Monthly Archives: September 2008

Chinese elitism versus American parochialism (aka Sarah Palin-style "democracy"): Musings on how different political systems function. Part I: The Chinese story.

Prologue: On my last trip back to China I brought back some reprints of Republican-era books. The following musings are based on my hasty reading notes.

Abstract: The Chinese society functions well when the stuff of its elite works. The American society functions well when the stuff of its elite works and is embraced by its masses (which is far from automatic). The challenge for the Chinese society is that historically the stuff of its elite (e.g., Confucianism, Legalism and revolutionary socialism) has often failed to work. The challenge for the American society is that the stuff of its elite (e.g., science, education and secular humanism) is often rejected by its masses. Continue reading Chinese elitism versus American parochialism (aka Sarah Palin-style "democracy"): Musings on how different political systems function. Part I: The Chinese story.

(Letter from skylight, Opposing Viewpoint) Does Hu Jia deserve the Nobel Peace Prize?

Six chinese has recieved the Nobel Prize (seven if you include Dalai Lama). This year there is some speculation that the Nobel Peace Prize may be awarded to a Russian or a Chinese. According to the director of a Norwegian peace institute, Stein Tonneson, the chinese environmental activist Hu Jia is a top Chinese contender. Continue reading (Letter from skylight, Opposing Viewpoint) Does Hu Jia deserve the Nobel Peace Prize?

(Letter) Some Chinese Satire: Sanlu Incident Provoked by International Anti-Chinese Imperialist Reactionaries!

A Mainlander uses the Made in China dairy scandal to spoof arguments commonly made by the Chinese government, fenqing, and other blindingly patriotic Mainlanders. Continue reading (Letter) Some Chinese Satire: Sanlu Incident Provoked by International Anti-Chinese Imperialist Reactionaries!

Evolving a self-correcting mechanism for the Chinese society: Thoughts on the tainted milk crisis and other Chinese scandals

The problem of Chinese powdered and liquid milk producers lacing their products with industrial chemicals has left the Chinese public (especially the parents) in panic. The facts of this crisis have been well-documented. I have a few thoughts about its implications. Continue reading Evolving a self-correcting mechanism for the Chinese society: Thoughts on the tainted milk crisis and other Chinese scandals

Shenzhou 7 Spacecraft Blasts Off

This morning, the Shenzhou 7 spacecraft carrying Zhai Zhigang, Liu Boming, and Jing Haipeng successfully took off from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center and entered orbit. This is a major event in China, as a space walk (the first for the Chinese space program) is planned on this 3-day mission (on the 27th).

Shenzhou 7 launched by a Long March 2F rocket

Here is a full version.
Continue reading Shenzhou 7 Spacecraft Blasts Off

Cross-strait "Trash Talk": which side has the better cuisine?

With all the arguments generated by our discussion on cross-strait politics, we need to start a topic that both sides can agree on.  One thing I think we can all agree is that Chinese Cuisine is an important aspect of Chinese Culture.  The only question is: which side of the strait has the better cuisine? 😉 Continue reading Cross-strait "Trash Talk": which side has the better cuisine?

Do westerners care what we think?

I felt honored to be invited as one of the authors for this site which seems to have a lot of healthy debate. I know that in the past, A Chinese blogger by the name Anti (安替) also started some effort to translate Chinese articles into English to let English-readers have a firsthand understanding of what the Chinese minds are pondering about. Continue reading Do westerners care what we think?

(Letter) Chinese Passport Design and Content– What does it Say about the Government´s Role in People´s Lives

I have a U.S. passport and it is full of strange text and images designed to emphasis the positive aspects of the U.S., many of which are at odds with policy of the Bush regime and indeed the history of the nation´s formation. Much of the design and content of my U.S. passport is meant to be both aesthetic, patriotic and lend an air of ancient authority to the entity that issued it to me (the U.S. Department of State). Continue reading (Letter) Chinese Passport Design and Content– What does it Say about the Government´s Role in People´s Lives

Let's Talk some Cross-Strait Politics

It’s been almost four months since Ma Ying-jeou has been sworn into office in Taiwan.  After the first few weeks of euphoria, there hasn’t been that much published about Taiwan in English sources – partly because of the Olympics, and partly because not much concrete has happened. Continue reading Let's Talk some Cross-Strait Politics

(Letter from Damai) Oppose Belief Opportunists: My Thoughts On Modern-Day Uighur Christians

I had meant to post this sooner, but a quick Mid-Autumn Festival vacation trip got in the way. Admin previously provided me with several passages written by ksjqjy, the host of the Minkaohan forum, and I thought I would post some of them which dealt with religion, given the the timely relevance to Ramadan. Continue reading (Letter from Damai) Oppose Belief Opportunists: My Thoughts On Modern-Day Uighur Christians

The Next U.S. Administration and the Future of US-China Relationship

Several bloggers here have asked that we start a discussion regarding which of the U.S. presidential candidates might be better for China – or at least, better for a solid U.S.-China relationship.  Continue reading The Next U.S. Administration and the Future of US-China Relationship

(Letter) The Chinese essay BBC was dared to publish (contrasting argumentation styles)

A Mr. Li sent this essay to the BBC and dared them to publish it. They did. Much thanks to EastSouthWestNorth for providing this English translation (See their post for additional translated reader comments.) Continue reading (Letter) The Chinese essay BBC was dared to publish (contrasting argumentation styles)

Can democracy be the solution to Malaysia's ethnic problems?

In a previous discussion on Malaysia’s ethnic politics, I was surprised (and dismayed) to sense the depth of dejection some ethnic Chinese in Malaysia may feel toward the political situation in Malaysia. There however may be hope. Continue reading Can democracy be the solution to Malaysia's ethnic problems?

(Letter from skylight, Opposing Viewpoint) What has been the result of Dalai Lama’s 30-years of dialogue?

An assessment of thirty years of dialogue by Skylight.

For thirty years, Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in Exile has approached the Chinese leadership to resolve the Tibet issue. Since the resumption of dialogue in 2002, there has been seven rounds of meeting and confidence building exercises between Dalai Lama’s envoys and the United Front Work Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. Continue reading (Letter from skylight, Opposing Viewpoint) What has been the result of Dalai Lama’s 30-years of dialogue?

(Letter from sophie, Opposing Viewpoint) Imagining the current US election happens in China…

I have been following this year’s US election. As an onlooker, there is some kind of entertaining element in my interest. But, at the same time, I am asking myself how it would be like if this election process was run in China, a country of 1.3 billion population. Since i don’t know the US election process very well, I am asking simple questions here: how feasible is democracy or how to put it in practice in a large country without it being downgraded to image competition? Continue reading (Letter from sophie, Opposing Viewpoint) Imagining the current US election happens in China…

Tainted baby formula scandal blows up in China

The brand is Sanlu (三鹿), one of the best known domestic manufacturers of milk products in China. sanluThe scandal involves babies falling ill across the country with kidney stones after consuming Sanlu brand baby formula that have since been found to contain melamine, which can boost the apparent protein content of the product in quality control tests. How did this happen? Sanlu says it got a tainted source of milk; nevertheless many people still speculate — based on similar “black-heart food” incidents in the past — that for reasons of profit the manufacturer knowingly kept a closed eye on doping in its food processing chain.

The basic story is here (in Chinese) and has seeped into English-speaking media also, for example here. But it is still a rapidly developing story with new information/rumors coming out every minute. At this moment it is the top discussion item pretty much everywhere in Chinese news and online forums.
Continue reading Tainted baby formula scandal blows up in China

Netizens vote for sparrow as China's national bird

America has the Bald Eagle, a powerful symbol of might, individuality, and freedom — even if Benjamin Franklin thought it was a bird of “bad moral character” inferior to the Wild Turkey.

sparrowWhat does China have as a national bird? Well, it doesn’t yet.

The house sparrow, so common in China, and named one of the four vermin during the 1950’s (and killed en masse), has received a plurality of votes among ten birds in an unofficial online poll for China’s national bird. This has stirred up a conversation online about what constitutes a national bird, and more interestingly, about the national character and outlook of the common Chinese people.
Continue reading Netizens vote for sparrow as China's national bird

Thailand's political turmoil

The recent political turmoils have received relatively scant coverage in the Western Press.  Nevertheless, many of us here at Foolsmountain think the events in Thailand are important and interesting because they touch upon so many interesting issues – including the rule of law, democracy, class warfare, public education, and the role of military – all of which are also pertinent to China. Continue reading Thailand's political turmoil

(Letter) Translation: Jiang Yuyuan: Mommy You Don’t Have To Beg For Food

Below is a report about Olympic gymnast Jian Yuyung’s humble beginning. I found it while trying to substantiate which year Jiang, one of the gymnasts accused of being underage, entered local gymnastics program in Liozhou (appearantly 1994 when she was ONE YEAR OLD – if the allegation she was born in 1993 is true): Continue reading (Letter) Translation: Jiang Yuyuan: Mommy You Don’t Have To Beg For Food

(Letter) East is East and West is West… will they ever meet? (a famous poem)

Here’s a bit from a famous poem by a famous colonial-era British author. I’ll put the original and then an updated version, since his English is old and a little hard to understand. It’s from “The Ballad of East and West,” by Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936). Continue reading (Letter) East is East and West is West… will they ever meet? (a famous poem)