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Nicholas Kristof’s “Banned in Beijing!”, an ‘Internet freedom’ voyeur’s dare to China’s censorship

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.

Psst. Don’t tell the Chinese government, but I started a Chinese-language blog here in China, and it contains counterrevolutionary praise of dissidents. It’s at http://blog.sina.com.cn/jisidao.

I thought it was pretty funny he made 3 posts back in late December 2010. Each post containing two or three sentences in Chinese. How about writing some paragraphs in Chinese and say something intelligent about your views? Yes, I know, this is not about an exchange of views. This is about ‘shut me down fast’ and I am in a hurry for a story.

Now let’s count — 1, 2, 3 … — and see how long my blog stays up. My hunch is that State Security will “harmonize” it quickly. In Chinese, Web sites are mockingly referred to as “harmonized” when the government vaporizes them so as to nurture a “harmonious society.”

What a clever way to take a cheap shot at the vision for harmony. This is obviously siding with the minority who have disdain for that idea. I suppose people could take cheap shots at ‘democracy’ as in Iraq has just been invaded or ‘democratized.’

China now has about 450 million Internet users, far more than any other country, and perhaps 100 million bloggers. The imprisoned writer Liu Xiaobo, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, has said, “The Internet is God’s gift to the Chinese people.” I tend to agree, but it’s also true that Chinese cyberspace remains a proletarian dictatorship. In November, the government sent a young woman, Cheng Jianping, to labor camp for a year for posting a single mocking sentence.

I remember back in the late 90’s dot com boom, the Western media predicted an Internet revolution in China. When the number of Chinese Internet users were below 100 million, these people predicted Chinese online users banding together for democracy. Well, 350 million more users later, the thing that strikes me is more and more of them are voicing their displeasure at the NYT and other Western media outlets.

My prediction has always been Western media blocking these users from voicing their opinion. I expect more Western media to disable commenting in their articles.

Strictly speaking, I agree with that quote from Liu Xiaobo. The Internet in China is absolutely vibrant. 100 million bloggers, that’s no small potato.

As regards to Cheng Jianping, she was inciting violence against the Japanese. She has become synonymous for her most famous phrase, “Charge, angry youth!” Kristof, you made it sound like she was ‘mocking’ the Chinese government and therefore sent to prison. That is a lie.

My teenage kids accompanied me on this trip, and they’re used to being dragged around to witness one injustice or another. But my daughter has rarely been more indignant than when she discovered that Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are blocked in China.

Before you drag your children around to pass judgement on the Chinese and show your indignation, please also educate them that if Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter do not cooperate with Chinese law enforcement (as they actually do with the U.S.), China should have the right to block them. Perhaps you ought to let your children appreciate and tolerate another society’s way of moving forward first. After that, graft your views on them and let them decide.

So I decided to conduct my latest experiment in Chinese Internet freedom. I began this series of experiments in 2003 by seeing what I could get away with in Chinese Internet chat rooms.

You news maker, you!

On this visit, I started with blogging and with microblogging, the Chinese version of Twitter. But, in an ominous sign, I discovered that the Chinese authorities had tightened the rules since my last experiments. These days, anyone starting an online account must supply an ID card number and cellphone number. That means that the authorities can quickly track down nettlesome commentators.

If you are going to write about China, at least know something about China first. You mean you have been completely clueless when they made real ID registration a requirement some time ago. It’s like it’s been raining outside, and when you noticed the rain, you say, you ‘discovered’ it and wow, an ‘ominous sign.’ Pretty funny.

Once I got started, though, the censors were less aggressive than I had expected, apparently relying more on intimidation than on actual censorship. Even my microblog posts about Mr. Liu, the imprisoned dissident, went up. A similar post mentioning the banned Falun Gong movement triggered an automatic review, but then a moderator approved it.

You feel intimidated or were intimidated? The way you have written it: ‘the censors were less aggressive; relying more on intimidation; moderator approved it.” So thrilling!

(A Chinese moderator once explained to me that grunt-level censors are mostly young computer geeks who believe in Internet freedom and try to sabotage their responsibilities without getting fired.)

Look, Chinese people all over believe in Internet freedom. Your version of “freedom” is very much about subversion of state, which the Chinese people understand breaks their law. They frankly want a strong government so they don’t get invaded or colonized.

You are conflating this two versions of “freedom.”

Saying that the young Chinese believing in Internet freedom (the type that is equal to freedom of expression without breaking laws), you are trying to obfuscate the subversion of state variety.

Still, there are limits. I posted a reference to the June 4, 1989, Tiananmen massacre. It went up automatically, and then was removed by a moderator 20 minutes later.

“massacre?” It was a horrible incident. If Cai Ling didn’t beg for bloodshed and encouraged the students instead to leave the square, there wouldn’t be the clash that resulted. Massacre to Americans and other normal people mean willful and indiscrimant killing of people. That was clearly not what the Chinese government was doing.

Most of the ex-Tiananmen students have wise up to believe June 4 was a big mistake.

The challenge for the authorities is that there is just too much to police by moderators, and automatic filters don’t work terribly well. Chinese routinely use well-known code phrases for terms that will be censored (June 4 might become June 2+2, or May 35). Likewise, Chinese can usually get around the “great firewall of China” by using widely available software, like Freegate, or by tunneling through a virtual private network.

We know. Every single article in the Western media about Chinese censorship will provide free publicity to one of these tunneling software.

Most Chinese aren’t overtly political — seeking out banned pornography is typically regarded as more rewarding than chasing down tracts about multiparty democracy. Still, Internet controls are widely resented. My bet is that more young Chinese are vexed by their government’s censorship than by its rejection of multiparty democracy.

True, they are not overtly political. Rest of the above are so brain-dead. I have written recently about the Open CourseWare (see “The Open CourseWare Consortium: Help Make Education Free“), and the point I want to make is that materials on the Internet such as that are completely accessible. Chinese people in fact actively seek them out.

So, we should look at the entire Internet. What’s blocked? Pornography. And people who have intention to subvert the Chinese government. Separatist groups. And, sure, services like Youtube, Facebook, etc., who are unwilling to cooperate with Chinese law. Everything else is available.

Also, don’t get so cocky thinking Youtube, Facebook, and a number of other U.S. based Internet services make up the whole of Internet. Some people may not comprehend that.

Multiparty democracy has a really bad name if you think about it. Which multiparty democracy has invaded and killed the most number of people in modern history? Such a system has its benefits. There is nothing inherently “righteous” about it.

Michael Anti, a prominent Chinese blogger, says that the central government may increasingly allow Chinese netizens to criticize abuses by local governments, even as it blocks disparagement of the central leadership. Since the worst human rights abuses are often by local authorities, that would be a modest step forward.

The Chinese in the past few years passed “right to know” and various transparency laws. They are proactively fighting corruption. They are doing it systematically, not this “increasingly allow” type of adhoc measure you insinuate.

I don’t understand this “worst human rights abuses are often by local authorities.” Everything the local authorities do wrong is a “human rights abuse” to you?

A recent book by Evgeny Morozov, “The Net Delusion,” argues that Westerners get carried away by the potential of the Internet to democratize societies, failing to appreciate that dictators can also use the Web to buttress their regimes. A fair point. But like Mr. Liu, I see the Internet as a powerful force to help remold China.

This is a false dichotomy. Why does the impact of the Internet has to be couched in terms of democratizing societies vs. dictators cracking down on their citizens with it? Like an inter-state highway, the Internet is an awesome tool for Chinese society.

“to help remold China”; of course, spoken as a true “activist.” Why don’t reporters just report? Remember, I am not trying to take that particular sentence out of context. Kristof is making news with his Chinese blog stunt.

Frankly, my own experiments had mixed results. My microblog quickly attracted notice, partly because a Chinese friend with more than one million followers directed readers to it. An hour later, it had been harmonized.

Just as Iraq has been democratized. I’ll loose the quotation marks too.

Meanwhile, I published my separate Chinese blog (at the web address mentioned above). It was just as edgy and included a slightly veiled birthday greeting to Mr. Liu in prison. But I didn’t promote it, so the authorities didn’t care, or didn’t notice. It has remained up for several weeks — but now that I’ve mentioned it in this column, it’s presumably doomed.

Kristof is popular in the West. With this Op-ed, it will undoubtedly raise the stakes on that blog of 3 posts, roughly two sentences each.

To me, the lesson of my experiments is that the Chinese Internet is too vast for the government to monitor fully. It can toss individuals in prison. But it can’t block the information revolution itself.

The Chinese government encourages information revolution. Did you read their white paper? The information revolution is taking place as planned.

What is not taking place is the ‘subversion of state’ type of revolution Kristof is thinking.

Mr. Liu may be in prison, but my hunch is that his judgment will be vindicated: the Internet will one day be remembered as helping to transform China, byte by byte. Let a billion blogs bloom.

China will evolve alright, and who knows, may actually evolve to a multiparty state. But definitely not “helped” by Kristof or Liu Xiaobo. Westerners such as my college patent law professor who quietly provided help when China codified her patent laws are actually helping to change China. People like Kristof and Liu Xiaobo in my opinion, are just buzzing around to make few bucks on the back of anti-Chinese government sentiments.

Indeed, let a billion blogs bloom. Let the Chinese perspectives be heard.

  1. jxie
    January 23rd, 2011 at 06:36 | #1

    Sina is a private web site, and Kristof obviously violated Sina’s Terms of Use. That’s the virtual Internet world. In the real world, the equivalent would be somebody persistently trespassing your private property and attempting to proselytize you — not only that, but also bringing his two-bit news crew with him. By now, if the property owner was me, I would blow the trespasser’s head off.

  2. January 23rd, 2011 at 09:56 | #2

    Kristof does have one point: controlling crime perpetuated in the information space is not easy.

    Of course, this does not mean that the government should give up.

    Controlling murder and rape is not easy either, but we still have laws against it, try to enforce it, etc.

    The U.S. spends ungods sum of money against terrorism in the form of military adventures and domestic security measures (airport security is but a small part, another is a wide network of citizen monitoring) and most expert believe that terrorism (including the foreign sponsored type) will take place. Yet the government has to try to impose order…

    The recent wikileaks incident shows that in the West, there is little toleration for information that subvert the government. The information leaked in the Wikileaks has been relatively mild – embarassing but not destabilizing. Imagine if the Western order is really in danger, then really we will see government directed information control on a scale never before seen.

    London already has more cameras per person than Beijing … yet it is China who is the big brother… Go figure…

  3. King Tubby
    January 23rd, 2011 at 15:12 | #3

    The world today is more than the dysfunctional bi-polar egagement between the PRC and the US. You are the Fox face of China and its shows in your op pieces and very limited number of commenters.

    Also your use of cut and paste is excessive, and it does not denote scholarly attention to detail. From my perspective, the US is a failed project and reasonably well deserved, and hopefully China will follow suite – corruption, unbalanced inflationary economy etc, etc.

    A large number of countries in the rest of the world hope that you both – US and PRC – enjoy a long extended schadenfreude moment.

    Most people click in HH for a giggle.

  4. Charles Liu
    January 23rd, 2011 at 17:55 | #4

    Maybe Kristof can explain why our free media collectively censored the fact Liu Xiaobo took nearly a million dollars from the NED to conduct domestic politics in China? Would this story be any different if our media was state sponsored?

  5. January 23rd, 2011 at 17:55 | #5

    Yikes – Fox face of China … that’s truly disappointing…

    But if we can provide people a giggle – I think that’s truly good. If we can’t move the world, at least we’ll provide people some comic relief. Ain’t so bad. Some people do that for a career… Some even see the ability to provide laughter as a spiritual calling…

  6. Shocked at your ignorance
    January 23rd, 2011 at 19:28 | #6

    This is a very good argument until you disagree with the massacre comment. All that does is demonstrate how little you know about the event. The vast majority of the violence didn’t physically take place at the square and the whole event wasn’t a flash in the pan event but drawn out over an extensive period of time.

    You had me until then, now I just find you to be an idiot.

  7. King Tubby
    January 23rd, 2011 at 19:34 | #7

    No Allen, thats the Fox-faced truth. But at least you responded in good nature.

    All uncertain, anzious PRC-type regimes fear popular laughter, jeers and derision. Can you provide me with a Hu/Wen joke going around the domestic web?

  8. wwww1234
    January 23rd, 2011 at 21:30 | #8

    the experiment is redundant, look at what happened to wikileak. Revealing even trivial and factual information results in an international fugitive. Server closed, bank account frozen, paypal stopped.

    Try to discuss 911 and \”terrorism\” without taking side online, you will become one of the 1% US population in jail at any given time.

  9. pug_ster
    January 23rd, 2011 at 22:02 | #9

    I dunno, maybe Western Bozos like Kristoff wants to tell every Chinese that they don’t live in a free country and thinks that most Chinese wants to know what happened at 4 six incident. Not to mention that it is some kind of white man’s burden to force people in China to access facebook, youtube and twitter. Maybe the Chinese people who managed to ‘climb over the great firewall’ didn’t really care.

  10. January 23rd, 2011 at 22:45 | #10

    “Fox face”? If you think Fox is bad, then I say NYT is equally bad. Extremist ilks of conservatism and liberalism can invade and rob equally well.

  11. January 23rd, 2011 at 22:52 | #11

    @#6,

    Before you judge me an “idiot”, I suggest you search for Tianmen and June 4 on this blog. The idiot you should point to are the Western media, because they continue the narrative the deaths were in the square itself.

    Have a read here:
    Sorting fact from fiction – Tiananmen revisited (Part 1)

  12. January 23rd, 2011 at 22:58 | #12

    @King Tubby,

    All uncertain, anzious PRC-type regimes fear popular laughter, jeers and derision.

    Let’s say in Chinese society, public jeers and derision are considered disrespectful, and as a cultural norm, not a prevalent thing. Are you going to respect that norm or going to rub it in the Chinese peoples face?

    Can you provide me with a Hu/Wen joke going around the domestic web?

    Can you converse in Chinese? See my point above. Privately, there are jokes going around about them.

  13. January 23rd, 2011 at 23:01 | #13

    Looks like Kristof’s stunt has been shut down. His Chinese blog left this message for visitors:

    此博客已被关闭。
    如有疑问请拨打客服电话:4006900000

    It essentially says this blog has been closed. If you have further questions, please contact the given customer service phone number.

  14. wwww1234
    January 23rd, 2011 at 23:28 | #14

    part of the problem is one of asymmetry of information, and sensitivity of the subject discussed .
    In India, you cannot really talk about religion online without flaming riots, and it is strictly censored.
    In China, you cannot show pork products on TV, even during chinese new year, so as not to offend minorities.

    Speech can inflame and injure just like actual behaviour. This seems to be more serious in nations descended from ancient civilizations. Perhaps it is less so in the US, esp with politics; which has been largely fiscalised and hijacked by corporate journalism. I guess that is what Francis Fukuyama meant by “US democracy has little to teach China” as it has become “ungovernable”.

  15. January 24th, 2011 at 01:03 | #15

    @wwww1234
    A competition between “individualism” and “collectivism.”

  16. January 24th, 2011 at 02:42 | #16

    Hu is in the house? wen mother – when mean “ask” mother

    五毛党

  17. Coma
    January 24th, 2011 at 06:56 | #17

    @Kedafu
    I always thought that it is rather autarchical to call someone who merely does not share the same view with yourself a “五毛党” or “brain-washed”. It makes me wonder who exactly is the one who tyies to kill the “liberty of speech”.

  18. Boogy Woogyt
    January 24th, 2011 at 07:57 | #18

    De Wang said: “I remember back in the late 90′s dot com boom, the Western media predicted an Internet revolution in China. When the number of Chinese Internet users were below 100 million, these people predicted Chinese online users banding together for democracy. Well, 350 million more users later, the thing that strikes me is more and more of them are voicing their displeasure at the NYT and other Western media outlets.”

    I guess you hear what you want to. More and more people are criticizing everything on the Internet in China these days, but most notably I think it’s corruption inside China that gets the strongest reaction. But sure, when the Western press get a story wrong that irritates people in China, and they complain about it. The Western press is far from perfect. But at least it is a freer exchange of ideas than in the Chinese press.

    BTW, I think that guy’s blog is down!

  19. Charles Liu
    January 24th, 2011 at 10:08 | #19

    @Kedafu

    Typical neo McCarthyism. I doubt you really have proof people are getting 50 cent RMB (~7 cent USD).

  20. January 24th, 2011 at 11:25 | #20

    @Boogy Woogyt

    I agree too, corruption and other issues get much more interest. ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ have been distorted in their meaning because of how the Western media have narrated about them.

    But sure, when the Western press get a story wrong that irritates people in China, and they complain about it.

    In my opinion, whenever that happens, the Western media should be discredited. “wrong” is too nice a word. At times, they willfully lie and tell half truths to support their ongoing narratives.

    The Western press is far from perfect. But at least it is a freer exchange of ideas than in the Chinese press.

    In fact, you got it backwards. You think the day-in and day-out infatuation with dogma, liberalism vs. conservatism, and stunts like Kristof make for a “freer exchange of ideas?” It’s a pissing contest between the most warped loud-mouths. That’s what the “free” Western media does.

    That’s not exchanging ideas. That’s constructing myopia.

    Think outside the box a little bit. Think how many Americans read Chinese? Now think how many Chinese read English?

    Why do you think Google still gets about 10% revenue share in China despite google.cn being shut down? That’s because Chinese people are using google.com to search – for ideas.

    How many Westerners do you know use Baidu.com searching for Chinese stuff?

  21. King Tubby
    January 24th, 2011 at 12:34 | #21

    Cultural norms. Thats a weasel escape via western sociology. “Laughter/jeers at” is/are truly subversive, irrespective of one’s nationality, and a sure sign of popular dissatisfaction with an existing political order . But I do agree that this Kristof is a nitwit.

  22. King Tubby
    January 24th, 2011 at 13:20 | #22

    “Little Rabbit, Be Good”. I rest my case and look forward to any feedback.

  23. January 24th, 2011 at 13:30 | #23

    @King Tubby,

    Hey, wait a minute. You are the one who said “All uncertain, anzious PRC-type regimes fear popular laughter, jeers and derision.”

    I simply offered you an explanation culturally the norm is nobody does that sort of thing in public.

    Tell me how this is “weasel escape?”

    What? The Chinese people eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And, that’s all because of the mandate of the “PRC-type” regime’s policy?

  24. King Tubby
    January 24th, 2011 at 14:18 | #24

    Okay, I take the point you were making in your second sentence, but cultural norms can collapse as we both know, and this brings me to your views about the tiger-rabbit video. And please don’t tell me it was the product of a few bad elements who were fortunate enough to study at a film and television school.
    After all, such things arent produced in a vacuum, but in a living breathing vibrant society, a reality with all its contradictions, some of which I have experienced eg illegal land reclamation involving our apartment complex. Photos of that incident provided on request.

  25. January 24th, 2011 at 15:21 | #25

    @King Tubby,

    I don’t understand your tiger-rabbit analogy. Can you elaborate?

    As I said in my rebuttal to Kristof, the Chinese censorship targets pornography, anti-government subversion, separatist, inciting violence, and false rumors.

    Illegal land reclamation ought to be dealt with in the Chinese courts. Let’s say you are right. There was corruption involved in the apartment complex where you live. Are you saying that is the Chinese government abusing Chinese citizen’s “human rights?”

    In Silicon Valley where I live, many good schools re-draw attendance boundaries due to over-crowding. Those with homes carved out and forced to attend less desirable schools now have their “human rights” abused?

    In this case, there is probably no corruption. However, from the eyes of those families who often loose $100k in home value will often say there is corruption. Are we to take their word for it?

    So, coming back to your apartment complex land reclamation. You have some facts supporting your claim it illegal?

  26. King Tubby
  27. January 24th, 2011 at 16:17 | #27

    LOL. My take: the video is a Chinese person’s view of the Western “democracy”, “freedom”, and “human rights” so called activist’s wet dream about what might come of China.

    Remember the 2008 Amnesty International ad?

    I like Warren Buffett’s narrative much better: China is finally unlocking her human potential.

    http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2010/12/warren-buffett-weighs-in-on-china-three-blames-government-wallstreet-china/

    China Geeks is a Westerner, so that’s the lens he’s most likely capable of seeing China. Send it to the “nitwit.” He might make it a bigger story at the NYT. 😉

    Seriously, I am sure there are people in China feeling disenfranchised. We can ask about the homeless people in the U.S. about U.S. society. That would only be one perspective. There are many other perspectives to consider. Hint: ask the hundreds of millions of Chinese pulled out of abject poverty.

  28. r v
    January 24th, 2011 at 17:38 | #28

    I’m also pretty sure that MANY Americans are fans of the long running cartoon series, “South Park”, where there are also similar (sometimes much worse) depictions of blood, gore, racism, sexism, and even occasionally, Nazism. (1 main character is Cartman, a child who often express his anti-Semitic feelings publicly).

    But does that mean that US is on the verge of collapsing into some sort of Fascism?

    (Seriously, Americans are starting to lose their sense of humor. I mean, Come on already, take a cartoon chill pill.)

  29. King Tubby
    January 24th, 2011 at 17:41 | #29

    @ De Wang. It was not about democracy, freedom or human rights. It was a 2010 review of popular social issues which pissed off Chinese netizens, and it proffered a good old Chinese panacea, a populist revolt against the elite Tiger class.

    Other than than, I don’t care too much about the homeless in the US since, after all, it was their Wall Street masters of the universe and pols who sold them down the drain.

    Try and deal with an issue on its own terms and forget the US comparison.

    To be sure, PRC living standards have improved for millions, but this does not mean that they are ignoring/immune to the popular narrative of unsavory events outlined in this video.

    Whatever, lets keep an eye on the vox populi dissatisfaction meter over the next few years. Look at Tunisia and that was all in a month.

    How would you characterise the popular mood of the non-elite populace today, Jan 2011. I would go for brittle and sullen.

    Finally, have you thought that maybe you are a bit out-of-touch, what with living in Silicon Valley?

  30. mike
    January 24th, 2011 at 17:46 | #30

    There are two narratives around Tiananmen:
    1. The innocent students were massacred by evil commies
    2. The student ‘hooligans’ forced the government to crack down which resulted in a few deaths.

    Both are equally wrong. As the majority of people who died and were imprisoned were NOT students and were not killed in Tiananmen itself, both the NYT journo and this blogger show themselves up to be highly ignorant.

    ps. quoting MAJ as a source has just put you in the ranks of the tin foil hat wearing numbskulls

  31. wwww1234
    January 24th, 2011 at 17:53 | #31

    Blair says: “Three years out of office have given me time to reflect on our system of government… I think there is a tendency for those of us in democracies to become smug about the fact that we are democratic, as if universal suffrage and no more were enough to give us good government… Democracy needs to mature; it needs to adapt and reform. I would say that the way we run Westminster or Whitehall today is just not effective in a twenty-first-century world. Many might say the same about congress in the US… Yet the debate, though it acknowledges that the public are disillusioned and disquieted, focuses exclusively on the issues of honesty, transparency and accountability as if it were a character problem. It isn’t. It’s an efficiency problem.”

    Blair also says “The role of modern media in modern democracy is an issue every senior politician I know believes is ripe for debate. Yet it is virtually un-debated… Every walk of life involving power is now subjected to regulation except one: the media.”

    It is a leap of faith to equate majority instant preferences as representing our best interest and the best thing to do. We are all too familiar with the sound bytes and visual cues we are immerged in, and preferences are constantly molded mainly by mostly selfish interests under no public supervision.

    The western green is now appending their hope on china, as democracy and lobbying money would render the US government hopeless for major role in the future green revolution.

    On reading Chomsky, in addition to the inconsistency yinyang pointed out(populist democracy based on manufactured consent/reality), is its neglect of non voters. In the case of excluding all foreigners, it has and will continue to lead to numerous conquers/massacres/wars. And in the case of depriving voting rights of all future generations (non-voters), it has prioritized fulfillment for the present at the expanse of future survival of all species including our own. A heavy dose of paternalism might help to save our world. It is time for westerners to rethink their(and our) future, and leave China alone.

  32. January 24th, 2011 at 18:11 | #32

    Tunisia’s vox populi managed to turn over their country to the military. Good luck with “democracy”.

    Tunisia’s ex-dictator Ben Ali was considered a US ally in the War on Terrorism, receiving MILLIONS of dollars in aid from US.

    Hmm… Revolution in Tunisia, perhaps with the help of Islamic Extremists?

    Similar sentiments of revolution in Egypt?

    Vox populi of these countries trying to send a message to whom? US more likely.

  33. January 24th, 2011 at 19:43 | #33

    @mike #30,

    You are probably right that the standard interpretation will probably have to be reinterpreted in the future. But to merely make ad homenim attacks – especially someone who is no longer with us – is demeaning.

    yinyang quoted a few of the most commonly commented posts. If you don’t like what’s written, you can offer your view. Merely state everything is crap is a waste of your time … as well as our reader’s.

    Again, here are some of the posts we have on tiananmen. They each offer their own perspectives, but none of them offer a narrative that is “definitive.” http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/tag/sixfour/

    This is not a post about tiananmen, but if you have something to add, please add them. Otherwise, please be a passive reader.

  34. Boogywoogyt
    January 24th, 2011 at 20:52 | #34

    @ yinyang

    You said: “I agree too, corruption and other issues get much more interest. ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ have been distorted in their meaning because of how the Western media have narrated about them.”

    I said: “But sure, when the Western press get a story wrong that irritates people in China, and they complain about it. ”

    You said: “In my opinion, whenever that happens, the Western media should be discredited. “wrong” is too nice a word. At times, they willfully lie and tell half truths to support their ongoing narratives.”

    Sorry, no offense, really, but this is just daft. The Western press is full of “amazing China” stories these days, celebrating its vibrancy, architecture, phenomenal engineering projects, etc etc. Travel shows rant about what an amazing place it is to visit (which it is) and foreign business reporters are deeply entrenched and optimistic about the future. But when some foreign media get some stories wrong, or wrong-headed about China, then “the Western media” should be discredited. As if the “Western media” was some kind of monolithic structure like the Chinese media, controlled or censored regularly by the government. This is ridiculous. Sorry, but grow up. That’s so one-sided. When they get it right, say “Good job”; when they get it wrong, say, “Hey dumb-ass!” Be fair and objective or you are just a kind of 50-center.

    Anyway, there is systemic bias in both the way Chinese look at the West and the way the West looks at China. Your critiques can help point that out. But if you just rant on about “the freedom obsessed”, it just makes you look bad.

    Now, can we have a reasonable discussion on the nature of free ideas? We have our press, including the alternative press, plus the Internet, plus a liberal academic culture that promotes critical thinking. We are not inside a box, although like every country everywhere, including yours to a large degree, the masses of people believe what they are told. But things are changing, and people are open to China now in a way they have never been before.

    There are tens of thousands of Westerners in China studying Chinese right now, and 100,000’s of others back in the West that are doing so as well. Things are taking off, and the trend will continue. Chinese learned English first for economic and scientific reasons. Now Westerners are learning Chinese for economic and cultural reasons. That is a great thing.

    I know this was a rant, but you asked for it. You seem to be consumed by hatred.

  35. King Tubby
    January 24th, 2011 at 20:59 | #35

    raventhorn2.

    “Vox populi of these countries trying to send a message to whom? US more likely.”

    That is true my idiotic friend, but if you took the time to read my posts, I am no friend of the US.

    PRC Tiger elite, your turn is coming. And I look forward to the day. May your sister be sodomised by a very unhappy migrant worker.

    Why bother being rational on HH. People don’t read carefully, nor do they have an up-todated understanding of what is happening in the PRC, and I include you De Wang.

    The Mutual Sino-Masturbation Society.

    Going back to normal transmission.

  36. January 24th, 2011 at 23:13 | #36

    @Boogywoogyt

    Okay, I think there are some encouraging developments in the U.S., so I am relatively more optimistic. This blog is much more than just this particular post. See my recent post about Obama/Clinton’s “100,000 Strong Initiative.”

    The Western press is full of “amazing China” stories these days, celebrating its vibrancy, architecture, phenomenal engineering projects, etc etc.

    There are some positive coverages. But, the overall is fear mongering or distortions.

    On the Western media’s dishonesty about trade and “currency manipulation”:
    http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2010/10/fighting-for-jobs-in-a-globalized-world/
    http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2010/09/the-politicization-of-the-yuan/

    On the Western media’s coverage of Liu Xiaobo:
    http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2010/10/liu-xiaobo-deserves-an-ig-nobel-peace-prize-the-latest-reaction-to-buzz-the-west/

    On the Western media bias in general:
    http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2010/08/newsy-com-breaking-the-mold-of-western-media-bias/

    On the Western media’s coverage of the Korean Peninsula issue:
    http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2010/11/america-enters-thanksgiving-with-trumpet-for-war-over-north-korea/

    On the Western media’s coverage about censorthip:
    http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2010/01/google-vs-china-good-vs-evil/

    Travel shows rant about what an amazing place it is to visit (which it is) and foreign business reporters are deeply entrenched and optimistic about the future.

    If travel shows are going to trash the place they are covering, why have a travel show in the first place. That’s not a valid example. Foreign business reports? You mean in the WSJ, The Economist? Look, don’t insult our intelligence. Those places are crawling with junk as our articles above often referenced.

    But when some foreign media get some stories wrong, or wrong-headed about China, then “the Western media” should be discredited. As if the “Western media” was some kind of monolithic structure like the Chinese media, controlled or censored regularly by the government. This is ridiculous. Sorry, but grow up. That’s so one-sided. When they get it right, say “Good job”; when they get it wrong, say, “Hey dumb-ass!” Be fair and objective or you are just a kind of 50-center.

    What kind of nonsense is this? The Western media is generally understood to be the mainstream media from the U.S., Canada, Australia, U.K., and Western Europe. Why do Westerners refer to themselves the “West?”

    You might as well make the lame argument that I am accusing them of conspiring. I really don’t give a damn if they are. Equally, I don’t care if they are of whatever grouping. Racists don’t need to conspire to be racists. They just are, and wherever we see such acts, we ought to condemn them. The Western media absolutely speak as a “monolithic” entity when it comes to issues about China on Tibet, “human rights”, “freedom”, and “democracy.”

    Before you get bent out of shape, I suggest you read the above links, and then come back with something concrete.

    Anyway, there is systemic bias in both the way Chinese look at the West and the way the West looks at China. Your critiques can help point that out. But if you just rant on about “the freedom obsessed”, it just makes you look bad.

    You care to elaborate what the nature of the systemic bias is in the Chinese media? You mind sharing some Chinese articles to prove your point? Until you do so, my take is you are spewing the same nonsense you read from the Western media about the Chinese media being “state controlled” and whatever myopic views derived from that.

    I know this was a rant, but you asked for it. You seem to be consumed by hatred.

    Wow, tough. But your rant is too weak. I am trying to understand what struck a nerve for you.

    You fundamentally believe that the Western media is more “free?” Then connect the dots for us how that, say, as practiced in America, translates to being “better.”

  37. January 24th, 2011 at 23:26 | #37

    @King Tubby,

    I don’t understand you.

    This post is about Kristof’s nonsense. You seems to agree by calling him a ‘nitwit.’

    But then we seem to have an argument. So, what is it? What about the ‘nitwit’ arguments you actually agree with and I have gone too far?

    You seems to suggest the Chinese people are preoccupied with corruption. That I agree with you. It is a very serious problem which the Chinese government openly cracks down on. They also institute various transparency laws to combat it. The Chinese government are very serious about that. Their FDA head was executed for harming consumers by approving drugs after being bribed.

    I can’t figure out what are you after. You are upset we are preoccupied with the “nitwits?”

    You claimed your apartment complex being a case of illegal land reclamation. You seem to imply there is a link to corruption.

    I am all ears, never-mind your can’t wait for the appropriate post to air your grievances.

    Finally, have you thought that maybe you are a bit out-of-touch, what with living in Silicon Valley?

    Hey, I have relatives and friends in China whom I exchange with. I travel to China. I can read some Chinese. I read Chinese media.

    But, to tell you the truth, I do feel a bit out of touch some times, because there is so much going on inside China. That’s why I try research into stories in Chinese. Here is an example:

    Amy Chua would be proud of China’s “奶茶MM” (“Milk Tea Sister”)

    What’s up, I don’t get you.

  38. momo
    January 25th, 2011 at 03:52 | #38

    批 评 新 猪 肉 时报 (New Pork Times) 的 小 丑- Nicholas Kristof

    this schoolboy prank by Nicholas kristof is akin to self-gratification in full view of the more voyeuristic readers of that rag known as New Pork Times, and to the amusement of his employers who have him (and all their hacks) by the balls, no doubt.

    The naked fool has been saved from further embarrassment of the public scrutiny of his pen or willy – whichever is smaller – by being ushered out of view by concerned parties.
    But seriously, who’s here a fan-boy of the New Pork Times – fat with lies and streaked with malice?
    The rag is practically the blue ribbon standard of China-bashing in American media. One fancies that its staff go through NK-style mass indoctrination drills every morning before they rush to their work stations and fire hate missives at the Enemy of the hour. In this case, it’s China, folks!
    Heck, even the fashion department is co-opted into the propaganda war. You can imagine its feisty fashion editor clicking her Jimmy Choos/Blahniks as she goose-steps towards the Chinese masses who have gone from laboring to labeled in one generation. Hermes! Burberry! Gucci! Yohji!
    Never one to take prisoners, the straight-shooting Cathy Horyn goes rat-tat-a-tat at New York designer Alexander Wang: (he) is not a great designer because his clothes are made in China and priced to sell.
    Diiiingg! OK, ‘fess up. Who’s been taking lessons in, uh, economics from ….Paul Krugman?!!
    Made in China=undervalued yuan =cheap labour.
    Diinngg!! What next? Maybe patriotic American fashionistas will try to go A Year Without Made In China?
    But that’s a tough call, we all know. Imagine Leonard DiCaprio or Nicholas Kristof in their birthday suits!
    In a New Pork Times-sponsored campaign: I rather go naked than wear Made in China.
    I can’t wait!! Diinggg!!! Move over, PETA. Your clock is ticking.
    Bisous!!

  39. Boogywoogyt
    January 25th, 2011 at 07:20 | #39

    @YinYang:

    I will read your links and get back to you, as well as answer your most pertinent questions, over the next few days.

    But for now, could you please answer a few questions for me:

    1) If this blog was as anti-Chinese government press as it is anti-Western press, would it be allowed in China?
    2) Secondly, would not greater freedom of the press in China help take on the rampant corruption in China? Surely allowing greater self-criticism would improve the society? Freer societies tend to be less corrupt, less “melamine” or “HIV blood”scandals happening, no?

  40. pug_ster
    January 25th, 2011 at 08:54 | #40

    Oh brother, I make statements about how dumb the Western Media is and I rarely get a response. Instead China Bashers like King Tubby wants to think China like it is in the past in 1989.

    Boogywoogy, ‘Freer societies tend to be less corrupt.’ The question what is the definition of ‘Freer?’ Yesterday I was watched the news about a ‘free’ country like India where quack doctors are prevalent contributing the spread of diseases like tuberculosis. In China there are corrupt politicans that are punished, the government inspect products with melamine, and hiv blood is a thing of the past. How many people in the US are punished for the financial scandal, for the false propaganda for the Iraq war? Pot, meet kettle.

  41. January 25th, 2011 at 11:23 | #41

    @momo

    “新 猪 肉 时报” for some reason sounds funnier.

    @Boogywoogyt

    Please do. And I’ll elaborate a bit more on pug_ster’s comments.

    1) There are tons of criticisms leveled against the Chinese media, the Chinese government, all within China. They are in fact allowed. Why is it that you have to ask that question theoretically?

    As I said to you in my comment #20 above, the Western media’s inability to read Chinese does not mean such Chinese writings are not allowed.

    Btw, ponder what I said there too about free exchange of ideas. You haven’t responded to that either.

    2) You haven’t understood what I said to you previously. “Freer” media espousing stupidity, dogma, and lies makes for “better” what?

    pug_ster gave many examples of “free” media not solving real problems.

  42. January 25th, 2011 at 11:24 | #42

    Ownage of this shiazzle in one short sentence:

    yinyang, Allen, JXie: you guys all used to write for a blog which was blocked (Foolsmountain) despite being very pro-CCP – I guess you must be criminals, at least according to Allen’s logic.

  43. January 25th, 2011 at 11:42 | #43

    Nah, Fools Mountain at one point decided to take the route of hosting anti-Chinese government perspectives as well. Simply out of the believe that the mountain can be moved. If I have to guess, the anti-Chinese government (and frankly, thinly veiled anti-China) perspectives are what led to Fools Mountain blog got blocked.

    Hence, we’ve decided at HH anti-China government voices are dime a dozen in the Western media (blogs included). We went back to the “roots” and simply decided this is a platform for Chinese perspectives.

    Haven’t you noticed? Despite our contents primarily in English so far, our second largest pool of readers come from China.

  44. Boogywoogyt
    January 25th, 2011 at 16:08 | #44

    @YinYang

    Yes,I’ll get back to you in stages. I am busy. Here is one installment:

    There are numerous articles on China from all points of view in the mainstream and alternative media. Some praise, some criticize, some merely opine, and some do a bit of all three: Here’s one example from the WSJ: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704104104575622531909154228.html (Copy and past the URL line.)

    Here’s one from the NYT:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/25/business/global/25iht-busnav25.html?_r=1&ref=china

    There are hundreds of articles out there like this, thousands, which are sincere attempts to understand a fascinating subject, China.

    My overall point from my “rant” was that you imply a conspiracy or at least an overwhelming tendency to discredit China, when in my view, that may happen sometimes in the Western press but not most of the time.

    But as a nationalist you like to keep evoking the “humiliation of colonization” or “Westerners do not understand China” to justify your hatred or intense dislike of any criticism from the West.

    So, yes, the Western press comes from the West, of course, but the West represents diversity and plurality, so you need to acknowledge the good along with the bad.

    As to the travel show thing, your point is silly. The fact that travel shows highlight China so much is because there is a love affair with China now in the West. Yet, you are so impatient and one sided about the West: it seems like you are an angry teenager!

    The marketplace of ideas makes for a richer and more progressive mental landscape.

  45. January 25th, 2011 at 16:48 | #45

    @Boogywoogyt

    I am curious. Are you a DPP Greenie from Taiwan? That would then make a lot of sense to me about your comments.

  46. r v
    January 25th, 2011 at 17:00 | #46

    “My overall point from my “rant” was that you imply a conspiracy or at least an overwhelming tendency to discredit China, when in my view, that may happen sometimes in the Western press but not most of the time.”

    “Sometimes” and “not most of the time” are rather subjective characterizations, and I would beg to differ.

    When the most prominent voices of “experts” in the West (and among the leaders), consistently make glaring factual mistakes about China in the media, and display over and over again fundamental stereotypical assumptions about China and its people,
    Then it’s only rightful to wonder if the “sometimes” is too many, for such a supposedly enlightened “democracy”.

    Unless of course, People of “democracies” become drunken fools with only a few “sometimes” here and there.

    Clearly, the “market place of ideas” is not working well in the West, if we are still talking about basic errors of facts and historical stereotypes about China here.

    I would love to move on from these issues, but clearly, the Western press is stuck in 2nd grade and the 18th century.

    Now, let’s see the “marketplace of ideas” offer something new about China. I doubt it very much. I expect, tomorrow, there will be yet another “misconception” or “mischaracterization” of China.

    You want us to stop talking about these mistakes from the Western Press, or be more “patient”?

    Maybe you should tell the Western Press to be more “patient”, and learn a bit more before shooting its mouthpieces off.

    I see no reason to be “patient” with an impatient childish Western Press embarassing itself in public.

  47. January 25th, 2011 at 20:04 | #47

    @FOARP #42,

    You wrote:

    yinyang, Allen, JXie: you guys all used to write for a blog which was blocked (Foolsmountain) despite being very pro-CCP – I guess you must be criminals, at least according to Allen’s logic.

    Time again and again, you show your immaturity and lack of reading ability. Where is my logic about us being criminals?

    I’ve never defended specific censorships since it’s more about politics than anything else. In general, my take has always been:

    I may not agree with what the Chinese government censors every time, but I do take issue with those who attack “Chinese censorship” as categorically unenlightened.

    From http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2010/03/what-does-internet-censorship-mean/.

    Also – there is a difference between criminally promulgating hate and fraud vs. merely being censored. Being censored per se does not make one a criminal in China …

  48. January 25th, 2011 at 20:07 | #48

    @Boogywoogy #44,

    You wrote:

    The marketplace of ideas makes for a richer and more progressive mental landscape.

    There are times (very select times) when marketplace of ideas work, and many times when they don’t.

    If you have read our posts and have things to add, we welcome them. Making conclusory remarks without any attempt to read what we have written makes it a drag to engage with the likes of you.

    You may start reading the exchange I had with Rosa starting http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2010/08/newsy-com-breaking-the-mold-of-western-media-bias/#comment-38085.

    You may also check my recent post on wikileaks (http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2011/01/reflecting-on-the-wikileaks-incident/) as well as a prior post on marketplace of ideas (http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2008/09/does-a-free-marketplace-of-ideas-really-work/).

  49. King Tubby
    January 26th, 2011 at 01:36 | #49

    [deleted by yinyang for trolling]

  50. wwww1234
    January 26th, 2011 at 01:37 | #50

    * How Free Is The Chinese Internet? (2011/01/26) ESWN
    for those who can read chinese,

    On the day of January 26, 2011, the fugitive Lai Changxing opened a Sina.com microblog. His user name has a “V” suffix, meaning that his identity has been verified. For more information on “China’s most wanted fugitive” Mr. Lai, see Wikipedia.

    I wonder how long it will stay there.

  51. Dan
    January 26th, 2011 at 03:57 | #51

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but you mentioned in the comments you find the NYT to be overly liberal? Is this just from their op-ed’s or are you going by their actual news? Because I find it a little hard to believe you could read their news and think they’re a liberal media outlet. Of course Kristof/Friedman et al swing liberally. But they’re just spouting opinions. That’s not how narratives get told. If I went just by op-ed’s I would think the WSJ is the most Republican/conservative voice out there. And it’s not.

    As for the rest of your argument, there’s some merit to what you’re saying, and sure Kristof’s understanding of China and his little social experiment aren’t the most nuanced things out there. But you’re just as opinionated as he is, and what you’ve mostly done is write the exact opposite of what he said. Forget Kristof, or the rest of the media (most of which is of course in it for the clicks, subscriptions, ads what have you).

    Tell me what you think about his ultimate quesiton he’s proposing: should blogs be blocked? Ever? Should people’s opinion’s be silenced? When?

    And what would be a bigger slap in the face? Putting up a blog defiant of the Chinese government? Or for his blog to drift into irrelevance as one of a billion blogs in the blogosphere?

    I’ll add one last thing. I don’t know you; we’ve never met, and I haven’t spent enough time on your site to have a nuanced understanding of your beliefs. But honestly, my initial impression is that you are actually helping to continue this Western narrative of China that you don’t like. This almost knee-jerk reaction to a Westerner’s op-ed, little jabs here and there about Westerner’s belief systems and a loud voice crying against Western perceptions of events and how they view China. You could even be potentially in the right, but still, the average Western (I feel) sees this as a typical Chinese-perspective response.

    And this is coming from an American-born Chinese.

  52. pug_ster
    January 26th, 2011 at 07:34 | #52

    And yes, I look forward to the day when the CPC is hoisted on its own petard, simply because it is an ossified 19/20th century Leninist throwback based on control and subservience. It does not provide a model of governance for the positive possibilities for humanity (irrespective of ethnicity) in this new century. God (in a non-christian sense), we are all in this together what with climate change, environmental and food security problems, etc.

    That’s a good one. You mean that in the last 10 years US did the same thing? Fooled Americans in fighting 2 wars? Allowing the Financial institutions to rob Americans blind while bailing them out? We have real patriots like Joe Wilson who wants to speak against the Iraq war and guess what happened to his wife? Pot, meet kettle.

    Control and subservience? That’s a good one. Let me know when the Chinese government start mind control experiments on its citizens.

  53. January 26th, 2011 at 09:08 | #53

    [deleted by yinyang for trolling]

  54. January 26th, 2011 at 10:33 | #54

    @Dan

    You went from saying this:

    I’ll add one last thing. I don’t know you; we’ve never met, and I haven’t spent enough time on your site to have a nuanced understanding of your beliefs.

    To this conclusion:

    But honestly, my initial impression is that you are actually helping to continue this Western narrative of China that you don’t like. This almost knee-jerk reaction to a Westerner’s op-ed, little jabs here and there about Westerner’s belief systems and a loud voice crying against Western perceptions of events and how they view China. You could even be potentially in the right, but still, the average Western (I feel) sees this as a typical Chinese-perspective response.

    Pretty retarded, if you don’t mind me saying so. Then read up.

    Look, all that diarrhea of words of yours haven’t addressed anything of substance as pertains to this post.

    Tell me what you think about his ultimate quesiton he’s proposing: should blogs be blocked? Ever? Should people’s opinion’s be silenced? When?

    Look at our Featured Posts section or look at comments #36, #47, #48 if you are interested in our points elaborated.

  55. r v
    January 26th, 2011 at 16:01 | #55

    As I predicted, Egypt on the verge of collapse, like Tunisia.

    Brotherhood of Islam is watching and waiting for its chance to reap from the chaos.

    And the West is nervous, indeed.

    All that “Rendition” is finally coming home to roost. Say hello the the new “market of ideas”, where people are finally fed up with all the empty promises of “democracy” that supported dictators in Egypt.

  56. Dan
    January 26th, 2011 at 17:26 | #56

    @YinYang

    I don’t understand what’s so “retarded” about what I wrote. What I gave you was my initial, honest impression, that I do not think your response to Kristof–particularly the wording, tone, etc. is helping alter the grander narrative in Western culture.

    I’m not here to discount you. That’s why I wrote just before my “diarrhea of words,” that I don’t know you. I am making a conclusion–a very flexible one–because so far that’s all I have to go off of. But I’m also prefacing that conclusion by stating that I understand that my initial impression could be wrong.

    I’m not judging you, making a final decision or anything of the sort. You’re interested in giving Chinese perspectives. All for it, and I hope you’d be willing to hear a Chinese-American perspective as well. When I get the chance/have more time I’ll read more through your site, and we can have a more thorough discussion.

    That sound good?

  57. Charles Liu
    January 26th, 2011 at 22:56 | #57

    @r v

    So why would NED and Soros Foundation (OSI) fund revolt in Tunisia?

    http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2011/01/18/tunisian-revolt-another-sorosned-jack-up/

    I think they each had different agendy, but the convergence is by design or not I’m uncertain.

    Same with China, I’m not sure of the reason, only that OSI’s underwritting for overtly anti-China blog like Global Voices Online (GVO’s leadership is directly linked to RSF, OSI).

  58. Boogywoogyt
    January 27th, 2011 at 09:54 | #58

    @YinYang
    Well, you know I’m in Taiwan from my IP. I noticed your “visitor locations” function. Very PRC-esque!

    Am I a greenie? No, that would be going too far. I’m a Westerner so of course my basic political orientation is towards democracy and self-determination. Hence, I gravitate towards support of Taiwanese determining their own future without undue hindrance or coercion. But the Taiwanese can decide to (re-)unify with China, make a stand for it, or do whatever else they may feel is best, as far as I’m concerned, if that’s what they really want to do. I really can’t think of a good reason why anyone would need to give them a seriously hard time.

    But my larger focus – the reason I check our ESWN and click on links- is on the question of how Chinese – and other East Asian – and Western cultures interact. I think it’s quite an interesting field.

  59. Boogywoogyt
    January 27th, 2011 at 10:01 | #59

    @Allen

    Hi Allen,

    I have read your posts. Thank you for creating this interesting site. I hope that, in the future, you can add a greater amount of logic and sincerity to your commentary, and gradually evolve away from conceited nationalism and pseudo-superiority. Or, if that’s not possible, then at least lighten up once in a while! 🙂

  60. Boogywoogyt
    January 27th, 2011 at 10:08 | #60

    Oh BTW, yinyang: I’d have to agree with Dan on one point: Many Westerners think of Chinese as being excessively sensitive when it comes to criticism, and prone to knee-jerk nationalism. Kudos to you for not using the term “American hegemony”, but beyond that you definitely fit the bill, and so do help perpetuate the cliche.

  61. January 27th, 2011 at 11:05 | #61

    @Boogywoogyt,

    excessively sensitive . . . nationalism

    I agree that’s the Western media narrative, and I am not surprised. That suggests the Westerners think the Chinese are irrational.

    But let’s say the Chinese perspectives are valid and closer to truth on these various issues of contention with the West, then what?

    We are where we started. Like Dan, you have said a lot but nothing of substance. That’s why, to the Chinese people, you are absolutely ignorant.

    For example, for this “freer” exchange of ideas. Go back to my comment #41 and are you going to say something intelligent about your views on them? Are you backing down?

  62. January 27th, 2011 at 11:10 | #62

    Well, you know I’m in Taiwan from my IP. I noticed your “visitor locations” function. Very PRC-esque!

    Actually, I got the idea from the BBC. Reader comments are tagged by their City,Country of origin.

    Another example of attributing ‘wrong’ to the PRC out of ignorance.

    Have you thought to think from the positive perspective? Readers knowing where other readers are helps foster a stronger sense of community despite we are really far apart geographically.

  63. r v
    January 27th, 2011 at 17:02 | #63

    Charles Liu :
    @r v
    So why would NED and Soros Foundation (OSI) fund revolt in Tunisia?
    http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2011/01/18/tunisian-revolt-another-sorosned-jack-up/
    I think they each had different agendy, but the convergence is by design or not I’m uncertain.
    Same with China, I’m not sure of the reason, only that OSI’s underwritting for overtly anti-China blog like Global Voices Online (GVO’s leadership is directly linked to RSF, OSI).

    Undoubtedly, the NGO do-gooders may have more than their good intentions, but I doubt they foresaw any of the unintended bad consequences.

    (With the NGO types, they are blinded by noble purposes and pride, and rarely face up to reality).

    With Tunisia, Egypt, and Yemen, they may have started a domino chain that will upset the balance in the region.

    Note that US and Europe are doing the talking out of both sides of their mouths.

    They caution the protesters not to go too far, but supports the reforms.

    WTF?! If they really supported the reforms, they would not have been that eager to use Egypt and Yemen’s brutal police to “rendition” American and European citizens.

    When the dust and smoke settles, there will be Wikileaks of unimaginable proportions. (Of course, some of the Wikileaked US diplomatic cables, describing the rampant corruption in Tunisia, might have contributed to the spontaneous protests).

  64. Dan
    January 27th, 2011 at 17:49 | #64

    @YinYang

    yinyang, I’d like to ask you again. What about what I’m saying is of no substance? Could you address this instead of just telling me that I’m basically wasting your space and server bandwidth?

    I don’t understand the antagonism towards me, as if you would rather not have me be a reader here (I’m really not sure why I’m ‘ignorant’). I really wish you could meet me/hear me talk, because I think the first thing you’d recognize is that I’m saying all of this with the ferocity of like, a puppy. I’ve had the time to go over your site, read some more posts, comments and read a little about where you come from (I’ve always wanted to go to Fujian). And the truth is, more often than not, I probably stand on your side. Completely agree with Martin Jacques on his TED talk you posted (though there are a few points I am less in agreement with, notably his take on Hong Kong).

    The only thing is this. I have never once said you were wrong; only that the way you present yourself, potentially alienates your audience and allows you to be less effective at presenting a Chinese perspective to the world on important issues.

    You could be absolutely right, that the “Chinese perspectives” are in fact closer to the truth. But in order to convince others that they are wrong at that China’s stance is in fact, true, you must find the best way to communicate your idea that the listener will appreciate–otherwise you’re just making noise. Take the famous Lama issue. The West considers him to be a darling, like the favorite 5-year-old at a family reunion. And China comes in and says (potentially right) that he’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing. This does not help change the West’s mind; in fact, it makes them love the 5-year-old more (and dislike the one who criticized him). China could be 100% right about this and every other issue on the planet and the West will not listen. One part Western ignorance, one part Western arrogance, but also one part failure in public relations by China. And China cannot change the first two parts, but it can change the last one. “It shouldn’t have to,” one might say. Maybe not, but then my question is, do you care more about changing people’s minds/the world, or just making noise?

    You, as you must know since you started this site, have incredible potential to fill what is really a need, to really bring a Chinese perspective to the West. What can I do, other than talk about China as a land of my heritage? But if you play right into the “Western narrative” then Westerners will completely discount you and lump you with the rest of how they perceive Chinese. Which is wrong. But they will do it. That’s not what you want right?

  65. January 27th, 2011 at 18:27 | #65

    @Dan,

    Pick one issue in this Kristof post which I argued against. If that is too hard for you, pick one paragraph.

    1. Tell me why you think I am right, or wrong.
    2. If you think I am right, tell me then how you would articulate the point better.

    Please don’t fail me on your next comment. Otherwise I am giving up on you.

  66. Dan
    January 27th, 2011 at 19:30 | #66

    @YinYang

    Alright, I’ll bite. Let’s take the ‘massacre’ point you brought up.

    1. I’m not interested in arguing whether you’re right or wrong. I’ve already told you that on more points than not, I probably agree with you.

    2. I’ll bring up two things, one: the point itself. two: the tone. Let’s say that you are 100% right about this topic, and that the Western perception of this topic is 100% wrong. Let’s also assume the Western perception of the Chinese response is “it was not a massacre, and it in fact was the student’s fault,” which is more or less what Ma Lik argued in Hong Kong years ago which created quite the storm.

    What you wrote was more or less in line with how Westerner’s perceive the Chinese response to be, almost exactly. You’ve gone to the dictionary term of ‘massacre,’ going so far as to presume the authority to define what “Americans and normal people” think of ‘massacre.’ And yet, as an American I’d tell you that from my experience, most people think of ‘massacre’ by what dictionary.com lists as its secondary definition: “a general slaughter.” That’s how it’s used in casual conversation, wouldn’t you say? So if we agree that there was a “general slaughter,” that day, then yes, the term holds. And let’s be honest, it’s not like America hasn’t participated in massacres before.

    In fact, I would almost avoid the point completely. If you want to convince Americans/the West that their perception of the incident is wrong, then avoid the ‘massacre’ trap. The moment you say it wasn’t a massacre, they completely discount you, so avoid it. There are other ways to tell them that they’re wrong. It’s such a charged event, most people just have big emotions over it without knowing what actually happened. If that’s the case, tell them. Explain that it wasn’t the government mowing down a parade for democracy with balloons and roses (which, I’m sure a number of people believe).

    Why not respond to him more like this: “Ah yes, the ‘massacre’ incident. It was a horrible incident. But the facts have gotten so twisted in the Western narrative that of course the Chinese government considers this to be a subversive/unsafe topic. After all, it’s not like the government just walked in and mowed down a parade with balloons and roses. Besides, I’m sure I could write a blog, make some references to some US-subversive content and get banned as well. Actually, I don’t have to, I’ll just point to Amazon and everyone else who stopped hosting WikiLeaks.”

    Boom, the last sentence instantly brings up a point Westerners understand, that Western governments too, will block content it finds “unsafe.” And I’ve turned Kristof’s point away from TS in general into showing that Western governments are hypocritical about this subject, all the while throwing a point that undermines the Western perception of what really happened on six four.

    There’s also your last point. Most ex-TS students have wised up to the fact that they were wrong? First up, how does one prove this? Are there surveys? Also, what does this mean, to wise up that they were wrong? That democracy is wrong? That their methodology was wrong? That the deaths were warranted? The way you have it worded makes it feel like a cheap shot to basically say: “In the end, it’s their fault.” I have no idea if that’s what you mean, but that’s what it sounds like.

    Which leads me to your tone. Your whole post is full of biting sarcasm (“thrilling!” “you news maker, you”), and it almost sounds like you hate the guy. My first thought after reading your post was “holy crap, this guy’s really upset.” Someone else might have gone, “meh, standard angry nationalistic Chinese.” Unless this is your English writing style in general (and it doesn’t seem like it after reading your other posts), I would say drop the harsh language. If you must be sarcastic, be of the light-hearted kind, or the funny kind or even the over dramatic kind (the Onion, Jon Stewart, etc.). You know what would be a shock-in-the-face for a Westerner? To hear a very level-headed, calm, Chinese person defend their country in the face of an overdramatic, obviously written for clicks op-ed in the NYT. I’d like to reiterate, as a person you might be very level-headed and calm. But with your tone, that is not how you come across.

    Look, yinyang, it looks like we’ve gotten off on the wrong foot and I’m not entirely sure how that happened (the internet does weird things yeah?). I came here from ESWN because I think it’s good to continue to broaden my own understanding of China and read even more pieces from other ESWN-promoted sources. I’m posting just because I want to see your blog reach a wider audience and not be written off as some “pro China” blog. I’m sincerely apologetic if you feel I’m one of the many readers you must get that come here just to criticize you or call you a 50-cent gangster whatever they call it. But I’m not.

    You’re based in Silicon Valley now? Near my own hometown. When I go back I’d like to take you out for a coffee sometime if you’re willing.

  67. wwww1234
    January 27th, 2011 at 20:32 | #67

    @Boogywoogyt
    “I’m a Westerner so of course my basic political orientation is towards democracy and self-determination”

    I would like to learn of the mechanism, that would allow self-determination for american natives(indians) and Alaska natives(eskimos ) in their native land, or just in their current day legal “reservations”.

  68. January 28th, 2011 at 00:47 | #68

    @Dan

    Okay, so, you are saying, in the case where you theoretically agree with me on my take about the Tiananmen incident, you argue there is a much better approach to tackle the Western narrative.

    I’ll duplicate the passage in my original post pertaining to it:

    Kristof wrote:

    Still, there are limits. I posted a reference to the June 4, 1989, Tiananmen massacre. It went up automatically, and then was removed by a moderator 20 minutes later.

    To which I responded:

    “massacre?” It was a horrible incident. If Cai Ling didn’t beg for bloodshed and encouraged the students instead to leave the square, there wouldn’t be the clash that resulted. Massacre to Americans and other normal people mean willful and indiscrimant killing of people. That was clearly not what the Chinese government was doing.

    Most of the ex-Tiananmen students have wise up to believe June 4 was a big mistake.

    Your argument goes as follows:

    You’ve gone to the dictionary term of ‘massacre,’ going so far as to presume the authority to define what “Americans and normal people” think of ‘massacre.’ And yet, as an American I’d tell you that from my experience, most people think of ‘massacre’ by what dictionary.com lists as its secondary definition: “a general slaughter.” That’s how it’s used in casual conversation, wouldn’t you say? So if we agree that there was a “general slaughter,” that day, then yes, the term holds.

    Wait a minute. What happend to “Let’s say that you are 100% right?”

    When the Western media says “Tiananmen massacre,” they are seeing it as a general slaughter + done by a bad government + done willfully.

    Are you presuming to be the “Americans and normal people?” And in fact, I think I am right on this one. When Americans think of Tiananmen massacre, they think this ‘massacre’ in the way I described.

    ALSO, your English reading comprehension is bad. Read what I wrote. My point was that Kristof casually mentioning ‘massacre’ had the intent to continue this narrative of ‘slaughter’ by a ‘bad government’ and done ‘willfully;’ nevermind what transpired. So no, the term doesn’t hold the way he has written it.

    Then you said:

    And let’s be honest, it’s not like America hasn’t participated in massacres before.

    Could you list for us the massacres the U.S. participated and the U.S. media covered as “massacre?” This question can really trip you up. Think carefully. Absolutely, let’s be honest.

    OKAY, you finally think logically and to the point and said:

    In fact, I would almost avoid the point completely. If you want to convince Americans/the West that their perception of the incident is wrong, then avoid the ‘massacre’ trap. The moment you say it wasn’t a massacre, they completely discount you, so avoid it. There are other ways to tell them that they’re wrong. It’s such a charged event, most people just have big emotions over it without knowing what actually happened. If that’s the case, tell them. Explain that it wasn’t the government mowing down a parade for democracy with balloons and roses (which, I’m sure a number of people believe).

    I agree with you they will have a knee-jerk reaction. Sure, there is an example in this threat who did exactly that. Comment #6 above.

    Kristof continues to charge that very emotion by propagandizing it. That is the very narrative we want to confront and dispel. So, you want me to side-step it?

    Why should I, especially for having read virtually all the posts and discussions related to this topic on this very blog and then some elsewhere?

    Some materials raventhorn2000 posted in an earlier discussion:

    “If the students had left earlier, there wouldn’t have been a massacre,” said Robin Munro, the Hong Kong director of the New York-based Human Rights Watch, who was a witness to the events of 1989. “I wouldn’t take the next step and say the students are responsible for the massacre. But if they had left earlier, there would not have been a June 4 and the legacy of the movement, the icon of the massacre, would not be the same.”

    In 1993, Mr. Munro co-wrote a detailed account of the efforts by a number of Chinese intellectuals and student leaders to head off the military assault. These efforts failed not for lack of broad support, he argued, but because the most uncompromising of the student leaders, principally Ms. Chai and Mr. Li, would not agree to abandon the square.

    Five days before the military assault, according to the documentary, Ms. Chai told Philip Cunningham, an American journalist: “How can I tell them that what we are actually hoping for is bloodshed, the moment when the Government is ready to brazenly butcher the people? I feel that only when the square is awash with blood will the people of China open their eyes.”

    Referring to those who were trying to prevent violence, she said, “They are trying to cause our movement to disintegrate and get us out of the square before the Government is provoked to violence.”

    There are so many accounts of what happened, and for Christ’s sake, even account from this Robin Munro of the Human Rights Watch (the most vile critic you can find of the Chinese government) collaborating with what actually happened.

    Why, you think we are short on facts to confront that narrative?

    You said:

    Why not respond to him more like this: “Ah yes, the ‘massacre’ incident. It was a horrible incident. But the facts have gotten so twisted in the Western narrative that of course the Chinese government considers this to be a subversive/unsafe topic.

    That’s like paying lipservice to the narrative that’s very wrong to begin with. That’s NOT the Chinese perspective.

    However, I agree with you the response can be written in a much much more conciliatory tone. In that regard, there are whole bunch of such posts you can easily find on this blog in case you haven’t noticed.

    And, in case you didn’t read this at the third paragraph of my post, I said:

    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.

    Wasn’t that clear I am not so interested in “elaborating” in this particular post?

    You said:

    There’s also your last point. Most ex-TS students have wised up to the fact that they were wrong? First up, how does one prove this? Are there surveys? Also, what does this mean, to wise up that they were wrong? That democracy is wrong? That their methodology was wrong? That the deaths were warranted? The way you have it worded makes it feel like a cheap shot to basically say: “In the end, it’s their fault.” I have no idea if that’s what you mean, but that’s what it sounds like.

    Again, what happened to let’s suppose you agree with me 100%?

    Do you want to ask Kristof those questions for his narrative? That’s really loaded paragraph ain’t it. I will need to write a book!

    Dan, in case you haven’t figured it out, I was simply hoping you could enlighten me on how to “reach” across to the Americans.

    I am disappointed. Perhaps you can do better next time.

    That all said, perhaps we can do coffee. Or milk tea with pearl, like the one this girl is holding:

    http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2011/01/amy-chua-would-be-proud-of-chinas-%e2%80%9c%e5%a5%b6%e8%8c%b6mm%e2%80%9d-milk-tea-sister/

    Write your response. I am done util you articulate something interesting.

  69. Dan
    January 28th, 2011 at 01:42 | #69

    @YinYang

    I really don’t know what to tell you, yinyang. You’ve said my reading comprehension is bad, indirectly called me ignorant, said what I’ve written is “diarrhea of the mouth” and even retarded (which is still sort of a loaded word I’m surprised you chose it). Your biting sarcasm even extends here, that you think perhaps I can do better next time and that you’ll wait until I can write something interesting. There’s got to be something we’re not communicating here because I don’t understand why it’s necessary to throw this level of (what I perceive to be) vitriol at me.

    Yes, Kristof is invoking the Western narrative by using the word ‘massacre.’ Suppose you’re right and I’m wrong here, on how Americans perceive the definition. I still stand by the fact that you are directly playing into their trap by saying that it is not a massacre. Westerners will ignore you, right then. I am arguing that the better method is to undermine the Westerner’s narrative without going towards the word ‘massacre’ itself. If you consider my response to be lip-service (which, I honestly don’t feel it is, so there is some disconnect here), there are still other ways to confront the narrative. Explain that it wasn’t just some peaceful march that the government decided they wanted to crack down on. I mean even if you wanted to go the sarcastic route, play it up. Do something like: “Massacre? Yes, because the Chinese government mowing down thousands of peaceful marchers carrying love signs and happy faces is exactly what happened–check the books Kristof!”

    My point: draw attention to the facts that Westerners believe. If Westerners called it the TS killings, is that better? Does that make it more truthful? No. And it doesn’t change the fact that their narrative would be wrong. There’s a belief the government cracked down and killed a bunch of helpless people who were doing nothing but just sitting there. That’s what I think needs to be changed.

    I’m not asking you to side-step the TS incident. I’m asking you to avoid the ‘massacre’ landmine.

    You also haven’t directly answered my point about your tone. Your opening paragraph states you can’t resist poking fun at Kristof. But your post, doesn’t sound like you’re poking fun. It sounds like you’re mad. If that’s what you’re going for, alright then. But I think that sounding mad is going to drive away a lot of potential people who come here looking for a Chinese perspective on the world. In the end, the question is what do you want this blog to be? A place for you to share your thoughts and feelings? A place for you to help change/shape people’s perspectives? If it’s the latter, the way you present your information is every bit as important as the information itself. I’m not saying you should be conciliatory; I’m saying there should be some level of tact.

    Three other points.

    1. No, I can’t name an American massacre that was covered as such by the media, and I’m not afraid to admit that. This doesn’t change the fact that in my experience, in all the conversations I’ve ever had with Americans, I’ve always heard ‘massacre’ used just as ‘a lot of dead people.’

    2. Yes, I would like to ask Kristof those questions. There are lots of questions I’d like to ask him. And I will never get the chance to do so in my lifetime likely. The reason I brought up that point, is that even if you’re right, by writing one simple short sentence, it’s unclear what you mean and therefore sounds like a cheapshot. Have you written about this before? Add a “As I’ve written before,” and link it. Or link to a survey or something. Again, it’s the tone.

    3. I am interested in coffee/milk tea. Somehow I think meeting face-to-face should hopefully change your perception of me, because like I said, I think something is getting lost between us.

  70. January 28th, 2011 at 11:59 | #70

    [deleted by yinyang for trolling]

  71. King Tubby
    January 31st, 2011 at 00:43 | #71

    Ah guys. Really love the way I was moderated at jan 26 at # 49 and yet quoted by pug_ster at 7.34 # 52. Way to go CCTV.

  72. January 31st, 2011 at 01:19 | #72

    King Tubby, feel free to answer my comment #37.

    Regarding your #49, pug_ster only quoted a portion of it.

    You emailed me apologizing for trolling. You want me to post that too?

    Look, I much prefer not having to moderate comments. I have a tough enough time as is in creating posts.

  73. King Tubby
    February 2nd, 2011 at 23:22 | #73

    Many thanks De Wang. Please feel free to post my email. It was a statement of fact and not an apology, although I pointed out that we had something in common, both of us having lived in Fujian.

    Your 37#. “But, to tell you the truth, I do feel a bit out of touch some times, ”

    Actually, Im pretty up to date:

    1. The Namping school murders (been there many times…..good food)
    2. The Mawie rape case where the family complainants ended up having the shit kicked out of them in the courts and in the street (been there about 12 times…60 mins from our apartment>)
    3. The high school girl pimping case…principal and about 17 local govt officials indicted….I think it was in Min Hou.

    Nothing like being in touch.

  74. Wukailong
    February 10th, 2011 at 20:49 | #74

    I read the discussions on Foolsmountain above and why it was blocked. Actually, I just found it was unblocked today when I accidentally went there (many blogs are now prefixed with “blog.”, and I hit the return button before I saw that the completion was wrong).

    I think the reason it was blocked had more to do with the Xinjiang demonstrations in 2009 than anything else. I’ve also heard that’s the reason Facebook was made unavailable. These things don’t usually seem to be premeditated but are often quite random, apart from a core list of websites.

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