Home > Analysis, News, Opinion, politics > “Catching Scent of Revolution, China Moves to Snip Jasmine” – Retarded Government or Retarded NYT?

“Catching Scent of Revolution, China Moves to Snip Jasmine” – Retarded Government or Retarded NYT?

Is it conceivable that the Chinese government ban the jasmine flower in China? That is exactly what a group of journalists at the New York Times argue in their recent article, “Catching Scent of Revolution, China Moves to Snip Jasmine.” I asked Andrew Jacobs, one of the authors if he believed what he wrote? In response, he said:

Yes, I do believe what I wrote because myself and two other reporters spoke to dozens of growers, wholesalers and retailers. Have you, by any chance, done the same? I welcome you to come to China and do some reporting and find out the truth.

Funny, I was just in China last month. (See, “All happy on the Wangfujing front.”) So, I decided to call 北京莱太花卉. I asked an employee there, “美国媒体真是很坏. 他们说莉花不能卖. 你听说茉莉花不能卖吗?” She said “没有听说过.” We both laughed when I said, “美国媒体有神经病.” In short, there is no ban. The lady I spoke to laughed at my comment the U.S. media is mentally retarded.

As I have written previously (“茉莉花 (Molihua) / Jasmine Flower, a piece of Chinese culture that has taken root around the world“), ‘jasmine’ is an inextricable part of Chinese culture. Can anyone imagine a China without jasmine tea, jasmine ice cream, the flower itself, and perhaps hundreds or more products dependent on it? Not to mention that song and its prominence at the 2008 Beijing Olympics?

I have also asked some friends in China this question too. There is no ban!

The article cited four anecdotes in support of its ‘ban’ claim:

First anecdote, a 47 years old Zhen Weizhong who tends 2,000 jasmine plants and worried about prices. Flowers, like other commodities, fluctuate in price, especially depending on availability – which in turn depends on how much famers planted, cooperating weather, and fuel/transport costs. China is experiencing inflation right now. All these have an impact on price. Here is a 2010 official report (in Chinese) talking about jasmine tea supply and their fluctuations.

The New York Times journalist likely don’t know this – it is common for Chinese citizens to say they are not into politics.

Price changes do not imply any sort of ban!

Second anecdote – at Sunhe Beidong some vendors asked to sign pledges to not carry jasmine flowers by police. Why is this insane? If there is a ban, the police simply put up notices and confiscate flowers. Why do they bother people to sign papers? It absolutely does not make sense.

What kind of crazy ‘ban’ is only applied to some vendors. Was there a market-wide or city wide ban? As I have already ascertained above, there is no such a thing. So why ‘ban’ on some vendors if that is even true?

Third anecdote – some people at Jiuzhou Flower and Plant Trading Center heard the ‘ban’ had something to do with radiation contamination from Japan. This sounds to me more like the Chinese residents confused by the question about ‘ban’ in the first place.

Fourth anecdote – Wu Chuanzhen, a 53 years old farmer said something about the Falungong and if there is a ban, it’d be absurd. If there is a ban on jasmine, it’d indeed be absurd.

Of course, the New York Times want their readers to accept these four absolutely insane anecdotes as ‘evidence’ of a ‘ban’ on jasmine flowers. Remember the recent Bob Dylan ‘censorship’ issue? Apparently, the New York Times lied too. See “Ring Them Bells: Dylan Wasn’t Censored” by the Shanghai Scrap blog. Or read directly what Dylan himself has to say. (For you convenience, American media lies: here, here, and here.)

We can expect the paper to vacillate between ‘censorship’ (also see my prior post, “Nicholas Kristof’s ‘Banned in Beijing!’, an ‘Internet freedom’ voyeur’s dare to China’s censorship“), ‘jasmine revolution,’ ‘human rights,’ and ‘currency manipulation’ when the topic is ‘China.’

By the way, Paul Krugman seems to be hibernating now over his ‘currency manipulation’ rants at the NYT. (Head over to the excellent 龙信明 BLOG to see how his arguments are taken apart – “Paul Krugman Appears to have Lost his Marbles” – and other articles on this issue.) Also see Allen‘s article, “The Politicization of the Yuan.”

Judging by the captive reader comments beneath the article, I am not surprised the New York Times is putting out this kind of garbage. It is amazing Jacobs tells me he believes that kind of junk he wrote. Apparently, at the New York Times, you repeat lies enough time, they become truth. Head over to the article’s comments and see the number of readers accepting this narrative to see what I mean.

But, I haven’t given up on the paper’s readers completely, because there are still many who see what this article is all about. I have decided to pull some of their comments over:

May 10th, 2011
9:31 pm
I’m spending my spring semester in Beijing studying mandarin. I live close to a large flower market and not once was Jasmine ever “banned.” I would have noticed. It’s my favorite flower and I drink it every day in my tea. My communist government-sponsored language school also spent a few days teaching us traditional Chinese folksongs, and the ubiquitous “Mo li Hua” (Jasmine) song was featured very prominently. Perhaps there is some truth to the widely held belief that Americans are brainwashed and ignorant.

Warwick, RI
May 10th, 2011
9:32 pm
I think this is the most obviously biased New York Times article I’ve ever read. Since when did words like “nefarious,” “skittish,” and “tawny-skinned” become okay to use in a news article? I am a student journalist, and I’m pretty sure there are some ethical rules about that… Just an observation. Anyway, this article is in general hilarious. Oh, China…

Jared Chang
May 11th, 2011
2:18 pm
This is one legendary example of imaginary and self-righteous news report. As a matter of fact since late last year the local markets for daily consumer products have been volatile, including food, vegetables, flowers, personal care products, gasoline and other utilities etc. This is a sign of the inflation in this country getting out of hands and a failure of series economic policies that were supposed to contain the inflation. It has proved the incompetency of the government officials’ management skills and but really has little or nothing to do with the revolutions and violent turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa. Yet the NYT reporters picked up Jasmine, an innocent flower, and made a whole lot of implication out of it. I have to say, it is an interesting experiment to report this way, although utterly untrue and unprofessional.

May 11th, 2011
2:18 pm
I searched “Jasmine Revolution” in Chinese on Baidue, and it gave quite a few entries. Here is the link:

I also saw the flowers on sale in supermarkets. The government was quite nervous in March, but it seems that few people but the foreign journalits are paying attention to the call for revolution in China. Unlike my generation, the current youth will not protest out of ideaology. The Chinese people will not fight for something abstract like demogracy, freedom of expression, etc. But they will fight for specific interests, such as against rising house cost, inflation, under paid wages, etc.

Canberra, Australia
May 11th, 2011
3:06 pm
The jejune liberal chatterati just doesn’t get China. Wake up from your self-indulgent sanctimonious delusions, folks! China is China, not Tunisia, Libya or Egypt! China will not have a jasmine revolution because it has the most popular, secure and successful government in thousands of years of Chinese history. The so-called crackdown on liberals is just the Chinese Government doing what most Chinese expect their government to do when it has “the mandate of heaven”: exercise responsible authority and maintain order. This is wholly understandable under China’s deeply embedded Confucian values. China deserves more credit than it is getting from the chatterati. It is not an ossified North African state: it is a reformist authoritarian state that in many respects is more democratic than many so-called democracies. It actually does listen and respond to its people, all the time, and has made amazing strides in civil rights. It effectively has a multipartite system within a one-party state, and orderly generational change of leadership based on merit. The post 1976 Chinese Government has made enormous progress in shedding China’s ancient ills (e.g. insularity, anti-foreignism, corruption) while anchoring itself in the best Chinese traditions of social order, cooperation and harmony. Our system is right for us: China’s system is best for it.

Voice of China
May 11th, 2011
8:27 pm
This is an interesting article, but it under estimates the wisdom of Chinese people.

1. As a kind of commodity, it is natural that the price of followers of any kind will go through ups and downs. Do not forget that China is a big country. If you google it, you can find out the price of jasmine in the North part of China is going down. However in cities of South China, jasmine price goes high. The ups and downs of the jasmine price has nothing to do with revolution.

2. It is true that my government block the Chinese characters for jasmine on the internet. However, the Chinese government has never issued any ban on jasmine in real life. If they ban jasmine, you will not see any jasmine on the market. Even the author cannot deny the fact that jasmine is still on sale. Therefore, how comes “police issued a jasmine ban” mentioned by the author?

3. I do believe that my government overreacted to the jasmine issue. Chinese people are very clever. Some people simply use other name of followers as a symbol on the internet to call for a “revolution”. I don’t think my government can ban all the names of flowers on the internet. So the real question is as follows: how many people would like to disturb their normal lives and initiate a street revolution in China? let’s take the boldest guess: 1 million people. If 1 million people in Zimbabwe go to the street, it will make the headline. But in China, you have to think about the feelings of other 1.37 billion people who want to enjoy their normal lives.

4. Just as the old saying goes: If you are out to condemn somebody, you can always trump up a charge. You can probably find 1 million people who do not like jasmine due to personal reasons in USA (they simply love other kind of flowers). Shall we say that the US does not support the Jasmine Revolution in Arab Spring?

5. Some people are disappointed by Chinese people’s reaction to Jasmine Revolution. Chinese government’s overreaction provides a perfect excuse for those people to attribute it to the so called “oppression”. The authors just sit in the office that is far far away from China and look for every clue to denounce the legitimacy of Chinese government. This article might affect those who have never been to China and know nothing about China. But for most of the Chinese people, we just laugh and say to the authors, “Please come to China. You can buy jasmine, you can wear jasmine, you can even eat jasmine so long as you pay for it and contribute to the Chinese economy!”

Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan was just on Charlie Rose with Timothy Geithner and he said that the American media slants too much in their reporting of China. Geithner too said in order for America to be more influential around the world, Americans need to better understand China and the rest of the world. Americans need to wake up to what is happening to their media and what they are doing to them. They can start with the New York Times.

What do you say to that, Mr. Jacobs?

  1. Common Tater
    May 14th, 2011 at 00:51 | #1

    Wow! Your post was moderate, let the fact speak for themselves without personal ranting, and didn’t attack “sacred” Western concepts of freedom and democracy in an offhand, dismissive way! Are you OK?

  2. silentvoice
    May 14th, 2011 at 00:54 | #2

    LOL what about Jasmine tea? One of the everyday teas Chinese drink? Is it “banned” too?

  3. May 14th, 2011 at 01:07 | #3

    @Common Tater

    Really hard for me to tell if you are happy or still disappointed.

  4. May 14th, 2011 at 01:10 | #4


    If you do a google search on the NYT article title, you will see the media echo chamber on that story. And yes, some of them think the tea is banned too. I saw some tweets too.

    I am trying really hard to get this Mr. Jacobs to understand how his hearsay and innuendos on a relatively popular paper like the NYT can spread like wild fire.

  5. Charles Liu
    May 14th, 2011 at 01:13 | #5

    Good point, jasmine is a huge commodity in China, any ban would’ve resulted in Chinese bloggers sounding off. There’s not a peep in Chinese blogsphere about it.

  6. silentvoice
    May 14th, 2011 at 01:44 | #6

    I am trying really hard to get this Mr. Jacobs to understand how his hearsay and innuendos on a relatively popular paper like the NYT can spread like wild fire.

    If there ever was a China news equivalent of Japan’s “Journalist Wall of Shame”, this fella from NYT should be on it.

    He’ll be scoring a 7 or 8 on the “Severity of Offense scores” lol.

  7. May 14th, 2011 at 14:04 | #7

    The post mentioned Krugman. My response to Krugman can be found here (http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2009/10/psst-is-china-a-currency-manipulator-and-a-cause-of-the-world-financial-crisis/).

    The Politicization of the Yuan article linked in the post (http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2010/09/the-politicization-of-the-yuan/) is a general response to the many (false in my view) criticisms of China’s RMB policy.

  8. May 15th, 2011 at 00:25 | #8

    Also search for the NYT article title on Twitter.com:

    Besides some media echoing this story mindlessly, many people are doing the same.

  9. raffiaflower
    May 15th, 2011 at 00:42 | #9

    I get it! China suppresses freedom of speech. It suppresses freedom of thinking, with thought police patrolling the lines at State-controlled Media.
    Now it also suppresses free enterprise, banning sales of jasmine flowers. China is the most Evil Empire the planet has ever known, bar none!
    Something in this very glib story by the NYT duo somehow doesn’t link with the “tense” situation generally portrayed by foreign media.
    The Chinese government is scooping up dissidents by the bucketsful. Battalions of hardened policemen are deployed to the centre of its capital city; a show of force to deter attempts at “peaceful strolling”.
    Why `disappear’ jasmine from the market just like that?
    Chinese secret police could have been planted (pardon the pun) among the hawkers/wholesalers to nab customers sympathetic to the jasmine `movement’ and maybe trace its source.
    Personally, I feel such a loser. This could have been my 15 minutes of fame: a ban on jasmine could have been substituted by a boom in silk raffia flowers, lol!

  10. May 15th, 2011 at 18:37 | #10

    Pretty funny. I should also add, out of the 92 comments at that NYT article as of today, these are the NINE the paper decided to HIGHLIGHT:

    3. HIGHLIGHT (what’s this?)
    Rob Littell
    May 10th, 2011
    12:18 pm
    China’s insecurities belie a major flaw in their organizational construct.

    They will surely become precisely what they fear someday….a liberal democracy, with accountable leaders…..

    In the meantime, their efforts to stem this tide will only serve to accelerate it.

    14.HIGHLIGHT (what’s this?)
    Hoboken, NJ
    May 10th, 2011
    1:01 pm
    The Chinese government is crazy scared of something. Something ominous looms beyond the horizon and I guess that they can see it before anyone else. Interesting times.
    Recommend Recommended by 12 Readers
    30.HIGHLIGHT (what’s this?)
    May 10th, 2011
    2:30 pm
    A liberal democracy will not happen in China because there is no demand for that at all.

    Let me explain the mindset of Chinese people to you.

    Yes, it is 1984. But Chinese people want it this way. They have been governed by big brothers for 2000 years. Why adopting the western style democracy now? Especially when the western style democracy as demonstrated in USA is a paralyzed government and a dysfunctional congress.

    Most Chinese simply don’t care what the government officials are doing, unless it directly affect their own livelihood. Chinese citizens don’t act on ideology or fighting for abstract concept such as “human dignity.” An old Chinese maxim says it well: “Better live with humiliation than die with dignity. (好死不如賴活)”

    Chinese people spend most of their energy and ingenuity in finding ways to make a better living within the system. That is, to game the system, not reform the system.

    36.HIGHLIGHT (what’s this?)
    Benjamin Brewer
    May 10th, 2011
    2:33 pm
    Their feverish attempts at blocking any sort of ‘revolution’ from their own people, clearly displays their firm understanding that their entire governmental system is not *for* the people.

    40.HIGHLIGHT (what’s this?)
    M. Tam
    New York, NY
    May 10th, 2011
    2:34 pm
    As a Chinese-American, growing up I loved the smells of jasmine flowers that my grandmother tried so hard to grow in her nursing home in Queens. She gave my family a pot of jasmine that we’ve been cultivating and growing for a couple of years now in our own Brooklyn garden. My father used to tell me stories about how the jasmine flower was so memorable in Chinese culture and I can’t believe China is turning back on it just because “revolution” has been tied with the flowers. Absurd.
    Recommend Recommended by 11 Readers

    57.HIGHLIGHT (what’s this?)
    Times Square
    May 10th, 2011
    3:40 pm
    Everything will be fine with China until their economic bubble bursts. Could start in real estate like in the USA and Japan in 1990, since Chinese real estate is in a huge bubble right now.

    When that happens, dissent and calls for reform won’t be made by a few cranks. The mass of Chinese society will no longer be held in thrall of economic miracles, there will be no more miracles to deliver. And so the masses will be interested in reforms themselves.

    And yes, everyone considers the grumpy old men in Beijing to have an ironclad lock on power. If you asked someone in January of this year, they would say Mubarak had an ironclad lock on power too. Autocracies are indeed very strong. And very brittle. They fall quickly under immense pressure. The problem is, autocracies create their own pressure.

    Nondemocracies are inherently unstable. Either you regularly submit your government to consultation with the people it governs, or the agenda of the people, and the government, naturally drift apart. Then uprisings happen.

    The current Chinese government will fall, unless it chooses to democratic reforms on its own. If it doesn’t, it’s not a matter of if, but when, revolutions sweep the current Chinese government aside. Could take a year, could take 20 years, but it is inevitable.

    Democracy is a pressure release valve. Democracies are messy, and the Chinese government values serenity, order, “harmony.” Well, a gasket on a steam pipe is serene and orderly. Until it blows up. Either a government has a pressure release valve, in the form of democracy, or it doesn’t. In which case, pressure builds, and the whole edifice collapses under the weight of the pressure it is not releasing like a democracy does.

    63.HIGHLIGHT (what’s this?)
    May 10th, 2011
    3:44 pm
    I spend time in China, and recently tested this. If you Google “jasmine revolution” the computer gives an error message indicating the site is unavailable. If you then Google “jasmine tea” or “jasmine” or “jasmine flower” you get the same error message. After waiting a few days the blockage of “jasmine tea” disappears and and one can find countless articles. But then try “jasmine revolution” and the same jasmine-related blockage occurs, which lasts for a few more days.

    75.HIGHLIGHT (what’s this?)
    Ithaca, NY
    May 10th, 2011
    9:33 pm
    Do they realize that this paranoia about a harmless ornamental bush underlines how weak and flimsy the Communist Party’s hold on power really is? A bona-fide legitimate government would expend scarce security resources on far more important matters, like keeping legitimate crime down. Oh, if only keeping rebellions down were as simple as banning a particular type of flower. When the real estate bubble pops all over China and growth dependent on construction plummets, then we’ll see how long the Communist monopoly on power lasts.

    79.HIGHLIGHT (what’s this?)
    Anil Pillai
    Saint Louis, MO
    May 11th, 2011
    1:10 pm
    Absolute nuts. This is our biggest trading partner?

    When we were kids, my mom back in India used to make these nice small garlands out of the jasmine flowers growing in our little gardens.

    I guess she was planning an uprising or something. We just didn’t know it then.

  11. Rhan
    May 15th, 2011 at 19:21 | #11

    “A liberal democracy will not happen in China because there is no demand for that at all.”

    I think the statement is pretty close to my observation as well, most Chinese have a different interpretation pertaining to liberal and freedom. Most of us subscribe to the belief system of 山高皇帝遠 (mountains are high and the emperor far away) and 上有政策下有對策 (there’s always countermeasure to the policy).

  12. Wukailong
    May 15th, 2011 at 21:42 | #12

    @Rhan: I think it is 天高皇帝远 and 上有上策下有对策. 🙂

    I agree that most Chinese aren’t demanding a multi-party system or even being very critical of the government at this point. The revolutions that are ongoing in the Middle East is happening in a completely different context where most governments are highly corrupt and can’t guarantee development. Food prices are probably also an important factor.

  13. May 15th, 2011 at 23:08 | #13

    @Rhan #11, Wukailong #12,

    Not sure if you guys are hinting that local corruption is a sort of democratic mechanism that works to smooth out harsh, ill-adapted central government policy???

  14. May 16th, 2011 at 02:14 | #14

    Yes, your “reporting” (calling one person who you were so sure would confirm your assumption that you started the conversation with “The US media is so evil…” and then calling it a day) is WAY better than the New York Times.

    I agree this NYT story is misleading. But I don’t see anything better about your post…one might say that BOTH the NYT article and your post are intentionally one-sided and flippant, but at least the NYT article is better-researched. Seriously, weak.

  15. pug_ster
    May 16th, 2011 at 05:15 | #15

    C. Custer,

    You’re not getting the point. yinyang wants to point out that Andrew Jacobs is not an objective reporter, which we all agree. yinyang is not a reporter, rather criticizing on Andrew Jacobs objectivity. Didn’t you put up rebuttals in your blog about some opinions in globaltimes? The problem is that this article is not an opinion, so it should be subjected to a higher degree of scrutiny, don’t you agree?

  16. raventhorn2000
    May 16th, 2011 at 05:59 | #16

    “Jasmine Revolution” now in full spread into Palestine, as Palestinians mass protest on multiple border points of Israel on the day of “Catastrophy”.

    Sec. Clinton should beware, “Revolutions” rarely turn out the way it was planned, and histories of Revolutions are full of power of the People seized unexpectedly by least expected.

    Who foresaw the French Revolution, praised by so many intellectuals, seized by a short dictator Emperor Napoleon?

    Who foresaw the Russian Revolution seized by Stalin?

    Who foresaw a Middle School teacher Mao seize the Communist Revolution in China and defeat a wealthier better equipped National Army with his peasant boy army?

    Play with fire and get burnt.

  17. denk
    May 16th, 2011 at 09:51 | #17
  18. May 16th, 2011 at 11:53 | #18

    @C. Custer

    Yes, your “reporting” (calling one person who you were so sure would confirm your assumption that you started the conversation with “The US media is so evil…” and then calling it a day) is WAY better than the New York Times.

    How did you know I called someone who was so sure would confirm my assumption? Maybe you were too quick to want to defend this NYT article? 😉

    Just fyi, I simply called the 北京莱太花卉 and spoke to the first person that answered the phone.

    I agree this NYT story is misleading. But I don’t see anything better about your post…one might say that BOTH the NYT article and your post are intentionally one-sided and flippant, but at least the NYT article is better-researched. Seriously, weak.

    It’s mind boggling to me you call that article “better-researched.”

    Flippant? Of course. Ask pug_ster to explain again if you want.

  19. Charles Liu
    May 16th, 2011 at 12:32 | #19

    @C. Custer
    Wow, Charles Custer, not getting enough attention at Chinageeks after telling me to beat it? If you think one shop isn’t enough why don’t you call some and post your finding? DW only needs one to prove NYT’s generalization wrong.

    “I agree this NYT story is misleading.”

    I’m glad you think NYT’s highly paid grand wizard of China reporting is no better than a nobody like DW or yours truely. But intead of having the intellectual honesty to call out professional journalist’s BS, you come here to defend it by claiming bloggers should be held at a higher standard?

    I would be happy to see you call one flower shop and confirm theres a ban. But so far DW’s got one up on ya.

  20. scl
    May 16th, 2011 at 15:51 | #20

    The NYT article is beyond unethical or unprofessional. Writing a article with such blatant lies should be a career-ending affair for any journalist. Yet it seems that when reporting from China, it is free for all for the U.S. media. The standard for the publishing of such reports can be lowered to the level of retardation. Why is it so? I sense a kind of desperation in the U.S. media, a desperation that the rise of China is all but avoidable at this point.

    The U.S. media want to deal with China the same way they dealt with Soviet Union: spreading propaganda, half truths, and downright lies again and again. But China is not Soviet Union, the old tricks won’t work again.

  21. Wukailong
    May 16th, 2011 at 20:13 | #21

    @Allen (#13): I’m not hinting at anything, just pointing out what I think these quotes should be. Then again, how China works is obvious to anyone who knows the country. I wouldn’t say that local corruption is democratic, but certainly the way it has always worked is that the central government says something, and the farther away you are, the less local leaders care. They often even find ways to walk around central policies, so there you have both 天高皇帝远 and 上有上策下有对策.

    To all others, what media do you prefer? Personally I’ve always distrusted media because it often makes things up. It isn’t just NYC or even the Western media. Perhaps the best way is just to read more media from different parts of the world, or do what yinyang did, call and ask. The latter is the best but most people won’t do that unfortunately.

  22. May 17th, 2011 at 13:56 | #22


    People are normally busy with their lives – work and family – so they will not invest the time to make the call as I did. I had an interest in debunking a story I felt ridiculous.

    With technology, it is true we now can go to the sources directly and bypass traditional media. For example, the White House has a blog which is useful to see what the government is doing. The various government departments post their own videos.

    A friend at lunch today was telling me that he simply prefers to go to some source he trusts and rely on it to ‘summarize’ for him.

    Perhaps the best thing that will happen to ‘media’ is that it becomes super fractured. The NYT types will continue to downsize and become less credible as it resorts to this kind of nonsense.

    That friend also said with the emergence of people like Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’reilly, Jon Stewart, or even Opra and Martha Stewart, people will coalesce around certain personalities they ‘trust.’

    My problem with that trend is – there isn’t anyone who is interested in world peace.

    Anyways, for comparisons sake, the mainstream Chinese media on international affairs are light years better than their counter-parts in the U.S..

  23. Common Tater
    May 17th, 2011 at 21:06 | #23

    yinyang :
    @Common Tater
    Really hard for me to tell if you are happy or still disappointed.

    Why would I be disappointed? That doesn’t make any obvious sense. If I was someone who only wanted “my”side – whatever you construe that to be – to win, why would I draw attention to good points in your post? And if I was indeed, as I claim to be, someone who cares more about the truth or what’s right than who’s side it comes from or applies to, then why would I be disappointed if your pose was not excessive?

    Yes, I am happy that you were moderate and didn’t rant. But the main emotion here is surprise.

  24. May 18th, 2011 at 01:09 | #24

    @Common Tater
    Thanks, eh, for your surprise.

  25. raffiaflower
    May 18th, 2011 at 07:07 | #25

    I think Andrew Jacobs has no choice but to believe in what he wrote.
    Put aside whatever prejudices he may have against China/Chinese, he has – for what it’s worth – defended his “professionalism”.
    The article had a pre-determined conclusion that had to fit in with an overall objective, ie, China-bashing in American media.
    It made no difference probably however much (or little) research he and his team put in. The ending – the scared Chinese govt lashing out in a general crackdown – had been decided, and the writers had to work with this device in mind.
    So don’t expect too much of Geithner’s pithy claim about `America NEEDS to understand others more’. He was just playing nice during a public forum.
    The administration likely has a flotilla of China analysts on its payroll; there are scores of experts in private thinktanks, universities, etc.
    America can probably“understand” China pretty well if it wants to already. But it’s to the advantage of its ruling class to keep the general public disinformed, using the media for one, about its biggest challenger.

  26. Charles Liu
    May 18th, 2011 at 14:56 | #26

    As to whatever prejudices he may have, here’s the last email reply I got from him:

    “One last question that I’d love for you to answer:

    If the Chinese government is so wonderful, why are you and your family living in the United States, where you enjoy the freedom to say whatever you want. I’m not even sure you even recognize the irony of this….”

    Not once did I ever say to him the Chinese government is wonderful.

  27. raventhorn2000
    May 18th, 2011 at 18:51 | #27

    “If the Chinese government is so wonderful, why…”

    I roll my eyes at such silly personal arguments, which is always reached for by the same bunch, when they run out of rational arguments.

    Oh yes, the “logic” is apparently, one’s residency is 100% correlating to one’s preference of governments, and has nothing to do with the other 1000’s practical reasons in life.

    One only has to wonder the opposite logic, if China is so apparently aweful, why does Mr. Jacobs try so hard to push such tortured logic?

  28. Charles Liu
    May 19th, 2011 at 10:50 | #28

    Actually, I’ve looked for jobs in China, but apparently ppl like me don’t qualify for expat package. A large company recruiting in US once offered me local pay, if I fly myself home and stay with my family (not withstanding the fact I’m Taiwanese.)

  29. May 19th, 2011 at 13:19 | #29

    I had similar experience as you, Charles.

    I used to work for an international semiconductor company (hint, the biggest 1 that makes all the processors), they had a site in Shanghai.

    Back in the 1990’s, I saw a bunch of expats in my company going to Shanghai, so I applied for the same job, thinking, “oh, I was born in Shanghai, I would be perfect, I know the dialect, I know the scene, I even have relatives who know people in the local government.”

    But I got turned down every time.

    I hate to reach for the “race card”, so let’s just say that all the White managers felt more comfortable sending a bunch of White guys to China, apparently! (So, I’ll let people judge whether that’s discrimination or not, in view of my personal and technical qualifications).

    But really, there is a history of that type of “soft preference” with these expat jobs. Even back when they had a plant in Japan, they sent mostly White guys over to Japan as expats.

    I guess the other way of looking at it is, that they just felt that paying an ethnic Chinese person to work in China as expat is not cost effective.

    They feel that paying a White guy to go to China as expat is apparently fair, but paying a Chinese to work in China as expat is like paying someone to go on vacation, apparently (Local pay is more fair?)

    So, really, I was very p*ssed at them.

    (But I get the same treatment from Chinese companies. I interviewed with Huawei, and they thought they should pay me “local wage” for a job in China, even though they wanted me for my US experiences AND my US law degree. So I guess, it really isn’t “racism”. It’s just how it is. Kinda sad.)

  30. May 19th, 2011 at 13:42 | #30


    Regarding Geithner’s remarks – I want to believe what he said is truly what he believes.

    Corporations have corporate politics. Some times management wants to send people they ‘trust’ overseas so ‘interests’ at home are protected.

    It’s like the NYT. They hire people like Jacobs for China reporting for a reason.

  31. May 27th, 2011 at 11:19 | #31

    More retards echoing the ‘jasmine ban’ story at the Economist:

    The word “jasmine” has been all but banned in the media, as has the flower itself in markets.

  32. raventhorn2000
    May 31st, 2011 at 10:33 | #32

    Reportedly, Egypt “revolution” didn’t give much results, other than a general state of stalemate between the Military and the “protesters”.

    The Military supposedly even had “forced virginity tests” on female protesters they arrested recently. Tension between Christians and Muslims now highest, due to rumors, 1 involving supposedly a Christian woman who converted to Islam but was keep locked up by the Christians.

    What I wanted to know is how were these “rumors” got spread around in Egypt. I would bet that the same Twitter, Facebook that spread the “revolution” are also instrumental in spreading lies and hate.

    But if people want to talk about “Revolution” in China, they need to read Chinese history, and they are about 1 century late.

    China already went through periods of Warlords and Revolutions against the Warlords in early 1900’s. The Middle East is in the early stage of that revolution which China has already gone through.

    Les we forget, China has already gone through all the experiments of Western influenced Revolutions.

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