Microsoft’s new anti-piracy ad campaign in China

You can have a look at the ads here. Will they make the slightest bit of difference? I hate to be cynical, but if ever there was a long, hard slog, it’s the campaign to sway China to respect intellectual property. After walking through a Zhongguancun mall the other day, I’d say the campaign has a long way to go.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 138 Comments

P.S.

Ivan is absolutely correct about the syncreticism of all religion. Again, Ferins is parroting traditional cliches without even knowing their origin.

September 2, 2007 @ 3:01 am | Comment

So many new comments…Let me just address Phil at the moment – I ws spanning several different conversations and different points in history; sorry that you got confused. My bringing up Tarbell and Mencken were in no way related to the discussion of the Enlightenment, but about how a free press (which IS related to the Enlightenment) helped protect society from the ills of the robber barons. My point was that free thinking a freedom of enquiry were encouraged by our Enlightenment-driven founding fathers, and when the free-wheeling capitalism of the industrial revolution was raging, it was those same values that came into play again and led America toward reform, just as later with the robberbarons it was the muckrakers.

About the wealth flaunting – there was a very different attitude toward it in the gilded age than what you see in China and in the US (did you catch that I said that Phil – in the US as well?). You did not one-up your neighbor, and in fact the super-rich tended to hide their wealth, not flaunt it. It was the nouveau riche who rubbed it in their neighbors’ faces, and still do. The super-rich were astonishingly prudent and to most people utterly invisible. As they built their mansions, they also built huge foundations to give much of their money back to society (not always inspired by altruism, but by public relations). Just about no one in the underclass saw Frick and Gates and Carnegie flaunting their wealth, ever. It was simply a different mentality. In China, it often seems that a natural extension of becoming wealthy is to show it off in every conceivable way. I amy be completely wrong about this, but I have sure seen many examples, just as I’ve seen cocky young investment bankers in south Manhattan doing the same.

Fat Cat, good call on Ferins setting up false dichotomies. It reminds me of a troll we used to have here called Really (something like that – he later morphed into “Jessica Copeland” who hung out in the threads ranting about America as a Christian nation, and blaming all my idiocies (which I admit are abundant) on my being a Christian.

Agree totally with Ivan’s point about dogs. Very well said.

I am interested also in his argument about Christianity, but I have to admit I shrink away from most arguments about organized religion. I do think our willingness to consider such arguments has a lot to do with how we are brought up. I was brought up (read “hard wired”) to reject any notion of a supreme being, let alone Papal Infallibility (where the supreme decider is a man). I have many times felt the lure of Christianity and have been amazed at the joy and peace it has brought to some of the people closest to me (and I mean really, really close) but am afraid my childhood skepticism still makes arguments such as Ivan’s unpalatable. Mostly. I have to admit it’s a topic I’ve been conflicted on for many years – man’s longing for spiritual nourishment and a belief in something greater than himself and greater than his country. And on that note, time to call it a day.

September 2, 2007 @ 3:10 am | Comment

I thought you were Jewish?

Ivan is absolutely correct about the syncreticism of all religion. Again, Ferins is parroting traditional cliches without even knowing their origin.

Don’t make me laugh. You’ve apparently never read certain parts of the Bible or Qu’ran. The thing is, a major difference between Chinese philosophy and Abrahamic religion is that there isn’t (as much) stuff about who is the chosen people of Yahweh, and killing kaffirs, infidels, or “heathens”. Typically these aren’t the major points covered by the vast majority of people, but when there’s a desire for extremism it’s only a few pages between “peace and love” and genocide.

But don’t even bother responding, I know you’re just going to brush the Crusades, terrorism, the Spanish Inquisition, Manifest Destiny, white man’s burden, oppression, and the sociopolitical reality of fundamentalism under the carpet, brush over it with sensationalism and anecdotes, and front the ideal rather than the reality.

Just about no one in the underclass saw Frick and Gates and Carnegie flaunting their wealth, ever.

Are you saying you come in regular contact with the Gates, Fricks, Rockefellers, and Carnegies of China? Do they have huge signs grafted on their foreheads with their net worth written on it? No wonder their family members get kidnapped and held for ransom so much.

good call on Ferins setting up false dichotomies.

In this vein, you could almost call someone out for “setting up false dichotomies” against the poor old CCP.

September 2, 2007 @ 5:07 am | Comment

Do you consider Taiwan and South Korea to be Confucian or Christian?

Confucian, as much as that makes South Korean Christian fanatics roil and froth at the mouth with indignance.

September 2, 2007 @ 5:08 am | Comment

Hey Richard?

Yep, “call it a day.” God will still be waiting to greet you with a warm embrace, tomorrow and forever. And so will I, Richard, when you and I hug each other in God’s kingdom. 🙂

And Richard? You of all people should know, that MY kind of religion is not “organised” at all. 😉

Richard, my Friend, no one (such as you are) who loves Truth, will ever be rejected by God. Even less so would God ever turn away a man who believes in Love as you do.

But now back to my puppy. He has developed a perverted desire for me to rub his belly whenever I call him “good”. What a perverted Gothic freak he is! 😉 🙂

September 2, 2007 @ 5:13 am | Comment

>>appear to be criticising China for not managing to complete within the last 15 years all of the reforms and changes that took the western world 150 years to complete.

But I thought China was America in 1890? (That’s why they have a piracy problem.) No, wait, it is pre-Enlightenment Europe. (That’s why they don’t have a free press.) No, it is Industrial Revolution England. (That’s why they have a pollution problem.) No, it’s Geico Caveman Finland! (That’s why people spit on the street.) On and on.

People tend to go overboard with these historical analogies and take them too literally. Although it is sometimes useful to compare different countries in different eras, it is inherently misleading. For example, acting as though China — a country with a largely secular history and culture that is officially atheist and has deified science and technology for the past century — were comparable to pre-Enlightenment Europe.

China has its own history — it isn’t a cheap knockoff of some model of some other country’s past. Countries aren’t models and neither is history, despite what Hegel may think.

The CCP is guilty of this kind of historical analogy shopping more than anyone else — they’ve abandoned Marx, but not his obsession with “stages.” But there is no shortage of this type of thinking in the West, either, obviously. (Uh, where they picked up this conception of history in the first place.)

September 2, 2007 @ 7:28 am | Comment

“About the wealth flaunting – there was a very different attitude toward it in the gilded age than what you see in China and in the US (did you catch that I said that Phil – in the US as well?). You did not one-up your neighbor, and in fact the super-rich tended to hide their wealth, not flaunt it. It was the nouveau riche who rubbed it in their neighbors’ faces, and still do.”

Have you ever considered that with only 30 years of post-socialist economic restructuring, most rich in China are nouveau riche?

The kids of the nouveau riche tend to be a lot more modest than their parents. They also tend to be more well-educated (with Ivy League degrees coming out the demon hole as opposed to the CR) but I digress.

September 2, 2007 @ 8:55 am | Comment

Nature can just as easily (and with far more “reason” and “rationality”) have the opposite effect on others, who (rightly so) see in it nothing but merciless “survival of the fittest”, like the Nazis did.

So can and does religion. Where believers can easily come under the impression that it is glorious to kill infidels, because their holy books say so. And they did and do it all the time.

But anyway, my argument was that I don’t need religion for humility. That statement of yours doesn’t counter it, does it. It just states that nature can have other effects on other people. (And I doubt that it was nature that inspired the Nazi ideology. One or two books would come to my mind that had a considerably bigger effect, I’d say)

But then, if Man has a unique nature among all creatures, then doesn’t that refute any absolute Darwinian law of “survival of the fittest”, and then place all of our “Enlightenment” conceptions of “Man as just another part of Nature like all others” into question?

Ivan, I am disappointed. You are more intelligent than that statement. I guess this is one of the cases were religion get’s the better of reason. It’s dangerous as I said : )

Why should it refute Darwin. Why? Where are mans unique abilities contrary to Darwin’s theory? Where? (by the way we are not as unique as most think. Primates, like Bonobos, have extraordinary skills, that make us look a little less special. Though I have to admit there never was one observed building an altar and praying for rain)
Man has the ability to reflect about himself. Ask were we come from and think about ethics and so on. It’s our highly developed brain that makes us special. We can influence and change our environment in a way no other animal can. Darwin’s theory, again, is about the success (in breading) of those species or creatures best adopted to their environments. Now, man can change the environment so that it fits him better. That’s the secret of the success of mankind. Where does this refute Darwin?

And the question, “what FOR” is essential here, because such extraordinary creations as Man, do not happen just by mere accident without any teleological purpose.

Why don’t they happen without a teleological purpose? Because your mind resists to consider the possibility, that there is no “What For”? That’s not realy an argument, Ivan, let alone a proof.

BTW, I think Bill Gates sold his sould to the devil.

September 2, 2007 @ 10:29 am | Comment

soul, not sould

September 2, 2007 @ 10:37 am | Comment

Humility is the state of being humble. A humble person is generally thought to be unpretentious and modest: someone who does not think that he or she is better or more important than others. Humility is not to be confused with humiliation, which is the act of making someone else feel ashamed, and is seen as something completely different.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humility

September 2, 2007 @ 11:05 am | Comment

“…and they have absolutely NO “humility” except toward creatures whom they perceive to be stronger.”

The analogy with Richard’s earlier comment about the attitudes of the rich in China blows me away.

September 2, 2007 @ 11:26 am | Comment

you mean the rich everywhere?

September 2, 2007 @ 12:56 pm | Comment

Can we end this thread?

September 2, 2007 @ 1:34 pm | Comment

“you mean the rich everywhere?”

No. Bill Gates is clearly an exception.

September 2, 2007 @ 2:02 pm | Comment

Er, perhaps the thread should die, but I’m curious that both Richard and Ivan have just used the same odd non-argument:

“dogs…have absolutely NO “humility” except toward creatures whom they perceive to be stronger.”
Dogs have no humility, except when they do.

“You did not one-up your neighbor, and in fact the super-rich tended to hide their wealth, not flaunt it. It was the nouveau riche who rubbed it in their neighbors’ faces, and still do.”
Rich Americans did not flaunt their wealth, except for those that did.

I think I understand your point, that you have a feeling that in general it was less acceptable in the US to flaunt wealth, and you might be right. But as you point out, the US clearly had flashy rich people; and China clearly has thrifty philanthropists. You think that the relative proportions in the two countries are very different; I would need a lot more evidence before I was convinced of that. I don’t think it’s the kind of thing you can state as a given in an argument and draw conclusions from.

88s
“Although it is sometimes useful to compare different countries in different eras, it is inherently misleading.”

Yeah, sure, but it can also be illuminating. Those who don’t study history, repeat, doom, all that stuff. Care is required – and perhaps none of us here have the time or expertise to exercise the required caution and work out how far the analogies go.
I have no idea if this China=wild west thing is proper history or just a gimmicky idea dreamed up by a journalist. But I do think it serves a useful purpose in reminding us that the USA took 200 years to develop to that point. Chinese history basically rebooted in 1980, and only one generation has passed since then.

September 2, 2007 @ 3:58 pm | Comment

Er, perhaps the thread should die, but I’m curious that both Richard and Ivan have just used the same odd non-argument:

“dogs…have absolutely NO “humility” except toward creatures whom they perceive to be stronger.”
Dogs have no humility, except when they do.

“You did not one-up your neighbor, and in fact the super-rich tended to hide their wealth, not flaunt it. It was the nouveau riche who rubbed it in their neighbors’ faces, and still do.”
Rich Americans did not flaunt their wealth, except for those that did.

I think I understand your point, that you have a feeling that in general it was less acceptable in the US to flaunt wealth, and you might be right. But as you point out, the US clearly had flashy rich people; and China clearly has thrifty philanthropists. You think that the relative proportions in the two countries are very different; I would need a lot more evidence before I was convinced of that. I don’t think it’s the kind of thing you can state as a given in an argument and draw conclusions from.

88s
“Although it is sometimes useful to compare different countries in different eras, it is inherently misleading.”

Yeah, sure, but it can also be illuminating. Those who don’t study history, repeat, doom, all that stuff. Care is required – and perhaps none of us here have the time or expertise to exercise the required caution and work out how far the analogies go.
I have no idea if this China=wild west thing is proper history or just a gimmicky idea dreamed up by a journalist. But I do think it serves a useful purpose in reminding us that the USA took 200 years to develop to that point. Chinese history basically rebooted in 1980, and only one generation has passed since then.

September 2, 2007 @ 4:01 pm | Comment

Er, perhaps the thread should die, but I’m curious that both Richard and Ivan have just used the same odd non-argument:

“dogs…have absolutely NO “humility” except toward creatures whom they perceive to be stronger.”
Dogs have no humility, except when they do.

“You did not one-up your neighbor, and in fact the super-rich tended to hide their wealth, not flaunt it. It was the nouveau riche who rubbed it in their neighbors’ faces, and still do.”
Rich Americans did not flaunt their wealth, except for those that did.

I think I understand your point, that you have a feeling that in general it was less acceptable in the US to flaunt wealth, and you might be right. But as you point out, the US clearly had flashy rich people; and China clearly has thrifty philanthropists. You think that the relative proportions in the two countries are very different; I would need a lot more evidence before I was convinced of that. I don’t think it’s the kind of thing you can state as a given in an argument and draw conclusions from.

88s
“Although it is sometimes useful to compare different countries in different eras, it is inherently misleading.”

Yeah, sure, but it can also be illuminating. Those who don’t study history, repeat, doom, all that stuff. Care is required – and perhaps none of us here have the time or expertise to exercise the required caution and work out how far the analogies go.
I have no idea if this China=wild west thing is proper history or just a gimmicky idea dreamed up by a journalist. But I do think it serves a useful purpose in reminding us that the USA took 200 years to develop to that point. Chinese history basically rebooted in 1980, and only one generation has passed since then.

September 2, 2007 @ 4:02 pm | Comment

Yes, this thread should definitely die. I just imagined I read three identical comments from Phil. Reading this thread causes delirium.

September 2, 2007 @ 4:14 pm | Comment

Last comment, then I may zip it up. Harvard Unversity (or college at the time) was founded in 1636. Some of the world’s great bastions of education then followed in America, where there also were great works of architecture and art and science. That was one side of the coin. Then there was, later on, the Wild West period, taking place in concurrence with America’s intellectual growth and maturity. But there was never, ever a time when the US mirrored what China is today. While the horrors of the industrial revolution were going on, America was also producing many great writers and thinkers, opera houses were being built, theaters, some of the world’s greatest museums and churches. These traditions started in America back in the 17th century. If China is indeed a mirror image of us 150 years ago, there’s a lot in the reflection that is missing. The only parallel I can actually see is there were bad labor conditions as industry took off in both countries. But I know I’ll never win this argument. It provides perfect cover for those who want to claim China is “a developing country” just like the US once was and everything should be forgiven and forgotten because China is trekking a parallel course and will be where the US is in the not-so-distant-future despite the fact that the nation’s traditional morals were obliterated by the Great Helmsman leaving the country in a very different state than the US was ever in and despite the fact that while the US was developing it was also one of the worlds great resources of culture, education and art, things that were valued far higher in America 150 years ago than they are in China today for whatever reasons and none of this is to say China is bad or immoral but very very very different to the point that making these historical parallels is an utter and insane waste of time and an act of self-deception and seeing the world in general and China in particular through rose-colored spectacles and finding the perfect excuse to let China off the hook because it is after all just mirroring America which I say is pure horseshit.

And no, America is not better than China. China had its own period of glorious culture that put much of the rest of the world to shame. But there is no denying that Mao & Company set China far, far, far back on the moral scale and the country is still recovering. That makes the comparison between the two countries even more absurd. China was traumatized and battered; at a time when Western universities were thriving those in China were being shut down and students encouraged to beat their teachers to death. Of course the two countries cannot be compared because there was no period in American history comparable to Mao’s asphyxiation of one of the greatest country’s brain cells. Yes, there were bad labor conditions in each country 150 years ago. Try comparing the countries along other criteria, like the growth of the middle class, the creation of schools and charities and libraries, press freedoms, the number of inventions, and on and on. Very very very different situations and to draw any comparison between the US and China 150 years ago is woefully incomplete and delusional because it basically looks at just one sliver of what America was and of what China is today.

September 2, 2007 @ 4:53 pm | Comment

why don’t you like the thread anymore? Interseting discussion, if you ask me.

September 2, 2007 @ 11:05 pm | Comment

Shulan, it’s just sooooo all over the place!

Based on past experience, it’s pretty clear this thread’s dying a natural death so I won’t shut it down. After 100 comments or so threads tend to peter out, and we’re there.

September 2, 2007 @ 11:50 pm | Comment

Well poor Microsoft got a bit lost on the way.
But anyway, as Ivan said, got quite interesting again. I like it more than the recent past when it was not so all over the place, but on the other side quite predictable.
Keep it flowing, I say.

September 3, 2007 @ 12:30 am | Comment

Thanks for this article.

September 3, 2007 @ 1:11 am | Comment

Good luck…

September 3, 2007 @ 1:16 am | Comment

But there is no denying that Mao & Company set China far, far, far back on the moral scale and the country is still recovering.

Chinese society needs a period of time where they can learn to be truly and unanimously furious at Mao and the Cultural Revolution, then we can revive the science, morality, intellectualism and culture that he killed.

September 3, 2007 @ 3:51 am | Comment

ferins, I wouldn’t say “it’s a perod of time” thats needed, it’s freedom of thought thats needed. And you are right, the people need to be allowed to say what they find good and bad and not be brainwashed to judge everything based on good for the party’s survival and bad for the party’s survival.

Thats whats called replacing Chinese culture with party culture, total brainwashing. Hardwiring the people to believe that there is no China without the CCP and that the thing that people have to value most is the longevity of the partys rule. Whereas, in contrast, the Chinese culture would value the longevity of the most virtuous and honest and respectful… If the CCP did not erase the Chinese culture, it wouldnt have survived a year since the Chinese culture rejects evil.

I guess you can compare this to how spiritualuty in the West has been replaced by materialism… The things bad we do areonly “acceptable” based on the theory that good and bad is relative to what feels good at the moment and what feels bad at the moment. In the West it seems we have replaced being good and having values with feeling good and gaining stuff.

But in China they pull out ALL the stops and have totally gone in the opposite way from respecting culture, even so far as they elieve they are such garbage that they need the party to contain them and live their lives for them, as long as they can feel good at whatever expense.

September 4, 2007 @ 2:54 am | Comment

In the West it seems we have replaced being good and having values with feeling good and gaining stuff.

Not much has changed, really.

even so far as they elieve they are such garbage that they need the party to contain them and live their lives for them, as long as they can feel good at whatever expense.

Who is “they”? Most people in China are fairly optimistic. They don’t “think they’re garbage”. Sounds too much like a conspiracy theory. I think there’s a general expecation that the CCP will reform once Chinese people get richer; and if not, they’ll be mad.

September 4, 2007 @ 4:09 pm | Comment

hmm, well I hear a lot of “people are so bad and stupid, China is a big country, without the CCP, there would be chaos”

Anyway, what are they hopeful for? What reform?

September 6, 2007 @ 11:05 am | Comment

i guess more political transparency and adherence to the rule of law.

September 6, 2007 @ 2:01 pm | Comment

Why not now? Can something like that just be put off? And what possible excuse can one give to put off such a thing? Dont answer that, please. I know too much about persecution, I know about how the Chinese peoples hearts are lame, and I know that the CCP will not allow justice to be carried out upon itself, ever. Do you know that the CCP is responsible for so much criminal activity? So how do you expect them to put in place moral laws? I don’t see it happening.

Lets say you did a lot of bad things and changed the laws and constitution so that what you have done becomes so called legal… The the people, who the CCP doesnt respect at all, want justice and to stop their country from being one big particle of corruption, what would you do? You have commited layers of anticonstitution crimes all the while. Some position eh. So this will inevitably come to some kind of head, could be relatively pretty if theres more good people than bad and it could be extremely ugly if there are more bad people than goo, then the CCP will feel more propelled and theyll pull some crazy thing giving every person in the world an anti truth pill!!

September 6, 2007 @ 10:22 pm | Comment

Why not now?

Because the CCP will kill you.

Do you know that the CCP is responsible for so much criminal activity? So how do you expect them to put in place moral laws? I don’t see it happening.

If you didn’t notice there have been a few minor changes since 1976.

theyll pull some crazy thing giving every person in the world an anti truth pill!!

This is why no one bothers responding to some of your points.

September 7, 2007 @ 6:11 am | Comment

How do you think the CCP can survive actual law? That’s my point, dont you have a sense of humour friend? The CCP will kill you, well thats the problem in itself if you ask me. They’ll kill you for having a brain! And killing people who have morality or a brain, or both is bad by the partys judgment, anyway, Ive said it many times, maybe this is not the way you think on it so I wont go on and on. Good talkin to you though ( :

September 7, 2007 @ 11:11 am | Comment

correction, I meant to say that the CCP kills people who have morality or a brain because according to them, it is bad to have those qualities (the CCP thrives on corruption and low standards and fear…)

September 7, 2007 @ 11:15 am | Comment

How do you think the CCP can survive actual law? That’s my point, dont you have a sense of humour friend? The CCP will kill you, well thats the problem in itself if you ask me. They’ll kill you for having a brain! And killing people who have morality or a brain, or both is bad by the partys judgment, anyway, Ive said it many times, maybe this is not the way you think on it so I wont go on and on. Good talkin to you though ( :

That’s why you have to slowly undermine them and push them past points of no return. When Deng opened China up for economic reform there was no turning back. I’m sorry to say that revolutionary behavior is out of the question unless you have a deathwish. It’s sad, but it’s true.

September 7, 2007 @ 5:19 pm | Comment

Personally, my goal is to make sure people understand that the they are bold faced liars. This is a fact and people absolutely need to know what kind of party they are dealing with, and I’m not just talkin about Chinese people.

Maybe you think people already know this but they really don’t. Foreign news sources use xinhua articles as news!!! Can you believe it? When party members talk, people tend to take them somewhat seriously, not knowing that they are freaks who love to make fools of the worlds people.

If the party can survive the truth, power to them, but my goal is to make sure people aren’t fooled.

In terms of propaganda and tricking people, things have not changed in China Ferins. They control the peoples minds, people actually worship this party as if they were the only hope for the world or some total nonsense like that. ANd foreigners actually think that having the CCP as the next global superpower is a possibility. What the hey???!!! So you can see that whatever lies the CCP is trying to pull are working on the masses (along with threats of course to make sure there are no opposing thoughts), but, I dont think you have been spared, thats not to say youre not smart, really, its just that its really hard to know…

September 7, 2007 @ 9:43 pm | Comment

Anyway, people like me in Canada can do stuff without being killed for it. It really makes a big differrence to write to the Prime Minister. Maybe you are a cynicle type, but Im telling you, people can really make a difference, it doesn’t have to manifest as a big chaotic fight, as I said, the truth is what the CCP is most afraid of and bringing that to light takes no violence whatsoever, actually it’s the opposite of violence, it takes patience and sincerity. Thats what the Chinese people need to get with, they need to realize how powerful their thoughts are (of course that why the CCP feels the need to own those thoughts).

Peace ( ;

September 7, 2007 @ 9:48 pm | Comment

Well, for one, I’m not Chinese and I don’t read xinhua or chinadaily. Unless I want a laugh.

September 8, 2007 @ 2:39 am | Comment

Down with the communist propaganda department!

Hey look, Im not dead ( : Oh wait, I’m white… If more white people cared then they could all say these good things and it would be good, but white people don’t really get how important China is and stuff, but.. You are not Chinese? So you have nothing to fear right? So why are you talking like someone who fears them? Or is it that you think the changes need to be forced by people in China?

Well, I think peoplein China have to wake up, but I also think it helps a lot if people who are not under direct threat can speak up for those who are too afraid…

September 8, 2007 @ 5:52 am | Comment

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