Good to see I’m not alone

Another blogger shares his thoughts about everyone’s favorite Forbes columnist. Go there.

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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: 17 Comments

Come on!

Have you checked the comments at the dude’s website? Nobody takes him seriously. I just wonder how he scored that gig.

January 21, 2010 @ 11:28 am | Comment

It’s worse on his Twitter account:

“Since so many people are calling me a tool (or many), maybe I should open a hardware store.”

Wit as sharp as a beach ball on that one.

January 21, 2010 @ 5:02 pm | Comment

I have to admit that so far the Chinese government has handled the Google challenge quite well. By downplaying the issue and calling it a business matter, the party gives itself time to study the values of open Internet, and make up its mind about net freedom. It maneuvers itself to a position of confidence and maturity while making Google and its supporters look like spoiled brats whining about business failure and inability to fend off cyber-attacks.

Of course this is tactics. The big issue is still unresolved. Is an open net good or bad for China? I hope the party will find the right answer.

January 22, 2010 @ 5:14 am | Comment

A pundit I read (can’t find the link, sorry) reckoned it was Google that made the better move. The CCP looked like it was caught off guard and unsure what to do. Despite Google’s market position, it was powerful enough to make people take notice. The dead hand of the CCP on everything has been lifted a touch. Far from Google et al being whining brats, the CCP has been liked to the gambler being caught with a marked deck of cards.
But hey, East and west ad all that sort of thing, the different spins on this story are what makes these fora so interesting :-)
I think Google just checked the CCP (chess analogy) and now the CCP is looking at the board wondering what move to make.

Checkmate in 3 moves? ;-)

January 22, 2010 @ 5:31 am | Comment

Gonna respond to Custer’s post here…

“about 10% of Chinese people still live in poverty, and poverty is technically defined in terms of living on 900RMB/year or less.”

I don’t know Chinese tax law that well, but GDP per capita is generally not a good way of measuring living standards. If I’m not mistaken, central/local governments give some subsidies to the poorest citizens. I’m guessing unregistered migrant workers have the hardest time.

“What? First of all, why is Twitter “technology” but Wikipedia “content”? Both are user-driven web 2.0 concept sites.”

Internet didn’t even exist anywhere a few decades ago. Most people on the planet simply don’t even know it exists. Compared to everyone having no internet a few years ago to 300 million+ (and growing at 10%+ a year) having access to education and information dwarfs the censorship of Dalai Lama, Falun Gong and Tiananmen Square which are overblown non-issues that pedantic Westerners love picking at non-stop.

It’s an issue of perspective. Yes, censorship can be a bitch and I’m not condoning the CCP’s behavior, but there are bigger issues to tend to.

The teenager analogy is terrible. But it’s typical MSM fare. It reaches out to the average moron better than some of the standard lofty and specious anti-China tripe manufactured by loons and morons by Faux News, BBC, telecrap, Guardian, etc.

January 22, 2010 @ 8:46 am | Comment

the loons and morons of Faux News*

January 22, 2010 @ 8:47 am | Comment

BBC/British Brainwashing Cult, Retaurdian, etc, have your pick.

Just to clarify, I think a lot of the confusion about China comes from the vast, vast disconnect that the average person in your typical developed country has with poverty. For that reason alone most people will not know what “China needs” or what “the Chinese need”.

For the record, GDP is just a sum of the value of goods/services produced in a country over a year. Obviously subsistence farmers are not going to be “producing” $20,000 a year. It doesn’t mean that the lowest income Chinese are scrounging by on $1 a day, (don’t know if that’s going by USD exchange rates or PPP) as they are given limited support by local (corrupt) and central (still corrupt) government, and increasingly NGOs.

January 22, 2010 @ 8:55 am | Comment

Merp, if you have issues with Custer’s post you should put your comment there.

About poverty: Rein’s sin was his claim that “real poverty” was all but gone from China. This is false. It is demonstrably false. Real poverty means living below the threshold of poverty. All of us know that while things are improving, there is a sizable chunk of the population, probably in the tens or even hundreds of millions, living below China’s poverty level. They are living in “real poverty.” Rein happily glosses over them and then makes happy happy talk by telling us 86 percent of Chinese people are happy. Now that takes chutzpah.

January 22, 2010 @ 9:08 am | Comment

Merp, the CCP itself doubled the number of people suffering poverty (statistically). Even the CCP says there is poverty in China and that by using outdated definitions, they underestimated the numbers of people suffering from poverty. I linked to that somewhere.
From memory, the number of people in China in poverty is about 80 million. That’s more than the population of most, if not all, European countries.
The BBC will find it hard to brainwash anyone…given as it’s merely one source out of many in an open society. It may provide a point of view, but not THE point of view. It doesn’t even reflect teh point of view of the ruling party in the UK…

January 22, 2010 @ 10:21 am | Comment

“By Serve the People”, you are such a classic apologist for authoritarianism.

I particularly relished your conclusion, “Is an open net good or bad for China? I hope the party will find the right answer.”

A fascinating question, but please let me take it further.

Is the persecution and imprisonment of dissidents who have done nothing except publicly call for greater democratisation good or bad for China? I hope the party will find the right answer.

Is the lack of independent trade unions good or bad for China? I hope the party will find the right answer.

Is the nation’s vast and growing inequality, one of the most pronounced, in the world,good or bad for China? I hope the party will find the right answer.

Is the persecution of naive rural petitioners good or bad for China? I hope the party will find the right answer.

Is the lack of basic Rule of Law, the non-existence of an independent judiciary, good or bad for China? I hope the party will find the right answer.

Is the Chinese Communist Part’s contempt for, for fear of, its own people, evidenced in its failure to grant them the same basic civil liberties and freedoms enjoyed, say, by the citizens of India, good or bad for China? I hope the party will find the right answer.

Is the replacement of the bankrupt ideology of totalitarian communism with a truculent and occasionally disturbing ultra-nationalism good or bad for China? I hope the party will find the right answer.

Is the lack of freedom of expression in anything involved with politics good or bad for China? I hope the party will find the right answer.

Is the lack of legal and media transparancy good or bad for China? I hope the party will find the right answer.

Etcetera, ad nauseum.

January 22, 2010 @ 11:36 am | Comment

Rein’s sin was his claim that “real poverty” was all but gone from China. This is false. It is demonstrably false. Real poverty means living below the threshold of poverty. All of us know that while things are improving, there is a sizable chunk of the population, probably in the tens or even hundreds of millions, living below China’s poverty level. They are living in “real poverty.” Rein happily glosses over them and then makes happy happy talk by telling us 86 percent of Chinese people are happy. Now that takes chutzpah.

He was way off the mark. Custer’s answer was a little off as well. The poor Chinese is not sitting around starving to death as a $1 a day income would lead one to expect. They are not languishing in “democratic” slums like the poor of India, for example.

It may provide a point of view, but not THE point of view. It doesn’t even reflect teh point of view of the ruling party in the UK…

It, and other mega-corporations, provide the majority of British people with their biased, nonsense views that have led to ridiculous policies such as the Iraq War and excessive spending. You have no freedom if 51% of the population is strong-armed by leveraged interests. None at all. It might exist on paper but it’s ultimately meaningless.

January 22, 2010 @ 11:35 pm | Comment

“They are not languishing in “democratic” slums like the poor of India, for example.”

At least the poor in India get better quality basic healthcare (and probably education) than do hundreds of millions of rural Chinese.

January 23, 2010 @ 5:48 pm | Comment

Merp, the BBC is but one source of information. 1 of many. So where does your argument stand? We have media for Socialist Worker to The Daily Telegraph (or Capitalist Bastard, as one of my mates calls it :-) )
When you say biased views, do you mean views that are not arse-lickingly sycophantic to the CCP?
Please remove foil hat and present some decent arguments. Sane ones, with some hope of allowing me to answer your points.
As for your arguments, easily shot down by reading any comment in the Telegraph. Most people seem to think His Tonyness should stand trial for war crimes. Have a read…if you can…
Also, do you have some proof of these Indian slums that are worse than Chinese ones? And no, the poor Chinese are not sitting around on less than $1 a day. They work to earn that buck. Work damn hard and yet….they’re no better than those Indians you are so dismissive about.
Gotta love Chinese capitalism ;-)

January 23, 2010 @ 6:17 pm | Comment

At least the poor in India get better quality basic healthcare (and probably education) than do hundreds of millions of rural Chinese.

Wrong.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Literacy_in_India

and the Indian literacy rate grew to 66% in 2007

Better basic healthcare? Wrong again

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy

73 in China, 64 in India.

Merp, the BBC is but one source of information. 1 of many.

BBC, Telecrap, etc take up large market share. It doesn’t matter if they’re “one of many”. The CCP is “one of many” parties in China. That doesn’t mean that it is de facto the dominating voice in the government, just as media corporations in Britain and America dominate public discourse and thus democracy.

We have media for Socialist Worker to The Daily Telegraph

That almost nobody pays any attention to.

Most people seem to think His Tonyness should stand trial for war crimes.

Too bad it doesn’t matter what they think. They don’t have the political will to make him stand for war crimes, just as Americans do not have the will to charge the Bush Administration. Britain slaughtered countless millions during her bloody history, yet not once was a leader ever brought to justice. Bengal Famines, disgusting acts during the Cold War, the Boer War, Opium Wars, you name it.

Also, do you have some proof of these Indian slums that are worse than Chinese ones?

Go visit the country, or just talk to UNICEF, etc. Of course UNICEF, Amnesty International, etc are just Chinese propaganda!

they’re no better than those Indians you are so dismissive about.

The Indian government has failed miserably at providing sanitation, education, work, infrastructure, technology, capital, HDI, life expectancy to its people.

The Chinese government, by comparison, has done much more.

January 25, 2010 @ 11:01 am | Comment

“The CCP is “one of many” parties in China”
Please provide links for me. As far as I have been able to ascertain, the CCP is the only party – there are factions within it, yes, but there are no other parties in mainland China. I am open to education.

“That almost nobody pays any attention to.”
You’re not really au fait with the British media, are you? Needless to say you are wrong about this. Seriously.

Mao has the deaths of 70 million Chinese attributed to him yet he’s on your money. Disgusting acts? Not something Britain has a monopoly on. And we get taught that at school too. Even I know that concentration camps were a British invention – I learnt that at school. But you are right, no one is brought to book. Not in the west, not in the east, if they are on the winning side. However, no one in the UK is “disappeared” for pointing out the dirty laundry :-) At least, not to my knowledge…

“Go visit the country, or just talk to UNICEF, etc. Of course UNICEF, Amnesty International, etc are just Chinese propaganda!”
Ummmm, anecdotal. Evidence please (sorry if I sound like a broken record – as an atheist who sometimes argues with the religious online, this is a line I often use ;-) ) – like I said, I am very open to education.

“The Indian government has failed miserably at providing sanitation, education, work, infrastructure, technology, capital, HDI, life expectancy to its people.

The Chinese government, by comparison, has done much more.”
Again, evidence please. As I quipped once, if something’s broke you call a person in India. As I read, Bangalore is a technical hotbed.

Hey, don’t get disheartened – I do agree with you in many respects. I think the CCP has done great in China. However, I read that it’s….well, it’s not as great as it once was. The focus has changed and the rural people are beginning to suffer because of that.
http://www.lrb.co.uk/v32/n02/perry-anderson/sinomania

The whole object of these blogs etc, to me, is not a “My culture is better than yours” slagging match. I am here to learn and find out more, to fill in gaps and to have stereotypes and prejudices upturned.

January 25, 2010 @ 4:00 pm | Comment

“The Chinese government, by comparison, has done much more”
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/26/opinion/26iht-edcohen.html?ref=global

But it is a biased western media journalistic opinion piece…..

January 26, 2010 @ 5:04 am | Comment

Merp, I’m letting most of your comments through, but I’m not running any of them that respond to discussions about China by foaming about how many millions of people America has exterminated and how evil America is and – well, you know the formula you use. We’ve acknowledged many times the bad things America and all other countries have done. This canned response of yours is hostile, ignorant and tiresome. So don’t put a lot of time and effort into comments that go off in that direction. They simply won’t run, and that’s final.

Richard

January 26, 2010 @ 6:50 am | Comment

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