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Archive for September, 2010

William Hooper: “The Scientific Development Concept”

September 29th, 2010 42 comments

According to William Hooper, Western lead Democracy has peaked. He believes the baton will be passed unto China, and a new Age of Enlightenment, one that is going to be improved upon with China’s concept of Scientific Development, will start. Those of you who observe China may know that this political philosophy was advanced and officially adopted into the CPC (Communist Party of China) constitution in 2007. Hooper has taken a lot in and articulated this idea for the Western audience.

This essay touches upon many topics we have pondered on this blog. In my discussion (see “Newsy.com, breaking the mold of Western media bias?“) with Rosa Sow, Kai Pan, Maitreya Bhakal, and our very own Allen, we asked ourselves how the mold on Western media bias can be broken. Our consensus seems to be, in MIT Professor Chomsky’s words, “the only way to break it is education and organization, and working hard to create alternatives.”
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China, Japan, and U.S., a case of “paper, rock, and scissors”

September 28th, 2010 4 comments

Many Americans think the politics of East Asia is dominated by China on one side and U.S.-Japan on the other. While that may be true on the surface, the dynamics are actually very complicated, and in fact makes that dichotomy false. The pillar of the Japan-U.S. alliance was born out of the Cold War in fear of the former Soviet Union, which no longer exists today in case you haven’t noticed. In contrast, the threat today is a loose combination of whatever is posed by North Korea, China, and Russia. For the on-going of American occupation of Japan, I think it is a much harder sell today.

We see cracks in the pillar recently – former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama made the policy pronouncement when taking office to focus on this idea of an East Asian Community. He won partly on the issue of wanting the U.S. to relocate the military base in Okinawa. Japan is now occupied for over 60 years. This situation is unprecedented in history. How long should the U.S. be occupying Japan? Another 10, 100, or 1000 years? Japan is already paying for the U.S. military presence, so it is only a matter of time before the Japanese wanting to spend that money too on her own military.
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According to Google, Diaoyutai belongs to Japan!

September 26th, 2010 6 comments

Is Google siding with Japan’s claims at the expense of China? Search for “Diaoyutai” or the Chinese character equivalent, “钓鱼台群岛,” you’ll not be able to find the disputed islands. Circled in red below is where a pin should be placed. Nothing shows up.

"Diaoyutai" or "钓鱼台群岛" not labeled on disputed islands between China and Japan.

Instead, if you search for “Senkaku-shoto,” Google Maps takes you to the disputed islands. They are labeled with Japanese names. Same effect if you explore that part of the world without the keyword search.  See snapshot below:
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Diaoyutai Chinese Captain to be released

September 24th, 2010 12 comments

Japan’s NHK World has just reported the detained Chinese captain (Zhan Qixiong) since September 8 will be released. The report said:

Japanese prosecutors have decided to release the captain of a Chinese fishing boat involved in collisions in the East China Sea. The captain’s detention has stirred tension between Japan and China.

钓鱼台群岛 (Diaoyutai) Map Location

I’d be shocked if the captain is dragged through some trial in Japan using Japanese law, because Diaoyutai (or Senkaku as known in Japan) is a disputed territory. If Japan prosecutes Zhan, it implies Japan has unconditionally rejected China’s claims. Doing so would have put Japan’s hope for a form of Asian Union on the line. The Chinese government has shown restraint too, in my opinion. If not, they’d put that same hope on the line as well. So, I am personally happy to see this issue coming to an end without further escalation (ok, reading Western media, it appears Japan and China are at each others throats with knives).
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中秋節, Mid-Autumn Festival

September 22nd, 2010 No comments

中秋節, Mid-Autumn Festival (or Moon Festival) is one of the most widely celebrated holidays in China, perhaps second only to the Spring Festival (or the Chinese New Year). For 2010, it falls on September 22nd. It coincides with a full moon on the 15th day of the 8th month on the Chinese calendar, so there is no fixed date according to Gregorian. That has been the way mid-autumn was figured since ancient times.

“Mid-Autumn” first appeared in “Rites of the Zhou”, a collection of ritual matters of the Western Zhou Dynasty some 3,000 years ago. During the Tang Dynasty (618AD – 907AD), this tradition took a strong foot hold. It celebrates harvests and family reunions. This same tradition exists throughout the rest of Asia today.
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The Politicization of the Yuan

September 18th, 2010 17 comments

The U.S. Congress is running scared.  With a mid-term election coming up and a populace that is unhappy about the economy, they have resorted to be mad about something, and that something appears to be China – specifically China’s valuation of the Yuan (RMB). The argument goes:

China is keeping the yuan artificially low. In keeping the Yuan low, China is stealing job from America, preventing America from undergoing a quick economic recovery. China is artificially manipulating its currency to gain an unfair trade advantage against America. America must wake up and do something. China doesn’t listen to reason. If the U.S. must go into a trade war with China, so be it.

Let’s take a look at the engine under the hood of such reasoning. Read more…

Remembering Nagasaki and Hiroshima, but other victims too

September 17th, 2010 No comments

In 1945, by executive order, U.S. President Harry S. Truman ordered the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  It promptly lead to the surrender of Japan.  Within the first two to four months of the bombings, the acute effects killed 90,000–166,000 people in Hiroshima and 60,000–80,000 in Nagasaki, with roughly half of the deaths in each city occurring on the first day.  (Wikipedia.org)  Those eventual deaths after the first day were no doubt horrific as radiation eventually broke them down.  Every anniversary in early August, this sad past is commemorated, and is a reminder for humanity the dangers of nuclear weapons.  It is also a reminder of what humans are capable of doing to each other.

Following is a letter from a Hidden Harmonies guest, raffiaflower, of a piece written about this commemoration.  Or, rather, there are other victims to commemorate too.
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Map of World Population, Year 1AD, 1500AD, and 2000AD; and some questions.

September 15th, 2010 No comments

“The Worldmapper Team” has recently released some astonishing cartograms, illustrating various aspects of humanity on this planet. Cartograms are land maps usually with some demographic information expressed on them. Their maps are fascinating to look at, because they help expand our imagination and allow us to ask some profound questions without feeling silly. Of particular interest to me were the world population maps, and for reference, here is year 2000 (which should be familiar as India and China are the two largest populations):

Worldmapper Population Cartogram (Map 2) © Copyright SASI Group (University of Sheffield) and Mark Newman (University of Michigan). Sourced under Creative Commons License.

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World Bank: “A constructive role with China”

September 13th, 2010 No comments

Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank, wrote an Op-Ed in the China Daily, titled, “A constructive role with China.” Here is his concluding remarks, and the “extraordinary partner” he referred to is China:

China has already accomplished a great deal and earned the world’s respect. The World Bank Group will be proud to play a constructive and supportive role with our extraordinary partner.

It is interesting to follow though. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have traditionally served as partly Western political instruments. Sure, “global” institutions expand and accommodate as players come and go. So, it will be interesting to see how the World Bank shifts to accommodate China in the coming years.

Categories: News, politics Tags: ,

Li Qingzhao: “月滿西樓”

September 11th, 2010 No comments

月滿西樓” is a poem written by 李清照 (Li QingZhao, 1084AD ─ 1155AD), regarded as one of the most prominent female poets from the Song Dynasty. The poem is about Li’s longing for her husband’s return from travels. Here is a song of the same name with lyrics entirely based on the poem, performed by singer 童丽 (Tong Li).


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Attitude, attitude, attitude

September 8th, 2010 No comments

There is no particular point in this post. I recently came across a number of videos I thought entertaining. Below is a performance in the 2007 CCTV National Dance Competition; a bit of hip hop, break dance, and street dance. “Dreaming Back to the Wa Village” – “梦回佤乡.”

Younger Chinese are getting into it as well. Here is a 7 year old Chinese girl dancing to hip hop followed by a 5 year old Chinese boy performing break moves. (Somebody needs to tell the girl’s parents the lyrics are inappropriate for her age though. Okay, maybe somebody ought to translate the lyrics and that’d be the end of it – tongue in cheek.)
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Beijing University Professor Fan Gang: Rising labor cost in China not a worry

September 6th, 2010 No comments

It’s Labor Day in the U.S.! There has been a lot of sensationalism in the West regarding rising labor costs in China (i.e. Foxconn, Honda, etc.). Just to keep things in perspective, we are talking about instances of factory workers making something like $100 a month to making $150 a month in the richer coastal cities. While it is a whopping 50% jump, that $50/month is easily absorbed by other factors as explained by an economist and Beijing University Professor Fan Gang. He is also Director of China’s National Economic Research Institute, Secretary-General of the China Reform Foundation, and a former member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the People’s Bank of China.

I have read too many “dumbed down” and sensationalized articles in the West about the labor cost issue in China. Here is an intelligent (and I also dare say “boring”, as in Daniel Schorr’s “boring”) view from China (appeared in China Daily as, “Is low-wage China disappearing?“):
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Categories: Analysis, economy, White Paper Tags:

American Humanist Association: “India vs. China”

September 3rd, 2010 13 comments

On the issues of Tibet, the Dalai Lama, and religion, the Chinese government actually has a very large constituent of compatible ideological “supporters” within the U.S.. Recently, the American Humanist Association (AHA) blogger, Luis Granados, published two articles: “India vs. China: Part 1” and “India vs. China: Part 2.”

In part one, Granados rejects the Dalai Lama’s recent admonishment of China about religious harmony. Here is how he starts off his article:

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