This blog was started to counter Western Media Bias. But overtime, I realized it’s not about “bias” – but also misinformation – or disinformation. Getting to the bottom of it requires not only facts but also attacking the most cherished ideologies of the West.
At times we succeeded, but for the most part, I think we fell short – way short.
Now – we have found an unlikely ally in the U.S. President. With “fake news” “mainstream” reporting now much in the public eyes, I see finally some Americans – even some parts of the U.S. media – at least alternative voices such as infowars.com, counterpunch, Norm Chomsky, “truth in media,” naturalnews, and Lew Rockwell – waking up.
Sometimes it is helpful for the Hidden Harmonies audience to remember that China is not alone in being demonized by the mainstream western (primarily US) media. Any country that doesn’t “fit” neatly into the US “liberal-democratic” ideological dogma will naturally be painted as some kind of morally degenerate rogue state out to undermine “good” and “normal” countries. In fact, recently, no country is more demonized than Russia (not even the PRC).
That said, one of the major problems I see is that while we may recognize that we’re not alone, due to potential language/cultural barriers, lack of awareness, our Sino-centric mindset/attention span, and a host of other possible reasons, we often do not truly understand the perspectives of others (e.g. Russians) who are demonized. This is especially the case if our primary source of information about these other countries is the western media. I hope the contributors at Hidden Harmonies can begin to fix this problem, and I’ve taken a small step to start.Continue reading Q&A with a Russian friend (see download links or attached PDF)→
I am playing with updating our themes. Our old theme is no longer supported, has not been updated in over three years, has become not that search friendly … and does not display well on mobile devices (small screens). Give me a week or so to toy with different things. If anyone has a wordpress theme they like, please suggest to me below or by private email. Thanks!
Recently, the Western media has been ablaze with Vietnam’s confrontation with China in the S. China Sea over an oil rig. I thought it’s a good time for me to reference two documents that presents China’s side of the story.
Vietnam says it has evidence to prove its claim in South China Sea but is ignoring own historical documents that vindicate China’s position
Vietnam has been using China-Vietnam clashes in the South China Sea, and distorting facts, fanning passions and playing up the “China threat” theory, to vilify China. Ignoring the overall development of Beijing-Hanoi relationship, Vietnam is pretending to be a “victim” in the South China Sea dispute, saying it is prepared to seek international arbitration on the issue.
Vietnamese leaders have said that they have enough historical evidence to justify Vietnam’s sovereignty over “Huangsha” and “Changsha” islands, claiming that Vietnam has been the “master” of the two islands since the 17th century. It seems like they have lifted their remarks straight out of a white paper “Truth of China-Vietnam Relationship over 30 Years”, issued by the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry in 1979 when bilateral ties were not normal. Worse, almost all the arguments in that 1979 document were copied from a “white paper” issued by the Saigon-based puppet South Vietnam regime (or the Republic of Vietnam) in February 1974.
Now the Vietnamese leaders, using the so-called historical documents, are trying to claim that Vietnam’s “Huangsha” and “Changsha” islands are actually China’s Xisha Islands and Nansha Islands. The fact is that, the islands recorded in Vietnamese documents refer to some other islands surrounding Vietnam instead of the Xisha and Nansha islands. Continue reading China’s Take on Vietnam’s Dispute with China in the S. China Sea→
I am retracting this post. It think it’s premature. I think even if I stop blogging, the least I can do is to maintain the blog and platform. That won’t take too much time.
As for why I wrote this post, it’s really not about blogging, but my (childish?) desire to do things that matter more. But as I read Black Phoenix comments in this post and colin’s comment here, I think I really ought to accept the fact that that most people work in obscurity.
Since I am not doing this for money … or fame, I should continue to blog as long as I feel what I write has some enlightening effect.
Of course, I also want to tell people here that I don’t do this for a living, so when I am silent, please don’t think it’s my flaw. I am just juggling like everyone all the priorities of life.
One of the great things about being a Chinese in the “modern era” is that in this international age where we all seem to start celebrating the new years starting as early as Thanksgivings … then “Christmas,” then the (solar) “New Year,” we always find ourselves crescendoing to celebrate the lunar New Year. It is no different this year.
So – Happy New Year Everyone and Welcome to the Year of the Horse!
Horses traditionally are known to be hardworking and independent. They are very intelligent and ambitious. They do not quit and always strive to succeed. They are strong but also kind and gentle.
May your new year be prosperous, healthy, and meaningful. Cheers!
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.
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.
Despite all the flaws of the US aviation industry (as illustrated by the 787 post below), the US and the West remains many years ahead of China in just about every part of the aviation value chain. However, this gap just got smaller yesterday with the maiden flight of the Y-20, a Chinese counterpart to the Russian Il-76 and the US C-17. Upon entering service, the Y-20 and variations thereof will have three primary civil and military applications: long-range heavy airlift, mid-air refueling, and airborne early warning & control.
Bravo to the engineers, scientists, management, and support staff of the Xian Aircraft Company.
Recently, Hidden Harmonies has been plagued by trolls impersonating other readers. For example, a “Raj” has been impersonating a “Cathy Graham,” a “denk,” a “Schmidt,” a “Wayne.” Trolls like that use a VPN service to grab new IP addresses for each new comment. This way, IP bans are ineffective. Moving forward, we are requiring all readers to first log in before commenting is allowed. This way, we can revoke a troll’s account, making their spams much more difficult to get through. Continue reading Announcement: Login required before commenting allowed→
I’d like to give people a heads up on the accessible work from two outstanding legal scholars specializing in international maritime law and especially China’s territorial disputes. Many may already know Professor Jerome Cohen who has down excellent work not on developing the rule of law within China’s legal system but in teaching law to Chinese law students. His academic career spans over 60 years. Jon M. Van Dyke is also a renowned legal scholar on maritime law at the University of Hawaii’s William S. Richardson School of Law. Authors have argued that China should take the case to the international courts for they have better evidential grounds to the made for their side.
Slate/Intelligence Squared appears to be planning an interesting live debate on March 13 – with Orville Schell and Peter Schiff arguing for the motion in the title and Ian Bremmer and Minxin Pei against.
We are excited to officially launch the 2012 Hidden Harmonies Essay Contest. In doing this, we hope to bring more awareness to the ‘Chinese’ perspective. The best 3 essays will be awarded prizes with an iPad 2ipad 3 going to the top essay. This year’s topic will answer the following question:
Every society has a set of values around which it builds its culture. The West likes to think its most important value is freedom. What do think are the most important Chinese values, and how do you think they might be better than those in the West?
We are here to offer a balance that is sorely lacking in the mainstream Western press about all things ‘China’ and ‘Chinese.’ Some of you might have wondered how this endeavor is fairing as we approach our second year. Allen and I are grateful of the authors and those of you who come here to comment. This short post is a ‘thank you’ and an example of the real impact this is having in getting more balance out there. Continue reading Hidden Harmonies bloggers and readers make a difference→
We are about to pass the 100k ‘visitors’ (metric is not exact science, and I actually suspect it should be ‘visits’) mark soon, though the map doesn’t count our RSS readers traffic.
(We are also moving onto a bigger server, so please bear with the recent sluggishness for just a little while longer. There are 950+ articles and 36k+ comments on the blog.)
Allen and I started Hidden Harmonies back in February 2010, and in a way, out of wanting to continue a legacy started by Buxi. Our About page has more details. With this occasion, I would like to repeat what Buxi said in this May 2008 self introduction (yes, Hidden Harmonies has most of the posts all the way back): Continue reading Some thoughts at 100k→
I highly recommend heading over to the Shanghai Scrap blog where American writer Adam Minter interviews his friend, Mara Hvistendahl, who has just published the book, “Unnatural Selection: Missing Girls, Abortion, and the Perversion of Choice.” To give you an idea of the conversation, I have excerpted a question below. You might want the book too.
Scrap: Focusing on China – it’s almost accepted gospel, for those not familiar with the issue, that infanticide, the one-child policy, and abandonment account for the country’s skewed sex ratio, and that abortion is only part of the mix. Yet you not only object to that formulation, you seem to imply that it’s both condescending and a gross distortion that obscures the real issues. Could you give a sense of how important each of those facts is, in fact, to China’s gender issues, and why they are only a small part of the overall picture?
Few weeks ago, a China Daily reporter contacted this blog for leads on foreigners working with China in Sichuan’s reconstruction. As you know, tomorrow is the three year anniversary of the May 12, 2008 earthquake; I have been looking for reports in the last few days on this topic.
The story that brought tears to my eyes was about a mother saving the life of her infant (“地震中的伟大母亲”). When rescuers arrived at a collapsed home, they found a woman in a kneeling position and slouching over. They found her posture curious and after examining her body, found in her lap a baby still alive. Wrapped with the baby is a phone, and on the screen is a typed message, “dear beloved baby, if you are able to survive, you must remember I love you.” In the video below, you will see the Chinese news anchor breaking down in reporting this story.
Climate change is real, and as Laura Tam, the lead author of the just published San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR) Report, “Climate change hits home” (PDF), says, it is too late to prevent it entirely, but local communities can still do their part. Her report recommends 30 strategies to mitigate.
“Although we must do everything in our power to slow down climate change, it is too late to prevent it entirely. All levels of government, and especially local governments, must begin preparing for and building resilience to the effects of climate change, an area of planning known as climate change adaptation. Continue reading A call in joining hands to fight climate change→
In my recent trip to China, the one thing that I really disliked was the fact that so many people smoked. Not only that, there was a general disregard for non-smokers who do not wish to be second-hand smokers. While on airplanes, buses, and some other places, people observed non-smoking signs well. In restaurants and other places, adults puffed away unhindered, even while their children sat right next to them. We asked our relatives about the May 1 smoking ban. Their response was, “let’s see.” It was very disappointing. I thought this Xinhua article captured nicely how the Chinese view the new regulation. The 1.2 million deaths a year due to smoking is atrocious and should be screaming at everyone in China! The public is still ignorant of the hazards of smoking. This is an area where the government could clearly do more and is not.
A big part of the visit will be Dalai Lama’s participating in the symposium “Buddhism and Neuroscience: A Discussion on Attention, Mental Flexibility and Compassion,” with faculty and staff from UCLA’s Semel Institute.
Both UCLA and Harvard are my alma mater, and I have the highest respect for both. But it is one thing for UCLA or Harvard to sponsor a controversial figure like the Dalai Lama, but quite another to sponsor controversial figures in the name of science. Thus, if UCLA or Harvard were to sponsor Osma bin Laden – or even go back in time to sponsor Hitler, I’d be fine. It’s part of the process of pushing the boundary, if you will. But doing this dubiously in the name of science – this shocks my conscience.
Why cannot UCLA have picked Joe Shmoe, my neighbor, as the face of the symposium? Do not the characteristics of attention, mental flexibility and compassion not exist in all of us? Why does it have to be the Dalai Lama and why with such fanfare? Is this symposium about science or politics?
This symposium has gotten me thinking: is UCLA still a venerable institution of education and science, or has religion, politics, and cult personality bankrupted it? Should I be ashamed to be a UCLA Bruin? Is it time for me to sever all my financial ties with the institution, diverting my annual contributions to better causes elsewhere?
As many of you already know, the New York Times is now requiring people to “pay” for their content. Actually, it’s a little more complicated then that. While NYT wants to realize additional revenues for their content, they also don’t want to chase away too many people and have the effect of reducing advertising revenue. The wall is thus “leaky” by design. Continue reading The New York Times Paywall→
As the year is coming to a close, we want to take this opportunity to recap and to tell you interesting information about our Hidden Harmonies China blog.
Allen and I launched this blog on February 14, 2010, coinciding with the lunar new year of the tiger. We felt most of the English language “China” blogs out there offered basically the same narrative as the Western media, and it was time we offered one purely of Chinese perspectives.
During the first month of this blog, we were shy of 1,000 page views. December 2010 is our highest yet, approaching 15,000. Our RSS feed subscribers are steadily growing in number as well. We are still relatively small, and it is possible we grow 10x in traffic in 2011. We are also happy with the fact that the second largest base of readers come from inside China.
There is no gift better than the gift of education. As 2010 is soon coming to a close, some of you may be considering where to make donations. My favorite charity is the China Youth Development Foundation’s Project Hope (希望工程). In terms of scale and impact, it is one of the top charities in the world. In recognition for how critical Project Hope is to alleviating poverty in China and to provide equal opportunities to all, Deng Xiaoping wrote the calligraphy, “希望工程,” which became part of the logo for the organization.
Few days ago, I was talking to a friend over lunch, and the topic of modern hero came up. We limited ourselves to identifying three who are alive today. Jackie Chan (成龙) made my short list. Of course, he requires no introduction. In terms of worldwide popularity, I’d put him in the same league as people like Michael Jackson; very few stars can match.
The 2010 World Expo will be starting in Shanghai on May 1, 2010 and last through October 31, 2010. The Boston Globe has a collection of amazing pictures of the preparation as well as footage of the actual venue itself. The U.S. has spent about $60 million in the construction of its 60,000 square foot pavilion. This was funded largely by U.S. corporations at the urge of Hilary Clinton. In all, according to the Boston Globe, $56billion would be spent in Shanghai on behalf of this event (more than the 2008 Beijing Olympics). Ok, that was actually misleading, because bulk of the money went into infrastructure spending to improve the city. This year, the theme is “Better City, Better Life.” Below is a promotional video showing off Shanghai by the organizers (with world famous pianist, Lang Lang):