Archive

Archive for the ‘human rights’ Category

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…

On the Importance of Understanding Chinese Thoughts using Chinese Terminologies

February 17th, 2013 25 comments

Recently, Zack brought to our attention a great article at Asia Times by Thorsten Pattberg, who is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies at Peking University. Pattberg dedicated his life to study Chinese philosophy, political thoughts, and culture in their original meanings. He concludes:

Western people are curious like all the people of the world. If someone gave them Chinese taxonomies, they would look them up, familiarize with them, and internalize them. They would stop calling a junzi a (British) “gentleman”, or a (German) “Edler”; instead they would call a junzi just this: a “junzi”.

To put “culture” back in a more economic perspective: Nations should compete for their terminologies like they compete for everything else.

I was too quick to disagree with the need for China to explicitly compete for her culture and for preserving her ideas in her own taxonomies, assuming a richer China will somehow automatically cause the problem to correct itself.  So, I was really happy today seeing perspectivehere chiming in on this topic and later on Allen giving a good gist on what this means for him. I recommend Pattberg’s article linked above in its entirety and of course  perspectivehere’s and Allen’s remarks below.
Read more…

CIA’s role in anti-Chinese genocide

January 23rd, 2013 10 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…

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…

My impressions of China so far

November 24th, 2012 50 comments

I have now been living in China for almost 4 month and I’d like to write a little about my impressions so far from personal experience and in talking to the people. As you all know by now, my views on things like the rule of law, human rights and democracy may be quite different from some of yours (see the posts and comments here, here, here, here, here and here for example).

Read more…

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…

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…

Riots in Assam

August 16th, 2012 19 comments

There has been terrible violence in India’s Assam region recently and the violence has spread to other parts of India.  Since this is a blog on China, not India, I am not going to dig too much into the cause or even meaning of the riots.  But I do want to point out the relatively “favorable” coverage India is getting.

In almost all reports I see, India is cast as the force of stability (and humanity), with the forces of conniving politicians and ethnic-based politics the root of instability.  By comparison, when ethnic violence occurs in China, the opposite story is told, with ethnic-based politics held in high regard (under the guise of “human rights”) and any efforts to stabilize the situation seen as somehow oppressive and barbaric.

You see this fairly uniformly across Western media in all Western countries, including even self-professed “independent” news sources such as the global post.  Here is a recent article global post had on Tibetan self immolations – which place the blame squarely on China.  The Tibetans who burned themselves – and by extension the Tibetans who rioted in 2008 – were seen as oppressed people who had a right to riot, to fight back and were cheered on for their presumptive courage. There was never a reference to the official Chinese perspective on what’s really going on. Read more…

Symbolic victory: Bush & Co guilty of war crimes

May 15th, 2012 5 comments

A court In Kuala Lumpur has found Bush and many of his administration and his advisers, tried in absentia, guilty of war crimes. Of course, that is not surprising considering that the evidence is overwhelmingly against them. Many of Obama’s administration including the commander in chief are almost certainly just as guilty. This represents a symbolic victory because currently international law lacks a lot of enforcement. But symbolic victories do count in law because they set important precedents.  As the prosecutor explained, he was hopeful that other countries may follow suite in precedent setting fashion and make these war criminals impossible to travel to other countries without arrest and imprisonment.

But what struck me is that the lead prosecutor (an American) said that his team had tried to prosecute Bush and Co in many Western countries including Spain, Canada and Germany but were “thwarted” by their governments.

Read more…

Categories: human rights, Opinion, politics Tags:

Chen Guangcheng escapes, waging PR campaign with Western press

April 28th, 2012 328 comments

(Update April 29, 2012: with response to Kai’s comment below. Update May 1, 2012: highlighting analysis done by reader perspectivehere in the comments section. May 5, 2012: Chen had dealings with the NED since 2004. See details below.)
From the Chinese perspective, the West’s willingness to go so far as to bestow the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize to a convicted criminal, Liu Xiaobo, really goes to show the level of religiousity in their pursuit of “democracy” and “human rights” against the Chinese government. China in recent years has started to use the phrase “judicial sovereignty” to more categorically deny Westerners attempt at meddling in China’s internal affairs. It is with such perspective I think most appropriate in understanding the likely outcome for recently escaped from house-arrest Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚). Read more…

Disturbing trend of suicides in China

April 22nd, 2012 27 comments

China’s development has seen a dramatic rise in quality of life for many of its people as many people are well aware. But despite this improvement in quality of life, modern China also has some very high suicide rates. According to 2010 figures supplied by the WHO, China is ranked 9th in the world in suicide rates behind Latvia and ahead of Slovenia.

What accounts for this high rate and what are some things the government or others do to reduce this trend?

Read more…

“Iraqi boy in an orphanage drew his mother and slept in her arms”

April 22nd, 2012 13 comments

From imgur.  This image almost brought tears to my eyes.  I am so disappointed in the lack of humanity in the Western press. The plight of Iraqi children not told.  So much for human rights bullshitery. [Update April 22, 2012: As a reader pointed out below in the comment section, this image seems to be taken from a public service announcement; not a genuine story. However, nobody is denying the monstrosity that took place in Iraq in the last couple of decades, and perhaps that blame lays not only at the Western media but squarely too at the American public as melektaus rightfully put it.]

"Iraqi boy in an orphanage drew his mother and slept in her arms" (imgur.com)

The Retraction of Mike Daisey’s one-man show “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” from ‘This American Life’

March 21st, 2012 17 comments

[Editor: this piece was co-written by Charles Liu and Allen]

To the credit of “This American Life” – a popular program on Public Radio International –  its producers over the weekend officially retracted its January airing of a version of Mike Daisy’s popular monologue titled “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” in which Daisy described first-hand terrible work conditions at Foxconn, a key supplier to Apple’s iPad and iPhones. There were simply too much distortion and fabrications of facts to ignore.

Both Allen and I actually heard the show in January.  It made us sad and angry at the time – not because we knew something was wrong – but because we got the sense that the story was too sensationalized.  Mike Daisy did know how to tell a story, but much of it sounded hollow to us.  It was too dramatized. It was so gloomy – so dark – so unapologetically one-sided. Read more…

Should Chinese be Allowed to Vote on the Upcoming US Presidential Election?

March 15th, 2012 34 comments

Firstly, this author is not questioning whether US citizens of Chinese descents should be allowed to vote. Successive US administration has repeatedly chided the People’s Republic of China for violation of human rights. The lack of “direct” leadership election is cited as one violation. So should the US government put pressure on the Communist Party of China by allowing Chinese citizens to vote on the coming US presidential election? Read more…

Categories: human rights, Opinion, politics Tags:

Wen Jiabao Urges Political Reform and Praises Internet Criticism of Government

March 14th, 2012 6 comments

The Fifth Session of the 11th National People’s Congress (NPC) has just ended.  Here are two stories about Wen that I found interesting.  I have no personal insights beyond what is reported, but I thought it is helpful to bring attention to such stories to balance the distorted view in the West that the Chinese government somehow has in its DNA a fear of criticisms and a distrust of people and reforms. 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…

Refilling the Liberal vacuum

February 10th, 2012 4 comments

In a previous post I talked about the Liberal tradition (that is, the explicit and formal human rights framework, not to be confused with how people often use the term to refer to a political or economic “left” or being “progressive”) as being a byproduct of religious, political and other kinds of oppression in the west. I also talked about the importance of instituting rule of law and rights protection for China in the coming years in the comments section.

However, I always have had serious reservations about the Liberal model on philosophical grounds.

Read more…

Human Rights Revisted

January 21st, 2012 66 comments

This blog will be a continuation of the interesting dialogue started by Oli on human rights and China. I agree with Oli that Chinese culture does have considerable resources to take into account concerns raised by many human rights discourse. The value of human rights is universal and ancient. Many such values, though implicitly already there in Chinese culture, may be accounted within a modern Chinese cultural framework. Read more…

Categories: human rights, Philosophy Tags:

Collective Defamation

October 17th, 2011 183 comments

What is the worst thing you could say or write about someone? Maybe alleging that they are a murderer. Perhaps it is labeling them a child molester. Both these accusations, when used without factual merit, constitute serious slander or libel. But what is the worst thing you could say about a group of people, a nation or ethnic group?

During the Middle Ages in Europe, Blood Libel was used to devastating effect towards harming and justifying the persecution of Jews.

Read more…

Chinese scholars propose human rights commission

September 22nd, 2011 41 comments

A panel of experts from China University of Political Science and Law have proposed establishing an independent human rights commission in a recent forum attended by both Chinese and foreign human rights experts. (China Daily has more details.) If this proposal becomes enshrined in China’s constitution, that’d be a really interesting development. Below are couple of key passages from the China Daily report: Read more…

Categories: human rights, News, Opinion Tags:

China’s New Health-Care Push

August 5th, 2011 6 comments

The economic reform of the 1980s brought many benefits but  also meant that the health care sector was changed from the previous “universal coverage” to paid only service. This means that many of the poorer people  was unable to afford health care. It is one of the biggest source of grief for  the society. One component of affordable health care is the price of the  medicine. By allowing the various provinces to experiment with various system,  it seems the central government has decided to go with this  system. There are still many reforms ahead be it in education, health care  or governance but at least this is what I consider a big step ahead.

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…

2008 “Olympic Debate” over Tibet on American Bar Association China Law Committee

May 24th, 2011 82 comments

My 2008 public debate with a US trained Tibetan Lawyer (with some other folks interjecting), archived on ABA China Law Committee Listserver:

This began over the ABA China Law Committee’s email listserver in 2008 around the time of the Tibet riots.  Several US attorneys started asking questions about Tibet and the riot.  The Tibetan-American lawyer began with his definition of “sovereignty” as applied to Tibet, and I responded.  And it sparked off a rather heated debate (I personally remained very civil, some of the middle parts were not my statements, but rather from a few other Chinese and American commentators/lawyers).

Click here for a pdf summary from the ABA Archive. 
Read more…

What says China’s criminal procedure law about Ai Weiwei? A Chinese says “Ideological bias clouds Western views”

May 24th, 2011 36 comments

Ai Weiwei appeared in Western headlines again after Xinhua reported Beijing police saying he was under ‘house surveillance’ and under investigation for tax evasion. (I should mention that while searching for materials for this post, I was struck by the lack of search results on Google on ‘Ai Weiwei’ from China. Why? I would venture to say, therein lies the true essence of Google’s struggles in China in search; but we have already made this argument in the past.)

Anyways, the Western media all seems to be colluding in characterizing the ‘house surveillance’ as simply Ai Weiwei went ‘missing,’ in the sense that the Chinese government is a irrational kidnapping criminal. By the way, the Chinese people have picked up on this behavior of the West (in Chinese here). Why spare no effort in understanding Chinese law and explain legal procedures behind this detention? In this post, I’d like to share key passages from China’s Criminal Procedure Law governing this ‘house surveillance’ as well an Op-Ed from China Daily writer, Mo Nong, called, “Ideological bias clouds Western views.” Read more…

Imagine your obnoxious neighbor giving you an “F” grade for parenting

April 19th, 2011 12 comments

Imagine your obnoxious neighbor giving you an “F” grade for parenting. He is the richest and has the neighborhood’s gangsters loyal to him. What do you do? He has even molested some children in your neighborhood.

There is a reason why the annual “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices” by the United States is formulated by the Department of State. It is a foreign policy instrument. If the U.S. truly cares about human rights, the country would be providing basic drugs to the poorest nations and irradicate easily curable diseases around the globe. It would be giving away food. It would not be killing innocent Iraqi and Afghani children.
Read more…

龙信明 Blog: “Ai Weiwei – ‘China’s Conscience’ And Another Dissident Bites the Dust”

April 10th, 2011 78 comments

The following article is sourced from the 龙信明 Blog.

Ai Weiwei – “China’s Conscience”
And Another Dissident Bites the Dust

The Western media are once again having a field day about the detention of yet another “dissident”, this time the artist Ai Weiwei.
Read more…

Dalai Lama Retires…

March 22nd, 2011 60 comments

There is a lot going on in the world.  A natural disaster in Japan. Ravages of war from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestinian territories, to now Libya. The world is still in a recession. There is global warming. And population is still set to reach 9 billion by 2045.

Still I think there is still time for some comic relief. Obama made his NCAA picks last week.  And the Dalai Lama recently announced (as brought up recently in the Open Thread) that he is retiring from politics.

Dalai Lama – retiring from politics?

Yes! Read more…

China’s determined and long march towards rule of law

February 25th, 2011 5 comments

With Tunisia and Egypt in revolution, the Western media seem to be hypnotized with this notion that the only way Chinese society can improve is the citizens themselves fermenting a ‘jasmine revolution’ and overthrow the government. Note that they don’t actually say it, but their narratives are frequently with this a presumption. (See my prior post.) We retard our views if we limit ourselves to thinking that for weaker nations, revolution is the panacea to everything. For China, the key is always reforms from within, and I want to share about China’s recent freedom of information act. These reforms are in fact being done in earnest and some times with foreigner input.

In 2007, China’s State Council issued the “Regulations of the People’s Republic of China on Open Government Information” (中华人民共和国政府信息公开条例) which went into law in May 2008. They required government departments to disclose a very wide range of information. The purpose is to make the government more transparent and to make Chinese society one of rule of law. The Yale Law School’s China Law Center has a good collection of resources inside and outside China on how those regulations are being put into practice (in English). Peking University’s Center for Public Participation Studies and Supports (北京大学公众参与研究与支持中心) can be reached here in Chinese with a broader view of what is happening in China. The Chinese in fact works with Western NGO’s too, including the Ford Foundation.
Read more…