[Update: I’ve changed the title to something I like more.]
As with all major holidays around the globe, commercialization is the inevitability. The Chinese New Year of the Rabbit is upon us in just a few days. I came across a few cases of rabbit capitalism in the West which I think tells us something about culture adoption.
Did you know Michael Jordan was born in the year of the rabbit? Air Jordan 2011 will launch first in China during the Chinese New Year with gray, red and gold accents to symbolize good luck and happiness.
Business will pay homage to your culture if you have money to spend, no? As I have always said in the past, China’s economic resurgence guarantees Chinese culture resurgence.
Should China levy environmental tax on exports? Before offering my thoughts on that question, I’d like to share some news first.
China has announced spending 4 trillion yuan ($601 billion) over the next decade in water projects, mainly to tackle over-exploitation, usage efficiency, and pollution. The country plans to cap water consumption at 670 billion cubic meters, and according to this other recent report, China is now short about 40 billion cubic meters annually.
If you look here, there are many China blogs out there and the list is only growing. Occassionally, I will browse china.alltop.com to get a sense of what the English language “China” blogs are buzzing about. Recently, I came across this comment on reddit.com:
For true Chinese perspective, not western expat hacks:
In celebration of the Chinese New Year (or the Spring Festival), 230 million people are expected to ride China’s rails. This is another illustration of a society on the move. Many have moved into cities and are now traveling back to their hometowns for this important family reunion. Given China’s sheer numbers, it is no wonder China is investing so heavily into train technology. I thought it was interesting a migrant worker saying he is willing to wait 40 hours to get a cheap ticket rather pay a high price ticket on a high-speed train. (See “Faster but costly, high-speed train sparks controversy.”) One thing for sure; for many travelers, the longest journey will be in line at the train station, and not on the train itself.
Martin Jacques is famous for his controversial book, “When China Rules the World.” Everyone on the planet seems to have weigh in on him and his book. A good friend of mine asked me to weigh in on what he said in the video below. Honestly, I think most Chinese dare not think China ruling the world. However, as I said in this post, “Peaceful rise, the biggest international relations issue of our life time,” China’s or any other country’s rise is an inevitability. For that reason, Martin Jacques forces the issue, and therefore is helpful. He also promotes this idea that the West should try harder to understand the rest of the world. That message certainly deserves repeating. Conversely, I think the Chinese need to enhance their appetite for understanding the West and the rest of the world too. Some of you who have followed this blog or Fool’s Mountain will find Martin Jacques’ views in the video below quite consistent with what we have been saying all along.
三大皇牌 is a group based out of Malaysia (singers Crystal Ong Shir Ching, Angeline Khoo Yen Nee, and Nick Chung), and here they perform “舞动春天” (“Dancing to Spring”) in anticipation of the Chinese New Year of the rabbit (February 3, 2011). I also want to take this opportunity to say hello to our Malaysian friends and readers. Talking about connections, the Malaya Chinese community has many ties to China. Here is a connection to Sun Yat Sen (thx raffiaflower).
This is a map of Facebook users spread around the globe with each line representing certain weighed number of relationships inside the social network. It is a fascinating infographic. Click on it to see it enlarged. Chances are you will spend tons of time looking at it as I have just now. The map was generated in December 2010.
First of all, it comes as no surprise that both Russia and China are not lit on that map. Both countries have their own social network applications, and in China’s case, Facebook is blocked.
Through his agent and his blog, Lang Lang responded to Chinese media about recent accusation promoted by the likes of Fox News that his choice of song for the White House state dinner performance was “anti-US.” Below are my translations of some excerpts from an article carried on sina.com.cn of Lang Lang’s response.
About a week ago, Henry Kissinger wrote an Op-Ed in the Washington Post, entitled, “Avoiding a U.S.-China cold war“. He was concerned elites within the U.S. and China pulling for confrontation. Speaking of the Hu-Obama summit, he said, “both leaders also face an opinion among elites in their countries emphasizing conflict rather than cooperation.”
If you have watched the Russia Today segment (my recent prior post), the elites on the American side favoring conflict would in fact be the military industrial complex. Back in 1961, during his famous farewell speech, former U.S. president Dwight Eisenhower warned about the military industrial complex’s “potential disastrous rise of misplaced power”: Continue reading Henry A. Kissinger: “Avoiding a U.S.-China cold war”→
Nicholas Kristof, a Pulitzer Prize winner, made a dare today to China’s censorship. In his NYT Op-ed piece, “Banned in Beijing!” he tells his readers him starting a Chinese blog inside China containing “counterrevolutionary praise of dissidents.” He expects his blog being shut down and wants his readers to watch as it happens. Certainly, he has come up with a very clever way to make news being a so called journalist.
Remember the Lhasa riot of 2008? Never-mind the Westerners on the grounds reporting. The Western media faked images (remember the CNN cropping out rioters with bricks in hand) and were only capable of writing their narrative; forget about truth. Those same people blamed on the Chinese government for not letting them freely report. Kristof has just reminded me once again, they are interested in making news and cooking ‘facts’ supporting their narratives.
He reminds me of the “freedom” voyeurs in the West whose self-obsessed views about “freedom” must be grafted unto whatever the latest fad is; this case being the Internet. He mind as well talk about China’s high way system transforming China into a “free” society. How about China’s zippy new high speed rail ways having the same effect? Or the explosion of newspapers. Some Pulitzer Prize winner he is. In this post, I simply cannot resist poking fun at this ridiculous narrative, a concoction of half truths, tricks, and occasional facts. I am poking fun at every bit of the article. Continue reading Nicholas Kristof’s “Banned in Beijing!”, an ‘Internet freedom’ voyeur’s dare to China’s censorship→
The first decade of the 21-century has seen a dramatic reversal of fortune in the relative prestige of different political and economic models. Ten years ago, on the eve of the puncturing of the dotcom bubble, the US held the high ground. Its democracy was widely emulated, if not always loved; its technology was sweeping the world; and lightly regulated “Anglo-Saxon” capitalism was seen as the wave of the future. The US managed to fritter away that moral capital in remarkably short order: the Iraq war and the close association it created between military invasion and democracy promotion tarnished the latter, while the Wall Street financial crisis put paid to the idea that markets could be trusted to regulate themselves.
About 1 year ago, in January 2010, Google’s chief counsel made the unusual announcements regarding Google being hacked in China. Unusual, because Google like most large corporations, does not usually go around making public spectacles of disputes with any governments.
Russia Today’s Producer has a very thought-provoking take on the U.S.-China relations. It goes something like this. The true division is among the American elites. On one hand, the military industrial complex wants a fearsome and bogeyman China. On the other, “normal” industrial capitalists wanting more business for their constituents. “Human rights”, “intellectual property”, etc are perhaps “hot air.” “Congress attack on China?” Probably that too.
I am sure many of you have been following Chinese President Hu and U.S. President Obama’s speeches and Q&A’s with the media over the last couple of days. The governments are absolutely trying to be constructive in their relations. For that, it’s been refreshing to see.
After hearing them speak directly, I must say though, the nuances in the Western media are largely lost. They are not going to be respectful of China having a different political system as Obama acknowledged. They are not going to accept that China has a different history as Obama apparently understood. They are not going to be respectful of China as Obama has shown. Continue reading A simple take on the Hu Jintao U.S. visit with respect to Western media→
Once in a while, I run across an article that resonates deep with me.
Most discussion of China in the mainstream press, especially the left-liberal press, focuses on China’s “human rights” record, or freedom of press and speech, or labor issues, or family planning policies. One may argue endlessly about those matters. But they are China’s internal affairs, and for a genuine anti-interventionist, they are none of our government’s business and have no place in setting foreign policy. There is a world of difference between an anti-interventionist and an advocate for “humanitarian” imperialism, witting or not. How does an anti-interventionist look at China? Continue reading An Anti-Interventionist Looks at China→
During Obama’s 2010 visit to China, he announced the “100,000 Strong Initiative,” a program to get 100,000 American students studying in China within the next few years. China was supportive and announced a matching 10,000 “bridge scholarships” program paying for 10% of the program’s American student in-country studying expenses. Coinciding with Chinese President Hu’s visiting Obama, U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama rallied American students to take up on this opportunity today.
I think it is programs such as this that will have a broad effect on a more positive relationship between the countries. Though not mentioned in Obama’s speech, another really important benefit to the U.S. is that these students will bring back new ideas from China. That will only make U.S. a better place. Until the U.S. and the West match proportionately the Chinese students studying abroad in numbers, I bet China is guaranteed to be acquiring ideas faster. Continue reading the “100,000 Strong Initiative”→
This came directly from the U.S. White House blog. First thought that came to mind is we should avoid the media and go directly to the source more to get a more rational understanding of our world. Here is a formal take from the White house on the “U.S.-China Commercial Relations” and economic issues.
Before this year really gets going (yes I know I have been out of commission from blogging for a while, a state which may continue for just a while longer), I thought I’d post my own little post reflecting on the Wikileaks incidient – which I think illustrate important issues relating to “freedom.”
The controversy over Wikileaks has evoked strong emotions on all sides here in the U.S. On the one hand, you have those like the U.S. government preaching responsibility, claiming that publication would harm the lives and U.S. interests around the world – that being responsible is necessary to preserving our liberty. On the other hand, you have those like Assange clamoring free speech, raising the specter of a government that can never be trusted.
In the midst of these debates, many have understandably come to see freedom as a balance between competing needs. This is however a mistake.
Now that parenting and education is the talk of the nation across America, I thought I relay a wildly popular story from 2010 in China, another view into Amy Chua’s “Chinese mom.” Enter “奶茶妹妹” or “奶茶mm” on Baidu.com if you wish to research this story yourself.
Back in 2009, a student posted this image of her friend in a forum on 猫扑 (mop.com), admiring her good looks. This girl quickly became a sensation, and soon, her photo was forwarded around the Internet. Once public curiosity has set in, 人肉搜索 (human flesh search) started offline. She became known as “奶茶mm,” short for 奶茶妹妹 (milk tea younger sister). They found her a sophomore at the Nanjing Foreign Language high school. She turned out to be 章泽天 (Zhang Zetian).
Thanks to our reader Chops for alerting us to an article out today in the San Francisco Chronicle by Jeff Yang. It turns out, the original article was really a Wall Street Journal spin or creation, including the title. As I concluded in my prior post, Amy Chua is not that same mother portrayed in the article nor is her book. Yang writes:
Right before Christmas 2010, amateur photos of China’s J-20 stealth fighter (歼-20) began to appear on the Internet and media around the world speculated about the plane’s authenticity. In this Huanqiu.com report, the J-20 made its first public flight today. Back in 2009, a high ranking Chinese military official announced the progress of this program and its expected roll-out into service around 2020. Compared to the U.S. F-22 “Raptor”, which went into service in 2005, China is 15 years behind. Of course that is assuming the J-20 is on par with the F-22, which many analysts doubt. The Russian T-50, “Sukhoi PAK FA” is expected to go into service in 2012.
First of all, Amy Chua is a professor at Yale Law School and author of a number of books. Her daughters are already accomplished musicians. By all accounts, her family epitomizes an American dream come true.
Her article, “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior” in the WSJ has already elicited 2700+ comments, probably a new record for the paper. Let’s just say, there are many more upset American moms today than there were just two days ago. Here, a Boston Herald mom writes:
Chua’s premise: “Western” moms — her euphemism — are permissive and raising a nation of losers. Chinese-American mothers are strict and produce intellectual rock stars.
If you have not heard, on Saturday, a crazy (as the only way to describe him) gunman opened fire on a crowd in Arizona with his fully loaded 30 bullet in clip, with reload magazine, 9mm glock. The bullets (from the gun owned by the crazy man) killed 6, including a little girl born on September 11, 2001, and wounded 14 others, including Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who remains in a coma.
IN early October, China’s Premier Wen Jiabao addressed European leaders in Brussels. Ominous talk of currency wars dominated the proceedings. And why not? After all, America – and a growing coalition of forces – has mounted a massive attack on China. And the American-led coalition’s weapon of choice is the renminbi-US dollar exchange rate. According to America’s war “plan,” a maxi appreciation of the RMB against the greenback will generate economic instability in China. This will rein in the hegemon.
Premier Wen had good reasons to be worried and to warn the assembled in Brussels that a maxi renminbi appreciation would destabilise China and be “a disaster for the world”.
I was really moved by the following images, from Hunan Province’s Chaping township where the region is hit by a severe cold storm. The images appeared today in China Daily, entitled, “Pupils take up books, pens, and hand-stoves.”