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Posts Tagged ‘featured’

Chinese Nationalism – a Chinese Immigrant’s Perspective

March 17th, 2009 337 comments

Since the Olympics torch relay last year, much have been written about Chinese nationalism (see, e.g., this time article, this newsweek article, this new yorker article) – often in a negative (and unfair) light.

Earlier today, we at foolsmountain ran across a more thoughtful, subdued but perhaps equally critical view of Chinese nationalism – written from an immigrant’s perspective. In this wall street journal op ed, Ms. Ying Ma, an American educated Chinese American, wrote: Read more…

Opinion: Dear Mr. Dalai Lama … please tear down this wall!

January 24th, 2009 431 comments

On January 19, 2009, Tibetan legislators endorsed unanimously a bill designating March 28 as Serfs Emancipation Day, a day designated officially to mark the freeing of 1 million serfs from serfdom 50 years ago.

For many ethnic Tibetans, this day represents a celebration of freedom (from cast and class based oppression), economic empowerment, and social and political liberation that has been a long time coming.  The day has been held hostage for so long partly because the government, in hopes of trying to convince the Dalai Lama to return back to China, had not wanted to mark the occasion while the Dalai Lama was still in exile.  But one cannot hold back a celebration of freedom forever, and fifty years has been a long time… Read more…

Tibet: Turning over a new page

November 14th, 2008 439 comments

I’ve been resisting writing anything on Tibet recently because I think we’ve had more than our shares.  But I think the time may be right on this board for one small, limited discussion. Read more…

On Human Rights, Intervention and the International Order

October 19th, 2008 265 comments

The idea of “human rights” is neither new nor did it suddenly sprang into existence after WWII. It has arguably existed since the dawn of human existence, as portrayed in human stories and mythologies and exemplified throughout human history in man’s struggle against the arbitrariness of a higher power, be they of gods, fortune, nature or tyrants.

In Chinese society, such struggles are found in the stories and mythologies of 大禹 (Great Yu) taming the floods, 神農  (Shennong) inventing agriculture or the Monkey King’s rebellion against Heaven. Socio-politically, a central theme of Confucianism is the rights and duties of each member of society, from the peasant to that of the Emperor. Subsequently, 孟子 (Mencius) argued for the rights of the citizens to just rule, while later 王夫之 (Wang Fuzhi) favoured governing in the interest of the people (i.e. for the people) instead of for the benefit of the rulers. Read more…

Are Chinese racist or simply politically incorrect?

October 14th, 2008 338 comments

It’s common knowledge that when it comes to racial remarks, Chinese people (and perhaps Asians in general) are not the most politically correct people in the world.  We’ve had extended discussions about “racism” in China (see, e.g., Chocolate City post by Buxi).  Recently, I came across an interesting article in Times Magazine (in relation to the U.S. Presidential politics) regarding racism in Asia.  Unfortunately, I believe the author falls into many pitfalls that many Westerners make when it comes to Asian racism. Read more…

US arms sales to Taiwan "a slap to Wen Jiabao's face"?

October 4th, 2008 297 comments

In a surprise move to some, the United States reactivated a $6.46 billion Taiwan arms sales proposal and sent it to Congress for approval yesterday. (As late as September 28, the proposal was said to be frozen by the White House even as Taiwan lobbied Congress.)

Some Chinese now believe China and Wen Jiabao were “played” by the US: “Premier Wen had just said to save the US markets, out came $6 billion of arms sales as a slap to the face,” reads a typical comment online.
Read more…

(Foolsmountain Admin) A fool’s reflection

October 2nd, 2008 181 comments

Our blog has been around for 5 months. Judging from our site traffic and the comments we get (over 12,600 and counting, plenty of them insightful), we are doing quite well.

However, some readers’ comments paint a very different picture. Read more…

Malaysia's Ethnic Politics

September 11th, 2008 168 comments

Malaysia over the years has been known for its share of ethnic violence against Chinese and other minorities. Most recently, Ahmad Ismail, a district chief in the United Malays National Organization ruling party, has been quoted to pronounce: Read more…

Pocketbook References for Tibet

September 5th, 2008 185 comments

Two of the most commented threads over the last week relate to Tibet.  Even a neutral posting on the administration of the website has also somehow “devolved” into a debate over Tibet.

Read more…

(Letter from Otto Kerner, Opposing Viewpoint) Tibet: A Way Forward?

September 1st, 2008 321 comments

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. Read more…

Categories: Analysis, Letters Tags: , , ,

Understanding Democracy

August 30th, 2008 163 comments

For all the talk about democracy leading up to the Olympics, perhaps it is time – in the wake of the Olympics – to take a step back and ponder about what democracy really is.

An interesting article appeared in the New Yorker earlier this month about the process of politics. Digging under the hood of democratic politics, it tries to explore two strains of forces that in real life can be di-opposed: rough and tumble democracy v. good governance and social policy.

Read more…

Has He Kexin's age been changed to older or younger?

August 21st, 2008 198 comments

Even though Buxi isn’t back, why don’t we return to a fine tradition of this blog? This post from Niubo (牛博), a Chinese forum often filled with discontent with how things are, has something interesting to add about the age of Olympic gymnast He Kexin. Translation below:

On the question of the Chinese gymnast He Kexin’s age, one fact is certain, that is, there is an inconsistency between the local athletic bureau and the central athletic bureau. So, is it that:

1. The local athletic bureau is correct, and the central athletic bureau changed her age to older?

OR

2. The local athletic bureau falsified, and changed her age to younger?

Read more…

The cruelest insults come from ones pretending to speak as the righteous

August 13th, 2008 158 comments

[UPDATE]

At the risk of being seen as running an excessive self and cross promotional campaign, I highly recommend all interested readers to check out ESWN’s take on some of the irresponsible media reports in this case, particularly the collection of quotes from various medias, and the latest comment on the “uneven teeth” meme such reports created. Roland is very gracious in claiming only to frame this very post, but I think his “re-framing” does a very effective job in making the point.

I should also point out some subtle but extremely damaging distortions introduced and propagated by the media reports that earned my ire. As reflected by a Chinese blogger on his second posting on this matter after listening to the entire interview of Chen (H/T to ESWN again):

陈音乐总监的说法被媒体断章取义了,或者说歪曲了。第一,陈没有说杨小朋友的形象不好,只是说林小朋友的形象最好;第二,陈说到国家利益,是指作出用最好的形象和最好的声音这样一种“双簧”的安排更符合国家利益,并不是指不让杨小朋友出镜是“国家利益”。

The words of Chen Qigang are used by the media out of context and are distorted. First, Chen did not say that Yang Peiyi was considered not good in appearance. He merely pointed out that Lin Miaoke was considered to have the best image. Second, when Chen talked about national interest, he was claiming that the national interest was served by combining the best stage presence with the best singing voice [to present the best perceived performance]. He did not mean that it was a matter of “national interest” to hide Yang Peiyi from the camera.

Read more…

An imperfect perfection

August 12th, 2008 176 comments

Note: an update is inserted at the end.

The Beijing Olympics opening ceremony was, by most accounts, a brilliantly choreographed and spectacularly executed performance worth of a gold medal of its own. There were a fair number of notable highlights, and many journalists certainly were not shy from exhausting all the synonyms of the word “stunning” in the thesaurus in describing those scenes.

High on many Chinese viewers’ list of the most moving moments, however, is one that might not be easily appreciated by foreign audiences. Early in the process, China’s national flag was brought into the Bird’s Nest and raised while an young girl in a red dress stood singing “Hymn to the Motherland”. This song is perhaps best explained as the equivalent of “God Bless America” and is similarly considered an unofficial national anthem by many. The simple lyric line

歌唱我们亲爱的祖国,从今走向繁荣富强。 “We sing to our beloved motherland, on her way towards prosperity and strength.”

captures the hope and pride of so many Chinese for so long in merely 17 characters.
Read more…

The Olympics Demonstrate China's "Soft Power": on Baloney and Silliness.

August 10th, 2008 103 comments

Watching the NBC broadcast of the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games in Beijing gave me a sleepless night. Something about the ceremony and the games bothered me. I had to think it trough.

What do you make of the following features of the Opening Ceremony? Read more…

Categories: Analysis Tags: , , ,

Who got the loudest cheers at the Opening Ceremony?

August 8th, 2008 131 comments

One of the interesting things about the Opening Ceremony is the outside world gets to see (or is made to pay attention to) a slice of raw Chinese public opinion on full display.

Besides obviously the home team, Taiwan probably got the loudest cheers from the Chinese crowd at the Bird’s Nest today, a sure head-scratcher to foreign pundits stuck in a brain warp, I’m sure, but no real surprise to Chinese people and those who know China.

As we watch the Opening Ceremony, let’s make a list of the teams that got the loudest cheers from the Chinese crowd today. It is bound to be interesting.
Read more…

Categories: culture, media, News Tags: ,

A must-read: a reporter's guide to covering the Olympics

July 31st, 2008 51 comments

There is “A Reporter’s Guide to Covering the Olympics“, supposedly found in the Foreign Correspondents Club in Hong Kong, at Time’s China Blog. It is well worth a read. Read more…

Categories: media Tags: , , ,

Moving on without closure: The hardiness and resilience of the Chinese society

China presses hush money on grieving parents,” according to New York Times

Parents of children killed in collapsed school buildings in the Sichuan earthquake have been offered cash settlements, relaxing of the birth quota and pensions by the local government. In exchange, they are pressured to sign a contract to give up demand for investigations into official negligence and corruption associated with the collapsed schools. Some parents have relented and signed the contract, while others have refused.

A while ago at the collective funeral for the victims at one of the schools with a large casualty, the grieving parents’ pain was so profound that some bite on their fingers and wrote their children’s names with a wish of a “good journey” in their blood on a piece of white cloth. The pain of losing a child can never be compensated with money. My discussion will focus on a cross-cultural understanding on the money in question. Is it correct to label the Chinese authorities’ offer to the grieving parents “hush money”, or even “compensation”? Read more…

Chinese Exceptionalism -义理和人情

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.

Notes:
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. Read more…

Try to view Amnesty International calmly (translated)

July 14th, 2008 170 comments

An advertising campaign commissioned by the human rights group Amnesty International has raised flames of anger throughout China. For previous discussions, see ESWN and Danwei.

Wall Street Journal has more details on the backlash, reporting:

Weeks before the Olympics put Beijing and the Games’ corporate backers on the world stage, an advertising heavyweight has stumbled over the divide between how some view China and how the nation views itself…. Word of the human-rights campaign is now spreading through China, and TBWA and Amnesty International are disavowing the ads.

Chinese bloggers, spurred by a report in state-run media of the Amnesty campaign last week, are now calling for a boycott of all TBWA ads, among other measures.

And many in China are indeed very angry. But there are other voices as well; below is a translated internet post from Xinmin Net: (原文):

Read more…

What does it mean to be Chinese?

July 3rd, 2008 247 comments

Seems like a simple enough question. Actually… while the question of what it means to be Chinese is very simple, it is all of the numerous, equally valid answers that make the issue complicated. We have to accept that there are different answers for different people.

Here is one answer, translated from a post written by an American-raised Chinese on MITBBS (原贴):

I was eating lunch with a good friend (both a colleague and a classmate) a few days ago. He’s a true Englishman, having lived in England from birth through university. Although he’s now attending school with me in the United States, he naturally does so with the identity of an Englishman. Whereas I, as an ethnic Chinese person raised in the United States, have in his eyes been categorized as an “American”. And I will often correct him by saying “I’m Chinese”. This time, when the topic popped up again, he laughed and asked: “From your point of view, what is a Chinese person?”

I believe “Chinese” has three different meanings.

Read more…

Weng'an Riots: How the state media hurts China

July 2nd, 2008 95 comments

The central government did many things right in response to the Weng’an riots. Beijing’s campaign to treat “sudden incidents” with more openness was also obvious; a full news conference revealing the government’s version less than 2 days after the riot is pretty unheard of by Chinese standards. Reporters from around the country and world flooded into Guizhou without limitation (according to one reporter on site, as many as 140 reporters were present for a banquet last night). Citizen blogger/reporters, like Zola, also reported from the scene. Senior provincial leaders were also sent to Weng’an to provide high-level attention; Shi Zongyuan, the Party chief for Guizhou province, was on the scene leading that first investigation team within two days.

By anyone’s standard, these should all be considered positive steps in the aftermath of this type of crisis. But it didn’t completely work; for many Chinese, online tempers still flared. Here’s one key, representative quote behind the public frustration:

Shi Zongyuan pointed out, “6.28” incident started for a simple reason, but was used by a small number of people with ulterior motives along with the participation of evil, organized criminals.

Read more…

Categories: media Tags: , , , , ,

The Prospects of Democracy in China

June 28th, 2008 166 comments

Our guest Youzi has given us a kernel for further discussion in one of his comments:

And even within China, between different provinces and peoples are tremendous psychological differences, perhaps even greater than those between two countries. As time has passed, as the people’s living standards have grown and as awareness of personal rights has woken… if the traditional methods of political pressure and thought control are used, it’s already become very difficult to maintain the China unity and a sense of belong to the Chinese people. The government has observed this point, but unless it implements effective political reform that respects and tolerates the interests of different groups of people, it will not resolve this fundamental problem simply by waving the worn-down flags of patriotism and nationalism.

I don’t think we disagree on this point, but I think Youzi goes a bit far to berate some of us for suggesting that an “awareness of personal rights” alone and a shallow understanding of “fighting for personal rights” without civic values and respect for law is a recipe for disaster. It’s a two way street. What makes “Western-style democracy” tick isn’t the prescription of “freedom, democracy, and rule of law”, but the deeply ingrained sense in every single citizen that their interests lie in their responsibility to and stewardship of the country, its institutions, and values, of which such rights are a part — in short, true patriotism. That prevents people from ripping the constitution apart when they don’t get their way. Sad to say, China isn’t there yet.

So what are “effective political reform that respects and tolerates the interests of different groups of people” at this stage? Well, there is a model and there is dynamics. Nobody is sitting idly on their hands. I want to direct our readers to this article in Foreign Affairs earlier this year titled

Long Time Coming – The Prospects of Democracy in China.

I posted it weeks ago in a comment but it really deserves its own highlight here.
Read more…

On China and Religion

June 25th, 2008 68 comments

For different cultural, political and historical reasons, the Chinese government officially recognises Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism, and Protestantism as religions. As in the realm of commerce, medicine, the legal profession or any other human endeavours, China, like many nations and for her own reasons have chosen, as it is her right, to lay down a legal and regulatory framework within which religions are practised.

Within the above five religions, the government does not prefer one religion to another and neither does it care about ecclesiastical or inter-faith doctrinal differences. It does not care whether Jesus is the Son of God, one of the Prophets of Allah or just a mere rabbi. It does not care whether the Virgin Mary or the Saints ought to be worshipped and much less whether the Quakers are pacifists who live according to personal beliefs. Like any other governments in the world, what it does care about are whether they break China’s laws while in China and whether a belief system contravenes the public interest.

In no countries are the clergy or religious institutions free from or above the temporal laws of the land. An American Catholic priest convicted of paedophilia, fraud or mere speeding in America is still guilty and may suffer the appropriate judicial consequences, irrespective of the fact that he is a priest. Should the Church as an organisation in any way be involved, it too is liable to criminal as well as possible civil lawsuits.

Just as there is no such thing as absolute political and commercial freedom, neither is there such a thing as absolute religious freedom. There are only varying degrees of religious freedom that is regulated in turn by ecclesiastic rules, doctrines, temporal laws, social customs and traditions in accordance with the demands of the relevant state and society. For example, many in the UK believe in Fengshui, but nevertheless in a test case before the English Court of Appeal, the Judges, as it is within their remit, chose not to recognise it as a religion, just as they do not recognise any religion that is not monotheist as a matter of policy. By contrast, because of its Chinese community Indonesia recognises Confucianism as a religion when China only sees it as a school of philosophy, so that just because something is lawful in one country does not make it so in another.

Read more…

"Chocolate City" – Africans seek their dreams in China

June 14th, 2008 134 comments

This feature article (文章,published Jan 2008) from the Southern Metropolis Daily provides a candid, street-level view of the lives of African traders in China. I translate this article to provide some depth to the discussion of racism in China, as seen in this previous thread. In an era when China-Africa relations are making headlines in Western newspapers, it’s time to hear the story from a Chinese perspective. If the 20th century was defined by the American Dream, what can China bring to the world in the 21st century?

In Guangzhou, a 10 square kilometer area centered around Hongqiao has been given the name “Chocolate City” by taxi drivers.
Read more…

Categories: culture Tags: , ,

Briefs on Tibet: Action and Reaction

June 7th, 2008 102 comments

Just as the earthquake shook China last month, the ground has also shifted under the Tibet issue. It seems the protests and counter-protests did not go into a black hole, but are having some effects on the media. But the exiles and their supporters aren’t ready to pass up on such a good chance in this Olympic year yet. They are elevating the profile of a different lama. Between now and the Olympics, we may also see more Tibetan disturbances should the talks not “work out”, as the Dalai Lama advised/threatened. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best. Inside are a few articles in the recent news on these two cross-currents, action and reaction:
Read more…

Six Four: Glad the student movement didn't succeed

June 4th, 2008 115 comments

This article comes from a self-described moderate who wasn’t old enough to participate in the Six Four movement. Instead, he’s one of many of his generation who is “glad” the student movement didn’t succeed. Some “old generals” of the movement might refer to him derogatorily as “young” and “immature”… but keep in mind, this man is now in his mid-30s, and has lived in the United States for 10 years. It can be argued he represents the mainstream opinion.

I went to university in 1991; I’m not an old general or a young general.

1. Even as early as 1992, my opinion was that the Six Four student movement should not have been allowed to succeed. Primarily because of a comparison against the Soviet Union.

Read more…

Categories: Letters Tags: ,

Questions for the Dalai Lama

May 27th, 2008 64 comments

It has now been more than 2 months since the Lhasa riots, and weeks since the Beijing government met with the Dalai Lama’s personal envoys in Shenzhen. The passions aroused by the protests associated with the Torch relay has cooled a little. Now, we can turn to deeper, less emotional consideration of the Dalai Lama and what he stands for.

The Dalai Lama’s recent trip to Europe is giving us a new opportunity to evaluate exactly what his position is, and whether he’s a potential partner for peace. A previous blog entry discussed the possibility of a new bargaining position for the Dalai Lama, and clearly positions have changed dramatically over recent weeks.

For the lack of a better option, we’ll have to rely on the Xinhua state news agency to ask the questions that are on the minds of many Chinese. Below is the translation of a blog entry from a Xinhua news reporter, about his experience at a Dalai Lama news conference in Germany.

Read more…

Categories: media, News Tags: , ,

Quiz: What kind of Chinese are you?

May 23rd, 2008 95 comments

Take the little quiz below, and find out what kind of Chinese you are (politically). The questions and answers give great insight into the common points of conflict that divide the “left” and the “right” amongst Chinese.

Read more…

Categories: Analysis, q&a Tags: , ,

Some rabid Falun Gong followers show their ugly side in Flushing, NY

May 22nd, 2008 358 comments

China’s crackdown on Falun Gong (FLG) is frequently cited in the west as evidence of human rights abuse and suppression of religion. On the other hand, some of the FLG followers make it really difficult to sympathize with their cause.

Case in point, there are reports of FLG followers publicly cheering the Sichuan earthquake as a karmic response from heaven on the Chinese Communist Party. ESWN provided a translation of a report from Ming Pao dated May 21, 2008:

The confrontation between Queens county residents and the FLG practitioners is now on its fourth day …

Yesterday at 10am, several dozen FLG member appeared in front of the Flushing Public Library.  Just like the past three days before, they unfurled banners that pronounced “The Heavens destroy the Chinese Communists,” “Experts sent Sichuan earthquake prediction report confidentially to authorities” and so on to show the passer-bys.  Some of the FLG members said that they have been criticising the Chinese Communist regime and they thought that the Sichuan earthquake revealed the evil nature of the Chinese Communists.  Some FLG members even said that the Sichuan earthquake was the result of the violent rule of the Chinese Communists.

Read more…

Categories: media, News Tags: , , ,