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Happy New Year

January 1st, 2014 No comments

I want to wish everyone Great Health, and a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

                                                                                          
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Categories: Announcements Tags:

Making a Mockery of China’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) – and the Precedents it Sets?

November 29th, 2013 28 comments

Wow, here is an update on the China ADIZ and the recent aftermath.  While I did expect U.S. and Japan to express some kind of reservation over China’s recent establishment of an Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Seas, I had not anticipated the full sound and fury of the storm!

Within hours after China’s public announcement of the ADIZ, the U.S. decided to send two B-52s (unarmed) to the edge of China’s ADIZ on a putative long-planned, routine “training mission.”  When China did not scramble jets, the U.S. celebrated and congratulated themselves on a job well done!  Not to be outdone, Japan and S. Korea then publicly announced that they have also sent military (purportedly surveillance) planes into the area without properly alerting the Chinese side without incurring Chinese interception.  The Japanese also went to the extent of ordering its airlines (its two main airlines and all members of the Scheduled Airlines Association of Japan) not to comply with China’s ADIZ (although Japan seems to have done a “U-Turn” for now).

One can find much written about China’s ADIZ.  In this post, I want to focus my commentaries on the indignation and concerns that many in the U.S., Japan – even S. Korea – have expressed toward China’s establishment of an ADIZ.

Before all that, I think it’s useful to provide some further clarification on China’s ADIZ.   First a better map than what one might find typically online. Read more…

Is China Escalating Tensions in the East China Seas By Creating an Air Defense Identification Zone?

November 25th, 2013 58 comments
Air Defense Identification Zone of China and Japan in the East China Sea

Air Defense Identification Zone of China and Japan in the East China Sea

Recently, one sees again a torrent of articles in the Western press about how China is escalating tensions in the the East China Seas By Creating an Air Defense Identification Zone.   The response from the U.S. and its lackey Japan has been swift.  NYT reports:

China’s announcement appeared to be the latest step in what analysts have called a strategy to chip away at Japan’s claims of control of the islands. Japan has long maintained a similar air defense zone over them.

The Japanese foreign minister, Fumio Kishida, called the Chinese declaration a dangerous escalation that could lead to what many military analysts most fear in the tense standoff: a miscalculation or accident that could set off an armed confrontation and drag the United States into the conflict.

“It was a one-sided action and cannot be allowed,” Mr. Kishida told reporters, according to Japan’s Kyodo News. It could also “trigger unpredictable events,” he warned.

In a statement on Saturday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned that the American government viewed the Chinese move “as a destabilizing attempt to alter the status quo in the region.” He also reaffirmed that the United States would stand by its security treaty obligations to aid Japan if it were attacked.

By setting up a competing air defense zone, China may be trying to show that its claim to the islands is as convincing as Japan’s, Japanese officials said. They said China appeared to have a similar objective last Thursday, when Chinese coast guard officers boarded a Chinese fishing boat near the islands.

Ahh … how one-sided and myopic is the NYT report (surprise!).

Peter Lee wrote a timely response to such shenanigan in the Asia Times today, which I quote in its entirety Read more…

Categories: Analysis, News, politics Tags:

China Will Relax its One-Child Policy to Increase its Population Growth

November 16th, 2013 3 comments
1986 one-child poster

1986 one-child poster

The on-going Third Plenary Session of 18th CPC Central Committee has handed down several important decisions recently.  One of them involves the relaxation of the one-child policy to spur China’s population growth.

Xinhua has a good report.  An excerpt is provided below:

BEIJING, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) — China will loosen its decades-long one-child population policy, allowing couples to have two children if one of them is an only child, according to a key decision issued on Friday by the Communist Party of China (CPC).

The [change in policy is part of China’s continual adjustments in policies] step by step to promote “long-term balanced development of the population in China,” ….

To ensure coordinated economic and social development, the population size for China should be kept at about 1.5 billion, said Guo, citing the results of a study sponsored by the State Council, China’s cabinet.

China should keep its total fertility rate at around 1.8, and the current rate is between 1.5 to 1.6, allowing the country to maneuver its population policy, according to Guo. Read more…

Categories: Analysis, News Tags:

Typhoon Haiyan’s Destructive Path

November 12th, 2013 40 comments
Survivors waited to board a military plane at the airport in Tacloban

Survivors waited to board a military plane at the airport in Tacloban

The news is still enfolding on the destruction Typhoon Haiyan – now barreling its towards Vietnam and on into southern China – left in the Philippines. For those with the means, it appears the best way to help for the public now is to donate money. Two organizations with the capacity to help on the ground are:

Categories: Analysis, aside, News, Opinion Tags:

The Justification of Violence and Terrorism?

November 7th, 2013 5 comments
Shohret Hoshur

Radio Free Asia Uyghur service broadcaster Shohret Hoshur, gold medal winner at the 2012 New York Festivals radio awards in the category of best coverage of a breaking news story.

Today, I came across an article in Asia Times titled “Tiananmen Crash Linked to Xinjiang Mosque Raid” by Shohret Hoshur, originally published via Radio Free Asia’s Uyghur Service.  In the article Hoshur appears to justify violence and terrorism committed last week by presenting what must appear to him to be legitimate motivations for plowing a car into the guardrails in Tiananmen Square (which resulted in an explosion) last week .

For Hoshur, this event was less about terrorism – as the Chinese government asserts – and more about the desperate acts of another politically disenchanted Uighur.  While Hoshur is careful to say this is not organized violence (this would hurt the cause for Uighur independence), he also elevated it from mere spiteful acts of pitiful personal grievance (this would be uninteresting) to a symbolic peoples’ revolt (this is the happy, sweet medium).

Hoshur’s article is copied below: Read more…

Opinion: Is It Time Magazine that doesn’t understand Capitalism or China?

November 4th, 2013 6 comments

consumer powerTime recently published an article titled “How a Starbucks Latte Shows China Doesn’t Understand Capitalism” on the attention the Chinese government appears to be bringing to the practice of foreign companies overcharging Chinese consumers. According to Time, the government in doing this shows it doesn’t understand capitalism, ought to back off, and let the market reach a proper price.

The article asserts:

The bottom line is this: Companies will price their products based on what the consumer is willing to pay. That’s nothing illicit. It’s simple supply and demand. If Starbucks lattes were truly overpriced in China, the Chinese wouldn’t be buying as many of them, and the American firm would not have been able to build a successful network of over 1,000 shops in the country.

If foreign companies are engaged in illegal practices, then they should be stopped. But meddling in the pricing decisions of independent private companies is another thing altogether. China’s leaders persistently promise to make the Chinese economy more market-oriented, liberalized and fair. Premier Li Keqiang recently committed the government to “steadfastly pursuing reform and opening-up with priority given to the stimulation of the market.” Interfering with the prices private firms charge Chinese consumers suggests that China’s officials believe that they should make economic decisions, not free markets. Read more…

Shadows of Censorship? Really???

October 23rd, 2013 24 comments

public opinion analystTwo weeks back, Russia Today broke a story with the title “China employs 2 million analysts to monitor web activity.”  From that, we get a plethora of dark articles about how bad the Chinese government is.  For example, from the BBC, we get an article titled “China employs two million microblog monitors state media say“:

More than two million people in China are employed by the government to monitor web activity, state media say, providing a rare glimpse into how the state tries to control the internet.

China’s hundreds of millions of web users increasingly use microblogs to criticise the state or vent anger.

Recent research suggested Chinese censors actively target social media. Read more…

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…

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…

Categories: Analysis, politics Tags:

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…

Are The American and Chinese Dreams That Different – You Can’t Tell From Obama’s March on Washington Speech Yesterday

August 29th, 2013 6 comments

common aspirationsYesterday, the U.S. marked the 50th anniversary of the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.”  It was in that event 50 years ago that King gave his famous “I have a Dream” speech.  By most accounts, Obama’s speech is well-delivered and well-received – albeit “not as good.”  It could not be, Obama would explain, “[b]ecause when you are talking about Dr. King’s speech at the March on Washington, you’re talking about one of the maybe five greatest speeches in American history. And the words that he spoke at that particular moment, with so much at stake, and the way in which he captured the hopes and dreams of an entire generation I think is unmatched.”

If King’s speech 50 years ago was among the “five greatest speeches” in American history, the Obama’s speech today is a present-day synthesis of all that Americans hold most dear.  If you listen, you will glimpse the American Dreams and feel America’s soul. Here is an excerpt of the speech 1. Read more…

Notes:

  1. A transcript of Obama’s speech can be found here and a video can be found here.

Freedom of Speech: Case Study on That Medieval, Backward, Senseless French Law Against Insulting the French President

July 30th, 2013 5 comments

Freedom of SpeechChina is often regarded as a nation without Freedom of Speech – or at least a nation that disrespects Freedom of Speech, or a nation with serious infractions of Freedom of Speech.  I have often argued that such disparaging conclusions rarely turn out to based on Freedom itself, but a disrespect of China’s social, historical, and political contexts and current interests. I will use recent events to further demonstrate my thinking.

For those of you paying attention on issues surrounding “Freedom of Speech” on the international stage, you might have noticed that France caused quite a stir last week by finally abolishing a law against insulting its president.

The law in question was thrown into the international spotlight when President Sarkozy charged fellow Frenchman Hervé Eon for holding up a cardboard sign at a 2008 rally telling Sarkozy “Casse-toi pov’con,” a profanity in French that directly translates mildly to “break yourself off, poor jerk.” Here is an excerpt of the article “Yes, it really was a crime in France to insult the president until this week. Here’s why” from the Washington Post: Read more…

Abe Wins Huge in Japan… and some thoughts on the coverage…

July 23rd, 2013 5 comments

Abe Celebrates Electoral Victory

On Sunday, Abe and his party secured a victory to win landslide victories.  According  to Foreign Policy,

Riding a wave of stimulus money to the voting urns, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Liberal Democratic Party secured a majority in both of the country’s legislative houses, delivering a stamp of approval for his economic policies and possibly setting up Japan for its most significant constitutional revision since World War II.

A man with deeply nationalist roots, Abe has embarked on a twin project of national renewal, launching an aggressive stimulus program — better known as “Abenomics” and which has injected a measure of dynamism to the sluggish Japanese economy — while also floating the idea of revising the country’s pacifist constitution. Abe’s military initiative comes in response to what many in Japan see as the danger of a rising China to the country’s west and the need for Japan not just to have a self defense force but a bona fide military to counter that threat. On Monday, Abe linked those two projects. “Economics is the source of national power. Without a strong economy, we cannot have diplomatic influence or dependable social security,” he said. “I want to make Japan’s presence felt in the world.” Read more…

Should China Consider Giving Snowden Asylum?

July 9th, 2013 7 comments

As Snowden considers asylum offers from Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Bolivia, and perhaps mulls a second application to Russia (Putin had earlier said if Snowden wanted to apply asylum there, he’d have to stop releasing NSA leaks), should China Consider Giving Snowden Asylum?

By the answers, I am hoping to gauge people’s attitude toward Snowden.  For me, I am neutral.  I personally have nothing against government “snooping.”  I have nothing to hide in general.  As long as they don’t pick on me for little trivial things (I trust governments generally enough that they wouldn’t), I have nothing against government tapping, government cameras, government sucking of emails, etc.  So what Snowden has revealed does not hit me in the stomach on that level.

However, I believe what Snowden has revealed is important in a geopolitical context.  Previously, we thought of the Internet as “free” – run by innovative Stalwart companies devoted to freedom, free from government interference.  Now we know the vastness of what we consider to be “free internet” is merely a very nationalized network space that is compatible with one specific set of values and that is at the core of 21st century geopolitical competition.

That’s an important insight for humanity to know.

So – should China…?

As Snowden weighs his not very stellar asylum choices, should China give asylum if given a chance?

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[Editor’s Note: clarification added 2013-07-09]: From the above write-up about “geopolitical context,” one might misunderstand me as saying that what Snowden has to say has no relevance to Americans and relevance only to the rest of the world.  That’s not what I meant.  To the extent Americans are world citizens, they should care.  They should understand so they understand why the information they get online in the so-called free internet (and also why the information they get in the so-called free media, why their very perspective about the world, about history) may be so biased and American (or Western)-centric.  And then perhaps they may understand why so many things they had taken to be Universal may just be American (or Western)-centric.  What Snowden revealed, and he may not even understand it, is to change the paradigm by which we view the world by revealing a blindspot we had universally taken for granted.  Others have noted the dangers of relying on “google” for all information on the net – because that essentially allows one entity – which is not beholden to the “people” per se – to define our knowledge, our worldview, our identity…  It is equally dangerous to rely on the falsehood of a universal, free internet for our information because there is no such thing as a universal internet.  Language and cultural barriers would have fragmented it fr0m the start – though now we see politics from the U.S. already set it up to fragment from the very beginning, too.

Eric X. Li: A tale of two political systems (李世默:两种制度的传说)

July 2nd, 2013 43 comments

eric x. li - hEric X. Li, whom both YinYang and I know personally, recently gave this TED presentation on the ideological worship of two political systems – communism … and electoral democracies. As usual, I find Li’s perspective insightful and interesting. It certainly takes guts to stand up and speak against the predominant religion in the world! Now I appreciate even more how Galileo must have felt in confronting the Catholic Church!

I do want to make a quick note about one of the two questions the host at Ted asked of Li at the end of the talk.  The host asked about how a non-elected government can legitimately set the agenda without feedback in the form of contested elections.  Li talked about how the Chinese government – at all levels – takes surveys of the people on all types of issues, from what people think of the garbage collection at a local level to what people think about the direction of the nation on a national level.

This exchange reminded me of the adversarial vs. inquisitorial approach to resolving legal controversies. Read more…

Everyone in Hong Kong is Celebrating the Triumph of Rule of Law In the Snowden Case – But Is This Really a Celebration of Law, or Politics under the Cult of Rule of Law?

July 1st, 2013 4 comments

extradition cartoonFor the last week or so, Hong Kong has been (very publicly) celebrating the “rule of law” that it claims it has exhibited in letting Snowden leave the country despite strong U.S. pressure to arrest and extradite him.  The Hong Kong government made this official statement after Snowden left Hong Kong.

The US Government earlier on made a request to the HKSAR Government for the issue of a provisional warrant of arrest against Mr Snowden. Since the documents provided by the US Government did not fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law, the HKSAR Government has requested the US Government to provide additional information so that the Department of Justice could consider whether the US Government’s request can meet the relevant legal conditions. As the HKSAR Government has yet to have sufficient information to process the request for provisional warrant of arrest, there is no legal basis to restrict Mr Snowden from leaving Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying later cited the government’s action as “a good example to illustrate the rule of law and the procedural justice that we uphold.”  The people of Hong Kong for the most part do back Leung’s sentiments.  Even those who suspects illicit political motives seem to concede that Hong Kong did right following its laws, protocols and procedures.

While I am proud of Hong Kong in standing up to U.S. in the Snowden affairs, I urge caution that this is a triumph for rule of law. Rule of law connotates an absence of arbitrariness, an objectivity that is devoid of human whim and of politics.  But if the public thinks the Snowden case resulted from an objective, fair and impartial application of rules, I urge them to think twice. Read more…

U.S. – Hong Kong Extradition Treaty (1997)

June 25th, 2013 1 comment

Took me a while, but I finally found the text of the U.S. – Hong Kong Extradition Treaty (1997) from the U.S. Government Printing Office.

A copy of the pdf is provided below.

hongkong-us-extradition-treaty-1997

The Senate Notes here provides a good summary of (and background information surrounding) the treaty.

 

Toward a Japan-Anchored Asian Order?

June 20th, 2013 44 comments

Singh+AbePeter Lee wrote an interesting piece at Asia Times titled “India places its Asian bet on Japan” today regarding his take of India’s recent rapprochement with Japan. Before reading this piece, I had regarded Singh’s recent trip to Japan as nothing much more than two second-rate power trying to form a second-rate alliance against a perceived first-rate power. But perhaps there is something more…

Here is an excerpt of Lee’s article: Read more…

Did Michelle Obama Do a Political Snub On Peng Liyuan?

June 7th, 2013 28 comments

The Chinese blogsphere is rife with indignation on how Michelle Obama pulled a Political Snub On Peng Liyuan.  Apparently, Michelle decided to attend her daughter’s 12th birthday party in Washington instead of be in California to host Liyuan for the pivotal bilateral meeting between presidents’ Obama and Xi.

Here is a report from Sky News, with quotes from Chinese netizens.

Michelle Obama ‘Snubs’ China’s Peng Liyuan

Michelle Obama’s decision to attend her daughter’s birthday party rather than meet China’s First Lady may be a missed opportunity.

obamapeng

In the world of international diplomacy, the relationship between leaders’ wives can be just as important as the relationship between the leaders themselves. Read more…

Support for Korea Non-Intervention, Self-Determination and a Peaceful Northeast Asia

May 30th, 2013 No comments

North Korea is the most vilified nation in the world.  But in truth, it should be considered the shining city on top of a hill as far as human spirit is concerned.  HOW???

You wouldn’t think that by what you typically read in the international news (dominated by Western media).  Oh, the people in North Korea are so wretched.  They eat dirt, have no freedom, live in a police state (I’ve argued it is the U.S. that is the reigning police state), and are constantly bombarded with suffocating, stale state propaganda.  Poor North Koreans.  Look to the South – see how free, how happy, how prosperous they are! Read more…

Hashimoto’s “Comfort Women” Statement – Is it Really So Bad? A Comment about Why Japan Needs to Give a Real Apology.

May 27th, 2013 11 comments

Recently, Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, a prominent Japanese politician, raised a storm in Asia when he pronounced that the “comfort women” Japan enslaved during WWII as “necessary.”  According to this BBC report, Hashimoto said:

In the circumstances in which bullets are flying like rain and wind, the soldiers are running around at the risk of losing their lives….  If you want them to have a rest in such a situation, a comfort women system is necessary. Anyone can understand that.

The report continued: Read more…

Opinion: Why There Is So Much Pro-War Reporting in the West? A Comment on Bloggers, Tyranny, and the Fourth Estate

May 19th, 2013 10 comments

Once in a while one runs into articles that seem to fly against convention wisdom, that seem to tear at the veil of world injustice, that seem to open one’s eyes to provide insight into the causes of so many of today’s ills. This article titled Why There is So Much Pro-War Reporting from “the Big Picture” blog is one of them.

In reading this article, I note how the article also parallel a lot of what Norm Chomsky (Manufacturing Consent) and David Swanson (War is a Lie) have written about pro war sentiments.  Yet, I still feel that this article is flawed in so many ways.  We are only scratching at the surface of, not diving deep into, the problem.

The article points to 5 major reasons why free media is not so free, and why it’s so pro-war. Read more…

Ideology and Facts

May 4th, 2013 3 comments

For some time, I have been on a hiatus from the blog.  That does not mean that I was tuned off from what’s going on in the world.  Despite my temporary leave of absence, I till end up devoting non-trivial amounts of time to corresponding over emails with friends … and editors on this blog about current events.

I was just about to send another email when I realized that instead of not blogging, and just emailing, perhaps I can do some short posts (taking less than 20 minutes each, say) and share my thoughts here and there.  It’s not the way I usually blog, but maybe I can do a few of those before I get time to get back to the way I used to blog.

For today, I will share with you this link: http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0001779.html, a page about the “principal rivers of the world,” instead of just writing privately to the editors of this blog about it. Read more…

If you made a comment in the last 12 hours or so – specifically, after 10:50 pm 4/16/13 and before 2:00 pm 4/17/2013, Pacific Time…

April 17th, 2013 No comments

If a made a comment in the last 12 hours or so – more specifically after 10:50 pm 4/16/13 and before 2:00 pm 4/17/2013, Pacific Time, your comment may have been deleted. Posts are not effected.

I was doing some tweaking with the system and made a rookie mistake, so the most recent comments (before our next back up kicks in) were lost accidentally.  I am very sorry about this and promise this will not happen again.

On a related note, I have been on a hiatus of sorts.  I just want to affirm that I am not leaving, but need some time off to catch up on several projects I have ongoing.  Also having a new born and a 2 year old at home have a way of sucking away my free time…

In any case, I will be back to writing and commenting soon.

Allen

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Did Millions Die in the Great Leap Forward: A Quick Note on non-Contemporaneous Data

February 14th, 2013 11 comments

This is a followup on a previous post titled Did Millions Die in the Great Leap Forward: A Quick Note on the Underlying Statistics.  In that post, I pointed out that the only systematic data available from the time (the census of 1953 and 1964) were such that they could neither support nor refute the hypothesis that millions upon millions died during the Great Leap Forward.  The claim that 15 or 30 or even 45 million people died – true or false – simply is not testable against the margin of errors inherent with the 1953 and 1964 census figures.

In a comment, long-time commentator jxie referenced some of the so-called “newer” research involving non-contemporaneous data that I want to quickly address in this post.  One thing I failed to address in my prior post is that since the mid 80’s – with the release of  data such as the Cancer Epidemiology Survey in 1976, the fertility survey of 1982 giving fertility rates dating back to 1940, and the re-release of the 1953 and 1964 census in 1982 where the population figures are broken down by age and gender groups (“cohorts”) – many researchers have claimed that they are able to prove how many millions actually died during the Great Leap Forward.  Various reputable scholars 1 estimated the death count to be anywhere between 20 to more than 45 million.  I want to address such studies, focusing in particular on Banister’s 1987 study that jxie cited.

Banister’s 30 Million Dead Hypothesis

Judith Banister is one of the most respected and prominent demographer in the West on China.  In what has become a classic book published in 1987, Banister estimated that some 30 million died during the Great Leap Forward (p. 118, Banister). Read more…

Notes:

  1. For a discussion how it is a mistake to defer the study of politically charged subjects to “scholars,” see Joseph Ball’s article titled “Did Mao Really Kill Millions in the Great Leap Forward?” which I have linked in the previous post

Quick Survey: Have You Noticed a Server Performance Improvement Since Jan 31?

February 4th, 2013 5 comments

We made some server upgrades a few days ago, late of Jan 31, 2013 (U.S. Pacific Time).  The upgrades will cost DeWang and I a little more, but we can afford it.  Still we want to quickly survey our reader to see if you notice a performance improvement.  If you have or if you have not (and want to complain our server performance), please leave a quick comment or send us a private email.

Thanks!

Categories: Announcements Tags:

Did Millions Die in the Great Leap Forward: A Quick Note on the Underlying Statistics

February 2nd, 2013 10 comments

[This is part I or a 2 part series on the underlying statistics  of the Great Leap Forward.  Part II can be found here]

Recently, Ray wrote a great post – and readers added valuable comments – that provided some contexts surrounding the Great Leap Forward.  When people discuss the Great Leap Forward (1958-1961), the starting point is almost always the millions killed.  I want ask: how fair is that starting point? 1

In this post, I want to briefly focus on specific issue of the underlying statistics – and the often-made claim that millions and millions (I have heard upward of 70+ million!) died in the Great Leap Forward.

According to official Chinese data released in 1983, some 16 million died during the years of the Great Leap Forward (1958 to 1961). But how good is this number (or any other number)? Read more…

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My New Year Resolution

January 5th, 2013 7 comments

It’s been some time since I last blogged.  And my new year resolution is … to BE MORE REGULAR AT BLOGGING!

I actually have an excuse this time.  In November, my grandmother – with whom I am close – passed away.  In December, my second son was born…

This period of change has gotten me to reflect more deeply on life … and for here, to reflect once more why I spend the time to blog.

Life can be so short … so precious.  There are so many people to touch, relationships to build, places to travel, creative endeavors to pursue.  And blogging as I often do about the heavy hands of politics and history can be emotionally draining. Read more…

Categories: aside, Opinion, politics Tags:

A Response to a Japan Scholar’s Response: War Loot is Ours to Keep

October 4th, 2012 20 comments

In a recent comment, one of our readers pointed out:

http://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/04/the-diaoyusenkaku-islands-a-japanese-scholar-responds/

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).

Read more…

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