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Archive for June, 2009

(Letter from raventhorn4000) Honduras, Iran, and China

June 30th, 2009 54 comments

Honduran President was forced into Exile by a group of military soldiers who stormed his house and forced him onto a plane at gun point.

The reason? He tried to push for a referendum to extend his terms of office.

His replacement was quickly sworn in, but massive protests have broken out.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had this to say:

“Our immediate priority is to restore full democratic and constitutional order in that country. As we move forward, all parties have a responsibility to address the underlying problems that have led to yesterday’s events, in a way that enhances democracy and the rule of law in Honduras.”

*I’m all in favor of “all parties” owning up responsibilities. But it seems, the Honduran ex-President didn’t do anything other than push for a vote by the People.

His replacement now calls it NOT as a Coup, but an Exile by “legal process”, that Zelaya was arrested by a process of law.

But that excuse is rather flimsy. If Zelaya committed a crime, he should be arrested and tried, and not “renditional Exiled” in his pyjamas to another country where he can’t even have a day in court.

So, I wonder why US is tip-toeing around this little coup, when it is so obvious.

But here some interesting factoids that might hint the US motives:

(1) Military leader for the coup was General Romeo Vasquez, a graduate of the infamous “School of Americas”, a US military training school for Latin American military dictators and human rights abusers.

(2) Newly installed Honduran President, Roberto Micheletti, was born in Italy, and technically, according to Honduran Constitution, cannot serve as President.

*What’s going to happen if Honduran protest turns bloody? Who will bear responsibility? Will Honduras have an Iranian Revolution? Or will the US trained Honduran General roll the tanks (BTW, they are already sitting at the Presidential Palace)?

Follow-On Article (2) (for the Sichuan Quake article)

June 27th, 2009 96 comments

*** ( NOTE : This is the 2nd and last “follow-on” article of the parent artcle titled : Putting the Sichuan Quake into Perspective“. This 2nd “follow-on” article, like the 1st one, is NOT meant to be a stand-alone article. I would therefore highly recommend you read that article before starting this one. The parent article is only 1 page long, and should provide the context in which this article should be viewed ) *** ( click here to read the 1st article ) Read more…

Chinese Rock n' Roll!

June 26th, 2009 33 comments

hardqueen81 We’ve done some posts on China and Taiwan music in the past, but those were about the general music scene. Today I’d like to feature two videos created by Brendan Madden, who lives in Qingdao, is a teacher and member of the band Dama Llamas, and keeps up with the scene in northern China. I’ll also feature a few other bands you might not know, and some comments about where I think things are headed.

These two mini-documentaries show the trials and tribulations of trying to establish modern music venues in China. So far, the audience has too many non-Chinese expats along with too few locals, though locals form most of the bands themselves. Right now, Beijing is the hot spot in northern China with the most popular bands in the country. Outside of Beijing, legitimate venues are hard to come by and the money isn’t very lucrative. In these places, rock n’ roll comes strictly from the heart.

Read more…

Categories: culture, General, music, video Tags: , , ,

(Letter from shane9219)It’s time to define new Chineseness

June 25th, 2009 50 comments

Many western press and intellectuals appear to suffer a deep perception gap on modern day China. The root cause is their persistent refusal to recognize the political legitimacy of modern-day Chinese philosophy and ideology. To many western liberals and conservative alike, they perceive the current CCP government as helpless and inward looking, trying hard just to stay in power. Such perception may look logical on the surface, yet can not more farther from the truth.

The handful generations of Chinese leadership since Man and Deng have established a unique brand of worldview for themselves through internal philosophical debate and in practices. They always have a clear thinking of what they want to be in the future and in the world, yet still follow Deng’s wisdom of “holding capabilities to yourself and bidding for your own time”, recognizing the stage of development in Chinese society and bending backward hard to rise the living standard for common people. They are not afraid of looking outside to introduce themselves to new ideas and opportunities, yet still persistent on self-reliance and self-development. The contradiction raised from passiveness and dynamism, stubbornness and openness, showing of leaping progressive attitude with very little regard to western liberal values may confuse and arouse many in the West, yet look perfectly harmonious through the lens of Chinese culture and philosophy.

The modern-day Chinese brand of philosophy and ideology was founded first by great leaders like Mao ZeDong, further shaped by late giants such as Deng XiaoPing, with a deep influence coming from China’s philosophical past. While Mao may be a giant on philosophy and ideology, he was a peasant and gambler on economical development policy. While Mao may be scorned widely by the West, he is still a hero to many common people in China and throughout the world. Deng succeeded on where Mao failed, and also contributed to his brand of pragmatism.

As China continues her development and the process of nation building, it’s also time to define a new sense of Chineseness. Please share your thought on this subject through debate and discussion.

As a source of food for thought, you may read interesting and provocative articles from a serial by the newspaper Guardian from the link here (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/series/will-china-rule-the-world)

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U.S. national debt, China is not the issue

June 25th, 2009 70 comments

As of today, the U.S. national debt is $11+ trillion.  When the U.S. media talk about this debt within the context of U.S.-China relations, they usually talk about trade imbalance, currency manipulation, and anxiety over whether China is going to dump her treasury holdings and trigger a collapse of the USD.

I’d like to share with you some graphs (based on numbers I got mostly through Wikipedia, and I believe their “ballpark” to be about right):
Read more…

Categories: General, media, politics Tags:

Green Dam Follow up – Stopping China Through the WTO

June 24th, 2009 52 comments

The Green Dam controversy continues. Most recently, U.S. trade officials also seem to be getting into the act. The following is an excerpt from a recent WSJ report: Read more…

Follow-On Article (1) (for the Sichuan Quake article)

June 24th, 2009 41 comments

*** ( NOTE : This is a follow-on of the artcle titled : Putting the Sichuan Quake into Perspective“. This 2nd article is NOT meant to be a stand-alone article. I would therefore highly recommend you read that article before starting this one. The 1st article is only 1 page long, and should provide the context in which this article should be viewed ) *** ( click here to read the 1st article )
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India: Friend, Enemy, or Both?

June 23rd, 2009 423 comments

This article was printed in the People’s Daily on June 19th. Since this is a state controlled publication, whatever is published will usually have the blessing of the CCP leadership.

Chinese President Hu Jintao and India PM Manmohan Singh recently appeared together at the BRIC summit in Russia. Things seemed friendly enough at the time. What has changed since then? And why would China have a problem with the Asia Development Bank financing development projects in Arunachal Pradesh? I would think economic development in an area that China considers to be a part of her territory would be viewed by China in a positive manner, as it would be beneficial to the people of that region.

Read more…

Iran & China: Is World Press Coverage Similar or Different?

June 22nd, 2009 55 comments

i38_19379493 Events of the last week in Iran have been widely reported by the world press. Not long before, the press also reported on the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square incident of 1989. Were these two distinct events reported in a similar manner or were they treated as different and unique events? Let’s take a look at each and see what we can find.

1) Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys?

Based on the coverage I’ve seen, both governments were cast as being in the wrong and both protest movements as in the right. In the case of China, the government sent in tanks and used live ammunition to break up a protest movement that was alleged to have turned violent. Most of the reporters in the world press were located in or near the same area, and their reports reflected what occurred in that vicinity. Analyzes of this event in most cases pointed to the government as the culprit and the demonstrators as being victims and responding in a suitable fashion. Is this an accurate assessment? The Chinese government attempted to confiscate film of the event from foreign sources but those attempts were successfully evaded in most instances.

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Putting the Sichuan Quake into Perspective (Re-Post)

June 22nd, 2009 84 comments

( Note : This is a re-post of the same article taken from the blogsite : chinablogs.wordpress.com dated May 10, 2009. You are most welcomed to give your feedback using the Comments section here or on my above blogsite. You may also find the comments and my feedback on the above blogsite interesting. It includes an interesting comment from an American with first hand experience of the quake. )

***

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China Needs to Bridge its Digital Divide, One Official at a Time

June 19th, 2009 34 comments

Recent events in China suggest that a bunch of technological laggards are trying to play in a field they do not know much about. This ignorance causes increasing social tensions between the government and the netizens, in most cases unnecessarily. In the past month, the government has blocked sites such as blogger and twitter, and then they require the use of filtering software Green Dam, and in the most recent developments, CCTV reported on Google as spreading pornographic information, and the government conveniently suspended its Chinese operations.
Read more…

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(Letter from TonyP4) Fatherly advice: Eight success principles for being an official

June 19th, 2009 41 comments

It is often said that to be successful in the Chinese officialdom, you have to acquire a thick face, and a black heart (厚黑, there is an English book if you want to learn more about 厚黑学) .

Nine years ago, the director of Jiangsu Provincial Department of Construction, Xu Qiyao (徐其耀), was arrested  for taking bribes of over 20 million yuan. He also distinguished  himself among other corrupted officials by having extramarital affairs with 146 women,  including a mother and her daughter. Recently, a letter to his son, allegedly found in his diary during the investigation, is circulating on the internet.  In that letter, he demonstrated his theoretic superiority in the application of “thick face, black heart.”

Here is a translation for your enlightenment.

Read more…

Green Dam-Youth Escort

June 16th, 2009 117 comments

China Internet

It seems the western media and Chinese blogosphere agree on one thing; Green Dam is not winning any popularity contests. Today, the Chinese government backed down on the mandatory usage of the software, though it will still come either pre-loaded or be included on a compact disc with all PCs sold on the  mainland from July 1st.

There are several problems associated with this software, each one an interesting topic in itself. I’d like to run down the issues associated with its release, one by one.

1) Why the sudden announcement of this invasive software with virtually no implementation time given to the manufacturers?
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(Letter from pug_ster) 6/4 and Zhao Ziyang’s Chinese’ reactions around the World…

June 9th, 2009 12 comments

6/4 came and went and I came to this article about the Overseas Chinese’ reactions to these this event. Much credit given to China Beat.

http://thechinabeat.blogspot.com/2009/06/64-around-world.html

I rather not discuss issues pertaining to Media nor from the Chinese dissidents living in that country but rather get a consensus of what the Overseas Chinese’ reactions to 6/4 incident and as well as Zhao Ziyang’s memoirs.

Here’s some reactions from several countries that I have found so far:

Hong Kong – 60,000-150,000 held in Candle light vigil.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8083569.stm

Taipei – Around 20 Taiwanese protesters held Candle light Vigil.
http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2BNews/Asia/Story/STIStory_385657.html

From the China Beat Article: I quote some interesting responses.

Paola Voci, New Zealand

Here in Dunedin, 4 June is a day like all others.

Because today was my last lecture, I decided that at least I had to check how many of my students knew about what happened 20 years ago (of course many students were not even born then!). To my relief, only a couple had no idea about what 4 June and the Tiananmen Square protest meant. Most had some sort of knowledge that “a protest took place and people died”. We took some time in class to just go over some of the basic facts, some of the issues and the relevance that they still have in today’s China. That was my very small contribution to keep the memory of this tragic event alive and stimulate some discussion on its significance…

Chinese students associations on campus (either from mainland or Taiwan) do not seem to have organized anything to commemorate the event. At least nothing visible. But, the day is not over yet…

Since I came to live here, I felt that for NZ, China has a rather strange proximity and remoteness. Yet, I was expecting a little more discussion about China in the media today…to match at least some of the interest that the Olympics were able to inspire. But, at least so far, it seems as though, even without any CCP intervention, June 4 has been forgotten in NZ.

Tom Pellman, Lima (Peru)

Peru’s leading newspaper El Comercio printed a brief dispatch from its Beijing correspondent Patricia Castro describing this year’s measures by Beijing to pre-empt protests on Tiananmen. Castro’s piece mentions the government’s banning this year of then-student leader Wu’er Kaixi (exiled to Taiwan after 1989) from re-entering the mainland ahead of the anniversary. Other dissidents and activists in Beijing were also forced to leave the capital, the newspaper reports.

Aside from minor coverage in El Comercio, Peru.com, from Peru’s blogosphere, adds a report on Beijing’s efforts to censor popular websites like hotmail and twitter in addition to controling the capitol’s main square. Interestingly, in a city with more than one hundred years of Chinese immigration and tens of thousands of Chinese immigrants living in Lima, there has been less attention paid to the Tiananment anniversary than might be expected.

John Ruwitch, Hanoi (Vietnam)

Six-four didn’t make its way into the official Vietnamese media, of course, but reports about it on CNN, which is widely available in Hanoi, were not censored. When I told a Vietnamese friend I found that mildly surprising, given the somewhat similar positions that the Chinese and Vietnamese Communist Parties find themselves in, plus their much-trumpeted friendship, she laughed and said: “But we hate the Chinese”. Long history there, obviously.

I did not scour the VN blogosphere for info on six-four. I did notice, however, that a seasoned journalist/blogger called Huy Duc wrote a blog quoting from the newly published memoirs of one deposed and deceased CCP gen-sec whose name in Vietnamese is “Trieu Tu Duong”. Huy Duc discusses how DXP ultimately sided with Li Peng, leading to the crackdown, and comments: “There are men like Li Peng everywhere, but only in places where the fate of a nation lies in the hands of a few individuals could could a network of people be ground up by tanks like that.” At the end of the piece, the author concludes: “The aspirations of a people can never be crushed with tanks and bullets.” I thought that was fairly strong stuff coming from inside a country where the leadership, again, is engaged in a juggling act similar to that of its giant neighbour and freedom of speech is limited. Then again, the longer I’m in Vietnam, the more I wonder if the differences between the two out number the similarities.

China Beat have more responses from Singapore, Tokyo Japan, India and Italy. But I chose to ignore them because they got consensus from the Media or from the dissidents instead.

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On my way to school, I saw beautiful flowers

June 4th, 2009 222 comments

admin’s note: As Nimrod commented in an early thread, “the tankman photo was a snapshot …, the whole incident is a lot more powerful than the snapshot; in the same way that the whole 1989 movement makes a more powerful statement than the snapshot of 6/4.” Previously, we posted personal accounts of students from Tianjin or Shanghai to give readers a taste of the spread, both in terms of time and space, of the 1989 student movement. Today, we post an account from a student in Beijing on what he saw on that fateful day 20 years ago. Needless to say, the views on the movement among the participates have diverged and shifted considerably over the past 20 years. However, the raw emotions we felt on that day, shock, anger, confusion, and above all, profound sadness, are afresh in our minds on this anniversary.

My Daughter, who is in the first grade, was reading her homework to me, “On My way to school, I saw beautiful flowers. Some flowers were hanging on stems …”

“That’s very good” I said.

“Others felt on the grass after a thunderstorm, but they are still beautiful” She continued.

“Yes, they are.”

Every life is a flower. Twenty years ago, in the morning of June 4th, 2009, I saw flowers fell.
Read more…

Categories: politics Tags: , ,

(Letter) Taiwan To Accept Mainland Postgraduate Students

June 4th, 2009 No comments

Ministry of Education: Post-graduate Study Should Be Open to Mainland Students Next Year

From The Liberty Times:

[Central News Agency] Deputy Minister of Education Lu Muling says, if the legislature is able to complete legal revision on university, professional studies, and cross-strait civic interaction, mainland students should be able to come to Taiwan for master’s and PhD classes next spring.

Lu Muling clarified the issues around mainland students studying in Taiwan during a press conference.

As to undergraduate study, Lu says that has to wait until next fall.

Enrollment will gradually expand, with yearly cap of 2,000; Ministry of Education will form a committee to accept school’s plan for accepting mainland students. Once approved by the committee they can start admission.

Lu stresses that, mainland student enrollments are extra allocations that will not compete with local students. Also the 2,000 head count is small compared to 30,000 foreign and expat students.

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(Letter from raventhorn4000) Political paradigm

June 2nd, 2009 2 comments

A supernova occurring on July 4, 1054 formed the Crab Nebula, a well known supernova remnant in Taurus. The ancient Chinese recorded detailed observations. It was a previously unseen star that became for a time bright enough to be visible in the daytime. Some Native American Tribes also made records of the event.

Around the same time, Venice, Genoa, and the Byzantine Empire (or the Eastern Roman Empire) were near their full power. Yet strangely, none of these Christian nations of the time made any observation of the visible event, which lasted almost 2 years.

Historians attributed this to the problem of “paradigm” in scientific theories, where upon the scholars of the Western world were simply unable to break some basic assumptions of their theories, and thus consciously or subconsciously decided to ignore ALL data that does not fit their assumptions.

Western nations of the time, because of the Christian Church, believed in the “Immutable Heaven”, ie. the “celestial sphere” cannot change.

**
Some historians have explained also, that Chinese astronomers were not bound by any theoretical assumptions, and therefore, they were able to make very detailed and accurate observations of the stars, without worrying about running into contradicting “Holy assumptions” of their times.

On the same explanation, there was a general argument that ancient Chinese were less interested in “theoretical causes”, ie. they didn’t bother to formulate too many theories about “why”.

Afterall, with the volumes of astronomical data in the Chinese historical archives, and the amazing astrological clocks built by the ancient Chinese, why is it that the Chinese never bothered to make many models for the solar system??

**
Some have also theorized that the Chinese version of the “scientific theory” is more about systematic “trial and error” rather than a “Method and test” (as in the Western and modern scientific methodology).

Indeed, many Chinese inventions and discoveries were often more based upon “accidents”, rather than any methods of search.

**
Of course, now we assume that the “Method and test” scientific method is the better way to get at the truth.

But we also know that historically, the “method and test” method has ran headlong into the “paradigm” problem over and over again.

**

On the parallel of Political theories, analogous systems are seen in modern China and the West.

China, with its “trial and error” method of political reforms and leadership selections. Versus the West, “Method” is always right, regardless of the actual results.

Which one is better?

But let us challenge another basic assumption, Is the Chinese system really simply “trial and error”???

One could argue that one can develop mathematics and algebra by simple “trial and error”. Afterall, if one count the results of “1+1”, one can easily arrive at 2 as the answer.

One can reach “result oriented theories”, ie. 1 star will be at this location at this particular time of the year, just by repeated detailed observations. Without ever having known the composition or actual location of the star itself.

Given the problem of “paradigm”, I would posit that the “Western Method” of “democracy” is in a problem of “paradigm”, that its assumptions of “correctness” is simply another way for the adherents to ignore unwanted data.

In actuality, all political systems are based upon “trial and error”. Trying to develop a method to explain the correctness of own’s “accidental choice” is rather like explaining why one rolled a 5 in craps. Yes, you rolled the dice, but it’s not really a choice.

Categories: General Tags: ,