Category Archives: q&a

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

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

Glaxo CEO Witty on Competiveness and Innovation in China

In this short interview, CEO Witty of Glaxo – British multinational pharmaceutical, biologics, vaccines and consumer healthcare company – said that while Chinese government will continue to have a tension between building its domestic industry and fomenting an open competitive market in which foreign companies participates, it does a good job of making its market fair. Most importantly, Witty notes that it’s important to take a long-term view when it comes to China.  Glaxo intends to embed its Chinese operations into an integral part of the company. You won’t be that successful if you just take a “tourist” of China, he said. Witty says Glaxo intends to profit as well as to innovate in China.

Why does the Dalai Lama’s Visit “Anger” China so Much?

So yesterday I was having dinner with a good friend from the East Coast. And the topic of Obama’s recent meeting with the Dalai Lama came up.

“Why does the Dalai Lama Visit anger China so much,” he asked, among other questions.

On the one hand, the question my friend asks is very legit.  The Chinese government holds all the cards.  With every passing day, Tibet is changing. What do they have to worry about an “old, limping, but kind and gentle-hearted monk”? Continue reading Why does the Dalai Lama’s Visit “Anger” China so Much?

Green Dam-Youth Escort

China Internet

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

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

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

Is China recession proof?

In this McKinsey report, a panel of leading Chinese economists explains how the world’s fastest-growing economy has kept expanding despite the global downturn.

China’s economy has demonstrated remarkable resilience in the midst of a worldwide slump. How has the country coped with the financial crisis? Is China finally emerging as an engine of global demand? Can its economy generate enough new jobs to maintain social stability? What will drive future growth? How should foreign firms in China adapt? In this interview, conducted by McKinsey’s Janamitra Devan in March 2009 in Beijing, four distinguished members of the McKinsey Council on China Business Economists explore these questions. Watch the video, or read the transcript below.
Continue reading Is China recession proof?

(Letter from Joel) How should foreigners feel about being called “鬼子,” “鬼佬,” “老外,” etc.?

I’m on an extended visit back to my hometown, Vancouver, a Canadian city full of Chinese. Chinese is the second-most commonly used language after English. My wife and I were running around a Chinese mall for fun to practice Mandarin and buy some Chinese DVDs when we overheard Chinese people talking about us in Mandarin saying, “Those foreigners are speaking Chinese!” I thought it was funny that even in Canada, Chinese people would call white people “foreigner” (in this case: “外国人”).
Continue reading (Letter from Joel) How should foreigners feel about being called “鬼子,” “鬼佬,” “老外,” etc.?

(Letter from Joel) Understanding popular Chinese notions about “racism” (help me out here!)

I have a growing suspicion that the way many Chinese people understand the word “racism” (or “racist”) is quite different from the way I use it. This causes communication problems because I use the term “racism” like most North Americans do, but my Chinese acquaintances react in ways that don’t seem to make sense. Obviously there’s a disconnect. I want to know why my Chinese friends and acquaintances react the way they do to the term “racism”. How are they understanding this word?
Continue reading (Letter from Joel) Understanding popular Chinese notions about “racism” (help me out here!)

A Discussion On Religion in China

This is a continuation of the discussion from the June 14th 2008 blog entry “Chocolate City” – Africans seek their dreams in China“, an article originally published in The Southern Metropolis Daily Jan 2008. Because of axes and grinding the discussion morphed from a debate about race relations in China to one about religions in China. As I have been invited to turn it into a blog entry and the issue of religions in China appears topical, I am posting the extract from my comments and other posters’ responses and questions, sans editing (apart from my own extract’s typos).

Please Note: I am a newbie at blogging and nor am I a full- time blogger. Any perceived expletives occurred in the heat of passion(ate) (debate), as these things are wont to happen and I beg readers’ indulgence.

Continue reading A Discussion On Religion in China

More on Tibet and Wang Lixiong – Another reader's questions

One of our readers, JL wrote this in an earlier thread:

So Tibet is very similar to the European colonies. Researching this is my day job so I can provide you more references if you want. And I’m disappointed that you would deny it because you think “its dangerous” to do so. I thought you were interested objective reality?

My point here is not that Tibet should be independent, or even that it should be more autonomous: after all the Maori now have very little autonomy in New Zealand. But I would have liked to have seen some honesty regarding Tibetan history from Chinese netizens. Happily, there are Chinese scholars who are more honest about Tibet’s colonial past and present though. I suggest you check out 王力雄, a Beijing based researcher, whose work presents Tibetan history from a fairly neutral perspective.

Your “suggestion” that we read Wang Lixiong’s works is not only patronizing, but also misguided. I’ll respond to this below.

Continue reading More on Tibet and Wang Lixiong – Another reader's questions

Tibet: Answers to a reader's questions

A reader of our blog asked this question on a previous thread:

To Buxi and CLC:
Thanks for your replies. WRT Tibetan independence, some Tibetans seek it, presumably as they see it to be to their benefit. PRC opposes it, as they see it as a detriment. I would like to explore the second part. I’ve read the historical justifications for Tibet being within China, such as the territorial relationship dating back hundreds of years at least. There’s also the point that the PLA moved in to liberate Tibetan serfs and slaves. In moving forward, the principle of “One China” drives policy. My questions are the following:
1. If a majority of the residents of present day Tibet do not want to remain in China (I realize that is a major assumption, and the act of accurately determining that ie a referendum is not a realistic option for the CCP circa 2008), how does it benefit China to keep this territory in the fold? It’s like keeping a bad apple employee within a company: wouldn’t company performance, and the morale of remaining employees, improve by removing said bad apple, such that all who remain truly want to be there, and are willing to wholeheartedly contribute to the “business” of improving China?
2. “One China” is a euphemism I don’t understand. There was, is, and ever will be only one China. The question is what geographical parts you include. Does a region that at one time was considered part of China, need to forever remain so, for the present and future benefit of the whole?

Continue reading Tibet: Answers to a reader's questions