“The quacking canards of the minuscule Peking Duck faction”

When earlier this week I pointed readers to Danwei to read Philip Cunningham’s response to comments on his being bounced from the Chinapol listserve, I specifically urged readers to avoid insult or snark.

Danwei has opened the door for Philip Cunningham to reply to commenters who responded to news of his banishment from Chinapol. [If you plan to go there to comment that’s your choice, but I urge you to avoid insults and snark, and keep the conversation relevant to the topic. Ad hominems and anonymous emotional outbursts only give Philip ammunition to position himself as a martyr, and to point to obnoxious commenters as haters.]

That thread has been closed and Philip has the last word. Ever gracious and polite, here’s how he references this blog in his final comment.

I don’t believe the handful of self-aggrandizing China-bashers on Chinapol and its small contingent of hard-core neo-cons represents the vast majority of Chinapolers any more than the quacking canards of the minuscule Peking Duck faction represent Danwei’s diverse readership, but in both cases the conversation spoilers wait poised, ready to attack any one who deviates from their own grim worldview. This essentially makes sustained dialogue difficult if not impossible.

And later:

As for the quacking of the Peking Duck faction, mired in an expired paradigm of Cold War belligerence, this tiny group of China-can-do-no-right commenters offered mostly snark and awe diversion, acting out in an amusingly predictable way the sort of identify crisis that comes with a paradigm shift as I alluded to in the opening comments.

You see, we are “quacking canards,” bogged down in our Cold War mentality. Mao had his Filthy Stinking 9th, BCPC (Brilliant and Charming Philip Cunningham) has his Quacking Canard. We are instantly and systematically robbed of any intellectual worth because we fall into this Cold Warrior category. None of our questions are answered – we are dismissed as contemptible. As to dialogue being impossible: I have repeatedly tried to engage BCPC, both on Danwei and Joseph Bosco’s blog, but my very specific and rather tame questions were always ignored. Of course dialogue is impossible: BCPC only knows how to change the subject.

About my being a Cold Warrior… Obviously, Philip knows nothing about me or this site. I went to China with stars in my eyes, dazzled by the positive coverage China was receiving in 2001 for its economic miracle, its selection for the Olympics, its apparent trend to greater openness and a host of other factors that convinced me “China is the place to be.” In some ways, I still believe it’s the place to be – but my belief that it was becoming freer and its government reforming was quickly shattered. None of my disdain for the CCP is a product of Cold War mentality, only of recent personal experience. That BCPC has the nerve to make such blanket assumptions and generalizations is galling, but not at all surprising. As I said before, he truly follows the model of our troll “Jessica Copeland” – any criticism of the Chinese government stems from X or Y (for BCPC, it’s Cold War brainwashing, for Jessica it’s Christian brainwashing). They will not even consider that perhaps we are critical because we have seen with our own eyes the injustices of which the CCP is capable. Just as I have seen the outrages of my own president. Others who make observations similar to my own are Rebecca Mackinnon, John Pomfret, Philip Pan, Joseph Kahn, Howard French,Xiao Qiang, Sophie Beach and countless other intelligent liberals. Are we all infected with an indelible Cold Warrior sickness?

Let’s look at how smooth and sly Philip is.

I don’t believe the handful of self-aggrandizing China-bashers on Chinapol and its small contingent of hard-core neo-cons represents the vast majority of Chinapolers any more than the quacking canards of the minuscule Peking Duck faction represent Danwei’s diverse readership

You see, Danwei’s readership is “diverse” – Danwei is supportive of Philip (which is fine). TPD readership, which isn’t so supportive of BCPC, is “miniscule” and consists of quacking canards. However, this is not a fair representation – it’s something of a lie. Go, for example, to the curent thread below on the Dalai Lama and watch as Pigsun and Bingfeng and Jeffrey and others offer widely diverse viewpoints. Go to the Duck Pond and see how varied the readership is. Regular posters here are staunch Republicans like Johnny K and gojup and FSN9. Joseph Bosco, BCPC’s good friend, is a frequent commenter and a constant friend. This site is not an echo chamber. And in blog terms, it isn’t miniscule. More than 450 separate blogs link to this site, and there are nearly 3,100 inbound links. Sure, this blog is small potatoes compared to Kos and Instacracker, but considering how niche it is, it does okay (it’s among the top 500 out of more than 5,000 blogs measured). That BCPC feels he has to sneer at me says a lot. Of course, I shouldn’t let Philip put me on the defensive like this, but neither should I just let him get away with his falsehoods.

So there we have the real BCPC, ready to hurl ad hominems and insults as he bobs and weaves to avoid actually answering any of the questions put to him. And despite the rich diversity of Danwei’s readership, it was telling that only one other commenter there took a strong stand in BCPC’s defense; guess who?

I like the way one commenter here expressed BCPC’s Last Stand in another thread:

Too bad Phil wasn’t intelligent and charming enough to provide anything substantial in his final statement. I think that some good points were made in this “dialogue,” particularly about his supposed “exile”-dom and his servitude to his CCTV “friends.” He just responded by talking about a “Cold War mentality.” If I wanted to read something like that, I could have just bought a People’s Daily and saved myself some time!

I’m not a “Cold Warrior.” China is my area of interest, and when I see something wrong, I point out. This differentiates me from Phil, in that when he sees something wrong, he brings up Iraq.

Phil doesn’t experience any of the negative effects of the current situation in China. He hangs out with Yang Rui and attends state dinners. But this is not everyone’s experience. There are people arrested for what they write, people whose homes are torn down without proper compensation, people whose villages are polluted, people abused by officials, and, now matter how important your “friends” are, to ignore all the wrongs that occur is to actually consider the lives of the Chinese people to be of less value that those of other nations.

Anyway, I guess people of this vein can continue to refer to people like me as “Cold warriors,” (labeling: dodging the issue and not providing a real response), and they can enjoy their life in China, removed from the stresses that many of the population face. They can make their comments on Dialogue or on blogs or whatever. But one day, when the shackles are lifted and the Chinese people are able to speak for themselves, there won’t be any more invitations to state dinners and there won’t be anywhere else to peddle their deceptions.

Beautifully said, Kevin. As I’ve observed before, BCPC knows where his bread is buttered; he’s CCTV’s Ann Coulter, who can always be counted on to snarl (in an ever-so-charming and erudite maner) against the enemy (the US, on CCTV; liberals on Fox news). This has served him well and I hope he’s enjoying it. But the hard glare emanating from all his brilliance and charm can’t hide the fact that at the end of the day he’s just another puppet, whose insistence that all who disagree with him are brainwashed is merely projection – because no one’s more brainwashed than BCPC, who actively helps create China’s Potemkin Village scenario every time he appears on CCTV-9.

UPDATE: BCPC seems to have inspired a new thread in the Quacking Canards’ Forum!

The Discussion: 29 Comments

Wow. Cunningham must be a little freaked by the quacking canards…

It’s a little funny that he calls the readership of this site a “faction,” in any case. The opinions here are awfully diverse for that.

July 27, 2006 @ 10:43 pm | Comment

Thanks Lisa. As I like to say, “consider the source.”

July 27, 2006 @ 10:48 pm | Comment

I think you need to do something with this “quacking canards” appellation. Some sort of, I don’t know, regular feature or masthead or something.

Say, what was that great idea we once had for a TPD T-shirt, anyway? I forgot!

July 27, 2006 @ 10:59 pm | Comment

I forget, too – but I like the idea of Quacking Canrd T-shirts.

July 27, 2006 @ 11:05 pm | Comment

I just changed the legend at the top of the blog. Hope BCPC likes it.

July 27, 2006 @ 11:07 pm | Comment

LOVE it!!

July 27, 2006 @ 11:34 pm | Comment

Oh, I think we were all gonna be Peking Ducklings or something. Is that right?

July 27, 2006 @ 11:40 pm | Comment

Yes, but I definitely like the Quacking Canards – great alliteration. Philip is nothing short of a genius.

July 27, 2006 @ 11:58 pm | Comment

I personally would proudly wear a Quacking Canards tee.

July 28, 2006 @ 12:00 am | Comment

Dunningham wrote:

“…the sort of identity crisis that comes with a paradigm shift….”

No. A “paradigm shift” is what happens when someone like Einstein publishes his theories of relativity. A “paradigm shift” is NOT what Cunningham was offering to the world when he bitched about being thrown off of Chinapol.

July 28, 2006 @ 12:15 am | Comment

Richard, I just read BCPC’s closing reply. I almost spit all my lunch on the monitor screen. Without going into too much details, I just want to say that only those who are still struggling to come to terms with the end of the cold war will accuse people of having cold war mentality. BCPC is the one who can’t shake off his cold war shadow. He is attempting to reenact it through polarising the world of politics into the pro-China and anti-China factions. This stands in stark contrast to discussion format that we are having at TPD, where there is diversity of opinion. This kind of openness and diversity is a threat to BCPC and the false worldview that him and his proteges are trying to impose on the world.

July 28, 2006 @ 12:25 am | Comment

PS, my fellow faction leaders, Math and Pigsun, are going to have another secret meeting tonight to plan our Faction Strategy for the coming year.

July 28, 2006 @ 12:28 am | Comment

Yeah, really… “faction”? Seems he’s been hanging out with the Propaganda Department a bit too much. Oh sorry if I offended anyone, the “Publicity Department.”

July 28, 2006 @ 12:31 am | Comment

Fat Cat, thank you for saying it better than I could.

July 28, 2006 @ 12:45 am | Comment

In my defense, I have been a registered independent (or “no-part”) as it is unceremoniously abbreviated on my voter registration card thingy since 2004. The GOP in its current form disgusts me, from the Christiansts at the grassroots who are little better than Islamists (though at least they use ballots instead of bullets) all the way up to the man at the top who has proven himself to be simply inadequate as a President. Forget complaints about Bush being a Nixon, he’s more along the lines of a Harding, and at the very moment our country needed someone borne of Greatness.

I can only take solace in that even the Republicans don’t want another Bush-type to run (reminds me of the South Koreans hating Roh–though I hated him from the start).

Anyway, the one thing the Philip Cunninghams of the world cannot stand is someone who sees and matches their air of dry academic detachment. This Ducking shall roar. (in a dry academic detached matter of course)

July 28, 2006 @ 12:46 am | Comment

Thanks Johnny – you’re usually wrong about nearly everything, but you’re still a great guy.

July 28, 2006 @ 12:59 am | Comment

I want my official T-shirt customised with a picture of Daffy Duck glaring and spitting at Yang Rui, and the caption:

“Letssspptthh have a Dialogue!”

July 28, 2006 @ 1:06 am | Comment

Johnny, no offence but there is no such thing as “dry academic detachment”. The only thing that’s dry and detached is your academic gown. Even so, nowadays many academics would prefer not to wear one if they don’t have to – just my opinion.

July 28, 2006 @ 1:09 am | Comment

Hey, did you notice how his use of abusive alliteration (“quacking canards of the Peking Duck Faction”) sound JUST LIKE the Wizard of Oz?

Remember? When the Tin Man approaches the great and powerful Oz, the Wizard abuses him, thus:

“You clinking, clanking, clattering collection of collagenous junk!”

And to the Scarecrow:

“And you, Scarecrow, have the effrontery to ask me for a brain? You billowing bale of bovine fodder!”

So, do you think…do you think Philip Cunningham could be….? “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”

July 28, 2006 @ 5:38 am | Comment

I love being being labeled and rudely dismissed as CCP hacks and their lackys. Kind of turns me on. And I MUST have a T-shirt should they ever be produced.

July 28, 2006 @ 6:22 am | Comment

I had a feeling that this guy was an idiot. Of course one had to give him the benefit of the doubt, but to label anyone and everyone that had a criticism about him was ridiculous. There was an almost childish element to his insults.


When someone starts using the “China-basher/hater” accusation, you know they’re fresh out of ideas and are rattled. That guy is an absolute joke. He wouldn’t last 10 minutes against someone like Richard on a REAL discussion programme.

Of course Dialogue is a nice safe environment where his POV is protected, so he’ll never face any tough questions. If he wants to vainly praise himself for being such a “big star” in China, then he can do. But the fact he has thrown such a hissy-fit over being kicked off a mailing list shows how he knows how low his profile has sunk.

That, or he has such a big head he can’t stand being denied access to anything.

July 28, 2006 @ 7:13 am | Comment

In comparison, he’s starting to make Da Shan look dignified.

July 28, 2006 @ 5:58 pm | Comment

Hmm, and come to think of it, his style of alliterative abuse also reminds me of Doctor Smith in “Lost In Space”

July 29, 2006 @ 7:26 am | Comment

What goes around, comes around.

“We are instantly and systematically robbed of any intellectual worth because we fall into this Cold Warrior category. ”

Is that the same technique you guys use whenever people argue against you? “you are brainwahsed by CCP, blah, blah, blah, …”

Very nice comment by Cunningham.

July 29, 2006 @ 8:51 am | Comment

Steve, there is such a huge divergence of opinion here that the notion of a “peking duck faction” is pretty absurd.

Speaking for myself I don’t think I’ve ever accused anyone of being “brainwashed by the CCP.”

And you comment here. So that makes you a quacking canard by Cunningham’s definition.

Welcome to the club!

July 29, 2006 @ 10:39 am | Comment

Coming from Steve, this is a high comliment! He has a long history here, Lisa, even before you joined us. He is simply making things up.

July 29, 2006 @ 12:13 pm | Comment

For a more comprehensive of Doctor Smith’s Alliterative-Abuse names (cf “Quaking Canards”), go to THIS site and scroll down:


…I just love the photo where the Robot is holding his arms up over his head while Doctor Smith insults him…. 🙂

July 29, 2006 @ 9:19 pm | Comment

I’m a bit disappointed that Danwei ran the the two Cunningham/Chinapol posts. Danwei is a great blog in my opinion and I knew Jeremy and Cunningham are friends (or at least, that Jeremy respects Cunningham greatly), but letting Cunningham use Danwei as a platform from which to launch attacks on Chinapol and then, basically, telling Cunningham’s critics to play nice while Cunningham himself shows no such restraint, looks bad.

And I agree with the rest of you, the use of “faction” to attack TPD sounds like Cunningham is internalizing the political language of his hosts. That probably also explains why his critiques of the US sound like they were written by Yang Rui’s staff.

July 31, 2006 @ 12:13 pm | Comment

Well, I don’t agree with many of the stances the US government takes on China, but this guy seems like nothing more than a CCP shill.

He and “M” would probably get along rather well.

August 22, 2006 @ 9:32 pm | Comment

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