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Posts Tagged ‘human rights’

German parliament votes to recognize Armenian genocide

June 2nd, 2016 1 comment
Armenian Genocide

Armenian Genocide

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post about how Germany has cheapened its own history and disregarded its own humanity by turning a blind eye on Japan’s horrific crimes against humanity in China on the eve of the 77th anniversary of the Nanking massacre.

In that piece, I wrote how Germany may not be preaching “universal values” per se, but politically-expedient political myths.  Well, interestingly today, the German parliament voted to recognize the so-called “Armenian genocide” as a true “genocide” and a crime against humanity.  Turkey – which has been both fighting and growing its own brand of  terrorism abroad – is none too thrilled.

I wonder if this is a case of external politics ripening for Germany – as a lapdog of America, which has increasingly seen Turkey drift away – to strike at Turkey?  Or is it a case of Germany finally finding some guts to stand up for history, as this LA Times story seem to report? Read more…

Opinion: U.K. – the Bridge Between East and West? Not So Fast.

October 21st, 2015 6 comments
U.K.-China Toast

U.K.-China Toast

President Xi is visiting the U.K. this week.  There are pageantry … and some $60 Billion US worth of deals.  British Prime Minister has made a big commotion calling it as the “Partner of Choice” in the West for China.

I am sure the British Leadership, Cameron personally, believes that it is in the long-term interest of Britain to mend relationship with China.  But I don’t believe Britain is really a “Partner of Choice.”  It may be a “Partner of Convenience,” but I believe it still cares little for – has little respect for – China … except to make a buck. Read more…

What’s Up with Abe’s Egging China On to War?

October 14th, 2015 3 comments

Mr. Abe has done a lot to put Asia back on the path to War: what with re-arming Japan, making a mockery of Japan’s Pacifist Constitution, and overflowing rhetoric about the dangers of a rising China.

Just last week, I was perusing through Asia Times, reading an article by Peter Lee on the TPP, when I noticed the following picture, and a comment from a reader.

Abe in cockpit of Japanese air force aircraft

Abe in cockpit of Japanese air force aircraft

Reader Jack Temujin astutely noted: Read more…

Xi Jinping’s U.N. Speech

September 30th, 2015 4 comments

xi at unPresident Xi Jinping made an important speech in which he outlined a better way for the international community to move forward: not with hegemony, but with an eye toward win-win cooperation.

Below is a transcript. An official U.N. copy can be found here. Read more…

Hillary’s Tweet about China Regarding Women’s Rights … and What it Reveals…

September 28th, 2015 3 comments
Women hold up half the sky.

Women hold up half the sky.

As China and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon get set to co-host a U.N. meeting of world leaders on gender equality and women’s empowerment, Hillary Clinton decided to crash the party.

On Sunday, Hillary tweeted:

Xi hosting a meeting on woman’s rights at the UN while persecuting feminists? Shameless.

This came as a surprise to many Chinese, including me.  Women’s rights is one of the most important achievements of the communist revolution.  Mao has famously pronounced:

Women hold up half the sky.

Since the founding of the PRC, freed of religious ideological baggage, the Chinese Communist Party quickly and successfully integrated women as an important part of modern Chinese society.  Read more…

Case Study on Democracy and Rule of Law: Japan and the World at a Crossroad?

September 26th, 2015 No comments
Massive Protest Against Abe's New Security Law

Massive Protest Against Abe’s New Security Law

Recently, the Japanese Parliament passed controversial legislation pushed by Abe to allow Japanese forces to fight abroad for the first time since 1945.  Here is how Reuters reported it:

Japan’s parliament voted into law on Saturday a defense policy shift that could let troops fight overseas for the first time since 1945, a milestone in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push to loosen the limits of the pacifist constitution on the military.

Abe says the shift, the biggest change in Japan’s defense policy since the creation of its post-war military in 1954, is vital to meet new challenges such as from a rising China.

But the legislation has triggered massive protests from ordinary citizens and others who say it violates the pacifist constitution and could ensnare Japan in U.S.-led conflicts after 70 years of post-war peace. Abe’s ratings have also taken a hit.

The legislation “is necessary to protect the people’s lives and peaceful way of living and is for the purpose of preventing wars,” Abe told reporters after the bills were approved by the upper house. “I want to keep explaining the laws tenaciously and courteously.”

Japan’s ally the United States has welcomed the changes but China, where bitter memories of Japan’s wartime aggression run deep, has repeatedly expressed concern about the legislation.

China’s Foreign Ministry said the move was “unprecedented”.

“We solemnly urge Japan to learn the lessons of history … uphold the path of peaceful development and act cautiously in the areas of the military and security, and do more to help push regional peace and stability rather than the opposite,” it said.

Not surprisingly, this has incensed a large number of average people in China … and both Koreas … but also (take note!) the people of Japan.  Read more…

Privacy, National Security, Human Rights, Social Value, Whatever – It’s Whatever the West Says

September 11th, 2015 2 comments
Microsoft

Microsoft, Privacy, and Rights over Ex-territorial Servers

The Economist today had an article on a case involving Microsoft’s alleged refusal to turn over documents stored on a foreign server to FBI. The article can be found here (archived here).

According to the Economist:

SUPPOSE FBI agents were to break into the postbox of an American company in Dublin to seize letters which might help them convict an international drug dealer. There would be general uproar, if not a transatlantic crisis. But that is essentially what the FBI wants to happen, albeit in the virtual realm: it has asked a court to order Microsoft, in its capacity as a big e-mail provider, to hand over messages from a suspect in a drugs case which are stored in a data centre in Ireland. On September 9th an appeals court in New York will hear oral arguments on whether Microsoft has to comply.

The case has many wrinkles … But at the core of the case is one of the most knotty legal questions in the age of cloud computing: how to give law-enforcement agencies access to evidence when laws remain national, but data are often stored abroad and sometimes even at multiple places at once?

This article rightfully brings up conflicts in law in the Internet arena within the West. Over the last few years, certain very public and passionate debates have flared up with Europe and the U.S. regarding privacy, right to delete, and censorship on the Internet.

A few years ago, as early as 2008, when I noticed Google Streetview growing to incorporate the streets of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and other Asian regions, I realized that everyone there simply took it for granted that it’s ok. What Google did must be the right, enlightened, and forward-thinking. Read more…

The Humanitarian Crisis Spewing into Europe from the Middle East

September 7th, 2015 6 comments

eu-migrant-crisisThe last week or two, we have seen a great humanitarian crisis building in Europe with waves and waves of refugees pouring into Europe from neighboring Middle Eastern countries … with many dying along the way … and even children washing up on resort beaches.

The debate in Europe appears to focus primarily on how should the various nations shoulder the responsibilities of accepting the refugees.  Germany by far has been the most open-armed, although there are anti-immigrant feelings spewing in the nation as well.

Germany should be applauded for taking leadership for Europe to accept these refugees … but in some ways, it is also the least they can do.  Why? Read more…

Beyond the Pathetic Complaints about China’s 70th V-Day Anniversary Parade

September 3rd, 2015 4 comments

1200x630_312860_we-love-peace-china-s-presidenI have been watching, reading, and observing events leading up to China’s 70th V-Day Anniversary Parade.  Festivities are still on-going, and I definitely feel proud that China is on the right track.

I do hear however a lot of bitter snickers and derision that to me seem way off point…

For example, in the U.S., I hear some Americans snicker at the parade saying, oh … but all that military might is useless outside China’s borders.  Just how does China plan to take that force to Japan … or Philippines … or any place further than that: China’s navy will be outgunned and the PLA is doomed from the start. Read more…

Film Review: “Free China: The Courage to Believe”

June 12th, 2013 9 comments

Free China: the Courage to BelieveThis weekend, I went to see “Free China: The Courage to Believe“. This hourlong movie by Michael Perlman, who previously directed “Tibet: Beyond Fear”, boasts a few awards from some small indie, human rights, and “awareness” festivals. Like the similarly propagandistic but much less affordable Shen Yun dance performance, Falun Gong foot soldiers had plastered posters and postcards for the film in Chinese restaurants, on storefront windows, and on public information boards. Yet despite the heavy-handed advertising, it’s not often that a movie covering the broad subject of China comes to English-speaking audiences. Could this film be something other than a rehashed collection of dehumanizing stereotypes about the Chinese government? I set out to find out. Read more…

Hashimoto’s “Comfort Women” Statement – Is it Really So Bad? A Comment about Why Japan Needs to Give a Real Apology.

May 27th, 2013 11 comments

Recently, Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, a prominent Japanese politician, raised a storm in Asia when he pronounced that the “comfort women” Japan enslaved during WWII as “necessary.”  According to this BBC report, Hashimoto said:

In the circumstances in which bullets are flying like rain and wind, the soldiers are running around at the risk of losing their lives….  If you want them to have a rest in such a situation, a comfort women system is necessary. Anyone can understand that.

The report continued: Read more…

Riots in Assam

August 16th, 2012 19 comments

There has been terrible violence in India’s Assam region recently and the violence has spread to other parts of India.  Since this is a blog on China, not India, I am not going to dig too much into the cause or even meaning of the riots.  But I do want to point out the relatively “favorable” coverage India is getting.

In almost all reports I see, India is cast as the force of stability (and humanity), with the forces of conniving politicians and ethnic-based politics the root of instability.  By comparison, when ethnic violence occurs in China, the opposite story is told, with ethnic-based politics held in high regard (under the guise of “human rights”) and any efforts to stabilize the situation seen as somehow oppressive and barbaric.

You see this fairly uniformly across Western media in all Western countries, including even self-professed “independent” news sources such as the global post.  Here is a recent article global post had on Tibetan self immolations – which place the blame squarely on China.  The Tibetans who burned themselves – and by extension the Tibetans who rioted in 2008 – were seen as oppressed people who had a right to riot, to fight back and were cheered on for their presumptive courage. There was never a reference to the official Chinese perspective on what’s really going on. 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.

Read more…

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“]

India v/s China: We’ve got Facebook! What’ve you got?

December 1st, 2011 70 comments

An interesting analysis in TIME magazine, to the extent that it tries to be an analysis:

And don’t forget to check out these two accompanying arguments, one for India and one for China:

I plan to blog about this general issue sometime soon. Right now however, I just can’t help commenting on just two points for the time being, particularly because many westerners have humongous misconceptions about these issues. Almost every article on the topic contains at least a reference to these two fallacious points.

Read more…

Chinese scholars propose human rights commission

September 22nd, 2011 41 comments

A panel of experts from China University of Political Science and Law have proposed establishing an independent human rights commission in a recent forum attended by both Chinese and foreign human rights experts. (China Daily has more details.) If this proposal becomes enshrined in China’s constitution, that’d be a really interesting development. Below are couple of key passages from the China Daily report: Read more…

Categories: human rights, News, Opinion Tags:

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…

Ai Weiwei: fighting for justice or freedom of speech?

April 28th, 2011 44 comments

Negotiating the way through Ai Weiwei-land and the barrage of mainstream media (msm) and Web opinions, Joni Mitchell’s song, “Both Sides Now,” on classic radio comes to mind:

Old friends are acting strange
they shake their heads
say I’ve changed
something’s lost, something’s gained.

Equanimity is a cop-out in this debate that pivots on black and white stereotypes of good and evil, freedom and oppression. You’ve got to pick a side, or be dissed for being wishy-washy.
Read more…

Posner, purveyor of ‘human rights,’ needs to remember he is not the customer

April 27th, 2011 14 comments

I was just reading this New York Times article, “Bleak Outlook for U.S.-China Talks on Human Rights,” and the reporter whines about lack of progress. Why can’t it keep it short, like the way this China Daily article does it? Honestly I don’t have anything constructive to say about the NYT version. Posner surely must know China is the customer in this case. If Posner could sweeten the deal with a billion USD or two, the customer might show more interest. The worst part of being a sales man is to have to make a pitch knowing the prospect has already decided not to buy.

Categories: Opinion Tags:

Imagine your obnoxious neighbor giving you an “F” grade for parenting

April 19th, 2011 12 comments

Imagine your obnoxious neighbor giving you an “F” grade for parenting. He is the richest and has the neighborhood’s gangsters loyal to him. What do you do? He has even molested some children in your neighborhood.

There is a reason why the annual “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices” by the United States is formulated by the Department of State. It is a foreign policy instrument. If the U.S. truly cares about human rights, the country would be providing basic drugs to the poorest nations and irradicate easily curable diseases around the globe. It would be giving away food. It would not be killing innocent Iraqi and Afghani children.
Read more…

Western human rights activism, where is the real humanity?

March 18th, 2010 8 comments

Each year, the U.S. Department of State publishes the annual “The Country Reports on Human Rights Practices” to U.S. Congress, and Western human rights activists and media use it to condemn governments around the world.  In response, China has started in the last few years publishing her own annual reports on the U.S. human rights violations.  The most recent was carried on China Daily, March 12, 2010, in the article, “US Human Rights Record in 2009.” It said:
Read more…

Translation: Living in an Era of Change – Era of Acceptance

March 14th, 2010 2 comments

Last month, Xinhua News had an interesting piece of “被时代” – which translates roughly to “era of being forced” or “era of acceptance.” 被 (bei) in Chinese indicates a passive clause.  Thus when you get hit (撞), you say 你被撞了.

According to an Internet poll, the most popular Chinese character of 2009 was “被.” Why?  Part of the reason is that living in a society charging full steam ahead, many Chinese no doubt feel they are losing control of their lives. But the more important reason is that it provides a satirical platform for many to express the indignity many average Chinese have suffered at the hand of social inequity and irresponsible governance. Here is a rough translation of the Xinhua article. Read more…

Google – A New Approach to China

January 13th, 2010 206 comments

Google issued a press release on their blog just a few hours ago pertaining to their operation in China. It is big news and will take some time to digest. I don’t want to comment, just get the story out.  Read more…

Association for Preserving Historical Accuracy of Foreign Invasions in China (APHAFIC)

August 31st, 2009 46 comments

P1010462 (Large) Welcome to APHAFIC, the Association for Preserving Historical Accuracy of Foreign Invasions in China. This organization was started in San Diego by Nancy Lo, the current president, as a rebuttal to some of the historical inaccuracies coming out of Japan concerning the Japanese invasion of China in the early to mid 20th century. Nancy is wearing a floral dress in this photo. She was very good friends with Iris Chang (The Rape of Nanking) and felt this issue wasn’t getting the attention it deserved.

The mission of the Association is as follows:

Read more…

Categories: politics Tags: , , ,

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.

Read more…

Iran & China: Is World Press Coverage Similar or Different?

June 22nd, 2009 55 comments

i38_19379493 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.

Read more…

(Letter from Otto Kerner, Opposing Viewpoint) Mainland Han human rights lawyers defend Tibetan lama

April 26th, 2009 34 comments

Amid the depressing news of the trial of Phurbu Tsering Rinpoche, a respected lama from Kardze (western Sichuan), is a hopeful sign: he is being defended by two Han Chinese human rights lawyers. They say that they have had some harrassment from the police, but they have not been prevented from serving as counsel to a man they believe was unjustly accused. They have helped him have his day in court, which is better than nothing. In my opinion, democracy and nationalism, etc., are less important than simple rule of law applied impartially. Is that something Tibetans and Hans can make common cause for? It ought to be.

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:

Read more…

Hillary Clinton's Successful First Visit to China as Secretary of State

February 25th, 2009 33 comments

Judging by reactions from the Chinese government, Secretary of State Clinton’s state visit to China last weekend has been a great success.

This trip is foremost about realism. 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…