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

*** ( 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 )

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As promised, this is the “follow-on” article I was meant to write. As mentioned earlier, this article does not attempt to answer all questions, but will instead focus on a few main points that I personally believe may have the most impact on the bigger picture.

However I like to point out that I have read all your comments here, and believe that I would have no problem in debating any of the points raised so far. Unfortunately it would not be feasible for me to do so for the reasons I have explained earlier.

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There are 3 general main points I like to tackle in this article. These are :

  1. Your perception of my original Sichuan Quake article. (Thereafter referred to as “the article”)
  2. The most common root cause of contention in almost all China related debates
  3. Assumptions in this debate (in relation to the Chinese government)

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Point 1 above will in turn be broken down into :

  1. Your interpretation of the article. (This will be covered in the “Background” section below).
  2. The relevancy of the article. (This will be covered in section 1 that follows).

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Point 2 will be covered in section 2 “The Anti-China ‘Label’“. And point 3 will be covered in section 3 “Anger towards the Chinese Govt“.

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Background :

The “Putting the Sichuan Quake into Perspective” article is a re-post. It was 1st published on my own blogsite on may 10, just before the quake anniversary. This article was not meant to be just an academic discussion about a past event, but was written for a specific purpose.

First, let me briefly explain the reason, and then the motive behind the article, before responding to feedbacks in the sections that follow.

The reason for writing the article (and all the other articles on my site) was to counter the control of opinions by the mainstream Western media by exposing details that Western media would most likely never tell you. Hopefully, by doing that, we create a platform for a healthier debate from which one can then make his/her own judgements.

The motive behind this article was my wish to contribute to helping the victims and their friends and families to rehabilitate. I firmly believe that anger and hatred would not only NOT help the rehabilitation process, but in fact make things worse. Therefore if we are sincere in wanting to help, our job MUST be to do what we can to highlight those facts that can create the desired results.

One thing we all need to understand is regardless of whether you like the Chinese govt, they are here to stay. I have very good opinion of the Chinese (central) government. Perhaps you don’t. But they are here to stay, and no-one can change this fact. We must all therefore understand the implications of this, and work within the confines of that environment.

Perhaps I should not need to tell you that in China, making massive protests during sensitive dates against government orders do NOT work, and have never worked. Participating would very likely have consequences. In the past, protestors and anti-China groups ask for US intervention. Today the US won’t be able to “protect” you. And the involvement of the Western media would only force people such as myself further to the opposing side.

Under this context then, (regardless of your intentions being sincere or otherwise) urging the victims out to the streets to protest clearly CANNOT be in the interest of the victims, while on the other hand fanning their anger WITHOUT urging them to go out to the streets to protest would only further intensify their suffering.

One must therefore focus on finding a PRACTICAL way to help the victims move forward and rebuild their lives WITHOUT needlessly creating further suffering for them. The intention of the article was never meant to justify or otherwise any action or inaction, nor is it about moral issues. If one is at all touched by the suffering of these victims, one does NOT use those victims as cannon fodder for your fight against the government regardless of your well intentions or otherwise.

If one is sincere in helping, then ALL of the above must be considered. If helping is at all the objective, then THIS objective must be the guide eyes for ALL our analysis. It is with THIS in mind that I have written the “Putting the Sichuan Quake into Perspective” article. And it should be with THIS in mind that the reader should judge the article.

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Responding to Your Feedback

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Section 1 : Relevancy of the Article — Comparing Quakes

A few here reject the relevancy of the article because it focusses on comparing earthquakes.

I do NOT agree.

Regardless of whether the points about school collapses is valid, there is certainly undeniable value in raising the awareness of relevant factors so far untouched, and providing another perspective to the understanding of the events.

If we can put ourselves in the shoes of the angry victims, perhaps we may understand the relevance and significance of comparing these quakes. Most victims, especially those whose anger was fanned by interest groups, blame the govt, and by association, the country. They fantasize that if they were in another country, they would not have faced the same fate. As a result, many of them may never rehabilitate as they trap themselves in this cocktail of hatred, despair and anger.

If we can help them alleviate some of this hatred and anger by helping them understand the fact that, had they been in another country, they would probably NOT have survived any better; if we can help them understand that immensely wealthy 1st world countries such as Japan and Italy can NOT even protect their citizens from (relatively) small quakes, would that not change their outlook? Would that not minimize the destructive effects of the dangerous cocktail of hatred, anger and despair?

This is of course not to say that there should be no investigations into the school collapses. There is nowhere in the article that argues against investigation. As far as I know, there were continuing investigations at the time I was writing that article.

Comparing these quakes puts the whole thing into perspective. Facts and figures play a powerful stabilizing role during intensely emotional periods. Understanding that it was a miracle that they survived changes the mindset. There are always 2 sides to a debate. But if we are at all sincere about helping, THIS, is what we should aim to achieve.

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Section 2 : The Anti-China ‘Label’

Most in China related debates would at some stage either refer to “anti-China groups” or accuse the other side of referring to “anti-China groups”. This is probably by far one of the most common ROOT causes of contention between the 2 sides of China related debates. If only we can overcome this difference, most of these debates would not be necessary. Unfortunately, I don’t see how we can do that.

We form our view of the world by the way we interpret events. This is in turn influenced by our own experiences. There is no way I can project my life experiences into your brain, and neither can you do that to mine. It isn’t like I can write a one page article or a one-hour speech that can undo your life experiences.

On this topic, we probably both feel that we haven’t heard any plausible reason backing the other side’s claims. Perhaps no matter what either side says, this situation will never change. That being the case, let me at least bring up some facts that (hopefully) both sides should be able to agree on :

(1) There are anti-china groups — just like there are anti-American groups, anti-Arab groups, and anti-Israel groups, etc. There is no reason to deny their existence.

(2) Most anti-China groups either (1) want to harm China, or (2) bring down the Chinese govt — just like most anti-US groups want to harm America or bring down its govt. Again there should be no reason for a neutral person to deny that. The claims that those groups only want to liberate the countries concerned are hardly convincing. SOME of those groups may do, but some don’t.

(3) My articles are based on the premise that there are anti-China groups. NOWHERE have I ever said in any of my articles that ALL on the opposing side are anti-China. Neither have I said ALL those who do belong to anti-China groups have malicious intent.

Each of the above points by itself does not mean much. But if you agree with them and put them together, then it should be clear that at the very least the concerns I raised are valid. You may disagree with the logic or the facts, but there should be no reason to insist that one should simply “drop” these legitimate concerns as a few have insisted here. Simply labelling other’s reasons as “excuse” as someone here has done does not help the debate.

Perhaps it helps to understand that it isn’t that I WANT to go against the crowd, but you need to at least give me a justification for change. Simply accusing others paranoid or saying “give those labels a rest” can hardly provide the justification for a change of mindset.

There are 2 most common indefensible attacks I’ve experienced on blogs. One is that, virtually anyone speaking well of the government is paid. The other is that we create this “anti-China” label to justify vitually everything.

The reason the 1st is indefensible is clearly that there is no way for me to disprove the claim. The 2nd is indefensible for the reasons I summarized above. Both may be seen as justified attacks in the minds of many on my opposing side. But from my side, this is simpy the ultimate silencer to shut up dissenting voice without giving reasons.

Fortunately, I haven’t seen any more of the 1st type of attacks since late last year. Unfortunately, the 2nd type persists. I would sincerely look forward to the day where everyone would just focus on the issues at hand and debate purely on the subject matter. I have seen many here with better minds than myself. There is no reason we cannot focus our debates purely on the subject matter.

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Section 3 : Anger towards the Chinese Government

(i) Investigations :

One of the most common complaints against the Chinese government on this topic is that it refuses to investigate the disaster. Indeed, some here have even accused myself of arguing against investigation. But the fact is I have never even THOUGHT about arguing against investigation. As I have stated very clearly on my own website, and then here, and now repeat again : “If there are school collapses while buildings around them remain intact, then I would agree that they need to be investigated”.

Most would readily assume that if the authorities do not approve of investigation results being made public, it automatically means the govt itself doesn’t want to investigate what happened, and doesn’t want to learn from mistakes. But that could hardly be believable. It is hard to imagine that the authorities would not want to find out what happened, and what lessons they can learn from this.

You can state your disapproval about the lack of transparency, but to blindly accuse the govt of refusing to investigate is hardly a rational charge. I cannot imagine any govt in the world would not want to learn and prevent future catastrophes. There can be little doubt that governments would, and the Chinese govt is, actively and thoroughly investigating in order to try to prevent a repeat of history.

They would be insane if they don’t. And I doubt any reasonable person would seriously think the Chinese leadership is insane. It is hard to imagine insane people can build the country China is today within one single generation. You may not like them, but you have to agree they don’t look like people who don’t believe in investigations.

(ii) Accountability :

Let me first state that I am NOT against holding the wrongdoers accountable for their actions. So that itself is not the point of contention. What differs between us is our respective assumptions on this case.

Let me 1st restate something from my “follow-on” article. And that is :

“Many people have the impression that China protects corrupt officials. This is despite the fact that in the last decade alone, thousands of corrupt officials in China have fled the country. Clearly, if corrupt officials are protected, there is no reason to flee.
The central government in China has been fiercely fighting corruption for the most part of this decade, and has made many significant inroads in many areas in the last 5 years.”

Indeed, in the last few years, even some of the very high ranking officials have been brought down with corruption charges. There should be no reason to believe the govt would protect the local authorities in Sichuan. The fact that the process itself is not transparent does NOT imply that those responsible would not be brought to justice.

Again, You can state your disapproval about the lack of transparency, but to blindly accuse the govt of protecting corrupt officials without any evidence to back up the charge is completely unreasonable.

In the case of this Sichuan quake, I do believe as I stated in the artcle that it would be in the interest of the central government to weed out bad elements in the local governments, and that this has presented them a good chance for that. I simply find it unimaginable that they would not make use of this opportunity.

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Conclusion :

The world is not black and white. There are always 2 sides to a debate. Assuming yourself on moral high ground is to assume the other party is wrong even before the complete picture is revealed. This sets in prejudices that mars the debate and also one’s ability to understand opposing arguments.

The intention of my original article was never meant to justify or otherwise any action or inaction, nor is it about moral issues. Neither have I argued against investigation nor many of the other claims against myself in the Comments sections. Unless we overcome this superiority mentality, we can never have an appropriate debate.

The objective of the article was to suggest a practical way for the victims and their families to move forward and rebuild their lives. This was stated very clearly at the beginning of the article, and has remained the main theme for the most part. Anyone without preconceptions should have been able to see the article for what it is.

I like to conclude with one paragraph from the “Background” section above :

“Under the context (described in that section) then, regardless of your intentions being sincere or otherwise, urging the victims out to the streets to protest clearly CANNOT be in the interest of the victims, while on the other hand fanning their anger WITHOUT urging them to go out to the streets to protest would only further intensify their suffering.”

If one is at all touched by the suffering of these victims, one does NOT use those victims as cannon fodder for your fight against the government regardless of your well intentions or moral high ground. If one is sincere in helping, then ALL of the above must be considered. If helping is at all the objective, then THIS objective must be the guide eyes for ALL our analysis.

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Appendix

On a slightly different note, for those who may be interested, I have also attached below a copy of the comments an American gentleman with 1st hand experience of the quake has written on my blogsite. It has nothing to do with the above article, but I thought some may be interested :

1) An American gentleman’s personal experience of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake :

( Author : Michael McCroskey Date : May 15, 2009 )

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I have lived in Chengdu off and on the past 4 years and was actually there during the SiChuan earthquake (certainly the longest 3 minutes of my life – I litterally expected to die).

I have a small karaoke business in Chengdu in partnership with a local, while maintaining my businesses here in America.

I have witnessed first-hand the private and government relief efforts. After the quake, China came together like it never had before to raise money for relief. The government, led by Premier Wen Jiabao personally, was immediately on the scene, and for much more than a simple photo op – he was there for days. Again, I witnessed all this in real-time.

China has only been on this “opening road” of its govenment since Mao’s death in 1979. That’s a scant 40 years. We in America need to keep the reporting on China in context as they CONTINUE on a road of opening up, while STILL dealing with 100’s of millions of Chinese that were educated under Mao that only the govenment can do ANYTHING. China is about balance and measured progress.

I will attempt to open some closed minds about China with this simple entreaty – VISIT CHINA! Don’t take anyone’s word for what is or isn’t happening. Visa’s are easy to obtain, and travel is unrestricted. Chengdu has even recently opened up high-speed rail service directly with Tibet.

Travel to the earthquake-striken areas is also easy from Chengdu (besides, both main world Panda reserves are in the Chengdu, and you definately want to visit).

I want to personally thank Chan for this wonderful and all-to-needed site as well.

2) The same gentleman, Michael McCoskey, commenting on Premier Wen Jiabao’s rescue efforts during the quake :

( Author : Michael McCroskey Date : May 15, 2009 )

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I and everyone else there, including Premier Wen, was experiencing the 100s of after-shocks that happened (some above 6.0) for weeks after the main quake. Some people slept in the streets for weeks after the quake out of sheer fear. NO ONE in that area felt safe for months.

Wen Jiabao was a hero of a leader in my book, pure and simple. He didn’t fly in for a “photo opportunity” weeks after the fact, he was in there for DAYS within 48 hours of the main quake. He really was an inspiration, and that’s the simple truth of it – if nothing else he inspired the hell out of me!

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China handled one of our centuries biggest natural disasters with extreme (and from my viewpoint quite unbelievable) grace, compassion and effectiveness. It sure did contrast to what I saw of the Katrina response here in the US.

Credit due is credit due and fair is fair, I don’t care what form of government is in charge.

3) The same gentleman, Michael McCoskey, continues his comments on another of my articles :

( Author : Michael McCroskey Date : May 16, 2009 )

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I can also confirm that there were several arrests of local communist city officials that fled the area in fear after the earthquake. While I understand their personal fear, they had a duty that went with their important positions.

You would never see such a thing here in America. It is refreshing to me to see these “leaders” that abandoned their people in a very important time of need held accountable for their actions.

Then, to witness Premier Wen risk his own life to personally lead the rescue effort (even as the aftershocks continued in the 100’s) was nothing short of inspirational.

I’ll continue to say it – whatever anyone thinks of the Chinese federal government, they have done an unbelievably great job of coordinating this relief and rebuilding effort.

I’m an American, and I have absolutely NO reason to be saying these things other than I was there, and I know first-hand that what I am saying is true. I am a witness.

  1. Chan
    June 27th, 2009 at 08:50 | #1

    In case you have already started reading this article, please note that I have just made a few very minor cosmetic changes in the article. [Jun 27, 2009. 8:43am (on the FoolsMountain clock)]

  2. Raj
    June 27th, 2009 at 09:57 | #2

    Chan, I still don’t think you get it. No one is saying you were proposing a “you’re with us or against us” mentality. It’s that you’re basically saying that the parents have to do as they’re told and it’s ok to treat them like non-humans because “anti-China” groups might somehow, do something that in some way might possibly maybe be nasty towards China. In which case, no one can ever act freely if there is an issue of injustice and the State is involved because “anti-China” groups will always be there.

    Your fears are something for you to deal with. It is not for you to say that others should act in a way that makes you feel better. Otherwise no one would ever do much other than eat, sleep and drink because someone will always be scared, offended or otherwise concerned by what we do.

    By the way, why do you find it so significant that a Sinophile American came on to your blog and cheerleaded for the Chinese government that you then republish three comments in full here? I rather hope you did not attach the importance to it that you did because he’s American, as his comments are no different from cheerleading Chinese in content.

    As for what he said, yes Wen did come early on. Good for him. But after he left the central government did little or nothing to protect the rights of the victims’ families. So even if Wen is a good guy, his colleagues couldn’t give a damn about the parents and their troubles.

  3. Chan
    June 27th, 2009 at 11:30 | #3

    Raj,

    Before responding to your above comment, I just like to clarify that my last response to your earlier comment wasn’t intended to patronize. My appologies if it turned out that way. I had the impression, rightly or wrongly, that you didn’t know the real China from one of your earlier debates with another person. And thus the need to explain the situation in China. If you say you know, then that’s fine.

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    (1) RE : “No one is saying you were proposing a ‘you’re with us or against us’ mentality”

    I am not sure I understand your statement. Would you please elaborate?

    (2) RE : “… you’re basically saying that the parents have to do as they’re told …”

    No, you need to look at the practicality side. It isn’t that I think it is ok or not ok. I haven’t, and have no intention in passing judgements on the morality of the issue. It is what works and what doesn’t, and what is the consequence of the alternatives that make the real difference in the victim’s lives.

    (3) RE : “It is not for you to say that others should act in a way that makes you feel better”

    No, again. You are missing the point. The point is NOT about me, not about making ME happy. The article was never meant to be about me or my values. It’s about the victims.

    (4) RE : “… why do you find it so significant that a Sinophile American came on …”

    I do actually find it significant, although not exactly for this article. ( It was supposed to be appended to the last “follow-on” article. But I rushed the last one through, and missed the intended appendix ).

    I was pondering whether to add it in because it obviously doesn’t belong here. But decided to do so because there are some here who feel that “…there is no point discussing this stuff with Chinese people”. So I believe it is fitting to prove that this debate has nothing to do with race. It is not a “Chinese” thing.

    (5) RE : “But after he left the central government did little or nothing to protect the rights of the victims’ families”

    What? Nothing??? Can you show me some proof?

  4. Raj
    June 27th, 2009 at 13:41 | #4

    I am not sure I understand your statement.

    No one is saying that you’re automatically labelling people from the “opposing side” of the argument as anti-China.

    No, you need to look at the practicality side.

    Why is it impractical for parents to grieve at the site their children died? It’s very practical. It allows them to grieve in a way they want to and hopefully help the healing process.

    The point is NOT about me, not about making ME happy.

    That’s not the impression you gave. In the last article (and the subsequent comments) you kept going on about your concerns about the efforts of some people to find justice for the victims, the parents grieving as they pleased, etc potentially being used by “anti-China” groups to do some unexplained things. You were appearing to use it as a way of justifying your view that the way the parents and independent investigating parties have been treated is ok. You hold a fear and consequently you excuse what has happened to those people.

    I have repeatedly asked you to substantiate your position and say what these “anti-Chna” people are realistically going to be able to do if these individuals weren’t bullied by the authorities – you still haven’t done that.

    But decided to do so because there are some here who feel that “…there is no point discussing this stuff with Chinese people”.

    Really, who is that? If anything I’d like to discuss things with Chinese people, not foreign citizens whose parents/grandparents/et al were born in China. And I can’t discuss anything with that “American”, he’s not here.

    What? Nothing??? Can you show me some proof?

    I can’t prove a negative. Perhaps you can help me with some examples of the central government stepping in and protecting the victims’ families so that they can act without harassment in an effective manner?

  5. Steve
    June 27th, 2009 at 18:59 | #5

    @ Chan: Thanks for taking the time to write this up. It took a lot of effort on your part and I know that’s not easy.

    I agree with your assessment of those two nonsensical labels:
    1) Everyone who writes positively about the Chinese government is on their payroll.
    2) Everyone who disagrees with any Chinese government position must hate China.

    Just to flesh out those points, I’d amend the “anti-China” organizations to “anti-Chinese government” organizations. And remember something else, the one country in the world that would gain the most from a weak China is Russia. Russia’s leader is former KGB. Their spy network is massive. For anyone to imply that the USA would desire this is, frankly, nuts. It’d wreck the US economy and create a far too strong Russia, which goes against US interests.

    I don’t see how any organizations, either Chinese or foreign, have affected the actions of the parents who lost children in the quake. These people are mostly from isolated villages and are moved by their grief. Is there any evidence that their actions have been spurred on by what you’d call “anti-China” forces? If so, that’s a legitimate complaint. If not, then I think we need to focus on your other points on whether their actions are effective. I agree with you about protesting on sensitive dates. That immediately turns the protests from being about the quake into being about the government. Not a good idea.

    The other area I’d like to flesh out is your reference to “government”. It implies to me at least, that the CCP is this monolithic organization that thinks and moves with one mind. In reality, the CCP is composed of central, regional and local authorities. Inside those structures are different factions. It is a party of nuance. Officials exposed for corruption have tended, most notably in Shanghai, to be from the non-governing faction. This is still a good sign for at least some of the ‘bad guys’ are being taken down and the ruling faction has to consider that once a precedent has been set, if another faction takes over after Hu, their jobs and lives could be in jeopardy. I would not agree with your statement that the government has made significant inroads against corruption in the last five years. I know too many business owners in China so I stay pretty up to date. They’ve simply publicized the cases they’ve prosecuted, no different than the US government publicizing the “inroads” they’ve made in the so-called Drug War that haven’t done a thing to lower drug shipments or drug usage.

    But I think the main factor is central vs. local. How do you deduce corruption? You put yourself in an official’s position and think of how you would do things if you were taking bribes, etc. If a local official had taken money to award a school construction contract to someone who did not fulfill the obligations of said contract and during this quake, the school fell apart while surrounding buildings were fine, what would you do as that official? How would you try to cover your tracks?

    I agree with you that the central government wants to find out what happened. I agree with you that Wen’s actions and behavior were exemplary during the crisis, as compared to a certain Republican President who should have gotten his butt to New Orleans immediately after Katrina struck. Wen did his job as Premier the way it was supposed to be done, so I wouldn’t call him a hero but I do respect him immensely. The true heroes were the ones who worked hour after hour to save the lives of people who had been trapped in the rubble. In fact, I think it would have benefited Hu Jintao enormously if he had also gotten his butt to Sichuan at the same time. And I don’t look at what Wen did as a solely political act; I believe he was truly concerned about the people there.

    However, a Premier is primarily a figurehead, albeit one with immense power. He did what he should have done in that situation but one man by himself can’t take care of the followup. The victims can’t move forward until they can resolve the circumstance of their children’s deaths. How to do that needs to take in consideration the concerns of the parents and not just the concerns of the local governments.

    By the way, can you show me a story from a non-Chinese media source you feel is unbiased and presents an accurate account? I’m not talking “western”, I’m talking non-western media.

    “A few here reject the relevancy of the article because it focuses on comparing earthquakes.
    I do NOT agree.”

    Be careful about comparing events in different locations. In your previous article, you tried to compare this earthquake with the one in Kobe. But you didn’t look very deeply into the Kobe quake. Did you know that most of the deaths that occurred in the Kobe or Great Hanshin Earthquake did not occur from the quake itself, but from subsequent fires caused by the quake? The quake disabled the water supply so there was no water to fight the fires, and heavily Korean neighborhoods didn’t allow rescue workers into their neighborhood (for historical reasons) and a disproportionate number died as a result. The newer buildings stood up fine; it was the older structures that were toppled. The government response was poorly coordinated, so blame can definitely be placed there. Whenever you begin to compare, you’d better do so in great detail.

    The statements by Mr. McCoskey are one man’s view, but have no larger context. This type of argument has become common in American political campaigns over the last 20 years. President or Presidential contender makes speech, refers to war vet, out of work hero, etc. who just so happens to be sitting in the audience to try and put a face with a policy and show that said policy is working or that the candidate or official’s policies are effective. The one becomes the many. It’s effective, but it’s not really pertinent. In fact, many times after the event, the referenced person is found out not to be what he/she said they were, or there was some ulterior motive. I’m not saying this is the case with Mr. McCoskey, but a couple of unsubstantiated comments on a blog are of only peripheral interest.

    Chan, I believe you want the victims to be helped and their grief mitigated. You think the government’s actions so far have been satisfactory. Some others obviously do not. For me, the only way to know what’s really going on would be to talk with the people who lost children in the quake about what they’ve experienced after the event in terms of government interaction. Let the government publish the new data and the names of officials and contractors prosecuted and convicted for corruption or construction fraud, instead of local officials just paying them off to keep quiet with threats if they do not. The rest is just he said/she said on both sides.

  6. raventhorn4000
    June 27th, 2009 at 20:41 | #6

    Steve,

    I think your theory about Russia is bunk.

    Russia has more interest in keeping China strong as a helping hand in countering US influence in many parts of the world.

    Who else would buy large quantities of Russian military hardware if China tumbles?

    US might not want to see China fall, but a weakened China would be susceptible to US policy manipulations, in trade and global security policies.

    Russia has no great policy conflicts with China right now, and they certainly see more threats from NATO regarding encroachment on traditional Russian sphere of influence.

  7. Shane9219
    June 27th, 2009 at 22:46 | #7

    I like this comment “China is about balance and measured progress.” from Michael McCroskey

    I think Michael get the true spirit of China nowadays that those hypercritical and nitpicking liberals like Raj and SKC could never get it.

    Also, the pragmatism shared by US and China can help bridge some gap.

    China is a huge nation running with lots of needs and a weak foundation due to years of foreign invasion and civil wars. The current socialism system is able to deliver much better balanced development and progress to much larger number of common people than weak systems, say in India, not to mention those nations in South America or even European nations in comparative time.

    >> Chan — good credit to you for more follow-up, but I have long lost my patience on drilling the same boring hole with folks like Raj and SKC.

  8. S.K. Cheung
    June 27th, 2009 at 22:53 | #8

    To Chan:
    “The motive behind this article was my wish to contribute to helping the victims and their friends and families to rehabilitate.”
    “If one is sincere in helping, then ALL of the above must be considered. If helping is at all the objective, then THIS objective must be the guide eyes for ALL our analysis.”
    —you seem skilled at debate, and framing the premise of the discussion. Kudos for that. If we are to take the narrow view of your objective, then I would agree that the reasons for the disproportionate collapse of school buildings (if that was in fact the case), or any subsequent talk of accountability, are irrelevant, since the focus should be on the families to complete their mourning, and moving on. I don’t agree with your narrow construct, since it is one that cannot be reasonably challenged (I mean, who would want these families to mourn indefinitely). However, since this is your blogpost, and a good one, I will play by your rules.

    But even from a family-centric perspective, your premise is flawed. The fundamental question becomes: is mourning a dichotomous state of mind (ie you’re either mourning, or you’re not), or is it in fact a process that one must engage? The experts like Kubler-Ross would suggest the latter. If you accept that such a process exists, with the state of mind you seek representing the culmination of that process, then should we not in fact be supporting the process? If you stipulate to that, and also to the fact that such a process may manifest in different ways in different people, then should there be much objection to people who choose to “openly” mourn, if that helps them to attain that end-state to which you aim? If you agree to the foregoing, then it seems that questions of investigation and accountability are very much in play, if it helps people move along the mourning process to the state of acceptance.

    You bring up issues of “practicality”. I would submit that the limits of what is practical is merely as defined by the CCP. So if you support attaining the ends you seek, and recognize the process involved to get there, then asking questions of such limitations seems, to me, to be entirely reasonable, and in fact essential as the means to the desired end.

    For example, that doomed Air France jet is sitting in more than 6000m of water. There are serious practical limitations as to whether those black boxes will be retrievable. Nonetheless, try they will, for if they succeed, that may represent one checkpoint in the process of mourning for the victims’ families. And we’re talking about immense natural barriers. I would think the CCP-construed barriers, though no less immense, would be much more surmountable, if the will exists. And like you even suggest, shouldn’t everything be done to help the quake victims’ families complete their mourning?

    Generalities aside, now to the specifics of your post:
    “They fantasize that if they were in another country, they would not have faced the same fate.”
    —I can’t say you’re wrong, since I’ve had the good fortune to never have been in those shoes. But my impression is that those parents aren’t bemoaning why they weren’t Japanese, or Italian; my guess is that they’d be bemoaning why the building their child was in had to crumble, but not the one next to it, and why the situation couldn’t have been reversed.

    “had they been in another country, they would probably NOT have survived any better”
    —again, I don’t think they’d be wondering that; I think they’d wonder:”if only my child had been in the government building instead of the school, he/she might be alive”.

    “Understanding that it was a miracle that they survived changes the mindset. ”
    —you know what, I’d go so far as to suggest that the grieving process would be easier if EVERY building collapsed. That would be a powerful testament to the fact that the quake was simply not survivable. Instead, the still-standing buildings merely serve as monumental reminders of what could have been.

    I agree with all 3 points in Section 2. But even if there are “anti-China” groups, you need to demonstrate what they have done on any given issue, and how their actions constitute “anti-China” behaviour. In Q6 of your Follow-Up Article (1), you suggest such groups have been, or might, be “fanning flames”. Why do you say so? If the information they seek is necessary for the victims’ families to move forward in their grieving process, and if completion of grieving is the ultimate objective, how is that “fanning flames”? I don’t object to appropriate use of a concept as you’ve defined; but affixing labels without justification smacks of an excuse to me. If you have legitimate concerns, and want to move the debate forward, then as Steve suggests, you should first distinguish whether someone is “against Chinese people”, or “against Chinese government”, then proceed to explain why such a stance is unhelpful in any given scenario. I don’t think painting with an overly-broad brush is all that helpful either. In fact, I’d submit that criticizing someone for who they are (eg “anti China”) rather than what they say/do is akin to prejudice, in the same way it is to judge someone on the colour of their skin rather than the content of their character.

    As for Section 3, I’d be the first to say that the CCP may be a lot of things, but “insane” is not one of them. So you may be right, they may well be investigating away. But if you still hold to your premise, that we should help families end their mourning, how does a secret investigation further that end? How does a secret take-down of corrupt officials, if in fact there were, help the families? Again, i’ve been fortunate to never have been in those shoes. But I would imagine that, if I were, i would want to be in the front row of the courtroom when judgment is handed down. I don’t think the thought that somebody in government somewhere is taking care of business would be adequately comforting for me.

    “The objective of the article was to suggest a practical way for the victims and their families to move forward and rebuild their lives.”
    —I agree with the objective. But I definitely disagree with your proposed solution.

  9. raventhorn4000
    June 27th, 2009 at 23:52 | #9

    Well meaning ignorant criticism of China in general is “against Chinese people”, because it is contrary to truth and generally bad manners.

  10. S.K. Cheung
    June 28th, 2009 at 00:12 | #10

    To R4000:
    how is “well meaning ignorant criticism” categorically contrary to truth, when, in this case, the truth is not yet known? Shouldn’t you at least advocate for uncovering of said truth, before jumping to your conclusion?

    How does a message conveyed with bad manners make that “in general” a message “against Chinese people”?

  11. raventhorn4000
    June 28th, 2009 at 00:19 | #11

    SKC,

    “well meaning ignorant criticism” is “jumping to conclusions”.

    and no, I said the message would be in bad manners. Not a message conveyed with bad manners.

    For example, you may convey your message in seemingly good manners, but your misstatement of my statement is bad manners.

  12. S.K. Cheung
    June 28th, 2009 at 00:36 | #12

    ““well meaning ignorant criticism” is “jumping to conclusions”.”
    —in this case, those are hardly the same thing. In this case, the criticism is that the truth should be openly and transparently sought. This criticism can’t yet be ignorant since the truth is not yet available, nor is the open and transparent process that is being sought.

    “and no, I said the message would be in bad manners.”
    —you never said that. But fine, suppose you did. You still need to answer the question of how the message would be so.

  13. raventhorn4000
    June 28th, 2009 at 00:42 | #13

    “—in this case, those are hardly the same thing. In this case, the criticism is that the truth should be openly and transparently sought. This criticism can’t yet be ignorant since the truth is not yet available, nor is the open and transparent process that is being sought.”

    That’s not a criticism, that’s an accusation.

    “—you never said that. But fine, suppose you did. You still need to answer the question of how the message would be so.”
    I wrote, “…because it is contrary to truth and generally bad manners.”

    I said it, and your misstatement is still bad manners.

    I don’t need to answer your question, since your original question is based upon a misstatement of what I wrote.

  14. S.K. Cheung
    June 28th, 2009 at 03:36 | #14

    “That’s not a criticism, that’s an accusation.”
    —ok, criticism that the truth should be openly and transparently sought does imply the accusation that such a search is not currently occurring. I’ll give you that. Still, what conclusions are those criticisms/accusations “jumping to”? If a conclusion had already been drawn, I wouldn’t be merely accusing; I’d be stating it.

    “I don’t need to answer your question”
    —suit yourself. No skin off my back.

  15. raventhorn4000
    June 28th, 2009 at 03:49 | #15

    SKC,

    If you don’t have a “conclusion” to accuse someone of, we wouldn’t know what “accusation” you are talking about.

    “Accusation” is a charge, a statement. You obviously would be “stating” it.

    Were you asking a question with your “accusation”?

    “I don’t need to answer your question, since your original question is based upon a misstatement of what I wrote.”

    Again, your misstatement is bad manners.

  16. S.K. Cheung
    June 28th, 2009 at 04:11 | #16

    “we wouldn’t know what “accusation” you are talking about.”
    — try this (from #14): (“criticism that the truth should be openly and transparently sought does imply the accusation that such a search is not currently occurring.”)

    “You obviously would be “stating” it.”
    —alrighty then, going full-on literal once again: “If a conclusion had already been drawn, I wouldn’t be merely accusing; I’d be stating it” as fact.

    So while going around in circles is fun, and about all that you seem capable of, I’ll try again: how is a call to openly and transparently seek the truth about school collapses exemplify an act “against Chinese people”?

  17. S.K. Cheung
    June 28th, 2009 at 05:51 | #17

    Sorry, my mistake. The question should read:
    “how [does] a call to openly and transparently seek the truth about school collapses exemplify an act “against Chinese people”?”

  18. huaren
    June 28th, 2009 at 07:25 | #18

    Hi S.K. Cheung, #8,

    I can see you are seriously trying to debate.

    If Chan is selective, I hope he address you and Steve’s comments in this thread.

    Could you clarify something for me? You said in #8:

    “I would think the CCP-construed barriers, though no less immense, would be much more surmountable, if the will exists.”

    Are you saying that the Chinese government will not allow the victims to “complete” their mourning?

  19. huaren
    June 28th, 2009 at 07:37 | #19

    Hi Steve, #5,

    Regarding “anti-China” vs. “anti-Chinese government.” I believe it was brought up by a FM reader in one of the threads within the last month or so. Citizens in the “West” is willing to see their governments separate from them.

    Chinese citizens see that it is only with a strong enough government that they can be free from exploitation by foreigners – that’s been the Chinese experience in the last few centuries.

    I really think for the interest of this “debate” for the current generations, this difference has to be accounted for.

    I do believe in the future, perhaps this view about governments could converge.

  20. raventhorn4000
    June 28th, 2009 at 11:58 | #20

    ““how [does] a call to openly and transparently seek the truth about school collapses exemplify an act “against Chinese people”?”

    That’s not a criticism, that’s command.

    How about I call on all Canadians to “openly and transparently seek the truth about” their drug problems and sexual deviance?

    Obviously, you load your “assumptions” of guilt into your “call”, and also assume that Chinese people don’t know the truth, or need your advice.

  21. Chan
    June 28th, 2009 at 17:22 | #21

    Hi all,

    Thanks for all your comments.

    I am very glad to see your comments (and also the noticeable change of tone with some). 🙂

    I enjoy debates, but must admit that I am slightly overwhelmed when I opened up the blog page. Mainly because it is now 3am here in Sydney, and I am a very slow reader. So I will leave this till tomorrow. But I will make sure I read through all of your valuable comments tomorrow, and respond in due course.

    ( PS. I was planning to post here another of my (ready-made) articles today or tomorrow. But perhaps I should delay that until I can at least find the time to start responding to comments here )

  22. S.K. Cheung
    June 28th, 2009 at 20:41 | #22

    To “the new” Huaren #18:
    my apologies for altering your handle without your permission, and it’s only a suggestion. Suffice it to say that not all hua – ren demonstrate similar comportment to you, and unfortunately, the individual who used your handle previously on this blog couldn’t carry your jock. If you went with a different handle, there’d definitely be no confusion.

    “Are you saying that the Chinese government will not allow the victims to “complete” their mourning?”
    —that’s not what I was trying to say. What I tried to suggest is that currently, the victims’ families can “complete” their mourning, within the CCP’s framework. But if completion of their mourning is the goal, and the existence of a process in order to achieve that goal is recognized, then if the process would require steps that contravene the CCP’s framework, what’s the solution? Is it not at least reasonable to ask that the CCP ease up on the grip of their framework?

    Now, based on what you’ve written elsewhere, you would not suggest this; but based on the style of some of the others, they very well might, so I’ll dispose of it in anticipation. The extreme response to my last paragraph would be: what if these families ask for the moon, or some other physical impossibility, or maybe that Hu Jintao needs to step down tomorrow, as part of their “grieving process”. But the emphasis should not be that these families be allowed any process they want under the sun; the emphasis should be what’s reasonable. Of course, we can then debate what is reasonable till the cows come home as well. But my position would be that asking for an investigation into why schools collapsed disproportionately, whether construction irregularities were to blame, whether any such irregularities were intentional and related to corruption, and to have all this happen in an open and transparent fashion, would fall under the realm of what is “reasonable”.

  23. S.K. Cheung
    June 28th, 2009 at 20:53 | #23

    To R4000:
    “That’s not a criticism, that’s command.”
    —listen, if you want to take that as a command, go right ahead. i think you’d be in the minority. Of course, you still haven’t addressed how “a call to openly and transparently seek the truth about school collapses” constitutes an act “against CHinese people”. Par for the course, I suppose.

    “How about I call on all Canadians to “openly and transparently seek the truth about” their drug problems and sexual deviance?”
    —be my guest. But with the former, you’re a little late to the party, since we’ve been trying to address our drug problem for some time, and we’re not doing it secretly and behind closed doors. We’ve been having open discussions about whether to continue to treat drug use strictly as a crime (a la the US) or to adopt a four pillars strategy that includes treatment and harm reduction. If you have something to add to that, fly at’er.

    As for the latter, you’ll have to explain what exactly you mean. That being said, your comment has absolutely nothing to do with this blog post, and my response is simply extending the courtesy of providing an answer to your question. Since others are trying to have a discussion on the topic of the post, I would “suggest” that, if you have stuff to say about Canadian drug use and “sexual deviance”, you should take it to the open thread, and I would be more than happy to engage you there.

  24. raventhorn4000
    June 28th, 2009 at 21:10 | #24

    SKC,

    “But with the former, you’re a little late to the party, since we’ve been trying to address our drug problem for some time, and we’re not doing it secretly and behind closed doors.”

    Well, you need some reminding, because I don’t see your efforts as “open” enough. Obviously your government is complacant in the problem and indeed probably made money from the drug trade.

    Corruption of your politicians must be legendary, gauging from the extent of the drug problem in Canada.

    so, again, I call on all Canadians to “openly and transparently seek the truth about” their drug problems and sexual deviance.

    And we will keep talking about your problems, because it kills a lot of Canadians, many kids too. (But of course, Canada just blame the scapegoat criminals for their problems).

    You obviously don’t care. Oh well.

    🙂

  25. S.K. Cheung
    June 28th, 2009 at 21:24 | #25

    “because I don’t see your efforts as “open” enough.”
    —fantastic. Then complain away.

    “Corruption of your politicians must be legendary,”
    —you must be right. You should really think about complaining to somebody.

    “so, again, I call on all Canadians to “openly and transparently seek the truth about” their drug problems and sexual deviance.”
    —please do. Do you have the Prime Minister’s Office’s address, or should I look it up for you?

    “And we will keep talking about your problems”
    —yes, you really should. In fact, you should start a Blog for Canada. BTW, could you please remind me of the name of this blog?

    While #24 is amusing as always, maybe you could explain how it relates to the blog post? That I’d love to hear. Maybe just a few hints as to how Canadian drug use and apparent sexual deviance meshes with the cause of helping quake victims’ families complete their mourning process, that would be fantastic.

  26. raventhorn4000
    June 28th, 2009 at 21:35 | #26

    SKC,

    I did complain, and now we are going to keep complaining about the Canadian drug problems, here, again, and again.

    I call on all Canadians to “openly and transparently seek the truth about” their drug problems and sexual deviance.

    While #25 is amusing, I don’t see what it has to do with the Canadian inability to accept criticisms.

  27. S.K. Cheung
    June 29th, 2009 at 01:26 | #27

    To R4000:
    well, among other things, you seem pretty disrespectful to Chan and his blog post. What do any of your recent ramblings have to do with the topic of the thread?

    If you want to complain about Canadian drug problems, as I said, be my guest. Write a post. Perhaps in it, you can explain how that has relevance to the quake, to China, or to this blog.

    BTW, if you’re gonna “call on all Canadians”, is this the best place to do it? Perhaps there are a lot of Canadian readers; I suppose Admin would know. But MJ and I are the only Canadians who write with any regularity, as far as I can tell. So if you really wanted to make that call, even if it was relevant (and it’s not), this is probably not the best place anyway. But at the end of the day, you do what you gotta do.

    “While #25 is amusing…”
    —do you always repeat after me? Maybe we can play Simon Says…

  28. raventhorn4000
    June 29th, 2009 at 01:55 | #28

    SKC,

    You seem pretty disrespectful to Chan. What’s your personal complaint got to do with this post or my “criticism” of Canada?

    Chan haven’t complained to me yet. I wouldn’t assume as you do.

    And I call on all Canadians to “openly and transparently seek the truth about” their drug problems and sexual deviance.

    This blog is good as any other. Of course, it’s not my only place to make such criticisms. But since many Canadians are too drugged up to leave their TV, I don’t have access to that medium.

    2 Canadians here is good enough now.

    “—do you always repeat after me? Maybe we can play Simon Says…”

    I respond in the only way you can understand. But if you want to go play, go play. It has nothing to do with this thread.

    *

    Once again, Save the Canadian drug heads and prostitutes,

    I call on all Canadians to “openly and transparently seek the truth about” their drug problems and sexual deviance.

  29. barny chan
    June 29th, 2009 at 02:07 | #29

    r4000, can you clarify what you mean when you talk about “sexual deviance” in Canada? When it comes to a grown up and thoughtful stance regarding sex and sexuality, China has a great deal to learn from pretty much any western democracy.

  30. raventhorn4000
    June 29th, 2009 at 02:13 | #30

    BC,

    Here is one article in Canada,

    Canada is source, destination for sex tourism: U.S. report

    http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Canada+source+destination+tourism+report/1701229/story.html

    VANCOUVER — Canada is a destination for sex tourists, particularly from the United States, according to the U.S. State Department in its ninth annual State of Trafficking in Persons Report.

    Covering 175 countries, the report released Tuesday is available here.

    The report says Canada is a source and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labour.

    Many trafficking victims are from Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, South Korea, the Philippines, Russia, and Ukraine. Asian victims tend to be trafficked more frequently to Vancouver and Western Canada, while Eastern European and Latin American victims are trafficked to Toronto, Montreal, and Eastern Canada, the report states.

    It also says Canadian women and girls, many of whom are aboriginal, are trafficked internally for commercial sexual exploitation.

    Despite its failings, Canada is among the best in combating what the report refers to as “a modern-day form of slavery.” Only once — in 2003 — did Canada fall to tier two, when it was deemed not to fully comply with even the minimum standards for eliminating trafficking.

    The fact that Canada is among the best should give people pause. Even though Canadian politicians promised long ago to eliminate exotic dancing from its list of skilled worker categories for immigration because of fears that traffickers were using it as a loophole to legally import women into forced prostitution, 14 permits were issued last year. Fifteen were handed out in 2007 and 22 in 2006.

    RCMP estimate between 800 and 2,200 people are trafficked into or through the country each year.

    But only five traffickers have ever been convicted and that was last year. Maximum penalties are $1 million and life in prison, but the sentences ranged from two to eight years in jail. Only 31 trafficking victims were identified in the two years ending 2008. Of those, only 15 were given temporary residence permits last year.

    The American report notes favourably that Canada has incorporated an anti-trafficking component into its 2010 Olympic security plans. RCMP don’t expect any increase in trafficking prior to or during the Games. That’s supported by research done for the Sex Industry Workers Safety Action Group and paid for by the B.C. government’s Office to Combat to Trafficking in Persons and the Vancouver Police Department.

    “The commonly held notion of a link between mega sports events, trafficking in persons and sex work is an unsubstantiated assumption,” it says.

    Still, almost everyone expects that one million Olympic visitors will attract more prostitutes. Will they come on their own or be brought/sent/coerced by pimps? That’s the source of heated debate. What we know is that in 2004 when the Summer Olympics were held in Athens, Greek police found double the number of trafficking victims. The following year, the number dropped 24 per cent.

    Was it less demand or less enforcement? No one knows. Like Greece, Vancouver is already a hot spot for trafficking plus it’s a known child-sex tourism destination. Add a million Olympic visitors, increased security, and more awareness, better detection, intervention and prevention of trafficking. If there’s not a huge increase in the detected numbers of trafficking victims and traffickers, Canada really will be failing in its obligations to protect the world’s most vulnerable.

  31. raventhorn4000
    June 29th, 2009 at 02:14 | #31

    Once again, Save the Canadian drug heads and prostitutes,

    I call on all Canadians to “openly and transparently seek the truth about” their drug problems and sexual deviance.

  32. barny chan
    June 29th, 2009 at 02:19 | #32

    “RCMP estimate between 800 and 2,200 people are trafficked into or through the country each year”

    Care to put an estimate on how many Chinese women are trafficked internally and externally through China every year? The figure would dwarf this.

  33. raventhorn4000
    June 29th, 2009 at 02:20 | #33

    “The fact that Canada is among the best should give people pause.”

    Yes, I agree with the article. Something is fishy. We all know Canadians are just normal people. If these traffickers are trading women and girls so easily, they must be bribing Canadian officials to look the other way.

    I mean, it’s obvious.

  34. raventhorn4000
    June 29th, 2009 at 02:22 | #34

    “Care to put an estimate on how many Chinese women are trafficked internally and externally through China every year? The figure would dwarf this.”

    Care to estimate how many of them were sold by/to Canadian traffickers?

    Frankly, I suspect RCMP are covering up the real figures of Canadian sex trade.

  35. barny chan
    June 29th, 2009 at 02:25 | #35

    A miniscule percentage will be sold to canadian traffickers, and those canadian traffickers will in any case almost certainly be of Chinese origin.

  36. raventhorn4000
    June 29th, 2009 at 02:29 | #36

    Well, that’s what Canada gets for letting Chinese criminals have asylum in Canada, I guess.

    Again, blame the Canadian Government, they must have been bribed.

    I call on all Canadians to “openly and transparently seek the truth about” their drug problems and sexual deviance.

  37. barny chan
    June 29th, 2009 at 03:31 | #37

    I’d be more inclined to blame the Canadian government were it not for the fact that wherever there is significant Chinese immigration there’s an associated problem of women being imported for sexual exploitation. It’s crime, but with those all important Chinese characteristics.

  38. raventhorn4000
    June 29th, 2009 at 03:53 | #38

    Well, isn’t the Canadian “democracy” supposed to be different, and protect the People?

    Seems like they accept bribes as willingly as anywhere else.

    And Canadians are trafficking in Aboriginal women too, according to the report. Doesn’t seem like a Chinese characteristics.

    Seems like an exploitation of poor countries.

  39. raventhorn4000
    June 29th, 2009 at 03:56 | #39

    I think this tells the problem of Canada exploiting women from poor regions:

    “Many trafficking victims are from Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, South Korea, the Philippines, Russia, and Ukraine. Asian victims tend to be trafficked more frequently to Vancouver and Western Canada, while Eastern European and Latin American victims are trafficked to Toronto, Montreal, and Eastern Canada, the report states.

    It also says Canadian women and girls, many of whom are aboriginal, are trafficked internally for commercial sexual exploitation.”

    Of course, some would like to blame the poor countries for these trafficking, instead of the people who actually made money from the crime.

  40. Steve
    June 29th, 2009 at 04:15 | #40

    @ huaren #19: Hi huaren, thanks for the reply. I always appreciate your comments. 🙂

    I think your point is fair enough. But it does bring up a question in my mind that I’m sure you have a good answer for…

    If any negative comment pertaining to any Chinese government policy is considered “anti-China”, does that mean no criticism is acceptable without implying that the critic is “anti-China”? What about different factions in the CCP who disagree with each other? Is that an exception? If there are opposing viewpoints, for instance, the Shanghai faction vs. the Hu faction, which one is considered pro-China and which one anti–China? Is it just whichever faction is in control of the present government? Does that mean a policy can go from pro-China to anti-China with a change of government?

    I believe citizens of most democracies see their governments as working for the citizens, so criticism is acceptable if a person doesn’t agree. The interplay of criticism brings out both sides of a debate, with the electorate able to make a “course correction” in the next election. This of course is referencing “mature democracies”.

    Why would a government that cannot tolerate criticism be considered “strong”? That concept doesn’t make sense to me.

  41. S.K. Cheung
    June 29th, 2009 at 05:55 | #41

    To R4000:
    “You seem pretty disrespectful to Chan.”
    —perhaps you can make a bona fide response to Chan, as I attempted to do in #8, then you can accuse me of disrespect to him. So far, it seems you’ve done everything except talk about the blog post to any discernible degree.

    Your completely irrelevant ramblings from #28 to #39 are in fact, disgraceful. Like I said, if you want to carry on about unrelated stuff, take it to open thread. I’d be happy to engage your nonsense there. But people on this thread were trying to have a civilized discussion until you showed up.

    BTW, if your behaviour on this thread exemplifies the “new Chineseness”, the omg things have gone downhill since I was in HK.

  42. barny chan
    June 29th, 2009 at 06:25 | #42

    Something that would improve the quality of the debate here enormously is a limit on the number of posts that any one person can make in a 24hr period. As it stands, anybody with determination and a great deal of time on their hands has the capacity to smother genuine dialogue.

  43. Think Ming!
    June 29th, 2009 at 06:53 | #43

    I find the idea that Wen was ‘risking his life’ by being in Sichuan after the earthquake completely ridiculous. . .

    Good that he got down there to help out on the ground, but ‘risked his life’?!? For Christ’s sake. . .

    And I have plenty of experience of earthquakes and aftershocks.

  44. Chan
    June 29th, 2009 at 07:10 | #44

    Hi all,

    I’ve finally read all your comments. I hope to respond to as many points raised to myself as I can. However it would be highly unlikely that I would be able to engage all of you a 2nd round if and when you do respond to my response of your comments. You may consider that as my offer to you to have the final word.

    I will do a round robin starting with Raj (#4) late tonight. Hopefully I may be able to give a response to Steve (#5) before going to bed. If not, definitely “early” tomorrow. I will try to respond to SKC’s (#8) tomorrow night.

    SKC : It may not be possible for me to respond to everything in your post despite my genuine interest in engaging you in this debate. Your comment is seriously jam-packed! If you like, I will let you choose any 3 (within #8) that you believe I must respond to as a minimum. I will try my best to at least cover them while I do my best to cover more. (But pls don’t add to #8)

    ———————————————

    I must admit I regret that while I so enthusiastically accepted FM’s to invitation to post here back in May, I never took any action while I had all that time to blog back then. One of the reasons I wanted to transfer my articles here was because I am in the process of phasing out myself from blogosphere, and possibly stop promoting and maintaining my own site. CLEARLY I did not anticipate there would be so much feedback from so many great minds here.

    I will transfer my next article here tomorrow. And the next and final one 2 days after that. But by then, I may not be able to respond to any comments.

  45. huaren
    June 29th, 2009 at 08:07 | #45

    Hi S.K. Cheung, #22,

    I believe you are in fact talking to the same Huaren. It’s been me here the last couple of months – I simply left comments without logging in. There was another individual registerred as huaren, but I told admin to blow that away and I’d prefer to take its place – since I generally like to use this alias in other blogs when I do comment. Admin did so since the original account wasn’t active lately.

    “What I tried to suggest is that currently, the victims’ families can “complete” their mourning, within the CCP’s framework. But if completion of their mourning is the goal, and the existence of a process in order to achieve that goal is recognized, then if the process would require steps that contravene the CCP’s framework, what’s the solution? Is it not at least reasonable to ask that the CCP ease up on the grip of their framework?”

    Okay, assuming the victim’s families cannot “complete” their mourning, then I agree it is reasonable to ask, especially if the asking comes from the victims themselves.

    “But the emphasis should not be that these families be allowed any process they want under the sun; the emphasis should be what’s reasonable.”

    That sounds very reasonable to me.

    I think there is agreement here that investigations are likely underway and that the “mourning” process is as well.

    So, I guess the question is “what’s next?”

    1. Who is to decide whether the “framework” is good enough?
    2. Should the victims be influenced by anyone the Chinese government consider “outsiders” who the government deem hostile?

  46. raventhorn4000
    June 29th, 2009 at 11:26 | #46

    SKC,

    I was responding to your questions, and then you asked me to explain my “call” on Canadians. You opened the door! 🙂

    And #39, was an answer to Barny Chan. He opened the door! 🙂

    If you guys didn’t want to talk about Canada, you didn’t have to ask me questions about it. That’s your own problem. 🙂

    LOL, My “new Chineseness”?! I have always been this way in the last 30 years or so in US. Why blame me, when you ask me to answer your questions about Canada?

    I’m sure that has every thing to do with HK!

    Why are you being irrelevant? What’s “new Chineseness” have to do with this thread of “criticisms”?

  47. raventhorn4000
    June 29th, 2009 at 11:28 | #47

    BC,

    I’m sure censorship would work great for your comforts. Perhaps you should install Green Dam on your PC, so you don’t have to read any posts/comments that are “too many” for you?

    Just a suggestion. I’m sure it’s much easier to filter the information on your end. It wouldn’t put much burden on the admins here.

  48. Chan
    June 29th, 2009 at 12:45 | #48

    Raj,

    I assume you have in fact read this follow-on article in full before commenting. If that is the case, and it has not helped you answer some of your questions/comments in #4, then I would say my responses below probably would not make any difference. But I’ve responded to your comments anyway as a courtesy. However you will have to forgive me for discontinuing this thread. I will instead welcome your comments on my next article.

    ——————————–

    (1) RE : “No one is saying that you’re automatically labelling people …”

    Now that I know what you are saying, let me respond to your original point. Your original point was :

    “… I still don’t think you get it. No one is saying you were proposing a “you’re with us or against us” mentality”.

    Raj, you are taking 1 sentence out of an entire article out of context to support your accusation. That sentence was a supporting sentence for point (3) of section 2 in the article. I was never saying people were accusing me of supposedly making this accusation against them. The weight of point 3 is in the 1st sentence. The 2 sentences that follow are to ensure people do not mis-interpret the 1st sentence. You need to read the article again.

    (2) RE : “Why is it impractical …. It’s very practical. It allows them to grieve in a way they …”

    Again, you don’t seem to be reading the article. Where did I say that? Would you please read the article again.

    (3) RE : “That’s not the impression you gave.”

    No. The article was NEVER about me or making me happy. I don’t know why you have this impression. Frankly, I am slightly surprised you STILL hold this view even AFTER this follow-on article.

    But if it is because I am somehow not clear enough, then my appologies. I’ve already very clearly stated my stance a few times now, and now come this appology. So let’s just move on.

    (4) RE : “You were appearing to use it as a way of justifying …. have been treated is ok.”

    No, that’s your impression. But tell me which part of the article is the problem, and I will have a look.

    (5) RE : “I have repeatedly asked you to …. you still haven’t done that”

    Raj, I am happy to answer your questions. And I’ve already given you a bigger share of my time than anyone else here on this blog so far. In the future, would you mind please just state the question. In one of my previous comments, I’ve already explained why I won’t (and can’t) answer all questions.

    (6) RE : “… what these “anti-Chna” people are realistically going to be able to do …”

    By the time I’ve answered both Steve and SKC’s comments, I should have answered yours. So please check my responses there. If it doesn’t answer yours, please let me know.

    (7) RE : “Really, who is that? If anything I’d like to discuss things with Chinese people …”

    I am not sure if you thought I was referring to you. In case if you do, answer is no, I wasn’t.

    The reason I did not name the person is because I wasn’t exactly looking forward to another session of English lessions on how to use the “F” and “C” words. But if the name is so important to you, simply do a search of the phrase on my other 2 articles.

    (8) RE : “I can’t prove a negative”

    You are mis-using the logic of this statement. That statement is not meant to be used for the purpose you are trying to use it for.

    In any case, if you throw an accusation at someone, you should at least provide some evidence.

    (9) RE : “Perhaps you can help me with some examples of …”

    No, I’ve never said or implied that. You’ve placed an artificial limit on the meaning of the original statement I was disputing.

  49. Chan
    June 29th, 2009 at 14:04 | #49

    Steve,

    Looks like I’ll have to do yours tomorrow. I’ve already gone through and typed up a few points. But there are just too many on yours for me to finish tonight. (Dying to have an “early” night for a change). I will get back to yours as soon as I have some time tomorrow. It won’t be in the morning.

  50. Steve
    June 29th, 2009 at 15:31 | #50

    @ Chan #49: Take your time; no hurry. 🙂

  51. huaren
    June 29th, 2009 at 17:25 | #51

    Hi Steve, #40,

    Thx and the feeling is mutual. And also thx for acknowledging the point about Chinese citizens view their government differently from “Western” citizens.

    I think negative criticisms are ok. I know Chinese diplomats often say publicly they welcome criticisms from foreigners as long as they are sincere. Personally, I can attest to this as well – my college professor thinks certain provisions in the Chinese Patent Law is not as friendly to individual investors as it could be – so whenever he consults for the Chinese government, he always make a point to enumerate those areas where he thinks changes need to be made.

    For the example I have just cited, I am certain there are tons like it in other fields. China is benefitting tremendously from foreigners from around the world.

    I hope you will agree with me, for those with less than noble intent, it obviously would be fair for the Chinese government to reject. You may not look at it the same way as I do, but for example, NGO’s like HRIC, I believe their business model is set up to be confrontational. HRIC’s customers are not the Chinese.

    Steve, I do agree with you – when citizens can openly discuss and debate about any issue and to criticize their government’s policies, that should be desired. I also see the failings of capitalistic (and “free”) media where the population is so polarized and that has its own set of problems. To me, pragmatism (given China’s current status) and harmony are very important. Many who criticize China are ignorant of these things for which I think the Chinese consider important.

    So, I am not sure how to go from here.

    1. Those truly wish to have a positive impact on China’s development, I hope they follow the example as I had given about my patent law professor from my college days.

    2. I understand there are those with good itent, but gets frustrated along the way, I’d say keep trying as long as the goodwill is there.

    3. We all have varying degrees in our ability or willingness to understand others, so, yeah, there’s tons of “noise” in forums such as this one.

  52. S.K. Cheung
    June 30th, 2009 at 04:06 | #52

    To huaren #45:
    “especially if the asking comes from the victims themselves.”
    —that’s fair.

    “1. Who is to decide whether the “framework” is good enough?”
    —practically, unless something changes, obviously the CCP. But if we were to take the family-centric view, IMO, it should be the families themselves who decide, and better yet can go beyond the present framework if they see fit, but “within reason”.

    “2. Should the victims be influenced by anyone the Chinese government consider “outsiders” who the government deem hostile?”
    —that’s a tough one. Depends on the definition of “influence”. And the definition of hostile outsiders. But I think it would be unfair to assume that the victims might only question their government under the influence of hostile outsiders, however defined. Again, never been in those shoes, but i imagine a parent in those circumstances would have ample motivation from their own anger/grief to do all of that on their own accord. Comes back to the victims themselves doing the asking, as you mentioned earlier.

    To Chan #44:
    thanks for the offer. If given the choice (and thanks for that, cuz I love choice), then if you wouldn’t mind giving paragraph # 2 (“But even from a family-centric perspective…”) and paragraph # 9 (As for Section 3…) some consideration, that would be great. Look forward to your response.

  53. Steve
    June 30th, 2009 at 04:19 | #53

    @ huaren #51: I’ve always said that China has to find her own path on the road to development, not someone else’s. The country is simply too large with too unique a culture to follow an established road. I’ve noticed not only in China, but also in Taiwan, Japan and Singapore, that the people regard their government in a more Confucian, paternalistic manner, and that is an enormous difference between east and west. In the west, it’s almost like we see the government as the child while we are the parent, and occasionally we have to spank them as the Republicans recently found out. 😛 The west also tends to judge in terms of absolutes while the east tends to use more relative judgments. Personally, I think the eastern system is more flexible and pragmatic.

    I wasn’t really familiar with HRIC, so I looked them up. I’m not impressed. I have a basic revulsion to anyone who tries to tell other cultures what to do and how to live their lives. It seems the HRIC was started by Chinese but most of today’s major officers that I looked up were foreign. When I lived in China, I always felt I was there as China’s guest and tried to be on my best behavior. I felt it was a privilege to live there, since it wasn’t my country. That’s my personal attitude; if you are a guest in someone else’s country, you don’t criticize them while there. If you feel the need to criticize because you can’t accept the way it is, then leave the country and criticize all you want. I was brought up to believe that guests should never criticize the host when taking advantage of the host’s hospitality.

    I could not find data on HRIC’s business model but it seems to be a “human rights” NGO. Personally, I don’t believe China will ever institute human rights changes because of outside pressure. The impetus must occur from within the country.

    There are those two words again, “stability” and “harmony”. But what is the best way to achieve them? It seems there are demonstrations, many of them violent, occurring in China on almost a daily basis. That doesn’t seem stable to me, so I’m not sure just how well this particular policy is working. Some might feel this is the best of a bad situation and any other system would engender more violence and demonstrations. I’m not sure that’s a given, but I’m not ruling it out either. A lot of it comes down to a proper education, but many on this blog believe that China’s educational system is already superior to most nations. Under those circumstances, shouldn’t the populace behave reasonably under a more tolerant system?

    The last point I’d like to make is regarding “goodwill”. Goodwill is important on both sides. If an organization approaches the Chinese government lacking in good will, the government will notice and treat them in a defensive manner. But if an organization approaches the Chinese government with goodwill and the government is blind to that goodwill and judges them negatively, then the organization will naturally reverse it’s attitude and feel the government is not receptive to any outside aid. Both are equally unproductive.

  54. barny chan
    June 30th, 2009 at 05:17 | #54

    Steve: “I have a basic revulsion to anyone who tries to tell other cultures what to do and how to live their lives…When I lived in China, I always felt I was there as China’s guest and tried to be on my best behavior. I felt it was a privilege to live there, since it wasn’t my country. That’s my personal attitude; if you are a guest in someone else’s country, you don’t criticize them while there.”

    There’s a fundamental divide between those, like yourself, who believe that national identity and borders are of paramount importance, and others, like myself, who believe that internationalism is justified in the pursuit of a fairer world.

    “I was brought up to believe that guests should never criticize the host when taking advantage of the host’s hospitality.”

    Growing up in the UK in a mixed race family I was gratified that it was considered absolutely legitimate for recent immigrants to campaign and fight for their rights and for their beliefs to be respected. This is in stark contrast to my current place of residence, Hong Kong, where anybody who isn’t ethnically Chinese or white is treated with contempt and constantly reminded that if they’re not happy with the status quo then they should leave. A society that accepts the legitimacy of questioning from all sides has the capacity to positively evolve at a much faster rate than a society based on authoritarianism or deference. I look forward to the day when it’s considered strange for people to identify according to nationality and/or race.

  55. huaren
    June 30th, 2009 at 05:29 | #55

    Hi, S.K. Cheung, #52,

    ““1. Who is to decide whether the “framework” is good enough?”
    —practically, unless something changes, obviously the CCP. But if we were to take the family-centric view, IMO, it should be the families themselves who decide, and better yet can go beyond the present framework if they see fit, but “within reason”.”

    This makes sense to me per your “family-centric” view. My instinct is to say the overall “society-centric” view is the best. Since you qualified, “within reason”, I think that should work out about the same.

    Then the next question is who decides what’s “within reason?” 🙂 Good thing Steve commented, #53, first paragraph. I think we mostly agree, but differ on what he described there?

    “But I think it would be unfair to assume that the victims might only question their government under the influence of hostile outsiders, however defined.”

    I completely agree with you here.

    “Again, never been in those shoes, but i imagine a parent in those circumstances would have ample motivation from their own anger/grief to do all of that on their own accord.”

    Again, I completely agree with you.

    One more case to consider: The parents are citizens and they need to be law-abiding. Let’s say these parents contact some NGO’s like HRIC on their own and HRIC decides to “lend’ a hand. HRIC goes to NYT and help “document” the Chinese governments wrong-doing per these parents.

    I think we all know what happens next: the Chinese government charges the parents with subversion of the state or selling of state secrets to foreign entities hostile to China or something like that. (Sure, I know many of you disagree with such law and action if it would to occur.)

    Even in such a way of “influence”, I still think HRIC is immoral and wrong.

    From my standpoint, if HRIC and such initiate contacts with the parents first, then that is even worse, given how much they have lost and how explosive their feelings are now.

  56. Steve
    June 30th, 2009 at 05:45 | #56

    @ barny chan # 54: I agree with a lot of what you said. However, I wasn’t an immigrant to China, I was an expat guest. Therefore, my position was very different. Basically, I had no rights there, I wasn’t a Chinese citizen, and I was there on their invitation only. My wife is an immigrant to the United States. She has American citizenship. I consider her as American as anyone else and so does she. So I believe we are in agreement in that respect.

    As far as NGOs, I’m a “bottom line” person. I don’t want to hear theories, I want to see practical results. The practical result of trying to force a differing opinion into Chinese society is to get an equal and opposite reaction from the government and a lot of the society. Therefore, the net result is negative. So if “internationalism” doesn’t bring about change, then my opinion is to change tactics.

    I’ll use Jiang Zemin as an example. His policy of threatening Taiwan, shooting missiles into the Taiwan Strait and trying to interfere with their elections almost singlehandedly created the Taiwan independence movement. The reaction was exactly the opposite of what was intended, but he was too stubborn to change his ways. I’m sure it had to do with his desire to reunify with Taiwan before he left office, but his tactics were patently unsuccessful.

    However, Hu Jintao has moved away from those tactics and used a far more nuanced approach. He refuses to interfere in elections and has been far easier to work with for the Taiwan government. Who achieved the better results? Sometimes honey can catch more flies than… well, you know what I mean. 😉

  57. S.K. Cheung
    June 30th, 2009 at 05:53 | #57

    To Huaren:
    “Then the next question is who decides what’s “within reason?””
    —that would be the loaded $64,000 question on a blog like this 🙂 You want to have a go first?

    Your scenario sounds very similar to the TAM mothers one. I would have no problem up the the HRIC lending a hand. However, the manner in which something like the HRIC provides its assistance, I think, is up for debate. The version of HRIC assistance you describe, if implemented today, would seem unjustified to me, since they should be exhausting Chinese channels first. That being said, if we’re still talking about this in 20 years, as with the TAM mothers situation, that’s a different story, because presumably, they would’ve run out of options to seek recourse by then. Assuming what the victims’ families seek is reasonable, and remains reasonable at some future point, I think it’s debatable whether extraordinary means of trying to achieve redress becomes reasonable.

    And I agree, it’s one thing if the parents seek assistance from HRIC or whomever; completely different for someone to offer assistance that may not be wanted.

  58. huaren
    June 30th, 2009 at 06:15 | #58

    Hi Steve, #53,

    You are probably one of those few who can “bridge” the two sides. 🙂

    “There are those two words again, “stability” and “harmony”. But what is the best way to achieve them?”

    For me, I do believe in the U.S. model – separation of executive, judicial, and legislative branches – over time. I think China is less stable if it doesn’t continue to grow every year. When it catches up to the developed world in terms of wealth, I think the then middle class will increasingly demand a freer society, and the government then will be more confident to meet that demand incrementally.

    I think a “free” (and capitalistic) media is irresponsible and is a destabilizing force.

    If you look at China in the last couple of decades, new laws are being codified at blazing speed. China is in the midst of transforming into a law based society. I did some calculations some time back – China has 1 legal professional for 9000 citizens – whereas the U.S. has 1 for 300. (Allen and raventhorn4000 are guaranteed to be rich if they choose to go back and work in China.)

    China recently passing laws for central and local governments for citizens “right to know” is a step towards “achieving” them. The population will “feel” their way around this in the near term, and I am confident this is a great thing and will work.

    “A lot of it comes down to a proper education, but many on this blog believe that China’s educational system is already superior to most nations. Under those circumstances, shouldn’t the populace behave reasonably under a more tolerant system?”

    I think Chinese think highly of their K-12. The U.S. has a super strong “peer-review” culture along with awesome universities which many Chinese know China lacks.

    “Under those circumstances, shouldn’t the populace behave reasonably under a more tolerant system?”

    I think will those items I mentioned, China will become a more tolerant and “free” society. I am sure there are other stabilizing factors.

    “The last point I’d like to make is regarding “goodwill”. Goodwill is important on both sides. If an organization approaches the Chinese government lacking in good will, the government will notice and treat them in a defensive manner. But if an organization approaches the Chinese government with goodwill and the government is blind to that goodwill and judges them negatively, then the organization will naturally reverse it’s attitude and feel the government is not receptive to any outside aid. Both are equally unproductive.”

    I completely agree. However, just one very small caveate:

    If someone with goodwill is rejected by the Chinese government as an “enemy”, I think that person will likely retain that goodwill and find another way. 🙂

  59. huaren
    June 30th, 2009 at 06:24 | #59

    Hi barney chan, #54,

    I think for countries who believe they are not on “equal footing” as the more developed countries, they have a right to value that “border” perhaps more than others.

    When there is enough trust on the world stage, I think your internationalism is then more achievable.

  60. Chan
    June 30th, 2009 at 07:08 | #60

    Steve (#5),

    [Answers part 1]

    —————————————

    (1) RE : “Thanks for taking the time …”

    Thanks for those kind words. Yes, it wasn’t easy. I sometimes wish I WAS paid 🙂

    (2) RE : “… amend the “anti-China” organizations to “anti-Chinese government” organizations …”

    Actually, perhaps I won’t. But I do agree that in some instances, it would help to make a distinction, and use each term selectively in its appropriate context.

    There are both “anti-China” groups and “anti-Chinese government” groups just like there are “anti-America” groups and “anti-American government” groups. The latter can be divided into 2 groups : those having malicious intent and those who don’t. The ones who don’t are the ones I would normally refer to as activisits, as opposed to what I call “anti-China” groups

    So generally speaking, one may classify them into 3 categories. The 1st 2 are referred to as “anti-China” groups in my articles.
    (1) “Anti-China” groups who see China and/or Chinese as enermies.
    (2) Those “anti-Chinese government” groups who want to ‘liberate’ the Chinese by creating bloodshed and/or mayhem
    (3) Those “anti-Chinese government” groups who have no malicious intent.

    From my perspective, I see no difference between the 1st 2 categories for the purposes of my articles. They are therefore simply referred to as “anti-China” groups for convenience. I normally refer to the 3rd category as “activists” in my articles. These are NEVER referred to as “anti-China” groups in my posts.

    (3) RE : “… Russia … USA …”

    I should be careful what I say on this. While I have well known anti-“Western media” views, I do not hold anti-West views. Unfortunately, people with my views giving opinions on this kind of broader political subjects almost always lead people to the wrong conclusions. So I will stay as brief as possible.

    Generally speaking, I would say I don’t share your view on this topic. I believe there is a lot of interdependence between the 3 powers, but also contentions both on the surface and behind the scenes. But like raventhorn4000, I don’t see why Russia would view China as a bigger threat than the US and NATO.

    (4) RE : “I don’t see how any organizations … have affected the actions of the parent …”

    I am not sure what exactly you mean by “organizations”. Assuming you are referring to organised “anti-China” forces, perhaps (5) below would answer that question.

    But it doesn’t have to be organised groups. Individuals such as ourselves could sway opinions. These opinions would in turn sway other opinions. If enough people are encouraging local activists to in turn encourage victims to go out to the streets, they would. And if you give them enough reasons to sacrifice themselves to achieve an end, many would. If they don’t, it just means you are not persuasive enough.

    (5) RE : “Is there any evidence that … spurred on by what you’d call “anti-China” forces?”

    Steve, I will need to get back to you on this one tonight when I get home, because this could potentially be a long one depending what I decide to include. But it may not. So pls wait for my answers part 2.

    (6) RE : “… your reference to ‘government'”

    You’ve made a good point. Perhaps I should have clarified.

    In all my articles, “government” means the CENTRAL government unless explicitly stated otherwise. I don’t believe there was any need to differentiate between the factions in any of my arguments. If there was any that I should have, please feel free to point out and we can look into that.

    As a general rule, I am a staunch supporter of the central government. But my support for the govt doesn’t automatically extend to local authorities. I believe most on my side of the fence would happily defend the Chinese govt, but not as many would defend local authorities. Some local authorities are very good, some not so good, some bad, and some should be shot. (Some already are).

    (7) RE : “… not agree with your statement … significant inroads against corruption …”

    Perhaps we hold to different standards and expectations. I am aware of the current situation in China. I know China has a very long way to go. But I think we do need to judge their progress taking into account of all the relevant factors.

    If you compare China with most other developing countries (which China is) including India, you will see China is actually not doing too badly.

    (8) RE : “How to do that needs to take in consideration the concerns of the parents …”

    I have always agreed with you on that in principle. And I hope my article did not convey to you that I don’t.

    But as I pointed out in the article, and you seem to agree judging from one of your earlier comments on this post, this is not the right time to fan that anger towards the govt. Perhaps you may like to raise this topic again once the whole thing settles.

    If you watch Chinese satelite TV channels, you may notice that there is no shortage of heated open debates on controversial subjects in China. This was clearly not possible not too long ago. There is no reason to believe this trend would not continue.

    (9) RE : “Can you show me a story from a non-Chinese media source you feel is unbiased and presents an accurate account? I’m not talking “western”, I’m talking non-western media”

    Assuming you regard the HK media as Chinese media, the only non-Chinese and non-Western media I watch is Singapore’s NewsAsia channel. They do seem to me to be very balanced.

    But no, I can’t think of any specific stories. I do however recommend the channel.

    I should also add that the Western media has improved a lot since I 1st started my “crusade” against them some years ago. I do give them credit for that. But by and large, they still have a long way to go.

    (10) RE : “Be careful about comparing events …”

    Just in case I have misled you, that section was not directed at you. It was directed at those who suggested that the actual idea of comparing quakes was irrelevant (not because of technical reasons, but because they suggest that was not the point).

    But to answer your question, the point of the comparison was to highlight the actual destruction to the PHYSICAL infrastrures within the different cities by the different quakes for the purposes I stated in the article. So the human toll statistics was never a factor for these comparisons.

    (11) RE : “The statements by Mr. McCoskey … have no larger context”

    Besides I thought they were good comments, I showed his comments to show it wasn’t a “Chinese” thing as someone here has suggested. ( Pls see my response (#3) to Raj’s comments ).

    (12) RE : “… many times after the event, the referenced person is found out not to be what he/she said they were”

    I found Mr McCoskey on this blogsite : newsvine.com. I was impressed, and invited him to my site to comment.

    Judging from his debates on that site, I have no reason to doubt his authenticity.

    (13) RE : “Let the government publish … ”

    Fair point.

  61. barny chan
    June 30th, 2009 at 10:36 | #61

    huaren Says: “barney chan…I think for countries who believe they are not on “equal footing” as the more developed countries, they have a right to value that “border” perhaps more than others.”

    Hu Jintao has more in common with Barack Obama than he does with a guy gluing iPods together in Guangzhou. I’ll carry on hoping that ordinary people will begin to see beyond borders, nationality, and race to the point where they can see clearly that their leaders don’t always have their best interests at heart.

  62. raventhorn4000
    June 30th, 2009 at 11:38 | #62

    Chan,

    Regarding your comparison of legal professions in China vs. US. It is true that China has less.

    But US is the anomaly, most nations don’t have 1 out 300 as attorneys. US bar pass rate is average about 50%. China and Japan both have about 5-10% bar pass rate. Europe are also very low.

    Most countries make it very difficult to have litigations, because litigations are expensive and wasteful. Under predominant English Common law, Losers of the case must pay the court cost. That’s the majority rule around the world. US is the exception.

    This rule makes it harder for poor plaintiffs to bring lawsuits, because if they lose, they will have to pay BOTH SIDES’ costs.

    US is unusually litigious. And even many Americans dislike that about the US system.

    China will increase its lawyers continually.

    Chinese lawyers are already reforming Chinese laws. To update them to compatibility to other nations. But not necessarily the same substantive standards.

    I find all this very hopeful. Chinese are deciding for themselves, and not merely caving into whatever influence/pressures from outside.

  63. Chan
    June 30th, 2009 at 11:59 | #63

    Hi raventhorn4000,

    I guess your post (#62) is meant for Huaren instead?

  64. huaren
    June 30th, 2009 at 17:05 | #64

    Hi raventhorn4000, #62

    You are so right. I spoke to a Japanese colleague about this topic once, and he mentioned that the town he grew up (even today) only has 1 lawyer. The population is about 10k.

    To me, this has quite a bit to do with a polarizing media or their instilling in the population that everyone is out to “get” them or take advantage of them.

    But just in case, I am not convinced that the Chinese population won’t be as litigous. 🙂

    A bit off topic now – but curious what your thoughts are the reason for U.S. being more litigous than other societies?

  65. huaren
    June 30th, 2009 at 17:07 | #65

    Hi barney chan,

    “I’ll carry on hoping that ordinary people will begin to see beyond borders, nationality, and race to the point where they can see clearly that their leaders don’t always have their best interests at heart.”

    I agree with you. On the whole, I think this has to be a trend for the world to be at peace with each other. Everyone needs to be able to also stand above special interest. If anything, some democracies are proving human beings cannot!

  66. huaren
    June 30th, 2009 at 17:10 | #66

    Hi Chan/Steve/raventhorn4000,

    On you guys conversation – re Russia, China, U.S..

    I simply see this as “cooperatition”, and with “normalization”, benefits of trade and peace outweighs everything.

  67. huaren
    June 30th, 2009 at 17:29 | #67

    Hi S.K. Cheung, #57,

    Regarding the TAM mothers, my view is that things have to “stop” somewhere. If the TAM mothers are still not satified with NGO’s or even U.S. or U.N. intervention, could they resort to aliens if aliens exist?

    I think the practical limit in the U.S. is the Supreme Court. Usually, when all Chinese channels are exhausted, then for Chinese citizens, that should be the stopping point.

  68. Chan
    July 1st, 2009 at 03:40 | #68

    Steve (#5),

    [Answers part 2]

    —————————————

    Here is point 5 again (from my last post #60)

    (5) RE : “Is there any evidence that … spurred on by what you’d call “anti-China” forces?”

    No, there is no evidence I am aware of.

    But I am sure you understand that this question can hardly be relevant to why things are done in a certain way. For those who don’t understand, the following analogy may help :

    In the US, guards at the airport check your shoes before you board a plane. Many people are offended by this, and turn away from visiting the US. As a result, tourism related businesses in the US are (or at least were) severely impacted by this. One may rightly ask if the authorities actually have any evidence to back up their claim that someone somewhere is planning to blow up a plane with his/her shoes.

    But this question is hardly useful or relevant. If there WAS evidence a person is about to blow up a plane, clearly he would have already been sent to jail. The question is NOT whether there is evidence someone somewhere is about to do something. The correct question one should ask is : Are there people with the motive and determination, plus the capability and resources to blow up a plane?

    If there is, then the business-hostile measures at the airports are justified. If not, they are not.

    The same is true for other seemingly nonsensical security measures around the world. It is not whether you have evidence, but whether there is sufficient ground to believe there are people with the motive and determination, plus the capability and resources to do harm.

    Coming back to the topic of China we are discussing, we can divide what I refer to as “anti-China” groups into 2 categories. The non-organized individuals and the organized establishments. China is clearly concerned with these groups. In my opinion, rightly so. There is no reason to doubt the power of the non-organized individuals to sway opinion of the masses as I discussed in point (4). Neither should China be the only country in he world not worried about organized groups targeting itself.

    2009 is a year full of sensitive dates. If anti-China groups want to create mayhem, clearly this is a golden opportunity. A Tiananmen Square style incident is not beyond imagination.

    I am sure you realize both Gene Sharp and his assistant Bruce Jenkins were in Beijing at the time of the demonstrations 20 years ago. They were the same pair from the organisation that gave us the color revolutions all across Eastern Europe. There is of course no legal evidence linking them to the events back then. But surely, you can’t tell me they just happened to be there on a holiday. If you follow the developments of that period closely, it should not be too hard to see that there was a pattern in the evolution of the events and the demands.

    Today, there are plenty of interest groups spreading disinformation about China. Some such as this group described in this report timesonline are known to be paid by Western governments. If anything, the Chinese government AND the Chinese people SHOULD be very concerned.

  69. S.K. Cheung
    July 1st, 2009 at 08:54 | #69

    To Huaren #67:
    “I think the practical limit in the U.S. is the Supreme Court. Usually, when all Chinese channels are exhausted, then for Chinese citizens, that should be the stopping point.”
    —I agree that there has to be a limit. The Supreme Court certainly represents such a limit. I’m not sure Chinese complainants, such as the TAM mothers, and potentially the quake families, have been or would be afforded access to such a form of judgment. Perhaps because, with China’s current legal system, a limit of comparable gravitas does not exist; or perhaps because they’ve simply not yet been granted access to it. In the US, the system culminates in the Supreme Court, for those who wish to take their grievances to that level. I’m not sure if Chinese channels are quite as well defined, or transparent.

  70. raventhorn4000
    July 1st, 2009 at 22:35 | #70

    There is no absolute right to a hearing from the Supreme Court, NOT even in US.

    It’s “discretionary review”. The Supreme Court can refuse to hear cases. US Supreme Court hears only 3-5% of all cases petitioned to it.

    *And US Supreme Court does not have to state any reasons for refusal to hear cases.

    Standard response: “PETITION DENIED”

  71. S.K. Cheung
    July 3rd, 2009 at 06:29 | #71

    “There is no absolute right to a hearing from the Supreme Court, NOT even in US.”
    —buddy, what seems to be your impediment. Yes, we all know the supreme court has to accept your case before it’s heard. Huaren and I were speaking of “practical limits”, not “absolute right”. If you’re going to interject in a conversation, could you at least have the common decency to not move the goalposts? That’d be grand.

  72. raventhorn4000
    July 4th, 2009 at 01:53 | #72

    SKC,

    You don’t know the “practical limit”.

    and I was not commenting to you.

    Kindly see the “goal posts” of “petition denied”!!!

    🙂

  73. S.K. Cheung
    July 4th, 2009 at 01:57 | #73

    “Kindly see the “goal posts” of “petition denied”!!!”
    —you are an incredible specimen, with an incredible set of skills that you display in an incredible fashion. Definitely something one has to see to believe…cuz seriously, the stuff you say is not within the reach of most folks.

  74. raventhorn4000
    July 4th, 2009 at 02:09 | #74

    “—you are an incredible specimen, with an incredible set of skills that you display in an incredible fashion. Definitely something one has to see to believe…cuz seriously, the stuff you say is not within the reach of most folks.”

    Speak for yourself. You don’t reach much outside of your “hole”.

  75. S.K. Cheung
    July 4th, 2009 at 05:56 | #75

    Just out of curiosity, do you know what “moving the goalposts” means? Don’t worry, I’ll be sitting down when I read your response….

  76. barny chan
    July 4th, 2009 at 06:00 | #76

    SKC, he really isn’t worth it.

  77. S.K. Cheung
    July 4th, 2009 at 06:09 | #77

    To Barny:
    of course, you are right. And Steve’s been telling me that for days. Sometimes, with some people, it’s just hard to put the fly swatter down.

  78. huaren
    July 4th, 2009 at 07:30 | #78

    Guys,

    Can we try to play nice please. 🙂
    I actually feel raventhorn4000 has a lot of insightful things to say.

    S.K.Cheung said: “In the US, the system culminates in the Supreme Court, for those who wish to take their grievances to that level. I’m not sure if Chinese channels are quite as well defined, or transparent.”

    I believe raventhorn4000’s read (and frankly my own read) on what S.K. Cheung said is in the U.S. the appeal’s process is very easily reachable to the U.S. supreme court if a citizen wishes, whereas the Chinese is not.

    Hence, raventhorn4000’s reponse in #70.

  79. raventhorn4000
    July 4th, 2009 at 13:39 | #79

    “Just out of curiosity, do you know what “moving the goalposts” means? Don’t worry, I’ll be sitting down when I read your response….”

    SKC, you are the “moving goalposts”.

  80. S.K. Cheung
    July 5th, 2009 at 18:48 | #80

    To Huaren:
    suffice it to say I’m a lot closer to Barny’s position than yours when it comes to good ol’ R4000.

    If R4000 objected by saying that the “practical limit” of which we spoke is in fact not readily attainable, that’s one thing. Then maybe we can see how readily attainable “supreme court” access is in China, either for the TAM mothers after 20 years, or potentially for the quake victims. But to object to a “practical limit” by contrasting it to an “absolute right” is, as I like to say, apples and oranges, both of which are well-known fruit to someone like R4000.

  81. raventhorn4000
    July 5th, 2009 at 19:18 | #81

    “practical limit” is 3-5% in US.

    20 years don’t make a difference. 1 shot for petition. “Petition denied” means “petition denied”.

    “how readily attainable”?

    HK Right of Abode went to Chinese Supreme Court. That’s attainable enough.

    You don’t seem to understand the “practical limits” of 3-5% for Supreme Courts. They don’t do ordinary negligence lawsuits. and they don’t take “political questions” (US standard).

    They only take 3-5% of the cases that involve important legal issues.

    “Quake victims” are ordinary negligence or product defect lawsuits. TAM was a political question.

    Yeah, like you know an apple or an orange. Do you even understand what “practical limits” of Supreme Courts are?

    Try start with Canadian Supreme Court. Comeback to debate about “practical limits”, when you actually know what kind of cases Canadian Supreme Court will or will not take.

  82. S.K. Cheung
    July 6th, 2009 at 03:58 | #82

    For starters, I hope the Chinese Supreme Court has heard more than one case in its history. Second, huaren in #67 spoke of the US Supreme Court being the practical limit in the US (and if that limit is one out of every 20 or 30 petitions being heard, then that’s the limit); but he also spoke of exhausting CHinese channels as the comparator. So what is the CHinese equivalent of that limit? What’s the rate of acceptance of petitions for the Chinese Supreme Court?

    If schools collapsed because of the effect of corruption, I think that’s more than “ordinary negligence” or product liability. And the parameters of the US Supreme Court are relevant only if the CHinese court chooses to employ those same parameters; otherwise, it would depend on what those unique Chinese court limits are.

  83. raventhorn4000
    July 7th, 2009 at 00:37 | #83

    For starters, you don’t know what “practical limits” of Supreme Courts are. Let alone discuss the “limits” for Chinese Supreme Court.

    Until you learn that basic legal concept of “practical limits of Supreme Court”, we are not discussing numbers, because you wouldn’t understand WHY the numbers would be different. If I tell you Chinese Supreme Court only takes 1%, you obviously would NOT understand the reason behind the difference.

    Any idea how many cases does German High Court, HK High Court, French High Court, Canadian High Court take? NOPE. I’m not discussing another legal topic with your ignorant speculation again. Your “speculations” are IRRELEVANT, since you have no basic understanding of WHY Supreme Courts even take cases.

    *
    “same parameters”. Well, needless to say, those cases (if happened in US), would not make it to the US Supreme Court. End of story.

    “PETITION DENIED”.

  84. S.K. Cheung
    July 7th, 2009 at 00:53 | #84

    Listen, I honestly could not care less what you choose not to discuss. So if you have numbers for discussion, then let’s see them. If you don’t, then do us all a favour and slither away. I can’t believe you spent an entire post talking about what you were not prepared to, or capable of, discussing. Then again, you do make a habit of pushing the limits of believability…

    “End of story.”
    —earth to R4000: we’re not talking about the US; we’re talking about China, remember? So whether the identical case would be heard by the US Supreme Court is rather irrelevant, wouldn’t you say? On the other hand, if China does everything by the US book, well, then we’ve got some stuff we can talk about. We can start with something that happens every 4 Novembers…any guesses?

  85. raventhorn4000
    July 7th, 2009 at 01:33 | #85

    You obviously can’t understand the meaning of the numbers. Why bother asking? You will just start “speculating” and “assuming” wildly again.

    PETITION DENIED in US, won’t make it in China either. Were you hoping for a different result in China? Obviously you have your answer already, NOPE!

    Why do you want to know the Chinese “practical limit”, when the result would be the same in US as in China? What possible difference would it make? Would you even understand the “difference”?

    I don’t know what you are trying to “speculate”.

  86. S.K. Cheung
    July 7th, 2009 at 02:50 | #86

    You didn’t just spend another entire post waxing on about what you aren’t capable of answering, did you? I mean, really?!?
    “Why do you want to know the Chinese “practical limit”, when the result would be the same in US as in China?”
    —why would it be the same? If things are the same, can we count on elections in China soon? Jeez louise.

    On the other hand, what processes have been availed to the TAM mothers, or to the quake victims’ families?

    In case you’ve forgotten, Huaren and I were discussing the practical limit of what these parents can hope to access, within reason.

  87. raventhorn4000
    July 7th, 2009 at 02:55 | #87

    Nope, just telling you for another time to go LEARN something about “practical limits” of Supreme Courts, and then come back to discuss.

    I’m not going to discuss REAL issues with someone incapable of understanding it.

    “—why would it be the same? If things are the same, can we count on elections in China soon? Jeez louise.”

    Still won’t get those cases into Supreme Court. PETITION DENIED!

    “On the other hand, what processes have been availed to the TAM mothers, or to the quake victims’ families?”

    What process are you imagining in the real world? Obviously doesn’t exist anywhere in REAL WORLD!

    You are talking your “moving goalposts”. It’s obvious that you are not grounding your speculation on reality.

    Like I said, you have no clue about “practical limits” of Supreme Courts. (Not a real world Supreme Court any ways.)

  88. S.K. Cheung
    July 7th, 2009 at 06:43 | #88

    “I’m not going to discuss REAL issues ”
    —how many times in a day do you need to tell people what you can’t/won’t discuss? Might I suggest it as a better use of everyone’s time if you just started discussing something…anything.

    “What process are you imagining in the real world? Obviously doesn’t exist anywhere in REAL WORLD!”
    —so there were no processes that the TAM mothers could’ve availed themselves to in order to air their grievances? If that is so, is it so surprising that they had to go elsewhere to be heard? And that doesn’t look so promising for the quake families either.

    You seem to suggest that the practical limit for access to Chinese channels is zero. For once, you may be right. i wonder why the TAM mothers would be disappointed by zero access.

  89. raventhorn4000
    July 7th, 2009 at 10:57 | #89

    “—how many times in a day do you need to tell people what you can’t/won’t discuss? Might I suggest it as a better use of everyone’s time if you just started discussing something…anything.”

    how many times are you going to quote only part of what I wrote? Might I suggest you start with more comprehensive READING!!

    “—so there were no processes that the TAM mothers could’ve availed themselves to in order to air their grievances? If that is so, is it so surprising that they had to go elsewhere to be heard? And that doesn’t look so promising for the quake families either.”

    Well Gee, I don’t know what they would expect then. Why are you trying to get their hopes up, then?

    “You seem to suggest that the practical limit for access to Chinese channels is zero. For once, you may be right. i wonder why the TAM mothers would be disappointed by zero access.”

    You seem to suggest a lot of things that I didn’t suggest. I gave you at least 1 case. There is also another case of a Chinese judge who got fired for violating judicial process. Why don’t you go learn something before you shoot your mouth off. I suggest you learn “practical limit” first before you make more ridiculous “suggestions”.

  90. S.K. Cheung
    July 8th, 2009 at 05:11 | #90

    “Why are you trying to get their hopes up, then?”
    —clearly, in the CHina of today, it is indeed hopeless…if CHina was run by folks like you. Hopefully, that is not the case.

    “There is also another case of a Chinese judge who got fired for violating judicial process.”
    —terrific. What does that have to do with TAM mothers having access, or lack thereof, to the necessary channels for airing their grievances? How does this judge’s dismissal impact on the possibility of the quake families getting redress for their potential grievances?

  91. raventhorn4000
    July 8th, 2009 at 11:10 | #91

    “—clearly, in the CHina of today, it is indeed hopeless…if CHina was run by folks like you. Hopefully, that is not the case.”

    Clearly, you already admitted that it’s hopeless else where, there is just no pleasing you.

    “—terrific. What does that have to do with TAM mothers having access, or lack thereof, to the necessary channels for airing their grievances? How does this judge’s dismissal impact on the possibility of the quake families getting redress for their potential grievances?”

    The practical limit is NOT zero, get it through your head. The cases went up to the Chinese Supreme Court!

  92. S.K. Cheung
    July 12th, 2009 at 06:06 | #92

    “Clearly, you already admitted that it’s hopeless else where, there is just no pleasing you.”
    — a system (China’s) that renders people hopeless is supposed to please me? How do you figure that?

  93. raventhorn4000
    July 12th, 2009 at 12:58 | #93

    “— a system (China’s) that renders people hopeless is supposed to please me? How do you figure that?”

    A system everywhere ELSE that renders you hopeless is reality. Take comfort in that.

  94. S.K. Cheung
    July 13th, 2009 at 04:55 | #94

    “A system everywhere ELSE that renders you hopeless is reality. Take comfort in that.”
    —once again, huh? Lost track of the number of times where you’ve made no sense. What’s one more, eh?

  95. raventhorn4000
    July 13th, 2009 at 22:05 | #95

    Well, once more, blame your own ignorance. I grow tired of explaining to you.

    🙂

  96. S.K. Cheung
    July 14th, 2009 at 05:22 | #96

    Like I said before, if your statements defy logic and explanation…well, ain’t the first time; unlikely to be the last.

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