Archive

Archive for November, 2009

毛阿敏 (Mao AMin), 渴望 (”Yearning”), yearning for a better future

November 30th, 2009 26 comments

For the last two centuries, the Chinese psyche has been defined in large part by the humiliations and sufferings brought about by foreigners (see the Opium War, the Second Opium War, and the Nanjing Massacre). After the founding of the current Peoples Republic of China, it was the disastrous policies of the Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward which furthered that wound. The latter were the Chinese inflicting pain onto themselves.
Read more…

Shanghai Style: Pajamas in the Great Outdoors

November 26th, 2009 19 comments

Shanghai PajamasIt seems the long held social custom of Shanghainese to walk down the street in their pajamas is causing some discomfort to the organizers of the Shanghai World Expo scheduled for next year and a campaign has been started by the municipal government to end the practice.

It’s not that unusual to see middle aged women milling around on the street in their pajamas, or even walking to the subway or local shopping mall. So the slogan “No Pajamas in Public – be Civilized for the Expo” has been coined to end what the government feels is uncivilized behavior in a modern, world class city. As China Daily columnist Raymond Zhou said recently in “In Defense of Pajamas”:

“So, it’s not really about whether we like it, but rather about whether we are liked. Again, it’s the quintessential concept of “face” and “saving face”.

Not many Chinese are shocked to see a street full of pajama-wearing pedestrians, but if international visitors feel squeamish about it we should stop doing it. Or so the implied rationale for the crackdown goes.”

The city’s tactic to stamp out street pajama wearers was to create a team of 500 volunteers to use persuasion at bus stops and other venues to convince pajama wearing Shanghainese residents to change their clothes.

Read more…

(Letter) Translation: Chinese-American Military Service Experience In Contrast – Who Am I Fighting For

November 26th, 2009 No comments

In contrast to the fairly positive reportng by Sichuan Online on overseas Chinese serving in US military, this article titled “Who Am I Fighting For” exposes a different view of life in the American military.

“Who Am I Fighting For” appeared in November 2008 issue of Siwen Times Digest, chronicled a Chinese graduate student’s entry into the Iraq war, and the deaths he witnessed on and off the battlefield:

http://bbs.51ielts.com/thread-513028-1-1.html

Who Am I Fighting For – A Chinese American Soldier’s Diary
Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , , ,

Opinion:Making Sense of the Dollar and Yuan

November 26th, 2009 70 comments

Officials from both China and the U.S. have lauded Obama’s recent trip to China as a great success.  While some have criticized the trip for producing little in terms of specifics, one should not casually dismiss the achievements actually made (see U.S.-China Joint Statement). In so many ways, the relationship between U.S. and China has never been closer.

Yet despite the goodwill generated by the trip, there is one sharp difference that festers between the two – and that is the value of the Yuan.  Many in America feel that the Yuan is not only undervalued, but has created a huge trade deficit, setting in motion the current global financial crisis and threatening to prolong the current U.S. recession. Read more…

(Letter) Translation: “My American Soldier Diary” – Chengdu Man Serving In American Military

November 24th, 2009 No comments

Below is a report from Sichuan Online, about a young man from Chengdu serving in US military, and his forum postings about his experience:

http://www.scol.com.cn/nsichuan/cddt/20091112/2009111282836.htm

“My American Soldier Diary” – Chengdu Man Serving In American Military: In Kuwait Reminiscing Jiouyanchao
Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , ,

(Letter from pug_ster) National Geographic got into the propaganda act?

November 22nd, 2009 271 comments

Saw an interesting blog of some brave woman who took great risks of taking a picture of 2 Uyghur ‘protesters’ before they got shot Chinese police. It even have a colorful story with it:

Writer Matthew Teague photographed these Uygur men, advancing upon Chinese forces, moments before they were shot.

Many people carry cameras these days. Some have uncommon courage. On page 36 of this issue, in the story “The Other Tibet,” there is a photograph taken with a cell phone. The photographer was not a professional. She was a Uygur woman who documented the shooting of a Uygur man by Chinese security forces on a street in Urumqi, capital of China’s Xinjiang region. She later gave the picture to National Geographic’s photographer Carolyn Drake.

Like their Tibetan neighbors, the Uygurs have a history of struggle, but when Carolyn began covering them more than a year ago, she had no idea that the conflict would explode into one of China’s most deadly uprisings since the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. By June of this year, she thought her coverage was finished; she returned home to Istanbul. Then hints of unrest began to filter back to her. “At first I didn’t realize the severity of it. I started sending emails to my translator and friends in Kashgar, Hotan, and Urumqi, but no one responded.” She anxiously searched news sources, but the picture of what was going on seemed incomplete and unclear. There was only one way to fi nd out: return to China. She did so in July.

Carolyn, writer Matthew Teague, and a Uygur woman with a cell phone camera all took great risks to bring us the story of a struggle for human rights. Many people carry cameras these days. Sometimes they help us find the truth.

Yes, sounds like the human rights abuse Chinese police are at it again. If picture is worth a thousands words, maybe the picture would better explain why.

http://blogs.ngm.com/blog_central/2009/11/editors-note-uncommon-courage-2.html [updated 2011-12-31; originally at this link]

Of course the blog is a story about the ‘human rights’ struggles in Xinjiang and the July 5 protests.

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2009/12/uygurs/teague-text

Even in the colorful story in the National Geographic magazine, they didn’t explain about how the so called ‘protests’ got ugly and almost 200 people died, namely by those knife wielding maniacs whom National Geographic refers them as ‘protesters.’

I have seen some other propagandized reporting such as this:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/oct/22/china-executes-tibet-protesters

But this National Geographic article takes the cake.

“Father’s Prairie, Mother’s River” – the feelings of one billion people on the move

November 18th, 2009 8 comments

Everyone knows China is going through an industrial revolution right now. In developed countries such as the U.S., this took place in the late 19th century. The ratio between the number of rural and urban residents basically swapped because industrialization freed the bulk of the population from having to work in the fields to produce food for all. This phenomenon is occurring in China right now with her massive GDP growth in the last three decades. Despite the hundreds of millions of people having moved to urban areas, the number of Chinese citizens residing in the rural areas is still staggering – 750 million. If the final ratio is similar to other developed countries (which is likely), the scale of this population movement in the coming decades is mind-numbing. Imagine one billion people on the move in only a few decades!
Read more…

Categories: culture, General, music, video Tags:

Hu and Obama meeting, which issues are "core interests?"

November 17th, 2009 27 comments

Both NPR and Xinhua covered the meeting of the U.S. President Obama and Chinese President Hu. I thought the coverage were actually decent in that the issues they list were basically identical. Obviously, NPR did not give equal weight to how the Chinese see the issues. Likewise, Xinhua did not give equal weight to how the U.S. see the issues. Naturally they both are biased. (A disappointment for me obviously is there are enough “free” media preferring to stupefy the “West”, as DJ’s prior article shows, even on an important occasion such as this. “Ah, that tricky Chinese propaganda machine, how devious it is to deceive the foreign media!“)
Read more…

Categories: General Tags:

Ah, that tricky Chinese propaganda machine, how devious it is to deceive the foreign media!

November 17th, 2009 80 comments

It was practically a news story that wrote itself. Soon after president Obama made a roundabout endorsement of non-censorship, it was reported via twitter and then repeated by the China Digial Times that China pulled the coverage from news portal NetEase 27 minutes after the transcript appeared.
Read more…

Categories: media, News Tags: , ,

Ou, bummer! Now we have a real dispute between China and U.S.

November 16th, 2009 10 comments

President Obama is currently visiting China and the very first dispute is shaping up between China and U.S., namely, what his name is and where he lives.
Read more…

Chinese Copyright Protection in the Age of Digital Books, Creative Commons, Remixes, and Mashups

November 15th, 2009 4 comments

This may sound like a Dilbert kind of approach, but some problems are solved if you wait long enough. Copyright protection is certainly a case in point.

The United States has been a patient critic of Chinese copyright protection, but according to Wei Gu, columnist for Reuters, such calls for action has fallen on deaf ears (see: Copyright protection battle in China).   The hope is that Chinese government and individuals realize themselves the importance of protection for intellectual property.

That day may come sooner than expected. Read more…

Categories: General Tags:

(Letter from justkeeper) Understanding China geopolitically

November 14th, 2009 139 comments

I just came across this old post on Sun-Bin:http://sun-bin.blogspot.com/2008/10/john-mauldins-geopolitics-of-china.html, which I am sure most of you must have read, most of the points in that article are valid and verifiable, but there are two I believe to be particularly helpful in understanding the mindset of Chinese people and considerations of Chinese leaders in their policymaking:

  1. The statement “However — and this is the single most important fact about China — it has about one-third the arable land per person as the rest of the world. This pressure has defined modern Chinese history — both in terms of living with it and trying to move beyond it.” — understanding this will help one understand why the PRC leaders often talked about survival as one key elements of ‘human right”, they are serious about this, historically many people die (in fact, famine was commonplace in Chinese history) whenever there was upheaval (and vice versa).
  2. The geopolitical impreative that China needs to Maintain control of the buffer regions.(Mongolia, Xinjiang, Tibet, etc).

Read more…

Categories: Analysis Tags:

Now here is an idea for people looking for Chinese (looking) tattoos

November 13th, 2009 1 comment

Berlin Wall Domino Piece At the Berlin Wall anniversary celebration a couple of days ago, the Germans arranged a thousand pieces of eight-foot tall Styrofoam slabs, symbolizing Berlin Wall pieces and each decorated with various arts, into a line of dominoes and started their toppling. This cascading action eventually came to a halt at a piece with apparently some Chinese calligraphy written on it, which stayed up. You can check out this youtube video for the full sequence of events.

There has been quite a bit of discussion going on in the Chinese forums regarding the symbolism of this scene. Well, this post has nothing to do with it. So if you have comments regarding Berlin Wall and China, please go to Allen’s post of that subject.

Read more…

Categories: culture Tags: ,

Fear of Kubin is the end of wisdom

November 13th, 2009 38 comments

Wolfgang Kubin, Bonn University Professor of Chinese Studies, is a well-known critic of Chinese literature, a critic in every sense of the word. Every time he speaks about Chinese literature, he makes waves among observers of Chinese literature. He was famous for “trashing” Chinese literature, which has at various times being interpreted as trashing of Chinese literature in general, Chinese novels in particular, or novels by the sentimental “beauty writers” to be more exact. Chinese writers probably can also claim that Kubin is trash, but they have not done so.  That shows a humility that contrasts sharply with Kubin’s elitist and dismissive criticism.  Read more…

Categories: Analysis, culture, language, Opinion Tags:

Happy Singles' Day

November 11th, 2009 28 comments

Happy Single's Day

November 11th has now emerged as a new holiday dedicated to the singles in China. It essentially serves as an anti-Valentine’s Day, and is the Chinese equivalent of Singles Awareness Day (SAD), during which those unhappily unattached commiserate in their single status.
Read more…

Categories: culture Tags:

The Fall of the Berlin Wall on our Mind…

November 10th, 2009 53 comments

The Fall of the Berlin some 20 years ago is again on the mind of many. According to the NYTimes, “[t]he historical legacy of 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell and the cold war thawed, is as political as the upheavals of that decisive year.”

For many in the West, the events of 1989 represents the ultimate triumph of the West over East – of democratic, capitalistic liberalism over communist authoritarianism. Many envisioned that we were entering an “End of History.” Writing in 1989, Francis Fukuyama (a professor of international political economy at Johns Hopkins University) wrote: Read more…

Who Holds the Family Purse in China?

November 6th, 2009 28 comments

Despite great strides made over gender equality in the last 60 years, there are still a lot China can do as a nation to promote greater equality and promote the livelihoods of women – especially in the rural areas.

But in the city at least, the power dynamics between men and women seems to be changing – at least on a family per family basis.

Here is an entertaining video from James Fallow on who holds the family purse in China? Read more…