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Response to Ai Weiwei

May 8th, 2017 3 comments

New York Times recently was back to attacking China with articles on overfishing, Namibia uranium mining, and Ai Weiwei talking about free speech and censorship. Although per capital consumption of fish by China is slightly above U.S., the per capital consumption of meat by China is less than 1/2 of U.S.. So it’s rather disingenuous for NYT to focus on fish rather than meat. As for new colonialism as NYT claims about China’s investment in Africa is really laughable as most Africans welcome the investment in infrastructure. China pays for any mineral wealth extracted at world market prices and issue loans at below market advantageous rate. They even implied that the price of uranium dropped by half recently due to Fukushima nuclear disaster, and China is benefitting from this decline.

For opinions inside China, West is somewhat more limited in their arsenal. So they use people like Mr. Ai, since parachuting insurgents to Tibet is no longer an option. They exaggerate people like Mr. Ai of their artistic achievements, give out awards like Nobel Prizes, and use intellectual arguments to appeal to the emerging middle class. I am not a fan of Mr. Ai’s work as an artist, but I want to deal with his argument directly here since NYT doesn’t allow rebuttals in their pages, even negative comments are somewhat hidden and discarded.

Mr. Ai’s arguments consist of 2 prongs, censorship and freedom of speech, to which liberals in the West are self evident good and beyond reproach. I beg to differ here and will hold the politically incorrect position. Since the 1960s, the U.S. Supreme Court has essentially allowed sexually explicit materials without restriction with the possible exception of child pornography. Yet when the opinion was originally written, the community standard was paramount, gradually the community standard eroded until now it’s non existent. Yet the pushback against it probably caused the election of Trump, and of course if you consider the community standard of China and Chinese law, I rest my case. Given the recent cases of murders and suicides in Facebook I think many will favor some censorship even here. Next is the question of political speech which is more problematical. I do think China has the right to push her standard even in the political realm. As China enter the world community, she has her own vision of what society is striving, not individual rights, but societal rights. The alleviation of poverty, basic human dignity, health and education. As China grows richer and stronger, those political speech became less threatening and as anyone can attest, the political space is also growing. Even in the West, the freedom of speech has an exception, that of yelling fire in a crowded theater. In today’s interconnected world resembles a crowded theater, where internet posting of rumors can go viral and cause panic. So such regulation as true name posting is necessary to control sabotage. And of course any postings by terrorists which endanger society are not allowed even in U.S..

As China considers compiling a new Chinese encyclopedia competing against Wikipedia, I do advise her to giving out her narrative to the world, competing against the narrative by the West rather than suppressing it. China should not just give out blank answers to query about Tibet or 6/4, but share the lives of modern Tibet contrasting with dark history of serfs past. The reaction against corruption which triggered the original grievances of 6/4, the martyring of PLA soldiers by mobs on approach to Beijing, the confusion, and tragedies. I watched the recent TV program of the ascent of Qin Empire, in episode 1, the mother of future king told him it would be easy to be a good person, but extremely hard to be a good king. Mr. Ai can easily tot up his earnings of his artworks, for President Xi, it’s the livelihood of 1.3 billion Chinese he has to worry. History will judge the events of 6/4, but looking at history of Arab Spring contrasting with the growth of China’s economy, I think it has already rendered judgment.

 

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Chinese American Male

April 12th, 2017 18 comments

Coming June I will be traveling to Ireland to attend a wedding for my niece. I am happy for her, yet it triggered reflections on my part on the Chinese male/female dynamic, male and female gender ratio imbalance in China, patriarchy and misogyny.
I have 2 nieces, both vivacious and outgoing, having various American boyfriends since high school through college, and good careers in Manhattan and California. They have white boyfriends, the older one was engaged to a Scotsman and now will wed an Irishman, yet neither ever have a Chinese American boyfriend. It’s not because Chinese American males were absent in NYC. I have nephews and knew other friends’ sons, yet they all seem to have difficulty engaging with females. I know most male Chinese Americans are in STEM fields, are introverted, and socially awkward, and I think they make exemplary husbands both in income and respect for women, but maybe not in Hollywood sense of romance. I am sure I am exaggerating to some extend, but I don’t think I am that off the mark. The sense of loneliness probably drove some over the cliff, such as shootings in Virginia Tech and Isla Vista. Though some will take issue with me that Cho was of Korean heritage and Rogers was only half Chinese, but it still holds.
There is no disagreement that human society is a patriarchy except maybe during cave man era. In China, the need for male heir still dominates even in the era of one child policy. Sex selective abortion and abandonment of female babies, which caused gender disparity in China and large adoption of female Chinese babies by Americans. Yet the sex disparity has perversely increased the status of females in China as much as Mao’s dictate of equality of sexes. Hong Kong billionaires may be able to scoop up Olympic female diving champions as their daughter in laws, but villagers short of females must resort to exchange their life saving for Vietnamese brides. In cities like Beijing or Shanghai, one must have an apartment and car ready before wedding bell tolls.
The enrollments in some elite universities has already tipped in favor of females, and that has caused backlashes from males. I suspect Trump’s triumph in the voting booths to some extend was due to misogyny. They disguise the reason for their dislike for Hillary’s Wall Street connection, but now we have a cabinet full of billionaires dismantling any remnants of Obama’s legacy and even some of Roosevelt’s New Deals.
As a male Chinese American, my advice for others is to break away somewhat from the cultural background of Confucian culture of very reserved indifference, be more open to the opposite sex and sexuality. you don’t have to embrace Dionysian carnality, but be open and flowers will help.

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Opioids

March 30th, 2017 1 comment

Reading the news about the opioid epidemic in places like Ohio and middle America elicit mixed feelings in me. I attended primary and junior high school in Shanghai in the 50’s where Chinese history is mandatory. Even today I would think Opium Wars are taught in schools there which left an ineluctable mark in my psychic. When I arrived in Hong Kong in 59 I can’t believe there were addicts there using heroin. Britain forced opium on Chinese in the name of free trade. During the 60s, heroin was mostly a drug for the ghettos and black people., while marijuana was prevalent in colleges for white students I refrain from touching it and the only time I touched cigarette was when I was a child I lighted the cigarettes for my grandma from the coal stove. In a way you can say I was brainwashed or immunized against drug use and Western values.
On the one hand I think white American is reaping the harvest of seeds they sown, yet one can’t help but be sad when one reads about children calling 911 while their parents pass out in the car. The profit motive for drugs, incessant advertising for pain relief, the pressure of life when opportunities disappear all play a role. Even in China today there is some drug use among entertainment stars and in urban areas. Various solutions like Singapore’s zero tolerance and heavy penalties, Philippine’s death squads, U.S.’s heavy incarceration rate, or Europe’s free drug use in controlled clinics are all in use and failing. I think education as taught in China is the only effective solution together with effective enforcement.

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Second Annual Poetry Competition

February 23rd, 2017 1 comment

Although this is more about memorization and understanding of Chinese poetry than actual writing of new poems, the 10 sessions of competition which can be accessed on YouTube is refreshing and revealing. I highly recommend them to all Chinese interested in Chinese values. Although you need to understand Chinese and be somewhat proficient in language as even some non-Chinese competitors are.
For someone like me who’s been in West for a long time; looking through tinted glass at events in China; making value judgments of events there whether pro or con, surprised and shocked at the fast pace of changes occurring there, depressed and outraged about all the corruptions revealed in the last 3 years of anti-corruption campaign, one can’t help but be hopeful as those videos reveal China being in the right and healthy direction.
Capitalism is by nature revolutionary and corrosive, sweeping all traditional cultures before it like a tsunami. One can look at the Native American cultures disintegrating even after the genocide had stopped. I worked for a while in Alaska, where federal government gave back some lands and money to the natives to form various native corporations in early 70s. Yet despite some attempt to stay dry and ban alcohol in the native villages, alcoholism and resulting domestic violence is endemic and destroying their cultures. The same is true for Native Americans in lower 48 states; maybe some casinos and welfare generate some revenue to alleviate some suffering, but I am not optimistic in the final outcome.
For a while Chinese media in their reform and recoil against Maoism, produced imitations of western shows which depressed me. I remember once I looked at my wife’s IPad when she was watching a dating show, during which a man was showing his various good qualities and about 20 women showed their interest by leaving their lights on. When a new contestant, reasonable good looking young man, but his occupation being a bus driver, all the lights immediately turned off. It’s obvious money and wealth will be the final determination.
During the poetry competition, there were various segments introducing contestants to show their backgrounds, from teenagers in grade schools to Russian and Congolese studying in Chinese universities. I was most impressed with 2 segments, one was a teacher from the minority nationality who graduated from college and returned to her native village in Southwest mountains to teach poor left over primary students. The other was a woman farmer, a cancer survivor, reading poetry on her commute to hospital for treatments, she took 3 or more buses and train to save commuting cost instead of direct long distance bus. Those 2 segments revealed the problems of education and health concerns for rural areas and were very inspirational. The eventual winner was a 16 years old high school female student from Shanghai. The fact that Chinese parents are encouraging their sons and daughters to study traditional poetry in addition to STEM is a revelation. The fact that most of the winners were girls and women showed why China is different from those Muslim countries where their resistance to modernity will fail without equality.

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A Fancyful Suggestion

February 2nd, 2017 6 comments

I think everyone know about Trump’s temper tantrum against Australia Prime Minister by now. Giving China’s interest in “One Belt, One Road” and the interest in attracting talents from the rest of the world in considering giving green cards to foreigners to work in China, I think there is a relative inexpensive and powerful argument to offer Australia in accepting the 1,250 refugees that Trump most likely will reject.
China already offer scholarships to third world countries to study in China. Absorbing 1,250 people, mostly women and children and college educated men will be easy. China needs people grateful for the chance to start anew, with language skills (Persian and Arabic) for the Silk Road Project. I do not discount the propaganda value which cannot be measured.
Of course this will enrage Trump or maybe he’ll like it as that takes a problem off his hand. As some of you know Trump’s advisor, Steve Bannon has already said war with China in 5-10 years will be inevitable. Additionally this will really shut up all those human right advocates and make them speechless.

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Obama’s Foreign Policy, World Less Safe and America not a Shining Beacon to the World.

January 30th, 2017 4 comments

Donald Trump has taken over the presidency and Obama’s foreign policy has taken to the scrapheap. Many other presidents try to aim to use their goodwill to set an example as a world power by Obama is just trying too much to impose America’s will over other countries at the same time, namely China and Russia, that ultimately backfired and made China and Russia less dependent on America.

In Russia’s example, the US has staged a coop against the Ukraine, which ultimately allowed Russia to annex Crimea and there are deep instability within the Ukraine. The US has paid terrorists to destabilize Syria and Russia has been trying to get rid of ISIS while the US has been hampering these efforts. Other sophomoric efforts by the US to embarrass Russia are with the IOC athletes ban and putting additional sanctions by blaming Russia for the ‘hacked’ elections ultimately are desperate actions by the US and does nothing but to piss Russia off while not hurting them.

In China’s example, the “Pivot to Asia” policy is Obama’s biggest mistake. Duterte will no longer be America’s lapdog in enforcing its win in the South China Seas, as much as the other ASEAN countries. The TPP, which is largely a rebuke against China’s trade policies will be scrapped, but China’s One Belt One Road Policy will largely go forward to counter America’s policy to China, Not to mention that President Xi has come out against US and Europe’s protectionist policies.

Ultimately the worst part of Obama’s “Pivot to Asia” policy is the buildup of military in the Asia Region.  As a result, China has been spending more money on modernizing its military and prepared to counteract US’ capability.  In Addition North Korea has built up nuclear capabilities and US did nothing about it except expecting China to deal with it.

As I said in the beginning, many other presidents try to focus on one region, Reagan in Russia, the 2 Bushes on the Middle east,  Nixon Sino-Soviet Split.  Obama’s foreign policy has been disastrous in the middle east, Russia and China.  As a result, Russia and China has increased cooperation economically and politically which will not be broken for some time.  This results that many foreign countries will be less dependent on the US and the west for the years to come.  With Trump and many European countries turning more protectionist, many weaker Latin American, Africian, and other Southeast Asian will be looking towards China and Russia for help instead of the West.

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Interesting Trip Journal by Canadian Traveler to China

January 21st, 2017 3 comments

Here is the link to an interesting trip journal by a Canadian recently traveling to China. Many good points and food for thoughts. Political – sure, but in a raw, intelligent, sincere, and honest way. I hope you enjoy!

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白卷英雄”与“亿万富翁”:谁才是真正的张铁生? Who’s the Real Zhang Tiesheng?

January 6th, 2017 No comments

I was scanning stories on guancha.cn, suddenly a headline triggered my curiosity. ” Who’s the most beautiful stock sold ( reduction of ownership sale) person?”. Upon reading the article, I decided to investigate further and searched Wikipedia. There are only short articles about him, but on the Chinese Wikipedia, it is more detailed.
When I was a child in grade school, I was a somewhat indifferent student, but I still remember more than 60 years later, the moving interview by Wei Wei, “Who’s the most beautiful person?”, about Chinese volunteer in the Korea War, munching dry grain and eating snow while answering his questions in the trenches. Nowadays articles using ” Who’s the most beautiful —-, teacher, doctor, etc.” to attract attention for stories usually about someone with admirable qualities or selfless deeds.
Zhang Tiesheng became a hero during Cultural Revolution when during the first aborted college entrance examination in 1973, he wrote on the back of the mostly empty answers why he’s failing the exam. He got accepted to a veterinary college and his letter was published nationally and debated. When the Gang of Four was arrested he was also arrested and tried for being a counterrevolutionary. He refused court appointed lawyer and refused to recant and bear witness against Mao’s nephew who championed him. He became a villain for those who suffered during CR and received the longest prison sentences ( 15 years ) for those intellectuals that opposed Deng with a speech. Those who are versed in Chinese can read about him in Wikipedia/Chinese. Upon release from jail, he served the full 15 years with no reduction because he refuse to confess or admit he committed any crime. He with others started an animal feed company, and now he’s worth about $100 million U.S.. The article on guancha.cn talk about the reasons of his stock sale, for family, relatives, and charities.
I did have vague memories reading from NY Times at that time about him turning in blank exam answers, yet the details of the story is so different and moving. He has to write letters to his fiancée who insist on waiting for him to not wait for him. Another girl did wait for the full 15 years to marry him. I instinctive like him when looking at the pictures when his company became public, with everyone in tie and suit except him in sweater.
Recently CCTV released videos titled “To make irons one has to be self strong”, about communist leaders from provinces and even from inspection team leaders that committed bribery and corruptions that each came to hundred of millions of yuans. They confessed their failings and be lessons for others. Also news recently published about 2 cases of executed innocents their verdict being reversed. One of the Wikipedia story has Zhang Tiesheng, when he was a village cadre, demanded that the deputy party secretary’s young son, who destroyed an inner tube to make slings pay back the village for the damage as public property. I wonder when Xi demands that communist cadre be selfless, that maybe he should also reverse some of the verdicts of CR and let justice prevail.

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In US’s Consumption Economy, Tariffs are just pointless Government Accounting Tricks

January 3rd, 2017 4 comments

First, a simple case of fact of what happens to a massive tariff against Chinese made products.

In 2011, US imposed a massive tariff against Chinese made solar panels and cells.  In 2013, EU followed with a 50% tariff against Chinese made solar panels and cells.  In order to “keep US and EU solar companies competitive against unfair dumping”.

Now, 3-6 years after that, the tariffs are still in place, but nothing else changed much.  Chinese solar companies grew in market share.  No US or EU solar company booms.  Solar panels and cells prices continued to drop.  (Solar module prices dropped from about $0.70 per watt 2013 to about $0.55 per watt 2016).

There is no teeth in the tariffs, when big international companies are involved.  (They simply hire lawyers to get around the tariffs, or they find a way to make the consumers pay for it).

This is the same for iPhones and cars.

Read more…

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My Homeland/Motherland

December 20th, 2016 No comments

一条大河波浪宽 风吹稻花香两岸 我家就在岸上住 听惯了艄公的号子
看惯了船上的白帆 这是美丽的祖国 是我生长的地方 在这片辽阔的土地上
到处都有明媚的风光 姑娘好像花儿一样 小伙儿心胸多宽广 为了开辟新天地
唤醒了沉睡的高山 让那河流改变了模样 这是英雄的祖国 是我生长的地方
在这片古老的土地上 到处都有青春的力量 好山好水好地方 条条大路都宽畅
朋友来了有好酒 若是那豺狼来了 迎接它的有猎枪 这是强大的祖国
是我生长的地方 在这片温暖的土地上 到处都有和平的阳光

Recently in August, Lung Ying-tai, former culture minister of Taiwan (2012-2014), an essayist and cultural critic, gave a speech in Hong Kong University titled, “One Song, One Era”, which came to internet in December became viral and elicited many comments from China. During the speech she asked audience for their “Enlightenment Song”, and a vice president of Methodist University replied “My Homeland”, She understood it to be a red song, yet was not even aware of its existence; caught in embarrassed smile, she asked him to sing its lyrics. He started to sing and the audience joint in, and the resulting video became viral. She wrote an article in Dec 18 defending her speech against critics. She praised the vice president for his courage to be politically incorrect, giving the climate of young students in Hong Kong at present, acknowledging she didn’t know the song, but criticizing her critics for politicizing culture, asking whether they are tired of being political, for militarize it, and saying sometimes a river is just a river, and a rice flower is just a rice flower.
Giving the fact she was a minister of culture, and a cultural critic, the fact she was unaware of the most famous red song other than the Chinese national anthem is laughable. The theme of her speech was songs and their ramification, and trying to say a river is just a river is insulting the intelligence of her audience. After all, the song she quoted, John Lennon’s “Imagine”, is very much an attack on capitalism and religion. It’s certainly not just idle imagination.
The singing of red songs recently also triggered debates in China as it also triggered reflections on Cultural Revolution and Mao. With Mao’s birthday less than a week away it’s useful to reflect on our heritage.

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How should China deal with Trump?

December 13th, 2016 2 comments

With his Twitter comments Trump has exploded the illusions of those who believed his election is good for China and U.S.. As for being good for U.S. I just need to list his appointments for his cabinets of fellow billionaires, anti-labor, anti-minimal wage increases, non-believers of climate changes, anti-choice etc. While the slogan ” Make America Great Again” is catchy and his campaign against foreign involvements are superficially appealing, to me it was always based on false premises. For how can you increase military spending, more personnel, more warships, more fighters, while retrench foreign involvements? Empire does not voluntarily retrench. To make American great again, you need to put down any upstart challengers, and the number one on the target is of course China.
Trump is to me like a mafia godfather sitting in his lair, Trump Tower receiving obeisance and tributes from former competitors and underlings. He demands more protection money from Japan and Europe, provoking China and Iran while embracing Russia with childish delight, and dispensing favors like Carrier jobs and throwing thunderbolts like criticizing F35 and Air Force-1 costs. His inauguration is more than 1 month away, but China better be prepared for his ascension.
Many in Chinese media consider Trump to be a businessman, and doing business was no problem for China, but that was obviously a mistake. For a godfather, Don Drumpf will be my way or highway, China has to be firm. Trade obviously will be the first casualty, expect some tariffs and retaliations. Taiwan obvious will be the redline, core interest for China, but China should play a waiting game. There is no point in confronting U.S. militarily at present. Continue the one road, one belt strategy, move more aggressively in space technology. Embrace other powers in Europe, Germany, Iran, Cuba etc. Wait out the Trump bubble to burst in U.S..

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“The Coming War on China” by John Pilger

December 11th, 2016 No comments

Sorry, don’t have a good link yet for this documentary but this is the best one….  If anybody finds a better one, let me know.

In any case, I have made comments that under Obama is the biggest threat to world peace and why Trump presidency is a good thing.  Yes, I believe that Trump is a corporate con artist but its appointments of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and China’s Ambassador Terry Branstad seems that there might be better relations between US and Russia and China.  We will never know what happen to US/China relations until he becomes president next year.  But the recent departure of park geun-hye and the Philippines’ Duterte who don’t want confrontations in the SCS, perhaps there will be some peace in the future.

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Donald Trump is the proof of HH was right about Democracy, No Schadenfreude on HH Critics, Just Pity on the Pre-Truthers

November 29th, 2016 4 comments

At the very least, they wasted their energy huffing and puffing about China, while they should have kept their eyes on their own homes.  (A lesson not lost on HH folks, who are keen to keep a watch on China).

At the apparent, their own “liberalism” against China showed why Trump won.  Their stereotyping of China and Chinese people paved way to Trump style stereotypes and fake news and “post-truths”.

HH has warned them for years.  They chalked it up to “Chinese nationalism”.  Now they see the same tactics turned on them in their homeland in US and in Europe.

Read more…

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What Did the Accident Reveals?

November 27th, 2016 1 comment

Recently the tragic news of collapse of cooling tower work platform killing 72 workers in Jiangxi province caused the usual flurry of blame casting and scapegoating. It was revealed that wooden supports were prematurely dismantled, that cement curing was slow down by cold weather, that it happened during a shift change so it might be overloaded, that fast forced schedule while ignoring safety concerns and adequacy of management control were all mentioned. So is the need for market return and profits. President Xi and Premier Li both issued instructions on necessity for a transparent investigation. Yet for a non technical observer like me, the biggest elephant in the room is not mentioned.
As someone concerned about climate warming I do read about the CO2 emission on coal fired power plant in China. I understand that’s one of the zombie industries in China with large overcapacity, with utilization rate close to 50%, that a lot of the coal fired power plants are losing money. While central government issue orders to slow or stop more constructions and local governments disregarded such orders and kept constructions going. I wonder if there is such a dead line for further coal fired power plant from center and locals instead accelerate the construction trying to beat the deadline? That’s the one question I wish the central government to resolve rather than pro forma firing of bottom managements.

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50 years after the “Cultural Revolution”, Trump’s “Great Cultural Revolution” of the Stupid Populism

November 22nd, 2016 3 comments

This is where I disagree with my friends on HH about Donald Trump.  Maybe because I’m a cynic at heart, maybe because I don’t trust “Great” sales pitches.

Or maybe, because I lived through part of the “Great Cultural Revolution”, which gives me some perspective to call BS.

Here on HH, I have previously written about the Cultural Revolution, its good and its bad.  I have an ambivalent feeling about CR.  The worst of it was the self-destructive hate that it unleashed upon the Chinese people.  How it held back China.  How it wasted the youths of an entire generation.  The ONLY good that came out of it, was the destruction of Chinese irrational faith in political systems and cult of leadership.  Populism was rife through the Cultural Revolution, but it was ultimately its own undoing.

I have no love for the Democrats or the Republicans, both so reliant upon the ideologies of Western Imperialism as their go to strategy.

But I have no desire to see anyone go through a “Great Cultural Revolution” under the Great Leader Donald Trump and his dynastic spawns of multiple concubines.

Is this Trump’s “Great Cultural Revolution”?  At least 1 Trump Supporter thought so:  https://resurgencemedia.net/2016/10/30/the-donald-trump-movement-is-a-cultural-revolution-a-true-revival-of-what-made-america-great/amp/

Read more…

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

November 11th, 2016 6 comments

Many Americans by now are protesting Trump presidency, complaining in social media and especially in the Calexit vote.  Many people are figuring out ways to leave the country and it seems that Western Media forgot why Trump was elected in the first place.

The Democratic party was the party who represented the poor people.  It wasn’t until President (Bill) Clinton who drafted NAFTA which allowed jobs to be shipped overseas and de-regulating wall Street.  These policies are more Republican than democratic which would not be possible even under President Reagan.  Now we have Obama did didn’t do a damn thing about it, in fact, want to enact the TPP which would further screw the poor people and Hillary Clinton would further continue Obama’s failed policies.

Trump’s message to the rustbelt is to convey those messages that Hillary would continue Obama and Bill Clinton failed domestic policies and decided to vote for him instead.   What remains to be seen is that if Trump will actually promise to bring the jobs back.  However within the DNC there is already a revolt that the corporate eliteists who colluded with the Media are already on its way out.  If the democrats are smart, they should go back to the grass roots and appeal to the downtrodden instead of appealing to the corporate elites.

Many people believe that Republicans are bigger war hawks than the Democrats.  This is entirely false.  Since Obama became president, there has been many countries which has been destabilized including the Arab Spring uprising in many Middle Eastern countries.  Many other countries has been thrown to disarray like Libya, Syria, Honduras, Venezuela, Brazil, Ukraine and etc…  To maintain American Hegemony, Obama has been causing this problem to the rest of the world including the Asian Pivot as well as funding the NDI in the ‘localists’ movement.  Many republicans want to maintain American hegemony by being dominant in business and making money.  The problem with Democrats is that they are funded by the defense industries in selling Arms and using proxies instead of American troops to destabilize other countries, which would cause more of an blowback to America.

I would predict that in the next 4 years that many the South China Seas dispute would not be in the headlines and many Asian Countries would settle their disputes in a bilateral manner instead of dragging the UN into this.  In the North Korea issue, I would predict that the 6 party talks would start and the US would have a less heavy handed response than Obama would.  I would also predict that the ‘localists’ movement in Hong Kong would plateau and perhaps it will eventually die down.

Within the next 4 years in the US, I would predict that Trump is a Businessman who will probably ignore the rustbelt states, largely reneging its promise to bring jobs back to the US.  The voters in those states are there to remind us that they are hurting and America should focus on domestic issues rather maintaining its global hegemony like what the Democrats are doing.  Hopefully the Democrats will clean house and bring back candidates who can bring real change and not corporate elitists like Obama and the Clintons.  I also expect the next 4 years would be chaotic, but I have a saying: “You can’t get rid of dead wood in the forest unless you have a forrest fire.”  Maybe a forest fire is the exact thing we need.

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Democracy as Fiction Revealed by Events in Hong Kong and U.S.

November 2nd, 2016 23 comments

One of the cardinal rules of democracy is voting, and its corollary, the rule of law. Over history, from Plato, Magna Carta, U.S. Constitution, to today, liberals have the myth that it’s sacrosanct and inviolable. Critics, which I include myself, have always questioned whether voting with insufficient information or education, does really serve society well. It may well be an elitist view, but recent events in U.S. and Hong Kong shows the fallacy of so call democracy.
I will not belabor the problems in U.S. other than the fact voting since its inception was restricted to propertied white male, the genocide of Indians and local tribes, those worthless treaties with them, slavery, and now the basket of deplorable that constitute 40% of U.S. electorate, that essentially believe a flat earth, biblical past utopia. And their leading con-man Trump might well be the next president with the fate of the world held in his nuclear trigger fingers.
Actually I want to talk more about the event in Hong Kong, the local election of 2 Youngspiration legislators, their failed oath taking and insult to China. The legal professionals in Hong Kong, both the insurgents and main business elites, were horrified that Chinese People’s Congress probably will preempt their judicial process by imposing their interpretation of Basic Laws by settling once and all, any wishful thinking of an independent Hong Kong. When Deng allowed the 1 country-2 systems for 50 years, he was postponing and hoping the gradual merge of differences between China and Hong Kong. As the past 20 years showed, the economic disparity is gradually disappearing. Shanghai is gradually overtaking Hong Kong as financial center. Hong Kongers feel their special status is threatened economically and politically. China allowed Hong Kong to be a special status after liberation because of the embargo and need for opening to the world. That raison no longer exist today. China has been mollycoddling Hong Kong when they push back on education reform and election. I think it’s time for Xi to force the issue for Hong Kong to face the reality. If some Hong Kong people think they can carve some special privilege by voting some insurgents to bargain, then they have another thing coming. The judicial system in Hong Kong is leftover from colonial British system, and it’s time for them to change. The 1 country – 2 systems was a transitional process, not set for permanent one. It’s well past time for the fiction of democracy, a fig leaf to be revealed.

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Crisis of U.S. Democracy and Lessons for China

October 9th, 2016 5 comments

Tonight will be the second presidential debate, and it will confirm Trump meltdown obvious to elites in U.S.. 15 Republican senators have asked Trump to withdraw or disavowed him and counting. Yet the problem will not be solved with the coronation of Hillary. The gap between rich and poor, 99% versus 1%, will still yawn wide. The electoral system of U.S. is over 250 years old, yet it is undemocratic in its origin, and almost impossible to reform. Even with the new Supreme Court and possible repudiation of “Citizens United” decision, I see no real change except marginal improvement in the live of ordinary citizens.
The public opinion polls on Brexit vote, Columbian cease fire accord vote, both predicted passage, yet due to low participation or indifference of young voters, both failed. U.S. election might yet go that way except for Trump meltdown. Professor Qiang Ge of Central Party School, a self professed Trump fan, wrote in guancha.cn after the first debate, questioned a CNN poll of Hillary win by using right wing internet polls for Trump win to question the validity of polls in general. For me it’s not surprising most Chinese have little knowledge of U.S. politics or political process, but I find it dangerous that Central Party School, where provincial and higher officials attend classes to further their education, is not well informed. I mentioned Central Party School because another professor, Wang Changjiang was recently under attack by Maoists for disrespecting Mao.
As public opinion polls show, U.S. with her high college attendance compare to others is still very poorly informed and anti-science. With 40% believe earth is 10,000 years old, with 46% against evolution as creationists, thus even with Trump’s meltdown, politics in U.S. will be challenging in the future. Chinese leaders will need to be well informed in dealing with U.S.. I recently watched a TV program, “Choice, 2016, Frontline”, which gives very good background information on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and I recommend highly to all interested. As China moves to a service and knowledge economy, the problems faced by U.S., rich and poor divide, automation and job loss, loss of confidence in government, will show up in China also. China in addition faces a serious corruption problem which will not be easily solved. Remember, the events of 89 was triggered by backlash against corruption.  The democracy in U.S. is flawed, I do hope China can draw lessons from it, more than just editorialize it in People’s Daily on its failure.

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Clinton vs Trump

September 24th, 2016 7 comments

In 2 more days, there will be the first presidential debate, and 45 more days before election determining the next president of U.S.A.. As a Chinese American I would like to share my view on the coming election as it will affect everyone profoundly one way or another. For many Chinese it looks to be a play of the theatre of absurd, cynical entertainment value to be sure, but irrelevant to their lives. With the large immigration of Chinese to U.S., and the large Chinese student population here, the political view has been gradually changing. It use to be Chinese Americans tended toward Republican Party, self centered toward financial security, conservative family value oriented, and absorbing societal biases against blacks as threat against law and order. with the first waves of immigrants in 60’s being anti-communists from Hong Kong and Taiwan. Yet the second and third generations now are more liberal and tend toward Democratic Party as shown on the electoral success of Obama. It can’t be understated the emergence of China as a world power on the sense of self confidence of Chinese Americans.
The appeal of Trump to the “Basket of Deplorable” is self evident, but he also appeals to the victims of globalization, disaffected, and those that fear any changes of status quo in a fast changing world. Even I, who is a beneficiary of immigration, when laughing at his comment of Wall on Mexico border, sometimes feel the need for immigration reform or need to close the border at some point. I am a New Yorker, I do know a con when I see it, yet even when I know the game of 3 cards Monte is rigged, I still sometimes has the urge to play it, and Donald trump is the quintessential con man, and many people will fall for it. He reminds me of the character in Stephen King’s novel, “The Dead Zone”, as played by Martin Sheen in the movie, he may trigger a nuclear holocaust. I know some will think I am paranoid, overhype, and biased, but anyone with serious thinking knows that Trump is a fraud, and Germany did elect Hitler to power.

As for Hillary Clinton, I know all about Whitewater, email, and all the pseudo scandals swirl around her. I do think many are due to her gender, many women think she should have divorced Bill. Many think she leveraged her husband’s presidency to get rich and are envious. I wonder all those Hillary haters are aware of her biography, her history, not the republican narrative. In the final analysis this election will shed light of we Americans as a people, whether we are decent, self aware, responsible people or a final nail on democracy as a fiction.

 

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A Relaxing Side of the G20 Summit at Hangzhou

September 8th, 2016 1 comment

If you like dance show and have an hour to kill, you might want to take a look at the closing ceremony of the recently held G20 Summit. It is a nice combination of traditional Chinese and European orchestra.

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Trump Jr. (Rodrigo Duterte)- Our Man in Manila

September 1st, 2016 10 comments

With the musical chair of democracy spinning out of control; Rodrigo Duterte has replaced Aquino in Philippine, and Hillary Clinton likely to hold off Donald Trump in U.S. in November. Obama will be in Hangchow for the G20 meeting and continue to spin his pivot to Pacific, with Philippine the center piece of his strategy with the return of U.S. bases there. Yet Duterte will be a headache for Hillary after her inauguration. She may have hold off fascist challenge by Trump with the support of the ruling elites, but she will have her hands full in implementing a humane immigration policy, challenging 1% with tax policy and minimum wages, revitalizing the economy by infrastructure spending, and dealing with recalcitrant Congress. Despite all the negative press about her emails and Clinton Foundation, which I think are trivial non issues spun by her opponents, I have always like her and wish her well. The only disagreement being her vote on Iraq War which I gave her a pass as she can’t realistically vote no being a senator from New York after 9/11.
Being a champion of human rights (Women rights are human rights), she can’t possibly ignore the action of the death squads with count now probably way over 2,000. For what is more human right than the right to life? With the annual human rights report by State department due out in April, Hillary can’t help but antagonize Duterte and jeopardize the bases.

It’s instructive to see the non response of the Western media whom championed human rights and criticize China whenever some human right lawyers got jailed, and silence on Philippine after the initial flurry of social media going viral on the wife holding her dead husband killed by the death squad, the double standard and limits on freedom of speech speak volumes. For China dealing with Duterte will be delicate but straight forward. China has a non-interference policy on internal affairs of other country. It will be up to Philippine to deal with the question of Duterte. As for the arbitration award China does not recognize its validity, and Duterte has said he’s not stupid enough to provoke militarily, and if he waves the paper China will just ignore him. China will be happy to maintain status quo by continuing to build up her islands or negotiate if other side is realistic. For U.S. Duterte is like ” Our Man in Havana” as described by Graham Greene, a liability best forgotten.

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Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) Re-Writes UNCLOS Into a Treaty That No One Agreed To, and the “you didn’t say no, so it wasn’t rape” argument of PCA

August 24th, 2016 No comments

There are a lot of problems with the PCA’s recent decisions on SCS.

First, there is the jurisdiction issue, whether the PCA had the authority to decide this case, even though China rightfully opted out of arbitration.  It’s an important question of consent to arbitration.  If China didn’t consent to arbitration, it’s PCA’s overreach, which makes PCA a violator of the UNCLOS treaty terms.

But even if you say that’s just a procedural issue, then there is the substantive problem with the PCA’s decision, where PCA’s literally RE-wrote the UNCLOS treaty into a treaty that no one agreed to.

In effect, the PCA was given Solomen’s Choice to split a baby, but the PCA decided that all Babies are Orphans.

Read more…

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Arab Winter

August 14th, 2016 3 comments

When Professor Zhang of Fudan University used the term of Arab Winter as counter to criticism of China in being not responsive as Arab Spring to liberal reforms, he was not being flippant, but simply stating a fact which West avoids. Similarly when a Chinese college student responded to a question on China by posting 2 pictures of Shanghai skyline from the early 90s and today she was making a point which can also be make with 2 pictures of Aleppo from then and today.
With the newspaper industry in decline in U.S. and investigative reporting under pressure from profit squeeze it was gratifying that New York Times in the Sunday August 14 issue, devoting the whole magazine issue to Middle East. In reporting by Scott Anderson and photos by Paolo Pellegrin, it chronicled in detail 5 parts from 1972 to today of 6 people from various parts of Middle East and the realities of the countries involved.
Mr. Anderson puts the blame on colonial Britain and France for carving up Middle East without regard for their cultures and geography, blames U.S. policy makers for their short sights and of course the dictators in those countries. Others like Thomas Friedman blamed it partly on drought or climate change for driving the people away from land to the cities. Yet for all the blaming going on there is really no solution in sight and the article ends with pessimism for the region, with maybe some hope those who escaped to Germany or next generation emigrated there.
For someone like me who have lived in U.S. for over 55 years and obsessively read all the news happening around the world, this is not really news and conclusions obvious. Yet there is one item all seem to miss when discussing China or Middle east.
In the song “East is Red”, Mao is a great savior of the people. People in West think it’s propaganda, yet they will be really offended if you question about Jesus Christ being a savior. Similarly present day government in China wants to down play the role of Mao, while others wants to demonize him by blaming CR on him. Mao, like Marx is a man ahead of his time. Without him there is really no new China. Middle East, Islam, lack a man like Mao, who can reform Islam and bring it from the Middle Age to modernity as Mao did to China, or Martin Luther did to bring Christianity. Mao said, women are half the sky, and Islam will never be modern without the women being equal.

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Where have all the Flowers/Heroes gone?

June 29th, 2016 5 comments

Growing up in the 60s with all the music from Beatles to Rock’ n ‘Rolls, I gravitate more to folk songs by Pete Seeger and Joan Baez. The song “Where have all the flowers gone” is always one of my favorites. Today with the younger generation or millennials questioning all the values, knocking all heroes from their pedestals, decry all politicians for their failure to be authentic, worshipping only make believe super heroes from Marvel Comics or movies like “Star Wars”, or even feeling the Bern of Bernie Sanders, I wonder whether they carried their cynicism too far. Two recent movies by HBO, “Confirmation” and “Going All the Way”, About Anita Hill and Lyndon Johnson, both affected politics in U.S. very much for the last 50 years, generated excellent reviews, but little resonance to the market place.
This phenomenon of questioning everything seem to be infecting China also. Yesterday I read an article from NYT (Sinosphere), “Chinese Court Orders Apology Over Challenge to Tale of Wartime Heroes”. Mr. Hong Zhenkuai questioned the validity of narrative of 5 martyrs of Langya Mountain, on whether they really jumped or slipped, or whether many Japanese were killed or just injured during the engagement. There were others in Weibo questioning other heroes during the Korea War. I wrote a comment back;
“Does it really matter whether any Japanese died there? Does it matter that someone else was identified as raising the flag in Okinawa? Mr. Hong is not really interested in debunking the narrative of 5 martyrs, he’s more interested in debunking the whole narrative of Chinese Revolution. For that he should be more than required to apologize for defamation, maybe expelled to U.S. for a faculty position in Ivy League.”
This questioning of war time heroes generated large backlashes in China from the left, not only on the specific questions, but also on the economic reform of the last 35 years, whether China is on the correct path, and of course the historical evaluation of Mao and Cultural Revolution.

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Extremely biased Aljazeera program

June 18th, 2016 4 comments
Extremely biased by Aljazeera English
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F821Fe2_wBk
If you get the message «The uploader has not made this video available to your country», try http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/headtohead/2015/01/transcript-dr-zhang-weiwei-150130115930963.html
 …
«Interviewer»: Mehdi Hasan (born in the UK)
«Guest»:
Zhang Weiwei, professor of international relations at Fudan University; author of «The China Wave: Rise of a Civilizational State» (World Century Publishing Corporation, 2012)
In the panel:
Diane Wei Liang, who left China in august 1989 for US and now lives in London; author of «Lake With No Name – a memoir of Tiananmen and love.» https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_drwuQ8o1R0
Steven Chan, professor of international relations at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London; author of the book «Robert Mugabe: A Life of Power and Violence», https://www.amazon.com/Robert-Mugabe-Life-Power-Violence/dp/0472113364
In the audience:
Amnesty international Asia Pacific director Richard Bennet asking on behalf of «New citizens’ movement» 中国新公民运动 – which in 2014 got NEDs (CIA) «Democracy Award», http://www.ned.org/events/2014-democracy-award/
Rahima Mahmud, probably East Turkestan movement
Here are some comments to the program from Youtube:
«This man is so rude. He don’t even give the guest a chance to speak.»
«… the interviewer in this video is very obnoxious and disrespectful, if I’m Dr Zhang Weiwei, I will tell him: «Your country is advance enough to give you this level of education of manners.»
«The interviewer is very unprofessional. Your job is to ask questions and listen, not to express your opinions and argue with the guest let alone adding insults and condescension to your speech for a subject that you do not fully understand.»
«Quality of the questions are below bar. Typical biased provocation.»
«The whole purpose of this is to humiliate Zhang»
«This racist Indian is not qualified to host event, he is extremely rude»
«Thank you Mehdi Hasan. I’ve learned absolutely nothing.»
«The more propaganda against China by BBC, CNN & now Al Jazeera, the more I admire China.»
Regards Rolf
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Blowback: America’s Failed Foreign Policy Comes Full Circle

June 12th, 2016 6 comments

In the wake of the worst shooting massacre in Orlando nightclub, we start seeing mass killings done by mentally sick individuals change to ISIS sympathizers.  It started from the 2015 San Bernardino shooting whose roots come from Pakistan and this shooting comes from a person whose roots come from Afghanistan.

Countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan were significantly altered as the result of the wars after 9/11.  President Bush has altered the landscape of these countries and including Iraq which has created many of these ISIS sympathizers caused terrorist attacks within Europe.  Only now these sickos started to come full circle back here in the US.

President Obama and his Secretary of State Clinton has made this problem worse by supporting terrorists in Libya and Syria.  The difference between Obama and Bush was that Bush spent money in trying to rebuild Afghanistan and Iraq.  Obama and Clinton cares little about rebuilding countries that he destroyed and pulled troops and resources from these countries as well as countries that was devastated by Bush, creating the mass refugee migration to Europe and allowed terrorist organization like ISIS to fester to a cancer now which Europe and US are struggling to try to contain.

When will America wake up that the failed leaders causing this problem in the first place?  Even western propaganda knows that these homegrown ISIS inspired terrorists attacks won’t be the last.   In our election cycle, we have one presidential candidate who wants to ban all Muslims while another candidate will continue Obama’s failed foreign policy.  So at least for the next 4 years, we will be screwed.

The Real Dirt on AMSC’s Hidden Encryption on Wind Turbine Controllers in China

May 31st, 2016 No comments

They might be illegal, and that’s why AMSC tried so hard to hide it.

The problem with Encryption software, even ancillary encryption SW (the ones used for digital signatures and copyright protections), is that they are Export-controlled by US, which restricts their exports to China (source code and the compiled binary).

What’s worse for AMSC, even if US approves, China has regulations on IMPORTS of such encryption software, because China is concerned about US companies making backdoors.

Read more…

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Why Are Chinese Leaders Mass Murderers

May 31st, 2016 4 comments

Thanks to effective propaganda of western mass media, it is now common to quote that Mao Zedong caused the death of around 30-40 million Chinese people during the Great Leap. But I bet you don’t know Jiang Zemin caused the death of over 80 million Chinese people. I come to that conclusion by calculating the mortality rate of China. I will just use a textbook text to explain mortality rate “Mortality rate, or death rate, is a measure of the number of deaths (in general, or due to a specific cause) in a particular population, scaled to the size of that population, per unit of time. Mortality rate is typically expressed in units of deaths per 1,000 individuals per year; thus, a mortality rate of 9.5 (out of 1,000) in a population of 1,000 would mean 9.5 deaths per year in that entire population, or 0.95% out of the total.” Read more…

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http://www.zgsddh.cn/山丹丹红网

May 26th, 2016 3 comments

Living in U.S. does pose a problem on information. You can access information on everyone and everything by googling. You might get thousands of entries and don’t know where to go. The problem on information about China is more acute. There are the official western media such as NY Times and Washington Post where the emphasis is slanted toward so called human rights and dissidents. Then there are the Chinese official governmental outlets such as People’s Daily and Global Times or even CCTV America where certain topics just don’t get covered. The above quoted website now gives a Maoist perspective you normally will not see anywhere. It will criticize past/present leaderships and policies that normally get censored in Weibo and internet. I am unable to copy this article on comparing policies from Deng, to Jiang, to Hu, and to Xi here, but just the link below.
http://www.zgsddh.cn/List.asp?ID=8972
The only drawback is it’s a Chinese website, so you need to read Chinese unless you can google translate it. The motto of the website I managed to copy below.
史诗——《毛泽东颂》

毛泽东思想,是人民需要的思想,不是贵族需要的思想。因此,人民拥护,贵族反对,是正常的。目前在泛泛红色网站里,最能深化主席思想的,最能触动社会本质的,自然是山丹丹红网。——宇太 你从飞雪迎春的天地里走来,梅花是你的笑容,松柏是你的身影;你在桂菊争奇的季节里离去,星辰是你的坐标,日月是你的象征;你从飞雪迎春的天地里走来,蓝天是你的情怀,大地是你的忠魂;你在桂菊争奇的季节里离去,民心……[详细

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CR+50

May 10th, 2016 14 comments

The Western media has been relatively quiet about China except some sabre rattling on South China Sea. There are the usual noises about the collapse of China, hard landing on Chinese economy, and so called human rights violations. Europe has been preoccupied by the Syrian refugees and Greek economic crisis. U.S. has the theater of absurd of quadrennial election and “The Game of Throne” to deal with. But the question of income inequality affects everyone in the world now, more than climate change which probably will not be felt until 50 years from now. The rise of Sanders and Trump is very much a reaction to income stagnation in U.S.. It is a question China has downplayed and trying to avoid, but recent events may yet force it to the forefront. I am talking here about a little known concert in the Hall of People on May 2, which Chinese media ignored, and the reactions to it.
The concert “The Hope in the Meadow” consists 56 young girls in chorus singing various old standard Red Songs, such as “Sailing Seas depends on Helmsman”, and recent ones showing reverence for Xi Jinping such as “How Do We Name You?”. In a open letter written by Ma Xiaoli around May 7, who is a so called second generation Red Princessling to General Office of Chinese Communist Party Central Committee accuse of it being trying to revive CR, blacken Xi, and in general violated the party rule against personality cult. It generated debates from liberals who feel threatened and furious counterattacks from the left who not only defend it from free speech point of view, but broaden it to linking the ongoing corruption investigations and income inequality, to actual attacks on Deng Xiaoping’s family linking them to corruption. I was amazed to read all those commentaries in May 8, but everything was deleted on May 9, except some links from Hong Kong and other overseas sites.
Ma Xiaoli was one of former Red Guards who apologized for their actions during CR. In exchange of letters with Luo Diandian in Jan 2016, they both expanded their views that CR need to be open up exorcised. They used the De-Nazification of Germany and Truth Commission of South Africa as examples. They are both well educated and obviously sincere in their remorse. They acknowledge their parents were not just the victims, but maybe partly responsible for the policies leading to CR. Although they show disdain for the peasant background of Chinese revolutionaries and implied criticism of Mao, I do not condemn them for their petit-bourgeoisie tendencies, of their dismissing their critics as “Fifty-cents Maoists”, but sincerely hope they can read my critique of their views.
I was a college student in U.S. during the CR, in danger of flunking out and losing my scholarship, yearning to join the Red Guards. Instead because of the draft I elected to join the Army Signal Corps to avoid infantry. I watched the unfolding of CR in U.S. and Viet Nam. During the years I read all the horrors happening. I may not have personally experienced them as actual victim, but having read “Lord of the Flies”, I can imagine young idealists became disillusioned with the revolution. Yet I still consider myself a Marxist and have a high opinion of Mao.

In Kurasawa’s film “Rashomon”, there are different telling of actual events that differ wildly. In analyzing CR, there are personal view, historical view, Western view, and Chinese view. Ms. Ma and Luo and a whole generation may have suffered, but what are they compare to the sweep of history? I certainly disagree vehemently with their characterization with events of WW2 or apartheid. Xi Jinping has said that you can’t separate the 30 years of early People’s Republic with the later 30 years, they are inextricably linked, not to mention the history of last 150 years, or 2,000 years. Those second generation Red Princelings may be victims during CR, but they are also the beneficiaries now and part of the 1% or 0.1%. They fear any return of chaos or new CR. I do favor opening up discussions of CR, but to learn lessons for the future, not to assign blames. The war against tigers and flies has been going on since Xi became General secretary. I remember in the 1950s when I borrowed my uncle’s monthly party booklet there were always juicy news about the downfall of various party secretaries for corruption. I think Mao was aware the need to purify the party and initiated various movements which resulted in CR. Mao may be impatient to change human nature and released forces beyond his control. Like the first emperor of Qin, he may be revile by some, but also history will honor him.

Xi Jinping may face pushback on his fight against corruption, as vested interests feel threatened, but the popularity of red songs and reverence for Mao demonstrated that egalitarianism is an ideal finding fertile ground not only in China, but the phenomenon of Sanders and Trump, and the rebellion against income inequality might become unstoppable even in U.S.. After all, the Chinese National Anthem and Internationale are also red songs.

 

 

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