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Turning a Nobel Prize to a Chinese for Artemisinin Into a Eulogy for Traditional Chinese Medicine?

October 18th, 2015 No comments
Chinese herbal medicine and tea set

Chinese herbal medicine and tea set

A couple of weeks ago, Tu Youyou became the first Chinese national to win the Nobel Prize in Medicine “for her discoveries concerning a novel therapy against Malaria.”  (Tu had already won the Lasker Award a few years ago for the same work, and had described her work this way.)  There were cheers and hopes that with the prize, more people would become aware of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and the tremendous amount of work being put in to update the ancient arts with modern science and technology.

But very soon in the West, I see popping up everywhere “straw man” arguments 1.

First, there is the line of attack that goes something like this: so what if Dr. Tu found one drug from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that turned out to work. That per se doesn’t validate the whole tradition.  As this Daily Kos post noted: Read more…

Notes:

  1. From a wikipedia entry, a straw man is a common form of argument and is an informal fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent’s argument, while actually refuting an argument which was not advanced by that opponent.

Xinjiang in the News Again … as Political Islam is Ignored Yet Again

June 25th, 2015 14 comments

So Xinjiang in on the Western news again.  In the last few days, articles have appeared at Reuters, Wall Street Journal, the Christian Science Monitor, to name just a few…

Here is an excerpt from the Christian Science Monitor: Read more…

Hong Kong Legislature Rejects Election Reform

June 18th, 2015 2 comments

So it looks official now, Hong Kong’s Legislature has officially rejected the Election Reform promulgated by PRC’s Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. (For more on this topic, see this previous post late last year)  The central government has responded that the election rules stands and now it is the hope of many that Hong Kong will continue to find a way to execute full democracy under the Basic Law and NPC rules.
Read more…

Revisiting “Tiger Mom”, and where “Individualism” failed (with a Sleeveless Pineapple)

June 1st, 2015 No comments

Recently, I had an interesting debate about the “Tiger Mom” culture in Asia, against the backdrop of a Chinese American mother who criticized the Tiger Mom’s suppression of children’s “autonomy”.  So, since we had lively discussions of this subject here, (http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2011/01/13/the-truth-is-out-amy-chuas-chinese-moms-attack-on-american-moms-is-actually-a-wall-street-journal-creation/), I thought we should visit with some updates.

First, it’s actually amazing how many people criticize “Tiger Mom” without actually reading what she wrote.

More details on this later, but let me just say that Chinese children are not born or brought up to be mindless robots.  Plenty of them get into trouble, plenty grow up to disobey and challenge authority.  Tiger Mom is about challenging a child’s autonomy.  Amy Chua’s own 2 daughters questioned everything she made them do.  In challenging the child’s autonomy, the child must struggle to strengthen his/her own will and discipline.  Without self-will and self-discipline, autonomy/”individualism” is weak and useless.  My parents never tried to “suppress” my autonomy.  On the contrary, they always insisted to push me to learn to do the right things on my own initiative.

Second, I’m yet again reminded of how non-individualistic Chinese kids are, and how creative and individualistic Western children are.  Beyond the obvious (and somewhat racist) stereotype that such assumptions are based on, I came across this rather interesting story:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/21/nyregion/standardized-testing-is-blamed-for-question-about-a-sleeveless-pineapple.html.

Read more…

Why Asia Should Say No to Mr. Abe’s Vision of International Law for Asia

June 25th, 2014 2 comments

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe[Editor’s note: the English version of post was first posted on Huffington Post and can be found here; and the Chinese version can be found on Guancha.cn here]

SHANGHAI — A few weeks ago at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Shinzo Abe made a bold pitch to Asia to buy in on a new type of Japanese leadership. According to Mr. Abe, the peace that is at the foundation of the Asia Pacific’s unprecedented growth can no longer be guaranteed. Without naming China by name, Mr. Abe warns of a new danger that looms on the horizon. The Asia Pacific needs Japanese leadership and a new affirmation of “international law.”

These are heavy words for uncertain times. But should Asia buy in? In his speech, Mr. Abe talked extensively about The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, declaring his government’s strong support of the Philippines and Vietnam in their claims against China.

From China’s view, this was a provocative and dangerous articulation of law. China has never taken any actions or made any claims in the South China Sea that limits the freedom of passage. That is made abundantly clear with China’s ratification of the UNCLOS in 1982 and its signing of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in 2002 reaffirming its “respect for and commitment to the freedom of navigation in and overflight above the South China Sea.” Read more…

Taiwan’s Student Mob?

April 9th, 2014 8 comments

Taiwan ProtestThis is a belated post.  I have been busy with a project at work the last couple of weeks…  Still, I believe what I have to say is still relevant.

It appears that the student protest occupying the Legislative Yuan the last 2-3 weeks is coming to an end.  Depending on which media you read, the significance of the protest meant different things.

Some think this is just a purely economical issue.  The Taiwanese students are not happy with the trade agreements agreed upon but not yet signed into law between the Mainland and Taiwanese side.  This is understandable.  College graduates in Taiwan has had a tough time getting (good) employment this past several years (decade?).  Many – unfortunately – have come to feel protectionism – legal protection from globalism – is the best way to “compete” in the global economy.

However, this is oversimplification.   If you listen to the speeches and talks within the protest, you have no doubt this is about partisan politics between KMT and DPP – and also emotional politics invoked against the Mainland.  As I noted earlier in a comment in another thread, the main impetus of the protest is not about economics, but about the uneasy unsettled status of Mainland-Taiwan relations.  The real reason is unification/independence politics.

But if this is all there is to the protest, I’d not write this post – as there is not much for me personally to write about.  It’s just about normal democratic politicking – built upon base politics, misinformation, distortion, emotional rants, hateful or divisive rhetoric, and what I might call ethno/religious/identity politicking. Read more…

“Capitalism Has Gone Nuts!”

November 18th, 2013 13 comments

That’s what I said to my parents-in-law who asked me to explain the “market” behavior that turns on every bit of news.

To the ordinary people, American or Chinese or anyone else, the “market” is hard to explain/understand.  That’s because it really is nuts/bonkers/crazy/insane/irrational.  This is NOT some “rational market”, because this “market” of today responds to opinions of those who claim to know.  But do they really know?  Or are they merely seeking to influence the outcome with their opinion?

Read more…

Shadows of Censorship? Really???

October 23rd, 2013 24 comments

public opinion analystTwo weeks back, Russia Today broke a story with the title “China employs 2 million analysts to monitor web activity.”  From that, we get a plethora of dark articles about how bad the Chinese government is.  For example, from the BBC, we get an article titled “China employs two million microblog monitors state media say“:

More than two million people in China are employed by the government to monitor web activity, state media say, providing a rare glimpse into how the state tries to control the internet.

China’s hundreds of millions of web users increasingly use microblogs to criticise the state or vent anger.

Recent research suggested Chinese censors actively target social media. 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…

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 Euphemism of Freedom – Case Study on Google in the Aftermath of Benghazi

September 14th, 2012 54 comments

Whenever a for-profit – or even non-profit – organization professes to do good, to be a society’s guardian – as Google has – I feel queasy. It’s not that I think Google (or more generally corporations, NGOs, charities, even churches) is inherently evil.  It’s just that no non-government entity owes society at large a fiduciary duty 1 per se, as governments do.

Take as a case study Google – that self professed guardian of Freedom.

In the aftermath of the recent violence in Benghazi, Google has taken itself to task to block access to inflammatory videos that may have caused the violence.

According to the New York Times: Read more…

Notes:

  1. The purpose (legal duty even) of a corporation is to make money for its shareholders. The obligation of non-profits is to their sponsors and donors … and incestuously to itself. The duty of churches is – well if you are pious – to God, although often a God who cares only for a segment of society, who may be so hateful of the rest as to condemn them all to eternities of hell.

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…

Brzezinski: Dangerously Wrong

April 12th, 2012 13 comments

Zbigniew Brzezinski is a well known political scientist and the media often gives him opportunities to voice opinions on foreign policy. How deserving is this accorded credibility? Well, though I have not read much from him, from the looks of this article he wrote in foreignpolicy it would appear that his competence as a expert on international affairs is grossly inadequate and, moreover, because that incompetence is combined with influence, it makes him very dangerous too.

Read more…

Eric X Li, Chinese pluralism vs. Western universality

March 1st, 2012 25 comments

As regular readers of this blog may know, we are fans of Eric X. Li. In this video below at the Aspen Institute, Anand Giridharadas (of NYT) interviewed him in front of a live audience. As Giridharadas said at the introduction, Eric indeed shakes the foundation of prevailing Western views present in the room. I especially liked his confident and forthright answers to a shaken audience towards the end. Eric characterized the Western peddling of values with universality – (in my view, a form of intolerance, really) – and the Chinese non-interference and acceptance of each culture’s values is in fact pluralism – IS SPOT ON. The video is a bit over an hour, but we highly recommend it.

[Editor Note: Please also see follow-up post by Melaktaus titled “The need for clarity“]

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…

Rethinking democracy

February 8th, 2012 14 comments

This blog will essentially be a second part to the important discussions Allen and raventhorn started about democracy. I will present a philosophical discussion so that we may better think from a different and deeper perspective about this notion than everyday people may be used to by looking at its fundamental structure.

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…

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Case Study on Bigotry: Is Dan Harris of the China Law Blog a Bigot? A Response to Dan Harris’s Post “Chinese Students In America. It’s Bad Out There”

January 17th, 2012 90 comments

After reading DeWang’s recent post on Dan Harris’ post titled “Chinese Students In America. It’s Bad Out There”, I couldn’t but help to saunter over to China LawBlog to have a look – and boy, was I in for a shock! Here is what appears to be an intelligent person – a practicing lawyer (ok, I may biased, maybe most lawyers aren’t that intelligent, after all) – spouting what looks to me to be hate epithets towards a specific group of people.

Dan started out the post by quoting from a MSNBC story on the skyrocketing number of Chinese students applying to study in American schools. But then without analyzing any aspect of the story, he turned around to say – hey, that got me thinking: I’ve heard many bad things about students from China, such as: Read more…

Former Deng Xiaoping translator, Zhang Weiwei, on Chinese thinking

January 17th, 2012 7 comments

Zhang Weiwei was a translator to former Chinese leader, Deng Xiaoping. We have a prior article (translated from Chinese) of his arguing there is a progression for which ‘democracy’ can be achieved, but more than that, China should borrow and adapt practices that are useful for China’s own conditions. In this interview (use this link if the embedded video below doesn’t show) with Al Jazeera (h/t Ray), Zhang provides a ‘Chinese’ response to strongly held notions in the West about “multi-party democracy,” explains how China is advancing her ‘model’ through localized experimentation, and details what he means by the ‘civilization state.’ (See also Martin Jacques.)


William Hooper: “David Cameron Drums of War”

December 11th, 2011 33 comments

The following analysis came via William Hooper at the Oligarch. Much of it resonates with me. It is in response to the latest politics between the U.K. and the European mainland where U.K. is decidedly against Germany’s and France’s efforts in dealing with the Euro financial crisis. Hooper’s characterization, eloquently, of U.K.’s latest actions is apt too, in my opinion, of the prevailing mindset in the U.S. mass media towards everyone else:

Once someone seriously looses sight of everything except their own self interest, they become a “wild beast” held in check only by “fear of punishment” not “shame”.

Read more…

Julian Assange: Why the world needs WikiLeaks

November 30th, 2011 2 comments

The TED interview below (video at the end of the post) was conducted in July 2010 with Julian Assange talking about the need for the public to keep an eye out for government conduct. Americans cherish freedom of the press, and by that, it is generally understood that the media’s job is to be the watchdog of the government and any other organization of power.

Do Americans have freedom of the press? I don’t think so. Or definitely not in function as how Americans understand their purpose to be. Assange is about to release a new documentary film criticizing the Western media. Referring to the New York Times, he said: Read more…

Eric X. Li’s “Counterpoint” Op-Ed in the New York Times – Debunking Myths About China

July 22nd, 2011 43 comments

Eric X. Li had a wonderful op-ed in the NY Times.  I really don’t know how he got a piece through, especially since all mine have been rejected. Anyways, hats off to him!  Here is his op-ed, with some of my thoughts scribbled throughout. 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…

Dalai Lama at UCLA

April 29th, 2011 52 comments


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?

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…

Wu Bangguo on “multi party rule” ruffles some feathers in the West

March 14th, 2011 31 comments

Wu Bangguo, Chairman of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, recently precautioned other Chinese leaders of “chaos unless correct path is taken.”

Wu’s key point is that China should not blindly follow others’ political systems for the sake of following. Rather, China should advance one suiting her own conditions.

He even pointedly said, “on the basis of China’s conditions, we’ve made a solemn declaration that we’ll not employ a system of multiple parties holding office in rotation.” Read more…

“information freedom” vs real information freedom

March 10th, 2011 51 comments

Remember Hillary Clinton recently preaching Internet “freedom” and “information freedom?”

Have you just read my prior post where I examined a wrong mindset in the “West” thinking the rest of the world are lurking to “steal” their information?

You have one case of “information freedom” and another case of “information lock up” from the same direction. Both can’t possibly come from the same mouth; I say one must come from the butt.

raventhorn2000 has articulated the real issue beautifully here for us, and I just want to quote him:
Read more…

Reflecting on the Wikileaks Incident: What It Teaches About “Freedom”

January 16th, 2011 11 comments

Before this year really gets going (yes I know I have been out of commission from blogging for a while, a state which may continue for just a while longer), I thought I’d post my own little post reflecting on the Wikileaks incidient – which I think illustrate important issues relating to “freedom.”

The controversy over Wikileaks has evoked strong emotions on all sides here in the U.S. On the one hand, you have those like the U.S. government preaching responsibility, claiming that publication would harm the lives and U.S. interests around the world – that being responsible is necessary to preserving our liberty. On the other hand, you have those like Assange clamoring free speech, raising the specter of a government that can never be trusted.

In the midst of these debates, many have understandably come to see freedom as a balance between competing needs. This is however a mistake.

Balance is the domain of politics, not freedom. Read more…

The truth is out; Amy Chua’s “Chinese moms” attack on “American moms” is actually a Wall Street Journal creation

January 13th, 2011 36 comments

If you are visiting America, you might get a feeling America’s moms have just been slapped in the face by their Chinese counter-parts. All this started with a recent article by Amy Chua (see my prior post A bombshell at the WSJ by Amy Chua: “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior”) at the Wall Street Journal.

Thanks to our reader Chops for alerting us to an article out today in the San Francisco Chronicle by Jeff Yang. It turns out, the original article was really a Wall Street Journal spin or creation, including the title. As I concluded in my prior post, Amy Chua is not that same mother portrayed in the article nor is her book. Yang writes:

Chua responded to a brief message I sent her introducing myself and asking for an interview by saying that she was glad to hear from me, as she’d been looking for a way to discuss her misgivings about the Journal article. Apparently, it had been edited without her input, and by the time she saw the version they intended to run, she was limited in what she could do to alter it.
Read more…

A point by point rebuttal to the 2010 USCC Annual Report

November 23rd, 2010 3 comments

In my prior post, “The 2010 USCC Annual Report is ‘truthless, prejudicial’,” I ranted about the 2010 USCC Annual Report and reiterated Chinese Foreign Ministry call that the report was “truthless” and “prejudicial.” Some of you expressed privately that I should address the report seriously, especially, as this is an “official” position taken by a branch of the U.S. government.

Some of you also responded, since the U.S. is not interested in addressing the systemic problems locally and rather blame foreigners (China especially in this report), then let the U.S. march forward with her madness. In the long run, it will only result in America’s decline. Let it be, so the argument goes.

After giving it some thought, I think China and the rest of the world have a vested interest in America seeing our world for what it is, not to be cloaked in lies and prejudices. Read more…