An Asia Society piece here with three experts weighing in on the 15th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong. Winston Lord, Orville Schell, and Jeffrey Wasserstrom are all individuals we can respect. What struck me really, really hard was that they were talking about press freedom. Wait a minute! How about adding a Chinese perspective there, say, from Eric X Li? Then, that’d make it 1 out of 4 being a China voice. Still, that’d be 3 Americans versus 1 Chinese. I guess they never thought of that. Does “freedom of the press” = balanced perspectives?
Following is a conversation with Aminta Arrington, author of the upcoming book, “HOME is a ROOF OVER a PIG, an American Family’s Journey in China.” (See my book review in a prior post.) Since the writing, her family has moved from Tai’an to Beijing where she now teaches at Renmin University. We talked about learning Chinese, freedom and individuality, Chen Guangcheng, hope for U.S.-China energy collaboration, and more. Click on the play button or right-click on the link to save the podcast for local listening: link.
(The conversation was carried out in two sessions, which I later joined into one. I should apologize for the echo, an artefact of Skype some times, which I can’t remove after the recording has been made.)
A recent study conducted by PEW Research has found that Asian immigrants have now overtaken Hispanics as the fastest growing immigrant population coming into America. For them, they still largely believe in the American dream: the land of opportunity. (Though, interestingly, Joseph Stiglitz recently argued the American dream is increasingly becoming a myth.) The truth is skilled immigrants are still highly sought in America, as this report found immigrants account for a large share of patents granted. Fruit and vegetable immigrant pickers are also sought in America, because typical Americans are not interested in such jobs. Those two extremes characterize what the “American dream” is all about today. When James Fallows recently spoke nonsense about this topic (and others), we took his arguments to task. (Warning: clicking on ‘more’ will cause embedded video below to play automatically.) Continue reading CCTV America reports: “The rise of Asian Americans”
The following is a live demo of Google’s Project Glass at the Moscone Center in San Francisco earlier today, with Google co-founder Sergey Brin hosting. (Click here for another demo showing how Google services are integrated.) It’s essentially computer in a pair of glasses, able to see what you see and meshes your smartphone’s display into it. It’s not that the technology is new, but the fact that Google is bringing it to the masses and integrating with Google Hangout and other of its services that make it ground-breaking. Corporations with deep pockets can make big bets like this. Being an industry leader and having reaped so much profit gives you opportunity to invest. While we don’t like Google’s politics, as a technology and Internet services behemoth, it’s an amazing company.
Continue reading Google’s Project Glass
I was at a corporate event yesterday, at Coyote Ranch, a bit south of San Jose. Looking at the faces of people there, I was struck by how diverse the Silicon Valley population is. Not to discount the atrocious past, or the discrimination that still exists today, I think America has the will officially to work towards racial harmony. On a global scale, talents tend to migrate into areas where there is demand or opportunity. Silicon Valley has attracted students, engineers, business people from China, India, and other parts of the world. Steve Jobs was a by-product of that trend; his birth parents are ethnic Syrian and adoptive parents Armenian. Following is a collection of pictures I took – and I shall refer to them as “Silicon Valley Melting Pot.”
In this delightfully written memoir, “HOME is a ROOF OVER a PIG, an American Family’s Journey in China,” Aminta Arrington details the experiences of her all-American family, from suburban Georgia, fully immersed in language and culture in Tai’an, a relatively poor city in China’s Shandong Province. The title derives from the character, “家,” which Arrington recounts someone explaining to her the top radical means roof and the bottom pig. Embedded in the Chinese characters are history and culture which she found fascinating. Her genuine interest in this ancient culture lead her to adopt a baby girl, and it was out of the desire to want to offer her a bond with her roots that ultimately brought the entire Arrington family to China. Continue reading Aminta Arrington’s “HOME is a ROOF OVER a PIG, an American Family’s Journey in China”
In this recent article at the New Yorker, Evan Osnos insinuates Chinese companies ultimately cannot be trusted because their relationship with the government cannot be known for certain. His entire article basically boils down to the following:
Part of the complexity about being a big Chinese company is that it’s not clear what information related to your relationship with the government counts as a secret.
I guess China could simply declare Apple has a secret spy chip implanted on behalf of the NSA in every iPhone. No evidence required. Therefore, Apple should be blocked in China and around the world. Imagine a Chinese journalist writes, “part of the complexity about Apple’s relationship with the NSA is you don’t know what counts as a secret.” The secret is so secretive, we can’t find anything! Hence it’s complex. What idiocy. Does that even make sense? Continue reading The New Yorker throws stone in a glass house
The following video footage is the successful launch of Shenzhou-9 (神舟九号), carrying China’s first female astronaut, LIU Yang (刘洋), among a three person crew. One of their missions is to perform manual space dock with the Tiangong-1 space lab. Back in November 2011, China achieved space docking between Shenzhou-8 and Tiangong-1 with ground control. For more coverage, check out Youku.com’s dedicated page.
Last month, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was interrupted at the Leveson inquiry by David Lawley-Wakelin accusing him of war crimes in the role he played in misleading U.K. into the 2003 Iraq invasion. Recently, another British activist, Tom Grundy, symbolically tried citizen’s arrest on Blair while the former PM was giving a speech in Hong Kong. Grundy said, “I put it to him that he’d caused the death of at least 100,000 people during the Iraq War.” This news really struck me thinking about the recent June 4th candle light vigil in Hong Kong commemorating the 89 Tiananmen protest (which by the way is full of lies in the Western narrative). Where are the candles for this
100k 1 million Iraqis? If they’d joined Grundy in the citizen’s arrest, people could say they at least have principle. [Update June 17, 2012]Make sure to read comments below, including perspectivehere’s analysis on why the video I embedded below from ITN is sympathetic to Blair whereas Grundy’s own version tells a truer story of his own intentions. [Update June 18, 2012]One should also ask why doesn’t the Hong Kong vigil demonstrators demonstrate for the 1967 Hong Kong riot brutally suppressed by the Brits as pointed out in comments below by perspectivehere.
Remember this pervert who was caught trying to rape a Chinese woman in Beijing in early May? According to this People’s Daily report, that Brit was deported yesterday.
What happened to rule of law? If the damning evidence is not enough to convict this perp, then let him be. Otherwise sentence him to whatever punishment he deserves. Deporting him now that the whole of China has seen what he has done and about to do next shows that the Chinese government is spineless, and more importantly, lacking respect for the rule of law. To the world, criminality seems to be negotiable in China. Wrong message, China. That is definitely not what China is aspiring to. Big mistake.
Am I missing something?
Remember Michael P. Fay? Even a tiny city state of Singapore could persist in her rule of law despite pressures from former President Clinton.
The person responsible for making the deportation decision must justify to the Chinese public why there was no trial.
[Update June 14, 2012]
See reader William’s insightful comments below.
The Dalai Lama has in the last month, been making some serious allegations about China. He said that CCP agents posed as devotees and tried to kill him by putting poison in their hair so that when he blesses (see here and here, e.g.) them, he is smeared with the poison. The Dalai Lama also claimed that China has stolen samples of his urine.
U.S. Government slapped hefty tariffs against Chinese solar companies, accusing them of receiving government subsidies and dumping solar panels in US market.
At the heart of this, the accusation of “dumping” actually came from a German based company, SolarWorld.
American politicians and media love to blame China for ‘stealing’ jobs. Following is a pie chart showing Apple’s profits and percentage contributions from its global supply chain. Blaming China is like blaming one’s gardener for his financial woes. This chart is a true pie in the face to those who have so clouded reality in the American public discourse about trade with China. The true tragedy here is that China is polluting her environment at such alarming rates on behalf of companies like Apple. What Apple is getting away with is not shown – a wedge is yet to be made representing environmental damages done.
We spend a lot of time on this blog talking about media bias in the West against China. One question is how do you correct it? The video report below reminded me the biggest impact really should come from the Chinese themselves. How? By becoming rich! Let’s face it, we humans worship wealth and success. Emotionally, when we see a bum on the street versus when we see a rich and successful person, our biases are vastly different. The video report shows luxury brands in New York catering to rich Chinese shoppers. China has already become Luis Vuitton’s second largest market. I can only imagine Luis Vuitton trying to align its brand with what’s cool about being Chinese. That also means favoring Chinese models over blue eye-ed blond hair ones in China. All that will work towards a more positive image for China inside and outside. China just needs to continue to sprint towards becoming rich. Continue reading A more positive image
Following segment is a profile by CNN’s Kristie Lu Stout on Baidu CFO, Jennifer Li. Her advice? “Gender is not a factor when it comes to success.. it’s your attitude towards work.” That’s obviously applicable to both men and women. If you think about it, that’d be applicable to race, age, or whatever color and stripe you fancy yourself. China will have her share of Baidu’s and Huawei’s. For young Chinese who aspire to great heights, there will bound to be more captains of industry like Li to model after.
Someone asked me recently to comment on the difference between Chinese banks and American banks. While both seeks to maximize profits, the former is much more under the control of the government and thus more aligned with national economic policy. Ann Lee recently told Allen and I that in the U.S., as in the recent bail-out of WSJ, the situation was a socializing of the risks but privatizing the gains. U.S. banks form a powerful interest that can co-opt the American public. That situation is no different than the Canadian one, apparently, as this amazing 12 year-old, Victoria Grant, who recently articulated what’s wrong with her country’s banking system:
June 1 is the official children’s day in China. To the fathers who are musicians, athletes, artists, or simple laymen who have found ways to impart something they love to their children, it’s pure bliss. Following performance is by a singer with his 3 years old daughter, titled, “Because of Love” (“因为爱情“). It has become a big hit in China. Happy Children’s Day! Continue reading “Because of Love” by a father and his 3 years old daughter
Recently, a series of photographs showing a white American man in China giving an old woman some of his fries have caused a stir in China. Being opportunists, the western press could not contain themselves so as to use this incident in order to show the merciful beneficence of western culture to Chinese. This gloating huffington post article for example could not help but compare this act of McFry magnanimity with the callous behavior of Chinese public in leaving a child to die in the street (also see here for similar self-satisfied, supercilious reporting of this incident).