the regulars here know I’m not that into the whole “Western media” outrage, popping in those threads rarely and usually to offer counterpoint. But Newsweek fits the stereotype like a glove. It IS anti-China and I’m going to call it like it is. I’m not sensationalist, Newsweek is.

    In fact, “bottom-feeding” is a very apt description. With its financial woes and declining readership, that’s all Newsweek has been doing for years.

  31. Common Tater
    September 22nd, 2011 at 16:49 | #31

    @YinYang: I am not defending Newsweek, so I do not need to waste time searching through articles. You are using some kind of cheap debating tactic to try and make our disagreement seem like it is about Newsweek when it is not; it is about your totally unsubstantiated allegations about the media industry. It’s like you got some facts and then came to a ridiculous conclusion, which you now refuse to justify.

    Just because different news outlets run the same story doesn’t mean that anything is wrong: it means that they are using the same sources of info, which revealed facts A, B and C, and comments D, E and F. While it might be laudable, they are under no professional obligation to dig up new facts each time they run a story that has been run somewhere else previously. For Western media reporting on China, this is often difficult because of the tight rein on journos there.

    To connect this to the decline in the print media is rather a long stretch. Once again, you have not defended your comment that “the reason the Western media are going bankrupt is because they are not doing real reporting”. There are many reasons for businesses to have trouble. Identifying this one cause – one that you have failed to meaningfully substantiate – as the main one, lacks any credibility, unless you can back it up.

    @Xian: I asked if you wanted to qualify you statement that “Newsweek has always been virulently anti-Chinese”. You are exaggerating and that was all I meant. I wouldn’t question the statement “The Nazi’s were virulently anti-Semitic” or “The Americans in the 1950’s were virulently anti-communist”. But when you use words that strong without cause you distort the debate. I am not defending Newsweek; I didn’t challenge your assertion that it is negative towards China. I am challenging your description of it. Don’t we want to use words correctly? Isn’t that something that is often criticized on this site when words are used incorrectly used against China?

    Perhaps you could simply have said, “From what I’ve read, Newsweek has a definite anti-Chinese bias”.

  32. xian
    September 22nd, 2011 at 17:14 | #32

    @Common Tater

    So your whole complaint boils down to “strong wording”?

    It’s safe to assume I base my judgment on what I’ve read, and that it is my opinion by virtue of the fact that I’m saying it. So unless you have any more nitpickings, I think we’re done here.

  33. raventhorn2000
    September 22nd, 2011 at 19:17 | #33

    “But when you use words that strong without cause you distort the debate. I am not defending Newsweek; I didn’t challenge your assertion that it is negative towards China.”

    Why do you assert words are being used “without cause”, when you don’t bother show the lack of “cause”?

    “Don’t we want to use words correctly? Isn’t that something that is often criticized on this site when words are used incorrectly used against China?”

    Well, apparently, you are using the words “without cause” pretty loosely. I think You just prove our point!!!

  34. September 22nd, 2011 at 20:45 | #34

    @Common Tater
    You are not defending Newsweek? Now, that’s pretty funny. I guess we live on different planets.

    The very tactic you are deploying here is ludicrous. You unreasonably asked xian to prove his statement about Newsweek. I offered a simpler solution to the issue at hand – namely, you show us ONE article where you think disproves that statement. Something that should be extremely simple if that statement is untrue.

    Your backing away from that is pathetic. You instead accuse me of doing some sort of debate tactic.

    About an analysis on the decline of media due to lack of more reporting – sigh – how many times do I have to repeat myself? I plan to do that in the future. Save your gripes for the next time, okay?

  35. Ron Jeremy
    September 23rd, 2011 at 01:19 | #35

    ‘ You unreasonably asked xian to prove his statement about Newsweek.’

    Clearly totally unreasonable to expect someone to prove their statements on this website anyway. Good to see you set the bar too high…

    And as for yinyangs pathetic excuse that he will back up his assertion at some unspecified time in the future, truly laughable.

    This site really is worth nothing more than trolling on

  36. raventhorn2000
    September 23rd, 2011 at 05:26 | #36

    Xian has already given links as his proof. “Trolls” are obviously being UNREASONABLE in asking for more, when giving NOTHING in return to contradict his statements, other than more trolling comments.

    Troll Hypocrisy as usual.

  37. Ron Jeremy
    September 23rd, 2011 at 07:06 | #37

    He may have offered them ‘as proof’ but they are not proof, as yinyang freely admits, Like I said, you guys set the bar very low when it’s something that fits with your own world view. The level of intellectual discourse on this blog is third rate, and that it why it deserves trolling and mockery.

    Given that this site claims to be some kind of bridge, have you actually managed to convert even a single non- believer yet?

  38. raventhorn2000
    September 23rd, 2011 at 07:23 | #38

    “He may have offer them ‘as proof’ but they are not proof, as yinyang freely admits”.

    I don’t see where yinyang admits what you claimed. Where is your “proof”?

    “Like I said, you guys set the bar very low when it’s something that fits with your own world view.”

    Our “bar” is higher than yours in terms of “proof”, which you don’t give for your statements.

    “The level of intellectual discourse on this blog is third rate, and that it why it deserves trolling and mockery. Given that this site claims to be some kind of bridge, have you actually managed to convert even a single non- believer yet?”

    That’s just your Freudian Inferiority complex speaking again. Oh, we are low on “bar”, but you don’t meet that.

    Unlike you, we don’t have a need to “convert” people into believers to make us feel better.

    Obviously, you need your “trolling” constantly on a “third rate” blog for your daily fix.

    Hey, we build the “bridge”, you can try to tear it down all you want. It’s still here. We are still here. You are just the Monkey clowning on the “bridge”. Don’t let the cars run you over! :P

  39. perspectivehere
    October 3rd, 2011 at 08:00 | #39

    In the US, we have “legalized bribery” in the form of campaign contributions, not only to campaigns for the legislative and executive branches, but even judicial branches. Yes — judges receive campaign contributions for their elections, even from the defendants in cases they are judging. And if the judge rules in favor of the defendant that has contributed to their campaign, there are rarely ramifications unless there are clear signs of a “quid pro quo”. This is a very soft standard that is easy to satisfy.

    See: http://legalcorruption.net/

    Consider these facts:

    Campaign Cash Mirrors a High Court’s Rulings
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/01/us/01judges.html?pagewanted=all

    “In the weeks before the election, Justice O’Donnell’s campaign accepted thousands of dollars from the political action committees of three companies that were defendants in the suits. Two of the cases dealt with defective cars, and one involved a toxic substance. Weeks after winning his race, Justice O’Donnell joined majorities that handed the three companies significant victories.

    Justice O’Donnell’s conduct was unexceptional. In one of the cases, every justice in the 4-to-3 majority had taken money from affiliates of the companies. None of the dissenters had done so, but they had accepted contributions from lawyers for the plaintiffs.”

    This is not unusual behavior.

    Thirty-nine states elect judges, and 30 states are holding elections for seats on their highest courts this year. Spending in these races is skyrocketing, with some judges raising $2 million or more for a single campaign. As the amounts rise, questions about whether money is polluting the independence of the judiciary are being fiercely debated across the nation. And nowhere is the battle for judicial seats more ferocious than in Ohio.

    An examination of the Ohio Supreme Court by The New York Times found that its justices routinely sat on cases after receiving campaign contributions from the parties involved or from groups that filed supporting briefs. On average, they voted in favor of contributors 70 percent of the time. Justice O’Donnell voted for his contributors 91 percent of the time, the highest rate of any justice on the court.

    In the 12 years that were studied, the justices almost never disqualified themselves from hearing their contributors’ cases. In the 215 cases with the most direct potential conflicts of interest, justices recused themselves just 9 times.

    Even sitting justices have started to question the current system. “I never felt so much like a hooker down by the bus station in any race I’ve ever been in as I did in a judicial race,” said Justice Paul E. Pfeifer, a Republican member of the Ohio Supreme Court. “Everyone interested in contributing has very specific interests.”

    “They mean to be buying a vote,” Justice Pfeifer added. “Whether they succeed or not, it’s hard to say.””
    ********************************************

    Ok, let me get this straight. I run in a US state court election as a judge, and some business interests give me lots of money. I win the election with their contributions. Knowing who has given me money, I get put in charge of a case involving the contributors, I don’t recuse myself, and I rule in their favor. But I tell everyone that the money had no influence on my decision. I point to the fact that I also took money from people on the other side of the case.

    Do you believe me? If you do, I have a bridge in Brooklyn you might want to buy.

    If it was a judge in China, would you believe him or her? Of course not.

    The US system in corrupted by money and justice can be bought. Money talks. Many have pointed to the “two-tier system of justice” in the U.S., where those with money have access to the court system and can get a fair hearing, while the poor have very little access and rights at all.

    http://news.firedoglake.com/2011/06/14/the-two-tiered-system-of-american-justice/

    *******************************
    Personally, I think that the difference between the US system and the Chinese system is, in the US, we have the best system that money can buy. I.e., an entrenched judicial and legal guild (through law school admissions, bar admissions, state constitutions etc.) which guarantee a certain level of power, prestige and influence to judges and legal professionals, with the possibility of making very good money for some elites, and decent money for many. Whether these activities add much to the common good is debatable.

    The lawyers who actually fight for peoples’ rights are few and far between — there is not very much money in it. Years ago I saw Ralph Nader give a talk to a bunch of law students at a top law school, pleading with them to consider public interest law. One of his arguments was that there would be the possibility of making a lot of money via representing class actions against major corporations.

    In China, the legal and judicial professions are just starting out. Only in the last 10 years have private lawyers started to make serious money. Judges are nowhere near that yet — most are poorly paid, and few are well-educated.

    China’s system has not yet evolved to allow for “sophisticated legal bribery” as in the U.S. So what we may find in China is “unsophisticated crude bribery.”

    Americans should not feel superior, because we would be fooling ourselves to believe that there is “more justice” in the U.S. judicial system compared to China. It is just not comparable. China’s system of corruption is simply not as sophisticated as the “legalized system of corruption” of the US.

    I leave you with this, from Newsweekm 1995 (W’hen it was a much stronger publication than now):
    http://www.law.yale.edu/documents/pdf/Faculty/Langbein_Money_Talks_Clients_Walk.pdf

    “Our lawyer-dominated system of criminal justic has truly achieved the worst of both worlds. For the welathy, there is the near-free-pass that elite defense counsel sells to the O.J.s and the William Kennedy Smiths of the world. For the rest of us, there is a system of barely restrained prosecutorial power, in which the prosecution is effectively judge and jury in its own cause….Ours is a criminal-justice system worthy of some banana republic where the rich often act with impunity and the authorities terrorize the peons at will.”

  40. raventhorn2000
    October 4th, 2011 at 06:29 | #40

    @perspectivehere

    It’s a sort of weird tendency of US to try to “legalize” every vice that it can’t deal with.

    The old “Oh well, can’t beat it, let’s legalize it, tax it, and enjoy it” doctrine.

    I don’t know if China’s system of “informal tolerance of vices” is better. It seems to just drive vices underground (but they were always underground, but never legalized).

    In China, corrupt officials still do profit from vices and bribery, but at least technically, they are still committing crimes, and they can be arrested later.

    Some would call that “lack of clarity of law”, but I would say law is always very clear on point, but PEOPLE can choose not to enforce the law (same in US).

    In the end, This is the ultimate proof that US and China have the same “rule of law”, which is really “rule by Man”.

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