Archive for May, 2012

James Fallows’ “China Airborn” completely misses the point on “China intranet”

May 30th, 2012 38 comments

Apparently, James Fallows‘ latest book, “China Airborn” has argued the reason the Internet in China is ‘slow’ is due to censorship. Due to censorship, Fallows argued, China would never be innovative enough and hence won’t be able to produce her own companies like Apple. In this article, he capitulates to his readers who contend that the Internet within China is actually fast. It’s ‘slow’ only when Westerners try to access web sites outside China. From that, he concludes China’s Internet is still an ‘intranet,’ which makes Chinese society incapable of becoming world class. That’s nonsense too. It’s the same sort of hogwash as the Chinese dream article he wrote recently. Read more…

Let’s Talk About Tiananmen Square, 1989

(Propaganda in the Western press had a lasting impact on China. For the Tiananmen Protest of 1989, the “reform and opening up” policies under Deng back-stepped when Western governments decided to scale back loans and FDI into China on the grounds the Chinese government were ‘butchers.’ The ‘butcher’ and ‘massacre’ narratives were concocted by the Western press to demonize the Chinese government (an on-going trend, by the way; see collective defamation). Through Wikileaks, we now know the U.S. government knew then what were the actual truth and confirmed China’s version of the event. The Western press lied all along, as the following excellent analysis by 龙信明 (original, here) pieces together how they systematically distorted truth to defame. Warning: some graphic images of burnt bodies.)

Let’s Talk About Tiananmen Square, 1989My Hearsay is Better Than Your Hearsay
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RMB-Yen currency swap starts June 2012

May 30th, 2012 9 comments

At the 4th BRICS summit, the member countries agreed to work towards currency swaps when trading among themselves. For China, this is a general trend in recent years to internationalizing the renmingbi (RMB) or yuan. At the end of 2011, 9% of China’s total trade were settled in yuan with 14 countries and regions. That’s quite a jump considering in 2010, the percentage was only 0.7! In anticipation of more agreements to come, a report by the HSBC in 2010 estimated half of China’s trade with emerging market countries by 2015 would be conducted using swaps. In other words, the report went on, “nearly USD 2 trillion worth of trade flows could be settled in renminbi annually, making it one of the top three global trading currencies.” Imagine that happening without the yuan floating. Japan and China just announced their swap agreement likely to take effect next month. As a matter of practicality, the two countries will shave $3 billion in commissions alone. What’s the political implication? Read more…

Categories: economy Tags: ,

At “The City of Roses”

May 23rd, 2012 8 comments

In my past trips to Portland, Oregon, I was always struck by how green this city is, especially while looking down as the plane descends toward the airport. Portland is in fact known as “The City of Roses.” Given the amount of rain in the Pacific Northwest, the whole area is lush and carpeted by plants. I am writing from the city today. Since I have a little bit of time, I decided to cross the Willamette river and take a few shots of the city looking West. Some of you may not know, Portland and Suzhou are sister cities. Suzhou is known for its water canals and gardens. Whether that sisterhood is founded on a shared love for gardens and nature or not (probably not), education, culture, and economic exchanges have been fostered. While over the Willamette, it struck me, this is a bridge city.

Waterfront Park, Portland, Oregon (by - click to enlarge

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Categories: Photos Tags: ,

President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, to Julian Assange, “welcome to the club of the persecuted”

May 23rd, 2012 30 comments

Following is an interesting interview of Ecuadorian President, Rafael Correa, by Julian Assange. There are many criticisms of U.S. foreign policy, but what I find most interesting is Correa lamenting the fact he has to fight against moneyed interests within his own country who control the mass media. Assange asked about China being a replacement devil as source of capital. With Brazil and China as alternative sources of capital for Latin America, the political landscape is slowly changing. Another thought that struck me was the idea of transparency. U.S. media and politician often criticize China of being ‘opaque.’ Isn’t suppression of Wikileaks hypocrisy? Read more…

Fallows: defensive, gets feelings hurt

May 20th, 2012 152 comments

I really don’t know how anyone can defend James Fallows. Ever since I had this exchange with him, I knew the guy to be a scoundrel (what better evidence does one need?) but some people still insist on defending him.

Fallows is cut from the same rotting wood as most western “journalists.” He had another, shall we say, episode recently when he displayed righteous indignation at CCTV Dialogue‘s host Yang Rui’s outburst on his personal Weibo account. Fallows then wrote a pouty response urging western journalists not to go on that show. Anyone who has seen Dialogue knows that it is a quality show, far better than any comparable show in the US and it has a diversity of opinions represented from real experts and sometimes criticizers of Chinese policies (including Fallows).

Read more…

Categories: Opinion Tags: , ,

American Public Media’s Marketplace casts doubt on China’s investment in Mongolia, what about America’s in Canada?

May 18th, 2012 2 comments

In this American Public Media’s Marketplace report (which I heard on NPR yesterday), reporter Rob Schmitz casts some doubts about China’s investments in Mongolia (podcast segment starts at 10:40 mark), especially with respect to recently discovered coal deposits. Of course, this is the same Rob Schmitz who exposed the Mike Daisey lies about working conditions at Foxconn. Schmitz is one of the best Western reporters covering China right now. I love listening to Marketplace and appreciate his work. Read more…

Categories: Analysis, media, News, politics Tags:

Japan’s claim to Okinotori Atoll as island rejected by the U.N.

May 18th, 2012 1 comment

Japan's claim to Okinotori Atoll as island rejected by the U.N.

Japan’s claim to Okinotori Atoll as island was recently rejected by the U.N. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS). If succeeded, Japan would be entitled to a continental shelf and an EEZ covering more than 100,000 square kilometers. Following is a report translated by People’s Daily Online from it’s Chinese original “国际正义不许冲之鸟变礁为’岛’“. Note that Japan’s claims were disputed by China and South Korea. Also, Japan have for years tried to become a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, though have always been thwarted by her Asian neighbors due to conflict over Japan’s watering down of her colonial atrocities. The region is complex to say the least. Read more…

Categories: News Tags: ,

Is China a Resource Poor Nation?

May 17th, 2012 13 comments

China has repeatedly been billed as the largest energy consumer and portrayed as possible future aggressor in the quest for more energy, mineral, and even water resources. Most western press also mentioned that China is a resource poor country that consumed a prodigious amount of minerals. However, the first point is factually wrong. Read more…

Categories: Analysis, economy, Environment Tags:

Symbolic victory: Bush & Co guilty of war crimes

May 15th, 2012 5 comments

A court In Kuala Lumpur has found Bush and many of his administration and his advisers, tried in absentia, guilty of war crimes. Of course, that is not surprising considering that the evidence is overwhelmingly against them. Many of Obama’s administration including the commander in chief are almost certainly just as guilty. This represents a symbolic victory because currently international law lacks a lot of enforcement. But symbolic victories do count in law because they set important precedents.  As the prosecutor explained, he was hopeful that other countries may follow suite in precedent setting fashion and make these war criminals impossible to travel to other countries without arrest and imprisonment.

But what struck me is that the lead prosecutor (an American) said that his team had tried to prosecute Bush and Co in many Western countries including Spain, Canada and Germany but were “thwarted” by their governments.

Read more…

Categories: human rights, Opinion, politics Tags:

Lacking insight in James Fallows’ piece, “What Is the Chinese Dream?”

May 14th, 2012 46 comments

James Fallows is one of the most accomplished journalists in the West. His talents were demonstrated very early on in his career, being former U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s chief speechwriter; the youngest person to ever hold such a job. Personally, I admire his understanding of the Western media. For example, his take on the “new media” is totally excellent. However, Fallows doesn’t ‘get’ China. As humans, our imagination is often limited by our biases, and in his latest article, “What Is the Chinese Dream?” he dared implying a nation of 1.3 billion without dreams. It’s preposterous. While the article is certainly helping to frame the ongoing debate about China’s rise, the article is also an indication of what’s wrong with the prevailing Western narratives about China. Read more…

Chinese physicists break new record in exploiting quantum entanglement

May 12th, 2012 14 comments

Quantum entanglement is a curious physical property of our universe where paired quantum objects, regardless where they are, instantly reflect one another. Albert Einstein called this “Spooky action at a distance.” Photons (light particles) are quantum objects. Physicists have experimentally confirmed this entanglement phenomenon. One way is to split a photon into two lower-energy photons, and the resulting pair becomes entangled. (Here is a good explanation.) Photons have various properties. When a property in the entangled pair is altered, the other’s same property reflects instantaneously. Physicists have demonstrated separating the entangled photons using fiber optics cables. Again, over some distance, the entanglement property holds. Read more…

On Chinese Women Dating / Marrying White Men

May 10th, 2012 17 comments

I usually don’t have much problems with Chinese women dating and marrying white men.  Traditionally I typically view them on an individual basis. If the relationship last and works out for both parties, it’s a win-win for all – who cares about if two people are of different races?

Sure, I don’t deny that the phenomenon of Chinese women looking to date and marry white men do raise some broader potential social / cultural issues for me.  Why does it seem like some Chinese women are purposefully shunning Chinese men?  Why does one often find white men successful in looking to date and marry Chinese women but much rarer Chinese men dating and marrying white women?

I usually chalk up these nagging social issues to women looking to move up the social and economic ladder.

Because of the history of the last 200 years, Westerners typically make more money, are financially more successful and stable, than Chinese.  To the extent women (Chinese included) marry for security, dating and marrying white men seems only natural.  From the Chinese perspective, it might even be encouraged, if nothing else than to improve the quality of life some of its people through the fast track.

But recently, I came across this WSJ report that seems to turn that theory upside down.  It appears in Hong Kong, the real action is not of poor Chinese women marrying rich foreign men, which I understand, but rich Chinese women seeking out to marry white men.

The above picture apparently caused quite a stir and went viral in Hong Kong cyberspace recently.

Here is a copy of the WSJ article in full: Read more…

So they eat babies?

May 8th, 2012 91 comments

Another common meme to dehumanize and defame the Chinese people is that they are cannibals and specifically eat babies. The Nazi analogy meme, the cruelty to animals meme and this meme have been very successfully employed in getting people to see the Chinese people as less than human. After all, what’s more worthy of white folk’s’ sympathies than Tibetans, cute furry animals and babies? What’s more worthy of condemnation and foam-at-the-mouth vitriol than any perceived harm done to those most venerable groups of innocent beings? The latest epidemic in this last infestation of hate-mongering is from South Korean customs officials that claim that pills made of ground up baby powder was manufactured in China to be distributed in South Korea as medicine and “stamina enhancement” supplements.

Read more…

Categories: media, Opinion, Uncategorized Tags:

Sina survey: “Why the Philippines insist on hard line over Huangyan incident?”

May 8th, 2012 21 comments

Categories: politics Tags:

Announcement: Login required before commenting allowed

May 8th, 2012 7 comments

Recently, Hidden Harmonies has been plagued by trolls impersonating other readers. For example, a “Raj” has been impersonating a “Cathy Graham,” a “denk,” a “Schmidt,” a “Wayne.” Trolls like that use a VPN service to grab new IP addresses for each new comment. This way, IP bans are ineffective. Moving forward, we are requiring all readers to first log in before commenting is allowed. This way, we can revoke a troll’s account, making their spams much more difficult to get through. Read more…

Categories: Announcements Tags:

The hypocrites “two wrongs don’t make a right” fallacy fallacy

May 7th, 2012 20 comments

In debates, it is common for “pro-China” arguments to be dismissed by hypocrites who trot out the “two wrongs don’t make a right” fallacy. For example, a murderer criticizes a one-time burglar to no end, and the burglar finally points out the murderer’s heinous crime. The burglar obviously cannot absolve his guilt by pointing out someone else’s wrong. Hence, the “two wrongs don’t make a right” fallacy. However, the burglar is absolutely correct to point out the hypocrisy, especially when the murderer makes himself out to be a model citizen. That fallacy cannot simply be used to dismiss the burglar’s rightful criticism. To do so is to further heighten that hypocrisy at best, or at worse to not accept one’s own heinous act as crime which makes that person more prone to repeat. Read more…

Categories: Opinion Tags:

Russia Today: “Hillary Clinton: US Losing Information War to Alternative Media”

May 6th, 2012 51 comments

The following report by Russia Today is about a year old, but is just as applicable today, or for that matter, for the years to come. We often hear in the Western press that the Internet democratizes information. I think that’s very true. But they often portray it, for example, in China’s case, as Chinese public rising up using the Internet to challenge the Chinese government. That was really the rage during the “dot com” boom period. Recently, since social media is hot, that narrative is recycled with a social media twist. Or when the Arab Spring was hot, the narrative was yet again recycled into a “Jasmine Revolution” for China. However, as this RT report suggests, there is also the bigger trend of narratives put forth on the global stage by countries like Russia and China. The West will increasingly dominate less. Perhaps “war” is too strong a word. I sincerely hope the different narratives serve to balance. Read more…

Categories: media, Opinion, politics Tags:

US forget “respecting Rule of Law”, full on “Vigilante Human Rights”

May 4th, 2012 33 comments

There is a missing dialog of US’s “Human Rights” for Chen Guangcheng (CGC).  That is, you don’t hear the US talk about “Rule of Law” much in this CGC story.

That’s because every one in the Western Media, the Western NGO’s, the Activists, and the US government, knows, CGC’s case has nothing to do with “Rule of Law”, It’s all out no holds bar, “vigilante Human Rights justice”.

Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

SPAM Index Correlates To Democracy, Yes, BS is Always Free

May 2nd, 2012 20 comments


SophosLab published a list of top 12 email SPAM sources by country,

the top twelve spam relaying countries for January – March 2012

1. India 9.3%
2. USA 8.3%
3. S Korea 5.7%
4= Indonesia 5.0%
4= Russia 5.0%
6. Italy 4.9%
7. Brazil 4.3%
8. Poland 3.9%
9. Pakistan 3.3%
10. Vietnam 3.2%
11. Taiwan 2.9%
12. Peru 2.5%
Other 41.7%


Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Shanghai in 272 Gigapixels

May 1st, 2012 3 comments

Following is a picture of Shanghai in 272 giga-pixels. Clicking on it will launch a new window allowing you to click and zoom. Can you find the Howard Johnson building? The Tiffany and Company billboard? All the key buildings that make the Shanghai skyline are easy to find. I am not quite sure how this image was put together. Here is a collection of 20+ giga-pixel photographs, all of which are amazine!

Categories: Photos Tags: