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How Can China Learn from India?

Recently we have had several good, vigorous debates on the proper role of human rights in the International Order – including in China in particular.  In a recent thread, I even got to argue in the comments that the Chinese government is right to focus on issues of general human welfare (as embodied by its calls for a “peaceful and harmonious” society) rather than ideologies such as “human rights” (as embodied by Western calls for democracy and freedom of speech).

Assuming I am right for purposes of this discussion, the Chinese government may however still have its work cut out.  For example an important aspect of building a “peaceful and harmonious society,” given China’s vast ethnic,religious, and cultural diversity, no doubt involves the government to tolerate, if not outright embrace, China’s myriad ethnic and religious subgroups.

Can the Chinese government deliver?

The world’s current infatuation with and hyper sensitivity to ethnic and religious identities do not bode well.  Take the experience of “democratic India” as an example.

In an interesting article in the New York Times on the ethno-religious strife that has been flaring up across India, the Times reported:

With national elections only months away, India is reeling from a rash of spiteful religious and ethnic clashes, prompting many in this country to ask why their vibrant, pluralistic democracy tends to encourage, rather than avert, the cruelty of neighbor against neighbor.

Tensions are growing in several corners of the country. The latest dispute was set off in Mumbai last week, when an upstart nativist party claiming to represent Marathas, the dominant ethnic group in the state, pounced on Indians who had come from elsewhere to apply for jobs at Indian Railways.

Clashes between Hindus and Christians [also has] continued to sweep through eastern Orissa State. In northeastern Assam State, indigenous Bodos fought with Bengali-speaking Muslims, leaving more than 50 people dead.

All the while, Indian cities remained skittish after a spate of terrorist attacks blamed largely on Islamic militants. Other factors include the longstanding Kashmir insurgency in the north and Maoist guerrillas across central India.

The Hindustan Times recently carried a map of India, splattered with red stains to mark current trouble spots. Many more would have to be added in the two weeks since the map was published. In mid-October, speaking to the wishfully named National Integration Council, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called the rash of violence “an assault on our composite culture.”

He added, “An atmosphere of hatred and violence is being artificially generated.”

How can the world’s largest democracy fail to prevent such a fury of intolerance?

Ashis Nandy, a political psychologist and social critic, said that India was a democracy in a far more limited sense than many Indians cared to recognize. In spite of its lively and largely transparent elections, he said, some of the other basic pillars of democracy, including tolerance and respect for the rule of law, were fragile at best.

Perhaps, he went on to suggest, India was gradually becoming less democratic, as a variety of small, factionalized political parties vied to mobilize their caste and ethnic constituencies. National elections are expected to be held next spring, and five state elections are scheduled for November.

“Some amount of virulent, strident rhetoric, as well as violence, is becoming a deepening part of the democratic culture,” Mr. Nandy said. He described it as an inevitable danger of all large, pluralistic democracies. After all, he said, the Ku Klux Klan survives in the United States. And look at the increasingly aggressive campaign messages in the American presidential race, Mr. Nandy said.

“The role of democracy in preventing community-based violence depends on the ability of universalist political processes to subdue the poisonous fanaticism of divisive communal thinking,” he wrote in an e-mail message. “Much will depend on the vigor of democratic politics, not just the existence of democratic institutions.”

Vivek Gautam, known as Vicky, this evening’s Ravana, sat on a chair with his legs splayed, his hirsute and heavy girth pouring over a shimmering black nylon dhoti at his waist. He ruminated over the troubles of the times, saying it was in keeping with what Hindu legend called the Kalayuga, or the dark age.

“It is just the start of the Kalayuga,” he warned. “Once it reaches its climax you cannot imagine what it will be like. There will be no friendships, no relationships, not even between fathers and sons, only crime.”

Ravana’s cellphone trilled. As for the strife now erupting across his country, he said cryptically, “Our own people are betraying us.”

It is unfortunate that India has not been able to avert the type of ethnic and religious based fanaticism that has ripped many other societies apart.  As the article noted, even in a democratic, human-rights conforming societies like India, “preventing community-based violence depends on the ability of universalist political processes to subdue the poisonous fanaticism of divisive communal thinking. … Much will depend on the vigor of democratic politics, not just the existence of democratic institutions.”

Where has India gone wrong?  How can she strengthen her social and political fibers to foster tolerance and unity?

Like India, China too is a mega pluralistic cultural society with many religions as well as ethnicity.  In that sense, India’s experience should not be easily dismissed out of hand.

Is the violence in India merely result of economic underdevelopment – i.e. an expression of frustration with poverty and economic helplessness?   Or is India’s experience symptomatic of something deeper and more disturbing?

For example, are the conflicts and violence part of a deeper ethnic and religious divide being fanned and exploited by a surging tide of global ethnic and religious fanaticism?

Given China’s non-democratic government, is China more prone or less prone to a similar fate?  To what extent can economic developments be used to embrace (rather than highlight) ethnic and religious differences?

And finally, in what ways can Western-style “human rights” be tapped (in a way that is not being tapped in India) to promote peace and stability?

  1. Gordo
    November 4th, 2008 at 09:35 | #1

    I’ve wondered this for quite a while, and at the risk of sounding contrarian, I actually think that China’s “mixed meritocratic” system may be much better able to withstand the tough growing pains of the century, such as the ethnic strife that’s ripping India apart, than straight-out democracy.

    For one thing, China has a “consensus-based system” that does encourage debate, but avoids the polarized factions that have emerged in the USA and India (and which also ruined ancient Greece, as well). The Chinese government is probably better able to make decisions that are short-term unpopular, but better long-term policy, especially on economics– I just don’t see how the United States and India can avoid crippling long-term government debt, since the politicians have to satisfy so many constituencies. And finally, China’s government is pragmatic enough that fanning the flames of ethnic hatred, as is common in India and even in the United States, has no “political capital” there. Also, China is able to see through long-term reforms with the current smoother transfer of power.

    There are a lot of smart minds in history, including Enlightenment philosophers and even American founders, who questioned whether a democracy can ever really survive beyond 2-3 centuries. The temptation of debt-fueled spoils distribution becomes too high, and paradoxically, democracies may actually *aggravate* ethnic strife and ideological divisions rather than encourage good relations. That’s what’s happening to the USA right now, with this economic crisis.

    I *do* think that some trappings of democracy are very smart– in particular, having the balances and checks on power, that’s really key to prevent abuses and excesses. China does need better, more independent courts to restrain and impeach corrupt officials, it needs a freer press (though not to the extent of allowing “yellow journalism” and sensationalism as has hit the USA and much of India), and China needs local elections. The current, meritocratic way that national leaders are selected, may actually be a smart way to go, though China *does* need limits on the terms of officials (again, to prevent too much entrenched power). Also, China does need feedback from the population at large on leaders’ performance, to identify early problems and quickly correct them– things like ratings, referenda, general suggestions. There has to be some form of popular participation, if not quite the divisive, polarized system as is present in the USA and India.

    I guess in summary, I actually think China is better placed to run an efficient, balanced, advanced form of government today. To be fair, China also doesn’t have nearly the same ethnic strife as India. The dominant Han group is more than 90% of the population, and even many of the ethnic minorities are basically “sub-Han,” essentially identifying with and embracing much of Han culture even if they’re not specifically Han. Combined with the overseas Chinese, then, China has a strong demographic unity. India, in contrast, has no dominant ethnic group and is divided 1,000 different ways. India is indeed a “Subcontinent,” it’s not really a nation but a somewhat fragmented collection of nations all more or less agreeing on an uneasy form of joint government.

  2. Wukailong
    November 4th, 2008 at 10:45 | #2

    I agree with Gordo’s last point that China is already in a much better position than India to solve potential ethnic conflicts, mainly because the Han constitute a vast majority and are quite uniform in many ways. A majority of the minority peoples live in the south-western areas, the rest in Tibet and Xinjiang.

    As for this: “There has to be some form of popular participation, if not quite the divisive, polarized system as is present in the USA and India.”

    I’m not so sure about India, but the system of the US isn’t the only viable one. Several European countries tend to favor a more consensus-based decision-making (like Switzerland) and here too China could look for inspiration.

    Finally I’m all for the diagnosis that democratic institutions themselves do not solve the problem. To quote a friend of mine, “democracy doesn’t solve China’s democratic problems” (true for India too), and in the same vein, what’s needed is true rule of law and more social capital. Right now these are quite lacking in China, though, and it’s an open question how much they can develop under the recent system. In part, the lack of political participation seems to breed a fatalistic mentality towards political issues (“there’s nothing we can do”) that make people only focus on their own individual issues. This must change.

  3. November 4th, 2008 at 11:23 | #3

    沙发: Agree with your last paragraph. China is not comparable with India in ethical diversity. Han are too numerous, and a large part of the other minority groups are culturally assimilated and intermarrying with Han. The population of the 3 western territories is too small and isolated to significantly affect China and is already being surpassed by Han migration.

    Religion is also much less conflictive in China. Pre-1949 China has an admirable record of tolerance and peaceful coexistence mostly due, I suspect, to the pragmatic approach of the Han to religion. They are one of the few peoples in the world that have understood from ancient times the absurdity of fighting for a God. Even today’s China is reasonably respectful wih religious beliefs, as most Hui will confirm. (I am not mentioning FLG or Tibet because those conflicts are not religious but purely political IMO)

    The fault line in China will be not ethnical or religious, but economical. Of course, this is not to say that it cannot take some kind of religious-mystical form, like the Boxers of the past. But that’s a different and very chinese phenomenon.

  4. Raj
    November 4th, 2008 at 11:37 | #4

    Allen, why are you putting speech marks around human rights when discussing them in the context of European and North American countries? It makes you look biased.

    Human rights are not an ideology, they are universal rights that should apply to all human beings. If you don’t accept that and believe that people should be treated however a government thinks is best, have the courage to say so. Otherwise you have to accept that China’s concept of “human rights with Chinese characteristics” is just a weak excuse to pretend that it doesn’t have to conform to the more international standard.

    You also left out this interesting point (I wonder why).

    “Some amount of virulent, strident rhetoric, as well as violence, is becoming a deepening part of the democratic culture,” Mr. Nandy said. He described it as an inevitable danger of all large, pluralistic democracies. After all, he said, the Ku Klux Klan survives in the United States. And look at the increasingly aggressive campaign messages in the American presidential race, Mr. Nandy said.

    No one would suggest that the US is going to fall apart because of that, would they? India may have more problems, but it is a point that in a democracy everyone has to have their say (within reason).

    As for China, I think it can see that if a ethnically, culturally and religiously diverse country like India can have a good level of media freedom, democracy and human rights then China can probably do better with its more unified society. What you see in India isn’t as a result of democracy – one could argue that democracy is what keeps it all together. If there was a dictator or autocracy like in China I think that we’d see a situation more like Pakistan, which is in a real sorry state. For India democracy is the glue that holds people together because despite all their complaints they have a way to express their views at the ballot box – take that away and there’d be far more trouble.

    +++

    Gordo

    China’s “mixed meritocratic” system

    It’s an autocracy – don’t try to hide that by calling it something else. If you’re embarrassed about the fact it is an autocracy then just deal with it. No offence.

    China has a “consensus-based system” that does encourage debate, but avoids the polarized factions that have emerged in the USA and India

    It supposedly encourages debate inside the ruling party, but arguably a lot of people keep their heads down rather than rock the boat. Perhaps there is some form of debate at the top level, but again it is not transparent so we have no idea what happens. In the open, public discussion is limited as we all know.

    The Chinese government is probably better able to make decisions that are short-term unpopular, but better long-term policy, especially on economics

    If that were true, the energy shortages at the start of the year wouldn’t have happened. Although the weather played a factor, problems with coal supplies occured because the central government refused to let the power companies charge what they needed to make a profit. Coal rose in price but their tariffs were fixed – they were basically making a loss. The same problem is happening with water supplies. Why is the north of China short of water? It’s not just about climate, it’s because water is too cheap. If the price rose people would use less and companies would recycle more of it.

    The Chinese government often avoids taking tough decisions to avoid public displeasure.

    There are a lot of smart minds in history, including Enlightenment philosophers and even American founders, who questioned whether a democracy can ever really survive beyond 2-3 centuries.

    America has already survived two centuries – I’d say it will in the long-run find its democracy strengthened after this election. Europe is doing fine.

    China does need better, more independent courts to restrain and impeach corrupt officials

    I would agree, but I doubt that we will see that with the current political structure. The problem is that the people who would allow it to happen would be potentially allowing themselves to be charged. Also it would have to extend to critics of the regime, as officially their rights are protected by law. Again, it is difficult to see the CCP as it is allowing that to happen.

    it needs a freer press (though not to the extent of allowing “yellow journalism” and sensationalism as has hit the USA and much of India)

    How would you control that without being able to censor them over anything as is the case now? You either give the media a wide remit or you don’t – a half-way house is near impossible because governments will always be tempted to bury bad news.

    China needs local elections

    Multi-party? If it is just the CCP then little will change. You’ll just have virtually identical candidates running against each other.

    The current, meritocratic way that national leaders are selected, may actually be a smart way to go

    I don’t believe it’s down to meritocracy, it’s who associates themselves with the right people.

    There has to be some form of popular participation, if not quite the divisive, polarized system as is present in the USA and India.

    That sounds like you grudgingly admit that people have to have their say, but because you don’t like democracy are saying “there has to be something else”. Well until I hear what this other thing is democracy is the only way.

  5. Raj
    November 4th, 2008 at 11:53 | #5

    #3

    They are one of the few peoples in the world that have understood from ancient times the absurdity of fighting for a God.

    Whether people fight for a god or not is irrelevant – if they fight, they fight. The CCP replaced religion with itself in many respects – Mao became a “living god” thanks to propaganda, with the party acting like his church. They fought for him/the CCP in Korea, for example.

    The idea that religion causes conflicts is a reassuring one for secularists, but societies where organised religion is not strong go to war too.

    Even today’s China is reasonably respectful wih religious beliefs, as most Hui will confirm. (I am not mentioning FLG or Tibet because those conflicts are not religious but purely political IMO)

    First, I would argue that there is not respect because the government insists on having control over religious groups. That cannot show respect – if you respect someone you recognise their right to act like adults and organise their own faiths.

    Second, the Falun Gong and Tibetan issues have become political because of how China has responded to those challenges. Falun Gong wasn’t as political as it is now until it started getting suppressed. Tibet is a specific region that has political as well as religious needs. However if the cultural and religious controls were removed the political matter might be easier resolved. There are issues concerning the number of Han and other non-Tibetan ethnic groups living there, but it’s because they get pushed around on religious and other related matters that politics has the profile it does there.

  6. November 4th, 2008 at 12:20 | #6

    @5: “The Falun Gong and Tibetan issues have become political because of how China has responded to those challenges”.

    Of course, we are speaking of the same thing. In both cases it is not a fight for religion, it is a fight for political reasons. It is essentially not a religious conflict. In other words: FLG were not forbidden because they adore the wrong God, but just because CCP was afraid of their growing popularity and their potential menace as a political power.

    @5: “Whether people fight for a god or not is irrelevant”

    No, it is not. I was trying to make a point that religious war will not affect China, which is right on topic since it was one of the main subjects in LZ. I suggest you add some of your own instead of always jumping at any statement the others are saying. It is boring and it is fruitless.

    In the end, political comment is not mathematics and every statement can be turned around. But with a little bit of calm and patience we can end up understanding each other much better. That’s my opinion anyway.

    PS. Your example of the Korean War is very far fetched, and it is to be seen in the context of the Cold War, rather than religious wars. And no, I do not agree the Cold War was a religious War, even if it had some similar characteristics.

    @5: etc.

  7. Raj
    November 4th, 2008 at 12:40 | #7

    In both cases it is not a fight for religion, it is a fight for political reasons. It is essentially not a religious conflict. In other words: FLG were not forbidden because they adore the wrong God, but just because CCP was afraid of their growing popularity and their potential menace as a political power.

    They are not conflicts between religions, but they are “fighting” for their own religions. The CCP may have been paranoid and banned the Falun Gong for political reasons, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t resisting for religious reasons.

    You also did not address my point about respect. I would appreciate a response if possible, thanks.

    In the end, political comment is not mathematics and every statement can be turned around. But with a little bit of calm and patience we can end up understanding each other much better.

    It depends how far apart people are. Political disagreements can be as divisive as religious ones.

    I suggest you add some of your own instead of always jumping at any statement the others are saying. It is boring and it is fruitless.

    Your example of the Korean War is very far fetched, and it is to be seen in the context of the Cold War, rather than religious wars.

    I think that this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. I did not say that the Korean War was a religious war, I was indicating how organised religion in China was replaced with a Communist “faith” based around the CCP and Mao. China may have gone to war in Korea for political reasons, but people can follow leadership for different reasons. I suppose it depends how you regard things like religion and faith.

  8. November 4th, 2008 at 13:36 | #8

    ok,ok, I said “reasonably respectful”. I think everyone in this forum knows China well enough to read between the lines. The fact is that Muslims here have mosques, Tibetans have their temples, and they all praise their gods normally without any big fuss. The government interferes only when it sees its political power challenged.

    The point I want to make is that chinese culture has been traditionally respectful of different religious beliefs, and that it still is today. From my experience, it is rare to hear chinese speaking offensively of other religions, while in many parts of Europe and USA it is still sadly common. For some reason Westerners have always been more prone to religious fanatism than Chinese.

    The madness of the cultural revolution or the paranoid reactions of today’s CP are regretable, but they are a different phenomenon altogether, and they are not directed specifically against religions.

  9. bt
    November 4th, 2008 at 14:08 | #9

    @Chinayouren # 8

    “The point I want to make is that chinese culture has been traditionally respectful of different religious beliefs, and that it still is today.”
    Quite true, i would say. However, political fights between religious factions occurred a lot in the Chinese history.
    “The madness of the cultural revolution or the paranoid reactions of today’s CP are regrettable, but they are a different phenomenon altogether, and they are not directed specifically against religions.”
    The point i think most people would agree is that the CCP is attempting to destroy everything that threaten their grip on power.
    For India, given the tense situations between the various communities, I think they manage it quite well after all. After their independence, they had all the recipes for a complete disaster and despite the sad story Pakistan/India/Bangladesh their democratic experience seems to work.
    As or their economy, it seems obvious that they are behind PRC right now but they also started their capitalistic economical reforms more than 10 years after the PRC.

  10. TonyP4
    November 4th, 2008 at 15:10 | #10

    There is not much China should learn from India. The basic human rights: food, shelter, education and job opportunity – India is far behind. So are poverty percentage, education (50% vs 90% literate rate)… almost in all aspects.

    India has better rivers and farm lands, but China produces almost double India’s agriculture products. New Deli is at least 5 years behind Nanjing, which is a Tier II city, so forget comparing to Tier I cities like Beijing.

    India cannot control their population, so the future is not that great with the reduced resource per capita. The rich and poor gap is far wide in India, even though China has a widening gap. Few educated will return to India from the west and at least China has limited “sea turtle”.

    Google “India and China” and you will understand. Chinese do not want to compare to Indians, but not true the other way round. Some articles are written by Indians with dumb nationalism. However, when you have actual data, China is far ahead. China should look for comparison with Korea. However, China is so big and diverse it is not as easy to compare.

    From my past post, I outlined the problems of India: US support, governance, and infrastructure in coastal and designated zones.

    When it takes 5 years or so to talk about building a new airport (or a highway), China finishes one in 2 years. With constant electricity blackouts, how can the manufacturing industry compete with China?

    They are as smart working and intelligent as the Chinese.

  11. Steve
    November 4th, 2008 at 16:49 | #11

    Good subject, Allen! I read that same article in the NY Times a couple of days ago.

    Gordo~ welcome to the blog. I’ll be interested to read your replies to Raj’s comments. The worry of a “debt fueled spoils distribution” was written by de Tocqueville in 1835’s “Democracy in America”. I’m not aware of any founding father making that comment or the life of a democracy being 2-3 centuries and was wondering if it was something you can verify.

    @Wukailong #2: It is my opinion that China would be better served by a parliamentarian form of government rather than the Presidential system. That system is more conducive to consensus since one party holds power at any one time and there isn’t any divided government. The weakness of the system is when there are many factions within the society, which causes coalition governments to be formed where a small party has influence far beyond its numbers, witness Japan and Israel as examples. Because China has that huge Han majority, it seems suited for a more united style in its political system.

    Your last comment about a “fatalistic mentality” was something I also noticed in China. On top of the optimistic, energetic spirit you see everyday, there was an underlying individual pessimism that took me by surprise. I always wondered about its cause.

    I don’t think China can learn much from India.

    The countries are just too different. As stated before, China is 90% Han and through most of its history those Han have been united as one country. There is a psychological component in those nationalistic feelings. A Chinese person can move from one part of the country to another and fit in pretty easily. There are regional differences but they are not overwhelming.

    India’s history is as a collection of kingdoms. Those kingdoms have waxed and waned because of conquests and empire, but for most of her history she has been fragmented. There is no historical tradition of unity. If I travel from one part of the country to another, the people are completely different. If someone moves to a different region, they tend to stand out like a sore thumb. Really, the only thing that unites the majority is their adherence to the Hindu religion. So for them, might religious persecution have nationalistic overtones? Is that the only aspect that binds them together?

    The British, by pitting one kingdom against another, were able to unite the country into a confederation of states ruled by the Crown but as soon as they left, the country split along religious lines. Even today, it’s not a good idea to be a different religion than the majority where you live, whether you are Christian, Muslim or Hindu. The Hindu religion in many ways is the mother of all East Asian religions. Buddhism is an offspring. The Hindu mythology is very rich and beautiful. But its expression manifests itself in such ways as the caste system, which is nothing but religious racism. I once worked with an Indian engineer in Las Vegas to solve a process problem on a system that makes Styrofoam cups. After we had figured it out, I asked him what got him to the US. He said he was from the lowest caste so his career prospects in India were nil. In the US, he was the same as everyone else. He said he would never go back to India, so they lost a good engineer because of caste. That is just one of many examples out there.

    Another area where China is far more advanced than India is infrastructure. China has done a terrific job in building shipping ports, railroads, roads, bridges, airports and the like to allow transportation improvements in the movement of goods. India has not. I don’t know who deserves the blame for that but it is a problem that hurts business.

    What is India’s solution to their lack of unity? My guess would be education. Similar to China, as more people become educated and successful, they are less likely to follow populist religious leaders that preach hatred. No one wants to buck the system when they have something to lose. Can India continue to lift its economy? I believe that depends on future political leaders. Currently, India is one big bureaucratic mess. I saw a story on TV a few years ago where they built a clothing factory to make blue jeans, hired several hundred employees in an area that had a high unemployment rate so… so far so good. The power company was about 2 km down the road so all they needed was to hook up the power lines and they’re in business. Two years later, still no power and they abandoned the factory. Do you think future business will ever invest in that area? Those people are screwed. In China that power would have been hooked up in a matter of days.

    If I sue someone in India, the case might take a lifetime to settle. Their legal system is also a mess. I never understood why they have these problems but they do. I have no idea what the solution might be. I don’t think it has anything to do with democracy or with religion, I think it is cultural and they need to break that bureaucratic cultural mindset.

    Without some kind of population control, India will never decrease its poverty level, no matter how many new jobs are created. The numbers are overwhelming.

    I agree with TonyP4’s assessment except for one item. Tony, why do you say “US support”? For most of India’s history since they became independent, they have been closer to the Russians than the Americans. The US supported Pakistan during the cold war as a counterbalance. Currently there is more cooperation between the US and India, but they are certainly not allies. I did notice that India and Japan signed a security cooperation agreement a couple of weeks ago so there seems to be warmer relations between those two countries. However, as the Indian Prime Minister said the day it was signed, “The increase in India’s bilateral trade with China in the past one year alone is more than the whole of India’s total trade with Japan.” My guess is that this won’t affect the economic ties between India and China and is more a result of China’s close cooperation with Pakistan. But even that might be changing, since I also read recently that China did not loan Pakistan the money it was requesting to get itself out of an economic jam. As Charles Liu said, “a static view of China doesn’t match the reality”.

  12. TonyP4
    November 4th, 2008 at 16:56 | #12

    Steve, you misread my statement (could be my fault). It is lack of support from US and the US allies. It is the biggest pillar as I stated from other post too. It is a good discussion and I’ll find some time to read in more detail.

  13. TonyP4
    November 4th, 2008 at 17:19 | #13

    Japan did not invest in India for the same major reasons above (race is not one of them to me). In addition, the internal market is still small vs China’s. China helps a lot to turn around Japan’s economy by buying high tech and heavy equipment for China’s infrastructure. The controversial bullet train is a win-win for both countries except for the nationalism against the Japanese.

    I guess both Pakistan and Iran got their missile technology from China to some extend, and China got its valuable hand-on experience from an American Chinese during the witch hunt in the 60s. For the last 300 or so years, US helps China a lot vs other western countries intentionally or unintentionally. Opening up its market and direct investment is huge for China’s economy.

  14. November 4th, 2008 at 17:54 | #14

    India would seem to be Much more diverse than China. China is more like Japan. It’s not a useful to say a country is diverse because there is some small population that is a different tribe in terms of the sort of things we are discussing especially compared to a country with diversity like India has.

  15. Hongkonger
    November 4th, 2008 at 23:19 | #15

    Oh, China has learned a lot of things from India – Heck, I have learned a lot from its people.

    I’ve always had Indian friends – They are smart, diligent, generous, super friendly, warm and humorous people. My visit to India 20 years ago was full of delights – Against the paranoid advices of others, I ate food and drank water served in local restaurants – I was constantly full, put on 5 pounds after 10 days there. Consequently, it took me six months to lose my Indian-fat.
    I guess it was stupid of me to try to prove the point that “what’s good enough for the locals is good enough for me.”

    The Indian people I know are like anyone, they are all very proud of their culture and at the same time doing very well in foreign cultures wherever they find themselves. Oh, yes, China has learned a lot of things from India – Exactly what not to do – which are also the advice from my Indian friends. This is what I like about most less affluent cultures, we are not as eager to impose on others.

    Unlike most Brits and Yanks, almost every Indian person I know are fluent in the local language of their adopted place of abode, whether be English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Fujianese, Bahasa Malaysia etc. Just recently in China, I met an American whose father is an English lecturer from India, who is now a professor of English with tenure in a Californian (can’t remember which) University.

    Sir Horace Kadoorie, from India is the most well-known philanthropist in Hong Kong. His family were originally Iraqi Jews from Baghdad who later migrated to Bombay (Mumbai), India in the mid-18th century. If you get a chance, go visit the Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden ( 嘉道理農場暨植物園). It is a farm originally set up for aiding poor farmers in the New Territories in Hong Kong. It later shifted its focus to promote conservation and biodiversity in Hong Kong and South China.
    His ancestor, Sir Elly Kadoorie’s grave and his wife Lady Laura’s grave are located in the SongQingLin Memorial Park near HongQiao Road, Shanghai and is open to visitors. The tombstone of their grave is amongst only four Jewish Graves in Shanghai which remained intact and were not destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. Horace is buried in the Jewish Cemetery in Happy Valley, Hong Kong.

  16. JL
    November 4th, 2008 at 23:46 | #16

    I’m going to go against the grain on this one, and say that in the bigger picture, China and India are very much alike. Both are former Empires (a Moghul-British one and a Manchu one) that have struggled to make themselves into modern nation states. Both face the same kinds of problems with dissatisfied indigenous people in the frontiers, and from what researchers who’ve been to North-East India tell me, the Indians are dealing with their own Tibetan problems in more or less the same way as the Chinese are (subsidies, tough policing and slightly hysterical historical narrative of the type that has long since gone out of fashion on other topics)
    Both governments have enormous problems with corruption and the environment.
    In economic terms, yes, China is a few years ahead. But seriously, what’s a few years when we’re talking about the long-term modernization of a large chunk of humanity? Historians won’t bother with the difference in fifty years.
    Both also have large diasporic communities scattered around the world, both of which will play a strong role in the economic and cultural construction of the ‘homeland.’
    So I think, there’s a lot China could learn from India, and vice-versa. But not one, generalized, take-home lesson that could be applied to everything, ala “democracy’s good/ bad”. There are lots of lessons, and plenty of people in each country learning them.

  17. ChinkTalk
    November 5th, 2008 at 00:38 | #17

    My former roommate was from India. I don’t know about country to country learning from each other, but I believe the Chinese people have a lot to learn from the Indian people. This is my own experience and may not be representative of the whole. When I am in the Punjabi milieu, I always felt comfortable an very well accepted. I am always treated as if I am one of their own. They share readily their feelings and emotions and you are always part of the big family. The interesting fact is that these are not Harvard educated PhDs, they are just ordinary working people. I love the Indian people in general and Punjabis specifically.

  18. Steve
    November 5th, 2008 at 01:10 | #18

    @ChinkTalk #17: It seems most Indians I’ve met are Punjabi. I’ve also had similar experiences to your own. The funny thing was the last time it happened, I ended up introducing the couple to Rabbi Shergill, a singer from that area of whom they were unfamiliar. Do you know of him? His most famous song is probably “Bulla Ki Jana” but you can also hear “Tere Bin” on his myspace website here: http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=157604606

    Panjab MC did a rap song with Jay Z called Beware of the Boys, for me the most unique rap song I’ve ever heard. 🙂

    Have you ever traveled there? I think it would be a fascinating place to visit. A friend of mine is currently bumming around India. Last I heard he was in Varanasi on the Ganges, tried a bhang lassi (yoghurt made with hash, bananas, nuts, et al), barely caught his train while hallucinating and passed out in his bunk for 12 hours. He has learned his lesson…

  19. bt
    November 5th, 2008 at 01:23 | #19

    @Steve

    “Have you ever traveled there? I think it would be a fascinating place to visit. A friend of mine is currently bumming around India. Last I heard he was in Varanasi on the Ganges, tried a bhang lassi (yoghurt made with hash, bananas, nuts, et al), barely caught his train while hallucinating and passed out in his bunk for 12 hours. He has learned his lesson…”

    I did (not Punjab, unfortunately)! It’s truly a fascinating place. An unforgetable trip.
    You don’t even need a bhang lassi to hallucinate :).
    My pick: just sit somewhere in the early morning, and observe how the life is going on…

    I add my praises to the other posters – Indians are really good people, and their culture is truly fascinating.

  20. TahwYOJ
    November 5th, 2008 at 01:29 | #20

    I think it’s way more intersting to sit somewhere early in the morning, and completely out of your mind on bhang.

  21. jack
    November 5th, 2008 at 01:32 | #21

    @TonyP4
    Quote:For the last 300 or so years, US helps China a lot vs other western countries intentionally or unintentionally. Opening up its market and direct investment is huge for China’s economy.

    I have to remind you that 300 years ago, there was no such a country called United States.

    In the same logic, India should be really grateful for one-century long colonization by UK.

  22. Hongkonger
    November 5th, 2008 at 01:34 | #22

    “bhang lassi (yoghurt made with hash, bananas, nuts, et al), ”

    Hm, I wonder if they make them, better still sell them, at Chungking Mansion in TST, Kowloon, Hong Kong? Wish you’d mention bhang lassi earlier, Steve. I recently spent two nights in one of the many hostels (20-25 bucks a night) in Chungking Mansion, and I stayed in the first night because the making of the old Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark side of the moon’ album was on TV, too.

  23. November 5th, 2008 at 01:42 | #23

    Maybe this is just because of the distorted media I get here in the West – but it seems to me that had the economic situations of China and India been swapped and had the violence that has flared across India actually flared across China – that many here in the West would be marching to overthrow the Chinese government – even as there is no such calls to overthrow India’s government today.

    Why is that? Is it true that India’s government – despite India’s greater civic strife, lower economic development, as well as more fragmented governance – is actually much more stable – or “legitimate,” as the West would like to have it – than the Chinese government?

  24. Otto Kerner
    November 5th, 2008 at 02:06 | #24

    Allen, you mention, “The world’s current infatuation with and hyper sensitivity to ethnic and religious identities”. You would say this is recent? I think it’s always been like that.

  25. November 5th, 2008 at 02:36 | #25

    @Otto Kerner #24,

    I grew up in Taiwan. My understanding is that for the most part, ethnic and religious identities never played in China such a pivoting role in politics as it does in the world today.

    Part of the reason for such resurgent ethnic and religious identities is no doubt in response to colonialism. For example, Islamic Fundamentalism today is a reaction to the sense that the West has and is continuing to culturally and militarily invade the Muslim homeland. In America, identity politics that arose as a reaction to its slavery past – first based on race and then later also in religion – has also dominated domestic politics since at least the 1980’s (perhaps an Obama victory and his message of unity will help to revert that trend).

    You may be right that the world has always been defined by ethnic and religious conflicts / identities. After all, ethnicity and religions seem to have played an important role in Western Imperialism and Colonization that started with the “discovery” of America by Christopher Columbus.

    But it still seems to me that, esp. considering the great advances we’ve made in technology and science over the last centuries, ethnicity and religion seem to play a disproportionately dominant role in global politics today.

  26. Hongkonger
    November 5th, 2008 at 02:59 | #26

    “The media in US is deeply nationalist about every issue except ownership of media!”Says Chancellor of Oxford University , Chris Patten.

    “India, which had initially escaped growth, was now growing almost at the same rate as China. According to Goldman Sachs projections, India would grow longer at a substantial rate than anyone else.”

    “The US, with its military might and its superiority in space, water, land and air, still remains a superpower, though its soft power is not what it used to be. It has taken a beating with the humiliating discussion on whether torture was acceptable, the financial humbling of the Wall Street and the mountain of debt. The US is still the superpower; multilateralism does not work unless US is involved,” he said. “Europe is the second world and a significant civilian power. It is not going to become like a military might like the US because it is a union of sovereign nation-states. But Europe has its own demographic problems. The population is falling steeply and ageing rapidly – it is supposed to fall by 20 percent by the middle of the century,” he added.
    “My only worry is that after sometime, the developed economies will stop believing in globalisation, and start feeling that China and India are better off and eventually lurch into protectionism – the bane of free trade.”

    Talking about the dark side of globalization, Chris Patten fluently said, “Frontiers are poorer now, terrorists use aircrafts. The 9/11 enterprise was paid through credit card – modern slave trade – migration – international crime – drugs trade – new problems of epidemic disease – 40 new diseases have come up after 2000 – TB, cholera are back. The two other important global topics: Climate change and Sovereignty. Talking of climate change, Patten said, “We seem to have gone from denial to frustrated horror, to despair to have not done anything to hope that we may be able to manage something.”

  27. TonyP4
    November 5th, 2008 at 03:14 | #27

    My Indian friends dislike Britons a lot and blame them for everything.

    They are educated, well-liked, and work as programmers. We’ve a lot to learn from these folks, but not the current economy and their governance. I suspect the reasons that they are good in software: (1) they know English and (2) software does not need a lot of infrastructure like manufacturing does.

    Only one older gentleman may want to go back to retire.

    My non-Indian friends that have visited India do not have high recommendation to travel there. They complain on the food, sanitary conditions, and long drive from the airport in a major city. Different strokes for different folks.

  28. TahwYOJ
    November 5th, 2008 at 03:58 | #28

    HKER,

    I know you can get hash there, but not sure about Bhang Lassi tho… Last time I checked hashish was still illegal. But hashish et. al. are practically ‘legal,’ as long as you are smart about it.

    You are from HK you should know this. But why don’t you make you own Bhang Lassi… MUUUUUUUWHHHHHHHAAAAAAHHH

    I’d make some Bhang Butter but I’m not into that crap.

  29. Steve
    November 5th, 2008 at 04:54 | #29

    My friend has recovered from his bhang lassi experience and is now at the Pushkar Camel Fair in Rajasthan. There’s nothing like a good drug story to elicit a lot of funny comments! 🙂

    @bt #19: “My pick: just sit somewhere in the early morning, and observe how the life is going on…” That’s a wonderful comment. It reminded me of a morning many years ago when I sat on the castle wall in Carcasonne, France looking down at the valley below. It was around 6 AM and it might have been the year 1000 since there really weren’t any signs of modern civilization visible from there. I felt a sense of timelessness, which was a great, great feeling. I haven’t been to India yet but I have a suspicion I’d feel the same way.

    @TahwYOJ # 20: I’m game… sounds like an “out of body” experience.

    @Hongkonger #22: Now you’re gonna be really jealous. I saw Pink Floyd twice on their Dark Side of the Moon tour in 1973, both time at Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City. For both concerts I was less than 10 meters from the stage. I was a Pink Floyd fanatic from the first time I heard their Ummagumma album in 1969, and the first concert I ever attended was the Atom Heart Mother tour at Radio City Music Hall in 1971. They came up through the floor and had a choir, orchestra and ballerinas. It was %*$#&@* amazing!!!

    @Allen #25: Everyone I met in Taiwan were Taoist, Confucist and Buddhist, all mixed together in that wonderful Chinese religious stew. Incidentally, I managed to drop the wooden blocks and get “happy” when I asked my deceased parents-in-law questions for ten years running, without ever getting an “angry” or “laughing”. I am a legend in my wife’s family!! (non-Chinese will have no idea what I’m talking about)

    I think identity politics in America are a generational thing. People under 40 just don’t care about race. From 40-60, it depends where you grew up. Because my friends as a kid were both black and white, I am more like the younger generation but others who grew up in more segregated neighborhoods might be more like the older generation. With Obama’s convincing win tonight, the racial barriers in this country have pretty much collapsed.

    Allen, of course Columbus discovered America. No need to use quotation marks. Everyone knows that if Europeans didn’t know about something , it didn’t exist. 😉

    @Hongkonger #26: Obama won; soft power is back!!!

    @TonyP4 #27: It’s hard to be a tourist in India, but easy to be a traveler. I have a feeling you’d get along fine there. One remark about India I have heard from many people who have been there is that they loved it and they hated it, all in the same day. The Taj Mahal was incredible, but outside the gates would be blind beggars, etc. It is a land of striking contrasts…

    @TahwYOJ #28: Hash might be illegal, but my friend saw it advertised, went up to a rooftop cafe and had it there. I guess the word is “decriminalized” or maybe it’s just about steady cash payments to the local police force.

  30. Hongkonger
    November 5th, 2008 at 04:57 | #30

    I was just curious because I have problem sleeping .Steve’s, “.passed out in his bunk for 12 hours.,” sounds like just what I need….. Actually, I don’t inhale, um, ingest, eh, I mean — I am not into hash, narcotics of any sort, but I think they should be legalized, all the same. I also disagree with the crazy ban on public smoking.

  31. Steve
    November 5th, 2008 at 05:13 | #31

    @Hongkonger: I have a hard time sleeping after a presidential election. The funny thing about my friend is that he’s tried hash before in Amsterdam and it totally screwed him up. His body just isn’t built for that particular drug but he stupidly gave it one more shot and I guess it was really strong stuff. However, he also tried opium in Thailand and liked it a lot, though he felt it would be too easy to get addicted.

    Incidentally, this particular friend from Texas lived in Shanghai for five years and was in the entertainment business. One day he was asked to hang with this musician for a couple of days as a favor so he did. The guy was a really nice person and they had a good time hanging around town. He wasn’t up on Asian musicians so he had no idea who Jay Chou was. He was really surprised when he found out later that Chou is a megastar there. So you can let everyone know; Jay Chou is actually a good guy that doesn’t have a swelled head.

    I think all drugs should be legalized so there is no profit on the black market, and use the tax money to rehabilitate the addicts. The drug war just keeps the profits high; no different from hard liquor during prohibition.

    The “crazy ban on public smoking” is interesting. Smoking never bothered me much and I’ve never smoked. But here in California, the ones who like it the best are… the smokers! They hated it initially, but have grown to really like the cleaner air in restaurants and bars. So it was just the opposite of what I would have expected. On my first trip to Taiwan in 1993, one of my brothers in law offered me a cigarette. I noticed the name was “Long Life” cigarettes, which seemed pretty funny to me!

  32. TahwYOJ
    November 5th, 2008 at 05:53 | #32

    Yes, the drug war aka prohibition totally don’t work.

    Anyways, that’s cool about Jay Chou. One of my cousins claims that he used to come to this Beijing club every couple of month, and he (my cousin) supposedly smoked mad weed with him. Don’t sure tho, because this particular cousin is known to tell a few tall tales.

  33. Hongkonger
    November 5th, 2008 at 05:54 | #33

    “Long Life” cigarettes, which seemed pretty funny to me!

    LOL….There is a song about 长寿烟 too…

    I know the longevity examples of cigar blowing George Burns and chain-smoking Deng etc etc; are lame and frazzled excuses, that only diehard smokers buy into. I am not sure what the smokers in HK nowadays feel about the stringent public venues and selected park smoking ban. I know it’s a good policy but feels it’s somehow not quite right. The Californian example you give is encouraging, though. I guess my gripe is, as always, been with the privileged few who get away with whatever, including murder, when the jails are filled with the under privileged of society.

  34. Hongkonger
    November 5th, 2008 at 06:09 | #34

    Man, When I was a young man, I really wanted to live in America – for only two reasons — free love and Rock concerts. Now that I am all grown up, I missed Roger Waters concert when he came to HK….I was in China…..damn, damn, damn….I was in Berlin two months after the wall came down, but I also missed the Wall concert due to work….Ffff…….oh, never mind.

  35. TonyP4
    November 5th, 2008 at 14:21 | #35

    My high school teacher told me it would be nice if he could hire a helicopter and dropped him in the main gate of Taj Mahal. That speaks a lot of the rest of India.

    The age should be 60 instead of 40 to me. Older folks in their 65 and up do not change and accept changes. It is hard for them to accept a black president. The honeymoon starts, but he cannot solve all the problems. Hope he leads us to the right direction like ending the stupid wars.

    We just witness how the democratic system works at its best. There is no bloodshed in transiting power. McCain gave a very graceful speech after the loss. The system has to be supported by citizens with good education. The two (major)-party system works. If one party screws up (like Bush) or is totally corrupt, it will be replaced. Few Asian countries including China can adopt this system though.

    Mass. just passes the law of a civil crime if you only possess one ounce or less of the illegal drug. Just buy it one ounce at a time. Drugs are bad. The west suffers the same dose that their ancestors pushed to China via the Indian companies.

    If China had the same smoking ban as US, half of the hospitals would be empty. Myth?

    HKer, I came to US to study. My life changed forever. I do not know it is good or bad. If I stayed in HK, I bet I would have a fun life and I could be very rich or penniless (with the big fluctuations in the stock and housing markets). It is the destiny and you will be happier if you follow it instead of changing it – only the very smart ones can change their destiny and be happy at the same time.

    Free love and drugs. Do you want to live happier or to live longer?

  36. Hongkonger
    November 5th, 2008 at 15:08 | #36

    “HKer, I came to US to study. My life changed forever.”

    TonyP4, I hope your life changed forever for the better. HK remains a wonderful place if you are upper middleclass or somehow manage to beat the system. Now, I’ve had a few opportunities to immigrate to Canada, but each time I chose to remain in HK. The US Consulate in HK even gave me an Infinite Multiple Entry visa to America the first time I applied for a tourist visa back in 1988. Life was good in HK, what was I to do in other people’s turf?
    Besides, I hated the idea of being a second class citizen and yet obligated to paying high taxes in support of a warmongering super hypocritical superpower.
    Canada, beautiful as it was, bored the hell outta me when I spent one X’mas month there once, 16 years ago. Nevertheless, I do enjoy visiting foreign countries. I’ve been to many, but there is just no place like home.

    Free love always comes with a price -tag. I don’t do drugs. I know a few friends who do both. They are rich but they don’t seem to be happy. I have no idea why. Give me good health and wealth and I shall always be happy.

  37. TonyP4
    November 5th, 2008 at 15:22 | #37

    I do not feel I’m a second class citizen here. Most educated Chinese and Indians are in the higher income brackets of the society. I do not mind paying taxes. It is easier to make money here than in many other places in the world, so giving back to society is not a bad thing (except using it to invade other countries).

    Unless you live in New York city, life is quite boring in US and Canada. Canada may allow you to live 5 years longer due to excellent quality in air and water. US too due to the excellent health care delivery – free if you’re very poor or know how to beat the system.

  38. TahwYOJ
    November 5th, 2008 at 23:14 | #38

    No I agree that drugs are bad. That includes all the little pills you take and the alcohol that you drink.

    But does that mean prohibition is the way to SOVLE the drug problem? What we have here is another useless drug “war.” You have to realize the status-quo does not work! We need to try something else. But oh no, we can’t, because the drug war makes a shit load money for all the vested government parties. You do realize that this drug war makes a shit load money for BOTH THE BAD GUYS and THE “GOOD” guys.

    How many people DIED FROM MARIJUANA this year?

    You CANNOT OVERDOSE on marijuana. You have to smoke like 10 times of your body weight in a 40 min. period in order to OD on marijuana, which is to say, it’s freaking impossible.

    The only bad side effect of weed is the tar in the smoke. But still, it is much less harmful than smoking tobacco, studies have shown. Also, if you use a vaporizer, you completely eliminate all the bad effects.

    So why is it still illegal? WHY?? I like the smart people here to answer this question. Give me some good reasons why you think that it should be and remain illegal.

    I respect the people here, and I think many of your viewpoints are enlightening. However, I just don’t get it why the otherwise smart people here would just become completely retarded and rigid on this drug issue. Like wtf.

    So you agree that it is okay to lock off all the NON-VIOLENT drug offenders in prison, in order to create a artificial economy that treats HUMAN-FUCKING_BEINGS as meat to be bartered on this slave system, the incarceration industry: from the police, to the judges, to the prisons.

  39. TahwYOJ
    November 5th, 2008 at 23:23 | #39
  40. bt
    November 6th, 2008 at 21:23 | #40

    @Allen #23

    Excellent question … I think the point is that we prefer a democratic governement. And thus, we are much more positive.
    You can see with Taiwan, it is seldomly criticized in the ‘Western’ newspapers.
    Just the human nature, I guess. Really, i don’t think there is any ulterior motives.

    @all

    Mind you in India, my dear fellow posters … drugs are highly illegal there. It’s quite a risky biz … if you are unlucky enough to get caught, hard times.

  41. wuming
    November 6th, 2008 at 21:51 | #41

    Here is a remarkable interview on “China Beat” blog of journalist and writer Pallavi Aiyar back in July. I am ashamed to say that I have not read her book. However I found the interview intelligent and moving.

  42. Steve
    November 6th, 2008 at 22:18 | #42

    wuming, that was an excellent article! Her perspective is so different from what we usually discuss on this blog. Just from that interview, I’d like to read her book.

    I haven’t yet made it to India but a friend of mine wrote about an incident that just took place two days ago near Jaipur. He went to a small town to see an exorcism (thought it would be really interesting but it is just ritual and not much happens) and had to get a ticket from the local maharajah for 40 rupees (less than one dollar US). In the process of buying the pass, he had the following exchange:

    “‘Sit!’ said the overly excited man through 7 teeth, ‘how can I help you, friend?’

    ‘Hi. Namaste. I would like to go inside and watch. Is that possible?’

    ‘It is possible. But please let me ask you a few questions.’

    [I’ll spare you the lengthy interview process that happens with any and every Indian transaction – marriage status. Father’s job. Is India great? Family breakdown. Et al.]

    ‘Wonderful. Just a moment. I need to bring in my colleague.’

    Another man is brought in and sits next to me. In Hindi I can tell the first is giving him a breakdown of my entire life. Nodding in understanding, the second man looks at me, then at the first and pointing at me, asks something.

    ‘He wants to know what you think about India. How living in America is different.’

    Oh – I know this one, thankyouverymuch. I’ve had it in Spain. I’ve had it in China. Everywhere. This one, I know. Well.

    ‘America is an amazing country. But’ [and here I paused, as I have done so many times before, head down while resting my hands on each of their forearms. Head comes up – eye contact with both and deliver] ‘family here is so, so strong. The most important thing. I think we can learn from India.’

    And every reaction is the same. Jubilation. Such an intense nodding of heads you’d think they belonged downstairs in line. Needless to say, my pass was approved.”

    After he was done, they tried to force him to pay 20,000 rupees ($420 US) as a ‘gift’ but he managed to make an excuse to go outside and take more photos, ran like hell down the road and hopped on the back of a truck. It’s so very different from our normal experiences and one place I’d love to visit.

  43. Hongkonger
    November 6th, 2008 at 22:58 | #43

    TonyP4,

    “I do not feel I’m a second class citizen here. … It is easier to make money here than in many other places in the world, ”

    I am very happy to hear that. Good for you, my HK friend. As for it is “easier” to make money in USA, I suppose is relative. I say that because even here in CHina, in the area I work in, I am surrounded by Japanese, Koreans, Hong Kong folks, Taiwanese, North Americans, Latin Americans, Europeans, Africans etc., who are obviously making good bucks too. Maybe these are the cream of the crops. There are expats who are of course loosers in China as well.
    Anyway, good for you, TonyP4…I am glad America suits you, just as Canada suits alot of my relatives who left HK in the early 1990s.

    @Steve,

    “Oh – I know this one, thankyouverymuch. I’ve had it in Spain. I’ve had it in China. Everywhere. This one, I know. Well.”

    LOL…This milking for compliment BS is so true..It’s just too funny.

    On the other hand, being a Chinese, I don’t get hassled the same way. The first Chinese folks
    I met in Mumbai were very friendly to me. In Thailand, when I tried to bargain with a thai chinese shop keeper, I was told to piss off. Reversed or same race racism or prejudices are my pet peeves. America/UK Chinese visitors who don’t speak Chinese sometimes get it the worst here. This was the same in HK 20 years ago. Not anymore. Things will change. For better or worse, sooner or later. Sooner so in the cities of course.

  44. Steve
    November 7th, 2008 at 00:42 | #44

    @TahwYOJ #38: I’m with you. I felt drugs should be legalized about twenty years ago, after I figured out the drug wars just make criminals wealthy, make for a huge drug enforcement industry that wants it’s cut of the pie, and doesn’t prevent drug use. In fact, I think it increases it, especially hard drugs.

    Before prohibition, most Americans drank beer and wine. The amount of hard liquor was rather small in comparison. But after prohibition was passed, the smugglers figured out pretty quickly that it was more profitable to bring in hard liquor than wine or beer. For the same size container, their profit was much, much larger so it was a good business decision to move people towards hard liquor. After prohibition ended, there was a slow but steady move back to beer and wine. In the 1980s, the numbers were down to pre-prohibition levels.

    With all drugs being illegal, is it more profitable to smuggle weed, or heroin/cocaine? The same business rules apply to drugs that applied to alcohol, so dealers push their customers to the more profitable harder drugs. If drugs were legal, I think you’d see that hard drug use would taper off over time. The government would have increased taxes, there’d be less criminals and way less crowded prisons. The drug enforcement industry, prison industry and criminal element wouldn’t like it, but everyone else would benefit. Since I’m for legalization, I guess I’m just not that smart. 🙂

    Incidentally, I don’t do drugs at all.

  45. Charles Liu
    November 7th, 2008 at 07:13 | #45

    When it comes to economics, India with half of China’s per-capata GDP, can learn a few things from China:

    http://scid.stanford.edu/events/PanAsia/Presentations/Bloom%206-3-06.ppt

  46. Zhang Ling
    November 7th, 2008 at 07:24 | #46

    Good topic, the blog http://www.2point6billion.com also has similar commentary on the subject, this from Wang Dehua, Senior Fellow and Director of the Institute of South & Central Asian Studies at the Shanghai Centre for International Studies: http://www.2point6billion.com/2008/09/08/let-the-elephant-and-dragon-tango/

  47. TonyP4
    November 8th, 2008 at 16:42 | #47

    GDP per capita could be misleading as described in Wikipedia. Purchasing Power is a better measure (I guess due to some social services are provided free). For example for 2007 China, GDP per capital is $2,034 (ranked 109th) and for PPP per capita is $5,300 (ranked 105th).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_the_People%27s_Republic_of_China

    When drug is legalized, we should legalize prostitution, then gambling, then all sins. The government will collect heavy taxes and distribute back to the poor. When the prostitutes lose their houses due to foreclosure, they have to “walk” the street – a joke from TV last night.

  48. Lei Kong
    November 14th, 2008 at 15:36 | #48

    vvd

  49. Lei Kong
    November 14th, 2008 at 15:45 | #49

    india and china both can play a peaceful role in the world and for tibetan issues. i think the diversity of india and their freedom of expression and thought is amazing. i wish this applies to china as well. in most situations, chinese citizens are ignorant about many issues in their country apart from the need of boosting their nationalistic feeling.. this is partly related to the govt’s policies of blocking information and not providing any transparancy in the system. so, it is not amazing when some chinese nationals come up with the statement that tibetans and other minorities are not being marginalized in the western china. it may not be surprising if many chinese feel that dalai lama is “terrorist or splittest” rather than a leader for peace, genuine autonomy in Tibet and universal responsibility.

    the choice to inform remains in the hand of the govt as well as its people.

    May truth and peace prevail in China!

  50. Michael
    November 19th, 2008 at 10:31 | #50

    There is nothing for China to learn from India.

    All Chinese are assimilated by force into one culture, one language, one people, one ideology and one political party. This is sensible policy. If there is an ethnic problem then it’s from small groups that pose very little threat to us. The worker class people are benefitting, if they are not then they just make some local noise and keep quite for the benefit of the state.

    Look at India. Multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-parties, multi-ideology etc. The result= Fighting for petty issues and social unrest as we can observe in India, very very visible for all to see. Their ‘secular’ facade is a farce when looking at their caste reservations, religious reservations, too many languages and so on. No wonder that rest of Asia has progressed in less than 20 years while India after 60 years has made elephant progress. If anything, we should hold india as an example of what we do NOT want to be- the sick man of asia.

    As for Taiwan- religion is a superficial concept that merely serves as a guideline,every sensible Chinese knows that the state is absolute.

    As for Tibet, it does not matter what tibetans feel. Tibet is Chinese property and will serve as a springboard for further expansion into central asia and liberating southern tibet from indian mismanagement of prime real esate.

  51. November 25th, 2008 at 23:12 | #51

    “As for Taiwan- religion is a superficial concept that merely serves as a guideline,every sensible Chinese knows that the state is absolute.”

    No. Otherwise how can you explain the Shi Mingde movement? Or the Kaohsiung incident? Or the entire history of Taiwan post-Chiang Kai-shek? This makes no sense, the Chinese people are not 17th century French, there is no enthusiasm for absolutism of any kind. The CCP, Hu/Wen, etc. are not allowed to say “I am the state”, nor would Chinese people accept this if they did. At most, they say as all dictators do – that anyone who does not listen will feel their wrath. There is no Chinese exceptionalism in this, only the drab similarity that all dictatorships share.

    For myself, India and China seem very different to me, it seems fruitless to compare them, except to say that they are both populous countries which have only recently properly opened themselves to foreign trade (the PRC in 1978, India in the early 90’s). The place from which China could probably learn the most is Taiwan, but this is not a lesson that most CCP-oriented commenters want to learn, as it leaves no permanent role for the governing dictatorship, and because, in their hearts, many pro-CCP people despise Taiwan and all it stands for.

  52. Angela
    December 1st, 2008 at 07:38 | #52

    Of course China and India are different. And yes Chinese have a lot to learn from Indians. It is evident that Chinese have a hard time accepting who they are and are obssessed with being “white”. Whereas, People from India or who have Indian origins are proud of their heritage, culture, and appearance. Indians are not trying to be something they are not. Indians do not seek approval from western-white men as do Chinese people

  53. Ben
    May 14th, 2009 at 12:52 | #53

    Angela, on what basis are you making the statement that the Chinese have a hard time accepting who they are and are obsessed with being white? Is it because that the Chinese are striving for success? If that is so, people of India should continue being proud of their heritage, culture and appearance and continue living in the dark ages. Being successful and a superpower does not equate to being white. If being successful is to be white is what you have in mind then the whites will always be your masters and being a success is out of your lot’s league. And yes India has a lot to learn from China and one of them is never blow hot air but instead be a doer and achieve success for others to see.

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