Our Open Forum has gotten to be a slow load for some of you. This is a new open forum thread. The previous one can be found here. Remember, this is an area where we welcome readers to give us feedbacks, tell us what they want to read, or to simply share off-beat thoughts with each other.
Charles Liu says
h/t to Sweet Sour Socialism (BTW I’m not a socialist…) The massacre Main Stream Media blamed on Assad was actually committed by the Free Syria Army US/NATO armed thru the Saudis/Qataris:
“…To satisfy China’s population and prevent a crisis of legitimacy for their rule, …”
Very often I read similar sentences like this in the western media. And almost feel that the author is deliberately giving a hint to the Chinese people that if you are not doing well, you should overthrow your government.
It’s possible that I am too cynical. But they have never said that to other governments.
that’s because that’s exactly what they’re saying; many westerners make no effort to disguise the fact that they wish to see violent and bloody revolution in China in the hopes that it’ll delay China’s inevitable eclipse of the Western world.
How did this article ever get published in the NYTs?
This is a good sign, though. While the west is playing favorites and funding opposing sides of equal brutality (Syria) or outright fabricating atrocities attributed to others (China in Tibet), there are real crimes against humanity being committed by our allies. In this case, the brutal slaughter of thousands of Kashmiri civilians by Indian military. Never mind the thousands that have been slaughtered, raped, displaced and tortured in India’s north eastern territories also by Indian military.
I found these 2 articles to be quite refreshing:
I thought that this is a good article about the US setting up these ‘illy pads’ around the world to try to ‘contain’ China and Russia.
great article pug_ster
btw, just a comment on another article i saw involving a western journalist trying to get south koreans to make common cause with the japanese and make cold war against China. THat’s just something a typical anglo westerner would think eh, dismiss all the rape and pillaging and degradation at the hand of the japanese, just so the south koreans can become another pawn in the realpolitik of the US’ strategy of containing China.
Charles Liu says
UK declares war on Syria:
Read this, a shock :
The banners outside the outlet said: Exclusive Preview for International Travellers. And under that, in an even finer print, the real bombshell: Access restricted only to holders of international passports.
i gotta say, it’s reading things like this that gives me hope for future Chinese-Western ties; http://rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/27/my-european-son-beijing-is-the-only-place-i-feel-at-home/?smid=re-share
finally, we have a published article (even if it is a blog) from the NYT about a Western family (even if they are european, rather than anglo) understanding Chinese people and culture and family, without the sneering superiority complex that belies the majority of Western cultural attitudes towards China
anyone else noticed how hysterical the american business and political communities are about CNOOC taking over Nexen’s assets?
forbes has been pumping up the story of possible bribery allegations,
and of course dana roebacher (?) of california has been doing his china-bad bandwagon platoform that forms the base of his political career.
about the allegations of insider trading, isnt this the very same SEC that completely missed the bernie madoff scam as well as many other scams of the GFC?
I do find it funny that the usual China bashers complain about the ‘brainwashing’ of Hong Kong students. I objected many of the things that the American education system teaches to my kids, especially how they whitewashes history. Personally, for me, I am going to tell my kids how American History got it wrong in many ways and if these Hong Kong should do the same for their kids how history got it wrong. Meanwhile, many other Hong Kong residents welcome this kind of ‘brainwashing.’
Lol. I love how Western Propaganda describes how poorly Chinese Men Gymnastics did poorly 2 days ago but managed to win gold at Men’s artistic team all around just now.
Guys, I may need your help. Few days ago I argued with some people about the difference of Chinese and Western propaganda. I gave my view that Chinese media rarely broadcats other countries’ social problems and Western propaganda sedulously fish China’s social problems out and post them on their most influential websites (such as BBC and CNN), and it should be considerd hostile to China. However they thought that “U.S. and european countries are so developed, democrate that social problems rarely happen. Therefore Chinese readers rarely see articles about such dark stories.”
In my opinion, “U.S. and european countries are so developed, democrate that social problems rarely happen” and “China is still under development so that there SHOULD BE lots of problem and fewer of good things” is completely ideological bias. Chinese media cares little about outsiders’ social problem for it’s waste of time to blame, while western media who takes most voices in the world is still seeding conflicts and hatred.
I hate to fish other people’s bad things out for everyone has their own problems to deal with, but for convincing those who believe “U.S. and european countries are so developed, democrate that social problems rarely happen”, I need to find some dark stories from “free world”. Can anyone help?
The latest stupidity from US coach Jon Leonard said that Ye Shiwen is a cheat. Of course, she has been tested every day and twice on Sunday and she did not dope. Sour grapes from the American Swimming team that they did not win as much golds as they expected.
I would say that the difference between Chinese and Western Propaganda is that China doesn’t really use propaganda at all in general, rather censorship. After all, propaganda is misleading information and even China bashers could not find alot of examples where Chinese Media has misleading information.
great article by Peking University professor of linguistics, Dr Thorsten Pattberg on language imperialism and the consistent embargo on Chinese terms in the english discourse.
And people assume Orwell’s NewSpeak was solely relegated to Stalinist societies! that this would never happen in the West!
It’s been interesting discussing some of the issues surrounding the Olympics and some of the comments about the British media have really made me think. I’ve been going through a few websites here, trying to take a more critical look at them and how they report on China.
I came across this one on the guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/03/china-television-rules-broadcasting?newsfeed=true) regarding broadcast regulation. I haven’t found the original guidelines yet, but it looks like a number of users here are right, i.e. the British press could either be making this stuff up or twisting it, because some of these guidelines, in translation, appear really strange.
Did anyone catch the swimming? Phelps got yet another gold! That’s a record that’ll take some beating.
21 Olympic medals. What a record.
Hey all, has anyone seen the trailers for ‘Shanghai Calling’ yet? It’s out in China on August 10th and looks interesting. Is anyone going to go and see it?
I’m really looking forward to watching it.
was watching the RT interview with Californian congressman Dana Rohrbacher; now i won’t mock Rohrbacher for his girl’s name and the overcompensating that comes with it, but the guy is proof why America is in deep decline: when you have obviously insane and stupid ppl who subscribe to conspiracy theories like Rohrbacher in power, you already know the government is up shit creek without a paddle.
Mister Unknown says
Well, if you want to talk about social problems, the London riots just a year ago might provide hints of deep-seated social problems.
If you want to approach the supposed lack of western censorship, the most recent example of an under-aged boy being arrested for an “offensive” tweet (note: not even ‘threatening’, just ‘offensive’):
Mister Unknown says
Oh by the way Sleeper, over at CDF we have a whole thread about the various ridiculous occurrences that contradict western exceptionalist propaganda about their democratic institutions, its called “Democracy at work”, browse through it if you get a chance.
Regarding Western propaganda, here’s a good book to read which gives a good view of what goes on behind the scenes: A Century of Spin: How Public Relations Became the Cutting Edge of Corporate Power.
Here’s an interesting excerpt on the development of British PR:
“Less well known perhaps is the role of British propagandists before, during and after the First World War. In many ways the British were pioneers of propaganda, which is unsurprising given Britain’s colonial history and the close links between propaganda and conflict. The present day British Ministry of Defence 15 (UK) Psychological Operations Group, for example, traces its origins back to the Boer War in the late nineteenth century. The British government were not averse to using propaganda before the First World War, and many of those who would later work in the War Propaganda Board had already undertaken domestic propaganda for the National Insurance Commission. The battle against the Irish republican movement in 1920 saw British intelligence agents pioneering black propaganda efforts. In the period after the Great War and the partition of Ireland in 1921, many of these operatives turned up in the PR industry or in other propaganda roles.
It was in this role that [Director of Public Information at Dublin Castle, Basil]Clarke developed his ideas and tactics on ‘propaganda by news’. The key quality of the propaganda was, as Clarke put it, ‘verisimilitude’ – having the air of truth. According to Clarke’s own account, the routine ‘issue of news gives us a hold over the press… [journalists] take our version of the facts… and they believe all I tell them’ (emphasis in original). The service ‘must look true and it must look complete and candid or its “credit” is gone’.
The British policy was, as Brian Murphy’s detailed research shows, to disseminate lies and half truths which gave the appearance of truth. As Major Street, another of the propagandists in Ireland noted: ‘in order that it may be rendered capable of being swallowed’, propaganda ‘must be dissolved in some fluid which the patient will readily assimilate’. In 1924 Clarke left government and set up perhaps the first PR agency in the UK. By the end of the 1920s Editorial Services, as it was called, was a significant operation with 60 staff. In the late 1920s and early 1930s Clarke worked as a PR consultant for the Conservative Party and by 1933 Editorial Services had handled more than 400 accounts.” (pages 15-17)
Thanks, Perspective, I’ll have a read of that. It looks really interesting.
For anyone else who wants to read it there is a pdf available online. Just google century of spin pdf.
just a general question; is it racist if say a caucasian woman refuses to date asian men?
Attraction is a personal thing and it’s within a person’s right to date whomsoever they wish, but would it be racist if, as i asked, a white woman refused to date asian men because of a sense that asian men are somehow inferior to caucasian men and/or asians must be feared?
Yes, it is racist. But it is misleading to say that attraction is a “persona; thing”. People’s attraction are inculcated through years and years of media images. White US femiNazis often complain (actually sometimes with justification) about how the media distorts female images so that both men and women are attracted to images that are harmful for female wellbeing. But the campaign against Asian men in the western and especially the US mainstream media far more devastating and biased than negative female images.
Thanks for the responses, collin and melektaus,
the indoctrination of emasculating Asian men has a long history given the apprehension and fear and insecurity the West has traditionally had towards the Chinese (then and again, the West has traditionally been xenophobic, generally).
Thusly, even if you’re a well groomed, successful Asian man in his 20s-30s, you’ll be hard pressed to find a caucasian girl in her 20s who’ll be willing to give you a chance. Of course, in my experience, once those caucasian girls hit 30 and aren’t homecoming queen anymore, and have to deal with more competition from younger fitter girls, they start becoming a little more sensible, or even begin to “lower their standards” if you take the viewpoint of some of these caucasian girls.
So, solutions? keep looking? aye, that seems to be most apt, but why sell yourself short? why settle for some old caucasian woman who’s already had more things through her than a gatehouse? fuck no, i sure as hell wouldn’t put up with that.
Zack, though please try to keep this forum clean. There is really no point disparaging Caucasian woman even though you are being sarcastic or are focusing on some. This blog doesn’t need such distraction. It’s equally insulting if Chinese women described in similar fashion.
There are genuine couples. I think you would agree in the very long run, people shed their prejudices – and I think it’s possible that all colors become uniform. That’s my hope anyways.
If you notice how melektaus describes the problem, it’s entirely possible without such profanity. I hope you understand.
hi yinyang; please forgive me, it must be the Australian in me to issue such profanity every now and then;)
i’ll try to remain civil in the future:P
I figured. Thanks for your understanding. We have detractors, and of course you knew that.
China officially launches a rare earths spot market/trading platform; what this means is that rare earths will be sold at a price that accurately reflects its worth according to the market; the WEst is none too happy at this since now they’re going to have to pay more for rare earths.
In a way it’s kinda ironic, see, it’s a reversal of the situation with the iron ore producers like BHP (an anglo-australian company) and China, only this time it’s China which has cornered the market on this item-Rare earths-and can see about getting a fairer more equitable price for their birthright.
Expect to see a lot of flak and moaning on the part of western media as they now have to pay more for rare earths, when they used to get it for a steal.
Zack, are you aware of the path-breaking work being done on bringing to light a group of Invisible Australians known as the “Anglo-Chinese Australians”?
During the late 19th century, there were a thousands of Chinese men who married Anglo women in Australia and had mixed-race children. Except official Australia was going through its white supremacy policy around that time (1901), so many of these folks stayed low profile, and official policy and historical studies pretended they weren’t there.
However, in recent years, the gradual recognition by more people that Multicultural Australia is far better than White Australia, has led to more scholars lifting the lid on this phenomenon, and finding many cases that were ignored.
This is a good example of how an “exclusionary” racial policy toward the Chinese interacted with the way people actually lived (i.e., nineteenth Anglo women and Chinese men will like each other and marry if not barred by law) – and in the outback, it was hard to enforce these white only policies, although there were several massacres of Chinese communities, similar to events in Canada, the American West and other English-speaking countries or colonies of the British empire.
There is some excellent historical work being done to restore the history of these folks to their rightful place in Australian history. Suddenly, the Chinese are not so foreign. In fact, there are probably many “white” Australians who have Chinese ancestors, and they just don’t even know it, just like many “white” Americans have African ancestors.
I love this page: The Real Face of White Australia, and the caption, “It’s all about the respect and responsibility we both have for people like this.”
Continuing comment #33…
Here is an excerpt from the Introduction to a 2006 PhD Thesis by Kate Bagnall, “Golden shadows on a white land: An exploration of the lives of white women who partnered Chinese men and their children in southern Australia, 1855-1915”
Remembering Anglo-Chinese families
During the second half of the nineteenth century, hundreds of white women formed intimate relationships with Chinese men in New South Wales and Victoria. These relationships took place in Sydney, Melbourne and the bush, in towns, mining camps, and on rural properties. Some were fleeting encounters, others enduring and stable, but from both were born children whose faces reflected the differing heritage of their parents. These women, their Chinese partners and their Anglo-Chinese children farmed, mined, and ran stores and other businesses. Some were rich and lived in grand homes and owned large amounts of property, some only barely managed to scrape together an existence. Some had long, happy and prosperous lives together, while others faced tragedy, violence and poverty. Until recently, little has been known about them. They are historical subjects whose lives have remained in the shadows and on the margins.
This thesis aims to throw light on those shadows by presenting the first in-depth study of intimate relationships between white women and Chinese men in the southern colonies of Australia, and of the families they formed together. Its particular focus is the colony of New South Wales (NSW), between the gold-rush years of the 1850s and the early years of the twentieth century. It explores the experiences of these mixed race families, in both southern Australia and southern China, from a variety of perspectives, examining representation and discourse as well as lived experience, across time and place. Beginning in the southern colonies of Australia in the 1850s, it travels through city and bush, into family homes and through public discourse, to finish in China in the early decades of the twentieth century. This thesis is significant for the contribution it makes in both redressing the neglect of interracial relationships in the history of the Chinese in Australia and in contributing to a reassessment of colonial race relations.
This thesis uses the tension between representation and discourse and lived experience, the discrepancies between ‘prescription and practice’,1 to complicate and extend our understanding of interracial intimate relationships and mixed race families in Australia in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. It reveals that in spite of the hostility so strongly expressed in discourse, white women and Chinese men came together for reasons of love, comfort, security, sexual fulfilment and the formation of family. By approaching the subject from a variety of perspectives and through a range of sources (archives, fiction, family lore, the press), it demonstrates that there was no one typical experience of intimate relationships across racial boundaries. The lives of my subjects were as varied as the places they lived and the communities they mixed with, and as individual as their own characters and pasts. Their experiences were particular and individual and demonstrate personal negotiations of marriages and relationships and their place in families, communities and cultures.
The metaphor of the shadow in the title of this thesis represents two things. It suggests the way in which stories of the lives of white women, their Chinese partners and their children are a set of interconnected and intersecting plots which weave and blend and twist together, just as shadows shift and change. The idea of the shadow also suggests something not quite seen, something ephemeral, something that is there but not there, so it also represents the hidden presence of mixed race couples and Anglo-Chinese ancestors within Australian families today and within the history of the Chinese in Australia. As will be discussed further in this Introduction, their experiences have for a long time been hinted at, glossed over, and pushed aside. This thesis is an attempt to follow the traces of their existence and to draw together scraps of evidence to form a clearer picture of their lives.
By foregrounding the experiences of mixed race couples and families within both the white and Chinese communities in Australia and China, this thesis aims to challenge the ideas of difference and the boundaries imagined around the Chinese and white populations of the Australian colonies, ideas which have been carried through from nineteenth-century sources to the secondary literature. By suggesting the significance and frequency of intimate relationships between white women and Chinese men, this study seeks to demonstrate that racial categories were inherently permeable and unstable and that interactions between the white and Chinese populations in Australia’s southern colonies were more complex than has often been assumed.”
This is wonderful – historical scholarship that challenges commonly accepted racial assumptions and narratives about whiteness.
I once read about a story that relates to persectivehere’s two posts above. I did not know that Chinese people were banned from joining the Australian military during the early twentieth century due to racist laws. One person, Billy Sing, tried to join but was denied because he was Chinese (actually half Chinese but half Chinese were considered Chinese under Australian law). However, he managed to impress the military recruiters so much with his marksmanship that they reclassified him as “white” just so he could join the military. He ended up being the most decorated soldier in Australia’s history having been a sniper during WWI with a confirmed kill of over 300 Germans and Turks. Someone wrote a book about his life. He apparently died a sad life and died relatively young. He died in poverty and seems to have contracted syphilis during his stay in France. They made an Australian TV movie about him in which whites played him and his father. This caused some controversy.
Hey, have you heard of this guy? A Chinese Australian sniper in WWI.
LOL, it seems we posted at the same time.
yes, i’ve heard of Billy Sing, and so have a few Australians. A few years back an Australian filmmaker was going to make a film on the life of Billy Sing, except he was going to have a white Australian actor play both Billy Sing and Billy Sing’s Chinese father. Naturally the Chinese community in Australia wasn’t pleased, i mean it’s like casting all the members of the ‘go for broke’japanese GI unit from ww2 with ethnic caucasians. Not only is it demeaning to the sacrifices of Chinese Australians who suffered discrimination and prejudice, it’s also insulting to the Sing family.
beat me to it lol
As an Australian i reckon current Australia is at a crossroads; there are some in Australia who want the country to remain culturally and even ethnically aligned with the anglo nations, whilst others wish for a more equitable and multicultural Australia.
It’s one of the reasons why personally, i’m in favour of an Australian Republic. So long as Australians continue to identify themselves with the UK, White Australia, as opposed to a multicultural Australia, will be here to stay.
Yes, it is kinda insulting in this day and age. Sort of like Bruce Lee was not chosen as the actor for Kung Fu. Anyway, I have five first cousins that are born Australian.
Despite the anglocentric culture that pervades Australian life, i do love Australia and hope China and Australia can become firm friends and even close allies. THe basing of US marines in Darwin is widely interpreted as a last ditch effort by some of the anglo elite in Canberra at preserving Australia’s distinctly anglo culture in an increasingly rising Asian neighborhood.
In other news, i’m incredibly chuffed to hear that the ROC in TAiwan and the PRC are finally cooperating in the SCS. About goddam time as well too!, Chinese ought to stick together and not allow the anglos to continue dividing and ruling:
Before the White Australia Policy (1901), Australia was multiracial and heavily Chinese. The presence of so many Chinese may have even influenced the Australian accent.
One of the strategies to marginalize the Chinese globally is to pretend this history did not exist and to “whitewash” the past, so “multicultural” seems new. Actually, “white / anglo” dominance had a specific period as a result of strategic tactics taken by anglos to institutionalize their dominance through unequal laws. White Australia Policy, American “Jim Crow” segregation and South African Apartheid were part of a global strategy throughout the English-speaking world.
Where did Chinese and other non-white races fall into the racial hierarchies created then? How did the Irish become white? How were the Chinese “negroized”?
Elucidating the histories of these questions helps us understand how we got where we are today.
*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^”From 1788 onwards, the Australian colonies were always multi-racial. As well as Aborigines, many non-white people from across the British Empire walked the streets of the early colonies. From the outset, Sydney had highly visible populations of Maoris, Tahitians, Indians, Ceylonese, American negroes, West Indians, and Africans from Cape Town and Mauritius. At least 1000 of the convicts sent to Australia before 1850 were not white. From the 1850s to the 1890s the Chinese constituted the second biggest foreign-born population in Australia, exceeded only by those born in the British Isles.”
Source: White Australia’s Myths
“The influence of Chinese on the Australian accent
The Australian strain of English is very musical. Tones are very important, and with the abbreviation of words to emphasize the stressed syllable, Australian English follows the general pattern of how English sounds when it is sung. In 1911, an English woman, Valerie Desmond, released a book titled The Awful Australian. In the book, she speculated that the tonal aspect of Australian English may have been the result of Australians mixing with Chinese. Irrespective of whether she was correct or not, her observations of a great deal of communication occurring between the Chinese and other members of Australian society paint a very different picture to that painted by modern day white historians. Her words also reveals how the pro-British sections of Australia felt towards Australia and non-whites:
“But it is not so much as the vagaries of pronunciation that hurt
the ear of the visitor. It is the extraordinary intonation that the
Australian imparts to his phrases. There is no such thing as cultured,
reposeful conversation in this land; everybody sings his remarks as
if he was reciting blank verse in the manner of an imperfect elocutionist.
It would be quite possible to take an ordinary Australian conversation
and immortalise its cadences and diapasons by means of musical notation.
Herein the Australian differs from the American. The accent of the American,
educated and uneducated alike, is abhorrent to the cultured Englishman
or Englishwoman, but it is, at any rate, harmonious. That of the Australian
is full of discords and surprises. His voice rises and falls with unexpected
syncopations, and, even among the few cultured persons this country
possesses, seems to bear in every syllable the sign of the parvenu…
The Australian practice of singing his remarks I can only ascribe to the influence
of the Chinese. During my stay in Melbourne, I spent one evening at supper
in a Chinese cookshop in Little Bourke Street, and I was instantly struck
by the resemblance between the intonation of the phrases between the
Chinese attendants and that of the cultivated Australians who accompanied me.’ ”
Source: The White Australia Policy: from Convicts to Chinese
Australia was multi-racial in the nineteenth century – in fact, much of northern Australia was populated mainly by indigenous peoples, Asians and other non-Europeans.
But starting in the late 19th century, a wave of “white supremacy as religion” began to sweep over Australia, leading to the 1901 White Australia Policy, and resulting in practices to institutionalize white dominance.
Recent post-colonial scholarship on transnational race politics has traced this wave to ideas, beliefs and practices emanating from the American post-Reconstruction South on white, Anglo-Saxon superiority.
From Connected Worlds: History in Transnational Perspective
Co-edited by Ann Curthoys and Marilyn Lake
Chapter 13. From Mississippi to Melbourne via Natal: the invention of the literacy test as a technology of racial exclusion
‘Wave upon wave, each with increasing virulence, is dashing this new religion of whiteness on the shores of our time.’ W. E. B. Du Bois, ‘The Souls of White Folk’, Independent, 1910.
‘This new religion of whiteness’
In 1910, in an article first published in the New York journal the Independent, called ‘The Souls of White Folk’, the Black American historian, W. E. B. Du Bois wrote about his perception of a sudden change in the world, indeed the emergence of a ‘new religion’: ‘the world in a sudden emotional conversion, has discovered that it is white, and, by that token, wonderful’. In noting that ‘white folk’ had suddenly ‘become painfully conscious of their whiteness’, Du Bois was pointing to the emergence of a new subjective mode of identification that crossed national borders, an identification as white men. That same year Du Bois helped establish the journal, The Crisis, to combat ‘race prejudice’. ‘It takes its name’, declared the first editorial, ‘from the fact that the editors believe that this is a critical time in the history of the advancement of man’. 
As an historian, Du Bois wanted to emphasise the historical novelty of what he witnessed, especially the emergence of a new ‘personal’ sense of self:
The discovery of personal whiteness among the world’s peoples is a very modern thing – a nineteenth and twentieth century matter, indeed. The ancient world would have laughed at such a distinction. The middle age regarded it with mild curiosity, and even up into the eighteenth century we were hammering our national manikins into one great Universal Man with fine frenzy which ignored color and race as well as birth. Today we have changed all that…
He also noted white men’s proprietary claims, likening the intermittent outbursts of rage among white folks to the tantrums of possessive children, who refused to share their candy. When applied to the relations between the different races of the world, however, the message seemed rather more ominous: ‘whiteness is the ownership of the earth, forever and ever, Amen!’ A new global movement was in the ascendancy. ‘Wave upon wave, each with increasing virulence, is dashing this new religion of whiteness on the shores of our time’. That nations were coming to believe in it, wrote Du Bois, was ‘manifest daily’.
In seeking to explain the rise of this ‘inexplicable phenomenon’, Du Bois noted the political claims to equality that were beginning to be made by colonised and coloured peoples around the world: ‘Do we sense somnolent writhings in black Africa, or angry groans in India, or triumphant “Banzais” in Japan? “To your tents, O Israel!” these nations are not white. Build warships and heft the “Big Stick”’.  In 1908, United States President Theodore Roosevelt (the author of the diplomacy ‘Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick’) had sent the United States Naval Fleet on a tour of the Pacific, its ill-concealed intention to intimidate the Japanese, whose challenge to the United States over its restrictive immigration policy and the Californian policy of segregated schooling had led to a crisis in relations between the two naval powers, their ‘Gentlemen’s Agreement’ of 1907, notwithstanding.
In seeking to explain the ‘new fanaticism’ that was taking hold, Du Bois insisted on the transnational nature of, and response to, the movement for racial equality:
when the black man begins to dispute the white man’s title to certain alleged bequests of the Father’s in wage and position, authority and training; and when his attitude toward charity is sullen anger, rather than humble jollity; when he insists on his human right to swagger and swear and waste – then the spell is suddenly broken and the philanthropist is apt to be ready to believe that negroes are impudent, that the South is right, and that Japan wants to fight us’. 
As Du Bois noted, the proclamation of ‘white men’s countries’ was a defensive reaction to the mobility and mobilisations of colonised and coloured peoples around the world. The global migrations of the late nineteenth century provide the crucial historical context for claims to racial equality that were often expressed as equal rights of mobility.
In his influential book Imagined Communities, Benedict Anderson defined nations as ‘imagined communities’ in the sense that they were composed of individuals who, though they might never meet face to face, came to identify with their compatriots and believed themselves to hold certain values, myths and outlooks in common. At the core of this process of identification was the cultural and historical imagination, its key instruments the novel and newspaper. Anderson stressed the affective as well as the imaginary dimension of national identification which he imagined as ‘fraternal’. 
Paradoxically, one outcome of Anderson’s argument has been to naturalise the nation as the imagined community of the modern age, an effect that has obscured what Du Bois saw so clearly in 1910: the ascendancy of racial identifications and the emergence of an imagined community of white men that was transnational in its reach, drawing together the self-styled ‘white men’ of southern Africa, north America and Australasia in what Theodore Roosevelt liked to call a condition of ‘fellow feeling’. In this context, the designation ‘white men’ referred to those of ‘Anglo-Saxon’ descent or ‘English-speaking peoples’ who shared what Roosevelt in The Winning of the West called the same ‘race history’, which began, following E. A. Freeman, with the ‘great Teutonic wanderings’.
White men were thought to have a genius, not just for self-government, but also for colonisation. The settlement of the continents of Australia and America, Roosevelt argued, were key events in world history: ‘We cannot rate too highly the importance of their acquisition’, he wrote. ‘Their successful settlement was a feat which by comparison utterly dwarfs all the European wars of the last two centuries.’ Clearly, the ‘manhood’ espoused by white men was a racialised as well as gendered condition.
Just two years before the publication of Du Bois’ essay on the ‘Souls of White Folk’ in the New York Independent, the same journal had featured a long report by W. R. Charlton, a Sydney journalist, of the effusive welcome offered by Australians to the visiting American Fleet, white men rapturously greeting fellow white men from across the Pacific. On arrival in Sydney, Rear Admiral Sperry told his hosts he spoke to them ‘as white man to white men, and, I may add, to “very white men”’. Charlton’s article celebrated the new alliance between the ‘Republic and the Commonwealth’: ‘It is delightful to us to say – whether it be delusion, half-truth or the truth-absolute – that the Americans are our kinsmen, blood of our blood, bone of our bone, and one with us in our ideals of the brotherhood of man.’ 
In recent scholarship, the investigation of ‘whiteness’ has emerged as a productive new field of historical enquiry, but most studies have conceptualised their subject within a national frame of analysis, charting national dynamics and histories. When overseas ideas are identified as important they are usually conceptualised as external influences shaping a national experience rather than as constituting transnational knowledge. Yet, as Du Bois saw clearly, the emergence of this ‘new religion’ of whiteness was a transnational phenomenon and all the more powerful for that. It produced in turn its own powerful solidarities of resistance. One commentator writing in Fortnightly Review, in 1907, worried that the new solidarity of white men and their claim to monopoly of four continents, would drive Chinese and Indians into an unprecedented pan-Asiatic alliance led by the Japanese that would ultimately see the eclipse of Western civilisation.
White men, meanwhile, whether in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Rhodesia or Kenya, looked to each other for sympathy and support, for ideas and practical instruction. They exchanged knowledge and know-how, in particular the uses of the census, the literacy test and the passport as key technologies in building and defending white men’s countries. This chapter looks at the deployment of the literacy test as an instrument of racial exclusion and its circulation between the United States, South Africa and Australia. It also charts the concomitant racialisation of a diversity of national groups, including Africans, Americans, Australians, Indians, Japanese, Hungarians and Italians in a process that produced dichotomous categories of white and non-white, subsuming earlier multiple classifications.
The targets of the literacy test changed as did its specifications, from the requirement to write one’s name, to demonstration of the comprehension of the constitution, to the ability to fill out an application form in English to a dictation test in any European language. Beginning with Mississippi in 1890, the deployment of a literacy test for racial purposes was a key aspect of the transnational process noticed by Du Bois: the constitution of ‘whiteness’ as the basis of both personal identity and transnational political community. Literacy was used to patrol racial borders (electoral as well as national) within and between nations, and in the process literacy became code for whiteness.
While a number of Australian historians have noted that the infamous Australian dictation test of 1901 followed the precedent of Natal in 1897, they have not noticed that the Natal legislation explicitly emulated an American Act of 1896 – passed at the behest of the Boston-based Immigration Restriction League, but which, as it happened, was vetoed by President Grover Cleveland. The United States example was all important, but the British imperial frame of analysis adopted by most historians of Australia has diverted attention from the importance of American experience to white colonials. Both in Australia and South Africa, white men looked to the example of the country they liked to call ‘the great republic’.
And they looked to American history lessons more generally. The main lesson they imbibed from nineteenth century American history was the impossibility of a multi-racial democracy and the most influential source for this understanding was James Bryce’s magisterial The American Commonwealth, first published in 1888 and re-published in a new and expanded third edition in 1893, that included two chapters on ‘The South Since the War’ and ‘The Present and Future of the Negro’. The ‘negro question’, said Bryce, was ‘the capital question in national as well as state politics’. Moreover, ‘the problem was a new one in history, for the relations of the ruling and subject races of Europe and Asia supply no parallel to it.’
At Oxford University, Bryce had been a student of the pre-eminent race historian of the nineteenth century and leading proponent of Anglo-Saxonism, E. A. Freeman, whose work was also much admired both in the United States and Australia. Bryce was not so committed as his mentor to racial determinism, but following his extended visits to the United States in the 1880s he, too, became convinced of the unfitness of non-whites for self-government. ‘Emancipation found them utterly ignorant’, he wrote of American Blacks in 1888, ‘and the grant of suffrage found them as unfit for political rights as any population could be.’
Bryce was a key transnational educator on the subject of history, nation and race. He played a crucial role in circulating knowledge about the ‘failed experiment’ of racial equality ushered in by Radical Reconstruction following the Civil War, when the passage of the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution guaranteed the ‘equal protection’ of the law to ‘all persons born or naturalized in the United States’ and that prevented States from denying the right to vote on grounds of race or colour. Hailed by Liberal Republican Carl Schurz as ‘the great Constitutional Revolution’, in Bryce’s account, Radical Reconstruction was a ghastly mistake, leading to terrible violence on the part of whites accompanied by ‘revolting cruelty’.
As Hugh Tulloch has observed:
His summary of slavery and reconstruction classically stated the Gilded Age orthodoxy which was developed more fully in the historical works of such friends as C. F. Adams Jr, James Ford Rhodes, Woodrow Wilson, John W. Burgess and W. A. Dunning: ‘Such a Saturnalia of robbery and jobbery has seldom been seen in any civilised country, and certainly never before under the forms of free self-government’.
Wendell Phillips Garrison, on the other hand, writing in the Nation, regretted that Bryce had thrown ‘the weight of his humane authority into the white scale’ and Bryce drew further criticism from old English friends, including A. V. Dicey.
In Australia, however, The American Commonwealth commanded a faithful following, where it was taken up in the 1890s as the ‘bible’ or ‘great textbook’ by colonial leaders engaged in the work of drawing up a new federal constitution. In South Africa, too, as John Cell, in his study of the origins of segregation in South Africa and the importance of the American example, has noted, Bryce became the accepted authority on American race relations among English-speaking white men.
Let us not forget other partially Chinese australians. Kathy freeman and Julian Assange (or at least so he claims).
great post, perspectivehere,
indeed, Australia has traditionally had a rich history of Chinese influence; something the anglos perceive as athreat to their apparent endangered hegemony
former Australian PM on the need for the US to cooperate with China in the Asia-Pacific:
This is a hopeful sign in that Australia’s leaders are not as anglo supremacist as previously thought, and are guided by sensible reason. Only racists living in ivory towers reckon they can continue to contain china. THey are no better than, as their own british historians love to say, the Qing who underestimated the British rise.
Anyhoo, ignoring the insane like Gordan Chang, some of the ppl at Forbes seem to have cottoned onto this reality:
i won’t even bother seeing what The Economist thinks, since it’s apparent that the writers of that rag are incapable of reason or thought
I do find this article interesting. China and Taiwan agreeing on the issue with the spratly islands.
Why surprised? It’s about time. If not now, they will have to come together in the future. You think Taiwan will go fight Vietnam over one of the islands, with Mainland standing by?
If it comes to it, you think Taiwan will stand by and watch other nations stump PRC if Taiwan has the capability to help PRC?
exactly’ see at the end of the day the SCS is integral to China’s security (doesn’t matter which China). Would the US tolerate having Russian warships conduct exercises off the coast of New York?
wha we’re seeing is the gradual disintegratio of the US strategy of containing China. Once Taiwan is either formally reunited or cooperates with the mainland navy to set up deep water ports off the east coast, that’ll allow the PLAN far more reach across the pacific.
hey does anyone know what happened to C. Custer of ChinaGeeks? something about him and Yang Rui?
He packed up and went back home, whining that the Chinese does not support him. Somebody said he might try self-immolation to attract attention.
Charles Liu says
I warned that fella one day he’s gonna piss off the wrong person and become persona-non-grata in China. The last thing I noticed was him writing a very negative article on Xiaomi CEO that turned out to be sensationalism based on an inaccurate Chinese story.
i would’ve loved to have seen Yang Rui sue the pants off Custer; that fucktard pussed out and left the country.
Naturally when i did some research and discovered that Fallows’ newsrag, the Atlantic had quoted Custer and used him as a primary source, what little respect i still had for the Atlantic went down the crapper.
Charles Liu says
China’s per-capita GDP is 35K RMB? Really?
CCTV opens shop in Africa.
Chinese TV show aims to tell Africa’s real story
Are you surprised? Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou etc per capita GDP are all over $12k. Most 2nd tier cities are $8k.
in a way you really have to thank the West for not ‘allowing the Chinese giant to sleep’ cuz now, the giant is up and making the world (the western world, that is) shake.
If the western media were objective and fair in their analysis of China, then CCTV and CNC World wouldn’t have come about to challenge their market share
Britain threatens to storm Ecuador embassy to get Assange
Wow. Assange went to the wrong embassy for sure. If the UK authority does proceed and get Assange this way, the karma will be a bitch — mark my words.
isn’t that technically an Act of War?
And look at the UK’s reaction when Iranians protested against the British at their embassy in Tehran:
Ecuador just withdrew from the OAS defense treaty, which is toothless anyway. By itself, it can’t do jack even if its embassy is stormed. The likely outcome will be a severing of the diplomatic relationship and some strong-worded protest by a handful nations. It likely will not go down well with the Latin American bloc.
What’s Australia’s reaction? Assange is still an Australian citizen… Gosh, what he had allegedly done in Sweden, which in all likelihoods was a trumped-up charge anyway, wasn’t even illegal in the UK, or Australia, or China for that matter. I’ve been saying WTF a few times in this whole fiasco already. There are so many principles that the UK pretentiously stands for, it has violated. In the future when the UK uses any of the so-called principles to deal with other nations, will it get some hysterical laugh?
Maybe I am naive… There is a line that I don’t think the UK will want to cross — I will be shocked if it does. This could be just bluffing.
There is a major difference: it was some Iranian protesters who stormed the British embassy. The Iranian authority, by outward appearance at least, tried to protect the embassy.
Exactly. So, if the British government ending up storming the Ecuadorian embassy to take Assange, then that’s official violation of international law.
British expecting Iranian authority to protect British embassy was on the basis of upholding international law.
So, it would be clear-cut (assuming Britain takes Assange by force): uphold international law when suits interest otherwise do not uphold.
So according to this BBC article, it states that the UK can storm the Ecuadorian embassy without violating international law because it can “legally” “revoke” the diplomatic status of an embassy on UK soil.
So technically it won’t really be storming an embassy, just a building, I suppose.
How do you you like that for “rule of law” – which for me, like democracy, is but another great opiate for the masses?
Law intrinsically is never about grand principles, it only has appearances of those, with plenty of “reasonableness,” “balance,” “exceptions,” “fairness / equity” escape hatches built in so that whoever is powerful can make use of those at the opportune time.
Maybe I will finally write that post on “rule of law” soon…
The conduct of the Gillard-Rudd team in Canberra has been disgusting vis-a-vis Assange. THey’ve practically thrown him to the wolves for the sake o cosying up to the Americans. Today’s Australia is rump and vassal of the United STates; i’m actually cynical enough to believe the rise of China has spooked most Australians in government to go for a race based anglo-alliance contrary to Australia’s true interests because they can’t realistically conceive of a world where they might have to defer to an Asian superpower. Most white australians tend to look down on Asians anyhow.
Anyway, about Assange, it’s absolutely disgusting to see the level of US intelligence penetrance into the Australian government. Here’s an eg
we have an active spy working for a foreign government in Canberra, and the goverment doesn’t do diddly shit. That gives you an idea of the level of subservience the AusGov. has towards its bigger anglo ally.
fuck, there was even a proposal back in the cold war for americans to test the effects of WMDs on Australian diggers. That’s the sort of lapdoggery that goes on in the halls of power in Canberra these days.
Sun Jifa, a Chinese farmer who lost both his hands in a farm accidence, spent 8 years building his own prosthetic hands should receive national attention and financial support. His story should be hailed as an example of Chinese ingenuity.
So Ecuador called the UK’s bluff and granted Assange the political asylum, less than 2 hours ago. To storm, or not too storm, that is the question.
I don’t think anybody seriously believes that they might actually ‘storm’ the embassy. What they said to the press was that they could revoke the diplomatic status of the embassy.If they did that it would make it technically legal to go and arrest him, but it would set an awful precedent and potentially jeopardise their embassies and the embassies of other nations around the world. They’ll probably just get the police over from Sweden to interview Assange at the embassy.
With international situations like this, I’m always sceptical because both sides usually have vested interests and appear to have ulterior motives. I can’t see what Ecuador has to gain out of this though, so maybe they’re just trying to do the right thing.
A good example of citizens ensuring that the media adhere to journalistic ethics:
Chinese newspaper apologizes for retouching ROC’s flag
I just finished a book titled ‘A Nation of No Losers’, a satire on US and China. I would like to send you a PDF version if you’re interested. I would like to share some articles here if you feel they would be interested to your readers.
Here is a brief description.
“Bloomberg gets a taste of the Dalai Lama effect”
by Howard Winn of SCMP
you reap what you sow, Bloomberg; now sure nitpickers are going to say ‘but the editors specifically said that ‘there’s no indication yadayadayada…’, even retards would know the ramifications of writing an article implying that the future President of China is somehow connected to crony capitalism or corruption.
Excellent Op-Ed piece over at ShanghaiDaily.com by Wan Lixi:
“US worship of free market deepens class division“
That’s a great article! It’s very refreshing to see other Western authors recognize and acknowledged this. Also, it’s not just ignoring Chinese terms, but anything that’s not written in English just isn’t seriously considered.
While I recognize that an Asian guy has to get past the racism first, I don’t think it’s that that bad. I guess it depends on where you are, but areas with large Asian populations seem to have it better. (Or even places with low Asian populations, it seems like it’s the middle-range that gets it the worst.)
That is so fascinating! Thanks for posting this as I had no idea. Your post should be an article by itself 🙂
I wonder if this was similar in the US as well? I know that Chang and Eng Bunker (the original “Siamese twins) married white sisters and had 14+ kids among them. This was at the time with anti-miscegenation laws so I’m surprised they were allowed too.
Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney: “Covert Action in Africa: A Smoking Gun in Washington, D.C.”
Are you biased?
We all are. I was born as a Chinese in Hong Kong. I’m biased naturally on certain topics on China and Hong Kong.
When you belong to a political party or a religion, you’re biased. You do not want to speak against the view points of your party or religion, such as birth control. Both political parties really do not know how to fix our health care system. They still want to spend like no tomorrow to buy votes by moving money from one budget to health care. They also want to increase taxes to pay for it, so we further increase unemployment problem. They do not want to fix the root problem which is how to lower the health care expense first.
I’m sure our Tea Party history is written differently in Britain. Examples abound: WW2, Boxer Rebellion (I shamelessly call it Patriotic Acts Against Foreign Devils), Opium Wars… However, we have to stick with facts. Rewriting history on Nanjing Massacre by the Japanese is bad.
We have different perspectives and it is OK. We need to live with others, and countries to live with others peacefully. US’s Secretary of State just announced US wants influence in Pacific while China wants to live peacefully with its neighbors. I do not know how sincere China is, but it is a good gesture.
Every time US ‘influences’ a certain region, they spend a lot of cash and many more under the table. Do we have money to waste in our bankrupt state? Should we ask China to loan us more money to control China? There was a bomb star from Hong Kong kept some money for some political figure in a SE Asia country. It does not take a genius to trace back to corruption. We blamed China for buying ‘access’ while we’re doing the same.
There are similar articles in my recent book:
Our family friends for many years. Most likely you do not expect Nathan who won Olympic medals is half Chinese.
I find this article an interesting read, provide a lot of food for thought:
Really interesting read indeed! A hair cut in Shanghai can be had for 3 USD. Since the U.S. economy has a much higher service component, and we can see that the service component of China’s GDP is already massively ‘under-counted,’ (U.S. being $12 for a hair cut) it really means at PPP level, China’s GDP gap with the U.S. is no where near what the nominal values tell us.
I can see why people like Jim Rogers move their money out of the U.S..
Yes, we have talked about that before. In my opinion, China’s economy in the world today is much like Japan in the mid 1950s (Yes, that would put China around 50 yrs behind). It would have a very rapid growth for at least 20 years. Unlike Japan, China has 10 times the population (plus an enormous diasporas) and 25 times the land area and natural resources.
Rich people like Jim Rogers have a foot in the US, Singapore and China, probably one more in Europe! For all the talk of rich Chinese having a foot overseas, one wouldn’t be considered rich in the US or Europe without having a Swiss bank account.
So US embassies stormed and workers killed in Libya and Egypt. This result is as damning as it was predictable that the western rhetoric and doctrine of arab spring is absolutely absurd. Literally insane as any informed individual would have realized it will have blowback for the western powers. And this is just the beginning. I’m terrified about what future bin ladens are being born from the rubble of arab spring.
Charles Liu says
So there is such thing as too free? Where’re International Republican Institute and NED that funded these “civil society” NGOs that stoked the revolution to begin with?
Now we stress violence is not protest – tell that to the Tibetans and Uyghurs, peasants that turn over police cars.
David Daokui Li: China’s Economy has Entered a Bumpy Period
More Officials Get TV Grilling
Models for Hollister, the clothing brand, were found mocking Asians in a marketing trip to Korea and were reportedly fired.
A full report is here:
“Hollister Models Mock Asians At Opening Of South Korea Store
It looks like Hollister has a new problem on its hands. And, no, it’s not another case of bed bugs or people get lost in their dimly lit stores. This time, the mass retailer is facing racial discrimination accusations from their recently opened South Korea outpost.
For the grand opening of the first Hollister store in Korea in Yeouido, models dressed as lifeguards were flown in to take photos with customers — you know, the same drill we get stateside. Something we don’t see during the store openings here in the states? Models flipping their middle finger and mocking the customers. Lee Hyung-Ju described the offensive actions on the English Korean news site koreaBANG:
“Images of models making ‘squinty eyes’ faces, flipping their middle finger to photographers, and mocking Asian pronunciation of English appeared on their Twitter accounts.”
Hollister had brought in four models for the marketing event that lasted from August 30 until September 2, according to koreaBANG. But, customers soon discovered that a couple of the models had posted offensive pictures to their Twitter accounts. One photo features a Hollister model standing in front of Gyeongbokkung Palace, squinting his eyes and making peace signs with his fingers. When one commenter remarked on how many Asians had liked the photo, he responded, “Hahahaha they ruhhvvvv itttt!””
To make matters worse, it was discovered that a third model had flashed his middle finger during the photo session at the store opening and went on to post his own mocking photos on Twitter, according to koreaBANG. Local papers have been covering the controversy, and Korean customers have started to threaten boycotts. Hollister was quick to respond with an apology on their Facebook page:
“In summary, the company terminated the couple of associates involved. On behalf of our more than 80,000 associates around the world who cherish our core values and our culture of diversity and inclusion, we sincerely apologize for the offense caused by these unauthorized, ill-considered actions.”
The link above includes the offensive photographs.
There are reader comments on the first page of comments below the article that are also well-worth reading. The first commenter had written “ugh white people” and then some other commenters accused the first commenter of racism. Then one of the other commenters with the handle “bloodydru” wrote this:
“Of course, no entire race is terrible. But what you said there is like one of those men who go all “but but there’s nice guys too!” or women who say “but not all men are bad, my husband’s a good guy” when someone says that men suck. Of course not all men suck, just like not all white people suck. But as a group, yes, we do fucking suck. As a group, we’re never going to experience racism, we’ll never have any idea what the fuck it’s like to have that shit affect every single little thing in our lives, the privilege that comes with being white is something that positively affects us in ways that we don’t even fucking notice most of the time, so really – if some POC, who are understandably fed up with the racist shit they constantly have to put up with and us being mostly oblivious to said shit AND our own white privilege, say that we’re a bunch of morons… well, just get the fuck over it. If a “good guy” gets butthurt when a woman says that men suck, he obviously ain’t much of a good guy, because he obviously still doesn’t understand where that statement is coming from. A real good guy will understand that statement is not about him anyway, and he’ll understand that women have far more important and serious shit to deal with than worrying about hurting some guy’s precious feelings.
If you’re not racist, that’s good. If you actively try in rl to fight racism in any way, that’s good. Continue doing so. But getting butthurt about someone going “lol white people” really isn’t the way to do that. By doing that, you’re taking this huge issue and making it about you and your precious white feels being bruised because you’re not one of those terrible racists. Ffs, this ain’t about you, never was, and enver will be, and that makes you really freaking lucky – and you obviously have no idea HOW lucky, because if you did, you wouldn’t have written that first comment in the first place.”
Then it goes on from there back and forth among several commenters – white-privilege defenders and and white-privilege-critics.
There seems to be something systemic at Abercrombie, the parent of hollister. AF have on numerous occasions gotten into trouble over racism, from anti-asian designs “two wongs dont make a white” to allegations of unfair workforce advancement for minorities. Asains in asia seem unaware of all this, and happily buy their products. Hopefully incidents like this will educate asians from buying.
Colin – you are talking about this incident from 2002. Widespread protesting was able to get these t-shirts withdrawn from the market.
Abercrombie and Hollister both promote an “all-American” image which is conveyed as “white American only with token minority representation”. This image of America is the result of centuries of explicit governmental and private exclusionary and discriminatory policies and practices – literally an “apartheid” policy which persisted until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965, two of the most important pieces of legislation for people of color (POCs) in American history.
Yet this vision of a “white America” is still beloved by many Americans, and apparently by many non-Americans as well. What innocent supporters of this image often forget is that this image of America was created from a policy of racism towards people of color. So when a person of color buys Abercrombie or Hollister, it is in effect supporting the continuation of glamourization of white-only / white supremacist ideas and policies.
See for example this brief comment from an African-American teacher who worked for AF:
“Their entire operation was based on glamorizing the white-male, ‘beefcake’ image”
Professor Dwight McBride has written Why I Hate Abercrombie and Fitch: Essays on Race and Sexuality. This is described in Wikipedia as “a book regarding ethno-relational mores in contemporary gay African America with a nod to black, feminist and queer cultural contexts “dedicated to integrating sexuality and race into black and queer studies.” It is written by Dwight A. McBride, the new dean of the Graduate School at Northwestern University, where he served as Chair of the Department of African American Studies from 2002-2007.”
Given these histories, it is not surprising that attitudes like the ones displayed by their models would appear.
It is interesting that KoreaBang was the ones reporting on it. I find in the Asian American world that some of the most keen, vocal and perceptive recent commentary about anti-Asian discrimination is written and voiced by Koreans. I wonder why?
Black Pheonix says
Here’s another reaction to the Hollister model anti-Asian mocking incident from a blogger at the LA Weekly, a tabloid-sized “alternative weekly” in Los Angeles and part of the Village Voice Media group. Politically I would put them into the “mainstream alternative” part of the political spectrum (left of center but commercially viable; edgy and subversive but not too far from the mainstream).
Abercrombie Offends Asians Again as Hollister Models Clown Koreans Via Twitter
By Dennis Romero Wed., Sep. 12 2012
First of all, why any self-respecting Asian-American (or anyone else, for that matter), would wear anything Abercrombie after it used racist Chinese imagery on its T-shirts 10 years ago (and after repeated allegations of discriminatory hiring practices) is really way beyond our own small brain.
We just know this much: Abercrombie’s Ohio-based, Asian-made Hollister line evokes an idyllic history of California surfing heritage without having anything whatsoever to do with the sport! So its wearers are true idiots — the definition of poseurs — and they’re advertising it.
So when a couple of white models went to South Korea late last month to pose at a Hollister store opening (because Korean models just couldn’t convey a sport that was invented in the Asian Pacific), they ended up offending Asians with racist Twitter posts.
It was really quite poetic.
Two of the models took photos of themselves posing with “Asian squinty eyes,” according to the site Koreabang and other outlets.
And when a follower responded positively, “Look at how many Asians liked that picture… impressive,” one model tweeted back, “Hahahaha they ruhhvvvv itttt!”
Seeing the cash register start to freeze over, a Hollister rep told Fox that the models were fired:
Hollister Co. and its parent company Abercrombie & Fitch value diversity
and inclusion. In a recent incident in South Korea, a couple of associates
did not adhere to these values. As a company, we do not tolerate inappropriate
or offensive behavior. We terminated the associates involved as a result of
their actions. On behalf of our more than 80,000 employees around the world
who cherish our core values and our culture of diversity and inclusion, we
sincerely apologize for the offense caused by these unauthorized, ill-considered
But really now. Stop buying this junk already.
[@dennisjromero / [email protected] / @LAWeeklyNews]
Romero asks “why any self-respecting Asian American (or anyone else, for that matter) would wear anything Abercrombie” after its history of racially exclusionary and discriminatory imagery.
it’s not enough that those models were fired; i expect them to be blacklisted from any model agency in the world. Perhaps they might learn something from all this anyway
it’s not enough that those models were fired; i expect them to be blacklisted from any model agency in the world. Perhaps they might learn something from all this anyway.
Also, i’d also expect Hollister/Abercrumby etc to apologise in a big way, not an itty bitty insignificant way; what sort of brand allows its models-who are supposed to be representative of them-t get away with shit like this?
After spending several yaers talking online with Chinese netizens （I’m a netizen as well), I gradually feel that in some cases, it’s not the government running brain-washed programme, it’s the mass self brain-washing on their own.
Look, when something ugly happened, most of the netizens I met always started with taunt (either on the government or people involved), and then attracted more people to watch and mock the case together. What would be happening at the end? Nothing. They just got exhausted and silent, like returning from a carnival.
If asking them “Why not discuss the case further and seriously”, they would always replied that “One man is too little to change anything. Therefore I would rather live happily”.
That’s the problem I would like to talke about.
Abandoning self-thinking, and then believing in inherent thoughts, is actually making people brain-wash themselves. If these people are beneficial to the government, then the goverment just needs to lead them by the nose to achiving the government’s own goal, while leaving the false appearance of “government brain-washing people”.
After realizing this factor, I started trying to make the talk I’ve engaged become more serious and further, lead the talk to the core of problem from last year. But it rarely worked well, most people just thought they’ve known everything and refused to think at different angles. They don’t realize that they’re giving the chances of being easily used by politicians.
The only way to deal with this problem is to teach people how to think independently when they’re studying in schools/collages. But it’s regretful that schools and collages in China didn’t do this work well……
every nation has its own myths surrounding its national heritage, and dirty little secrets that make forfathers look a little more human and a little less heroic tends to be obscured. THat’s why it’s essential tothe western propaganda mills to consistently frame MAo-modern China’s founding father-as an evil dictator, whilst ignoring the faults of their on national heroes.
Take for eg the latest trailer on the film ‘Lincoln’-timed to coincide with obama’s re-election might i add. i’ll bet that if the filmmakers ever touch on the touchy subject of Lincoln’s rape of habeus corpus, or that he didn’t make slavery a key issue of the civil war until making the Gettysburg Address in 1863 to make sure the brits wouldnt side with the confederacy. Yeah, little things like that tend to make all that myth about american being the greatest nation on earf’ look a little less like truth and a lot more like shite.
have a look at this; the western media has been on a conspiracy theory masturbation-fest over Chinese VP Xi Jinping’s supposed ‘disappearance’ but here he is, september 15th, http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2012-09/15/c_131852592.htm
attending a science fair.
So what do the fucktards and the disingeuous little cunts at Reuters do to justify their obvious lack of journalistic integrity, and strong tendency for sensationalism? They publish an “analysis” about awww bawww it’s all da evil evil Chineez’ fault that we wuz made to write all these BS stories about Xi’s supposed disappearance.
Not only have I never bought A&F crap, but after their racist and discriminatory policies, I have actively convinced those I know (and even those that I don’t) to boycott their crap.
I remember they even discriminated against one of their sales staff because she was disabled and forced her to work in the back!
Good thing is that their sales are declining. Hopefully native-Asians don’t get suckered in to their racist marketing.
– – – – – – –
I recently watched this BBC series called China on Four Wheels and while overall I found it decent, there were moments that were quite stereotypical and ignorant.
The worst was when the guy traveler/host started asking really improper questions at a memorial for Mao. It was selectively edited so that the people seemed defensive and “brainwashed.”
Can you imagine if a someone interviewed people at a George Washington memorial and asked what they thought about his slave ownership and if he would’ve approved of America’s first black president.
But overall, I would say the show was decent, not as biased as some of their other editorials, but it was still a bit skewed.
Charles Liu says
Wow, what is the CIA doing in Nepal?
” Up 3,800%, Chinese consumption drives ‘biggest opportunity in the history of man’ ”
This Harvard Business Review podcast is worth a listen.
An interview with Michael Silverstein, cofounder of The Boston Consulting Group’s global consumer practice and coauthor of The $10 Trillion Prize: Captivating the Newly Affluent in China and India.
Hat tip to this blog:
BCG conducted a more than two-year study in both countries, culling the data, strategies and stories that now form the basis of a new book by Silverstein and his colleagues, The $10 Trillion Prize: Captivating the Newly Affluent in China and India. Among its findings: Chinese consumers are among the world’s most optimistic, with 80% betting that their children will have better lives than they do, compared with 20% of US adults.
Here’s Silverstein, in the podcast, on the demographic drivers behind this explosion and what it means for global business:
”We can count the bodies, and then the question is, who will get the jobs? And the ones that will get the jobs are the ones that are motivated, ambitious, hungry, and educated. And that will be a colossal competition; that will be something that’s unheard of…. Expect to see anything that can be transported to a low-factor cost country to have that happen…. That doesn’t say that there aren’t going to be a lot of opportunities, because the world is going to need a lot more food. The world is going to need really good engineers. The world is going to need great computer scientists. And where do they grow up and where do they come from? They can come from everywhere. What’s very interesting is that this competition is not a zero-sum game.”
“The $10 trillion prize is an election topic. Both Romney and Obama have it flat-out wrong. They’ve attempted to demonize China, and to a lesser degree, India. They’ve tried to make it a conflict, as opposed to an opportunity. They’ve both deemed it to be a zero-sum game and what they have and what they will get is something that, as a campaign speech says, is being taken away from America. That is not a fact. It is in fact an opportunity for American businesses and American consumers to enter China, to learn about China, to learn about India, to participate in this $10 trillion prize. It is about Western companies deciding that they’re not going to have their place of origin on their sleeve.”
Tapping these mega-markets isn’t easy, but it’s worth the effort, Silverstein says, citing the example of Kraft Foods. Kraft, he argues, turned its $100 million China business into a $1 billion one by cutting costs and focusing efforts by brand and category, scaling quickly by acquiring an existing cookie company and then customizing a smaller, less-sweet Oreo to Chinese tastes.
“If you want to get into these markets, you need to get to know them. You need to understand hopes, dreams, wishes; you need to understand category usage, habits, and practices; and you really have to be inside their head…. You’re going to have to make an up-front commitment to understanding, and then a follow-up commitment of investment, and the senior management team at the multinational is going to really have to stay on top of it. Businesses in China and India are not easy to create, but once they’re created, they’re worth an enormous amount of money.”
I couldn’t agree more. I think this tendency of western media to demonize China and create a sense of conflict is playing a “lose-lose” game, and causing many Americans to miss out on the opportunity that China and India presents. We need more “win-win” thinking when it comes to China and India.
I come to HH and post here because I like the insistence of its authors to fight against this demonization, and point out the hypocrisy, small-mindedness, and backward-lookingness of this kind of thinking. Many would accuse the posters here of being pro-China and anti-Western, but I think that is wrong.
Actually, I think the posters here are against mindless and inaccurate anti-China media that prevents people from getting an accurate view of China.
Here we have a senior analyst with BCG – one of the top global business consulting groups – saying the same thing – that the focus on negatives in China is making us miss out on the opportunities. This is not a zero-sum game. US incomes will grow, but Chinese incomes and Indian incomes will grow faster. This is a wonderful thing for humanity, but will require people to be more environmental. Overall it is a wonderful thing.
great post, perspectivehere
couldnt agree with you more; if the idiots in The West stopped for a moment and let go of their racial supremacy, they might realise, ‘hey them darkies might be human after all’, but relying on a culture’s greed must not be the only thing holding back such racism. Acceptance and pluralism really ought to be the order of the day, but when a culture such as many of those in the West, are guided by missionary principles and values, then that sort of pluralism and acceptance can only remain utopian.
An interview of Eun Jung Shin about her film, “”Verita$” Everybody Loves Harvard and the role of Harvard University in the US and internationally.”
Personally, I don’t buy her argument there is some sort of conspiracy at Harvard for elite domination of the world. In my view, what she is observing is more a reflection of how institution of higher learning is being bent to the will of the powerful elites. I can easily imagine a Harvard professor able to get funding if he advocates ideology which justifies U.S. foreign policy. Just like the issue on climate change – scientists are being polarized politically. Politics have become far-reaching.
Many interesting nuggets from Shin with a Korean perspective.
I also agree that there probably isn’t a spoken “conspiracy” but rather it’s just people acting in their own interests. They’re trying to preserve a system for their future benefit at the expense of others.
Recently, I saw a comment and was quite surprised by it:
And while the Western Corporate Media might not always be intentionally trying to demonize the East and other developing countries, doing so sells news and thus is in their interests.
just saw the film ‘Looper’ and even though they don’t show any Asian men in any leading roles, it’s nice to see a more positive depiction of China than usual.
Plus, the fact that the weekend box office demonstrates that China is now a bigger film market than the US, should reflect life imitating art.
CNN – ‘Most trusted name in news’. Yeah right.
American politicians who used protectionism to the extreme. Huawei practically ate Cisco’s and Motorola’s Lunch over the years and American politicians came back in vengeance. Why am I not surprised?
It is because of these American companies who made the telecom companies buy overpriced European equipment, our phone bills are so high.
beat me to it, pug_ster
if the American politicians are arrogant enough to believe they can bar Huawei from conducting its legitimate business (such as with sprint) without any form of recourse, then they’re still living in the 1990s.
Cisco also does business in China, expect Cisco’s business to dramatically shrink over the next quarter.
looks like the japs are really getting it on the chin after the ‘buying islands’ fiasco:
Thx for the link. BTw, I used it in recent post. Though you know, ‘japs’ is just inappropriate.
Looks like the DPP is forging relations with China also, not just the KMT.
jens kastner is just another ‘charlie custer’; your average sinophobic, racist western expat who longs for the days when the Chinese served the white man like slaves. As a reader to Atimes once put it, Kastner does not serve as a Taiwanese voice, his bias is heavily anti Beijing as indicated by his dismissal of the taiwanese claim tothe Diaoyutai.
They say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Apparently, a family is traveling in Pyongyang and is blogging about it. One of the things that struck me is actually the lack of American fast food symbols: McDonalds, Coca Cola, Starbucks, KFC, etc.
Here’s the reason that I hate “some” HK citizens. These pathetic bastards know nothing about their own capability.
Sometimes I wonder whether it’s a central government’s tactic that leaving opposing factions’ foul plays alone. The more foul plays these guys making, the more mainland people will be feeling disgusted. And then HK will be losing its effect of peaceful evolution on China (There’re already some seditious speeches against HK in mainland). Although this tactic may bring the fragmentation of society, I don’t think China can’t live on with HK cutting off.
stephen fry on the US’ appalling human rights record when it comes to its slave trade via prisons. Apparently america’s slave workersnare better cuz they’re prizoners.
“There’re already some seditious speeches against HK in mainland.”
That’s bad, that’s a narrow-minded response to the ill-will in Hong Kong. China has ultimate and undisputed sovereignty over Hong Kong, and that’s a powerful enough leverage. It is not up this minority of hagglers to cede control of Hong Kong just because of a vocal minority there who purports to hate the mainland. It is in the interest of other hostile powers to see China disintegrate, using Hong Kong as a precedent.
What the mainland government can do is to step in and alleviate Hong Kongers’ fears regarding rising property prices and influx of migrants. It can help provide affordable housing by building housing estates with limited leases. It can instruct hospitals to limit the entry of expecting mothers from the mainland until 2048. By doing such measures, the mainland can gradually earn goodwill and support from the Hong Kong people. The patriotism of the Hong Kong people shouldn’t be overlooked. Already, at least one protester from Hong Kong against Japan’s occupation of the Diaoyu has drowned in the process of defending his homeland’s sovereignty.
We have seen several stomach-turning scandals come to light about the English media including the phone hacking of crime victims, but none of them as horrifying as the over 400 accusations of pedophile abuse carried out by former BBC star Jimmy Savile, a household name in Britain for decades, known for his charity and work with youth, and connections to royalty.
The recent revelations indicate that Savile’s predilection for young girls was well-known among his colleagues and bosses at the BBC. This reveals a cesspool culture at the BBC where criminal misbehavior was right under their noses and yet ignored with a wink and nod. “That’s Jimmy” they would say. When the need for investigation was brought to the attention of management, they looked the other way.
See this article with video of the House of Commons hearing on BBC Director-General George Entwistle – absolutely pathetic.
The BBC is now trying to “restore its credibility” and “public trust” by now, belatedly, launching several investigations.
This blogger said it best:
Jimmy Savile’s paedophilia is consistent with the BBC’s culture
“Last night’s Panorama was deeply shocking in its revelations (watch it on iPlayer – ‘Contains some upsetting scenes’). Upsetting, indeed, for an entire generation of children who grew up on ‘Jim’ll Fix It’ and the belief that in Jimmy Savile was a man who cared about them, their hopes, wishes and dreams. But let us not pretend that the BBC has absolved itself with this exposé: they investigated themselves and broadcast their tawdry findings only because they’d been caught: rumours about Jimmy Savile had been rife for decades, but no-one in the Corporation acted. Senior executives were told certain facts, made aware of witness testimony and advised about a potential cover-up, but none heeded the warnings.
Jimmy Savile raised a phenomenal £40 million for various charities during his life time – “How’s about that, then, guys and gals?” But it appears to have been a means to an end – his end, that is, and getting it away. “Now then, now then, now then,” he’d say. It’s easy to speak ill of the dead. And as the BBC’s Director General George Entwistle appears today before the Commons culture, media and sport select committee, no doubt he will deflect, duck-and-dive and effortlessly defame the memory of the gold-dripping, cigar-smoking, shell-suited celebrity they created.
“Goodness gracious,” gasps John Whittingdale, the Chairman of this committee. “As it ‘appens, I just cannot believe that a man so depraved and prolific in his offences against children managed to hoodwink the British Government, the Prime Minister, the Honours Committee, the NHS and even the Vatican.”
Jimmy Savile was awarded the OBE (1970) and a knighthood (1990) ‘for services to charity’, and was further honoured by Pope John Paul II who made him a Knight Commander of the Order of Saint Gregory the Great (KCSG). To be awarded one honour ‘inappropriately’ may be regarded as a misfortune; to be awarded three looks like carelessness.
Was there no due diligence? Did no-one bother to Google? Did they not even think to read Jimmy Savile’s own autobiography, in which he brazenly boasts of his sexual conquests and speaks of a compliant BBC culture? How could this have gone on for 40 years without anyone at the BBC lifting a finger to prevent a predatory paedophile from raping girls and torturing boys?
And that’s something else: the Panorama investigation focused relentlessly on the ‘abuse’ of young girls. There was one boy interviewed, but the whole bisexual or pan-sexual aspect of of Savile’s crimes was scarcely interrogated. This was not ‘abuse’: it was the chronic, systematic rape and torture of children, and it took place on BBC premises with the apparent knowledge of executive producers and the alleged participation of other sleazy celebrities like Gary Glitter. They’ll never be able to screen ‘Top of the Pops’ again.
Astonishingly, David Nicolson, director of ‘Jim’ll Fix It’, told The Sun that he caught Savile having sex with a ‘very, very young girl’ in his dressing room. When he raised concerns about this, he was ridiculed and mocked. It isn’t clear why he never reported the crime to the police, but his failure to do so has resulted in the current investigation following 400 lines of inquiry from over 200 witnesses.
200 victims? 400? How many are reluctant still to come forward? How many boys, especially, are silenced by the shame?
Savile died on the 29th October 2011, and the BBC decided that fulsome tributes in their Christmas schedule were more important than a Newsnight investigation into the allegations. At the time, George Entwistle was the head of BBC Vision, and was in charge of the Christmas schedule. One might hope that John Whittingdale cross-examines Mr Entwistle rigorously on that whole process, for surely, in the context of doubts, rumours and witness testimony, the decision to honour Savile with the BBC’s equivalent of a State Funeral was simply and straightforwardly wrong.”
The rank hypocrisy of this is that the BBC is usually right out in front accusing others of misdeeds.
We recall the accusations BBC anchor Clare Balding made against Ye Shiwen on no evidence at all. Clare Balding is now being rewarded with a BBC Radio 2 news show that supposedly “seals her National Treasure status”.
But here you have blatant acts of sexual abuse against teens committed on BBC premises for decades, and apparently was a well-known secret going back to the 1970’s. And what we had from the BBC was ….. silence. Savile died at the happy age of 84, a wealthy celebrity adored by millions, all due to a phony image of goodness foisted on a gullible public for over 40 years by the very trusted and credible BBC.
They defrauded the public and exposed hundreds of youth to sexual violence. The management knew or should have known what was going on, and when accusations were brought to their attention, they were swept under the rug.
It appears not to be isolated either. A report has now come out that the late John Peel, former Radio 1 broadcaster for many years, is alleged to have had an affair with a 15-year old who became pregnant. The BBC had considered naming part of its London headquarters after Peel, but is reportedly now reconsidering it. Well at least they are showing some sense there.
The trouble with HK is that they are bombarded by anti-mainland news daily. The problem is that so many media organisations in HK are western oriented, staffed, run by westerners that constantly push this agenda. Basically it is now acceptable to be as racists and xenophobic towards mainlanders — short of denigrating them as uncivilised chinks (and I’ve seen HKer actually use that term as though it is only applicable to mainlanders). They’ve been bombarded by these kind of propaganda for decades, and it’s not about to change any time soon.
To illustrate the irony of the situation, There was a crackdown on expats who over stay their visa in China not to long ago – you guessed it, the expats community were the first drop the “dats racists” label. Yet these same expats wouldn’t think twice about supporting anti-mainland groups in HK.
You see this is the problem with allowing a foreign minority that are not ethnically or culturally invested with the local population to have so much influence over news industry. They have the same problem in Taiwan, it’s unbelievable how much influence western academics and policy advisor have over Taiwan’s domestic and foreign policy. You wouldn’t expect a bunch of Chinese think tanks to dictate American foreign policy, so you wouldn’t want a bunch of expats dictating HK public opinion.
I agree with your assessment. The mainland government should realise the limits to their current, mostly hands-off approach in regards to HK and prepare for the future. They should also update their style of public relations. The worst case scenario is that they will inherit a predominantly hostile HK populace in 2048 if they don’t take measures to improve and secure the people’s goodwill. One way to accomplish positive public relations is to set up media in HK that constantly monitor the efforts to fight corruption in the mainland, especially with an eye for successful cases.
Further to post #113 above
The filth piles up. As the Savile story continues to unfold, threatening and destroying reputations, three issues particularly trouble me. Above all else, I think of the victims of abuse – women and men – marooned for decades with terrible memories of physical and mental torment which, even when they had the courage to report them, no one apparently believed. Not the police. Not the newspapers. Not the BBC.
Now the BBC risks squandering public trust because one of its stars over three decades was apparently a sexual criminal; because he used his programme and popularity as a cover for his wickedness; because he used BBC premises for some of his attacks; and because others – BBC employees and hangers-on – may also have been involved.
Moreover, can it really be the case that no one knew what he was doing? Did some turn a blind eye to criminality? Did some prefer not to follow up their suspicions because of this criminal’s popularity and place in the schedules? Were reports of criminality put aside or buried?
The above words are not mine. They are similar to the sentiments expressed in my post #113, but I did not write them.
They are written by the current Chairman of the BBC Trust, Chris Patten, in “Can it REALLY be that no one inside the smug BBC knew what that psychopath was doing? Chairman questions the corporation he represents”
Patten and the other powers-that-be are trying to restore the BBC’s tattered credibility by rather belatedly announcing a number of investigations and reassessments of BBC policies.
Here’s what I take issue with: the whole enterprise of the BBC is to create a public image with an aura of credibility, so that the public will more easily be conned into believing their lies. This means that most of the time they report truthfully, but once in awhile when it suits their purposes, they will insert deliberate lies.
We recall the Clare Balding accusation against Ye Shiwen as a perfect example.
In the Savile case, one of these lies has now become exposed: that Jimmy Savile a charismatic entertainer who was put before the public on camera as a kind, good and generous person for over 40 years was actually a demon who preyed on children. The BBC who produced and presented Savile’s programming knew the nature of the person they presented, but it did not matter what the reality was; managed perception trumped reality. In other words, the lie they wanted to present overrode the reality of the multiple abuses, complaints by victims and witnesses. This is how a con job works. Get them to believe you so you can hoodwink them.
The BBC portrays itself as a news organization, with professional journalists. Yet, how professional can these journalists be if they did not know about what was going on in their own organization? It seems to have been a well-known secret at the BBC that Savile’s abuses was regularly going on. It’s not as though Savile was hidden in some closet – he did everything out in the open. If you read some of the stories of the abuse, it is clear Savile was aided and abetted by many staff people. Anyone who works for a big organization knows people gossip and rumors spread, and everyone knows whats really going on, especially if it is salacious. So what is the quality of the average BBC journalist, who cannot sniff out the reality of a huge scandal that is going on right next door? Don’t these “journalists” care about the truth? Clearly, they don’t care enough to have questioned a scandal right in front of them. If the don’t see the monster hiding in plain sight in front of them, what judgment do they have over events going on in other countries, other lands, other cultures, that they purport to authoritatively report on?
If the BBC says it smugly and with an authoritative tone, people believe them. Yet, why should anyone believe anything they say? They’re just actors, talking heads who pretend to be “objective journalists” since they wouldn’t recognize the truth if it came up and grabbed them on their arses (actually many female BBC workers have now complained about being groped at the BBC but no one ever did anything about it — what, isn’t this news? Oh, they’d rather report on abuses against women in third world countries that somehow always manages to show how awful brown men are, but not say a peep about sexual assaults happening at the BBC itself? Shouldn’t they be warning women closer to home not to work at the BBC, and not to go their because of the risk of sexual assault? Don’t they care enough about the victims to actually do anything about this? What kind of journalistic ethics do these people have? Are they in denial?)
And now apparently a man has committed suicide after he suffered sexual harassment from a female colleague there. What do people do all day at the BBC? What a randy bunch.
Anyone who spent their youth watching Monty Python news sketches (as I did) knows that this is just a ridiculous act.
In Patten’s essay, he asks, “How did we let it happen? And could someone like this con us all again?
The better question to ask is, “Should we let the BBC con us all again?”
Charles Liu says
“China Bashing Is The Politics of The Weak” by Eric Li
It’s written by Eric Liu, not Li.
By now you probably have read about NYT’s “devastating” piece on Wen Jiabao’s supposed $2.7 billion fortune held by his family. The $2.2 billion Ping An stocks are a house of stocks that is unraveling in front of our eyes. I have to marvel at how lack of financial literacy the NYT reporters are, which is why I have not read NYT for so long — the suspected lack of honesty aside, after some of the recent well-known cases.
Here is an example (for the other $500 million):
Now what the eff does this mean, seriously? A more lucid example of financial coverage is Bloomberg’s story on Xi Jinping’s extended family:
Now we may have a problem, Beijing.
If Wen was an American, he could easily hire any two-bit lawyers and take NYT to the cleaner. The only defense I can see NYT has is that its reporters are idiotic but not malicious. However, unfortunately since Wen isn’t an American and his recourse is limited, Wen will have to suck it up and realize it’s the price you pay when you are a leader of a country that 82% of the citizens are satisfied with the country’s direction, from the attack by some idiotic but not necessarily malicious reporter of a country with only 29% being satisfied.
I probably despise Donald Trump as much as anybody else. He is a shameless self-promoter and opportunist with a funny hairdo and an over-the-top ego. However, the following story shows you how bad the NYT’s editors’ financial knowledge is.
No shit. You can write a book about somebody’s wealth, without knowing his real estate holdings and their worth? Your source is 3 “unnamed people” who for readers’ concerns, may just well be some drinking buddies of yours?
Folks, this is your New York Times Company.
BTW, showing off his wealth as a part of his public image and persona, Trump sued O’Brien for libel. The case eventually ended with more or less an “idiotic but not malicious” defense.
Further to post #116 above:
The BBC is now undergoing “the deepest crisis in its history”. As the posts in #113 and #116 above outlined, the Jimmy Savile scandal has brought charges of corruption and coverup against the BBC. The BBC’s Director General, George Entwistle, has now resigned, 54 days into his job. Calls are now being made for his boss, Chris Patten (aka “Lord Patten”) to resign as well (see for example “Entwistle resigns. Patten next, please”).
The BBC is a government-owned media company that is managed by a supposedly independent body, the BBC Trust (which is headed by a career politician – how “independent” can that be?). It gets its funding from a licensing fee that all households in Britain are required to pay, or else one goes to prison. Last year 140,000 people in Britain were given criminal records for failure to pay the annual 145-pound TV license. 150 people in Northern Ireland were sent to jail. This makes for lots of anger in the general British population towards this high-handed, corrupt, mismanaged and out-of-touch organization.
Some people are predicting or hoping for the BBC’s demise:
“Is the BBC toast? I wish!”
“‘Is Newsnight toast?’ asked Eddie Mair last night on a special, death-by-a-thousand-self-administered-cuts edition of the BBC’s flagship news programme.
Yes, I dare say it is in its present form, but that’s not really the question we should be asking.
“Is the BBC toast?” Now that’s more like it. But I think I can guess the answer already.
Nope. Once all this has blown over it’s going to carry on much as before.
Given the BBC’s recent track record, you’d think this would be impossible. First, it has allowed a gang of predatory paedophiles – including probably its biggest-ever children’s star – to operate with impunity on its premises over a period of three or four decades. Then, just to keep things fair and balanced I suppose, it has libellously exposed as a predatory paedophile an entirely blameless man. These are the kind of catastrophic errors of judgment which, in the private sector, would lead to many heads rolling – and quite possibly the closure of the organisation. (Look at what happened to the News of the World). This won’t happen at the BBC and here are some reasons why.
1. Its bien-pensant chairman Lord Patten is part of the problem, not the solution. Putting Patten in charge of any investigations will be like allowing King Herod to take charge of an inquiry into the mysterious disappearance of male children under two in Bethlehem. (Patten should be replaced forthwith by Quentin Letts.)
2. The BBC is so complacent and puffed up with its own self-importance, it will never accept it has done anything seriously wrong. Both the self-flagellatory Newsnight episode and the lacerating Panorama investigation into the BBC’s cancellation of the planned Savile expose are symptomatic of this. “See how open and balanced we are!” runs the message. “We’re not afraid to tell it like it is when we’ve done something wrong. Which shows what a jolly splendid organisation we really are.” (If the BBC really wanted to show contrition it would sack Paul Mason and replace him with Allister Heath)
3. The Savile and McAlpine disasters are in any case red herrings. While heaping welcome and deserved opprobrium on the noisome BBC, they’re really a distraction from the much bigger problem of the BBC’s ingrained corruption, dishonesty and bias. As I argue more fully in this polemic here, our official, compulsorily-funded state propagandist has for years been abusing a nation of 60 million.
4. We’ve just seen an excellent example of how the BBC deals with valid criticism. It pays the best lawyers licence-fee-payers’ money can buy to ensure the problem remains covered up.”
Japan, China, South Korea to start FTA talks
I noticed something about the posters here. Notice that few of us use our real names. the reason for that, I think, is that there is an atmosphere in the US of anti-freedom of expression and anti-sinitism. Many posters have justifiable fear that their views will be used against them professionally and socially. If we were all blogging about the latest tech gadgets I doubt many of us would hide our identities. It’s because the US is so intolerant of views outside of its narrowly acceptable PC views that many of us choose to us just our first names or a pseudonym.
Apparently Germans love academic cheating. Guess that puts them in the same boat as Americans.
great point, melektaus
just wanted to add the point that when one reads the Economist, you can almost hear the self aggrandizement and snobbery of its british writers-which i find perplexing considering Britain has precious little to be pompous about, especially in this day and age.
In debates about media control and censorship in China, the US and UK media is frequently portrayed as having editorial independence and non-interference by the government or the owners. Yet, this portrayal is often untrue.
A recent article about the British news media illustrates this double standard in reporting:Editor of the Irish Daily Star tabloid quits over printing topless pictures of Kate
“The editor of the Irish Daily Star has resigned in the wake of the controversial publication of topless photographs of the Duchess of Cambridge.
Michael O’Kane had been suspended from his role in September while an internal investigation was carried out into the tabloid’s decision to run pictures of Kate and Prince William sunbathing on a private holiday in France.
Media tycoon Richard Desmond, whose Northern and Shell group co-owns the newspaper with the Irish-based Independent News and Media, had threatened to shut the Dublin operation down.”
I guess the unfortunate editor, Michael O’Kane, was quite naive when he believed that publishing of the photographs would be without consequences to him or his publication. He gave this interview at the time:
Topless Kate photos: Daily Irish Star editor defiant over latest publication
It seems he didn’t realize that “freedom of the press” doesn’t apply when you offend powerful interests.
In this case, a publisher does not like what is printed by his editor, and threatens to shut down the publication, resulting in the resignation of the editor involved. Talk about “chilling effect”!
This resignation of Mr O’Kane illustrates to all that the British crown is very powerful, and a newsmedia organization crosses the crown at its own peril.
Mr O’Kane is not accused of breaching the law or any ethical boundaries: “Independent News and Media said Mr O’Kane acted at all times in a highly professional and appropriate manner and in the best interests of the newspaper. …He followed all editorial policies and guidelines….”
Yet he was deemed to have crossed an unwritten line, and the paper’s co-owner, Richard Desmond, was incensed and threatened to close the paper. Note that Richard Desmond is also the owner of several adult television stations and well-connected to the British government. See, for example, this Telegraph article:
Porn baron Richard Desmond is David Cameron’s guest at Chequers – Richard Desmond, who made his fortune through pornography, attends a dinner party hosted by David Cameron at his country retreat
So apparently, the editor is supposed to understand that while it is okay for the owner to run pron channels, it is not okay to publish grainy topless photos, even ones that have already appeared in other publications and can easily be found on the internet.
Can’t make stuff like this up! These Brits are really inscrutable.
The Atlanticwire, which frequently publishes articles decrying censorship in China, covered O’Kane’s resignation, but does not refer to his forced resignation as “censorship”. Indeed, the tone of the article suggests that O’Kane is the one in the wrong: “Michael O’Kane, the editor of the Irish Daily Star, has learned the hard way that no one will find it amusing if you publish topless pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton, and it will result in you losing your job. ”
Meanwhile, Atlanticwire’s “censorship” page has 12 articles about censorship in China, but does not include the Michael O’Kane forced resignation story as an example of “censorship”.
Seems like a double standard at work at the Atlanticwire.
We typically think of the Opium Trade as one of the great evils perpetrated by British Empire on China. However, another great evil was the Chinese Coolie Trade, which the British started in 1806 with an “experimental” shipment of 200 Chinese from Macau, Penang, Calcutta and to Trinidad on the vessel Fortitude. (See Walton Look Lai, The Chinese in the West Indies, 1806-1995: A Documentary History.) Over the next century, hundreds of thousands of Chinese were kidnapped, tricked, or enticed to enter into a relationship of indentured servitude, which in many cases ended in death, injury or poverty. Profiting from the trade were coolie traders, agents, shipowners, suppliers and plantation and mineowners who employed the coolies in slavery-like conditions. The sufferings of these laborers is part of the tragic story of Chinese in the nineteenth century, and mistreatment at the hands of British and European traders.
This newspaper article from 1860 tells the story of a shipment of 850 captured Chinese coolies, picked up from Macau on the way to Havana, who all died in a shipwreck, after being abandoned by the British crew. The treatment of these poor Chinese is heartrending.
Horrors of the Coolie Trade
New York Journal of Commerce
February 22, 1860
Interesting chart below. Even though the purpose of it was to illustrate scarcity and internal conflicts in fighting over food and water, I think the bigger impact is regime change (or arming separatist and ‘democracy’ advocates) and NATO invasions. Imagine if NATO countries don’t engage in either of those activities, how might the chart look?
I’m pretty sure most here heard the Western media jumping over People’s Daily “face-palming” move of citing “The Onion” for the satirical article of Kim Jong-Un’s beautiful-ness. As a result, the People’s Daily article has been deleted.
But when Western media getting duped by a joke such as why SARFT banned the nude scene in “Titanic 3D,” some of the media didn’t recant nor delete their article. Why the double standard of this so-called “journalistic integrity?”
Not this: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/kate-winslets-breasts-not-shown-3-d-titanic-005548863–abc-news-celebrities.html
Nor the articles cited by Beijing Cream: http://beijingcream.com/2012/04/today-in-shitty-journalism-titanic-3d-breast-fake-quote-troll/
Black Pheonix says
I have read the Onion occasionally, and found the “humor” rather superficial and drawn out too long.
Onion tries too hard to make small gag jokes into long drawn out full length feature satire articles. It’s like reading a bunch of knock-knock jokes each written like the Declaration of Independence.
Seriously, I get it, it’s trying to be funny by being dry humorous, like Dean Martin soaking in gin, but there is such a thing as being too serious at trying to be funny.
And I’m not alone, I think most Americans do not find the Onion to be that funny for the same reason.
I just read the titles in Onion and I can pretty much get all of the gags.
I personally find Chinese humors to be much more subtle.
The difference being, people can get Onion’s simple humor fairly quickly, and then get bored with it, whereas the Western media apparently still can’t figure out when the Chinese bloggers and journalists have made a fool of them.
Once again, it’s perfect example of why liberals are not interested in “understanding” China. Liberals are only interested in mocking and standing over what they perceive as their inferiors.
In the last several days, there have been several prominent articles about Thomas Jefferson and his slave-ownership. Commentators have for many years been pointing out the contradictions (hypocrisies) of a man who wrote “All men are created equal” and yet held 600 slaves during his lifetime, plus had sex and fathered several children with his female slaves, children which he also enslaved.
What is interesting about the recent articles is that the mask of hagiography has been worn so thin, that his true face is now revealed in mainstream publications, as the “Monster of Monticello”.
The Smithsonian Magazine contains a very good article that makes it clearer what kind of man he was.
Thomas Jefferson was one of my favorites in the “pantheon of demigods” (as we learned in high school American History classes – talk about mythologizing the country’s founders!) but having read the latest views, I understand him more fully, and find myself despising everything he represents: white supremacy in all its glory – freedom, education, learning and privilege for whites, built on labor of dark-skinned peoples who are put to work as property for the pleasure and profit of whites.
Many of these people are cultured and charming – after all, with 600 slaves doing everything for you, including running businesses, procreating, planting, growing and being generally industrious, you can afford a lot of leisure, renaissance-man greatness, and thinking lofty thoughts about principles.
But where the rubber meets the road is his realization that his source was wealth – his lifestyle and status – lay in ownership of people, which if procreating at the proper rate (and he himself provided the sperm for many of these) would result in his capital increasing at the rate of 4 percent a year. Quite a good investment at the time, as the Smithsonian article points out:
“The critical turning point in Jefferson’s thinking may well have come in 1792. As Jefferson was counting up the agricultural profits and losses of his plantation in a letter to President Washington that year, it occurred to him that there was a phenomenon he had perceived at Monticello but never actually measured. He proceeded to calculate it in a barely legible, scribbled note in the middle of a page, enclosed in brackets. What Jefferson set out clearly for the first time was that he was making a 4 percent profit every year on the birth of black children. The enslaved were yielding him a bonanza, a perpetual human dividend at compound interest. Jefferson wrote, “I allow nothing for losses by death, but, on the contrary, shall presently take credit four per cent. per annum, for their increase over and above keeping up their own numbers.” His plantation was producing inexhaustible human assets. The percentage was predictable.”
When he died, most of his remaining slaves were sold, to pay off the debts he accumulated due to his grand lifestyle. He only freed a handful of them in his will. What kind of man would allow his own children to be sold off?
This kind of man: Thomas Jefferson, American Fascist:
“But as this passage in Notes on the State of Virginia suggests, Jefferson’s real and lasting contribution to the American experiment is not exhausted either by the Declaration or by the institution of slavery. It is as a theorist of race domination—of white supremacy, of the perdurability of race (and specifically the black race), of the ineradicable shallowness of blackness as against the textured profundity of whiteness—that he stands out. And that is a legacy that persists to this day.
Jefferson was not a liberal hypocrite, a symptom of his time. He was the avant garde of a group of American theorists who were struggling to reconcile the ideals of the Declaration with the reality of chattel slavery. His resolution of that struggle took the form of one of the most vicious doctrines of racial supremacy the world had yet seen. That is his legacy, or at least part of his legacy. He was by no means the only one to take this route, but he was one of the earliest and easily the most famous. He is the tributary of what would become an American tradition.
And as I argue in what follows, which is an excerpt from a paper on Louis Hartz that I never published (though a passage or two of it may appear in The Reactionary Mind), Jefferson’s race theory—along with that of such men as Thomas Dew, James Henry Hammond, and William Harper, who feature prominently in my discussion—points not only to the eighteenth century (he was much more than a man of his times) and not only to the categories of liberalism and republicanism, which are so familiar to US intellectual historians. It also points, albeit only in a suggestive way, to the future, to the twentieth century and European doctrines of racialized fascism.
Jefferson, I would submit, should be remembered not only as the writer of the Declaration of Independence and owner of slaves, but also as a contributor, along with his successors, to a doctrine of race war and what Hannah Arendt would later call, in another context, “race imperialism”—which would find its ultimate fulfillment a century later, and a continent away.”
Remember that one of the primary causes of WWI was primarily contestation between several big powers of Europe (British Empire, Germany, France etc.) over domination of colonies in Africa, Middle East and Asia, and later WWII was fought with the US and Japan over China as well. At heart of these battles was the contestation between two white supremacist powers, the British Empire and Germany, both of which struggled to be the dominant white race over the world. Fortunately for the world, the defeat of Germany also led to the eventual collapse of the Anglo-Saxon supremacist British political empire, and we have since that time experienced a rising wave of demand for independence and equality for the colored races in the world.
Thus, Jefferson’s thinking was in the same mold as the warped racism of the British Empire and the German Nazis – enslavement (exclusion, segregation, expulsion, genocide) of the “inferior” non-white races, while enjoying the wealth, power and status which depended on their unpaid labor.
One should note that after legal slavery ended in the 1860’s, the need for cheap labor in the developing western part of the United States was met with importation of Chinese laborers, many of whom were kept in slave-like economic conditions, heavily and unfairly taxed, restricted by law from property ownership and many occuptions, and eventually excluded. These practices meant that the fruits of “freedom” were really fully enjoyed only by anglo-saxon whites, while the non-white races were kept in positions of servitude.
“Legal Imperialism” is a term that people may not be familiar with, but it is at the heart of China’s engagement with the international order. An excellent new article has appeared in the University of Pennsylvania East Asia Law Review – “Clashing Kingdoms, Hidden Agendas” by Jennifer Wells, a PhD candidate. The article (available for download) is a very insightful articulation of the way in which Britain and other foreign powers used their “rule of law” rhetoric and practice to undermine China’s own laws and subordinate China.
“This essay blends history, law, and politics in considering the role of legal imperialism, nineteenth-century English extradition law in colonial Hong Kong. Building upon the pioneering work of Jerome Cohen, this essay enhances and clarifies our understanding of Chinese legal history and its continued (and future) influence on Sino-Western relations. By focusing upon the series of In re Kwok-a-Sing decisions as they traversed courts from colonial Hong Kong to imperial London, this study analyzes how, through skillful legal reasoning, the British courts managed to circumvent laws and assert their political domination in Southeast Asia by repeatedly refusing to extradite Kwok-a-Sing to China. In the process, the paper considers how Britain and other Western powers (including the United States) invariably used law to subordinate China, facilitating a cultural alienation and humiliation whose effects continue to dog Sino-Western relations. It accordingly makes legal history relevant to understanding contemporary international politics.”
Sigh. I wrote a paper on Jefferson in high school, and yeah, I recall talking about him like a demigod since those were the types of materials I was able to get hold off. Declaration of Independence. Nice document. But, man, what a disappointment to learn of his relationship with the slaves.
Come on, less and less people take mainstream press seriously. I voted for Kim too. LOL.
Thanks for the info. I would attribute the introduction of the Indian Removal Act to Jefferson too.
You are not alone in being taken for a ride by willful obmission. In my college admission essay, Lee Kuan Yew also appeared as a flawless statesman. Believe it or not, before college I actually thought 1 million Tibetan was murdered by the evil CCP! Those were the days before internet and university library.
Ray, wow I never knew about this. Unbelievable. It looks like Jefferson’s views on Native Americans and African were pretty consistent. Also, from some of his writings, it seems he thought Native Americans were Asians.
Interesting, this piece from 1996 has a very perceptive take on Jefferson’s place in the “American Civil Religion Official Version” (ACROV). It predicts that the revelations about Jefferson’s views on race would have him removed from the ACROV. It also predicts that people will start to distance Jefferson from the Declaration of Independence, the key text of the ACROV:
“Thomas Jefferson: Radical and Racist”
In the multiracial American future Jefferson will not be thought of as the Sage of Monticello. His flaws are beyond redemption. The sound you hear is the crashing of a reputation
“…What is surprising about Jeffersonian liberalism is that it has managed (so far) to survive both the comprehensive discrediting of racism among the educated and in official America in the second half of the twentieth century and the scholarly work that demonstrates that Jefferson was a racist. Thus as late as 1984 we find Richard Matthews writing in The Radical Politics of Thomas Jefferson: A Revisionist View, “Jefferson . . . not only presents a radical critique of American market society but also provides an image for — if not a road-map to — a consciously made, legitimately democratic American future.” A legitimately democratic American future without any blacks in it.
I believe that in the next century, as blacks and Hispanics and Asians acquire increasing influence in American society, the Jeffersonian liberal tradition, which is already intellectually untenable, will become socially and politically untenable as well. I also believe that the American civil religion, official version — let me call it ACROV — will have to be reformed in a manner that will downgrade and eventually exclude Thomas Jefferson. Finally, I believe that Jefferson will nonetheless continue to be a power in America in the area where the mystical side of Jefferson really belongs: among the radical, violent, anti-federal libertarian fanatics — the very same paranoid conspirators against whose grasp President Clinton is rightly resolved to defend our sacred symbols.”
“The Declaration of Independence is another matter. ACROV without the Declaration is unthinkable. The Declaration is the primary assertion of American nationalism, and the primary function of the American civil religion is to invest American nationalism with the aura of the sacred. Without the Declaration, then, there is no American civil religion.
Yet there are problems about the Declaration, in its relation to a society no longer exclusively dominated by whites. There are problems about the wording, and problems about the authorship. It is accepted that the words “all men are created equal” do not in their literal meaning apply to women, and were not intended by the Founding Fathers (collectively) to apply to slaves. Yet it is also accepted that the expectations aroused by this formula have been a force that eventually changed the meaning of the formula to include women and people of all races.
The wording in itself offers no basic difficulty. The trouble is in the relation of the wording to the perceived authorship. In ACROV as we know it in the twentieth century, Jefferson has sacred status as the author of the most sacred document: the Declaration of Independence. And nothing is more certain than that Thomas Jefferson did not intend that black people should be free in America. Freedom and blackness were incompatible in America: free blacks were to be banished.
For many years Jefferson’s real views concerning the future of blacks in America were hidden by soothing obfuscation best exemplified by the relevant inscription in the Jefferson Memorial. People were told that Thomas Jefferson was against slavery, and his words to that effect were quoted frequently. But people were not told that for Jefferson, black people had no future in America at all except as slaves. Once they ceased to be slaves, they were to be sent packing. Nor would other nonwhites be welcome (the American Indian excepted, whom Jefferson was at pains to “whiten”). Jefferson’s bright vision of the future of America was a monoracial one: whites only.
It follows that there can be no room for a cult of Thomas Jefferson in the civil religion of an effectively multiracial America — that is, an America in which nonwhite Americans have a significant and increasing say. Once the facts are known, Jefferson is of necessity abhorrent to people who would not be in America at all if he could have had his way.”
But to be fair, men like Washington, Jefferson, Adam, Hamilton etc played a key roles in setting the foundation of the US becoming a future dominant power.
Same as men like Shang Yang, Lu Bu Wei, Li Si etc. I won’t call them darling of human rights either but they did introduce a system that made China into the China in history we know of.
And here we see more evidence of the moral superiority of the civilized western world. A man is thrown on to the train tracks and for 22 seconds, no one by him helps him to get up and out of the train’s way but instead stand by to take pictures as a train is barreling down on him. After he is hit people are still taking pics with their cameras.
yeah what is wrong with Americans? it’s the capitalism and the money worship and moral degeneracy of the american ppl that caused this. this wouldnt have happened otherwise, but the american ppl are a n amoral bunch.
anyone else looking with interest at how the Scotland independance campaign has kicked off? isn’t irony really goddam delicious? Those in GB who protested so loudly and vociferously for Tibetan seperatism appear reluctant to allow the Scots to exercise their own democratic right if it goes against the territorial integrity of the UK.
i think this just re-emphasizes the point that these Britons are motivated more by racist ethnocentrism and nationalism than by their own goddam democratic principles. Like Dana whorabacher (haha a girl’s name) only concerned about Tibetans’ rights when it goes towards impeding a rival nation.
I like browsing the atimes.com website. Although the quality of the reporting is somewhat uneven, the writers there can be relied on to have more sophisticated and sensitive portrayals of Asian issues.
This is why it is somewhat shocking to see this article, “How beauty shapes power in China and Japan”
By Cho Kyo and Koko Selden
The article somewhat rambles between the question of whether there are universal standards of beauty (Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn are cited as examples of women “universally” regarded as beautiful) or not, and what were different Chinese and Japanese notions of beauty throughout the ages, and how such images relate to power.
Little of what they write is controversial nor particularly original. However, they use the term “Mongoloid” to describe Chinese and Japanese people:
“Both Chinese and Japanese are Mongoloid. Moreover, in pre-modern times China and Japan shared Confucian culture. Despite the fact that cultural ties between the two countries were extremely close, however, images of beauty in Edo Japan (1600-1868) and Qing China (1644-1911) were strikingly different.”
“Whether or not people of a different race appear beautiful is less a matter of judgment based on looks and styles than a product of one’s evaluation of that race’s culture. From the start, it is meaningless to try to determine whether Caucasians or Mongoloids are more beautiful.”
Coming from a background of American English, I read the word “mongoloid” as an insult, meaning someone who is the “r-word” or “intelligence-challenged” in a “defective” kind of way. Urban Dictionary expresses these quite accurately according to my understanding.
But yet, “Mongoloid” does have its origins in a term meaning “resembling Mongols”, used by early ethnologists, but these descriptions are now seen as archaic and derogatory outside medico-legal contexts:
“Mongoloid /ˈmɒŋ.gə.lɔɪd/ refers to populations that share certain phenotypic traits such as epicanthic fold and shovel-shaped incisors and other physical traits common in United States, most of Asia the Arctic and parts of the Pacific Islands. The word is formed by the basic word “Mongol” and the suffix “-oid” which means “resembling,” so therefore the term literally means “resembling Mongols.” It was introduced by early ethnology primarily to describe various central and east Asian populations, one of the proposed three major races of humanity. Although some forensic anthropologists and other scientists continue to use the term in some contexts (for instance in criminal justice in order to serve the medicolegal community that still operates on archaic racial concepts), outside of those contexts the term mongoloid is now considered derogatory by the scientific community due to its association with discredited typological models of racial classification.”
I’m sure someone can do a PhD thesis deconstructing how a term describing “resembling the mongol race” became an insult meaning close to “subhuman”!
It must make English speakers snigger when Asians like the writers of the article (One, Cho Kyo, is a professor of comparative literature in Japan and the other, Kyoko Selden, is a professional translator) use “mongoloid” to describe themselves.
It’s obvious that the writers are using the archaic, academic meaning (even if the typology has been discredited), and so I don’t blame them for doing so, and I won’t even characterize it as a mistake. But isn’t the use of the word “mongoloid” so offensive that it should be retired?
The word “mongoloid” is not tolerated at the Olympics: In the last Olympics, a Swiss footballer was sent home after tweeting that the Korean team is a “bunch of mongoloids”.
And the supporters of the disabled community (known as “ableist”) also advise not to use the term as well: see this commentary at the disabledfeminists.com website:
“Using “mongoloid” to talk about someone with a developmental disability is offensive, which is why most people don’t do it any more. It’s also offensive to use it in the same way that people use “retarded.” Or to call someone a “mongoloid” because that person doesn’t match your ideal of physical beauty, intellectual rigor, or pleasant personality. In fact, if you’re not a physical anthropologist, it’s better not to use this word at all.
So, ready for the horrific origins of “Mongoloid”? It’s an archaic term for a racial group, referencing the Mongols; the term is retained in this sense in physical anthropology to discuss people of Asian, Native American, and First Nations ancestry. There are a number of physical characteristics which can be used to put people in this grouping. Since people historically noted that individuals with Trisomy 21 shared some of the facial characteristics associated with people in the Mongoloid racial grouping, they referred to the condition as “Mongol” or “Mongoloid Syndrome.” And people with Trisomy 21 were called…wait for it…Mongolian.
But there’s more! The man for whom Down Syndrome is named, John Langdon Down, claimed in 1866 that the facial characteristics of people with Trisomy 21 represented a genetic regression, because Caucasians should not have “Asian” facial features. The concept of “evolutionary throwbacks” was just starting to gain traction, and this is one of the many ugly ways in which it manifested (hello, racism, my old friend). Indeed, the idea that people with disabilities were “throwbacks” and “genetic regressions” was used as an argument for forced sterilization, institutionalization, and other abuses of people with disabilities well through the 20th century. (And such practices continue to go on today, although the reasoning for them may not be framed as bluntly as it once was.)
Wikipedia helpfully informs us that “use of the term ‘Mongoloid’ for racial purposes has therefore acquired negative connotations because of the connection with Down syndrome.” Thanks for that, Wikipedia.
So, in short: Don’t use “mongoloid.” I think this is a word which most of our readers cringe to see and hear, which makes it an easy word to avoid, since hopefully you’re not using it anyway. If you find yourself reaching for it, think about the person you’re describing, and think about what you really want to say. Do you want to say that someone’s annoying you because ou is having trouble grasping a concept? How about “Mary really seems to have difficulty grasping the right procedure for clocking out, can someone give her a hand?” as an alternative.”
You know if it wasn’t for the tragedy in Newton, CT, this would be the headline news in the Western Propaganda to explain the ‘moral depravity’ of China. But it seems that there is a bigger problem in the US than in China.
aye, it’s hard for the US media to have another bandwagoning when their own country’s ‘moral depravity’ is more self evident and frequent what with John Holmes and the attacks against the Sikhs.
Mulberry Leaf says
@pug_ster The names of the Connecticut shooting victims have been released. Madeleine F Hsu, 6, 7/10/2006, F is the only Chinese-looking name on the list.
I think it is sad for kids of get killed whether he/she is Chinese or not. What my beef is why the Western Propaganda wants to play the moral high ground when it comes to reporting these maniacs attacking school Children in China or worse, the ‘lack of religion’ within China as an excuse of why this is happening.
‘lack of religion’ is such a BS argument commonly espoused by those with a religious universalist missionising agenda.
Australia ‘lacks religion’ given that most Australians are non religious/atheist, yet you’ll never see the US media attributing the port arthur massacre to a ‘lack of religion’
It didn’t take long for some village idiot to play the moral high ground in regards in this shooting.
i took one look at the title, saw that it was by Evan Osnos and immediately deleted the tab; i have better things to do than waste my time reading the scribblings of a rambling idiot who’s incapable of thinking his way out of a paper bag.
Actually, the piece ain’t bad. It started off talking about the knife attack – classroom tragedy in China, and had me expecting that Osnos was going to twist the piece some way into saying that China is just as bad or worse in some way than the US. But that’s not what happened. Instead, the piece was about how indefensible the US predilection for guns is, how the US is criticized by Chinese commentators for the insanity of its gun policies and gun violence, and how Chinese think their society is actually better than the US’s because it does not suffer from the same kinds of gun violence.
By the end of article, Osnos had basically concluded, if the Chinese think China is better off than the US because of gun violence, then we’d better do something about it. After all, we can’t have the US losing credibility and looking bad in front of the Chinese!
Interesting rhetorical strategy. Osnos is not saying, US should change its laws because of the benefits it will bring for reducing gun violence; rather, US should change its laws to reduce gun violence so the US won’t look bad compared to the Chinese.
Overall, not too objectionable an article.
I thought this article is interesting, but nevertheless not surprising. This is similar to waves of fake Russian Jews coming to the US in the 1990’s. The US government is cracking down Chinese immigrants coming to the US based on fake asylums.
With the increasing number of self-immolations,what do you think is going on in Tibet?
Is the Dalai Lama really a good man?
It’s a PR campaign by the TGIE. All of the people who have immolated are monks, nuns or ex monks and nuns. These are religious fundamentalists who think the Dalai is literally a god. The Dalai encourages these acts by lionizing the people who commit these acts and refusing to condemn them.
HSR from Beijing to Guangzhou opens today:
Some nice pics collection of China’s train and stations:
@Ray Nice links.
To compare to cars, other than HSR is much faster, and much safer, and it’s also far more environmentally friendly.
The distance between Beijing and Guangzhou is about the same as the one between Boston and Miami. The per passenger energy consumption from Beijing and Guangzhou by HSR is about the equivalent of 2.5 gallons of gasoline. The maximum passenger count each hour at both directions is 44,000, the equivalent capacity of 24-lane expressway.
Mister Unknown says
Just throwing a question out there – given the stats you mentioned, how should China structure its policies so as to minimize long-distance travel by car, & maximize travel by HSR/conventional train (besides just building more trains)?
The easiest answer is nationalizing the MoR debts. MoR’s debt level stood at Y2.6 trillion at the end of Q3. MoR’s capital funding mainly comes from 3 sources:
1. Railroad Construction Fund. To keep it short (as I possibly can): its main sources are A. the central government as a part of the national fiscal expenditure. B. freight users such as power plants and coal miners — a part of their payments are mandated to go to the Fund. C. MoR’s operating income. The Fund is effectively a financial reservoir for MoR, through which MoR can effectively claim no taxable income and pay no tax.
2. Railroad Bonds. The latest 7-year Railroad Bonds carried a yield of 4.57%.
3. Bank loans. The currently 10-year loan interest rate is 6.55%. At times, MoR gets a 10% policy discount for bank loans, but it currently doesn’t.
The run-rate for MoR’s interest cost is about Y100B each year. If we assume the average interest rate of #2 and #3 by weight is at 5%, the interest-bearing debt level is at Y2T. If the debts are nationalized, or explicitly guaranteed by the state, the interest rate should go down by about 1.5%, which means the annual debt servicing cost will be reduced by Y30B. To put this in perspectives, in 2011 the passenger railroad revenue, which is about 20% of the total MoR revenue, stood at Y160B. If the saving all goes to passenger fare discount, the discount will be at 19%. With lowered fare, one would expect the passenger count to go up, which should reduce the per passenger-km cost — again if all saving goes to passenger fare, should further reduce the fare price.
Like everything else in a complex system, there are winners and there are losers. In this case, the bond holders and the banks would be the losers. The bond holders include players such as Ping An Insurance and National Social Security Fund.
I was about to give mad props to Bloomberg for a fine piece of journalism unearthing this: http://go.bloomberg.com/multimedia/mapping-chinas-red-nobility/, but then I hovered the mouse over some lines and see:
“Bo’s son Xicheng sent a wreath to the funeral of Li’s daughter Ziyang, who passed away in November.”
“Chen’s son-in-law Sun Fang chaired the Foundation for Globalization Cooperation that co-organized a forum at Harvard Kennedy School of Government in June with the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, headed by Li’s daughter Xiaolin.”
“The investment company of Chen’s son Fang signed a $4.8 billion financial deal in [I had a double take to make sure it’s not with (the municipal government of)] Chongqing in 2009 when Bo’s son Xilai was running the city.”
“Bo’s grandson Guagua was seen accessorized with a chartreuse handkerchief, matching Deng’s daughter Rong’s scarf in a party.”
OK, I made the last one up. Seriously, JFK, W. Bush and Obama all went to Harvard and probably hung out in the same watering holes, can we start drawing lines between them?
Mister Unknown says
I wonder what the circle would look like if someone were to map out the relationship between the US government & Goldman Sachs…
Something like this?
Mister Unknown says
normally i dont use the sydney morning herald given that it’s pretty much the Australian version of the NYT, but the economics editor ross gittens usually has some good ones.
A comedy movie “Lost in Thailand” (泰囧), with a minuscule 30 million yuan production budget, came out of nowhere and claimed 1.0 billion yuan box office in 3 weeks. It stands a decent chance to overtake Avatar’s Chinese box office record at 1.32 billion yuan eventually.
In the meantime, Jackie Chan’s “Chinese Zodiac” (十二生肖) has “quietly” amassed 500 million yuan box office in 2 weeks.
The preliminary data show the 2012 Chinese box office at 16.8 billion yuan ($2.7 billion), in yuan-term 170% growth from 2009 (6.2 billion yuan), and in dollar-term 197% growth. Meanwhile, the 2012 USA/Canada box office was at $10.8 billion, 2% growth from 2009. In all likelihood, the Chinese movie market became the 2nd largest in the world in 2012. No wonder James Cameron has been floating the idea of having Avatar 2 with Chinese content and Chinese co-production.
I am not surprised about “Lost in Thailand” movie being a big hit because it is not considered as a mainstream Chinese film. It seems that every year there are movies pertaining to some China’s past or history film about China. Personally, I would like to see more comedy, action, or romance films with a Chinese twist, but not about China’s past.
In other news, it seems that Al Jazeera is going to buy Current TV.
so looking at the western media treatment of the indian gang rape case, how is it that noone thinks to question the legitimacy of the Indian government as would be the case, if this were to happen in China?
i’ll be willing to bet that if the roles were reversed, you’d have idiots likening the protests to the seeds of revolution and having some douchebag from The Economist waxing lyrical about “the flowering of democracy’ or whatever BS they can come up with when they’re not getting off on the whiff of their own farts.
An interesting article that almost could be from HH’s authors:
Please help: Seeking info on Mao’s Lushan Conference decision not to reduce Great Leap quotas:
I teach a high school Chinese history class to Western kids, in English, but do so with determination to attempt understanding China on its own terms, not on the West’s. (I’m no missionary, in other words.)
We do a debate on Mao and the Great Leap, asking that cliche question, “Was Mao a Monster? Does he deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Hitler and Stalin as one of the 20th century’s most bloody dictators?”
Students have watched “China: A Century of Revolution” by that time–which is admirably even-handed on Mao, in my view–and read some standard (and not-so-standard) textbook and article coverage.
Still, the majority come down on the “Monster” side because of the Great Leap.
I give my own speech at the end with my own arguments against the proposition, arguing he was by no means a monster but instead, if anything a tragic hero more akin to the Shujing’s Sage Kings or Kings Wen and Wu than to Western psychopaths. Continuing the “tragic” trope, I follow Meisner in adducing a couple of tragic “flaws” to Mao: naivete over the limits of the possible (his voluntaristic faith), and inability to think of institutional instead of “permanent revolutionary” solutions to the threat of state feudalism/state capitalism.
ANYWAY, I’m writing here because Mao’s refusal to lower production quotas after the blow-up with Peng Dehaui at the Lushan Conference during the Great Leap does seem “monstrous”–and so out of character–to me.
I’m wondering if anybody has sources drilling deeper into what prompted Mao to reverse his own earlier intention to lower production quotas and avert famine. If so, please include at least title and author of source.
Thanks for your time–and your blog. I don’t always agree, but I find it extremely valuable for showing me perspectives not easy to find elsewhere in the Aglo-sphere.
Mister Unknown says
I actually kind of come down on the “monster” side as well, if we were to make a judgment only according to the number of deaths attributable by any single individual. However, if we were to be historically precise, we must individual examine the motives of Hitler, Stalin, & Mao.
Hitler was primarily concerned with racial purity in Germany & Europe, he killed solely for the sake of eliminating those whom he deemed undesirable.
On the other hand, I would say Stalin’s intentions were half good, half bad. He genuinely wanted to strengthen his country through industrialization – a perfectly legitimate end, especially given the circumstances of the day, and given the threats faced by the USSR from fascists and staunch anti-communists (remember, the West & the US sent troops to aid the white army only a few years earlier during the Russian civil war). However, Stalin ruthlessly spent lives to achieve what is otherwise the right goal. The “half bad” part of Stalin’s intentions was the use of mass deportation (in the case of Chechens) & mass punishment/starvation (i.e. hologomor in Ukraine) to eliminate the opposition.
Finally, we have Mao – whose results were comparably devastating – but whose intentions are anything but “monstrous”. I don’t think there is any evidence that suggests Mao initiated the GLF to eliminate opposition.
I know this doesn’t exactly answer your questions or provide you with the references you need, but that’s just my 2 cents on the topic.
I think it’s obvious that Mao can’t be mentioned in the same breath as Hitler and Stalin and Pol Pot. This is such an obvious fact that all psychologically normal human beings ought to assert it. The onlyt reason people in the west don’t is because they have been brainwashed by their revisionist media to think that Mao did things he did not do.
Mao did not intentionally kill people and certainly not 60 million people. Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot were murderers. Mao was a hopelessly incompetent and feircely ignorant man who caused many people to die from his deficiencies (which were mostly intellectual, not moral).
I think Mao was still one of the worst people in China’s history because not only was he ignorant but he was obstinately ignorant. As you mentioned, he refused to do anything about the famine when it became obvious to everyone that it was a monstrous problem. That makes him at partially cupable for some of the damage done.
But even psychologically children as young as 4 know the difference between intentionally hurting people and unintentional but still culpable actions and inactions. The law also makes a large distinction here.
People who run red lights because they weren’t paying attention and kill people are not punished by the criminal system even though they are culpable for their actions for not paying attention. They are only subject to civil law suits. People who intentionally kill people are subject to the worst punishments in the criminal law.
Interestingly, psychopaths cannot tell the difference between an intentionally immoral action and an action that causes harm unintentionanlly. Intentions make no difference to them.
My view is that I think the intention of Lushan Conference is to correct the mistake made during GLF, Peng Dehuai naively (with good faith though) believe it is sort of political issue or at least his stubborn and being critical stance will lead the problem to become political, Mao have no choice but to settle this via political move. This is a very Chinese way of doing thing.
@Mr. Unknown, Melektaus, and Rhan:
Thanks for feedback. Agreed on the obvious difference in intention and such.
@melektaus, I hesitate to call Mao “ignorant.” He was no slouch as a theorist and was very well-read in both Chinese and Western literature, philosophy, history. Not perfect, but certainly not an ignoramus in my book: he overcame astronomical odds by more than mere luck. (Henry CK Liu’s recent The historical significance of Mao underscores this very well.) Even the Cultural Revolution seemed prescient in retrospect–the Party has become the new bourgoisie/feudal class, which is precisely what Mao feared. I agree that his method, though–the reliance on violence and its resultant chaos–was questionable; but on the other hand, it’s hard to see what other options he had at that point. I suppose he could have instigated for institutional reforms to keep the Party from becoming anti-democratic.
I’ll add one last thing–and @RHAN, you might find this interesting if you’re not already aware of it–about the Lushan blowout with Peng. Peng had within the months prior to the Conference visited Khrushchev and privately criticized Mao and the Great Leap. Khrushchev told others in the Kremlin, and eventually the Soviet ambassador to the US heard it and told a US congressman–off the record–who then leaked it to the press. So Mao, in the midst of the Great Leap’s looming crisis and the increasingly poisonous relations with Moscow, reads Western media headlines broadcasting “division” between Mao and his military chief, suggesting vulnerability in the People’s Republic. In that context, Mao’s decision to attack and demote Peng seems at least justifiable suspicion, and not the irrational actions of a paranoid dictator as it’s too often interpreted. (My source on this is Maurice Meisner’s excellent Mao’s China and After, 3rd Ed..)
But again, I’m looking for hard historical evidence that sheds light on how Mao justified to himself the horrible decision to maintain the deadly Great Leap quotas when he was aware that they would cause famine. Has anybody read the memoir of Mao’s physician? Or Tombstone?
Thanks again, all.
There are no historically accurate figure of deaths on Great Leap Forward. I challenge anyone to provide me one. The only ones out there are conjectures – based on census data that inherently had large margins of error. Based on the speed by which the economy recovered after the GLF, the deaths is likely not all that great. There may have been lots of suffering, but in terms of large-scale deaths, I don’t think there is much evidence.
As for attributing horrors of GLP to Mao, I am not so sure. The GLF is a valiant – though misguided (we know in retrospect) – effort to advance the Chinese economy and social structure. Mao may have thought a little more effort could lead to a breakthrough.
Look at today’s Western economy. The financial crisis started with the politically well-intentioned and benign effort to expand home ownership to the poor. It lead to property speculation and a world financial crisis – and a lot of people have suffered. (OK, maybe the financial crisis is no GLF, but my point is made is that well-intentioned policies can lead to large-scale disasters.) Does that mean those politicians that supported the ideals of egalitarian wealth distribution were “monsters”? Perhaps they were misguided … perhaps. But to say – with perfect 20/20 hindsight – how could it be? They must be monsters!!! That – I think exhibit our own ignorance.
In general I think this quick blame this person blame that person that of thing must stop … especially when one doesn’t have a good feel of the full context of then history’s moment — Yes, it’s human nature to be ignorant, and to be ignorant of his own ignorance. But it should stop.
I’d be interested to hear what reading you’ve done to back up your claim that the death toll is (implicitly) overstated. Peng himself was concerned, which should at least count for something.
As for the rest of your remarks, again, Mao’s intent and even judgment re: launching the Great Leap are not the issue. Easy to understand his faith in the peasantry moving mountains–they already had more than once.
As for evaluating historical individuals for their roles in historical events — historians and readers have engaged in this from time immemorial. Sima Qian comes to mind. It’s not going to stop, and there’s no harm in it when done thoughtfully and sincerely. It’s simply intellectual interest. And your characterization of this discussion (or hopefully I misread you here) as “quick blame this person that person” is itself quick and off the mark, and seems unnecessarily defensive somehow.
Pardon the mistaken impression if I’m wrong. But one hopes that sincere, deliberate, and un-hasty historical questions are welcome in this forum. Ideas are to be exchanged, not discouraged–100 Flowers and all of that….
I’m not saying Mao was ignorant in at least Chinese literature. But he was obviously ignorant where it counted, i.e., in economics and agriculture.
Charles Liu says
Here’s an article from Science Magazine that shows China’s overall mortality was greatly reduced in the 60’s and 70’s:
Seems the claim Mao Zedong’s great leap forward and cultural revolution killing tens of millions is questionable statistically. How reliable this statistics is I don’t know, but it’s interesting Noam Chomsky find it believable.
The fact is there was also a drought induced famin unrelated to Mao’s ideology, yet China was able to improve citizen’s mortality under a stable sovereignty.
Mister Unknown says
To add to my previous comments, I think if you want to give your students a holistic view of Mao’s post-49 tenure – and more importantly – the history of the CPC as a whole, here are two stats to know:
In ’49, China’s literacy rate was at best 15%; in ’76, it was approaching 70%.
In ’49, China’s average life expectancy was 40 years; in ’76, it was exceeding 60 years.
One more stat that complements my point: China’s population increased from less than 600 million to over 900 million in that same period.
What this tells us is that even taking into account the twin disasters of the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution (which undoubtedly put a dent in these statistical averages), during Mao’s 27 years in office, literacy rate more than quadrupled and life expectancy increased by 50%. What’s more remarkable is that all this happened at a time when China had 300 million additional people to feed and clothe.
I would argue that these developmental accomplishments – which are oft ignored by both westerners and Chinese – established a solid foundation that was indispensable to the success of the Four Modernizations of the post-Mao era. China’s population grew healthier (which allowed them to be more productive) and far better educated in Mao’s tenure than at any other point in Chinese history. Without this progress, reform and opening up would certainly NOT have resulted in the subsequent dramatic developmental takeoff, for which Deng Xiaoping was unfairly given sole credit.
I’m certainly not saying Mao was single-handedly responsible for all these accomplishments (just as he wasn’t single-handedly starving millions of people), but one must give credit where credit is due, and I would argue there is no better indicator of performance in governance than the physical and intellectual improvements made to a population. Another point that I think is helpful for your students to bear in mind is that even though Mao’s publicity overshadowed everyone else in his day, it’s useful to examine the performance of the Communist Party as a whole.
That said, I would be careful about how in-depth you want to dig into this topic with your American high school students; I’ve never been a teacher but I’d imagine you wouldn’t want to be known as a commie-lover in a US secondary school. Some facts might be too inconvenient to teach.
No one knows how many people died in the GLF – lower or upper bound. The truth is no one knows – not the gov’t, not anyone. If one takes into the standard deviation of census information in China throughout the early to mid 20th century, no one can ever know.
That’s simple math.
No amount of historian cherry picking data can change that.
That’s why without good data – and good understanding of good data – statics are but lies and damn lies… You can always cherry pick your data set and draw what conclusion you want.
I don’t have time to delve into the topic. My knowledge is based on discussions I have had with professors I know who have lived through the period. And I am confident and comfortable in my assessment.
For those interested in the topic, you can read this English article to get started:
Now with that all said, this is not to say GLF was not a disaster. It was. And the gov’t promptly corrected for it. However, there were other factors involved beyond policy of advancement. There were natural disasters. There was the tension with both the Soviet Union and the U.S. (and India if you want to throw that in). It was truly desperate times…
the conjectures are all based on the initial “census” with very dubious accuracy, which perhaps was inflated for ideological reasons.
here is a quote from Wild Swans and Mao’s Agrarian Strategy, Australia-China Review,
by Wim F. Werthheim, Emeritus Professor, the Univ. of
Often it is argued that at the censuses of the 1960s “between
17 and 29 millions of Chinese” appeared to be missing, in
comparison with the official census figures from the 1950s.
But these calculations are lacking any semblance of
At my first visit to China, in August 1957, I had asked to get
the opportunity to meet two outstanding Chinese social
scientists: Fei Xiao-tung, the sociologist, and Chen Ta, the
demographer. I could not meet
either of them, because they were both seriously criticized at
that time as rightists’; but I was allowed a visit by Pang
Zenian, a Marxist philosopher who knew about the problems of
both scholars. Chen Ta was criticised because he had attacked
the pretended 1953 census. In the past he had organised
censuses, and he could not believe that suddenly, within a
rather short period, the total population of China had risen
from 450 to 600 million (by the way: with inclusion of 17
million from Taiwan), as had been officially
claimed by the Chinese authorities after the 1953 ‘census’. He
would have like to organise a scientifically well-founded
census himself, instead of an assessment largely based on
regional random samples as had happened in 1953. According to
him, the method followed in that year was unscientific. For
that matter, a Chinese expert of demography, Dr. Ping-ti Ho,
Professor of History at the University of Chicago, in a book
titled Studies on the Population of China, 1368-1953, Harvard
East Asian Studies No.4, 1959, also
mentioned numerous ‘flaws’ in the 1953 census: “All in all,
nationwide enumeration of 1953 was not a census in the
technical definition of the term”; the separate provincial
figures show indeed an unbelievable increase of some 30% in
the period 1947-1953, a period of heavy revolutionary struggle
My conclusion is that the claim that in the 1960s a number
between 17 and 29 million people was ‘missing’ is worthless if
there was never any certainty about the 600 millions of
Chinese. Most probably these ‘mission people’ did not starve
in the calamity years 1960-61, but in fact have never
if you can read chinese, read this:
If you can read chinese,
A Dutch-Vietnamese-Chinese journalist/author named Boi Boi Huong posted a fascinating essay in English about her personal encounter with issues of Mao’s legacy, extent of the GLF famine, and impact of the 1950-60’s trade embargos against China.
She relates how she had been interesting in exploring her ancestral heritage and started off by reading Jung Chang’s Wild Swans, but became disgusted with Mao and with China.
Then later in academic studies, she learned that what Jung Chang wrote is not based on reality. As she studied more about the period, her views changed from disgust to one of understanding of China’s accomplishments.
Ms Huong’s essay is worth quoting (for the full essay, please click on the link above):
“For my bachelor study Chinese languages and Cultures at the University of Leiden I conducted research about the worldwide economic embargoes and trade restrictions that were implemented against China early in the fifties and were maintained for more than 20 years. What were their effects on China and its people?
Worldwide trade embargoes and other trade restrictions against China
Searching for my roots, I started reading Wild Swans written by Jung Chang. The historic novel was published in 1992, shortly after the Tiananmen incident, which paved the way for biographic literature in which personal hardships under the Cultural Revolution and communist rule were told. Wild Swans sold more than ten million copies. After reading it I stopped searching for my Chinese background. I didn’t need to know more than the fact Chang told. According to her China’s former leader Mao Zedong would have caused the death of 70 million Chinese, more than Hitler or Stalin did. More than half of them would have died because of a silly economic strategy that Mao adopted from 1958 and 1960, the great leap forward.
Everyday life for common Chinese
Later I found out that the things she wrote and said are not based on reality. In an interview I confronted her with my findings. The interview was part of a radiodocumentary I made for the VPRO about my search for China’s modern history. To write my thesis I researched the causes of the famines during the great leap forward. The findings were quite shocking because things weren’t what they seemed to be.
[Note: Ms Huong’s 2008 interview with Jung Chang may be found within this radiodocumentary program. The program is mostly in Dutch with some portions in English when Ms Huong interviews Jung Chang. I can only understand the English portions, but if anyone here speaks Dutch, perhaps they can provide an English summary or transcript?]
Extreme poverty in China
Field-studies in the thirties of the twentieth century showed that in all parts of China, large numbers off landless labourers lived in tremendous poverty. And their situation had not changed since 1500. Most Chinese were landless labourers or almost landless farmers. The labourers could hardly keep themselves alive as a porter or farmhand. None of them could afford a marriage and they all died unnoticed, after a short and miserable life. The World Bank wrote that in 1949 the average life expectancy is 36 years. Small farmers were better of they had a small piece of land which they tilted with their family, but they often had to sell their children to prevent them from starving. Since there was a large abundance of cheap labour, landlords didn’t mechanize the farmwork. They even hardly invested in cattle. The salary they paid a day labourer was less than the food for a donkey costed and the animal had to be put in a stable while a labourer could be sent away when there wasn’t any work to do.
In 1949 less than two out of ten Chinese could read and write, in 1979 already 6.6 were literate. Chinese were literate. But more amazement was still to come. I have never heard this information during Chinese history colleges nor read it in collegebooks. These facts are hard to find on the internet.
Improved standard of living
In the radiodocumentary I made this year I stressed that the Chinese leadership improved the standard of living of the majority of the population. I discussed the documentary with journalists, sinologists and sinology students. Most of them reacted by neglecting the facts I presented and hammered home communist misdeeds. Nobody actually seemed to care that communist policies raised the average life expectancy of Chinese with 28 years and learned at least 300 million people to read and write, and taught them the national language. I was annoyed because I discovered that in the image of communist China there was only space for incidents: the great leap forward, the cultural revolution, the Tian-anmen-incident. In between it’s blank. It is only about the clashing of the capitalist and communist system, about intellectuals and the elite. In all kinds of sources from mass media, internet sources to English academic writings the terribly poor majority is hardly mentioned, as if they have never existed.”
The great leap forward
Accepting and acknowledging the good things that happened is difficult. On the internet, and in English academic writings I am slammed with crimes and disasters directly ascribed to communist rule. A major one is the great leap forward strategy that I have researched for one and a half year.
The academic view is that China focused too much of it’s resources and labour force on an irrational industrialization programme. The masses would have been urged to produce a lot of iron in backyard blast furnaces, that turned out to be of inferior quality. Wrong farm methods in the communes, would have caused a drop of the grainproduction which was the main farmproduct in China. The food availability for peasants declined because too much grain would have gone to the urban population, and would have been exported to buy capital goods. When nature turned nasty in 1959 and 1960 with major droughts, tyfoons and flooding, China encountered a famine. It is estimated that 15 till 30 million people died. In academic writing nature isn’t considered as the main cause, but the great leap policies are.
Famines were actually a common phenomena in China. Once every two years a large famine occured. Between 1877-1878 it is estimated that between 9 and 13 million died, In 1907 and 1937 again large famines occurred. The main reason was that people lived in such poverty that a little wrinkle in the sea of life could drown them.
Worldwide economic embargoes against communist China
If it wasn’t for a China expert, who told me years ago that there existed a worldwide trade embargo against China, l would still not know by now. The economic warfare against China and the communist block is hardly mentioned nowadays, just as if it has never happened. In academic researches for the causes of the Great Leap Famine, the embargo’s and trade restrictions are not mentioned or said to be of no influence. Is that the case?
In 1950 China fought alongside North Korea against allied UN forces under the leadership of the US. The United States implemented a complete embargo that forbade all financial transaction with communist China. After the Korean war, the embargo was not lifted. In 1950 Nato countries and Japan, adopted the cocom embargo (coördinating committee) aimed against communist countries against China. At the height of the Korean war, the cocom-embargo against communist countries already forbade the export to communist countries of products from more than 400 product categories. But under American pressure in 1952 these richest industrialized countries implemented an even stricter embargo against China, which is called the China embargo. For implementing and maintaining this embargo the coördinating committee set up a special China committee (chincom).
Until the seventies western governments have closed their markets for Chinese products by levying import duties that were five, ten times higher than duties for friendly countries. There was also a American policy to push the communist China in a diplomatic isolation. Until 1972 the nationalist government of Taiwan held the Chinese seat in the UN general council and also in the UN security council, while the communist government on the mainland was reconstruting the war torn country, fighting the mass poverty and trying hard to feed it’s people.
Steel was needed for farm implements, and agricultural mechanization which was very urgent because of the great population pressure on the land of which only one fifth is fit to be used for farming. So China focused on producing steel, because capitalist countries all maintained an embargo on steel and other industrial products against China.
The steel was produced in large plants, in medium large plants and it was also done by simple, indigenous methods.The Soviet Union sold China plants to build up it’s heavy industry, provided the technology, technical experts and some small longterm loans. Because of three very strict embargo’s that World Organisations maintained against China, the Soviet Union got a monopoly on trade with China. The UN, the Coördinating Committee and the China Committee, held embargo’s on trade with China.
Although all the embargo’s and trade restrictions existed, the general academic view is that China didn’t want to trade with capitalist countries because it strived for self reliance. This wasn’t the case. In the 1950’s China constantly pressed the US to lift the embargo. It increased trade with western-europe enormously since 1955 till 1958 when restrictions were eased.
Effects of worldwide economic war
The general view in the western academics is that the embargo’s and trade restrictions hardly influenced the Chinese economy because it is a large country and therefore self-sufficient. China could get all it needed from other communist countries. That was also not the case. The whole communist block ran short of major industrial raw materials like rubber and copper. Copper was needed to produce electricity. China was in want of longterm credits which only the Soviet Union provided until 1954. The Chinese could only buy capital by exporting grain, the only product that they could export on some scale. In the fifties huge subsidized western farm surpluses, caused a drop of he world grain price. After China received Taiwan’s seat in the United Nations in 1972, many countries established diplomatic relations with China. But it was not until the US resumed it’s diplomatic and trade relations with the Peoples Republic that China’s trade volume increased enormously in 1973. Trade with its major trading partners, Japan, Macao and Hong Kong doubled. Chinese imports of industrial products doubled and tripled in that year. There was a shortage of a lot of goods.
It wasn’t stupid that China started to rely on the will and enthusiasm of uneducated masses to industrialize, it ran short of capital, technology, foreign credits and raw materials. The huge production of iron with simple methods in small furnaces was an expression of this. China exported grain because it could hardly get foreign credits. During the Great Leap Forward China was affected tremendously by natural disasters, just like it was in it’s history which caused China to be called the land of famine.”
Ms Huong’s essay is perceptive and provocative. I tend to agree with her observation that almost all academic and general writing describes China in the 1950s and 1960s as pursuing a misguided isolationist, independent and pro-Soviet economic policy. I have long subscribed to this viewpoint. But little is mentioned of the global economic and political environment in which China found itself which may have framed China’s decisions. A typical example is this introductory chapter from Brandt and Rawski’s China’s Great Economic Transformation (2008). More general descriptions of the period say similar things, like this or this description:
“In 1949, the Communist Party overthrew the incumbent government, and drove the remaining Nationalist off the mainland onto the island of Taiwan. This ushered in the communist ideals of socialism and other economic policies based on models in the Soviet Union. … In 1953, Mao adopted a policy of rapid industrialization, mobilizing the masses in an attempt to create factories and produce steel. This brought about the notoriously inefficient backyard furnaces into which the people threw their metal belongings. Mao’s launching of the Great Leap Forward in 1958 implemented his questionable agricultural policies and impractical industrial methods. Idealism quickly proved to be a poor booster of the economy as the Great Leap Forward ended in disaster. A massive food shortage killed millions of people as more moderate party leaders attempted to create better policies.”
I think a more balanced telling of the story would take into account the limitations on China’s choices resulting from restrictions brought about by the international environment.
Rather than seeing this as some kind of conspiracy, perhaps the historical work simply has not yet been done. It would take scholars working with cold-war archives in China as well as the US and perhaps other countries (USSR and European) to trace the influence of international factors on China’s domestic economic policy-making during this time. If anyone knows of histories of the period that do that, please point them out.
Looks like those clowns in Washington are thinking of new ways to go to war with China.
According to the 2013 NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) they actually believed the boloney about China having 3000 miles of tunnels which stores China’s nuclear weapons. This gives them a new excuse including the possibility of developing bunker busters with nuclear warheads in order to ‘neutralize’ these mythical tunnels.
Mister Unknown says
Boi Boi Huong wrote a good essay, perhaps it should be republished as an individual blog entry (if the author allows us to do so).
Charles Liu says
I hope the Pentagon’s reply to Congressional demand on China’s Great Tunnel of Nukes is “those Georgetown kids are nuts”:
RT claims it means the USG will have the legal means to initiate unilateral pre-emptive strike
time now methinks for China to unveil its own ABM program; perhaps even station nuclear missiles on Cuba.
Anyone can help us get in touch with Boi Boi Huong would be greatly appreciated. Thx perspectivehere for digging up these materials.
In trying to find out more about the relative impact of the international economic and political environment on China’s domestic economic policy, during the 1950s and 1960s, I came across this interesting reflection on Canada’s relationship with China during those days.
Titled “Canada and China at 40”, it is written by Prof. B. (Bernie) Michael FROLIC, Professor Emeritus Dept. of Political Science York University, Toronto. The abstract reads:
“In the 2010 Asia Lecture, Professor Frolic shared unique insights into the evolution of Canada-China relations focusing on the complex negotiations and diplomatic coup by which Canada established diplomatic ties with the People’s Republic in autumn 1970. One of Canada’s foremost China scholars, Frolic first visited China as a graduate student in 1965 and went on to become a Canadian diplomatic representative to the Communist state in the mid-1970s. Using first-hand experience, expert knowledge, and rare interview material, Frolic provided glimpses of how Canada’s diplomatic ties with China came about despite Cold War tensions. As he explained with candour and simplicity, although the decision to formalize ties with China brought a chill to Canada’s own relations with the United States for a time, it marked a coming of age for Canadian foreign policy: what became known as the Canadian Solution to the diplomatic quandary of the “One China” policy was eventually adopted by other countries. Frolic places the evolution of formal Canada-China relations in the context of milestones, from Norman Bethune to the controversial Canadian grain sales to China during its Great Famine, from the “missionary kids” who became Canada’s first crop of diplomats to China to the deft handling of the “One China” issue that brought Canada to diplomatic centre stage. Prominent Canadian China scholar, Prof. Ruth Hayhoe, offered an equally insightful response.”
My curiosity was piqued by these 10 words: “controversial Canadian grain sales to China during the Great Famine”.
I had never heard about this. I wondered how it was possible to sell grain to China during the time of the UN/US trade embargo.
“In 1960, we had begun to sell China large quantities of wheat, the first country to do so in the midst of China’s Great Famine. Alvin Hamilton, then Minister in the Diefenbaker government, recalls how, ‘Two Chinese gentlemen arrived in Montréal with suitcases full of money to buy wheat. I directed them to Winnipeg, the offices of the Canadian Wheat Board. Then I had to persuade Cabinet to approve the deal… It was for over 100 million dollars.’ ”
Later, Canada became the first Western country to grant diplomatic recognition to China in 1970.
“At the time, Canadian enthusiasm for what we had done was substantial. This was reinforced by Trudeau’s visit in 1973 when “practicalities” were settled and the two countries talked of a special relationship based on the continuing wheat sales, Norman Bethune, and Trudeau. When Trudeau met Zhou Enlai in Beijing, Zhou said that China owed Canada a debt of gratitude:
“Canada was the first country that granted us recognition in 1970.
It pushed a series of Western European countries into taking a similar
step. Your support of China in voting for our admission to the United
Nations in 1971 also brought similar results. You sold us wheat when
others would not.”
Prof. Ruth Hayhoe offers these reflections:
“The discussion of the significance of the Canadian decision to sell wheat to China at the time of famine was also very perceptive, reminding us of how courageous a political decision it was at the time. My own memory of that period was of being cruelly taunted by American cousins in Michigan, when I was visiting an aunt there, because “Canada was selling wheat to red China.” I had barely heard of China and had no idea why it was “red”, but my American cousins had clearly been well educated on the topic in their schools!”
It seems these grain / wheat sales were very important to China and quite a big deal internationally at the time. Funny how today nobody seems to know about it.
France is the first major western country to have diplomatic relationship with the PRC. It happened in 1964. However, UK also recognized the PRC the PRC in 1950 to protect their interest in HK but did not have embassies exchange.
I am in the process of writing a historical piece on GLF.
Thanks – I had not known that. From an American perspective, we tend to focus on “Nixon going to China”, and not bother learning about any other countries’ relationships with the PRC. Similarly in Taiwan, they focused a lot on “Carter’s derecognition” but not much about other countries’ treatment.
Regarding UK, China and HK, there is a whole complicated picture there in the Cold War that I’m just starting to learn, my curiosity piqued by Lawrence Mill’s “Protecting Free Trade: The Hong Kong Paradox 1947-1997” as I mentioned above.
I’m looking forward to reading your historical piece on the GLF. Good luck!
There is a 1958 French children’s movie (French: Cerf-volant du bout du monde, English: The magic of the kite, Chinese: 风筝). About half of the movie was shot in China (at a time during the GLF). Here are, 5 minutes excerpt, 1 minute trailer, and the full-length movie.
The movie was first released on the Children’s Day (6/1/1959) in China. After the CR, it was re-released in China — and your truly was in a jam-packed theater watching it as a young boy.
I agree, most American thought that it is after Nixon’s visit that China opened up. The truth is PRC has been building its foreign relation with other countries since 1949.
Even before Nixon’s visit, PRC was admitted back into the UN in 1971 DESPITE the fact that the US voted against it. (The US ambassador to UN was George Bush)
Thanks for the info. I will look up on the history of this movie.
Cisco’s vice president, Mike Quinn, is a former CIA officer. Anyways, this article by Marketplace’s Rob Schmitz, “Is China’s Huawei a threat to our national security?” should be read with China/Huawei completely swapped with U.S./Cisco.
I thought that this is a funny story. Apparently it is okay for companies to outsource your jobs, but an employee can’t outsource his own job:p.
I don’t understand. The Onion reported this a couple of years ago:
More American Workers Outsourcing Own Jobs Overseas
A new Department of Labor report finds personal outsourcing is revolutionizing how Americans don’t do their own work.
Why did CNN wait this long?
For once, I agree with what this NY times columnist says. Despite Barack Obama’s good looks and charisma, in terms of international diplomacy, he is probably the worst ones to date. Never mind the death from above drone attacks, when did he ever went to the countries that he doesn’t like like China and have some kind of diplomacy between the 2, none. The stupidest thing is that this ‘Nobel Peace Prize winner’ never use peace as the first or last resort.
if i had doubts about America’s leaders planning for an upcoming war against China or xyz asian country as far as your average american is concerned, then such doubts were blown out of the water when you consider the upswing in hollywood villains who’ve now become Asian *cough* Chinese *cough*.
IF it aint Red Dawn (2012) or the upcoming ‘olympus has fallen’, then it’s some variant.
Naturally in the US’ much diminished state, they can’t afford to go to war, let alone with China, so they’d much rather leave it to surrogates and catspaws like the filipinos or the japs. Better for Beijing if those two were destroyed economically and politically so as to deprive the US from having any sort of meaningful ;pivot’ into ASia.
Bravo to NPR.org for airing this interview, with Nick Turse, and sharing the following from his book, “Kill Anything That Moves.”
Cohen is actually one of the only somewhat reasonable voices on the NYT.
@pug_ster , @melektaus ,
I actually think little of Cohen’s piece.
Give diplomacy a chance? Why?
There is nothing intrinsically sanctimonious about diplomacy. Diplomacy is just a framework for power grabbing on the international stage. That’s all it is. Diplomacy in its most raw form is about arm twisting.
Consider the deaths China suffered in the Great Leap Forward. As discussed earlier (see, e.g., this comment by perspectivehere above and this comment by jxie in the Great Leap Forward thread by Ray), the international sanction against China is last-step cause of the great suffering of the Great Leap Forward. If millions really did die, they died at the hands of Diplomacy. Their deaths could have been easily averted if the West did not insist on a great international embargo against China.
Diplomacy can be just as ruthless as war.
In a real way also, war is but a form of diplomacy. The threat of war, or the use of war, often complements, and is not an alternative per se to diplomacy.
Consider both WWI and WWII. Both were preceded by diplomatic intrigue. War did not end it, but continued it. It was diplomacy that finally that the countries to sign the final documents, to make the arrangements that results in the current world order.
Diplomacy breakthroughs sure can lead to win-win for the parties involved. But this is usually not the case.
Diplomacy in its raw form is about making a trade. When both have things the other side want, fine.
But when one side is must stronger than the other, as the U.S. is relative the rest of the world (its military budget is over 10 times that of China, for example, and that doesn’t even count the military budget of the U.S. led alliance vs. China or rest of the world…; the economic might of the combined members of the Western military alliance also swamp the rest of the world, China included), simply seeing diplomacy as the savior to righting the world’s wrongs … is laughable.
When a strong encounter the weak, they can – through diplomacy – cause just as havoc as engaging in a real war. Diplomacy is as much a power game as war is.
Now … diplomacy can be carried out in a conscientious manner (e.g. to promote peace, even justice?). But so can war. Or politics in general.
But conscientiousness is not something inherent to diplomacy … or war … of politics. Nothing in Cohen’s piece suggests that.
I fail to see anything valuable in Cohen’s piece that lauds (or laments, as the case may be) diplomacy except his point that Obama is no saint. Obama’s foreign policy is as draconian as any of is predecessor’s. It’s not his fault, really. He inherited the whole power dynamics of the post cold war.
I would disagree with your notion. There’s a difference between diplomacy between 2 countries and forming some kind of alliance against other nations.
The 14th Dalai Lama finally bowed to pressure to publicly express objection to self-immolation behavior for the first time during an interview with NDTV, instead of giving content to this “heroic action” for many years before. I am wondering the reasons behind his change of altitude. Does it mean that he finally surrender to the Chinese government?
Diplomacy is never between just 2 nations – even in Cohen’s world.
Bosnia – it was a concerted diplomacy amongst nations, at one level a battle between those led by U.S. and Western Europe on one side, and those led by Russia on another.
Think about the nuclear weapons issue surrounding Iran and N. Korea (explicitly brought up by Cohen). It’s not just about U.S. and Iran. It’s about a tussle and hand wringing between many actors.
What does diplomacy between just 2 nations mean? That seems a very unnatural thing – to say, hey we can only practice diplomacy between two nations.
And even if you could have it, that doesn’t mean it cannot be coercive. Yes, diplomacy can be about getting what one wants by figuring out what another want and seeing if a bargain can be made. But that’s not what diplomacy is per se about. Diplomacy could equally be about figuring out what one wants and what the other wants, and figuring out a way to deny what others want until it hurts the other so much that the other gives in to what you want.
That’s what trade sanctions is about. It can involve an alliance, but it needs not be – and still be effective.
If you still think diplomacy need not be coercive, that’s fine, but that’s a very specific type of diplomacy.
For example, China likes to advocate for win-win diplomacy. But that’s a very specific type of diplomacy that even China may not be successful every time it attempts it.
Diplomacy per se is not about producing win-win. It’s about getting what you want without getting to war. That per se doesn’t preclude coercion or imposing great costs / pains to others.
Also – I fail to see it’s a capitulation. It’s another metamorphosis. He cannot risk the world catching on these self-immolation is just another type of centrally organized or centrally incentivized acts. Hence he has to make this pronouncement sooner or later.
It’s still often better than the alternative: war or sanctions. Granted it is not perfect but compared the death and starvation for a large population, it ain’t that bad.
Economic sanctions are usually not considered diplomacy but a form of coercion.
Just wan to dispel people’s severely rosy and distorted view of what diplomacy is. It involves a full-court press off tools to advance one’s national interests. It has nothing to do with morals, ethics, justice, a better way of doing things etc.
War is not always worst than diplomacy (or vice versa). What’s good or bad depends on the circumstances.
No one is saying that diplomacy is always better than war. Obviously sometimes war is necessary such as in cases of self defence. But just as obvious is that pointing out that sometimes killing a person is necessary such as in self defence or in euthanasia doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to reduce murder.
Charles Liu says
A very touching story:
NY times propaganda does it again. Chinese hackers infiltrate NY times. What NY times didn’t really want to elaborate is that source ip address of the hackers didn’t come from China, but from the US. It even says so in the 3rd page near the bottom.
To run their Times spying campaign, the attackers used a number of compromised computer systems registered to universities in North Carolina, Arizona, Wisconsin and New Mexico, as well as smaller companies and Internet service providers across the United States, according to Mandiant’s investigators.
The hackers also continually switched from one I.P. address to another; an I.P. address, for Internet protocol, is a unique number identifying each Internet-connected device from the billions around the globe, so that messages and other information sent by one device are correctly routed to the ones meant to get them.
source ip addresses to a few universities in various US states. Since NY times didn’t even bother to share the detailed information on why the Chinese was ever did this kind of backhack, we will never know.
This is the link, and the following two paragraphs are the excerpts from the full transcript.
NDTV: But Your Holiness, when you look at what’s happening inside Tibet, it’s been a very difficult year, because as I said there have been these immolations. And you have even prayed for the memory of those people who killed themselves, the monks, this time during the Kaal-chakara. Where do you reconcile what is happening, the immolations and the suicides with the basic principle of non-violence that your cause and your philosophy has always espoused? Where do you stand, philosophically, on these immolations?
The Dalai Lama: Now basically, the suicides are also a kind of violence. Now you see, again it depends on many other factors. Basically, violence and non-violence ultimately depend on a kind of motivation and purpose. So it’s difficult to sort of judge these individuals, their motivation. If the motivation is anger, hatred, like that, then negative. If the motivation, some different thing, then more positive motivation, then more difficult to judge like that. So anyway too much sensitive political issue. So I must demonstrate as a retired person.
so, just like what you said, the Dalai Lama has to make this pronouncement sooner or later, but he didn’t express his firm objection to the self-immloation, so I guess from his words, maybe he needs such kind of behavior, but he cannot express it publicly .
Another news on RELIGION, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/24/dalai-lama-delhi-gang-rapists-should-not-be-executed_n_2544785.html
Dalai Lama says Delhi Gang Rapists should not be executed, death penalty not the answer, this so-called spiritual leader is so quick to forgive the wrongs done to others.
I will write a post responding to this wishy washy logic.
According to this Dalai Lama, non-violence depends on your motivation. You can be perfectly violent to accomplish a just cause. The end always justifies the means, at least as far as violence is concerned.
Nothing wrong with that … but someone needs to translate his gibberish Buddhist beliefs in concrete terms…
I can’t imagine China would ever do something this barbaric or extreme. Millions of American dupes still believe the USA is the world leader in promoting human rights.
american exceptionalism and doublethink at its worst.
Israel commits genocide by coersively sterilizing Jewish Africans in Israel. The mainstream media remains silent.
1/3 of Israelis support violent attacks on African immigrant and a small majority thinks of them as a “cancer”. The whole society is barbaric.
You don’t usually see protests in American propaganda but I am surprised that they actually showed it.
Mulberry Leaf says
Shitty headline of the week from Salon.com:
“‘To get the gold, they will have to kill every one of us‘: The most-storied warrior tribe in Ecuador prepares to fight as the government sells gold-laden land to China”
And you bet that “Avatar” is the fifth word of the article. Basically, a ready-to-print press release by Sinophobic environmentalist groups who equate Chinese companies with the state. There are also Canadian companies working on the project, which was approved by a democratically-elected president “with heavy indigenous support”.
So I just reposted my second post on the statistics of the GLF death figures. https://hiddenharmonies.org/2013/02/did-millions-die-in-the-great-leap-forward-a-quick-note-on-non-contemporaneous-data/
An explanation is provided up front on why I took it back for almost a week.
My first post on the statistics of the GLF death figures can be found here. https://hiddenharmonies.org/2013/02/did-millions-die-in-the-great-leap-forward-a-quick-note-on-the-underlying-statistics/
That first post serves as an important foundation for the second post.
another great piece by professor thorsten pattberg on how China must not allow its own history to be hijacked by the western narrative of history:
Thanks for the link. It’s a good read. For many Chinese, they are ignorant of what Chinese culture, language, and thoughts have to offer. Myself included.
The thing that woke me up is seeing how pathetic the Western press is in whoring their own culture and thoughts as a ‘weapon’ to demonize others.
One disagreement I have with the article is in China needing to explain and protect her ideas. The way I see it is that once China becomes much richer, the West will naturally want to learn more Chinese. On the same token, the Chinese generally will then likely become arrogant and abandon their appetite for learning other languages and ideas. It’s all human nature.
I think what you say is true, but there’s more to it than that. Of course, being vacation in lovely Hawaii, it’s understandable that you should be outdoors and enjoying the scenery, rather than spending time typing long comments on a blog! So this is not a criticism. But I’d like to suggest some further ideas in this vein.
As you note, China being richer is fundamental. This means a larger number of students able to afford study, and able to become scholars and writers and other producers and interpreters of Chinese knowledge able to communicate in English (as well as other non-Chinese languages) and in Chinese. It takes years of personal effort and institutional support to nurture such scholars and talents. A richer and more economically vibrant Chinese society generates opportunities for careers for individuals seeking to tap into this economy. This provides opportunities for not only the population of ethnic Chinese, but also non-ethnic Chinese. Scholars like Professor Pattberg who have devoted years of their lives to Chinese studies play an enormous part in helping people understand the significance of Chinese intellectual and cultural traditions.
This doesn’t “just happen” as a result of China becoming wealthier – after all, individuals need to choose to study these fields, to find meaning in what they do, and the subject matter needs to be intellectually enriching for them to build a professional scholarly career upon. But of course, the wonderful thing is that the richness of Chinese traditional intellectual culture (including the period in the last 150 years as it has confronted western and modern traditions, as well as the fracturing of Chinese social and political institutions under the onslaught of Western (and Japanese) imperialism) provides so much of interest to the scholar that there is an endless profusion of material on which to generate new ideas and new knowledge for consumption in education, cultural and markets for applied knowledge.
One of the areas in which we have seen a proliferation of “Chinese terminology” in English language during the past few decades are terms relating to Chinese martial arts and medicine. The terms “kung fu”, “qi”, “Tai chi (Taiji)”, “yin yang”, “tao” (dao) and “feng shui” have become almost commonplace English language concepts.
Perhaps someone has already traced how these terms were transmitted and became popular knowledge in English, but I suspect this has been less due to professional academics and more due to widespread attention given to Chinese martial arts movies and above all the influence of Li Xiaolong (Bruce Lee) in the world outside China.
It is also due to the influence of dozens of practitioners of Chinese medicine who plied their crafts outside of Mainland China, and taught students (many of whom are not Chinese) who then went on to practice and teach and spread this knowledge to others.
One of the great examples of the latter is this book and author: The Web That Has No Weaver: Understanding Chinese Medicine. I haven’t actually read this book but I’ve seen so many references to it as to its importance in transmission of Chinese traditional medicine concepts in English that I thought it worthwhile to mention. I think it is in the fields of applied, practical knowledge such as medicine where people who acquire the knowledge will by necessity need to use concepts that derive from Chinese philosophy, and this means using Chinese terminology.
(I should note that, with respect to the reason to use Chinese terminology, it is not because of a particular nationalistic fetish for Chinese words, it is so that concepts can be communicated accurately and with fidelity to the original source documents and historical traditions.)
The title of the work is very interesting and I think important to contemplate. The quote below comes from a review of the book in the European Journal of Oriental Medicine:
“It is instructive to look back at the original passage from which Ted chose the book’s title, written by the renowned biologist and sinophile, Joseph Needham. In Volume 2 of Science and Civilisation in China there is a section which describes the Chinese insights into the inner workings of the world. Needham (as did also Derek Bodde), makes the case for the need to distinguish between the Chinese view of the internal arising of life which has its own implicit natural order and the western view of an external force imposing ‘laws of Nature’. Needham writes ‘..the conception of a net is close to that of a vast pattern. There is a web of relationships throughout the universe, the nodes of which are things and events. Nobody wove it, but if you interfere with its texture, you do so at your peril. In the following pages we shall be able to trace the later developments of this Web woven by no weaver, this Natural Pattern, until we reach, with the Chinese, something approaching a developed philosophy of organism’.”
I think there is much truth to this view. Traditional Chinese thinking is holistic and integrates natural and social philosophy. A traditional teacher of taijichuan once told me that all of Chinese thinking and practice of martial arts, medicine, health, cuisine is all linked to common ideas and similar concepts. I think this concept of a “web” or “net” that has no weaver is very fundamental (although Chinese themselves probably don’t use either of these terms to describe it, but it is a useful non-Chinese concept for explaining it).
The author, Professor Ted Kaptchuk, is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Harvard-wide Program in Placebo Studies and the Therapeutic Encounter (PiPS) at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts. He is also a lecturer in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
According to his bio:
“As a leading figure in placebo studies, a scholar of East Asian medicine and an academic authority on medical pluralism, Professor Kaptchuk’s career has spanned multiple disciplines, drawing upon concepts, research designs and analytical methods from the humanities and basic, clinical and social sciences.
In collaboration with his colleagues, Professor Kaptchuk has made significant contributions to the field of placebo studies through his investigations of the impact of placebos in various illnesses, the neurobiology of placebo effects, the experience of patients being treated by placebo, and various psychological, cultural, sociological and philosophical dimensions of placebos. Professor Kaptchuk has written well-regarded histories of placebo controls and the placebo effect, and significant ethical analyses of the use of placebos in clinical practice and research. His laboratory is currently investigating molecular signatures for placebo responses.
Professor Kaptchuk entered the field of placebo research after pioneering the study of East Asian medicine in the United States and Europe and establishing himself as a scholar of multiple healing traditions. He is the author of The Web That Has No Weaver: Understanding Chinese Medicine, a classic textbook, and was senior writer and researcher for the 9-hour BBC-TV series The Healing Arts, which documented healing practices around the world. In the 1980s, he directed the pain unit at Boston’s Lemuel Shattuck Hospital, a state-run chronic disease facility.”
It is interesting to see that Kaptchuk’s place within a mainstream medical school is primarily seen from the perspective of “placebo studies”.
As we know, a placebo is a medical treatment which is seen by mainstream modern medicine as ineffectual, but due to psychological or other factors, nonetheless has clinically significant effects on a patient.
Seen from the perspective of modern medicine, Chinese medicine is argued to be effective due to its placebo effects.
But the notion of “placebo effect” throws into question notions of how the body and mind function together, and perhaps there is something in the modern medicine’s modelling of the human body which is lacking. Some say it is because of the “mind-body dualism” inherent in modern medicine which is faulty, and a more holistic model that integrates the mind and body as one organism would be more accurate. Chinese medicine fulfills these functions. However, in a modern institutionalized medical system, the individualistic style of Chinese medicine has a hard time fitting in.
I see an analogy here to the place of Chinese in the world. Chinese themselves are becoming more important in the world and self-aware of their own importance, and yet the mainstream world has been accustomed to fitting China within a particular box which is somewhat delegitimizing, disempowering and belittling. Like Chinese medicine which was often seen as superstitious quackery that will be swept away by the march of modern scientific thinking, yet these traditional practices have survived and flourished in a way that was totally unexpected, and now live on in an uneasy co-existence with the modern western “allopathic medicine.”
Over time, I think traditional Chinese medicine will further develop and as more people become familiar with it, more of the traditional terminology will continue to enter the English language. This will be true in other fields as well. But it will take people who consciously seek to apply Chinese concepts and thinking, like Pattberg, Kaptchuk and others.
Perhaps we should make this into a post…
I like you point about Chinese medicine. I think it’s the same with Chinese philosophy, especially political philosophy. It’s seen as not legitimate, and when it does have application, it has very narrow one, almost a you got lucky type of thing this one time…
Going back to language imperialism – it’s about narrative and stories that are associated with terms and concepts… the presumptions, the pictures, the fears, the hopes, the ideals, the history, the worldviews that are invoked – that set the norms.
Think authoritarianism – the fears of “1984” … but that’s a degenerative form of authoritarianism – not the ideal form. It’s been hijacked.
Same thing with democracy – the hopes and ideals overrides the double standards, the double speak, the emptiness of the term.
Same with freedom… it’s rhetoric that masks politics that goes all the way down …
And with Chinese terms like junzi, shengren and rendao, etc. They are deemed as so quaint. So useless and irrelevant. It doesn’t work. We need people to check all the bastards in gov’t. And if you want to aim for good gov’t by inovoking shengren, mandates of heaven … you get laughed.
Someone here mentioned not long ago that the Chinese system doesn’t work, because every few hundred years, you get a bloody revolution.
Perhaps that’s a part of history, not Chinese system.
And who’s to say democracies also don’t go through that? If inequality continues to widen, if economy shrinks, if the West lose a major war and their status as neo-colonizer, will there really not be revolution ever?
We are too quick to judge. Too clouded by current ecosystem of ideas … framed in part by language imperialism – narrative imperialism – concept imperialism – thought imperialism – all possible because we so quickly forget our heritage … we do not have imagination to break out of the conditions we find ourselves … and we all want to join the powerful … want to move “forward.”
In terms of Chinese philosophy, you might be interested in reading this interesting essay I came across a couple of days ago. It’s written by JeeLoo Liu, a Taiwan-born professor of philosophy who was educated in Taiwan and the US, and now teaches at the State University of Fullerton in California. In her essay she discusses an attitude which is surprisingly prevalent among American philosophers, that “there is no such thing as Chinese philosophy”. She suggests ways in which this mentality is being challenged and changing, and various analytic approaches for bringing about the change, but it will only come about through patient, painstaking intellectual effort.
Converting Chinese Philosophy into the Analytic Context
Department of Philosophy California State University at Fullerton
I think the most interesting part of the essay was when she departed from the abstract and academic, and began to describe some of her personal experiences in dealing with questions of Chinese philosophy in a western setting, and how that has influenced her research interests and writings. Although she does not focus on Chinese political philosophy, nonetheless her work should be of interest to anyone who wants to understand how Chinese philosophical concepts and terminology are getting on in the world of thought. Here is an excerpt:
“§ Analytic Comparative Philosophy Approach to Chinese Philosophy: Background
I personally have been taking the analytic and comparative approach. I prefer this combination both because of my personal training and because of my audience. I studied Chinese philosophy in Taiwan, and obtained my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at National Taiwan University. I had a deep passion for Chinese philosophy and my Master’s thesis was on a Chinese philosopher of the seventeenth century. After I went to the U.S. for my doctorate degree, however, I devoted my attention fully to analytic philosophy since that was what most major philosophy programs (including my own — University of Rochester) offered at the time. I worked primarily on philosophy of mind and philosophy of language. For about ten years, I hardly thought about Chinese philosophy. After I started teaching in Upstate New York, students often approached me to plead for offering Chinese philosophy course. Initially I always declined, because after being fully immersed in the analytic philosophical mode, I found Chinese philosophical terms vague and Chinese philosophical argumentation sloppy. But eventually I gave in to students’ requests and offered an experimental course on Chinese philosophy. I aimed to explain what I had felt to be in my blood and in my bones, to students who had not been brought up in the Chinese culture, who were not familiar with the philosophical terms commonly used by the Chinese people. For this purpose, I found the analytic style to be the most helpful. I would analyze the philosophical terms to make them less mystifying. I would lay out the philosophers’ argumentation and ask for students’ reflection or critique. I would compare Chinese philosophical views to those Western views that my students knew about. After one experimental course, I found the result encouraging. I felt that using the analytic style made Chinese philosophy more accessible to my students, and I also began to see more and more points of common concerns and similar ideas between Chinese thought and Western thinking. There was no book that took a systematic analytic approach to Chinese philosophy at the time, and thus I took upon myself to write such a book. My book, An Introduction to Chinese Philosophy: from Ancient Philosophy to Chinese Buddhism, came out in 2006 by Blackwell Publishing. In this book, I employed the analytic approach that emphasizes the analysis of concepts, the formulation of arguments, the examination of basic assumptions, and the pursuit of clarity in language.
I am certainly not alone in my endeavors. The development of explicating Chinese philosophy with the analytic approach started way before me, and I relied on the early scholars’ analyses as my guideline. Furthermore, there are now many Chinese scholars who have gone through similar intellectual paths to mine, and they too felt the need to convert Chinese philosophy into the analytic context. There are also many non-Chinese philosophers who came out of the analytic training, and they found it natural to discuss the issues in Chinese philosophy with the analytic approach. I have seen this trend in North America, in Hong Kong, in Taiwan and in China. In his article “The Analytic and Comparative Studies of Chinese Philosophy,” Cheng-yang Li observes that there are three major groups of scholars who take this approach. The first group includes the Chinese scholars who went to the U.S. in the eighties from various philosophy programs in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Their native language is Chinese, and they have received solid training in analytic philosophy. They have produced many comparative studies from the analytic approach. The second group includes non-Chinese philosophers who have received extensive training in Chinese, and their proficiency in reading original Chinese texts enables them to produce quality research on Chinese philosophy. The third group includes philosophers who came from Western philosophical training but became interested in Chinese philosophy on their own. They mostly do not read Chinese texts, and must rely on translations. Their background training in Western philosophy, in particular, in analytic philosophy, inclines them to take a comparative analytic approach to Chinese philosophical issues as well. (Li 2007, 262)
The trend is also spreading back to areas in the Chinese-speaking world. In 2005, National Cheng Chi University in Taipei hosted a conference on “Chinese Philosophy in Analytic Perspectives.” In 2009, the Association of Chinese Philosophers in North America (ACPA) worked with the Institute of Thoughts and Culture in Modern China as well as the Philosophy Department of East China Normal University to co-sponsor an international workshop on “Chinese Philosophy and Analytic Philosophy.” Another society, the International Society for Comparative Studies of Chinese and Western Philosophy (ISCWP), has also organized numerous conferences on the interchanges between Chinese philosophy and analytic philosophy in China. These are merely the more recent events.
§ Analytic Comparative Philosophy Approach to Chinese Philosophy: An Application
One basic premise in converting Chinese philosophy into the analytic context is that the interpreter must have a solid understanding of the original texts, so that the analytic treatment would not distort the philosophical content of the original text. Another important requirement is that the contemporary interpreter must appreciate the original texts in their social, historical contexts, so that the new interpretation does not result in awkward “anachronism” (using Li’s term, 268). Finally, I think the conversion should be done systematically, holistically, so that individual works would not be taken out of their intellectual lineage and be injected with alien notions.
I believe that to systematically convert Chinese philosophy into the analytic context, we need to explicate the fundamental issues to which analytic philosophers can relate. As Donald Munro puts it, we have to “present philosophical findings accessible to a broad audience… Present the human problem. Do not just present the textual problem. That is not of interest to people outside of Sinology.” (Cheung & Liu 2008) I see the common concerns shared by Western and Chinese thinkers alike, and this is where I would establish my comparisons. I begin with metaphysics, in particular, with the Chinese cosmology. To begin with, Confucians have the fundamental conviction that the world has always existed, is full of vitality and is governed by a certain principle, which is called Dao or the Way. Daoism, on the other hand, has its distinctive thesis that Being comes from Nonbeing. Dao to Laozi stands for an objective reality that is not a perceptible, describable, or even humanly conceivable. It has also been seen as the principle, the origin, the motivator, etc. of all things. Since Truth is Dao, we humans can never know the real Truth. Chinese Buddhism, to give it a rough depiction, originates from the belief that the phenomenal world is basically the construction of the mind’s conceptions as well as other mental activities. These three different worldviews co-exist in Chinese philosophy, and the validity of each view has been the focus of debates among many Chinese philosophers in history. From the basic metaphysical differences generate different views on human perception and conception. Confucianism affirms the possibility of man’s grasping the Truth, and such persons who not only can grasp the ultimate Truth, but also can institute moral codes for human society, are called ‘the sages.” Since Daoism denies that Dao can be captured by human conceptions and words, Dao is cognitively closed to us. Chinese Buddhism, finally, claims that only when we can let go of our conceptions of and emotional attachments to material things, can we gain the enlightenment that all is empty of its own nature. Therefore, knowledge hinders true understanding. I characterize these metaphysical/epistemological differences as that between realism (Confucianism) and anti-realism (Daoism and Buddhism). I have also contrasted Laozi’s view and Zhuangzi’s view as that between metaphysical realism and internal realism in my “A Daoist Conception of Truth.” (In Comparative Approaches to Chinese Philosophy, (ed.) Bo Mou, Ashgate Publishing Ltd, 2003.)
Secondly, the basic element of Chinese metaphysics is qi, which is different from the notion of matter in Western metaphysics. Qi is dynamic while matter is inactive; qi penetrates everything while matter is solid; qi is constantly changing while matter is static. Chinese cosmology treats qi as existentially prior to matter – the condensation of qi constitutes matter. Everything is comprised of qi, and the various degrees of purity or impurity determine the levels of existence. Qi is not volitional; hence, our creation is not the result of any intentional production. Qi condenses and rarefies, but it never gets exhausted or even diminished. Qi pervades the universe; in other words, the universe is simply the totality of qi in perpetual motion and constant alteration. In this cosmology, the cosmos is viewed as being composed of a great force (qi), which, even though having no mind of its own, has an intrinsic order in its movement. This great force permeates everything in the cosmos; hence, everything is interconnected in this organic whole. To understand Chinese metaphysics, one must appreciate the notion of qi. Based on this basic notion, Chinese philosophy develops a holistic approach to human beings’ relation to the world of nature as well as humans’ interpersonal relationships. If we see other things as made of the same qi as I am, then the boundaries between others and me become fluid and transient. This metaphysical conception of the world also forms the basis of Chinese moral philosophy.
Another important comparison is frequently made between Chinese ethical views and Western ethical views. I cannot possibly do justice to the richness of the discussions that have emerged so far. Here I will just state what I perceive to be the main spirits of Confucianism and Daoism. In the Confucian moral society, people are categorized into different groups according to their varying degrees of moral cultivation. One who is morally exemplary is called “the superior person” (junzi, sometimes translated as “the gentleman”). Those who not only have superior moral characters themselves, but also help others cultivate themselves, are men of humanity (men of ren); and finally, those who can extend benevolence to all people and bring succor to the multitude, are the sages (sheng). The complete moral self-cultivation is a process that one is committed to undertake throughout one’s life. The highest moral goal is world peace and harmony, such that everyone is free from starvation and brutal death. What this ethics characterizes is a virtue ethics that stresses benevolence and altruism. Daoism takes a radically different approach to ethics. Both Laozi and Zhuangzi reject the moral preaching of Confucians, and they blame ethical codes as part of the corruption of the world. Laozi takes the fundamental virtue to be ‘inactivity’ (wu-wei). We can perhaps say that Laozi’s notion of ‘wu-wei’ incorporates three functions: (1) when things are running well, do nothing to interfere; (2) when the sage has to do something, do it with no personal, selfish desire; (3) in all his acts, the sage should conform to Dao, the natural pattern of things, and refrain from introducing human intervention. The method of inactivity works best when people are in a primitive society with very basic natural needs. Laozi thinks that all unnatural desires are derived from artificial conditioning from society. Zhuangzi also saw the distinction between morality and immorality as an artificial separation introduced by people like Confucius. The ethically ideal state, according to Zhuangzi, is a state where people are naturally moral without even thinking about the notion of morality itself. The ultimate moral goal for Daoism is to be in accord with the natural state of being, which demands ridding oneself of one’s preferences, prejudices and meddling. It has often been pointed out that the Confucian ethical view is a form of social holism — everyone is interconnected in a larger social web; Daoism, on the other hand, leads to a form of spiritual individualism — one aims to free oneself from conventional bondages.
I am now working on my second book that continues the analytic treatment to the later period of Chinese philosophy. The title of this book project is Metaphysics, Mind and Morality: An Analytic Approach to Neo-Confucianism. ‘Neo-Confucianism’ typically refers to the revival of Confucianism developed between the eleventh and the eighteenth century in China, spanning over four dynasties in Chinese history: Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties. Comparable to what “Modern Philosophy” (between the 17th and the 19th Century in Europe) accomplished in Western philosophy, Neo-Confucianism also revitalized classical philosophy and brought the traditional philosophical discourse to a new dimension. Neo-Confucianism was a new form of Confucianism that came after the dominance of Daoism and subsequently Buddhism in the Chinese intellectual circle. The transformation of Confucianism as a result of the challenge and influence of Daoism and Buddhism was a most remarkable and significant development in the history of Chinese philosophy. Neo-Confucianism invigorates the metaphysical investigation in the classic Yijing and incorporates different concepts and perspectives from Daoism as well as Chinese Buddhism into its discourse.
The aim of my book project is to explicate Neo-Confucianism in its major themes and to see how they exemplify a coherent underlying concern: the relation between Nature and man. Neo-Confucians were fundamentally concerned with the role humans play in the moral reconstruction of the world around them. In their view, humans not only endow the world of nature with meaning, but also share moral attributes with natural phenomena. Their worldview combines metaphysics and morality, and the connecting point is the human mind. Hence the title for my book: Metaphysics, Mind and Morality.
The organization of this book is thematic rather than chronological. The major common themes in Neo-Confucianism include: (1) the relationship between the two constituents of the universe—cosmic principle and cosmic force (qi); (2) the debate on whether human nature, or the human mind, is the exemplification of this cosmic principle; (3) the analysis of the roots of human good and evil as a way to answer the question of what makes human morality possible. The book has three parts: Part One deals with the Neo- Confucian metaphysics, and I shall explicate the commitment to moral realism in their metaphysical view. Part Two examines their views on human nature and their explanations of the relation between man and Nature. Part Three investigates Neo- Confucians’ various forms of virtue ethics, their answers to the problem of evil and their proposals for moral education or moral transformation. The ancient Chinese philosophers’ debate on whether human nature is good or bad was given a new dimension in the discourse of Neo-Confucians. They were concerned with the foundation for morality, and they traced the possibility of morality to the various aspects of human mind — desires, sentiments, will, reason, etc. In this context, I will also bring in current discussion of moral psychology into my explication of Neo-Confucianism.
The analytic approach focuses more on the analysis of key philosophical concepts and the examination of the philosophers’ basic assumptions. The analysis in this book will draw comparisons to analytic philosophy in its main issues and concerns. This approach attempts to bring Neo-Confucianism into the context of contemporary philosophy and to see how those issues in the Neo-Confucian terminology are actually quite akin to the issues dealt with by Western philosophers. It aims to show that even though Chinese philosophers use different terms, narrative strategies and analytic modes, their concerns are often similar to those of their Western counterparts: for example, What is the nature of reality? Wherein lies the foundation of our moral values? Is human nature fundamentally good or bad? How do human beings connect to the whole universe?
What is the foundation of our knowledge of the world? My goal is to make these issues accessible to Western thinkers by shedding light on their universality through the analytic explication of these texts.
I recently taught a mini-course in Taiwan to a group of young scholars and undergraduate students who were interested in Neo-Confucianism, and I used that chance to present my analytic approach to Neo-Confucianism. Even though at the beginning, some students were skeptical about whether the application of philosophical analysis and Western philosophical conceptual schemes that I used for comparison were suitable for understanding Neo-Confucianism, eventually my students all affirmed the value of taking Neo-Confucianism to a different level. It is very encouraging for me to see their response. I understand that the comparative and analytic path is just starting and there will always be scholars who would choose a different path. I think that any philosophical tradition needs multiple developments and there is no need to oppose the other paths even if one believes the path one takes is the best one. What is crucial for those who wish to convert Chinese philosophy into the analytic context is to produce quality works that “meet the standards of the best ‘mainstream’ philosophers.” (Van Norden, Newsletter).”
I think the prospect of these developments is pretty exciting. The years ahead should be very intellectually stimulating and rewarding for those who are following the developments of Chinese thought and philosophy in a western context.
here’s something you’ll never read in the western press:
Chinese doctors helping the wounded and sick in Mali whilst the French and Anglo-Americans devastate the country for their own greed and power.
Chances are, if this story did appear in a western outlet, it’d be written in a way so as to dilute the human courage and moral supremacy of these individuals for no other reason than because they happen to be Chinese. Small wonder the African people have come to love the Chinese.
hats off to Olivia Rosenman for an actual objective piece.
“Britain’s colonial shame: Slave-owners given huge payouts after abolition”
David Cameron’s ancestors were among the wealthy families who received generous reparation payments that would be worth millions of pounds in today’s money
For those of you interested in following the current 12th National Congress, someone has now uploaded the opening press conference by Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying (傅莹):
18:40 – Reuter journalist asks about China’s defense spending
34:04 – Japanese journalist asking about Diaoyu Islands
so today i had it in me to visit the website of The Economist, and as you do, i clicked on the China section and lo and behold, i had to stop myself from punching the screen of my laptop. The sheer arrogance and ‘head stuffed in own arse’ nature of the writers had me thinking that it was a good idea that writers of the Economist cowardly hide behind anonymity. If they were forced to defend their racist and 19th century views, they’d b mocked to death and forced to commit suicide.
i kid you not, one of the links i had the misfortune of witnessing went something like this: ‘ if China wants our respect, they should cease hacking’.
this is incredibly rich and at the risk of stating the obvious but as was pointed out in the thread on the mandiant report, the anglo nation of the US has been responsible for Flame and Stuxnet. If anyone wanted to stop cracking in this day and age, it sure aint the anglos who have the moral high ground.
Rest in Peace, Hugo Chavez,
It’s disturbing to see how many Western pundits/commentators/bloggers are crowing over the passing of this great man. i say great man because he successfully defended Venezuela’s independence against the bullying of elements within the US.
Perhaps in time, China ought to ‘pivot’ to the Americas in order to support these carribean nations against the bullying hegemony of the US.
Charles Liu says
Speaking of Hugo Chavez, notice how the media narrative in US has been polite. I wonder if it has anything to do with we wanting a chance for the pro-US oligarchs to get back into the Venezuela oil biz?
Here’s another one that shows how manipulated the media narrative is. Try Googling “Syria rebel UN peacekeeper” – 25,700. Now add “hostage” – 1,870. This clearly shows there’s an aversion to avoid the term “hostage” in the official narrative of Syrian rebels which we support and arm thru gulf state intermediaries.
aye charles liu,
and consider that in the wake of Chavez’s passing, his 2IC, VP Maduro promptly deported 2 Air Attaches from the US embassy due to their activities of attempting to foment civil strife. As Pepe Escobar puts it, the gringos never learn.
Given that Maduro (along with the Iranians) believe that Chavez may have been poisoned in the Yasser Arafat fashion (via polonium poisoning), i think Venezuela will be a long time in returning to the US hegemony.
Western propaganda complains women’s rights in China but maybe we should be focusing on men’s rights?
looks like the filipinos are off picking a fight with whoever gets in their way. Seems elements of the flipino political establishment are agitating for a confrontation with malaysia over the sultanate of Sulu. God this is really rich. And delicious.
i tell ya something; it seems like we have idiots in the Australian government who believe they can forestall or overturn China’s ascendancy if they hmmmm discriminate against Chinese investment in Australia, little realising the damage this is doing, not only to Australia’s reputation as a venue for FDI, but also to Australian businesses desperately needing investment.
Take for eg our dairy industry as China’s richest man had this to say:
this, in the wake of James Packer (Australia’s richest man) and Kerry Stokes (Head of Seven Group in Australia) saying quite vocally that the Australian government (and yes that includes the press) ought to show more respect to China. Think of it like this, if you want someone to invest in your pet project, do you spit on his face and insult his mother? i should hope not, yet that’s effectively what many in Canberra are doing. Perhaps they get the psychic joy out of believing that yeah! they’re scoring one for the Democracy, Fuck Yeah, team. It just goes to show that they’re unfit to look out for Australia’s best interests.
Black Pheonix says
Yes, supposedly over 40 are killed now in the dispute, including 4 Malaysian police officers.
This kind of militarism rise when the economies are in the toilet. We see it repeating itself in Japan, Philippines, and even in US.
it’s also the kind of militarism, comprador elites like Aquino need to drum up in order to distract the public from their failed policies.
ultimately, i think Beijing’s been smart vis-a-vis their strategy against the US containment; isolating troublemakers like Japan and reaching a modus vivendi with the White House. This both undercuts the so called ‘US pivot’ and reveals the futility of getting on China’s bad side. It’s the reason Vietnam and Manila have been so quiet lately, though it’s not from lack of irrational nationalistic nutjobs.
Black Pheonix says
Unfortunately for US and Philippines, US doesn’t have the Littoral naval vessels needed to operate in the shallow waters in the disputed reef area.
US navy’s mine clearing ship ran aground in Philippines water near the disputed area, leaked oil, and had to be dismantled to be removed.
(A Chinese frigate also ran aground near the area, but managed to get off relatively quickly). China also has almost 100 “Sea Cat” litoral vessels that can operate without any problems in these areas.
Bottomline, US might not be able to help them even if they wanted to.
haha, that’s hilarious.
even the Satrap to anglo-american interests, Singaporean godfather, Lee Kuan Yew acknowledges that China would ‘demolish’ (his exact words) the US Navy from the Western Pacific in the case of a conflict.
Fact is, the Chinese military is becoming more powerful, and the Pentagon is learning to respect that, given the priority of military exchanges between the 2.
So what lesson can we derive from all this, and the events of the last 200 years or so?
Ultimately, the lesson to be learnt here is that moral righteousness aint going to matter when you’re dealing with Hobbesian and machiavellian imperialists, which characterizes Western foreign policy, as the Qing Dynasty learnt to its detriment in their dealings with the opium peddling British, the conniving Tsarists, and the raping Japanese.
When dealing with such beasts in human skins, the only language they can understand is force and power, either subtle and soft like economic levers or hard and uncompromising like thermonuclear warheads MIRVed and targeted at Western polities.
Black Pheonix says
Here are some photos of the USS Guardian being dismantled:
Filippinos protested against the US navy ship leaking oil, in front of US embassy on 1/25/2013. Protesters splattered the police with red paint, and the anti-riot police had to forcibly disperse the crowd.
Black Pheonix says
Apparently, there has always been the fashion of “paint-bombing” protests in Philippines.
They even “paint-bombed” Hillary Clinton’s car in 2011, when she visited Philippines.
WOW, we didn’t hear much about that scandal in the Western media.
Here is a barely mentioned clip from BBC:
And that’s from an “ALLY” of US!
Now, what was that whole outraged bit that some Expats wrote about Chinese protesters who threw foam cups at Gary Locke’s car??
Seriously guys, Chinese protesters are just picking up the “NORMS” and the “cultures” of protests from US “allies”. What’s the big deal??
Mulberry Leaf says
What Japanese history lessons leave out, BBC story from 13 March 2013
“Former history teacher and scholar Tamaki Matsuoka holds Japan’s education system responsible for a number of the country’s foreign relations difficulties.
‘Our system has been creating young people who get annoyed by all the complaints that China and South Korea make about war atrocities because they are not taught what they are complaining about,’ she said.”
Charles Liu says
Should Chinese media call this guy “America’s most prominent dissident”? Maybe he torched a nuclear sub to take a stand against war or nuclear. Get him an award and put up some prize money? Then take a picture of an empty chair to show how evil America is?
I’m just kidding, stuff like this never happens.
I don’t know how obvious you can get about US funded Al-Qaeda are being set loose in Syria right now.
This video tells about the FSA (Free Syrian Army) who are killing Syrian Soldiers after being captured. What’s funny is that if you are looking at 0:46 in the video. It clearly shows a truck with the Al Qaeda flag on it. Are people working in CBS that dumb or blind?
the most ironic thing would be if people actually decided to prosecute the US based on US based laws on aiding a registered terrorist organisation
Bill Clinton $80 million payday
“There was a kind of inflection point during the five-year period between 1997 and 2003 — the late Clinton and/or early Bush administration — when all the rules just went away. You went from a period, a regime, where people did have at least some concern about going to jail, to a point where everything is legal, and derivatives couldn’t be regulated at all and nobody went to jail for anything. And looking back I would say that this period definitely started under Clinton. You absolutely cannot blame this on George W. Bush.” – Charles Ferguson of Inside Job
“I never had any money until I got out of the White House, you know, but I’ve done reasonably well since then.” Bill Clinton
On December 21, 2000, President Bill Clinton signed a bill called the Commodities Futures Modernization Act. This law ensured that derivatives could not be regulated, setting the stage for the financial crisis. Just two months later, on February 5, 2001, Clinton received $125,000 from Morgan Stanley, in the form of a payment for a speech Clinton gave for the company in New York City. A few weeks later, Credit Suisse also hired Clinton for a speech, at a $125,000 speaking fee, also in New York. It turns out, Bill Clinton could make a lot of money, for not very much work.
Today, Clinton is worth something on the order of $80 million (probably much more, but we don’t really know), and these speeches have become a lucrative and consistent revenue stream for his family. Clinton spends his time offering policy advice, writing books, stumping for political candidates, and running a global foundation. He’s now a vegan. He makes money from books. But the speaking fee money stream keeps coming in, year after year, in larger and larger amounts.
Most activists and political operatives are under a delusion about American politics, which goes as follows. Politicians will do *anything* to get reelected, and they will pander, beg, borrow, lie, cheat and steal, just to stay in office. It’s all about their job.
This is 100% wrong. The dirty secret of American politics is that, for most politicians, getting elected is just not that important. What matters is post-election employment. It’s all about staying in the elite political class, which means being respected in a dense network of corporate-funded think tanks, high-powered law firms, banks, defense contractors, prestigious universities, and corporations. If you run a campaign based on populist themes, that’s a threat to your post-election employment prospects. This is why rising Democratic star and Newark Mayor Corey Booker reacted so strongly against criticism of private equity – he’s looking out for a potential client after his political career is over, or perhaps, during interludes between offices. Running as a vague populist is manageable, as long as you’re lying to voters. If you actually go after powerful interests while in office, then you better win, because if you don’t, you’ll have basically nowhere to go. And if you lose, but you were a team player, then you’ll have plenty of money and opportunity. The most lucrative scenario is to win and be a team player, which is what Bill and Hillary Clinton did. The Clinton’s are the best at the political game – it’s not a coincidence that deregulation accelerated in the late 1990s, as Clinton and his whole team began thinking about their post-Presidential prospects.
Corruption used to be more overt. Lyndon Johnson made money while in office, by illicitly garnering lucrative FCC licenses. It was the first neoliberal President, Jimmy Carter, who began the post-career payoff trend in the Democratic Party. In 1978, Archer Daniels Midland CEO Dwayne Andreas convinced Carter to back ethanol subsidies. After Carter lost to Reagan, he faced financial problems, as his peanut warehouse had been mismanaged and was going bankrupt. AMD stepped in, overpaying for the property. But Carter wasn’t nearly as skilled as Clinton, because he didn’t stay in the club.
Over the course of the next ten years after his Presidency, Clinton brought in roughly $8-10 million a year in speaking fees. In 2004, Clinton got $250,000 from Citigroup and $150,000 from Deutsche Bank. Goldman paid him $300,000 for two speeches, one in Paris. As the bubble peaked, in 2006, Clinton got $150,000 paydays each from Citigroup (twice), Lehman Brothers, the Mortgage Bankers Association, and the National Association of Realtors. In 2007, it was Goldman again, twice, Lehman, Citigroup, and Merrill Lynch. He didn’t just reap speaking fee cash from the financial services sector – corporate titans like Oracle and outsourcing specialist Cisco paid up, as did many Israel-focused groups, Middle Eastern interests, and universities. Does this explain the finance-friendly, oil-friendly and Israel First-friendly policies pursued by the State Department under Hillary Clinton? Who knows? But if you could legally deliver millions in cash to the husband of a high-level political official, it wouldn’t hurt your policy goals.
Speaking fee money isn’t just money, it is easy money. In one appearance, for one hour, Clinton can make $125,000 to $500,000. At an hourly rate, that’s between $250 million to $1 billion annually. It isn’t the case that Clinton is a billionaire, but it is the case that Clinton can, whenever he wants, make money as quickly and as easily as a billionaire. He is awash in cash, and cash is useful. Cash finances his lifestyle. Cash helped backstop his wife’s Presidential campaign when it was on the ropes.
And these speaking fees aren’t the only money Clinton got, it’s just the easiest cash to find because of disclosure laws. Apparently, Clinton’s firm apparently had a paid $100k+ a month consulting relationship with MF Global, and Clinton and Tony Blair have teamed up to help hedge funds raise money. His daughter worked for a giant hedge fund and political ally (Avenue Capital). And Clinton has unusual relationships with billionaires and Dubai-based investors.
Bill and Hillary Clinton are the best at what they do, but they aren’t the only ones who do it. In fact, this is what politics is increasingly about, not elections, but staying in the club. Erskine Bowles, former White House Chief of Staff, lost two Senate elections. But he’s on the board of Facebook and Morgan Stanley, as well as authoring the highly influential Simpson-Bowles plan to gut Social Security and Medicare. Tom Daschle, who lost a Senate race in 2004, is a millionaire who in large part crafted Obama’s health care plan. Former Senator Judd Gregg is now at Goldman Sachs. Current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel made $12 million in between his stint at the Clinton White House which ended in 2000 and his election to Congress in 2002. Former Congressman Harold Ford, now at Morgan Stanley, is routinely on TV making political claims. Larry Summers is on the board of the high-flying start-up Square. Meanwhile, Russ Feingold, a Senator who did go after Wall Street, is a professor in the Midwest. Eliot Spitzer is a struggling TV host and writer.
In other words, Barack Obama and his franchise are emulating the Clinton’s, and are speaking not to voters, but to potential post-election patrons. That’s what their policy goals are organized around. So when you hear someone talking about how politicians just want to be reelected, roll your eyes. When you hear an argument about the best message or policy framework to use for reelection, stop listening. That’s not what politicians really care about. Elections in many ways are just like regular season games in basketball – they are worth winning, but it’s not worth risking an injury. The reason Obama won’t prosecute bankers, or run anything but a very mild sort of populism, is because he’s not really talking to voters. He just wants to be slightly more appealing than Romney. He’s really talking to the people who made Bill and Hillary Clinton a very wealthy couple, his future prospective clients. We don’t call it bribery, but that’s what it is. Bill Clinton made a lot of money when he signed the bill deregulating derivatives and repealed Glass-Steagall. The payout just came later, in the form of speaking fees from elite banks and their allies.
Ironically, Clinton has come to express regret about deregulating derivatives. He has not given the money back.
There are four kinds of corruption, from lowest to highest :
(1) cash bribery. I don’t have to explain what it is.
(2) asset bribery. For example, sell an apartment to government officers at price much lower than market value.
(3) controlling business opportunities. If there are good business opportunities, everyone wants a piece of it. So those who can get the offers or contracts are the ones who make money. If you have family business, being a powerful politician secures the business opportunities for your family business in lot of ways. People will love to give the contracts to your family business compared to other available options. Of course you will return the favors in favor through the political power you have, like giving them state contracts, or paying them higher for the contract.
(4) mutual trust between politicians and businessmen, that is, politicians work for businessmen when they are in office and believe he will get in return after leaving office. Why do you think Clinton has given so many 5 min speeches, each paid tens of thousands of dollars? While Brooksley Born, the one who tried to contain Wall St, was never given such opportunities?
To Allen and yinyang,
I will really appreciate if the two posts above will start a new thread.
The link for the article:
The article will be deleted once it gets attention, that is why I posted the whole article.
Can anyone recommend a good site or blog that details the latest in Chinese scientific research and development?
yinyang and other contributors to HH,
recently, President Xi visited President Putin in Moscow, and i really think this event deserves a post of its own, especially in light of the geopolitical ramifications or ‘blowback’ to the Obama administration’s Pivot to Asia AKA containment of China.
So it appears Obama’s war rhetoric and posturing has cemented an anti US alliance in the form of Russia and China. It really bears thinking (pun intended) that Washington’s desire to preserve supremacy by attempting to foment insurrection with the uighurs in 2009 and war with india over the disputed border and then switching to active containment via the pivot in 2010 and 2011, has resulted in a de facto if not de jure anti-US imperialism alliance.
We see this with the blocking motions in the UNSC, and even the BRICS has the potential to act as a counterweight to the anglo-american dominance in finance and economics, what with the proposal to form a BRICS bank. (as a sidenote, Japan’s proposed entry into the TPP would render it subject to the tender mercies of the US backed and owned, World Bank).
So what has Obama/Hillary/Panetta gained in their desire to contain and constrain China? a increasingly suspicious China that’s just made a military alliance with the poster boy of anti NATO imperialism, Putin.
Perhaps I have gotten too old or am under Allen’s spell (since Allen generally find politics petty), because at the moment I feel we are infinitely far from those geopolitics and our views mind as well be fart in the wind. While Russia and China might find it mutually beneficial getting closer at the moment, China and America have genuine interest to find strategic trust too. I think containment is not the right word to characterize America’s stance towards China. Cooperatition is much more accurate in my opinion. American media may talk a much tougher game, but I still think at the end of the day, it’s all about mutual benefits. Having won the Cold War, America was in honeymoon mood. Yet, so quickly, she is now in financial trouble. The BRICS are hungry to develop their own societies, so as long as there is mutual benefit, they will cooperate.
hey yinyang, no you’re right, the US and China ought to seek strategic trust, though i still stand by what i say about there being a massive trust deficit coming from the American strategy of pivoting. They should indeed seek the hidden harmonies, and i believe the media ought to reflect such views rather than pander to the most racist and lowbrow elements. THat’s not really something you’ll find in Chinese newspapers, might i add, with the exception of Apple Daily.
There’s a reason why so many Australian businessmen voice such concerns over the government and media’s disrespect towards the Chinese-because there has been disrespect and veiled racism. There has been active attempts to thwart the restoration of China’s place in the world because insecure men in the West worry about their own inadequacies, hence the full spectrum assault on any and all things Chinese. And it is because of this disrespect and active attempts at containment that Beijing has been forced to form this de jure alliance against American interests.
Looks like while Barry got into bed with Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, the earth moved & its axis shifted somewhere between Moscow and Beijing.
Welcome to the Other New World Order, where countries big & small have the right to follow their own star on the path to development, unlike the other New World Order where all must follow America’s domineering ` do as we say, not as we do’ dictum. Or else!, says Hillary.
Obama must be one bad lover. (Michelle, please tell). He cocked up on the re-set in relations with Moscow, then the G2 proposal with Beijing went dead.
Now the Russian and Chinese presidents have fallen into each other’s arms and sailed off together on good ship RussHina, preferably to strains of the classic tune Red Sails In The Sunset. Farewell, ChiMerica!
The Sino-Russian entente is glaringly under-reported in lapdog Western media; much attention instead on Madame Peng’s elegant wardrobe, China’s glamorous First Lady, yadda, yadda.
But prolly won’t be long before we see headlines of doom such as Cracks in Beijing-Moscow Front! Can the
Eurasia alliance last? etc, etc.
Sino-Russian engagement actually goes back to the Treaty of Nerchinsk between Manchu emperor & expanding Tsarist empire.
That peace enabled Qianlong to focus his energies on crushing – with thorough efficiency – one of those periodic uprisings by unruly tribes threatening the realm.
There are similarities in security concerns on a global scale today.
India’s reaction to the Sino-Russian alliance would be interesting; it has just announced an interest in having a gas pipeline from Russia.
With its giant neighbors/ BRICS colleagues in lockstep on bilateral and global issues, will India tilt towards Russian position – such as Syria – and away from an overt alliance to confront/contain China?
All said, a monumental slap for Washington – but it was a long time coming, after years of meddling in Russia and China, threats, snubs and even media disinformation/smear campaigns.
America needs more statesmen, not politicians, & they could have built the much-vaunted `strategic trust’ & rival/partner relationships with both. Someone like Kissinger, ruthless pragmatist as he is. But today, they are just ruthless.
I agree that us policy is back firing, especially with the pivot. China and russia, and every other power wishing to not fall under us hegemony, have every interest to band together as a counterweight. While MAYBE there are some sane individuals in the us foreign policy that understand mutual cooperation is the only way forward, public rhetoric like the pivot, if it really is rhetoric, is supremely counterproductive. It can only be taken at face value, that yes, the us means to contain China.
The US has depnstrated no willingness to accomadate a peaceful rise of china, not by the government anyway.
It so ironic that so called freedom of press and speech and democracy has not dented one bit the group think that is US/western view and doctrine towards China. They collectively are the ostrich with its head in the sand.
More on whether there is a China-Russia vs U.S.:
I thought that this is a good blog from a guy who actually went to many of these Chinese ‘ghost cities.’ In certain cities, the local government has been expanding its city for certain reason, IE in Zhengzhou, the ‘old city’ was getting old and it is really not worth to rebuild on existing, so it is cheaper and easier to build out the infrastructure in another part of the city.
Dantu ‘ghost city.’
Zhengzhou, while the mall presented in the 60 minutes propaganda was actually empty, there is a mall not far from there is full
New South China Mall – Yes this mall is empty, but the nearby recreational area is not.
If someone wants to write a blog post about this, might want to get this person’s permission, which I think it is okay.
i would regard things like the new SECSTATE John Kerry voicing a more conciliatory tone with China, as opposed to penis envy Clinton, being a more postive sign of Sino-US relations, however much work needs to be done, especially from the US side.
You’re not going to get a cohesive and trustworthy relationship with individuals like Wolf and Rohrbacher or the arseholes who’ve tried to run Huawei out of the US; that much is certain.
I love this. You ever get the feeling that the Western Propaganda is barfing out the same stories everywhere?
indeed, tell us again oh america how superior your media is again? how fair, balanced and objective it truly is?
I thought that this is an excellent article of why China does not want to act on North Korea. I think that China wants North Korea to go to market reforms and definitely away from Nuclear armament. But all that public disagreements with the recent episodes of North Korea, China must also point out the belligerence of the US and South Korea towards peace in the Korean Peninsula. The US is more obvious with sending warships and stealth bombers towards North Korea. South Korea’s Park Geun-hye is not exactly helping the situation but relying on the US to taking down the North Korean government. Both government have to stop their annual chest thumping war games.
NBC is so racist with the title “Chinese honor ancestors with fake iphones.”
Black Pheonix says
It’s racist enough in trying to trivialize one of the oldest traditions in Asia.
it’s not trivialising; its incipient intent is to destroy the foundation of Chinese civilisaton ie Chinese indigeneous ethics and replace it with Western values based on Christianity, of the US Protestant variety or the English Anglican protestant variety or even Roman Catholicism.
None of these imperialists will be happy until they have China enslaved mentally, physically and spiritually, to do the bidding of the white man and his God(s).
You know the situation is really bad in North Korea, considering that everyday Western Propaganda has some ‘new’ story about North Korea everyday about its ‘imminent’ missile launch, North Korea ready for war, or any other kind of garbage that they spew out. The latest propaganda from NY Times suggest that the US should bomb out the hell of North Korea before it is too late. They suggest that North Korea, China and Russia won’t react to this.
China hits back with report on US human rights record
uighur punks attack local officials resulting in 21 dead. In before the Western propaganda apparatus turns this equivalent of the Boston attacks into ‘a freedom fighting noble battle’.
These fuckers have no shame.
Charles Liu says
To those western journalists that is reporting the usual “schetchy detail”, “difficult to report”, here’re some reminder of the previous Uyghur attack they never followed up on:
Charles Liu says
More details on the Xinjiang attack:
Of the 15 deputies and officials killed, 10 were Uyghurs, 3 Hans, 2 Mongols. 6 attackers were killed and 8 attackers arrested.
not meaning to go off topic from the uighur terrorist attacks, but this article by Greenwald on the capture of te drug lord who murdered those Chinese sailors, was incredibly insightful:
Charles Liu says
US government mouthpiece VOA is calling the latest Xinjiang attack where 15 unarmed police deputies and social workers were killed as “clash”, citing “ethnic tension” as the rationale to justify the violence:
Did the Chinese media ever report the Boston bombing in the same slant?
Black Pheonix says
Perhaps VOA has a point, that we Chinese don’t really understand “terrorism”, since historically, Americans had a longer history with it.
Boston being, of course, the original site of “the Boston Tea Party”, an original act of Terrorism against the British, (which is now being celebrated through re-enactments daily as part of Tourist industry).
*But I also note that VOA doesn’t deny that perhaps the Boston Bombing is also due to “ethnic tension”.
How else does one explain where 2 white guys get indoctrinated to Islamic extremism through the internet and decide to bomb Boston Marathon (a very multi-racial event).
Perhaps, VOA is just speaking for American itself.
Because frankly, I doubt VOA has the qualifications to speak for China or Chinese folks.
Somehow WSJ propaganda speaks the truth this time. You ever wonder why does Chinese go to Hong Kong or to US and not China to buy luxury goods? Because they charge whatever price they want.
Charles Liu says
Pug, our media tend to present a simplistic view of China matters. IMHO it’s a bit more complicated. Same model of car with higher MSRP in China is because of the base features Chinese consumers demand. Luxury goods in China don’t go on sale as often as here, that’s why “surrogate buying” happen when Chinese people travel overseas.
Mahmood Mamdani on China, Africa, and the West.
China should learn more about Africa through African intellectuals, not just through Western universities.
interesting piece by Yale professor, Stephen Roach on China’s switch to a service based economy, and the imact it’ll have on other members of the world economy, namely the US which will no longer be able to justify accusing China as a currency manipulator, and Australia which will have to offer other things to China besides iron ore, in order to keep the Chinese sweet.
i thought it was really interesting how Roach implies that a new service based Chinese economy will no longer be forced to buy US debt in order to subsidise US consumption of Chinese goods
Guo Du says
Watched “Ethos” by Woody Harrelson and found it more comprehensive than Zeitgeist, except for the last few minutes. The conclusion seems far-fetched and oddly naive in comparison with the rest of the presentation. Perhaps they find it necessary to suggest something “constructive” that everyone can do, but there isn’t any obvious solution. Hopefully, China will be able to resist the global ambitions of the Powers That Be better than the American people have. Anyways here’s the link: http://youtu.be/bxI1skgga1U
An article in the SCMP (May 03): The Racist Curse of Fu Manchu is quite interesting. It discusses the recent GM ad which caricature the Chinese, and the unprovoked demonisation of China in the press in general.http://www.scmp.com/news/world/article/1228548/racist-curse-fu-manchu-back-spotlight-after-chevrolet-ad
Boston Marathon Bombing incident a false flag? Maybe…
I thought that this RT video about the boston bombing is interesting…. Some notes mentioned.
1) Before and during the marathon, there were bomb drills. During the loudspeaker during the marathon there were mentions of bomb drills, and police telling people that this is just a training excerise and this is only a drill. So the Tsarnaev bros are probably people who are being paid to participate to be part of a ‘drill?’
2) Boston Globe mentions in a tweet of a ‘controlled explosion’, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSTqXfmM0f0, which was subsequently removed…
3) Picture given to Media was photoshopped. It has Dzhokhar with a picture of his upper body, but not a lower body.
4) Backpack was used in the explosion. The backpack was used in the explosion was black and has a square label on top and a white strip on the strap. Neither one of the brothers has the backpack with that description.
5) Dzhokhar said in his last tweet “This will be the last message before the police get me. I never done it. They set me up. Father please forgive me. I am sorry it has come to this.
6) His older brother was actually captured alive, stripped searched and was put into a police car while naked. Afterwards, someone reported that the police suv ran him over and then shot him.
7) The question is motive. If those guys did it, I figure that these people would figure out to try to leave the country or even go into hiding. But no, none of them did. Nobody took responsibility. They probably freaked out when the Western Propaganda released the fake video of them attacked thus why it has come into this.
Check out this change.org petition to ask him for a fair trial.
Is it me or has the west finally given up the narrative that China can’t be creative or innovate? Haven’t heard that line much recently.
I recommend anyone who is interested in 3d printing and chinese innovation read this comment .
Black Pheonix says
No, they are still talking about Chinese “espionage”. Pentagon just formally released a report accusing the Chinese government as directly involved.
Of course, it’s just all hyped up BS.
“Industrial” or “economic” espionage, and Cyber espionage are technically not really “espionage”. They are just simple Theft.
REAL “espionage”, as a crime, involves National Secrets, classified under laws. Those types of secrets, governments should not be allowing to put on open networks. (and they generally don’t).
And you only need to look at the number of IP litigations in US to know that people and companies are accusing each other of IP “theft” ALL the TIME!!! It’s all relative, and MOST cases settle out of court.
And Hacking? Oh please. US companies built most of the software infrastructures, with the known exploits. If they intentionally do not fix it, that’s just leaving the door open.
Think about it, if the computer network is on the net, and open to access by users. If they don’t put in software security, and anyone can access the systems, then how is anyone supposed to know who is authorized or not? And by the same extension of logic, if they don’t fix the exploits, and how is someone supposed to know whether they are authorized to access some part of the computer data system??
Pentagon has basically accused “someone” with a Chinese IP address of attacking US “services” that “support” US national security interests.
That’s like saying “my lunch lady got robbed in your neighborhood”.
It’s just hearsay.
The “lunch lady” is not the Pentagon, and definitely NOT the US government. The “lunch lady” needs a raise, and using a sob story to get donations during the sequester.
*Pentagon, by lumping “secrets” of private companies (which are not classified by law, but rather just private and confidential), into National “secrets”, is stretching the laws of “espionage” beyond its basic premise.
Of course, it’s the same narrative that tries to paint China as unable to advance its technologies without stealing.
Yes, I know the current propaganda is about espionage, but I see it as different than some fundamental inability to be creative or innovative, as with the previous narrative.
It seems that Western propaganda went bat crazy is Kong DongMei, the granddaughter of Mao got rich because of her ‘corrupt’ connections to the Chinese government. What the Western Propaganda didn’t mention about is that she became a millionaire by marrying to one, not by her connections to anybody in the Chinese government.
Mulberry Leaf says
Philippine coast guard killed a Taiwanese fisherman within Taiwan’s South China Sea EEZ. Most “barbaric” country in the South China Sea indeed.
As usual, America’s ambitions backfire, a la the pivot and emboldering the Phillipines, in this case. It would be a scary day for the world if Hillary, one of the main principals behind thw pivot, became the president.
scary thing is that hillary clinton hasn’t ruled out a future candidacy for President; somehow i dont think the east coast Elites have gotten it into their thick skulls how much a war with China is really going to cost them.
western propaganda needs to continually destroy the Chinese spirit by demonising all of the descendants of modern China’s founding father, or tacitly trying to forget them like Dr Sun Yat Sen
looks like Beijing might give the Abe government of Japan the ‘Lee Myung Bak’ treatment ie not giving Abe the time of day and waiting out his term (or until he gets deposed in another one of japan’s many PM reshuffles)
It seems that there are crazy people running Japan’s government nowadays. Toru Hashimoto, the mayor of Osaka thinks that forced prostitution during wwII is okay because it ‘maintains discipline’ to the troops.
Black Pheonix says
Talk about people making “excuses” in the modern day.
Yeah, “no excuses” right?
oh this is just wonderful, at this rate the US pivot will wither. the South Koreans are already looking to China for closer relations
Black Pheonix says
Unfortunately, the #1 problem inevitably faced by “foreign intervention” type policies, is that OFTEN “foreign intervention” does nothing to help and merely ENCOURAGE bad behavior.
In which case, it’s the Interventionist who gets the moral blame for the bad behavior (of the Japanese Nationalists for example).
Rationally, US cannot possibly control (keep a lid) on Japanese Nationalists.
But also rationally, Japanese Nationalists would inevitably use US as either a backing or as an excuse.
Thus, morally, US gets the blame, even when it can’t do much. (Hey, it’s your “pivot”, you take the blame).
US should take a lesson from the “Warring Nations” period of Chinese history.
Qin ultimately unified China, partly because it realized before all others that it could not count on “alliances”, because the neighboring states inevitably hamper or backstab each others’ efforts, out of their own self interests.
South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Philippines, etc., all profess their open alliance with US, but they all fight each other over self-interests.
Sponsoring them as client states or allies is akin to sponsoring a public brawl.
Black Pheonix says
Taiwan slaps quick and serious sanctions on Philippines.
Philippines considers sending former President to apologize.
Yeah, like Taiwan would accept that.
Philippines is obviously trying to weasel out of a “formal apology” by sending an Ex-government official to apologize, when every one knows that such an apology would only be considered as “private” or personal, and NOT “official”.
Interesting new book that uses historical research to determine the origins of the notion of “white race” as a social and political construct:
The Invention of the White Race by Theodore W. Allen.
Excerpt below from a review by JEFFREY B. PERRY at the always thought-provoking Counterpunch site:
“When the first Africans arrived in Virginia in 1619, there were no ‘white’ people there; nor, according to the colonial records, would there be for another sixty years.”
That arresting statement, printed on the back cover of the first (1994) volume, reflected the fact that, after poring through 885 county-years of Virginia’s colonial records, Allen found “no instance of the official use of the word ‘white’ as a token of social status” prior to its appearance in a 1691 law. As he explained, “Others living in the colony at that time were English; they had been English when they left England, and naturally they and their Virginia-born children were English, they were not ‘white.’” “White identity had to be carefully taught, and it would be only after the passage of some six crucial decades” that the word “would appear as a synonym for European-American.”
Allen was not merely speaking of word usage, however. His probing research led him to conclude – based on the commonality of experience and demonstrated solidarity between African-American and European-American laboring people, the lack of a substantial intermediate buffer social control stratum, and the “indeterminate” status of African-Americans – that the “white race” was not, and could not have been, functioning in early Virginia.
It is in the context of such findings that he offers his major thesis — the “white race” was invented as a ruling class social control formation in response to labor solidarity as manifested in the later, civil war stage of Bacon’s Rebellion (1676-77). To this he adds two important corollaries: 1) the ruling elite, in its own class interest, deliberately instituted a system of racial privileges to define and maintain the “white race” and 2) the consequences were not only ruinous to the interests of African-Americans, they were also “disastrous” for European-American workers, whose class interests differed fundamentally from those of the ruling elite.
With stunning international and domestic examples he shows how racial oppression (particularly in the form of religio-racial oppression) was developed and maintained by the phenotypically-similar British against the Irish Catholics in Ireland; how a phenotypically-similar Anglo bourgeoisie established national oppression in the Anglo-Caribbean and racial oppression in the continental Anglo-American plantation colonies; how racial oppression was transformed into national oppression due to ruling class social control needs in Ireland (while racial oppression was maintained in Ulster); how the same people who were victims of racial oppression in Ireland became “white American” defenders of racial oppression in the United States; and how in America racial oppression took the form of racial slavery, yet when racial slavery ended racial oppression remained and was re-constituted in new form.
In Volume II, on The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America, Allen tells the story of the invention of the “white race” in the late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century Anglo-American plantation colonies. His primary focus is on the pattern-setting Virginia colony, and he pays special attention to the fact that England alone, of all the European colonizing powers, exported so many of its own surplus poor laboring population. He also pays particular attention to the process by which tenants and wage-laborers in the majority English labor force in Virginia were reduced to chattel bond-servants in the 1620s. In so doing, he emphasizes that this reduction was a qualitative break from the condition of laborers in England and from long established English labor law, that it was not a feudal carryover, that it was imposed under capitalism, and that it was an essential precondition of the emergence of the lifetime hereditary chattel bond-servitude imposed upon African-American laborers under the system of racial slavery.
Allen describes how, throughout much of the seventeenth century, the status of African-Americans was being fought out and he documents significant instances of labor solidarity and unrest, especially during the 1660s and 1670s. Most important is his analysis of the civil war stage of Bacon’s Rebellion when, in the final stages, “foure hundred English and Negroes in Arms” fought together demanding freedom from bondage.
It was in the period after Bacon’s Rebellion, in response to class struggle, that the “white race” was invented as a ruling-class social control formation. Allen describes systematic ruling-class policies, which conferred “white race” privileges on European-Americans while imposing harsher disabilities on African-Americans resulting in a system of racial slavery, a form of racial oppression that also imposed severe racial proscriptions on free African-Americans. He emphasizes that when African-Americans were deprived of their long-held right to vote in Virginia and Governor William Gooch explained in 1735 that the Virginia Assembly had decided upon this curtailment of the franchise in order “to fix a perpetual Brand upon Free Negros & Mulattos,” it was not an “unthinking decision.” Rather, it was a deliberate act by the plantation bourgeoisie and was a conscious decision in the process of establishing a system of racial oppression, even though it entailed repealing an electoral principle that had existed in Virginia for more than a century.
The key to understanding racial oppression, Allen argues, is in the formation of the intermediate social control buffer stratum, which serves the interests of the ruling class. In the case of racial oppression in Virginia, any persons of discernible non-European ancestry after Bacon’s Rebellion were denied a role in the social control buffer group, the bulk of which was made up of laboring-class “whites.” In the Anglo-Caribbean, by contrast, under a similar Anglo- ruling elite, “mulattos” were included in the social control stratum and were promoted into middle-class status.
I think this is a very important book. “Whiteness” and “Blackness” is not innate but rather social constructs created for convenience of ruleing by certain elite families and groups that share common economic and political interests. The origins of this ideology (those in the “white” category being given more legal privileges than those in the “black” or “non-white” category) can be traced back to the 1670’s in the British American colonies in Virginia (although the predecessors to that is the English conquest of the Irish nation next door).
wow perspectivehere, that was really informative and eye opening!
Really gives you a new perspective (lol pun intended) on modern day racism
washingtonpost just reported that NASA has just awarded a company to pursue further research on printing food.
Such application is sure to be interesting…
Black Pheonix says
It is generally accepted that there is no such thing as “race”, because there is no set of physical or genetic characteristics that can be used to uniquely define any “race”, because human beings have been migrating and mixing for 10,000’s of years, and because we all descend pretty much from the same ancestors a long time ago.
Particular invention of concept of any particular “race” usually is done by those who wanted to erroneously and vainly attribute some kind of superior “birth right” concept to an artificially constructed group.
The more early form of such notions is the very concept of the “West” itself, which was invented to differentiate a prototypical term equivalent to Europeans from the “East”, i.e. everyone else EAST of Europe.
*Rather interestingly enough, the more recent discussions of the concept of the “West” among academics have taken on a sort of Politically Correct version, by using “culture” as a point of differentiation, instead of more obviously racist implications via genetics or physical characteristics.
But it would be clear to any reasonable people, that using “culture” to generalize entire groups of people is just code talk for “race”. Even some of those who supposedly adopted “Western Culture” are differentiated as a sub-category of “cultures” considered to be lower of the “Western Culture”, i.e. Latinos, African Americans.
And of course, the latest report of APT hackers coming from India is ignored, I’d say even buried.
Meanwhile, the modern CIA is more and more looking like the CIA of old. Killing even american citizens with drones?
Also, in a recent espisode of Bill Maher, guest Richard Haass, president of the council on foreign relations, admitted that not everyone is ready for democracy, regarding the mideast and arab springs. The liberal democracy zealots must be rolling in their graves!
what disturbs me is that too many Indians appear to be supportive of the US strategy of containing China, despite Premier Li’s message of friendship and joint leadership in Asia. Truly, these Indians are willing to lay down their lives to support their white masters, even endangering their own kith and kin so as to gain some abstract measure of approval from the white man.
“The Dishonest Americans Series”
Chinese media finally trying to hit back at the years of defamation by American media?
This essay is a classic. I read it many years ago as an undergraduate and it opened my mind to other perspectives by questioning common unspoken assumptions. For anyone involved in science and thinking of comparisons with Chinese scientific traditions, this is an important essay to read. More generally, it points out the common tendency of those seeking cross-cultural perspectives to make facile comparisons based on poorly thought out assumptions and superficial understanding.
Why the Scientific Revolution Did Not Take Place in China —or Didn’t It?
(This is a revised version of an essay first published in Chinese Science, 1982, 5: 45-66, and often anthologized. revised 2005.8.24)
Author Nathan Sivin
Professor Emeritus, University of Pennsylvania
The entire essay is worth reading and rereading, but here is a short excerpt containing some key ideas:
“Now back to the Scientific Revolution problem. It is striking that this question—Why didn’t the Chinese beat Europeans to the Scientific Revolution?—happens to be one of the few questions that people often ask publicly about why something didn’t happen in history. It is analogous to the question of why your name did not appear on page 3 of today’s newspaper. It belongs to an infinite set of questions that historians don’t organize research programs around because they have no direct answers. They translate into questions about the rest of the world. The one that concerns us, for instance, translates into “in what circumstances did the Scientific Revolution take place in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in Western Europe?”
Why do people keep asking why the Scientific Revolution did not take place in China when they know enough not to waste time explaining why their names did not appear on page 3 of today’s newspaper? Because the question encourages exploration of a fascinating topic and provides some order for thinking about it. It is, in other words, heuristic. Heuristic questions are useful at the beginning of an inquiry. As we comprehend enough to deal with complicated patterns, heuristic questions tend to grow murky, and finally to lose their interest compared with the emerging clarity of what did happen.
So much for heuristic questions in general. Why do we tend to take this one more seriously than the general run? Somehow the Scientific Revolution problem holds a special urgency.
That urgency is there, I suggest, because this problem relies on certain Western assumptions, shaky assumptions that we do not feel comfortable about questioning. Above all we usually assume that the Scientific Revolution is what everybody ought to have had. But it is not at all clear that that is what everybody wanted before it became, in recent times, an urgent matter of survival amidst violent change. This change resulted from, among other things, the Scientific Revolution that did take place. In fact we have made very little progress so far in understanding how Europeans originally came to want that revolution in one country after another, since the attention of historians has been concentrated on how it took place.
There is usually the equally sentimental assumption that civilizations which had the potential for a scientific revolution ought to have had the kind that took place in the West, that led to the sorts of institutional and social changes that appeared in the West.
These assumptions are usually linked to a faith that European civilization—above all in its current American form—was somehow in touch with reality in a way no other civilization could be, and that its great share of the world’s wealth and power comes from some intrinsic fitness to inherit the earth that was there all along. Historical study does not suggest that Europe by 1600 had a concentration of intelligence, imagination, talent, or virtue that no other civilization could match. It does suggest that the privileged position of the West comes instead from a head start in the technological exploitation of nature and the political exploitation of societies not technologically equipped to defend themselves.
Finally there is the conviction among scientists that, since science has so quickly and thoroughly become international, it transcends European historical and philosophic biases, and is as universal, objective, and value-free as the Nature that it seeks to under- stand and manipulate.
What seems to be common sense in that last assumption (or in the self-conception that all the articles of faith I have mentioned are part of) does not stand up to thoughtful examination. Modern science is still too marked by the special circumstances of its development in Europe to be considered universal.
Chinese science got along without dichotomies between mind and body, objective and subjective, even wave and particle. In the West the first two were entrenched in scientific thought by the time of Plato. Galileo, Descartes, and others carried them into modern times to mark off the realm of physical science from the province of the soul, which was decidedly off limits to secular innovators like themselves. These distinctions let early modern scientists claim authority over the physical world on the ground that purely natural knowledge could not conflict with and therefore could not threaten the authority of established religion.
Science and religion have long since learned to coexist, but we are still living with these sharp distinctions between mind and body and so on. If they are European peculiarities, and perpetual sources of trouble at that, why hasn’t modern science managed to rid itself of them? It is evidently not a simple matter to root them out. Until we do, there is something to be said for frankly admitting a certain parochialism in the foundations of science. The mathematical equations may be universal, but the allocation of human effort among the possibilities of natural knowledge is not.
Science and technology have spread throughout the world, but that has not made them universal, in the sense of transcending European patterns of thought. In one society after another the encounter between old and new ideas has been abortive, resolved by social change and political legislation. Traditional ideas are simply excluded (on the grounds that they are backward, superstitious, regressive, fit only for the lower classes, etc.) from the educational systems created to teach a new technical and managerial elite the values of technology alongside its theory and practice.
Modern technology is clearly more powerful than that of traditional societies; but to a larger extent than we generally realize, its strength emerges in application to needs and expectations that do not exist until it generates them. True universality would require modern technology to coexist with and serve cultural diversity rather than standardizing it out of existence.
I am arguing that the notion of a universal and value-free modern science, which has somehow become independent of its social and historical origins, is wishful thinking. It is easy even for an intelligent reader to be led astray on this point. The narrow limits of the certainty from which this notion arises are never defined carefully by those who set out to explain science to non-scientists.
It would be foolish to deny that modern science has attained a verifiability, an internal consistency, a taxonomic grasp, a precision in accounting for physical phenomena, and an accuracy in prediction that no other kind of activity shares, and that lay far outside the grasp of early sciences. The rigor that makes these remarkable characteristics possible quickly disappears, however, once the formulation of a law or theory in mathematical equations, matrices of categories, or exactly defined technical concepts and models has been translated into the ordinary language and general discourse of a given culture. That translation into analogies and metaphors steeped in values must precede all public discussion of science, and almost all philosophic discussion. It even precedes most reflection by scientists on fields outside their own disciplines.
Beyond the narrow, abstract realm in which exactitude is possible, values and subjective judgments come to bear on every activity situated within a society. There are, for instance, profound differences between the character of modern scientific activity in the contemporary People’s Republic of China and United States. They reflect different predominant convictions about the relations between basic and applied science, the relation of both to general culture, the roles of scientists in defining research programs, procedures for planning and supporting individuals’ research projects, expectations about the social aims to which scientific work will contribute, the organization and status of professional scientists, the connections of political ideas and scientific knowledge, and the division of national resources between science and other priorities, and between various scientific activities. That certain equations and models are invariant between the two societies is a factor in all these consensuses, but then so is the ubiquity of opposable thumbs.
Despite the invariance, a given constellation of values will determine that certain laws and hypotheses can be developed further, and that others will be abandoned unless they are among the very few that individuals can explore at their private discretion and their own expense. The great disparity in Chinese and American definitions of psychology is only one particularly obvious example that affects the life and death of particular theories in one society or the other.
So long as there is variation of such magnitude in the balance between the cognitive, practical, normative, and social dimensions of science, such words as “international” and “universal” are out of place. When applied to the narrow, rigorous technical realm of scientific cognition alone, they constitute a modest claim indeed.
Nor can one accept uncritically the idea that modern science is in every essential respect European in its social and historical origins. To those familiar with the science of other cultures, any account of the early history of science is lopsided, and misleading on the most fundamental issues, if it restricts itself substantially to discoveries made and understandings worked out at the Western end of Eurasia; if it loses sight of the constant movement of ideas back and forth between civilizations from the New Stone Age to the present; if it does not adequately consider what Europeans had learned by 1600 about Islamic, Indian, and Chinese science; or if it ignores the impact of exotic technologies and materials on the experiences of Europeans.
Fallacies of Historical Reasoning
Growing awareness of the high level of science and technology in ancient China has led to cascades and avalanches of hypotheses from one scholar or another about factors that inhibited the evolution of modem science in China, or characteristics unique to the West that made possible or furthered a major scientific revolution. These often incorporate elementary fallacies of historical reasoning that deserve notice.
For roughly two-thirds of a century, historians have argued that although Ch’ing dynasty thinkers took the world as observable, nominalistic fact, just as Francis Bacon (1561-1626) did, unlike him they did not develop a scientific methodology.
Despite the positivist bias of such arguments, they did not even consider whether Bacon’s scientific method has survived in the practice of contemporary science. It was, in fact, largely Scholastic in its origins, concerned with taxonomies rather than theories of natural phenomena, and resolutely unconcerned with mathematical measurement. Of the major early modem attempts to define how physical science might fruitfully proceed it was probably the most sterile, in contrast to Bacon’s very influential convictions about the organization and ideology of scientific activity.
This pattern of thought, then, faults the Chinese for not developing a scientific method that later proved abortive in the West. The same habit shows up in many other forms. A well-known sociological study of astronomy in the last two centuries B.C. explains the failure to develop a “unified scientific system.” One reason is that Chinese astronomers “were not interested in applied technical sciences, e.g., in developing theo- retical tools which could be used to control the flight of a cannon shell or to direct ships safely across the sea.” So much for the first civilization to note the declination of the compass needle. So much for the astronomy of an era more than a millennium before the invention of the cannon.
Exactly what does “inhibiting factor” mean in such contexts? Consider one of these often used to explain why China failed to beat Europe to the Scientific Revolution despite a putative early head start, namely the predominance of a scholar-bureaucrat class immersed in books, faced toward the past, and oriented toward human institutions rather than toward Nature as the matrix of the well-lived life. But in Europe at the onset of the Scientific Revolution we are faced with the predominance in the universities of Schoolmen and dons, immersed in books, faced toward the past, and oriented toward human institutions rather than toward Nature. They did not prevent the great changes that swept over Europe. It would take a more imaginative historian than myself to swear that those changes would have taken place sooner had Scholasticism never existed.
The confusion about “inhibiting factors” is no less a confusion when it has to do with ideas or techniques. One might just as well call Euclidean geometry an inhibiting factor for the development of non-Euclidean geometry, since so long as people were satisfied with it they didn’t move on to a new step. But can one argue that non-Euclidean geometry would have developed sooner without it? It is unfortunate to see the remarkably interesting technical language of the Book of Changes, so powerful in systematically relating broader ranges of human experience than modern science attempts to encompass, written off as an obstacle before anyone has taken the trouble to comprehend all of its dimensions.
The first fallacy, then, confuses for a cause or necessary condition what merely describes an earlier state of a culture, or a culture’s way of doing something. In its com- plement, as can be seen by the examples just given, the absence of the subsequent state is confused with an inhibitor. One who commits this second fallacy is stopping growth that never took place. Both of the confusions I have described—blaming the earlier state for delaying the later state, and using the early absence of something modern to prove that modernity was unattainable later—confound continuity with stasis. They are bad history because they are bad reasoning.
I recur to the assumptions about ourselves that I have discussed earlier, for they are at the root of both these fallacies. They turn the history of world science into a saga of Europe’s success and everyone else’s failure, or at best inherently flawed and transitory success, until the advent of redemption through modernization.
Joint use of the pair of fallacies makes it easy to prove that the European break-through is not simply a fact of history, but was inevitable since history began. Was the horse and buggy a necessary preliminary to the invention of the automobile, or did it delay that invention? Would the automobile have emerged sooner if the buggy had never been invented, so that people would have been dissatisfied with less adequate vehicles? If we find the horse and buggy in Europe, by fallacy 1 its absence in China made the invention of some analogue of the automobile impossible. If we find some analogue of the horse and buggy in China, we apply fallacy 2 and make it an inhibiting factor. Thus medieval European impetus theory, abstract and unconcerned with application, was a stage in the evolution of inertial guidance; if Chinese who thought about physical questions were equally uninterested in their application, inertial guidance could never have originated in East Asia.
This is an infallible formula for reading the strength and power of modern science into the historic past—but only the past of Europe. For the past of other civilizations the test is always anticipation of or approximation to some aspect of early European science, or modern science. Why does the science of early Europe not need to be tested? Because of the assumption that it and only it gave birth to the Scientific Revolution. Other civilizations shine only as they reflect the light of the European tradition. Or so the prophets of modernization suppose.
I claim, therefore, that the fallacies that so often accompany discussions of the Scientific Revolution problem reflect a set of disastrous assumptions that lie beneath the obvious “heuristic” interest and charm of such discourse. They are disastrous because they assure us there is no point in comprehending on their own terms the technical inquiries of non-Western cultures. We now find these assumptions accepted not only in Europe but to some extent in every country in which the history of China is studied.
Why should intellectuals in a non-European country, which owes little of its culture before modern times to Western influence, accept this bias? That is perhaps inevitable, considering that modern education establishes itself (as it did originally in Europe) by teaching the rejection of the traditional past, or its demotion to a cultural exhibit that may be of use for nurturing nationalism (and, in the era of mass-market foreign vacations, for enticing tourists).
In a few words, anyone who begins by assuming that the paramount issue in the study of China is accounting for the inevitability of its backwardness is unlikely to question whether backwardness was inevitable, to ask whether there were not in her history prominent patterns of success from which we might learn, or to reexamine the assumptions about the modernized West that organize European history as a crescendo of success (with setbacks, to be sure, adding to the complexity and thus the charm of the crescendo), and that of other civilizations as a static picture of failure.
Hope you find this illuminating.
For sure illuminating … but also barely scratching the surface.
So much is pronounced in the name of science … of modernity …
And it is unfortunate so many accept them on blind faith.
The missed opportunities of China, the mis steps of China, the tragedy of China … call it whatever … is not pre-ordained by China’s culture or some Chinese DNA. I do not have the full answers, but I know current explanations are grossly inadequate.
So many of the “backwardness” attributed to China were equally existent in Europe that I know we are just cherry-picking facts and selectively forgetting inconvenient facts.
Anyways – the tragedy of China (of the last few centuries) is a question all Chinese should care deeply about and not necessarily be shameful about. China will come through better than before. And with that to do a deeper more insightful introspection.
My gut feel is that Europe simply stumbled onto the scientific revolution and a series of accidents that fueled it to the scientific and technological revolution that we see. The earliest scientific revolution was an accumulation of knowledge from other civilization. It was then propelled by discovery of the new world. The subsequent plunder of wealth fueled a further series of technical revolution, which led to more plunder, and the cycle continued until recently. Without imperial plunder, Europe would have stagnated, beset by wars and internal conflicts, and people would have lost faith and interest in technology as we know it. To keep pushing the boundary required excess capital and resources for trial and errors that “normal” civilizations don’t have. The scientific revolution would have ended and been but another “normal” chapter of scientific revolutions we have seen throughout history. But the European one ran long because of imperial plunder. The morality of the scientific revolution is thus despicable. But the result was great and can’t be argued.
That’s my gut feel. But we’ll have to wait … the history is just rebalancing. It will take some time to sort through the morass.
Black Pheonix says
I do not think that it is necessarily a “tragedy” of any kind. Nor do I think that Europe “stumbled” onto scientific revolution.
Though I do agree with the author that it was largely a fallacy about China, among many other misconceptions and stereotypes that some how China didn’t measure up to some magical idea that the West had.
I personally think that China historically has taken a very lassaire-faire “laid back” approach to pretty much every thing, that included SCIENCES.
Historically, China had to. It was a HUGE empire, with a HUGE population (roughly the same population as the entirety of Europe).
The Chinese rulers learned early on, to leave things alone. The Emperors couldn’t possibly enforce unifying ideas in culture or religion. Politics and law were already hard enough to enforce. They simply couldn’t rule all of China without the locals’ cooperation. Thus, they generally stayed away from trying to force the locals into changing traditions or changing ideas.
In artisan craft, in engineering, in trade, in commerce, most Chinese regions had their own way of doing things. And the Emperor set some basic rules/laws, impose basic taxes, and left the locals to do their own things.
Thus, the atmosphere in China historically was largely one of “tolerance” for many ideas. The only thing you can’t do, is challenge the Emperor’s authority.
Thus, in science, an Unifying methodological philosophy couldn’t gain popularity in China, just as there were no single religion or single god.
*The Premise of the Scientific Revolution is actually Religious and Christian in nature, and thus very Western in nature.
Around the same time as the beginning of Scientific Revolution, the Protestant Reformation occurred and spread massively across Europe, causing a Religious war of epic proportions, over the argument of which religion is the right religion, even if it is the same God.
Underlying that REformation, was the concept of a single True Religion, which nations and governments staked their own future upon. (A Chinese Emperor would not do such a thing. A Chinese Emperor may adopt religions for himself).
The Scientific Revolution, by nature, was analogous and parallel to the Protestant Reformation. Both aimed to challenge the authority and hold of the Catholic Church upon the “right ideas”.
While the Protestant Reformation was arguably “liberating” in some sense, it was not designed as pluralistic or tolerant.
Scientific Revolution, in parallel, reflected the same mentality of “ONLY 1 TRUTH”, knowable and unified and extremely RIGID.
In some sense, the Scientific Revolution, which largely occurred in Protestant occupied areas of Europe FIRST, was an augmentation of the Protestant Reformation.
The Religious implication was obvious: The Catholic Church preached that ONLY the Pope was man’s direct link to Christ, and thus ONLY the Pope had the true authority to talk to God, and interpret God’s Truth. The Protestants believed that God was more or less reachable directly by man, without the need to go through Vatican. Then, by the same notion, God’s truth on earth can be accessed and learned directly by man, without the permissions of the Pope. The more Protestants experimented with nature, and learned nature’s laws, the more closer they are spiritually connected to God directly.
In China, the Emperors patronized the arts, the crafts, and the sciences, but they had little or no desire to wage any ideological crusade upon their own population. Some have argued that Confucianism was perhaps the single unifying ideology in China. That meant that the Chinese population also had little desire to Unify their cultural ideas with a single unifying system.
*In Sum, I believe that the Scientific Revolution was pseudo-Religious revolution in nature, which was very unlikely to occur outside of Europe at that time.
*However, I also believe that this Religious Revolution of “science”, i.e. Science as a pseudo-religion, has now occurred in pretty much every where, MORE so arguably in China today, which is now ardently “technocratic” almost rigidly so.
Black Pheonix says
I like to further qualify my earlier comment: When I said I don’t believe it was a “tragedy” that China did not have the same impact of Scientific Revolution as the West, I believe so with several aspects.
(1) It was no more a “tragedy” for China to not have receive the benefit of a Scientific Revolution, than it was for Europe to be stuck in the stagnation of the Dark Ages for so long.
(2) The West may have received some stimulant effect from the Scientific Revolution, I don’t believe that effect would last very long. As the author above pointed out, the West no longer holds true to the ideals behind the Scientific Revolution.
Indeed, I believe the West may be beginning reverting toward Superstition, because the Scientific Revolution has ran its course in the West and is no longer seen as useful or necessary.
The next stage in the Scientific “Revolution” requires a fundamental challenge of the human conditions, in laws and in politics and in fundamental core moral beliefs, that they must be driven toward the more rational, instead of mere feel good moralities of “God-given freedoms”.
Let’s face it, “Freedom” as a Right is superstitious concept. “Freedom” as a negotiated and LIMITED responsible right is rational and scientific.
In this sense, I would argue, by intention or not, the West has hit a brick wall in its fundamental assumptions, and China is moving toward the rational Scientific Revolution of Politics and Laws.
(3) It’s only a “tragedy”, because the West exploited Scientific Revolution to spread havoc around the world in pursuit of wealth and power.
Achievement built upon conquest is not something necessarily proud of.
And it is highly questionable how well the West could have carried out SCIENCE, without being funded by the ill-gotten wealth.
(4) It’s not who discovered the ideas, but who uses it.
China may have invented the Gun Powder, but it was the West that used it extensively.
Christianity was a Jewish Sect, but it was the Romans who adopted it and spread it in Europe.
Similarly, the West may have brought out the Scientific Revolution, but it may be the Chinese who will carried it into the 22nd Century.
And when it happens, it would be a “tragedy” for the West, for it to have forgotten its Scientific Revolution, in favor of stereotypes, misconceptions, biases, and superstitions, which more and more are being propagandized in the West without any methodologies of proof in science.
The real problem for the West is, it is abandoning the pursuit of Truth, in its Imperial overreach and kneejerk paranoia of any rising challenges.
Thanks for the comments on my post.
I think the main point of posting this is not to try to state a grand theory about the scientific revolution, but more to show the tendency of historians to make silly comparisons that don’t really hold up. The historian tries to make an argument about how something developed in Society A, and then if it didn’t develop in Society B, to point out why.
The problem is, societies can rarely be compared in such neat ways. Assumptions are made, but when questioned, these assumptions don’t hold up. And the comparisons turn out to be using incorrect facts or observations as starting points.
So for example, this paragraph from Wikipedia about the popular book, Guns, Germs and Steel. (I don’t know if Wikipedia summarized it correctly, but assuming it did):
“Diamond also proposes geographical explanations for why western European societies, rather than other Eurasian powers such as China, have been the dominant colonizers, claiming Europe’s geography favored balkanization into smaller, closer, nation-states, bordered by natural barriers of mountains, rivers and coastline. Threats posed by immediate neighbours ensured governments that suppressed economic and technological progress soon corrected their mistakes or were out-competed relatively quickly, such as the counter-progressive Polish regime, whilst the region’s leading powers changed over time. Other advanced cultures developed in areas whose geography was conducive to large, monolithic, isolated empires, without competitors that might have forced the nation to reverse mistaken policies such as China banning the building of ocean-going ships. Western Europe also benefited from a more temperate climate than Southwest Asia where intense agriculture ultimately damaged the environment, encouraged desertification, and hurt soil fertility.”
Is that really true? China’s geography is not one region but many. China held together politically not because it was geographically easier to govern than Europe, but because it was already administratively unified 2,200 years ago. However, when the administration collapsed, China has a tendency to divide up into warring regions, as its history has shown repeatedly.
China has held together for centuries because of an administration system that managed to overcome the enormous geographical boundaries that separate different geographical areas of China. It was not because China’s geography made it easier to govern than Europe.
A different conclusion would be that Europe was much more culturally, politically and technologically undeveloped compared with China, and that backwardness itself drove a need to develop technologies (like sea navigation) to access the material goods they wanted that places like India and China contained – spices, teas, porcelains, silks, even cotton cloth. Europe’s lack motivated them to go to far places to find and take, fighting with the natives and with each other along the way. Qing China was under one administration, and was more satisfied and saw no need to go far for what it needed. Besides, people came from far away to bring them things.
I read the Guns, Germs, Steel book some years back and thoroughly enjoyed it. It included a lot of interesting historical tidbits, and good insights.
However, the theory in the end is just gobbidygook as you pointed out. But I will take a slightly different tack.
Let’s assume that it is because of geography that allows China to be unified so much earlier than Europe. Let’s even assume that it is possible that disunity – and the resulting competition – that propels Europe into the scientific revolution.
But then the book doesn’t say why Europe has just the right amount. I mean, there is also a thing as too much competition – too much disunity. Too competition can be wasteful, too. People will be fighting all the time amongst each self, and no victor will emerge to move beyond daily competition for survival.
If I remember correct, the book allows for that. In fact, the main lesson / theory the book proposes is that there can be too much unity, and too much fragmentation. Europe – because of its geography – allows just the right amount.
But what is the “right amount”? The book does not give any insight except that Europe succeeded. This is making the same error as pointed out above, element of culture A is deemed as a critical element for culture A’s success when it can merely be an element of culture A.
In an alternative world, let’s say China was first to industrialize, we will be talking about “too much fragmentation” in Europe.
So what is the right amount?
Merely saying the right amount is that in culture A simply because culture A succeeded without more doesn’t solve the problem pointed out above.
old one but good, despite the fact that it’s from the washington times
is that the sound of the obama/clinton ‘pivot’ grinding along to rust i hear?
in the meantime, the US has been forced to invite President Xi to Sunnylands, CA to discuss ‘business’
Lessons from the biggest surveillance state
Chinese people are very optimistic about their future. Surely they are brainwashed, says The Atlantic.
at last the Western press has been forced to admit that China now has the world’s fastest supercomputer.
China unveiled its latest supercomputer, the tianhe-2
Black Pheonix says
I guess those Expats clutching onto their VPN’s will have to wake up to the fact that NSA has already collected all of their internet activities by now, and their US side email servers were actually making sure (for the US government) that Americans were “doing NO evil”.
“Do no evil”: It’s not a belief, it’s a Command!
Black Pheonix says
The British and US intelligence services have been using the same system to gather emails, etc., from ISP’s.
So, not just US then.
“Transparency” eh? (well, you can see which 1 way street that’s running on).
Ironically, it turns out that the “tin-foil hat” Conspiracy nuts, much derided in the West, may have been right all along, to at least justifiably paranoid about their government.
Guess what, yeah, it does mean that the “People” were drinking the Koolaid, and they were wrong about how the “votes” are valued, which is currently standing at about “They don’t give a sh*t cent”.
Black Pheonix says
Also, I guess it also proves the Chinese government to be right to restrict foreign business accesses in China.
Time to ORDER those 9 companies’ Chinese subsidiaries to turn over all records. Afterall, they probably turn over private confidential information of Chinese citizens to US and British spy agencies.
NSA surveillance just gave China’s president the perfect come-back line
From the article:
As the Twitter user Kevin Ruffe wrote on Thursday evening,
“China built a Great Firewall & people knew they weren’t free. America built a hall of 2-way mirrors & people felt they were free.”
Black Pheonix says
““China built a Great Firewall & people knew they weren’t free. America built a hall of 2-way mirrors & people felt they were free.”
I think that quote is bit ill-conceived on a false premise, that somehow America WAS free in the 1st place until they built the “hall of 2-way mirrors”.
The US domestic espionage program was a fore-gone conclusion. Anyone who studied US laws could have reasonably predicted that there was absolutely NOTHING in the “rule of law” of US to stop the government from issuing orders to spy on Citizens (frankly, because everyone knew they WERE doing it for many YEARS on “foreigners”).
Well, it’s simply self-delusion to refuse to think that a government spying on foreigners would also (and have) considered spying on its own citizens.
In truth, Americans built their own 2-way mirrors a long time ago. Then, how “free” were they to start with??
“I think that quote is bit ill-conceived on a false premise, that somehow America WAS free in the 1st place until they built the “hall of 2-way mirrors”.”
I disagree. I think the quote is genius. It’s compact and full of meaning and captures this moment in time and US-China media relations perfectly.
First, the contrast with China. In 11 words:
“China built a Great Firewall & people knew they weren’t free.”
The US news media is full of stories about the “Great Firewall”. Everyone knows it is there and the Chinese people know the government censors and monitors communications. This is a fact that is regularly discussed on HH blog. A lot of people don’t like it, but people in China know there are speech limits and these are set by the government.
The US news media harps on that lack of freedom, and contrasts China with the freedom in the US. Many commenters to this blog point to freedom in the US to show how China is “not free”, and that China should become more like the US so that its people can have the same kind of “uncensored free communications” that the US has.
Yet, many bloggers have pointed out that what most people think about US freedoms is illusory. The propaganda, censorship and surveillance that occurs in the US is sophisticated, subtle and hidden. And that makes it as or more dangerous than the propaganda, censorship and surveillance in China, because people are unaware of it.
So the second part of the couplet:
“America built a hall of 2-way mirrors & people felt they were free.”
This is 13 words, close to 11 words of the first half of the couplet. Very nice and poetic, balanced structure.
“Great Firewall” contrasts with “Hall of 2-way Mirrors”. This is wonderful imagery. And the word “hall” even rhymes with “Firewall”.
The imagery is an amusement park (‘hall of 2-way mirrors’) so it sounds entertaining. It’s a twist of the “Hall of Mirrors” found in classic American amusement parks where the mirrors distort your image, making you look taller or wider. But a 2-way mirror allows one to be spied on without the subject knowing about it. It is a chilling thought. You think you are alone, free, unobserved, and then it turns out you are being watched. This is the horror of it all – “people FELT they were free” when they were not.
If you feel you are free, you are unguarded. You expose more of yourself, like in a changing room, and it turns out there’s someone watching on the other side of the mirror. This is what Americans have been living with on all of their communications for the last 5 years (at least) when they wrote anything on google, yahoo, MSN etc.
China built a Great Firewall & people knew they weren’t free.
America built a hall of 2-way mirrors & people felt they were free.
Look at the structure again: each half of the couplet is further broken down into two halves:
China built a Great Firewall
America built a hall of 2-way mirrors
The repetition of the word “built” works nicely.
& people knew they weren’t free
& people felt they were free
The second part of each sentence contrasts “knowing” versus “feeling”. It relies on our knowledge of something which is a conventional wisdom in the US – that Chinese are not free, while that Americans are free.
But the couplet turns that conventional wisdom on its head: Chinese know they are not free, and Americans feel they are free.
This couplet is getting Americans to think – yeah, we say the Chinese are not free, but at least they know they are not free. Here, we feel we are free, but that “feeling of freedom” is needs to be qualified with the knowledge (now revealed) of the 2-way mirror. This thought presents Americans with the awful and yet unstated conclusion….that they are not really free.
In fact, the couplet suggests that Chinese people, for all their lack of freedom, know their situation, whereas the American people, with their illusion of freedom, are being fooled.
This puts the Chinese people in a better position than the American people. Why?
One thing that American culture emphasizes is transparency. No American wants to be anyone’s fool, and the law makes an assumption that with knowledge, you can give consent, and this is the essential foundation of the life of a free people.
In this case, the surveillance is being done without knowledge of the American subjects, who are blissfully unaware, feeling free. One has not consented to the surveillance. This realization is a deep offense to the American people’s assumptions about their country.
I also like the repetition of the word “people”. Instead of writing “Chinese know they weren’t free” and “Americans feel they were free”, he used the word “people”. In a simple and direct way, he shows that he thinks of us all as people, whether from China or America. This is a small distinction in words, but the implication in meaning is big.
I think that Mr Kevin Ruffe, whoever he is, deserves an award for the best tweet of the year in US China media relations, and I hope his quote gets preserved for posterity. And not just in the NSA database.
And now, once more, with feeling…
China built a Great Firewall & people knew they weren’t free.
America built a hall of 2-way mirrors & people felt they were free.
Black Pheonix says
That’s why I hate modern mass media. People just try to read no more than 2 lines.
Black Pheonix says
Get this one: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/06/laura-ingraham-ignoring-patriot-act-a-mistake-92407.html?hp=l1_b1
“Speaking to Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly about the recent revelations the National Security Administration is monitoring American’s phone records, Ingraham said civil libertarians raised red flags at the time of the law’s passing, but that they were “laughed off.”
“I didn’t focus that much about the Patriot Act. I wish I had, that was a mistake,” she said.
O’Reilly said he originally supported the Patriot Act.
“I supported the Patriot Act but I never thought a warrant could cover every single American,” O’Reilly said.”
That’s because, Bill, you are on Opium of the Masses. (In fact, as part of the media, you make your own Opium, and you feed it to other Americans).
What a MORON. Yeah, you thought the warrant would ONLY apply to those “foreigners”, right?! Their “liberty” means nothing, if it can make you feel safer. Well guess what, your “liberty” means also NOTHING, because PARANOIA doesn’t exempt anyone.
Here’s a contrast in media treatment. Earlier this year, Bloomberg Businessweek magazine had a cover story titled “Yes, the Chinese Army is Spying on You.” The magazine cover was dramatic and attention-getting, in orange with bold black letters.
Inside, it gave an investigative expose told with a breathless cat-and-mouse, cloak-and-dagger kind of animated tone, but the ending turned out to be completely anticlimactic. It would be like a Bourne thriller winding up with the villain being a hairdresser army reservist in Scranton Pennsylvania who likes to download free hacking tools in his spare time and mess around with people’s facebook pages.
See “A Chinese Hacker’s Identity Unmasked”
Video, At Cyber War: How Chinese Hackers Spy on You
After all the sturm und drang of this article, we have the reports yesterday of the NSA surveillance. How does Bloomberg Businessweek respond?
Go to their online version: What You Need to Know About the NSA Scandal.
The contrast between these two articles in stunning.
One two-bit Chinese hacker gets an investigative cover story filled with innuendo and speculation about how big and dangerous it might be.
The news of a massive NSA surveillance program gets a litancy of pro-government talking points that minimizes the concern that there might be an issue. The article basically says, this is okay folks, it’s no big deal, don’t worry about it.
Black Pheonix says
Let’s not forget, this is AFTER the Justice Department literally dragged in news organizations for a “meeting” (Invited for “Latte”?) to give them a talking to about who’s leaking information, AND openly threatened to prosecute journalists as collaborators /conspirators of leaks.
And the news organizations’ response: NO, really, we didn’t do any thing wrong, but OK, we’ll turn over our records.
Yeah, Hammer of the Government does SHUT them up quite easily, doesn’t it??
Black Phoenix, my friend, one may have good ideas and a lot to say.
But unless one effectively communicates them, they will be useless.
People are busy and their attention is limited.
The more words, the less meaning.
“Less is more” is a principle of effective communication.
Black Pheonix says
“People are busy and their attention is limited.
The more words, the less meaning.”
I have no doubt that if people wrote only 2 lines, the public would decide to read only 1 of the 2 lines.
Black Pheonix says
Travel Magazine’s 12 Rudest Cities in the World: Only Chinese city making the list? HK.
I guess it may depend on who you talk to.
Black Pheonix says
Here are the 10 rudest countries on Skyscanner’s list:
3. United Kingdom
7. United States
Though, it’s interesting to note: The result, which lists 34 countries, is based on Skyscanner’s online poll, which received more than 1,200 responses from Europe, North America and Australia.
I wonder if the result will be better or worse for China, if Asian people were also included in the polling.
The Economist is spreading disinformation about China again. They tried to slip it in in a parenthetical, perhaps hoping that no one would notice it. The article “Toward the End of Poverty” talked about the United Nations Millenium Development Goals, or MDGs, of which China has been a vocal and successful supporter throughout the last decade (excerpt follows):
“Starting this week and continuing over the next year or so, the UN’s usual Who’s Who of politicians and officials from governments and international agencies will meet to draw up a new list of targets to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were set in September 2000 and expire in 2015. Governments should adopt as their main new goal the aim of reducing by another billion the number of people in extreme poverty by 2030…..
The world’s achievement in the field of poverty reduction is, by almost any measure, impressive. Although many of the original MDGs—such as cutting maternal mortality by three-quarters and child mortality by two-thirds—will not be met, the aim of halving global poverty between 1990 and 2015 was achieved five years early.
The MDGs may have helped marginally, by creating a yardstick for measuring progress, and by focusing minds on the evil of poverty. Most of the credit, however, must go to capitalism and free trade, for they enable economies to grow—and it was growth, principally, that has eased destitution.
Poverty rates started to collapse towards the end of the 20th century largely because developing-country growth accelerated, from an average annual rate of 4.3% in 1960-2000 to 6% in 2000-10. Around two-thirds of poverty reduction within a country comes from growth. Greater equality also helps, contributing the other third. A 1% increase in incomes in the most unequal countries produces a mere 0.6% reduction in poverty; in the most equal countries, it yields a 4.3% cut.
China (which has never shown any interest in MDGs) is responsible for three-quarters of the achievement. Its economy has been growing so fast that, even though inequality is rising fast, extreme poverty is disappearing. China pulled 680m people out of misery in 1981-2010, and reduced its extreme-poverty rate from 84% in 1980 to 10% now.”
China “has never shown any interest in MDGs”?!?!
Here are some sources that discuss China’s support for the MDGs:
United Nations Development Program
MDG Achievement Fund
Wen Jiabao speech (2008) at U.N. High-Level Meeting on MDGs:
“China is a responsible, large developing country. Though not rich, it has honored its commitments to the Millennium Declaration and done what it can to help some least developed countries. By the end of June 2008, China had cancelled a total of 24.7 billion billion yuan of debts for 49 heavily indebted poor countries and least developed countries in Asia and Africa and provided 206.5 billion yuan in various forms of assistance, of which 90.8 billion yuan is free aid. China has provided zero-tariff treatment to the goods of 42 least developed countries. The number of covered tariff items ranges from 736 to 1,115, accounting for 98 percent of the export volume of least developed countries to China. China has trained 15,000 African professionals, sent medical teams and provided free anti-malaria medicine to Africa. China will continue to do so and will dispatch up to 100 senior agricultural experts to Africa and build 30 hospitals and 100 rural schools for Africa. To enhance Africa’s capacity for independent development, China decided at the end of 2007 to provide 2.377 billion yuan of free aid and 700 million yuan of interest-free loans to Africa.
Statistics released by the World Bank last year showed that over the past 25 years, China accounted for 67 percent of the achievements in global poverty reduction. The vision set out in the U.N. Millennium Declaration is being gradually turned into reality in the vast country of China. This is also the most important international responsibility that the Chinese today should fulfill.
Nonetheless, we have to recognize that about one billion people in the world still live below the poverty line and hundreds of millions suffer from hunger. China is also under pressure in terms of population, resources and the environment, and it faces such challenges as uneven development between urban and rural areas and between different regions, imbalance between economic and social development and a large low-income group.
To attain the goals of the Millennium Declaration globally remains a long and uphill journey and the difficulties cannot be underestimated.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Counting from today, we have only seven years to go before the end of 2015 to reach the goals in the Millennium Declaration of halving the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day and the proportion of people who suffer from hunger, and no more than 12 years before the end of 2020 to significantly improve the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers. The task is indeed an arduous one. I hope that, we, leaders present today, will join hands to shoulder greater responsibilities as statesmen and pay closer attention to and show more compassion for the poor regions and people in the world.
To this end, I wish to suggest the following:
— It is important for governments to give top priority to development. Underdeveloped countries should make poverty eradication through development a central task, and developed countries should provide enabling conditions for the development of underdeveloped countries. Development is, first and foremost, economic development and educational, cultural and social development should also be high on the agenda.
— It is important to give encouragement and support to all countries in taking development paths suited to their national conditions and exploring development models conducive to their national development and poverty eradiation efforts. Respect for the right of people of all countries to independently choose development paths and models should serve as a basis and precondition for democracy.
— It is important to resolve regional conflicts and ethnic strife through peaceful means rather than by force. We should promote democracy in international relations and encourage all countries to have consultations on an equal footing, seek common ground while reserving differences, pursue win-win outcomes and live in harmony with each other.
— It is important to step up international assistance. Developed countries in particular should assume the responsibility of helping underdeveloped countries. Assistance should be provided selflessly, with no conditions attached. It is particularly important to increase assistance for least developed countries and regions, with the focus on addressing hunger, medical care and schooling for children. I wish to propose that donor countries double their donations to the World Food Program in the next five years and that the international community do more to cancel or reduce debts owed by least developed countries and give zero-tariff treatment to their exports.
— It is important to improve the working mechanisms for the development goals in the Millennium Declaration. It is necessary to coordinate the efforts of international organizations to jointly overcome the difficulties facing developing countries, including the immediate challenges of soaring oil and food prices, make plans, raise finance for assistance and implement the plans in real earnest.
To facilitate the attainment of the MDGs, China stands ready to take the following actions:
1. In the coming five years, China will double the number of agricultural technology demonstration centers we build for developing countries to 30, increase the number of agricultural experts and technicians we send overseas by 1,000 to double the original figure, and provide agricultural training opportunities in China for 3,000 people from developing countries.
2. China will contribute 30 million U.S. dollars to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization to establish a trust fund for projects and activities designed to help developing countries enhance agricultural productivity.
3. China will increase exports and aid to countries facing food shortages.
4. In the coming five years, China will give 10,000 more scholarships to developing countries and offer training programs exclusively for 1,500 principals and teachers from African countries. China will ensure that the 30 hospitals it builds for African countries are properly staffed and equipped and train 1,000 doctors, nurses and managers for the recipient countries.
5. China will cancel the outstanding interest-free loans extended to least developed countries that mature before the end of 2008 and give zero-tariff treatment to 95 percent of products from the relevant least developed countries.
6. In the coming five years, China will develop 100 small-scale clean energy projects for developing countries, including small hydropower, solar power and bio-gas projects.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Four fifths of the world’s population live in developing countries while only one fifth in developed countries. Everyone has the equal right to survival. But if developing countries remain in poverty, this will show that today’s world is neither fair nor harmonious. Such a world will inevitably be an unstable one.
If we have those poor mothers and their hungry babies crying for food on our mind, then there is no difference that we cannot put aside and no obstacle that we cannot surmount. As long as governments have a strong sense of responsibility and mission, as long as people of all countries bring out the best of human sympathy and compassion, and as long as we unite to overcome difficulties, no matter where we come from and who we are, we will attain the MDGs.
I look forward to the day when the poor people no longer suffer from hunger and are all able to lead a frugal but comfortable life through their own hard work. I look forward to the day when all children can go to school and everyone enjoys proper medical care. I look forward to the day when we all live in a democratic and free society in which everyone has the opportunity and right to pursue happiness. I look forward to the day when on one is discriminated against for his or her skin color, race or belief and the family of mankind lives in greater harmony.
I believe that this is not just a day that I look forward to, but a day that everyone present here today looks forward to. Let us work towards the goals of the Millennium Declaration, so that the day will come, and will come early.”
The Economist is spreading disinformation that discredits China’s key role in working and speaking in favor of the MDGs in international fora. It downplays China’s achievements and gives credit instead to “the world”, “capitalism” and “free trade”. .
I want to see this movie
Black Pheonix says
That is an interesting movie.
I’m sure many overseas Chinese have had similar experiences with the inevitable “let down”.
I remember when I first came to US, I was also full of idealism of “Democracy”. Back in China, I was in the student government. In US, I was also part of the student government. At first I thought “Democracy” was a great idea.
But one gets tired of hopes, dreams, idealism, and politics.
The average man judge his freedom by the practical things.
Food is freedom from starvation.
Water is freedom from thirst.
Professional is freedom from destitution.
Wealth is freedom from worries of tomorrow.
Love is freedom from loneliness.
Security is freedom from crime and danger.
What is a “vote” in comparison to these freedoms??
When you are a poor man, your mind is occupied not by the thoughts of “vote”, your mind is constantly set on the freedoms I listed above.
I find it funny about this NY times about a supposingly a letter from some ‘labor camp’ in China. If you read the letter, an average Chinese couldn’t write this letter. I would not be surprised that some Falun Gong nut slipped the letter in the packaging, or bribed this woman in exposing this story.
Charles Liu says
This story from Falun Gong has long been debunked. Look at the note paper carefully, it’s horizontal rule and says “parent signature” at the bottom. It’s a worksheet used in Saturday Chinese school all over America (I volunteer at one.) In China worksheet are in squares.
Where has it been debunked; can you show a link? I saw comments on the internet pointing to individual discrepancies, like the usage of “中共政府” which is Hong Kong or Taiwan terminology, or the paper thing as you mentioned above. But since this story seems to be popping up again and again, it might be useful if you wrote an authoritative post pointing out all the problems at once.
Black Pheonix says
NYU kicks out CGC. Oh, I guess the “blind lawyer” should have read the contract of his asylum more carefully. (which said nothing about letting him stay on NYU campus.)
Presto changeo, switcharoo, now you are on your own, go get a job like everyone else.
Charles Liu says
Falun Gong has been promoting their Masanjia propaganda for quite some years, including use of photo of advanced breast cancer lesion as evidence of sexual torture:
Or his anti-China vitriol wasn’t venomous enough for Congressman Chris Smith, who held a one-man committee hearing for him (look how many committee members actually bothered to show up):
Charles Liu says
Murdoch dumps Tiger Wife who swatted the Pie Guy for him:
Black Pheonix says
I hope he has prenup. Or else, God help him, and I pity him, because she will have no mercy on him.
Pigs being dumped in the US’ river (I just thought it is funny after China’s incident.)
Noticing a lot of China Doomsayers screeching on about China’s latest trade figures? forget about ’em,
nothing beats, raw data:
Hey all,i am from India as my name probablly suggests. I have been a regular visitor to your blog from the past few months altough i have commented only once. I admire your blog a lot for being one of the few pro-china blogs presenting the chinese side of the issue amidst all the anti china propaganda by the Indian and Western Media.Coming to the point, i have a very strong interest towards learning all things Chinese(Chinese culture,language,politics,etc) and i want to move to China in the future after finishing my education and am planning to learn Mandarin before that.Could you recommend a few books to a Sinophile like me which give a proper insight into China with the focus being on Chinese politics and culture?Thank You Very Much.
Black Pheonix says
J.A.G. Roberts’ “A Concise History of China” is a good introductory book.
It’s less biased than most history books on China in the West, mostly because J.A.G. Roberts literally ripped off some Chinese history text books in sections, and just translated and dumped them into his own book.
Thank you very much Black Pheonix.Any other suggestions?And how is “When China Rules The World” by Martin Jacques?Is it a good book?Dosent look like the book has the usual anti china negative tone to it like books such as the coming collapse of china.
I’ll be reluctant to label this site as simply “pro-China’. While it is critical of media narratives that are spreading untruths about China, it is also equally criitical about media narratives that are untrue regarding other issues. Moreover, as you can see yourself, many contributors have been equally critical about China’s development. If it seems “pro-China”, that’s because many popular narratives about China are false and have been exposed as such over here.
@Sigmar Point taken.Now that you’ve said it i have come across a post about the myth of Chinese non-intervention.Increases my admiration for this blog all the more.Which of the Western newspapers do you think is the closest to being unbiased when it comes to China?IMO its the Guardian.
Since most of them rehash the same line from common Western agencies like AP, AFP, Reuters and NYT, without an independent approach of enquiry for the truth, they are of the same level of unbiasness, which is to say, not much.
Matt Schiavenza, the NSA’s useful idiot. Watch him predictably try to discredit Snowden. Schiavenza is more well trained dog than idiot.
Saw themovie, didn’t like it. I thought it could have been much better.
“But one gets tired of hopes, dreams, idealism, and politics.”
You don’t seem to be that tired talking about those things here. Or maybe you and I have different understanding of “politics” much like “memorization”?
It’s amazing to see how rabid and frenzied the American propaganda machine has revealed itself to be in light of the Snowden leaks. Really, was it necessary to know what Snowden wrote as a 17 year old?! or what his girlfriend does? Perhaps this qualifies as news to the TMZ generation who read The Economist
Black Pheonix says
“You don’t seem to be that tired talking about those things here. Or maybe you and I have different understanding of “politics” much like “memorization”?”
I’m never tired of talking about things I find tiring, and why they are tiring to me.
I find enlightening to openly discuss the REASONS why I feel certain ways about “hopes, dreams, idealism, and politics.”
I admit to be a cynic, but somehow, in discussing and in critically analyzing my own reasons, I derive new kinds of “hopes, dreams, idealism, and politics.”
This is what I suppose some call “cognitive dissonance.”
I am simultaneously a cynic and an optimist, when it comes to many things.
Black Pheonix says
I would also add that it is my “obsessive need” to self-examine.
I am constantly fill with certainty and doubt, regarding every thing I believe in.
I am certain only that I believe in some things today, and I doubt only that I will remain a believer in those things tomorrow.
I cannot wait for the world to change me, thus, I seek to change myself continuously through self-examination, self-doubt, self-critique.
My beliefs are my theories, which I must prove or disprove continuously every day.
I am confident of them today, because they have been changed through my proofs. But I must be ready to prove them wrong every day, for otherwise, my beliefs are nothing more than religions and superstitions.
Black Pheonix says
I recently saw some one (WKL I believe) characterize me as like to question every thing (terms, concepts).
I think that’s a very honest critique of my character. I do like to question every thing. That’s the habit of my profession, in engineering and in law. I like question thing, and I even like to question the questions.
But I like to distinguish my “questions” from the type of public DISPLAY of dissent as a form of questioning.
I believe too often in modern days, public display of “questions” are NOT really for the purpose of getting “answers”. Indeed, most public dissent are not interested in explanations or answers, let alone self-critiques or self-questioning.
“Questioning” by itself is not a form of confrontation. It’s a form of compromise, where one must seek to find an answer that resolve conflicting data, remove the conflict.
public dissent, is a form of total confrontation, and thus is not conducive to answering any question, serious questions.
Black Pheonix says
Remember how some folks have resorted to the argument of “no excuses,” when accusing China of this or that wrong.
Well, remember it well, because the “no excuses club” had plenty of excuses to offer for the US government’s domestic and international cyber-espionage programs:
Well, I should rephrase their “excuses” as more accurately the “Look away now” kind of distractions, everything from “bad journalism”, to “motives” of Snowden, etc..
Quite classic diversionary tactics from “Yellow Journalism”.
And quite a collection too, even in the comment section.
*The Duck Pond is eagerly showing their loyalty, as if afraid of being stripped of their US citizenships.
Oh yes, as one of them wrote:
“Hopefully we’ll be able to sort out the fact from fiction.”
Who do you think he means by “fiction”??
great article on the immorality of the Japanese claims over the Diaoyutai:
Black Pheonix says
Looks like China is finally putting the “no excuses” action plan in place.
OK, US, you can keep your trash, no more excuses.
Black Pheonix says
After almost 20 years, and more than 50 deaths, GM Chrysler “voluntarily” “recalls” 2.7 million Jeep.
By “voluntarily”, I mean Chrysler is finally somewhat giving up, after being investigated and sued so many years.
By “recall”, I mean Chrysler is NOT actually giving any money back, it’s really just going to put a metal plate on the dangerous combustible gas tank, IF they think it’s necessary.
Wow, that’s a load of BS mountain!
OK, that’s more deaths than Wenzhou train crash (an admittedly sudden crash due to majorly on a freak lightning storm).
But Chrysler had 20 years, and more than 50 deaths, and they still kept denying and refusing to fix a rather obvious design problem??
Democratic “steam valve” is no match for the rusty bureaucracy of corporate denial.
Western propaganda brags much about why does China attack Vietnam during 1979. While one of the reasons why China attacked Vietnam was because Vietnam attacked Cambodia, another lesser known reasons is that Vietnam has persecuted many ethnic Chinese people in Vietnam called Hoa people during 1975-late eighties.
While most of the people who had left Vietnam was the former South Vietnamese, a good number of them are Chinese also.
Personally I know some of these Hoa people who eventually became refugees in Hong Kong and then left for the US.
Snowden latest revalations are a blockbuster especially for useful fools like James Fallows who said in his latest Charlie Rose interview that though China is correct to say that they are the victims of American cyber aggression/spying/hacking, China’s actions is somehow especially egregious because it hacks into private American companies stealing from the citizens of the US. Snowden shows that the British spy agency GCHQ has supplied the NSA with data on billions of personal Chinese text messages from Chinese citizens stolen from Chinese companies.
Fallows is a chump. A trained dog for the powers that be like 99% of his colleagues.
With all due respect, could we all stop name-calling? It is not an effective way to argue your case, and demeans your points. It makes it easy for others to dismiss the good arguments that you make.
I come to HH to have a chance to read serious, thoughtful commentary from a non-anti-Chinese perspective.
Using wording like “Fallows is a chump. A trained dog for the powers that be like 99% of his colleagues” undercuts any good points you might make.
In your posting above, you make some very good factual points, but by engaging in name-calling, you seem to be saying to the reader that the facts you cite are not good enough, that you have to resort to name-calling to make your point.
Unfortunately, it winds up weakening your argument.
I enjoy reading your comments and perspectives, but I think you do your ideas a real disservice when you make these kinds of throwaway comments.
It is not just you, it is many posters to this site.
Of course, the real problem is that HH is an unedited site.
All quality publications have an editing process to prevent writers from the excesses of their own passions.
No matter how good a writer’s ideas are, having an editor with another set of eyes approaching a piece of writing with a bit more perspective often helps the writer to avoid making regrettable comments.
If there were an editorial process, it could help HH to project a more smart, thoughtful, serious and considered voice.
Guo Du says
Fully agreed! A prudent reminder.
It reflects a dilemma of the HH though. Most members are here because they have noticed the flagrantly unfair treatment of anything China in the mainstream media and official narratives. I suppose we all thought at first that this is due to a lack of understanding, and misunderstanding would dissolve in the face of logic and well-researched facts.
But not really. Facts mean very little in today’s world. The resulting sense of injustice and frustration, the feeling that “whatever evidence one produces is no match for Western propaganda” might have caused some commenters to vent out the way you described, which, I agree, spoils a good argument at best, and could be used against our common (and elusive) objective at worst. Unfortunately, patience and persistence are the only way to change the tide of popularised prejudice, painfully slowly.
well put but i’m with Melektaus when it comes to using some rather saucy language when we’ve encountered disinformationa and Western anglo propaganda.
Still, i’ll take your considerations to mind and in the future, i’ve been of a mind to write a few essays to HH
I appreciate your thoughtful responses. Yes it is frustrating to attempt to argue against unjust or unfair prejudicial views. You will often fail to convince those who argue against you.
But what you may not realize is that there are readers who are looking at both sides. Those readers may not be commenting, but there is a good chance that they will see some merits to your arguments.
It is not necessary to convince the other side in order to win an argument. It is enough just to present another perspective, and let the readers judge for themselves.
Unfortunately, I cannot tell you the number of times when I thought an HH poster / commenter was making a good point, when suddenly they let loose with an expletive, a personal attack, or a racial / ethnic / religious slur.
All of these things make the commenter lose credibility with the reader.
So “saucy language” may feel good to the writer, but it has the very opposite effect on the reader, especially the reader is is not yet convinced by your argument.
The question is one of priorities. Is one’s purpose for posting to vent and feel some sense of release? Or is it to make the best case possible for your ideas?
Venting and feeling some sense of release is something best done in private.
Just like in those movies about a courtroom, the lawyers cannot “vent” in front of the judge. They do that to the side, away from the judge.
Here, the readers are the judges, and the whole world could be watching.
Making the best case possible means presenting it in the strongest possible way, without shooting yourself in the foot through a single mis-placed word.
I have seen many times where HH commenters were making very good arguments, and a troll will come on a goad the commenter into making an angry response, like a personal attack, a slur, or worst of all, an anti-semitic remark. This is a trap set by the troll, and the commenter walks right in. This gives a win to the troll. All the good ideas presented are wasted at that point.
In contrast, some years ago, I think it was on Fools Mountain or another forum, there was a foreign teacher in China who made some long study about some controversial topic (I think it was about the DL). I remember he kept calmly presenting his arguments and responding point by point to his opponents. Nothing would faze him, and he just kept presenting his case, patiently, persistently, and consistently. I remember being quite a bit more convinced by his arguments than his opponents’ (and he had many opponents). It took quite a bit of work on his part, but in the end, he won. None of his opponents gave in, but his arguments were more convincing to me in the end, as a reader.
I wish I could convey how much it destroys credibility to indulge in language a reader finds offensive.
Perhaps a quote from this blog on “Commenting Best Practices” would be instructive:
“Comment often but not too often so as to become a nuisance. Once you’ve identified blogs you like, ensure that you comment on the content on a daily basis. You would want to anyway, seeing how it is content you like. This will help the blogger identify you as a serious presence and that will go a long way in creating good will.
Read other comments to get more from the process. Other comments are interesting when you need new perspective on a topic. Comments are usually left by interested people and so you can stay updated about industry trends and innovations. Don’t use your comments to engage in angry exchanges with other bloggers. Offensive language that insults a group, gender or race will score you no brownie points with others and you run the risk of being blacklisted by an entire group. So keep your comments clean and relevant to ensure popularity.”
Agreed. Don’t Stoop to America’s propagandists kind of name calling. Snowden has been called a punk, high school dropout, loser, weasel, kid, narcissist, military washout, and of course traitor. Of course, American propaganda (as shown on AP’s mandate) was told not to call him a whistleblower, because doing so, he uncovered the wrongdoing of the American government, which he did.
“With all due respect, could we all stop name-calling? It is not an effective way to argue your case, and demeans your points. It makes it easy for others to dismiss the good arguments that you make.”
You really seem to get insecure with my style. It’s my style. People can have different styles. I find yours to be dull for example. Do you seem me whinning about it? I don’t mind dull writing if it is informative. I think most intelligent people don’t care about such petty stylistic issues. Look, people have different voices. I don’t think by calliung Fallows a chump “demeans” my point.
I do think blind ideology and vapid writing demeans points. That’s driven away far more readers than my caustic writing style. Sorry you’re offended but I don’t care.
what i like about HH is the freedom of expression which you can’t really find in a lot of other political forums which are often over moderated and censored (under the guise of ‘political correctness’) to death.
i think each of us contributes a unique voice, no matter how abrasive, to how we can convey the truth about China to a still largely western dominated cybersphere.
Black Pheonix says
While US throws tantrum over Snowden: Federal Government Shutdown looming on horizon
Figure that American Companies goes to China and tries to cheat off from Chinese workers by withholding their pay for 2 months when American propaganda claims that they want ‘generous’ severance packages.
Black Pheonix says
Meanwhile, a new brawl in Taiwan:
Black Pheonix says
This is kind of bizarre, but a little funny
Black Pheonix says
OK, this link gives more details: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57590849/u.s-exec-chip-starnes-held-hostage-by-factory-employees-in-china-for-5th-day/
It sounds like the guy was more of a deadbeat.
perhaps China’s rebalancing of the US’ power will provide a check against the excesses of Washington.
Looks like this deadbeat boss finally released funds from the US to China so they can pay the workers. These Chinese workers were right to ‘imprison’ their boss, considering that they don’t pay the workers and the boss is moving the equipment away from the China factory.
Black Pheonix says
Rule of Law Chinese style: Deadbeat Bosses face employees without police help.
Black Pheonix says
On the plight Snowden, there is a deafening silence from the usual celebrity Human Rights armchair warriors.
Yeah, will Snowden get a visit from Gere, DL, Tutu, etc.? Not a chance in hell.
Even Ai Weiwei gives no love for Snowden.
Will Amnesty International (based in UK, the heartland of Fiber Optics Snooping), “condemn” or “demand” anything from US?
So far, AI only whimpered “we urge US not to prosecute” Snowden. (After the prosecution machinery of US has already charged and tried to have Snowden detained, and then followed by threats against other nations).
WOW, “urge”. That’s some mighty Human Rights activism.
I can almost hear it over the massive US government and media mob cry of “hang traitor Snowden”.
Wow, quite a turn of events these last few weeks have been. Truths most of us here always knew, but obscured and denied by the media and powers that be in the west, finally coming out of the shadows. It’s amazing how the US status quo is trying so hard to take refuge in their make believe world. Case in point, Schumer and the whole us gov’t blaming China for letting Snowden go. What? So US hacking against China has been revealed to the world and he blames China for letting the truth teller go? Truly cognitive dissonance. And America’s hardline reaction is becoming a joke for the rest of the world. This is yet another episode of American decline, started when Bush II was stole the 2000 elections. Sad.
“Even Ai Weiwei gives no love for Snowden.”
Of course not. He and others are or were funded by the same US establishment out to destabilize China and the rest of the world. He is of that rightfully despised lot who talk honesty, truth and universal rights, but who in reality had long ago been corrupted by black ops like the CIA and their NGO arms. Who wants to bet that peking duck, who posted to smear snowden, is directly or indirectly funded by the same US black ops directly or indirectly via some NGO, or at least has some personal interest besides being a so called “patriot”.
Interesting and sad:
Of course, such crimes are forgiven and forgotten by the world cause they’ve got “democracy”.
The importance of China to European development is often downplayed, obscured and forgotten. For example, the early rise of global capitalism in England is directly related to China.
The “joint stock company” is the prototype for the modern corporation. Investment in “joint stock company” shares financed nautical expeditions for trade, conquest and colonialism. According to Wikipedia’s article on joint stock companies:
“The English were first with joint-stock companies. The earliest recognized company was the Company of Merchant Adventurers to New Lands, chartered in 1553 with 250 shareholders.”
The full name of the “Company of Merchant Adventurers of New Lands” was fanciful: “The Mystery, Company, and Fellowship of Merchant Adventurers for the Discovery of Regions, Dominions, Islands, and Places Unknown”.
The Company “was founded in London, possibly in 1551 by Richard Chancellor, Sebastian Cabot and Sir Hugh Willoughby. Some 240 adventurers purchased shares at 25 Pounds each and they received a royal charter for their company from King Edward in 1553, with Sebastian Cabot appointed its Governor. [An adventurer is a business investor who ventures capital.] The purpose of the Company was to seek a new, northern trade route to Cathay (China) and the Spice Islands (the Moluccas, now part of Indonesia).”
Sebastian Cabot, like his father, explorer Giovanni Caboto (John Cabot), was likely born in Genova. John Cabot had grown up reading Marco Polo’s stories about fabulous cities in China, and this inspired him throughout his life to as a navigator to find a sea passage to China. See these brief bios of John Cabot and Sebastian Cabot.
On May 10, 1553 (460 years ago this year), an expedition of 3 ships sailed from England under the joint command of Willoughby and Chancellor. The purpose was to establish a new trade route with the far east.
“With the assumption that sailing at higher latitudes would mean a shorter rout to China, these gentlemen decided to look for a north eastern sea passage beyond the northernmost tip of Scandinavia and above the coast of Siberia.”
“The trip was sponsored by a group of London merchants who were led by Sebastian Cabot. The merchants fitted out three ships, the Bona Esperanza (commanded by Willoughby), the Edward Bonaventure (commanded by Richard Chancellor), and the Bona Confidentia (commanded by Cornelius Durfoorth). Each ship contained trade goods, mostly English wool cloth, in hopes of opening trade with Russia and China. The ships carried provisions for eighteen months, which included sour beer, hard biscuit, salt pork, and cheese.”
“Unfortunately, the expedition ran into a storm near Lofoten islands in Norway, and Chancellor’s ships got separated from the rest of the convoy. Determined to reach his goal Sir Willoughby pushed forward and managed to sail as far as Novaya Zemlya, only to get his ship stuck in ice. He and his men met their end in polar winter of 1554.”
“Richard Chancellor had much more luck. He managed to find his way to the White Sea and the port of Nikolo-Korelsky Monastery, settlement of orthodox monks in the far north. The news of exotic guests soon reached Moscow and the court of Czar Ivan the Terrible. Czar Ivan was delighted at the news of foreign merchants reaching the shores of his domain. At the time Russia was cut off from the rest of Europe by its Polish and Swedish enemies, while the trade on the Baltic sea was firmly in the hands of Hanzeatic Merchants who extorted hefty fees for their efforts, and the Black sea was a Turkish domain. The Englishmen who had found another way in, were immediately summoned to the capital.”
“Chancellor…was given audience with Tsar Ivan IV. The Tsar gave Chancellor permission to trade throughout Russia. He returned to England in 1554. Chancellor then wrote about his travels and, based on his information about Russia and trade possibilities, the Muscovy Company was formed” to exploit this trade opportunity.
“The meeting with the Czar was a start of a lucrative business, which would last until 1917 and the October revolution.”
In Moscow, there is still a place called “The Old English Yard” just off Red Square which functioned as the Moscow headquarters of the Moscovy Company.
Later in the 16th century, English writer Richard Hakluyt wrote a description of the voyage, called The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques, and Discoveries of The English Nation, v3 North-Eastern Europe and Adjacent Countries Part II. The Muscovy Company and the North-Eastern Passage.
There are some interesting references to China in this work:
1. China is referred to as a “mighty Empire of Cathay”.
2. “The voyage intended for the discovery of Cathay, and divers other regions, dominions, Islands, and places unknown”
3. “From the Countreis of Cathay are brought thither in time of peace, and when the way is open, musk, rubarbe, satten, damaske, with diuers other things.”
4. “this land of Cathay…they praise to be civil and unspeakeably rich…”
Although the expedition did not make it to China, what they managed to find enroute and establish was a lucrative and important business relationship with Russia. It is important to acknowledge the motivational role that China played in European commerce at this time, as a source of inspiration and investment and investigation. The trade with China was regarded as so lucrative and vital that early capitalist businesspeople invested significant resources in hopes of getting around the middleman (the land route and traders of the Middle East).
As much as people talk about “voyages of discovery”, the financing of these voyages was intended to conduct profitable trade with China.
This motive force – getting to China – has been a factor driving global economic history for at least 500 years.
Charles Liu says
Hey gang, just want to report HH is not blocked in China.
To my knowledge, HH had never been blocked in China. Foolsmountain was blocked for a few months (if that long) during the lead up to the 2008 Olympics … But as far as HH is concerned – despite our tag of Tibet and Dalai Lama – it was never blocked.
erix x. li on TED
surprised noone wrote about the successful mission of those taikonauts from Tiangong-1. Good job, guys and gal!.
anyhoo, whilst the Chinese forge ahead with space research looking to complete a final permanent space station by 2020, (the ISS will drop back to Earth around that time absent funding) the US continues to blackball China when it comes to space science and research…and inadvertently isolating themselves in the process whilst other nations scramble to cooperate with China in space.
I think we should have. That wired article you post is good, showing the predictment China faces from the U.S….
and despite Rep. Wolf insinuating that the US has nothing to gain from China’s research into space, that hasn’t stopped the NSA from hacking into Chinese research institutions like Tsinghua and quite possibly CASC in order to steal Chinese space research.
i can only imagine a future when Chinese taikonauts have broken ground on a moon colony and have mastered interstellar travel that the US will oh so generously ‘invite’ China to cooperate in space.
y’know, i really hope the US continues to embargo itself from scientific cooperation with the Chinese in space; more planets for us to colonise anyhow.
Today I read some ugly views of which are about Snowden’s application of political asylumon being rejected by 21 countries on news.ifeng.com (Chinese):
“At long last, Snowden will realize that the motherland he betrayed still stands for the real justice and fairness of the world.”
Perhaps we just need to send these guys to US with cheers and let them taste the so called “justice and fairness” themselves.
Seems like a little community bank in Chinatown serving immigrant families is made to face harsh charges for technical infractions that much bigger institutions get away with. This is the way “rule of law” works in the United States – the harshest penalties are borne by minorities who have little political influence.
Big trouble, little Chinatown bank
The Real Traitors to America are in Washington and New York
“Even Cyrus Vance Jr., the supposedly tough-as-nails, no-nonsense district attorney of Manhattan, whose jurisdiction encompasses the home offices of most of the biggest “too-big-to-fail” banks, won’t indict any of them or any of their top executives. It’s not that he won’t indict a bank, but instead of going after Goldman or Citi or Chase, he has indicted — ready for this? — a little independently owned community-based Chinatown bank called Abacus Bank, which has total assets of less than $250 million. That’s million. For comparison, the largest US bank, JP Morgan Chase, has total assets of $2.39 trillion dollars, which is almost 10,000 times as big. Worse yet, although Vance, in indicting the bank, claimed its fraud (a bank employee, fired and voluntarily reported to regulators by the bank, had been been falsely inflating loan applicants’ incomes to help them take bigger loans), was “an example of what brought down the US economy,” actually Abacus has a loan default rate of 0.5%, which is just one-tenth of the national average bank loan default rate of 5-6%.”
Black Pheonix says
US has imposed a Great No Fly Zone over the entire world, but apparently, BS still gets through.
yeah i read that and was disgusted at the incredibly transparent and accepted racism that’s still prevalent in modern america today.
now if we look at modern europe, the recipient of last year’s Novel prize for peace, we see utter gutlessness amongst the European leaders when it comes to granting asylum to a brave whistleblower, Snowden. And these are the people who want to see themselves as a new superpower! what a joke.
Black Pheonix says
Not unlike how the FBI shut down Chinese operated immigration law firms for immigration fraud, when every one sane knows that the same BS fraud were going on with other immigration law firms.
Mortgage Fraud Prosecutors Pounce on a Small Bank
Abacus Bank and the Power of Prosecutors’ ‘First Bite of the Apple’
“In his indictment [PDF] (with an accompanying press release and YouTube video, naturally), D.A. Vance took a victory lap, excoriating the bank as emblematic of all that caused the mortgage crisis. The press release stated the fraud resulted in the sale of “hundreds of millions of dollars worth of fraudulent loans” to Fannie Mae. The individual defendants were shackled and paraded in a public hallway outside the courtroom before arraignment—in front of a media corral set up specifically for the occasion—even though three of the eleven had been charged previously and were already out on bail. When asked at his press conference why Abacus had been indicted when the bank itself had uncovered the problem, fired employees, alerted the authorities, and undertaken an internal investigation, Vance responded that Abacus’s efforts had been ‘too little, too late.’ ”
“But the facts of the indictment didn’t exactly match the press event’s hype. Only 31 allegedly fraudulent loans were listed in the indictment, and four of those had already been paid off. Of the remaining 27, just one was delinquent. The kicker? According to court filings, the loans in question have earned at least $174 million for Fannie Mae and its investors in the time period in question. That’s right—in stark contrast to the Countrywides and Wachovias of the go-go mortgage run-up, little Abacus’s loan portfolio has consistently made Fannie Mae (and, indirectly, the American taxpayer) money.”
This is what “rule of law” amounts to in the United States: aggressive prosecution of minorities. Travesty of justice, but who cares? Where are the “rule of law” human rights activists? Why isn’t Chen GuangCheng saying anything about this case? Doesn’t he care about Chinese in America who are subject to discriminatory treatment from the law? With his renown, could he apply some of that fame to drawing attention to the injustice here?
One of the readers commented to the Bloomberg article with this:
“These are the kind of stories that make people lose faith in government and the
legal system. The DA’s office should be ashamed of their political
grandstanding. It’s a disgusting waste of time and tax payer money to
go after such a small bank when all the giant banks that blew up our
financial system go completely free. Did the Abacus employees do
something wrong, yes. But given the microscopic number of loans that
defaulted, no great damage was done. The DA is charging jaywalkers
while financial murderers go free. Not to mention the horrendous way
they have violated Vera Sung’s honesty about the situation. Punishing
whistle blowers is such a back water, knuckle dragging approach. It’s a
Let’s be clear, I’m not fond of banks. But the hard working family of
immigrants that established Abacus should be celebrated, not singled out
for humiliation and persecution. Isn’t there anyone out there with any
power and clout that can keep this injustice from proceeding? Go get
the real predators that hurt our country to the tune of billions and
stop celebrating the millions in penalties you can levy on a company
that did so little harm. It’s sad that one of Abacus’s mistakes seems
to be not ponying up tons of high priced lawyers to keep them out of
court in the first place. Maybe if they had lawyered up like the big
banks they could be spending their time helping the community again
instead of fighting off this attack on their livelihood. Like I said,
loss of faith. Why does our system have to work this way?”
Why does our system have to work this way indeed.
Black Pheonix says
Not unusual, if one was suspicious of the “rule of law”. Chinese immigrants should know about such things in US history.
And as lawyers know, it’s never a good idea to be “honest” with the Government, because they will never be “honest” with you.
Unless you have lobbies standing behind you, all you are is just someone to step on with the “rule of law”.
Black Pheonix says
a blast from the past: US-China law firm Lehman, Lee & Xu fined in US, partner faced contempt in HK.
Controversy Over Fraud In United States
On March 15, 2012, a United States District Court (SDNY) entered a default judgment against Lehman, Lee & Xu and its Managing Director Edward Eugene Lehman in the amount of:
$1,135,850 in compensatory damages;
$3,407,550 in treble damages under 18 U.S.C. §1964(c) for plaintiff’s RICO conspiracy claims;
$406,339.36 in attorneys’ fees and costs;
$150,000 in punitive damages; and
$297,997.25 in prejudgment interest.
The lawsuit, filed by United States clients of the firm, alleged that defendant Lehman fraudulently induced the plaintiffs and their investors to deposit approximately $1.2 million into an escrow account with the defendant on the pretext that Lehman, Lee & Xu would provide the plaintiffs with legal, financial, and accounting services, including services related to investment projects in Hong Kong. The plaintiffs allege that, after depositing the money in the escrow account, they began to lose confidence that the defendants were in fact performing the services agreed to. The defendants then allegedly refused the plaintiffs’ request that their money be returned to them and ceased responding to the plaintiffs’ further attempts to communicate with them.
The plaintiffs claimed to have subsequently discovered that the defendants’ conduct was part of a scheme to defraud the plaintiffs of at least an additional $ 2 million. Based on these allegations, the plaintiffs asserted claims for 1) violation of the civil RICO statute (18 U.S.C. §1962(c)), 2) conversion, 3) aiding and abetting conversion, 4) breach of fiduciary duty, 5) aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty, 6) professional negligence, 7) securities fraud, 8) fraud, 9) setting aside fraudulent conveyances, 10) unfair business practices, 11) unjust enrichment, 12) misrepresentation likely to cause confusion, and 13) false and misleading advertising. 
Sued By Partners & Given Suspended Prison Sentence in Hong Kong
In 2011, Edward Lehman was sued by his ex business partner, Russell Brown, of their joint venture accounting firm, in Hong Kong. Brown won what was termed ‘a significant legal case’ against Edward Lehman, Managing Director and founding partner of Lehman, Lee & Xu, who was found guilty of contempt of Court (HCA2204/2010) by the Hong Kong High Court. Lehman’s own counsel described Edward Lehman’s conduct in breach of an Injunction Order as “stupid”, “foolish” and “culpably negligent.” The Honourable Mr. Justice To imposed a fine of HK$200,000 against Lehman and awarded indemnity costs of HK$400,000 to the Plaintiffs.
The Plaintiffs, Russell Brown, Zhou Han Brown and ‘Effiscient,’ one of two shareholders in LehmanBrown, sought legal recourse in Hong Kong, were vindicated in their commitment to the due process of law against Edward Lehman and were successful in proving that between February and September 2010, Edward Lehman, a Patent and Trademark Agent in Hong Kong, China, and Macau, a member of the Illinois State and American Bar Associations and a lawyer practicing in China, issued over 9,000 emails containing defamatory statements about the Plaintiffs and LehmanBrown. The actions of Edward Lehman were held to be in deliberate breach of a Hong Kong High Court Injunction Order issued by The Honourable Mr Justice To on 23 July 2010. On 2 November 2010, Brown, Zhou Han and Effiscient issued an Originating Summons against Lehman for contempt of Court and committal to prison (HCA2204/2010 & HCA959/2010) .
In Open Court in Hong Kong on 19 April 2011 with The Honourable Mr Justice To presiding, the legal counsel for Edward Lehman described Lehman’s conduct in breach of the Injunction Order (HCA959/2010) as “stupid”, “foolish” and “culpably negligent.” Edward Lehman admitted contempt and made an unreserved apology to the Court as well as to each of Russell Brown, Zhou Han Brown and Effiscient in an attempt to avoid a custodial sentence.
The Honourable Mr Justice To stated that Edward Lehman had committed “a very serious case of contempt” and the case was one that at first glance “warranted an immediate custodial sentence.” While considering a custodial sentence, which Edward Lehman claimed would impinge on his ability to practice law, the Judge imposed a fine (HK$200,000) and awarded costs to be paid to the Plaintiffs on an indemnity basis (HKD400,000) – USD77,250 in total. Meanwhile, the Plaintiffs have also obtained an Interlocutory Judgement against Lehman in a separate defamation action in Hong Kong and are currently pursuing an assessment of damages and costs, which are expected to be substantial.
Court Reference Numbers HIGH COURT OF THE HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE MISCELLANEOUS PROCEEDINGS: HCA2204/2010 HIGH COURT OF THE HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE MISCELLANEOUS PROCEEDINGS: HCA959/2010
i’m glad some of the powers that be are aware of the western nature to proselytise and convert others to their religion of Christianity, in effect turning Chinese into ‘little westerners’ who’re going to be servile to the West, as some of the ‘pro demoracy’ and ‘China Aid’ people have so effectively proven themselves:
i should note that statistics provided on the ‘100 million’ Chinese christians are highly dubious especially when they’re conducted by christian groups desperate to turn the entirety of China into a western vassal and slave.
Guo Du says
I had thought about posting my essay “We Are Being Dangerously Polite to Religionists” (http://guo-du.blogspot.hk/2012/10/we-are-dangerously-polite-to.html) on HH but decided against it because I thought the dangers posed by religionists are not great in China, as it is in Hong Kong. Perhaps I should reconsider. . .
well we should never have to be politically correct about religion ffs. In fact, one of the key selling points, or one of the key appeals of the Chinese Communist Party to me at least, is that its upper echelons must be atheists.
This is a vitally important policy for the Chinese leadership because it prevents China being hijacked by religious extremists (looking at the role of the religious right in America and other anglo countries or even Saudi Arabia) and most importantly, it provides a fair and equitable leadership that isn’t going to favour one religious system over another. Secondly, such an atheistic policy allows for scientific rationality to become the guiding principle of the Chinese leadership (refer to Hooper’s article on Scientific Development Concept) and allows for Chinese science and research to flourish.
And finally, out of all the religions, Christianity, especially the evangelical kind espoused by American missionaries, must be treated with the utmost suspicion and disdain given the history of evangelical missioanries causing all sorts of problems in China (this was even alluded to by Deng Xiaoping). Of course i do draw the distinction between nominal christian groups that do NOT interfere with Chinese politics such as nestorian christians who’ve been around for a centuries, but i’d list a group like FLG as being no different to these evangelical groups in their paramount goals of subverting China.
Guo Du says
I fully agree. In addition, one of the most preposterous criticisms railed against China is that the social ills that come with “modernisation” is due to a lack of spirituality. What? Buddhism and Daoism, being philosophical in nature, recognise the infinitely mysterious nature of life honestly. Installing an ultimate god as arbitrary limit to spiritual exploration is by comparison anti-spiritual; it prevents, even forbids, a believer to contemplate the metaphysical dimensions of his own existence beyond the dead-end of God. Perhaps that indeed is a cause of the social ills and irrationality in the leftover of Christendom.
Black Pheonix says
Chinese people talk about Cultural Revolution.
Particularly the section on putting “labels” on people.
I think this is more of an education for Westerners who have very little idea about “revolutions” nowadays, and so often eager to join foreign “revolutions” or interventions for “revolutions”.
Frankly, I lived through some of it when I was a child in China.
And here is the 1 bit: Mao called an end to the Red Guards in the end.
that’s right, he was at least sane enough to realize a mistake.
On the other hand, Obama is still continuing many of Bush’s 8 year mistakes.
Black Pheonix says
almost 1/2 of countries surveyed perceive “political parties” as corrupt.
among them, most of North and South America and Europe and Australia.
Black Pheonix says
Western corporations’ war on online pirates by banning VPN.
Oh the irony for Expats in China: You want VPN for anonymity? But you can’t pay for it with your US credit cards. But you can pay with your bank account transfers in China, which would reveal your real identity, to the governments.
Black Pheonix says
funny fake news: Millions of Corrupt Chinese apply for Indian citizenship!
Kidding aside, I’m not sure India (however you want to define it – a country, people, culture, government, etc), realizes the hardships coming. With their population growth, severe lack of natural resources, and a government that can’t carry out bold policies, it may well go to hell in a hand basket. I read an article about world water scarcity problems (sorry couldn’t find the link), and India is on the top of the list. Aquifers are being drained and they may well be at or past “peak water”. China has monumental problems, but look down the tunnel for India and we’re talking about humanitarian suffering on biblical proportions. I’m not a religious person, but God help us!
new archaelogical finds discover 5000 year old predecessors of Chinese script:
Black Pheonix says
UK continues to find Media and journalists practicing corruption:
Guo Du says
An excellent talk by Eric Li: A tale of two political systems. Highly recommended.
A mainland and Taiwan team won Wimbleton’s Women Double.
Got my blog up
documentary on Chinese technology and history
Black Pheonix says
White House to jump into nationalist debate on whether to crack down on Samsaung over “patent abuse”.
Oh great, it’s really quite OK for US to steal other people’s technology, for money/jobs.
just wondering, what are you guys’ thoughts on Caixin?
Are they truly objective vis-a-vis China or are they another spout of Sinophobic reporting in the Melissa Chan vein?
Black Pheonix says
Oh My! UK and Spain tension mount over “Rock” and Reefs.
Sorry, can’t find original link.
Arctic trade route opens for Chinese shipping; the US chokehold over the Malacca straits weakens and more opportunities for China’s northeast booms as well:
Thanks for posting this.
Those with a sense of history will see some significance in this development.
In 1553 – exactly 460 years ago, three ships set sail from England over the Arctic route (known as the fabled “Northeast Passage to Asia”) to seek a new trade route to China.
Two ships were lost but a third made it – to Russia, where they set up a profitable trading relationship with the Tsar.
This is discussed in comment #67 above.
A good description of the journey can also be found here:
The Northern Lights Route
“The Trade Route around the North Cape to the White Sea
Equipped by London merchants of The English Company of Merchant Adventures for the Discovery of Lands, Territories, Isles, Dominions and Seignories Unknown, three ships sailed out of the river Thames in May 1553. The vessels headed north with the intention of finding the one thing that had been talked about in England for decades: the discovery of the sea route leading to Japan, China and India – the Northeast Passage.
The English not only dreamed of immense riches in the Far East. They also believed Russia’s northern passage could be quicker and safer than the trade routes which the Spanish and the Portuguese had discovered and taken control of.
The expedition’s leader, Sir Hugh Willoughby, neither got to the see the promised land, Cathay (the ancient name of China), nor his home again.
Along with two of the ships’ 70 men, Willoughby starved and froze to death in the arctic wasteland. Their deaths may possibly have been caused by carbon monoxide poisoning in an attempt to survive the winter. In 1554, Russian fishermen found their remains on the eastern Murman Coast. And nearly 300 years later – in 1872 – A.E. Nordenskiöld became the first man to discover the sea route leading through the Northeast Passage.
The 1553 English expedition, however, had failed in regards to its original intentions. But even though two of the ships foundered, the third and largest ship, the Edvard Bonaventura, reached the mouth of the Dvina in the White Sea. This vessel was commanded by Richard Chancellor (d. 1556). The event marked the prelude to one of the era’s most important geographical discoveries. It was Chancellor’s good fortune that his finding paved the road for direct trade between England and czarist Russia. Remarkably, too, the British discovery of Russia came about as a coincidental effect of their attempt to find the northeastern trade route to China.”
At that time, England was a small and poor fourth rate power but with ambition and technology to challenge the dominance of more powerful nautical and continental powers such as Spain, Portugal and Dutch and the Holy Roman Empire. And all of these were small in comparison to China.
But England had City of London merchants who saw a potential trading opportunity and pooled their risk capital in a private profit-making venture, the first modern corporation. They set sail in wind-powered boats.
This lecture gives a good sense of what was involved in the manufacture, outfitting, design and management of these ships and the technology involved. Note that England’s naval might was not government owned, but merchant owned and financed. Is this a fundamental difference between the development of Chinese and English technology?
Steamships first came to China in 1839 during the First Opium War, sent by the same sort of business people associated with a later corporation, the British East India Company.
Throughout the last 500 years or more, the whole point of these voyages was so that Europe could be supplied with processed and manufactured goods from China – teas (processed agricultural products), silks, porcelains, lacquerware, cotton cloths.
Today, COSCO makes the same journey to bring other kinds of processed and manufactured goods to Europe.
From Wikipedia article on The Silk Road:
“The Silk Road stopped serving as a shipping route for silk about 1453 with the Ottoman supremacy at Constantinople. Ottoman rulers of the day were anti-western, countering the crusades, and aware of the loss of Andalusia in the west, so expressed their displeasure by embargoing trade with the west. Things had eased a bit around a century later, and Venice was able to cut an uneasy deal with the Ottomans, regaining for a time some of their economic clout as middlemen.
The disappearance of the Silk Road following the end of the Mongols’ reign was one of the main factors that stimulated the Europeans to reach the prosperous Chinese empire through another route, especially by sea. Tremendous profits were to be obtained for anyone who could achieve a direct trade connection with Asia. This was the main driving factor for the Portuguese explorations of the Indian Ocean, including the sea of China, resulting in the arrival in 1513 of the first European trading ship to the coasts of China, under Jorge Álvares and Rafael Perestrello, followed by the Fernão Pires de Andrade and Tomé Pires diplomatic and commercial mission of 1517, under the orders of Manuel I of Portugal, which opened formally relations between the Portuguese Empire and the Ming Dynasty during the reign of the Zhengde Emperor. The handover of Macau (Macao) to Portugal in 1557 by the Emperor of China[which?] (as a reward for services rendered against the pirates who infested the South China Sea) resulted in the first permanent European maritime trade post between Europe and China, with other European powers following suit over the next centuries, which caused the eventual demise of the Silk Road.
[Italian pottery of the mid-15th century was heavily influenced by Chinese ceramics.]
When he went West in 1492, Christopher Columbus reportedly wished to create yet another trade route to China. It was initially a great disappointment to have found a continent “in-between” before recognizing the potential of a “New World”.
In 1594, Willem Barents left Amsterdam with two ships to search for the Northeast passage north of Siberia, on to eastern Asia. He reached the west coast of Novaya Zemlya and followed it northward, being finally forced to turn back when confronted with its northern extremity. By the end of the 17th century, the Russians re-established a land trade route between Europe and China under the name of the Great Siberian Road.
The desire to trade directly with China and India was also the main driving force behind the expansion of the Portuguese beyond Africa after 1480, followed by the Netherlands and England from the 17th century. While the Portuguese (and, subsequently, other Europeans) were entering China from its southern coast, by the sea route, the question arose as to whether it happens to be the same country as Cathay which Marco had reached by the overland route. By c. 1600, the Jesuits stationed in China, led by Matteo Ricci, were pretty sure that it was, but others were not convinced yet. To check the situation on the ground, Bento de Góis, a Portuguese former soldier and explorer who had joined the Jesuits as a Lay Brother in Goa, India, traveled in 1603–1605 from India via Afghanistan and one of the routes of the traditional Silk Road (via Badakhshan, the Pamirs, Yarkand, Kucha, and Turpan to the Ming China’s border as Suzhou, Gansu.
Leibniz, echoing the prevailing perception in Europe until the Industrial Revolution, wrote in the 17th century that: Everything exquisite and admirable comes from the East Indies… Learned people have remarked that in the whole world there is no commerce comparable to that of China.
In the 18th century, Adam Smith declared that China had been one of the most prosperous nations in the world, but that it had remained stagnant for a long time and its wages always were low and the lower classes were particularly poor:
China has long been one of the richest, that is, one of the most fertile, best cultivated, most industrious, and most populous countries in the world. It seems, however, to have been long stationary. Marco Polo, who visited it more than five hundred years ago, describes its cultivation, industry, and populousness, almost in the same terms as travellers in the present time describe them. It had perhaps, even long before his time, acquired that full complement of riches which the nature of its laws and institutions permits it to acquire.”
Wow! Thanks so much for the documentary on Chinese technology. It’s sad that very few people know about this. Worse still is that many Chinese people themselves don’t seem to know!
Zack / JJ
Yes, thanks for posting the video.
Around the 16 minute mark, the documentary talked about factories for mass production. When we hear “factories for mass production” we tend to think of 19th century European industrial revolution.
But factories for mass production for the global consumer market already existed in seventeenth century China and earlier. These factories were producing millions of units of a manufactured product sold it to buyers around the world.
What was this product?
That product was porcelain.
It became so ubiquitous in England that the product is identified with the name of the source country – china.
One place where this mass-production occurred was the imperial factories at Jingdezhen. These goods were produced and shipped in massive amounts to Asian buyers for centuries, since the Tang dynasty or earlier, but it was not until the Portuguese traders arrived in the sixteenth century during the Ming that these products began to enter Europe in significant numbers.
The Portuguese were the first Europeans to develop the sea route from Europe to Asia sailing around the cape of Africa. Their ships carried back spices (such as pepper, a big item), silks and porcelain from the early 1500s. This is a little-known phenomenon, and porcelain really exploded on the European scene in 1604 when the Dutch (in the pirating days) captured a Portuguese vessel containing 100,000 porcelain pieces. Think of the size of that cargo, and what kind of mass production process must have existed to produce this order in 1600.
And this was only one ship, to a small market.
It is estimated over 3 million pieces of porcelain were sold to Europe from 1604 and 1657.
The availability of these consumer goods in Europe through the Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish and English China traders which were only available first for royalty, then aristocracy, then commercial class merchants, then ordinary urban dwellers, created desires and visions of domesticity, class and status markers. It created the goods of middle class desire – porcelain teaware.
Every middle class person in Europe had to own a proper porcelain tea set. The most numerous were Chinese imports, but eventually there were local producers who learned the techniques and adapted them.
Sarah Schneewind, a remarkable scholar at the University of San Diego, wrote this mind-blowing essay which really deserves to be read carefully and repeatedly until the implication of the ideas sink in on how influential Chinese society was to Europe, and the process by which admiration turned to contempt in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century.
It places into perspective the notions of cleanliness, domesticity, status-seeking, mass-produced consumer goods, luxury, and relation between China (where advanced culture and techniques spread outward to the rest of the world).
I am especially blown away by this photo of the Chinese porcelain recovered from the Dutch vessel Geldermalsen which sank in 1751
This was the cargo recovered from one vessel. What was the mass production manufacturing process that supplied these and dozens of other vessels a year from Europe?
This essay expresses some of the importance of the Chinese imported porcelain to the upper levels of British society.
This article brings out how these Chinese manufactured products affected life in England.
The article brings up the strategic value of the porcelain making technology for Europe.
An effort is now being made in China to bring attention to porcelain production by making Jingdezhen a UNESCO heritage site. This was the production center for a global product that changed the entire economies and cultures of Europe.
I could not find much about how the production techniques / assembly line processes were managed. This article says that we don’t know much about production and assembly techniques at Jingdezhen.
It is clear there was a rigorous QC (Quality Control) process where production was inspected and any inferior or defective products were destroyed to avoid loss of reputation.
I think there needs to be a better understanding of the history of porcelain production and its link to the culture of Europe, and how it influenced art, design, material life and so forth, and link this to business history including the so-called “industrial revolution” whose contours are becoming blurred as people do more research.
I think we need to look at Chinese porcelain production as the prototype for quality Chinese global business and merchandising – a product that penetrated all corners of the globe, where the product was both useful and beautiful, such that the products are kept in museums.
China mass produced porcelain products for low end, mid-end and high end markets in Europe and American for centuries. Why is this history ignored and people have the mistaken idea that the “Opium War ended China’s isolation from the world”? Why do so few people know of the history of “China revolutionizes Europe with its porcelain production and trade”?
Perhaps people simply forgot about these 3 centuries of Chinese commercial and industrial influence on Europe during the years of warfare and internal division started with the Opium War, when the long-standing commercial customers of Chinese products – the British traders at Canton, who had traded and grew rich with China trade for more than 150 years – became unwilling to accept then trade regulations designed for an orderly market, and convinced their home government to militarily intervene so that the traders could resist compliance with Chinese trade regulations, and to prevent the Chinese government from enforcing its regulations, especially those prohibiting the sale of dangerous addictive drugs.
It seems the “opening up a closed China for free trade” rhetoric, was crafted for public consumption to justify the British Parliament’s decision to go to war for the Opium traders’ benefit, has obscured the true history, which deserves to be restored.
This article deserves attention.
The Asian Century: The Making of the Eighteenth-Century Consumer Revolution. ‘Cultures of Porcelain between China and Europe’ Maxine Berg
On the diffusion of ideas of mass production and assembly line organization from China to Europe, consider the celebrated letters of Pere d’Entrecolle in 1712 and 1722 describing 3000 furnaces at Jingdezhen and the assembly-line, modular production of the porcelain (see page 22).
To give some sense of scale, the VOC (Dutch East India Company) imported 43 million pieces of porcelain in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to Europe. English, French, Swedish and Danish companies shipped 30 million pieces.
Asian goods – tea, textiles, porcelain – were central to European material culture in the eighteenth century.
It is estimated that by the end of the 18th century, annually 50,000 tons of Asian goods reached European consumers. With a population of 100 million, this translates into an average one pound of Asian goods per person per year. Over one million men sailed for Asia for the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and brought back goods and ideas with them.
Some press in China like to use sensationalized articles to get exposure. Caixin and Nanfang are just a few of the more famous ones. If you look up 公知 “public intellectual”, you will get more insight.
Thanks again for your post.
i find it incredibly disappointing; initially i thought caixin was a fair and objective magazine but lately it appears they’ve started catering to a deep and base psychological need of its largely english speaking readership. They are veering dangerously close to businessinsider territory
Wow! Thanks so much for this info. Lots of reading to do now 🙂
Rediscovering history from a different perspective is just mind-blowing. It’s like the first time I read, A People’s History of the United States.
julian Assange on the fact that google and the NSA are often two sides of the same coin, much like the Mafia and the CIA were once referenced as such.
Here’s the killer bit:
guess it can now be said that google is a state operated enterprise.
It is an older video but figure I should share it. A Canadian at the Yasukuni Shrine confronting Japanese right wingers.
Guo Du says
Have you seen this incredibly straight forward and courageous speech by Oliver Stone in Hiroshima? It’s been supposedly banned in Japan but I have not verified. Find it hard to believe that they can ban a you Tube clip in Japan though. Anyways, well worth watching: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7a8LJbV48Pc
Black Pheonix says
Today, I pondered, Star Trek Federation was really about China….
The Federation had what? The Prime Directive!! “No interference with the internal development of alien civilizations.”
Guess what?! That’s the Chinese foreign policy!!!
woohoo! We are the Federation!!
As sad as the incident with the Shooting by the crazed madman Aaron Alexis in the Washington Navy Yard, what I find it more disgusting of how Western Propaganda showed this guy with a gleaming smiling face as if he has the last laugh. Go to Huffpost’s website and you will see that. Heck, today I had to go to Jury Duty and I sat the whole day watching TV on mute in NBCnews’ site showing this guy’s smiling face all day.
Mister Unknown says
50-Cent Party, Israeli style:
Cash Tweet: Israeli students paid to defend country online
Published on Oct 3, 2013
Cash strapped Israeli students have a new way to relieve their financial plight. They can get easy money by simply posting positive tweets and clicking the ‘like’ button in the right places. That’s after authorities came up with the idea of offering youngsters salaries and even scholarships for protection of the government’s interests and fighting anti-semitism on the web. But ironically, the father of the digital diplomacy program has come under fire for posting racist comments – the very thing he was meant to be preventing. RT’s Paula Slier reports.
to say that china is like the “united federation of planets” seems to be too far fetched. I used to be a fan of Star Trek, but for the past couple of years my perspective of it has totally changed. I don’t see it as this high tech “utopia”. I see it as a military/corporate empire with a smiling face (something like NATO). There is a reason why “starfleet command” was doing “space explorations” and “diplomatic missions” with armed starships. China’s history, before Western interference, is nothing like Star Trek, “prime directive” or not.
hope for humanity is rekindled, American scientists boycott NASA over discrimination against Chinese scientists; here’s to you, Frank Wolf, useless prick.
Last week it was announced that China had won a bid to equip Turkey’s army with new HongQi SAMs or surface-air missiles.
If such a deal were to be finalised, then it would’ve shown that China (5th largest weapons manufacturer after the Western nations who dominate the arms trade) has reached the big leagues where the PLA’s weaponry is concerned.
Naturally, the US under their tool, NATO tried their hardest and are still trying their hardest to sabotage this deal, citing BS reasons like ‘lack of compatibility with NATO systems’ which is utter BS when you consider the large amounts of russian equipment in Turkey or other europeans’ arsenal.
However, Turkey’s actions lately have been promising in that they too share the vision of a multipolar world and refuse to submit to the unpolarity of the anglo-american world
Black Pheonix says
Turkey is moving away from NATO, due to continual block against its effort to join EU from France.
Can never understand Turkey’s obesession in wanting to be “European” since Atatürk.
Black Pheonix says
It’s like Japan, Turkey wanted to “modernize/ westernize”. It was one of the first non-Western nations to modernize in the Middle East, and it managed to get somewhere with German’s help.
Turkey like Japan have obsessions to want to be “Western”, but they keep getting beaten back down, when they get too close.
It’s a historical pattern.
Then, like Japan pre-WWII, Turkey may turn “nationalistic” (with Islamic flavor, which is happening), then, Turkey may become the next flash point, when its nationalistic ambitions propel it to attempt to take over all of Middle East, in the power vacuum left by the West.
Then, the West may hammer Turkey for its ambitions (just as they did to Japan to contain Japan pre-WWII).
*Fundamentally, it is the Western racism and discrimination against nations like Japan and Turkey that inevitably lead to such conflicts.
(China is a victim in that too).
It’s not enough that Turkey “Westernize”, but it must remain as a puppet in the shadow of the West. That is why Turkey will rebel.
gotta hand it to Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff, that iron lady’s got balls.
Compare and contrast Brazil’s autonomous political speech and actions with say, the rather comprador, anglo worshipping leaders of India.
might i add that it’s encouraging to see Brazil acting like a true regional leader of the latin countries, despite it being the non spanish speaking country of latin america.
@Zack India? Talking about a society being obsessed in wanting to be European. LOL
what i find most disturbing is that when the Chinese Premier went to India to discuss a defacto alliance, the Indians under Manmohan Singh insulted him by choosing to ally with the racist and unrepentant Abe led Japan in an Washington led circle of ‘democracies’ to ‘contain China’.
Given the anti China bias in Indian media, is it any surprise that over 80% of Indians consider China to be an enemy? This is setting the stage for another Sino-Indian war which the Anglo countries are undoubtedly pining for.
i still hope that the two asian countries may yet become allies via the BRICS but the indian leadership has oft exhibited slavish impulses with regards to the whims of Anglo masters
I think the Japanese are even more pathetic than the Indians when it comes to wanting to be like the “great white master”. They haven’t learned their lesson after the humilating defeat in World War 2 by the U.S.
Guo Du says
Those who have retained sanity will increasingly seem deranged to others who have lost it!
smart move by Huawei in light of these Snowden revelations:
by being transparent and throwing down the glove to their competitors in Cisco and the Sinophobes in the US, now they’re putting the onus on these fuckers to come clean and step up to the plate on transparency.
Quite ironic really; this time last year, it was Huawei which was shut out of the US; now let US telecom firms be shut our of world markets thanks to these Snowden revelations. To the American politicians and pundits who campaigned to shut our Huawei from the US, i say this: Karma’s a bitch, fuckers.
isn’t it significant how the US treats its white, english speaking allies (those in the Five Eyes) and vice versa?
Kinda like how the British Empire never faded and it was merely supplanted a global white, english speaking ‘anglo alliance’ against the rest of the world?
talk about classic racism at its finest
It shouldn’t be no surprise that the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand all have the same Anglo Saxon mentality of their Mother Country, England. They are all members of an Anglo-Saxon Axis.
ho hon says
** Help **
Richard Armitage (former US deputy secretary of states) is reported to have been speaking in Keio University of Japan. The topic is “Debating the Burning Issues: Re-examining the US-Japan Relationship for the New Era in Asia”.
Accordingly to a source, the speech is essentially a reprimand to the Japanese government.
However, it is “just another event” in Keio’s own site:
And the biggest problem for my research: I cannot find any other reports from the web about what Armitage has really said. None of the major media (both US and Japanese) mentioned about this speech. Any help most appreciated.
Re: India’s Mars probe launch
Isn’t it funny how practically all the western medai from CNN to NYT to even The Guardian have simultaneously portrayed the Indian launch as ‘India’s Cold War in Asia/Space Race Against China’?
Talk about not even trying to disguise their desire to instigate hostilities between India and China; it’s bad enough that Indian journalists or media stations like the ToI or THe Hindu (parroting mainstream western line) accordingly; now all of a sudden, India makes a successful launch and all of a sudden it’s ‘India’s stolen a march on China’ etc etc
Moderated by Ray: Zack, please restrained from posting foul language. Thanks.
and while we’re on the topic of western media, isn’t it funny how they decided to collectively focus on China’s smog problem in the leadup to the UN climate change talks?
Perhaps all these western media establishment journalists should do as Glenn Greenwald suggests and out themselves as Establishment workers, rather than independant journalists.
“China has for 2 years now been the world’s leader in online shopping. This is a point I often mention to Americans when they perceive China has a country that is somehow only a export economy. Just because your own country has chased manufacturers offshore and can no longer produce anything for themselves does not mean that a viable consumer economy does not exist in the country where your credit and manufactured goods is coming from ”
Black Pheonix says
for 2nd year in a row, China retains #1 title for Fastest Supercomputer.
Black Pheonix says
“Nobel laureate”‘s party criticize UN rights committee for “interference in internal affair”.
“the opposition party headed by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi accused the rights committee of “interfering” in the country’s internal affairs.”
You left out the most important word from the title of this so called Nobel laureate and that word is PEACE, something that she is obvious not for when it comes to the Muslim minority Rohingya people. She showed her true colors.
Black Pheonix says
Yes, Aung San Suu Kyi’s party won’t even give those people citizenship, even when they want the citizenship.
Not surprising, I guess they are just mimicking US with its 11 million illegal immigrants.
Nothing is new. Unless, you are classified as being of “true Myanmar” (Bamar) descend you are still a 2nd class citizen with limited rights. 1st class citizenship does not apply to other minorities like the Kachin, Chin, Shan, Mon, Palaung, Wa etc.
Another Nobel peace prize winner, a certain lama also practice similar policy.
You would be hard pressed to read news that make the developed countries looked bad.
i dunno but ever since China rejected the visa of a Reuters journalist (who did nothing during his 20 year tenure but bash China), the news company appears to have taken it upon itself to declare a crusade against the PRC and its alleged crackdown on foreign journalists.
First there was the troll baiting of China’s supposed ‘paltry 100k aid to the philipines’ last week and now it’s them trying to whitewash the failings of the West and the supposed intransigence of China/India at the climate talks, and now employing hackers to mirror their banned website in China. Seems the powers that be at Thompson Reuters seem to think the US Government will protect them…and who knows, they might considering how willing Reuters were in spreading disinformation about Glenn Greenwald in the first few months of the Snowden Revelations.
If the NYT and the WaPo are US Establishment lackeys and slaves, then Thompson Reuters is the very mouthpiece of the Washington/Wall Street Elite. At least Forbes displays balance from different viewpoints, i’ll give them that, but Reuters have unveiled themselves to be the absolute Establishment itself.
As I am reading the book “Liberalism, A Counter-History” by Domenico Losurdo, which Allen had mentioned in the posting about “internet freedom”, a question came to mind in relation to how the Brits exploited so called “coolie labor” from China. The question is has the Chinese government ever demanded compensation for such a criminal enterprise???
Black Pheonix says
No, nor the damages from the 2 Opium Wars.
China has been very lenient about historical atrocities. (Only recently asked for return of stolen artifacts).
I would say that’s just nicety in diplomacy. Also, it’s pointless to go after some debts that too old.
Plus, if the “coolie” descendants don’t want to bother, why should China?
Can anyone find the full speech by Pope?
Pope Francis Calls Unfettered Capitalism ‘Tyranny’
Pope Francis has attacked unfettered capitalism as “a new tyranny”, urging global leaders to fight poverty and growing inequality in the first major work he has authored alone as pontiff.
The 84-page document, known as an apostolic exhortation, amounted to an official platform for his papacy, building on views he has aired in sermons and remarks since he became the first non-European pontiff in 1,300 years in March.
In it, Francis went further than previous comments criticizing the global economic system, attacking the “idolatry of money” and beseeching politicians to guarantee all citizens “dignified work, education and healthcare”.
He also called on rich people to share their wealth. “Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills,” Francis wrote in the document issued on Tuesday.
“How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure but it is news when the stock market loses two points?”
Black Pheonix says
Oh, I can see the news item now:
“Commie Pope Calls for Wealth Distribution.”
Well, if the Devout Christians actually listens to this Pope on this one, I might consider that there may be a God and convert.
Otherwise, I think my skepticism would be well proven, once again.
The document of that speech or “apostolic exhortation” is called Evangelii Gaudium. Just google the Latin name of the document. His “exhortation” is just cheap talk. Don’t see him auctioning off the treasures the Vatican has accumulated throughout the centuries.
Allen, Black Phoenix, Ray, please send me a message ([email protected]) if you would like to.
I was asked for translating the history description of Bank of China Shenzhen Branch (where I work for) in English. I was seriously screwed by the existing ” translated sample” of which can hardly to refer to, therefore I want someone who both speaks native English and Chinese to proofread my translation for a better job.
Help me if you can spare me some time. Thanks.
Guo Du says
The latest PISA test is quite revealing. I can imagine many Americans criticising the validity of this well respected indicator of education quality. That’d be good news. It gives more time for those who deserve better to catch up, then widen the gap! http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2013/dec/03/pisa-results-country-best-reading-maths-science
@Guo Du it didn’t take long for the US mouthpieces to start bitching and moaning over how ‘the system is rigged’ on account of the tests showing up how inferior US students are compared to the rest of the world:
doesnt this remind you of the olympics where you had ‘scientific journals’ like Nature postulating on the Chinese ‘cheating’ because the writers couldn’t fathom a world where the Chinese were anything but inferior to the white man?
the Yuan overtakes the euro as the second most widely used currency in the world, won’t be long now until usage of the yuan raches parity with the USDollar
the Yuan overtakes the euro as the second most widely used currency in the world, won’t be long now until usage of the yuan raches parity with the USDollar
Having finished reading the book “Liberalism: A Counter History” by Domenico Losurdo, noticed how “freedom and democracy” is closely linked to the so called “rights of property” of an individual. I was wondering if China has such a concept of “property rights” of an individual within it’s cultural and historical tradition. Minus the empty Western “liberal” rhetoric of “freedom and democracy” tied to it, of course.
Black Pheonix says
In Chinese history, “property” was a concept barely tolerated as a necessity of man’s imperfection.
Our ancestors deemed “property” to be man’s selfish need to hoard and refusal to share, as a sign of loss of innocence at the ancient times, when the People shared things in communities and lived in harmony with one another without fighting over pettiness of things.
It was said that Emperor Shun (帝舜) once cried at the sight of a thief. Others asked why he would pity a criminal.
Emperor Shun (帝舜) replied that the ancients had no property and had no thieves, but now the People are selfish, and they fight and steal from each other. It was his shame that he could not inspire people to live in harmony.
Thus, in Chinese cultural view, “property” is a necessary evil for survive. Only the Greedy would worship it like a “virtue”.
In Chinese concepts of “virtues”, “property” is not one of them.
“Frugality” of oneself is to be accompanied by “generosity” toward friends and family.
Here, we see another difference between the Western concept of “Rights” vs. the Chinese concept of “Virtues”.
“Rights” are focused on things, objective, imaginary possessions and limitations.
“Virtues” are focuses on ACTIONS, FEELINGS, THOUGHTS.
“Rights” are foolishly abstract and absolute.
“Virtues” are only evident in the right context. Objects, “property” are ONLY the contextual information, it is what we do in ACTIONS/etc., that reflect some “virtues”.
Guo Du says
For some reason, WORDPRESS has stopped notifying me of new comments and posts in HH. I’m leaving this comment hoping to restart the process!
The reason I have made such a question about what concept China has about so called “property rights” within it’s tradition is because, even though the book was an interesting read, I was very disappointed how he didn’t make a huge focus on the religious aspect of ” property rights”, specifically, I feel, how the Protestant Reformation was a major influence to thecurrent form of the Western concept of “property rights”. It was no coincidence Losurdo had mentioned the Dutch, the English and the U.S. as the main figures of the “tradition of liberalism”. All three are products and results of the Protestant Reformation.
so finally it’s come to this: after years and years of putting up with western media bias/lack of objectivity/general all around China bashing/attempts to subvert China/foment insurrection, the authorities in China have decided to take the gloves off when it comes to western press.
Osnos of the New Yorker (remember that x) lamented over the fact that most western journalists would find their visas endangered this coming week, but quite frankly, these x brought it upon themselves. x like Reuters and Bloomberg made it personal by publishing private details such as the financial position of CCP members; it’s only fitting that these media stations are made to pay by losing out to the lucrative Chinese market
Post Moderate by Ray.
Black Pheonix says
Actually, China’s justification might be very legitimate, in view of US government’s own treatment of Snowden and journalist Greenwald.
Afterall, any of these journalists “free” in China might be in possession of some US secrets, and US government might out of no where blame China for “letting them go” too freely (as in the Snowden case).
So, let’s just put it this way: If the journalists are in the habit of digging for “secrets”, then they may be some day wanted by the US government. China is just avoiding diplomatic problems by keeping these guys out of China.
(Unless of course, US government likes to sign a waiver, promising to never go after “journalists”/leakers and never ask China for their return).
Black Pheonix says
Wanted UK Child Sex Offender found in Beijing, after 11 years!!
It makes me wonder about some Expats sometimes. Some of them sure complain a lot about China, and they still hang out in China for some of those jobs they consider too menial and pay too little. Why do they hang around?
Then, a story like this hits, and the answer becomes clear: Perhaps they can’t go home.
Burnt too many bridges.
Lost too many jobs.
Wanted by police (and perhaps even by the Mafia, or just generally wished harm by people in their home countries).
*Now, my other question is, How did UK allow this guy to have a passport to even leave UK?
Well, I guess China better freeze up some of those journalists’ visas for now. I’m not entirely sure China can trust the systems of some nations in preventing their criminals from leaving.
a good view on the Cameron trip to China
It’s just refreshing to see British finally owning up to their sins in the 19th-20th century
Black Pheonix says
It’s also good to see China being humble in forgiveness.
Instead of making Cameron seriously grovel, Cameron got to have his face-saving meeting and back out. Not that the Western media will remember it this way. Some of them are already calling it “Cameron Kowtowing”.
And I’m pretty sure, in the next cycle, some UK PM is going to meet with DL, and snub China, and start this whole thing all over again.
So, I would suggest, next time, the next cycle, China give UK the cold shoulder permanently.
Don’t make them grovel, Don’t punish, but don’t forgive either, because it doesn’t matter what China does. UK will always think it’s right. They will just keep doing the same sh*t over and over again, and keep ridiculing China for it.
It’s like dealing with a person with bipolar disorder.
So, Next time, just slam the door and FORGET them.
Will look into it … and announce when it’s fixed.
Black Pheonix says
US and UK suspend support for Syrian Rebels, after Islamic faction takes over base (along with Western equipment inside).
Where have we seen this kind of FUBAR before?!
It’s been FUBAR since the 1980’s with the anti-soviet war in Afghanistan when Reagan was funding the Islamic “freedom fighters”.
Guo Du says
Thanks Allen. I rely on RSS feed in the meantime but it’s not the same as being prompted with interesting headings!
Black Pheonix says
US Scientist argues “climate engineering” slows down global warming: (China has been doing this)
He mentions sulfuric acid dumping in the atmosphere to slow down global warming. Sulfuric acid in atmosphere commonly occurs as “acid rain” resulting from sulfur dioxide pollution from burning coal. (China’s smog in essence).
I have been saying this for years, that China’s pollution is slowly down global warming.
Spin? I don’t think so, it’s just science.
Black Pheonix says
Cool train concept from China.
OK. I think it works now… Please let me know if it doesn’t.
merry xmas everyone,
now i don’t normally subscribe to quartz as being a reliable source but i’ll take this article to point out how ridiculous the ‘China pollution’ fallacy really is:
Chinese cities aren’t even in the top 10 most polluted cities; rather, democratic utopias like India and Mongolia take the cake:
so what can we interpret from the mass attention paid to China’s developing economy and pollution?
I do find it interesting that Western Propaganda Time magazine would choose Pope Francis as the person of the year rather than Edward Snowden. As the result of Snowden’s revelations, every other day there would be headlines about the survilence state of the NSA and they were forced to defend itself via the 60 minutes show. How many times have you heard about Pope Francis this year? Not really.
President Xi Jinping’s NYE address; i gotta say, it’s about time we had a Chinese President who reached out to the people like this, irrespective of the defamation of western propagandists
btw those reuters turds still smarting over not being able to report in China?
Looks like the US government is guilty of the very thing that they are accusing the Chinese government are doing. putting malware or hacked hardware on people’s computer so they can access their computers even if they are offline.
looks like US entities hacked China by diverting Chinese traffic to the US; man, the US just isn’t doing itself any favours when it comes to IT security and cyber policy eh.
Charles Liu says
Our objective media seems to be self-censoring the fact the “anti-censoship sofware company” involved in this story, Dynamic Internet Technlogy, is run by a Falun Gong disciple, and received US State Dept. Funding:
The primary use of Freegate was to allow US-based Falun Gong disciple to proselytize in China leading up to the Beijing Olympics. Coincidentally funding to groups such as DIT and FoFG stopped after 2008.
seems like the 1%ers in Wasington are panicking if it seems like they’re ordering their hounds to cyber attack China and take on Russia by turning Ukraine into a cesspool of anarchy.
fortunately, we still have Snowden to remind the world of the hypocrisy of these people:
well, well, seems like some people in Washington who got all high and mighty over Chinese ‘industrial espionage’ are acting mighty quiet about NSA acts of corporate espionage
It’s amazing people like Gordon Chang are still given forums to spout ignorance. This just happened.
It shows how those who follow him and his views are so blind and ignorant to the point of comedy. I’d say a majority of the western population fall into this category.
Black Pheonix says
Gordon Chang offers terse retraction on Forbes: (after he got caught). Forbes also deleted his earlier article.
In my Forbes piece yesterday, “China Halts Bank Cash Transfers,” I stated this: “The People’s Bank of China , the central bank, has just ordered commercial banks to halt cash transfers.”
In fact it did not.
What happened? I had looked at the PBOC’s holiday maintenance suspension in light of an interest rate spike days before, evident government concern over a then-impending default of a particular wealth management product, and a bump up in deposit rates and assumed that the central bank was doing what it is almost certainly did in June of last year. I jumped to a conclusion.
I was wrong.
Charles Liu says
How sad, Gordon Chang is yet again caught lying. Anyone want to read his original here’s the cache Forbes can’t delete:
Black Pheonix says
Sad thing was, a whole bunch people on the net fell for his latest “assumption drivel”.
Oops, China didn’t fall for it. I guess suckers for those who bet wrong on the stock market.
it’s about time China started to take a page out of the US playbook and apply carrot and stick approaches to diplomacy; none of this insular ‘treat everyone the same’ BS, especially not with yapping dogs like the Philippines or Cheneyites like Abe led Japan.
Let them feel the pain that their arrogance has wrought
Black Pheonix says
I don’t think it’s taking a page out of the US playbook. I think China’s new strategy is different.
What the author was saying was:
China has played even handed and nice with everyone, but after so many decades, there are countries who are friendly in response to China, and there are others who are NOT friendly in response to China. Now, China has the answers to who wants to be China’s friend, who are willing to reciprocate to China, China should logically respond by treating friends better than those who are not friends. Otherwise, China’s friends would be disadvantaged.
Other nations have made choices in responding to China’s neutrality gesture. China has clear choices in choosing to reward friends.
Black Pheonix says
Also, I should add.
“Neutrality” is not the same as “non-interference”.
I think China will continue policy of “non-interference”. Abandonment of “neutrality” does not mean that China will start injecting into foreign intervention wars (nation building), or into propping up friendly dictators.
well whichever the case may be, it’s about bloody time!
i note with approval that when ASEAN countries went to china, they all returned with something except for the Aquino government of the filipines who was made to wait outside.
on another unrelated topic though, it seems that all that American mass consumption of fish oil is leading to endangered wish-worse, it appears the companies involved have been suppressing studies stating this glaring fact, corruption in the US system much?
are tibetan really a minority in china?
ok compare with the han people everyone in the world are a minority.
but let we compare them with other minority.
they owne a vast land in tibet (TAR) and outside of tibet(TAR). most of them are stollen from the qiang and tu people during the tubo kingdom. after they genocide them. now there are 6 million of them but only 200 000 tu and qiang people left. and alos before the serf liberation alot of the serf where also a minority.
what are minority. let us not look at pure number, but at the number acces in education, economy, land , law, poiltiek, sport and media, etc etc.
1 2012 olympic bronze medal list.
2 there some high school in beijing that alow tibetean childhren from poor famlie to go there (,but some local beijing child that are born there are not allow to enter the school front yard because there parent do not have a hukou in beijing)
3 economy: after the riot in 1989 the ccp promist to invest more in tibet. right like tibet is the only poor region in china.
5 politiek: penchen lama and the daila lama
6 media: are tibetan being protrait badly in the media yes only by the cnn and the bbc and hollywood.
7 religion: most minotity in yunnan are christan now because of the opium war.
8 famous people: most singer in china are tibetean.
9 languages: before the peacefull liberation only 10% of the tibetean know how to read and writ tibetean. daila lama first languages was chinese( xinning dialect)
help me more.
they are semi-minority.
but who are the real monority that have poor acces these point that i am making please help me out.
free Tibetan cult VS Scientology cult.
why so many slander on Scientology but so litthe on free Tibetan cult??????????????
looks like the western journalists aren’t too happy with their hotel rooms in Russia in the runup to the Sochi olympics and all i have to say is, i’m not surprised. Why would Russians waste good hotel rooms on arseholes who’re just going to badmouth Russia, just like they did with China in ’08 anyhow?
Nice to look at past projections once in a while. This one’s from 2005:
“Zhang Xiaoji, a senior researcher at the State Council Development Research Centre, told an earlier press conference that by the end of 2010, the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) will reach US$2.3 trillion or US$1,700 per capita based on prices and exchange rates in 2000.
‘By 2020, the nation’s GDP will reach US$4.7 trillion, or US$3,200 per capita,’ said Zhang, director of the centre’s Foreign Economic Relations Research Department.”
perhaps this should really be a thread in its own right, but the KMT/TAiwan gov. and Beijing held formal talks for the first time since 1949:
Just found this website Foreign Policy in Focus. Thought that this is a pretty website and the articles are more balanced than other websites out there.
Guo Du says
An interesting article. Japan is not the only country manufacturing counterfeit history.
The U.S. likes to whitewash their genocidal wars. It started with the Natives by calling the genocidal war “Manifest Destiny’. After the war with Spain in 1898, “Manifest Destiny” has become their foreign policy to this day.
Charles Liu says
America’s political princelings – you know how our media love to highlight China’ “undemocratic” political dynasty and father-to-son succession? Look up the senator who recently announced his retirement, John Dingell Jr. His father, John Dingell Sr died in office and he succeeded him.
Doesn’t that make him some sort of heir appearant and political princeling? Yet no such description from our supposedly objective, free media.
In this sad day when 27+ people died in Kunming as the result of a terrorist attack by Uyghurs, I find it funny how Western Propaganda quotes ‘terror’ or ‘terrorist’ attack when it mentions this sad incident. At least it didn’t mention how the Uyghur are ‘oppressed.’
I find this funny. Now America no longer have hunger strikes in its prisons anymore. Now it is called ‘long term non-religious fasting.’ This is even more funnier than ‘Enhanced interrogation.’
the chickens are certainly coming home to roost for the likes of Cisco and other US tech firms who pressured Washington to bar Huawei from the US market (on that note, notice how free market liberalism is only touted when it is western or US companies which benefit?!)
protectionism will be the watchword of the future of tech and only those with the largest marketshare can afford to survive the new climate of protectionism.
namely, China the largest market for tech products:
How do I become a author? I would like to write up a piece about something.
why not start by submitting articles to hh or do like melektaus did and start your own blog?
miss that guy and his writings
Oh well, US used Social Media trying to overthrow Castro Regime in Cuba, what else is new?
nothing is more urgent than for the latin americna countries to band together and act as a single counterweight to their bullying northern neighbour.
btw found this; a collection of writings from eric x li at the HuffPo, perhaps one of the more objective and readable of the western media, and that’s saying something
I find this also funny. I recall when I saw the movie Charlie Wilson’s war, Tom Hank’s character made sure that they buy tank buster weapons not made in America. Somehow in this Syria’s bloodthirsty ‘rebels’ they got their hands on American made BGM-71 TOW’s.
Chinese-Built Angolan “Ghost Town” Wakes Up?
Saudi and the Gulf states have lots of US weapon system. I will add they also have Chinese and European made weapon.
This is a 2 hour part 1 PBS documentary about Edward Snowden and NSA. Can’t wait until next week for part 2.
Guo Du says
EXCELLENT documentary. I think I hardly breathed while watching it. It’s also most interesting, though not at all surprising, to see how the New York Times operate as a “Free Press”. Thanks for sharing.
What’s funny is that the NSA installs backdoors onto Cisco routers and switches. Chinese Companies are probably reminded to buy Huawei products from now on.
America says that they don’t arm or train Syrians against Assad. Of course, that is not true.
Latest NSA leak shows that they apparently are interested in how you look.
Guo Du says
Part two of the “United States of Secrets” has been released, in case you’ve missed it. Shorter but just as good. I’m very curious what sort of characters would work for setups like the NSA or CIA. Throughout history, there are reasonably intelligent people working for organisations which are clearly despicable. Nazis needed good engineers and technicians to get their job done. I know it’s the pay check and intimidation etc., but there must be a degree of denial and mental struggle (and sickness?) that’s little discussed.
Thought this is a good video featuring Greenwald’s book “Nowhere to Hide” and Chomsky talking about Snowden and interesting things of a Security State.