Outrage! Empire State Building “goes PRC” on October 1

China has done bad things, and it’s done good things, like all countries. China has its fair share of atrocities, injustices and a considerable legacy of repression and injustice. But China is not Nazi Germany, they are not a nation of deranged Maoists, and they happen to be one of the linchpins in the global economy that keeps America afloat. They happen to be moving in the right direction, despite some infuriating steps backwards. We all know the story, we all know the bad stuff and the good stuff.

So when I see Americans go insane over the Empire State Building turning red and yellow to mark the 60th anniversary of the PRC, I have to say it’s simply nuts. We recognize China, we trade with China, we work with China – our fates are tied together, perhaps inextricably. Seeing the outpouring of hate and paranoia from the right-wing blogs, while predictable. is a good reminder of the prejudices many in America bear toward our No. 1 trading partner, and of our ongoing inbred stupidity when it comes to scare words like “Red China.”

The Village Voice today rounds up some of the hysteria, and here are some samples:

Empire State Building, Drenched in Blood!

China Rape

In celebrating The Peoples Republic of China’s 60th anniversary the Empire State Building in New York City will be lit up with both yellow and red lights on Wednesday. I find this most appropriate since red will represent the blood of the millions of innocent people China has murdered or thrown in their Gulag System. The yellow will represent the cowardly conduct of a nation who has chosen to rape and murder Falun Gong members as well as the Uyghur People of Turkistan.

When Chinese consul, Peng Keyu, and other officials take part in the lighting ceremony there should also be a laser light show depicting the people who’ve been tortured and used for organ transplants. The light show should also focus on U.S. Industries who have profiteered from China’s lucrative slave labor and absents of environmental laws. The laser show should also depict the million or so peasants who were displaced for the Olympic Arena. They should show the innocent people who were killed or silenced so as not to reveal what China did to them.

And:

Celebrating COMMUNIST CHINA’s 60th birthday??!!!

What’s next, Marx, Lenin and Trotsky’s birthday’s too?

What about Allah while we’re honoring our enemies under the “Commie Obammie” administration?

First it was the flying of the Commie flag of China right next to the Stars and Stripes right in our own Rose Garden of the White House last week we blogged and bi*&^%$ about here, now they’re gonna honor the birth of Communist China by turning the lighting on the Empire State Building Commie Red and Yellow???!!!!

And

Tune in next week when the Empire State goes Red & Black to honor the Nazis

Okay, maybe I’m overreacting, but WHAT THE HELL IS THE EMPIRE STATE DOING HONORING A BRUTAL REGIME THAT KILLED TENS OF MILLIONS OF ITS OWN CITIZENS, THAT STILL PUNISHES SPEECH WITH TORTURE AND DEATH, THAT USES SLAVE LABOR, AND THAT SEES ITS POLITICAL PRISONERS AS ORGAN DONOR MACHINES?

Former Bush attack dog Jules Crittenden also has to get into the act, of course:

Let’s hear it for putting labor camps to good use! Controlling the means of production rocks! Kleptomaniacal post-Marxist autocracy, yeah!

I know, the Chinese blogs and message boards aren’t always overflowing with nuanced, compassionate, thoughtful dialogue about the US, but really, this is absurd. The hypocrisy is beyond belief as these bloggers pound on their made-in-China keyboards.

I’m all for constructive criticism of any autocratic regime. I’m for calling China (and the US, etc.) out for their crimes and misdemeanors. But this is not only ridiculous when you consider how innocuous the actual event it – this hyperbolic, coordinated reacton is much more sinister than that. It is being used as a tacit attack on “Obama’s America,” as Rush Limbaugh has proudly called it. What these ignoramuses are saying has almost nothing to do with China, a country they know virtually nothing about. It is all about smearing Obama, because this is happening here, in “Obama’s America,” an America that encourages palling around with terrorists and coddling dictators and appeasing madmen, the new socialist communist fascist Muslim America. Of course, none of these gasbags had a word to say five years ago when we saw this:

bush-and-jiang1

Now the sky is falling. And, by the way, some liberals, I am sure, will also get into the act – misperceptions abound on all sides about China (I cringe when I read certain lefty blogs I usually like when they go on about Tibet, blithely unaware of even the most basic facts). It’s embarrassing and it’s stupid. The PRC plays a vital role in America’s interests, it’s here to stay (at least throughout our lifetimes), it sucks in many ways but the extension of this courtesy, lighting up the Empire State Building, is not an act of appeasement or treason. This is diplomacy, whether it’s done by Bush or Obama. Grow up and get used to it.

______________

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: 121 Comments

The problem with all the “China is evil, China is communist, China 0ppresses human r1ghts” crowd is that they have no sense of historical context. Instead of merely criticizing based on the value systems and status quo of our country in 2009, it serves one greatly to read into WHY things are the way they are, and understand how it fits into the general process of the development of societies and states. Go back 100 years, and judge American democracy, civil rights, labor rights, treatment of ethnic minorities, etc, but today’s standards, and you’ll see what I mean. The real crux of the matter is to understand that economic and political development do not all transpire on a congruent time line in different parts of the world. However, this is not something easily exhibited in a 30 minute TV news program, so for now, I think we’re going to be stuck with a certain degree of idiocy in the populace.

September 30, 2009 @ 12:32 pm | Comment

The other problem is when people politicize they issue and use it to create a polarizing effect. This is a cynical exercise since many of the culprits understand full well China’s importance to America. But it’s an easy issue to exploit and to use to rile up ugly, antiquated emotions.

September 30, 2009 @ 12:35 pm | Comment

The only thing that makes me uncomfortable about this is is that it represents a international trend of capitulation toward the CCP. Lights on lights off, whatever, but by celebrating the CCP, they are also “celebrating” the narrative the the Party has concocted to support its legitimacy. As long as such celebrations don’t lead to self-censorship like it did at the Frankfurt Book Fair, I could care less. Yes, China is important to America, yes this is a nice gesture, but I hope that the “importance” of our relations never outweigh more important and basic commitments…

September 30, 2009 @ 1:00 pm | Comment

Richard,

I can perfectly understand (and very much like) the “right wing” ranting – open hostility is so much better than the pot shots that the liberals are so good at (see Obama’s tire ruling or FOARP’s defamation of the duck and fool’s mountain).

Mao once said that he overwhelmingly prefered the American right-wingers because they are so much easier to communicate with and to deal with (see Nixon and Bush for example).

Not to mention that the right wing ranting, like the Chinese fenqing ranting, are always great fun to read. Really I feel great satisfaction and fulfilment reading the right wing pieces you gave here (this is no sarcasm) and I already think I can sleep tight tonight.

September 30, 2009 @ 1:07 pm | Comment

Andy, if it leads to censorship or anything else I am intrinsically opposed to I’ll be the first to speak up. But this is, to me, the equivalent of another country showing the American flag on the 250th anniversary of the US (if I live that long), and even though the US has done bad things – slavery, Indians, Vietnam, Iraq, Abu Ghraib, etc. – to share in the celebration of the nation’s birth is not a tacit endorsement of all its policies.

If this were Iran or Somalia or North Korea I would certainly think twice, simply because of their deliberately hostile and even violent stance toward America. China has tried quite hard to accommodate America, for better or for worse, and is not in the same league as North Korea.

Oia, it’s true that the right-wingers are “fun” to read – in a titillating, pornographic sort of way. (And what is Beck, what is Rush if not pornography?) That said, I’d much rather spend my time with intelligent liberals. Intelligent is the key word there. The kind who would never start blathering on about Tibet without even knowing where it is.

September 30, 2009 @ 1:15 pm | Comment

The CCP probably deserves a good gesture from the U.S. at the anniversary of the establishment of its country or regimen, as an acknowledgment of it doing a good job to have turned China into a big sweatshop for the West and an ATM for the U.S, at the expense of the interests of the people in China.

There is no reason for outrage. I guess most of the people in China don’t find the CCP so aversive as we do, under the influence of CCP’s propaganda campaign. They are far less concerned with their own freedom, democracy and human rights than the Westerners are with theirs. So, you just can’t help those who don’t want to help themselves.

P. R. China is more like a servant than a menace to the West and U.S.. So, Long live PRC.

September 30, 2009 @ 1:31 pm | Comment

I agree with you Richard and I know that we are on the same page with regard to censorship, don’t worry the right wingers make me 1000X more uncomfortable, HAHA!

September 30, 2009 @ 1:32 pm | Comment

El Chino, that’s a tad simplistic. China may want you to think they’re the US’s handmaiden, but that is not their end goal. Like any powerful nation, they have their agenda, and what you might see as subservience is only a means to an end.

September 30, 2009 @ 1:41 pm | Comment

I’m surprised that Falun Gong’s Epoch Times didn’t have a field day about this issue. The Epoch Times seems to have a major beef against an Chinese American (born in Taiwan) who is running for local comptroller. You won’t believe the number of stories about Epoch Times have about this guy. On the one paper I have read, they have front page news plus 3 stories on a 2 page spread about him having ties to the Triads, CCP, and other improprieties. Personally, I don’t care about this voting until November but after reading these stories pissed me off and I voted for him. Even after he won for runoff elections the Epoch Times has no problems spreading rumors of illegalities emerged from polling stations in Chinatown where alot of Chinese voted for him. Sometimes Free Press is meant to be abused.

September 30, 2009 @ 2:00 pm | Comment

Rich, I don’t under-estimate the CCP at all. Most people know it keeps a low profile when it has to grow and survive. With all the bullies like the U.S and its western allies around, China needs to be subservient in order to get along with them. China has its big disadvantage of being a political outcaste and loner in the world. On Oct.1. it wants to make the people in China believe that it has power, too.

September 30, 2009 @ 2:05 pm | Comment

Maybe the ET doesn’t want to bite one of the hands that feeds them? Attacking America (as opposed to the single Chinese American you cite) would probably not be in their best interest.

September 30, 2009 @ 2:06 pm | Comment

I don’t under-estimate the CCP at all. Most people know it keeps a low profile when it has to grow and survive. With all the bullies like the U.S and its western allies around, China needs to be subservient in order to get along with them. China has its big disadvantage of being a political outcaste and loner in the world. On Oct.1. it wants to make the people in China believe that it has power, too.

Wha….???

September 30, 2009 @ 2:23 pm | Comment

They should have told everyone it was for Kyrgyz national day. Same colors. Different date, but who in the US outside of the Kyrgyz exile community would know?

Alternative choices: Macedonia, Vietnam.

September 30, 2009 @ 3:58 pm | Comment

@Will,

Sigh… you are really a spoiler – that would not be nearly as fun. We really need some fun in these dismal days, pornography included (or shall I say especially?)

@Richard,

I think Beck is great – the American medicare is, indeed, the best (I’d rather say the least bad) system in the world. This is from me who has first hand experience with the UK NHS and the Canadian health care system. But that’s another story (in fact many horrible little stories) for another day.

September 30, 2009 @ 5:31 pm | Comment

it’s knowledge and compassion that makes one painfully aware the embarrassment and suffering of himself and others, ignorance and fanaticism make people felt better about themselves. It’s like an agnostic sitting between an atheist and a creationist.

中庸: 仲尼曰:“君子中庸,小人反中庸。君子之中庸也,君子而時中;小人之中庸也,小人而無忌憚也。”

Confucius said: “The Superior Man actualizes the Mean; the inferior man goes against it. The Superior Man actualizes the Mean because he is always with it; the inferior man’s non-actualization is due to his heedlessness.”

September 30, 2009 @ 9:36 pm | Comment

Richard,

You sensored me again – about me liking Glenn Beck and thinking the American medicare is the best in the world.

What’s wrong with that?

September 30, 2009 @ 10:27 pm | Comment

Didn’t censor you – re-post it.

Update: posted. All your posts need to be approved by me before they appear, sorry.

Nice one, Will!

September 30, 2009 @ 11:08 pm | Comment

Personally, I don’t think ANY countries colors besides America’s should be on the Empire State Building, so I would be as equally offended if it were France’s.

@Ben Ross:

Historical context is a bunch of crap. That’s equivalent to saying the CCP doesn’t know any better, so we should just give it the benefit of the doubt when it walks all over human rights. I’d MAYBE follow that logic if it weren’t for the basic fact that China has through numerous declarations and agreements declared itself liable to global standards, not to mention its own constitution. So when China ITSELF says it will live up to certain standards, and doesn’t, people should simply think, “well, America wasn’t as good as it is now 100 years ago”?

Sure, most people in the US DON’T understand China, nor anything else of the “context”. I do, and I say it’s a poor excuse.

October 1, 2009 @ 12:01 am | Comment

No matter how we feel about the tastefulness of lighting the ESB in an other nation’s colors (which we’ve done many times before), the deranged reactions I’ve cited above can’t be justified.

October 1, 2009 @ 12:20 am | Comment

@Richard,

Care to explain why this special treatment for me?

October 1, 2009 @ 1:22 am | Comment

Sure: Some of your comments, especially when you first came here, were out of line and inconsiderate. I didn’t want to ban you but I wanted to make sure I saw what you wrote before it went up. You are not the only commenter I do this with. I can take you off the list; all I ask is that you play nice.

October 1, 2009 @ 1:27 am | Comment

hmm… surely all my comments were not as “out of line” or “inconsiderate” as many of the liberal hatred vented here.

Evidence of my not playing nice please?

October 1, 2009 @ 1:50 am | Comment

I totally have no problem with the Empire State Building being lighted with whatever colors they fancy.
But a little bit of consistency would be nice.
I am just sayin’.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/vp/33013387#33013387
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#33065123

October 1, 2009 @ 2:34 am | Comment

I’m not sure how they determine when to light the ESB different colors. You can see their schedule here. Most of the time its for holidays, philanthropic/public service awareness, local sports events, iconic anniversaries (like Macy’s), etc. I don’t know who controls this schedule, or whether they accept money from organizations to light the building in their colors. I have no idea, as well, how a Caribbean tourism association managed to get on the list. But that’s not what I’m writing about, which is the fact that right-wing blogs have used this to resurrect long-deceased bogeymen, to make ignorant accusations about China, and to tie it into the current Limbeck meme that we are going socialist and bow down to tyrants under our Kenyan president Hussein Obama. Whatever the ESB’s process for making the choice, China is on the schedule, and if we want to question that process, fine. I wonder how it works, too. Those are reasonable questions. Grater Wingnutopia’s response, however, is not reasonable.

Oiaset, take it off line, via email, thanks. And don’t presume I owe you any explanations for how I run my site. :-)

October 1, 2009 @ 4:01 am | Comment

Richard, I totally agree with the fact that the far right’s outrage is misplaced. however, i feel like the ESB’s decisions is still in pretty bad taste, especially for a fairly progressive city like new york.

it’s one thing if they were celebrating china’s aid to the US. but they are not – they are celebrating the creation of the CCP. That’s like celebrating Stalin’s birthday, imho, and that’s just a tad sick.

October 1, 2009 @ 4:39 am | Comment

I might be alone in thinking that this lighting is just inappropriate. I don’t consider this 60th anniversary anything to celebrate, and the Empire State Building playing along with the CCP narrative is unnecessary and unhelpful. The Empire State Building is also home to the offices of Human Rights Watch and Human Rights in China, whom I imagine also found the lighting a tad inappropriate. There’s no need for corporate America to lend a helping hand in the 60th anniversary wack-off fest.

Imagine if this image is displayed in the official Chinese media, “look, the Empire State Building is lit to celebrate our glorious revolution.” This is not a message that I would personally feel comfortable sending, if I ran the Empire State Building, which I obviously don’t.

October 1, 2009 @ 4:50 am | Comment

If it ever came to be that the US celebrated Stalin’s (or Mao’s) birthday, I would probably renounce my US citizenship. If, on the other hand, we “celebrate” the birth of Russia or the PRC simply by putting up their colors on a single building (or even a few others), I have no complaints.

We can always find a reason to say no to every country. All have blood on their hands and have done wretched things. When you celebrate the 4th of July, you are celebrating the best that America stands for. We’ve done some awful things, but there’s a time and a place for everything. Marking a country’s anniversary is not an endorsement of all that it has done. The whole world joined in the celebration of America’s 200th anniversary, although they could have recoiled with cries of “Imperialist! Slave owner! Exploiter! Indian exterminators!” They know there is more to America than that.

I will not celebrate the birth of the PRC, neither will I criticize anyone who wishes to do so. I hate one-party systems and the injustices that go along with them, but it’s their country. If, on the other hand, this were a celebration of Mao or Stalin and the personality cults that grew up around them I would be far less open minded.

October 1, 2009 @ 4:53 am | Comment

I am curious, Kevin, about who exactly was responsible for this decision. Let me know if you ever hear anything

October 1, 2009 @ 4:54 am | Comment

ESB – “Sucky-sucky, five dollar!”

But seriously, the super-angry response is laughable. Smacks of insecurity more than anything.

October 1, 2009 @ 6:16 am | Comment

[...] Not everyone is happy about the P.R.C.’s birthday, or some of the festivities associated with it. Still, it’s important to mark these historical anniversaries, and I don’t think many people would disagree that at the very least, China and the Chinese people are better off now than they were sixty years ago. Plus we get charmingly confusingly-worded little People’s Daily blurbs like this. [...]

October 1, 2009 @ 7:31 am | Pingback

“…an acknowledgment of it doing a good job to have turned China into a big sweatshop for the West and an ATM for the U.S, at the expense of the interests of the people in China.”

Business with the ‘west’ is the only reason China can afford today’s little march on the Square. If your problem is distribution of the wealth that China has accrued, and the lack of dignity and rights afforded to the workers responsible for amassing that fortune, then your beef is with the CCP.

Class dismissed.

October 1, 2009 @ 8:19 am | Comment

To add to my earlier comment, although I think the lights are a bit tasteless, I agree that the hysteria in response is in the end nothing but a joke. There are much better things to be outraged about in today’s world than some lights.

October 1, 2009 @ 8:21 am | Comment

“Sure: Some of your comments, especially when you first came here, were out of line and inconsiderate”
Most of the out of line and inconsiderate comments is likely a counter of an earlier out of line and inconsiderate comments. No?

“And don’t presume I owe you any explanations for how I run my site.”
I notice we seldom emphasize much on democracy and human rights when come to running a site or corporation.

Am I being irrational to call this a double standard?

October 1, 2009 @ 8:33 am | Comment

@Ran
You seem to be new here and don’t know how tolerant Richard has been toward those rude individuals.
Since when is being “out of line and inconsiderate” about democracy and human rights?
If one wants to rant, go get his own blog.

October 1, 2009 @ 9:10 am | Comment

Thanks Meg.

Ran, this site is not a democracy. I pay for it, it is all a product of my investment and work, for whatever that’s worth. Comments are a courtesy. When commenters are rude or out of line – and I don’t mean a little, but when they are obviously WAY off the charts rude – then I have a pretty simple process. I tell them so and delete their comment. If they persist I ban them, but usually only for a few days. In OIa’s case, he was being disruptive and confrontational (and that’s subjective, I know, but that’s how blogs are, purely subjective) but I didn’t ban him, I put him on the watch list. This site is transparent and open to everyone. Oia’s comments all appear, there is no censorship. Thats preserved for the the most vile comments only. If you have issues with the way this site is managed, you may want to refer to some of the other blogs listed in the left sidebar that may be more to your liking. Thanks.

Kevin, I really appreciate your comments. We are on the same wavelength. This was a strange decision and I still don’t understand it. But we can live with it without getting hysterical.

October 1, 2009 @ 9:37 am | Comment

According to an Msnbc’s site survey and apparently 90% are opposed to this. No offense, there’s alot of ignorant Americans out there.

October 1, 2009 @ 9:56 am | Comment

Pug, I am not surprised. I just hope the majority isn’t as deranged as some of those posts I quote from.

October 1, 2009 @ 10:13 am | Comment

Richard / Meg,

Thanks for the reply. I am from a country whereby I am advised to leave whenever we are trying to push forward to government our view on justice and human rights in the name of freedom of expression. Hence my intention here is to find out if there are difference how thing works between the East and West. I have a feeling some of the Mainland Chinese’s comments here have upset hitherto unquestioned worldviews accepted as gospel. My conclusion is that who owns the site (world) has the final says.

My advice to the Chinese is, don’t simply give up Mao worldview and philosophical thought.

Again, my thanks.

October 1, 2009 @ 10:21 am | Comment

Ran, this site has been host to comments from Chinese people (and everyone else) since late 2002, and I try to always be courteous and encourage them to participate. When right wingers (who have also been in abundant supply here over the years), dizzy leftists, anti-Chinese blowhards and rabid fenqing types come here and spew venom I treat them all the same way. Chinese get no special treatment – in fact, I try to give them as much space as I can, until it’s clear they are pushing to see just how offensive they can be. I realize English isn’t always their first language, and it takes a degree of courage for them to comment here. And even if they get me mad and they’re banned, I still let them in. That applies to the most notorious China basher Nanheyangrouchuanr and to the most bizarre fenqing like Math.

October 1, 2009 @ 10:28 am | Comment

The anti-Chinese fear mongering and it’s social context:

Gore Vidal: ‘We’ll have a dictatorship soon in the US

http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/the_way_we_live/article6854221.ece

October 1, 2009 @ 10:29 am | Comment

These broken-record comments from those kevin, stuart, raj etc. just proved my early point why the right-wingers are much better than liberals. Liberals are bitter, boring and hypocrite (see FOARP for an excellent example). At least the right-wingers are upfront gentlemen with great fun.

Richard I fully respect your right to censor me – it’s your site. I just feel that you might have misunderstood me – not every one in this world dislikes Bush and Glenn Beck etc. and has it occur to you that they may have a point in seeing Bush as a great American president?

Today Maureen Dowd has piece about William Safire on the Times. Great read.

October 1, 2009 @ 10:34 am | Comment

Ran, just to be clear. Not tolerating offensive behaviors is not the same thing as suppressing the offender’s world view.
Under the civilized terms, everyone can have his say here.
You could even advocate Mao’s thoughts here if it is done politely as you just did above, even though those thoughts are not quite compatible with your believe in human rights and freedom of expression.

October 1, 2009 @ 10:55 am | Comment

Oh c’mon, my parents are Chinese but I don’t know why they needed to light up like that. Tons of anniversaries happen around the world, we don’t do anything special. And I doubt the Chinese are gonna put up the stars and stripes on a landmark building for July 4th, just image the forum rage on Chinese portals.

October 1, 2009 @ 11:48 am | Comment

The rage in the Chinese portals will be hysterical anyway, no matter what we so.

October 1, 2009 @ 12:02 pm | Comment

I certainly don’t buy into the panic and outrage, but honestly, I just can’t stand to see foreigners indulging the CCP’s penchant for self-aggrandizement. I just read about about foreigners marching in the parade who had “practiced” shouting “wo ai zhongguo” and “zhongguo wan sui.” They’re entitled to “love China,” but I guess I’ve just been exposed to too much Chinese chest-puffing to not be dismayed by things that are such obvious fodder for Global Times “people around the world celebrate China’s 60 years of glorious blah blah blah” articles.

October 1, 2009 @ 12:44 pm | Comment

I don’t have much tolerance for that either, Mac. China has its good and bad aspects, and those foreigners who get drunk on it, ignoring the obvious crap in front of their faces – well, I don’t have a lot of time for them. I’m still curious about whether the lighting of the ESB was an example of China’s “self-aggrandizement” or of some person or organization in America that wanted to ear points with China. There’s a good newspaper article here waiting to be written.

October 1, 2009 @ 1:06 pm | Comment

Don’t believe the media’s coverage of China, or of anything for that matter.

His voice strengthens. “One thing I have hated all my life are LIARS [he says that with bristling anger] and I live in a nation of them. It was not always the case. I don’t demand honour, that can be lies too. I don’t say there was a golden age, but there was an age of general intelligence. We had a watchdog, the media.”

http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/the_way_we_live/article6854221.ece

October 1, 2009 @ 1:36 pm | Comment

How much do I not care…is it just me?

October 1, 2009 @ 5:24 pm | Comment

These broken-record comments from those kevin, stuart, raj etc. just proved my early point why the right-wingers are much better than liberals. Liberals are bitter, boring and hypocrite (see FOARP for an excellent example). At least the right-wingers are upfront gentlemen with great fun….

Today Maureen Dowd has piece about William Safire on the Times. Great read.

哈哈.

P.S. I’m laughing at you not with you.

October 1, 2009 @ 5:46 pm | Comment

Hmmm, to reciprocate, maybe those guards at Tiananmen Gate might allow a portrait of George Washington to hang next to Mao, come US Independence Day :-)

October 1, 2009 @ 7:35 pm | Comment

My position is simple:

1) Is the rhetoric quoted above somewhat overblown? Yes.

2) Is the 60th anniversary of a communist dictatorship anything that people believing in freedom and democracy should want to celebrate? No.

America has allies, communist China is not one of them.

October 1, 2009 @ 7:48 pm | Comment

@Cooter – I read that Gore Vidal interview this morning, and while I think the man is quite wrong in many ways (his support for Timothy McVeigh was totally inexplicable), I fail to see any link whatsoever to China.

October 1, 2009 @ 7:55 pm | Comment

FOARP is dead-on.

October 1, 2009 @ 10:11 pm | Comment

On a related note, I was just looking at some of the photos from the parade in Beijing. Wow. Can you imagine the uproar, both domestic and international, if the US ever attempted such a display down a Washington boulevard? You’d go deaf from cries of “Imperialism!” on the one hand and “Communist!” on the other.

It never ceases to amaze me how much of a hard-on the Party can get from playing with itself, but I’ve got to say that Hu pulled off a nice retro-style with his outfit and limo choice. The whole thing was pretty back to the future- 20th century authoritarianism comes of age, a melding of brute power and giant video screens. Is this our common global future? I sincerely hope not.

As for the Empire State Building lighting, questionable but perhaps unavoidable. I guess it makes sense- corporate America is an integral part of the story of modern China and the continued survival of the CCP. At least they recognize their role and complicity!

October 1, 2009 @ 10:17 pm | Comment

A fair post, Richard, and I’m glad you did it. When I first heard of the Empire State Building lights news last week, I instantly expected outrage, which IMO would be a wasted sentiment. For the sake of world peace, Americans need to learn to take a less ideological stance in international affairs. China is just another country, not an ideological enemy. I lived through the times when the two countries were implacable foes, and it did no good for either country. China is not equal to the CCP. Even the CCP today is much less ideological than the one I used to know. China still needs political reform, which I’m sure will happen in one way or another, and a less extreme attitude from Americans could only help.

October 1, 2009 @ 10:22 pm | Comment

[...] kleptomaniacal autocracy owns your debt, so be nice.” OK, that’s not exactly how The Peking Duck put it. No danger that site will be shut down by PRC Internet cops any time soon, despite the [...]

October 1, 2009 @ 10:32 pm | Pingback

Richard you sensored me again.

Nevertheless, let me introduce a bit right-wing honesty here, courtesy of your liberals’ dreaded Fox News.

“China is now the third largest economy in the world. Given its burgeoning GDP and our exploding national debt, it will soon surpass the U.S. Then the Chinese can buy the Empire State building– with devalued American dollars– and keep the red and yellow lights on every day.”

“And the number one reason to commemorate the People’s Republic’s bloody takeover of China…

1. American taxpayers have to suck up to their landlord!”

You have to agree this is much more better than some back-stabbing coward who just wandered in here.

October 1, 2009 @ 10:49 pm | Comment

@Hooya,

I’m sure the Chinese leadership would like to hang a portrait of George W BUSH next to Mao, coming US Independence Day.

October 1, 2009 @ 10:56 pm | Comment

oiasunset,

The problem with the right-wing in the US is that it amplifies its superficial take on world affairs for entirely domestic purposes (ie. to discredit the Obama administration). The recent ranting about the Chinese taking over the world is nothing more than an ill-informed attempt to pin on Obama geo-political developments which have been in the works for decades (also curious, in my opinion, is that the surge in Chinese industrial development actually took place during the Bush years).

I think the debate is still out on which country has benefited more from the Chinese-American tango. The United States got to import a ton of cheap goods and export pollution. The Chinese got a bunch of paper certificates and an environmental nightmare. Beijing is acting smartly in trying to convert this paper into hard, physical assets around the world as fast as possible, but it will run up against political suspicions rather quickly in a world that is already spent from being pillaged by Western interests.

China’s Achilles Heel is that it has shown up too late for the party. It wants to pretend that its decades of chaos never happened and that the world can be rewound to the mid-20th century. But I got news for China- the world does not consist of the US, the PRC and 5 billion other helpless individuals who sit around waiting to be ‘developed’ or bought out by the big country of the day. That game is over. I’m just not sure the Chinese leadership really knows it yet, as even American are only just waking up to this reality.

October 1, 2009 @ 11:18 pm | Comment

FOARP wrote: “I fail to see any link whatsoever to China.”

The link is obvious: A developing nascent military dictatorship in the U.S. will tend to be reflected in the U.S. media’s treatment of China—the “China threat”, “Americans turning insane over a yellow and red Empire State Building”, etc.

October 1, 2009 @ 11:24 pm | Comment

FOARP wrote: “I fail to see any link whatsoever to China.”

The link is obvious: A nascent, developing military dictatorship in the U.S. will have a media propaganda apparatus that will exagerate the “China threat”, Americans insane over a yellow and red Empire State Building, etc.

October 1, 2009 @ 11:27 pm | Comment

Thanks for the comment, Xujun.

Cooter, I would hardly say the link is “obvious.” Your argument is pretty shaky. The US media tends to fawn over China’s economic progress, and the China-bashing over the Empire State Building is mainly coming from the wingnut fringes, not the mainstream media. Talk of the “China threat” comes mainly from the moonie Washington Times and the crazies at Commentary and National Review.

October 2, 2009 @ 1:23 am | Comment

[...] yesterday’s post on the Empire State Building “going PRC” I cited Jules Crittenden, one of the most [...]

October 2, 2009 @ 1:52 am | Pingback

As a Centrist (I see the good and the bad in both the Left and the Right), I am APPALLEd by your hypocritical and ignorant statement that “China is not Nazi Germany.”!!!! So a regime that has been denying its people basic human freedoms for 60 years, a regime that continues to imprison and jail its opponents, a regime that invades and subjugates Tibet, AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, a regime that has been estimated, by well-documented and impartial sources, to have MURDERED TEN TIMES MORE HUMAN BEINGS than the Nazis (Yes, folks, that’s 60-80 MILLION CHINESE) is not as bad??? So why not honor Hitler with a giant swastika on top of the Chrysler Building? After all, Germany is now our friend and financial ally. Come on, let bygoens be bygones. What’s a little genocide between friends? YOU APOLOGISTS FOR THE TOTALITARIAN REGIME IN CHINA DISGUST ME!!!

October 2, 2009 @ 3:33 am | Comment

Rick, I lived there for three years. You have no idea what you’re talking about. China is not Nazi Germany. There were similarities under Mao, and while it is still an authoritarian government that does some reprehensible things, it has reformed dramatically. It is not totalitarian. The tens of millions who died of the famine were tragic victims of the stupendously awful leadership of Mao, and if he were in power today and still doing all he could to turn his people into robots or corpses, I might be more sympathetic to your comment. Today’s Chinese rulers are like all past dynasties there, concerned mainly with retaining their power. Luckily, they realize that the best way to do that is to help lift the masses from poverty to make them less inclined to revolution, a strategy that has made them relatively popular and, for the moment, unchallengeable. I have deep issues with them and criticize them constantly. But hysterical name calling, especially when it’s based on ignorance, isn’t very effective. It was precisely because there are so many people like you that I wrote this post. Thanks for proving my point so eloquently.

October 2, 2009 @ 3:52 am | Comment

Richard, I’ll say again what I’ve said before – it is not unfair to call China a totalitarian state. The communist party still seeks to co-opt or destroy all movements within society that do not arise from their own policies.

Whilst what Rick says most definitely is over-hyped, yes, the 1st of October most definitely is the anniversary of Mao’s rise to the supreme leadership of all China, and of the start of all the evils of the period which ended with his death. People who have lived in China all their lives describe the Mao era only slightly less condemnatory than those which Rick uses.

October 2, 2009 @ 6:30 am | Comment

1979 was my first time in China, and I definitely would have called it a totalitarian state at that time. The comparison between the levels of personal freedom then and now is pretty stunning. I think “authoritarian” is a fair label for today’s China, but not “totalitarian.” It just isn’t the same, not even close.

I’m not excusing the bad stuff or pretending it isn’t there, but I don’t think “totalitarian” is an accurate label.

October 2, 2009 @ 6:56 am | Comment

And both Xujun and PB make valuable points…

October 2, 2009 @ 6:56 am | Comment

It’s easy to talk about what china has done wrong, but it’s pure ignorance to say that china has nothing to celebrate. When I lived briefly in shanghai twenty years ago, people did not have hot running water, telephones, refridgerators, basic services which many parts of the world consider basics to living. Back then eating meat was considered a luxury for most. Infant mortality rates was through the roof while life expency was low. Over twenty years of time, Today most Chinese have all of these things. In addition, 350 million have access to internet. China became the largest market for automobiles. Hundreds of millions were able to gradute from high school. Millions own their own homes. The average Chinese now is expected to live almost as long as Americans despite the later spending a hundred times more per capita on healthcare. All of these things should not be celebrated? If china were one of the Mideast or Latin America capitalist dictatorships like some Which the us support it would be celebrated as a mega success everywhere around the world.

To the topic creator, it’s not only the right wingnuts fueling the hysteria. Huffpost has bloggers who tied the lights to celebrating mao’s murdering of millions. The dem rep of ny demanded actions against esb. The left has been just anti china of not more so than the right wing due to the union’s anti china stance.

Personally I don’t think it makes much sense tfor Esb to do the lightings because it’s in the us. But the ignorance and misconceptions the average American has against china will only accelerate america’s decline.

October 2, 2009 @ 6:58 am | Comment

FOARP, what Lisa, Xujun and PB and Hzzz said. I can’t force you to change your mind about whether China is or isn’t totalitarian, or how much yesterday’s celebration had to do with Mao. I get your argument, and I disagree. Yesterday’s celebration was about where China has gone since Mao’s timely death. Which is why the CCTV announcer’s kept referring, cloyingly, to “reform and opening up” which is, in effect, code for the complete and total rejection of Maoism and communism. They just don’t want to say that.

Hzzz, I said in the post:

And, by the way, some liberals, I am sure, will also get into the act – misperceptions abound on all sides about China (I cringe when I read certain lefty blogs I usually like when they go on about Tibet, blithely unaware of even the most basic facts). It’s embarrassing and it’s stupid.

So what you say about HuffPo is hardly surprising, and I’m sure we’re going to see some huffing and puffing from indignant politicians on both sides about who authorized the ESB’s lighting. I wish they’d focus on healthcare.

Here’s what the Free Tibet people did to protest the lighting.

October 2, 2009 @ 8:30 am | Comment

Do you guys know ESB has benn turning red and yellow for Chinese New Year for 9 years

October 2, 2009 @ 9:26 am | Comment

It makes me wonder why a back-stabbing coward (yes that’s you FOARP) want from a blog of “communist stooge” that he accuses in the back.

This also seems a trait of this self-appointed moral Gestapo, as he made similar accusation of fool’s mountain the other day.

October 2, 2009 @ 10:00 am | Comment

Oia, please stop pressing your luck.

Tina, any evidence? Never heard that before.

October 2, 2009 @ 10:27 am | Comment

Google it ,a lot of information
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2008-02/09/content_6446278.htm

October 2, 2009 @ 10:35 am | Comment

For the sake of equivalence, I think the ESB should also celebrate the national days of Russia, Syria, Venezuela and basically pretty much every country in the world (except some updated version of the “Axis of Evil”).

These countries are in no way more “inimical” to the US than China.

October 2, 2009 @ 10:48 am | Comment

It makes me wonder why a back-stabbing coward (yes that’s you FOARP) want from a blog of “communist stooge” that he accuses in the back.

???? Do again, please.

October 2, 2009 @ 11:03 am | Comment

I tend to agree with Richard’s assesment that China should be considered more authoritarian than totalitarian. But, in the end, I all comes down to how you define totalitarianism.

In the 5 years I was there (aught1 – aught6) I saw huge changes in the way young Chinese (18 – 22) perceived and spoke about issues concerning China. For example, when I first arrived and started teaching, students would never mention Tibet, Tiawan, 六四, Falun Gong etc., even if they wanted to support the CCP position. You just didn’t mention these in public, especially to a 老外 (this was different with party members who seemed to enjoy taking me to dinner and talking about such issues), by ’05 the kids were not as afraid of these issues (although they were cautious). This does not strike me as a sign of totalitarianism.

This December I’m heading to Shanghai (ECNU) for three months, so I’ll have the chance to judge if China has gone forward or backwards in the last 3.5 years.

October 2, 2009 @ 11:12 am | Comment

@resident poet

http://www.esbnyc.com/tourism/tourism_lightingschedule.cfm

Some of the lightings in the past includes:

White/Red/White – Major League Baseball, World Baseball Classic Champion – Japan
Green/Green/Green – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 25th Anniversary
Blue/Yellow/Blue – European Union, E.U. Day
Blue/White/Blue – Israel Tribute Committee, Salute to Israel Parade
Blue/Green/Yellow – Caribbean Tourism Development Company, Caribbean Week 2009
Green/White/Orange – Federation of Indian Associations, 29th Annual India Day Parade
Red/Red/Red – The Wizard of Oz 70th Anniversary and the Ruby Slipper Collection

My guess that the building management is pretty open to the lighting schedules if special interest groups simply ask nicely, or put down a payment.

October 2, 2009 @ 1:31 pm | Comment

And yes the list does include the Chinese Lunar Year with the colors Red/Yellow/Red.

October 2, 2009 @ 1:33 pm | Comment

I personally find lighting up for Chinese New Year a great idea. That has completely different associations than the good old October 1st holiday.

October 2, 2009 @ 1:48 pm | Comment

What about lighting it with ROC instead of PROC colors?

October 2, 2009 @ 2:07 pm | Comment

Red+blue+white instead Red+Yellow

October 2, 2009 @ 2:09 pm | Comment

Worth it to watch China whine about it.

October 2, 2009 @ 2:31 pm | Comment

@OIA – I’m currently living in Tokyo and loving it. Just today I bought a Japanese guy a beer and told him ‘Nihongo banzai!’ I even visited the Yasukuni shrine (a weird, life-mirror-image of my visit to the massacre museum during my 2 1/2 years in Nanjing – don’t worry, I detest them equally). Call me everything you want, I really don’t give a fuck.

@Ecodelta – Since the ROC is an ally of the US, represents freedom and democracy, and has strong links with the city of New York (read any biography of Mme. Chiang) ROC colours would not be out of place. If the Empire State wants to celebrate a dictatorship (or more than one) let it do so – that is free speech. But will I celebrate? No. China, the real China, has existed for thousands of years, and will continue to exist after the ‘People’s Republic’ is swept into the rubbish bin of history.

October 2, 2009 @ 11:53 pm | Comment

@Richard – I guess this is why I use the phrase ‘not unfair’. It is also not unfair to describe Mormonism as ‘not Christian’ or even as ‘Christian’. I think of China as communist, and have since I was told, about two months after I arrived there, to ‘trust the party’ in the face of the SARS epidemic. It strikes me as amazing that people might label as ‘racist’ or ‘anti-China’ anyone who calls China – a country rule by a communist party – communist. The Chinese state is a totalitarian state by the definition of its ruling party, which still insists on ‘Marx-Leninism with Chinese characteristics’ – an avowedly totalitarian system (cf. ‘all power to the Soviets’). The party regularly references this system, enforces it – not totalitarian? That’s going to need some proving. and some denial of what the ruling government actually says or does. I do, however, accept that it is not nearly as totalitarian as it’s previous Stalin-a-like leaders, one of whom is so despised within the party as to not even warrant mention in the list of former leaders given at yesterday’s parade.

October 3, 2009 @ 12:18 am | Comment

@FOARP,

Good for you. I think Japan is the most advanced country in the world and the Japanese people are polite and decent, unlike a back-stabbing coward like you. My wife is Japanese.

I also think the Japanese right-wingers are the only Japanese who have a backbone and I admire the Tokyo mayor.

So I really don’t get what you want to say to me.

October 3, 2009 @ 12:34 am | Comment

Hilarious! I found it most satisfying that FOARP is not only morally, but also intelligently challenged.

October 3, 2009 @ 12:39 am | Comment

“I really don’t get what you want to say to me.”

Then since you have nothing to say to me, why not keep my name out of your mouth?

October 3, 2009 @ 12:40 am | Comment

I had nothing to say to you and out of blue you were talking about Tokyo to me.

Are you all right?

October 3, 2009 @ 12:47 am | Comment

FOARP, apologies for oisa’s abuse. I will put him back o the moderation list (tried to be nice, but see my first instincts were right).

You and I see totalitarianism through a different lens, I’m afraid. It has to do with the level of government intrusion into everything you do, like the struggle sessions under Mao and the compulsory state radio in North Korea and forced Saddam worship in Iraq, etc. It is quite possible to go through life in China and be 99 percent oblivious of the government except when it comes to annoyances like visas and registering where you live. You can ignore it, you can say lots of bad things about it (as long as you’re not holding a bullhorn on Tiananmen Square) and you never need to kowtow to it. You can basically choose your own morality with less threat of intervention than in, say, India. I don’t have an issue with calling it communist if you want based on your argument, but I can’t go along with totalitarian. If China is totalitarian, what is North Korea? It dilutes the word totalitarian.

October 3, 2009 @ 12:50 am | Comment

@Richard – I’m afraid that I’m arguing for something far more insubstantial and pointless that than that: I’m saying that calling China totalitarian is not an unreasonable point of view, not that I actually think that it is. Totalitarianism itself is no more that a fascist wet-dream, impossible, irrational for any political purpose, and mighty unpleasant to boot.

October 3, 2009 @ 12:55 am | Comment

LEtS ReMEmBer

SARS………

now what did they do to slove that problem again??????

people bing draged from there homes in exchange for Neo-China

October 3, 2009 @ 1:15 am | Comment

LEtS ReMEmBer

SARS………

now what did they do to slove that problem again??????

people bing taken from there homes in exchange for Neo-China

October 3, 2009 @ 1:16 am | Comment

Can you rephrase that Elijah? Who were dragged from their homes? The CCP screwed SARS up terribly, and that’s when I started my non-stop criticism. But I don’t know what you’re referring to.

October 3, 2009 @ 1:17 am | Comment

China? Totalitarian?

Beijing can barely get its own provincial leaders to do its bidding!

October 3, 2009 @ 1:42 am | Comment

Richard, I can see where you’re coming from, but I think that there’s an absence that speaks volumes in most people’s claims of a “less totalitarian” reform-era China.
For example, you say “It is quite possible to go through life in China and be 99 percent oblivious of the government except when it comes to annoyances like visas and registering where you live. You can ignore it, you can say lots of bad things about it (as long as you’re not holding a bullhorn on Tiananmen Square) and you never need to kowtow to it.”
It seems to me that it is only possible to go through life oblivious to the Chinese government when one is willing to play 100% by its rules, a fact alluded to by your comment “as long as you’re not holding a bullhorn in Tiananmen Square.” And even then, the only reason that people play by those rules is because the specter of the government is always there.
The absence in such a characterization is essentially that “it is quite possible to go through life in China and be 99 percent oblivious of the government” as long as you don’t do anything in public that the government doesn’t want you to do. The lines that the government has drawn are omnipresent throughout Chinese society.
Let’s say that you are someone who likes to talk and write about politics, or a worker who wants to organize a real union, or someone who feels the need to protest about their forced eviction, or someone who lost a family member in 1989, or someone who wants to look into how many children died in last year’s earthquake, or simply someone who feels a bond of empathy with those who have been lost or evicted. Faced with this sort of a situation, it is absolutely impossible to go through life oblivious of the government. There is a constant sense that one is either unable to do and say as one pleases, or there is a constant threat that one will be punished, beaten, or killed for the simple human traits of empathy.
In that respect, the government and its restrictions are everywhere: you can see them just as much in those who tow the line and claim that “Chinese are not interested in politics” as in the punishment of those who cross that line.

October 3, 2009 @ 4:08 am | Comment

PS- about the comment
“China? Totalitarian?
Beijing can barely get its own provincial leaders to do its bidding!”
This is a common claim, and sure, in some respects, Beijing can’t get its provincial leaders to do its bidding. But in other respects, those that cross “that line,” provincial leaders always follow Party Central.
For example, you might have trade disputes or disagreements about economic policy in the provinces, but are there any provincial leaders who have permitted a liberalized media? Who have permitted Falun Gong in their province? Who have made political appeals to the center?
It’s possible to do almost whatever one wants when it comes to economics and money, but political and social reform cross that line, and every province must follow.

October 3, 2009 @ 4:12 am | Comment

Kevin, I get your point and don’t disagree with it. As soon as you cross the government, it can and often does rear its authoritarian head. But to me, that is authoritarian, not totalitarian. Unlike Nazism and Maoism and Kim Jong Ilism and Saddam Husseinism, China’s government is no longer intrusive and you can usually pretend it’s not there – unless 1.) you choose to take the risk and stand up for your rights, which authoritarian governments do not tolerate well, or 2.) you happen to be in the government’s crosshairs, i.e., perhaps they want to convert your plot of land into a cineplex and they just take it from you, or the corrupt local official decides to steal your daughter’s identity so his own daughter can go to Tsinghua. And there are some horrible stories about both these scenarios. For the vast majority of Chinese, unfortunately, these are not issues they are too concerned with, as long as they can eat and make a living. And the vast majority can do that, live and eat and work, without giving much if any thought to politics, government systems/philosophy, and the CCP is fine with that, as long as the public remains docile and content. In a totalitarian system, however, you belong to the state, your kids belong to the Hitler Youth, you pretend to be enraptured with the dear leaders lest your neighbor inform on you and ruin your life. And life in truly totalitarian societies is ruled with an iron fist. We both know the horror stories of oppressed people in China, but in a totalitarian society we wouldn’t even know their stories existed, and Charter 08 and the like would never in a million years have gotten as fas as they did. I know there are some fine lines here, and sometimes it’s hard to make the distinctions, but knowing what I do about China under Mao and China today, I cannot call China totalitarian – if we do, what do we call it under Mao?

October 3, 2009 @ 4:31 am | Comment

70% totalitarian 30% authoritarian?

October 3, 2009 @ 4:54 am | Comment

And now 30% totalitarian and 70% authoritarian

October 3, 2009 @ 5:00 am | Comment

I see your point as well, and don’t necessarily mean to argue for the term “totalitarian” or “authoritarian” or whatever, which are in the end only words that can of course never capture the full reality of an entire country. If I personally had to pick a few words to describe the Chinese government, it would be something more along the lines of “steaming hot mess.”

What I really disagree with, however, is the claim that people can go on living their lives almost entirely without noticing the government, as I think the gov is everywhere.
On the one hand, there are some people who clearly get off on the show of force like on Oct. 1st and take virtual chest-thumping on Anti-CNN seriously. Frankly, these people are pathetic and depend on the Chinese state to realize their own sense of selfhood.
On the other hand, there are many others who are less enthusiastic, maybe a “silent majority,” who inevitably have “politically incorrect” thoughts and wonder if the current political and social structure in China is really good for the country. Why did so many kids die in Sichuan? Why is our children’s milk powder poisoned? What is this crap about the “first stage of socialism”? And doesn’t the government have anything better to do than host the Olympics and organize a massive 60th anniversary show?
These are real and even quite common concerns. But the only reason almost no one takes any action based upon these concerns is because they are frightened of the elephant in the room. Anyone with a completely natural yet politically incorrect thought knows that that thought needs to be kept completely private and not acted upon. Otherwise you end up like Tan Zuoren and Ai Weiwei, both doing quite simple, good, and honestly uncontroversial things, yet arrested and beaten. You could be making a little bit of money and leading a quiet and docile life, so best to just shut up. In these considerations, the Party as elephant in the room is always present in people’s minds. And as a result of these considerations, the Party is able to perpetuate its control seemingly indefinitely.

October 3, 2009 @ 6:24 am | Comment

I hear everything you say and have no disagreements about the anticnn types. Here’s where I do disagree:

These are real and even quite common concerns. But the only reason almost no one takes any action based upon these concerns is because they are frightened of the elephant in the room.

In all honesty, I think the attention span of the majority of Chinese people for the tragedies you name is limited. They were all genuinely moved by the carnage the earthquake caused and gave a lot of time and money to help. But about the social injustice of the local governments screwing the people over and suppressing the villagers’ complaints – I think most Chinese people’s attitude is that that’s a shame and it sucks, but it’s what we’ve come to expect from local officials and there’s not much we can do so let’s focus on our own lives. Meanwhile, the newspapers are increasingly full of articles criticizing the government (within the usual constraints, of course), blogs rant about the government (again, with limits – and I guess those limits are “the elephant in the room”) – but I don’t believe social issues are top of mind for most people in China, with some very dramatic exceptions. Anyway, we may just need to agree to disagree on this, as it’s not easy to prove.

October 3, 2009 @ 6:40 am | Comment

I Hope the Chinese Communist Party Can Continue to its Dictatorship of China for As Long As Possible.

Should a government or political party step down from power due to its mistakes or even crimes? I do not think it should, and I do not think it has happened in history. No matter what mistakes a government made, as long as it corrects its mistakes and improves itself, it’s still a good government.

The American government has made many many mistakes and crimes in its history, from the genocide of Native Americans to the enslavement of Blacks to the exploitation of immigrants to the Iraq War. Yet has the American government stepped down yet? Of course not. Some people think the Democratic and Republican parties’ constant switching of power is meaningful, but they both belong to the same elite ruling class, follows the same institutions and ideologies, to think they represent two different government or systems is too simple, too naive.

Now let’s look at the Chinese government. If we draw a graph, on the x-axis is time, and on the y-x is the number of people killed by the Chinese government, then you’ll see that this graph is a rapidly decreasing one, and decreasing much faster than the same graph for the American government. This means the Chinese government is progressing, improving. This is a good thing. Today’s China is ruled by the Chinese Communist Party, this I have no complaints about. This is simply the result of historical evolution, history will evolve regardless of human will, just like mountains and rivers and continents will shift and change through millions of years. Can humans stop a mountain from forming, a river from forming, stop the formation of the Asian Continent, the formation of the Pacific Ocean? Of course we cannot.

Of course, we have a right to criticize the performance of the Chinese government. For example, when I go into a convenience store, and I was mistreated, I’ll raise a complaint to the manager. But I still acknowledge the manager’s ownership of this convenience store, I’ll not deny his ownership just because I was unhappy with the service, and I certainly will not ask him to hand over ownership of this store to me because of it. Today, I acknowledge the Chinese Communist Party’s ownership of China.

In today’s world, 100+ countries recognize the Chinese Communist Party to be the official and legal government of the People’s Republic of China, and China has embassadorial/commerce/trade/cultural/educational/political/military relations with those countries. China is also a permanent member of the UN Security Council, permanent member of World Trade Organization, permanent member of International World Bank, of International Monetary Fund, of G20, of Asian Pacific Alliance, etc. In other worlds, the world has fully embraced China and the Chinese government.

America has been an expert at anti-Communist and anti-Dicatorship activities and causes. It has the most powerful military in the world, the biggest spy agency in the world, the biggest political influence in the world, it even is able to bring down the USSR. Yet even this great anti-Communist, anti-Dicatorship superpower is now cooperating with China, is forming strategic relationship with China. I think it’s fair to say the US government has long ago gave up the goal of bringing down China like it did the USSR. It realized long time ago China is much stronger than USSR, and cannot be brought down so easily. The Taiwanese government, in the 50′s and 60′s had concrete plans to invade the Mainland and “re-take” their lost power. But it has realized a long time ago that this window has passed.

So, I think the Chinese Communist Party can rest easy, and realize that there’s no credible force today that can touch it, no group of people can challenge it. I am very happy about this of course, because I hope the Chinese Communist Party can continue to rule China and continue its dictatorship for as long as possible.

October 3, 2009 @ 1:08 pm | Comment

@Math
I agree with you.

With all the hype and bashing and whatevers, it is clear that they’re really attacking the word “communism.” It’s funny how every time the word “communism” appears, Western countries will start pointing their fingers yelling “bad” and “evil” even before they know what the issue is. It’s really bashing for bashing’s sake.

Now with all the bashing of EBS lighting up in Red and Yellow in celebration of the 60th Anniversary of CCP, it’s just plain overreaction. Really? Who cares? China doesn’t care, the Chinese people doesn’t care.

It’s funny how people from many Western countries say that the Chinese people who does not hate CCP is because of communism propaganda, they don’t really realize that they, themselves, were brainwashed by their own governments to think that “communism” is bad no matter what they do. It’s evident in how many Westerners would bash the CCP without knowing a thing about China and her history. I’m not saying that CCP never did anything wrong, but every country has done and is currently doing something wrong. Like the US, it’s definitely wrong to go to war with Iraq, and yet, even after they realized that it is wrong, and even after they got Obama as the new president, their troops are still where? In Iraq.

October 3, 2009 @ 6:32 pm | Comment

That building is quite aptly named, and suitable for this occasion – as in “Empire” state building.

But China right now isn’t strictly a dictatorship, but more of a benevolent oligarchy.

October 4, 2009 @ 12:27 am | Comment

“Who cares? China doesn’t care, the Chinese people doesn’t care.”
Well, the Consulate General and the official media cares.
http://tinyurl.com/ycd38fs
http://tinyurl.com/ye89uqo

October 4, 2009 @ 2:39 am | Comment

PS- One of the comments on the Global Times article says “wait another 30 years and the entire world will light up for us.” Classy!

October 4, 2009 @ 2:41 am | Comment

I wonder if the commenter meant China would take over the world, or that the whole world would recognize China as a global power, or….? Seems you can interpret that in all kinds of ways.

October 4, 2009 @ 2:53 am | Comment

“But China right now isn’t strictly a dictatorship, but more of a benevolent
oligarchy.”

Oligarchies are not benevolent.Don’t confuse it with aristocracy.

Oligarchy: government of a few.
Aristocracy: government of the best.

China has moved from a Marxist state to a predatory capitalist system.
From China Challenges.
“Thus there is a new political-managerial class, which over the last two decades has converted their positions of authority into wealth and power. The vibrancy of entrepreneurial ambitions combined with the arbitrariness of power in an authoritarian state has sometimes given rise to particularly corrupt or predatory forms of capitalism, unencumbered by the restraints of civil society institutions. Perhaps nowhere has the predation been as starkly evident as in land seizures both in cities and the countryside. In the real estate boom of recent years, for example, the commercial developers in cahoots with local officials have bulldozed old city neighborhoods, residents waking up in the morning to find that their house has been marked for demolition with the Chinese character “chai” – meaning raze – painted in white, with hardly any redress or adequate compensation available.

This corrupt or predatory form of capitalism has also some obvious global implications. When foreign companies try to invest in China or Chinese companies try to acquire holdings abroad the decision-making process can be vitiated by arbitrary political interference, underhand dealings, kickbacks and influence-peddling. Even in matters of foreign aid in Africa a recent New York Times report points to the opacity in the activities of politically well-connected Chinese foreign-aid contractors.”

It is an interesting evolution: Feudal->Marxist->Maoist->Predatory capitalism–> ???

It would be interesting to know what Marx would say about it. But I trust more Trotsky for a preciser description.

Something in the line of
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deformed_workers'_state
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Degenerated_workers'_state

But now in capitalistic sphere. A plutocracy maybe?

October 4, 2009 @ 3:02 am | Comment

Small links correction

http://tinyurl.com/yd2eqh7
http://tinyurl.com/y8oe7o2

October 4, 2009 @ 3:05 am | Comment

@Richard

I can’t follow this entire thread, but I want to say two things.

First, a lot of the crap you quote here is quite horrible, but I don’t expect Americans to be any more tolerant of foreign nationalism than the average Chinese. Imagine what would happen if Tian’anmen were draped in stars and stripes on July 4, 2008, to celebrate the 230th anniversary of the ratification of the oldest constitution in the world.

Second, I think that comparisons with Nazi Germany do make a lot of sense. We know the Nazis for World War Two and the Holocaust (as we should), but we forget that a lot of Germans had a great time during the Third Reich and did not feel that they lived under a totalitarian regime the way we think about it today. A lot of Germans prospered under the Nazis. A lot of foreign companies did great business under the Nazis. And as long as you did not violate some of the taboos of the Nazi regime, it let you alone and did not interfere in your daily life like the Maoists did. You could stay away from stupid mass meetings and still do pretty well in the Third Reich, not so in 1970s China or Tibet today.

One of the reasons why the Nazis managed to stay in power for so long is that they bribed large parts of the German people with material benefits, so they would look the other way when the Nazis committed their atrocities. That is why the Nazis never needed to build up their Gestapo on the same scale as the East Germans did with Stasi.

October 4, 2009 @ 4:03 am | Comment

Having studied life in Nazi Germany for decades I can say, to my own satisfaction at least, that parallels with today’s PRC don’t hold up. Just because a lot of people were happy and prospered under the Nazis and under the PRC doesn’t make the two equivalent. And the Nazis DID interfere with your daily life. They DID demand loyalty. All life revolved around a single cult-figure as under Mao and Kim and Stalin. Your children joined the Hitler Youth. There are countless stories of informants turning in their neighbors, and even children turning in their parents, for anti-Nazi remarks. People were executed for things they said about Hitler. This is simply not the case in modern China, though it was true under Mao. Most “Aryan” Germans were happy and contented, but that had nothing to do with whether or not their government system was totalitarian – i.e., just because you are happy does not mean your government is not totalitarian. The Germans cheerfully surrendered their critical faculties and freedoms to the Nazis.

One of the reasons why the Nazis managed to stay in power for so long is that they bribed large parts of the German people with material benefits, so they would look the other way when the Nazis committed their atrocities

Not true. Most of those who benefitted materially did so until 1942. After that, all they did was lose, in every way, and yet they fought until the bitter end. The reasons why are complex, and are part of the gradual process of radicalization the Third Reich implemented, taking a party that had been looked on by most as a bit bizarre and turning it into a veritable religion. People did not look the other way because they were made rich. They did so in part because the notion of the evil Jew had been institutionalized, in part because the Nazis rekindled a national pride that had been shattered in 1918, and in part because of a uniquely German notion of loyalty, duty and devotion to the voelkisch concept of the Vaterland.

Comparisons with the Nazis are very dangerous. People do it with America all the time, pointing to things America did that could be called “Naziistic” (the Indian genocide being the most popular point of evidence), but failing to take into account the whole picture of what America is and what life there is like. it in no way resembles Nazi Germany. And neither does today’s China.

October 4, 2009 @ 4:30 am | Comment

@kevinnolongerinpudong (post #106)
I wonder if the media really cares about the lighting up of the ESB or do they just want to sell a story. The media is known to be a tool of bias ideas and what not.

I know some people may think that the media is some kind of a watchdog, but it is only on non-political level really. With all the bias rubbish the media has been putting out in Western countries for the past couple of years, I doubt their interest is purely on ESB lighting up for China.

@Hemulen
I agree with Richard, there’s no way to make comparison to Nazi Germany. If you truly think so, and I don’t mean any disrespect here, I suggest you take a closer look at modern China yourself. And by “yourself” I do not mean through mass media.

October 4, 2009 @ 5:06 am | Comment

Nazi Germany…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tevCNjgxnhs

October 4, 2009 @ 5:33 am | Comment

@Richard

I respectfully disagree. The type of loyalty demanded under Mao was different from the loyalty under the Nazis. During the Mao era devotion was not enough. You could be labeled a counterrevolutionary for your failure to be zealous enough. The Nazis never demanded that, but they found enough people to carry out their program and that is the scary part.

Most of those who benefitted materially did so until 1942.

Not necessarily true. German historian Götz Aly recently published a book about how much the Nazis were able to keep the Germans happy during the war. After 1945, many Germans complained that their rations they received from the Allies were worse than what they got under the Nazis, who used outright plunder on the Eastern front to keep food rations up.

The CCP plundered too, perhaps not at the same scale as the Nazi, but still. Truckloads of artefacts from Tibetan temples in Sichuan were looted before 1959 and sold on the art markets in the West. We cannot shrug out shoulders and say that this is something that happened during the Mao era and does not concern us.

What troubles me with these comparisons with the Nazis is not the fact that they are made, but that they do not look at the whole picture. Today, you can muddle through patriotic meetings if you live in Shanghai and are Han Chinese, without getting into trouble. And you can be a outspoken foreigner in Beijing without running into any trouble.

But Shanghai or Beijing are not China. If you show any sign of disloyalty and happen to be Tibetan or Uighur, you can get into a lot of trouble. This is not just about dissent, it’s about ethnicity, about racial discrimination. But you and I can ignore that because we live great lives in China and we don’t see it.

And that is the scary part.

@Kooritsuki

I do read mass media in China and it scares me.

October 4, 2009 @ 6:04 am | Comment

If you show any sign of disloyalty and happen to be Tibetan or Uighur, you can get into a lot of trouble.

I think that depends on HOW they express their disloyalty. If you mean by demonstrations and protests, you’re right. But that applies to all Chinese, and even to foreigners, And this is true of all authoritarian governments. None tolerates protests that they feel challenge their power.

I still completely disagree about Nazi Germany but we won’t resolve this. The remark about Germans not being happy with their rations under the allies does not mean they were loyal to Hitler mainly because he fed them well. (I can’t follow this reasoning, sorry.) Plundering and looting, also, do not mean the system of government is totalitarian. Many countries plundered and looted while their governments were not totalitarian.

We can draw all kinds of parallels to Hitler’s Germany. Eugenics was once a big thing in America, as were segregated parks and clubs, areas where Jews and blacks couldn’t live. And so many more examples where we can draw parallels of America to Nazi Germany, including race-based concentration camps. Those things however, awful as they were, did not make America’s a totalitarian government. You can argue that, as with the Tibetans and Uighers, the experience of the victims terrible, and for them it seemed as if the government was totalitarian, especially the interred Japanese. Bad as these things were, they did not mean that the American government was a totalitarian or even authoritarian one. It just did some terrible things, but did not meet the criteria of totalitarianism.

October 4, 2009 @ 6:19 am | Comment

@Richard -
1)

“They DID demand loyalty.”

Article 1 of the PRC constitution:

“Article 1. The People’s Republic of China is a socialist state under the people’s democratic dictatorship led by the working class and based on the alliance of workers and peasants. The socialist system is the basic system of the People’s Republic of China. Sabotage of the socialist system by any organization or individual is prohibited.”

2)

“All life revolved around a single cult-figure”

I guess you must have missed the pictures hanging from the walls of every school-room in the country, the focus has merely shifted from the supreme leader to the communist party (of which only the politburo exercises national power) in general.

3)

“Your children joined the Hitler Youth.”

From Wiki:

“The Young Pioneers of China (simplified Chinese: 中国少年先锋队; traditional Chinese: 中國少年先鋒隊; pinyin: Zhōngguó shàonián xiānfēngduì; abbr. simplified Chinese: 少先队; traditional Chinese: 少先隊; pinyin: shàoxiānduì) is a mass youth organization for children in the People’s Republic of China. The Young Pioneers of China is run by the Communist Youth League, an organization of older youth that comes under the Communist Party of China. The Young Pioneers of China is similar to Pioneer Movements that exist or existed in many Communist countries around the world.

4)

“There are countless stories of informants turning in their neighbors, and even children turning in their parents, for anti-Nazi remarks.”

I’m having a hard time thinking of someone who was reported by their own children out of pure ideology. However, the Chinese police state most definitely uses informers and secret police to spy on and harass domestic dissidents:

“On January 19, 2005, the Washington Post reported that Bao Tong and his wife were injured in attacks by more than 20 plainclothes security agents as they attempted to leave their home to pay their respect to the family of Zhao Ziyang, who died on January 17. The authorities would only allow him access to a doctor if he removed a white flower pinned to his vest. He refused.[2] (Note that the white flower is a traditional symbol of mourning) His wife, pushed to the ground by a policeman, fractured a bone in her spine that had her hospitalized for 3 months.”

5)

“The Germans cheerfully surrendered their critical faculties and freedoms to the Nazis.”

From an interview with Ai Weiwei:

“China, on the one hand you have a dictatorship, you have a totalitarian society. We still don’t have right to elect our own government. And they make stupid decisions you see. Every day you see in the papers stupid decisions are made. On the other hand you have a big crowd of nationalism, young kids who know nothing because of the limited information or because of the misleading of the media. So these two combinations can make the situation even worse.”

None of this is to say that China is the same as Nazi Germany, or that China is becoming like Nazi Germany (although I believe it is becoming more hard-line as 2012 approaches), but denying the totality of the communist party’s rule, and the sheer hopelessness of wishing to go against its will, is not real life in China as I recognise it.

October 4, 2009 @ 12:04 pm | Comment

As an addendum, anti-Semitism and racism are not necessary for a totalitarian state to exist, although they can be allowed free rein under such a system.

October 4, 2009 @ 12:06 pm | Comment

Oh, and as far as being arrested merely for discussing certain subjects:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/6239309/China-makes-it-illegal-to-discuss-independence-for-Xinjiang.html

October 4, 2009 @ 1:15 pm | Comment

FOARP, I guess we can have this conversation forever. They may demand loyalty on paper. And I have written many times about them arresting people for discussing democracy and censoring all kinds of topics. Life in modern-day China is not totalitarian the way it was in Nazi Germany, Mao’s China or Nazi Germany. If you think it is, we’ll acknowledge we hold different viewpoints. China under Mao was totalitarian. It’s now authoritarian. An authoritarian regime will censor and arrest as well, but under a totalitarian regime, the regime is essentially your life – there is no escaping its playing an active and constant role in your life. Of course, if you choose to be an activist or to challenge the CCP’s power, as with any authoritarian, one-party system, it will crush you.

I think we all would expect Ai Weiwei to say China is totalitarian. I think anyone who chooses to push the government and threaten its grasp on power will see it that way. I know the different sides, and my bottom line is that there is enough freedom of choice in China now to move it into the authoritarian camp. There is no litmus test, however, to prove that either you or I are right. I won’t out China in the same category as North Korea.

In a totalitarian system, Ai Weiwei would have been murdered the very first time he opened his mouth.

October 5, 2009 @ 2:57 am | Comment

Good. If Xinjiang can be “independent” from the Sino-Tibetans, Jerusalem can be “independent” from Muslims, Christians and Jews, and Greece can be “independent” of Greek speakers.

Xinjiang is one of many Sino-Tibetan heartlands. Yunnan/Sichuan, the Tibetan Plateau, the Yellow River Valley, and Southern/Eastern Xinjiang have been Sino-Tibetan strongholds for up to ten thousand years.

October 22, 2009 @ 6:24 am | Comment

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