The two Asian Giants are still not able to figure out the line which divides them – in the longest running border dispute in modern history. This dispute offers interesting lessons on how to, and how not to, handle boundary issues. The analysis of Chinese behavior in the negotiations is doubly important given China’s perception in the west of it ‘flexing its muscles’, and China’s theory of ‘Peaceful Rise’.
About a century ago, Sir Henry McMahon, the then British Foreign Secretary, took a think red pencil and sketched a line between India and Tibet on a map – a line which has resulted in the two most populous nations in the world going to war, costing more than 2000 lives; and which has created enormous mistrust on both sides, especially in India.
Consequently, on 3rd July 1914 was signed one of the most bizarre and controversial agreements ever known to man – The Simla accord, the complexities of which have yet to be unraveled.
Continue reading You Scratch My Back, but I Won’t Scratch Yours
Events of the last week in Iran have been widely reported by the world press. Not long before, the press also reported on the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square incident of 1989. Were these two distinct events reported in a similar manner or were they treated as different and unique events? Let’s take a look at each and see what we can find.
1) Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys?
Based on the coverage I’ve seen, both governments were cast as being in the wrong and both protest movements as in the right. In the case of China, the government sent in tanks and used live ammunition to break up a protest movement that was alleged to have turned violent. Most of the reporters in the world press were located in or near the same area, and their reports reflected what occurred in that vicinity. Analyzes of this event in most cases pointed to the government as the culprit and the demonstrators as being victims and responding in a suitable fashion. Is this an accurate assessment? The Chinese government attempted to confiscate film of the event from foreign sources but those attempts were successfully evaded in most instances.
Continue reading Iran & China: Is World Press Coverage Similar or Different?
For me personally, the Mainland’s grandparents and great-grandparents are China’s most interesting generation. As soon as I could string a few sentences together I was trying to get our neighbours to tell us about their stories and experiences. But Xinran, the authour of China Witness: Voices from a Silent Generation, being Chinese, can go light-years farther in an interview than I can with my novice Mandarin, mere beginner’s cultural understanding, white face and 大鼻子。
Continue reading (Letter from Joel) Mainlanders and their pasts, Mainlanders and their selves
In the comments to an earlier post related to Tibet, I found it striking that, although by different routes, bianxiangbianqiao and wuming and I have reached roughly the same conclusion, viz that there’s no logical reason why Tibet should remain part of China, but, at the same time, it is completely impossible for China to let it become independent, since that would invariably be seen as China giving up 19% of its land area (or even 13%, which is what the TAR is). Particularly so since, as bxbq points out, the boundaries of “Tibet” are quite fuzzy. I could draw a border that I think would be a fair delimitation of “where Tibetans traditionally predominated and still do”, but obviously there would be a lot of people who would disagree with any given attempt. Continue reading (Letter from Otto Kerner, Opposing Viewpoint) Tibet: A Way Forward?
Before switching from posting immature opinions on things I know unprofessionally to the work I do for a living for a few weeks, there are some thoughts I really want to get out of my chest. I hope these thoughts will help non-Chinese understand some puzzling phenomena in the Chinese social and political life.
1. My English translation of the key terms (义理, 人情, 隐忍) might be a bit off. Suggestions are welcome.
2. If you disagree, please trash, ridicule, tear it apart or ignore. Don’t worry about me committing suicide out of shame. Continue reading Chinese Exceptionalism -义理和人情