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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: 67 Comments

To merp’s #49

As a great fan of the “Tu Quoque” argument, maybe merp should read the International Criminal Tribunals’ opinion on it:

“Tu Quoque Principle

The Trial Chamber addressed the validity of the tu quoque principle as a defense to accusations of breaches of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). In examining this principle, the Tribunal looked specifically at the proposition that ” breaches of international humanitarian law, being committed by the enemy, justify similar breaches by a belligerent.” In strong language, the Trial Chamber rejected the validity of the tu quoque principle, stating that it is ” fallacious and ­inapplicable” in IHL. The Trial Chamber stated that most IHL ” lays down absolute obligations, namely obligations that are unconditional or in other words not based on reciprocity.” The Tribunal found not only support for this in Common ­Article 1 of the Geneva Conventions, but also in the development of IHL rules into obligations owed to the entire international community as a whole, “designed to benefit individuals qua human beings.” The Chamber also pointed out that the tu quoque defense was raised in war crimes trials following World War II but ” was universally rejected.” In addition, the Chamber stated that most IHL norms, particularly those pertaining to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide, are peremptory norms of international law or jus cogens, and thus are non-derogable. Consequently, the tu quoque defense can never be valid because obligations of IHL are not dependent upon any other party’ s conduct.”

That’s the international judgment on the principle behind merp’s only professional trick.

February 24, 2010 @ 5:10 pm | Comment

Yes, because the West gets to invalidate all criticisms of it by bringing up the minor faults of others. Brilliant!

I guess if a mass murderer points his finger at a petty criminal before trial, all evidence against him should be null and void. Tu quoque after all!

February 25, 2010 @ 4:50 am | Comment

“White hypocrisy at its finest.”
With regards to Iraq? Ummmm…..Russians are white, no? Did they invade? The French are white, no? Yet you may recall the old “Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys” jibe…

“Yes because whenever anyone says anything that isn’t negative about China, it’s a Communist lie. Those inscrutable orientals are known to do that.”
No – they are just not open to independent scrutiny. And if one tries to see the real numbers, you get jailed. Don’t get all touchy – I’m not bullying you.

“The way things are shaping up, however, the West won’t be able to compete with a genuinely Chinese civilization. Savagery on the international stage is frowned upon now, and deception is less effective. All of this is directly related to the decline of the West.”

Uh huh. And so the enpires of the west (which, I guess, must have competed with a “genuine Chinese civilisation” too) happened because….?
But you are right, savagery on an international stage is frowned upon. Yet the Chinese seem to disregard that 🙂 So…the west can rise again, doing what it did before 😀

February 25, 2010 @ 6:33 am | Comment

And yet, India and Mexico violate these rules much more often, and have a higher “death toll” so to speak. Spinach in America, or some other vegetable, has killed more of its own citizens than the melamine scandal. White hypocrisy as usual.

Citation needed. If you are referring to the 2006 North American E. Coli Outbreak, the death toll was 3.

And killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis is morafukngly collateral damage. White hypocrisy at its finest.

War is hell. If it makes you feel any better, the actual casualty (not death) number is between 100,000 and 200,000 with 13% to 15% of those being from car bombs.

And, if I may ask, make you think I am white?

Poisoned baby food. Really, just think about that one and try to make a sound argument.

February 25, 2010 @ 1:40 pm | Comment

@sptwo – Nice post. The only thing I would add would be one notable exception.

I would point out that during the trial of Otto Skorzeny et al (1947), the court found that the defendants had violated International Law (International Law, Vol. II, paragraph 16), and the Hague Convention by wearing US uniforms and travelling under a US flag.

Having said that, the court acquitted all of them based upon testimony from the US and British stating that they (Allies) had in fact employed the same tactic against the Axis side.

In that case, tit-for-tat resulted in the court in fact and action accepting tu quoque. The distinction in this case was that two adversarial parties in the same contest (WWII) had committed the same offense.

This differs from instances where the court did not accept tu quoque wherein soldiers on the same side made claim of this defense.

Just sayin’ 🙂

February 25, 2010 @ 2:01 pm | Comment

To SP2:
that must be why Merp seems genetically incapable of discussing China without making all manner of comparisons (real or imagined; logical or not, and mostly the latter). Tough to make a tu quoque argument without comparisons…although he might next try saying that today’s China is so much better than that of the CR/GLF years, and get some more mileage that way.

February 25, 2010 @ 5:03 pm | Comment

feromerp on the ropes…

February 26, 2010 @ 8:54 am | Comment

War is hell. If it makes you feel any better, the actual casualty (not death) number is between 100,000 and 200,000 with 13% to 15% of those being from car bombs.

Right and the actual casualty rate of the Holocaust was 1 million. Sorry, but the most accurate measure of excess death rate has put the toll at 1.2 million. Nice work.

Poisoned baby food. Really, just think about that one and try to make a sound argument.

Business is hell.

@S.K Cheung
Tough to make a tu quoque

America (and thus your) entire anti-China campaign is a tu quoque. Look at Bush at Kyoto.

Americans and Westerners = first world economies, third world people.

February 27, 2010 @ 8:30 am | Comment

America continues its rhetoric of Economic Racial Holy War against the Japanese:

February 27, 2010 @ 8:38 am | Comment

and no, I’m talking about this:

But the e.coli thing works as well. Both were due to workers’ shit touching the vegetables.

Aside from those two, there was a third scandal. Or maybe it was just part of the same two, I forget.

February 27, 2010 @ 9:02 am | Comment

Now I remember, it was the peanuts.

Salmonellosis in peanut butter from Peanut Corporation of America in Blakely, Georgia has become “one of the nation’s worst known outbreaks of food-borne disease” in recent years. Nine are believed to have died and an estimated 22,500 were sickened. Criminal negligence has been alleged after product tested positive then re-tested “negative” by a second testing agency, and shipped on several occasions. The product was in turn used by dozens of other manufacturers in hundreds of other products which have had to be recalled.

Peanut Corporation of America vs. Sanlu, I guess PCA wins. Both companies were liquidated.

Talk about American hubris. America screams about China collapse- America receives real estate/stock implosion.

I think they should stop lest the commercial loans start collapsing, too :p

February 27, 2010 @ 9:05 am | Comment

“Business is hell”

Correction, old sport: Business in China is hell – and conducted without moral restraint, operating as it does under the auspices of government officials who have their sticky fingers deep in the pie.

February 27, 2010 @ 9:59 am | Comment

anti-China campaign..

Get that into that brain of yours: anti-CCP =/= anti-China. That is just another smearing label cheap politicians like to employ when they have no argument.

February 27, 2010 @ 10:42 am | Comment

Correction, old sport: Business in China is hell – and conducted without moral restraint, operating as it does under the auspices of government officials who have their sticky fingers deep in the pie.

Yes because American corporations don’t cause the deaths of thousands if not millions every year.

Compared to Blackwater, Peanut Corporation of America, Firestone, Citi, etc Sanlu is a saint, sir lord chappington.

February 27, 2010 @ 10:53 am | Comment

To 58:
“America (and thus your) entire anti-China campaign is a tu quoque.”
—huh? (yet again). (a) I’m not American (b) I’m not anti-China; just anti-CCP. See Sp2’s explanation above. (c) I don’t criticize CCP’s methods because they are different from “western” methods ie. I’m not criticizing based on a comparison. I criticize CCP methods on their own merit (or, more fittingly, a lack thereof)

You, on the other hand, can’t seem to get out of bed without making comparisons, be they to Nazis, India, Taiwan, etc etc.

February 27, 2010 @ 3:06 pm | Comment

Yes because American corporations don’t cause the deaths of thousands if not millions every year.

That is correct. They don’t. There have been scandals and incidents, but nothing coming close to the tainted milk that in 2008 affected 300,000 infants. The big difference, of course, is that in the case of the tainted milk, the addition of melamine was deliberate which is not to say the perpetrators deliberately sought to kill anyone, although six infants died and thousands developed kidney stones). The peanut butter salmonella was the result of negligence and PCA possibly continued shipping it even after they knew it was contaminated and they will pay dearly for that. But any comparisons with the tainted milk is ludicrous. The tainted milk was a widespread coverup and a crime that involved attempted bribes straight up the food chain (so to speak), and was just one of many such incidents. Of course, Merp is wonderful at pointing to an example of something the US did and drawing a comparison that proves, to his satisfaction, that American food 9or whatever) is more likely to be contaminated than China’s. Everyone living in China knows what utter horseshit this argument is, as food poisoning is simply a way of life here, in a way that cannot begin to be compared with the developed world. Outbreaks of even minor sickness from food in America are cause for national concern and headlines. In China, it’s not news at all. This applies to product safety, too. Sure, there are cases of scandal about a poorly made product from the US. But in China, you are never surprised when something you buy shatters into pieces or fails to work at all. I can tell you lots of stories.

None of this means i don’t love China, where I’m writing from today. But they do have food and product issues that hopefully they’ll get under control as they develop.

February 27, 2010 @ 3:35 pm | Comment

And I’m closing this thread. Please use the one above, about my traveling to China.

February 27, 2010 @ 3:36 pm | Comment

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