Archive

Posts Tagged ‘democracy’

Opinion: Why There Is So Much Pro-War Reporting in the West? A Comment on Bloggers, Tyranny, and the Fourth Estate

May 19th, 2013 10 comments

Once in a while one runs into articles that seem to fly against convention wisdom, that seem to tear at the veil of world injustice, that seem to open one’s eyes to provide insight into the causes of so many of today’s ills. This article titled Why There is So Much Pro-War Reporting from “the Big Picture” blog is one of them.

In reading this article, I note how the article also parallel a lot of what Norm Chomsky (Manufacturing Consent) and David Swanson (War is a Lie) have written about pro war sentiments.  Yet, I still feel that this article is flawed in so many ways.  We are only scratching at the surface of, not diving deep into, the problem.

The article points to 5 major reasons why free media is not so free, and why it’s so pro-war. Read more…

中共的生命力——后民主时代在中国开启 – “The Post-Democratic Future Begins in China” by Eric Li

January 12th, 2013 7 comments

In his latest essay (in both Chinese and English), Eric X. Li wrote, “Many developing countries have already come to learn that democracy doesn’t solve all their problems. For them, China’s example is important. Its recent success and the failures of the West offer a stark contrast.” Of course, Li is not arguing that democratic systems are invalid. He merely argues that the universality claim is invalid. He also explains how China’s system is meritocratic, and despite a single-party rule, is able to be very adaptable. For those who genuinely believe in universality, they would do well by explaining why a country as rich and as powerful as the United States is plagued with problems of dismal approval for her politicians and incessant budget crisis nationally and locally. Read more…

Three Common Myths about Democratic Institutions

August 3rd, 2012 16 comments

It is obvious to any China watcher that in the western media, there is ample criticism and exposure of the numerous social and political side effects that accompanies China’s rapid modernization. Three such side effects seem more frequently mentioned than the rest: abuse of unaccountable power, the rise of violent civil unrest, and the growing wealth gap between rich and poor. While such criticisms are valid to varying degrees, problems arise when Western (AND WORSE YET, MAINLAND CHINESE) public intellectuals implicitly or explicitly prescribe democracy, freedom of expression, and transparent, participatory governance (or broadly speaking, western liberal democratic institutions) as the cure for such ills. These commentators frequently attribute imaginary benefits to democratic institutions vis-a-vis non-democratic counterparts. This commentary briefly illustrates three such myths. Read more…

Democracy Is Ruining Capitalism – Does China Do Capitalism Better Than America?

March 10th, 2012 18 comments

Slate/Intelligence Squared appears to be planning an interesting live debate on March 13 – with Orville Schell and Peter Schiff arguing for the motion in the title and Ian Bremmer and Minxin Pei against.

Details of the debate can be found at the slate and intelligence squared websites. The intelligence squared site – in particular – features a good and interesting set of articles linked under its research in depth section.

In anticipation of the debate, Schiff had this to say in an interview with Slate titled “Excuse Me, But Your Democracy Is Ruining My Capitalism”: Read more…

The need for clarity

March 6th, 2012 45 comments

Unlike many of the bloggers here, I’m not a big fan of Eric X. Li’s writing and speeches from what I have so far seen and heard. I disagree with what he has said as they are either irrelevant, confused, contradictory or a strawman. I think I have expressed why I felt this way in the comments section of the latest blog on Li but there still seems to be some misunderstanding between Allen’s interpretation of Eric and myself.

Here I’d like to give a more detailed explanation of why I didn’t think Eric’s interview was that interesting or even helpful to bettering understanding between China and the west. I did agree on some things but found myself disagreeing far more often. I do not believe that Eric’s view represent much of what the Chinese government’s views which I think are primarily very sound. It’s a shame that people may misconstrue Eric’s views as a defense of China’s view because they are quite different.

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Eric X Li, Chinese pluralism vs. Western universality

March 1st, 2012 25 comments

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

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

Rethinking democracy

February 8th, 2012 14 comments

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

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Former Deng Xiaoping translator, Zhang Weiwei, on Chinese thinking

January 17th, 2012 7 comments

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


Ma Ying Jiu Wins Taiwan Election

January 14th, 2012 47 comments

Ma Ying Jieu has won what has been a tough and closely watched election in Taiwan.  Emphasizing close relations with the mainland, Ma celebrated the victory as a victory for the people of Taiwan. The DPP, with charismatic (and “native Taiwanese”) Tsai, gave stoic (and “外省人”) Ma a much bigger challenge this time (characterization by my deep-green family-in-laws), losing to Ma by what looks like a 51.6 to 45.63 margin  (compared to the 58% to 42% margin in 2008). While the issue of independence has been much toned down this time, relations with the Mainland still dominated the election, with issues of the economy also a major issue.

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Happy Ten – Ten (Double Ten)

October 12th, 2011 45 comments

October 10th is the National Day of the Republic of China.  It is celebrated in both Taiwan and the Mainland as an event that liberated China from the grip of feudal rule.

Following up on Ma Ying-Jeou’s 10-10 speech (Chinese version) as well as zack’s recent comment in the open forum yesterday, I thought I’d put in some of my thoughts. Read more…

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

July 22nd, 2011 43 comments

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

Yin, Yang and Political System

June 19th, 2011 6 comments

By Wahaha (cross posted from anti-cnn)

If you check the definition of 阴阳 in Wikipedia, you will see the following :

“In Chinese philosophy, the concept of yin yang (simplified Chinese: 阴阳; traditional Chinese: 陰陽; pinyin: yīnyáng) is normally referred to in the West as “yin and yang” and is used to describe how polar or seemingly contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other in turn.”

And “Yin yang are complementary opposites that interact within a greater whole, as part of a dynamic system.”

Is this the way how Chinese understand 阴阳 ? I beg to differ. Read more…

Dalai Lama Retires…

March 22nd, 2011 60 comments

There is a lot going on in the world.  A natural disaster in Japan. Ravages of war from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestinian territories, to now Libya. The world is still in a recession. There is global warming. And population is still set to reach 9 billion by 2045.

Still I think there is still time for some comic relief. Obama made his NCAA picks last week.  And the Dalai Lama recently announced (as brought up recently in the Open Thread) that he is retiring from politics.

Dalai Lama – retiring from politics?

Yes! Read more…

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

March 14th, 2011 31 comments

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

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

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

What next for Egypt?

February 15th, 2011 3 comments

Egypt is in the midst of a revolution (China Daily reporting “Egypt to finish constitution amendments in 10 days“), and everyone on the planet is genuinely curious how the country will evolve (The Economist ponders, “Where now for Egypt and the region?“).

We should put things into perspective though. A new constitution and a newly elected government few months from now is not going to all of a sudden solve the problems that sent the Egyptians into the streets in the first place. The verdict of this revolution cannot be judged for at least a decade to come.
Read more…

Categories: Analysis, News, Opinion Tags: ,

The Narrative on the Egyptian “Uprising” / “Revolution”

February 13th, 2011 9 comments

For the last three weeks, we witnessed something extraorgdinary in the Egypt. A unpopular leader is finally brought down by revolts in the street. A gallant people finally brought a hated tyrrant down to his knees.

Yet, if one really think about it, even by the most optimistic of figures, at most (perhaps) one million people at one time or another added together protested against Mubarak over the last three weeks. Egypt is a land of 80 million. That means the vast majority of the people never took to the street over the last three weeks.

I had an interesting chat with a friend from Egypt a couple of nights ago. We were friends from graduate school. He told me that while most people he knew did not think highly of Mubarak – who is deemed by most to be unsympathetic to the people, tolerant of corruption, and incapable of bringing prosperity to Egypt – most also did indeed fear instability and violence. Read more…

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

January 16th, 2011 11 comments

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

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

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

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

William Hooper: “The Scientific Development Concept”

September 29th, 2010 42 comments

According to William Hooper, Western lead Democracy has peaked. He believes the baton will be passed unto China, and a new Age of Enlightenment, one that is going to be improved upon with China’s concept of Scientific Development, will start. Those of you who observe China may know that this political philosophy was advanced and officially adopted into the CPC (Communist Party of China) constitution in 2007. Hooper has taken a lot in and articulated this idea for the Western audience.

This essay touches upon many topics we have pondered on this blog. In my discussion (see “Newsy.com, breaking the mold of Western media bias?“) with Rosa Sow, Kai Pan, Maitreya Bhakal, and our very own Allen, we asked ourselves how the mold on Western media bias can be broken. Our consensus seems to be, in MIT Professor Chomsky’s words, “the only way to break it is education and organization, and working hard to create alternatives.”
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MIT study: politicians win on looks

July 28th, 2010 No comments

MIT has just published an interesting study, “LOOKING LIKE A WINNER Candidate Appearance and Electoral Success in New Democracies.” Here is the paper’s abstract:

A flurry of recent studies indicates that candidates who simply look more capable or attractive are more likely to win elections. In this article, the authors investigate whether voters‘ snap judgments of appearance travel across cultures and whether they influence elections in new democracies. They show unlabeled, black-and-white pictures of Mexican and Brazilian candidates‘ faces to subjects living in America and India, asking them which candidates would be better elected officials. Despite cultural, ethnic, and racial differences, Americans and Indians agree about which candidates are superficially appealing (correlations ranging from .70 to .87). Moreover, these superficial judgments appear to have a profound influence on Mexican and Brazilian voters, as the American and Indian judgments predict actual election returns with surprising accuracy. These effects, the results also suggest, may depend on the rules of the electoral game, with institutions exacerbating or mitigating the effects of appearance.

Read more…

NPR reports, “India’s China Envy”

May 24th, 2010 11 comments

All Things Considered (National Public Radio (NPR)) had an interesting report on May 20, 2010, “India’s China Envy,” expressing three prominent Indian nationals’ “envy” for China’s recent success.   India is a very important consideration in this debate about democracy.  Zhang Weiwei, former Deng Xiaoping interpreter, has postulated (and later on written an Op-Ed piece for in the New York Times), in order to fully realize “democracy”, other developments such as economic and civil reforms must precede it.  Many point to China a bigger success where China focused on economic reforms first and India given similar circumstances lagged – and if we ask Zhang Weiwei why, he’d probably argue it was due to premature and disproportionate focus on “democracy” at this stage.

For that reason, Indians views about democracy should therefore at least be more sober compared to Americans.  Are they really so?  Let’s take a look.

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(Letter from btbr403) Translation:Can you provide an example to refute this senior fellow?

September 20th, 2009 209 comments

admin’s note. The following is a blog post from 多维博客(h/t to Snow). Besides re-posting an article originally published on the Study Times (a weekly publication of the CCP’s Central Party School) in 2008, it drew a vigorous debate among Chinese with nearly 300 comments (I hope that someone could translate them too), many of them are interesting. Although we posted the Chinese version last year and A-gu commented on that, it was until recently that btbr403 volunteered to translate it. DeWang and Allen helped with the translation.

Following is the translation of the original post:

The Study Times of The Central Party School published an article by Zhang Weiwei (he was Deng XiaoPing’s interpreter, and he wrote an opinion piece The allure of the Chinese model ), a senior research fellow at the Modern Asia Research Centre, University of Geneva, Switzerland. He showed his excellent eloquence in the invitation only Marshall Forum on Transatlantic Affairs, saying that he had visited more than 100 countries, but couldn’t find one that achieved modernization via democratization. The European and American scholars present couldn’t find any examples to refute him.
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Can Ma Ying-jeou Weather the Storm?

August 17th, 2009 50 comments

From August 6-9, southern Taiwan was hit with the worst typhoon in 50 years. Per the Associated Press story:

“Morakot dumped more than 80 inches (two meters) of rain on the island last weekend and stranded thousands in villages in the mountainous south. A total of 15,400 villagers have been ferried to safety, and rescuers are working to save another 1,900 people. The storm destroyed the homes of 7,000 people and caused agricultural and property damage in excess of 50 billion New Taiwan dollars ($1.5 billion), Ma told the security conference.”

Read more…

Chimerica: James Fallows & Niall Ferguson

July 15th, 2009 144 comments

This is the full session between Niall Ferguson and James Fallows at the recently held Aspen Ideas Festival. Allen had posted excepts and we promised you the complete discussion as soon as it became available. Niall Ferguson had coined the term “Chimerica” to describe the symbiotic relationship between the economies of China and the United States. He currently sees this relationship as being in jeopardy, while James Fallows feels the relationship is far stronger the most realize. This video is slightly over 75 minutes.

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Topics on Democracy (Part 2) — A Model for the 21st Century

July 6th, 2009 58 comments
( A short thesis exploring the problems and viability of implementing a democratic system from a developing country’s point of view. The thesis concludes with an introduction of an interesting hybrid system that seems to be taking shape in the ongoing political evolutionary process in China.
This article is the final part of the 2-part series on democracy, and was first published on Jun 3, 2009 on the following website : chinablogs.wordpress.com )

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Topics on Democracy (Part 1) — Democracy War Game

July 1st, 2009 114 comments
( This article was first published on May 23, 2009 on the following website : chinablogs.wordpress.com )
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*** ( Important : Please note that this article is NOT a rebuttal of Raj’s recent Democracy article. Nor has it anything at all to do with his article in any way. It is a pure coincidence that his article was published just before mine. It has always been my intention to transfer my articles from my site onto FM. And my Democracy 2-part series happens to be the next and last articles to be transferred. The readers should NOT view this article as a response to any previous articles on this FM site ) ***

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(Letter from raventhorn4000) Honduras, Iran, and China

June 30th, 2009 54 comments

Honduran President was forced into Exile by a group of military soldiers who stormed his house and forced him onto a plane at gun point.

The reason? He tried to push for a referendum to extend his terms of office.

His replacement was quickly sworn in, but massive protests have broken out.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had this to say:

“Our immediate priority is to restore full democratic and constitutional order in that country. As we move forward, all parties have a responsibility to address the underlying problems that have led to yesterday’s events, in a way that enhances democracy and the rule of law in Honduras.”

*I’m all in favor of “all parties” owning up responsibilities. But it seems, the Honduran ex-President didn’t do anything other than push for a vote by the People.

His replacement now calls it NOT as a Coup, but an Exile by “legal process”, that Zelaya was arrested by a process of law.

But that excuse is rather flimsy. If Zelaya committed a crime, he should be arrested and tried, and not “renditional Exiled” in his pyjamas to another country where he can’t even have a day in court.

So, I wonder why US is tip-toeing around this little coup, when it is so obvious.

But here some interesting factoids that might hint the US motives:

(1) Military leader for the coup was General Romeo Vasquez, a graduate of the infamous “School of Americas”, a US military training school for Latin American military dictators and human rights abusers.

(2) Newly installed Honduran President, Roberto Micheletti, was born in Italy, and technically, according to Honduran Constitution, cannot serve as President.

*What’s going to happen if Honduran protest turns bloody? Who will bear responsibility? Will Honduras have an Iranian Revolution? Or will the US trained Honduran General roll the tanks (BTW, they are already sitting at the Presidential Palace)?

(Letter from kui) A recollection of the 1989 student movement in Tianjin

May 20th, 2009 224 comments

admin’s note: This year is the 20th anniversary of the 1989 student movement. No matter what your view on this subject is, what happened 20 years ago is no doubt an important piece of Chinese history. As Zhu Rongji, former Chinese premier minister, then mayor of Shanghai, famously said, on June 8, 1989, “No one can cover up historical facts forever, and the truth will eventually reveal itself” (历史事实是没有人能够隐瞒的,事实真相终将大白).

Many people are interested in the events happened on the Tiananmen Square. While undoubtedly it was the epicenter of the 89 student movement, we should not lose sight that large scale demonstrations happened in many other cities too. To almost any college student at that time, 1989 was a life changing year. Previously Eugene recalled his experience as a student in Shanghai. Here is an observation and reflection from a student in Tianjin (天津), the closest major city to Beijing. This post was emailed to me by kui (thank you very much!). I took liberty to  modify the original text slightly. I hope more people of the ’89 generation will come forward and share his/her experiences and thoughts.

I was 21 years old and studying in a college in Tianjin in 1989. When I first heard that the student protest in Beijing had escalated to hunger strike, I was shocked that such extreme measure was taken. Hunger strike is not without health consequences. What if the government refuses to give in? But it did not even take me five seconds to decide that I should support it. Almost every student in our college supported it. We decided to boycott classes. Very few students who had different opinions still went to library to study and I saw them confronted by other students.
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Categories: General, politics Tags: , , ,

China in the Year 2020: Three Political Scenarios

March 24th, 2009 69 comments

In our Dalai Lama Warns of Looming Violence thread, Wukailong linked to this essay covering three political scenarios that China might face in the year 2020. The author, Cheng Li is Senior Fellow at the John L. Thornton China Center of the Brookings Institution and William R. Kenan Professor of Government at Hamilton College. His summary is as follows:

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Informal Discussion – the Lessons of Nazi and Japanese Aggressions in WWII

March 20th, 2009 96 comments

I have not done any research in writing this post, but I hope that does not detract us from having a vigorous and good discussion here.

In our recent Chinese Nationalism thread, Shane9219 started a discussion on a just released movie relating to the Nankin Massacre.

This got people discussing what the lessons of Nazi and Japanese Aggressions in WWII were. Read more…

On the Mind-Numbing, Sensationalistic Use of Emotionally Charged Words in International Politics

January 12th, 2009 176 comments

The recent tragedies in Gaza have reminded me again the mind-numbing role the sensationalistic use of emotionally charged words can play in international politics.

Recently, Israel railed against the Vatican when Cardinal Renato Martino, the president of the Council for Justice and Peace of the Vatican, characterized Gaza as a “concentration camp.”  According to the NY Times: Read more…