Monthly Archives: February 2009

Internal Divisions and the Chinese Stimulus Plan

I ran across this article today on Stratfor, the geopolitical global intelligence service. It discussed a side of China’s political and economic situation that we have touched upon here and there but never delved into that deeply. It highlights some of the intraparty differences within the CPC and expands on the philosophies of those factions.

I’d like to hear everyone’s comments, and especially those from our bloggers living in China, about how they view the two primary economic factions and their strategies within the party. There are several links within the article that take you to further analyses of those particular subjects.

Continue reading Internal Divisions and the Chinese Stimulus Plan

Paris court rejects China's Saint Laurent art claims

A few threads ago, we discussed the topic of who owns the Chinese imperial arts in the context of Taiwan vis-a-vis the Mainland.

Well – it may be timely to also discuss who should own the Chinese imperial arts in the context of China vis-a-vis great collections of art in the West looted from China during her century of shame. Continue reading Paris court rejects China's Saint Laurent art claims

The Sinking of New Star

New Star sinking near Russias far-eastern port of Vladivostok. Three Chinese crew members were rescued and 7 others were missing, according to Chinese Foreign Ministry.
New Star sinking near Russia's far-eastern port of Vladivostok. Three Chinese crew members were rescued and 7 others were missing, according to Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Four days ago, it was widely reported on the front page of almost every Chinese newspaper that Russian warships had sunk a Chinese cargo ship – New Star – off the coast of Vladivostok. According to an article from the People’s Daily, Continue reading The Sinking of New Star

(Letter from Shane9219) USA and China: from a marriage of convenience to one of inconvenience

USA and China came together in the 70s. Being one of the richest and most powerful vs. one of the poorest yet most populous, it was really an odd marriage pushing together by world’s geopolitics at the time. Now, USA and China are being tied together once more in the midst of current world-wide financial tsunami.

Can the two country build a strong and lasting relationship based on genuine trust? Are the two people willing to learn from each other and form a common destiny? Please share your insight on this intersting subject.

Below is my own take:

The future is still very cloudy, yet has a high possibility if the two can learn to overcome their significant difference. Here is one small place to start with: one is too talktive and the other is too hardworking.

Something to chuckle about #4

I suppose it is generally a good idea not to pick up a fight with someone agreeing with you. Or as Sherlock Holmes would have said, “it’s elementary”. So with that in mind, this following story probably sounds rather amusing. (H/T to Charles Liu)

The short version: Some Falun Gong followers literally stopped the press of a Canadian newspaper over a sympathetic article towards their cult spiritual movement.
Continue reading Something to chuckle about #4

(Letter from Shane9219) China is helping Africa's Development and Modernation Effort

Chinese President Hu Jintao ended his tour of four African nations this week, having promised to deepen ties with the continent.

A lot of chatter has surrounded China’s interests in Africa. Media have branded China’s role in Africa as an invasion or an era of neo-colonialism with ulterior motives of pillaging Africa’s raw materials. Rhetoric from Chinese and African leaders includes words like “friendship,” “partnership” and “brotherhood,” stressing a shared history and common experience.

This report was produced last summer when WorldFocus traveled to East Africa.

World Focus Radio Blog (Feb 18, 2009)

Continue reading (Letter from Shane9219) China is helping Africa's Development and Modernation Effort

(Letter from Jane) Who owns the Chinese imperial treasures?

When Chiang Kai-Shek retreated with the Nationalists to Taiwan, he brought with him over 600,000 pieces of artefacts removed from Chinese imperial palaces during wartime. These artefacts are now stored at the National Palace Museum in Taipei. Both China and Taiwan have claimed title to these Chinese imperial treasures.
Continue reading (Letter from Jane) Who owns the Chinese imperial treasures?

(Letter from Shane9219) New press rule could help China improve civil rights protection

BEIJING, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) — A new entry in government-issued press cards, to be added later this month, might help many Chinese reporters persuade tight-lipped officials to talk.

The entry will say: “The governments at all levels should facilitate the reporting of journalists who hold this card and provide necessary assistance.”

“Without a proper reason, government officials must not refuse to be interviewed,” said Zhu Weifeng, a senior official with the General Administration of Press and Publication.

Many considered this a positive signal that the authorities welcomed supervision from the media.

The new press card statement followed a regulation on the disclosure of government information, effective last May, which was the first government rule safeguarding citizens’ right to be informed.

“Media and public supervision are among the arrangements the country is making to control the power of the state and protect civil rights,” said Li Yunlong, a human rights expert at the Institute for International Strategies of the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

“How to prevent state power from infringing on civil rights is a very important issue in human rights protection,” Li said.

This week, the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva conducted its first review of China’s human rights record, and it acknowledged the country’s efforts in human rights protection.

The country took a long and winding road to acceptance of the concept of “civil rights” but was headed in the right direction, Li said. “I have seen a trend toward increasing supervision of the authorities and more restrictions on their power.”

Mo Jihong, a research fellow with the Law Institute under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, saw the same trend in legislation. “The changes in the Constitution were obvious,” said Mo.

China’s first three Constitutions, issued respectively in 1954,in 1975 and 1978, all had a chapter on the fundamental rights and duties of citizens. But none of those versions defined “citizen,” which affected the implementation of these items, he said.

The current Constitution, adopted in 1982, closed this loophole and put the chapter on citizens’ rights before that of the structure of the state, he said.

“It showed the country acknowledged that the state derived its legitimacy through protecting citizens’ rights, rather than by giving rights to citizens.”

In 2004, an amendment to the Constitution added an article stating that the state respects and preserves human rights.

“Through the amendments, the Constitution gave more responsibility to state organs to protect civil rights,” Mo said.

The country has also adopted laws to restrict the exercise of state power. In 1990, the law on litigation against the administration provided the first way for the common people to sue government departments.

Further, the law on legislation, adopted in 2000, included an article stating that only laws can limit personal freedom. This had the effect of barring any authority, except the legislature, from issuing regulations or rules to limit personal freedom.

“But the implementation of laws remained a problem,” Mo said. “The authorities who enforce the laws should be carefully watched.”

Li noted that China’s unique culture played a role. Traditionally, Chinese seldom talk about “rights” but instead stress the concept of people’s obedience to the society.

“Civil right is a concept borrowed from the West. That’s why it will take time to make everyone aware of it, especially those holding power,” he said.

“But we should not give up because we don’t have such a tradition,” he said. “China does not need to make itself a Western nation but can explore its own way based on its own culture and reality,” he said.

Last year, in the wake of an increasing number of protests nationwide, the government launched a campaign requiring officials to talk with citizens and consider their requests regularly. The move proved to be an effective way to ease public anger and reduce misunderstanding.

A trial program to invite independent inspectors to detention houses in northeast Jilin Province also received acclaim as an innovation in this field.

The two-year program ended late last year. The 20 independent inspectors, who were teachers, doctors, businessmen and community workers, examined conditions in these detention houses and examined their records so as to ensure that custody procedures were in line with the law and detainees were not treated inhumanely.

“The concept of ‘putting people first’ raised by the present CPC leadership can be regarded as an effort to respect and protect civil rights,” Li said.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-02/13/content_10816802.htm

(Letter from Shane9219) “Just what else do you want?” Chinese Vice President, Xi JinPing, talking tough to foreigners

In a speech by Mr. Xi, China’s next top-leader on waiting, to members of the overseas Chinese community in Mexico. Xi proudly reiterated that China has already made its biggest contribution to the world by feeding its own 1.3 billion population during the financial crisis, and warned that “there are a few foreigners, with full stomachs, have nothing better to do than try to be backseat drivers of our country’s own affairs.”

“China does not export revolution, hunger, poverty, nor does China cause you any headaches,” Xi said indignantly. “Just what else do you want?” (Here is one of the few websites that still have video of Xi’s speech; other mainland sites have taken down the footage.)

http://china.blogs.time.com/2009/02/13/a-chinese-leader-talks-tough-to-foreigners/

Translation: Back to Lhasa (Part II)

[Editor’s note: Previously we have translated Back to Lhasa (Part I) . The following are translations by Allen of journal entries 回到拉萨之六七八 Back to Lhasa (chapters 6-8)– originally posted on Jan 25, 2009]

Return to Lhasa (6): Drinking with the sky burial masters

North of Lhasa, in the Nyangri mountains, is a famed temple named “Pabongka.” Located on a turtle shaped stone, the temple surprisingly receives few outside tourists these days. According to legend, Songtsen Gampo and Princess Wen Cheng once lived there. The temple is also the birthplace of the Tibetan language. Stored in the temple are the earliest stone tablets of carved Tibetan alphabets known. Although the temple is small, it occupies a special place in Tibetan hearts for its historical importance both in the context of Tibetan language as well as Tibetan Buddhism. Continue reading Translation: Back to Lhasa (Part II)

Space, the inaccessible frontier, or: how I learned to stop worrying about alian invasions and love the rockets

Something remarkable happened yesterday at about 780 kilometers above Siberia. Love was in the air vacuum at first sight encounter between a U.S. satellite, Iridium 33, and a Russian one, Kosmos-2251. And they immediately multiplied and prospered into at least 600 and increasingly counting descendants set to enjoying high flying life styles for years and decades to come.

Continue reading Space, the inaccessible frontier, or: how I learned to stop worrying about alian invasions and love the rockets

Translation: Back to Lhasa (Part I)

[Editor’s note: The following are translations by Charles Liu (Introduction and Chapters 1-4) and Allen (Chapter 5 and overall editing)  of journal entries  Back to Lhasa (回到拉萨 (未完待续,超长慎入)) – Part I (chapter 1-5) posted on Jan 18, 2009.]

Preface

The author of this journal, Zhen Fu, then a college student, traveled alone to Tibet for the first time in 2003. It would be a life-changing experience. Not only did she fulfill her life-time dream of traveling to the mysterious land that is Tibet: to see its majestic beauty, to meet its remarkable people and to witness their remarkable culture, but Zhen also met her future husband, Mingji Mao, during her journey. Together they would write a book “Diaries from Tibet” based on their true love story. They made a promise to return to Tibet together.  Five years later, Zhen and Mingji fulfilled this promise. This article is about what they saw on their return to Lhasa at the end of 2008.

Continue reading Translation: Back to Lhasa (Part I)

Cultural Differences: Can American Workers Compete?

With the Big Three US auto makers begging the US government to bail them out of bankruptcy, there have been many images on TV and in newspapers of American auto workers at the production line. I watched closely and unconsciously compared them with images of Chinese and Japanese workers, mostly from the same media outlets. My brain computed a couple of differences between images of American and Chinese industrial workers. Continue reading Cultural Differences: Can American Workers Compete?

Dealing with the Activist Scoundrelism of the West

Throwing a shoe at Wen Jia Bao created very little arousal among the Chinese. Time has changed since the Olympics. One Chinese commenter on MITBBS was concerned about how the shoe-thrower walked out of the building on his way to jail bare-footed, in the snow falling in London at that time. Did the police lend him a shoe to remedy his uneven legs? Continue reading Dealing with the Activist Scoundrelism of the West

Something to chuckle about #3

One can learn something new everyday. I have known for a while that hanging a flag upside down is a sign of distress, but never realized it could be applied to the Union Jack until now. Apparently, the UK national flag can be distinguished in its orientation by observing the placement of the wider white stripes. Oh well, I feel sorry for the poor staff member who arranged the table for the ceremony with visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. One cannot help but imagine the symbolism of this gaffe.

uk-flag-upside-down
Continue reading Something to chuckle about #3