Extended Travel Thread

Update: I am moving this thread back to the top as I’m about to go on the road again, leaving the comfort of lovely Yangshuo for a more rugged trip to Guizhou. If any of you have any spots in Guizhou to recommend please let me know!

I’ll be leaving late tonight for China and will probably be posting sparsely after I arrive. (Getting onto this blocked site is always a nightmare, VPNs are so slow nowadays in China.) Please leave comments, links, reflections on life here. I’ll be back in about three weeks, so I expect traffic to slow to a trickle. Have fun, play nice.

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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: 96 Comments

Let’s get the ball rolling.

What do people think we will hear from the authorities as to which “crime” Ai Weiwei committed? Or will we not hear anything specific, just some generic rubbish like “disrupting harmony”?

April 7, 2011 @ 5:47 am | Comment

Here’s what they say…
http://en.huanqiu.com/opinion/editorial/2011-04/641187.html

Loved this line
“On April 1, he went to Taiwan via Hong Kong. But it was reported his departure procedures were incomplete.”

A prisonable offence!

Article mentions law quite a bit…but fails to mention which law is being broken. However, seems Mr Ai touched the “red line” – which again isn’t explained.

April 7, 2011 @ 6:04 am | Comment

Here you are, Raj – economic crimes
http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2011/apr/06/ai-weiwei-investigated-economic-crimes

April 7, 2011 @ 9:48 am | Comment

It seems that even some otherwise shameless nationalists, useful idiots, FQs and 50-centers are embarrassed into silence over this charade.

April 7, 2011 @ 10:07 am | Comment

To Raj,
“disrupting harmony” is generic, and it is rubbish. But to the CCP, it suffices as the answer to any and all things.

April 7, 2011 @ 11:56 am | Comment

Meanwhile, Dylan performs in Beijing and delights his hosts by not playing any of his protest songs.

April 7, 2011 @ 1:17 pm | Comment

@Slim – Don’t speak so fast, they’re likely just waiting to see what the CCP says so they can re-broadcast it at max volume. HH at least will be all over the “economic crimes” accusation, and Charles Liu has already said he has some “research” that he’s been waiting to disclose about Ai. Based on past performance, this is likely to be some bizarre accusation of “spying” based on the number of hits you get on Google if you search for “Ai Weiwei” and “NED” (113,000, in case you’re wondering).

Hell, it’s already started. Here’s HH’s Dewang:

“On Ai Weiwei, we have a draft post based on materials Charles sent me. It’s been sitting there waiting for a major news to break on him.

My suspicion is that he will get himself into more and more trouble with Western ‘activists’ and journalists trying to play him. He seems to like the attention.

On his push to get the missing or dead children listed publicly from the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, I felt he was too confrontational. His aims when confounded with Western ‘activists’ and journalist is really to cast a very negative light on the Chinese government.

If Ai Weiwei is more of a “team player” he had simply work within the new 2008 transparency laws and work with other people within China towards getting transparency. He would get huge support for it.

But when colluding with these so called ‘activists,’ it is done for other aims. People not familiar with him won’t realize that like Liu Xiaobo, he is also anti-government. And it’s not hard to find materials on him – they are all over the place.”

That’s right. Ai should have worked with the 2008 transparency laws which thus far have disclosed . . . . . pretty much nothing. Wanting to get a published list of those killed in an earthquake? How dare he! Oh, we would have certainly have supported him had he tried to work within the system, despite the fact that nothing he did was actually explicitly “outside” the system, it’s just that he spoke to foreign journalists and worked with foreigners (the bare faced cheek!).

April 7, 2011 @ 1:34 pm | Comment

To FOARP:
wow, if it’s even possible, it appears Dewang has gone more wingnut than he was while on FM. I guess that’s what HH does to you.

A list of names of dead children…that seems pretty transparent to me. But of course, as a CCP “team player”, one must be selective about what one wants to be transparent about. Anything that might cast the CCP in a negative light should not be availed to “transparency”. Certainly any good CCP “team player” ought to know that. I believe that’s what Dewang is trying to say…and he would count as a good team player. The term “useful idiot” has recently been discussed, and he certainly qualifies, as do his cohorts.

As for Chuckles, I imagine he has had multiple wet dreams about the NED angle already.

I wonder when the CCP will be “transparent” about what exactly Ai is being detained for. I imagine they’ll come clean just as soon as they get their fabrications organized.

April 7, 2011 @ 2:37 pm | Comment

I clearly overestimated their sense of shame.

April 7, 2011 @ 10:44 pm | Comment

HH is just another sectarian process which starts with “let’s dialogue” and ends with “you’ll burn in hell”. Nothing remarkable, I’d say, except if you ever expected them to do better. ;-)

April 8, 2011 @ 4:55 pm | Comment

I Believe The Arrest of Ai Wei Wei Indicates that China Has Made a Large Step Towards Rule of Law

The arrest of Ai Wei Wei was everywhere on the internet. Some support him, but many more support his arrest. From an engineering mindset, I will analyse the life trajectory of this democracy activist.

Impregnating women without marriage. Ai Wei Wei is the son of the famous poet Ai Qing, the junior brother of the painter Ai Xuan, and the senior brother of the writer Ai Dan. Ai Wei wei’s wife is Lu Qing. It is rumored that his wife is the child of Gao Ying (Ai wei wei’s step mother) and a metal worker. Gao Ying was widely referred as a “slut” in artistic circles in China. Ai Wei wei, while married to Lu Qing, also fell love with Yang Jia, female gangster yan, etc. Ai Wei wei’s private life is extremely libertine. According to insiders, Ai Wei Wei, while married, lived together with his former assistant Wang Feng (Female, born in 1978 in Nan Chang, Jiang Xi province). Wang feng gave a birth to a baby for Ai Wei Wei in September of 2009, that baby is now 2 years old, his name is Ai X. From Chinese legal code, imgregnating women without marriage is definitely illegal.

Corrupting decent women. In the summer of 1981, Ai Wei Wei, along with his dream of becoming a paitner, went to California with his wife Lu Qing. But he was rejected by several painting organizations, and was reduced to wandering on the street. Forced by the realities of life, Ai Wei Wei induced his wife to “stand on the street”. This of course was not hard for his wife, because back in China, Lu Qing was a libertine “social butterfly”. Doing such things comes naturally to her. After a while, this brought in ample income and stablized their finances. But Ai Wei Wei’s career did not take off. To make matters worse, his wife was infected with several strains of libertine diseases. This state of affairs continued for 10+ years, in Ai Wei Wei’s heart, he no longer treated Lu Qing as his wife, and often, after binge drinking, would call her “slut”.

Playing with others emotions. After returning to China, Ai wei wei was like a fish back into the sea. Using painting as a pretext, Ai wei wei beguiled and emotionally entrapped several innocent women. Many women who worked as models for him described him as “looking very gentlemanly on the surface, but a beast on the inside.”. Playing with women became Ai Wei Wei’s strong suit. One friend advised Ai Wei Wei, “if you continue like this, your wife Lu Qing will lead a hard life”. Ai Wei Wei laughed and said “Who cares about Lu Qing, she’s just a vain slut, there’s no way I will stay with her for long. Yang Jia will not necessarily be my final partner either”. Ai Qing’s work influenced many generatinon of Chinese, and was a masterful poet. Who could’ve imagined what a nightmare his son has become.

Sexually seducing women. Ai Wei Wei, wearing the clothes of an “artist”, went around sexually seducing women and propagating lewd materials (the number of self portraits with his genitals exposed are too many to count). Ai Wei Wei’s assistant reveleaed that he often had sex with women in his art studio, and often times strange noises can be heard from his studio.

Dishonestly fishing for fame. After the Wenchuan earthquake, Ai Wei Wei went to the disaster area, not to help with the relief work, but to count dead bodies, and called himself “a funeral performance artist”. After coming back from the disaster area, he posted these pictures of victims’ bodies on his blog for entertainment and “artisic” purposes, causing public outrage.

Profitting from illegal businesses and tax evasion. Ai Wei Wei took copied versions of the Animal Head sculpture from the Summer Palace, and sold 2 of them, pocketing 12 million dollars. He is also selling 100 million pieces of pottery sunflow seed, pocketing 5 dollars each, and 10 million pieces have already been sold. You can still find them on Taobao.com. But he has repeated evaded taxes from such rackets, and hired accountants to help him fake expenses. Not only was he never investigated, but hired thugs to beat taxation officials from the government who was raising questions about his filings. According to Chinese law, tax evastion of 10% or more is a jailable offense.

In conclusion, it’s laughable that there are those who try to lable Ai Wei Wei a “democracy activist” or an “artist”. If China’s power is handed to those people, then it’ll truly be a tragedy for the Chinese people. Ai Wei Wei does not dare to say the word “revolution” in front of the CCP, because he knows that he’s still a “princeling” – withotu his father’s name, he’s less than a dog in China, no CCP official would blink twice before beating him to a pulp and farting on his face. In his continuously degrading life, he befriended a group of similarly degraded people, and seek ugliness as their hobbies. They claim themselves as the vangard of Chinese art, yet have no classical artistic work and achievements other than genital-exposing self portraits. This dying dog, who uses his father’s name to wreak havoc in the world, is getting a lot of loyalty from even lesser dogs fed by the Western interests. If I had a metal stick, I would’ve beaten all of them to death.

April 9, 2011 @ 10:10 am | Comment

Math, this is just what you and Hong Xing charmingly did to Sun Zhigang – try to portray them as sex offenders, although even if it were true would be totally irrelevant. At least you’re predictable. So arresting activists is proof that China “Has Made a Large Step Towards Rule of Law.” Brilliant.

April 9, 2011 @ 11:38 am | Comment

Do you let Math’s comments go through to embarrass Chinese nationalism?

April 9, 2011 @ 1:49 pm | Comment

I Believe The Arrest of Ai Wei Wei Indicates that China Has Made a Large Step Towards Rule of Law
May I reply to this with a quote from another nationalist who commented on Huanqiu Shibao yesterday? “Nobody would know who Ai Weiwei is if his father hadn’t been Ai Qing.”
That was, at least, a realistic view of the “rule of law” in China.

April 9, 2011 @ 3:09 pm | Comment

@Maths – A preposterous concoction of libellous mistruths.

April 9, 2011 @ 4:20 pm | Comment

Oh, and as a physicist and patent engineer, I fail to see even the faintest hint of scientific rigour or objectivity in Maths’ crude tirade.

April 9, 2011 @ 4:23 pm | Comment

Besides, Math’s belief that China Has Made a Large Step Towards Rule of Law should best be replied to by a nationalist commenter on a related Huanqiu commenter thread: “If Ai Qing wasn’t his father, he would be a nobody.”

April 9, 2011 @ 5:31 pm | Comment

[...] From an engineering mindset, I will analyse the life trajectory of this democracy activist….. The Peking Duck Reply With Quote + [...]

April 9, 2011 @ 9:27 pm | Pingback

Can someone explain math to me like I was 5 years old? How does anything that math writes embody anything to do with an ” engineering mindset”? I am not an engineer, but are engineers retarded?

First of all, it’s all innuendo. Is that a typical engineering construct, or frame of reference?

Second, even if true, the allegations show that ai is rather liberal with his sex life. Good for him. What does that have to do with anything?

Third, if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and math disapproves of ai’s art, what does that demonstrate? The square root of bupkis, apart from the fact that math’s supposed engineering mindset is an apparently narrow minded one.

And it is based on this kind of blinkered thinking (I am using “thinking” liberally) that he concludes that ai cannot be an artist or an activist? Where is the logic in that?

If math wants to lend his ideas some gravitas, he needs to do so by actually saying something of merit. Trying to leverage an “engineering mindset” the way he does just makes engineers, and math, look like idiots. But then perhaps that is the Ccp apologist mindset, and these guys can come across like idiots without even trying.

April 10, 2011 @ 1:09 am | Comment

Wow, all I can say about Math’s post is: I’m impressed! I always dreamed of writing a successful soap opera. Something that would put my characters on the telly for a good 20 year or more. I wonder, if I take Math’s post and just change the names, can I be sued for plagiarism? This is really great stuff and should run most of those long-running soaps off the air. I mean, in all seriousness, in Hollywood, just that much should get him through any soap opera producer’s door.

Math, however much they are paying you, it is not enough. You need to head to Hollywood. And if they make it an all-Asian cast, it could even sell overseas. Run some of those Korean soaps right off the telly.

April 10, 2011 @ 2:10 am | Comment

@Sojourner. Don’t be downright silly. The Bobster is an old fashioned song and dance man, and simply included China in his itinerary as a way of staving off retirement and a probable heart attack. Check out Granite Studio and Shanghai Scrap and get your head right.

And I’m sure most Bobologists will agree that he gave up the overt protest song gig in late 1965.

Expect a few more of rocks woolly mammoths to hit the fat farm and botox clinic before cleaning up in Beijing.

Any contemporary band with any edge is not going to visit the PRC to play for audiences consisting of overweight male expats and party officials and their bints.

Rock concerts are a wasted cause generally, since drugs, alcohol and mayhem have been policed out of existence. No fun, no more.

You see a band in its prime or just forget it. Which I’ve done and have most of my tickets to prove it.

Apologies for this off-thread.

April 10, 2011 @ 5:25 pm | Comment

Anyway, that was a far more satisfying post than wasting words on Math and the HH crowd, who I think have been over indulging in horse tranquillisers and other vet drugs.

April 10, 2011 @ 5:34 pm | Comment

Human Rights Record of the United States, 2011.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2011-04/10/c_13822287.htm

The State Department of the United States released its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2010 on April 8, 2011. As in previous years, the reports are full of distortions and accusations of the human rights situation in more than 190 countries and regions including China. However, the United States turned a blind eye to its own terrible human rights situation and seldom mentioned it. The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2010 is prepared to urge the United States to face up to its own human rights issues.

I. On Life, Property and Personal Security

….The crime rate surged in many cities in the United States. St. Louis in Missouri reported more than 2,070 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, making it the nation’s most dangerous city. Detroit residents experienced more than 15,000 violent crimes each year, which means the city has 1,600 violent crimes per 100,000 residents. The United States’ four big cities – Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York – reported increases in murders in 2010 from the previous year. Twenty-five murder cases occurred in Los Angeles County in a week from March 29 to April 4, 2010; and in the first half of 2010, 373 people were killed in murders in Los Angeles County . As of November 11, New York City saw 464 homicide cases, up 16 percent from the 400 reported at the same time last year (The Washington Post, November 12, 2010)…..

II. On Civil and Political Rights

…Citizen’ s privacy has been undermined. In September 2010, more than 6,600 travelers had been subject to electronic device searches between October 1, 2008 and June 2, 2010, nearly half of them American citizens….

…When Colombian journalist Hollman Morris sought a U.S. student visa so he could take a fellowship for journalists at Harvard University, his application was denied on July 17, 2010, as he was ineligible under the “terrorist activities” section of the U.S.A. Patriot Act. An Arab American named Yasir Afifi, living in California, found the FBI attached an electronic GPS tracking device near the right rear wheel of his car…

…According to a report from The Washington Post on October 26, 2010, U.S. House and Senate candidates shattered fundraising records for a midterm election, taking in more than 1.5 billion U.S. dollars as of October 24. The midterm election, held in November 2010, finally cost 3.98 billion U.S. dollars, the most expensive in the U.S. history. Interest groups have actively spent on the election. As of October 6, 2010, the 80 million U.S. dollars spent by groups outside the Democratic and Republican parties dwarfed the 16 million U.S. dollars for the 2006 midterms….

III. On Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

…. a total of 44 million Americans found themselves in poverty in 2009, four million more than that of 2008. The share of residents in poverty climbed to 14.3 percent in 2009, the highest level recorded since 1994…

…14.7 percent of U.S. households were food insecure in 2009, an increase of almost 30 percent since 2006. About 50 million Americans experienced food shortage that year. The number of households collecting emergency food aid had increased from 3.9 million in 2007 to 5.6 million in 2009 . The number of Americans participating in the food-stamp program increased from 26 million in May 2007 to 42 million in September 2010, approximately one in eight people was using food stamps…

…American veterans served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars could become homeless one year and a half after they retired, and about 130,000 retired veterans become homeless each year in the US…

IV. On Racial Discrimination

…Racial discrimination, deep-seated in the United States, has permeated every aspect of social life….

…one-third of black people confronted discrimination at work, against which only one-sixteenth of the black people would lodge a complaint. 30 black firefighters alleged systematic racial discrimination within the D.C. Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services, claiming that black employees faced harsher discipline. Shirley Sherrod, who was black, was fired by the Agricultural Department after a blogger posted her truncated comments that 24 years ago, she did not help a white farmer when she was working for a nonprofit agency established to help black farmers. …

…In July 2010, among the population 16 to 24 years of age, 2,987,000 unemployed people were white, with unemployment rate reaching 16.2 percent; 992,000 were black or African American people, with unemployment rate of 33.4 percent; 165,000 were Asians, with unemployment rate of 21.6 percent; 884,000 belonged to Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, with unemployment rate of 22.1 percent …

…among white men aged 55 to 64, the college completion rate was 43 percent, while 19 percent of Hispanics. Among white men aged 25 to 34, the completion rate was 39 percent, compared with 14 percent of Hispanics…

…African Americans and Latinos were 9 times more likely to be stopped by the police to receive stop-and-frisk searches than white people. Overall, 41 percent of the prison population was estimated to be African American. The rate of African Americans serving a life sentence was more than 10 times higher than that of whites. Males of African descent who dropped out of school had a 66 percent chance of ending up in jail or being processed by the criminal justice system….

…6,604 hate crimes committed in the United States in 2009, some 4,000 were racially motivated and nearly 1,600 were driven by hatred for a particular religion. Overall, some 8,300 people fell victim to hate crimes in 2009. Blacks made up around three-quarters of victims of the racially motivated hate crimes and Jews made up the same percentage of victims of anti-religious hate crimes. Two-thirds of the 6,225 known perpetrators of all U.S. hate crimes were white…

VI. On Violations of Human Rights against Other Nations

…The U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have caused huge civilian casualties. 285,000 war casualties in Iraq from March 2003 through the end of 2009. At least 109,000 people were killed in the Iraq war, and 63 percent of them were civilians…

..United States established detention centers in Guantanamo Bay and many other places in the world, keeping detainees secretly. The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) established secret detention facilities to interrogate so-called “high-value detainees”. The study said the U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stephen G. Bradbury had stated that the CIA had taken custody of 94 detainees, and had employed “enhanced techniques” to varying degrees, including stress positions, extreme temperature changes, sleep deprivation, and “waterboarding,” in the interrogation of 28 of those detainees…

…On October 26, 2010, the 65th session of the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted a resolution entitled “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba,” the 19th such resolution in a row. Only two countries, including the United States, voted against the resolution. The blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba qualifies as an act of genocide under Article II of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide….

…To date, the United States has ratified neither the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, nor the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. In 2006, the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Up to now 96 countries have ratified the Convention. The United States, however, has not ratified it. So far, a total of 193 countries have joined the Convention on the Rights of the Child as states parties, but the United States is among the very few countries that have not ratified it….

Conclusion:

The above-mentioned facts illustrate that the United States has a dismal record on its own human rights and could not be justified to pose as the world’s “human rights justice.” However, it released the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices year after year to accuse and blame other countries for their human rights practices. The United States ignores its own serious human rights problems, but has been keen on advocating the so-called “human rights diplomacy,” to take human rights as a political instrument to defame other nations’ image and seek its own strategic interests. These facts fully expose its hypocrisy by exercising double standards on human rights and its malicious design to pursue hegemony under the pretext of human rights.

We hereby advise the U.S. government to take concrete actions to improve its own human rights conditions, check and rectify its acts in the human rights field, and stop the hegemonistic deeds of using human rights issues to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs.

April 11, 2011 @ 3:10 am | Comment

Aaaah, sexual pecadilloes is the new economic crime??
Loved Maths’ screed – had me howling in the aisles, I can tell you :-D
So, my dear engineer, what you are trying to tell us is that Ai Weiwei is actually a government official in China??
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/2205521/Chinese-officials-corruption-exposed-by-mistresses.html

;-)

April 11, 2011 @ 6:36 am | Comment

To Red Star,
for starters, I absolutely agree that it is a fantastic idea to take everything that xinhua says at face value, cuz, y’know, xinhua is the home of reputable journalism in China, and would never publish anything not borne out by facts, that offers a political advantage, or provides political cover, for her political masters. Xinhua is always reliable in that way. So I am so happy to learn that you are so keen to accept everything they say at face value. It bespeaks excellent training and a solid grasp of the principles that should guide all CCP apologists. Bravo!

It’s also informative to see that, in their conclusion, xinhua basically bemoans how the US tries to use the “human rights” stick to beat on China. No acknowledgement of actual human rights issues in China. She is not even trying to contend that the State Department is mistaken. Just that the US is supposedly trying to make China look bad. So Xinhua is either more concerned about China’s “face”, or with apparent US hypocrisy, than she is with the root of the underlying problems. Nice to see that their priorities are in order.

I must say, it’s good advice to ask the US to improve her human rights. However, that in no way absolves China’s responsibility to rectify her problems. Once again, just like your average CCP apologist, xinhua is using playground logic to say that “little Billy did such and such, so I can too”. Why is it that CCP apologists, xinhua, and by extension, the CCP, insist on behaving like delinquent children almost all of the time?

And man, if I had a dollar for every time the CCP said “interfere with internal affairs”, I’d have many many dollars. Same goes for “harmony”, and many other favourite CCP buzz words.

April 11, 2011 @ 10:41 am | Comment

for starters, I absolutely agree that it is a fantastic idea to take everything that xinhua says at face value, cuz, y’know, xinhua is the home of reputable journalism in China, and would never publish anything not borne out by facts, that offers a political advantage, or provides political cover, for her political masters. Xinhua is always reliable in that way. So I am so happy to learn that you are so keen to accept everything they say at face value. It bespeaks excellent training and a solid grasp of the principles that should guide all CCP apologists. Bravo!

Which parts of the report, which statistic do you dispute? Point them out please.

It’s also informative to see that, in their conclusion, xinhua basically bemoans how the US tries to use the “human rights” stick to beat on China. No acknowledgement of actual human rights issues in China. She is not even trying to contend that the State Department is mistaken. Just that the US is supposedly trying to make China look bad. So Xinhua is either more concerned about China’s “face”, or with apparent US hypocrisy, than she is with the root of the underlying problems. Nice to see that their priorities are in order.

What is the rationale for the US State Department to spend tax payers dollars to produce ten thousand-page reports on human rights conditions in 196 countries, every year? Did the UN appoint the US to product this report? What is the US’s authority in this? More importantly, why is there no other country who does this, why only the US who does it? What is fundamentally different about the US that motivates its government to do this? Please don’t tell me your answer is “genuine concern for the state human rights in the world”.

Btw, China always says it is a developing country and has a lot room for improvement in human rights. So what is wrong with that? Which developing country does not have room for improvement in the areas of human rights?

April 11, 2011 @ 11:25 am | Comment

Classic! Human rights records of the US…using Xinhua! :-D

April 11, 2011 @ 12:57 pm | Comment

As usual, the CCP responds to criticism by criticising the US, as if the US were the only country on earth where people are critical of them.

April 11, 2011 @ 1:34 pm | Comment

Hhhhmm….

So far only Math and HX posted here. And more than one palm in length….

It seems the new direction CPP is taking with China is hard even for proficient FQ and 0.50$ to shallow and even more difficult to digest.

Maybe is time to open some Alka-Seltzer business there.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alka-Seltzer

April 11, 2011 @ 8:34 pm | Comment

@HX

What xinhua says?

Why should I listen to someone who act on behalf of those that chokes and muffles others voices?

When they let others speak freely, without chocking, muffling and/or dissapearing, I will listen to what they say or read what they have written.

In the meantime whatever they say will reach deaf ears, and whatever they write will go directly to the garbage bin.

It is just a question of fairness…

April 11, 2011 @ 10:05 pm | Comment

Don’t worry. Mongol warrior will make an appearance soon. Its his time of the month.

April 12, 2011 @ 3:24 am | Comment

Some light reading from New Zealand
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/china-and-us/news/headlines.cfm?c_id=1503058
Interesting series.

April 12, 2011 @ 5:37 am | Comment

Mongol warrior? I dont think Genghis Khan will agree to such name usurpation.

April 12, 2011 @ 5:39 am | Comment

@ecodelta,

“In the meantime whatever they say will reach deaf ears, and whatever they write will go directly to the garbage bin.”

The problem here is you are turning off lots of VALID discussions from people has different view on democracy IN ADDITION to xinhua. As the same token, quite a lot of Chinese I know write off NYT, CNN news on China with exactly the same attitude. That’s how communication was made difficult and democracy degenerated.

April 12, 2011 @ 7:04 am | Comment

@NotFQ
I’ll second that comment.
All media should be read with a healthy dose of scepticism – after all, every article one reads is written by a person with a point of view, edited by people with points of view, etc, etc.

My preferred news stories are the ones that have the comments sections where we hoi polloi can make our opinions known – within the chaff one can always find grains :-)

However, some media are heavily constrained by “powers that be” in what the content of their news is…..and the Chinese press is, unfortunately, rather hobbled.

April 12, 2011 @ 7:31 am | Comment

Would one find such a comment in any CCP news publication?
“2.A Chinese
Changsha
April 12th, 2011
9:20 amAs a chinese I have to say that Mr. Gerth’s point of view is both superficial and misleading.He claim that”Chinese leaders are rapidly tearing down barriers that have restricted average citizens from consuming more.” Is that true ? Absolutely NO. Really barbarous reform in education,hopital.and housing have overdrafted the ordinary people’s consumer power in the next 10 years. critical social contradiction accumulated because of large division between the rich and the poor and corruption and less fluidity of the government. Censorship in newspaper, books and internet and TV program are cheating people who are less conscious. It’s a killing country and a policeman country. Communist party have braided a beautiful lies to everyone and take advantage of its people, We are Chinese we love our country but not the Communist party.”

It’s in here http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/11/the-impact-of-chinas-consumers/?gwh=3E3757110CA2FFB8135C7F6A5070DD84
Me being a cheapskate means I have to read around that panel telling me that I can get unlimited access for $X/year…but luckily access is not fully cut yet.

April 12, 2011 @ 9:07 am | Comment

@Mike,

CCP’s propaganda dept is inept and paranoid. The fact that you believe they will likely delete such posts shows everybody knows that.

But on the same token, if you believe that NYT is similarly a propaganda organ, you can argue that NYT is sophisticated enough to know that such opposing comments will be noticed by nobody, yet add proof of their openminedness.

April 12, 2011 @ 9:16 am | Comment

@NotFQ
That’s true…which is why one reads more than one news source. Luckily the NYT is not the only one…not the only western viewpoint (given that western is not only America…).
Never believe all you read….but never discount all the information.

Mind you, one has to think about western and eastern ways of thinking. Easterners assume the government controls the news – stands to reason, that’s how it’s done at home (pace, Indians et al). In the west, the owners of the paper probably controls the government more than the government controls the news.

Got to love this cross cultural thing, eh? :-D

April 12, 2011 @ 11:03 am | Comment

To Red Star #27:
“Which parts of the report, which statistic do you dispute? Point them out please.”
—anything that is attributed to something other than a source document. For instance, quoting the NYT or WP on any given day is not a rigorous attempt at writing a report. And that seems to be about 90% of the “sources” in your report. Mind you, no one would take a xinhua article as anything remotely resembling an attempt at a meaningful report of anything, except you apparently. And that’s no surprise.

“…What is fundamentally different about the US that motivates its government to do this? Please don’t tell me your answer is “genuine concern for the state human rights in the world”.”
—hey, congratulations. For one of the few times that I’ve seen, you’ve asked some relevant and reasonable questions. The answer is that no one has given the US such authority, and she has taken it (and assumed it) upon herself. So actually, if you truly question her authority, the best response is to ignore it altogether. Why would you pay attention and take heed of a report published by someone with no authority on the matter? However, that is not what you, xinhua, and the CCP choose to do. By focusing on the presumption that the US is picking on China (which of course is your default victim mentality shining through once again), you’ve conceded the merit of the accusations, and are merely objecting to the US State Department’s standing in making them. You guys are more concerned about getting accused, rather than about the basis of those accusations. The CCP has once again basically admitted that her human rights record sucks, and are more concerned about posturing and acting pissed off than they are about doing anything tangible about that record. Good show yet again.

“Which developing country does not have room for improvement in the areas of human rights?”
—probably not very many. Coincidentally, there are probably not very many developing countries which have the second largest economy in the world. So it is becoming progressively disingenuous to take cover in the “developing country” label any time China/CCP is criticized. The other thing is that, after one recognizes that there is room for improvement, one should really do something about it. How’s the CCP doing so far?

April 12, 2011 @ 12:16 pm | Comment

@Mike,

Agreed that the owners controls the news. But how about most owners voluntarily tiptoe the view of the government on CERTAIN issues? That’s what’s happening in the States.

As of domestic policies, NYT’s view is quite close to mine and drastically different from that of Fox/WSJ, CNN is middle in the road.

But for foreign policy, their standings are really close. Maybe not necessarily propaganda, but intentionally or not, they reflects a view that can is quite close to the official foreign policy. There are disagreements, one may argue, but all the different opinions are orbiting around the official line.

April 12, 2011 @ 12:20 pm | Comment

The logical problem with Xinhua’s annual compilation of US human rights problems is that other than the scathing party-line rhetoric in the into and closing, and the inclusion of questional issues under human rights, it is merely a cut-and-paste job of critical US media on US problems. Xinhua is citing the same US media as credible sources on America that it vehemently rejects as biased sources when it comes to China. That works for Patriotic Education Victims like HX, perhaps, but who with any common sense does not see the irony in that?

It is worth noting that the State Dept report to Congress, a statutory requirement, is referenced to the UN Universal Declaration and its format is the same for every country. It reports not only on China, North Korea, Eritrea and other major repeat offenders of rights as defined under UN charters and treaties, but also on Canada and other friends of the US.

April 12, 2011 @ 2:31 pm | Comment

@NotFQ
I can’t really speak for the US media – I only read some of the online ones. Never watch Fox (well, Simpsons, maybe…but that’s not news) – in fact, I have a bit of a distrust of anything the Dirty Digger owns. Haven’t watched CNN much either. I listen to the BBC (I’m an immigrant…it’s a voice from home) and read the English press (not the Times – got to pay for it and it’s the Dirty Digger again…).

They don’t all toe the party line, I have to say. Some are rather scathing about the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition, some like the Conservative part, some like the LibDem part, some love the coalition. Some think the foreign policy is right, some think it’s a total balls up. Here in NZ, the papers tell us to look to China for our future (well, the Herald does – I should read more Dominion Post) and that maybe the Libya thing is ill thought out…

You know – come to think about it – I haven’t really come across a cohesive view in western media. Maybe the US is different – maybe they all beat to the same heartbeat but have different brains telling them how to respond to that beat in the US. It’s certainly not due to government policy, though. Not as far as I know, anyway.

April 12, 2011 @ 6:10 pm | Comment

Mike G is correct. There is no pro-government thread in the British media. The BBC is actually biased against the Conservatives and has been for over a decade. It is joined by the Guardian, Independent and Mirror newspapers. Even supposed “supportive” newspapers like the Telegraph and Daily Mail are happy to diss the government if they feel it isn’t doing what their core readers would like to see happen.

April 13, 2011 @ 4:53 am | Comment

@By focusing on the presumption that the US is picking on China (which of course is your default victim mentality shining through once again), you’ve conceded the merit of the accusations, and are merely objecting to the US State Department’s standing in making them.

I guess that the AP and Reuters reporters is in the same default mentality (showing the US hypocrisy on human rights abuses while spewing the same crap they are abusing but change the country to China or elsewhere) here, I’m sure there’s quite a few American prominent bloggers who shared that mentality: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUctxdsKk9Q&feature=player_embedded while US hides their abuses through the critique of other countries abuses on Human rights while gloating and painting the US government as transparent and the champion of human rights.

April 13, 2011 @ 7:19 am | Comment

@Raj,

I have no idea about British media about pro/against government. As far as I know Fox News strongly pro-Republican and NYT usually pro-Democrat in US. But these really is not the point.

Telegraph, Daily Mail and indeed most “Western” media would write they feel core readers would like to see, as you implied. (Well, that is the reason I read NYT more than WSJ and never tune to Fox News).

The issue here is a systematic bias on FOREIGN policy that more or less agree with the host country’s government. The tone of the news in NYT, Fox News, etc., in the running up to the most recent wars (Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya), is overwhelmingly supportive balanced with some window-dressing oppositions.

Effectively, they become effective propaganda machine to drum up wars against other countries and as well as other foreign policies. The more balanced domestic reporting makes their propaganda more effective.

April 13, 2011 @ 7:54 am | Comment

The answer is that no one has given the US such authority, and she has taken it (and assumed it) upon herself.

You did not answer my question. What you do think motivates the US State Dept to embark on such a project year after year? You’d agree it’s not because of “genuine concern for the human condition” (that would imply the US govt is more ethical or moral than other gov’t, which I don’t believe you can convince me of that).

So then what is the motivation. Do you not agree it’s something political. That is, it is using the issue of human rights as a way to gain a political/moral upper hand, a way of posturing, a way of “exerting moral leadership” (in a purely strategic and tactical sense).

If you agree with my analysis, then is it valid to counter this strategic move by not giving US a free stage to “exert its moral leadership”, by trying to ruin its stage, and one way is to point out similar issues the US society has.

That’s what the Xinhua report is. It’s a strategic counter to the strategic imperatives of the US report. Whether or not it is effective is another issue.

If the Republicans produce annual reports on “state of political corruption within the Democratic party”, surely you would expect the Democrats to counter it, most probably with a similar report exposing Republic corruption. A Republican response to the Democratic counter-report would be to say what you just said, that is “why don’t you take it as constructive criticism, or ignore it if you don’t like it, why act so childishly by pointing your finger at me? Grow up Democrats!”

April 13, 2011 @ 8:19 am | Comment

@NotFQ
You talking US bias or western bias? Certainly the west didn’t share a foreign policy wrt to any of the wars. Indeed, in the recent “humanitarian venture” even the EU, a single bloc, couldn’t all vote the same…..
I also don’t think all the media are in support of the government…though they will all profess support of the soldiers.

Even then, the main reporting of the soldiers’ misbehaviours were by western reporters….

April 13, 2011 @ 8:22 am | Comment

“The issue here is a systematic bias on FOREIGN policy that more or less agree with the host country’s government. The tone of the news in NYT, Fox News, etc., in the running up to the most recent wars (Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya), is overwhelmingly supportive balanced with some window-dressing oppositions.”

Had a quick google….
http://www.robincmiller.com/ir-legal.htm

Wikipedia also has some interesting snippets…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_coverage_of_the_Iraq_War
“The crew of the HMS Ark Royal, Britain’s flagship naval vessel, demanded that the BBC be turned off on the ship because of what they saw as a clear anti-Coalition or “pro-Iraq” bias. One BBC correspondent had been embedded on the ship, but the crew said they had no complaints of his reporting specifically. The sailors on board the ship claimed that the BBC gave more credit to Iraqi reports than information coming from British or Allied sources, often questioning and refusing to believe reports coming from Coalition sources while reporting Iraqi claims of civilian casualties without independent verification. The ship’s news feed was replaced with Sky News.[33] Ironically, it later emerged from a study conducted by Professor Justin Lewis of the School of Journalism at Cardiff University that the BBC was the most pro-war of British networks,[34] a finding confirmed in a separate study by the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.[35]”
It’s propaganda, Jim, but not as we know it ;-)

Of course, the more intelligent types also go online – there’s heaps of sites pro and against government policies. Does one have the same in China?

Personally speaking, there’s not many people I know who supported the Iraq enture. Most people I know would be content to let Afghanistan slide back into an emirate. As for Libya, there’s still a split – though many can’t see why we should be involved at all. If there is propaganda, it isn’t working very well….

April 13, 2011 @ 9:07 am | Comment

How does reporting on events in country A ever help hide events in country B?

How do people like FQ Jason or the allegedly nonFQ guy learn these things they assert are being hidden by the media except through the media?

Nationalism is an emotion that makes FQ subrational and weakens their arguments — that’s why SK Cheung always has a turkey shoot with you guys. (Not that he would not be brilliant with more logical opponents.)

Whatever the flaws of the Western media, they are on the other end of the spectrum from China, which controls every outlet in its territory and which literally defines Chinese media as the throat and tongue of the Communist Party. Chinese media are improving gradually even markedly in some areas, but this structural ceiling won’t go away without the kinds of political reforms in the PRC that seem impossible for now.

April 13, 2011 @ 9:25 am | Comment

Nationalism is an emotion that makes FQ subrational and weakens their arguments

When it comes to China, of course I’m biased, of course I’m a nationalist. I’m a narrow-minded Chinese nationalist. I use narrow-minded here in a positive sense, I am not an “internationalist” who “Transcends boundaries”. My thinking, my logic, my rationale are all bound by the narrow confines of my sentiments towards China.

So yes, of course our discussions will be irrational, because we are in different teams, we have conflicting interests. I want my children to grow up in a China-dominated world, you don’t. I want 1.3 billion Chinese to have access to the same level of resource consumption as Americans. I want my Chinese children to grow up working in air-conditioned offices and doing power point slides and earning million dollar salaries while exploiting the slave labor of other nations. I want China to move all of its environment-polluting factories to other countries so my children don’t have to breathe in dirty air. I want China to occupy some lands of foreign nations if possible and exploit their resources and labor. I want China to be the evil and nasty empire the US is and Britain was.

So yes, I’m irrational. There are certain issues where your thinking is bound by which team you are on. And I admit it freely.

April 13, 2011 @ 10:32 am | Comment

@Mike,

You can always find numerous anti-war blogs, websites, etc, but they were inconsequential and more or less ignored when LEADING UP TO THE WARS.

I was in DC witnessing the anti-war demonstrations when led up to the Iraq war, it was quite a big one. But when I read the news in MAJOR news outlets such as NYT, WSJ, reporting of demonstrations was very much muted, and with lots of counter-balancing material. The reporting of alledged supporting evidence or “leaks” are much more prominent and reported as very assertively. Most people I met then, even quite a lot of liberal ones, support the Iraq invasions, citing the “evidence” on the news. That’s my “Woa” moment on US media.

To be fair, I think BBC is more balanced than NYT and I probably err by equivalenting US media with “Western” media.

@slim,

I really do not enjoy your ad-hominem attacks. But to answer your question, I do read a VARIETY of news sources, ranging full spectrum from NYT, BBC, AJ to Global Times and dear old People’s daily. Faux News is the only thing I don’t check frequently.

Fully aware of the bias of each source, it is much easier for me to see the big picture than somebody who blindly trusts certain news sources’ “fair and balanced” reporting.

April 13, 2011 @ 11:54 am | Comment

To NotFQ #41 and #46:
“but all the different opinions are orbiting around the official line.”
—let’s be clear that we are once again speaking of opinions. But in the context of the usual refrain of “western media bias”, if we are basing such assessments on media “opinions”, then as I’ve said many times before, a call of “bias” basically means nothing more than disagreeing with someone else’s opinion. And that is precisely as deep, or as shallow, as FQ go when they conclude media “bias”. It is nothing more than representing disagreement with the official media opinion…never mind that there is no such thing.
Remember also several things. First, and in an ideal world, government should represent majority opinion. Second, media is in the business of catering to eyeballs. If the prevailing opinion on foreign issues blows in the same direction, then you would expect “government positions” and “media opinions” to follow suit. If there is a divide in public opinion, the government still has to take a stand. In this case, perhaps some ambiguity in media opinion might naturally better-represent the public. However, you are still reading the opinion of the person writing any given article, and if his/her opinion closely resembles the government opinion on any given issue, well, that’s his/her opinion. If you don’t like it, you are always free to read someone else’s.

I am not sure if you expect/demand a diversity of opinions on any and all foreign issues. If you do, then I am unsure as to the basis for such demands or expectations. You can’t command people to acquire diverse and divergent opinions. Their opinions are what they are.

As Mike and Raj point out, it is not only disingenuous to make sweeping statements about US media, but even moreso to generalize what happens in the US to the entirety of “the west” (whatever that is).

****************************************

To Jason #45:
you’re gonna have to try that again in English. I guess doing a face plant off a mountain bike didn’t necessarily help your English skills.

I don’t dispute that the US has human rights issues. The point is that it neither obscures nor diminishes the indisputable fact that China has loads of human rights issues of her own. And like I’ve said many times before, to try to justify China’s behaviour by saying the US does such and such is no different than that 5 year old “Billy” in the playground. It’s high time for CCP apologists to be less juvenile.

*****************************************

To Red Star #47:
“What you do think motivates the US State Dept to embark on such a project year after year?”
—as Slim notes, it’s a Congressional requirement. So the motivation is likely several-fold. They want to comply with the law. And since it’s a congressional request, they’re trying to satisfy congress, and by extension, Americans. I know I know, foreign concept for CCP apologists. There is probably a humanitarian aspect. And there is probably an angle for furthering American interests…”political”, if you will.

Let’s face it, getting the upper hand against the CCP when it comes to human rights is not exactly rocket science. It is leadership in a sense, since, as the adage goes, you can’t solve a problem unless you identify it and acknowledge its existence. How is the CCP doing in that regard, do you think?

And once again, you’re treating it like a game, which speaks volumes about you as a person (not a pretty sight, in case you’re wondering). If a problem is identified in CHina, you would rather simply use the same “strategy” and accuse the US of exactly the same thing. Well, that’s brilliant stuff. However, any thought to actually rectifying the problem, such that the basis for the strategy itself is removed? Ever thought of that? Like I said earlier (and which you completely whiffed on), CCP apologists are more concerned with the game, rather than the problem. WHy is that? Pointing out the US has the “same” problems (never mind the tenuous basis for such claims) does not solve those problems in China. So what you need to ask yourself is this: do you want to solve problems in CHina, or are you more interested in playing games? Well, the latter does dovetail nicely with those juvenile tendencies often on display.

If you want to assess the effectiveness of the xinhua strategy, the answer is simple and twofold. Certainly, it is completely ineffective in actually addressing the problems in China. But on top of that, thanks to xinhua’s sterling international reputation as a source of reliable journalism, the counter-accusations don’t go very far in terms of the “game” either.

******************************************************

To Red Star #51:
you wrote that as though you are living in China. Is that actually the case? (cuz I don’t think so, but please correct me if I’m wrong).

Your assertion is ridiculous. There is no need for one to be “irrational” in support of anything. It is beyond stupid to suggest that one needs to throw reason out the window if one wants to see Chinese people thrive. About the only people I’ve seen who require the benefit of being “irrational” are people who are pro-CCP, and that is very different from being pro-Chinese people.

April 13, 2011 @ 12:54 pm | Comment

@NotFQ
“Most people I met then, even quite a lot of liberal ones, support the Iraq invasions, citing the “evidence” on the news. That’s my “Woa” moment on US media.”
I’ll take it they weren’t French then…
Regarding the Iraq war (Bush Jnr’s one) here’s an interesting Wiki entry
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protests_against_the_Iraq_War
“After the biggest series of demonstrations, on February 15, 2003, New York Times writer Patrick Tyler claimed that they showed that there were two superpowers on the planet, the United States and worldwide public opinion.[1]
These demonstrations against the war were mainly organized by anti-war organizations, many of whom had been formed in opposition to the invasion of Afghanistan. In some Arab countries demonstrations were organized by the state. Europe saw the biggest mobilization of protesters, including a rally of three million people in Rome, which is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest ever anti-war rally.[2]”

You might also be interested in this
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/February_15,_2003_anti-war_protest
I missed all this as I had already emigrated…but I can tell you that no one I knew was for this war.

I think you might have to be very careful how you define western….

April 13, 2011 @ 1:16 pm | Comment

Oh, forgot to add – I read about these protests in the media of the countries involved. All UK papers covered them, including those that supported the government….

This is interesting too
http://www.johannhari.com/2011/04/08/we-are-not-being-told-the-truth-about-libya
Oh, just a blog, you’ll think. Inconsequential, even…. but it’s in the Independent – a major UK paper. He’s rather well known too….and exposing hypocricy like this, well, how long would he last in China?
;-)

April 13, 2011 @ 1:21 pm | Comment

@SK,

“Second, media is in the business of catering to eyeballs.”

You are hiting the nail on its head. I guess we do not need the facade of the motto “Fair and Balanced”.

Yes, that’s what Faux News does. Would you call it the golden standard of journalism?!

“If the prevailing opinion on foreign issues blows in the same direction, then you would expect “government positions” and “media opinions” to follow suit.”

That’s the definition of “bias”, i.e. opinionated news, not “fair and balanced”. This is exactly the reason mainstream US media are turning disappoiting Chinese who are naive enough to believe they are unbiased.

But more than that, as in my experience in #52, the mainstream are CREATING consensus for the government, which I call it propaganda.

Both you and Mike mentioned that people can turn to alternative sites. For me it’s more or less window-dressing. Yes, you can go to some obscure websites to find news with vastly different viewpoint. But these websites are not going to make much impact anyway. MOST average Joe’s do not go there, and their opinions (especially foreign policy) are formed by the nainstream media/propaganda.

April 13, 2011 @ 1:25 pm | Comment

@Mike,

Thanks for pointing these wiki pages to me.

I was in US at that time, so the “liberal” ones are Americans, not French. I was genuinely surprised at the fact that even they are taking NYT’s WMD report without much of doubt. Some of them even like the “Freedom Fries” notion…

I do not dispute that these protests were reported, I read them on NYT myself then. But the reporting was given much less significance than it should be and the “evidence” of WMD provided by the US government was taken at face value without any doubt.

UK media is likely better in this sense according to the wiki link you provided but I don’t follow them as closely.

April 13, 2011 @ 1:39 pm | Comment

Math,

I continue to be a big fan of your posts. Not only because of the engineering angle (I’m determined by my profession to agree with you) but also the graphical language and the beautiful metaphors. It’s a world of dead (or dying) dogs, metal sticks, sex (as well as strange noises from the studio to indicate presence thereof) and complex love affairs. But my personal favorite has to be this one:

“no CCP official would blink twice before beating him to a pulp and farting on his face.”

I like the farting part. The only thing I miss is any mention of toilets, which seems to be quite popular with you and your friends. Come on now, I’m sure you can do better next time! Please include those references. Thanks,

April 13, 2011 @ 2:06 pm | Comment

“the facade of the motto “Fair and Balanced”.”
—actually, this too is in the eye of the beholder. What’s fair and balanced to one may not be to another. The types who enjoy Fox News may find it plenty fair and balanced.

“That’s the definition of “bias”, i.e. opinionated news,”
—actually, you’ve missed the distinction. There’s “news”. And then there’s “opinion” (my usual example is the Op-Ed section of NYT, for instance). When people call “bias”, usually the objection is against the opinion pieces. At times, the objection may be against the proportion of coverage given to certain events vs others, but in my observation, this is the distinct minority. If people can’t distinguish between “news” and “opinion”, that is the fault of the consumer. If Chinese people cannot make such a distinction, some of the blame can readily be laid at the feet of the CCP, for prohibiting Chinese people from acquiring the experience and knowledge necessary to make such distinctions.

“the mainstream are CREATING consensus for the government, which I call it propaganda.”
—how are they doing this? When are they doing this? The only example that comes to mind is the lead up to the Iraq invasion under GWB. In that case, although part of the blame is with the government for not disclosing information fully, blame can certainly be attributed to media for buying the government line much too casually, without a critical eye nor any cynicism. As did Colin Powell, I might add. But one glaring mistake does not a pattern make. The same obviously cannot be said of the CCP/xinhua etc.

What you are arguing is becoming chicken/egg. You are suggesting that, if given a different set of opinions, people/Americans would buy them. You would believe that rather than acknowledge the possibility that perhaps people/Americans simply choose to consume opinions that mirror their own. I am willing to accept that both may occur, at different times, for different people. But your seeming suggestion that it’s all one and none of the other seems…well…rather biased.

April 13, 2011 @ 2:18 pm | Comment

To WKL,
good to see you. Ahh, the potty-talk. High brow stuff. Brings back memories of the wingnut known as wahaha on FM. Haven’t seen him around these parts. Pity.

April 13, 2011 @ 2:22 pm | Comment

Saddam himself went into hiding believing he still had WMD and behaved as if he had things to hide from UN inspectors. European governments that opposed the invasion for various other reasons also believed the intel that Saddam still had WMD. Without opening the whole Iraq can of worms, it is worth repeating SKC’s observation that one mistake does not make a pattern.

Chinese nationalists project the habits, agenda and role of Chinese media onto the media of other countries. (How could they think differently?) A mainland Chinese newspaper or TV station IS the unvarnished (or slightly varnished) voice of the ruling party and on “sensitive issues” they are nothing more. They still fall under the Propaganda Bureau. This was true in KMT-ruled Taiwan until the early 1990s. This is by Leninist design and it continues to serve the party well.

April 13, 2011 @ 4:41 pm | Comment

To Slim,
that’s an interesting take. When Chinese “media” agree with the CCP, it’s because they have to. And that’s what CCP apologists are accustomed to. So when they come to “America”, they can’t reconcile the possibility that, when “American media” agree with the man, it’s because they choose to do so. They hear that “American media” is supposedly free, but see that said media agrees with government, and based on their upbringing, can only imagine that they are agreeing out of duress, and this assumption on the part of the apologists somehow disproves the notion of a free press. They fail to realize that the disconnect is within themselves, rather than in the concept of press freedom. To parlay a phrase (poorly), you can take an apologist out of CCP China, but you can’t take the CCP out of the apologist.

April 14, 2011 @ 4:56 am | Comment

@SKC,

We agree that there’s no “unbiased” news sources. Nobody would consider Op-Ed’s as fair and balanced, so I guess you are shooting into the air. Nevertheless, NEWS can easily be made biased by using different tones and selective covering one side of story.

The key here is try to read from media with different biases to offset that, this is called CRITICAL THINKING, hardly a communist relic.

“can only imagine that they are agreeing out of duress, ” What a strawman argument. Please find some idiots would agree with such silly thinking.

“when “American media” agree with the man, it’s because they choose to do so.” This is still bias. To make the matter worse, the reason they choose to do so is not that saintly. As you mentioned in previous posts, “American media” needs to attract viewers and advertisers, so they cater to the perceived view of their readers and advertisers. Yes, no duress, but money talks. BTW this is the reason Faux News is so commercially successful recently.

@slim,
Don’t dismiss the Iraq’s coverage as a one-off event, it’s just the worst one.

In running up to Libya war recently, I can still see the hidden agenda at work in persuading general public to support it. The way the reports are structured successfully persuaded most people to support it even there are record budget deficit.

Reporting on Chinese demonstrations leads to Olympic is another one: even though the pro-China demonstration has way more participants than anti-China ones by probably more than 10 to 1, all US media I have seen covers it as if most demonstrators were anti-China.

April 14, 2011 @ 9:30 am | Comment

“We agree that there’s no “unbiased” news sources”
—obviously, if you want to speak in absolutes, then no, there are no “unbiased” news sources, since humans cannot be completely unbiased, and humans cover and report the news. As I said, in selecting what news to cover, and how much time/space to dedicate to one story vs another, human bias can creep in. However, as I also said, the usual FQ rant is about “opinions” rather than news, and they are either too stupid to realize the difference, or too indoctrinated to care.

“Nobody would consider Op-Ed’s as fair and balanced,”
—you’re missing the point. The point is that nobody SHOULD EXPECT op-eds to be fair and balanced. You are reading the author’s opinion. You can agree with him/her, or not. But “fair and balanced” is a completely non-sensical metric to employ when evaluating an opinion piece.

“NEWS can easily be made biased by using different tones and selective covering one side of story.”
—and if NEWS is presented in such a way, then that bias should not be hard to detect. NEWS that is easily made to be biased can easily be recognized as such. So I am not sure where you’re going with that.

I’m all for critical thinking. I’m not sure how that relates to “communist relic”. But critical thinking is often not in abundant supply among the FQ. These same FQ are usually the ones who use op-ed pieces to exemplify media bias, so I am not at all convinced that such esteemed individuals are even capable of discerning which way is up, much less engage in critical thinking.

“What a strawman argument.”
—you took part of one sentence out of the entire paragraph, and cast a label on it? No idea what you’re trying to prove…but suffice it to say you’re not really proving it.

““when “American media” agree with the man, it’s because they choose to do so.” This is still bias. To make the matter worse, the reason they choose to do so is not that saintly. As you mentioned in previous posts, “American media” needs to attract viewers and advertisers, so they cater to the perceived view of their readers and advertisers. Yes, no duress, but money talks. BTW this is the reason Faux News is so commercially successful recently.”
—what on god’s green earth are you rambling on non-sensically about now? I suggest that American media has choice, and you say that’s biased. But then you add that the motivation for the choices they make isn’t “saintly”. Well, aren’t you being biased in saying that? Besides, although media may be free, I’ve never heard them claim to be “saintly”…that is just a completely vague yet entirely irrelevant metric to introduce out of thin air.
Yes, American media is a business. They do cater to what their viewers want to see and hear. Didn’t you just shoot yourself in the foot by admitting to that? You were trying to say that American media is the propaganda organ of the US government. Well, how can that be, if American media is just giving the consumers of American media what they want?
You then agree with my suggestion that American media acts not out of “duress”, when, barely one paragraph earlier, you were calling it a strawman, and suggesting that I should find “some idiots (who) would agree with such silly thinking.” Well, thanks to you, it looks like I just did.

So, you start with ‘American media spreads propaganda on behalf of the government’. Now you’re saying ‘money talks and American media are in the dirty business of making money’. Do you realize that, in the course of 24 hours, you’ve gone from accusing the “American media” of one thing, to accusing it of another? For a guy who fancies himself as “notFQ”, you sure argue like one.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

“I can still see the hidden agenda at work ”
—LOL, who is harbouring biases now? You see what you want to see, and that is your prerogative. But once again, the concept is creeping in whereby you will consider American media to be biased unless you agree with what they say, and how they say it. And as I’ve said before, that is the typical FQ calling card. I think my #62 is beginning to describe you more and more.

April 14, 2011 @ 10:28 am | Comment

@NotFQ
“In running up to Libya war recently, I can still see the hidden agenda at work in persuading general public to support it. The way the reports are structured successfully persuaded most people to support it even there are record budget deficit.”

I dunno – hoping you’re talking about the US press. Admittedly calling one side rebels and not covering the other rebellions as closely does expose the paper’s editorial bias – however, that jst shows the medium in question is in agreement with the government on this one issue and not that the government is controlling the medium.
Judging by the published comments, the message isn’t really getting through. Maybe the comments should be “harmonised” for better effect…
I am also sorry but I’ll have to join SKC in smiling at the “hidden agenda” – if the paper is for war, the agenda isn’t hidden as the editorial content expresses it. As far as I can tell, the US is most definitely not interested in getting overly involved in the Libyan war – Obama seems content to let Cameron and Sarkozy to do the “protecting” (of civilians…etc, etc) – and even the rebels in Libya are not satisfied (and this after they assured us they “could do it alone – just give us air cover”). Back to the agenda, all the press I read tell me that the politicians have an agenda wrt Libya. Symapthy, yes, to the rebels and a healthy distrust of Gadafi (he has past history in the UK) but no to troops there…

April 14, 2011 @ 11:38 am | Comment

@SK,

““NEWS can easily be made biased by using different tones and selective covering one side of story.”
—and if NEWS is presented in such a way, then that bias should not be hard to detect. NEWS that is easily made to be biased can easily be recognized as such.”

It’s hard to detect for you because you have the same bias as them; the reports fit your belief nicely. It’s not hard for me to detect because I read coverage from different sources and am able to tell it. That’s the CRITICAL THINKING I am talking about — get MANY sources but be critical to EVERY of them.

“So, you start with ‘American media spreads propaganda on behalf of the government’. Now you’re saying ‘money talks and American media are in the dirty business of making money’”

You seem to be unable to connect the dots. Sorry for overstimating your ablity of reading comprehension. Let me do it for you:
‘American media SOMETIMES spreads propaganda on behalf of the government’ is because they believe spreading a particular set of propaganda is good for business and want to be successful as commercial organizations. Are there any conflicts?!

Somehow you also try to equate the word “duress” with seeking commercial success. So in your definition, seeking commercial success is equivalent to “agreeing under duress”, what a stretch.

“Nobody would consider Op-Ed’s as fair and balanced,”
—you’re missing the point. The point is that nobody SHOULD EXPECT op-eds to be fair and balanced. ”
Can you read?! I meant I DO NOT consider the bias in op-ed’s to be important, I don’t expect that either. Only the bias in the news coverage counts.

April 14, 2011 @ 11:59 am | Comment

“It’s hard to detect for you because you have the same bias as them; the reports fit your belief nicely. It’s not hard for me to detect because I read coverage from different sources and am able to tell it. ”

So..there’s some news sources that you do agree with? And they don’t agree with what other news sources “suggest”?
Isn’t that a bias too?
Like you, I read a whole heap too – but finidng hidden agendae is really hard (unless it’s so blatant as to, ahem, not be hidden. People already have a preconception of how things should be in their head (I know I do), so are you sure this “hidden agenda” isn’t just your bias agains the publications you don’t agree with?

April 14, 2011 @ 12:14 pm | Comment

@Mike,

Well, I guess the word “hidden agenda” touched somebody’s nerve. I meant besides the overt editorial support, the news coverage also helps the cause. For people that do not read critically, these coverage can slowly win overs policy supporters.

BTW, I have much more respect for BBC than NYT because of its relatively balanced view. Surely I have zero respect for Fox.

As of “harmonization”, it’s the stupidity of the Chinese propaganda department. No opposition, no creditabliity. A low level of opposition usually helps legitimacy.

April 14, 2011 @ 12:22 pm | Comment

@Mike,

“So..there’s some news sources that you do agree with? And they don’t agree with what other news sources “suggest”?”

To be honest, I don’t agree with any news source. But this is missing the point.

I use news to understand the current world affair, but not want to be subject to propaganda.

I use different news source to compare and compose, try to find common denominators, which I establish as the baseline.

I would add info from sources that I believe that will not lie but just biased coverage. NYT, WSJ come into my mind for this sense. AJ a little less so and People’s daily even less so, but they usually provide quite valuable info that NYT, WSJ would like to omit.

I am fully aware of my own bias on different topics and

April 14, 2011 @ 12:31 pm | Comment

“It’s not hard for me to detect because I read coverage from different sources and am able to tell it. That’s the CRITICAL THINKING I am talking about — get MANY sources but be critical to EVERY of them.”
—absolutely, using multiple sources is good. And certainly, “critical thinking” is great. However, people like you see bias not on the basis of the source, but on the basis of the content. So when you read something you don’t like, it’s “biased”. When you read something you do like, it’s not biased. That’s not critical thinking…that’s selective thinking. You would not be the first FQ to rail against the NYT, for example, only to quote from that very same source when the material suits you. It has always amused me why people complain about a media establishment, then turn around and quote from that establishment that was supposedly afflicted with bias to begin with. You have thus far done nothing to resolve that amusement for me.

“‘American media SOMETIMES spreads propaganda on behalf of the government’ is because they believe spreading a particular set of propaganda is good for business and want to be successful as commercial organizations. Are there any conflicts?!”
—oh, ok, so now it’s “sometimes”. Any other qualifiers you would like to introduce when you are caught in a logical conundrum? BTW, if they “sometimes” spread propaganda because it’s good for their business, it implies, once again, that they are making a conscious decision to do so. I already made this point in #62: “American media” chooses to do what it does. I don’t dispute that they would choose to do things that are good for business. But that is categorically different from them being an organ of the state like Xinhua is to the CCP. And what’s good for business for media is determined by the consumers (ie. Americans) and not by the government. Media is not working on behalf of the government, though I wouldn’t quarrel if you said they worked on behalf of their shareholders.

Where, pray tell, did I “equate the word duress with seeking commercial success”? Why is it that FQ feel the constant need to argue not against what I say, but against what they hoped I had said? I never defined “duress” in #62, nor #64. So any definition you attribute to it is the imaginative product of …wait for it…your own intrinsic biases.
Besides, the reference in #62 for “agreeing out of duress” was to the mindset of people raised on the CCP way, where the media must toe the party line, and are not free to choose. The point was that, for such people accustomed to such a mindset, when you see media agreeing with government in the US, you assume they are doing the government’s bidding, cuz that’s how it works in China. People with such a mindset cannot conceive that people with choice would actually choose to agree with the government of their own volition. That’s why they think freedom of the press is a lie. In fact, the press is just making choices.

“Can you read?! I meant I DO NOT consider the bias in op-ed’s to be important,”
—yes, I can read. The problem is that you never said it, so I can’t read it. Mean what you say, but also say what you mean. I have no time for guessing at what you meant. Besides, it would require “thinking” like an FQ, and I’m not about to delve to those depths. At least you acknowledge that one should only ever contemplate making accusations of bias with regards to factual news stories, and not opinion pieces. That’s a start.

April 14, 2011 @ 2:32 pm | Comment

“However, people like you see bias not on the basis of the source, but on the basis of the content. So when you read something you don’t like, it’s “biased”. When you read something you do like, it’s not biased.”
— Wa.. It seems you have the supernatural ability of know my thinking process. Sorry, it isn’t even close. I sift out FACT for my consumption. There are facts in the contents I don’t like, but I value them as much as facts from contents I like. That sounds like your thinking process.
Nice try though. Apparently you yourself is actually a FQ who believe everybody who does not agree with you is FQ.

“then turn around and quote from that establishment that was supposedly afflicted with bias to begin with.”
– Well, biased does NOT mean lies, even propaganda does not usually need lies. I do trust that NYT report facts, that’s why sometimes I would quote them.

“Why is it that FQ feel the constant need to argue not against what I say, but against what they hoped I had said?”
–Thanks for giving me an accurate portrait of yourself.
As the sentence I wrote “Nobody would consider Op-Ed’s as fair and balanced,”, your innate belief of I am a FQ prevented you from reading carefully and instantly believed that I was using it as a sample of showing “American media” biased. — That’s what you hope I had said, not what I said.

By the way, making choice of being propaganda organ of government (well, at certain times, mostly foreign policy) does not absolve the fact that they do the propaganda.

April 15, 2011 @ 9:52 am | Comment

“It seems you have the supernatural ability of know my thinking process.”
—you are correct. I don’t know your thinking process. But i am more familiar than I ever want or need to be with the thinking process of a certain group of individuals. THis is why I said “people like you”, and not “you”.

My metric of who is and isn’t FQ has nothing to do with whether they agree with me or not. Rather, it has everything to do with the logic and reasoning with which they agree or disagree with me. Logic and reasoning, as you may know, are not FQ strengths. Like I said, at least you can discern that opinions should not be the subject of accusations of bias. So that’s a start. Having said that, I’ve only met one person who has impressed me with his reasons for disagreeing with me on China blogs, back in the early days of FM. He was not FQ. Not quite sure where he went. But it’s been downhill from there. Perhaps you can be the second, or perhaps not.

“biased does NOT mean lies, even propaganda does not usually need lies.”
—well, it is encouraging that you can also make this distinction. There may be hope yet. However, it still befuddles me when an FQ can accuse certain media of a biased presentation of the facts, then turn around and quote from that same source when it suits them. It simply reinforces the notion that, even when it comes to presentation of facts, FQ call bias when the presentation doesn’t suit them, but are more than happy to trot it out when it does suit them. Which, again, simply makes any such accusations rather unprincipled.

“your innate belief of I am a FQ prevented you from reading carefully”
—I did read carefully, but you didn’t explain yourself. Which is why I suggested that you mean what you say, and also say what you mean. Besides, I didn’t argue against your statement. I merely noted that your statement was beside the point…because you didn’t say what you mean. But nice try in attempting to turn it around…I have a field day against FQ with that one, which is why I’m cognizant of it enough to avoid doing it myself. Certainly, I’ve slipped up from time to time, but this wasn’t one of those times.

“making choice of being propaganda organ of government (well, at certain times, mostly foreign policy) does not absolve the fact that they do the propaganda.”
—this is true IFF you stipulate that agreeing with the government on foreign policy matters constitutes an act of propaganda. Only if you stipulate to that can you suggest that media are “doing propaganda” when they choose to agree with the government. However, that is a ridiculously high bar…the only way to avoid accusations of bias or of spreading propaganda would be to disagree with government all of the time on foreign policy. I am not sure if that would sit well with the Americans who consume media (since some of them do agree with the government from time to time), and you’ve already agreed that getting American eyeballs is the ultimate media motivation. Note also that we’re restricting our discussion to the dissemination of facts on foreign policy matters, and not opinion, since you’ve already agreed that it is pointless to accuse someone of having biased opinions. So if you are suggesting that merely reporting the facts as provided by the American government (thus implicitly agreeing with those facts) shows that media is biased, well, I don’t know what they could do to be unbiased in your mind.

BTW, I notice you didn’t respond to my elaboration of the FQ mindset when it comes to these media issues.

April 15, 2011 @ 1:15 pm | Comment

The tag FQ (and that of their better-paid cousins, 50-centers) is too often thrown about loosely and pejoratively (like “fascist” or “racist” or “China-basher” or the pug_ster favorite “vassal of America”). But there is a telltale style of circular and defensive “logic”, as SKC notes above, that puts one in the FQosphere.

To date, I would put NotFQ in the FQosphere:
–It is intellectually lazy to lump all “western media” or “US media” together and call it “propaganda” merely when they quote US officials. Not even VOA reports are mere rehashes of State Dept talking points. You might as well say “it’s all words” or “it’s all bullshit”. It would also be intellectually lazy to dismiss all Chinese media as Party propaganda outlets, even though that is closer to the truth than any assertion about the US, and some PRC media outlets are indeed pure party organs. (China’s financial and economic media are reasonably good, as is coverage of social issues and lifestyle trends. Coverage of Google, Tibet, Taiwan, Jasmine, and many of the issues in play on this blog does not stray far from classic propaganda. Chinese media have no choice in this matter.)
–NotFQ needs to give some specific examples of the “propaganda” and “hidden agendas” s/he so wisely discerns in US media. Start with coverage of the mess that is Libya. The reports I’m reading portray what a divisive mess this is and quote Qaddafi rants, disappointed rebels, German opponents, French proponents and ambivalent Americans. (Weirdly, Qaddafi spokesmen we see on the BBC and elsewhere sound a lot like Chinese Foreign Ministry flaks, when addressing sensitive topics in language that insults the intelligence of their audience.)

April 15, 2011 @ 4:00 pm | Comment

@NotFQ
I’m a bit at a loss here. You live in the US – and yet you say there’s government propaganda in the press. You know that the media in the west isn’t a monolith – it’s a variety of publications owned by people who have their own political views which are then reflected by their editorial content. Left wing papers espouse left wing views, right wing right papers right wing views. The Daily Telegraph will not, as far as I can tell, ever share the views of the Socialist Worker (a decent publication, I must admit). French news differ from German news and both differ from the Romanian news…and they all have their own news media reflecting the political position of their editorial masters.
Where does the government propaganda creep in? I can see it in the media affiliated by relationship and agreement of views of the editors and owners…but this fall short of all the media – and the dissenting press is not banned.
I can’t say anything about the US press…but I can’t see it as any different from the press I am familiar with. And Joe Public isn’t stupid either…mostly (some are dense as…as…as a walking pig…expression du jour) – read the comments when they are allowed. Joe Public is actually quite savvy, I find.

April 15, 2011 @ 4:22 pm | Comment

@The point is that it neither obscures nor diminishes the indisputable fact that China has loads of human rights issues of her own.

That is you flawed assumption of what CCP and even some Americans like the Glenn Greenwald and Americans and international journalist from the video or libertarian journalist, Sheldon Richman and Republican politician, Ron Paul has said.

They don’t justified that the evidence of human rights abuses in the US will washes away China’s human rights abuses from the US annual report. But they critique why US is the “judge” on this matter while US abuses their own and continue to speak that they are the champion of human rights and transparency? Why can’t it be Denmark or New Zealand where they can talk to talk and can walk to walk.

@NotFQ

FQ and 50 centers would be apply to Glenn Greenwald and Americans and international journalist from the video or libertarian journalist, Sheldon Richman and Republican politician, and Ron Paul in slim/SKC’s book. Just like the good ol’ days when anti-Vietnam War activists or way back to MLK were called Communists.

April 19, 2011 @ 2:42 pm | Comment

“But they critique why US is the “judge” on this matter while US abuses their own and continue to speak that they are the champion of human rights and transparency?”
—you still miss the point, which is neither surprising, nor your first time. You’re still fixating on whether the US is a worthy “judge” of human rights or not. How does that matter? Let’s say the US is a lousy “judge”. Does that change the fact that CCP CHina has more human rights problems than she knows what to do with? Let’s say the report was issued by (for example) Iceland rather than the US. Does that change anything? Folks like you spend more time worrying about the arbiter than about the substantial criticisms stemming from said arbitration. That says a lot, and very little, about folks like you. You’re so consumed about the messenger that you don’t even have the time nor the capacity to process the message.

Your first two paragraphs were sporting tolerable English. Your third paragraph is heading in a decidedly wrong direction, so you’ll have to try again to make it somewhat comprehensible based on standard English norms.

April 19, 2011 @ 3:01 pm | Comment

A critical mass of Red Songs choir practise is now taking place in Chongqing.

“We must use every means to earnestly organise singing lessons for all cadres and people in order to enrich the masses with spiritual culture.”

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/chinese-city-of-30m-ordered-to-sing-red-songs-20110420-1dohw.html?from=smh_sb#ixzz1K2pNmG00

Plus Peoples Daily.

April 20, 2011 @ 3:09 pm | Comment

To KT:
nice one. Once again, the only thing better than “harmony” is imposed harmony. It’s social engineering, CCP style.

The usual blowhards might again want to compare. And who knows, they may even want to compare to the US (cuz as we all know, that’s never happened before…). And they might even bring up the singing of the national anthem/Star Spangled Banner, or perhaps even schoolkids who are expected to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. But they would once again be forgetting the difference between support for your country and the enforced expectation of support for a political party.

April 20, 2011 @ 4:55 pm | Comment

@S.K.Cheung I thinks it is a little more than generic social engineering.

Cut this from my post on FOARPs site.

Good take on Bo Zilai. The rest of the Politburo either secretly hate his guts or are green with envy. As I said on CMP, Bo Zilai is a modern warlord in an Armani suit who is presently excelling in burearcratic manouvre. Either way, he had better tread carefully on the national stage. Too much charisma generates collegial suspicions.

“I suspect Bo Xilai is trying to break the mould in terms of provincial government leadership with a mix of go go business friendly policies, some proposed populist measures as low cost housing , serious population surveillance management and not forgetting his own his own mafia alliances.”

Can’t find my other stuff on CMP to add, but try this killer read by John Garnaut:

http://www.smh.com.au/business/show-them-the-money-old-china-20110325-1ca3f.html

(Not sure if Mike has already posted this link, but anyway.)

Bo Xilai is thinking ahead and not as a team player either.

April 20, 2011 @ 5:50 pm | Comment

@Hong Xing
I want my Chinese children to grow up working in air-conditioned offices and doing power point slides and earning million dollar salaries while exploiting the slave labor of other nations. I want China to move all of its environment-polluting factories to other countries so my children don’t have to breathe in dirty air.

The irony of HX’s blabbers is that the CCP and its corrupt officials colluded with the power foreign corporate interests to establish sweatshops and polluting industries in the Middle Kingdom. The CCP allows foreign corporations to get away with paying peanuts to Chinese workers and turning a blind eye to heavy emissions by production plants set up by these corporations.

April 20, 2011 @ 8:44 pm | Comment

@Jason
Why can’t it be Denmark or New Zealand where they can talk to talk and can walk to walk.

Get real boy. FQs like you will then point out Denmark’s colonial past and how NZ was formed by depriving the Maoris of their sovereignty if these two countries criticize the CCP.

April 20, 2011 @ 8:57 pm | Comment

@HX
So then what is the motivation. Do you not agree it’s something political. That is, it is using the issue of human rights as a way to gain a political/moral upper hand, a way of posturing, a way of “exerting moral leadership”

Then why don’t China turn the table around, become even more human rights conscious than the US, shame the US and gain a political/moral upper hand, a way of posturing, a way of “exerting moral leadership” against the US?

Be more human rights conscious than US? Over the dead bodies of the rulers in Zhongnanhai.

April 20, 2011 @ 9:07 pm | Comment

Math’s accounts of Ai Wei Wei’s supposed sexual escapades was eerily similar to details of the Private Life of Chairman Mao. LOL.

April 20, 2011 @ 9:23 pm | Comment

@Math
They claim themselves as the vangard of Chinese art, yet have no classical artistic work and achievements other than genital-exposing self portraits.

And the CCP authorities as well as the Beijing Olympics Games Organising Committee recognised Ai’s “genital-exposing self portraits” since he was involved in designing the Beijing National Stadium aka Bird Nest. Math does have a sense of humor of criticising the CCP.
LOL.

April 20, 2011 @ 9:30 pm | Comment

Er, this is actually Other Lisa. Richard borrowed my laptop and for whatever reason, I can’t seem to log out of his account.

Anyway, just popping in to say that though I have not read the entire thread, I more or less agree with NotFQ that many US mainstream media outlets essentially supported (and continues to support) US foreign policy, especially during the run-up to the Iraq War. The NYT was notoriously in bed with the White House—Judith Miller’s WMD stories were a real disgrace. This is not universal. What is interesting is that the news side of the NYT was very much in line with the White House while the editorial side was not. Then over at WaPo, it was just the opposite — much less biased news reporting and some truly reprehensible editorials.

My semi-hometown paper, the Los Angeles Times, by contrast had some excellent stories at the beginning of the conflict that laid out in excruciating detail the erroneous assumptions, stove-piped intelligence and incompetence that characterized the run-up and planning of the war. Also, there was a lot of very good work done on Guantanamo, renditions and torture done by various reporters such as Jane Mayer, Stephen Grey, Seymour Hersh, Dana Priest, etc. etc. etc.

What I’m trying to get at here, is that although many mainstream US media sources toe the “party line” when it comes to foreign policy, there is still a diversity of opinion and very good investigative journalism that is done by American reporters and that appears in American news outlets. It happens every day. American reporters don’t face arrest for reporting and American news outlets don’t face closure by the government for printing/broadcasting.

And though there have been some extremely courageous Chinese journalists who have done the same and who continue to struggle against censorship and out-and-out threat of arrest, there is simply no comparison in the amount of freedom to report that Chinese journalists have versus US journalists.

(once again, this is Lisa, not Richard, and the opinions expressed are purely my own)

April 23, 2011 @ 4:59 pm | Comment

as a p.s., when I cited Jane Mayer, Stephen Grey, etc., it sounds like I’m saying they were all working for the LA Times, which of course is not the case.

April 23, 2011 @ 5:01 pm | Comment

I would also add that many of the British papers were critical of the war, including the Guardian, the Independent, the BBC, the Mirror etc., and that there is a long history of such criticism, going back to the Crimean war.

Nothing demonstrates so much the vacuousness of this idea that the media in the UK is an adjunct of the government than the government’s antagonistic relationship with at least half of the media in the country at any one time. Jeremy Paxman of the BBC is famous for his scathing interviews, adopting such a critical tone in an interview with Tony Blair that my American friends who watched the interview with me were shocked to discover that any journalist could speak to a politician like that, much less the national leader.

The US media has a very unfortunate tradition of deference towards those in power. This is partly because US politicians are much more able to control who they speak to, not having to answer questions from the political opposition as British government ministers. It may also be something to do with the lack of a truly independent broadcaster like the BBC, which need not pander to sponsors etc.

April 23, 2011 @ 6:32 pm | Comment

@Raj
“What do people think we will hear from the authorities as to which “crime” Ai Weiwei committed? Or will we not hear anything specific, just some generic rubbish like “disrupting harmony”?”

I wonder weather the arrest of Ai Weiwei indicates the power struggle/fighting inside chinese central government, no matter what kind of crime he will be accused. This reminds me the 1980s in China. I donot know any of you were in China then, I was a university student back then and was excited about 西单民主墙、朦胧诗歌 and 探索电影 and was confused and upset when they were banned or heatedly criticised. But I believe that the real democracy to benefit a country/community can only be born inside this country/community not be delived from outside. Well, the concept of democracy can be imported or even put into practice, but it cannot function properly if a country/community is not ready, I believe.

I see Ai Weiwei’s incident does not only indicate the power struggle, also it can/may trigger other events. Thinking of the current economical condition and political climate, I do think there will be a big event/change happened soon (?), and reading through chinese history there is always a price to pay for changes, sometimes even very expensive, but move forward for the better of the society, I think.

By the way, I read this interesting article “Martin Jacques On Understanding The Rise Of China.” (I think there is a video of it on internet too) http://www.chinalawblog.com/2011/03/martin_jacques_on_understanding_the_rise_of_china.html

I was hugely impressed by his comparison on the difference between west and china. His view point on “The Chinese view the state as an intimate. Not just as an intimate, actually, but as a member of the family. Not just, in fact, as a member of the family, but as the head of the family: the patriarch of the family. ” is very interesting. I am still not quite sure whether I totally agree with it or I fully understand what he means, but it seems to me that it may be able to understand some comments since Richard’s post on Ai Weiwei.

April 23, 2011 @ 9:34 pm | Comment

Re:Martin Jacques On Understanding The Rise Of China.

1. Ten, twenty or forty year projects aren’t worth the paper or the forum they’re written on.

2.China is a civilisation empire and not a civilisation state.

3. Now, I know it’s a widespread assumption in the West that as countries modernize, they also westernize. REALLY PROFOUND.

4. His argument about the relationship between the State and Society is a cuddly bear load of drivel.

5. He is clueless about what Adam Smith said and in what context he said it.

The rest is broad sweep of history verbiage.

Marxism has produced a lot of brilliant scholars, but Jacques wasn’t one of them. Never quoted, and now that he has repositioned himself, will still be a lite-on Shaun Rein type.

April 24, 2011 @ 3:01 am | Comment

“The Chinese view the state as an intimate. Not just as an intimate, actually, but as a member of the family. Not just, in fact, as a member of the family, but as the head of the family: the patriarch of the family. ”

Any nitwit knows that this is a Mercantilist metaphor, and it fits in nicely with Confucianism also. Say no more about how China acts trade-wise and how the Party views itself vis a vis Society ie very stern Daddy who always knows best.

Yes, the wealthy and filthy wealthy have a very intimate relationship with the State. However, this intimacy involves a considerable degree of infidelity since large numbers are organising rat-line second passports.

April 24, 2011 @ 3:21 am | Comment

More of the same. “Never before in the modern era has the largest economy in the world been that of a developing country”.

And let us look at one significant aspect of this developing modernisation.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/are_chinas_high_speed_trains_heading_off_the_rails/2011/04/22/AFHzaNWE_story.html?wprss=rss_homepage

Note that the critics on how the bank loans for this network stack up are domestic. Factor this in with Victor Shih’s estimation of loan repayments incurred by provincial authorities. 10, 20 or 30 years anyone????

To top it off, good old Admiral Zheng gets a mention.

April 24, 2011 @ 4:50 am | Comment

Re #88
Dee: I believe that the arrests of Ai Weiwei and many others mark a decision. The power struggle is no longer up in the air.

April 24, 2011 @ 12:28 pm | Comment

“Burger’s point is, as well as more or less every other person’s point is, if only China will behave the western way. If only instead of “sabre-rattling and always sounding like a misunderstood and petulant child” and “why not throw the West a bone and let him go, declare an amnesty and then explain why he was detained in the first place.” These statements speak more of the American arrogance than the Chinese arrogance and/or insecurities. I don’t understand how referring to someone as “wailing” and a “petulant child” is not insulting. How that is not the same as calling your self a rational adult who understands the rules and plays by them.”

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/04/voices-from-china-2-the-chewiness-is-what-people-desire/237882/

Yep..when I think “Arrogant American” Richard’s name immediately comes to mind.

Something tells me she’s not spent a lot of time at The Pond…

April 30, 2011 @ 11:30 am | Comment

I just found your site and am loving it. Looking forward to future posts. BTW what is it about China that keeps you there so long?

May 8, 2011 @ 12:40 pm | Comment

That’s an interesting question. Short answer: The people, and how the government often treats them. It was my first in-person experience with an authoritarian regime, and this blog reflects my mixed feeling about them, and my over-riding love of the Chinese people. It started with my blogging about government excesses, and the more I learned about the country and its history the more fascinated I became. If you go back to the early posts in 2002-3 you’ll see how my view of China changed dramatically compared to today.

May 8, 2011 @ 11:48 pm | Comment

@Richard
I have been to Beijing and found it to be a beautiful mix of modern and old. I did not have a great impression of the people there though. It is one of those places you have to forget about where you are from and immerse yourself into their world and appreciate it for what it is. Looking back I know I should have let go of my own judgements and enjoyed the people there. I hope to have a second chance soon.

Will definitely check out your older stuff.

May 12, 2011 @ 4:51 pm | Comment

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