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Case Study on Freedom of Speech: Google Walking the Talk?

August 9th, 2017 3 comments

Google censorshipI was going to write another case study on the intrinsic hypocrisy in the rhetoric of freedom – how “freedom” is uttered when useful, and completely ignored when not – using Google’s recent “firing” of an employee who had written a memo that some deemed not politically correct as a basis of discussion.

But then I found that Paul Craig Roberts already wrote a good post on it already.

Here is a copy: Read more…

Fair Trade Links

July 24th, 2017 3 comments

When Trump was voted president last year, I was hopeful that the door for next level of U.S. China cooperation will be opened. I am still hopeful, but when things like this happen, it makes me realize just how hard change can be.

The U.S. and China share many differences that should be smoothed out. Here, I am not talking about garbage talks about “human rights” or “democracy,” or boastful jousts protecting “freedom of navigation” in the S. China Sea. I am talking about straight-forward win-win deals between Chinese and U.S. Companies.

In an earlier post, I had noted that a big part of the “deficit” between China and U.S. is because on the balance, many more U.S. companies invest in China as compared to Chinese companies investing in the U.S. I had written: Read more…

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

July 13th, 2017 5 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”».

Trump regime proposes zero aid to Tibetans in 2018

May 29th, 2017 4 comments

According to this Hindu article, “United States President Donald Trump has proposed zero aid in 2018 to the Tibetans, reversing the decades-old American policy of providing financial assistance to the community for safeguarding their distinct identity.” If true, this is good news.  America should get off a lot of expenses, especially expenses used to destabilize and promote hate and radicalism across the world…

Trump regime proposes zero aid to Tibetans in 2018

The Hindu: WASHINGTON:, May 26, 2017 11:56 IST

In this May 10, 2017 photo, the Dalai Lama, Tibetan spiritual leader, presents Democratic leader of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi with a ceremonial scarf at the Tsuglakang Temple in McLeod Ganj. Ms. Pelosi has expressed deep concern over the Trump administration’s move to scrap financial assistance to the Tibetan community. | Photo Credit: AFP

A departure from the decades-old American policy of providing monetary assistance to the community.

United States President Donald Trump has proposed zero aid in 2018 to the Tibetans, reversing the decades-old American policy of providing financial assistance to the community for safeguarding their distinct identity.

The Trump administration now wants other countries to jump in.

The State Department, which sent the detailed proposal to the Congress as part of Mr. Trump’s maiden annual budget, described it as one of the “tough choices” that it had to make as its budget itself has been slashed by more than 28 per cent.

Leaders of the Tibetan community in the U.S. refrained from making comment on the issue, saying they are still reading the budget papers. At the same time, they observed that majority of the assistance to the Tibetan people, including for Tibet, so far have been Congressionally-driven.

Nancy Pelosi ‘very concerned’

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi has expressed concern over the move.

“Leader Pelosi is very concerned about the zeroing out of aid to the Tibetan community in the Trump budget proposal,” Drew Hammill, spokesman for Ms. Pelosi, told PTI.

Ms. Pelosi, who early this month led a high-powered Congressional delegation to Dharamshala to meet the Dalai Lama, has expressed concern over the development.

“As she has said many times, including during her visit this month to His Holiness The Dalai Lama in Dharamshala, if the US does not speak out for human rights in China, we lose all moral authority to talk about it elsewhere in the world,” Mr. Hammill told PTI.

“That includes critical funding through the State Department for important efforts, like those in support of a genuinely autonomous Tibet, that advance and protect America’s interests in the world,” Mr. Hammill said in response to a question.

The State Department, in its budgetary proposal for the fiscal year 2018 beginning October 1, have removed the decades-old Tibet Fund and has proposed zero dollars against Ngwang Choephel Fellows. Both the categories in 2017 and 2016 had accounted for more than a million dollars.

However, the State Department in its footnote of the budget, said that Special Academic Exchanges, whose budgetary allocation has been reduced from more than $14.7 million in 2017 to just $7 million for 2018, would include funding for programmes such as the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, Mobility (Disability) Exchanges, and the Tibet Fund.

‘We have to make tough choices’

“As we work to streamline efforts to ensure efficiency and effectiveness of US taxpayers’ dollars, we acknowledge that we have to prioritise and make some tough choices,” a State Department official told PTI.

“Focusing our efforts will allow us to advance our most important policy goals and national security interests, while ensuring that other donor countries contribute their fair share toward meeting global challenges,” the official said requesting anonymity.

However, the official did not identify the countries that it would like to help continue funding for the Tibetan cause.

“We will continue to engage diplomatically with allies and partners to advance our U.S. national interests and shared policy priorities,” the official said.

The move to abolish Tibet fund is expected to be widely opposed in the Congress. The U.S. policy towards Tibet is currently driven by the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 which was signed by the last Republican President, George W. Bush.

Enacted into law on September 30, 2002, as part of the Foreign Relations Authorisation Act, FY2003, it lists its “purpose” as being “to support the aspirations of the Tibetan people to safeguard their distinct identity.”

The act establishes in statute the State Department position of United States Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues and states that the Special Coordinator’s “central objective” is “to promote substantive dialogue between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Dalai Lama or his representatives.”

Community stands to forfeit a lot

The Act, among other things, includes U.S. government assistance for non-governmental organisations to work among Tibetan communities in China; an educational and cultural exchange program with “the people of Tibet”; Voice of America and Radio Free Asia Tibetan-language broadcasting into Tibet; and assistance for Tibetan refugees in South Asia.

It also calls for a scholarship program for Tibetans living outside Tibet; and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED)human rights and democracy programmes relating to Tibet.

The Special Coordinator is also required to “vigorously promote the policy of seeking to protect the distinct religious, cultural, linguistic, and national identity of Tibet” and press for “improved respect for human rights,” according to a 2015 report on Tibet by the Congressional Research Service (CRS).

It was in 2002 that the Congress began earmarking Economic Support Fund assistance to Tibetan communities in China. In addition to this, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) manages provision of this support out of its India office.

Categories: News, politics Tags: ,

Fakes News Alert: U.S. Challenges Chinese “Excessive” Maritime Claims by Exercising ‘Freedom of navigation’ near Meiji Jiao (Mischief Reef)

May 24th, 2017 1 comment

This site was created to counter Western media bias – propaganda – or “Fake News” using today’s vernacular – about China.  Here is another one.

Wall Street Journal recently reports that the U.S. Navy has just Conducted its First South China Sea Navigation Operation Under President Trump, and that such ‘Freedom of navigation’ patrols represent a direct challenge by the U.S. to China’s excessive maritime claims.

This appears to be another bull shit, moronic piece of propaganda from Western news establishments. Read more…

Rise of China and the decline of Baizuo?

May 22nd, 2017 4 comments

About 15 years ago, the term “China’s Peaceful Rise” was coined and the use of soft power was to be used by China as a way to spread its influence to other countries and eventually overcome the US as the dominant country. Many western skeptics at the time laughed at the notion but China knows better and this won’t happen in a few years but rather in a few decades.

One of the cornerstones of the “China’s Peaceful Rise” is its relationship with the US. China knows even though that the US has wronged them, they must have a favorable relations with them. And over the years, despite the switch to and from Republican and Democratic presidents, China has maintained relations with the US in a peaceful manner. Relations with Democratic presidents tend to be worse like with Clinton and Obama but relations with Republican presidents was good with Bush and especially with Trump.

Now back to Trump. I have wrote an article a few months back just a few days after Trump is elected of why Trump’s presidency is good for China.

Trump Presidency and why is it a good thing for China and America.

6 months on, I was mostly correct about Trump’s policy towards China. China helped filling the pocket’s towards Trump’s family fortune, and return left the South China Seas alone, Trump willing to go along with China on talks with North Korea, and ASEAN countries going along with China instead of the US. Trump is mostly focusing on ‘terrorism’ instead the issues in Asia.  The recent One Belt One Road forum is the beginning of the 2nd phase of China’s Peaceful Rise where China begins to spread its influence to other countries and its spread of its soft power.  It certainly makes sense; the spends hundred of billions building military bases around the world while China spends hundred of billions building roads, railroads, bridges, and etc…  Over the years the US’ failed foreign policies of bombing other countries into submission, China’s approach of spreading its influence is a welcome change.

The fall of BaiZuo?

I found this meaning online recently and it is pretty interesting.  It literally means “white left” which refers to America’s Liberals.  This link is an interesting read of the recent talks within China about this.  Probably the best description is;

Although the emphasis varies, baizuo is used generally to describe those who “only care about topics such as immigration, minorities, LGBT and the environment” and “have no sense of real problems in the real world”; they are hypocritical humanitarians who advocate for peace and equality only to “satisfy their own feeling of moral superiority”; they are “obsessed with political correctness” to the extent that they “tolerate backwards Islamic values for the sake of multiculturalism”; they believe in the welfare state that “benefits only the idle and the free riders”; they are the “ignorant and arrogant westerners” who “pity the rest of the world and think they are saviours”.

In the past many of America’s Liberals were also progressive.  However, many recent Liberals are elites who cares little about the poor and the oppressed like the Clintons, Obama, and even other leaders like German’s Chancellor Angela Merkel.  Perhaps the rise of Trump is the beginning of the fall of the liberals because of his stance of isolationism.  Even with the unpopularity of Trump, the Liberals don’t have an answer either because they care about maintaining the world order whereas Trump cares about profit.  In the next few years the Democratic Party is trying to re-invent itself.  But will be it be a party of the people like being a progressive or be a party of the liberal who will try to maintain itself as the top dog of the world?

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.

Short Note on Media Disinformation: No, No, No… CIA is not Impersonating Others in Hacking Others … There is just not Proof!

March 16th, 2017 2 comments

Vault 7Recently, with Wikileak’s release of so-called “Vault 7” of documents that revealed the vast array of tools the CIA on hacking and spying on American citizens, Western media is on a full-court press of disinformation in pushing back.  One particular spin is how Wikileaks does not prove that CIA has framed or impersonated Russia.  Even usually politically-neutral sites such as Wired has gotten into the act.  Yes, the U.S. did get caught using tools from those bad boys in Russia … and China, but the goal has never been to frame those countries, but to save American resources to use the tools there to advance American aims.  There is no proof of the U.S. framing others…

Wait … WAIT!

Notice just how the media has re-framed the issues.

Remember the recent blah blah of Russian hacking and interference of American elections?  Even though the publicly provided evidence was virtually nil, the allegations ripped like wildfire across the nation.  Behind the veil of “national security,” all that is enough to pin the hacks as Russia are some references that the tools used was similar to what other Russian hackers have used … and that the attack was traced to an IP address that was Russian…

This was the same bull shit previously leveled against China and which we had previously analyzed before.  But as we had pointed out so many times before: just because you find some Chinese tools or IP addresses doesn’t mean the attack was Chinese.  Hacker’s tools are for the most part public tools – Chinese, Russian, or otherwise.  Hackers will use each others’ tools – government, private, black hat, white hat, male, female, gay, straight, or others – for their own goals.  So the mere fact that you find a Chinese being used could mean it was the Chinese gov’t, Chinese Maria, or the CIA at the controls.  We just don’t know!

As for IP addresses, as we also have explained, unless you traced the attack to a server that you have access to, IP addresses per se tell you Nada – Nothing – Zilch!   If you do not have direct access to the server – the logs, the logins, etc. – you simply cannot know who actually controlled and launched the attack.

In an age where normal non-tech people use vpn’s to protect their “privacy,” you would think hackers – especially sophisticated state actors – would at least use some sort of multiple IP hops schemes to mask their identity.  In an age where most people have seen emails from their “friend’s” email accounts which have been compromised and used as launching points for sending spams, you would think that most would understand that just because an attack appears to come from a particular server or email account, the actual attacker may be hidden several layers behind what things appear to be.

AND now Vault 7 proves how right we have been all along – with the CIA as a showcase!

Now we know how when the CIA uses tools to mount attacks how those attacks might look very much like attacks from other nations.

So does this prove that it was the CIA and not the Russians that hacked the DNC’s and Hillary’s computers?  Of course not (albeit it sure does raise some interesting possibilities.)  But if all the evidence is of some tools of Russian origin and some Russian IP addresses, well that is not evidence at all.

Many people in the U.S. media want to spin this bombshell into a story that there is yet no proof that it was actually the CIA – not the Russians – are behind the recent “hacking.” This is part of the “disinformation” that we see so often in the U.S. dominated press – twisting and reframing the issues … to reframe the stories….

The issue is not about proving CIA involvement – but the lack of any evidence of Russia behind any hacking.

And even if one is of the conspiracy type: according to wikileaks, Vault 7 represents but 1% of the documents it has from the CIA. Of the released documents, there has been redaction of materials that we do not get to see. Even the full set of documents Wikileaks may have is but a small universe of what exists in reality. So just because what we do not yet see solid proof of CIA’s intentions one way or the other from released public documents doesn’t mean that ergo that CIA has been cleared of anything. Read more…

Dear President Trump…

February 10th, 2017 No comments

I am going to write an article or post on the myth of law…  But this 9th circuit decision to not reinstate Trump’s order to temporarily stop immigration from 7 countries is really getting to me.  Here is a letter I’d write Trump: Read more…

Categories: Analysis, aside, politics Tags: ,

Not All Silk Roads Are Created Equal

September 15th, 2016 No comments

I recently published this opinion piece on the Saker website, & it was republished in Russia Insider. I also wanted to share it here as well (with a few minor grammatical corrections). Apologies in advance if the pictures turn out blurry, please refer to one of the links above.

Not All Silk Roads Are Created Equal

The Trans-Caspian International Transport Route is unlikely to see high-volume PRC adoption in the near term due to insufficient business and geopolitical value prop

Mister Unknown

Several months ago, there were quite a few news/analysis reports lauding the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR) as a new path for trade along the Silk Road, which is being revitalized by China and its regional partners under the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) project. The TITR is highly attractive to Russia’s geopolitical rivals, such as Georgia and post-Maidan Ukraine (& no doubt the US too), for it is a potential Sino-European trade route across the Eurasian continent that completely bypasses Russian territory. However, there is little/no incentive for China to actively promote or use TITR for large-scale trade in the near future. To expand on this conclusion, this article will cover the following: the basic business value proposition of the land-based Eurasian Silk Road, an outline of the TITR path, a side-by-side comparison of a comparable route (Chongqing-Duisburg, also known as ‘Yuxinou’), and the geopolitical factor.

Read more…

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:

German parliament votes to recognize Armenian genocide

June 2nd, 2016 1 comment
Armenian Genocide

Armenian Genocide

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post about how Germany has cheapened its own history and disregarded its own humanity by turning a blind eye on Japan’s horrific crimes against humanity in China on the eve of the 77th anniversary of the Nanking massacre.

In that piece, I wrote how Germany may not be preaching “universal values” per se, but politically-expedient political myths.  Well, interestingly today, the German parliament voted to recognize the so-called “Armenian genocide” as a true “genocide” and a crime against humanity.  Turkey – which has been both fighting and growing its own brand of  terrorism abroad – is none too thrilled.

I wonder if this is a case of external politics ripening for Germany – as a lapdog of America, which has increasingly seen Turkey drift away – to strike at Turkey?  Or is it a case of Germany finally finding some guts to stand up for history, as this LA Times story seem to report? Read more…

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.

Free Speech Definitely Doesn’t Mean Cost Notwithstanding Speech

February 17th, 2016 1 comment

The recent post by pugster about rioters in Hong Kong brought to my mind some thoughts I had as the Umbrella Revolution was flaming out a couple of years ago.

One of the arguments many people in the West used to denigrate the HK and Mainland government in support of the Umbrella movement was that the rioters had a right to block streets and shut down districts to get their message out.  When some Hong Kongers – siding with HK and Mainland government – pushed back that while freedom of speech grants them the right to protest but not a right to shut down entire districts, they were ridiculed and shamed by the Western press.

Of course, as we know, when the occupy movement flamed across the Western capitals of the world, those governments acted very differently.  The police (even paramilitary forces) soon cracked down and order was soon restored.  But in China, so-called rule of law quickly gets tossed aside in the name of mob rule (I mean “democracy”).  All this reinforced in my mind how “political” “free” speech is.  It is “free” when the politics is palatable.  But when it’s not, the “costs” – be it national security, social peace, whatever – gets framed as the main (only) issues.

This reminds me of another story last year when the Pope visited the U.S.  If people remember, the pope got a “rock star” reception from the media – with the press trumpeting how popular, socially and morally in tune the pope is, especially compared to China’s President Xi (also visiting the U.S. around the same time) who allegedly got a stiff and cool reception. Read more…

How would this story be reported if it were China asking Apple for a way to get into a Terrorist’s phone?

February 17th, 2016 15 comments

Interesting story from NYT today titled “Judge Tells Apple to Help Unlock San Bernardino Gunman’s iPhone.”

Here is an excerpt:

WASHINGTON — A judge in California on Tuesday ordered Apple to help the F.B.I. unlock an iPhone used by one of the attackers in the assault in San Bernardino that killed 14 people in December.

The ruling handed the F.B.I. a potentially important victory in its long-running battle with Apple and other Silicon Valley companies over the government’s ability to get access to encrypted data in investigations. Apple has maintained that requiring it to provide the “keys” to its technology would compromise the security of the information of hundreds of millions of users.

Read more…

Opinion: In Fighting ISIS or Al Qaeda, We Must Take Great Care Not to Demonize Islam

December 10th, 2015 16 comments

Islam[editor’s note: this is a cross-post of an article I posted on the Huffington Post.]

When news arose that the killings in San Bernardino last Thursday was probably terrorist related – that the perpetrators Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik had praised “Allah” and pledged allegiance to ISIS moments before they started their rampage – attention quickly shifted to the Muslim communities for their reactions.

Soon enough, civic and religious leaders of the Muslim communities rolled forward to condemn the attack in no uncertain terms. They called the acts horrific and uncivilized and not in line with their religious or social values.

But talking to my Muslim friends privately, I also get a very real sense of fear. Read more…

U.S. S. China Sea Provocation … What Next?

October 29th, 2015 10 comments

Missile Guided Detroyer LassenThis story has been brewing for a while.  The U.S. has been saying for months that it is going to challenge China’s “increasingly assertive claims” in the S. China Sea … militarily – by sailing warships through some of the most sensitive parts of the S. China Sea. Many have bemoaned when the U.S. appeared to deliberate and delay and delay.  But yesterday, the U.S. finally sailed a destroyer right through an especially “sensitive” area of the S. China Sea – the waters surrounding Zhubi Reef – a site where China has been dredging and building artificial islands over the last few years.

Here is how the NYT – in a article titled “Challenging Chinese Claims, U.S. Sends Warship Near Artificial Island Chain” – reported the story: Read more…

“China 2015 – Leading Global Innovation”: a World Economic Forum debate

October 26th, 2015 No comments

I recently saw a debate I wanted to share, regarding a topic of particular interest for me: innovation in China. A few takeaways I got from this video:

  1. The myth of what I call the “freedom-innovation nexus” is still alive & well.
  2. China is already surpassing the West in some aspects of innovation.
  3. Just as there are no one-size fits all political models, there are no one-size-fits-all innovation models.

Enjoy the debate everyone.

Opinion: U.K. – the Bridge Between East and West? Not So Fast.

October 21st, 2015 6 comments
U.K.-China Toast

U.K.-China Toast

President Xi is visiting the U.K. this week.  There are pageantry … and some $60 Billion US worth of deals.  British Prime Minister has made a big commotion calling it as the “Partner of Choice” in the West for China.

I am sure the British Leadership, Cameron personally, believes that it is in the long-term interest of Britain to mend relationship with China.  But I don’t believe Britain is really a “Partner of Choice.”  It may be a “Partner of Convenience,” but I believe it still cares little for – has little respect for – China … except to make a buck. Read more…

The Ouster of Hung Hsiu-chu

October 20th, 2015 4 comments

Over the weekend, the KMT nullified Hung Hsiu-chu’s nomination and selected party chairman Eric Chu to lead the ticket in the Jan. 16 election.  George Koo wrote a piece about it last week.

I typically don’t comment that much on populist politics since they are fleeting, shallow, and often end up, when on look back, just dust in the wind.

Here are some of my takes: Read more…

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.

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.

Nations Agree on the Trans-Pacific Partnership … and My First Take of Its Significance

October 6th, 2015 4 comments
U.S. vs. China?

U.S. vs. China?

Yesterday, the U.S. and the eleven other nations announced that they had finally – after rounds and rounds of delays – an agreement.  The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have been controversial and widely criticized, with secret negotiations taking place behind closed doors.

Even the ultra liberal and Western brain-washed readers of the New York Times see little to like about the agreement.  For example, within a day of the announcement of the agreement, the top 10 comments (as voted by the readers) in the piece in which the NYT reported read: Read more…

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…

Hillary’s Tweet about China Regarding Women’s Rights … and What it Reveals…

September 28th, 2015 3 comments
Women hold up half the sky.

Women hold up half the sky.

As China and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon get set to co-host a U.N. meeting of world leaders on gender equality and women’s empowerment, Hillary Clinton decided to crash the party.

On Sunday, Hillary tweeted:

Xi hosting a meeting on woman’s rights at the UN while persecuting feminists? Shameless.

This came as a surprise to many Chinese, including me.  Women’s rights is one of the most important achievements of the communist revolution.  Mao has famously pronounced:

Women hold up half the sky.

Since the founding of the PRC, freed of religious ideological baggage, the Chinese Communist Party quickly and successfully integrated women as an important part of modern Chinese society.  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…

Case Study on Democracy and Rule of Law: Japan and the World at a Crossroad?

September 26th, 2015 No comments
Massive Protest Against Abe's New Security Law

Massive Protest Against Abe’s New Security Law

Recently, the Japanese Parliament passed controversial legislation pushed by Abe to allow Japanese forces to fight abroad for the first time since 1945.  Here is how Reuters reported it:

Japan’s parliament voted into law on Saturday a defense policy shift that could let troops fight overseas for the first time since 1945, a milestone in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push to loosen the limits of the pacifist constitution on the military.

Abe says the shift, the biggest change in Japan’s defense policy since the creation of its post-war military in 1954, is vital to meet new challenges such as from a rising China.

But the legislation has triggered massive protests from ordinary citizens and others who say it violates the pacifist constitution and could ensnare Japan in U.S.-led conflicts after 70 years of post-war peace. Abe’s ratings have also taken a hit.

The legislation “is necessary to protect the people’s lives and peaceful way of living and is for the purpose of preventing wars,” Abe told reporters after the bills were approved by the upper house. “I want to keep explaining the laws tenaciously and courteously.”

Japan’s ally the United States has welcomed the changes but China, where bitter memories of Japan’s wartime aggression run deep, has repeatedly expressed concern about the legislation.

China’s Foreign Ministry said the move was “unprecedented”.

“We solemnly urge Japan to learn the lessons of history … uphold the path of peaceful development and act cautiously in the areas of the military and security, and do more to help push regional peace and stability rather than the opposite,” it said.

Not surprisingly, this has incensed a large number of average people in China … and both Koreas … but also (take note!) the people of Japan.  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.

Privacy, National Security, Human Rights, Social Value, Whatever – It’s Whatever the West Says

September 11th, 2015 2 comments
Microsoft

Microsoft, Privacy, and Rights over Ex-territorial Servers

The Economist today had an article on a case involving Microsoft’s alleged refusal to turn over documents stored on a foreign server to FBI. The article can be found here (archived here).

According to the Economist:

SUPPOSE FBI agents were to break into the postbox of an American company in Dublin to seize letters which might help them convict an international drug dealer. There would be general uproar, if not a transatlantic crisis. But that is essentially what the FBI wants to happen, albeit in the virtual realm: it has asked a court to order Microsoft, in its capacity as a big e-mail provider, to hand over messages from a suspect in a drugs case which are stored in a data centre in Ireland. On September 9th an appeals court in New York will hear oral arguments on whether Microsoft has to comply.

The case has many wrinkles … But at the core of the case is one of the most knotty legal questions in the age of cloud computing: how to give law-enforcement agencies access to evidence when laws remain national, but data are often stored abroad and sometimes even at multiple places at once?

This article rightfully brings up conflicts in law in the Internet arena within the West. Over the last few years, certain very public and passionate debates have flared up with Europe and the U.S. regarding privacy, right to delete, and censorship on the Internet.

A few years ago, as early as 2008, when I noticed Google Streetview growing to incorporate the streets of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and other Asian regions, I realized that everyone there simply took it for granted that it’s ok. What Google did must be the right, enlightened, and forward-thinking. Read more…