With June 4th right around the corner, the Western press will likely try to milk it, though each year with decreasing column space. In anticipation of that, we remind our readers the narrative perpetrated in the West is not the truth. 龙信明 draws from public materials and shows us what the real truth is, in English, “Let’s Talk About Tiananmen Square, 1989,” and in Chinese, “且谈1989年的天安门事件.”
For new visitors to Hidden Harmonies, I highly recommend a visit to our “Featured Posts” section (the right third of the blog main screen). There you will find featured articles addressing key topics these last few years by this blog. For example, Ray examines the international political climate surrounding the lead up to the Great Leap Forward (“Another Look at the Great Leap Forward“). melektaus discusses how the Western media collectively defames China (“Collective Defamation“). Allen addresses what Democracy means (“Understanding Democracy.”) Black Phoenix debates other American lawyers about the status of Tibet (“2008 ‘Olympic Debate’ over Tibet on American Bar Association China Law Committee.”)
melektaus‘ recent observations about the Chinese people (“What’s wrong with China? Hint: it’s not the government“) has certainly caused a stir. We all should commend him for sharing his thoughts from the bottom of his heart and for his genuine desire to see a better Chinese society. (Some of you might be visiting because James Fallows of The Atlantic has linked to it. As an aside, see our take on why Fallows is so wrong on so many things related to China.) Anyways, I don’t want to derail his thread, so if you wish to add to the conversation, I urge you to continue there. Many of you have offered thoughtful comments, so thank you. I do want to highlight Allen‘s response here, because, as he illustrates clearly, we all have a tendency to judge others based on our standards – and is unfair: Continue reading On June 4th, Reactions to “What’s wrong with China?” and other bits
I am now anxious to watch the debate between Eric X Li and Minxin Pei at the recent Aspen Ideas Festival, where the topic was “China and Democracy.” Once the video is available, I’ll post. The debate was moderated by The Atlantics’ James Fallows, who actually admits himself here biased. So, perhaps the debate was 1 vs 1 where Pei having gotten a partial referee on his side. Interestingly, J.J. Gould, a deputy editor from the same paper, was in the audience and recounts some key arguments put forth by the three. Not having had access to the actual debate yet, I decided to weight in on Gould’s recount. For Americans, and Westerners in general, there is a great deal of anxiety when it comes to China modernizing. China’s rise challenges their notion that modernity must be predicated on “Democracy.” Actually, if you think about it, why must China’s success challenge that notion? The simple psychology there is, as Henry Kissinger recently observed in his book, “On China:” America (and the West which she leads) pursues her “values with missionary zeal.” They see China as not a “Democracy.” Hence the title of the debate is what it is, isn’t it? I wager there are many Westerners who are sincere in wishing for what the best is for Chinese society. However, much of the anxiety really stems from zeal and intolerance for any other way. In that light, I am countering Pei and Fallows’ assertions.
Continue reading China modernizes, “Democracy” faith wavers
Apparently, James Fallows‘ latest book, “China Airborn” has argued the reason the Internet in China is ‘slow’ is due to censorship. Due to censorship, Fallows argued, China would never be innovative enough and hence won’t be able to produce her own companies like Apple. In this article, he capitulates to his readers who contend that the Internet within China is actually fast. It’s ‘slow’ only when Westerners try to access web sites outside China. From that, he concludes China’s Internet is still an ‘intranet,’ which makes Chinese society incapable of becoming world class. That’s nonsense too. It’s the same sort of hogwash as the Chinese dream article he wrote recently. Continue reading James Fallows’ “China Airborn” completely misses the point on “China intranet”
I really don’t know how anyone can defend James Fallows. Ever since I had this exchange with him, I knew the guy to be a scoundrel (what better evidence does one need?) but some people still insist on defending him.
Fallows is cut from the same rotting wood as most western “journalists.” He had another, shall we say, episode recently when he displayed righteous indignation at CCTV Dialogue‘s host Yang Rui’s outburst on his personal Weibo account. Fallows then wrote a pouty response urging western journalists not to go on that show. Anyone who has seen Dialogue knows that it is a quality show, far better than any comparable show in the US and it has a diversity of opinions represented from real experts and sometimes criticizers of Chinese policies (including Fallows).
Continue reading Fallows: defensive, gets feelings hurt
James Fallows is one of the most accomplished journalists in the West. His talents were demonstrated very early on in his career, being former U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s chief speechwriter; the youngest person to ever hold such a job. Personally, I admire his understanding of the Western media. For example, his take on the “new media” is totally excellent. However, Fallows doesn’t ‘get’ China. As humans, our imagination is often limited by our biases, and in his latest article, “What Is the Chinese Dream?” he dared implying a nation of 1.3 billion without dreams. It’s preposterous. While the article is certainly helping to frame the ongoing debate about China’s rise, the article is also an indication of what’s wrong with the prevailing Western narratives about China. Continue reading Lacking insight in James Fallows’ piece, “What Is the Chinese Dream?”
James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly and one of the more accomplished journalists in the West. Throughout the years, he has also become a well known “China hand.” I have high regards for his views about Western media; he is like a sage. As a Westerner, his views about China are more nuanced (relatively speaking), and I appreciate his efforts promoting understanding. For example, I recall a debate between Fallows and Niall Ferguson on the topic of ‘Chimerica’ where Ferguson constantly tries to rachet up doom and gloom but only to be fizzled by Fallows more moderate (in my view correct) take on the relationship. Continue reading James Fallows should know better speculating someones death is cultural taboo
James Fallows has just published an article, “Learning to Love the (Shallow, Divisive, Unreliable) New Media,” which I thought was really excellent. I don’t particularly care for his China articles, but Fallows is a veteran in the Western media business. It is a hefty read, but I highly recommend it, in its entirety. His intro below:
Everyone from President Obama to Ted Koppel is bemoaning a decline in journalistic substance, seriousness, and sense of proportion. But the author, a longtime advocate of these values, takes a journey through the digital-media world and concludes there isn’t any point in defending the old ways. Consumer-obsessed, sensationalist, and passionate about their work, digital upstarts are undermining the old media—and they may also be pointing the way to a brighter future.
Continue reading James Fallows, “Learning to Love the (Shallow, Divisive, Unreliable) New Media”