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Archive for October, 2008

(Letter) Being a Chinese American….

October 31st, 2008 4 comments

Being a first generation immigrant, I sometimes wonder what right do I have as a Chinese/Taiwanese American to voice my opinion on Chinese/Taiwanese politics. Seems like every forum I join, I always get accused of because I am an “American” I just don’t get it. Of course being at a young age of 24, I took it as a personal attack. These last few months I have been part of this group at www.udn.com, but I have to keep my mouth shut because whenever I disagree with their opinion, they just say you just too ignorant because you are an American. Read more…

(Letter from BI Yantao) China: Internet censorship tightened

October 30th, 2008 136 comments

As Beijing Olympics closed, the Internet censorship in China further tightened. Undeniably, this deterioration has affected and frustrated an increasing number of netizens in China. Read more…

Categories: media Tags: ,

Obamania Seems to be Sweeping through China, too!

October 30th, 2008 30 comments

As the U.S. Presidential Campaign reaches a climatic end, it is interesting to see that many Chinese, like others throughout the world, seem to have rushed aboard the Obama wagon. While pondering these observations, I ran across an interesting article on Asia Times titled “China falls for Obama’s ‘US dream'”. Here are some excerpts. Read more…

(Letter) How many families in China are single-child family?

October 30th, 2008 No comments

Here’s a statistics that surprised me:

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2006-11/10/content_729312.htm

“Currently, Guangzhou has 372,631 one-child families, about 15 per cent of the total.”

Only 15%? Does this number commensurate with rest of China? US, having no family planning law, has about 18% of families with only child.

(Letter from chinayouren) Crisis and The Great Wall of China

October 29th, 2008 24 comments

During my travels these last weeks in Europe and Asia, and on my return to China, I have observed some rather striking contrasts. So much that they made me think a lot about the present state of Chinese economy, and here is a word about it.

Two different ways of seeing the world

I was in Europe for the last time the week of the “Meltdown Monday”, the one when the Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy. Quite scary, but the news didn’t seem so surprising for anyone. Ever since the beginning of the year most people had seen the crisis coming. On the Spanish beaches, there were less tourists to be seen this summer, and the variable rate mortgages were getting stiffer for all. The governments that were not in electoral campaign had profusely announced what was to come.
Read more…

An explanation for the financial crisis with a recycled joke

October 25th, 2008 6 comments

A friend directed me to this joke today. I vaguely remember hearing something similar years ago, but this version is now much more interesting because of a new/amended moral of the story, which addresses the Chinese investors but is perhaps just as relevant globally. Read more…

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(Letter from perspectivehere) Michael Spence, Nobel Laureate 2001 in Economics, on China’s Economic Management

October 24th, 2008 9 comments

In a Q & A with Michael Spence, Nobel Laureate in Economics 2001, on the U.S. economic crisis on Squawk Box at CNBC, Spence makes some notable comments on China’s management of its economy and its responsible actions on the global economic stage. Read more…

Categories: General, media Tags: ,

Why are Taiwanese so violent???

October 23rd, 2008 181 comments

Recently, DPP protesters attacked a Chinese envoy visiting a Confucius temple in Southern Taiwan, causing not only great embarrassment for President Ma, but also the entire Taiwanese people.

Fist fights, shouting matches, physical threats … and now this.  Are these signs of a vigorous democracy or an immature – perhaps violent society? Read more…

Do you like the comment highlights provided here at Foolsmountain in the last month or so?

October 22nd, 2008 8 comments

Many members of this blog have noticed comment highlights that have been provided starting a month or so ago. The feature was started by the admin in response to some of us editors linking “sample comments” up at the top of their posts to help casual readers zoom in to some of the more thought provoking or relevant discussions (see example). Read more…

(Letter from ecodelta) The tragedy of China´s communication problems

October 19th, 2008 1 comment

Interesting article about China communication and public relation problems

http://news.imagethief.com/blogs/china/archive/2008/10/15/the-tragedy-of-china-s-international-communication.aspx

All countries, even the US, have problems projecting their image to the outer world, but China´s problems seems to run deeper, and giving its rapid rising more urgent to be addressed.

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On Human Rights, Intervention and the International Order

October 19th, 2008 265 comments

The idea of “human rights” is neither new nor did it suddenly sprang into existence after WWII. It has arguably existed since the dawn of human existence, as portrayed in human stories and mythologies and exemplified throughout human history in man’s struggle against the arbitrariness of a higher power, be they of gods, fortune, nature or tyrants.

In Chinese society, such struggles are found in the stories and mythologies of 大禹 (Great Yu) taming the floods, 神農  (Shennong) inventing agriculture or the Monkey King’s rebellion against Heaven. Socio-politically, a central theme of Confucianism is the rights and duties of each member of society, from the peasant to that of the Emperor. Subsequently, 孟子 (Mencius) argued for the rights of the citizens to just rule, while later 王夫之 (Wang Fuzhi) favoured governing in the interest of the people (i.e. for the people) instead of for the benefit of the rulers. Read more…

Wang Yung-Ching (王永慶) – One of Taiwan's Proud Sons – Passes Away…

October 17th, 2008 18 comments
Wang Yung-Ching

Wang Yung-Ching

Wang Yung-Ching, founder of Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics Group, has passed away at the age of 91 while on a business trip to the United States. Wang died unexpectedly in his sleep at his daughter’s home in New Jersey.

Known affectionately as the “Midas of Management” in Taiwan, Wang started his business by selling rice in 1932. From that humble beginning, Wang would become the richest man in Taiwan with a personal fortune (last year) of U.S. $6.8 billion. Wang’s rags-to-rich’s story, coupled with his frugal, unassuming, hardworking lifestyle, makes him one of the most inspirational figures in Taiwan in a generation.

Wang began building his business conglomerate in the early 1950s – when the Japanese had just left the island. His conglomerate would help to transform Taiwan’s biotechnology, petrochemical processing and electronic components production industries into leaders of the world. Read more…

Blue Sky in Beijing

October 16th, 2008 24 comments

Last time I was in Beijing was two and half year ago. Beijing now is once again a very different city, the investment must have far exceeded $40 Billion.

The most impressive is the frequent return of blue sky in Fall Beijing, here is the evidence:

Categories: General Tags: , ,

Oh ~ Black Blind Island, Welcome Home

October 15th, 2008 24 comments

On October 14, half of Heixiazi Island (lit. black blind island) was transferred from Russia to China, completing the last piece of the border settlement pact signed by the two countries in the mid-1990’s. Back in the day, Jiang Zemin took a lot of heat for signing this, because it was felt by some that China had lost a claim on the much larger Sixty-Four Villages area of Qing-era Outer Manchuria.
Read more…

Are Chinese racist or simply politically incorrect?

October 14th, 2008 338 comments

It’s common knowledge that when it comes to racial remarks, Chinese people (and perhaps Asians in general) are not the most politically correct people in the world.  We’ve had extended discussions about “racism” in China (see, e.g., Chocolate City post by Buxi).  Recently, I came across an interesting article in Times Magazine (in relation to the U.S. Presidential politics) regarding racism in Asia.  Unfortunately, I believe the author falls into many pitfalls that many Westerners make when it comes to Asian racism. Read more…

(Letter) A question for readers of Fool's Mountain blog

October 13th, 2008 75 comments

In his recent journalism book, “Out of Mao’s Shadow,” Philip Pan touched upon many problems in China, one of which is the heavy human cost resulting from cruel local implementations of the one-child policy. The author commented in the final chapter:
Read more…

Categories: politics Tags: , , ,

(Letter from ecodelta) Chinese Air Force Airline

October 12th, 2008 6 comments

I think most of you have the experience with flight.  Do you know the Air Force service is available in China?  Part of the post is translated follow:
Read more…

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Lessons for China from the world financial crisis

October 8th, 2008 45 comments

With Iceland close to bankruptcy and the world’s financial system going to hell, China stands somewhat apart in its relative isolation. Asia Times has an intriguing article on this:

“In the past, China has been blamed for the low-degree of internationalization of its financial industries. Now it seems we are profiting from this ‘fault’,” the commentary said.

Many Chinese economists share this view. “Our not-fully-open financial system and not-fully-convertible currency saved China from being rattled during the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. And now again this seems to be a strong dam to protect us against the current financial tsunami,” an economics researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) said.

“It is evident that the financial industries cannot become entirely market oriented. The semi-market, semi-government-control system may prove a better [system]. The problem in China is that the part of government control is too big and thus reforms are needed to deregulate.”

In early September, Steven N S Cheung, a Hong Kong-born Chinese-American economist living in exile in China, being wanted by the US government for alleged tax evasion, claimed that China “has formed the best system in the history of human kind”.

Read more…

Update: McCain injects Presidential Politics into U.S. – China row over Taiwan Weapons Sale

October 8th, 2008 27 comments

McCain seems to be getting a little desperate.  He seems to be pulling all stops (including going negative and aggressive against Obama) and most recently also trying to inject some foreign politiking into his campaign. Read more…

Tina Fey for Vice President

October 7th, 2008 9 comments

I had glanced over some news article titles/briefings over the last couple of days regarding Saturday Night Live’s parody of Sarah Palin, but didn’t check it out until reading about it in the Inside-Out China blog. I must say I agree with Xujun that Tina Fey is superb.  Hey, Senator McCain, are you sure you picked the right running mate? Read more…

Update: China cancels military, diplomatic contacts with US over Taiwan arms sale

October 7th, 2008 68 comments

According to a late AP piece , China is “furious” about the arms sale and has canceled serious senior contacts.  Here is an excerpt: Read more…

(Letter) Open Letter to David Kilgour and David Matas on Falun Gong and Organ Harvesting

October 6th, 2008 66 comments

(Backgournder on David Kilgour, David Matas, and their affiliation with Falun Gong\’s political lobby, CIPFG.)

Dear Mr. Kilgour, Mr. Matas:

While China’s human rights record should be examined, I would like to urge you to look into all the facts of the case regarding the organ harvesting allegation made by the relgious sect Falun Gong.

In my opinion Falun Gong’s actions not only discredited their own cause, they also detracted from honest examination of China’s problems. Falun Gong’s vivisection indictment muddled the rational discussion of issues such as Chinese society’s moral, ethical standards on dignity and treatment of the condemned.

It is in this spirit I would like to bring to your attention some contrarian facts:

– US State Department’s undercover investigation found Falun Gong’s Sujiatun/Auschwitz allegation not credible. [1]

– A US Congressional brief critical of China questioned the veracity of Falun Gong’s claim of genocide and credibility of Kilgour/Matas report. [2]

– Independent investigation by long time Chinese dissident Harry Wu found Falun Gong’s claim, and its witnesses, unverifiable. [3]

– The Ottawa Citizen published a report on the veracity of Falun Gong’s organ harvesting allegation, and credibility of the Kilgour report. [4]

– The gory photo admitted as evidence by Falun Gong is not evidence of vivisection. Specifically, photo of Mr. Wang Bin in the Kilgour/Matas report, Appendix 20 Case 1.

A pathologist review contradicted Falun Gong’s claim. [5] Even according to Falun Gong’s own reporting, an autopsy was performed as part of Mr. Wang’s murder investigation held by local authority. [6]

Another photo that is widely mis-used by Falun Gong is of Mr. Liu Yufeng, it too does not prove vivisection.

In reality these photos are medical in nature, and are not evidence of atrocity. For example Falun Gong used a photo of breast cancer to support their “sexual torture” allegation. This story ran for two years before a physician blogger noticed the misrepresentation. [7]

In conclusion, writing an allegory of “Schindler’s List” is not the way to examine China’s human rights record. If we can not be precise with our accusation, only resort of nefarious indictment – why should anyone take the issue seriously?

Sincerely,

Charles Liu
Community Activist
Seattle, WA

References:

1) http://usinfo.state.gov/xarchives/display.html?p=washfile-english&y=2006&m=April&x=20060416141157uhyggep0.5443231&t=livefeeds/wf-latest.html

http://www.usembassy.it/pdf/other/RL33437.pdf (section CRS-7)

2) \’The Collateral of Suppression\’, a brief written for Senator Dianne Feinstein, member of US Congressional Executive Commission on China (CECC), where congressional researchers Emma Ashburn and Thomas Lum were quoted.

3)http://www.cicus.org/info_eng/artshow.asp?ID=6491

4) http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/observer/story.html?id=2c15d2f0-f0ab-4da9-991a-23e4094de949&p=3 (page 3, 4)

5) Review by Dr. Friedlander of Kansas City University School of Medicine, Pathology Dept. The photo exhibited ‘Y’ incisions in the neck and baseball stitch sutures, which are typical of autopsy. The fact organ removal by medical examiner during autopsy is routine, is omitted.

6) http://clearwisdom.net/emh/articles/2000/11/16/6164.html

7) Review by Dr. Ramana: http://rambodoc.wordpress.com/2007/09/17/is-the-falun-gong-going-wrong

(to be translatated) Historical rural land reform in China

October 6th, 2008 3 comments

http://www.cnstock.com/jryw/2008-09/08/content_3649461.htm

中国目前已经迈入统一地权的历史性门槛。

  9月中旬,记者从可靠渠道获悉,《土地管理法》的修改已经正式列入将于10月份举行的中央重要会议的立法规划,农村建设用地管理将会出现转折性变革。据悉,在此次会议上确定的关于修改土地制度的核心就在改革征地制度上。

  “从决策层面上来讲,大家已经对这次土地改革充满信心,而此次改革也将对中国的房地产、城镇化等方面带来巨大的影响。”一位知情人士对记者说。

  “统一地权”起步

  “土地改革之路依然很漫长,但是它已经走出了第一步。”上述知情人士说。

  据他透露,在今年10月的这次重要会议上,立法热点将是以农村集体建设用地依法流转为重点的《土地管理法》的修改,而此次修改将主要依据2004年国务院发布的28号文件,在这个《关于深化改革严格土地管理的决定》中强调,“在符合规划的前提下,村庄、集镇、建制镇中的农民集体所有建设用地使用权可以依法流转。”

  “可以看出,早在4年前,国务院就已经为土地相关法律的修改和制定做了铺垫,而此次土地法律的修改也将在28号文件之下进行,这是个底线。”上述人士对记者说。

  据他透露,此次土地改革的目标应该是,在保持关于现行国家和集体土地所有制度不变的前提下,建立起城市与农村不同的土地拥有统一使用权的体系,要把农村集体建设用地确保为法定不动产,其转让过程也要按照不动产进行转让,而由此也将形成全国统一的土地使用权法律体系,将体现平等性、有偿性、期限性。

  在实行的具体方式上,此次改革可能将遵循“总体保障、分期实现”的原则,就是将通过法律的修改来实现农民住房和农村建设用地的商品化,将用分重点、分区域、分期的方式来进行三步走,而在此基础上,耕地政策仍然保持现有法律不变。

  难在利益平衡

  据记者了解,“统一地权论”最早的提出者是知名经济学者武建东,他21年前在国务院的房改办工作,按照他的说法,那时的主要工作是解决国有企业、地方政府盖房子缺钱的问题。

  “当时并没有考虑到将城镇和村级住宅一体化流通,也没有考虑到土地市场的重要,现在看来,一体化土地改革是一个绕不开的节点。”武建东对记者说。

  一个原因是,我国目前已经进入高速的现代化阶段,而此时所需要的建设用地量比以往翻倍增长。来自国土资源部的信息表明,我国现在能利用的建设性土地大约在500万平方公里,而其中农村、园地、林地等面积占到近70%,广阔的农村集体用地将是新增的国有建设用地的主要来源,但如何转化一直是一个难题。

  “在过去,有的地方政府以廉价的征地方式解决建设开发使用,造成了对农民利益的损害,如何以一种公平的方式来平衡两者之间的矛盾,是此次改革中要考虑的一个重要因素。”中央党校研究室专家曹新对记者表示。

  在武建东看来,这个过程可以通过土地使用权的直接流转和买卖来解决。据他分析,目前农村集体建设用地有两个使用主体,一是农村的集体建设用地,随着我国城镇化和农村工业化,这种建设用地的使用已经远远超出我国目前的土地管理系统的监管,正成为我国农村资本积累的重要来源,这种转化过程被称之为土地流转;另一个是城市化建设对郊区土地的征用,而这也是在我国东部发达地区城市采取的一种模式,是地方政府与企业利润的重要来源,这被称之为买卖。

  据国土部门的统计显示,目前农民的住房面积在200多亿平方米(约合0.3亿亩),农村集体建设用地的面积是4亿亩,按照武建东的说法就是将这两块内容直接转入我国的市场经济体系。

  “这200多亿平方米的住宅如果按照村镇的平均800元的成本造价计算,价值是20万亿元人民币,而4亿亩的农村建设用地的价值也在100万亿元人民币以上,如果实现了这一计划,那么农民的财产将体现真正价值,农村的市场经济体系也将重新构架。”武建东说。

  曹新在日前对全国百强县昆山的调研中发现,在这个外资和民营经济都异常发达的地方,有不少农民以村级为单位与企业签订了土地使用协议,一些农民选择了以土地入股的形式加入企业,分享企业发展所带来的收益,在年终的时候可以享受企业的分红;另一些农民则选择了一次性补偿。

  在曹新看来,推行地权统一的最大阻力还来自于地方政府。他分析,在过去,一些县级市没有独自收税的权力,在上缴国家利税后才能留取一部分资金做财政用,但这些钱远不够维持开销,因此对农民进行征地,再卖给企业一直是地方政府财政收入的主要来源,“如果地权统一了,农民的土地直接进入市场了,那也就等于绕过了地方政府,这必将遭到一些地方政府的反对。”

  重庆试点之鉴

  在此前,重庆的农地流转试点已经展开一年多。早在去年年初,试点就在重庆九龙区展开,而今已经建立了完整的体系。据记者了解,目前重庆在探索土地流转方面有三种方式,分别是在不改变其农业用地的性质下,对经营方式进行调整;集中配置宅基地等非农业用地资源,来释放更多的非农用地;如果可由农业用地改为城市用地,为征地动迁的农民将获得现金+股份补偿。

  重庆九龙坡区农业系统的一位人士告诉记者,目前在该区进行农地流转试点中,采取的主要是“住房换宅基地、社保换承包地”模式,而经过这一模式,就可将农地转换成城市建设用地,而当地政府则向农民提供新建设的集中居住区以及一次性的资金补贴。而农民退出的承包地将由各村的土地流转服务站统一管理和经营,在此方面所产生的收益80%归退出农民所有,20%将用于退出者的社保投入。

  此外,九龙坡区政府还在去年出台了《九龙坡区农村土地承包经营权流转管理试行办法》,建立了土地流转风险保障、土地承包仲裁等相关制度,各镇设立农村土地流转服务中心,各村设立农村土地承包流转服务站,承担土地流转供求登记,代表村民协商价格、签订合同等职能。

  记者从重庆九龙坡区农林水利局了解到,目前在九龙坡区成立镇农村土地承包仲裁委员会10个,镇农村土地承包流转服务中心10个,村设立农村土地承包流转服务站92个。通过这些机构的运作,目前该区流转土地面积4.3万亩,占总耕地面积的20.3%,而目前这一串儿数字还在不断变大。

  “这些机构将会为农民出让土地的一系列过程服务,包括从转让意向到最后的法律纠纷都有专门的机构来进行解决。”水利局的一位人士告诉记者。

  但农地流转试点也非一帆风顺。

  一位参与此次课题调研的专家告诉记者,在重庆等地进行的土地流转过程中,关于土地租金和房屋赔偿金的定价上,农民并没有话语权,一直处于被动的接受过程,“很多流转依然不属于市场行为,和官方征用土地区别并不是很大。”

  据该专家说,在重庆九龙坡进行的农地流转中,农民的土地租金是按照农民的种粮收入的标准来计算的,一般每亩在1000元到1500元之间,而房屋的拆迁补偿标准大都在200元每平方米左右,“这个定价存在一定的不合理性,土地的价值每年都在增高,而农民却不能参与土地升值的收益分配。”

  一个现实是,有些农民在参与流转加入社保之后,每个月大概只能拿到300多元,生活水平还比原先出现了下降的情况。“这说明,重庆模式并不能完全作为地权统一过程中的标本,它还有很多有待于完善的地方。”上述参与调研的专家说。(中国经营报)

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US arms sales to Taiwan "a slap to Wen Jiabao's face"?

October 4th, 2008 297 comments

In a surprise move to some, the United States reactivated a $6.46 billion Taiwan arms sales proposal and sent it to Congress for approval yesterday. (As late as September 28, the proposal was said to be frozen by the White House even as Taiwan lobbied Congress.)

Some Chinese now believe China and Wen Jiabao were “played” by the US: “Premier Wen had just said to save the US markets, out came $6 billion of arms sales as a slap to the face,” reads a typical comment online.
Read more…

(Letter) Boy People Really Hate He Kexin

October 3rd, 2008 45 comments

I really wonder what did she ever do to all these people, that even after two international body investigations exonorated her of the underage accusation, people are still blogging as if she is guilty: Read more…

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(Letter) He Kexin, Jiang Yuyuan, Yang Yilin Innocent of underage accusation by USOC

October 2nd, 2008 8 comments

Yesterday the IOC announced the 2nd age investigation prompted by USOC CEO Jim Schurr, has again exhonorated the gymnasts of the under age accusation: Read more…

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(Foolsmountain Admin) A fool’s reflection

October 2nd, 2008 181 comments

Our blog has been around for 5 months. Judging from our site traffic and the comments we get (over 12,600 and counting, plenty of them insightful), we are doing quite well.

However, some readers’ comments paint a very different picture. Read more…

Beijing's New Air Pollution Control Measures

October 2nd, 2008 13 comments

Whatever your views on the proper role of government in societal, cultural, and economic affairs, few would argue against the government’s role (if not duty) in helping to confront the myriad environmental problems facing modern industrialized societies. Read more…

The Value of Being a Chinese on the 59th Anniversary of the PRC

October 1st, 2008 27 comments

Today, on National Day, some 190 thousand passers-by, strangers to each other, packed the festively decked-out Tian’anmen Square to watch the Flag Raising Ceremony.

Although 2008 doesn’t make a “round number” anniversary, so much has transpired in this troubled year to make it almost seem like one. On this day, we translate for you the following editorial published in the Beijing News (新京报), titled Today, let us remember the value of being a “Chinese”:
Read more…

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