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Archive for April, 2012

Chen Guangcheng escapes, waging PR campaign with Western press

April 28th, 2012 328 comments

(Update April 29, 2012: with response to Kai’s comment below. Update May 1, 2012: highlighting analysis done by reader perspectivehere in the comments section. May 5, 2012: Chen had dealings with the NED since 2004. See details below.)
From the Chinese perspective, the West’s willingness to go so far as to bestow the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize to a convicted criminal, Liu Xiaobo, really goes to show the level of religiousity in their pursuit of “democracy” and “human rights” against the Chinese government. China in recent years has started to use the phrase “judicial sovereignty” to more categorically deny Westerners attempt at meddling in China’s internal affairs. It is with such perspective I think most appropriate in understanding the likely outcome for recently escaped from house-arrest Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚). Read more…

Rob Schmitz to FLG, “wtf”

April 26th, 2012 34 comments

For people who have wondered why the Chinese government cracks down on the FLG, supposedly a ‘spiritual movement,’ well, the following Tweet from reporter Rob Schmitz says it all. Marketplace from American Public Media is one of my favorite shows on NPR that I listen to. Schmitz has been in the news more, lately, because he exposed Mike Daisey’s lies about Foxconn. Anyways, Schmitz reports out of Shanghai for Marketplace. China politely and quietly takes this nonsense as the National Endowment for Democracy sponsors such political opposition. “WTF” is indeed the appropriate response, though Schmitz may not be reacting as broadly as I am.

Categories: Opinion, politics Tags: , ,

The idiotic “Why are you still in America?” fallacy

April 26th, 2012 9 comments

So it’s very common to see this moronic rhetorical question used against anyone that is criticizing aspects of the US or supporting aspects of China. It’s really just the “love it or leave it” trope often used by ignorant bigots. So, once and for all, here’s why this fallacy is ridiculous so that any future fool/troll (hence called “haters”)  that wish to use that as a response to any argument thinking that it’s clever and effective will be better educated.

Read more…

Categories: Analysis Tags:

Crossing the gender divide

April 26th, 2012 9 comments

This post may appear a bit from the left field. The Youku video below is a performance by Ye Zihan (叶紫涵), who cross-dresses and performs as a woman. Some may even think he is very pretty. What’s more interesting is the Q&A with the judges that follows.

Read more…

Categories: culture Tags: ,

Disturbing trend of suicides in China

April 22nd, 2012 27 comments

China’s development has seen a dramatic rise in quality of life for many of its people as many people are well aware. But despite this improvement in quality of life, modern China also has some very high suicide rates. According to 2010 figures supplied by the WHO, China is ranked 9th in the world in suicide rates behind Latvia and ahead of Slovenia.

What accounts for this high rate and what are some things the government or others do to reduce this trend?

Read more…

“Iraqi boy in an orphanage drew his mother and slept in her arms”

April 22nd, 2012 13 comments

From imgur.  This image almost brought tears to my eyes.  I am so disappointed in the lack of humanity in the Western press. The plight of Iraqi children not told.  So much for human rights bullshitery. [Update April 22, 2012: As a reader pointed out below in the comment section, this image seems to be taken from a public service announcement; not a genuine story. However, nobody is denying the monstrosity that took place in Iraq in the last couple of decades, and perhaps that blame lays not only at the Western media but squarely too at the American public as melektaus rightfully put it.]

"Iraqi boy in an orphanage drew his mother and slept in her arms" (imgur.com)

India’s Agni-V missile

April 20th, 2012 68 comments

So I’ve been reading a lot on the media – and on many Indian blogs – how India’s Agni-V missile is going to reposition the balance of power in Asia, how it is designed to target Beijing and Shanghai. 1  Presumptively, India had notified all members on the security counsel – but China – ahead of the test.

Because there are so much hot air out there, I’d like to point people out to three articles that may be of interest. Read more…

Notes:

  1. See, e.g., this WSJ article.

Chuncui, beautiful Chinese models and incredible portraits

April 20th, 2012 17 comments

(credit: chuncui.net)

In photography, you learn a lot by looking at pictures others have taken. So, today, while browsing Xinhua’s photo section I was struck by some featured images, which lead me to the company, 纯粹视觉婚纱摄影机构 (Pureness Vision Photography Agency). There I saw many more amazing portraits. I took liberty in assembling some to share here, while hoping they won’t mind in exchange some publicity on this blog. People visiting China on vacation may consider such a company part of their trip, because elsewhere such quality would likely command 3x the price. Click on image to see a slideshow of what I pulled.

A few gripes with Tania Branigan’s Bo Xilai corruption piece

April 19th, 2012 38 comments

(Update 4/20/2012: see update section below with response from Branigan.)
There has been a lot of rumor mongering going on in the Western press about Bo Xilai and the alleged murder of British citizen Neil Heywood by his wife Gu Kailai. In an otherwise fairly well researched article by Guardian U.K. reporter, Tania Branigan, there were couple of crucial errors that were uncalled for. This scandal is indeed one about corruption. However, as Premier Wen recently said, corruption is the most critical problem China faces today. That view is unanimous across the whole country. Insinuating the Chinese government not sincere about it is ridiculous. Read more…

Philippines, China, UNCLOS and the South China Seas

April 17th, 2012 98 comments

Recently, we hear a growing chorus how the China – Philippines dispute in the South China Seas ought to be settled by binding arbitration under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). 1 We already have dealt with some of the political dimensions of this (see, e.g., our South China Seas tag), and I won’t rehash them here. But I do want to bring up a couple of points that seem lost in the current fray. Read more…

‘Green’ protests in India backed by U.S.-funded NGO’s

April 17th, 2012 7 comments

Interesting take by Russia Today about U.S.-funded NGO’s operating in India doing ‘green’ protests against the country’s aim to develop more nuclear power plants. India has shut down some of such NGO’s while Russia Today insinuate they specifically targeted nuclear plants under construction by Russian firms.

Categories: economy, politics Tags: ,

Syria, Resolution 2042, a true win for humanitarian intervention

April 15th, 2012 24 comments

Joshua Goldstein wrote a whole book to explain that our world today, despite the seemingly endless number of crisis, is in fact the least brutal it has ever been. He concluded with empirical evidence that U.N. peacekeepers, as neutral third parties on the ground, have been stopping tribal factions from fighting and escalating violence. That form of humanitarian intervention works, because it stops blood feuds. An example of intervention where I think does not work is the recent NATO bombing of the Quadhafi ruling faction in Libya in support of the rebels taking power. In fact, such transition incurs further violence and bloodshed. I fear the possibility of the two factions killing each other has in fact been heightened, perhaps in an even more inhumane way at a future time. Such is the fine line between interventions, the humane ones versus the inhumane ones. Read more…

Categories: Foreign Relations, politics Tags:

Book Review: Shaun Rein, “The End of Cheap China”

April 13th, 2012 13 comments

If I have to pick three books for Western readers that best explains modern China, I would recommend Shaun Rein‘s recently released book, “The End of Cheap China: Economic and Cultural Trends That Will Disrupt the World.” (Also, see my interview with the author earlier this year.) The book draws heavily on Rein’s personal experience working and living in China. During one of his early trips in China in the 90s, visiting Changchun, he recounts being propositioned by a beautiful prostitute. Over the years, he has noticed a gradual “uglification” of the prostitution pool. He attributes that to the general trend of economic expansion in China where women are increasingly finding better job opportunities. Read more…

Does the west care about what real Tibetans think?

April 12th, 2012 14 comments

It seems not. Rarely does their opinions (or the opinions of Chinese citizens for that matter) come into the equation when speaking about Sino-Tibetan issues. It’s taken as a given that they all want independence. That all of their lives are far worse under Chinese “occupation” than it was under the Dalai Lama’s Shangrila Kingdom. Westerners likely take the viewpoints of Tibetan emigres as a representative sample of 5.8 million Tibetans inside Tibet.

Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Why is the US so unhappy?

April 12th, 2012 3 comments

Perhaps it’s too much democracy, human rights and freedom. More likely, it’s too less of those things and way too much worries and troubles such as a lack of financial security, too much crime, not enough health care, and deficiencies in other indices of well-being. A common way to measure happiness and well-being is the Happy Planet Index by the New Economics Foundation. In 2006, the organization found that the US scored a disappointing 150 out of 178 countries (between Lithuania and Côte d’Ivoire). In 2009, it found that it was ranked 114 out of 143 (between Madagascar and Nigeria). As a reference, China was 31st and 20th respectively.

Read more…

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

Brzezinski: Dangerously Wrong

April 12th, 2012 13 comments

Zbigniew Brzezinski is a well known political scientist and the media often gives him opportunities to voice opinions on foreign policy. How deserving is this accorded credibility? Well, though I have not read much from him, from the looks of this article he wrote in foreignpolicy it would appear that his competence as a expert on international affairs is grossly inadequate and, moreover, because that incompetence is combined with influence, it makes him very dangerous too.

Read more…

A Dance Show to Remember

April 10th, 2012 11 comments

The following series of photos were taken by me few days ago featuring local dancers from Silicon Valley. I was really impressed by the stunning visuals, both in the costumes and the choreography. The red, the vibrance, and the amazing grace were all so ‘Chinese.’ While photographing, I was struck by the idea that this cool art is endowed in my heritage.

Read more…

Categories: culture Tags:

Love and Hardship

April 9th, 2012 3 comments

As I have written a number of years ago (see ““Father’s Prairie, Mother’s River” – the feelings of one billion people on the move“), China is a country in transition. There are still hundreds of millions of people toiling away trying to survive. The following is a testimony to this idea that there are many diamonds in the rough, and China needs to continue to churn out opportunities for her people at breakneck speed. Anyways, story was revealed only after initially failing their performance on the popular “China’s Got Talent” show. I highly recommend it. Some of you might be moved to tears.


(To watch this on Youku.com, click here.)

Anti-sinitic discrimination from other Chinese and collective self-esteem

April 7th, 2012 52 comments

The recent post by DeWang about the RT short documentary on Chinese Americans going back to China has further reinforced an ugly conception I have been only somewhat familiar with: that many Chinese people in China believe that Chinese people are not as good as their western counterparts. It may not be an explicit belief but something more like a deep-rooted sensibility that only manifests itself subtly in unconscious behavior in many people. But the video definitely supports the view that perhaps the Chinese people in China lack a sense of collective self-esteem vis a vis westerners. I am saddened that many of these Chinese American expats say they experienced discrimination by Chinese Chinese. They mention that they are not seen as an equal to do many jobs which require a certain “international” image (a clear euphemism for white or western). They are seen as more likely to be less competent at the English language despite the fact that these Chinese Americans seem to be Native English speakers. They are seen by other Chinese in China as overall less good both professionally and perhaps overall.

What motivates this low self-esteem, this lack of group pride, deficiency of self-respect in Chinese people? Perhaps it is time that all Chinese people, in China and among the diaspora, to have a serious dialogue on this issue.

Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

“Culture Shock – Chinese Americans in China”

April 5th, 2012 16 comments

This is a thought-provoking two-part documentary, titled, “Culture Shock – Chinese Americans in China,” produced by Stephy Chung featuring Chinese Americans’ experiences in China with Beijing Foreign University Professor Li Jinzhao (Center for Diaspora Studies) providing analysis from an identity point of view. Professor Li says that Chinese Americans in China are “constantly weighing the values [Chinese and American] and trying to decide which is better.” The documentary also features Kaiser Kuo, who explains how these Chinese Americans could channel their energy and perhaps embrace this idea of dual culturalism, which then allows them to bridge China and America. Read more…

Behind The Scenes – The Great Hall of the People (幕后故事:人民大会堂)

April 4th, 2012 5 comments

Categories: video Tags:

BRICS pondering their own development bank

April 3rd, 2012 11 comments

At the latest BRICS Summit in New Delhi, the member nations have announced plans to evaluate forming their own development bank. Currency swaps between them are under way, and in fact, Russia and China are already settling bilateral trade in Rubles and RMB’s. Below is Andrew Gavin Marshall weighing in on this development on Russia Today, with commentary about the lack of coverage in the Western press on this topic:

Categories: economy Tags: ,

Kenneth Lieberthal and Wang Jisi, “Addressing U.S.-China Strategic Distrust”

April 3rd, 2012 10 comments

In the Western discourse, it is extremely rare to see the ‘Chinese’ perspective. Whatever coverage about China that exists, they are generally something anti-government related. For example, at the moment the Western press seems to be drunk and indulgent on tabloidism with respect to the news of Bo Xilai recently relieved of his post as party chief in Chongqing municipality. On occasion, big outlets like the New York Times may carry an Op-Ed from some prominent Chinese citizen (see Eric X Li). A number of years ago CNN’s Fareed Zakaria interviewed Premier Wen, under the condition to not edit out his speech or spin what he had to say. Whatever the reach those instances of unadulterated Chinese views had, they are crucial for the average American to judge on their own and to understand China first hand. The every day reporting of ‘China’ by the Western press is already colored and filtered through an agenda, and hence making understanding of the country and people virtually impossible. Read more…