Archive for February, 2012

Stan Abrams of China Hearsay – A Case of Pathological Bias?

February 29th, 2012 22 comments

I usually prefer to keep my posts on general, important issues – and not nit-pick on other bloggers.  However, just as once in a while one is permitted to get drunk, I will indulge in a very short post here on Stan Abrams of China Hearsay.

A few weeks ago, when China lost the WTO Appellate Body dealt China a blow in ruling that its practices on restricting exports of certain minerals / raw materials violated WTO rules, I had written a post on how unfair the decision was.  An agreement that categorically prohibits a nation of 1.3 billion from making any sort of export restrictions to protect its citizens and their environment is unfair. An agree that does so by discrimination – taking away such basic rights from China while preserving such them for other WTO members cannot be conscionable and cannot stand the test of time. I openly sided with an op-ed in the Global Times calling out the injustice and calling for China to renegotiate the grossly unfair terms under which it acceded to the WTO.

At the time, Stan wrote a post that mocked the Global Times op-ed, in effect pontificating that China must follow strictly the letters of its accession, fairness be damned. Read more…

Expanding on Zbigniew Brzezinski’s case for continued American hegemony

February 27th, 2012 21 comments

Having emerged from the Cold War, the United States is the preeminent superpower. However, with the last decade mired in wars, and especially with the 2008 financial crisis, America is full of doubt. With China registering another 9% GDP growth in 2011, America is fearful of being overtaken. PEW Research conducted two global attitude surveys across 18 countries in 2009 and 2011 and concludes there is a robust growing sentiment that China will eventually overtake the United States. 1 To be sure, only 47% in the 2011 survey believed China will eventually overtake, so it is not a majority opinion yet. Read more…


  1. Richard Wike, “From Hyperpower to Declining Power, Changing Global Perceptions of the U.S. in the Post-Sept. 11 Era.” Pew Research Center. September 7, 2011.

Human Rights in Ancient China

February 26th, 2012 33 comments

The biggest hindrance of the West and the rest of the world in understanding China is the perceived lack of human rights tradition in China. China is an old civilization and a civilization cannot continue to prosper and grow if this most fundamental issue is never addressed. The Zhou dynasty is probably the most formative in that it is during that period that the modern Chinese language, culture and core belief are formed.

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Some Thoughts on the Linsanity Surrounding Jeremy Lin

February 21st, 2012 55 comments

Like other Asian Americans, I have been following Linsanity over the last 2 weeks or so with great interest and pride. It’s not too often you see a twice-cut bench warmer become a starter and take a professional team in New York by storm like Jeremy Lin (林書豪) has. While the future of Lin as a mega star is not necessarily secure, with some saying that Lin is a phenom only because of his race and others observing that the Knicks has played mostly sissy teams the last couple of weeks, there are plenty of which to be proud even if Linsanity were to end tomorrow.

As a columnist in the Washingtonpost pointed out: Read more…

U.S. Media Preparing Americans for Invasion of Iran

February 20th, 2012 7 comments

A U.S. or U.S.-backed attack on Iran seems to be a foregone conclusion if we simply look at how the U.S. media covers the issue. FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting) recently had this to report while looking at U.S. media, “Do TV Networks ‘Practice’ for War?

02/13/2012 by Peter Hart
Alexander Cockburn’s latest piece at CounterPunch (2/10/12) included this from a tipster:

I was visiting ABC News the other day to see a friend who works on graphics. When I went to his room, he showed me all the graphics he was making in anticipation of the Israeli attack on Iran; not just maps, but flight patterns, trajectories and 3-D models of U.S. aircraft carrier fleets. Read more…

Categories: Analysis, media, News, Opinion, politics Tags: ,

San Francisco and Golden Gate Bridge

February 20th, 2012 2 comments

I had an opportunity to visit the Sausalito vista point at the Golden Gate Bridge couple of days ago. More than anything, I was hoping to capture an image of a giant COSCO container ship as it enters the bay beneath the bridge. No such luck. Below are couple of landscapes taken under harsh early afternoon sun. San Francisco has 170k+ Chinese Americans, and percentage-wise, they comprise 21% of the make-up, the highest of all U.S. cities with significant Chinese population.

San Francisco Bay (click for larger view)

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The kind of trash we’re dealing with

February 18th, 2012 33 comments

Not too long ago, James Fallows, a writer and editor for the Atlantic wrote a piece about Jeremy Lin. In that article he claimed that his fellow Atlantic writer Bob Wright’s claim that Lin’s success is somehow partly due to him being Asian as “horseshit.” I really don’t want to harp on either of the articles main points but Fallows seems to have made one glaring error in regard to a claim he made in it that said,


[C]onsider last summer’s “basketbrawl,” in which the Chinese
military team Bayi Rockets slugged it out with the visiting Georgetown
Hoyas. The gratuitous aggression all came from the Chinese side, as
many Chinese commentators noted. [emphasis mine]

Read more…

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Eric X Li: “Why China’s Political Model Is Superior”

February 16th, 2012 48 comments

This Op-Ed just published at the NYT from venture capitalist, Eric X Li, “Why China’s Political Model Is Superior” is a must read. Especially to the Western audience bought into democracy as a “faith” will find this opinion unsettling. And it is particularly unsettling because the West is full of doubts these days. Read more…

Time for China to go on the offensive?

February 16th, 2012 35 comments

I’ve noticed repeatedly that when western reporters interview Chinese diplomats or politicians they almost always take an apologetic tone and talk about criticisms as if they were outright true and ought not be questioned. Most of us know that many of these criticisms are either not accurate or given not out of a spirit of true dialogue and constructive, friendly criticism but out of more nefarious motives.

Take the issue of human rights. The latest example is Xi at the State Department. At his speech, Xi talked about the criticisms of alleged human rights violations from his “old friends” in the US. He was quick to mention that China has improved drastically in human rights during the last 30 years.

Read more…

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Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping with Biden and Clinton at State Department

February 15th, 2012 20 comments

Secretary Hillary Clinton hosted a luncheon at the State Department for the visiting Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping.  U.S. Vice President Joe Biden also chimed in as they all affirmed to continue dialog and deal with issues of contention. Overall, I liked the tone they are setting for the on-going conversation between the two nations’ leaders. I’d like to point out a stylistic difference between Biden and Xi. Biden enumerates issues of contention with the American view with sharpness like the knife that cuts through butter. Xi’s speech was more about guidelines on how to approach the issues. For me, on that difference alone, one feels like a vice president and the other a president. I was a bit annoyed at the translator. Xi stated that “human rights can only be improved and no such thing as ‘best’,” and unfortunately this was not translated. Anyways, I am reminded again we ought to get our news more directly from the source whenever possible and not let others interpret for us. Video of their speeches below: Read more…

Professor Ann Lee on her book, “What the U.S. Can Learn from China”

February 14th, 2012 20 comments

Professor Ann Lee

Ann Lee, a former investment banker and hedge fund partner, and now an adjunct professor of economics and finance at New York University, recently sat down with Allen and I for a conversation about her book, “What the U.S. Can Learn from China.” (Also in our Recommend Read section.)

She discussed some lessons and also gave us her views about the misinformation in the U.S. media on various issues of contention between the U.S. and China. For example, as an insider at Wall Street, she was able to give an illuminating rundown of the ‘currency manipulation’ charge laid against China.

This article is a transcript of that conversation, edited slightly for readability. Allen plans to do a book review, but first, we’d like to share some endorsements and accolades she has already garnered for it: Read more…

Listen up, Syria, Google wants you invaded

February 14th, 2012 9 comments

Well, at least indirectly. Google in its exit from the Chinese market for search tried to bolster it’s “do no evil” motto by trying to demonize China’s censorship laws. We have written quite a bit about Google in the past – some directly and others indirectly (see our other  ‘Google‘-tagged articles). In this article, I would like to simply show how Google participates (willfully or not makes no difference) in this one-sided mass barrage of attacks in the Western press against Syria. Read more…

Categories: Analysis, media, Opinion Tags: ,

Ho Pin’s NYT Op-Ed, “China’s Heir Apparent,” has many holes

February 13th, 2012 6 comments

The New York Times has just published an Op-Ed by Ho Pin, entitled, “China’s Heir Apparent.” It was originally written in Chinese and translated by someone else. Ho Pin, according to a blurb at the end of the Op-Ed, is an editor of a Chinese book on Vice President Xi Jinping’s biography. Unfortunately, his opinions are naive – both in his understanding about China and the problems still persistent in “democracies.” In this post, I’d simply like to point out why I thought so. Read more…

Categories: Analysis Tags: ,

Full text of Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping’s interview with Washington Post

February 13th, 2012 3 comments

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping is currently in the United States reciprocating a visit Vice President Biden took last year in China. Xi is expected to become the new Chinese President for the 2013-2017 term. If the CPC renews, he would also reign from 2018 to 2022. America is interested in getting to know him, because he will help shape the China-U.S. relationship for years to come. His daughter is currently studying at Harvard College. (I might add: for those think China is afraid of American ideas, they ought to think twice.) Xi is also known as a “princeling,” though one of Biden’s top aids said he is a very thoughtful person. Below is a transcript of his response to Washington Post right before embarking on his trip to the U.S.. Read more…

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February 11th, 2012 12 comments

Some daffodils I planted few months ago are in full bloom now. Not really raining today, but spraying water on the flower gives it more interest. I’ve been struck how beautiful these flowers are.
Read more…

Categories: Environment, Photos Tags:

Refilling the Liberal vacuum

February 10th, 2012 4 comments

In a previous post I talked about the Liberal tradition (that is, the explicit and formal human rights framework, not to be confused with how people often use the term to refer to a political or economic “left” or being “progressive”) as being a byproduct of religious, political and other kinds of oppression in the west. I also talked about the importance of instituting rule of law and rights protection for China in the coming years in the comments section.

However, I always have had serious reservations about the Liberal model on philosophical grounds.

Read more…

The Economist and the South China Sea: It is “complex” if I can’t understand it

February 9th, 2012 17 comments


The Economist is often held prisoner by its own prejudice arising from its whatever-China-does-internationally-is-wrong stance, and a recent article on the South China Sea disputes proves it. Behold the latest offering from intellectual dungeons of the The Economist: “The devil in the deep blue detail”.

Sadly, but not surprisingly, the newspaper warns against the dangers of viewing the dispute through cold war lenses, and then proceeds to do exactly that.  In a nutshell, the article can be summed up as follows: China is the bad guy. (Of course, that applies to most articles about China that it publishes).

Reader westiseast’s claim of “zero balance whatsoever” in Chinese media

February 9th, 2012 11 comments

In the spirit of bridging understanding, reader westiseast responded to my request to give a quick analysis on why he thought there is “zero balance whatsoever” (refer to his original comment as it was a bit more nuanced) in the Chinese press. After all, we frequently criticize the Western press on this blog, it only seem fair we look at the Chinese press too.  To give this exercise a little bit more context, this was how I phrased my proposal: Read more…

Categories: Analysis, media Tags:

Rethinking democracy

February 8th, 2012 14 comments

This blog will essentially be a second part to the important discussions Allen and raventhorn started about democracy. I will present a philosophical discussion so that we may better think from a different and deeper perspective about this notion than everyday people may be used to by looking at its fundamental structure.

Read more…

Who Are You Calling a Police State and Other Urgent Matters

February 8th, 2012 9 comments

It’s a long running joke that many in the West continue to misleadingly characterize China as a police state. In the run up to the Olympics, there are people who mocked Chinese efforts to provide for a safe and successful Olympics – even though massive security efforts now appear to be quite routine in the West (see e.g., 2002 Olympics2004 Olympics, 2006 Olympics2010 Olympics2012 Olympics).

It’s easy to accuse others. After all, as a well-known verse from the Christian Bible says, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” But isn’t this going a bit too far?

Recently, FAIR had an interesting article about the militarizing of the police in the U.S. and the aggressive tactics taken by police against the Occupy protesters throughout the nation.

[P]olice forces in various cites took a militarized, increasingly coordinated approach to the movement that began as Occupy Wall Street, reporters were frequently treated as the enemy—with tactics designed to prevent them from documenting exactly how activists were being removed from public spaces. Read more…

WTO’s Recent Ruling Against China over Export Controls of Certain Raw Materials: A Critical Juncture for the WTO and a Chance for Chinese Leadership?

February 6th, 2012 8 comments

Last week, the WTO handed China a setback in its ruling over its appeal over export controls  (herein the Ruling) covering “[c]rtain forms of bauxite, coke, fluorspar, magnesium, manganese, silicon carbide, silicon metal, yellow phosphorous, and zinc.”

The Global Times has a strong response:

Time to reassess unfair WTO entry terms

Global Times | February 01, 2012 00:48

A WTO appeals panel has upheld a ruling against China restricting exports of nine types of raw materials. The ruling, completely unreasonable to Chinese, will threaten China’s resource preservation and environmental protection efforts.

China has generally been following WTO regulations and rulings. But it should find the best balance between applying WTO rules and protecting its national interests. Getting approval from the West is not our top concern.

Admittedly, joining the WTO has boosted China’s rise. However, entry was granted at the cost of China accepting some unfair terms, from which the aftereffects have gradually emerged, including this ruling. They may become a hidden problem for China’s economy. Read more…

On Syria, Russia Today vs. BBC.

February 5th, 2012 22 comments

Below are two reports filed on February 4, 2012 on the conflict within Syria. One by Russia Today and the other by BBC. With President Obama saying “regime change,” I think it is clear if the U.N. resolution was passed, Syria would be attacked by NATO – like what happened recently to Libya. More striking than anything else, these two reports show journalism is not about journalism anymore. Is the BBC the liar? Is Russia Today the liar? I remember hearing the motto, “we report, you decide.” I think for today, it is “we must seek out many sources and then decide.”

Russia Today on Syria

BBC on Syria

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Catching Shaun Rein’s “The End of Cheap China” book wave

February 4th, 2012 61 comments

We recently noticed a peculiar phenomenon over at the China Law Blog. Since about two weeks ago, they started publishing a series of articles with the title, “The End of Cheap China,” followed by something else. We also know Shaun Rein has been marketing his book for months now – “The End of Cheap China.” (Allen will be writing a review, by the way.) The interesting thing is that the China Law Blog makes no mention of the book whatsoever in their series of articles.

Now, do a search on “The End of Cheap China” on Google. Unsurprisingly, the book shows up at the top due to Amazon’s, Rein’s, and the publisher’s marketing efforts. However, look at the next five top search results (#2 through #6) from Google (results were at the time of this writing): Read more…

perspectivehere on the 90th anniversary of “The Shandong Problem”

February 3rd, 2012 34 comments

If not for the United States, Shandong Province (山东省), map to the left, may still be a Japanese territory today. Reader perspectivehere brought to our attention tomorrow (Feb. 4th) will be the 90th anniversary of the Washington Naval Conference of 1929 which gave back sovereignty of Shandong Province to China. It was The Treaty of Versailles marking the end of WW1 in 1919 that transferred this German “sphere of influence” territory to Japan without China’s approval.

History has many twists and turns. If not for the United States defeating Japan in WW2, the China today might not be intact. John Woo is now making a new epic film about the Flying Tigers to commemorate this important period when the two countries aided each other.

The United States also has China to thank for – for resisting and bogging down the Japanese army in China’s large land mass. Read more…