Philip Cunningham thread

Long-time readers may remember my bringing up Philip’s name before. I find him brilliant, articulate, and something of an apologist for the CCP. He isn’t a party shill, but he’s not objective about them, either. The one thing that always bothered me about him was his eagerness to criticize America while treating the Chinese government with kid gloves. For those of you interested, you must vist this post and the ensuing comments thread. There is some really smart stuff there, and I have to say I’m delighted to see I’m not alone in my assessment of Dr. Cunningham. (That doesn’t make me right, of course, but it certainly feels good.)

The Discussion: 30 Comments

what is your definition of a “ccp apologist”?

July 3, 2006 @ 1:28 am | Comment

Someone who goes out of his way to argue in defense of the CCP.

July 3, 2006 @ 1:31 am | Comment

in english, what do you call someone who goes out of his way to argue against CCP?

July 3, 2006 @ 1:43 am | Comment


July 3, 2006 @ 1:45 am | Comment

you should have a lot of friends among anti-americanists, their logic is the same – everything ameria did is bad, everything that against america is good.

actually you have a very good point to argue agianst your anti-ccp stance:

“What a great thread. I’m happy to see so many people in China are on to Cunningham. He’s smart and he’s charming, but to hear him talk about Chinapol’s double standards is rather lamentable, considering his own double standards when it comes to Bad America and Good China.

Posted by: richard | July 3, 2006 03:22 PM”

July 3, 2006 @ 1:57 am | Comment

Now here’s a great line, quite representative of Cunningham’s tenentiousness and intellectual dishonesty. In the post which got him booted off of that forum, he wrote:

“…some NGOs deliberately or inadvertently work hand in glove with darker forces.”

Aha. Right.

Well, notice:

1. “SOME” ngos. None specified. Typical of Communist propaganda all the way back to Lenin.

2. “working deliberately OR INADVERTENTLY”. Aha. So, we don’t even have to prove intention to do harm. Or who is doing the harm. Or what harm. All we need to do is repeat the phrase “American hegemony” over and over until we’re blue in the face. Why should the CCP need a free press or the rule of law when they have Cunningham working for them? (Working for you “deliberately or inadvertently”)

3. “…with darker forces.” Dark forces? You mean Darth Vader? What kind of professional academic/journalist political commentator speaks of “dark forces?”
Well, Communists and other superstitious authorities do, that much has been shown from history. Witch hunters, Nazis, Communists, and Philip Cunningham, revealers of the hidden “dark forces.”
Just like the scene in M Python and the Holy Grail:
Q: “How do you KNOW she’s a witch?”
A: “She looks like one! And she works for an NGO!”

July 3, 2006 @ 3:16 am | Comment

Ah, the cock jockey stikes again.
I find it interesting that he enjoys greater freedom of speech on “Dialogue” than he does on that Internet list, as I have never seen a dissenting voice on that program. He was recently on there discussing Sino-Japanese relations and I nearly hurt myself laughing.
Seems like Philly-boy had a chance to share some of his different opinions on this list server till he got a little rude and employed the old “change-the-topic” double punch of which a certain party is so enamored.
I don’t go to forums about the Iraq War and ramble on about China. Yet this guy seems to feel the need to constantly change the subject in order to serve those who sustain him, all the while tarnishing the reputations of “HR organizations” and other such groups who he claims are working for “dark forces.” If Philly really wants to see some dark forces, perhaps he should leave his lovely apartment in Beijing and talk to some people. Maybe he should try writing something equally thoughtful, reflective, and critical in the People’s Daily Forum. That’s when he’ll discover the “dark forces” that are in fact much closer to him.

July 3, 2006 @ 4:06 am | Comment

Also, why does he feel the need to draw attention to his expulsion from a list server? Has he ever done anything for the many academics barred from traveling to China? Nope, he just continues his appearances on Dialogue ranting against Bush. I would perhaps have a little more respect for him if he could raise issues such as the refusal to provide certain academics with visas. Lord knows someone in China would be listening to him. Instead, he spends his political capital to continue his Iraq War rant, a rant worthy of the finest at the Department of “Publicity.”

July 3, 2006 @ 5:43 am | Comment

I don’t think anyone doubts the US uses NGOs to push its own interests (suport for the Orange movement in the Ukraine, for example.) Where Cunningham loses his credibility is his one sided criticism of the US. Has he not noticed that China is also adept at using its own NGOs and cultural associations to manipulate local affairs in its favour. The “United Front” apprach is tried and tested.

July 3, 2006 @ 5:55 am | Comment


I, for one, not only “doubt” it, but happen to know it’s a lie.

The CCP just can’t bear the idea that autocthonous (look it up) democratic movements can arise in formerly Communist countries without any “hidden” support from the US. It terrifies them. And as far as “support” for the Orange Revolution went, Europe sent far more support (of all kinds) than the US.

July 3, 2006 @ 6:41 am | Comment

Wow, this Cunningham bloke really is psychotic. If he is a victim, he’ll allow the list to publish his posts. The fact he ignored that challenge shows the weakness of his argument.

July 3, 2006 @ 6:57 am | Comment

Ivan perhaps you are Russian but in the US this is common knowledge and has been discussed at length in the House of Representatives:

Mr. Chairman: President Bush said last week that, “Any election (in Ukraine), if there is one, ought to be free from any foreign influence.” I agree with the president wholeheartedly. Unfortunately, it seems that several US government agencies saw things differently and sent US taxpayer dollars into Ukraine in an attempt to influence the outcome.

Cunningham is biased, but on this matter he is not incorrect.

July 3, 2006 @ 7:00 am | Comment

We dont do body counts
General Tommy Franks, US Central Command

Iraq is a human rights disaster. There are at least 38,000 documented civilian deaths, with many estimates placing the toll much higher. No-one in the US government is counting *these* violations of the human right to breathe.

Anyone who wants to be taken seriously about human rights in China had better be concerned about the American experience in Afghanistan and Iraq. So if Cunningham’s post is considered off-topic or Quislingesque, then the world needs a lot more off-topic and Quislingesque discussions.

I’ll believe Cunningham is an apologist when he actually tries to offer excuses for human rights abuses. I haven’t read much Cunningham, but the post linked on danwei was a critique of abusive government not an apology for it.

July 3, 2006 @ 7:09 am | Comment


Do you have any idea HOW MUCH money those government agencies sent? (Note: an NGO is a NON-government agency.) Do you know what their actual effect on the Ukrainian election was?

No you don’t.

And by the way I’m not Russian.

July 3, 2006 @ 7:11 am | Comment

I think Cunningham is refering to “independent” organisations like the National Endowment for Democracy, which has been very active in both Ukraine and China (it funds dissident groups like the Laogai Research Foundation). The Chinese will no doubt be suspicious given the NED’s activities to try destabilise Venezuala and previous funding of Cuban terrorist groups.

Therefore it is not unreasonable for Cunningham to raise this issue.

July 3, 2006 @ 7:36 am | Comment

He didn’t raise what you have raised. He raised a vague connection between “some” NGOs and “dark forces.” That’s not appropriate, and it’s bloody irresponsible, considering how blanket statements like that place all NGOs under suspicion, and potentially can endanger their bona fide workers.

July 3, 2006 @ 10:14 am | Comment

You know, as an American who is constantly railing against the sins of the Bush Administration and the criminal, tragic invasion/occupation of Iraq…it STILL really pisses me off when the response to any criticism, say of China’s human rights situation, is met with the response, “well, look what YOU’VE done.”

Wrong is wrong, and US misdeeds don’t excuse or justify Chinese ones.

And yes, from what I’ve heard, it’s not unreasonable to conclude that “NGO” backing of Ukraine’s Orange Revolution had US government support. I wish I weren’t so brain-dead, because I remember reading a long article about how to support/promote democracy in which a distinction was made between efforts like the Ukraine and trying to bring it about at gunpoint, a la Iraq. Several points: you have to be very careful about it, discreet, and not subverting but supporting a genuine effort that already exists. Another important distinction – the opposition needs to be fairly united – supporting one faction in a sea of factions doesn’t work.

And certainly painting all NGOs as tools of subversion is dangerous and inaccurate as well.

Anyway, I’ve gone a bit off-topic here.

July 3, 2006 @ 10:55 am | Comment

Cunningham and Bush actually have a lot in common, ie, dragging out the same atrocity over and over again to distract attention from other atrocities.

Bush says 9-11 justifies everything. 9-11 is his panacea, his trump card in all debates.

The CCP and their whore Cunningham use the Iraq War the same way. “What about Hao Wu?” CCP/Cunningham answer: “The Iraq War.”

Substitute the phrase “American hegemony” as per taste. Wash, rinse and repeat.

July 3, 2006 @ 5:47 pm | Comment

Another crucial distinction between America’s “human rights abuses” and those of China, aside from the difference of several degrees of magnitude, is that for the US, these things are seen as terrible aberrations from our political norms and traditions, and American opinion polls show it.

Meanwhile in China such abuses are quite simply business as usual, and Chinese opinion pol–oh…wait…

It is intellectually dishonest, and shamefully so, to equate the poor decisions of one crappy president with the modus operandi of an entire government.

July 3, 2006 @ 6:57 pm | Comment

bingfeng: “what is your definition of a “ccp apologist”?”
richard: Someone who goes out of his way to argue in defense of the CCP.
bingfeng: in english, what do you call someone who goes out of his way to argue against CCP?
richard: Enlightened.


July 3, 2006 @ 7:04 pm | Comment

You could also say, “educated in history.”

July 3, 2006 @ 7:14 pm | Comment

More, “what do you call someone who goes out of his way to argue against the CCP?”

Well, if he’s a PRC national, and if he’s still in China, then you call him, “prisoner number xxxxxxxx”

July 3, 2006 @ 7:18 pm | Comment

More, “what do you call someone who goes out of his way to argue against the CCP?”

Well, if he’s a PRC national, and if he’s still in China, then you call him, “prisoner number xxxxxxxx”


ganbei, ivan, ganbei

July 3, 2006 @ 8:00 pm | Comment

Notice how bingfeng doesn’t even try to challenge my last remark. He’s a CCP apologist but he’s not entirely stupid. ๐Ÿ™‚

July 3, 2006 @ 8:19 pm | Comment

Notice how bingfeng doesn’t even try to challenge my last remark. He’s a CCP apologist but he’s not entirely stupid. ๐Ÿ™‚

Posted by: Ivan at July 3, 2006 08:19 PM


your last remark can’t be challenged.

ganbei, ganbei (how to say it in russian?)

July 3, 2006 @ 8:44 pm | Comment

In Russian: “nash zdorovye”. Literally translated, the phrase means, “Communism is bullshit.”

July 4, 2006 @ 1:13 am | Comment

In Russian: “nash zdorovye”. Literally translated, the phrase means, “Communism is bullshit.”

July 4, 2006 @ 1:15 am | Comment

Well, people seem to be piling on Cunningham here, so I won’t add to it.

A while back, a friend and I were trying to come up with a name for the cheap, nasty rhetorical technique at work when people respond to criticisms of the CCP with “yeah, but you’re American!” I suggested ‘kneecapping,’ a similarly low and dirty move. Feel free to use the term, if you like it.

July 4, 2006 @ 2:59 am | Comment

My dictionary calls that move a “P.J. Cunningham.”

July 4, 2006 @ 3:42 am | Comment

You know, my conscience doesn’t twinge the slightest bit when it comes to piling onto someone who shills for the Party in venues which have no freedom of speech at all.

Cunningham is an apologist for bullies. Don’t tell me about “piling on.”

July 4, 2006 @ 4:45 am | Comment

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