Having just read an interview (translated by Nordic Institute of Asian Studies) of Xi Jinping when he was still governor of Fujian Province back in 2000, I am struck by the differences between the current Chinese political system versus the American. Think about Obama before becoming president. The largest budget he’s ever managed was probably his 2008 election campaign. From that, he would inherit a budget in the trillions of dollars. In contrast, Xi went from village to cities, and then provinces. He would be placed into bigger challenges as he excelled, and not to mention, observed in the seat of the vice president for a full term before the National Peoples Congress formally anoints him into president. As much as the Western press would like to criticize the Chinese system, it is a genuine form of meritocracy. Today’s Romney or when President Obama was still a senator would probably not stand a chance becoming president in China. Continue reading A rare Xi Jinping interview from year 2000 translated
With Gangnam Style gone completely viral and having taken the U.S. by storm, I thought it interesting The New Yorker’s Evan Osnos would use it as an example of something China unable to produce, caused by supposed state censorship stifling Chinese culture. Few weeks ago he got some ‘expert’ to offer this view:
“In China, culture and the arts develop under the watchful eye of the government, and anything too hip or interesting gets either shut down or bought up. In Korea, by contrast, artists and entertainers thrive in a space that is highly commercialized but also pretty much free of the heavy hand of the state,” Delury told me, adding, “I kid government officials that the moment they understand why K-pop is so successful and try to replicate it, they will destroy it.”
Culture and arts flourish when society can afford them. One should ask: How are the 700 million or so Chinese farmers busy tilling their land suppose to be working on something like Gangnam Style? The last few decades of hundreds of million of Chinese being pulled out of poverty have allowed many to pursue their dreams. Look at the international art market. Chinese painters are currently the most sought after by collectors around the world. Continue reading Fareed Zakaria GPS bashes China with The New Yorker’s Evan Osnos using Gangnam Style
Elizabeth Economy (of Council on Foreign Relations) made a list of topics for the upcoming Romney-Obama debate in hopes for a better American public discourse on China. With both of their campaigns almost competing to see who can be more harsh in criticizing China, Americans are polarized more than ever on this critical relationship, and Economy is right that there needs to be a more thoughtful conversation. While I applaud her efforts, I think her list still leaves a lot to be desired. For conflicts between the two countries to truly dissipate, the issues must be couched in terms both sides recognize. In this post, I offer alternative framing of the issues and explain why. Continue reading Elizabeth Economy’s Wish List for the upcoming Romney-Obama Debate on China and Foreign Policy
Criticism of China’s high-speed rail development is rampant, but I must take exception to Ian Johnson’s recent piece in the National Geographic. Before his article even begins, the defamatory lede reads: “Engineering blitzkrieg continues despite financial and human toll.” For Westerners, ‘blitzkrieg’ conjures Nazi aggression during WW2 as they trampled their way around Europe in domination. America’s NASA program had her human toll too in the Challenger disaster in 1986. I wonder if Johnson would dare to characterize the U.S. shuttle program as “engineering blitzkrieg.” Continue reading National Geographic gets in on anti-China defamation
Henry Kissinger recently told his audience at a Wilson Institute forum that Romney’s and Obama’s campaign rhetoric against China were ‘deplorable.’ Some expat bloggers suggest that China should accept that this is a election phenomenon as if this sort of behavior is ‘normal’ and ‘proper.’ That’s wrong and Americans should take the China-U.S. relationship more seriously – especially in our modern age where many Chinese do understand English and pay attention to what these candidates say. The American public is continually polarized to take on a war-like footing against everything ‘China,’ and it is hard to imagine how the long term trend resulting from it can be positive. Following is an Op-Ed by China Daily USA’s Chen Weihua arguing why the two candidates in fact should apologize for their irresponsible fear-mongering. Continue reading “Blame-game players should apologize” by China Daily USA’s Chen Weihua
Recent protests in China over Japan’s “nationalization” of the disputed Diaoyu Islands (in Japanese, Senkaku), especially with calls for boycotting of Japanese products, has made Obama’s “Asia pivot” a resounding success. Remember, the goal of the ‘pivot’ is to dominate the Asia Pacific both economically and militarily. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is designed to ensure a bigger proportion of Asia’s trade volume heading America’s way. Getting hawks in Japan to be belligerent on the dispute has worked wonders. Toyota’s auto sales in September compared to a year ago has dropped by 49% in China! Other Japanese auto-makers have faced drastic drops in sales too.
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Now that the U.S. House of Representative investigative report by Chairman Mike Rogers and Ranking Member C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence regarding Huawei and ZTE is out, there is a lot of chatter in the U.S. media. I thought Paula Dwyer of Bloomberg summarized this whole affair the best:
What the report lacks is evidence. It also smacks of protectionism, despite denials by the committee chairman, Michigan Republican Mike Rogers, that he is invoking national security to shield U.S. telecoms equipment companies from Chinese competition.
In a recent comment, one of our readers pointed out:
I thought this is a funny read of a Japanese ‘scholar’ thinks that why ‘Senkaku’ islands belongs to Japan.
I don’t think the conclusion is “funny” at all. I think it’s “serious.” Below is a very quick response (sorry, lots of projects due).