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Archive for August, 2010

Orville Schell on China Daily, “Challenges investors face in US, EU”

August 31st, 2010 3 comments

I thought this was a very accurate characterization by Orville Schell via an op-ed on China Daily of the “dysfunctional” investment relationship between China and the U.S. at the moment. My interpretation? On one hand, China welcomes investment with open arms; think Intel, GM, Caterpillar, and even Google investing in China. That creates tons of jobs in China. American politicians calls that “exporting jobs” to China. Now China wants to “export jobs” to the U.S. through investing, and the American politicians call this a national security issue! (Yes, if Chinese companies invest in the U.S., it would also mean they will derive revenue from the U.S.. That is the same thing already being done by U.S. multinationals like Intel, GM, etc. in China. That’s globalization.) The 50 Congressional Representatives Schell referred to? They are xenophobic, protectionist, and stupid.
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Reactions to Hong Kong tourists killed in Philippine hijack

August 29th, 2010 1 comment

On Monday, August 23, 2010, ex-policeman Rolando Mendoza hijacked a bus full of tourists from Hong Kong in Manila. A botched Philippines SWAT team rescue after a prolonged standoff resulted in eight tourists killed, including the hijacker Mendoza. Media around the world are now focused on what went wrong. Here is China Daily’s recent report, “Philippine leader vows punishment in bus hijack,” quoting President Benigno Aquino III (who took office only two months ago):

“Someone failed. Someone will pay,” Aquino said during a speech before students and faculty at a suburban university. He called the carnage “ghastly” and admitted there were “many failures.”

Personally, I think more attention needs to be paid to the Philippines media. According to this UK Guardian report, “Philippines hostage deaths draws anger from China over gunman’s TV view:”
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China – ASEAN trade increased 55%, expected to top $250billion in 2010

August 23rd, 2010 4 comments

In this Op-Ed in China Daily, “FTA pushes ASEAN ties,” an associate professor at the School of International Studies of Nanjing University had these interesting statistics about the trade volume between China and ASEAN countries:

A much-anticipated free trade area (FTA) between China and the regional bloc was formally launched in early 2010, which, with a $4.5 trillion trade volume, ranks as the world’s third largest trade zone. The bilateral trade value in the first half of this year reached $136.5 billion, an increase of 55 percent year on year, and the figure for the full year is expected to total $250 billion.

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Categories: Asian Union, economy Tags:

Armless Pianist Liu Wei, an inspiration for the world

August 20th, 2010 2 comments

Wow! This video is just inspiring. It is about Liu Wei, a contestant on “China’s Got Talent.” He is going to play “Marriage D’amour” without hands. He lost his arms at 10 from an accident. I like this take by Lyndsey Parker over at Yahoo Music blogs: “Armless Pianist Liu Wei Defies Odds On ‘China’s Got Talent’.” I will try to not complain about anything in my life in the next 10 days.

China: A New Hope or A Threat to the World?

August 18th, 2010 6 comments

I don’t know how I missed this talk from 2008 – when China was demagogued by almost every Western media and press.  But the views expressed here I think are on the whole surprisingly balanced and insightful.  I hope readers from the West will take time to view this.

Click here to view video directly from Fora.tv.

Or view video on YouTube by clicking below:
 

Here are some questions the video addresses:

  • Do the Chinese people really lack initiative or intelligence?
  • Are the Chinese people all just robots, placed in shackles by an unsympathetic government?
  • Is there freedom of the press in China?
  • Do the Chinese people care about democracy?
  • Is China really out to dominate the world?
  • Is Chinese development detrimental for the world?
  • Is the West unfairly politicizing environmental issues against the Chinese people?

View the video and let us know what you think.

Categories: Analysis, video Tags:

“夜来香” (“Evening Primrose”), a scent of modern Chinese history

August 18th, 2010 3 comments


(If you are inside China, your may want the same version hosted on Tudou).

This is 张燕 (Zhang Yan) performing “夜来香,” a modern Chinese classic. I can’t quite put my finger on why I think this video is really good – perhaps the confidence projected by 张燕. In English, “夜来香” means “evening primrose,” a flower that opens in the evening. The Chinese characters literally mean “fragrance of the night.” By the backdrop, many of you will recognize this is early 1900’s music – of the same variety in Shanghai nightclubs that time. The microphone is a big give-away. “夜来香” was actually first performed in the 1940’s by Yoshiko Yamaguchi. (Click here for the original.)
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China explains why she is not that excited surpassing Japan as world’s number 2 economy

August 16th, 2010 2 comments

The latest buzz is the expected overtaking of Japan by China as the world’s number two economy some time in 2010. I’ll ignore the more polarizing perspectives from the likes of CNN and the NYT. Here are some decent takes on this “news”: Bloomberg, BBC (video), and Japan Today).

(I have recently subscribed to the power of “multi-sourcing,” thanks to Newsy. See my previous article, “Newsy.com, breaking the mold of Western media bias?“)

As reported in Xinhua News, I think the most important aspect of this story is really the per capita of $3,600.00 in China vs. the $39,000.00 in Japan. The ratio of real wealth is 1 to 10, and China’s population is actually 10 times bigger than Japan’s. If the world has humanity, it should hope for continued stable development and that China’s per capita GDP catches up to Japan’s $39,000.00. In the article below, Xinhua writers explain why China is not that excited about surpassing Japan as world’s number 2 economy:
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Categories: economy Tags:

在那遥远的地方 (In That Distant Place), a Pipa, Erhu, and Dizi trio

August 14th, 2010 No comments

在那遥远的地方 (In That Distant Place) is a very popular folk song written in 1939. Over the years, this song has taken on many forms. Chinese, old or young, all know it. Below is a composition by 马九越 using the pipa, dizi, and erhu instruments.

Occasionally I get asked what are some Chinese values. This is an example, I think. My grandparents, my parents, and people of my generation all know this song well. If you look around China, there is this pattern of cross generational connection. Reaching back and smoothing out the generational gap within society is the value. “In that distant place” in Chinese “New Age” style:
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Newsy.com, breaking the mold of Western media bias?

August 13th, 2010 33 comments

Media is a tricky business. Regular readers here know that Western media bias is a frequent topic on this blog. Few days ago, Rosa Sow, a community manager at Newsy.com, contacted me to embed an video from her company on my post, “China Daily reports, “Japan apologizes for annexation of Korean Peninsula”.” I refused. I was angry at the Western media, and I didn’t think it was possible another could come out and make “truth” and “fairness” its mission. A conversation ensued. At the end of it, I was mainly impressed by Newsy’s approach to this issue.

Our conversation started with her solicitation (email addresses removed):
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South China Sea: Let’s get it straight, it’s not new Chinese aggression, it’s new US policy.

August 12th, 2010 6 comments

What’s with the recent hoopla surrounding an ASEAN summit where US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seemed to outline a new US policy in the South China Sea and China angrily denouncing her speech as an “ambush”?

Well, it is just that, a new US policy for the South China Sea, one where US asserts its “interests” in the disputed island territories.  Washington Hawks welcomed Clinton’s speech as the beginning salvo against China.  China denounced it as the new US backed “Asian NATO” to contain China further.

What’s the truth?  Who’s the aggressor?  What’s the likely outcome?

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Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Extreme Airports Crosswind Landing at Hong Kong Kai Tak Airport in 1998

August 12th, 2010 No comments

Human can accomplish incredible feats. Here is one of a pilot for JAL landing a Boeing 747 in 1998 in extreme crosswind conditions at the Hong Kong Kai Tak airport (source: AIRBOYD). The airport has been closed (obvious reason being the crosswind conditions). The technology to detect the crosswinds, the training that goes into making this kind of maneuvers with such a big plane, and of course, the plane itself are all feats.

A Different Verdict in the US Gay Marriage Debate: Democracy is irrational and dislikes facts and Constitution.

August 11th, 2010 No comments

Recently, US District Court Judge Vaughn Walker struck down a California voter backed law banning same sex marriage in California.  The backlash from the supporters of the ban has been furious.  Yet, the judge’s clear reasonings in his judgment cannot be faulted.  Critics fault the judge on everything else:  the judge’s own homosexuality as his bias, the federal court’s interference into state laws, and the age old cry of “judicial tyranny”.

But what is it really about?  The fury of the critics and the judge’s clear reasoning only contrast the real problem with Democracy, that Democracy is irrational ultimately, it is an excuse that justifies itself, and it doesn’t like to be contradicted by facts and laws, nor judged by anything other than mob morality.

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Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

China Daily reports, “Japan apologizes for annexation of Korean Peninsula”

August 10th, 2010 2 comments

Japan apologizes for annexation of Korean Peninsula

File photo shows Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan holds a news conference at his official residence in Tokyo July 30, 2010. (Source: China Daily)

China Daily recently reported, “Japan apologizes for annexation of Korean Peninsula.”

I think this is a responsible move on Japan’s part. It is a step forward in reconciliation. Some people argue unless the Japanese take full responsibility for their past atrocities, warming of relations with Japan should not be allowed. That is backwards. I have always said in the past, the warming of relations gives confidence and actually allows both parties to face a difficult past. This is more in tuned with human nature. Of course, this does not mean the past ought to be forgotten.

For the Chinese people, they in fact have shown incredible forbearance. The ultimate lesson of this recent history for us all is to not let it repeat. That should be a goal our generation work towards. If we do not, we are in fact likely sewing the seeds for our future generations to repeat the past. The Chinese government is expanding relations with Japan despite this unresolved history. That is responsible, wise, and admirable.
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世界美军基地地图, 国家和流氓有什么不同

August 10th, 2010 No comments

前一篇文章,我只想让人家见一下美军基地占领的面积实在是多大. (这些信息是公开的.) 如果你是一个流氓, 也像美国一样强大, 也你欠了很多钱, 你会怎么做?流氓一定要保护费的! 你想想看, 日本已经在付这笔钱. 日本首相,鳩山由紀夫, 2010年6月下台与此有关.

美国已经占领了日本60年了. 美国还要继续多长时间? 日本国民知道日本在世界上缺乏政治权力. 这部分是由于日本的对外援助是由美国控制.

美军一开始是反对苏联, 但是现在没有真正的对手. 如果在未来的行为是一个流氓, 他占的国家一定会反抗. 日本首相,鳩山由紀夫已经开始了. 早晚其他人会站出来的.

Categories: Analysis, Opinion, politics Tags:

Map of U.S. Military bases around the world

August 8th, 2010 22 comments

(February 10, 2012: This is a re-write of the original as many readers on the Internet are finding their way to this article. The points are the same as before, but now written for better readability. Also, with infographic courtesy of militaryeducation.org at the bottom of this post.)

After having won the Cold War, the U.S. has embarked on a global grand strategy of “full spectrum” domination. The U.S. continue to expand her military footprint in countries where no prior troop presence before, adding automatically Iraq and Afghanistan through recent wars. Below is the map of U.S. military bases around the world as of 2008 (source: From the Left). The yellow colored countries represent planned base expansions under negotiation. In our human history, no civilization has ever been so dominant. Glimpse at the map and awe at this awesome power!
The U.S. Military Footprint on the World

Is this footprint sustainable?  Former president Dwight Eisenhower warned his fellow Americans of the potential for the military industrial complex growing out of control.  His fear was it becoming too strong a political force in America such that it would indulge in maintaining its size and influence at the expense of other needs of society.  At $700 billion a year (excluding the recent war costs), and considering the the $13 trillion now nearing $15 trillion national debt, Eisenhower couldn’t have been more right.  The U.S. either cut back on spending, increase taxes, or print more USD. There aren’t many other options.

The U.S. have also been trying to find other creative ways to offset that cost.  In the last decade, Japan has been increasingly pressured to shoulder some of the cost as “host nation support.” Think about that for a second.  Imagine if the United States is occupied and is forced to her occupier.  Sooner or later, the Japanese will question that arrangement.  Is 100 years long enough?  1000 years?

In a recent NPR: Talk of the Nation interview titled, “Burdens Of War Unevenly Shared In U.S.,” Ted Koppel observed that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were seemingly magically paid for without much backlash from the American public.

There was no new tax imposed on the American public to finance those two wars.  Obviously, if each American was asked to fork over $3000 to fund the wars, would there be enough public support?  Koppel’s point is precisely that the American democratic process is bypassed to allow wars to occur.

So, where do the funds come from?  The war funds are achieved through issuing bonds to countries like China, Japan, and OPEC. The American public also buys them.  The rest comes via printing.  Between 2008 and 2010, the Fed has simply conjured $1.4 trillion dollars out of thin air. (See “The U.S. and the Dollar in numbers; how crazy, you decide.”)

Not only is the democratic process bypassed, the majority of the American public also loses.  It’s the dilution of their USD – the existing USD owned by foreigners and Americans alike now being worth less.

With the current unemployment rate, at around 9%, President Obama is pressured to spend more. The idea is to invest in the short term despite mounting debt, as a stop-gap measure to stem unemployment. Otherwise Obama’s rating continues to tank and his 2012 election prospects disappears. Worse might be the Occupy Wall Street movement becoming much bigger and at which point the outcome is unknown.

As I’ve written previously, “Dagong rates U.S. credit worthiness below China’s and the impeccable timing of the report,” U.S.’s credit-worthiness is likely to deteriorate and the cost of borrowing likely to increase.

Given this climate, what else can the U.S. do?  One is certainly to look at this footprint and decide for how long it must be maintained.  Former defense secretary Gates and now Panetta are trying to shave about $45 billion off the U.S. military budget each year for each of the the next ten years.

However, remember former U.S. President Eisenhower’s warning to his fellow Americans.  War hawks supporting the military industrial complex in the U.S. will hype up threats from around the world to counter the cuts.  With declining revenue, U.S. media will also hype up threats from abroad. A public that is gripped by fear will watch more news and buy more papers. American media elites in fact have their interests aligned with this military industrial complex.

Below is an infographic courtesy of militaryeducation.org in showing what this cost meant as an opportunity cost to American society:

This infographic takes a look at the amount of tax payer money that goes into funding specific military equipment ranging from the ‘small’ items to the truly gargantuan in price. The graphic then compare these prices to things that the average American can relate to such as median income, cost of a college education, health insurance, or the price of buying a home. The goal of doing this is to show the viewer how their tax money is being used compared to various other things it could be used to acheive.

While we believe that there is a need to maintain US military supremacy, we also feel that the spending that goes on by the Department of Defense is often unjustified and is rather a consequence of the military-industrial complex that Dwight Eisenhower famously warned about.


Cost of Military
From: MilitaryEducation.org

Chen Sisi (陈思思): Dear Chinese People (亲亲的中国人)

August 6th, 2010 1 comment

It is a patriotic song, as the title should make it all apparent – “Dear Chinese People.” I liked this video for its imagery. The majority of the Chinese people are proud and very forward looking for the progress China has made in the last three decades. This video sums up that sentiment rather well. I know this type of videos may not sit well with many Westerners – because their media tells them every day everything is wrong with their society or everyone outside of their national borders are bad. Especially with the global economic crisis, Westerners seem unable to celebrate anymore. (Ok, unless if you are the Spaniards who have just won the World Cup, in which case the party is still going strong.) So, the video offers this contrast.
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Tsinghua University Professor, Yan Xuetong: “Xun Zi’s Thoughts on International Politics and Their Implications”

August 5th, 2010 3 comments

Recently, I asked Tsinghua University Professor, Yan Xuetong, “In your view, how could our world shift away from politics that’s dominated by power? Can China’s rise change that?” Previously, I wrote about Professor Yan’s paper, “Tsinghua University Professor, Yan Xuetong: “The Rise of China in Chinese Eyes”,” where he said that the current international relations culture established by the West is dominated by power – where might is right. So I was hoping he’s got an answer to that question.

In response, he said:

No one can gurantee China’s rise will lead the world toward a one based on morality. It only creates a opportunity for the world to change. Morality will become the base for world politics if China provides a leadership of humane authority and power will still be the base if China replace the US with the same hegemonic leadership.

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U.S. Protectionism against Huawei and why that was a good thing [for Huawei]

August 4th, 2010 13 comments

Stan Abrams over at China Hearsay has a good article out today, “U.S. Practices the Art of Zen Protectionism on Huawei.”

(If you follow Huawei, you will know that it is one of the most innovative companies in China, and it has made substantial inroads around the world for its reliable and cost-effective telecom equipment. Actually, if you talk to some Cisco engineers about Huawei, they will tell you Huawei is incredibly innovative. Huawei may even be more active in international bodies defining standards – yes – even more so than Cisco!)

Abrams writes about the recent Huawei failed attempts at acquiring 3Com, 2Wire, and Motorola’s wireless equipment unit, despite offering $100 million more than the competition. He argues this was “blatantly protectionist.” I couldn’t agree more. The only disagreement I have with his article is his characterizing this blatant protectionist act on the U.S.’s part as “Zen.” It is American insecurity and xenophobia; pure and simple. Everyone in China recognize it as such.

In my opinion, this was really a blessing in disguise for Huawei.
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United Nations Environment Programme: China #1 in adding renewable energy, more than any other country

August 2nd, 2010 No comments

The United Nations Environment Programme and the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) recently reported “Global Trends in Green Energy 2009: New Power Capacity from Renewable Sources Tops Fossil Fuels,” and one of the highlights it gave was:

Growth of wind power in China a key feature of 2009

There are a number of interesting facts about China and the U.S. in the report:

China surpassed the US in 2009 as the country with the greatest investment in clean energy.
New private and public sector investments in core clean energy leapt 53 per cent in China in 2009.
China added 37 gigawatts (GW) of renewable power capacity, more than any other country.

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