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Archive for September, 2013

Opinion: On Bo Xilai and Rule of Law

September 24th, 2013 3 comments
Chief Judge Wang Xuguang reads the verdict. Photo: AP

Chief Judge Wang Xuguang reads the verdict. Photo: AP

This past weekend, the Jinan Intermediate People’s Court found Bo Xilai guilty bribetaking, embezzlement and abuse of power.  The trial has been widely publicized and discussed in China, with netizens on the blogsphere commenting from almost every angle, some in support of Bo, some in disgust of his alleged actions, and others neutral and looking at the bigger picture (see e.g. also this report).  South China Morning Post has this short summary of the court’s point-by-point verdict against Bo.

The Jinan Intermediate People’s Court accepted just two of the points former Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai made in his defence as it jailed him for life yesterday. The court, in a transcript released on its official weibo account, set out its point-by-point rebuttal of Bo’s defence. It also detailed ways in which he abused his power after the crimes of his wife, Gu Kailai, and the attempted defection to the US by his key lieutenant, Wang Lijun.

Rejected argument

Bo’s claim: I confessed under duress.

The court said: Under Chinese law, the use of corporal punishment, corporal punishment in disguised form, or spiritual torture to interrogate and extort confessions is illegal. The “pressure” Bo faced did not involve any such act.

Bo’s claim: I did not know that [Dalian -based billionaire] Xu Ming was paying the expenses for my wife and son [Bo Guagua].

The court said: Bo’s denial in court is invalid as his written statements before the trial matched the testimony of Xu Ming and others, showing he not only knew that Xu Ming was financing Bo Guagua’s study abroad but also understood well their deal – exchanging power for money. Whether Bo knows the exact amount or not makes no difference.

Bo’s claim: I had no knowledge of the villa in France [bought on behalf of Bo’s family with cash from Xu Ming].

The court said: Bo mentioned the villa in his statements before the court heard evidence and testimony from others, ruling out the possibility that he was forced to confess on the point. Read more…

Explaining the Gini Index Number, To Understand the Real China

September 20th, 2013 4 comments

Sometimes, numbers lie, because so often, a few numbers are summarized to generalize about a vastly complex landscape.

“42”!!  That’s the answer for every thing.

Well, don’t complain to me if you don’t understand the answer.  It’s the question you need to really understand, which is, what does that number REALLY supposed to mean.

Take for another example, China’s Gini Index, supposedly designed to measure the economic disparity in Chinese population, which is now at around 0.474.  (US is at around 0.469).  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_Gini_coefficient

Not much difference.  Yet numbers lie in different ways to different people.  Thus, we take to explain the reality here.

Read more…

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Order vs. Uncertainty, Why History Repeats Human Struggles

September 20th, 2013 1 comment

 

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This morning I heard a commonly repeated slogan among many Western politicians and academics, “Job creators hate uncertainties.”

It is as generalized as it is misleading and confusing.

Read more…

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The Chinese Order and Putin’s Comment on American Exceptionalism

September 15th, 2013 25 comments

As part of the interesting discussion between Black Pheonix, ersim, ho hon and others in this recent thread, Black Phoenix made this insightful comment:

Sun Tzu definitely wrote not so much about “just war”, as he admonished rulers against War, using costs of war as arguments.

Sun Tzu was not concerned with what would justify war. His solution was to end wars as expeditiously and with minimum cost as possible.

He was in a time, about 550 years of continuous warfare in China. There was serious debate in that time about what would be considered “just war”, but there were no good conclusions.

In the end, the only solution was “unification”, as the ultimate solution to end all wars.

Thus, I would argue that from China’s unification, the ONLY valid justification for war were to repel invasion or for unification (both are to protect China’s sovereignty).

Other moral justifications are simply excuses.

This is an insightful comment when viewed in context of how so many Westerners today mock China’s stance on unity and sovereignty.  Sovereignty and unity is deemed an excuse to skirt its moral obligations to (Western created and controlled) ideals such as human rights.  Both are  deemed as pretexts for the government to do things that are substandard by the West’s reckoning.   Read more…

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Is there a Chinese model of innovation?

September 11th, 2013 2 comments

One of the main reasons I wanted to contribute to the success of this blog is my desire to dispel ideological myths and dogma that exists in western discourse, and if I’m lucky, reach out to a few people in my age group back in China. One of the myths, against which I voiced skepticism in “Rethinking the Freedom-Innovation Nexus” is the supposed causal link between political freedom and scientific innovation.

I wanted to follow up on this with a McKinsey discussion on the Chinese model of innovation. I think this is podcast yields useful insights on the current state and characteristics of modern day Chinese innovation at the enterprise level.

http://www.mckinseychina.com/podcasts/is-there-a-chinese-model-of-innovation/

A couple of highlights:
– Chinese companies embrace change and adaptation at a faster pace relative to their other Asian counterparts at a similar stage of development in their respective countries.
– Chinese companies are more willing to import talent from abroad, China’s ‘richness of talent’ comes in part from returnees who received education and worked in the west, as well as state funding of world-class academic research institutions.

Charlie Rose speaks with Bashar Al-Assad

September 11th, 2013 11 comments

For those of you who live in the West, you might have noticed the lack of news covering the Syrian perspective. Well, Charlie Rose deserves credit for bucking the trend, daring to interview Bashar Al-Assad and bringing Syria’s perspective to his America audience.

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Case Study on Democratic Self-Governance: NSA Oversight, a Straight Game of Poker?

September 7th, 2013 9 comments

poker_2661772bIf there is a religion in the modern world, it is the fanatic belief in democratic self-governance.  From a philosophical perspective, the legitimacy of democratic self-government requires the notion of a public forum – a democratic corpus, a public sphere formed by citizens, if you will – to frame, debate and discuss political issues and events, free from “government interference.”  This might be called a public sphere of privacy (privacy from government), rather than a private sphere of privacy (privacy from other citizens), and is essential to the working of a democratic government. It is of utmost importance to keep this public sphere vibrant and pure because in today’s paradigm, all governments have a tendency to to intrude, dominate, and control for its benefit at the expense of that of the people.  And a democratic government means little if people’s thoughts and voices can be manipulated, coerced, manufactured, or censored.  A belief in the vibrancy of the democratic corpus to deliver good governance (with that, justice, prosperity, “freedom,” and peace) represents the very soul of the modern democracy religion.

Yet, when you look around you and think for a minute – things just don’t add up.  The latest NSA revelations provides a useful case study. Read more…

Putting BBC’s propaganda against Vietnam to the test

September 2nd, 2013 13 comments

Is it possible to stop people from discussing news or current affairs on the Internet? The answer is easy: obviously not. I can’t see how that is possible without shutting the Internet down completely. And, what does it mean to be an “enemy of the internet” anyway? To qualify for that, wouldn’t a nation state be engaging in destroying Internet infrastructure globally or doing everything possible to shunt the productive potential of the Internet for humankind? Read more…