Category Archives: Letters

Dalai Lama at UCLA


I spent over nine-years at UCLA and am (no surprise here) an avid alum supporter of the institution. Recently, I got wind that the Dalai Lama will be at UCLA next week.

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?

Yan and Sautman: “Do supporters of Nobel winner Liu Xiaobo really know what he stands for?”

Do supporters of Nobel winner Liu Xiaobo really know what he stands for?

Barry Sautman
Associate Professor
Division of Social Science
Hong Kong University of Science Technology

Yan Hairong
Anthropologist
Department of Applied Social Sciences
Hong Kong Polytechnic University

In recent weeks, Nobel prizewinner Liu Xiaobo’s politics have been reduced to a story of a heroic individual who upholds human rights and democracy. His views are largely omitted to avoid a discussion about them, resulting in a one-sided debate. Within three weeks, in Hong Kong, for example, more than 500 articles were published about Liu, of which only 10 were critical of the man or peace prize.

In China, before the award, most people neither knew nor cared about Liu, while, according to Andrew Jacobs, writing in the International Herald Tribune, an “official survey of university students taken since the prize was awarded found that 85% said they knew nothing about Mr Liu and Charter ’08.” A Norwegian Sinologist has elicited comments from Chinese people and indicated that younger Chinese still do not care about Liu. Older Chinese intellectuals are interested in discussing the award, but many do not think Liu is an appropriate recipient. Continue reading Yan and Sautman: “Do supporters of Nobel winner Liu Xiaobo really know what he stands for?”

“Liu Xiaobo Deserves an Ig Nobel Peace Prize” – the latest reaction to buzz the West

“Liu Xiaobo Deserves an Ig Nobel Peace Prize” is a recent reaction from Barry Sautman (a political scientist and lawyer at Hong Kong University of Science & Technology) and Yan Hairong (an anthropologist at Hong Kong Polytechnic University) on the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo. Roland Song’s ESWN (東南西北) has also brought this to his readers attention. No doubt, this controversy is a huge stir in the West. Here is a copy of it forwarded to this mailing list by a David Thorstad with his short introduction:

Those who gave the Nobel Peace Price to a Chinese dissident explain that peace and human rights are inseparable. Yet the country that proclaims the loudest its attachment to human rights (the United States) is also the one that has the most soldiers in other countries and wages the most wars.
David

Continue reading “Liu Xiaobo Deserves an Ig Nobel Peace Prize” – the latest reaction to buzz the West

Open Letter to President Obama from Chinese netizen, LTML

Following is an open letter posted on the popular Chinese BBS forum, bbs.huanqiu.com,  by a member named “LTML.”  The English version of it follows the Chinese in this post.  It is addressed to U.S. President Obama on his decision to sell weapons to Taiwan.

President Obama has repeatedly stressed that he wants to reach the people of China. Well, based on what we’ve read in some of China’s BBS’s, we believe the sentiment expressed by LTML is widely and deeply held inside China.

We urge President Obama or his administration to take this view seriously, and to respond and change course.  Sovereignty is amongst the highest of core interests of China. There is a huge gap between the Chinese and the U.S. perspective regarding the extent of Chinese sovereignty.  Closing this dangerous gap will be better for the two countries and will lead to a more peaceful, stable world.

The following letter has circulated in Chinese blog-sphere for a while.  A recent submission of a copy by a reader to Fool’s Mountain, our sister blog, and a call in the Chinese blog-sphere for people to help spread the word has compelled us to publishing it here.

Continue reading Open Letter to President Obama from Chinese netizen, LTML

(Letter) Translation: China Is The Most Targeted Country By Hackers

According to China’s network emergency response team, CNCERT, China is the most hacked nation in the world, and majority of the attack originate from United States.

China Is The Most Targeted Country By Hackers

[168 IT Safety] According to news sources, National Computer Network Emergency Response Team (CNCERT) center deputy directory Zhou Yonglin, on 1/22, CNCERT has not received “any concrete information regarding the incident from Google.” Continue reading (Letter) Translation: China Is The Most Targeted Country By Hackers

(Letter from John Morrison) China?

Hello to Fool’s Mountain:Blogging for China. I have been watching the furor over the global economy for the past 8 months as a past time, being unemployed union carpenter since thanksgiving of ’08. Much has been made of the “cause of this global crisis’ mostly revolving around mindspeak from the economic community on Wallstreet. Television reports assure us daily that everything will soon be corrected and America will continue to lead the world down the primrose lane towards happy ever after, or something akin to this.

Continue reading (Letter from John Morrison) China?

(Letter from may) Translation: Letter from Xinjiang – Reflections on the Xinjiang Problem

The letter was written to Mr. Ruan Yunfei 冉云飞, a well-known Chinese writer and blogger, by someone from a very small minority group in Xinjiang after the Urumqi Incident. It provides a unique perspective into the ethnic relations in the region. It is unique because the author is neither Han nor Uighur and the voice from smaller minority groups in Xinjiang is seldom heard. The author expresses her views with extraordinary candidacy and courage.

I thank Mr. Ran for helping me contact the author. I am very grateful to the author who gave me permission to translate the letter and publish it on the Fool’s Mountain. She also worked with me patiently in the past few days to clarify many points in the letter. Our communication is reflected in the translation and the notes at the end of the letter.

The author wants the readers to know that the information she provided in her letter about the policies and conditions of ethnic minority eduction reflects her experience in a particular university and at a particular time (early 2000) in Xinjiang. The author does not claim to know situations in every universities in Xinjiang or in the whole country. Readers should be careful when making generalizations. She also said there might be some changes in the policies and conditions of ethnic minority eduction in recent years that she is not aware of.

The original letter is here.

Letter from Xinjiang – Reflections on the Xinjiang Issue
Continue reading (Letter from may) Translation: Letter from Xinjiang – Reflections on the Xinjiang Problem

Addition To My "Follow-On Article (2)"

*** ( NOTE : This is an addition to the 2nd “follow-on” article I wrote recently. I would highly recommend you read that article first before starting this one if you haven’t already. The purpose of this article is to answer a couple of questions raised by some readers. ) *** ( click here to read that follow-on article )
Continue reading Addition To My "Follow-On Article (2)"

(Letter from TonyP4) Fatherly advice: Eight success principles for being an official

It is often said that to be successful in the Chinese officialdom, you have to acquire a thick face, and a black heart (厚黑, there is an English book if you want to learn more about 厚黑学) .

Nine years ago, the director of Jiangsu Provincial Department of Construction, Xu Qiyao (徐其耀), was arrested  for taking bribes of over 20 million yuan. He also distinguished  himself among other corrupted officials by having extramarital affairs with 146 women,  including a mother and her daughter. Recently, a letter to his son, allegedly found in his diary during the investigation, is circulating on the internet.  In that letter, he demonstrated his theoretic superiority in the application of “thick face, black heart.”

Here is a translation for your enlightenment.

Continue reading (Letter from TonyP4) Fatherly advice: Eight success principles for being an official

Green Dam-Youth Escort

China Internet

It seems the western media and Chinese blogosphere agree on one thing; Green Dam is not winning any popularity contests. Today, the Chinese government backed down on the mandatory usage of the software, though it will still come either pre-loaded or be included on a compact disc with all PCs sold on the  mainland from July 1st.

There are several problems associated with this software, each one an interesting topic in itself. I’d like to run down the issues associated with its release, one by one.

1) Why the sudden announcement of this invasive software with virtually no implementation time given to the manufacturers?
Continue reading Green Dam-Youth Escort

(Letter from Lime) No Such Thing as China

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).
Continue reading (Letter from Lime) No Such Thing as China

China in the Year 2020: Three Political Scenarios

In our Dalai Lama Warns of Looming Violence thread, Wukailong linked to this essay covering three political scenarios that China might face in the year 2020. The author, Cheng Li is Senior Fellow at the John L. Thornton China Center of the Brookings Institution and William R. Kenan Professor of Government at Hamilton College. His summary is as follows:

Continue reading China in the Year 2020: Three Political Scenarios

(Letter) Members of Chen’s Immediate Family Plead Guilty To Money Laundering Charges

The money laundering saga of self-proclaimed son-of-Taiwan Chen Shuibian continues.

On Wednesday, Chen Shuibian’s son Chen Chih-chung and daughter-in-law Huang Jui-ching both pleaded guilty to money laundering charges in exchange for leniency.

According to China Times, the main terms of the plead bargain includes: Continue reading (Letter) Members of Chen’s Immediate Family Plead Guilty To Money Laundering Charges

Let's Talk some Cross-Strait Politics

It’s been almost four months since Ma Ying-jeou has been sworn into office in Taiwan.  After the first few weeks of euphoria, there hasn’t been that much published about Taiwan in English sources – partly because of the Olympics, and partly because not much concrete has happened. Continue reading Let's Talk some Cross-Strait Politics

The Next U.S. Administration and the Future of US-China Relationship

Several bloggers here have asked that we start a discussion regarding which of the U.S. presidential candidates might be better for China – or at least, better for a solid U.S.-China relationship.  Continue reading The Next U.S. Administration and the Future of US-China Relationship

(Letter from Otto Kerner, Opposing Viewpoint) Tibet: A Way Forward?

In the comments to an earlier post related to Tibet, I found it striking that, although by different routes, bianxiangbianqiao and wuming and I have reached roughly the same conclusion, viz that there’s no logical reason why Tibet should remain part of China, but, at the same time, it is completely impossible for China to let it become independent, since that would invariably be seen as China giving up 19% of its land area (or even 13%, which is what the TAR is). Particularly so since, as bxbq points out, the boundaries of “Tibet” are quite fuzzy. I could draw a border that I think would be a fair delimitation of “where Tibetans traditionally predominated and still do”, but obviously there would be a lot of people who would disagree with any given attempt. Continue reading (Letter from Otto Kerner, Opposing Viewpoint) Tibet: A Way Forward?

Understanding Democracy

For all the talk about democracy leading up to the Olympics, perhaps it is time – in the wake of the Olympics – to take a step back and ponder about what democracy really is.

An interesting article appeared in the New Yorker earlier this month about the process of politics. Digging under the hood of democratic politics, it tries to explore two strains of forces that in real life can be di-opposed: rough and tumble democracy v. good governance and social policy.

Continue reading Understanding Democracy

(Letter) Chinese gymnasts age controversy

Last night after the women’s gymnastics team final, NBC announcer Bella Caroli commented that the Chinese team cheated with underage athletes, and their passports were doctored by the Chinese government.

After some digging, it seems the age allegation had surfaced some time ago, but was quelled after passports and birth certificates where produced to the satisfaction of the gymnasts federation in charge.

Have not seen much of this since, except the NBC commentator and some 2nd tier reporting from NYT.

The reporter mentioned that there were some government documents on this, so I set out to find them. Here’s what I found while searching the gov.cn domain:
Continue reading (Letter) Chinese gymnasts age controversy

(Letter) Watching the Opening Ceremony with a few thousand Tianjiners

My wife and I, along with a German, an Aussie, a TCK (third culture kid), and an American watched the Opening Ceremonies on a giant screen in one of Tianjin’s biggest parks. There were thousands of people there, and very few foreigners. We’ve posted pictures, video, and blogged the experience, particularly the crowd’s reactions to different things (Watching the Opening Ceremony with a few thousand Tianjiners!).
Continue reading (Letter) Watching the Opening Ceremony with a few thousand Tianjiners

Can the Chinese government let people have a good time?

Here is a article “Wild dogs of nationalism let off the leash” on Beijing 08 blogs of Sydney Morning Herald by award winning sports writer John Birmingham. The Article starts with

Picture a couple of Falun Gong dudes, or a Tibetan Monk sitting in a cell, waiting for the Games to finish so they can be executed and give up their organs for harvest. Continue reading Can the Chinese government let people have a good time?

(Letter) Where does China fit in the West's understanding of the world?

Mainlanders often feel exasperated by constant Western criticism, as if no matter what China does and no matter how much China accomplishes, it’s never good enough in the eyes of Western nations. The poem “Chinese Grievances” (aka “What do you want from us?”) expresses this feeling well. I think what’s shared below will help us better understand this problem.
Continue reading (Letter) Where does China fit in the West's understanding of the world?