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Nitpicking Media's Coverage of PRC's 60th Anniversary Parade

October 1st, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

I watched the national day parade on TV with my family, and liked it. As expected, the Chinese government managed to put out an impressive show. Then I read some media’s coverage of the parade. Well, let’s just say that those writings were as expected too. Anyway, there are a number of memes and other little oddities, in no particular order, that I want point out. As the title of this post says, this is just an excise of nitpicking.

[Update] I gotta share this photo that I just found with you. When the kids released the balloons at the end of the parade, somehow the these balloons formed a shape that looked like China’s map. Please don’t tell me that this was not a coincidence but a carefully choreographed act.

Ballons forming Chinese map

Many reports noted that President Hu Jintao was wearing a “Mao style tunic” or simply “Mao suit”. Well, no one in China would call it a Mao suit. It is called “Zhongshan zhuang” 中山装, which is named after 孙中山 Sun Zhongshan (better known as Sun Yat-sen), the founding father of modern China and revered both in mainland and Taiwan. It is named after him because he was the one who introduced this style of suit in China. In fact, Wikipedia notes that “in the 1920s and 1930s, civil servants of the Chinese government were required to wear the Zhongshan zhuang.

By the way, Sun’s picture was prominently on display yesterday in the Tiananmen square, directly facing Mao’s picture. In this picture, Sun was, of course, wearing a Mao suit.

Sun Zhongshan

Do reporters understand what “goose-step” is as they describe the Chinese military parade with that term? I know, I know. It’s meant to invoke an image of Nazi Germany or the Soviet. As Answers.com puts it: “the term is sometimes used to suggest the unthinking loyalty of followers or soldiers.” Nevertheless, goose-step has a precise meaning. Wikipedia defines it as:

The marching troops swing their legs from a vertical leg to a nearly horizontally-extending one, bringing it down with a loud simultaneous stepping noise and continuing the cycle in unison.

So these are goose-stepping:

goose-step goose-step 2

And these are just marching soldiers:

Marching Female Soldiers Not Goose-Step

[Update 3] Well, FOARP asserted that definition of goose-stepping should be relaxed from a high kick to “merely that it be raised with the knee locked whilst standing erect on the other foot, and then planted” in comment #58.

Alright, I challenge you to find nontrivial fraction of news reports that refereed to those French and Indians soldiers matching in the Bastille day military parade in July as doing goose-stepping.

Bastille-Day-Military-Parade jpg_14_juillet FRANCE BASTILLE DAY

And in honor of your homeland, FOARP, there are some pictures of the parade at Sandhurst this year. Please, show me where those soldiers were referred as goose-stepping.

Sandhurst 1 Sandhurst 2

The picture below comes from BBC. Come on! Couldn’t you find some other photos showing common Chinese folks who were not obviously and genuinely celebrating China’s national day to match the caption?

BBC Pic

This BBC story also noted the presence of Liu Xiang 刘翔, the world record holder of 110 meter hurdles.

Liu Xiang, the hurdler who disappointed his country by failing to compete in last year’s Games, appears to have been forgiven. The crowd waved and cheered as he passed.

Liu disappointed his country? That’s news to me. Yes, there were some people who were disappointed and saddened that Liu had to withdrawn from the Olympics last year due to injury. But isn’t it a bit exaggerating to imply he was at fault and out of favor in China? What a nice way to paint all of the Chinese people as demanding and cruel with one stroke!

Washington Post’s report also has one of this casual notation that just begs the question: “what’s your point?”

Film director Zhang Yimou, whose early movies were banned in China, is helping to choreograph the National Day celebration, as he did the opening ceremony for the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Zhang Yimou is a world class director and has enjoyed fame and success in China for the last two and half decades. The controversy over his magnum opus “Raise the Red Lantern” was a short lived one in 1991 and did not cause him trouble. And what other movies besides this one were banned? [Edit] In 1994, his movie “To Live” was never released in theaters in China due to its critical portrayal of various policies and campaigns of the Communist government. However, the movie itself is readily available in China. This movie was also transformed in a 33-episode TV series approved and released in 2005. While Wikipedia referenced Roger Ebert to claim that Zhang was banned from movie making for two years, it is unlikely true with a quick check of his filmography. Mr. Ebert also erroneously stated the female lead, Gong Li, was Zhang’s wife and was similarly banned for two years.

Again, what’s the point of the insertion of this note? Is it that difficult to accept that someone could have done good and done well in China without confronting or being confronted by the government?

Lastly, I have to say that I am rather annoyed by the meme that an once-in-a-decade military parade on China’s national day is somehow a wrong thing to do. An example is the words from Alistair Thornton:

But despite the excitement on the streets, I have a sinking feeling that this could turn out to be the worst PR stunt of all time. To me, it screams, ‘Hey! You in the West! How’s the recession? We just nailed 9% growth. Scared of a rising China? Check out all of our tanks and never-seen-before missiles’. It’s not really the vibe you want to give off in the midst of unprecedented shifts in geopolitical power.

Really, what’s wrong in demonstrating a country’s military strength through a parade? It’s better than showing off your might by invading another sovereign country and dropping cluster bombs on civilians, isn’t it?

[Update 2] Richard, in comment #9 below, took issue with the last sentence above and claimed that it was justifying one wrong with another. Well, that’s not the case here. I was actually contrasting one right with a wrong.

Soldiers and weapons are meant to impress and deter, intended for audiences both inside and out. Seriously, there is nothing wrong in making this point through a parade. It’s a far better way than using them for real, right? Yet in the west, there have been this wide spread practice, conscientiously or not by the participants, to indoctrinate people to automatically perceive this as wrong and something to be feared. The near universal usage of “goose-stepping” is just one example of this propaganda.

  1. Ted
    October 2nd, 2009 at 02:25 | #1

    Thanks for the bit on the 中山装. Can someone post a link to the parade from youku or youtube, it would be nice to have the whole thing linked to this or a related post. I’m sure someone out there is working on one.

  2. tanjin
    October 2nd, 2009 at 02:27 | #2

    Go China!

    I think some people in the West truly envy Chinese now with sour feeling and faul mouths, even NPR is running some non-sense there.

    #1 – here is a complete set of links

    http://www.news.cn/video/2009gq/

  3. DJ
    October 2nd, 2009 at 02:36 | #3

    Ted,

    FOARP posted a link to Guardian’s time lapsed video of the parade in Peking Duck. It does a good job in 3:42 minutes.

    Here is the link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2009/oct/01/china-national-day-timelapse

    On the Youtube, there are a number of HD videos posted already. Check out this one and others linked on the side.

  4. Ted
    October 2nd, 2009 at 02:38 | #4

    I didn’t think NPR’s coverage was that negative 🙁 Maybe I heard a different report. BTW can I choose which military unit to surrender to? If yes, I’ll go with either the pink or blue Elite Go-Go units.

  5. kui
    October 2nd, 2009 at 02:55 | #5

    Happy birthday my dear mother China. I know what you have been through. Grandfathercame to Beijing around 1915? My family had witnessed the chaos after the fall of Qing dynasty, the japanese invasion and occupation of Beijing. My father repeatedly told me the brutal torturing and killing of Chinese civilians on Beijing street he witnessed as a child. It is all too much, the opium shops, the carts to collect bodies every morning, starvations, 混和面…… then when Japanese were finally gone there was war between communists and KMT. Then the Great Leap Forward, starvation again then the Culture Revolution,抄家, father was sent to labour camp briefly…… Today finally we Chinese have a COUNTRY! The changes are beyond imagination! It is so much to me to hear people saying “现在生活好了”

    Happy birthday.

    DJ, the media in Australia also played the same thing. May be these journalists are plain stupid, know nothing about Zhongshan coat and Dr Sun. May be they intented to report this way to reinforce the believe among ordinary western people that China is threat. Anyway, they are doing themself no favour. 20 years ago I believed every single word western media said but now I put a ? mark on every thing they said. I believe many Chinese have realised what western media is.

  6. lchen
    October 2nd, 2009 at 02:56 | #6

    Ted #4 — you got that pink formation right. Even President Hu made a few applause. But I think it symbolize the rising status of women in China. The air force also let female pilots flight over the square.

    Irish Times reporter CLIFFORD COONA appeared to make a better translation on this Chinese parade and celebration among the many.

    “China celebrates with elaborate display of power and ideology

    President Hu abandoned his usual blue two-piece suit in favour of a sharp, dark-grey ensemble known as officially as a Sun Yat-sen suit, after the great Nationalist leader who founded the Chinese Republic in 1911, but the fact that it was a style also favoured by Chairman Mao means you can call it a Mao suit to”

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2009/1002/1224255680525.html

  7. Marie
    October 2nd, 2009 at 04:24 | #7

    Just wanted to note that although Chinese people don’t refer to it as a ‘Mao suit,’ that has been the term used in English for many years. This is because it was through Mao wearing the suit that many Westerners first became familiar with the style. I don’t think it’s due to stupidity on the part of journalists…it’s just the term most are familiar with.

    As for Zhang Yimou, I am pretty sure he encountered difficulties with more films than just ‘Raise the Red Lantern.’ His film ‘To Live,’ in particular, comes to mind.

  8. DJ
    October 2nd, 2009 at 05:01 | #8

    Marie,

    Thanks for the pointer. I researched a bit more and updated the post accordingly.

  9. October 2nd, 2009 at 06:42 | #9

    “Nitpicking” is certainly the right descriptor for this post. You might debate whether” goosestepping” was technically the correct term, but it certainly looked like goosestepping to most spectators, even if the legs weren’t quite high enough to meet the criteria you found on answers.com. And China was deeply disappointed with Liu Xiang, which is not to say vindictive (although many were), so finding fault with the WaPo’s description – well, if that’s as strong an indictment you can make, I’d say the coverage was pretty fair. The Lowly Interpreter’s opinion piece is just that, opinion, and time will tell whether this was a good PR exercise for China in terms of the global reaction to it.

    And your closing line:

    Really, what’s wrong in demonstrating a country’s military strength through a parade? It’s better than showing off your might by invading another sovereign country and dropping cluster bombs on civilians, isn’t it?

    Ah, now we get to the heart of the matter. After establishing some credibility for at least seeming to do some research and not being too hysterical, you let it all hang out, and in a complete meltdown repeat the agonizingly dull and repetitive, “The US bombs people!” All credibility lost, all pretense of seriousness revealed to be…pretense. Scholarly airs replaced with the usual fenqing claptrap. At least you were honest enough to reveal your true colors, as distasteful as they may be.

    For the record: America has done awful things, dreadful things. Bush, the perpetrator of the sins alluded to in the drivelly closing line of the post , has been disgraced, savaged by the media and his party thrown out of office. Of course, in China there is no such option – but even if you had such an option, these issues are irrelevant to the topic you are writing about. To bring them up out of the blue is simply bizarre, but no doubt the allusion will be lavishly praised by those who seek constant comfort in the notion that as long as America does bad things, it’s fine for China to do bad things, too, and that any criticism of China by others can be conveniently dismissed with the idiotic response, “But in AMERICA….” As if two wrongs make a right. And as if America, like China, isn’t trying to correct the awful crap perpetrated by past leaders. I give both countries credit, and criticize both. The sins of one do not justify the sins of the other.

  10. Jovian
    October 2nd, 2009 at 07:36 | #10

    to Richard #9:

    Well put on the point that both many countries have done terrible things, and two wrongs don’t make one right. It is indeed true, for whatever limited scope we as individual have, that the undeniable truth for each and every country’s action is to serve their own goals. No matter how much or how well they dressed up an issue or spin a scandal, the same purpose drives each of their actions; self (national) interest. The only sliver on hope for ordinary people like you and I is that these action will cumulate to at least some “greater good” and not just some ill gotten individual gain.

  11. William
    October 2nd, 2009 at 09:10 | #11

    I think you just have to accept that massive shows of military might will cause deeply different reactions based on the audience. If you personally identify with the people in the show, you might feel a part of the show. If you don’t, you can only think about how those weapons might be used to kill you.

  12. tanjin
    October 2nd, 2009 at 14:58 | #12

    Ted #4 — NPR spit out non-sense faster than anyone else. NPR reporter said minority dancers and singers were not real, even the tibetan singer did not look like a tibet, could be a Han. In fact, there were many miniority well-known singers of Uighur, Tibetan, Korean and Gaoshan (from Taiwan) etc took the big stage, many minority dance groups too ..

    The fact is that many western intellectuals, especially media personality, can’t accept China’s rise and they just don’t understand the reasons behind it, yet full of fear.

  13. Medhurst
    October 2nd, 2009 at 15:24 | #13

    Re: #12

    “Many western intellectuals, especially media personality?”

    I think I speak for many Westerners when I say that our media personalities are a far lesser breed than intellectuals.

    Many of the more famous ones are total hacks, and that’s true of a lot of things, not merely China.

  14. tanjin
    October 2nd, 2009 at 15:24 | #14

    Al Jazeera got a more balanced report on this 60th Parade

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-Lt_vFZ73k

    btw: Milessa Chan is working for Al Jazeera now ? No wonder NPR sucks this time.

  15. Medhurst
    October 2nd, 2009 at 15:27 | #15

    Also, I think the kids who released those balloons should be disciplined severely, as Taiwan is clearly not visible on their so-called representation of China. Obviously a budding ‘taidu’ clique that should be smashed with the full might of the people’s righteousness.

  16. Raj
    October 2nd, 2009 at 16:16 | #16

    What richard said @ 9.

  17. facts
    October 2nd, 2009 at 16:32 | #17

    Nitpicking is expected as you stated. The goal of western media is still to deny the legitimacy of Chinese institutions in the eyes of western public. But the task has become more difficult as years go by. The achievements of PRC become more and more plain to common men. So the key has become 1) always go back to GLF/CR/1989 presenting Chinese people as oppressed, 2) present leadership’s “iron grip” on power (one party rule) as evil, 3) present Chinese military as a threat to the world.

    The Western media willfully and intentionally ignore the support common Chinese have for country’s leadership, and yes for The party. Western media will never stop attempting to present a picture to pit Chinese people against the party. Looking back some 170 yrs since 1840, it only becomes more clear every day, it’s the party that made what China is today. The sinister motive of the western media became apparent as every force that opposes Chinese national interest will be supported in the western media, from Dalai to Islam extremists, from India to Vietnam, from FLG to “dissidents”, all they need to do is to fight against China. You are Al Quada, fine, as long as you fight against China, you are good Al Quada. You are terrorist, fine, as long as you attack Chinese people, you are fighting for freedom. You are communist, fine, as long as Vietnam is aggressively disputing borders with China, etc. To a degree, Western media has gone from spinning news to fabricating news, in order to demonize China. So to the Chinese people, western media has no credibility to speak of, as someone attempted to establish such. That’s something had claimed by the West for a long time and was finally destroyed by their own reporting a while ago.

    So on this occasion, it’s expected western media will concentrate on the “oppression” of Chinese people by the party, the threat of military, the evil of the leadership. This post just another chance to highlight the fact western media is run by ideologues behind the scene. In essence the message from western media is this, China bad, the West good, the rest is all technical matter, as how to find the slickest way to get the message across.

  18. DJ
    October 2nd, 2009 at 16:39 | #18

    Richard #9,

    You are being a bit defensive, aren’t you? 🙂

    Anyway, I will update the post to respond to your point.

    William #11,

    You are right. But I would rather for people to form their own opinions than being indoctrinated into automatically responding to the parade in a certain way. The indoctrinations are happening both in and out of China, differently, of course.

  19. Steve
    October 2nd, 2009 at 16:48 | #19

    @ Richard #9: I know you haven’t spent much time on the blog for awhile but while you were gone, we put the kibosh on profanity so I changed one word. The usual procedure is to just delete the post since I got tired of playing babysitter to the chronic rule breakers. Thanks!

  20. facts
    October 2nd, 2009 at 16:53 | #20

    @#9
    Through comparing the grumbling about China threat from parade to the actually killing of civilians, how do you find “two wrongs” here? To say “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” has become a knee jerk reaction, whenever someone points out something the US did. Parade is not a wrong thing to do, so there is only one wrong here, not two.. and of cause still doesn’t make it right. And can the elections bring the dead back? IF not why elections can be used to excuse the wrong here? Very strange logic indeed.

  21. Steve
    October 2nd, 2009 at 17:07 | #21

    @ DJ: I don’t know if you realize there is an unintentional misuse of the word “nitpicking”. The actual meaning is to be excessively concerned with or critical of inconsequential details, in other words, a carping, petty criticism. I don’t think this was your intention at all. 😉

    “Goose stepping” originated in Prussia and later was taught to the German army, whose military advisers later taught it to the Russian army, which was incorporated into the Soviet army, who taught it to the PRC army. It might not be as high a leg kick as was done in Germany but it’s still goose stepping. For me, it’s an unnatural way of marching, reminds me of the Nazis and has no practical value, so I’m glad our military never picked it up. For the Chinese people, it’s just the way soldiers march in parade and no big deal. If it’s not a big deal to them, it’s not a big deal to me.

    I found a really nice video summary of the parade on Vimeo but for some reason, the site is down right now. Once it’s back up, I’ll post it.

  22. jpan
    October 2nd, 2009 at 17:11 | #22

    richard #9 — “For the record: America has done awful things, dreadful things. Bush, the perpetrator of the sins ..”

    Haha, Bush is always an easy target, does he? However, please don’t pick on Bush. He could be headstrong and inexperienced, but he cares America more than you think. In fact, you should blame this “super-ego-Americanism”

    WW II made US a de facto superpower, so does a foundation for this super-ego-Americanism.

    To borrow a line I posted elsewhere:

    “American society and foreign relations are rooted on a super-ego-Americanism since Truman after WW II. It’s always fun to see Super Man and Justice League flying high and change the world in seconds, but it is real American public who bear consequence.”

  23. Charles Liu
    October 2nd, 2009 at 17:11 | #23

    DJ @ 18, in US China’s 60 year anniversary is being carried in our media with the usual tint:

    http://www.bing.com/news/search?q=China+60+unease

    http://www.bing.com/news/search?q=China+60+unrest

    http://www.bing.com/news/search?q=China+60+repression

    Just look at the trigger words (feel free to try your favorite) in the search terms to see what the dealio is…

  24. DJ
    October 2nd, 2009 at 17:16 | #24

    Steve,

    Actually, I knew the negative connotation associated with “nitpicking” and used it preemptively since I expected backlash of a certain kind. 🙂

    Regarding the term goose-step, I think the real difference is whether the knees are locked. I can’t believe that it would be good for one’s knees. I remember well how the soldiers presenting the Olympic flag performed a slow, deliberate goose step. Their legs were completely straight. The matching style shown in the parade, however, has a clear knee movement that makes it much less stressful to the body. Seriously, there is no good reason to call those soldiers goose-stepping instead of just plain matching.

  25. tanjin
    October 2nd, 2009 at 17:27 | #25

    thanks Charles for remaining me this thread.

    I really like the song by three singers from mainland, HK and Taiwan. The last one by Jacky Chan sounds like an interpretion straigt out of Confucian 🙂

    Here is my translation of the first song. Greatings for China’s 60th birthday !

    —————————————

    Great China
    Lyric/Music By Gao Feng

    We all have a home called China.
    The family got lots of brothers and sisters,
    and the land is pretty scenary too.
    Look, Yangtze River and Yellow River run through the land like two dragons.
    Look, Mount Everest is the highest peak.

    We all have a home called China.
    The family got lots of brothers and sisters,
    and the land is pretty scenary too.
    Look, the Great Wall snakes through the clouds to far away.
    Look, the Tibet Plateau is wider than the sky.

    Our Great China is such a big family,
    she had been through many storms but always came out strong.
    Our Great China is such a big family,
    I am forever with you.

    China, greetings, you are forever in my heart.
    China, greetings, without too many words.

    ————–

    >> 60国庆 谢霆锋、熊天平、屠洪刚合唱《大中国》HQ

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOhqAhd_RHs

    >> 成龙、刘媛媛高唱歌曲《国家》

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/video/2009-10/01/content_12165383.htm

  26. October 2nd, 2009 at 17:29 | #26

    DJ – “Defensive? What are you talking about? Not even the slightest bit. What am I defending?

    Charles, redo your search with words like “growth” instead of “repression” – if you want to find bad stuff you can, it’s easy. Not scientific, of course, but if it makes you feel happier…

    Facts, your comment <(#20) is incomprehensible. In a post about the parade, the poster himself – not me – dismissed the "negative" coverage of the parade with an asinine remark about the US dropping bombs and invading countries. HE, not I, made the comparison. HE equated the two, not me. There is nothing wrong with holding a parade. I have never criticized the parade. I do feel a need to comment when I see those whose feeling are hurt over what they see as negative coverage dismiss the coverage by saying those producing it drop bombs and invade sovereign nations. This kind of circular reasoning could only hold up in a hyper-nationalistic comment thread, where the majority is galvanized and energized by attacks on America no matter how frivolous or irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

    DJ, love your use of smilies whenever you get caught being irrational. 🙂

  27. jpan
    October 2nd, 2009 at 17:38 | #27

    richard #26 — for the record, you are the one stabbing and attacking Bush. I am the one trying to be reasonable 🙂

  28. October 2nd, 2009 at 18:04 | #28

    Stabbing and attacking? I am referring to what the poster himself said, and I quote, “It’s better than showing off your might by invading another sovereign country and dropping cluster bombs on civilians, isn’t it?” I was acknowledging that while the US did do this under Bush, it is specious to somehow connect this with negative coverage of China’s parade, as if the critiques of the parade can be dismissed because they’re coming from a country that dropped cluster bombs.

    I don’t need to stab Bush in the back. Bush self-immolated, leaving in disgrace and failure. Luckily, we also had the ability to toss his cronies out of office.

  29. tanjin
    October 2nd, 2009 at 18:11 | #29

    NYT: China’s Next Stage: Spreading the Wealth

    http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/01/chinas-next-stage-spreading-the-wealth/#amar

    btw: it is interesting to see conservative NYT gathering people of different positions to discuss a single topic. the people of negative POV are always people of LESS understanding on China.

  30. Steve
    October 2nd, 2009 at 18:20 | #30

    @ tanjin: I read that same article this morning. Could you elaborate on who has a negative POV concerning China and why that POV shows less understanding of China and isn’t valid? You’ve made an accusation but haven’t backed it up with any data. I don’t mind the accusation at all, but I would expect you to clarify why you believe so and illustrate it with some specifics.

  31. Steve
    October 2nd, 2009 at 18:22 | #31

    Here’s the video I thought was put together very nicely:

    China’s 60th Anniversary national day – timelapse and slow motion – 7D and 5DmkII from Dan Chung on Vimeo.

  32. jpan
    October 2nd, 2009 at 18:25 | #32

    richard #26 — “Luckily, we also had the ability to toss his cronies out of office.”

    Bush re-adjusted his policy during his second term, and finished his TWO terms anyway. His policy change was too late anyway. But look at what Obama is doing now … he is helplessly driven by the same kind of super-ego-Americanism.

    American democracy = American populism + special interests ?

  33. panyi
    October 2nd, 2009 at 18:30 | #33

    How is that nitpicking? All those things are true, it’s just not the unending line of praise Xinhua churns out. Seems to me you’re the one nitpicking the small things out of an overall positive coverage from the west.

  34. DJ
    October 2nd, 2009 at 18:37 | #34

    Panyi #33,

    Please read the title of this post this way: Nitpicking [Media’s Coverage of PRC’s 60th Anniversary Parade]

  35. pug_ster
    October 2nd, 2009 at 18:42 | #35

    @Tanjin 29

    I agree with Steve. These people offer their opinion and not facts. You’re right, most of them are not correct anyways, so who cares. The negative news should be coming from places like mainstream media where they try to report the news and they put their own skit in it.

  36. Charles Liu
    October 2nd, 2009 at 18:45 | #36

    On the issue of goose stepping. While looking thru Baidu’s 60 anni parade collage, I noticed the military people don’t always goose step:

    http://hiphotos.baidu.com/xuyiqing2006/pic/item/6ea79f18f8eb40984bedbc19.jpg

    Looks like the parade isn’t so inhumane that people are goose stepping the whole time (probably just in front of the stage where media and VIPs are, as a form of salute.)

    Non-military people don’t even do formation, they just walk about the floats:

    http://image.baidu.com/i?ct=503316480&z=0&tn=baiduimagedetail&word=2009+%B9%FA%C7%EC%D4%C4%B1%F8&in=6238&cl=2&lm=-1&pn=4&rn=1&di=119819450&ln=2000#pn86

    or dance around:

    http://hiphotos.baidu.com/xuyiqing2006/pic/item/c86194b1ab64d37808230206.jpg

    Agree, Disney-style parade definitely better than dropping depleted uranium dirty bombs on children.
    (An attempt at introspection. Here’s citation on post-invasion southern Iraq leading the world in childhood leukemia:
    http://www.bing.com/search?q=Iraq+depleted+uranium+childhood+leukemia)

  37. Dan
    October 2nd, 2009 at 19:40 | #37

    I wasn’t aware that going after military parades was a “meme.” In fact this is the first I’ve ever heard of it, and I equally don’t see why one would be surprised that people think it’s not a good idea. The point of the parade was to display to the Chinese themselves their power and strength. Of course, that’s fine. But there are no vacuums, bubbles, etc. and the truth is other countries are watching. It might not be a PR disaster, but is it smart? Is it necessary? Yes, it’s better than actually using one’s military (with the obvious sling against America’s recent wars). And there’s nothing wrong with it. That doesn’t make it good.

    Some of your other points I find suspect too. The quote about Zhang Yimou I could have read easily as “filmmaker was banned, but China has improved and now he produces these amazing shows” without all the negativity you mentioned.

    The BBC photo I thought was fine too. Yes, you could read it the way you described it. Would you rather have a picture of 100 people shouting, arms raised holding Chinese flags? Would that covey an independently thinking society better? I don’t think so.

  38. October 2nd, 2009 at 20:10 | #38

    Exactly what Dan said. To cherrypick these innocuous photos and not-so-absurd quotes (like saying China was disappointed with Liu Xiang for dropping out of the race) and try to make some sort of a point about it, as if it indicates a trend or a conspiracy, is a painfully contrived exercise.

    I can see having issues with the way the US and foreign media cover China. I have big issues with it, and with the way they cover the US as well. This post, however, offers zero evidence of questionable reporting, and instead seems to reflect a poster so intent on finding mischief to prove his preconceived notion that he will point to just about anything and claim bias. The BBS photo is completely positive, and if you see it as negative then it’s time for you to evaluate your criteria. It reminds me of Michelle Malkin and Glen Beck, where anything Obama says or does they can instantly find the negative in it, even if there is no negative there.

  39. Tom
    October 2nd, 2009 at 21:11 | #39

    The fear of goose-stepping is really mostly a British and American thing. You will not find anyone criticizing it in Chile or Peru.

    It largely dates back to the propaganda during the World Wars, when goose-stepping was associated with German military aggression. (Never mind that Russia was on the Allied side.) George Orwell later associated it with totalitarianism.

    This just goes to show you the power of propaganda to create lasting associations. Actually, the link has been tenuous from the start. The German Wehrmacht stopped training its recruits in goose-stepping after the war began. There was no goose-stepping at the Soviet Victory Parade in 1945. An army can only goose-step when it is at peace. Each day spent drilling on the parade ground is a day not spent training to kill people.

    The first Tiananmen parade in 1949 did not have any goose-stepping. Meanwhile, Chiang Kai Shek’s army goose-stepped through the Cold War. See American newsreel of a 1950s Taipei parade on Youtube, complete with the obligatory references to “Free China” and how they were dreaming about the day when they’d free the mainland, too. Notice how they cleverly frame the soldiers only from the waist up, so the American audience wouldn’t see that they were goose-stepping.

    Goose-stepping (or not) is meaningless as an indicator. It is entirely an accident of history. The Polish army does it (didn’t the Nazis invade Poland?), and so does Chile’s (they even wear German-style uniforms at parades, complete with the distinctively-shaped German helmet). George Washington’s army was trained by von Steuben at Valley Forge in 1778. One more month of training two hundred years ago, and the US Army might be goose-stepping today.

    Don’t dodge the criticism by quibbling over details (such as how high the leg has to kick) — this only makes you look guilty. Instead, embrace and extend it until the criticism loses its meaning and looks silly. Anytime someone complains about goose-stepping, point out all the other armies that do it. In other words, “Yes, they’re goose-stepping. So what?”

  40. DJ
    October 2nd, 2009 at 21:36 | #40

    Richard,

    Calm down. There is no need to be that emotional here. By the way, your indignation at my finding negatives where you perceive none reminds me of the debate on whether the common practice of calling foreigners Laowai in China was offensive.

    I just asked a colleague, who is an American born and raised in California, what he thought of the term goose-stepping. He said that for him and probably most Americans, the usage of the term could only serve one purpose and that’s to invoke an image of Nazi Germany.

    My reaction to that BBC photo was actually a sense of amusement. Either the editor first selected the photo and then made the caption. That would be a kinda weird logic to choose this particular description for the photo. Or the editor had the caption in mind and was just looking for a photo to fit it. Well, I still find it weird why he or she should pick that photo for this caption.

    Dan #37,

    You are right that the note about Zhang Yimou could have been read in a positive manner. I guess my reaction was influenced by a recent post in China Beat. That post made a point that some in the press were too quick in bestow the honorific title of “dissident” on people.

    You are also right that while there is nothing wrong with a parade, it doesn’t make it good. I was emphasizing the first point and didn’t really imply the second one.

  41. YinYang
    October 2nd, 2009 at 22:21 | #41

    Hi DJ, Guys,

    That balloon release to make the map of China is pretty cool. Probability of a random release to result in something like that is close to zero.

    Medhurst, #13: excellent comment. I agree wholeheartedly. I am encouraged a bit too because many dumb media are dying out!

    facts, #20: excellent point.

    I read in the 50 year parade, China had lot more military personnel. They scaled it way back during this 60th parade. To me, that’s responding to the segment of population in the West seeing China as a threat.

    The Olympics Opening Ceremony had many actors perform in unison – without the military uniform and any weapon on display – that’d already touched off the nerves of these “China threat” people. So, I am not surprised with the negative reaction from these same type of people on this parade.

    To Steve’s point about the soldiers strides looking like goose stepping – I think this sentiment really exists in the West. I remember seeing ads from doctors few decades ago defeating national healthcare, they used kids pumping their arms in unison to remind the American public of the Soviet Union ways.

    The reality is “uniformity” indeed freaks out the West due to their historic experiences and due to how its population is “taught” to orient against it.

    It does not make all these instances of bias and bigotry right. However, embracing “marketing” that is pallatable to people outside of China is a good thing – which as I have said, by scaling back number of military personnel is already an exceptional move.

  42. jpan
    October 2nd, 2009 at 22:21 | #42

    dan #37

    Many western observers got things wrong one after another. The show of military forces is not just made for Chinese audience, but also towards foreign HOSTILE forces.

    These hostile forces never stop dreaming of undermining china’s integrity and national interest in one moment, despite China’s sincere and painstaking efforts to settle historical issues and move forward to a new chapter. These forces, driven by their own interests and agenda, underestimated the desire and determination by Chinese people to have a unified, prosperous, modern and secure nation on the background of a rejuvenated great civilization.

    Some members of US society (in particular its congress) are certainly and constantly in the forefront of these hostile forces. There is no need to talk about their long-term support of Tibet exile forces and their support of Uighur separatists in recent years. The disgraced former Taiwan leader just filed a case at US Supreme Court to ask for US intervention on his behave. He claims that US official representative often instructed him to do or not to do certain things, while he was a “democratically elected” populist president of ROC. US Supreme Court t has yet to rule on this case.

    US Congress under its leader Nancy Pelosi passed a bill to specifically set up a tibet section in US Embassy in Beijing to “monitor and provide assistance” for situation in China’s TAR !

    I was told that current State Secretary, Hillary Clinton, just named a senior coordinator on Tibet affair yesterday (10/1/2009), with intention to seek a solution for 14th DL.

  43. hzzz
    October 2nd, 2009 at 22:32 | #43

    The word Schadenfreude best describes your average Western attitude towards China. When China was poor and miserable during Mao’s era people barely cared. As the living standards of the average Chinese vastly improved in the last two decades, suddenly the Western media insists that Chinese must be miserable and the government must be overthrown. Had China remained poor and weak the Western nations would treat it just like how it treats the poor and miserable African nations today: by ignoring them.

    China on the other hand, should get used to this. The world had been in a love/hate relationship with America for decades because everyone feared but admired America’s strength at the same time. The same thing is happening to China now. There is no point to rebuttal every Tibet activist on the Web. Some of their criticisms are right on while others can’t even find Tibet on the map. Let them criticize China all they want because it’s them who are miserable.

  44. Charles Liu
    October 2nd, 2009 at 22:44 | #44

    “Schadenfreude”… may be Chinese Embassy in US/Canada can set up Native American/First Nation section to “montor and provide assistance”.

    However I think they have too much respect and goodwill for us to do that.

    BTW, those balloons are probably Photoshoped, remember the tiger thing, and fake Olypmics fireworks?

  45. October 2nd, 2009 at 22:54 | #45

    DJ, maybe you mistake passion for “emotion.” The words, “Calm down” are condescending and smug. And a nice diversion away from the criticism of your post. But maybe your “friend in California” also told you it was a brilliant post so that’s that. 🙂

    Here were your precise words about the BBC photo:

    The picture below comes from BBC. Come on! Couldn’t you find some other photos showing common Chinese folks who were not obviously and genuinely celebrating China’s national day to match the caption?

    Now you weasel out, “My reaction to that BBC photo was actually a sense of amusement.” I rest my case.

    You may see this kind of critique as “emotional” but to me it’s simply a matter of winnowing out the nonsense and getting to the actual issue (if there even is one). Is what the poster writes accurate? Are his examples sound? And as for the charge of “emotional,” let’s all go back to the closing line of the post:

    Really, what’s wrong in demonstrating a country’s military strength through a parade? It’s better than showing off your might by invading another sovereign country and dropping cluster bombs on civilians, isn’t it?

    That is an attempt to push an emotional button. It would be more effective if it weren’t such a non-sequitur and if it made some sense, but it fails on both counts (as if there were just two possibilities, throw a military parade or drop cluster bombs). Anyway, I know we won’t get anywhere with this. If you can write that kind of sentence with a straight face and honestly believe it draws a fair and reasonable comparison, then we might as well end it here.

  46. jpan
    October 2nd, 2009 at 23:03 | #46

    11th Panchen Lama was on 60th Parade stand. He looks like a fully grown-up.

    http://fo.ifeng.com/news/200910/1002_14_58511.shtml

  47. Think Ming
    October 3rd, 2009 at 00:01 | #47

    On the goosestepping. . .

    I am no expert on things military, but I believe the definition of goosestepping revolves around the step being performed without bending of the knee. The height to which the leg is raised is unimportant. What makes it a goose step is that the leg remains straight. So yes the Chinese were goosestepping on the national day parade – exactly as they do every year.

    Big deal. The Taiwanese military also goosestep. You can see it every day down at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall when the honor guard comes out and does the flag raising/lowering ceremony.

    So DJ’s complaints on western media ‘bias’ in referring to it as a goosestep are just mind-numbingly silly.

    The goosestep developed in 19th Century Prussia, and while it predates Hitler it is strongly associated with more authoritarian regimes. These days it is most popular in Communist countries (China, Cuba, Russia, etc.), or in countries with militaries heavily influenced by Germany (Taiwan, Chile, maybe some others in South America).

    Obviously goosestepping is not a very comfortable or practical way of moving around, though it makes an impressive display of uniformity and precision. Presumably this is why it has been both favored by and associated with more authoritarian regimes.

    While the western media comments on goosestepping PLA soldiers can get a little trite (I don’t remember seeing any media comment on Taiwanese soldiers goosestepping ), I fail to see some vast conspiracy here.

    A goosestepping military is associated with authoritarianism because authoritarian countries have historically favored this marching style. China is an authoritarian country and happens to have a military that sometimes goosesteps. Is the ‘evil western media’ really displaying serious bias merely by noting the existence of goosestepping Chinese soldiers (and making that link with authoritarianism) when reporting on a massive parade put on by an authoritarian regime and involving thousands of goosestepping soldiers?

  48. DJ
    October 3rd, 2009 at 00:46 | #48

    Think Ming,

    You are right that what makes it a goose step is that the leg remains straight. And when those soldiers matched in the parade, there were clear movements of the knees. So no, they were not goose stepping.
    Not Goose-Step

  49. Steve
    October 3rd, 2009 at 01:22 | #49

    @ DJ et al: This from Wiki so not sure how accurate it is but it seems reasonable from the conversation, photos and video:

    “In countries such as North Korea, China, Cuba, and Vietnam, whose military forces are shaped by the Soviet model, a variation of the goose-step is still regularly demonstrated. At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, the soldiers presenting the Olympic flag performed a slow, deliberate goose step called the standard step (正步) during the ritual.”

    If the boot point comes to knee height, it’s called a “drilling step” and considered a modified goose step.

    I think we’re dealing with semantics here, making a big deal out of nothing. Any marching step in which the foot is raised higher than what would be a natural walking motion will always be referred to as a “goose step”. To get upset over the term is just a waste of time and energy. I don’t think anyone means the term as an insult (just a description) but as Tom #39 said, it’s perceived differently in the US and UK than in most other countries.

    I got a big kick out of the ultra white sidewalls on the military vehicles. It looked great and was obviously done for the parade, but did seem out of place.

    What I wondered about when reading about the event was… why weren’t ordinary citizens allowed to watch the parade as it passed by rather than only watch it on TV? Why was an event this big by invitation only? I’m sure there’s a good reason for it, I just can’t think of what it could be.

  50. YinYang
    October 3rd, 2009 at 01:26 | #50

    Guys,

    For those of you accusing the author of pushing a “conspiracy” theory from the West, I think that’s not warranted. If three racists each located in some different place on the planet each write an article that is racist to some particular race, does that mean these three are conspiring? Well, its perfectly fair to pick on these three and call them all racist. They don’t have to have conspired for something like that to happen.

    Even for NPR, one of the best media in the USA, they are carrying a report from AFP:

    “Communist China marks 60 years with tanks, kitsch”
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113361015

    Is the report neutral? Is it biased?

    For those of FM readers who does not speak English as their first language, I thought I paste “kitsch” definition here:

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/kitsch
    “kitsch: 1. Sentimentality or vulgar, often pretentious bad taste, especially in the arts”

    Did BBC and NPR conspire? I doubt it. Is the author saying so? I don’t think so.

  51. Jimmy
    October 3rd, 2009 at 01:47 | #51

    The thing I don’t get is that why is the West trying to politicalize the entire event? Despite the propaganda BS the Communist is trying to push through the celebration, the parade is one of the most entertaining show in China that comes once in a decade…is it really shocking that this is a huge TV event with a lot of people enjoy it?

    I’ll say this as I did to those whiners at the new Star Trek movie…trolls and haters that does not deserve attention.

  52. Steve
    October 3rd, 2009 at 01:52 | #52

    Hi Jimmy, welcome to the blog. We don’t allow profanity so I edited one word. Because you’re new here, I just wanted to let you know. Thanks!

  53. Steve
    October 3rd, 2009 at 02:03 | #53

    I just read the NPR story and think it is unfairly slanted against China. This is an anniversary celebration. Events not related to the anniversary itself have no place in the story. If this were the anniversary of most other countries, those types of events would go unmentioned.

    “The west” isn’t trying to politicize the event, though. What we’re seeing here is just incompetent and lazy reporting. For a better understanding of this phenomenon, I’d recommend “Breaking The News: How the Media Undermine American Democracy” by James Fallows. He pissed off both the NY Times and the New Yorker, so he must have been pretty accurate. 😛

  54. Jimmy
    October 3rd, 2009 at 02:10 | #54

    Well, Steve, if “incompetent and lazy reporting” manage to influence a chunk of the public opinion, then IMO it is just as bad as the Communist propaganda. Moving from China to US, I guess there’s just no escape from bias and stupidity…

    @49 Why don’t they allow people? Face, always face IMO…trying to present the happy image without the petitioners disrupt the parade. By watching the 1999 parade footage, this parade is almost an exact copy…with the streets cleared and everything.

    1999 footage for a refresher, at least in 1999 CCTV knows to keep its mouth shut when the show is starting, unlike this year.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qL4as00PiE8

  55. tanjin
    October 3rd, 2009 at 03:03 | #55

    dwang #50

    First of all, NPR did appear to just undergo a “personality” change on China.

    Under the current tough time, it could get more funding from NED (National Endowment for Democracy) ?

  56. Steve
    October 3rd, 2009 at 03:24 | #56

    @ Tanjin #55: If you’re going to make an accusation or imply something is happening, you need to give us something to back it up. If not, it’s just unwarranted speculation; just the thing that many Chinese rightly complain others practice towards their own government.

    @ Jimmy #54: It still seems strange to me that literally millions of citizens couldn’t enjoy the parade live because a few people might petition. But it does seem to point out that if those people were able to petition by other means, no one would have to worry about them doing it at a parade.

  57. Jimmy
    October 3rd, 2009 at 04:03 | #57

    @ Steve #56: Like my parents during 1999 parade said: instead of asking why millions of citizens couldn’t enjoy the parade live, maybe the real question is what did the Communists do that made them so afraid of the people?

  58. October 3rd, 2009 at 04:29 | #58

    “And these are just marching soldiers”

    No, no, no, no, and no. The goose-step does not require the foot to be raised above the waist, merely that it be raised with the knee locked whilst standing erect on the other foot, and then planted. The PLA’s parade march is most definitely a goose-step, one modelled on the Soviet parade march, itself modelled on the Imperial Russian parade march, which was itself modelled on the Prussian parade march – the original goose-step. ‘Just soldiers marching’ would be soldiers marching in lock-step (essentially a synchronised walk with the arms swinging in opposition to the feet) such as the ones in this picture:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:March_Past_in_Slow_Time.jpg

    Of course some bending of the knees is necessary during the goose-step, otherwise it would be impossible, but the legs should swing from the hips with the knees locked – and that is precisely what you see in the Oct. 1st pictures.

  59. October 3rd, 2009 at 04:30 | #59

    @Steve – Is it my imagination or did Dan Chung use tilt-shift in that film?

  60. jpan
    October 3rd, 2009 at 04:42 | #60

    jimmy #57

    The answer is pretty simple — don’t give any hostile forces (including underground mafia) an easy chance. There is a fierce battle fighting against the later right now. They ran lots of illegal profitable biz such as drug smuggling and sales, woman trafficking etc

  61. Think Ming
    October 3rd, 2009 at 04:56 | #61

    @ Jpan, indeed. “The Enemy Within” and all that.

  62. Paul Lewis
    October 3rd, 2009 at 05:15 | #62

    Gosh,
    In my country on on our national day, we all celebrate with picnics and barbeques.
    We have music festivals and give awards to local citizens.

    Robotic soldiers marching in style most people would call a goose-step, followed by tanks and missiles seems very odd and threatening.

    It’s only China and North Korea who do such things.

    Who is the immediate enemy on your doorstep that you need to show these things off to?

    Why not simply celebrate the people and the achievements of the country,

    I often say that Chinese people are ignorant.

    That’s because they don’t hear the full story. Have they heard what really happened in Tiananmen in 1989? Has the Dalai Lama ever been interviewed on CCTV t tell his side of the story? If Rebiya Kadeer is really behind the unrest in Xinjiang, where is the proof? Has Interpol been notified that she is a terrorist? Why are people who say they want a different system jailed or put under house arrest? Why can’t ordinary people tune in to CNN/BBC and make up their own minds about what they see. Have the people who caused the chaos of the Cultural Revolution been brought to account?

    Most importantly, why can’t people speak their own mind, and ask questions?

    China has had men in space. More than 40 years after the USSR and the US did it. Buying in Russian designs and taking advantage of the fact that technology has improved quite a bit, makes it very easy, as long as you have the money to pay for it. But then why plead you are a developing country in trade negotiations?

    China has been successful for some people,(ie Communist Party members) because it has cheap labour, and billions of dollars has been poured in from the outside to fund the factories to make the goods to sell back to them.

    And China wonders why so much of the world thinks it’s all a bit of a laugh.

    During the 1960’s I went to school in the day, came home, maybe watched some TV. What was happening in China? The Cultural Revolution. That was really useful wasn’t it.

    When will police stop following journalists around, and allow them to talk to ordinary people who are not afraid to speak their mind?

    Can I put up a blog that says that Hu Jintao should not be president? No? Why not? Let’s start up our own Catholic congregation and rent a hall every week to worship in.

    China is a very strange place, with very oppressed people.

  63. DJ
    October 3rd, 2009 at 06:39 | #63

    FOARP #58,

    Hey, how are you doing?

    I actually meant your response as I referred to some certain kind of backlash in comment #24. Little did I know that Richard would emotionally passionately jump in front of you.

    I just responded to your comment with an update 3 in the post itself.

    By the way, thanks for the link of the time lapsed video you provided in Richard’s blog. I agree with Imagethief that it is perhaps the best version of the parade. CCTV4 sucks in terms of the commentary.

  64. Steve
    October 3rd, 2009 at 06:39 | #64

    @ FOARP #59: By God, I believe you’re right! I hadn’t noticed until you mentioned it but it seems like he did in the longer view parade scenes. I’ve read they can do it in post processing but I really don’t know how the technique works, just the effect it can create.

  65. DJ
    October 3rd, 2009 at 07:08 | #65

    Richard,

    Gee, it stings to hear you comparing me with “Michelle Malkin and Glen Beck” in comment #38. I suppose you won’t feel too happy if I label you with “George W Bush” or “Karl Rove” either. Nevertheless, I was OK with your emotional passionate usage of such comparisons.

    But seriously your comment #45 crossed a line. To say maybe your “friend in California” also told you it was a brilliant post so that’s that was to accuse me of not debating with you in good faith. Believe it or not, let me state this: I asked my colleague his opinion of the term “goose-stepping” without first informing him this blog post and issues being debated. Then I asked and received his permission to describe his response in comment #40. As of now, he didn’t see this post and its comments.

    By the way, I find it rather ironic that you were the one stating emphatically and correctly that “China is not Nazi Germany” yet objected to me pointing out the collective effort by the western media to indoctrinate readers exactly this point.

  66. YinYang
    October 3rd, 2009 at 07:59 | #66

    Hi Steve, #53,
    I’ve added your book recommendation to the FM Store.

    Hi tanjin, #55, Steve, #56,
    I think NPR should be given more credit. Don’t forget about their superb Sichuan earthquake coverage. I hope this AFP story about the 60th anniversary parade is not a sign of things to come for NPR. I cannot believe that is an indication of NPR’s future direction – if so, then some almighty help us.

    Connection to NED – I highly doubt it. Not NPR.

  67. October 3rd, 2009 at 08:20 | #67

    @DJ – The photos you have added show soldiers marching in ordinary lock-step (arms swinging, legs bending) just like the picture I linked to above, not a goose-step-style parade march. Essentially the difference here is that the Indian and French soldiers use a parade march from within their own traditions (Imperial British and Royalist France) rather than the stiffer motions of Russian/Prussian tradition which the PLA also belongs to. All armies which are not mere guerilla bands have a parade step, the PLA’s one is a kind of goose-step, stemming from their own military traditions – why is this so hard to accept?

  68. DJ
    October 3rd, 2009 at 08:28 | #68

    FOARP #67,

    There is much more than a causal difference between the Chinese military matching style from the Nazi Germany one. I find it rather difficult to accept that those near universal usage of the term “goose-step” in the western media in describing the Chinese military parade as anything more innocent than an excise of propaganda in instilling fear into common folks of all things Chinese.

    P.S. I also just added two more photos of British soldiers matching. Check them out.

    P.S.2 Arm swinging (or lack of) has not been referred to in any of the common definitions of goose-step one can find online.

  69. Think Ming
    October 3rd, 2009 at 08:34 | #69

    @ DJ’s “update 3”,

    You said: “Alright, I challenge you to find nontrivial fraction of news reports that refereed to those French and Indians soldiers matching in the Bastille day military parade in July as doing goose-stepping.”

    But why would news reports describe them as goose stepping when that is not what they are doing?

    Cripes. . . Must the rest of the world’s armies start goose stepping just so the fenqing can get themselves some closure?

  70. October 3rd, 2009 at 08:42 | #70

    @DJ – Once again, those pictures show the British parade step, which is not a locked-knee goose-step-style one but ordinary lock-step. The PLA parade step is, it is that simple.

    Watch 5:30 to 5:50 in this video to see the transition from ordinary lock-step to the goose-step:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNjunpnKpr8&feature=related

    When journalists refer to ‘goose-stepping’ it is exactly this kind of march that they are referring to, not ordinary lock-step.

    Finally, please lay off the media on this one. If the goose-step has evil connotations of dictatorship and militarism in the west, this is because of the actions of the countries that use it.

  71. DJ
    October 3rd, 2009 at 08:44 | #71

    Think Ming #69,

    Please allow me to repeat something I mentioned in comment #40:

    I just asked a colleague, who is an American born and raised in California, what he thought of the term goose-stepping. He said that for him and probably most Americans, the usage of the term could only serve one purpose and that’s to invoke an image of Nazi Germany.

    So I was deeply offended by anyone intentionally trying to tie China with Nazi Germany this way.

  72. October 3rd, 2009 at 08:54 | #72

    @DJ#71 – But it is not the media which creates this connotation – it is the fact that the PLA uses a parade-step derived from the Prussian one! It is for exactly this reason that the goose-step was done away with when the Bundeswehr was set up. What you are demanding is that media sources stop using the English language term which most accurately describes the PLA parade step because it offends you – this is a ridiculous position.

  73. DJ
    October 3rd, 2009 at 08:57 | #73

    FOARP #70,

    Please see my comment #24. I did my research, saw the reference in Wikipedia before writing this post and I remembered the Olympics flag raising scene well. I accepted that those two flag raising moments could be described as goose-stepping if one tries to push the point. Nevertheless, none of those reporters meant to restrict their description to the flag raising squad, didn’t they?

  74. DJ
    October 3rd, 2009 at 09:00 | #74

    FOARP #72,

    Didn’t you complain that being referred to as “laowai” in China was offensive to you? That is an accurate term, isn’t it?

  75. October 3rd, 2009 at 09:16 | #75

    @DJ – Perhaps if I walked around with a T-shirt saying “I am a Laowai, please call me that” and asked people not to call me that you might have a point. Doing a goose-step and asking people not to call it that is hardly equivalent.

    Watch this video – you see each group transition to the goose-step, is it not therefore entirely accurate to speak of ‘goose-stepping soldiers’?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKVQWGzAA0A&feature=related

  76. DJ
    October 3rd, 2009 at 09:43 | #76

    FOARP #75,

    OK, I went through the whole 11 minutes of the video you linked to, which showed exactly what I remembered from seeing those scenes live on TV.

    Nothing in the video would change my view. If you call those soldiers goose-stepping, then you must also accept that those ones matching in the Bastille day and Sandhurst were goose-stepping also. There is simply no other way to interpret it.

    Yet this debate is beside the real issue: that the one and only one reason for the near universal reference to goose-stepping in the western media’s report about PRC’s military parade is to associate China to Nazi Germany and to instill irrational fear in people.

    And regarding the comparison of “laowai” with “goose-stepping”, please allow me to make one further observation: we Chinese in general associate nothing negative to the term “laowai” as it is applied to foreigners. On the other hand, the British and Americans should all know perfectly well that “goose-stepping” is a very negative term. If you object to be called “laowai”, please consider how disturbing it is for some of us hearing the term “goose-stepping” used against our soldiers.

  77. October 3rd, 2009 at 10:01 | #77

    “If you call those soldiers goose-stepping, then you must also accept that those ones matching in the Bastille day and Sandhurst were goose-stepping also.”

    I’m sorry DJ, but I really don’t think you’ve done your research properly on this one. A goose-step is exactly what the Bastille day and Sandhurst pictures do not show. I repeat: please go and learn what a goose-step is, watch the October 10th video again and then watch this video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TC-CEQxo6q0&feature=PlayList&p=C2BC0846CE1BD733&index=7

    You see? In one there is a stiff-armed swinging-from-the-hip motion that is involved in a goose-step, in the other you have what is essentially a slowed-down synchronised walk.

    I’m sure most of you have, by now, seen the quote from George Orwell on the subject of the goose-step, but in case you haven’t:

    “One rapid but fairly sure guide to the social atmosphere of a country is the parade-step of its army. A military parade is really a kind of ritual dance, something like a ballet, expressing a certain philosophy of life. The goose-step, for instance, is one of the most horrible sights in the world, far more terrifying than a dive-bomber. It is simply an affirmation of naked power; contained in it, quite consciously and intentionally, is the vision of a boot crashing down on a face. Its ugliness is part of its essence, for what it is saying is ‘Yes, I am ugly, and you daren’t laugh at me’, like the bully who makes faces at his victim. Why is the goose-step not used in England? There are, heaven knows, plenty of army officers who would be only too glad to introduce some such thing. It is not used because the people in the street would laugh.Beyond a certain point, military display is only possible in countries where the common people dare not laugh at the army. The Italians adopted the goose-step at about the time when Italy passed definitely under German control, and, as one would expect, they do it less well than the Germans. The Vichy government, if it survives, is bound to introduce a stiffer parade-ground discipline into what is left of the French army. In the British army the drill is rigid and complicated, full of memories of the eighteenth century, but without definite swagger; the march is merely a formalized walk.”

    Read the rest here ( http://www.k-1.com/Orwell/index.cgi/work/essays/lionunicorn.html ), especially the section on the negative connotations that anything Prussian enjoyed in England long before the advent of the Nazis.

  78. DJ
    October 3rd, 2009 at 10:07 | #78

    FOARP #77,

    You just restated my point in comment #76: “goose-stepping” is an extremely negative term. Are you asserting that my country’s matching style can be described as nothing other than “the vision of a boot crashing down on a face”?

  79. October 3rd, 2009 at 10:14 | #79

    “we Chinese in general associate nothing negative to the term “laowai” as it is applied to foreigners.”

    That’s odd, I guess the guy who smacked me over the head with a bottle whilst shouting “laowai” must have meant it as a sign of friendship.

  80. October 3rd, 2009 at 10:18 | #80

    “You just restated my point in comment #76: “goose-stepping” is an extremely negative term. Are you asserting that my country’s matching style can be described as nothing other than “the vision of a boot crashing down on a face”?

    Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes ,yes, yes, and yes. But it is not the term which creates this connotation, rather it is the goose-step itself that creates this image.

    As the great man himself said in a different work:

    “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.”

    This is dictatorship, and a dictatorship is exactly what the PRC is. You shouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t elicit sympathy from observers not restricted by CCP editorial controls.

  81. DJ
    October 3rd, 2009 at 10:21 | #81

    FOARP #79,

    Well I am sorry to hear your unfortunate encounter with a bottle. Did you read about one of this year’s Ig Nobel prizes went to Stephan Bolliger, Steffen Ross, Lars Oesterhelweg, Michael Thali and Beat Kneubuehl for investigating whether it is better to be struck over the head with a full beer bottle or with an empty beer bottle?

  82. October 3rd, 2009 at 10:24 | #82

    “Did you read about one of this year’s Ig Nobel prizes went to Stephan Bolliger, Steffen Ross, Lars Oesterhelweg, Michael Thali and Beat Kneubuehl for investigating whether it is better to be struck over the head with a full beer bottle or with an empty beer bottle?”

    Now here is an example of science serving the people!

  83. DJ
    October 3rd, 2009 at 10:34 | #83

    FOARP #80,

    Sigh. Nothing shuts down a conversation faster than this kind of simplistic “you are evil and just accept it” charge.

  84. October 3rd, 2009 at 10:50 | #84

    @DJ – Well, it happens to be the truth. George Orwell was dead-on when he talked about such elaborately kitsch displays – of which the goose-step is but one small part – only being possible in countries where no-one dared to make fun of the military. China is just such a country: in what other state could soldiers in all seriousness goose-step down the main street of the capital in pink miniskirts and go-go boots without becoming a national joke? This may seem excessively cruel to the young ladies of the People’s Militia, who I’m sure equally as patriotic and serious-minded as their male counterparts, but come now.

  85. Stu
    October 3rd, 2009 at 11:30 | #85

    I’d argue that any military parade is an intentional display of naked power, complete with implied face-stamping. Otherwise, what’s the point of it?

  86. wuming
    October 3rd, 2009 at 13:00 | #86

    FOARP, if you just say that the marching PLA soldiers were PROPERLY compared to Nazi soldiers, than you have stated a particular point of view, a view that is precisely what DJ is complaining about. So in my opinion, you agreed that the comparison is intended, only difference between you and DJ is whether the comparison is proper. I don’t think the whole blog has the bandwidth to handle the last question.

  87. October 3rd, 2009 at 13:18 | #87

    @Wuming –

    1) Everyone with even a bit of historical knowledge knows that the goose-step was a Prussian innovation, not a Nazi one. The PLA inherited the Prussian tradition from their Soviet trainers, hence their use of a variant of the goose-step.

    2) The media are merely describing the march as-is.

    3) As I have written elsewhere, all single-party dictatorships share common features. That the PRC shares aspects of the Nazi system – including a modified version of the Prussian parade step (known as the goose-step), which in freer societies would be a subject of ridicule – is therefore no surprise. It is a long way from this to saying that they are the same, and I have not said that.

    4) What DJ appears to be saying is that, rather than the sight of thousands of soldiers marching robotically down the main streets of Beijing followed by hundreds and tanks and missile launchers, it is the media which causes people to react negatively to such displays. I cannot take this point of view seriously.

  88. Chops
    October 3rd, 2009 at 13:27 | #88

    Uhh, the G-term is also used by Xinhua, so it’s just a factual description.

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-10/01/content_12138826.htm

    ” — Military parade is expected to involve more than 8,000 people, and a total of 52 types of new weapon systems, including the PLA’s missiles, airborne early warning and control aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and other sophisticated military hardware, will be shown.

    — Military paraders will march goose-step through the square in new-style uniforms initiated in 2007.

    — Women militia soldiers in purple skirts will march goose-step through Tian’anmen Square, holding submachine guns. The formation will be led by two models who used to be good at cat walking.”

  89. Steve
    October 3rd, 2009 at 13:34 | #89

    Wow, I would never have guessed that using the term “goose-stepping” could engender so many responses!

    I agree and disagree with both points of view. First of all, as soon as I saw them march with the arms swinging and the legs moving in an unnatural way, I thought to myself, “goose-stepping”. It’s an apt description for that particular march step. And yes, I associate goose-stepping with the Nazis since they’re the most famous proponents of it in the rest of the world and it IS a German/Prussian invention.

    However, I don’t buy this “it’s a totalitarian regime marching style”. That’s nonsense; it’s a Prussian invention that was spread around the world because the Germans had an excellent army so other countries hired them as military advisers. Orwell was writing with the mindset of his time, but it is not an apt description for today. I’ll give you an example:

    The best army in South America is that of Chile. Chile had the most vibrant and longest running democracy in South America before Allende turned it into a socialist/communists government, then there was a coup by the Army, then an internal war, then a military dictatorship run by the army, then back to a democracy starting in 1989 which most observers would say is once again the most vibrant democracy in South America. The Chilean army was trained by German advisers and goose steps in parades. Because they do, I don’t suddenly see Chile as being a dictatorship because they’re not. And yes, when I see them goose step it reminds me of Nazi Germany. And yes, their goose stepping isn’t as high as some have described here but it’s still called goose stepping by everyone who sees it, including Chileans. It’s a descriptive term for that kind of march step, whether the classical one or the more modern modified ones that aren’t as extreme.

    For a media reporter in the west to describe it as goose stepping makes complete sense, because everyone here would see it and call it by that name. It’s not an insult, it’s not to instill irrational fear in people, it no longer suggests totalitarian governments, it’s just an accurate descriptive term.

    This parade wasn’t designed for the enjoyment of foreigners, it was a national independence celebration. If the Chinese people like military parades, that’s their choice, taste and preference. Will a military parade create a negative impression around the world? Of course it will. But that was taken into consideration by the government and they decided that the reasons for outweighed the reasons against. Maybe it was their way of creating an image of force projection? Maybe not. The impression is what it is. The reasoning behind it remains hidden behind closed doors. As far as I’m concerned, watching endless military vehicles roll down the street is a real snoozer. Maybe to Chinese people it’s exciting. Hey, it’s their parade, not mine.

    So let’s get over this one, OK? The argument has become petty and boring. In fact, it’s degenerated into… nitpicking! 🙁

    @ Chops: I think you’ve pretty much ended this argument, thanks!

  90. October 3rd, 2009 at 13:37 | #90

    @Chops – Thank you Chops for doing what I didn’t have the brains to do.

  91. October 3rd, 2009 at 13:45 | #91

    @Steve – I largely agree, except that I really do think that the ridiculousness of some of the displays is a symptom of how dictatorships can get away with doing things which in freer countries would provoke laughter, and in this respect George Orwell is right on the money. James Fallows wrote something similar after the ceremonies in Beijing last year – pointing out especially that parade-drill was something that all but the most hapless of militaries do.

  92. Steve
    October 3rd, 2009 at 13:56 | #92

    @ FOARP~ They might look ridiculous to you and I and even James Fallows, but my mantra when traveling has always been “don’t compare cultures, accept them as an intrinsic whole” and I think that applies here. When Chinese come to the States, they tend to bitch about things in America that are different from China. When Americans go to China, they tend to bitch about things in China that are different from America. That’s human nature, but it leads to arguments like this one.

    A Chinese person might see American soldiers marching and think, “Don’t they have any discipline?” since they just walk in unison but it’s not very precise. No one here would ever think about running a plumb line across everyone’s chests so they are perfectly lined up. We see no reason to do so; it’s not a part of our culture. That doesn’t make it foolish, it just makes us different from them.

    On the other hand, if the Chinese people themselves see this parade style as ridiculous, then your point is well taken. So far, I haven’t seen any evidence of that.

    BTW, you might want to look at your last sentence. I believe it has the opposite meaning of what you had intended. 😉

  93. wuming
    October 3rd, 2009 at 14:13 | #93

    “Everyone with even a bit of historical knowledge knows that the goose-step was a Prussian innovation, not a Nazi one”

    Neither any western media outlet, nor the discussants here, gives a hoot as to Prussian origin of the marching style. The connotation can’t be clearer to the consumers of the “news” — conformity, state control, Nazi, Red Army … I don’t see the point of hiding behind the historical “nitpicking”.

    As for why Xinhua did it too, my guess is that “goose-stepping” is the only translation in English language known to them. I would even venture to say much of the English language media suffer from the same laziness. But that does not make the problem less serious. The western media-political establishment has created this particular narrative (remember that discussion?) where everyone has no choice but to follow, in goose-steps, if you will.

  94. October 3rd, 2009 at 14:18 | #94

    @Steve – I think my eyes must be failing me – Fallow’s meaning was that simply because the military of a country performs parade-drill does not mean that that country is a militaristic dictatorship, merely that it is capable of performing one of the most basic elements of military training. Doesn’t that last sentence say that?

    As you say, I’m sure the bear-skins, bagpipe, kilts etc. of the annual Trooping of the Colour (i.e., the Queen’s birthday celebrations) appear somewhat ridiculous to foreign eyes, but they also do to a substantial part of the British public. Most people understand the complicated drill that the Guard’s regiments undergo as a team-work building exercise design to create unit cohesion, and the 19th-century military gear as a reminder of tradition. Having them perform a goose-step, however, might be the straw which broke the camel’s back as far as ridiculousness goes.

    To my – admittedly somewhat jaded – eyes, the national day celebrations were somewhat reminiscent of a certain Mel Brooks play. However, I am quite obviously not the intended audience for this display, nor, really, were the foreign journalists who were there.

  95. October 3rd, 2009 at 14:27 | #95

    “The connotation can’t be clearer to the consumers of the “news” — conformity, state control, Nazi, Red Army

    Yes, because cohesion, conformity, and state control were not a major part of the parade’s central message. Really.

  96. wuming
    October 3rd, 2009 at 15:00 | #96

    FOARP, I agree quite a lot with your posts on the issue. But you have chosen not to follow through on an apt comparison that you started, namely the corresponding British rituals and pageantries. Is there any fundamental difference between the change of guard ceremony in London and flag raising ceremony in Beijing? While the females of our species would go gaga over the wedding of a princess, we the lesser half will indulge on our military fetish, at least until we become to cool for that (which may be never for many of us)

  97. Steve
    October 3rd, 2009 at 15:06 | #97

    @ FOARP: Yeah, you’re right. I misunderstood your intention in that last sentence, sorry.

    @ wuming: “Goose stepping” is the only translation in the English language because that’s what it is. If someone was dancing a waltz and I called it a waltz, it’s because that’s the word that conveys the meaning of the act. If you don’t like the word “waltz” because you think it has negative connotations (Imperialist decadence, something like that) it doesn’t really matter because a waltz is a waltz, just as goose stepping is goose stepping. If you or others choose to read “conformity, state control, Nazi, Red Army” into the word, that is a reflection on you and not on the word. This is where the discussion gets very silly.

    Goose stepping is not classically Chinese. The Chinese army could choose to stop doing it tomorrow. They choose to do it. They do this knowing its worldwide negative implications. So if certain words come to mind in some people’s heads when they see it, that’s a consequence of voluntarily adopting someone else’s marching style. It doesn’t seem to bother them, so why should it bother you? Live with it because it’s not going to change.

    There’s plenty to criticize media about without resorting to this. It’s like the child who thinks there are monsters in his closet. To the child those monsters are real. To you, media using the words “goose stepping” is fear mongering and an insult but in the end, you are just seeing monsters in your closet.

  98. wuming
    October 3rd, 2009 at 15:27 | #98

    Steve, I don’t have a big problem with the use of “goose stepping”. However, it is not true that this is the only way to describe the marching style. One could choose for example to call it by direct translation — “the standard steps” — but that is certainly asking too much.

    My big problem is with the idealogical conformity created and daily re-enforced by the political-media establishment through its use of language. English being the effective lingua franca of international commerce, this conformity extends much beyond the English speaking world. I am not calling this a conspiracy, but I will call it conformity.

  99. October 3rd, 2009 at 16:30 | #99

    I’m now waiting for DJ to accuse Xinhua of saying the Chinese are like Nazis. Chop, thanks for cutting him off at the knees, so to speak. Fantastic work. Using DJ’s brilliantly simplistic “logic,” a friend of his in California says people associate the goosestep with Nazis, Xinhua said the Chinese soldiers were goosestepping, thus Xinhua is comparing the Chinese to Nazis. Of course, the premise of this is false, based on gossip from an anonymous friend who I somehow doubt has the credentials to speak for Americans as a whole, but never mind. (Personally, I associate goosestepping more with Mussolini and the USSR.) But at least this thinking is consistent with everything else in the post – sloppy, half-baked, loopy and factually challenged.

  100. October 3rd, 2009 at 17:07 | #100

    In translation

    正步 standard step
    鹅步 goose step

  101. tanjin
    October 3rd, 2009 at 17:58 | #101

    Pretty girls from sichuan province celebrate national day with nail fashion

    http://www.zaobao.com/photoweb/pages1/celebrate091002d.shtml

  102. tanjin
    October 3rd, 2009 at 18:02 | #102

    “fake minorities” at 60th parade ? — look again

    http://www.zaobao.com/photoweb/pages1/celebrate091001c.shtml

  103. October 3rd, 2009 at 18:13 | #103

    Xinhua translated it as “goosestep” – I guess the next defense will be to say it’s a mistranslation. But it’s not. They were goosestepping, and any rational person watching the parade knows that, no matter how many sham charts someone can put up showing why technically it wasn’t a goosestep. I worked for a Chinese newspaper that did article translation, and the translators know English quite well (nearly all had studied overseas), and the translators at Xinhua made it “goosestep” because they knew that was the correct English term for the way the soldiers were marching.

  104. wuming
    October 3rd, 2009 at 18:52 | #104

    “Xinhua translated it as “goose-step” – I guess the next defense will be to say it’s a mistranslation”

    I beat you to it, I already made that defense back in #93. And you are right that it is the only translation used anywhere as far as I know. But that is the power of the language and the power of the people who wield the weapon of language. It enforces a subtle discipline under the illusion of complete freedom of press, and there is even no need for collusion. It is all a matter of fitting into a particular narrative that was set long time ago. We know that CCP does that. Many authors of this blog wish to point out the same thing is done in the west, only more successfully.

    I think it was pointless for DJ to drag out the definition of Goose-stepping. There is nothing particularly wrong about goose-stepping even if Nazi’s practiced a version of it. Just like what FOARP and Steve have pointed out, the parade was intended almost purely for the domestic audience, just as the western media outlets are intended for their domestic audiences. As I have stated before, if the parallels and the inferences are intended by anyone, that’s fine. just own up to it.

  105. October 3rd, 2009 at 18:59 | #105

    Thanks Wuming, I missed that comment. Completely agree with you on all counts.

    Seeing the Xinhua article was quite a delight. Oh, that awful bias against China.

  106. DJ
    October 3rd, 2009 at 20:11 | #106

    Richard,

    What is your problem? I have seen plenty of moronic personal insults hurled (not by you) in the comment section in your blog. I’d rather like you not to come in and bring the tone of discussion in Fool’s Mountain down to that level.

  107. October 3rd, 2009 at 20:22 | #107

    “Is there any fundamental difference between the change of guard ceremony in London and flag raising ceremony in Beijing?”

    I was under the impression that flag-raising happened in every city – at least it did in 市民广场 in Nanjing. In fact flag-raising and changing of the guard are military ceremonies which happen in at least one place in most countries. It is the role of the military in each society which is different. In the UK the commander-in-chief is the Queen, and hence the pageantry of this ceremonial position falls on her, happily removing it from the hands of our political leadership least they forget that they are civilian leaders only. China’s constitution, traditions, military role and structure are different. Hence the presence of the military at a celebration of the successes of the ruling party.

    Do you I enjoy such spectacles? Yes, certainly the inner school-boy in me does, but it is a guilty and frivolous pleasure.

    @Admin – But ‘standard step’ in English carries no meaning whatsoever, as the ‘standard’ referred to is that of a single army in which the language of command is not English, nor are the terms ‘standard’ and ‘goose’ mutually exclusive, however much you may wish to think they are. If the ‘standard’ (i.e., parade) step of an army is the goose-step, then calling it such is only a recognition of reality.

    @DJ – I think that is somewhat out of order. Perhaps Richard is revelling a bit too much in your having apparently been disproved, but he has not done anything more than point out the fact that you have been disproved.

  108. October 3rd, 2009 at 20:34 | #108

    DJ, darling – what are you referring to specifically? (Comment 106.) Give us a quote, please. 🙂

    Yes, FOARP, I was reveling (albeit politely), because after DJ went to such pains to define goose-step and make all these accusations and quote his consultant in America, to then see Xinhua using the exact same term seemed like poetic justice. I am not surprised that DJ pounced like that instead of acknowledging he was wrong. He was exposed, and that’s an embarrassing feeling.

  109. DJ
    October 3rd, 2009 at 20:36 | #109

    FOARP #107,

    My issue with Richard is his substituting debating in good faith with calling me a liar. Please see my comment #40, his personal insult in #45, my objection in #65 and his childish insistence in #99.

    I have no problem with vigorous debates, even very heated one. But there is a certain line that we should not cross. I am rather proud that FM has generally been able to keep discussions civil. I don’t want to see him ruining it for us.

  110. October 3rd, 2009 at 20:58 | #110

    @DJ – Well, to be quite honest, I also do not feel your argument has been a coherent one. It seems to start from the position “The goose-step has unfortunate connotations in the west” and proceed from there, rather than first determining whether the description is truly accurate. As you can see from the sources quoted above, the sources supporting the usage as accurate include the Chinese state media and one of the greatest authors the English language has ever known – perhaps the only example in which Orwell and Xinhua could possibly be found to agree! On you side, however, you seem to have only this mysterious friend of yours from California – so is it not therefore high time for a little contrition?

  111. October 3rd, 2009 at 20:59 | #111

    @FOARP,

    I just want to point it out that there is a disconnect if you do literal translation from Chinese to English or vice versa. Language is a living thing. Phrases such as “paper tiger” and “running dogs” would not carry their current meanings without Mao using them. I assume that the term “goose step” does not make sense to a native English speaker who has never heard of it, either.

  112. October 3rd, 2009 at 21:06 | #112

    I never said you were a liar, DJ. Sorry if I hurt your feelings – I just found the post riddled with bad examples (the BBC photo, for example) and indignation over nothing at all (e.g., goose-stepping). And then, not a word when it turns out Xinhua used to same terminology. I may be a bit strong in my language, but that’s only because I have a low threshold for what I see as nonsense that can easily be pulverized with just a bit of logic and some facts. If you want to blog on a site that mainly draws visits for its comment threads, you have to be ready to defend your position, and sometimes admit when you’re wrong.

  113. facts
    October 3rd, 2009 at 21:09 | #113

    DJ, you should have left that richard guy alone. It’s getting personal. Goose-step or not, everyone knows what’s going on here. The pattern of spinning in western news reporting is nothing new, and it’s not limited to China. It’s essential part of the free press, and if someone insists on playing the choir boy, you should have let him.

  114. DJ
    October 3rd, 2009 at 21:10 | #114

    Well, Xinhua’s inadvisable usage of the term doesn’t prove much. This is not the first time Xinhua shooting itself in the foot.

    I concede nothing on this goose-step definition.

    I lived in U.S. for more than 20 years now. All my understandings of the English language phases and their culture context were gained in the U.S. through the U.S. media. My interpretation of this term and its usage is fully supported by the common references I researched.

  115. October 3rd, 2009 at 21:17 | #115

    @admin – Terms like ‘paper tiger’, ‘Kulak’, ‘Gulag’, ‘running dog’, ‘brain wash’, ‘liquidation’, ‘shot trying to escape’, ‘self criticism’, ‘the masses’, ‘politburo’, ‘agitprop’, ‘counter-revolutionary’, ‘5 year plan’ and so on have come to the English language from communist states, and are often used in a sarcastic fashion to mock the pretensions of dictatorships such as that of the CCP. If ‘standard step’ were to ever enter the English language, it would only be in a similar line of use.

    For that matter, ‘Mission Accomplished’ is not, I think, a phrase which is likely to see much use in future, at least in official communiques.

    @DJ –

    “I lived in U.S. for more than 20 years now. All my understandings of the English language phases and their culture context were gained in the U.S. through the U.S. media. My interpretation of this term and its usage is fully supported by the common references I researched.”

    Such as your friend in California? In fact even your quote from him merely says that the term has bad connotations because of the use of the same step by the historical enemies of the English-speaking peoples. As for the rest of your research, the fact that you have cited British officer cadets and French and Indian soldiers marching as examples of ‘goose-stepping’ shows that you do not understand this term. I really do not like doing this, but I will say this again: you have shown that you do not understand this term.

    That you do not is not surprising, I lived in China for 5 years without ever needing to know all the common parade-ground orders of the PLA, let alone the Chinese terms used for the marches of other countries. However, if I had so catastrophically shot my mouth off in Chinese I hope I would at least have the good sense not to advertise it in the way which you are now doing.

  116. tanjin
    October 3rd, 2009 at 21:33 | #116

    The China Beat on NPR: “From a third-world economy to the world’s third economy in just 30 years.” 🙂

    A discussion between NPR and The China Beat about China’s political slagons

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113469963&ft=1&f=1004#

    I think they missed a big mark by not discussing what Premier Wen’s anouncement ‘in 40 years when China celebrates her 100th birthday, China will be an advanced, prosperous, democratic and harmonious country”

  117. DJ
    October 3rd, 2009 at 21:35 | #117

    FOARP #115,

    The term “brain washing” has an interesting history. Its obvious Chinese corresponding phase 洗脑 (literally: Wash Brain) is actually an import from English into Chinese. Yet “brain washing” was perhaps based on “thought reform” 思想改造 to start with.

    For that matter, ‘Mission Accomplished’ is not, I think, a phrase which is likely to see much use in future, at least in official communiques.

    Agree.

    you have shown that you do not understand this term

    My understanding of goose-step has two key componenets: locked knee and high kick. These two components are cited in a fair fraction of the definitions one can find online.

    I didn’t say the those British and French troops were doing goose-stepping, because they were not. It was you who tries to convince me that goose-stepping has much relaxed definition that requires merely that it be raised with the knee locked whilst standing erect on the other foot, and then planted. That’s why I found those British and French matching photos as counter examples, since they would seem to fit into your definition.

    Oh, and this is the second time you dismissively referred to “your friend in California”. This is offensive and needs to stop.

  118. October 3rd, 2009 at 21:52 | #118

    @DJ – “Its obvious Chinese corresponding phase 洗脑 (literally: Wash Brain) is actually an import from English into Chinese.”

    I was always of the impression that ‘brain-wash’ entered the English language from the treatment meted out to POWs by their communist captors during the Korean war – not so? That is at least what the source you link to says.

  119. tanjin
    October 3rd, 2009 at 21:53 | #119

    A closeup on Liu Xiang — excellant posture

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/photo/2009-10/01/content_12153559.htm

  120. October 3rd, 2009 at 21:57 | #120

    DJ I am rather proud that FM has generally been able to keep discussions civil. I don’t want to see him ruining it for us.

    I am glad you are proud, but I hate to break it to you: I have seen some very, very spirited threads on this site. I don’t think calling you out on the weak points of your arguments will ruin this site. It may make you unhappy, but I assure you, Fool’s Mountain will keep on going.

    Now, about the reference in Xinhua: can you really in good conscience lash out at the US media for using the same term Xinhua did? And in light of what FOARP points out in #115, will you still stick to your guns and insist its use by the Western media constitutes a comparison to the Nazis?

    There is Western media bias against China (and against everything and everyone else). I acknowledge it when I see it. The examples in this post don’t pass muster and that is my chief problem with it. And I repeat, the incendiary, totally out-of-place remark at the end blasting the US for dropping cluster bombs made it seem like just another tired, rabid bit of fenqing hysteria and called into question the actual motivations of the poster. If you had left that out, I’d have a lot more respect for the post, despite the errors. It was with that sentence that it passed from humorously wrong to flat-out vindictive.

  121. tanjin
  122. October 3rd, 2009 at 22:05 | #122

    @DJ –

    “Oh, and this is the second time you dismissively referred to “your friend in California”. This is offensive and needs to stop.”

    Well, since he is the only source which you have quoted in your defence, and since I have no other way of referring to him, perhaps you had better give another way of referring to him?

    “merely that it be raised with the knee locked whilst standing erect on the other foot, and then planted.”

    Except that is exactly what the pictures you have added do not show, they show soldiers swinging their arms and moving in ordinary lock-step.

    @Tanjin – The Communist party also promises true communism 100 years from now – 40 years is still a long way off.

  123. DJ
    October 3rd, 2009 at 22:06 | #123

    FOARP #118,

    I meant that if MutantPalm’s theory was correct, then it would have progressed like this: 1 “thought reform” 思想改造 was coined by Mao, 2 Edward Hunter coined “brainwashing” to describe “thought reform”, 3 brainwashing then got imported into Chinese as 洗脑.

  124. vmoore55
    October 3rd, 2009 at 22:14 | #124

    DELETED FOR RACIST REMARK

  125. DJ
    October 3rd, 2009 at 22:18 | #125

    FOARP,

    I first quoted and then clarified my questioning of a colleague in comment #40 and #65. That was that, a colleague in my office who happened to be around when I decided to ask the perception of a common American. It was Richard who twisted him into “your friend in California” implying I was either faking the whole thing or quoting support from someone who obviously would have supported my interpretation. When you asked why I had a problem with Richard, I laid the sequence out clearly out for you in #109. Consequently, you came back borrowing that phrase twice. Can you see why I am irritated?

  126. October 3rd, 2009 at 22:19 | #126

    @DJ –

    “In the book Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of “Brainwashing”, Robert Jay Lifton cites the writings of the American journalist Edward Hunter first used it “as a translation of the colloquialism “hsi nao” (literally, “wash brain”), which he quoted from Chinese informants who described its use following the Chinese takeover.””

    Doesn’t this say that the term came from a Chinese colloquialism? I am not trying to make the Chinese look bad here, but that is what it says.

    As for your Californian friend, my intention is only to point out that an inexpert opinion which only touches upon the connotations that the word has rather than the word’s actual meaning is a flimsy source on which to base the criticism we see here. And it does have a delicious touch of the ‘Ugandan discussions’ about it.

  127. October 3rd, 2009 at 22:27 | #127

    Sorry for saying your “friend” and not “colleague.” That makes all the difference. Guess he’s not your friend…?

  128. October 3rd, 2009 at 22:27 | #128

    What FOARP said about that.

  129. Think Ming
    October 3rd, 2009 at 23:02 | #129

    Maybe DJ can check this video of the HK handover ceremony to see the difference in how the UK and Chinese honor guards march?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWkE-8mK8g0

    Making such a big deal of this is silly, but there is a difference.

    Look at how the Chinese honor guard marks the high point of the ceremony by goose stepping across the podium while the UK soldiers retain a more natural marching style throughout. I heard Chinese criticize the ‘sloppy’ marching style displayed by the UK soldiers during this ceremony, suggesting it showed the UK was on the way down and China was on the way up, or was even a deliberate UK ploy to lower the tone of the big day and thus undermine China. Different military traditions is what it really comes down to. The Chinese just love to goose step.

  130. wuming
    October 3rd, 2009 at 23:45 | #130

    @Think Ming,

    If anything, the Hong Kong video shows the similarities between ritualistic marches. The only difference being that Chinese kept the legs straight and bend the arms, while the Brits did the reverse. Neither of them is terribly natural.

    Both marches are for stylistic pageantries. Automatically attaching menace to one and only quaintness to the other shows bias. Of course my conclusion depends on two things. First I believe that the term “goose-step” has negative connotations. Second, I think the current PLA does not deserve the connotations.

  131. October 4th, 2009 at 00:06 | #131

    @Wuming – But it is the march itself, not the term attached to it, that carries the connotations.

  132. Think Ming
    October 4th, 2009 at 00:23 | #132

    @ Wuming 130,

    FOARP explains again and again and again, but nobody here seems to get it.

    Yourself and DJ seem completely lost in your own alternate reality.

  133. October 4th, 2009 at 00:59 | #133

    The only difference being that Chinese kept the legs straight

    Precisely. They goose-stepped. The English didn’t. I am glad that’s finally settled.

  134. wuming
    October 4th, 2009 at 01:06 | #134

    “Yourself and DJ seem completely lost in your own alternate reality.”

    Well, it is precisely this “true reality” that we are trying to escape from. To me, it is no more than a convenient (and up till now dominant) narrative, enforced by a language, the past and present imperialisms, and commercial interests. This narrative is suddenly being challenged now because Chinese, emboldened by their prosperity, are finding their own voices. In this sense, is it menacing? Of course it is for those people who use to have the whole world in the palms of their hands.

    I don’t know about you, but this discussion, though at times ridiculous, is enlightening to me.

    Edit: Oh god I sound like a postmodernist, with bad grammar.

  135. October 4th, 2009 at 01:17 | #135

    Put it like this:

    – The salute of the Chinese Youth Pioneers is a raised right-arm salute with hand held flat.

    – There is simply no way you can tell a British or American person the above sentence without them thinking of the Nazis.

    – There is simply no way you can show them a picture of it without them thinking of Soviet-style dictatorship. It wouldn’t matter if you tried to tell them that is the same gesture as that used by people taking oaths, the very fact of a Roman-style raised right-arm gesture being used as a salute is enough to raise the thought.

    – This is no mistake. The CCP arose to power with the help of the Soviets, they draw their traditions from the Soviets.

    – The PRC is the fifth and last of the great dictatorships created in the first half of the last century, and the only surviving one.

    – Of the other four, three were destroyed during World War II, a war during which millions died as a result of war-crimes conducted by their armed forces, their military traditions therefore have an evil reputation in the west. The military of two of these states (Germany and Italy) practised the goose-step.

    – The remaining one, the Soviet Union, was a state with which western nations had an antagonistic relationship for 45 years, and which also had similar traditions. These included the goose-step.

    – The PRC, a nation with which western nations have fought both open and proxy conflicts, also has similar traditions, including the goose-step.

    – It is therefore not surprising that westerners are giving to seeing those traditions as evil, especially when some of them (the goose-step) are, as George Orwell pointed out, specifically designed to give the impression of crushing all before them beneath their boot-heels.

    Why is this so hard to understand?

  136. tanjin
    October 4th, 2009 at 01:19 | #136

    “Happy birthday, Red China” from our Australian friends

    The “remote” Austrialia, the land of crocodile dundee, came forward with a “cute” congratulation to China’s 60th Birthday, well, because “Australians should be ready to raise a glass to them. After all, their prosperity underwrites ours.”

    http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/editorial/happy-birthday-red-china-20090930-gcot.html

  137. wuming
    October 4th, 2009 at 01:30 | #137

    FOARP, I have always appreciated your honesty. But what is with you about Orwell and Jerry with Feymann? These are great figures, but give us a break. I am going to start quoting Deng Xiaoping if this is kept up.

  138. Charles Liu
    October 4th, 2009 at 03:24 | #138

    Here’re some baidu seach results between “goose step” and “square step” Admin mentioned:

    国庆 鹅步 “anniversary” “goose step” – 263 pages
    国庆 正步 “anniversary” “square step” – 186,000 pages

    Some people see kicking steps and think of Nazis, some people sees Buddhist symbole and think of Nazis. Looks like people see what they want to see.

  139. October 4th, 2009 at 03:28 | #139

    @Charles Liu – Great, that really is the most conclusive proof. I guess that must be it then, you have won the internet with your excellent detective skills.

    @Wuming – Orwell was extremely wrong in many areas, even to the point of self-contradiction. Please feel free to point this out as an antidote to any further Orwellianisms.

  140. jdmartinsen
    October 4th, 2009 at 09:56 | #140

    The September issue of the Chinese magazine Military World Pictorial (军事世界) has an article on the goose-step (as excerpted by this blogger):

    正步走的英文叫“鹅步”(goose step),这个单词最早见于1806年。然而,鹅步并不是正步走的原名。正步走的原名来自德文中的“阅兵步法”(Paradeschritt)。它源于中世纪欧洲的一种民间舞蹈,特点是大腿僵直向前踢出90度(当今的爱尔兰踢踏舞仍可看到其痕迹)。十七世纪起,流行于普鲁士。十八世纪中,由腓特烈大帝率先在普鲁士军队阅兵式中采用这种民间舞蹈的行进步法,正式称为“正步走”。

    So at least according to that piece, “goose-step” (鹅步) and “parade step” (正步) are the same thing. 正步 may be the more common Chinese term, but I daresay that “goose-step” is a more familiar description than “parade step” in English.

  141. October 4th, 2009 at 11:12 | #141

    Wow. I didn’t believe it was possible, but as much as it can ever be proved, it has been proved that not only was the march a goose-step, but that this is the appropriate name for it. Somebody owes us an apology.

  142. Steve
    October 4th, 2009 at 15:10 | #142

    @ vmoore55 #124: Please re-read the site rules. Profanity, racist remarks and blatant ad hominum attacks will be deleted.

  143. October 4th, 2009 at 15:17 | #143

    DELETED FOR RACIST REMARK

  144. Steve
    October 4th, 2009 at 15:44 | #144

    Hmm…. I went to a wedding yesterday afternoon so it’s been less than 24 hours away from the blog and… almost 50 more comments about goose stepping!! Thanks tanjin, for an occasional break and some nice photos.

    Words are used to convey meaning, of that we can all agree. To a non-Chinese readership, “standard stepping” or “military stepping” would not convey how the soldiers marched. “Goose stepping” would convey it exactly. That’s why it was used. Any other term would fail to inform the readership of what actually happened, and the reporter would not be doing his/her job. In fact, the editor would change the word to “goose stepping” for the benefit of the reader.

    To a Chinese readership, “military stepping” might be a better way to say it, if everyone who heard that term thought of that style of march. If so, then that’s the term Chinese reporters ought to use when describing that march style.

    To go beyond that only reveals our own prejudices, which we are entitled to have but we ought to keep to ourselves. If the Chinese military thought goose stepping was so negative, they’d give it up. Since they haven’t, they are willing to accept any possible negative connotations so why don’t we join them? Maybe they feel that over time they can give it a positive connotation since their military exists only to defend the motherland. (Unless it means attacking the motherland if the motherland is called Taiwan? Egads, now I’m confused!)

    The weird thing is, geese don’t goose step, they waddle.

  145. Steve
    October 4th, 2009 at 15:46 | #145

    @ FOARP: You’re a Brit. Over here, used in that context it’s a racist remark. If you’re unsure, ask an African American.

    Note: FOARP repeated vmoore55’s comment. He himself did not make a racist comment.

  146. facts
    October 4th, 2009 at 18:11 | #146

    @135
    It’s apparent now that FOARP has revealed what himself and other western ideologues believe on PRC. To them PRC is evil and all symbols of PRC are evil. The western ideologues have the urge to destroy China, only it does not have the means or it can not bear the cost to do so. So those self-appointed guardians of the west use any way imaginable to attack and insult China, or to do anything to just chip away any bit of the goodwill toward China that might exist in the western public.

    Western media is one weapon to demonize China the ultimate enemy of the west—to sow the seed of ill-will if not outright hatred amongst western public. That’s why the western free press has no interest in reporting reality. Even though western media does not lie in every breath, especially when it comes to unessential issues, because it needs to keep as much credibility as possible to achieve its propaganda goals, one of which is to discredit anything China, attack the eligibility of Chinese institutions, and portrait the very existence of Chinese nation as a grave threat (promoting twisted reports such as Chinese eating babies, harvesting human organs, and outright lies on XiZhang and XinJiang riots, etc), while western media affirms and promotes western institutions as superior and only practical option for the rest of the world. If there were times Western media seem to let up on the assault on China, it is only when situations are so compelling, doing so squarely discredits western media itself; or the west needs help from China. Then there are times considered crucial moments, Western media deem necessary, it would drop all pretense and carefully fabricate lies to demonize China, as it happened on 3.14, 7.5 incidents. And that was ugly.

    So in essence western media is a propaganda machine. Such intense hatred and deep rooted bitterness, is indeed beyond the comprehension of most Chinese who has never been outside China. I don’t want to believe this, but reality again and again confirmed this truth. So China should drop any unrealistic expectation of goodwill from the West, China has to be ready.

  147. October 4th, 2009 at 21:46 | #147

    “Facts”

    You have a wonderful way of absolutely ignoring the previous discussion and steam-rolling on with the same old themes. Also you ignore the opinions of a good number of Chinese people who thought that the foreign coverage was better:

    http://bbs.news.163.com/bbs/photo/153071703.html

    I hope you enjoy that alternate universe of yours.

  148. Rhan
    October 5th, 2009 at 02:19 | #148

    Some excerpts from Malaysia former Prime Minister at the Forbes Global CEO Conference 2009 :

    Dr Mahathir also took several jibes at the US in particular and the West on issues like the monetary policy and foreign relations during the session.

    “We talk about globalisation, but when one country decides on a policy and imposes that on others, there are bound to be problems.

    “It should consult others and work out a solution together. You had the G8, now you have G20. Who do they represent?” he said when asked to comment on the effect US monetary policy had on other countries.

    When Forbes asked Dr Mahathir as to why he had resisted the advice given by the International Monetary Fund during the 1997-98 financial crisis, he said: “Fortunately, I am not a financier nor an economist, therefore my views are unorthodox.

    I found their prescription would make matters worse, so we came up with a different method by understanding what was actually happening.”

    In terms of the Asean region, Dr Mahathir said while the member states were progressing, they were not all equally developed, adding that the countries should be allowed to protect some of the industries within them. The protection should be removed when the industries were more independent and able to stamp their mark abroad.

    Asked if Asean was moving towards a common currency like the euro, he said it should be gradual and start as a common trading currency between the members and not to be used as a currency like the euro.

    On trade with China, he said the relationship had been established over many centuries. “They are only 2,000 miles away but we have had no problems. Portugal is 8,000 miles away and yet they invaded (Melaka). It is the attitude,” he said.

    To a question on how the US dealt with Asia-Pacific nations and China, he said: “One of the problems with the US is that it claims to be a super power but yet it doesn’t understand the world.”

    It is the attitude but what attitude? I would say greed, sense of superiority and arrogance. Look at the whole bunch of idiot in Peking Duck that try to equal CCP to Nazi and the selective criticism from the administrator. That’s the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth reflective of the west mindset and attitude.

  149. YinYang
    October 5th, 2009 at 03:05 | #149

    Hi tanjin, #116,

    It’s unbelievable of NPR to carry that China Beat interview about the slogans. My favorite American media has seriously gone brain dead on this 60th anniversary for China. That China Beat ignorant is a U.S. professor? Unbelievable.

  150. YinYang
    October 5th, 2009 at 03:09 | #150

    Guys,

    Seriously, do not equate some of the criticisms here to be from the whole of the West. That’s completely ridiculous. That’s being stupid.

  151. Jovian
    October 5th, 2009 at 03:18 | #151

    Hi all,

    I’ve only discovered Fool’s Mountain for the … second week now, and my initial high hopes for this blog has indeed been dented; a bit disappointed. Please don’t say that I have not read the previous all postings, and that my comments are therefore automatically invalid; I simply couldn’t be bother with all the nick pickings of points and counter points for all the “goose stepping” posts; it is getting a bit silly for my taste.

    Personally, I don’t care what each an every country do during their national day, liberation day or independent day celebration. If they choose to march down the street with goose step, army step or even sobering steps (after a night out in town drinking), it is their choice. The Chinese are NOT the only country to have military parade on the national day (or whatever you call it). Just because most western countries have out live or out grown them doesn’t make that (marching) as something to be detested; last I heard, democracies like the French and Indian still do marching on their “national day” too.

    Basically, everyone do that for various reasons (or in various form). Let’s face it, most countries need to fan their tail feathers for some reason; be it national pride, intimidation of neighbour or simply showcasing military hardware for (potential) future export purposes. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

    I think if I am not mistaken, the original intended topic for this blog is a question on press bias on the Chinese’s national day parade. The author (DJ) did messed it up somewhat with the comment on the last line in the original post; my own opinion here. However, that doesn’t change my view that the press in the west does seems to be bias. On that note, I don’t believe this bias view is the result of any government plot, but rather just a case of poor journalism. If you wonder why I think it is a case of poor journalism, I can only offer a limited defence in my understanding that journalism is suppose to be the reporting of facts, not personal opinion. Do let me know if that is incorrect.

  152. Rhan
    October 5th, 2009 at 03:35 | #152

    DELETED FOR PROFANITY

  153. S.K. Cheung
    October 5th, 2009 at 04:15 | #153

    To Jovian,

    nice post. Your last paragraph particularly resonates. However, there appears to be a need to ascertain the parameters of “media”, the role of journalists therein, and to correctly categorize the various types of output from this institution as a whole, and from the individual entities which constitute the whole.

    On a blog like this one, there is no shortage of volunteers to periodically rant about western media bias. The vast majority paint with a ridiculously broad brush, motivated by bizarre generalizations which themselves have little verifiable basis. For an example of this, one need look no further than #146 of this thread. The whole bit about how one even begins to define “western” has been oft-discussed…suffice it to say that’s just one more ill-defined generalization.

    So when we say “media”, do we mean “traditional” outlets (however defined)? Or is it as broad as “a source of information for anyone who wants to look”, in which case all of the internet including this blog is fair game? Is Wiki media, cuz by gosh lots of people quote Wiki around here. For me, I’d lean towards the old-school side of things. But many who rant against “media” never really bother to define what exactly they are ranting against.

    So when we speak of quality of journalism, what is the metric for said measurement. A field journalist who reports live from the field for the 6 oclock news could probably be expected to stick to fairly traditional standards….things like reporting something as fact only with independent confirmation of same. But when the topic in question is difficult to independently verify (eg some things in CHina), what should the expectation be. Should they ignore it all since they can’t verify? Should they report all hearsay as fact? SHould they report allegations when these are clearly identified as such? I would opt for the latter, but others may disagree.

    But when speaking of journalism, what constitutes a journalist? Is every talking head who gets face/air-time a journalist? Or do we accept, particularly in this era of 24/7 “news” channels, that much of what we see/hear is not in fact news, but rather, opinion? This is yet another distinction that the ranters seem incapable of making. In the history of this blog, IMO, the majority of rants about “media” are actually about op-ed pieces. It would seem that such pieces by definition are meant to convey an opinion (namely, the author’s). Yet it is the opinion pieces that seemingly form the crux of complaint. To me, that’s idiotic.

    Now, it can be argued that, when the average American sits down to an hour’s helping of Papa-Bear (O’Reilly), they don’t realize what they’re getting is opinion and not unvarnished news. And by inducing people to make that mistake, media is guilty of selling bias as news. If that’s the case, I’m happy to not be an average American, and in fact have yet to meet one.

    That’s not to say that “legitimate” journalists of reputable organizations are themselves always without bias. After all, they’re only human. BUt I would certainly submit, as you’ve suggested, that cases of bias are random, individual, and devoid of the big-brother conspiracy angle to which others seemingly happily subscribe.

    To Rhan:
    “I vote every five years and I know how it works.”
    —dude, are you sure you do? For starters, the media, which is the theme of this thread, is not the mouthpiece for a “one democracy system”, whatever that is.

  154. Steve
    October 5th, 2009 at 05:03 | #154

    @ Rhan #148: Your post is off topic and was collapsed. You are welcome to post it in the Open Thread section.

  155. Steve
    October 5th, 2009 at 05:07 | #155

    @ facts #146: If you want to talk about western media, go right ahead but when you attribute hatred of China to FOARP, you’re over the line. You can call him out on his words but you have no right to assume his intentions. When you do so, it constitutes an ad hominum attack.

  156. Steve
    October 5th, 2009 at 05:16 | #156

    @ Rhan #152: Please review the blog rules. We don’t allow profanity on the site, even if two letters are reversed.

  157. Rhan
    October 5th, 2009 at 06:55 | #157

    DELETED FOR REFERENCE TO SEX ACTS

  158. S.K. Cheung
    October 5th, 2009 at 07:05 | #158

    To Rhan, buddy,
    your English skills are…ahem…interesting. Be that as it may, you first sentence/question makes no sense, so perhaps you’ll see fit to try again. As for Q2: not always, since they have many others to listen to. As for the info tidbit, you won’t mind if I file it with yesterday’s newspaper, would you…cuz that’s about where it belongs.

    “SKC write up show us how West propaganda work and why they are very successful after all this year.” — it does, does it? And how does it do so, pray tell. I’d love to know, since I wrote this write-up in question. All these statements that simply get floated around….where has all the logic gone….?

  159. justkeeper
    October 5th, 2009 at 11:27 | #159

    @Steve #155: Exactly what I wanted to say. Demonization is actually an appropriate word for describing his/her own way of speaking. I always felt a shiver down my spine whenever I saw these types of Cold War style confrontational talks, cause I know they all got audiences.

  160. kui
    October 5th, 2009 at 11:35 | #160

    My post does not show up, could Admin check it please.

  161. real name
  162. justkeeper
    October 5th, 2009 at 11:45 | #162

    @real name: A little bit information: the online broadcasting seems to be always delayed, not sure why. I spoke with my friends while I watched the online broadcasting of CCTV and they told me I was looking at things happening 1:30 ago.

  163. kui
    October 5th, 2009 at 11:47 | #163

    Human Development Index UNDP 2009

    China moved up seven places on the list to rank as the 92nd most developed country due to improvements in education as well as income levels and life expectancy.

    http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_world/view/1009332/1/.html Human

    Congratulations Chinese people.

  164. real name
    October 5th, 2009 at 11:54 | #164

    162.
    according to delay i got information than one tv (in my country = outside china) was using 20 seconds delay into ‘live-show’ with one easy-speaking person because this way they were able easier insert beeps into critical moments to avoid money penalties
    is there such problem with any chinese official?

  165. facts
    October 5th, 2009 at 12:55 | #165

    #155 Steve
    My post is appropriate to describe the attitudes of FOARP, as he equals Nazi’s and Soviet Union to PRC. It does represent his intense aversion of the system government and philosophy behind current PRC. He did state how the Nazi’s and Soviets were destroyed and PRC is the only one dictatorship left. Calling such attitude hatred is an accurate description. How would you describe this then?

    #159 justkeeper
    My post is a response to FOARP’s post, it is strange you would sense chills from reading my post, but don’t appear to feel anything when you read FOARP’s post, when he equals PRC to the Nazi’s and Soviets, and stating PRC is the only dictatorship left after the demise of the Nazi’s and Soviets. Selective chills indeed… Am I demonizing again??

  166. Steve
    October 5th, 2009 at 13:46 | #166

    @ kui #160: I’m not sure why it got hung up in the spam filter with only one link in there but it’s up now.

  167. Steve
    October 5th, 2009 at 13:50 | #167

    @ Rhan #157: In the last 24 hours I’ve had to delete for profanity and this latest nonsense. I don’t want to put you into moderation but I’m not a babysitter and will do so if it happens again.

  168. justkeeper
    October 5th, 2009 at 13:54 | #168

    @ facts #164: Let me put it like this:If someone makes a statement against your belief, the proper way to respond is to present, like what’s in your name, FACTS, to refute him /her. The other person may very likely be sincerely believing in his/her opinion, due to a lack of data or more data at hand, misunderstanding, different perspective of certain things, or just reluctance to change his/her opinion, rather than pushing an agenda of his/her own or being a running dog of some western medias, like you immediately accused him of. In fact, I know a number of verifiable facts that I personally believe can prove PRC is not comparable to either USSR or Nazi Germany, it’s your way of responding to FOARP rather than your insistence on your opinion frightened me, which is in resemblance to the exaggerations of trivial issues through distortion lenses built with propaganda machines and people’s bigotry, which happened from time to time during the Cold War times, and even today. (A list of key words and phrases here:HUAC, McCarthyism, Red Guards, state medias, and yes, the western media you detested so much).

  169. Steve
    October 5th, 2009 at 13:58 | #169

    @ facts #165: Your post was not appropriate. If you want to disagree with him about his appraisal, go right ahead since that’s a legitimate response. You crossed the line when you ascribed emotional reasons for his position. You can ask him those questions if you like but you didn’t ask, you made assumptions. If you want to clarify his attitude, why don’t you ask him?

  170. October 5th, 2009 at 14:17 | #170

    @Facts – Despite my regular comments to the effect that this blog would be much better without the anti-Western media diatribes which seem to clog up discussion, I do not support your comment being blocked.

    That said, I cannot in any way see how you can deny that the PRC, having the same political system as the Soviet Union sans the federal element (in fact the current PRC constitution is largely copied from the Soviet one), is not equally as much a dictatorship as that state was. It is the economic element in recent years that makes the difference, as well as a less antagonistic attitude towards the west. I have not stated that the PRC is equal to Nazi Germany, except in as much as I have stated that they both represent major powers controlled by single-party dictatorships. The Nazis and their allies were destroyed, the Soviets collapsed from the internal contradictions of their system, of the five great dictatorships created between 1917 and 1949 only one remains – are these not fairly uncontroversial facts?

    And if you want to go that far, do I have a strong distaste for the CCP’s ‘ideology’ (which seems just another word for ‘cynicism’), its shameless autocracy, distortion of truth, denial of fact, wanton corruption (both fiscal and moral), aggression towards freedom-loving people (both in the territories it claims and in those it already controls), and its endless crushing of the hopes and dreams of independent-minded souls? I think you can guess what the answer is.

    Of the other places I have lived I have never felt quite that level of disgust for a government. In Taiwan, whilst the shrillness of both sides of the political divide was annoying, and the fiscal corruption hard to take, there was always the sense that the people would fight back, and in both the imprisonment of Chen and the castigation of Ma we have seen just that. In Britain, whilst I have always held the Labour party in contempt and treated the Conservatives with distrust, next year we we will get the chance to throw out this tired pack of fools who have dragged Britain’s name through the mud whilst bankrupting the country with their idiocy, and that is enough for me. China has no such safety valve, no such assurance, nor is economic growth – however fantastic – some magic bullet which will make this disappear.

    That said, my like or dislike for the CCP is not the topic under discussion, and whilst you are advised to be wary that I am inclined, all things being equal, to err on the side of the explanation least flattering to the PRC’s rulers, I do not believe that I have argued in bad faith. The sources and information gathered on this page by myself and others show that in this particular instance, the PLA has adopted as its parade-step one which in the west is synonymous with militarism. In China it may not have these connotations, nor should the PLA change simply because of this, but complaints about the same name being applied to the same thing are pointless.

  171. Steve
    October 5th, 2009 at 15:29 | #171

    @ FOARP #170 & facts: FOARP, facts’ comment wasn’t blocked, it was collapsed and it available for anyone to see. The only ad hominum attacks I delete are ones that are personally degrading.

  172. hzzz
    October 6th, 2009 at 02:24 | #172

    “China has no such safety valve, no such assurance, nor is economic growth – however fantastic – some magic bullet which will make this disappear.”

    China has the most basic type of safety valve against an ineffective government – rebellions followed by coups. That’s how the Chinese government has changed hands over the last few thousand years.

    Due to the advancements in media and the fact that the Chinese government is only made up of CCP, in many ways I think the CCP is held a lot more accountable than some other governments, certainly by foreign media. If anything goes wrong in China the CCP will get blamed regardless. Many times you see will find swift reaction from the the government to address an issue. Here in the US whenever something bad happens you simply get the democrats and republicans blaming each other while not getting anything done.

    Also, I think way too many people brought up under western ideals think political freedom itself is as an end. That maybe the case in advanced nations but to project this on top of citizens in 3rd world nations is simply silly. I would think that happiness is the end to well being in a society, with political freedom is one of the means to that end. If a group of people choose stability and prosperity over political freedom why shouldn’t others just let them be? To be overly judgmental over this implies that you think your ideals are above theirs.

  173. Rhan
    October 6th, 2009 at 02:47 | #173

    My dear SKC,

    I hope you don’t have to make remark on my English in such manner, if you don’t understand, please asks, don’t react like one fussy lass. But if you are one then I extend my apology for being sound rude, I had to accede that nitpicking is ladies right.

    I try rephrase my first question, what have you achieve with your “not the mouthpiece” thingy? All you immigrant will now go back to where you come from? And my follow up statement, not a question, is to advise you not to fancy that government would listen, be it China or one with so-called democratic system, for the fact that you are nobody. My comment to yinyang is to tell him the view of government and majority is itself a good indication of their position whether the minority like it or not. The rest is merely bedtime story and noise from mosquito, no one pays any attention to it.

    Btw, you may file the info wherever you want as long as you have read it.

    In all honest, I don’t understand what you trying to tell Jovian and as usual, people like you will again and again make use of logical argumentation to no end. But what make you think people care about your logic? Sometime what we need is to make a stand and to make a choice regardless you like it or not, logic is for philosophers like you to have fun during your rhetoric class.

    I always held the belief that logic and rationality work when the large part of the society and community is adequately educated, meaning to says at least 50% of the population have a SKC brain. This is my opinion to your many query on when should China implement democracy.

  174. Rhan
    October 6th, 2009 at 02:56 | #174

    Steve
    Your judgement is final right? Now you see how the one that is given a little authority exercise his deem rights? What if I challenge the rule on the ground of freedom expression? I will find that I still can’t have any says because I lack authorities and further, I am the minority. The people at the top, in a typical approach, will advise me to visit blog that is not under their jurisdiction if we don’t like it. Is this not how most western government did, expect us to observe rules and their values system and at the same time criticize us for lack of freedom expression? Do they know they are actually imposing their values on us whenever chance is given?

    If SKC has no issue to reply my comment, what make you think you are in the rights to delete the so-called nonsense?

  175. facts
    October 6th, 2009 at 04:37 | #175

    #171 Steve
    I disagree you characterization of my description of FOARP as ad hominum attacks. Hatred is defined as “prejudiced hostility or animosity.” given his intense distaste and aversion of Chinese system of government, which I believe is irrational. Even himself is not shy about it, why are you upset? I don’t hear his own protest, because that’s an accurate characterization, himself only reaffirmed it in his later post. Your insisting on my description of FOARP as ad hominum attacks is indeed such a case.

    In short, FOARP can equal PRC to the dictatorship of the Nazi’s, and alluding to its destruction, but I can’t describe such statement as the forbidden h-word. Is this a censured site?

    #justkeeper
    The facts are FOARP equals PRC to the dictatorship of the Nazi’s and alluding to its destruction, do you think I should call him the lover of PRC. I am just describing his attitude. You want me to persuade or beg him to believe China is good instead of giving a description of his attitude. Why? I don’t intend to change his opinion, and wonder why I should. I just want to say China watch out, someone is not very nice to you, (h-word forbidden). What’s wrong with that? Is that because China is evil, and Chinese are only allowed to beg for understanding or leniency? Is that it?

    #FOARP
    I think you are entitled to your belief, just that you are wrong. And time has proven that, and will keep doing so. You must have been disappointed by the unfolding of the events in recent past, guess what? there is more to come.

  176. S.K. Cheung
    October 6th, 2009 at 05:26 | #176

    To Rhan, my child who hath not yet learneth this language so well,
    “For starters, the media, which is the theme of this thread, is not the mouthpiece….” is what I wrote in #153. I already sought clarification once in #158. So even when given a second chance, this (“what have you achieve with your “not the mouthpiece” thingy?) is the best you can do? Are you kidding me?

    “All you immigrant will now go back to where you come from?” —huh? What’s that all about.

    “to advise you not to fancy that government would listen, be it China or one with so-called democratic system, for the fact that you are nobody.” — as I’ve already mentioned, but will do so again simply for your benefit, your advice has been filed in the appropriate circular folder.

    “view of government and majority is itself a good indication of their position whether the minority like it or not.” — I’d say the view of government is much more than just a good indication of “their” position; that view IS their position. Your statement seemingly comes straight from the Department of Redundancy Department.

    “you may file the info wherever you want as long as you have read it. ” — and thanks to you, that’s 10 seconds of my life that I’ll never get back.

    “make use of logical argumentation to no end” — well, that’s just me, preferring to be logical and all that. I understand that’s not for everybody. As I always say, whatever floats your boat.

    “I don’t understand what you trying to tell Jovian” — and fortunately for me, I addressed it to him and not you. What you do or do not understand is of little interest to me.

    “Sometime what we need is to make a stand and to make a choice regardless you like it or not” — and what do you stand for, pray tell.

    “This is my opinion to your many query on when should China implement democracy.” — then China has not a moment to waste in educating some of her people.

    To #174 and #175:
    when will people start to whine less, and think more?

  177. Steve
    October 6th, 2009 at 05:34 | #177

    @ Rhan #174: I deleted your comment because it was in violation of the blog rules. I am very consistent in what I delete and what I collapse, regardless of who writes it. If you continue to do so, your comments will be put into moderation. End of discussion.

    @ facts #175: I’m not upset, I’m simply enforcing the blog rules. If you disagree, so be it.

  178. Jovian
    October 6th, 2009 at 05:52 | #178

    Hi Rhan,

    I don’t mean to be offensive here, but I too have some problem understanding the point s you are trying to put forward. I understand English is not you native tongue, and therefore I will like to make it clear that what I am about to say is not intended as an attack on you language usage.

    While I don’t agree with the manner with which S.K. Cheung rebuffed you in post #158, I don’t have a problem with his style of debate; I do agree with one of the ideal of his post (#153). In particular, I am referring to his point on the concept of “western media”. I can agree that there is no a single entity of a “western media” but rather a vast number of media outlets that are based in western countries. Therefore, if I make the point that “western media” have been bias, do I mean all western media? That is simply not true, and I am happy to remember that in future post.

    Having said that, I am still of the opinion that there are western media that appears bias towards the Chinese, and I still take the view that these are more likely the result of poor reporting rather then an organised effort by a government or government department.

    I don’t have all the time to spend on blog, nor do I want to spend too much time on it. Most of the news I get are from more traditional reporting like the 5:00pm news (here in Australia). If I may indulge myself by using my own case as the example for a fair portion of a population, we can see that it can easily translate to a significant influence by say a single “traditional news outlet”. Is that propaganda? I am afraid the answer is beyond my patient or profession.

    If I may, can I make a few recommendations for you in arguing your point of view? First of all, please don’t let you emotion get the better of you. Always do what you can to understand the point of view of others. Keep an open mind on any issues, even if they appear totally opposite to your views at first glance. See if the idea makes sense. Always take time to view your argument; this can help you see faults in both yourself and others, or better yet you can see the interesting points also. If there is a need to make a stand on an issue, the foundation we stand on is best build with reasons. Most importantly, courtesy doesn’t cost us anything, but we will lose respect with profanity. Hope you hear from you again.

  179. Charles Liu
    October 6th, 2009 at 06:17 | #179

    DJ, some of the Baidu parade photos look identical to your update 3 examples.

  180. S.K. Cheung
    October 6th, 2009 at 06:22 | #180

    To Jovian,
    I can certainly understand the suspicion that certain individual journalists may harbour biases against China/PRC, though I would think that the scope of such bias is confined to the country/party/entity, and not towards Chinese as people per se. For to suggest the latter would be to suggest that some of these journalists are out-right racists. Some of them may be; but to casually suggest that without other basis would border on libel, I would think.

    Nevertheless, unlike you, most people aren’t satisfied with identifying individual journalistic missteps, but would instead like to generalize such traits to an entire news organization (witness the latest NYT stuff on Open Thread), or better yet, to the entirety of “western media” as a whole. The requisite logic in making such a leap defies me.

  181. YinYang
    October 6th, 2009 at 06:44 | #181

    Hi Guys,

    I’d say, the bias is pretty wide spread. I agree there is no conspiracy between the “western media” and I believe Western governments are actually very supportive (ok, some cautiously and some suspiciously) of a “peaceful rise” of China to join the world.

    After thinking a while, I think when some say the “western media” they actually meant “many western media” and not the whole.

    Still, it drives me nuts some thinks the U.S. is trying to contain China or something. For that they should read George Kennan and see if such pattern exists. Look at the real pattern – U.S. trade deficit with China, FDI into China from U.S., acceptance of hundreds of thousands of Chinese students to study in U.S. universities to help benefit China’s economy, support of China’s accession into WTO, expansion of IMF to accomodate China, etc, etc. The list is almost endless.

    Sure, Pelosi pays lipservice to the DL, NED giving 200k to WUC, etc.. But these are all small potatoes (am I pulling a Quale on this one?) in my opinion.

    Why is that still happening? People also need to realize this is a work-in-progress too. The Korean War wasn’t that long ago. Some strong feelings are still there. But the trend is overall very positive.

  182. Rhan
    October 6th, 2009 at 09:34 | #182

    Steve,
    I let the readers to know my stand. You do what you think is right. I have no problem with that.

    SKC
    Very bore reading the same over and over, I am serious and not kidding. If you put in more emotion and less logic into your writing, you may become a better writer.

  183. Rhan
    October 6th, 2009 at 09:37 | #183

    Jovian,

    Western media give us the impression that they are independent and are more willing to criticize their own government, would this not make them in a better position of propaganda? Most of the typical reply given by some group of people is as I criticize US, why can’t I do it to you? However you will notice Chinese or Asian seldom do this. I would say the method is different but objective could be the same.

    Some see profanity as insult but some don’t, some have no feeling towards the 6 million Jew while riles up when you mention Nanjing. I am from a Muslim country and therefore I refrain to speak up on Islam issue and try to understand their sensitivity. But how often you see the West respect the Eastern values? How come they see no problem to equal CCP to Nazi? By just mentioning enforcing the rule will close off the subject? Now you know why they use law to prevent us from mention the 6 million?

    Lastly, thanks for the recommendation. Some people have the brain, good education, debate capability and of course time. Some are not. Instead of insisting our way is the best way, perhaps we should be more understanding why others is not doing our way. I don’t have issue with SKC writing style and rebuff, and as I pointed out, no way we could argue with logic, but life is not about logic, or shall I say logic sometimes didn’t work in certain surrounding?

    yinyang,
    The Chinese will have their turn when Muslim is down, out and vanish.

  184. October 6th, 2009 at 10:59 | #184

    “DJ, some of the Baidu parade photos look identical to your update 3 examples.”

    Sigh, how many more times do I need to explain this? The goose-step is the PLA’s PARADE STEP, this means they DO NOT DO IT DURING THE WHOLE PARADE BUT ONLY FOR PART OF IT. Watch the video, you will see each group switch from an ordinary march to the goose-step. Seriously.

    @hzzz –

    Off-topic but:

    1) ‘Blame’ is not the same as ‘punish’

    2) The Chinese people did not choose communism

    @Facts –

    In what respect have I been proven ‘wrong’? Since I did not make any predictions, in what way has what I said been falsified? As a matter of ‘fact’, I base my opinion almost entirely on my own personal dealings with the Chinese Communist Party, and when, in the course of those dealings, I have assumed the worst about them, I have invariably been proved correct. Let me give you a little run-down:

    1) SARS

    2) Farmers deprived of their land which the university I studied at was built on for derisory compensation. Regular protests outside the university gate which we were told not to talk about.

    3) Bugging my phone when I worked at a military university.

    4) My department head carried out an attempted murder/suicide, his death was reported in the newspaper as an accident, the cadre told us not to talk about it.

    5) A party acquaintance who worked for the Jiangsu agricultural bureau, his entire office were on the take, barely worked, his every meal (bought at the finest restaurants in Nanjing’s Shiziqiao) paid for by the people.

    6) My ex-girlfriend who was a party member, and who saw the entire thing as a vast waste of time which was only worthwhile as it made career advancement easier. I once joked that she would have to give a talk about studying Lei Feng to her fellow doctors, she said that they would never ask her to do something so pointless. The next day she called me up to tell me that she had just been asked to do exactly that.

    7) Another acquaintance, party member, took bribes from government officials to pass on text message communications which allowed them to blackmail rivals.

    8 The vice-president of my university, a party-member who embezzled funds for the construction of the new campus. The president was almost certainly also on the take, but it was the VP who got executed. Not reported in the newspapers of course.

    9) The old man who was kicked out of his house to make way for the re-development of Xinjiekou in the centre of Nanjing, and carried out self-immolation in front of the Nanjing city government in protest. Not reported in the newspapers, but witnessed by upwards of a thousand people, including a friend of mine.

    10) The friend of mine who had he marriage to a Chinese man blocked as he worked in the city government doing town planning and as such had access to ‘secret documents’ (i.e., street maps)

    And this was just my first two years in China.

  185. facts
    October 6th, 2009 at 13:59 | #185

    @ FOARP
    You are entitled to you opinion. I believe you are wrong because you try to use your experience to characterize something beyond the limit of your experience.

    @ Steve #177
    Now you sound just like those censors in China.

  186. Ted
    October 6th, 2009 at 14:34 | #186

    It would be nice to hear some opinions of the parade and anniversary or a write-up from the Chinese folks in China, maybe in a separate post.

  187. ChinkTalk
    October 6th, 2009 at 14:40 | #187

    Listen to what Jan Wong has to say, Jan Wong was the Beijing bureau chief for the Globe and Mail.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/site-search/?q=jan+wong+60+anniversary&x=22&y=9

  188. S.K. Cheung
    October 6th, 2009 at 17:04 | #188

    To #185:
    “Now you sound just like those censors in China.”
    — the difference, of course, is that this is but one blog. If you don’t like the rules here, there are other fish in the sea. The censors in China have jurisdiction over everything, so they’re the only game in town. One of the ongoing ironies around here is that the people who object to the enforcement when it concerns them seem much less concerned about the restrictions that are far far greater in China. As the saying goes, unless the needle pokes into your own flesh you don’t really know the pain.

  189. hzzz
    October 6th, 2009 at 17:59 | #189

    @FORAP “1) ‘Blame’ is not the same as ‘punish’

    2) The Chinese people did not choose communism”

    High ranked CCP officials do get arrested and have been put into jails when there are sufficient public outrage. If you are talking about CCP as a whole, it will get punished by the people if it does not do a good job via revolts and coups as I explained earlier.

    I am baffled by your 2nd point. You claimed to be an economist on your blog but shouldn’t you know that private ownership of land and corporations, which is definitely possible in China, means that China is not really a communist nation? I also don’t recall at any time Chinese people making you their speaksperson. If you are talking about Chinese people’s support for the government, independent polls conducted by Western organizations have shown again and again that majority of the Chinese (around 70-80%) feel they have experienced recent personal progress and are enjoy the direction of their country.

    Your points may be valid when describing China during Mao’s era, but things have changed a lot since then. You can project your views about Chinese people however you want based on the perceptions developed during the cold war days but reality dictates otherwise.

  190. Steve
    October 6th, 2009 at 20:10 | #190

    @ hzzz #189: I thought that all land in China was state owned with land rights use only. Did this change?

  191. Charles Liu
    October 6th, 2009 at 20:57 | #191

    Steve, land use rights, or leases in China, are structured similiar to the Biship Estate in Hawaii or National Land Trust in UK (technically belongs to the queen.)

    According to Baidu Knowledge all land in China belong to the people, and are either state-owned, or (rural) community owned. Residential lease are 70 years with automatic renewal, educational lease 50 years, commercial lease 40 years. Leases are subject to Eminent Domain, similiar to ED over private property in US.

  192. Steve
    October 6th, 2009 at 21:02 | #192

    @ Charles: Thanks. The lease thing reminds me of foreign land rights in Mexico south of Tijuana, residential leases with time limits. Does this mean you disagree with what hzzz wrote about private ownership of land?

  193. Charles Liu
    October 6th, 2009 at 21:35 | #193

    I honestly don’t know what hzzz is talking about, but I seem to recall there was a blogpost on privatization of farm land (which are community-owned not state-owned) and concern that freeing up these land may have unintended consquence of rendering the farmers vulnerable to exploitation by corporatons. There certainly seem to be wide range of opinion on “collective land privatization”:

    http://www.baidu.com/s?bs=%D7%D4%BC%D2%B5%D8&f=8&wd=%BC%AF%CC%E5+%CD%C1%B5%D8+%CB%BD%D3%D0%BB%AF

    Land lease expiration and renewal is common, few years ago condo owners in Honolulu were worried about their condo on 99 year lease that’s expiring.

    Siimilarily, in China’s recent land rights amendments there’s strenthening of “real property rights” in association with lease:

    http://www.baidu.com/s?bs=%CD%C1%B5%D8%D6%C6%B6%C8%B8%C4%B8%EF&f=8&wd=%B7%BF%CE%DD%B2%FA%C8%A8

    Starting 2007, residential leases are guaranteed automatic renewal and related eminent domain laws are amended to include compensation for both lease/profit loss and real property loss.

    BTW, the Mexico thing is just to rip off y’all gringos with timeshare. It’s also happening in Hawaii, where timeshares are now “deeded”, and local government get a piece of the timeshare pie thru additional taxes. Ask me how I know 😉

  194. October 6th, 2009 at 22:46 | #194

    @Hzzzz –

    “You claimed to be an economist”

    I have no idea what you are talking about, in fact I have claimed multiple times to be the exact opposite.

    “shouldn’t you know that private ownership of land and corporations, which is definitely possible in China, means that China is not really a communist nation?”

    Errrmmm . . No. And this is a legal question, not an economic one. Land is not owned privately in China, but leased from the government on long leases for specific purposes.

    “I also don’t recall at any time Chinese people making you their speaksperson.”

    Likewise.

    @Charles –

    “National Land Trust in UK (technically belongs to the queen.)”

    Technically radical title in all land in the UK belongs to the crown, but (for the last 700 years or so) it has granted free-hold over it granting permanent rights as proprietor. Practically all land in the UK is now held in this way, with recourse against alienation of rights to the highest court in the land – and now to the European Court of Human Rights as well.

    “Leases are subject to Eminent Domain, similiar to ED over private property in US.”

    You love to use these terms as if they were the same. They are not, as, in the UK at least, compulsory purchase orders are only granted in case of public works, and are subject to public inquiry.The development in Xinjiekou, for example, constituted the building of a shopping mall, with no inquiry or recourse.

    @Facts –

    “You are entitled to you opinion. I believe you are wrong because you try to use your experience to characterize something beyond the limit of your experience.”

    Matthew 7:16 – “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?”

  195. Charles Liu
    October 7th, 2009 at 00:05 | #195

    Foarp, ED laws are different between countries, they are still ED laws, so what?

    As to your example, which development which year in Xinjiekou (Nanjing?) are you refering to? What is the state of China’s real peroperty law at the time? Your claim is unverifiable without specfics.

    ED doesn’t even apply if redevelopment occured after commercial leases expired.

  196. Ted
    October 7th, 2009 at 01:29 | #196

    @Charles:

    I know several families who have been the sole owners their land since the founding of the US. Perhaps China’s laws surrounding land use/ownership is moving toward the US but the two countries are coming from opposite directions, I don’t know why you’d argue otherwise. It is precisely the difference between ED laws in different countries and an individual’s recourse through their respective court systems that makes a difference.

  197. Rhan
    October 7th, 2009 at 01:48 | #197

    yinyang, some alternative view from Asean, not written by Chinese :

    Though Kuan Yew’s relationship with China and his Chineseness is evoked by the Chinese chauvinists on MT as his strong armour, that relationship is actually skin deep. He has always been and remains to the present a man described by some Commonwealth leaders as yellow outside, but white inside. He has been a reliable puppet to the US imperial agenda in the region, including the US containment of China strategy. He provides naval facilities to the US navy and was championing their effort to introduce US Marines into the Straits of Malacca to purportedly fight potential terrorist threats.

    The US strategy is, in fact, to control all the choke points such as the Straits so that it will be able to turn off the energy flow to China when it deems it necessary. Over 70% of China’s energy needs flow through the Straits. The resistance to this part of the China containment policy was provided by Malaysia and Indonesia whose leaders argued the introduction of US marines into the Straits of Malacca would violate the sovereignty of the littoral states.

  198. real name
    October 7th, 2009 at 04:10 | #198

    189.
    “independent polls…”
    could you link concrete cases? thanks
    (i’m interested in differences between provinces, city sizes and social groups, if possible with trend)

  199. real name
    October 7th, 2009 at 04:14 | #199

    193.
    “Land lease expiration and renewal is common”
    ownership is about possibility sell and buy – is this already common?

  200. S.K. Cheung
    October 7th, 2009 at 04:26 | #200

    To 199:
    good question. A lease that automatically renews is still a lease. Ownership means you have title, and can do with it as you please, including selling, as you suggest.

  201. Jovian
    October 7th, 2009 at 07:28 | #201

    Hi Rhan,

    There are people who do not see profanity as an insult. As a matter of fact, I called my friends plenty of names that I don’t believe will be acceptable here. The difference is that my friends and I knows each other well enough to understand that when I call him a ****** *** ** * *****, it is out of jest and I don’t mean his mother … well you get the idea. As we are all anonymous poster on a blog, perhaps it is best if we tread each other with civility?

    There will always be people who are inflexible on points. There will probably be people who have inclination on insist that all their view are correct. Fortunately we are all just poster on a blog and if we encounter such a person do we need loose our temper over it? If there are people who are not prepare to see your view, then there is really no point in arguing with them; unless of cause if the issue is of such importance that you cannot back down (like your life and future depends on it). Good thing we are all just posting here for a little bit of fun in discussing our views, so why not just let it be that and enjoy ourselves?

    Anyway, this blog is certainly lively isn’t it; just one night and the topic has changed again, what does land ownership have to do with media bias? As I said before, I don’t read a lot of news from the internet, but mostly get my news from more traditional media. I am just speaking my own view on the media cover of China where more often then not, tend to be negative in my opinion. I don’t have the patient of sorting out every news article to make my point nor do I see the need to so in a leisurely discussion. For every claim you find out there, there will be at least one on a counter claim; we all have better things to spend our time on!

    Hi S.K.,

    Honestly, I didn’t see the distinction between the perceived bias towards a country and its people. Quite often, when a western media mentioned China, they refer to “the Chinese” and not “the Chinese communist Government “; I did take note of this on linked articles from Google news after reading your response. I guess it is much more easily to refer to a country in that form, example the Chinese, the American, the Indian, the Iranian, the North Korean etc. However, can a journalist really be free from fault in a case of wrong interpretation? That is perhaps why I have my view of “western media” bias. If saying that (“western media” is bias) will lead to libel, then that article and the author will just have to stand on their own; a good article should be able to defend itself.

    This is just a thought. For every view or claims on the fault of a system (like the Chinese’s system as an example in this case), perhaps a fair question to ask is one for a solution. Offering solutions might be a first step in solving a problem.

    PS. I didn’t comment on the Chinese media’s bias simply I don’t listen to them; lost interest long time ago.

  202. ChinkTalk
    October 7th, 2009 at 13:27 | #202

    Western freedom of expression is a joke.

  203. Steve
    October 7th, 2009 at 17:15 | #203

    @ ChinkTalk #202: If you want to make an accusation, that’s fine but then you need to provide some evidence for your accusation. An accusation with no supporting evidence is just a rant and adds nothing to the discussion.

  204. S.K. Cheung
    October 8th, 2009 at 06:57 | #204

    To Jovian:
    “can a journalist really be free from fault in a case of wrong interpretation?” — absolutely not. A journalist transacts in words and ideas, and they’re definitely responsible for what they say, for whatever basis they have for saying what they’re saying, and for how they go about saying what they have to say. I would have no problem holding a journalist accountable if/when they mess up.

    “a good article should be able to defend itself.” — agreed. I’d go so far as to say that any article should expect scrutiny, and a “good article” might be one that stands up well to such scrutiny.

    The recent irony I’ve noticed is that, while some are hot to trot about this apparent “western media bias” (however-defined), a good number of those same individuals seem to harbour a bias against the very same nebulous western media. I believe it was on Open Thread 2 days ago when a writer completely missed the boat in a critique about an NYT article, to the point where I wondered if we were reading English in the same language. Suffice it to say there are bad articles, and there are probably also instances when articles are read/interpreted badly.

    To 202:
    that was helpful. The only redeeming quality is that it was short.

  205. October 8th, 2009 at 09:53 | #205

    @Chuck – Your argument is the same as saying that since police forces everywhere have the power of arrest anybody who complains about unjust arrests in China is being hypocritical. A power exercised without checks and balances is not the same as a power which is subject to scrutiny and appeal. Hence: transfer of land which may infringe on a British citizen’s human rights may be subject to inquiry, judicial review, review by the Law Lords and finally may be appealed to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, and some case dealing with land transfer have been appealed as far as that. However, the old man who lived next to Xinjiekou and who had his house demolished to make way for what is now a commercial shopping mall back in 2003 had no recourse whatsoever – except making a public demonstration of the most extreme kind.

    @SKC – Quite. References to journalists being spies or agents of foreign government were thrown around rather too easily in April of last year, and some here seem to have kept this attitude.

  206. pug_ster
    October 8th, 2009 at 14:47 | #206

    @Steve 203, @SKC 204.

    I think what Chinktalk is talking about Western freedom of expression is a joke because alot of westerners have little tolerance toward people who don’t agree with them and people with unpopular ideas. Take a look at Glen Beck, Oreilly, and all those Right wing nuts and all the putdowns to the left. Look at the reaction of the Americans when the Empire State building putting up the red and yellow lights on 10/1. Thanks to McCarthy, words like communism and socialism is synonymous with a 4 letter word. I’m not saying that it doesn’t happen in China, but less of it.

  207. Steve
    October 8th, 2009 at 15:30 | #207

    @ pug_ster #206; Thanks for putting some meat on the bone of CT’s rant. Everything you said was correct in its essence, but doesn’t it indicate freedom of expression (actually freedom of speech) rather than a lack of it? So the right wing nut jobs put down the left. Now turn on MSNBC and watch the left wing nut jobs put down the right. What’s the difference? Aren’t both groups practicing freedom of speech? If only the right wing nut jobs were allowed to babble, then I could understand it as a freedom of speech limitation.

    When the Empire State Building put up those red and yellow lights, freedom of speech allowed some Americans to criticize it. Personally, I have no idea why they put up those lights; it’s not like China put red, white and blue lights on the Jin Mao Tower on July 4th. It’s not like the Empire State Building put up green, white and red lights on September 15th for Mexican Independence Day. The fact that people can criticize both for and against is the very definition of freedom of speech.

    Socialism isn’t a four letter word. In fact, there are all sorts of socialist programs in the USA that are extremely popular, such as social security, medicaid and medicare. In fact, they are called the “third rail” of American politics because they are so popular and considered untouchable.

    Communism’s bad reputation is based more on the results in the USSR, Mao’s China, North Korea and Cuba rather than McCarthy. In fact, the name of McCarthy is an anathema in this country and just as negative as the word “communism”.

    So for those reasons, I’d think that the examples you provided actually attack CT’s position.

  208. Charles Liu
    October 8th, 2009 at 17:56 | #208

    Foarse @ 203, okay you named 2003, but which mall, which old man? Do you have a link to the story? Once again, without specifics your claim is unverifiable.

    Also, China’s property rights amendment passed in 2007, do you have any recent examples to back up your claim?

  209. October 8th, 2009 at 22:21 | #209

    @Charles – Which part of ‘did not report’ didn’t you understand? Or do you really think that such a story would be covered by the Chinese media? Or by the foreign media unless it were somewhat more newsworthy?

    I guess one of the onlookers (of which there were many, this was widely talked about in Nanjing at that time) should have stopped the old man half way through to ask him his name. Nowadays I guess that someone might catch the whole thing on their camera phone and post it on the internet so that websites like China SMACK might pick it up before all threads referencing it were deleted, but in 2003 camera phones were much less common.

    As for ‘recent examples to back up my claim’, all you need do is read up on the new law yourself and you can see that it still allows evictions for derisory compensation in the case of purely commercial developments.

    Really, please learn about China. You have pointed out many times that you were not born there, are not a PRC citizen, and have only travelled there as a tourist. My advice to you is that this is not enough.

  210. S.K. Cheung
    October 8th, 2009 at 23:20 | #210

    To Pugster:
    thanks for your response. 202 was a Tourette’s moment. You’ve at least given some justification for that position. However, as Steve says, for every Beck/O’Reilly, you’ve got your Stewart/Colbert’s to call them out for the doofs that they are. Freedom of expression is just that…the right to express your views. There is no caveat that such freedom come with the requirement of tolerating others’ contrarian points of view, though admittedly that’d be the mature thing to do. If it was a one-sided beat-down while the other side was bound and gagged, you could justifiably question the status of said freedoms. The presence of a two-way back-and-forth in fact illustrates just how much freedom there is to go around…at least on this side of the pond. And the part I love best is when O’Reilly has to go on the Daily SHow to hawk his book….it shows the reach the lefties have, and the weight of the punches they’re capable of throwing.

    To Charles:
    when you speak of “property rights”, are you talking about leasing again? Perhaps you can take some time to answer #199. That’d be great, thanks.

  211. Rhan
    October 8th, 2009 at 23:54 | #211

    Jovian,
    Reading your long and sincere comment, I feel I owe you an explanation.

    1) I first thought some so-called profanity is merely an alternate to indicate frustration. I simply want to show my displeasure when one commentator tell it is stupid when someone believe in something he don’t. Is my little eruption sound worst then calling others stupid or lazy? Anyway, I am sure he is with good intention.

    2) I do not have the habit to raise the same question over and over. If readers got it, fine, if can’t, it might due to language deficiency (from either the writer, or reader) or we are with very different background. 画公仔吓吓画出肠,无瘾。However for your benefit, I paste here some not so universal view for reading pleasure “This is America/Canada/Australia and the Native ground will never concede to a loss of hegemony for after all this is our land, The accident of history has placed you in our backyard but it is in the Native to extend an umbrella to his guests. Were we not a nation who gave it up all to be a community”

    3) I think emotion be it cheerful or outburst is the most essential element in blog comment. Otherwise the traditional media will do but of course this is solely my personal opinion.

  212. Jerry
    October 9th, 2009 at 07:04 | #212

    @S.K. Cheung, @ChinkTalk, @Steve, @FOARP, @pug_ster

    (#203) “An accusation with no supporting evidence is just a rant and adds nothing to the discussion.”

    Very well put, Steve.

    (#204) Unfortunately, SK, I think ChinkTalk is a fellow Canadian. Brevity is the soul of wit and brevity is also our good fortune in that remarks like CT’s are brief. CT, that was not a witty comment (#202).

    (#204) “I believe it was on Open Thread 2 days ago when a writer completely missed the boat in a critique about an NYT article, to the point where I wondered if we were reading English in the same language. Suffice it to say there are bad articles, and there are probably also instances when articles are read/interpreted badly.”

    Hear, hear, SK!

    FOARP, you wrote in #205,:

    A power exercised without checks and balances is not the same as a power which is subject to scrutiny and appeal. Hence: transfer of land which may infringe on a British citizen’s human rights may be subject to inquiry, judicial review, review by the Law Lords and finally may be appealed to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, and some case dealing with land transfer have been appealed as far as that.

    Well written. I googled “Xinjiekou house demolished”. I saw a number of instances. It seems that there are more safeguards in Britain and the US, when compared to China.

    pug_ster (#206), there are both rightwing and leftwing nuts who wish to disenfranchise all who disagree with them. The statements, “My country, right or wrong” and “Love it or leave it”, are no strangers to American soil. Fortunately, the right of free speech knows no political bounds. And unfortunately, sometimes, because people have the right to make obnoxious statements. I agree with Steve in #207, communism is synonymous with USSR, Mao’s China, North Korea and Cuba. McCarthy just used HUAC and communism as a tool for his own megalomania.

    (#209) “As for ‘recent examples to back up my claim’, all you need do is read up on the new law yourself and you can see that it still allows evictions for derisory compensation in the case of purely commercial developments.”

    Excellent point, FOARP!

  213. hzzz
    October 9th, 2009 at 15:39 | #213

    @FORAP “No. And this is a legal question, not an economic one. Land is not owned privately in China, but leased from the government on long leases for specific purposes.”

    And this is the reason why you still claim China is communist? By this definition Israel is a communist nation as well since the Israeli government owns close to 80% of the land and are only leasing the land to people who own the homes.

    ““I also don’t recall at any time Chinese people making you their speaksperson.”

    Likewise.”

    Yet I don’t see myself making broad statements like “Chinese people didn’t choose communism”, you do.

    BTW, I think you should change your name to JOCWH, or Joys of Cold War Hysteria. That would fit your agenda alot better.

  214. hzzz
    October 9th, 2009 at 15:46 | #214

    @real name.

    For info regarding the poll on Chinese attitudes towards the government:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/14/world/asia/14iht-pew.1968908.html

    The PEW website lists a lot more polls over various subjects such as how Chinese view internet control, how other countries view china, etc.

    http://pewresearch.org/search/results.php?cx=005135597546655918890%3Ai5-ahdk_kcq&cof=FORID%3A11&q=china+survey&sa=Search#938

  215. real name
    October 9th, 2009 at 19:30 | #215

    214.
    do not understand why (according to nyt) they in china interview disproportionately urban population
    (btw. i can’t find Xinxiang Jinzhong or Luzhou details related to satisfaction at pew page)
    anyway thanks for link(s)

  216. Jerry
    October 10th, 2009 at 02:39 | #216

    @real name #215

    We discussed this in early December 2008 at FM at (Letter) China Punishes France and EU, starting in #121 and #122. We used the 2008 report as noted in the IHT article, Optimism high in China, survey shows. I posted this snippet from “The 2008 Pew Global Attitudes Survey in China: THE CHINESE CELEBRATE THEIR ROARING ECONOMY, AS THEY STRUGGLE WITH ITS COSTS — Near Universal Optimism About Beijing Olympics”:

    These are the latest findings from the 2008 Pew survey of China. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 3,212 adults in China between March 28 and April 19, 2008, a period which followed the March 10 onset of civil unrest on Tibet and preceded the May 12 earthquake in China’s Sichuan Province. The sample, which is disproportionately representative of China’s urban areas, includes eight major cities, as well as medium-sized towns and rural areas in eight Chinese provinces. The area covered by the sample represents approximately 42% of the country’s adult population. (#2)

    I re-read the report again this morning. Pew fleshed out their term, “disproportionately representative” in this snippet.

    2008 Pew Global Attitudes Survey in China
    –Survey Methods–

    Results for the survey are based on face-to-face interviews conducted March 28 to April 19,2008. Data were cited from Horizon Market Research’s self-sponsored survey “Chinese People View the World.”

    The survey in China is part of the larger 2008 Pew Global Attitudes survey conducted in 24 countries. Results for the other 23 survey countries are based on face-to-face and telephone interviews conducted under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International from March 17 to April 21, 2008. (For more results from Pew’s 24-country 2008 poll, see “Global Economic Gloom – China and India Notable Exceptions,” released June 12, 2008.)

    The table below provides details about the survey’s methodology, including the margin of sampling error based on all interviews conducted in China. For the results based on the full sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus the margin of error. In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

    The sample, which is disproportionately representative of China’s urban areas, includes eight major cities, as well as medium-sized towns and rural areas in eight Chinese provinces. The area covered by the sample represents approximately 42% of the country’s adult population. The cities sampled were Beijing, Changsha, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Harbin, Shanghai, Wuhan and Xi’an. The towns and rural areas were sampled from the provinces of Guangxi, Guizhou, Hebei, Henan, Jiangxi, Liaoning, Shanxi and Zhejiang.

    real name, the survey’s methodology is flawed. The results show the attitudes of only 42% of the population; the whole population of China was not randomly sampled. We will never know the results of the survey with the entire population of China being randomly sampled. It did not happen. So all we can do is guess, speculate and assume, at best.

  217. hzzz
    October 10th, 2009 at 11:54 | #217

    @Jerry,

    You will never get pure accuracy in any type of polls, it’s always best efforts only. Even the US Census does not cover everyone in the US. I have always thought the whole point of surveys is to use a smaller set of samples in order to generalize about the larger population. Thus, if the main complaint is the breadth of the samples then I don’t think the polling methodology used in this case is flawed at all. Because no poll can cover everyone, or even a majority of the population due to resource and access issues. The coverage aspect would certainly decrease the accuracy of the polls, but I think it’s the still the most accurate thing we have out there. A real flawed methodology used in polls would be to ask questions which goads the surveyed into answering them in a certain way. That’s not the case here.

    That said, I am interested in polls which conflicts with the PEW research papers. As far as I know there aren’t any other polls reflecting this. If anything, my guess is that the people in rural areas of China tend to be even more supportive of the government because they have less access to other types of news/media. Ultimately, I want to know where does people get the idea to make statements like “Chinese people wants broad change in their government”. To me, if the general population is happy with the direction things are going then it would explain why changes are slow to happen, and why you get so many of the so called “chinese nationalists”. I also feel that it’s rather silly and elitist to impose changes on a group of people if the majority in that group do not want change, even if you think the changes are good.

  218. Jerry
    October 10th, 2009 at 13:36 | #218

    @hzzz #217

    I agree, getting accuracy out of life, or answers which mean something for more than 5 minutes is virtually impossible. I am just looking for a good approximation or a sense of direction. Then you adjust as you go down the road. At least, IMHO.

    Statistics and legitimate polls are about getting a sufficient, randomly-sampled subset of the whole population. If you don’t randomly sample from the whole population, results are likely to be distorted. Asking leading questions is a no-no, too.

    That said, the methodology of the China survey is “really” flawed since only 42% of the entire population of China was randomly sampled. What we end up with are representative results of 42% of the population. We don’t know what the results would have been if the entire population was randomly sampled. What they need to do is to expand their sampling into the areas which were not covered. I have no problems with random sampling; they just need to randomly sample the whole country.

    I don’t know why this happened. I know that Pew felt obligated to mention this fact and detailed the areas which were randomly sampled. I have no idea what went on behind the scenes between Pew and the polling organization, Horizon Market Research. I don’t know if the CCP or PRC was involved in the discussion.

    Too bad, because it taints the results. China deserves a survey whose methodology meets the highest professional standards and is above question. If 3,200+ samples is a sufficient sampling population, then they just need to randomly obtain those 3,200+ samples from the entirety of China.

    Pew publishes a very credible survey. Their analysis is wonderful and thoughtful. And they list all the questions asked and responses to each question. They are very professional.

    So what we have is what we have.

    hzzz, you wrote:

    Ultimately, I want to know where does people get the idea to make statements like “Chinese people wants broad change in their government”. To me, if the general population is happy with the direction things are going then it would explain why changes are slow to happen, and why you get so many of the so called “chinese nationalists”. I also feel that it’s rather silly and elitist to impose changes on a group of people if the majority in that group do not want change, even if you think the changes are good.

    To be honest, I have no idea. As to why changes are slow to happen, there could be a myriad of reasons. Why are there fenqing and Chinese nationalists? I can only guess. How many are there and what %age of the population? I don’t know. Also, IMHO, it is pretty silly and onerous for a government to impose change people don’t want or deny change which they want.

    I would suggest another kind of polling. Open, honest elections in which all people can vote for what they want. I also caution that the governance of China needs checks and balances to guard against the “tyranny of the majority” or the “tyranny of the minority”.

    Life is sure interesting, isn’t it? And probably not as comfortable and easy as we would like it to be. No easy answers! 🙂

  219. Steve
    October 10th, 2009 at 20:17 | #219

    @ hzzz #217: I agree with Jerry. The PEW poll was accurate for the reasons you suggest, but was only an accurate appraisal of 42% of the country and heavily skewered towards urban areas. It gives us a good indication of the views of urbanites in those areas. However, it has no validity for China as a whole.

  220. wuming
    October 10th, 2009 at 23:07 | #220

    OK, let’s do a bit of simple math on Pew Research poll. If 81% of the poll participants were satisfied with the direction of the country, when the sampling space represented 42% of the population, it means that the satisfaction rate is between 34% and 92%. Even the low number does not represent a volcano of dissatisfaction waiting to explode. The reason for this kind optimism is even easier to deduce, as Bill would have put it, “it’s the economy, stupid!”

  221. Raj
    October 11th, 2009 at 00:24 | #221

    @ hzzz (217)

    I also feel that it’s rather silly and elitist to impose changes on a group of people if the majority in that group do not want change

    First, the current system mandates how things must be and doesn’t give the majority a choice. If people really are satisfied, there’s no harm in letting them put their preferences into action rather than suppressing anyone who argues differently. Are the authorities scared that if they let people argue non-government POVs easily the masses may start to see things differently? Chinese people aren’t brainwashed, but when the State controls the media (and edcuation) as it does in China that’s going to have a big influence on what people think.

    Second, there’s a difference between being satisfied with things as they are now and how they are perceived to be moving forward. Person A may think that China in 10 years time will be little different now politically than it is now – Person B may think things are progressing such that they will be very different.

    As for polling in the US, realclearpolitics had an average of polls that gave Obama a lead of 7.6% in the general election – it was 7.3% in the end. That’s not bad!

  222. October 11th, 2009 at 02:13 | #222

    “Yet I don’t see myself making broad statements like “Chinese people didn’t choose communism”, you do.”

    Yet this is only a simple expression of fact. There was no point at which the Chinese people chose the communists, instead the communists seized control of the country through a military victory, and have blocked all efforts to either remove them from power or modify their rule. The communists have at no point sought consent for their policies, it may be that a plurality or more of the Chinese population agrees with their policies, but this does not modify the dictatorial nature of their rule, since they do not require agreement, only obedience.

  223. S.K. Cheung
    October 11th, 2009 at 03:48 | #223

    To Jerry:
    I just skimmed the Pew report since it’s been topical around here. I see all manner of point estimates quoted for the many questions asked, but I can’t find the confidence intervals, even though their methodology mentions that these were calculated. With such a small sample, even if truly randomized, I suspect the 95% confidence intervals would be quite large.

    THe poll was of 3000 + people representing 42% of the population. To extrapolate that the results mean anything in the other 58% of people is unsubstantiated conjecture.

    I agree that the questions asked are important, and bad polling questions introduce bias. But the other aspect is the nature of the population. While 86% said they were satisfied with the country’s direction, for instance, most of those probably figured they could like it or lump it; it’s not like there was an alternative. But you also see high numbers in some areas of dissatisfaction (eg rich/poor divide). So you’ve got a bunch of people who are at once dissatisfied and satisfied. To really know the degree of satisfaction specifically with the CCP-mandated vision of China, you’d have to offer an alternative vision for examination. That just doesn’t happen in China.

    If people really want to know what Chinese people want, the second-last paragraph of #218 offers a good solution…not that we haven’t beaten that horse before.

  224. October 11th, 2009 at 05:30 | #224

    My views on the Pew poll:

    1) It’s the economy, stupid.

    2) There is no alternative under the current system.

    3) The Chinese people have only the evidence of their eyes (mixed) and the national media (overwhelmingly positive) on which to base their opinions.

    Still, I see no reason to suppose that the poll is anything but what it claims to be.

  225. Jerry
    October 11th, 2009 at 07:51 | #225

    @Steve #219, @wuming #220, @Raj #221, @FOARP #222, @S.K. Cheung #223, @hzzz #189

    “It gives us a good indication of the views of urbanites in those areas. However, it has no validity for China as a whole.”

    Hear, hear, Steve.

    ####

    Wuming, several comments.

    The report I referred to was the 2008 Pew Survey.

    To the question, “Q2 Overall, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way things are going in our country today?” (I will get to why this is q2 later), 86% responded that they are satisfied, 11% dissatisfied, and 3% refused or did not know. The 86% was an all-time high for China.

    The total sampling population was 3,212. If the sampling population was randomly distributed throughout China, the 42% originally sampled would now be a sample of 1,349, with the 58% previous unsampled would now be 1,863.

    Now let’s talk hypothetically for now. If the now 1,349 (42% group which I will call the 42’s) responded with an 86% satisfaction rate, and the remaining 1,863 (58% group, which I will call the 58’s) responded with a 20% satisfaction rate (SR), the overall satisfaction rate would be ~48% (OSR). If the 58’s responded with a SR of 30%, the OSR would be ~54%. If the 58’s responded with a SR of 40%, the OSR would be ~59%.

    Summarizing, if the 42’s respond with 86% SR and:

    If the 58’s respond with a 20% SR, the OSR is ~48%.
    If the 58’s respond with a 30% SR, the OSR is ~54%.
    If the 58’s respond with a 40% SR, the OSR is ~59%.

    Now, let’s put that into perspective. The summer of 2002, the SR was 48%. Let us add some additional perspective. The 2008 polling coincided with a lot of excitement in China. The economy was at an all time high. The Olympics was coming in the summer. The civil unrest in Tibet occurred before the polling. And one more factor. The polling occurred before the Sichuan earthquake. The SR should be high. Now we will never know. We are in “conjecture land”.

    My hypothetical data is just that. Again, we will never know what the numbers are.

    “It’s the economy, stupid!” may be just a little to simplistic here. But Slick Willy’s truism sure paves over a lot of sins.

    Q2 (Q2 Overall, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way things are going in our country today?) was not the only question asked. There were 85 questions asked, covering all sorts of aspects of life in China and peoples’ feelings about them. Some of the questions were actually multipart questions. They are in the Pew Report.

    If you read the report, you will see that answers vary all over the board.

    There was a notation for questions which have not been released. “Questions held for future release: Q1, Q10e-Q10g, Q10j-Q10k, Q10m, Q19-Q20, Q21d, Q21f, Q23a-Q23e, Q32, Q55a-Q55d, and Q73 – Q85.” Why? I have no clue.

    ####

    Raj, “First, the current system mandates how things must be and doesn’t give the majority a choice.” Amen. Surveying and doing market research polls is one thing. Letting people choose for themselves, is quite another.

    You hit another interesting point, Raj. “realclearpolitics had an average of polls that gave Obama a lead of 7.6% in the general election – it was 7.3% in the end. That’s not bad!”

    If there were a number of professional, credible polls taken in China, we had have a better grasp on the common man in China. And if there were fair, credible, honest, open elections for all, we would have an even better grasp than that.

    #####

    FOARP, I too would like know when the Chinese people chose communism. What was the mechanism of assent? That they haven’t overthrown the CCP and the PRC? I am perplexed by comment in #189. How is a survey of ~3,200 a vote for or against communism? Why do you think that Americans still vote their choices even with the 100’s, if not 1,000’s, of polls/surveys leading up to the election.

    Hzzz, how about a fair, credible, honest, open election for all, monitored by some organization like the Jimmy Carter Center. Let the people choose for themselves. Then we will know. Coups, civil wars and revolutions are so messy and violent!

    #####

    SK, you may be last, but certainly not least. 😀

    Yes, there may be additional problems with the methodology to which we are not privy. That is why I specify sufficient, random sampling data. You are right to point out the confidence intervals. And maybe chi-squared tests, too?

    As you point out, extrapolation is a game of hypothesis and conjecture, at best.

    As you so well point out about elections, I heartily agree. Some people here may prefer that you, Steve, Raj, FOARP, myself and certain others would just leave and go away. “Begone, you nasty nuisances!” I am proud to be a member of the “Reality Bites” club. I would love to get Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert or Bill Maher’s take on some of these subjects at FM.

    And as you said, if you have nothing to compare with, how do you really know how satisfied you are? Ignorance is such sweet bliss. ::LOL:: 😀 😉

  226. wuming
    October 11th, 2009 at 11:58 | #226

    Several have pointed out that the poll result may have been influenced by the ignorance of the participants. This is certainly true to some degree, but not more so if the poll was conducted in any other country.

    The fact that these people understood clearly the problems and difficulties facing China speaks to the authenticity of the opinions expressed in th poll. If after all the complains, they still are generally satisfied, it means the basic well-beings of their lives are improving in significant ways, how many places in world now can we make an assertion like that?

    Of course the poll was only a snap shot of a segment of a population, but that is usually what a poll suppose to do, isn’t it? I don’t see the extrapolation that makes this particular poll less meaningful than any other.

    Jerry, I see a lot of differences between you and FOARP. FOARP tends to express opinion on subjects where he had direct experience, I found myself either being grudgingly convinced by him or at least understood where he is coming from. While you and probably Raj seems to express opinions reflexively. I appreciated your thoughts and knowledge on the subject of ecological capacity, and generally agrees with you. I wish more of your opinions are of that quality.

  227. sids
    October 11th, 2009 at 14:24 | #227

    What is all this fuss anyway? If CCP have really care about all this nitpicking media coverage they wouldn’t even exist today. I really want CCP to succeed to evolve to become a successful alternate form of governing other than democracy. Democracy need competition to evolve, if democracy have conquer the whole world, sooner or later democracy will kill itself. There has no dynasty or form of government can last forever, because of the flaw in our human race. We need competition to keep on improving against each other and to keep on moving forward. Modern democracy to me has become stale, spoil and lost its sense of direction.

  228. October 11th, 2009 at 22:53 | #228

    @Hzzz –

    “And this is the reason why you still claim China is communist? By this definition Israel is a communist nation as well since the Israeli government owns close to 80% of the land and are only leasing the land to people who own the homes.”

    I’m sorry, but it was you who claimed (erroneously, as there is not yet private ownership of land in China) that private land ownership in China means that China is non-Communist, as you can see from the following quote:

    “You claimed to be an economist on your blog but shouldn’t you know that private ownership of land and corporations, which is definitely possible in China, means that China is not really a communist nation?”

    Setting aside the fact that I have never claimed to be an economist (although I have claimed to be an economic migrant, perhaps you had better brush up on your reading skills?) I personally made no claims either way. I would characterise China political system as communist, I believe this to be fair as:

    1) It calls itself communist.

    2) It operates under the Leninist theory of “democratic centralism” in which a “vanguard party” makes the decisions.

    The fact that China is now economically capitalist is neither here nor there when addressing its political system, my own home country for years was labelled a ‘mixed economy’ (i.e., part-nationalised). This did not stop it being a democracy, and an active one at that.

  229. S.K. Cheung
    October 12th, 2009 at 01:04 | #229

    I wouldn’t say the Pew poll is “less meaningful than any other”. There aren’t many others. This poll is fairly unique, and its very existence is in itself very meaningful, the results notwithstanding. I have no quarrel with the results as it reflects on the population that was scientifically studied. But those results are also not generalizable. If anything, we need more such polls, hopefully targeting a progressively larger segment of the CHinese populace. In the absence of the ability for CHinese to exercise their opinion, having someone at least ask their opinion is probably the next best thing.

  230. Jerry
    October 12th, 2009 at 02:06 | #230

    Wuming, you wrote:

    Jerry, I see a lot of differences between you and FOARP. FOARP tends to express opinion on subjects where he had direct experience, I found myself either being grudgingly convinced by him or at least understood where he is coming from. While you and probably Raj seems to express opinions reflexively. I appreciated your thoughts and knowledge on the subject of ecological capacity, and generally agrees with you. I wish more of your opinions are of that quality.

    Some comments.

    You seem troubled, wuming. It seems to me that you have deeper issues than you expressed here.

    That was a very interesting ad hominem attack.

    Thanks for the feedback (?). Actually the comment was unsubstantive and nebulous, I have no idea what you intended. I can only guess. Thus, it is rather useless. Not very good feedback.

    I do not write to impress you, to gain your approval, to try to change your mind, to convince you, to make you comfortable, to please you, to educate you or whatever. I write because I feel like writing. Sometimes I choose to wait to respond or not respond at all. I write as I will for whatever reason. Thus, any interdiction or injunction on your part has little meaning to me. Other than it may act as an incentive for me, in some manner.

    Wuming, do you picture yourself, in some fashion, as some sort of thought police, pedagogue, opinion police or permission judge out here at FM? Hmmm …

    Life gets curious, and even curiouser! C’est la vie.

    And as always, you and I are both free to express ourselves here at FM, without invitation by anyone. No matter the subject.

    Last but not least, “FOARP tends to express opinion on subjects where he had direct experience”. So, are you saying that FM posters should have “direct experience” before they are eligible to opine or comment? So, if the closest I have been to China is 100 miles from China (where I am now), Hanoi, or HK, do I have the right to comment on China? Is there a “direct experience” requirement at FM?

  231. Jerry
    October 12th, 2009 at 10:27 | #231

    @wuming #226

    Of course the poll was only a snap shot of a segment of a population, but that is usually what a poll suppose to do, isn’t it? I don’t see the extrapolation that makes this particular poll less meaningful than any other. (#226)

    First of all, any poll is a snapshot. Since the population of China is large, the most practical way to survey the population is to randomly sample the entire population of China. There are statistical algorithms which help to quantify/determine the size of the sampling subset; in this case the sampling subset is around 3,200. Obviously, if you want to have a survey which represents China, you need to randomly spread the sampling over the whole population of China. Then you have to verify the data with more statistical algorithms.

    The sampling was restricted to 42% of the population. Thus, it was representative of that 42%. No more; no less. Extrapolating the results to all of China is, in essence, hypothetical conjecture. And less meaningful than polls which don’t have a tainted methodology.

    Let us hypothesize here. Let us say that Pew conducts 2 identical opinion surveys. In the first, the random sampling covers 42% of China. In the other, the random sampling covers 100% of China. When results are published, which survey would you trust more as a reliable representation of Chinese opinion? The 42% opinion survey, or the 100% opinion survey?

    “I don’t see the extrapolation that makes this particular poll less meaningful than any other.”

    Obviously, I disagree strongly.

    In addition, as I have noted before, along with SK and Raj, the more legitimate, credible, professional polls in China, the better. Multiple polls will give us and the Chinese a better picture.

    Oh, BTW, I am not FOARP. 😀 ::ROFL::

  232. Wukailong
    October 15th, 2009 at 06:42 | #232

    Wow, I didn’t expect all this discussions about the concept of “goose-stepping.” Whatever. Here are some of my thoughts about the parade:

    1. I’ve watched the parade in 1999 many times on VCD (that’s what was in during the late 90s in China), and it was a bit disappointing that this parade was an almost exact copy of the former. There were some inventions, like the way the music played when the pictures of the various leaders were paraded – like “Chuntian de gushi” for Deng Xiaoping, for example, but I would have hoped for more. The fighter jets were cool but a bit too many. I didn’t know that planes that can refuel others in the air have large rubber-like hoses like that. Parading nuclear spearheads and going on about how they are not to be used is a bit amusing.

    2. Chinese media coverage of other countries taught me things I didn’t know, and made me wonder a bit. Why are India’s military parades so seldom reported in US/European, or did I just miss them? France has a military parade each year, but in general they are not as popular in Europe. The argument that it’s better to show your weaponry in a parade rather than in other countries is also amusing – imagine applying it to something else, like your wealth.

    3. As for “Mao suit” or “Sun Yatsen costume”, it does seem to symbolize an earlier stage of the PRC. During the 5-year planning meeting in late 1989, everyone was wearing Zhongshan costumes, yet 5 years later after Deng’s trip southward everyone was wearing suits. What was the reason for the change? The leaders wanted to send different messages. During the parade, I think the message was simply one of historical continuity.

    4. Hu Jintao has a stronger voice than Jiang Zemin.

  233. real name
    October 15th, 2009 at 08:30 | #233

    232. I didn’t expect all this discussions about the concept of “goose-stepping.”
    and still no one here discussed correct “Bang Bang Bang” interpretation
    http://globalvoicesonline.org/2009/10/08/china-jackie-chans-comment-on-military-parade/

  234. October 30th, 2009 at 20:17 | #234

    DJ –

    Good post. I missed this post cause I was in China enjoying the celebration with everyone else!

    As for your complaint about the BBC picture … eh … the BBC will be the BBC – they are less about reporting what happens in the world and more about presenting stories that support (taking liberal editorial license as needed) their worldviews.

    But truthfully, there were indeed many people (old people, young people, children) decked out with flags (maybe 10% of the people?). Many kids also were decked out with various ethnic decorations (hats were particularly popular). At night, lighted decorations were also popular.

    When I saw Sun Yat-Sen’s picture in TianAnMen Square, I thought – this could be in Taiwan for all I know. In TianAnMen, I also thought the best float on the square by far was the one from Taiwan! I admit I could be biased… 😉

  235. October 31st, 2009 at 10:02 | #235

    @Allen – Good post? Read the comments, and he still hasn’t admitted he was wrong.

  236. Raj
    October 31st, 2009 at 13:09 | #236

    Allen (234)

    In TianAnMen, I also thought the best float on the square by far was the one from Taiwan!

    “From” Taiwan? You mean made in Taiwan on the instructions of Chinese officials? Sure, China imports a lot of things from Taiwan.

    Though if it had come from the people of Taiwan I feel it would not have been allowed to take part in the parade – it would have carried a “politically inconvenient message” I’m sure. 🙂

    FOARP (235)

    You can’t expect a good criticism of a blog entry to stop people wailing on the foreign media.

  237. October 31st, 2009 at 18:43 | #237

    @FOARP #235,

    I glanced through the comments last night (but did not carefully every one). I am not sure what your main point is. Is it about the goose-stepping debate?

    Here is my view: to me it’s trivial. High-lighting / using the term its useless. Report on a military parade, on the soldiers marching by, on what the Chinese considered as their key technological advances, etc. That’s fine. But there does not seem to be much real reason for so many media reports to describe the march as goose-stepping. It’s like so many press in the West always inserting the word “communist” in front of China. Even assuming you are technically correct, it serves no real purpose except to link China to the darker side of Western history…

    I think DJ raised some good points about Western media coverage. Before I left for China, I remember one piece from NY Times (I think) that says in effect that given all the government security measures, the celebrations will be no fun. Jesus … I remember there were lots of security measures for Obama’s inauguration speech and parties, yet no Western press said the security measures made things no fun…

    Anyways – that’s just my take. To be honest, I would like the post even it contained only pictures … pictures of a beautiful day / week in Beijing…

    @Raj #236,

    You have claimed that too often I am too pro-China to a fault. Well … perhaps sometimes you are too anti-China to a fault also! Cheers… 😀

    Allen

  238. DJ
    November 1st, 2009 at 02:27 | #238

    FOARP #235,

    I made it clear, I concede nothing. You made your own loose definition to fit your view, I found definitions, which I didn’t make, that are more strict and clear do not apply. I see no point in continuing this debate further.

  239. S.K. Cheung
    November 1st, 2009 at 03:52 | #239

    Are we still talking about this? Are you guys kidding me? You’re beating a horse that died nearly a month ago, and is best left that way.

  240. November 1st, 2009 at 05:33 | #240

    DJ – What you showed was that is doesn’t matter how the Western media covers China, so long as there is even a hint of negativity or ambivalence you will assume this is the result of bias, and then try to carve out a case that such bias exists – ‘proving’ it with the most ridiculous of arguments. Therefore a photo of flag-waving people is biased because the tag notes that people are being told to stay home – an obviously relevant fact, therefore ‘goose-stepping’ (which every source – Xinhua included agrees is what they were doing) is biased because the Nazis also goose-stepped, therefore pointing out the irony of a director who has had some of his films banned in China directing the occasion is biased despite the obvious relevance to the matter at hand. You see bias because you want to, and will not accept that you arewrong even when it has been plainly demonstrated.

  241. November 1st, 2009 at 05:41 | #241

    @Allen –

    there does not seem to be much real reason for so many media reports to describe the march as goose-stepping. It’s like so many press in the West always inserting the word “communist” in front of China. Even assuming you are technically correct, it serves no real purpose except to link China to the darker side of Western history…

    The link exists because China, like every other nation and every other person, is a prisoner of history. Hence calling the parade ‘Soviet-style’ is entirely accurate short-hand for exactly what it is, or did you think that such parades were a Chinese invention? China is the inheritor of some very unfortunate customs, its single-party dictatorship – which this parade was designed to celebrate – being first and for-most. Remarking on that is not inaccurate, mendacious, or biased. It is simple fact, like it or not. You might as well expect that foreign observers of a British military parade should with-hold from mentioning Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, or Iraq.

    I guess I should also add that, while this post deals only with peripheral issues, it is, to my mind, an important data-point: it shows the weight of evidence which can be produced to disprove an assumption of bias in the western media when reporting on China without even the relatively moderate Chinese nationalists on this site conceding that they have failed to show bias even on a minor issue. From this I can safely say that, should a TAM-style revolt or invasion of Taiwan occur tomorrow, the Chinese government will not lack supporting voices on this website.

  242. S.K. Cheung
    November 1st, 2009 at 06:42 | #242

    To FOARP:
    “so long as there is even a hint of negativity or ambivalence you will assume this is the result of bias” — yes, that definitely seems to be a prevailing theme around here.

    “should a TAM-style revolt or invasion of Taiwan occur tomorrow, the Chinese government will not lack supporting voices on this website.” — I think that goes without saying.

  243. November 1st, 2009 at 06:54 | #243

    @FOARP #241,

    Not sure exactly how to respond. I personally don’t think it was goose-stepping. Goose-stepping is a combination of legs raised high, and knee straight. To me it’s definitely not goose-stepping.

    It’s really silly arguing this in some way. If goose-stepping were a neutral word – it’s no big deal. But the problem is that it’s not – just like communism is not – at least the way these are used in the West.

    I found the following definition useful:

    a marching step, as of troops passing in review, in which the legs are raised high and kept stiff and unbent: often used figuratively to connote militarism, fascism, etc.

    If we are just aruging about the height of leg and angle of knees … it’s no big deal. But the reason DJ brought it up – and the reason I concur with him – is the connotation it confers. Same thing with the trivial, pervasive use of adjective “communism” to describe China.

    Anyways – if you disagree, you disagree. No big deal. Many of us feel it’s just yet more evidence of Western media bias. It’s not the fountain source of Western bias. Nor is it definitive proof of bias (if this were the only evidence in the whole wide world, I’d agree with you, we are oversensitive…). It’s just – shrug – another place we see bias in a whole world of biases.

  244. S.K. Cheung
    November 1st, 2009 at 07:00 | #244

    To Allen,
    “It’s just – shrug – another place we see bias.” — isn’t that just about everywhere? Or at least just about anytime where something/someone is critical of CHina? It’s like footsteps in the night….

  245. November 1st, 2009 at 07:13 | #245

    @SKC #244,

    This reminds me of a series of racism and sexual harassment cases I studied in law school.

    What does a firm pat on the shoulder mean?

    What does a glance and a wink mean?

    What does a firm voice in an isolated room mean?

    Is a particular conversation representative of bad etiquette or a veiled threat?

    What does a pattern of such behavior mean?

    What role does the social and historical context have?

    Of course there are cases where someone is making something out of a molehill.

    But in the end, I can also justify and explain away each of the many of the most egregious offensive manner, social injustices – reasonably, rationally … In the end, it’s the context … history … entirety of circumstances that matter.

    You have a different world view. I have mine. We have different sensitivities. We require different burdens of proof.

    We make out different constellations out of the same stars…

  246. November 1st, 2009 at 07:34 | #246

    @Allen – “Same thing with the trivial, pervasive use of adjective “communism” to describe China.”

    Using this as an example of bias in particular gets my goat. Chinese leaders from Hu Jintao right down to the party cadre at my old school give speeches, the words “Marx-Leninism with Chinese characteristics, Mao Zedong thought, Deng Xiaoping theory, and the Three Represents” spill from their lips with the practised ease of people who mention it at every public occasion, which of course is exactly what they do do. Why then is it wrong to use the word ‘communism’ when discussing the Chinese state, the 60th anniversary of which was celebrated with the parade on which this post focuses? Why then is it wrong to describe these men as communists? Why is it wrong to describe the People’s Republic as communist when the very name of the state and colour of its flag indicates that that is exactly what it is?

    And once again, it is not the phrase, but the march itself which conveys connotations of relentless militarism, since this is exactly what the march is designed to convey.

    As for your examples, I remember a similar discussion as to what exactly constituted ‘sexual touching’, with the conclusion that in absence of other evidence, you’d know it when you saw it. In this case, I am afraid, what we have are a group of people hysterically screaming ‘rape’ when not even a nod or a wink has been exchanged, and doing so because their political ideology requires them to do so.

  247. S.K. Cheung
    November 1st, 2009 at 08:30 | #247

    To Allen:
    “You have a different world view. I have mine. We have different sensitivities. We require different burdens of proof.” — yes indeed. Truer words were never said.

    “In the end, it’s the context … history … entirety of circumstances that matter.” — that’s a lot of baggage. Let’s hope that baggage doesn’t obscure, prejudice, or, dare I say, bias your assessments of current or future circumstances.

  248. Raj
    November 1st, 2009 at 15:00 | #248

    Allen & DJ

    I’ve had another look at this article and have concluded that this isn’t just nitpicking, it smacks of already deciding that the “western media” has an anti-China agenda and thus viewing everything through that lens. Time and time again I hear Chinese people demand that foreigners not make assumptions about China, the Chinese government, CCP, Chinese media, human rights in China, etc. Yet they are so quick to assume the worst about the outside world’s intentions, especially those of “the West”. Is that healthy?

    When something like Xinhua, that screens things so closely for “anti-China” sentiment, uses “goose step” and there is such a debate here, it is clear that at least for many people, soldiers during the parade were goose stepping. If as a throw-away comment in a different article someone said “personally I don’t think that it was goose stepping but never mind”, fine. But to start banging on about how this was clearly not goosestepping, it’s not acceptable for the BBC or anyone else to take the opinion that it was and that this is all part of the international conspiracy to make China look bad, well…..

    Having been here for a while I’ve observed that some people on Foolsmountain may be happy preaching to the Chinese choir, but if Chinese members want a dialogue with non-Chinese people some are going the wrong way about it.

  249. November 1st, 2009 at 15:03 | #249

    @FOARP #246,

    There is nothing wrong with describing China for what it is. It is a socialist country with very unique characteristics adapted for the Chinese condition. Many pundits in America have come to equate socialism with Chinese characteristics with capitalism with American characteristics. I have no problem with fair-minded assessment of China. I just have problem with using cold war rhetoric to describe China … well I’ll leave intelligent people on this forum to decide for themselves whether we have that here.

    As for your ranting about no sexual touching. You may be right. Perhaps some of us are too thin-skinned. Perhaps some of us are delusional. But don’t categorically excuse yourself though. Many people in the past have stared down the face of slavery and thought nothing wrong with it. And these people are the same who pronounced they stand for freedom, liberty, and justice also. Thieves and murders often see their acts as Just. Rapists also often see things from a very different perspective than that of their victims…

  250. November 1st, 2009 at 15:20 | #250

    @Raj #248,

    Can you show me a picture (video would be even better)where you think soldiers were goose-stepping? Goose-stepping is not just marching. It’s not just crisp marching. It’s a particular style of marching that is very distinctive. I just don’t see it.

    I think the more important issue is the different perspective people in the West view China’s anniversary.

    Here are some quotes from the Western press:

    “China’s 60th anniversary stirs pride, also unease. … across Beijing behind goose-stepping troops as China celebrated 60 years of communist…”

    “The day of festivities is full of contrasting images. Tanks and goose-stepping soldiers travel along a parade route as TV commentators discuss the nation’s love of peace.”

    “China’s 60th anniversary stirs pride, unease: The party’s parade, minus the people …”

    Of course many of us view things very differently. If a parade can stir that much more unease, how much more unease should acts of NATO in the last few decades stir the souls of the world?

    Anyways, when I take side on something like this, I do not relish preaching to the choir. Neither … however do I insist on reaching out to the other side on an immediate resolution. It’s enough that I articulate how I feel. It’s enough for me to read and mull over your and FOARP’s articulation of your views. That is enough (for me at least).

    We’ve got a MOUNTAIN of ignorance and misunderstanding to move, people. Perhaps only a FOOL will invest the time and patience…

  251. Raj
    November 1st, 2009 at 15:38 | #251

    Allen (249)

    There is nothing wrong with describing China for what it is.

    How about refering to China as its own leaders refer to it? If China is no longer Communist, why does it cling to all the trappings of the Communist era? I’m not saying China is totally Communist, but you can see how it’s reasonable to call it Communist.

    If China wants to stop being called Communist, it needs to get rid of those Communist relics. It can’t have its cake and eat it.

    Using cold war rhetoric to describe China … well I’ll leave intelligent people on this forum to decide for themselves.

    Be honest, Allen. Every time you use that expression you’re flagging the “correct” view.

    As for your ranting about no sexual touching.

    “Ranting”? How was what he said ranting? I think some of your comments were far more emotional/pointed that would put them on the path to being a rant, especially the second part of 249.

    Perhaps some of us are too thin-skinned. Perhaps some of us are delusional.

    Just to check, but did FOARP say that you or others were either of those things? There are too many comments here for me to review.

    (250)

    Can you show me a picture (video would be even better)where you think soldiers were goose-stepping?

    Where did I say that I thought they were goose-stepping? I’m merely arguing that it’s ridiculous to use an argument over a term like that to point to supposed “bias”.

    If a parade can stir that much more unease, how much more unease should acts of NATO in the last few decades stir the souls of the world?

    Allen, what’s wrong with you? DJ was the one who blogged on the media coverage – it’s not as if I wrote about goose-stepping soldiers and you’re even throwing a rejoinder in my face. Various media groups around the world do and have commented on NATO’s actions. Did you even have a point in raising NATO?

    This is what I’m talking about when I say you and others are going the wrong way about trying to have a dialogue with us. You can be too quick to throw the “you’re not perfect either” argument back, when someone like myself isn’t even arguing that China is somehow fundamentally flawed. Even FOARP wasn’t, he was just countering a silly assertion that a single phrase was indicative of a wider agenda.

    We’ve got a MOUNTAIN of ignorance and misunderstanding to move, people.

    I’m afraid that going on about how the use of “goose-stepping” in these media outlets was a sign of “western” bias has only served to make the mountain bigger, not smaller.

  252. linho
    November 1st, 2009 at 16:45 | #252

    Only brain-washed people and narrow-minded western ideologists are against Communism today. What is their problem? The rise of Communism has its own historic context — at the darkest hours of Capitalism. Communism represents a genuine human ideal, but was misused in practice. If Capitalism can improve, so does Communism. Eventually, these two important branches of ideology will shake hand.

  253. Steve
    November 1st, 2009 at 17:33 | #253

    @ linho #252: Interesting, since all the Chinese I met in China were against communism and the CCP hasn’t been communist since Deng changed course and adopted “socialism with Chinese characteristics” with a capitalistic mindset. Where communism, which is an economic system, has been tried it’s been an abject failure.

    @ Raj #251: To say China is communist is a misnomer. China is capitalist with a Marxist/Leninist government system. That system is slowly undergoing reform but by and large it is still Marxist/Leninist. The CCP uses “Communist” in its name because of the historical roots. I don’t know of any ruling member who wants to go back to the collectives and having all businesses as SOE’s.

  254. Raj
    November 1st, 2009 at 17:49 | #254

    Steve

    You’re looking at the economy – the political structure is still very much Communist, as are the obvious outward trappings. If there really is nothing Communist about China anymore the CCP would have renamed itself and dumped the Communist junk to make itself more relevant to modern China. Until that purging process happens, it’s ridiculous to complain about China being called Communist. It’s like dressing up as a Goth and arguing when someone says you’re a Goth that it’s a superficial thing harkening back to when you used to be one.

    If some Chinese people don’t want China to be called Communist, they should petition the Chinese government to change, rather than demand foreigners accept Chinese contradictions in the way those Chinese people demand they be interpreted.

  255. Otto Kerner
    November 1st, 2009 at 18:04 | #255

    Raj,

    Well said.

  256. linho
    November 1st, 2009 at 18:07 | #256

    DELETED FOR AD HOMINUM ATTACK

  257. wuming
    November 1st, 2009 at 18:57 | #257

    Let me repeat the question that I raised in another thread: Does any body still study Marxism these days?

    “You’re looking at the economy – the political structure is still very much Communist, …”

    The core of Marxism is its theory of political economy. And in this theory the central point is that the level economic productivity necessarily determines its political system, with this Marx argued for the inavitability of communism. Whether you subscribe to Marxism or not (I don’t), you must agree that by subverting the economic doctrines of Marxism, you subverted the communism. You may well call the current Chinese regime authoritarian or dictatorial, but calling it communism only shows the lack of understanding what a communism really is.

    Of course the word “communism” can be used in a historical sense, to invoke the memories of all the previous communist regimes (including Mao’s China.) But that is precisely what DJ and Allen is objecting to, isn’t it?

  258. Raj
    November 1st, 2009 at 20:18 | #258

    wuming

    The core of Marxism is its theory of political economy.

    And political control runs hand in hand with that. Is it an accident that there has not been one example (that I can think of) of a multi-party, democratic Communist state?

    I understand Communism, but we’re not talking about pure theory – we’re talking about the practice. When people discuss things like politics they rarely break out a pipe, puff away in their armchairs and engage in a technical, academic discussion about the meaning of every term they consider using.

    As I said before, if any Chinese people are unhappy about China being called “Communist” they need to petition Beijing to change the political system to a (presumably) nationalist rather than officially Communist one.

  259. wuming
    November 1st, 2009 at 21:42 | #259

    Raj,

    “As I said before, if any Chinese people are unhappy about China being called “Communist” they need to petition Beijing to change the political system to a (presumably) nationalist rather than officially Communist one”

    In what way the poilitical system in China is communist, except that the ruling party is communist party? If god forbid one day Sara Palin is elected president, should media attach the words “redneck republican” everytime they refer to US? Well, hold on, we just had eight years of “redneck republican” as president, hadn’t we?

    The words “goose-stepping” and “communist”, when used by a western media outlet, have very defininitive negative connotation. This is the reason you don’t see Chinese government use the word communist in the international cirucumstances. And the phrase “goose-steps” is never used in China except for some obscure definition that was probably unknowingly translated from English.

    If these media outlets come out admitting their basic hostility toward China, then fine. I would have saved my breath if this is done only by Fox News since we know where they are coming from. If NYT, CNN, BBC and Economists all do the same thing, then these media outlets have the moral obligation to petition their governments to break off all commercial ties with China and go back to Cold War.

  260. linho
    November 1st, 2009 at 22:43 | #260

    DELETED FOR AD HOMINUM ATTACK

  261. November 1st, 2009 at 23:00 | #261

    @Wuming –

    “The core of Marxism is its theory of political economy. And in this theory the central point is that the level economic productivity necessarily determines its political system, with this Marx argued for the inavitability of communism. Whether you subscribe to Marxism or not (I don’t), you must agree that by subverting the economic doctrines of Marxism, you subverted the communism. You may well call the current Chinese regime authoritarian or dictatorial, but calling it communism only shows the lack of understanding what a communism really is.”

    Marxism perhaps, but the core of Leninism is the political system under which the Chinese state is still ruled. Leninism is the political rule of a ‘vanguard party’ through ‘democratic centralism’, which is to say a single party state which rules through internal decision making. This is not only the official way that China is ruled, but the de facto way also. Might I suggest a bit of reading up on communist history? Anything about Lenin and the Russian civil war is good. The avowed purpose of such rule was to implement a Marxian economic system, however this was never done, or even seriously attempted through Marx-Leninism.

    “The words “goose-stepping” and “communist”, when used by a western media outlet, have very defininitive negative connotation. This is the reason you don’t see Chinese government use the word communist in the international cirucumstances. And the phrase “goose-steps” is never used in China except for some obscure definition that was probably unknowingly translated from English.”

    Are you seriously suggesting that we should not use the phrase because the Chinese language does not have it? The phrase ‘Marx-Leninism with Chinese characteristics, Mao Zedong thought, Deng Xiaoping theory and the three represents’ is so often repeated by officials and newscasters that they can say the whole thing in one go without pausing or blinking, and banners hang in public spaces exhorting people to follow them. Chinese leaders rarely give interviews, but when they do they will use the same phrase without irony. And, as I said, even at minor university or work-unit functions they will be referenced by party cadres. Why then is it wrong to use this term? Note here that I use it strictly to describe China’s political system, although ‘single-party dictatorship’ is just as accurate, if somewhat more long-winded.

    And, once again, it is not the phrase but the thing which it describes which has negative connotations. What you are complaining about is that English-speaking people generally do not like the goose-step (a march designed to convey the impression of soldiers stamping all beneath their boot-heels) and generally do not like communist governments (because they are usually single-party dictatorships, like China is). It would not matter if you chose a less accurate term more pleasing to your ears to describe these things, people would soon recognise it for what it really is and you would be back at square one.

  262. Otto Kerner
    November 1st, 2009 at 23:04 | #262

    “Of course the word ‘communism’ can be used in a historical sense, to invoke the memories of all the previous communist regimes (including Mao’s China.) But that is precisely what DJ and Allen is objecting to, isn’t it?”

    It is the government of China itself that uses the word “communism” in a historical sense, to invoke the memories of previous Communist regimes, including Mao’s China. In reality they are fascists.

  263. Raj
    November 1st, 2009 at 23:38 | #263

    wuming (259)

    If god forbid one day Sara Palin is elected president, should media attach the words “redneck republican” everytime they refer to US?

    No, because the US doesn’t have a one party system that mandates only “redbeck republicans” can be president. Nor is the national anthem about rednecks, the flag a “redneck” flag, there are no references in government made to suggest that America is all about “rednecks”, etc.

    Don’t you see that references to China being Communist are not due to it being ruled by the CCP this very second, it comes from the fact that China has been ruled by the CCP for decades?

    As for the rest of your comment, I generally agree with what FOARP said.

  264. wuming
    November 2nd, 2009 at 00:11 | #264

    The way CCP holds on to power is as different from Leninism as Singapore’s PAP is from CCP, each one adapts to its peculier circumstance. The tendency of western media (and English speaking ones in particular) is to use terminologies (cliches) in their particular narratives in place of accurate descriptions and analysis. I have certainly seen enough of that in US domestic political context, but at least in the domestic context there are competing sets of cliches. When it comes to China (or Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Venesuala …) a single set of cliches rule. Western audiences gains very little real understanding when “communist” (or “Fascist” if you prefer) is attached to “China”, therefore in practical terms it only creates hostility.

    Of course “communism” is used by CCP leadership, but “goose-stepping” is not. The millitary parade serves two purposes, one is to demonstrate its national power and unity, the other is to satisfy the rituallistic fetish of the general populous. Neither of the desire is peculier to China. Western powers do less of that also for two reasons: first they believe there is no need for that since hardly anyone can threaten them anymore; second they think they are just too cool for these old fashioned rituals, there are plenty of silly new ones around.

  265. wuming
    November 2nd, 2009 at 00:31 | #265

    Raj,

    Eight years of continuous redneck-republican rule is plenty miserable and plenty damaging. I strongly suspect in this day and age such a incompetant regime would have survived that long in China. The feeling of seeing W get re-elected by a significant margin recalls the feeling of hearing the outright lies on Chinese radio after the first Tiananmen demonstration was crushed in 1976.

    BTW, below is the English translation of the lyrics of Chinese national anthem, I do not see the word “communism” there. Nor do I think that the Chinese national flag is the same as the CCP flag.
    Arise! All who refuse to be slaves!
    Let our flesh and blood become our new Great Wall!
    As the Chinese nation faces its greatest peril,
    All forcefully expend their last cries.
    Arise! Arise! Arise!
    Our million hearts beat as one,
    Brave the enemy’s fire, March on!
    Brave the enemy’s fire, March on!
    March on! March on! On

  266. wuming
    November 2nd, 2009 at 00:48 | #266

    FOARP, Otto and Raj,

    I don’t really have a problem with you or the western media come out say clearly that you dispise Chinese government. I understand why people can think this way because I used to share the same feeling. As I grow older, I learn to tolerate many things, the only thing I can’t tolerate is hypocracy, especially other people’s hypocracy 🙂

  267. Rhan
    November 2nd, 2009 at 02:26 | #267

    wuming, you sure you are old enough?

    Let’s take a historical view of things. During the Age of Imperialism the talks in history books and government documents were about the White Man’s Burden, which presupposed the need for the West to civilize the Savage World. That was why the White Man found it necessary to take over the Americas, Australia and Oceania, and Africa. After the natives were robbed and killed in the process of being civilized, the world did turn from “black” to “white” – not necessarily metaphorically. Even an old state like India was to be honored with a white ruler – Queen Victoria, the “Empress of India.” With the passing of the Victorian Age, we come to WW1 and the formation of the Soviet Union. Unluckily for the West, just as the Great Depression set in, the new Soviet State was scoring high industrial growth. Roosevelt was forced to implement socialist measures to save the capitalist state. The corporate class was aghast, as American workers began to have rights to unemployment benefits, social security, etc. That was when the White Man’s Burden became a debatable slogan. Luckily, Germany helped by invading Russia first, which largely wiped out the gains the Soviets had achieved during the short period of their existence. Following WW2, Churchill declared the existence of “an Iron Curtain” and hence the need to confront the new enemy. George Kennan came up with the concept of Containment. From then on the mass media went into overdrive against anything that was Communist: books, movies, TV serials, government speeches and documents, etc., all focused only on the evils of Communism. To eliminate the Evil Communists, it was necessary to fight the Korean and later the Vietnam War. It was necessary to get rid of Mossadeq, Lumumba, Allende, and finance “freedom fighters” to destablize small states like El Salvador and Nicaragua.

    It seems, therefore, that “Evil” is something that exists only in non-Western worlds, and curiously, eliminating such evil, whether in the form of savages, heathens, or Communists, seem to benefit the West as well. Today, there are few such places left, and they’re generally occupied under the new Evil called Islam. Instead of the “Iron Curtain,” the new catchphrase is “Clash of Civilizations,” hinting that, should the Muslim states fall, the next target would be the evil Confucian states.

  268. Wukailong
    November 2nd, 2009 at 02:50 | #268

    @Rhan: That’s an interesting description. I think the last paragraph is generally true since the 90s in most of the Western world (that is, evil is seen as coming mostly from Islam). However, in the years of the Cold War, there was a very real battle going on for the minds of the undecided, at least in the neutral countries. Just years before the Soviet Union collapsed, I remember having discussions with friends (we were just in our early teens) about whether we would prefer the Soviet Union or the US to win the Cold War.

    Or one could put it this way: even though communism wasn’t an attractive option, it still was an alternative to the capitalist Western nations. The end of the Cold War changed that.

    I don’t think Confucian states will be the new evil force in the eyes of the US government, because they include countries like South Korea and Japan. As China gets more economic clout, they will be seen more and more as an ally. Islamic terrorism is perfect as the “Evil” force because it can never really be defeated, so there will always be a reason to wage war against it.

  269. Otto Kerner
    November 2nd, 2009 at 04:05 | #269

    Wukailong,

    We have always been at war with Mideastia.

  270. November 2nd, 2009 at 12:00 | #270

    @Otto Kerner – I personally have always been at war with the West Midlands.

    @Wukailong – I personally remember having the same kind of discussion as a child – whether we would like the Soviets to be first to Mars, that kind of thing. Public opinion at the time was fairly anti-American (this was after the bombing of Libya from British airbases, as well as the exposure of NORAID) and a fair number of people were in favour of the Soviets having their turn

  271. real name
    November 2nd, 2009 at 14:53 | #271

    267.
    ad “the new Soviet State was scoring high industrial growth”
    do not forget even “The Soviet Union became the world’s leading producer of…”
    also “million[s] people died from hunger in the Soviet Union during this period”, millions entering labor camps etc.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_the_Soviet_Union#1930-1970
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_famine_of_1932%E2%80%931933

    (btw. have a look at graph there (1970+) – SU died with strong growing GDP http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Soviet_Union_GDP.gif )

  272. Steve
    November 3rd, 2009 at 00:11 | #272

    @ linho #256 & 260: linho, please observe the blog rules here. It’s fine to disagree with someone but the proper response is to reply to their specific points, not spew personal attacks at them while ignoring what they wrote. If you continue, your posts will be put into moderation.

  273. Steve
    November 3rd, 2009 at 00:49 | #273

    @ Raj #254: The political structure is Marxist/Leninist, not communist. Communism is an economic system while the Marxist/Leninist political structure was borrowed from the Soviets. It’s been somewhat modified since then but it is still essentially the same. I agree with wuming #257 and FOARP’s definition in #261. You can’t have a capitalist economic system and be communist at the same time; that’s why the government now uses the “socialism with Chinese characteristics”. The first 30 years were communist, the last 30 have been as far from communism as you can get.

    They can call themselves anything they want. That doesn’t change how the country has developed. Today there is a one party autocratic structure with a capitalist economic system. China has always had a one party autocratic structure so it’s nothing new there.

    I also agree with FOARP about the goose-stepping definition. When I saw the troops march that way, I would have described it the same. You march without bending the knee, I’m calling it goose-stepping and nothing else even comes to mind. What the Chinese media wants to call it is their business but reporters are supposed to use words that convey meaning. I think everyone’s getting bent out of shape over this; it’s not that big a deal.

    Don’t worry; Sarah Palin will never be elected president. The Republican party seems like it’s on a path of self-destruction by driving out all of the moderates.

    @ WKL #268: We have the same point of view.

    @ Rhan #267: Because I lived through those days, I can remember far more specifics and it wasn’t that black and white. Unless you were there, it’s difficult to understand what was happening. It wasn’t like today’s world at all. It wasn’t the West creating a fake enemy in the east but a battle of economic systems for control of the world economy. Each side controlled a large part of the world’s resources and population. Over time, one system was proven superior to the other. There are many reasons given as to why that was but by view is that it was a combination of both economic and political differences. Others have different viewpoints so it’s hard to say what the true story is but nevertheless, one system ended up being better than the other.

  274. tanjin
    November 3rd, 2009 at 01:35 | #274

    #272 I read those posts, but don’t feel it is out of line in anyway. Everyone have its own humorous way. That is good for a energetic discussion. On the other hand, resorting to a heavy-handed approach will not be too helpful.

    Regarding this detour on this thread about whether China is communism or capitalism. There is really no need to talk about much, except some participants need to read more about published political documents from China, assuming you have the stomach to read them since they sound very strange to western educated crowd 🙂

    To make things simple, CPC has mapped out China’s social and political development process years ago — through learning from its own history of leading the nation, that is China’s social and economical development can not escape the stage of capitalistic development. It has been a commonly held belief that it is the only to improve productivity and provide prosperity for the mass.

    A period of capitalistic development is not necessary an indication of capitalism. The key is which population group holds the real power. In China, a small number of people can become super rich, yet they have to keep in low profile.

    Western audience need to appreciate more about Deng’s wisdom.

  275. Wukailong
    November 3rd, 2009 at 03:45 | #275

    @realname (#271): That’s a very interesting graph. Any ideas on how to interpret it? I was surprised to see it as first because I assumed, with my layman knowledge, that the economy ought to dip as soon as Gorbachev got into power. It’s easy to forget that the Soviet Union experimented as much with economic reform as it did with political.

    I wonder if there’s a link to the size of a country and the success of its reforms. Certainly China seems like an exception to that rule, but it tested its reforms locally before making them national. Sometimes there’s a need for radical change and revolution, but I believe Deng made the right decisions in this phase of history.

    @Steve, FOARP: I also remember one of the teachers in elementary school telling us about her journey to East Germany. It just seemed dull, gray and repressive, yet at the same time there was something in the idea of a socialist paradise that attracted the imagination of many. From what I’ve heard from people who went to the Soviet bloc during the good old days, there was constant surveillance and a pervasive Kafkaesque bureaucracy. Of course, there were memorable moments, like a friend of mine who told me about being hassled by East German border guards:

    He was boarding a train from Warsaw to Berlin. Halfway to Berlin, there was a passport inspection with armed guards. Two guards fingered his passport for a while and asked him to get off the train:
    – Sir, will you please get off the train with us. There must be four visa stamps in your passport, but you only have three.
    The guards took him to the local police office, where he was told he would be deported to Warsaw on the next available train so he could get the extra stamp. In the meantime, he was put in a cell with the two guards keeping watch outside. While the cell had free tea and the newspaper Neues Deutschland to read, he soon felt bored and hungry, and asked if he could go to a local restaurant to have food. The guards accepted and went with him to a restaurant. After he was finished, he payed in US dollars, was escorted back to the border, boarded the next train and got back to Warsaw.

    After getting the fourth stamp he boarded the train and expected no problem. However, he was stopped again at the same station as before and asked to get off. Asking what the problem was this time, the guards cheerfully said:
    – No problem! It’s just that you paid one dollar too much in the restaurant last time, and we want to give it back to you.
    So he got back to the restaurant, filled in three forms and finally got one dollar bill. At this point, he said sarcastically:
    – You’re so efficient in this country.
    The guards thought it was a compliment and smiled happily. Finally, after the ordeal, he got to Berlin.

  276. real name
    November 3rd, 2009 at 10:34 | #276

    275.
    i’m not economist to comment it responsibly but it’s GDP index what just somehow describes economy status, to simplify it soviet block was able base GDP grow on production of mechanical typewriters even market in fact requires computer printers
    in soviet block in 80’s was perestroika
    but be sure also there were local cases first too (f.e. can search for slusovice experiment in czechoslovakia)
    look at last year in chinese grow – together with falling industry, electricity production, exports etc., after GDP grow trend falling to 0 in last weeks of 2008 started huge state investment to state companies, keeping housing prices, …
    “China has become an economy driven almost entirely by state investment, which in the first half of 2009 accounted for 88 percent of GDP growth”
    http://www.newsweek.com/id/218290/output/print
    “Deng made the right decisions in this phase of history”
    deng made big decision when in ’92 during his comeback kicked out winners of ’89 (or changed their behaviour – f.e. Jiang Zemin) so reforms returned again (and production of many ‘typewriters’ could be canceled)
    p.s.
    if you want popular joke from east block here is one:
    came soviet person to czechoslovakia. driving with locals in their car get to fuel station where they bought fuel. he was really surprised: you bought it just coming and paying money? yes. no paper with stamp was necessary? right. wow, such great chaos.

  277. Wukailong
    November 4th, 2009 at 03:23 | #277

    Sure, GDP itself is hardly indicative of real development. I was just wondering if the liberalization of the economy during perestroika was the reason for the high growth rate.

    As for the Newsweek article (http://www.newsweek.com/id/218290/output/print), it does have some good points but it looks like the author still belongs to the “China must fail” faction. Some counterpoints (only intended at the article):

    1. The Communist Party isn’t a monolith, but there’s little reason to believe these factions will turn on each other in a competitive manner any time soon. It’s not that it can’t happen, but it is not in the longterm interest of any of them to flaunt their differences in open (from the same Cheng Li quoted in the article):

    “Neither the elitist coalition nor the populist coalition is willing to, or capable of, defeating the other. Hu Jintao’s hesitance to remove Chen Liangyu from his post in Shanghai in the wake of corruption scandals in the city is a good example. Each coalition has its own strengths that the other coalition does not possess.”

    http://www.carnegieendowment.org/files/li.pdf

    2. This point is basically saying that the leaders are spending in the wrong areas, and that this will show over time. The example used is one of government debt which is still lower than most Western countries. I don’t really get why this would show that the CCP is incompetent in economic matters.

    5. Lenovo is already a global brand. Here again, I think the author is jumping the gun on the issue. I agree that Chinese legal protection for patents and IP is weak (no surprise there) but given the changes in other areas, why wouldn’t this get better over time?

    6. Well, it’s nice that this myth isn’t true. It’s also a bit confusing to include it in this listing, because the other “myths” are all negative, and this one is about investment in green technology. It’s also interesting because this was one of the points on why China must fail the last couple of years – no thoughts about the environment.

    My greatest worry about China in the future is that one or several aspects of the system will stagnate. I don’t think China will come crashing down like some analysts expect. China has been supposed to collapse for decades now…

  278. jpan
    November 4th, 2009 at 04:09 | #278

    haha, another tea-leaf reading by Newsweek . It does look like that it has to take a real Chinese to understand China nowadays.

    >> “”Perhaps the biggest myth about China is that it is only developing economically,” says Cheng Li, a China expert at the Brookings Institution in Washington. “In fact, it’s also evolving politically.”

    Why it took a ‘China expert’ from a renowned think tank to say that? Why can not the reporter just go to ask a college student in China with this simple question “what China is doing now …”

    China is not evolving politically, China is actually jumping ahead politically to renew its governance structure as well as the relation between people and government. Western audience will be surprised to see a more lean, efficient and politically responsible government in a few more years.

  279. Wukailong
    November 4th, 2009 at 04:24 | #279

    @jpan: “China is not evolving politically, China is actually jumping ahead politically to renew its governance structure as well as the relation between people and government.”

    Are you saying that China is jumping ahead of the world, or just taking very strong measures (not just evolving)?

    I think one reason why people are saying China’s success is a myth is because some hotheads believe China will replace the US and basically do the same thing. That isn’t going to happen anytime soon. However, US’ relative power will probably be greatly reduced the coming decades because several other countries are becoming more powerful. Maybe a lot of Americans think of that as losing power. 🙂

  280. jpan
    November 4th, 2009 at 05:15 | #280

    China has been taken many major steps to improve its governance and rule of laws. Of course, many measures are still under small-scale experiments.

    1. China will not replace US, nor it’s her intention to do so. However, China can be a more equal partner of US and EU in a few more years.

    2. China will not shape herself based on the image of US, even though a large number of western audience continue to hold that expectation. Nor China has the intention to shape the world based on her own image, unlike what US has try to do since post WWII.

    The three most important development in our time that are causing significant changes to post WWII world order are a) the fall of USSR, b) the fruition of EU, and c) the rise of China, both economically and politically.

  281. November 4th, 2009 at 05:25 | #281

    “China is not evolving politically, China is actually jumping ahead politically to renew its governance structure as well as the relation between people and government.”

    Any actual evidence of this either happening or being in the works is totally lacking. The last constitutional reform of any measurable impact was in 1982 when the current constitution was brought in, the 2004 reforms were minor and cosmetic. The fact that the Chinese government, just like every other dictatorship, has its divisions which compete for the top-spot, is nothing new.

  282. jpan
    November 4th, 2009 at 05:58 | #282

    #281

    Comments like that reflect the lagging mind-set that many western audience hold for such a long time. They have to come out of that bubble to see and appreciate the real China. However, one has to wonder if they are willing to come out and take that uncomfortable step …

    These people can be assured that China’s basic political, social and economical structure will not be changed, only her governance will be more modernized, rule of laws will be enhanced.

    So basically, don’t expect anything like multi-party competitive election, or a weak and infighting government with three competing branches, nor they could expect a western-like middle class audience to do a color revolution.

    The governance in China can become more politically responsive to her population with a US-like system.

  283. jpan
    November 4th, 2009 at 06:01 | #283

    >> The governance in China can become more politically responsive to her population WITHOUT a US-like system.

  284. S.K. Cheung
    November 4th, 2009 at 07:40 | #284

    To Jpan:
    “Western audience will be surprised to see a more lean, efficient and politically responsible government in a few more years.”
    “China’s basic political, social and economical structure will not be changed, only her governance will be more modernized, rule of laws will be enhanced.”

    — I will certainly be surprised. Pleasantly so, but surprised nonetheless. But I must say your assurances are less than persuasive thus far.

    “don’t expect anything like multi-party competitive election,… yada yada”
    — once again sounds like what that scholar Zhang had to say. China’s eventual system will not be this, that, or the other. And yet, besides some pie-in-the-sky sentiments, still no mention of what that eventual system will be. I would be one “westerner” willing to take that “uncomfortable step”, if someone would have any idea or notion of what we’d be stepping into. So far, there’s not much there besides the warm and fuzzies.

  285. Jerry
    November 4th, 2009 at 11:59 | #285

    @jpan #278 #282 #283, @S.K. Cheung #284

    Jpan, in #278, #282 and #283, you wrote:

    Western audience will be surprised to see a more lean, efficient and politically responsible government in a few more years. …

    These people can be assured that China’s basic political, social and economical structure will not be changed, only her governance will be more modernized, rule of laws will be enhanced. …

    Would you please be more specific and detailed as to what this means? Terms like “more lean, efficient and politically responsible government” and “governance will be more modernized, rule of laws will be enhanced” seem rather nebulous to me.

    Would you mind providing some evidence of your assertion? What are the motivations, criteria and mechanism for government to become more lean, efficient and politically responsible? What are the motivation, criteria and mechanisms for more modernization of governance and enhancement of the rule of laws?

    The governance in China can become more politically responsive to her population WITHOUT a US-like system.

    Would you please explain the mechanism, motivation and criteria which will make governance “more politically responsive to her population”? How will the citizens of China provide feedback to the government? How will those in government know if they are being more or less politically responsive to Chinese citizens? What is the motivation for those in government to care whether or not they are being more politically responsive? What does “more politically responsive to her population” mean?

    When all else fails, jpan, follow the 6 W’s: who, what, when, where, why and how!

  286. November 4th, 2009 at 13:19 | #286

    @JPan –

    “Comments like that reflect the lagging mind-set that many western audience hold for such a long time. They have to come out of that bubble to see and appreciate the real China. However, one has to wonder if they are willing to come out and take that uncomfortable step …”

    You mean: Go to China and see it for yourself? Speak to Chinese constitutional scholars? Legal experts? Young and old, rich and poor? Politicians? Read political commentators both foreign and domestic? Speak to emigres? And what about when you have done these things but still believe that there is neither the will within the CCP nor the political capital to make any far-reaching constitutional change? Does this mean you still have a ‘lagging mind set’? Nebulous assurances about eventual change carry no weight, nor should they.

    “So basically, don’t expect anything like multi-party competitive election, or a weak and infighting government with three competing branches, nor they could expect a western-like middle class audience to do a color revolution.”

    The thing is, as much as the government has ever suggested it would move toward anything in terms of constitutional change, these are exactly the things which has been hinted. A three-branch government is actually entrenched in the constitution itself – it is only the fact that they are all controlled by the CCP which makes them fused. The government’s nudge-nudge wink-wink placing of puppet-party members in lowly positions hints at an eventual multi-party system. I have no idea what the difference between a “a western-like middle class audience to do a color revolution” and an ordinary middle-class (which is what China is developing) is, unless it is simply a middle-class which is heavily indoctrinated. Basically, as SKC said, you are simply saying that Chinese political reform won’t be ‘western’ (which seems to mean ‘democratic’ in your definition) without even vaguely hinting at what it might be (other than ‘more of the same’).

  287. jpan
    November 4th, 2009 at 18:29 | #287

    I can understand all these interesting questions that are coming out. The current generation of western audience is an eager crowd, yet timid, doubtful and lagging.

    The best way for them to fully understand and appreciate what China has been doing for herself and for the world is to step out their old mind-set and find answers for themselves. Their answers and observation should not be based on speculation of someone else. Basically, they need to learn to read in Chinese and gain first hand information from publication sources from mainland China etc. If you could not do that, then please be patient and don’t keep jumping your gun.

    There is an old saying in China that a river with 3 feet ice is not the result of one day in winter.

    China’s economical development, including its outstanding outcome and effective policy formulation, is not the result of one meeting or one particular speech given by one particular leader. However, regardless how much China pushes the reform and open-up policy, how much FDI comes in or how energetic and thriving private enterprises (both domestic and foreign) could be, the main stay of state ownership remains the same and will be changed in the future. This model of market economy without overly privatization, its sustainable and long lasting high growth rate without any clear economical cycle is already beyond the comprehension by western experts and public, so goes with their admiration and jealousy .

    China’s political development has been under a similar process, and changes are the result of cumulative effort. What you see the main stay of political system will not change nor it will be changed in the future. However, the government will be leaner, more effective, more service oriented and politically responsive to its people.

  288. jpan
    November 4th, 2009 at 18:32 | #288

    the main stay of state ownership remains the same and will NOT be changed in the future

  289. jpan
    November 4th, 2009 at 18:46 | #289

    Western audience is good at mentioning what Deng said years ago that the way China’s reform and open-up is to “cross the river by touching stones” — the proper context of such strategy is at tactical and short-term policy level.

    What they missed is the long term guiding principles that have been put in place. China will not do anything without a clear direction and goals 50 or 100 years later down the road.

  290. tanjin
    November 4th, 2009 at 20:00 | #290

    #289 Very good point.

    People should be reminded that modern political parties are the product of economical and social disparity among population group. Partisan struggle is the nature product of multi-party politics. It’s a double-edged sword regardless it is bloody or bloodless.

    The more improvement of governance by a government, the less reason for political parties to exist. Eventually, political parties will fade into sunset.

  291. tanjin
    November 4th, 2009 at 20:29 | #291

    #287 How about doing something like Obama’s half brother 🙂

    “Ndesandjo bears a striking resemblance to President Obama. This is what America’s 44th president would look like if he shaved his head, wore a bandanna, favored black T-shirts and sported an earring in his left ear.

    Ndesandjo, who is a U.S. citizen, also has an academic pedigree as lofty as his half-brother’s, with bachelor’s degrees in physics and math from Brown University, a master’s degree in physics from Stanford and an MBA from Emory. He is also an accomplished pianist, does Chinese calligraphy and he has just finished reading the Chinese epic “The Dream of Red Mansions” — in Mandarin.

    After working in telecommunications and marketing in the United States and then losing his job, he relocated to China just after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In Shenzhen, the booming city bordering Hong Kong in southern China, he began teaching English, giving piano lessons, learning Chinese and dedicating himself to helping orphans and underprivileged children — much like the David character of his novel. ”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/04/AR2009110401214.html

  292. Rhan
    November 5th, 2009 at 00:14 | #292

    jpan, I read below from a blog, is the model in your mind bear any resemblance with what was written? Is this another kind of dictatorship from the “western” point of view? Or by replace dictator with dictators that work together is deemed a ruling of dictatorship?

    “I believe in the rule of technocracy simply because political partisanship breeds disunity, sharpens differences and rends asunder the fabric of social harmony and cohesiveness. If one analyses the west, one is struck by the subtle shift away from crass ideological dogmatism to bipartisanship. The US is one such example, In the UK, Blair moved from the left to the center, similar movements are discernible in Australia, Canada etc. A new dawn is breaking over global politics, parties are ditching ideologies and dogmatism to embrace a more bipartisan, participatory approach. In the wake of collapse of old style party /ideological politics of yore, the question that should be asked is there a need for political parties at all? Isn’t it time we jettison this blight from our social landscape knowing that it has run it course as an actor of change and transformation. Politicians today are devoid of ideas but full of bile, empty of initiative but overflowing with rhetoric, bankrupt of principles but rich in hypocrisy. Remove them from the landscape and the land will be neutered of the monkey antics, inane chatter, street thuggery, slanderfests and rabble rousing.

    Wouldn’t it be better if political parties are dispensed with and administered by a technocracy of experts not beholden to the conflicting demands of stakeholders be it their immediate constituency, party warlords, low level apparatchiks like the folks here . You may ask how can a state be administered without party politics.

    The answer is simple, leverage on the bureaucratic network to reach the masses in order to implement policy, carry out programmes, facilitate surveillance, conduct reviews (from the minister right down to the district officer down to the village head, empowerment, responsibility, accountability etc should be the raision d’etre). In short, a broad based mass approach to ensure economic development, income distribution, poverty eradication. Implement and operationalise the structure and in one fell swoop, we will reduce bureaucratic red tape, eliminate wastage, eradicate corruption. No longer are KPIs formulated and evaluated in distant Beijing alone but at every level of the implementation chain with the people providing an important input. Efficient performance and results are being the ultimate measures.

    So how do we ELECT such a government? We don’t, we SELECT through a plebiscite from a slate of pre-vetted candidates from the grass root level right to the top of the apex. We want people who embrace altruism not pecuniary motivations, people who serve communities not exploit them, people who transform societies not hobble them. We want displays of dedication not bravado, exhibitions of commitment not platitudes, shows of positivism not nihilism. Rest assured all this is attainable within the paradigm without any drastic transformation of our fundamental institutions: the Constitution, the Judiciary, the Legislature, the Executive etc.

    I call for the delegislation of party democracy as we know it now. I stand for the legislation of a proactivist, participatory, all embracing governance structure. I reject prescriptivism and embrace activism, I abhor centralisation and valorise empowerment. My vision is for economic growth, income equality, ‘egalitarian’ wealth distribution, zero poverty .My hope is the reignition of volunteerism, the reinvigoration of sacrifice, the rejuvenation of charity, the resurrection of hope itself. My dream is a progressive proactive and moral nation.”

  293. November 5th, 2009 at 02:00 | #293

    @Jpan –

    “The best way for them to fully understand and appreciate what China has been doing for herself and for the world is to step out their old mind-set and find answers for themselves. Their answers and observation should not be based on speculation of someone else. Basically, they need to learn to read in Chinese and gain first hand information from publication sources from mainland China etc. If you could not do that, then please be patient and don’t keep jumping your gun.”

    Okay, here’s where I get really annoyed. I spent good years of my life learning Chinese, read and write well enough to have worked in a patenting office of a company in mainland China without having to do much more than refer to a dictionary now and then, go to my blog and you can read translations which I made myself of Chinese political commentary (here’s an example: http://foarp.blogspot.com/2009/07/vietnam-student-has-gone-ahead-of.html ). So yes, I have done all the things you talk about. Strangely enough though, I find myself agreeing with what I believe is the greater weight of opinion which says that China has developed economically, but is lagging politically.

    In fact, just a little while ago when I was last on the mainland I sat down to dinner at the same table as one of Shenzhen’s top lawyers, a Shenzhen factory owner, a senior partner in an accountancy firm, a fashion designer and (richest of the lot) a fortune teller, and we had a discussion on when and how political Change might happen. Opinion differed: the fortune teller said never (answering objection by saying, in heavily Hong Kong-accented mandarin, “百年不变”). The accountant agreed, saying that the Chinese people would never accept democracy. The factory owner was of the opinion that it would happen eventually – although he and the fashion designer differed as to whether it would be in the next ten years or after. The lawyer said that such questions were beyond her. Not one of these worthies, however, tried to say that it was already happening or in the works.

  294. Jerry
    November 5th, 2009 at 03:11 | #294

    @jpan #287

    LMAO

    Jpan, you made some assertions without the benefit of any evidence or substantiation. I asked you for some evidence and explanation of terms. How do you respond? You bloviate, you expound, you cryptically double-talk, you beat your chest, you dodge, you evade. How impressive! QEND!! Talk is cheap, very cheap. Results and signs of progress are “king”.

    Basically, they need to learn to read in Chinese and gain first hand information from publication sources from mainland China etc. If you could not do that, then please be patient and don’t keep jumping your gun.

    Right! ::LOL:: 😀 And if I did so, you expect me to trust government publications or media commentary in a country where the government censors its media! No sale! Tilt! No cigar for you, jpan!

    “If you could not do that, then please be patient and don’t keep jumping your gun.”

    You want us to wait until you can manufacture some “facts”, answers, explanations and propaganda. Pleeeeease! Let’s be real! You are stalling for time! Pure and simple!

    If you don’t know, please say that you don’t know. If you want to express opinions, please be my guest. If you want to use nebulous terms, please be my guest again. It is obvious that what you have expressed above are opinions, many in very nebulous terms. And that is your right. It is quite obvious that you are not speaking “ex cathedra”. And that is fine.

    I am going back to my “western audience is an eager crowd, yet timid, doubtful and lagging” mode and manner. But I will be damned if I ever believe your specious double-talk. You waste so many words and so much time in justifying that you are just giving opinions; you don’t have to justify opinions. You have presented no substantiation or evidence for your assertions. And that is ok, too. Your assertions are just opinions.

    You know what they say, “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with …” Well, I think you know the rest. ::LMAO:: 😀 😛

  295. Wukailong
    November 5th, 2009 at 03:12 | #295

    I think anyone who says that China won’t change for 50 or 100 years ought to ask themselves what they would have said in the year 1900. Or imagine asking somebody whether it would be possible for China to have a market economy back in the early 60s (probably better not to ask this in the late 60s or you would be paraded through the streets as a counterrevolutionary)?

    It always helps with a bit of history. The Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc was seen by many as unchangable back in the good old days.

    “Westerners don’t understand China” have become a sort of automated response to any criticism whether it’s valid or not. In some cases, when people say that China has to fail because it’s a dictatorship and there’s no deeper analysis involved, I can understand it. But to just keep repeating it in face of critical questions is silly.

    @Jerry (#285): I think I have an answer to some of your questions… But it’ll have to wait. 🙂

  296. Otto Kerner
    November 5th, 2009 at 03:46 | #296

    Rhan,

    All humans are beholden to the conflicting demands of stakeholders. If you want a group of legislators without systematically biased demands from stakeholders, might I suggest sortition, i.e. choosing legislators by random lot. Philosopher Richard Carrier discusses this idea in an interview here: http://www.opednews.com/articles/5/Interview-with-Richard-Car-by-Ben-Dench-090803-799.html

    By the way, “selection by plebiscite” is the same thing as election.

    The functional point of what this blog post is suggesting seems to be that there should be elections but the candidates are to be chosen by the existing government. This is an essentially undemocratic system. Since I personally am not terribly enthusiastic about democracy, I am not scandalised. However, the idea simply fails to say how it will address the key problem that democracy supposedly remedies: making the government responsive to the interests of the public, rather than responsive to the interests of the people currently in office. It seems to simply say that they should be public-minded, without anything about how that is to be achieved. In that sense, it resembles the thought of, for example, Daniel A. Bell.

  297. S.K. Cheung
    November 5th, 2009 at 03:52 | #297

    To Jpan #287:
    once again, you’ve used a lot of words, and still managed to say next to nothing. Y’know, there’s something to be said for brevity…

    “However, the government will be leaner, more effective, more service oriented and politically responsive to its people.” — you’ve said this before. Now, this might be how you HOPE CHina’s government will evolve. But it still says nothing about how it will go about doing so. Nor does it even show us how you might have it achieve such goals. These would be the “pie-in-the-sky” sentiments to which I’ve already referred.

    “China will not do anything without a clear direction and goals 50 or 100 years later down the road.”
    — and that “clear direction” is…..? And those 100-year goals are….?

    To Tanjin:
    “The more improvement of governance by a government, the less reason for political parties to exist.”
    — by that metric, China should have a bunch of political parties. And yet she only has one. WOnder why that is.

  298. Jerry
    November 5th, 2009 at 04:26 | #298

    @S.K. Cheung #297, @Wukailong #295

    WKL,

    @Jerry (#285): I think I have an answer to some of your questions… But it’ll have to wait. 🙂

    Thanks, WKL. I will wait with bated breath. 😀 I award my patience to those who deserve it. 😉

    ####

    SK,

    — and that “clear direction” is…..? And those 100-year goals are….?

    Don’t hold your breath, SK! ::LMAO::

    once again, you’ve used a lot of words, and still managed to say next to nothing.

    Amen, SK! At least he is not throwing Baidu searches at us! And there is a lot to be said for that omission. 😀

  299. November 5th, 2009 at 07:14 | #299

    “To Tanjin:
    “The more improvement of governance by a government, the less reason for political parties to exist.”
    — by that metric, China should have a bunch of political parties. And yet she only has one. WOnder why that is.”

    I’m not usually one for netspeak, but ROFLMAO!!!!!!

  300. jpan
    November 5th, 2009 at 17:00 | #300

    #291

    Good point, but Obama’s half brother came to China to make a decent living several years ago, not try to find an answer on a set of very broad and deep issues with curiosity and disdain.

    If these people are so into international politics, they actually should treat John Naisbitt, the author of “China’s Megatrend” as a role model, that

    1. throw out their old mindset and come to China with a blank paper, like Deng say “liberation of their mind”.

    People will be definitely disappointed if they try to fit China into a western-style pigeon hole, regardless how tempting and popular that kind of thought might be. John Naisbitt’s team, after years of living in China and observing what China has been doing, is able to come up Chinese model of “vertical democracy” vs. “horizontal democracy” in the west.

    2. learn Chinese as well as China’s deep culture better.

    How can you know where China is heading if you even don’t know or understand 1-2-3 basics of China’s political system. — Mainland China has multiple political parties since the founding day of PRC — some of the people on this thread should be annoyed by the fact of their lacking of intimate knowledge on China yet still carrying on their aloofness.

    The idea of seeing China as a alike of former USSR simply won’t fly, given China’s drastically different situation on her political, economical and cultural situation.

  301. jpan
    November 5th, 2009 at 17:04 | #301

    a little more info on John Naisbitt team’s “vertical democracy” concept:

    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20091025231429AAmTPt5

    http://www.naisbitt.com/chinas-megatrends.html

    “Most of those who look at China with interest, fear, reprobation, courtesy, hope or simple curiosity, see the future and sustainability of China as adapting to the Western economic and value system. But what is the scenario from a Chinese point of view?
    With an inside out approach, explains what enabled China to change in only 30 years from a nation of poverty and backwardness to become the third largest economy of the world, beat Germany as export champion, and challenge America as the most competitive. China has reinvented itself as if it were a huge enterprise, developing a company culture which fits the demands of the enterprise and its people on the path to modernity and wealth.
    Looking for patterns that form the picture of the new China, John und Doris Naisbitt and the 28 staff members of the Naisbitt China Institute in Tianjin found what was of much greater dimension and importance than the economic rise of China: China is creating an entirely new social and economic system. It is creating a political counter model to Western modern democracy fitting to Chinese history and society just as America created a model fitting to its history, society and values more than 200 years ago.
    Economically and politically China has left the path of imitation, determined to become the innovation country of the world. In the next decades China will not only change the global economy, it will challenge Western democracy with its own model. “

  302. tanjin
    November 5th, 2009 at 17:34 | #302

    #300

    good choice on word ‘disdain’ (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/disdaining)

    : A feeling or show of contempt and aloofness; scorn.

  303. tanjin
    November 5th, 2009 at 17:46 | #303

    China’s “vertical democracy”ensures stability

    http://opinion.globaltimes.cn/commentary/2009-10/480250.html

    “John: Somebody is going to criticize us, but inevitably they will criticize what they can’t understand.

    Westerners think they are the judges of democracy. They believe that democracy is about elections, and if a system is different from their model, it is not democracy.

    But Athenians, who were credited with inventing democracy, had slaves who couldn’t vote. India often boasts that it is the largest democracy in the world, but it also has a caste system, and no country with a caste system should be called a democracy.

    Democracy is what people decide, and different nations can have different procedures and arrangements of democracy. China is building a democracy that is different from the typical Western way. If they don’t buy it, it’s their own problem.

    Doris: Under China’s political system, the government can say “stop,” and you cannot set up a new political party to overthrow it.

    But one should note that the Chinese system is sustainable. We support freedom of speech, and we do not support suppression of people. But what is more important for the Chinese people now is social stability. If there were multiple political parties, China might return to chaos.

    John: The West says the Chinese political system is authoritarian, but it is actually a new type of democracy. The essence of it is that it is vertical. We call it a vertical democracy, while Western democracy is horizontal.

    In the West, everybody has equal status, and there will be an election every few years. Somebody votes and others get voted in.

    In China’s vertical democracy, there are leaders at the top and then there are people at the bottom. The leaders may command, but people can make proposals too.

    Within this system, sometimes, the leaders are more important, while at other times the people are more important, depending on differing situations. It continues to change, being both top-down and bottom-up. That’s why we call it a “vertical democracy.”

    Doris: I think it poses a change to the model of the West. The Western model was the only one in the world, but now there is another model, and it is a highly efficient one.

    In the US, the Democrats and Republicans may say, “Let us put aside our political differences and do something good for the country,” but what can Americans achieve? They still quarrel with each other.

    Now the Republicans are trying to stop US President Barack Obama on everything.

    John: Western democracy is now in crisis, and cannot achieve anything. Aside from President Obama, all the other Western countries have weak leadership.

    In Europe, those who engage in politics are not the smartest people, because the smartest people have chosen better things to do. In China, the smartest people are in the national leadership.”

  304. jpan
    November 5th, 2009 at 18:51 | #304

    #303

    Interesting conversation there. However, I don’t support John’s assertion that “In the West, everybody has equal status”.

    Western democratic-style political systems have been evolving and changing over the course of a few hundreds of years. After WWII, one major influence came from its free market economic system.

    The so-called “liberal democracy” is in fact an application of “free market” principles on political system, in which vote is treated like a kind of ‘currency’. Political rights are assigned to whoever can pool a large-enough votes from voters.

    Note: maybe only a subset of its population groups can vote as noted by John — one reason of inequality in my argument; also considering those who choose not to vote for various reasons — another reason of actual inequality in my argument.

    For those voters who are energetic to vote may want to impact a pending outcome so badly, that they choose to vote as a block by pooling their vote together and/or by asserting their influence through many other channels and tricks legal or illegal (various from countries to countries, states to states, cultures to cultures). In essential, the value of these special interest groups’ ‘currency’ is higher than other voters — third reason of inequality. This situation is called “implied disenfranchising” –it is legal and often encouraged practices.

    The forth kind of inequality is created by candidates who want to run political positions so badly, and also legal and encouraged by the system, is that candidates can come out to buy votes, either using his/her own money or somebody else. So in fact, candidates are not born equal. Like what I understood NY Mayer just spent $100M to get elected.

    Once votes were cast. Voters often have far less influence on policy formulation than special interests groups — the fifth kind of inequality.

    As the result. those elected count the number of votes they got like they are equal, but in fact, they are not. Such trick of substitution is often used by magicians — it makes you to believe the system is fair and equal, yet it is not.

    The inherent problems of such “free market” political systems are many, hereI only mention three negative common outcome:

    1) The stability of such “free market” political systems rests on the tolerance of people toward political inequality, as much as people’s tolerance of people toward inequality in “free market” economical systems. The lack of such tolerance caused great social instability among South America countries. A system without external constrains is often hard to maintain its own stability — this has been scientifically proven.

    2) “free market” political systems is a front-end loaded system in which natural voters (note: ‘natural’ has a specific definition here) have the most influence during election time (often 4 years cycle or longer). It actively discourages, disappoints and disenfranchises a portion of voters’ further political and constructive participation– a.k.a “persistently negative”, “picky” and ‘turned-off” attitude. It is not good for a country’s governance as well as social-economical development. The result is that those countries are in fact in a state of “ideological” civil war, and accomplish less or little to meet people’ real needs and expectation.

    Note: China’s current political system is more a back-end loaded, performance driven.

    3) “free market” political systems encourages and enlarges special interest groups. These interests are often inherently conflicting towards each other, manifesting in political leaders’ inaction, inconsistent policies and actions against the long term interests of a nation or state.

  305. jpan
    November 5th, 2009 at 19:12 | #305

    … continue

    BTW, I whole-heartily support John’s notion “superpower is an obsolete term”

    “John: “Superpower” is on Wednesday’s term. It was something used in the 1940s and 1950s during the Cold War. We should delete this term from our brain, now that all the world’s countries have integrated their economies into the global economy.

    I wouldn’t say China is a superpower, just as I wouldn’t say the US is a superpower. It is an obsolete concept. What we are talking about now is an integrated global economy.”

  306. November 5th, 2009 at 19:20 | #306

    @jpan/tanjin

    Instead of posting comments online, wouldn’t it be better for you to compliment each other directly while sitting in the same room? You know, a fake kindred spirit does not lend you true credibility.

    By the way, the game may be fun but the trick is nothing new. Please see some examples below.

    Spelunker/正在发牙齿
    http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2008/08/12/an-imperfect-perfection/

    Fu Jieshi/Ma Bole/Hong/Cao Cao
    http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2008/06/25/true-pride-time-magazine/

  307. jpan
    November 5th, 2009 at 19:31 | #307

    why need to fake anything … we often share the same computer, same car and even MANY same beer bottles 🙂

  308. tanjin
    November 5th, 2009 at 22:56 | #308

    The story of China Incorporated

    “The authors and their team have conducted meticulous examination of the decision-making process of China’s leadership.

    What fascinates them includes the top-down and then bottom-up bilateral approach and the pilot programs that epitomize the phrase “crossing the river by feeling the stones”.

    They understand why Chinese leaders do not pay much attention to outside carping.

    “The CEO of a healthy, profitable company is not very vulnerable. Results dampen criticism. The more the new Chinese system evolves and the stronger its outlines become, the less vulnerable the political leadership will feel.”

    At this level, China does not divert much from a typical Western democracy. But the authors regret that the Western press, which “criticizes China so self-righteously and condescendingly”, are oblivious to the “cosmopolitanism and savoir-vivre of some top-ranking Chinese politicians”.

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2009-10/23/content_8838159.htm

  309. S.K. Cheung
    November 6th, 2009 at 06:00 | #309

    To Admin #306:
    LOL. Not that juvenile game again. Those 2 dudes are peas in a pod, almost literally. Great minds think alike. I guess lesser ones do as well.

    To Jpan/Tanjin/ the twins:
    very amusing conversation, particularly in light of #306. Anyhow…

    #301: “In the next decades China will not only change the global economy, it will challenge Western democracy with its own model. “ — goodness, will someone at some point in our lifetime enlighten us on what this stupendously awesome model actually looks like? You guys talk about it enough, but it’s like cotton candy….lots of fluff but not much substance.

    #303: “That’s why we call it a “vertical democracy.”” — could you define that term? Cuz whatever it is, it doesn’t sound like democracy as we know it. So really, you guys should call it “vertical something”, and come up with a term in place of “something”. But it ain’t democracy.

    “The leaders may command, but people can make proposals too.” — and in this little vertical contraption of yours, what compels the leaders to make accommodation for peoples’ proposals?

    “In China, the smartest people are in the national leadership.” — this is just a warmed over version of that meritocracy nonsense someone had floated before. Pray tell, who gets to decide who is the “smartest”? Oh let me guess, the CCP. Am I right? Am I right?

  310. November 6th, 2009 at 06:14 | #310

    I post the above because it is as good a “summary” video of the parade as I could glance from youtube. I have no arguments to make here. I just want to post it for people to view in light of the above discussions…

  311. Jerry
    November 6th, 2009 at 06:39 | #311

    @jpan/tanjin/whomever

    jpan/tanjin/whomever, I had imaginary friends, too, … when I was 5 years old. 😀

    TJ, you made an interesting comment in #308

    The CEO of a healthy, profitable company is not very vulnerable. Results dampen criticism. The more the new Chinese system evolves and the stronger its outlines become, the less vulnerable the political leadership will feel.

    There is an inherent weakness in your logic, TJ. What appears to be healthy and profitable may be only so on paper. Let me remind you of several examples. Have you ever heard of Enron and Ken Lay? Sir Allen Stanford? How about Bernie Madoff? How about Hank Greenberg and AIG? How could I forget Dick Fuld of Lehman Brothers? What about Sandy Weill, Bob Rubin and Chuck Prince at Citigroup? And many of the other financiers on Wall Street who were playing with credit derivatives. I am just getting started, but I am stopping for now

    All of these people assured their stockholders and stakeholders that all was well. They lied and the rest is history. Very expensive and devastating history.

    “Results dampen criticism.” So do people who lie about non-existent or illusionary results, health and profitability, until they are caught cheating.

    So what is missing from your logic in your statement above? Transparency, decentralization of intra-corporate power and accountability. People, most especially people in power, have this tendency to corrupt the truth for their own benefit. Transparency, decentralization of power, and accountability are necessary to check the corruptive tendencies of power.

    The Chinese political leaders are just as vulnerable to corruption as Bernie Madoff, Bob Rubin, Hank Paulson, Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling, Allen Stanford, Dick Fuld, Hank Greenberg, just to name a few. So what leads to this corruption?

    Here are a few ideas:

    Lord Acton warned, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

    Power, fame and the love of money are powerful, addictive drugs.

    Small, powerful Good Old Boys’ Clubs are great places to rationalize away the worst of human behavior.

    Fritjof Capra’s “crisis of perception”: People can’t see the world the way it really is. If they did, they wouldn’t do most of the crap that they do.

  312. Jerry
    November 6th, 2009 at 07:08 | #312

    @S.K. Cheung #309

    #301: “In the next decades China will not only change the global economy, it will challenge Western democracy with its own model. “ — goodness, will someone at some point in our lifetime enlighten us on what this stupendously awesome model actually looks like? You guys talk about it enough, but it’s like cotton candy….lots of fluff but not much substance.

    😀 LMAO

    It may be cotton candy, but it is becoming very stale, gummy cotton candy. Or a psychotic rant. TJ/JP has/have become so doctrinaire and dogmatic. Boring!!

    I loved this definition of “dogmatic” from answers.com: “Characterized by an authoritative, arrogant assertion of unproved or unprovable principles. See synonyms at dictatorial.” I loved the part which says to see synonyms at “dictatorial”. ::LOL::

    In response to #303, SK, you wrote:

    “The leaders may command, but people can make proposals too.” — and in this little vertical contraption of yours, what compels the leaders to make accommodation for peoples’ proposals?

    “In China, the smartest people are in the national leadership.” — this is just a warmed over version of that meritocracy nonsense someone had floated before. Pray tell, who gets to decide who is the “smartest”? Oh let me guess, the CCP. Am I right? Am I right?

    ROFL

    SK, it’s good seeing you channel Ned from Groundhog Day. I love that movie. ::LOL:: 😀 😉

    “Don’t drive angry, Phil!” Or Jpan or Tanjin! 😀

  313. tanjin
    November 7th, 2009 at 19:57 | #313

    #309

    “the twins” is your best guess? We are in fact close cousins, studying and working (doing research) in similar fields.

    And in case you want to see a picture of ours, take a look at this link 🙂

    http://www.cultural-china.com/chinaWH/html/en/Traditions1045bye1291.html

  314. real_name
    December 8th, 2009 at 15:15 | #314

    interesting article about Deng, perestroika etc. (discussed here near 276.)
    http://www.hoover.org/publications/policyreview/72997307.html

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