China’s “tongqi” – neither comrades nor spouses

This is a heartbreaking article. Tongzhi + qizi. Not the most wining combination.

A few more links; there have been some above-average China-related storied in the blogs lately:

Aimee Barnes on the new version of one of America’s vilest movies, “Red Dawn.” This time instead of Nicaraguans and Russians, the enemy is…. Well, guess.

Stan Abrams on the Google Bastards – a funny, pointed post that flays alive a usually reliable pundit who get in over his head going after the Google-censorship-in-China issue.

Foreign Policy on whether the West is “turning on China.” This is really timely. I’ve been noticing over the past few days an almost violent rise in the pitch of pundit columns slamming China for keeping the yuan undervalued. Paul Krugman has been leading the pack, and the punditocracy on all sides, left and right, have been joining in to support him. This article manages to explain why this is happening. It sounds like we’re bracing for an all-out war of some kind (verbal, at least).

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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: 30 Comments

Richard, thanks for the post mention. You captured “Red Dawn” perfectly in one word (that I failed to use but should have)- vile.

March 19, 2010 @ 11:49 am | Comment

More from Li Yinhe on the ‘tongqi’ phenomenon: http://shanghaiist.com/2009/06/24/li-yinhe-homowives.php

March 19, 2010 @ 1:58 pm | Comment

I would like to see this movie. In the past Hollywood presented Chinese as Suzie Wongs. Seeing them as warriors raping and pillaging Middle America gives you some fresh air.

March 20, 2010 @ 1:09 am | Comment

All-out war? I realize people have issues with Gordon Chang, but here’s an insightful opinion piece he did regarding recent statements by the Chinese military…
http://connecttheworld.blogs.cnn.com/2010/03/05/opinion-is-china-dreaming-of-global-dominance/

I don’t actually think they would follow up on those words…Not unless some new “mass incident” causes the elite to fear losing power, in which case I wouldn’t bet against them doing something aggressive as a Hail Mary pass.

Serve the People, that’s funny. My money is on the cornfed midwestern women in that kind of a fight.

March 20, 2010 @ 3:18 am | Comment

It should involve Native Americans joining the Chinese and Russians in violently “retaking” their land

March 20, 2010 @ 3:41 am | Comment

Careful what you wish for merp. I’d say it’s more likely that the Russians and Pakistanis help the Uighurs take back their land. And the Indians and Vietnamese helping the Tibetans take back theirs.

March 20, 2010 @ 4:55 am | Comment

Here is one wikepedia entry that merp and his family of fenqing fanatics should read and take to heart: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tu_quoque

Tu quoque pretty much describes every post I’ve ever seen here by merp and Red Star, and arguably pug_ster — and that is in the very best of circumstances, when they have their facts relatively straight.

What this means is that the best you guys will ever achieve with your current MO, no matter how emotionally satisfying it may be to you to write that shit, is garden variety logical fallacy.

March 20, 2010 @ 5:39 am | Comment

Merp, I told you already that your comments that, no matter what the topic is, do nothing more than spew deranged venom at the US will not be published. (The one above about the Native Americas got through by mistake.) And that means none of your comments will be published. Have you been to Fool’s Mountain or China Smack? Lots of good comments there, and who knows, you may make some new friends.

Play Fair, I’ll give you a second chance, but please be careful. Thanks.

Slim, good point about Tu quoque. I’m surprised there wasn’t a photo of merp alongside the Wikipedia definition.

March 20, 2010 @ 7:15 am | Comment

merp wouldn’t like Fools Mountain, people like me are there.

In regards to the Foreign Policy article, it’s interesting to see that hostility to China has come forward relatively suddenly both in an outside parts of the media. I expected the US to re-evaluate its relationship with China at some point (I think they recently said something like as long as there’s a 1% of talks with Iran working, sanctions are off the table – not exactly a helpful attitude, but does China really understand the consequences of a nuclear Iran?), but it seems the recession has turned that into something sharper.

The old topic of arms sales to Taiwan will come up again. Is Obama going to sell those new F-16s or approve something else that wasn’t tentatively agreed under the Bush administration? We’ll see – I guess that he will eventually. How will China react this time?

March 20, 2010 @ 7:32 am | Comment

I think we all know how China will react to any form of arms sales to Taiwan, just as we know how they’ll react to any meetings between heads of state and the Dalia Lama, just as we know how they’ll react to claims of repression by human rights groups.

The difference is that now China really doesn’t seem to care how they come across, coming out with their in-your-face responses with an almost gleeful hubris. Almost the way George Bush came across when he told the world he was going to do what he wanted to do and there’s nothing you can do about it. Now China feels it has the upper hand, which is partly true, and maybe this is their turn to sneer. The only problem with this scenario is that China doesn’t possess nearly the level of bankable soft power the US has (not matter what Hong Xing and Ferin say); Obama has done a pretty good job undoing much of the global hostility fueled by Bush and restoring old friendships. Problem for China is that they don’t have those historic relationships and could end up alienating a lot of players unnecessarily. I guess the payback is getting lots of love from the xenophobes. From a strategic perspective I think they may be messing up a nice opportunity. A little humility and noblesse oblige can work wonders, especially when you have the upper hand and everyone knows it. They still have to learn how to win friends and influence people.

March 20, 2010 @ 7:51 am | Comment

I think we all know how China will react to any form of arms sales to Taiwan, just as we know how they’ll react to any meetings between heads of state and the Dalia Lama, just as we know how they’ll react to claims of repression by human rights groups

Mmmm, but it’s implied the F-16s are a “red line” that mustn’t be crossed. I don’t know whether it’s good to let people think that, because if Obama does sell them and China doesn’t do anything – well no one will take them seriously again if they make threats. But if they do something significant that will just make relations even worse. Course if Obama doesn’t sell them then it works, so maybe it’s a risk worth taking.

Obama has indeed done a good job in repairing various relationships, though I hope the problems with Japan over the Okinawa base are resolved soon – both sides seem to forget how much they need each other sometimes. Bush spent far too long focusing on the wrong parts of the world, Obama and co are refocusing on where the attention needs to be. Good on him/them.

March 20, 2010 @ 8:06 am | Comment

Looks to me like we are headed for another round of hegemonic wars like the 17th century, with Obama as Philip III of a bankrupt and declining Spain and China as rising France. Ugly.

March 20, 2010 @ 11:19 pm | Comment

The old topic of arms sales to Taiwan will come up again. Is Obama going to sell those new F-16s or approve something else that wasn’t tentatively agreed under the Bush administration? We’ll see – I guess that he will eventually. How will China react this time?

The decision will have to made soon, as I am sure you are aware. I think we’ll get them. It seems to be popular with Congress, and the Administration appears to be coming round to a more sensible line on China.

March 20, 2010 @ 11:21 pm | Comment

I…am not sure what to think (except about Red Dawn, which yes, is absolutely vile).

One conclusion I’ve been coming to is that “protectionism” gets an undeserved bad rap. I don’t think the US should engage in wholesale protectionism. However, watching the effects of the current economic crisis ripple out and devastate huge swathes of our cities and countryside…I think that local economic development is the way to go. Real jobs making real goods that people need. Communities that are more self-sustaining and don’t depend on Wal-Marts for their life’s goods.

I don’t know how we get to this and I do know that the huge economic entities controlling our economy and so much of our lives work against these ideals. But I do think that a certain degree of economic disengagement from China might not be a bad idea.

It makes me sad, because there are so many things about China that I love, but I’m with those who think that China’s internal problems are generally greatly underestimated by the “China Will Rule The World!” crowd. The question I have is whether America’s political system has become so completely dysfunctional that it cannot self-correct to the extent that needs to happen. I fear so, and I’m not sure where that leaves any of us.

March 22, 2010 @ 7:16 am | Comment

Otherlisa
“I don’t know how we get to this and I do know that the huge economic entities controlling our economy and so much of our lives work against these ideals. But I do think that a certain degree of economic disengagement from China might not be a bad idea.”
Voting is the most powerful tool we have. And disengaging with China is in whose interests? Not ours – the stuff we buy are made by our companies based there. Tariffs against China will then have to be matched with the same to other cheap countries…like Mexico, Vietnam, Malaysia…and the people who will get hurt the most will be the poor, both in China and in the US.
Of course, to properly participate in democracy means you need to be educated properly. I never recall learning about what my X on a ballot box really meant – it was sort of the same as drinking…something we just did when we reached that age…

March 22, 2010 @ 8:28 am | Comment

Mike, I think what I’m trying to get at is not protectionism per se — but a redevelopment of our own industrial base and manufacturing capacity. It makes no sense to me that a Federal program designed to grow Green technology and American jobs goes to a company in Texas that then turns around and manufactures windmills in China. I don’t know what sorts of enticements could be used to promote this sort of regeneration (I know there has been discussion about closing certain corporate tax loopholes that actually incentivize moving jobs overseas, but I am not educated on the details), but our economy has become way too dependent on financials, insurance and real estate, and there’s just something wrong with this. I don’t see how it’s possible to have a healthy economy based on such things. We’ve become an increasingly hollow economy and a far too militarized one, IMO.

So I’m not actually singling out China. It doesn’t have nearly as much to do with China and the US relationship with China as it does with ourselves and what kind of a country do we want to have? I think that there’s nothing wrong with imports, there’s nothing wrong with the basic…ah, someone help me here. Is it Ricardo who originally postulated that it made more sense for nations to specialize in their strengths and import the stuff it didn’t make sense for them to focus on? But there’s a balance that I think has been tipped here, and it’s not healthy.

March 22, 2010 @ 11:09 am | Comment

PLUS voting…well, you know, I’m a fan. I always vote. I’ve worked on political campaigns. But the linkage between special interest money and our political system has become so nearly absolute that I question the extent to which most of our elected representatives are serving the interests of working and middle class Americans.

March 22, 2010 @ 11:11 am | Comment

On the protectionism issue, the status quo is clearly China applying protectionist policies towards the West (and the East). Why should the US feel bad about doing the same to them? I actually don’t think it’s a solution, but it should be threatened, and the US needs to back up those threats. China may very well become obstinate and become more aggressive, but so what? Ultimately the Chinese are not stupid, and I truly believe that while it may take a very long time to get them to come around, they will. It’s a pity though that businessmen and governments globally don’t have the integrity to come forward and start pressuring China to start playing fair or get kicked out of the WTO for all their violations.
Mike Goldthorpe says that the stuff we buy is made in China by our companies. Fine. Move the factories to India and Vietnam. If the infrastructure is not there, start working on it.

“Tariffs against China will then have to be matched with the same to other cheap countries…”— umm why is this exactly?

I’m not sure what the solution is. But it seems pretty clear to me that a threshold has been crossed. We can no longer sit around and do nothing, having faith that the legions of carousing businessmen in Shanghai and Beijing are going to spread the word of humanism, good governance, global responsibility and democracy to the ogres in the CCP. We all know what kind of a moral and ethical message those guys are usually interested in communicating.

March 22, 2010 @ 12:18 pm | Comment

I also would like to say…you know, I’m not really much of a nationalist. I’m way more of an internationalist. I want everyone to do well, and I celebrate the diversity of culture and nations (for the most part. I draw the line at certain practices, and I don’t mind saying it).

However, what has become clear to me as I’ve gotten older is that although we all live on the same planet and need to think about the global consequences of our actions, in the day to day we live in real life communities. And if our neighbors are suffering, the first responsibility we have is to address that. You know, in the here and now. Home by home, block by block. That’s why I’ve come around to thinking that to the extent we can encourage local development and self-sufficiency, it’s a good idea to do so.

March 22, 2010 @ 3:53 pm | Comment

Otherlisa:
I wouldn’t think of “protectionism” as a nationalist move. It’s about development. Obviously, America is no developing country, but it is one that has lost much of its industrial base by global economic integration.
When Taiwan and South Korea created their “economic miracle”, they applied a degree of protection for their local industries (also at America’s cost – helping allies to develop was not just an economical, but a political decision in Washington). The critical bit was that the “small tigers’” governments limited the duration of their protective measures – every industry needed to get prepared for international competition.
Introducing protectionist measures is easier for a democratically-elected government, than removing them again.
But I’d think that such measures are basically legitimate. And when they are applied in a reasonable way, they can be very useful. It creates work, and keeps civil society going.

March 22, 2010 @ 8:03 pm | Comment

@Raj, Michael Turton – “Wolverines!” . . . . er . . . I mean, don’t believe the hype. F 16 sales are not really a ‘red-line’, anymore than the sales of various frigates, submarines etc. (i.e., more powerful weapons systems) have been in the past. War is not coming in the Taiwan strait, at least not in the next 5-6 years.

Meantime, Obama looks to have finally turned the corner domestically, the chances of a diplomatically assertive second term look substantially increased . . . . .

March 22, 2010 @ 8:17 pm | Comment

@Boya
” “Tariffs against China will then have to be matched with the same to other cheap countries…”— umm why is this exactly?”

Because tariffs are there to protect the domestic market. Blaming currency manipulation is a, to me, at least, soundbite. Everyone manipulates their currency, as far as I can tell.
Hard for the politicos to justify tariffs on a country because they’re “flooding the market with cheap goods and stealing our jobs” when all the manufacturers do is move to another cheap country which then flood the market with cheap goods and, errr, “steal” jobs..

Just my thoughts…

March 23, 2010 @ 6:20 am | Comment

Justrecently — yes. A national industrial policy does not equal protectionism. It’s how Europe managed to launch the Airbus, among other things.

March 23, 2010 @ 2:04 pm | Comment

@ feromerp

“It should involve Native Americans joining the Chinese and Russians in violently “retaking” their land”

This silly comment has already been taken to task, but I’d just like to point out that, in this eventuality, you’d be among the ranks of the usurped. Gotta love that irony, old sport.

March 24, 2010 @ 1:58 pm | Comment

I think we’ll get them.

We? You will be on the first plane back to America as soon as any conflict breaks out. God knows you’re not in combat shape. It’ll be real Taiwanese dying, not you.

March 28, 2010 @ 8:00 am | Comment

Hard for the politicos to justify tariffs on a country because they’re “flooding the market with cheap goods and stealing our jobs” when all the manufacturers do is move to another cheap country which then flood the market with cheap goods and, errr, “steal” jobs..

True enough Mike. The thing is Americans haven’t mass manufactured cheap goods for decades- it’s machines and robots stealing American jobs, not “horrible evil Chinese/Indians/Mexicans” as they’d like to believe.

And to think this kind of idiocy is tolerated in America’s congressional circus. If that 25% tariff passes, it will show that America is nation of knuckle-dragging reprobates.

March 28, 2010 @ 8:05 am | Comment

On the protectionism issue, the status quo is clearly China applying protectionist policies towards the West (and the East).

China runs a huge deficit vis a vis Korea, Japan and Southeast Asia iirc so I don’t know what “East” you’re talking about unless you mean California.

It’s a pity though that businessmen and governments globally don’t have the integrity to come forward and start pressuring China to start playing fair or get kicked out of the WTO for all their violations.

Right because it’s “fair” to just blow open developing markets and kill all competition. This has happened all over Latin America and the poorest there suffer the most. China should be lauded for its cautious approach and the many concessions they have made to the corporatist nations should be acknowledged.

Mike Goldthorpe says that the stuff we buy is made in China by our companies. Fine. Move the factories to India and Vietnam. If the infrastructure is not there, start working on it.

Great idea. The one problem is that India’s currency is equally undervalued, as is Vietnam’s. Too bad about the extra distance too, it’s going to cost much more to ship these items to America. But if you don’t count that you should be good in 20, 30 years when India’s infrastructure is up to par with China’s.

March 28, 2010 @ 8:16 am | Comment

The U.S. is in a sufficiently strong position to redefine its industrial policies. I can’t see why they shouldn’t do that. It should just make sure that protectionist measures (I’m not thinking of protectionism as a dirty word – from a historic perspective, I’d wish many developing country of today the opportunities that European and some East Asian countries had in the second half of the past century.)
The choice doesn’t need to be between high-tech and mass production. I believe the real choice is the one argued between people like Thomas Friedman and Ralph Gomory. High-tech should be no give-away.

March 29, 2010 @ 3:59 pm | Comment

I think this whole thing scapegoating China on exporting jobs to China is just a hoax. Believe it or not, the GDP as a result of manufacturing in the US is actually increasing every year. In fact, the US is still #1 in GDP in manufacturing. The manufacturing companies got too efficient, thus requiring less people in order to produce more stuff with less people. At the same time, the number of Americans getting 2-3 jobs is increasing for the past few years, and for less pay. The problem is that they should be increasing the minimum wage so that people won’t work multiple jobs, thus solving the unemployment problem.

March 29, 2010 @ 11:50 pm | Comment

pug_ster: my point is that innovation and a good share of manufacturing must go hand in hand if an industrialized country is to remain competitive and to provide jobs with good incomes at home – which, in turn, keeps civil society going.
Minimum wage? Work should be worth its pay – no need to politicize collective or individual bargaining. So long as the framework is right, the details will take care of themselves. If your latest comment (#29) is a reply to mine: I’m not interested in scapegoating China. I come from an industrialized country myself, and I want its society to profit from globalization. And how individual countries can profit from globalization needs to be decided within the participating countries – be it America, China, or else.

March 30, 2010 @ 6:11 pm | Comment

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