Archive

Archive for the ‘history’ Category

A proper perspective on Sino-Russian relations

March 30th, 2013 6 comments

In light of President Xi’s latest visit to Russia, it would be appropriate to provide a nuanced perspective to the current state of Sino-Russian relations. It is understandably difficult for the western media to deliver this kind of nuance; this difficulty stems not only from western biases against both Russia and China that obstructs objective analysis, but also the complications inherent in bilateral relations. For the sake of brevity, I will make just two observations which is inadequately emphasized in modern-day discourse on the Sino-Russian bilateral relationship – incentives for cooperation and Russia’s true value as a “comprehensive” strategic partner. Read more…

Kissinger’s “On China” – not quite a book review

March 23rd, 2013 5 comments

Kissinger‘s On China

Instead of a proper review, this is more like a sketch of the thoughts which struck me while reading Henry Kissinger’s On China.

In the past, writers were often individuals who saw things differently. Being different helped them to highlight alternative perspectives and popular social ills. Once in a while, they turned out to be right, and even listened to; and their visions delivered impact. Nowadays, books are written for a mass market. Guided by publishing preferences, more and more writers build their positions on opinion polls and market surveys. It is therefore refreshing to read Kissinger who, at nearly 90, has neither the time nor incentive to appease popularised prejudice.
Read more…

Truth Bent, Credibility Broken – a scathing review of Ping Fu’s book & her actions

March 1st, 2013 6 comments
The following is a re-posted review (find the original on Amazon.com) of the book “Bend, not Break” by Ping Fu. For those who don’t know the context, this book is an “autobiography” detailing the horrors Ping Fu supposedly faced during the Cultural Revolution (a summary of her side of the story is on Wikipedia). When Chinese netizens started to investigate and voice skepticism about the accuracy of her stories, Ping Fu and her defenders in academia and media labeled these actions “online terrorism”. This is not surprising, given that anyone – especially someone believed to be ethnic Chinese – who supports the Chinese government and the PRC, or simply voices skepticism about western political/ideological dogmas, is immediately labeled as part of the “fifty-cent party” or a “brainwashed fool”. Well, here at Hidden Harmonies, we have some of the most infamous “brainwashed online terrorists” around, so we could hardly let this one go without giving it some proper attention. Enjoy the book review, everyone (for those who do not wish to read such a lengthy review, I’ve bolded some parts of the text to draw attention to the key issues).

Read more…

Lahaina and a little bit of Hawaiian history

February 14th, 2013 5 comments

Lahaina is a gorgeous little town in the western part of Maui. Today, it is bustling with tourists. Shops and restaurants dot the water-front main street.

As I researched into its past, I am confronted with a number of emotions. Foremost, the aloha spirit is abound.  So far, we have met travelers from the mainland U.S., Germany, China, and even Lithuania.

The aloha spirit is contagious. People readily greet each other with smiles and take time to be curious, helpful, and generally pleasant. Drivers are usually not in the rush and waves at pedestrians to cross first. Read more…

Categories: history, Opinion, Photos Tags: ,

Xian Y-20’s Maiden Flight

January 27th, 2013 1 comment

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.

http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XNTA3NTE3Njg4.html

 

CIA’s role in anti-Chinese genocide

January 23rd, 2013 9 comments

The ethnic Chinese in Indonesia has faced many decades of racism and sometimes pogroms from Indonesians envious and suspicious of the Chinese. What is lesser known is that the US and especially the CIA played a cunning, covert role in spreading the defamatory lies and colluded with the racist Islamic government of Indonesia inciting the racial violence and ethnic cleansing against them.

The ethnic Chinese population is roughly 2-4% of Indonesia’s total population but there are persistent rumors that they own >70% of the wealth. This perceived economic success (which may not even be accurate due to the systematic discrimination the Chinese have endured for centuries in the country stretching all the way to Dutch colonial rule to prevent them from attaining certain degrees of success) has caused distrust and envy among many Indonesians mirroring the antisemitism during the early part of the twentieth century in Europe.

Read more…

Another Look at the Great Leap Forward

January 17th, 2013 56 comments

The Founding of the New Republic
Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, two events are so controversial that they almost cannot be discussed rationally or void of politics. One of them is the Great Leap Forward of 1958, and the other being the Cultural Revolution of 1966. A reference to history cannot be avoided for any event, more so an event as significant as GLF. The PRC was founded in 1949 October the 1st. What most people didn’t realize is, on that day, the Communist Party of China and its military arm, the People Liberation Army controlled less than 2/3 the territory of modern China. Areas such as Chongqing, Guangdong, Guangxi, Fujian, Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Hainan, Xizang, Taiwan etc are still under the control of various Nationalist armies. In fact, Gansu and Xinjiang was only taken by the Communist in September. It would be June 1950 when all those regions except Hainan, Xizang and Taiwan were to be liberated.

Read more…

The Irrational, Racist Fear of China

January 7th, 2013 3 comments

(This article is published here with permission from the author. His bio and links are at the bottom of the article. In sharing this article, he writes, “I am particularly happy that the piece will address Chinese readers. It had already been translated to Italian and Spanish; plenty of support for China coming from Latin America.
All the best, Andre“)
[Update 20130109: In regards to the Cambodia-Vietnam-China relationship, make sure to check out reader Mulberry Leaf’s contention in the comment below.]

The Irrational, Racist Fear of China

by ANDRE VLTCHEK

Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, and Libya are in shambles, crushed by the heavy boots of Western imperialism.

But we are told to fear China.

The entire nations of Indochina were bombed back to the stone age, because Western demi-gods would not tolerate, and felt they did not have to, tolerate, what some yellow un-people in Asia were really longing for. Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos – millions of tons of bombs dropped on them from strategic B-52’s, from dive-bombers, and from jet fighters. The falling bombs rained on the pristine countryside, murdering children, women, and water buffalo – millions of people perished. No apologies, no admission of guilt, and no compensation came from the tyrant-nations. Read more…

“The Horrors of The Coolie Trade” by New York Journal of Commerce, February 22, 1860

November 26th, 2012 2 comments

In response to my prior article where I mentioned Napa Valley was destination of the first wave of laborers from China (and later became the driving force behind the Chinese Exclusion Act), reader perspectivehere reminds us there were in fact much more horrifying atrocities against the poor Chinese. perspectivehere digs up a piece of history from February 22, 1860.
Read more…

The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step…

September 25th, 2012 9 comments

I know the blog admin doesn’t want too much content on any single day, but today is special, today marks a new beginning.

By the way, to find out more, go to CDF (free registration required):

http://www.china-defense.com/smf/index.php#1

Defaming Confucius

September 25th, 2012 14 comments

 

 

Zigong inquired, “What if everyone in a village despises a person?” The Master said, “It’s not enough. It would be better if the best villagers love and the worst despise, this person.”

-Analects 13:24

There’s no one more emblematic of Chinese wisdom than the ancient Chinese sage, Confucius (Kong Zi). His legacy as a philosopher in Chinese history is unsurpassed and his influence still seen even two and half thousand years after his death. The spirit of his ideas can be felt in the words, actions and future hopes of the Chinese people despite the fact that much of the influence has been diluted during contemporary times.

Read more…

Rethinking the Freedom-Innovation Nexus

September 15th, 2012 28 comments

A lot has been discussed on this blog recently with regards to censorship, most of the discourse so far have revolved around the justice and standards of censorship. I want to take a different but related direction, and discuss yet another myth propagated by the democracy/freedom advocates – the notion that “free” societies are always more innovative than their “non-free” counterparts. To what extent is this actually true? More fundamentally, where does innovation come from, what actually stimulates innovation? How does innovation come about? I won’t pretend that I have all the answers, but here are some of my observations so far.
Read more…

The universality of human rights: a Chinese perspective

September 10th, 2012 14 comments

One of the most influential people of the twentieth century, but who is almost unknown by name, is a man named P.C. Chang (1892-1957). He (along with Charles Malik) were the two principle drafters of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, one of the most influential documents of the twentieth century.

Read more…

Does China need a new religion for the 21st century?

August 21st, 2012 31 comments

(This will be a controversial post so let me explain in detail before throwing any cyber tomatoes) Hu Jintao and many other top ranking Chinese officials have spoken about the need for cultural influence and development of Chinese culture. But Chinese culture does not have as much influence in the rest of the world today and now even among Chinese, much of their traditional culture is being replaced with outside influences. I believe that as China becomes more wealthy and politically influential some level of cultural influence will come with that as well. But I don’t think economic development alone will do the trick for seriously developing one’s own cultural influence among one’s own people and others people.

Read more…

Categories: aside, culture, General, history, Opinion, religion Tags:

“十送红军”

August 21st, 2012 2 comments

刀郎和云朵的声音太美了! 下面是他们唱的老歌: “十送红军.” 我小的时侯听过这首歌. 不知道是那一年代的. 你认识吗?长征时候的红军真正了不起.

The Tragicomedy of Errors: China, British Imperialism, and the Opium Wars

July 30th, 2012 21 comments

  Julia Lovell, in her new book The Opium War: Drugs, Dreams and the Making of China, finds something funny in the tragedy

Great Britain has many reasons to feel great about itself. Its empire was the largest in history and covered over a fifth of the world’s population. It had more Asian and African colonies than any other European power. It came, it saw, it divided, and it conquered. It raped and it reaped, gleefully slaughtered millions of people, joyfully massacred entire populations, regularly caused civil wars, flattened countless cities and towns, and destroyed whole civilizations and dynasties with pleasure. It sucked the life out of its colonies and reduced them to what we now call third-world nations. It drew and redrew boundaries and created whole new countries randomly on a whim. Most of the conflicts in the world today can be traced back to British Imperialism – the Kashmir issue and India-Pakistan rivalry, the Sino-Indian border dispute and India-China rivalry, the Tibet issue, the Israel-Palestine conflict, Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Sudan – the list goes on.

Yes – Great Britain had reason to feel greatly proud about itself. It had the largest empire in the world. It had managed to keep it’s European competitors in check. There was no known threat to its global dominion. It seemed that Great Britain was destined to rule the world.

And then it all came tumbling down. Sometime in the past century, the great Island Story crumbled to pieces, and the empire followed. Slowly but surely, the empire on which “the sun never sets” went out like a cigar puff. Today it finds itself with as much geopolitical influence as an American missile base. Once great, Great Britain is now America’s top bitch – a tart of a nation that can be ordered to suck America’s coattails whenever required. The relationship between the two countries is much like that between a dog and its master, or as they call it in public, a “special relationship“. Read more…

To the Victorian British Empire, Hong Kong was a ‘notch’

July 9th, 2012 11 comments

Every June 4th, the British press tries to indoctrinate the view that Hong Kong was a grand and benevolent design in “freedom and democracy” under threat from Mainland China. There was never such a design. As perspectivehere points out for us in the book, “Collaborative Colonial Power: The Making of the Hong Kong Chinese,” by Law Wing Sang, who teaches at Lingnan University in Hong Kong, the Victorian British Empire saw this territory very much as a ‘notch’ in a great oak. Below, he explains. Read more…

Philippines, China, UNCLOS and the South China Seas

April 17th, 2012 98 comments

Recently, we hear a growing chorus how the China – Philippines dispute in the South China Seas ought to be settled by binding arbitration under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). 1 We already have dealt with some of the political dimensions of this (see, e.g., our South China Seas tag), and I won’t rehash them here. But I do want to bring up a couple of points that seem lost in the current fray. Read more…

More on China’s territorial disputes (with Japan).

March 29th, 2012 6 comments

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.

Read more…

Categories: Announcements, history, politics Tags:

Stan Abrams of China Hearsay – A Case of Pathological Bias?

February 29th, 2012 22 comments

I usually prefer to keep my posts on general, important issues – and not nit-pick on other bloggers.  However, just as once in a while one is permitted to get drunk, I will indulge in a very short post here on Stan Abrams of China Hearsay.

A few weeks ago, when China lost the WTO Appellate Body dealt China a blow in ruling that its practices on restricting exports of certain minerals / raw materials violated WTO rules, I had written a post on how unfair the decision was.  An agreement that categorically prohibits a nation of 1.3 billion from making any sort of export restrictions to protect its citizens and their environment is unfair. An agree that does so by discrimination – taking away such basic rights from China while preserving such them for other WTO members cannot be conscionable and cannot stand the test of time. I openly sided with an op-ed in the Global Times calling out the injustice and calling for China to renegotiate the grossly unfair terms under which it acceded to the WTO.

At the time, Stan wrote a post that mocked the Global Times op-ed, in effect pontificating that China must follow strictly the letters of its accession, fairness be damned. Read more…

Human Rights in Ancient China

February 26th, 2012 33 comments

The biggest hindrance of the West and the rest of the world in understanding China is the perceived lack of human rights tradition in China. China is an old civilization and a civilization cannot continue to prosper and grow if this most fundamental issue is never addressed. The Zhou dynasty is probably the most formative in that it is during that period that the modern Chinese language, culture and core belief are formed.

Read more…

perspectivehere on the 90th anniversary of “The Shandong Problem”

February 3rd, 2012 34 comments

If not for the United States, Shandong Province (山东省), map to the left, may still be a Japanese territory today. Reader perspectivehere brought to our attention tomorrow (Feb. 4th) will be the 90th anniversary of the Washington Naval Conference of 1929 which gave back sovereignty of Shandong Province to China. It was The Treaty of Versailles marking the end of WW1 in 1919 that transferred this German “sphere of influence” territory to Japan without China’s approval.

History has many twists and turns. If not for the United States defeating Japan in WW2, the China today might not be intact. John Woo is now making a new epic film about the Flying Tigers to commemorate this important period when the two countries aided each other.

The United States also has China to thank for – for resisting and bogging down the Japanese army in China’s large land mass. Read more…

Five reasons why China will not invade Taiwan, and an analysis of Cross-strait Relations

January 24th, 2012 47 comments

‘So solidly built into our consciousness is the concept that China is conducting a rapacious and belligerent foreign policy, that whenever a dispute arises in which China is involved, she is instantly assumed to have provoked it.’

— Felix Greene, 1965.

When a superpower is engaging in full hegemonic and supercilious display, another country with slowly increasing economic clout and rising international status can raise apprehension. When countries are used to a bigger country that is settled for some years in a bullying position, someone starting to come close to that bully’s level of power, however remotely, has the potential to raise various concerns.

This rise is often wrongly construed as a zero-sum game – the newcomer challenging the bully’s position. In such a case, the existing bully, in its efforts to manipulate popular conceptions about the comparatively-unknown newcomer, will (hypocritically) spread the myth that the newcomer is, and always has been, overtly aggressive. If this myth-making and spreading is successful, even to a small extent, it can negate the effect that the newcomer might have in compensating for or balancing the bully’s hegemony and its hubris. The newcomer’s assurances about its peaceful rise will then be dismissed as deception. The focal point of the bully’s containment policy will be to encourage and manipulate various types of pawns against the newcomer. If such pawns already exist, then they will be fostered and strengthened, and in case they don’t, new ones will be created (Or as Stephen Walt terms it, “a competition for allies”).

Read more…

The 74th Anniversary of Nanjing Massacre

December 13th, 2011 224 comments

Today marks the 74th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre, where Japanese soldiers went on a rampage of rape and murder, targeting women and children alike, killing more than 300,000 Chinese during the brief few weeks when they took over Nanjing, then capital city of the nationalist government. The issue that is perhaps the most contentious between Japan and China is Japanese history text books largely having this tragedy swept under the carpet; vastly toned down without admission of guilt or completely ignored altogether. The Japanese impasse with the rest of her Asian neighbors is similarly over prevailing Japanese unrepentant attitudes towards her colonial past. Germany’s attitude and actions towards their WW2 past offer a big contrast. Read more…

Hunanese vs Hakka

October 22nd, 2011 24 comments

Does all Chinese dialect group have the same representation in politics historically? The question first appeared to me when I read Li Guangyao’s 李光耀(Lee Kuan Yew) autobiography, The Singapore Story and From Third World to First: The Singapore Story. He mentioned that Hakka is disproportionately represented in politics in Singapore and other Chinese communities. At the writing of the book, the political leader of mainland China is Deng Xiaoping 鄧小平, who is a Hakka, so is Li Denghui 李登辉 from Taiwan, Martin Lee 李柱銘 from Hong Kong and of course Lee Kuan Yew himself is a Hakka.

Read more…

Along the River During the Qingming Festival (Digital Version)

September 4th, 2011 20 comments

This might be old news to some (as the original painting was done during the Song Dynasty) but a digital version was created for the China pavilion during the Shanghai Expo 2010. After the expo it was displayed from November 9 to November 29, 2010 and is currently in Taipei from July 1 to October 4, 2011.

This has always been one of my favourite painting so I think I will share it here. The actual painting is  (24.8 by 528.7 cm) (9¾ in by 17 ft 4 in) Hope you like the digital version below:

Read more…

Categories: culture, history, technology, video Tags:

On Chinese Language Dialects and Chinese People

July 26th, 2011 101 comments

I would have to say the movement of the “Han people” is very complex. Most casual observers would think that the Mandarin version of Chinese language is the most “proper” version. In fact, it is the most modern version with the Beijing dialect heavily influenced by the Man language. Both the Minanese and Cantonese would claim their “version” as the most original Chinese. Scholars are still debating whether Minanese or Cantonese are the older form of Chinese or which is the Shang or Zhou version.

Read more…

Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It,’ Mao style

June 21st, 2011 1 comment

Below is Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” dun over heavy editing of a Mao era musical – worth a few laughs I think.


Read more…

Yin, Yang and Political System

June 19th, 2011 6 comments

By Wahaha (cross posted from anti-cnn)

If you check the definition of 阴阳 in Wikipedia, you will see the following :

“In Chinese philosophy, the concept of yin yang (simplified Chinese: 阴阳; traditional Chinese: 陰陽; pinyin: yīnyáng) is normally referred to in the West as “yin and yang” and is used to describe how polar or seemingly contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other in turn.”

And “Yin yang are complementary opposites that interact within a greater whole, as part of a dynamic system.”

Is this the way how Chinese understand 阴阳 ? I beg to differ. Read more…

Book Review: On China, By Henry Kissinger

May 30th, 2011 21 comments

Two weeks ago, Henry Kissinger’s new book “On China” went on the shelf. I have the honor of being asked recently to review the book. Henry Kissinger – preeminent American political scientist, diplomat, National Security Advisor and later concurrently Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford – requires no introduction. So I’ll go straight to the book.

In my opinion, “On China” is destined to become a best seller and an important resource on China – on the level of Jonathan Spence’s “In Search of Modern China” – for English readers. The book provides fascinating angles to so many chapters of Sino-American diplomatic history and has the character of an elder statesman telling not only a good story, but of imparting wisdom on a next generation of political leaders.

While focusing on 20th century Chinese history, the book also gave sufficient background on Chinese history to give context to current events – as well as a vision of what can be possible. Kissinger masterfully (but coolly) tells the story of China’s struggles through its centuries of humiliation, starting with the Opium War and its attempts to resist colonialism and foreign invasions. The book traces the story of the Communist rise to power, and the immediate turmoils – both domestic and international – that put the nascent state and the Chinese people immediately to the test.

One of my favorite aspects about the book is the way it tells – with wit, insight and cogency – the hair-triggering geopolitical games the Soviet Union, U.S., and China played. Read more…