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Liu Xiaobo: RIP. But we should never forget the 14 million yuan from the National Endowment for Democracy!

July 13th, 2017 6 comments

1. Grants in US$ from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a US government entity, to «Minzhu Zhongguo» or «Democratic China, Inc.», where Liu Xiaobo is the founder.

2005: $136,000; http://www.ned.org/region/asia/china-2005/
2006: $136,000; http://www.ned.org/region/asia/china-2006/
2007: $145,000; http://www.ned.org/region/asia/china-2007/
2008: $150,000; http://www.ned.org/region/asia/china-2008/
2009: $213,000; http://www.ned.org/region/asia/china-2009/
2010: $220,000; http://www.ned.org/region/asia/china-2010/

Total sum from NED to «Democratic China, Inc.»: $1,000,000

 

2. Liu Xiaobo has also received money from National Endowment for Democracy (NED) as president of «Independent Chinese PEN Centre, Inc.»:

2005: $99,500; http://www.ned.org/region/asia/china-2005/
2006: $135,000; http://www.ned.org/region/asia/china-2006/
2007: $135,000; http://www.ned.org/region/asia/china-2007/
2008: $152,350; http://www.ned.org/region/asia/china-2008/
2009: $152,950; http://www.ned.org/region/asia/china-2009/
2010: $170,000; http://www.ned.org/region/asia/china-2010/

Total sum from NED for «Independent Chinese PEN Centre, Inc.»: US $844,800

 

Total support from NED during these six years is US$1,844,800, which is about 14 million yuan – a huge sum of money in China – where salaries at that time were about 25% of the level in the West.

 

What’s the purpose of National Endowment for Democracy?

The National Endowment for Democracy’s  purpose is to fund individuals, political parties and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) favorable to US interests.

Former CIA-agent Ralph McGehee writes: «… the current US policy of using (rightly or wrongly) the theme of human rights violations to alter or overthrow non-US-favored governments. In those countries emerging from the once Soviet Bloc that is forming new governmental systems; or where emerging or Third World governments resist US influence or control, the US uses ‘human rights violations,’ as an excuse for political action operations. ‘Human Rights’ replaces ‘Communist Conspiracy’ as the justification for overthrowing governments.»

Patrick French writes: «The NED constitutes, so to speak, the CIA’s “civilian arm”».

Norwegian media, Hu Jia and Liu Xiaobo

April 12th, 2017 2 comments

The Norwegian prime minister, Mrs. Erna Solberg, visited China April 7–10 this year. This was the first visit by a Norwegian prime minister in seven years, since diplomatic relations between Norway and China has been frozen – due to the 2010 Nobel peace prize.

Personally I am shocked about how Norwegian media covered our prime minister’s visit.

The Norwegian national broadcasting station (NRK) starts one of its net articles with an interview with dissident Hu Jia. It goes like this: «Hu Jia, one of Liu Xiaobo close allies, is shocked to hear that the Norwegian prime minister is not going to address human rights issues when she visits China. … We live like in the German movie ‘The Lives of Others’.» (Oscar rewarded movie about Stasi during DDR-time)

Also the biggest newspaper in Norway «Aftenposten» and «VG» the second biggest, focus 60-70% on Hu Jia, Liu Xiaobo and the 2010 Nobel peace prize. They also carry attacks on the Norwegian prime minister, «who lacks courage», and (of course) on the Chinese government, who should «immediately release Liu Xiaobo».

Since these news organizations are independent from each other, such a similar way of reporting can’t be coincidental and must be organized. To me it seems that there must be a Nato-connection to the editor or the editorial board.

By the way: In the book «What the U.S. Can Learn from China» by Ann Lee at page 81, she refers a conversation with Michael Massing, former executive editor of Columbia Journalism Review: «Mr. Massing informed me that a reporter and friend of his who worked at the Beijing office of the Wall Street Journal told him that the editors in Washington regularly changed material information and opinions in his articles. Given the twelve-hour time difference, by the time his stories went to press in the West, the editors had found the time to replace all the Chinese interviews with statements from American talking heads who work at think tanks promoting anti-China perspectives.»

It is also thoughts-provoking that the editors of Wikipedia has removed the information on Liu Xiaobo receiving NED-money – information which were there in 2011/2012.

In 2010 I posted an article at Fool’s Mountain, http://blog.foolsmountain.com/2010/10/08/liu-xiaobo/ . But since the NED-links do not work any longer, I post an update here at Hidden Harmonies:

 

Liu Xiaobo has received money from the American government for years:

1. Grants from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a US government entity, to «Minzhu Zhongguo» or «Democratic China, Inc.», where Liu Xiaobo is the founder.

2005: $136,000

China 2005

2006: $136,000

China 2006

2007: $145,000

China 2007

2008: $150,000

China 2008

2009: $195,000 + $18,000 (supplement): $213,000

China 2009

2010: $220,000

China 2010

Total sum from NED to «Democratic China, Inc.»: $1,000,000

 

2. Liu Xiaobo has also received money from National Endowment for Democracy (NED) as president of «Independent Chinese PEN Centre, Inc.»:

2005: $99,500

China 2005

2006: $135,000

China 2006

2007: $135,000

China 2007

2008: $152,350

China 2008

2009: $152,950

China 2009

2010: $170,000

China 2010

Total sum from NED for «Independent Chinese PEN Centre, Inc.»: US $844,800

 

Total support from NED during these six years is US$1,844,800, which is about 14 million yuan – a huge sum of money in China – where salaries are about 25% of the level in the West.

In addition Liu and his staff has probably also received training from the Americans.

 

What is NED?

NED (National Endowment for Democracy) is funded by the American government, and is subject to congressional oversight. The purpose is to fund individuals, political parties and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) favorable to US interests.

The payment from NED to US-friendly groups is not a new thing. Eric T. Hale shows in his dissertation (2003) that during the 1990s, China and Russia were awarded the highest number of NED grants with 222 and 221, respectively. Total payment to groups in China during these ten years was astonishing US$ 20.999.229. His dissertation can be found at: http://etd.lsu.edu/docs/available/etd-1105103-140728/unrestricted/Hale_dis.pdf

Former CIA-agent Ralph McGehee writes: «… the current US policy of using (rightly or wrongly) the theme of human rights violations to alter or overthrow non-US-favored governments. In those countries emerging from the once Soviet Bloc that is forming new governmental systems; or where emerging or Third World governments resist US influence or control, the US uses ‘human rights violations,’ as an excuse for political action operations. ‘Human Rights’ replaces ‘Communist Conspiracy’ as the justification for overthrowing governments.»

Patrick French writes: «The NED constitutes, so to speak, the CIA’s “civilian arm”».

Conclusion: In this meaning Liu Xiaobo becomes an American agent. And the Nobel Peace Prize Committee’s 2010 decision, since I already had forwarded them the NED information listed above, becomes a political plot.

Important arguments on the South China sea tensions

July 15th, 2016 13 comments

South China Sea tensions stem from the ‘nine-dash line’

By Demetri Sevastopulo in Manila

The South China Sea territorial disputes between China and its neighbours can be partly traced to an internal map published by the Republic of China government in 1947 that included an “eleven-dash line” enclosing much of the waters. China did not explain the significance of the line at the time. It was adopted by the People’s Republic of China government after the Communists came to power two years later. Then, in 1953, China unveiled a new map with a “nine-dash line” that covered a slightly smaller area of the South China Sea, losing two dashes that ran through the Gulf of Tonkin between China and Vietnam.

The US remained silent on the “nine-dash line” until February 2014 when Daniel Russel, a top state department official, said China should clarify its meaning.

 

*Trefor Moss, 12 September, 2013:
Diaoyu/Senkaku islands … administered from Taiwan long before Japan annexed them.

China arguably has a decent case regarding Scarborough Shoal. Here’s one important element of the case: China publicised its claim in 1948, and it took the Philippines five decades to object and counter with a claim of its own. Prima facie, that strengthens China’s claim quite substantially.

 

*On the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA):

From wikipedia:
The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) is an intergovernmental organization located at The Hague in the Netherlands. The PCA is not a court, but rather an organiser of arbitral tribunals to resolve conflicts between member states, international organizations, or private parties. It should not be confused with the International Court of Justice which is the primary judicial branch of the United Nations, while the PCA is not a UN agency.

1899
The court was established in 1899 by the first Hague Peace Conference. The Peace Palace was built for the Court in 1913 with funds from American steel magnate Andrew Carnegie.

Unlike the judges from the International Court of Justice who are paid by the UN, members of the PCA are paid from that same income the PCA earns.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permanent_Court_of_Arbitration

 

*South China Morning Post, 14 July, 2016:

The Permanent Court of Arbitration rents space in the same building as the UN’s International Court of Justice, but the two organisations are not related.

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/1989486/united-nations-stresses-separation-hague-tribunal

 

*Members of «the court»:

Most of them come from countries unfriendly towards China – and most of these countries are characterized by heavy American news domination:

https://pca-cpa.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/175/2016/07/Current-List-Annex-1-MC-updated-20160705.pdf

 

*One person wrote on the lawsuit process:

… an American-initiated, American-paid, American staffed lawsuit to a private, self-appointed, fee-for-service corporations (with no connection to the United Nations) that is not a real court.

 

*Many «international courts» are dominated by American and Western lawyers. Here is one of the reasons:

From Yale Law School guide (2012):
This guide provides information regarding some of the courts outside of the U.S.—international tribunals and intergovernmental courts, as well as national courts—where current law students and graduates may find temporary positions, paid and unpaid:

https://law.ucdavis.edu/career-services/files/Opportunities%20with%20International%20Tribunals%20and%20Foreign%20Courts%202012.pdf

 

*On UNCLOS

Huffington Post on UNCLOS: China, the Philippines and the Rule of Law

The threshold question really is whether the PRC can be bound by UNCLOS courts and tribunals, including its arbitral panels. The PRC ratified UNCLOS in 1996, but in 2006 the Chinese government filed a statement with UNCLOS saying that it “does not accept any of the procedures provided for in Section 2 of Part XV of the Convention with respect to all the categories of disputes referred to in paragraph 1 (a), (b), and (c) of Article 298 of the Convention.” These provisions of the Convention refer to “Compulsory Procedures Entailing Binding Decisions” issued by at least four venues: the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea, the International Court of Justice, an “arbitral tribunal” which may refer to the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), and a “special arbitral tribunal.”

While there are venues available for the resolutions of disputes under the UNCLOS regime, the PRC does not wish to be bound by its compulsory processes — the ICJ and PCA included.

The PRC knew this day would come. Its 2006 statement effectively served as a “reservation” against any binding outcome of UNCLOS’s grievance procedure in the future.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/daniel-wagner/china-philippines-rule-law_b_2533736.html

Categories: Foreign Relations, history, media, News, politics Tags:

Is «the tank man»-story true?

June 11th, 2016 3 comments

"Tank Man"

As we all know – every year around June 4th, Western media has stories about «the tank man» – like then The New York Times first printed «the tank man»-photo, and wrote: «A single man stopping a column of tanks rumbling toward Tian’anmen Square». Similar narrative has been repeated by Western news outlet every year since 1989. TIME magazine even declared «the tank man … one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century».

But is this narrative true?

Read more…

Categories: General, history, human rights, media, politics Tags:

Good CCTV documentary on US human rights violations (English subtitles)

March 14th, 2016 No comments

I’m glad to see the Chinese media FINALLY starting to explicitly outline the hypocrisy of American human rights rhetoric, but I think it doesn’t go far enough to illustrate the sheer scale of US human rights violations & issues, such as:

  1. Little mention on the sheer degree of income & wealth inequality, which then translates into the lack of meaningful political power for most average citizens.
  2. The number of annual police killings & prison incarceration rates in the US.
  3. The lack of respect for equal rights not just by the US government, but BY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, as demonstrated by the popularity of xenophobic, & particularly islamophobic rhetoric among presidential candidates.

I think CCTV’s exclusion important details such as the aforementioned may create the misconception that the US human rights problems they outlined are somehow “small & isolated”, and inadequately highlights the widespread nature of their lack of respect for human rights. But nevertheless, this is a good start.

Western Media’s Monkey Business

February 19th, 2016 2 comments

Happy Year of the Monkey everyone. Sadly the first monkey related blogpost on HH is about Western media’s on going monkey business when it comes to China reporting.

For 2016, the first salvo is about the shameless nouveau riche of China illegally owning endangered “thumb monkey” of Amazon:

MetroHeadline

However quick Google fact check revealed this story is, again, monkey business. Here are some facts about “thumb monkey”, aka “pocket monkey”, aka “pygmy marmoset”:

1) Contrary to condemnation, pygmy marmoset is not endangered or threatened. IUCN conservation status for pygmy marmoset is it’s not threatened in any major way:

Least Concern – Lowest risk; does not qualify for a higher risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category

Seems some just noticed IUCN had a Red List publication for pygmy marmoset and assumed it is endangered, without scrutinizing what the Red List publication actually said:

pygmymarmoset

2) Pygmy marmoset is available for sale in US and UK as pet. Google “pet pygmy marmoset” showed some very ordinary stuff on permitting, sales, and care of this creature. This one I’m most incredulous about – would an endangered spices be so readily available for sale in enlightened first world nations?

In contrast, Google pygmy marmoset with keyword “China” revealed a multitude of vitriol against the evil Chinese, on behalf of this suddenly poor, endangered species. Even worse when adding the keyword “endangered” (note the article count actually goes up):

pygmymarmosetendangered

3) Another fallacy is that pygmy marmoset is illegal in China. Actually importation of exotic mammals are legal in China, subject to quarantine and permitting regulations. It is illegal to circumvent quarantine (which unscrupulous vendors in China, as well as US, UK, do.) Here’s what China’s regulation on Wildlife Domestication and Rearing Permit says:

第三条 具备下列条件的单位和个人,可以申请《驯养繁殖许可证》:
(一) 有适宜驯养繁殖野生动物的固定场所和必需的设施;
(二) 具备与驯养繁殖野生动物种类、数量相适应的资金、人员的技术;
(三) 驯养繁殖野生动物的饲料来源有保证。

Article 3 Qualification For Business Entity and Individual To Apply “Wild Life Domesticaiton and Rearing Permit”:
(1) Having permanent location, appropriate and necessary facility, equipment for domestication and rearing the wild animal;
(2) Possessing needed capital, expertise, for domestication and rearing the wild animal;
(3) Gauranteed food supply for domestication and rearing the wild animal.

Here’s a very recent coverage about a company in Hangzhou importing small monkeys, and monkeys passing their 30-day quarantine.

Monkey business, or business as usual? You decide.

Categories: Analysis, media Tags: ,

New research dispels western myths about PRC aid to Africa

October 20th, 2015 No comments

New research, based on China’s aid track record from 2000-2013, shows that much of what the western media propagates about China’s intentions & practices, when it comes to providing official development aid (ODA) to Africa, is simply NOT true. “Coincidentally”, this latest research published by AidData has garnered little (if any) attention in US mainstream media outlets.

Here are a few of its findings. Those who are interested in the details should check out this new report in its entirety.

  1. African states that align with the PRC’s stances in the UN tend to receive more development assistance.
  2. Internal political system is not a factor for ODA allocation; the PRC does NOT favor either authoritarian or democratic governments.
  3. For China, humanitarian need is a stronger determinant of ODA destination than natural resource development opportunities, given that Chinese ODA is more focused on poorer African countries.
  4. Chinese ODA does NOT favor countries with higher levels of corruption.

The “follies” of Russia’s pivot to China

October 2nd, 2015 1 comment

Recently, there has been no shortage of highly pessimistic commentaries published & republished, pointing out the supposed “follies” of Russia’s eastern pivot, by highlighting this year’s decline in Sino-Russian trade, China’s stock market volatility, and its supposed economic “weakness”. The conclusion implied by these articles is clear: “Russia’s economic pivot to China is failing, because increased economic cooperation has not mitigated Russia’s recent economic woes, or the effect of sanctions. China cannot save Russia, and the latter must continue depending on the West.”

This is essentially a straw-man conclusion. One thing should be plainly apparent through even a casual examination of Russia’s biggest recent commercial agreements with China: most of these arrangements with China were NEVER INTENDED to offset the impact of Russia’s current recession, but rather to position Russia’s economy for greater long-term diversification and upward mobility on the global economic value chain.

Read more…

Q&A with a Russian friend (see download links or attached PDF)

September 28th, 2015 2 comments

PDF attachment: Q&A with a Russian Friend

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. Read more…

Good video on myths about “Syrian” refugees

September 14th, 2015 2 comments

If the West didn’t fuel civil wars with arms (& bombs), perhaps they wouldn’t need to cry crocodile tears when refugees start to flood out of those war zones?

On a side note, once in a while, it’s helpful to remember that China isn’t the only society being demonized by the western media.

Behind the Great Western Firewall Is the Ugly Truth

February 15th, 2015 1 comment

I came across this article on the Vineyard of the Saker blog, which I think is worth reading (both the article and the blog in general). I don’t know what fellow Hidden Harmonies bloggers think of other works by Jeff Brown (especially those related to China), but his description of information control methods in the West seems to be pretty spot on.

By the way, my fellow bloggers should be proud of the fact that Hidden Harmonies is listed as a source of good alternative media, in the same mention as Asia Times and CounterPunch no less.

I choose not to copy and paste this essay in its entirety, given that there are multiple hyperlinks in it, which are necessary components that enrich the narrative. While I’m sure there are some automated ways to copy over these hyperlinks, I figured an extra click wouldn’t be too hard. 🙂

Behind the Great Western Firewall Is the Ugly Truth

The Myth of a Chinese takeover in Siberia – Continued

January 16th, 2015 19 comments

As an avid follower and enthusiast of modern trends in Sino-Russian relations (and media coverage thereof), I saw this “jewel” of an op-ed in the New York Times earlier this week, titled “Why China will Reclaim Siberia“. This type of Sinophobic fear-mongering is nothing new in the western media. With amusement, I read through it with the slight hope of finding some new, compelling arguments other than the same old rhetoric of “there are so many Chinese and so few Russians”. Unsurprisingly, there were none. I have written on this subject previously, and demonstrated why the so-called “invasion by mass migration” from China into the Russian Far East is a myth. Ethnic Chinese consists of 3% of the Russian Far East regional population, and most of that 3% are seasonal migrants with no intention of long-term settlement. Another noteworthy nuance is that these ethnic Chinese are concentrated largely in Russian urban centers where they have no chance of attaining a numerical majority. Reality aside, I understand that in the realm of propaganda and misinformation, facts and data-driven logic are optional conveniences.

Nevertheless, I will pose another question that few, if anyone, has asked in the discourse over this topic – is it actually in China’s strategic interests to seize sovereign control of the Russian Far East (RFE) or any part of Siberia? It seems like few, if anyone, has done any basic, high-level cost-benefit analysis from a Chinese strategic perspective. When we put forth even a casual effort to weigh the costs and benefits, the answer becomes quickly apparent – NO, it’s not. As usual, for those who do not want to read too much, the bolded text provides an adequate summary. Read more…

The True Face of “Occupy Central With Peace And Love” Western Media Self-Censored

December 20th, 2014 3 comments

Besides the romantic, simplified “freedom” Official Narrative that framed the biblical David against Goliath story onto the Occupy Central protesters, seemingly for the purpose of indoctrinating media consumers in the West – is anything being left out?

Here, not so elegantly, are some raw YouTube clips – Occupy Central’s “peace and love” our supposedly free and objective media has choose to self-censor.

(Note: if youtube doesn’t work for you, scroll down to the bottom of post to get the videos we hosted here).

Foul-mouthed protester threatening people who disagrees:

Read more…

Umbrella Revolution and Authoritarianism with Chinese Characteristics

October 10th, 2014 8 comments

Hong Kong’s Umbrella Freedom Fighters can’t possibly be fighting for “freedom” in one of the most indulging communities on earth; it’d be like fish keep asking for more salt in the ocean. If succeeded, it’d turn them into anchovies.

A popular reason cited by supporters is that China’s an authoritarian state, therefore to be loathed unconditionally. Anyone who reads mainstream newspapers would know that much. If this fear is indeed the real cause, I’d like to take this opportunity to examine China’s authoritarianism by reviewing some known facts:

1) In 1949, when the Communist Party took over, average life expectancy in China was about thirty-five, illiteracy was 80%, and GDP was lower than Qing Dynasty’s. After a century of pillage and plunder by colonial powers, the country was struggling to recover from near-fatal wounds inflicted by opium, corruption, barbaric invasions and civil wars. Sixty-five years on, it’s the world’s second largest economy. In the past thirty years, the miraculous transformation (GDP growth, productivity, urbanisation of population etc.) of this continent-sized country is comparable to (relatively tiny) Britain’s evolution after the industrial revolution, which took about 200 years. Martin Jacques’ book contains a lot of hard data for comparison, in plain English (<a href="http://www.martinjacques.com/books/when-china-rules-the-world/"). However, economic development isn’t everything. It shouldn’t be.
Read more…

5 Popular Misconceptions about the Sino-Russian Gas Deal

June 1st, 2014 3 comments

The conclusion of a 30-year, 38 BCM/year Sino-Russian gas deal has gotten considerable attention in the media recently. Not surprisingly, much of the coverage – especially in the western media – was emotionally charged, given that Putin’s visit to China & the deal signing coincided with the unfolding crisis in Ukraine. There was no shortage of rhetoric about Putin “making Russia a resource appendage of China” for “good PR”, as if being a resource appendage of the West is so much better. The tirade of rhetoric against this deal reminds me of the type of propaganda we saw when China started boosting trade and investment in Africa. This post will address some of the biggest misconceptions being propagated in the western (& even Russian) mainstream media, and seek to draw conclusions based on facts, rather than anti-Chinese xenophobia. This is a lengthy post, so for those who are not interested in the details, the bold text will give you an adequate summary.
Read more…

Fact Checking US Government Propaganda On Maoming PX Protest Death

April 3rd, 2014 5 comments

It is often said Chinese government propaganda like Xinhua, People’s Daily, are highly agendaed and utterly unreliable. But how about America’s government propaganda? Here’s a recent example as illustration.

Recently, news of protesters killed in Maoming over a chemical plant made suspicious rounds – only in the usual propaganda outlets, Radio Free Asia, Voice of America, and ancillary outlets like Epoch Times, Boxun. These accusations of Chinese government killing protesters were accompanied with photos of citizen laying on the ground bleeding. However, a quick Google image-based search revealed these photos are not from the PX plant protest, but were victims of violent crime elsewhere in China:

RFA used a photo from a hacking attack that occurred in 2012, and was subsequently regurgitated by Falun Gong outlets like Epoch Times:

RFAprop Wenzhoutruth

VOA used a photo from a hacking attack that occurred in 2013 that was then Echo Chambered by Boxun:

VOAprop Qinhaitruth

As a loyal tax payers I am completely disappointed by how my hard earned tax dollars are misused.

Perceptions of corruption in the US and PRC – not exactly what one would expect

January 20th, 2014 3 comments

I was casually browsing through Transparency International’s website, and noticed something peculiar – even though citizens of the Republic of Georgia have a much higher opinion of their country’s ability to deal with corruption in their country relative to their counterparts in the US, and a much more optimistic outlook on the future of public institutions, Georgia ranks 55th on the Corruption Perception Index (CPI), whereas the US ranks 19th (see 2013 rankings). Given the inherent difficulty in measuring actual levels of corruption, I understand why PERCEPTION of corruption is widely considered the best available proxy. But IF public perception is so important, I still didn’t understand why Georgia is 36 places lower than the US, when its citizens have a far more positive perception about their country’s ability to contain corruption in virtually every category measured.

I did a little digging and asking around, and I found that CPI rankings actually place LITTLE, IF ANY weight on public perception within the countries being ranked. If Wikipedia is accurate, CPI rankings are actually based on aggregates of “expert opinions” from select institutions that Transparency International (TI) deems “credible”:

“Transparency International commissioned Johann Graf Lambsdorff of the University of Passau to produce the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). The 2012 CPI draws on 13 different surveys and assessments from 12 different institutions. The institutions are the African Development Bank, the Bertelsmann Foundation, the Economist Intelligence Unit, Freedom House, Global Insight, International Institute for Management Development, Political and Economic Risk Consultancy, Political Risk Services, the World Economic Forum, the World Bank and the World Justice Project.”

On the other hand, there is a section in TI’s website that covers public opinion, known as the “Global Corruption Barometer” (GCB), from which I noticed the peculiar results in Georgia and the US. This inevitably made me curious about Chinese public opinion of their own institutions compared to that of Americans, so I found the latest dataset (2010/2011) in which both the US and China were included, and here are some excerpts of the survey results, along with my personal interpretation thereof. What I found so far is that IF public perception is supposed to be a good proxy for actual corruption, then one CANNOT conclude that corruption is somehow worse in China than the US, at least not if you’re to believe the citizens of each country.
Read more…

A Tribute to Run Run Shaw

January 8th, 2014 1 comment
Run Run Shaw

entrepreneur, filmmaker, philanthropist

It is with sadness that we learned that Run Run Shaw – entrepreneur, investor, filmmaker, philanthropist – died Tuesday in his home in Hong Kong at the age of 107. There are few men in modern China – anywhere actually – with the stature, reach, and heart of Run Run Shaw. People who don’t pay attention sometimes may associate Shaw with just low-budget Chinese action and horror films, or just kung fu movie flicks, when in truth, his impact is much broader.   As Neda Ulaby of the NPR recently noted:

A world without Run Run Shaw would’ve meant a world without Quentin Tarantino…

Or the Wu Tang Clan…

Or “The Matrix.”

That global pop culture vernacular came from a Hong Kong media mogul who dominated the industry for decades. Read more…

Categories: Analysis, media, News Tags: ,

China “Withholding” Visas From Foreign Journalists. Plenty of Self-Censorship At Home.

December 10th, 2013 16 comments

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/china-withholds-visas-nyt-bloomberg-reporters-21144608

This is apparently a continuation of an old story of how China is “expelling” foreign journalists en masse.  However, there are some conflicting details in the story itself.

“Withholding” visas means they accepted the applications, but won’t issue the the visas.  However the article later explained, “Chinese authorities had initially accepted resident journalist visa renewal applications from The Times’ reporters. But they stopped doing so — and in some cases returned applications to reporters — after the newspaper ran a report last month detailing ties between JPMorgan Chase and a consultancy in China run by Wen’s daughter.”

If they won’t accept the applications, or return the applications, that’s not “withholding” the visas.  The Applications were just REJECTED for some reason, usually technical.  As previous story on this noted, the Chinese government had explained that the applications were rejected for technical /formality reasons.

Read more…

领导人是怎样炼成的 – How Leaders are Made

October 20th, 2013 50 comments

I wanted to share a video that has gone viral on Youku, and has gotten the attention of western outlets such as Time Magazine, which will no doubt attract ample amounts of sneers and visceral comments from the West. I’m posting both the English (Youtube) and Chinese (Youku) versions, for everyone’s convenience.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BosGD5Bk98

http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XNjIzMTk1NTQ4.html

 

Is there a Chinese model of innovation?

September 11th, 2013 2 comments

One of the main reasons I wanted to contribute to the success of this blog is my desire to dispel ideological myths and dogma that exists in western discourse, and if I’m lucky, reach out to a few people in my age group back in China. One of the myths, against which I voiced skepticism in “Rethinking the Freedom-Innovation Nexus” is the supposed causal link between political freedom and scientific innovation.

I wanted to follow up on this with a McKinsey discussion on the Chinese model of innovation. I think this is podcast yields useful insights on the current state and characteristics of modern day Chinese innovation at the enterprise level.

http://www.mckinseychina.com/podcasts/is-there-a-chinese-model-of-innovation/

A couple of highlights:
– Chinese companies embrace change and adaptation at a faster pace relative to their other Asian counterparts at a similar stage of development in their respective countries.
– Chinese companies are more willing to import talent from abroad, China’s ‘richness of talent’ comes in part from returnees who received education and worked in the west, as well as state funding of world-class academic research institutions.

Putting BBC’s propaganda against Vietnam to the test

September 2nd, 2013 13 comments

Is it possible to stop people from discussing news or current affairs on the Internet? The answer is easy: obviously not. I can’t see how that is possible without shutting the Internet down completely. And, what does it mean to be an “enemy of the internet” anyway? To qualify for that, wouldn’t a nation state be engaging in destroying Internet infrastructure globally or doing everything possible to shunt the productive potential of the Internet for humankind? Read more…

“China’s Tibet”: A Perfectly Normal Turn of Phrase

July 16th, 2013 4 comments

china's tibetIn the field of media criticism, it pays to be picky about language. Around touchy issues of sovereignty and legitimacy, journalists frequently navigate intractable disputes where no term is truly “objective”. A wise man once said, if you want to create social change, then it is of paramount importance to identify “who are [your] enemies [and] who are [your] friends?” But there’s the risk of being so hypercritical and without humility as to impart devious significance to routine, apolitical phrases. In the English-language Tibetan studies circuit, which leans almost entirely pro-separatist, one phrase regularly trotted out for criticism is “China’s Tibet”. This blogpost at High Peaks Pure Earth is representative in its mocking tone, if not for the most academic exposition of the idea. “There must be a psychological condition that describes an anxiety so acute that there is an overwhelming need to constantly state and re-state that something belongs to you… China’s rather childish and possessive nature!”

Read more…

America’s Free Media Self-Censors Snowden Asylum Letter

June 26th, 2013 10 comments

You’d think after all the “traitor” media narrative and digging hard for evidence of Edward Snowden’s espionage link with China, Snowden’s own words on why he is seeking political asylum would make the news – well guess again:

Google News search using Snowden aslym request text


Read more…

Categories: media, News Tags: ,

NYU and China Aid Fight Over Cheng Guangcheng And The “Human Rights” Turf

June 21st, 2013 18 comments

Chen GuangchengThe American Left hates China, the Right hates China, and Chen Guangcheng is stuck in the middle of two very passionate groups gunning to be the thought leader of America’s democracy battles and the war on China’s soul (or lack of):

– Last week, Chen Guangcheng accused NYU of kicking him out due to pressure from the Chinese government over NYU’s Shanghai campus plan.
Read more…

Film Review: “Free China: The Courage to Believe”

June 12th, 2013 9 comments

Free China: the Courage to BelieveThis weekend, I went to see “Free China: The Courage to Believe“. This hourlong movie by Michael Perlman, who previously directed “Tibet: Beyond Fear”, boasts a few awards from some small indie, human rights, and “awareness” festivals. Like the similarly propagandistic but much less affordable Shen Yun dance performance, Falun Gong foot soldiers had plastered posters and postcards for the film in Chinese restaurants, on storefront windows, and on public information boards. Yet despite the heavy-handed advertising, it’s not often that a movie covering the broad subject of China comes to English-speaking audiences. Could this film be something other than a rehashed collection of dehumanizing stereotypes about the Chinese government? I set out to find out. Read more…

Life in flames: The story behind Tibetan self-immolation (Xinhua News)

April 3rd, 2013 7 comments

(It’s worth noting that Gady Epstein of The Economist calls this video, “remarkable propaganda document.” If you think about it, that’s a wholesale rejection of the Chinese point of view. This is politics. But, then, don’t forget that The Economist and other Western media self-proclaim to be “free.” According to their definition, Western journalism is supposed to be about presenting differing perspectives. That’s rubbish. As regular readers of Hidden Harmonies know, Western media is every bit about propaganda as much as anything else.)

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…

Ann Lee vs Peter Navarro and CNBC on China Real-estate ‘Bubble’

March 11th, 2013 14 comments

Allen and I had a chance to chat with Professor Ann Lee a little over a year ago, and we continue to see her moderating the warped perspectives in the Anglophone press. In this short CNBC video, she debunks Professor Peter Navarro of UC Irvine. Actually, she’s mostly debunking CNBC’s narrative. China’s urbanization rate is still only about 52%. When China’s industrialization finishes, about 1 billion people would have moved. Demand for urban housing is astronomical in China this day in age. As Lee says, China is implementing various policies to curb escalating real-estate prices. Allen often like to say – this is an economics issue, but as you see in the narrative below from CNBC’s reporter and Peter Navarro, this issue sounds ominous and political doesn’t it? Kudos to Lee for sticking to her points which we wholeheartedly agree with.

Categories: economy, media, politics Tags: ,

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…