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(Letter from raventhorn4000) Political paradigm

June 2nd, 2009 2 comments

A supernova occurring on July 4, 1054 formed the Crab Nebula, a well known supernova remnant in Taurus. The ancient Chinese recorded detailed observations. It was a previously unseen star that became for a time bright enough to be visible in the daytime. Some Native American Tribes also made records of the event.

Around the same time, Venice, Genoa, and the Byzantine Empire (or the Eastern Roman Empire) were near their full power. Yet strangely, none of these Christian nations of the time made any observation of the visible event, which lasted almost 2 years.

Historians attributed this to the problem of “paradigm” in scientific theories, where upon the scholars of the Western world were simply unable to break some basic assumptions of their theories, and thus consciously or subconsciously decided to ignore ALL data that does not fit their assumptions.

Western nations of the time, because of the Christian Church, believed in the “Immutable Heaven”, ie. the “celestial sphere” cannot change.

**
Some historians have explained also, that Chinese astronomers were not bound by any theoretical assumptions, and therefore, they were able to make very detailed and accurate observations of the stars, without worrying about running into contradicting “Holy assumptions” of their times.

On the same explanation, there was a general argument that ancient Chinese were less interested in “theoretical causes”, ie. they didn’t bother to formulate too many theories about “why”.

Afterall, with the volumes of astronomical data in the Chinese historical archives, and the amazing astrological clocks built by the ancient Chinese, why is it that the Chinese never bothered to make many models for the solar system??

**
Some have also theorized that the Chinese version of the “scientific theory” is more about systematic “trial and error” rather than a “Method and test” (as in the Western and modern scientific methodology).

Indeed, many Chinese inventions and discoveries were often more based upon “accidents”, rather than any methods of search.

**
Of course, now we assume that the “Method and test” scientific method is the better way to get at the truth.

But we also know that historically, the “method and test” method has ran headlong into the “paradigm” problem over and over again.

**

On the parallel of Political theories, analogous systems are seen in modern China and the West.

China, with its “trial and error” method of political reforms and leadership selections. Versus the West, “Method” is always right, regardless of the actual results.

Which one is better?

But let us challenge another basic assumption, Is the Chinese system really simply “trial and error”???

One could argue that one can develop mathematics and algebra by simple “trial and error”. Afterall, if one count the results of “1+1”, one can easily arrive at 2 as the answer.

One can reach “result oriented theories”, ie. 1 star will be at this location at this particular time of the year, just by repeated detailed observations. Without ever having known the composition or actual location of the star itself.

Given the problem of “paradigm”, I would posit that the “Western Method” of “democracy” is in a problem of “paradigm”, that its assumptions of “correctness” is simply another way for the adherents to ignore unwanted data.

In actuality, all political systems are based upon “trial and error”. Trying to develop a method to explain the correctness of own’s “accidental choice” is rather like explaining why one rolled a 5 in craps. Yes, you rolled the dice, but it’s not really a choice.

Categories: General Tags: ,

(Letter from kui) A recollection of the 1989 student movement in Tianjin

May 20th, 2009 224 comments

admin’s note: This year is the 20th anniversary of the 1989 student movement. No matter what your view on this subject is, what happened 20 years ago is no doubt an important piece of Chinese history. As Zhu Rongji, former Chinese premier minister, then mayor of Shanghai, famously said, on June 8, 1989, “No one can cover up historical facts forever, and the truth will eventually reveal itself” (历史事实是没有人能够隐瞒的,事实真相终将大白).

Many people are interested in the events happened on the Tiananmen Square. While undoubtedly it was the epicenter of the 89 student movement, we should not lose sight that large scale demonstrations happened in many other cities too. To almost any college student at that time, 1989 was a life changing year. Previously Eugene recalled his experience as a student in Shanghai. Here is an observation and reflection from a student in Tianjin (天津), the closest major city to Beijing. This post was emailed to me by kui (thank you very much!). I took liberty to  modify the original text slightly. I hope more people of the ’89 generation will come forward and share his/her experiences and thoughts.

I was 21 years old and studying in a college in Tianjin in 1989. When I first heard that the student protest in Beijing had escalated to hunger strike, I was shocked that such extreme measure was taken. Hunger strike is not without health consequences. What if the government refuses to give in? But it did not even take me five seconds to decide that I should support it. Almost every student in our college supported it. We decided to boycott classes. Very few students who had different opinions still went to library to study and I saw them confronted by other students.
Read more…

Categories: General, politics Tags: , , ,

(Letter from pug_ster) China slams US foreign affairs bill proposal

May 20th, 2009 No comments

US Congressman Howard Berman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced “Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 and 2011 (H.R.2410)” on May 14. It drew some criticism from the Chinese government about this because “It meddled in China’s domestic issues of Taiwan, Tibet and Hong Kong.” It can be accessed here.

http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills&docid=f:h2410ih.txt.pdf

Among most of this 320 page broad proposal, it has some interesting tidbits about about Tibet (sorry I didn’t properly format it yet):

22 SEC. 237. TIBET.
23 (a) TIBET NEGOTIATIONS.—Section 613(a) of the
24 Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 (Public Law 107–228; 22
25 U.S.C. 6901 note) is amended—
1 (1) in paragraph (1), by inserting before the pe2
riod at the end the following: ‘‘and should coordinate
3 with other governments in multilateral efforts to4
ward this goal’’;
5 (2) by redesignating paragraph (2) as para6
graph (3); and
7 (3) by inserting after paragraph (1) the fol8
lowing new paragraph:
9 ‘‘(2) POLICY COORDINATION.—The President
10 shall direct the National Security Council to ensure
11 that, in accordance with this Act, United States pol12
icy on Tibet is coordinated and communicated with
13 all Executive Branch agencies in contact with the
14 Government of China.’’.
15 (b) BILATERAL ASSISTANCE.—Section 616 of the Ti16
betan Policy Act of 2002 is amended—
17 (1) by redesignating subsection (d) as sub18
section (e); and
19 (2) by inserting after subsection (c) the fol20
lowing new subsection:
21 ‘‘(d) UNITED STATE ASSISTANCE.—The President
22 shall provide grants to nongovernmental organizations to
23 support sustainable economic development, cultural and
24 historical preservation, health care, education, and envi25
ronmental sustainability projects for Tibetan communities
1 in the Tibet Autonomous Region and in other Tibetan
2 communities in China, in accordance with the principles
3 specified in subsection (e) and subject to the review and
4 approval of the Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues
5 under section 621(d).’’.
6 (c) SPECIAL COORDINATOR FOR TIBETAN ISSUES.—
7 Section 621 of the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 is amend8
ed—
9 (1) in subsection (d)—
10 (A) in paragraph (5), by striking ‘‘and’’ at
11 the end;
12 (B) by redesignating paragraph (6) as
13 paragraph (7); and
14 (C) by inserting after paragraph (5) the
15 following new paragraph:
16 ‘‘(6) review and approve all projects carried out
17 pursuant to section 616(d);’’.
18 (2) by adding at the end the following new sub19
section:
20 ‘‘(e) PERSONNEL.—The Secretary shall assign dedi21
cated personnel to the Office of the Special Coordinator
22 for Tibetan Issues sufficient to assist in the management
23 of the responsibilities of this section and section
24 616(d)(2).’’.
1 (d) DIPLOMATIC REPRESENTATION RELATING TO
2 TIBET.—
3 (1) UNITED STATES EMBASSY IN BEIJING.—
4 (A) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary of State
5 is authorized to establish a Tibet Section within
6 the United States Embassy in Beijing, People’s
7 Republic of China, for the purposes of following
8 political, economic, and social developments in9
side Tibet, including Tibetan areas of Qinghai,
10 Sichuan, Gansu, and Yunnan provinces, until
11 such time as a United States consulate in Tibet
12 is established. Such Tibet Section shall have the
13 primary responsibility for reporting on human
14 rights issues in Tibet and shall work in close
15 cooperation with the Office of the Special Coor16
dinator for Tibetan Issues. The chief of such
17 Tibet Section should be of senior rank.
18 (B) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIA19
TIONS.—Of the amounts authorized to be ap20
propriated under section 101(a), there are au21
thorized to be appropriated such sums as may
22 be necessary for each of fiscal years 2010 and
23 2011 to carry out this paragraph.
24 (2) IN TIBET.—Section 618 of the Tibetan Pol25
icy Act of 2002 is amended to read as follows:
1 ‘‘SEC. 618. ESTABLISHMENT OF A UNITED STATES CON2
SULATE IN LHASA, TIBET.
3 ‘‘The Secretary shall seek to establish a United
4 States consulate in Lhasa, Tibet, to provide services to
5 United States citizens traveling to Tibet and to monitor
6 political, economic, and cultural developments in Tibet, in7
cluding Tibetan areas of Qinghai, Sichuan, Gansu, and
8 Yunnan provinces.’’.
9 (e) RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION IN TIBET.—Section
10 620(b) of the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 is amended by
11 adding before the period at the end the following: ‘‘, in12
cluding the reincarnation system of Tibetan Buddhism’’.

After reading this, it seems to be that the US government is running the TAR region. This proposal doesn’t mention much about Hong Kong and Taiwan though. I think that this bill was brought by Pelosi and company. I hope that this proposal won’t be signed into a bill.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

(Letter from pug_ster) HK Donald Tsang “raped public opinion” about 6/4 incident.

May 16th, 2009 1 comment

http://zonaeuropa.com/200905b.brief.htm#008

After watching this video I am disappointed on not about Donald Tsang’s believed on how people in Hong Kong felt, but how the pan-Democrats scolded Donald Tsang like a bunch of 5 year olds.

The strange thing is how the press reacted to this incident.

The coverage in the Chinese-language newspapers falls along the usual political lines, including:
– Nothing was found at Ta Kung Pao and Wen Wei Po
– One small story in Oriental Daily, The Sun, Sing Tao and Headline Daily
– One front page story in am730 and Metro
– Multiple stories in Apple Daily, but the front page was assigned to the related story about the secret memoirs of Zhao Ziyang

And yes, press is much more freer in Hong Kong than in the Mainland, yet there is much self-censorship regarding to these sensitive issues.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

(Letter from raventhorn4000) Swine Flu Scare, is it too much hype or just right amount of alertness?

May 5th, 2009 14 comments

It’s not permanent Orange Alert condition, but the latest swine flu cases around the world has definitely caused some small amount of panic.

Is it too much hype or just right amount of alertness? I don’t know.

It’s not Duct tape your house in case of chemical attacks, but some in the West have accused China (including HK) of overreacting, in the latest cases of quarantines imposed on Mexican travelers.

Over 300 guests in HK’s Metropark Hotel have been quarantined for several days now.

Some Mexican travelers in China have been put into quarantines despite having NO symptoms of swine flu.

Mexico has denounced these quarantines as discriminatory and “inhumane”.

But let’s put this in perspectives:

(1) the Guests in Metropark Hotel are mostly NON-Mexicans. That’s not “discriminatory”.

(2) the 1 confirmed case Swine flu of Mexican traveler who was on a flight to China, initially also did NOT show any signs of illness. So much is unknown about this particular strain of swine flu, including how long does it take from initial infection to showing symptoms.

This indeed justify some quarantines of travelers from some geographic origins.

This is not “discriminatory”.

(3) Mexico itself has imposed blanket shutdowns of virtually all public places, including schools, shops, etc., to prevent the spread of swine flu, with no end in sight.

One can hardly claim that China’s limited quarantine procedure in this case is unjustified when the Mexican government itself has imposed a far more draconian dragnet operation.

In terms of economic damages, Mexico’s own shutdowns have caused far more damages to its own economy and impacted far more of its own citizens than China’s quarantines.

*

While specific targeting of quarantines might be more helpful and less stressful to individuals, but one must face reality, even the CDC doesn’t know for sure how the swine flu is being spread. Undoubtedly it could be any number of means.

Even some in US are suggesting an outright border sealing with Mexico.

Categories: News Tags: , ,

(Letter from bai ding) 五三濟南慘案 The Massacre of Ji Nan on May 3, 1928

May 3rd, 2009 31 comments

漢節拼來一烈屍,危城罵敵蔡公時。
傷心我未磨新劍,直筆空題恭敬辭。
— 白丁
The martyr’s name is Cai Gong Shi (蔡公時). Ji Nan (濟南) is a city in the Shan Dong (山東) Province. Here is a brief background of Cai before he was murdered by the Japanese. He was born in 1881 in Jiu Jiang (九江) of Jiang Xi (江西). When he was 18, he had risked everything to organize a progressive group called the “Beware of Stains” (慎所染齋). Later, it was banned by the Manchu government. He then traveled to Japan and attended school. After he heard Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s speech, he was so moved that he joined Sun’s United Democrats Society (同盟會). He and Sun’s comrade Huang Xing (黄興) returned to China and worked secretly in Jiangxi to overthrow the Manchu. After Sun’s Revolution in 1911, he joined the Kuomintang’s campaign against Yuan Shi Kai (袁世凱). The first campaign was a loss and he had to flee to Japan again. He studied in Tokyo’s Imperial University. Yuan Shi Kai seized all his property in China and his first wife died in grief and fear.
Read more…

Categories: education, General Tags:

(Letter from TonyP4) China in WW2

April 30th, 2009 3 comments

The following is circulated to me by my friends on China during World War 2. They are commented by American government to tell Americans why they were sent to fight Japanese (thanks, Americans). I also include 12 pictures (out of 34) on Nanjing that I hope Allen or some one will write a post on Nanjing.

They’re circulated in the internet, so I do not claim any credit or steel the thunder from my friends.

——————

Please stroll down the page to go the following websites to see 具有珍貴歷史價值的近 代記錄.

THE 2ND WORLD WAR Website:

《二次大戰真實紀錄片-中國篇》1-7集原名《我們爲何而戰》的這套紀錄片,是美國政府于第二次世界大戰期間制作的。

爲了向美國人解釋爲什麽要去中國抗日,美國制作了這部短片。開始時的目的在于讓美軍知道美國爲何參戰,到後來,索性向美國民衆公開,以争取舉國上下支持聯邦政府打勝這戰争。

《二次大戰真實紀錄片-中國篇》(1)
https://youtube.com/watch?v=lQTWtokeF5Q%26hl%3Dzh_TW%26fs%3D1

《二次大戰真實紀錄片-中國篇》(2)
https://youtube.com/watch?v=DcjVWe3xgAo%26hl%3Dzh_TW%26fs%3D1

《二次大戰真實紀錄片-中國篇》(3)
https://youtube.com/watch?v=dKTIylgLDHE%26hl%3Dzh_TW%26fs%3D1

《二次大戰真實紀錄片-中國篇》(4)
https://youtube.com/watch?v=M6z-fZwpmME%26hl%3Dzh_TW%26fs%3D1

《二次大戰真實紀錄片-中國篇》(5)
http://www.youtube..com/v/VKHk6eepm0E&hl=zh_TW&fs=1

《二次大戰真實紀錄片-中國篇》(6)
https://youtube.com/watch?v=L_zntg-eFF0%26hl%3Dzh_TW%26fs%3D1

《二次大戰真實紀錄片-中國篇》(7)
https://youtube.com/watch?v=k0hZiD5Uk5I%26hl%3Dzh_TW%26fs%3D1

《美國副總統華萊士訪問重慶與蔣介石會談》(1944年6月20日)
https://youtube.com/watch?v=xbttAZ_EVGs%26hl%3Dzh_TW%26fs%3D1

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , ,

(Letter from Otto Kerner, Opposing Viewpoint) Mainland Han human rights lawyers defend Tibetan lama

April 26th, 2009 34 comments

Amid the depressing news of the trial of Phurbu Tsering Rinpoche, a respected lama from Kardze (western Sichuan), is a hopeful sign: he is being defended by two Han Chinese human rights lawyers. They say that they have had some harrassment from the police, but they have not been prevented from serving as counsel to a man they believe was unjustly accused. They have helped him have his day in court, which is better than nothing. In my opinion, democracy and nationalism, etc., are less important than simple rule of law applied impartially. Is that something Tibetans and Hans can make common cause for? It ought to be.

(Letter from chorasmian) Self identification of 2nd generation Chinese in overseas

April 23rd, 2009 48 comments

Recently, my daughter had this poem in her class project.

Where Are You From?

Where am I from?

I come from
Read more…

(Letter from Joel) Mainlanders and their pasts, Mainlanders and their selves

April 22nd, 2009 3 comments

For me personally, the Mainland’s grandparents and great-grandparents are China’s most interesting generation. As soon as I could string a few sentences together I was trying to get our neighbours to tell us about their stories and experiences. But Xinran, the authour of China Witness: Voices from a Silent Generation, being Chinese, can go light-years farther in an interview than I can with my novice Mandarin, mere beginner’s cultural understanding, white face and 大鼻子。
Read more…

(Letter from Joel) How should foreigners feel about being called “鬼子,” “鬼佬,” “老外,” etc.?

April 15th, 2009 231 comments

I’m on an extended visit back to my hometown, Vancouver, a Canadian city full of Chinese. Chinese is the second-most commonly used language after English. My wife and I were running around a Chinese mall for fun to practice Mandarin and buy some Chinese DVDs when we overheard Chinese people talking about us in Mandarin saying, “Those foreigners are speaking Chinese!” I thought it was funny that even in Canada, Chinese people would call white people “foreigner” (in this case: “外国人”).
Read more…

(Letter from EugeneZ) Spring 1989 in Shanghai – A Memory of the ’89 Student Movement

April 15th, 2009 116 comments

One year ago, Buxi asked me to write something on 6/4, and I did not get around to do it, but promised that I would do so this year, the 20th anniversary.  At the reminder of Admin a few weeks ago, I started to think about this “action item”.  I pulled out a diary/report that was written within the weeks after 6/4/1989,  the report was 50 some pages long.  It did not have any dust on it since it has been sealed in an envelope.  Twenty-year is a long time, the paper has turned completely yellow-ish, but reading through it still brought out a lot of emotion and a lot of memories.

After some thought, I decided that the best way to write about 6/4 is to simply translate parts of the 20-year old diary for it truthfully recorded what a 22-year old student experienced, observed, heard, thought, believed and felt at the moment.  Twenty years has gone by, the author, like most of the 6/4 students, has moved on and has since lived a more or less fulfilling life unrelated to 6/4. Along the way, he has learned a few things,  has had opportunity to reflect upon the past, and his political views may have evolved along the way.  But in memory of the 1989 student movement, I felt that the best thing to do is to trace back to the time as it occurred.  I am sure that we will then have a discussion as to how we look at the events in Spring 1989 today.

So here is – Part I, from April 15th, the day Hu Yaobang died, to the day of hunger strike.
Read more…

Categories: General Tags: ,

(Letter from Joel) Understanding popular Chinese notions about “racism” (help me out here!)

April 14th, 2009 129 comments

I have a growing suspicion that the way many Chinese people understand the word “racism” (or “racist”) is quite different from the way I use it. This causes communication problems because I use the term “racism” like most North Americans do, but my Chinese acquaintances react in ways that don’t seem to make sense. Obviously there’s a disconnect. I want to know why my Chinese friends and acquaintances react the way they do to the term “racism”. How are they understanding this word?
Read more…

(Letter from TonyP4) The Chinese are coming!

April 14th, 2009 3 comments

The quality problems of Chinese products show up almost every month. It is the experience of most developing countries on their way to a developed country. The last one is S. Korean which adopted a similar model as Japan.

What have not been reported extensively are the improvement of the Chinese products and why Chinese will compete with the best in the world.

The following article reports BYM company but it is only one of the many innovative companies in China. How can the west compete with the engineers in China working 12 hours a day at about 10% of the salary?

http://money.cnn.com/2009/04/13/technology/gunther_electric.fortune/index.htm

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , ,

Letter: A Brief Memoriam for the Yellow Flower Hill Uprising

March 31st, 2009 53 comments

Yellow Flower Hill Uprising could be the most significant event in our time. The following is written by Bai Ding, my high school classmate. I have his permission to publish it here. Bai is the descendant of one of the patriots. I bet this history event is written differently in China, Taiwan and even Hong Kong, so feel free to express your point of view. The two poems in Chinese are written by Bai.
Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,

(Letter from Lime) No Such Thing as China

March 29th, 2009 36 comments

A week or so ago, in one of the final classes of the fourth year history seminar on Christianity in China that I am currently taking, the professor, in an apparent effort to coax us into some critical thinking, posed these questions; “Did Christianity become a Chinese religion? And if so, when and how did this happen?” The answers that we came up with in class included when the first Chinese person converted to Christianity, when the first independent churches (meaning churches that were not controlled by foreign missionaries) were established, and when Christianity was indigenized (meaning transformed by existing factors in Chinese culture to create a form of Christianity unique to China).
Read more…

Categories: Letters Tags: ,

(Letter from tibetan, Opposing Viewpoint) Smurf Emancipation Day: 50 years of harmonious oppression

March 29th, 2009 142 comments

In light of the mega attention and millions of yuans that chinese government use to establish a new holiday in Tibet “Serf Emancipation Day”, and advertise this around the world, clever Tibetan youth in Tibet created the following cartoon: “Surf Emancipation Day: 50 years of harmonious oppression”.

http://woeser.middle-way.net/2009/03/blog-post_28.html

smurf chinese-1.jpg

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(Letter from ecodelta) Tai Chi Scooter One-Ups The Segway

March 21st, 2009 No comments

“A mechanical engineer at Purdue University has one-upped the Segway guys with a hands-free scooter that uses the principles of Tai Chi, the ancient Chinese martial art, to keep you from falling on your face.”

Original article can be found here.

http://blog.wired.com/cars/2009/03/students-build.html

Categories: technology Tags: , , ,

(Letter from sophie, Opposing Viewpoint) Cultural Reflections on Tibet

March 17th, 2009 158 comments

In a previous thread, Steve asked why, with so much material improvement in Tibet region shown by MAJ, the Chinese government still can’t win Tibetan’s heart? I have been asking the same question too.

Following recent MAJ’s comments, I came across this article ‘Reflections on Tibet‘ by Wang Lixiong published in 2002. Wang Lixiong is the writer of ‘Roadmap of Tibetan Independence’ published last year. In the article, Wang Lixiong “considers some of the bitter paradoxes of Tibetan history under Communist rule, and their roots in the confrontation of an alien bureaucracy and fear-stricken religion”. It’s worth pointing out that the original article 西藏问题的文化反思 was published in Chinese in 2001 and therefore we need to be careful how relevant it is to today’s Tibet issue.
Read more…

Categories: Analysis, culture Tags: ,

(Letter from ecodelta) Is China the plug in hybrid vehicle paradise?

March 16th, 2009 13 comments

Casually browsing through the internet I stumbled over this article about plug in hybrid cars. Here is the link

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=electric-cars-cost-per-charge

The article compares the relative costs and advantages of plug in hybrid vehicles respect to conventional gas powered vehicles.

The article makes some major claims about energy resource consumption and pollution, that when translated to CH would have a greater impact that in the US, mainly:

  • Powering a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) would cost the equivalent of roughly 75 cents per gallon of gasoline—a price not seen at the pump for 30 years.
  • 52% of US oil imports could be spared.
  • three-quarters of the country’s current small vehicle fleet could be charged by our existing electrical grid without building new power plants.
  • Reduction of greenhouse gases from 3.4 to 10.3 billion tons.

Some of the major promise of (PHEV) can, of course, only be achieved if certain conditions hold.

  • Average daily displacement within range of vehicle batteries
  • Hybrid vehicle able to be propelled by electric engine only
  • Increase electric load would not mean an increased pollution of coal fired power plants or could be taken by renewable non polluting energy sources: Solar, wind power and hydro power(non polluting?).

Which type of vehicle would provide the greatest economic and envriomental advantages when substitured by its equivalent PEHV?

  • Personal cars
  • Taxis
  • Trucks
  • Public buses

Given the rapid growth on car ownership, trucks on the road, industrial and traffic generated pollution in CH main cities, population density, etc. Could be CH the PHEV paradise?

What do you think?

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

(Letter from mroberts) Crouching Dancer, Hidden Jargon

March 14th, 2009 18 comments

Thu, March 12 2009

At the food court in Vancouver’s Sinclair Centre, a young well-dressed Asian woman was last week handing out glossy leaflets promoting something called the Divine Performing Arts, or DPA.

She spoke softly, explaining to those who took her yellow pamphlets that the show, which is slated to hit a Vancouver stage next month, is about China’s culture and heritage. Read more…

(Letter from Shane9219) China’s Interaction with Israel and the Jewish People

March 9th, 2009 8 comments

The unique history of China and the interaction of Chinese people with the rest of world give China many friends around the world. Those ties have been both strong and historical, despite Chinese’s common animosity towards old Western colonists and Japanese imperialists. This historic foundation will continue to benefit both China and the world for a long time.

The following article is an interview with a well-known Jewish scholar, covering topics both past and present, including sensitive ones such as Muslim world and China, 2008 Beijing Olympics and Steven Spielberg.

(Letter from Shane9219) USA and China: from a marriage of convenience to one of inconvenience

February 20th, 2009 6 comments

USA and China came together in the 70s. Being one of the richest and most powerful vs. one of the poorest yet most populous, it was really an odd marriage pushing together by world’s geopolitics at the time. Now, USA and China are being tied together once more in the midst of current world-wide financial tsunami.

Can the two country build a strong and lasting relationship based on genuine trust? Are the two people willing to learn from each other and form a common destiny? Please share your insight on this intersting subject.

Below is my own take:

The future is still very cloudy, yet has a high possibility if the two can learn to overcome their significant difference. Here is one small place to start with: one is too talktive and the other is too hardworking.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

(Letter from Shane9219) China is helping Africa's Development and Modernation Effort

February 18th, 2009 47 comments

Chinese President Hu Jintao ended his tour of four African nations this week, having promised to deepen ties with the continent.

A lot of chatter has surrounded China’s interests in Africa. Media have branded China’s role in Africa as an invasion or an era of neo-colonialism with ulterior motives of pillaging Africa’s raw materials. Rhetoric from Chinese and African leaders includes words like “friendship,” “partnership” and “brotherhood,” stressing a shared history and common experience.

This report was produced last summer when WorldFocus traveled to East Africa.

World Focus Radio Blog (Feb 18, 2009)

Read more…

Categories: News, politics Tags:

(Letter from Jane) Who owns the Chinese imperial treasures?

February 17th, 2009 142 comments

When Chiang Kai-Shek retreated with the Nationalists to Taiwan, he brought with him over 600,000 pieces of artefacts removed from Chinese imperial palaces during wartime. These artefacts are now stored at the National Palace Museum in Taipei. Both China and Taiwan have claimed title to these Chinese imperial treasures.
Read more…

(Letter from Shane9219) New press rule could help China improve civil rights protection

February 14th, 2009 No comments

BEIJING, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) — A new entry in government-issued press cards, to be added later this month, might help many Chinese reporters persuade tight-lipped officials to talk.

The entry will say: “The governments at all levels should facilitate the reporting of journalists who hold this card and provide necessary assistance.”

“Without a proper reason, government officials must not refuse to be interviewed,” said Zhu Weifeng, a senior official with the General Administration of Press and Publication.

Many considered this a positive signal that the authorities welcomed supervision from the media.

The new press card statement followed a regulation on the disclosure of government information, effective last May, which was the first government rule safeguarding citizens’ right to be informed.

“Media and public supervision are among the arrangements the country is making to control the power of the state and protect civil rights,” said Li Yunlong, a human rights expert at the Institute for International Strategies of the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

“How to prevent state power from infringing on civil rights is a very important issue in human rights protection,” Li said.

This week, the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva conducted its first review of China’s human rights record, and it acknowledged the country’s efforts in human rights protection.

The country took a long and winding road to acceptance of the concept of “civil rights” but was headed in the right direction, Li said. “I have seen a trend toward increasing supervision of the authorities and more restrictions on their power.”

Mo Jihong, a research fellow with the Law Institute under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, saw the same trend in legislation. “The changes in the Constitution were obvious,” said Mo.

China’s first three Constitutions, issued respectively in 1954,in 1975 and 1978, all had a chapter on the fundamental rights and duties of citizens. But none of those versions defined “citizen,” which affected the implementation of these items, he said.

The current Constitution, adopted in 1982, closed this loophole and put the chapter on citizens’ rights before that of the structure of the state, he said.

“It showed the country acknowledged that the state derived its legitimacy through protecting citizens’ rights, rather than by giving rights to citizens.”

In 2004, an amendment to the Constitution added an article stating that the state respects and preserves human rights.

“Through the amendments, the Constitution gave more responsibility to state organs to protect civil rights,” Mo said.

The country has also adopted laws to restrict the exercise of state power. In 1990, the law on litigation against the administration provided the first way for the common people to sue government departments.

Further, the law on legislation, adopted in 2000, included an article stating that only laws can limit personal freedom. This had the effect of barring any authority, except the legislature, from issuing regulations or rules to limit personal freedom.

“But the implementation of laws remained a problem,” Mo said. “The authorities who enforce the laws should be carefully watched.”

Li noted that China’s unique culture played a role. Traditionally, Chinese seldom talk about “rights” but instead stress the concept of people’s obedience to the society.

“Civil right is a concept borrowed from the West. That’s why it will take time to make everyone aware of it, especially those holding power,” he said.

“But we should not give up because we don’t have such a tradition,” he said. “China does not need to make itself a Western nation but can explore its own way based on its own culture and reality,” he said.

Last year, in the wake of an increasing number of protests nationwide, the government launched a campaign requiring officials to talk with citizens and consider their requests regularly. The move proved to be an effective way to ease public anger and reduce misunderstanding.

A trial program to invite independent inspectors to detention houses in northeast Jilin Province also received acclaim as an innovation in this field.

The two-year program ended late last year. The 20 independent inspectors, who were teachers, doctors, businessmen and community workers, examined conditions in these detention houses and examined their records so as to ensure that custody procedures were in line with the law and detainees were not treated inhumanely.

“The concept of ‘putting people first’ raised by the present CPC leadership can be regarded as an effort to respect and protect civil rights,” Li said.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-02/13/content_10816802.htm

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(Letter from Shane9219) “Just what else do you want?” Chinese Vice President, Xi JinPing, talking tough to foreigners

February 14th, 2009 31 comments

In a speech by Mr. Xi, China’s next top-leader on waiting, to members of the overseas Chinese community in Mexico. Xi proudly reiterated that China has already made its biggest contribution to the world by feeding its own 1.3 billion population during the financial crisis, and warned that “there are a few foreigners, with full stomachs, have nothing better to do than try to be backseat drivers of our country’s own affairs.”

“China does not export revolution, hunger, poverty, nor does China cause you any headaches,” Xi said indignantly. “Just what else do you want?” (Here is one of the few websites that still have video of Xi’s speech; other mainland sites have taken down the footage.)

http://china.blogs.time.com/2009/02/13/a-chinese-leader-talks-tough-to-foreigners/

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(Letter from ag2559, Opposing Viewpoint) China and the Economic Crisis

January 28th, 2009 26 comments

Intro: China’s accumulation of foreign currency is a hotly debated topic. Secretary of Treasury Geithner recently characterized it as “currency manipulation,” a legal term of art which allows the United States to take retaliatory measures.

I have written a paper that approaches this practice from a different angle, and recommends a different solution. The paper can be downloaded here http://ssrn.com/abstract=1332842

In this paper, I revisit the historic ideas surrounding miserliness and usury. I explain why these were economically pernicious activities, and why they were socially stigmatized or made illegal. The paper then moves onto international relations. I argue that China has been acting as miser and usurer on the world stage, at the expense of its own needs and global productivity. The world needs to balance spending vs. saving/investing/lending, and if there is too much of the latter then a rebalancing is inevitable. China has been doing too much of the latter, and the current economic crisis is that rebalancing.

The preferred solution to this problem is not trade protectionism, but rather increased trade. Over the past decade Americans have spent trillions of dollars on Chinese goods and services. This created employment in China and helped the country achieve its potential. The Chinese have responded by hoarding and lending that money. But a relationship where Americans spend and Chinese save and lend is not viable. Only when China takes the dollars Americans spend to employ Chinese, and uses it to employ Americans, will there be a sustainable relationship that can tap the productive potential of both countries. The United States has taken the first step and spent to establish this relationship. It is now China’s turn to spend, to advance that relationship.

I am interested in comments before the paper is published, so please do not hesitate to write me at the link above with any feedback.

Note: post title and content changed per the author’s request. -admin

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(Letter from Arctosia, Opposing Viewpoint) Chinese Government publishes list of “vulgar” websites and information

January 7th, 2009 64 comments

For many Chinese website operators, 2009 didn’t start very well. China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Centre, a semi-government agency, has published a list of websites which contain “vulgar and unhealthy information” deemed to be harmful to the country’s youth. The list (in Chinese) can be found here.

The interesting thing about this list is that it covered majority of the most popular websites in China. Google was ranked number one “vulgar” site (see, e.g., NYTimes article), followed by Baidu and Sina.

I’m very confident that every Chinese netizen have visited at least one of such vulgar websites. I myself must have visited at least 75% of the websites listed and would probably be diagnosed as psychotic under the Chinese guideline. Read more…

(Letter from Otto Kerner, Opposing Viewpoint) What if the Dalai Lama returned to Tibet as a private citizen? Some details …

January 4th, 2009 226 comments

In a recent letter, I wondered aloud if it might be possible for the Dalai Lama to retire from politics and return to Tibet as a private, nonpolitical citizen. Is it possible that the goodwill created by such a move could prove more productive in the long-run than political negotiations would?

I got to thinking about some of the details that would need to be settled in order for this to be possible. I came up with eight specific points, although the eighth is a bit of an epilogue and would not be implemented until the government decides things are going well. Read more…