Category Archives: Analysis

Privacy, National Security, Human Rights, Social Value, Whatever – It’s Whatever the West Says

Microsoft
Microsoft, Privacy, and Rights over Ex-territorial Servers

The Economist today had an article on a case involving Microsoft’s alleged refusal to turn over documents stored on a foreign server to FBI. The article can be found here (archived here).

According to the Economist:

SUPPOSE FBI agents were to break into the postbox of an American company in Dublin to seize letters which might help them convict an international drug dealer. There would be general uproar, if not a transatlantic crisis. But that is essentially what the FBI wants to happen, albeit in the virtual realm: it has asked a court to order Microsoft, in its capacity as a big e-mail provider, to hand over messages from a suspect in a drugs case which are stored in a data centre in Ireland. On September 9th an appeals court in New York will hear oral arguments on whether Microsoft has to comply.

The case has many wrinkles … But at the core of the case is one of the most knotty legal questions in the age of cloud computing: how to give law-enforcement agencies access to evidence when laws remain national, but data are often stored abroad and sometimes even at multiple places at once?

This article rightfully brings up conflicts in law in the Internet arena within the West. Over the last few years, certain very public and passionate debates have flared up with Europe and the U.S. regarding privacy, right to delete, and censorship on the Internet.

A few years ago, as early as 2008, when I noticed Google Streetview growing to incorporate the streets of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and other Asian regions, I realized that everyone there simply took it for granted that it’s ok. What Google did must be the right, enlightened, and forward-thinking. Continue reading Privacy, National Security, Human Rights, Social Value, Whatever – It’s Whatever the West Says

The Humanitarian Crisis Spewing into Europe from the Middle East

eu-migrant-crisisThe last week or two, we have seen a great humanitarian crisis building in Europe with waves and waves of refugees pouring into Europe from neighboring Middle Eastern countries … with many dying along the way … and even children washing up on resort beaches.

The debate in Europe appears to focus primarily on how should the various nations shoulder the responsibilities of accepting the refugees.  Germany by far has been the most open-armed, although there are anti-immigrant feelings spewing in the nation as well.

Germany should be applauded for taking leadership for Europe to accept these refugees … but in some ways, it is also the least they can do.  Why? Continue reading The Humanitarian Crisis Spewing into Europe from the Middle East

Beyond the Pathetic Complaints about China’s 70th V-Day Anniversary Parade

1200x630_312860_we-love-peace-china-s-presidenI have been watching, reading, and observing events leading up to China’s 70th V-Day Anniversary Parade.  Festivities are still on-going, and I definitely feel proud that China is on the right track.

I do hear however a lot of bitter snickers and derision that to me seem way off point…

For example, in the U.S., I hear some Americans snicker at the parade saying, oh … but all that military might is useless outside China’s borders.  Just how does China plan to take that force to Japan … or Philippines … or any place further than that: China’s navy will be outgunned and the PLA is doomed from the start. Continue reading Beyond the Pathetic Complaints about China’s 70th V-Day Anniversary Parade

A short caricature on politics …

japans-imperialismIn the lead up to China’s commemoration of the 70th anniversary of Japan’s defeat in WWII, I thought I’d do a little personal aside … that might explain why Japan can be so delusional about so many things.

Politics … in many ways … especially politics in the democratic sense (i.e. at the level of the people) … is about caricatures … about simplifying (over-simplifying as the case may be) the issues.  Politics is about setting narratives – about burnishing worldviews – through selective highlighting (and de-emphasis) of reality … to present a particular view of the world that sometimes resembles some aspects reality … but that can some times also be completely in contravention with any sane view of reality.

There is a reason why people often avoid talking politics and religion in polite settings.  People can try to use logic and reason … but the problem is that underneath iceberg tip of logic and reason are mountains full of unspoken – and sometimes even unconscious – presumptions.  It’s why reasonable people can disagree vigorously and get so worked up about political disagreements. Continue reading A short caricature on politics …

If China Fears “Instability,” then the Western Democracies are Oblivious.

A government should fear “instability”, or rather should fear the anger of the People in instability.  Western Media has been in the habit of attributing virtually everything Chinese government does as “in fear of instability.”  To that, I say good.  That’s the way it should be.

Tang Emperor Gaozong said once, “Water can float a boat, but can also capsize it. People are like water and the sovereign is like a boat.”  A Government that loses fear of the People is doomed to capsize.

So it is that the West, with its own self-brainwashing, convinces itself that its Democratic “order” is unquestionable and unattainable by others.

Yet, the signs point not to calm waters, but boiling seas.

Continue reading If China Fears “Instability,” then the Western Democracies are Oblivious.

Is China a Real Victor of WWII?

In my recent article on Philippines’ ultimately absurd legal challenge to China’s claims in the S. China Sea, I noted how that conflict arose from the prevailing wind to diss China’s interests in the post WWII world.  The cause for that are many.  No doubt China’s relative weakness vis-a-vis the West and/or Soviet Union, its plunge into a major civil war in the aftermath of WWII, the alignment of the interests among the world’s most powerful – including both the West and the Soviets – to keep China from re-emerging as a major power all play a part.  But whatever the cause, I think it is major time for the world to revisit just how important a role China played in securing WWII’s victory against the Axis.

I have heard many Japanese say that even though China was technically a victor, China did not defeat Japan, only the U.S. did.  Some Americans say – what role could China have played when it was always teetering on the brink of national annihilation?  Both are way over simplifications of history.

Even if China could not have single-handedly defeat Japan, the world would not have been able to defeat Japan without China.  The defeat of the axis was a collaborative effort.  The U.S. and Soviet Union may have been the strongest military powers of the day, but the removal of any of the major four victors – China included – would have changed history irrevocably.  There are many reasons for the Axis to be defeated in WWII, and China is a key indispensable reason.

Consider, for example, that despite Japan’s many military victories in China throughout WWII, China was nevertheless able to, through its heroic resistance movement, lock down some 94% of Japan’s army throughout the war.  That is a huge deal.  Had China capitulated and freed Japan’s army, Japan could have opened with the Soviet Union a second front as Hitler had asked.  The course of WWII in Europe would have been irrevocably changed.

Alternatively – or perhaps simultaneously – the freed Japanese army could have rolled across S. East Asia, or India … or been used to invade Australia, Philippines and perhaps even India – securing the resources of much of Asia.  Does the U.S. really think it could have withstood an additional enforcement of Japan’s army by a factor of 15-16 throughout Asia???  Japan, I argue – would have been that much more difficult – if not impossible to defeat.

Some American exceptionalists might claim, but it was nuclear bombs that defeated the Japaneses.  That is patently false.  By the time the “bomb” was used, Americans already had control of Japanese skies and were carrying out firebomb raids with impunity.  Without that cover, the bomb could not have been deployed.

Strategically also, the bomb was used precisely because Japan was a defeated nation.  Had Japan had a fighting chance of survival, America would not have dared to try the bomb … for the simple reason that Japan would not easily go down, and would have had the resources to develop its own bomb  … and used it against America. The nuclear bomb did not end the war.  It was used to make a political statement … and to shorten – perhaps (tenuously) – the war. But make no mistake: the war was already  won.

In commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII, I offer two articles.  The first,  China a Forgotten WWII Ally, from China.org, argues that China made uniquely important and significant contributions to securing Japan’s ultimate defeat and that its efforts have been too long been neglected in the West in the advent of the cold war.  The second, Did a forgotten Japanese journalist turn the tide of World War II?, from Asia Times tells the story of how Soviet knowledge of Japan’s decision not to open a second front decisively changed the course of WWII … and how a brave Japanese journalist named Hotsumi Ozaki heroically relayed that critical knowledge to Soviet leaders. Continue reading Is China a Real Victor of WWII?

Donald Trump’s Logic is also what’s wrong with Western Media

“some, I assume, are good people“.  Donald Trump could have said this just about for any group.  Which is precisely what’s wrong with Western media, as we have said repeatedly for years.

Only now, Western Media, even Fox, is piling on Trump for what they themselves keep writing in “journalism”.

Undoubtedly, Donald makes them all look bad, by taking their logic of sweeping generalization into public limelight and in such gaudy extreme.

If Mexicans are “rapists”, that’s only because for years, Chinese were liars, cheaters, thieves, polar bear hunters, and street peeing baby/pet eaters (according to Western media).

Continue reading Donald Trump’s Logic is also what’s wrong with Western Media

The Mirage that is Japan …

I came across an article in Asia Times on Japan’s WWII surrender that I thought was very well written.  It is important because within that surrender lay the seeds of today’s historical revisionism.  But more important than that, it is a good case study on what Japan is NOT.

Too often, many in the West think of Japan as this enlightened, modern, forward-looking, peace-loving society.  But when the West seems to have misunderstood Japan’s nuanced and conditional surrender for a real unconditional one akin to Germany, then perhaps it is time re-evaluate to what Japan is in reality, and what Japan is headed to be.

Here I offer two articles, first as a context, and second as a case study.

First is that article in Asia Times on Japan’s WWII surrender. Continue reading The Mirage that is Japan …

Update on AMSC v. Sinovel “IP theft” lawsuits

In the latest, AMSC suffered clear defeats in 2 main jurisdictions in China, Beijing and Hainan, where both jurisdictions dismissed AMSC’s copyright complaints.

http://www.windpowermonthly.com/article/1350760/sinovel-claims-court-win-amsc

In April the Beijing Intermediate People’s Court dismissed another AMSC software copyright infringment case against Sinovel.  AMSC made an appeal in May to the Beijing Higher People’s Court, requesting a revocation of the ruling as well as court support for its previous claims in the re-trial.  Several weeks ago, Sinovel also announced that it has received a written notification from the Beijing Intermediate People’s Court informing it that AMSC had requested a change to the allegations it was making.

Continue reading Update on AMSC v. Sinovel “IP theft” lawsuits

Position Paper of the Government of the People’s Republic of China on the Matter of Jurisdiction in the South China Sea Arbitration Initiated by the Republic of the Philippines

On December 7, 2014, the Chinese government released a position paper on why the UNCLOS Arbitration initiated by Philippines should be dismissed as groundless.  Below is a copy.  For me personally, it’s interesting reading it after I have conducted my own extensive research in the area in writing my own paper on the topic last June.  The Chinese position paper has cited the relevant laws correctly, but I feel my paper dove into the legal issues deeper and more comprehensively.  The Chinese position paper however does include a lot of events that are relevant to understanding the situation but that I had not cited.

Here it goes: Continue reading Position Paper of the Government of the People’s Republic of China on the Matter of Jurisdiction in the South China Sea Arbitration Initiated by the Republic of the Philippines

So China is Doomed Because of a 30% market crash … ?

gay men in paradeThe news is abuzz with China’s recent stock market crash.  The naysayers are all coming out.  Not that they were ever hiding, but now it’s a parade – with horns and drums to toot!

Some reports are however darn right silly.  For example in this CNBS report titled How China might have given itself a black eye, a reporter would first accuse China of committing the sin of fighting in vain against market forces, then accusing China of not being able to do enough.

Then there are outlets like Wall Street Journal pronouncing China is doomed to fail, and then a few days later pronouncing everything is fine. There are of course also those who swear that they had foreseen the crash all along, for umpteenth obvious reasons.

Here is my take. Continue reading So China is Doomed Because of a 30% market crash … ?

Okinawa, Taiwan, and the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in United States–Japan–China Relations

This is not the first time I have read and linked to articles in The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus that I find sensible, instead of the misinformation and disinformation we see so often preached in Western press and Japanese press.

I thought this article by Kimie Hara gives a more balanced Japanese view of the issue of territorial dispute between China and Japan and (ultimately, I suppose) U.S.  A pdf copy from the site downloaded today is archived below.

senkaku islands title page

Xinjiang in the News Again … as Political Islam is Ignored Yet Again

So Xinjiang in on the Western news again.  In the last few days, articles have appeared at Reuters, Wall Street Journal, the Christian Science Monitor, to name just a few…

Here is an excerpt from the Christian Science Monitor: Continue reading Xinjiang in the News Again … as Political Islam is Ignored Yet Again

Hong Kong Legislature Rejects Election Reform

So it looks official now, Hong Kong’s Legislature has officially rejected the Election Reform promulgated by PRC’s Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. (For more on this topic, see this previous post late last year)  The central government has responded that the election rules stands and now it is the hope of many that Hong Kong will continue to find a way to execute full democracy under the Basic Law and NPC rules.
Continue reading Hong Kong Legislature Rejects Election Reform

Creating Central Eurasia – a vision for collaboration between the Silk Road & Eurasian Union projects

I want to share a GREAT analysis from the Valdai Club (see links below), outlining the opportunities for the PRC & Russia to jointly promote development and stability in Central Asia, by integrating the Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) & Eurasian Union initiatives. I find it an insightful counter-narrative to the mainstream (mostly western) rhetoric of China & Russia “at each others’ throats” in a zero-sum competition for hegemony in Central Asia – such as this one. It illustrates the magnitude of the opportunity for collaboration, and recommends a framework for execution. To date, I think there is no better scholarship than this one, in terms of clearly articulating the Russian perspective on, and response to, the Chinese SREB project.
Enjoy the read.
NOTE: For those who are not familiar with the Valdai Club, I would roughly describe it as Russia’s version of the US Council on Foreign Relations.

Revisiting “Tiger Mom”, and where “Individualism” failed (with a Sleeveless Pineapple)

Recently, I had an interesting debate about the “Tiger Mom” culture in Asia, against the backdrop of a Chinese American mother who criticized the Tiger Mom’s suppression of children’s “autonomy”.  So, since we had lively discussions of this subject here, (http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2011/01/13/the-truth-is-out-amy-chuas-chinese-moms-attack-on-american-moms-is-actually-a-wall-street-journal-creation/), I thought we should visit with some updates.

First, it’s actually amazing how many people criticize “Tiger Mom” without actually reading what she wrote.

More details on this later, but let me just say that Chinese children are not born or brought up to be mindless robots.  Plenty of them get into trouble, plenty grow up to disobey and challenge authority.  Tiger Mom is about challenging a child’s autonomy.  Amy Chua’s own 2 daughters questioned everything she made them do.  In challenging the child’s autonomy, the child must struggle to strengthen his/her own will and discipline.  Without self-will and self-discipline, autonomy/”individualism” is weak and useless.  My parents never tried to “suppress” my autonomy.  On the contrary, they always insisted to push me to learn to do the right things on my own initiative.

Second, I’m yet again reminded of how non-individualistic Chinese kids are, and how creative and individualistic Western children are.  Beyond the obvious (and somewhat racist) stereotype that such assumptions are based on, I came across this rather interesting story:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/21/nyregion/standardized-testing-is-blamed-for-question-about-a-sleeveless-pineapple.html.

Continue reading Revisiting “Tiger Mom”, and where “Individualism” failed (with a Sleeveless Pineapple)

U.S. Irresponsible Acts in S. China Sea

Recently, the news has been ablaze with growing tension in the S. China Sea.  First, the U.S. held military drills with Philippines near islands Philippines disputes with China in the S. China Sea.  Then Japan passed and the U.S. welcomed a new law that allows Japanese military to support U.S. air patrols and directly even carry out its own patrols in the S. China Sea.  Then Japan and Philippines announced they would conduct their first military drills in the S. China Sea.  And most recently, the U.S. decides to publicly challenge China’s assertion of rights on disputed islands by flying through those areas and releasing tapes of the verbal responses between the military.

There is no question among observers that the U.S. is ratcheting up the pressure on China in its assertion of sovereignty in the S. China Sea. (see e.g. some of our posts).  But this latest round of military provocation is completely irresponsible. Continue reading U.S. Irresponsible Acts in S. China Sea

Washington whips up fog of war in South China Seas

The Emperor in Washington has no clothes, laid bare by his naked lies and soon without a feather to fly with.

Well, maybe he has P8-Poseidons to conduct provocative flights around Beijing’s South China Seas islands, and a giant nuclear-powered fig leaf spread over 800 known global bases to cover his, uh, security.  But navel-gazing American politicians have already been lobbed a big punch to their guts by Vladimir Putin who flashed his own missile-laden cojones at Obama et cie over Ukraine.

China really should thank Victoria “Eve’’ Nuland for sparking off the crisis that has pushed Beijing and Moscow closer than ever expected.  Was that cookies – or apples? – that she was handing out to Maidan protestors in Kiev with the temptation of a champagne `n’ roses lifestyle just like f**k-the-EU Eden? Continue reading Washington whips up fog of war in South China Seas

The Future of China’s Manufacturing Industry

It is becoming more and more common to hear cries that China is becoming less competitive in its manufacturing industry and factories are moving overseas. Of course, rising cost of production and particularly that of labour doesn’t help. China’s average yearly wage in manufacturing has increase from RMB 15,757 in 2006 to RMB 46,431 in 2014, and is still increasing. The US has been the largest manufacturing nation since around the late 19th century or early 20th century. UK briefly held the number one title after replacing China in mid 19th century. What is the real state of manufacturing in China since surpassing the US in 2010? At that time, China’s share of world manufacturing was 19.8% ($2 trillion) compares to the US’s 19.4% ($1.94 trillion). However, the contrast is extremely great in the make up of the industry. China’s factories hire around 100 million workers compare to around 11.5 million for the US. Continue reading The Future of China’s Manufacturing Industry

About that Bastion of the Free Internet, Google…

Have you guys run across this little post at antiwar.com?

– because we have a page showing the Abu Ghraib abuses.

Update: After channels of communication were opened as a result of this article on Gawker, Google contacted us and said they would be restoring our ads.

However, Friday morning I received another demand to remove content from our site. Google has decided this page must be removed.

We have no intention of letting Google dictate our editorial policies.

Original post:

On 3/18/15 we received a note from Google Adsense informing us that all ads for our site had been disabled. Why? Because of this page showing the horrific abuses committed by U.S. troops in Iraq at Abu Ghraib.

This page has been up for 11 years. During all that time Google Adsense has been running ads on our site – but as Washington gets ready to re-invade Iraq, and in bombing, killing, and abusing more civilians, they suddenly decide that their “anti-violence” policy, which prohibits “disturbing material,” prohibits any depiction of violence committed by the U.S. government and paid for with your tax dollars. This page is the third-most-visited page in our history, getting over 2 million page views since it was posted.

To say this is an utter outrage would be an understatement: it is quite simply the kind of situation one might expect to encounter in an authoritarian country where state-owned or state-connected companies routinely censor material that displeases the government.

Is Google now an arm of the U.S. State Department?

Continue reading About that Bastion of the Free Internet, Google…

Remembering Lee Kuan Yew

Lee Kuan Yew, the founding Prime Minister of Singapore, passed away on 23rd march 2015. His supporters called him a great leader and outstanding politician who turned Singapore from a poor British colony into one of the richest country (if wealth is calculated per capita wise) in the world. His detractors would derided him as a dictator, and violator of human rights and civil liberties. Continue reading Remembering Lee Kuan Yew

The Myth of a Chinese takeover in Siberia – Continued

As an avid follower and enthusiast of modern trends in Sino-Russian relations (and media coverage thereof), I saw this “jewel” of an op-ed in the New York Times earlier this week, titled “Why China will Reclaim Siberia“. This type of Sinophobic fear-mongering is nothing new in the western media. With amusement, I read through it with the slight hope of finding some new, compelling arguments other than the same old rhetoric of “there are so many Chinese and so few Russians”. Unsurprisingly, there were none. I have written on this subject previously, and demonstrated why the so-called “invasion by mass migration” from China into the Russian Far East is a myth. Ethnic Chinese consists of 3% of the Russian Far East regional population, and most of that 3% are seasonal migrants with no intention of long-term settlement. Another noteworthy nuance is that these ethnic Chinese are concentrated largely in Russian urban centers where they have no chance of attaining a numerical majority. Reality aside, I understand that in the realm of propaganda and misinformation, facts and data-driven logic are optional conveniences.

Nevertheless, I will pose another question that few, if anyone, has asked in the discourse over this topic – is it actually in China’s strategic interests to seize sovereign control of the Russian Far East (RFE) or any part of Siberia? It seems like few, if anyone, has done any basic, high-level cost-benefit analysis from a Chinese strategic perspective. When we put forth even a casual effort to weigh the costs and benefits, the answer becomes quickly apparent – NO, it’s not. As usual, for those who do not want to read too much, the bolded text provides an adequate summary. Continue reading The Myth of a Chinese takeover in Siberia – Continued

Why did China ban Google? And why do the West try to shut down the Confucian Institute?

The common western narrative is that China’s government is oppressive and fear that its citizens would discover freedom and democracy through those websites. On the social-economic level, they imply that China’s leadership lack confidence when dealing with the western world. The underlying message is that that those rich multi-billion corporations are somehow purveyor of freedom and democracy. Google even used “Don’t be evil” as its formal corporate motto. Continue reading Why did China ban Google? And why do the West try to shut down the Confucian Institute?

汉武帝还是唐太宗 习近平陷入保守主义?/On History

Upon reading the article at dwnews.com on 12/31/2014, it triggered memory over 2 years ago when I was in Lhasa, after visiting Potala Palace, recovering from altitude sickness, and watching CCTV 10, about Taoism and analysis of history. For those who can’t read Chinese, the articles analyze the two dynasties when China was at her zenith, Han and Tang and the two great emperors, one used Confucianism as governing principle and downgraded other schools of thought, the other followed the principle of Taoism, which allows multiple paths of enlightenment. it obliquely criticizing Xi for following the Han emperor in censoring Gmail, questioning the conservative trend in whether it betrays a sense of inferiority complex or/and overconfidence. It questioned whether the attempt at isolating China from internet with Great Fire Wall be counterproductive.
I was excited in Lhasa because the TV program in Taoism was a real fresh air at the jointure of leadership changes. In China, history is more than history, it reflects on present as much as it’s about history. After all Cultural Revolution started with criticism of a historical play, the dismissal on an honest official (General Peng) by emperor (Mao). It mentioned Han Wudi, the great Han emperor, the year before he died he issued an edict apologizing to the nation on his own failures, which was unprecedented before or since in world history. Tang Taizong faced an invading army from west in front of the gate of his capital, signed a humiliating compromise treaty, yet within a few years absorbed the tribes that attacked. I was thinking of Mao, on his failure to change human nature. When he compared himself against great historical figures in his poetry, what China would have been, if he has the humility of Han Wudi to confess his own failures, and Tang Taizong’s foresight and not enter the Korea War.
History being what it is, those musings of alternate histories are for science fiction. I do agree with Xi in reigning in the excesses of Capitalism, of corruption, and yes, censorship. For even in the West, where profit reign supreme, there are still boundaries such as child pornography and terrorism. I do hope the revivals of Confucianism is tempered with Taoism, on live with nature in harmony, a greener future.

Sony: the great propagandizer in the middle of its hacking scandal

Sony has a tumultuous month with its hacking scandal involving the embarrassing leaked emails, ncluding: Angela Jolie, Barack Obama, and Leaked Salaries.

Sony being sued because of the leaked data is not the worst part, but the potential loss of its business because Hollywood can no longer trust Sony is probably even worse. So at Sony’s darkest hour, Sony decides to deflect from its hacking scandal to North Korea. Western Propaganda ate this whole thing up: From FBI blames North Korea, Obama vows response, to North Korea Internet down.

Besides deflecting the criticism towards the North Korea, Sony seem to kill 2 birds with one stone and will get free publicity towards “The Interview” movie anyways as the movie is released in digital media and movie theaters in its Christmas Day release. It makes Americans as a ‘patriotic’ thing to do as a thumbs down against ‘censorship’ and North Korea to watch this otherwise mediocre movie.

The only problem is that alot of Security experts doubt that North Korea actually did the hack. There are plenty of articles that like this, this, and that.  I would like to add in my 2 cents.

First it is the type of data being stolen. Most of the “normal” hacking incidents is usually logins, passwords, addresses, credit card #’s which can be obtained from a compromised e-tailer’s web server like Home Depot and Target. However, the type of data being stolen in this hacking incidents are emails, computer inventory spreadsheets, and data that could not get stolen in an web server. The only incidents where this type of data was in the Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, where a former insider was able to retrieve this kind of data.

Second it is amount of data data being stolen. yet how can 100 TB of data be stolen under the noses of the security engineers of Sony? Let’s face it, North Korea’s internet infrastructure won’t handle this much data and the speculation of some North Korea’s elite unit operating in Shenyang is just ludicrous.

Third it is the intent. the original intent from hackers was to extort money from Sony for not releasing the embarrassing emails, and not to stop the release “The Interview.”  An article from Wired best summarize this:

Nation-state attacks aren’t generally as noisy, or announce themselves with an image of a blazing skeleton posted to infected computers, as occurred in the Sony hack. Nor do they use a catchy nom-de-hack like Guardians of Peace to identify themselves. Nation-state attackers also generally don’t chastise their victims for having poor security, as purported members of GOP have done in media interviews. Nor do such attacks involve posts of stolen data to Pastebin—the unofficial cloud repository of hackers—where sensitive company files belonging to Sony have been leaked. These are all hallmarks of hacktivists—groups like Anonymous and LulzSec, who thrive on targeting large corporations for ideological reasons or just the lulz, or by hackers sympathetic to a political cause.

The only plausible explanation of this hack is from a current or former disgruntled employee with backdoor access was able to steal more than 100 TB worth of data under Sony’s nose.  Instead Sony being in turmoil, it seems to be able to save its own skin by blaming North Korea.

On China’s 9-Dashed Line and Why the Arbitrational Tribunal in Hague Should Dismiss Philippine’s Case Against China

December 15 was the deadline the Arbitration Tribunal for Philippine’s “arbitration” of its S. China Sea disputes with China had set for China to respond to Philippine’s claims under the UNCLOS.  According to this VOA report:

Monday is the deadline for China to submit a counter-argument in the Philippines arbitration case that questions China’s sweeping claims in the South China Sea. But China shuns arbitration and will not respond, while challenges to its position continue to mount.

Just days before the December 15 deadline, Vietnam Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Hai Bin said his government told the Permanent Court of Arbitration that Vietnam fully rejected “China’s claim over the Hoang Sa [Paracel] and Truong Sa [Spratly] archipelagoes and the adjacent waters.”

In a statement, the Philippines called Vietnam’s position “helpful in terms of promoting the rule of law and in finding peaceful and nonviolent solutions to the South China Sea claims.”

But China’s Foreign Ministry urged Vietnam “to earnestly respect China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests.” The ministry reiterated China’s position that the tribunal does not have jurisdiction over the case.

In a paper Beijing released a week ago, China argued the Philippines was essentially taking a territorial dispute to the tribunal and that the question of territorial sovereignty was not something addressed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Philippine Foreign Affairs Spokesman Charles Jose said his government has “taken note” of the position paper.

I had done some research and written an article on the subject earlier this year.  The plan was to publish it somewhere with Eric’s help, and through Guancha’s affiliates. However, by the time I finished, in mid-late August, the S. China Sea issue had drifted from the main media attention and Eric thought it was best to wait.

As it turned out, the “news” would not focus on S. China Sea again this year (fortunately), as the West attention seems to be focused now on ISIS, Ukraine, Russia, and Japan and Europe’s continuing economic problems…

If the news flare up again, I will see about writing something pertinent to that occasion.  But for now, I think it’s too much of a waste to just let my research this year lie dormant.  So below is my paper.   It might seem long and dense because it’s meant to address all the major legal arguments I hear Philippines officials and Western anti-China “legalists” publicly making.  I hope it’s educational for all here. If people have any feedback, I welcome them.  They will only make our position – and my future articles (if they are needed) – that much stronger.

Second Enlightenment – Debunking Democracy

More people (even Professor Francis Fukuyama) seem to be waking up to the fact that populist democracy controlled by money (let’s call it Democracy with a big dee) is a political cul-de-sac. However, just as otherwise enlightened individuals such as Galileo and Newton dare not deny the existence of God, modern-day Democracy skeptics are hesitant to challenge its sanctity. Without God, one’s doomed. Without Democracy, life’s unthinkable. That’s the mantra since childhood. Don’t ask why.

Democracy bears many resemblances to its religious predecessor. It’s also upheld by faith rather than reason, analysis, or benchmarked assessment — virtually a replacement of God in most of ex-Christendom. Consistent definition is not necessary. Politics in the USA, France, Italy, Greece, Japan, India, Switzerland, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya etc. differ in form, substance, and spirit. Even buddies like the US and UK have markedly different political structures. But as long as they hoist the Democracy banner, all is fine. Like God, Democracy’s good by tautology. Details are unimportant.
Continue reading Second Enlightenment – Debunking Democracy

Taiwan’s Recent Local Elections

The Taiwan elections last week may have many in the West – and some perhaps on the Mainland – thinking if politics in Taiwan is yet turning another corner with its independence movement mounting a comeback?

The following comment by a Taiwanese reader on guancha caught our attention.

作為一個贊成統一的台灣人,針對這次選舉結果,想跟觀察網的朋友做如下分享:

1. 這次選舉雖然國民黨潰敗,民進黨大勝,並不意味著多數台灣人趨向支持獨立;根本影響這次選情的原因是:一、馬英九當選總統六年以來的執政無方,政策傾向財團與既得利益階級,根本罔顧台灣多數中產階級與基層民眾的需求與感受。二、連戰所代表的國民黨政商既得利益階層推出自己的兒子連勝文出來競選台北市長,更是加深台灣民眾對國民黨壟斷瓜分兩岸和平紅利的印象,一般老百姓根本無法從中得利,但卻看到這些遊走兩岸的政商人物每個都賺得肥油油的,自然會反彈不願意將票再投給國民黨,這也是為何國民黨連在居絕對優勢的台北市都會選輸的原因!

2. 北京需要重新檢討對台政策,特別是調整目前透過國民黨及富商階層作為對台政策代理人的做法。我之前有建議過,今晚還是要在這邊呼籲,希望中央能考慮是否直接在台灣發展基層組織,聯合台灣左統派,發展在台灣的統一力量!

3. 如果民進黨不能在兩岸關係上給台灣民眾一個放心穩妥的答案,2016的台灣總統選舉綠營未必就能再次獲勝,泛藍勢力也會在島內安定的訴求下,再次集結整合,台灣走向獨立的可能性微乎其微。

4. 在台灣島內,多數人民的首要矛盾問題是經濟與民生問題,但這6年來國民黨在馬英九的領導下完全無能無所作為;統獨問題作為次要矛盾問題,在我的認識,許多台灣人都抱持著鴕鳥心態 — 既或是傾向獨立的綠營支持者,很多人心底也都知道或默認,統一是遲早與無法抗拒的,只能持著消極抵制心態應對。而對大陸人來說,在台灣問題上,統獨是首要矛盾問題,台灣的經濟與民生問題是次要問題。而當台灣人因為自己的首要矛盾問題票投綠營時,會讓許多大陸人認為台灣走向獨立之路,或是刻意想與大陸對抗,這是許多大陸人不了解台灣社會實際情況所產生的誤解與誤讀,希望觀察網的朋友對此點有重新的認識。

Here is my quick translation: Continue reading Taiwan’s Recent Local Elections