Taking off

I know, this blog has gone to hell in a handbasket over the past couple weeks. And now I’m about to leave for more than 10 days, and I will have little or no Internet access (and no, I won’t be going to China this time, unfortunately). So this will probably be the longest-running thread ever. Post links, chat, etc.,and try to keep it Tibet-free; that’s one subject we have totally exhausted. Thanks to my hall monitors who will be watching things while I’m gone.

______________

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: 90 Comments

Hell on a handcart. Understatement. That appears to be the fate of most threads here in the last few months.

Is this a characteristic of blogs themselves or is it this particular chatterati?

Whatever, I’m enjoying seeing Bo Xilai getting his wings clipped.
With luck, he will eventually end up being drowned in excrement. Literally.

March 15, 2012 @ 10:13 am | Comment

Sometimes I just get tired of blogging, especially when the news everywhere is so depressing. Also, I’ve been planning this big trip and my mind and heart haven’t been with the blog. As I’ve posted before, blogs are a dying entity, though Twitter and Facebook can’t totally replace them. I’ll be back with some good posts in two weeks, I promise.

March 15, 2012 @ 11:01 am | Comment

Sure hope you will be back for I just dicovered your blog! Safe trip.

March 15, 2012 @ 2:37 pm | Comment

Bo Xilai has been replaced as Chongqing boss. Looks like his political career is over.

March 15, 2012 @ 4:07 pm | Comment

@Richard – Know what you mean, but at the same time I don’t think blogging is dead/dying. China blogging exploded back in ’05-’06, but as the infamous Meursault pointed out:

“Imagine the internet is like a huge version of an old lady’s mantelpiece. Initially, after the death of her elderly husband to thrombosis, she fills it with photographs of loved ones. Then, as the years go on, she adds to the photographs of distant grandchildren with small kitschy figurines of cats, or perhaps winged cherubs. Senility sets in, and now she’s cramming in small memorials to the late Princess of Wales and limited edition Elvis Dambusters Clock of Tutankhamuns(TM). Finally, she has exhausted the whole spectrum of spinsterly rubbish, there are no more seashell murals of Wales left to buy, and there is no more room on the mantlepiece to place them. She dies, content that her collection is complete, and bequeaths them all to a sanctuary for sick donkeys.

. . . The internet is a bit like that mantlepiece. There are only so many topics about China that can be written, and only so many viewpoints that offer originality. And the Internet, being the great big digital attic that we were all promised it would be, keeps them all for posterity. Any new China arrivals search and read the old articles, and think to themselves: “Perhaps the world doesn’t actually need my article on Chinese farmers taking a shit on the sidewalk”. And the world moves on.”

I don’t think they’ll ever be entirely replaced though – Facebook posts can only be read by your friends and isn’t anonymous, Twitter doesn’t give you the space to do anything more than share a link and a brief explanation – it’s also great for one-line jokes, as @therelevantorgans shows day-in day-out. It’s just that the days when people living in China (expats mainly) would google “Beijing sucks” and come across a whole raft of posts in which to vent their frustration are over, not least because all the expat-rant blogs are now blocked within a few days of being put up.

Yes, there are still China noobs posting about what “Laowai” means, whether there is racism in China, and how easy it is to get laid there, but the interest is no longer there. That said there’s plenty of expats, ex-expats, and re-expats who have interesting things to say and blogs still represent the only way of making extended comment to the general public.

March 15, 2012 @ 8:13 pm | Comment

@ Raj

Seems like most of the establishment was pretty discomfited by his constant appeals to the Cultural Revolution. Probably stirred up some fairly traumatic memories for some of them.

March 15, 2012 @ 10:59 pm | Comment

I think Bo’s Mao revival business got to be a bit much. However, the lack of transparency ( in political ascension, or in Bo’s case, crashing and burning) remains a rather unsavory aspect of the Ccp system. I wonder if Wang yang and the “liberals” will do much to change that. In the meantime, I wonder what “resign” is a euphemism for.

March 16, 2012 @ 5:08 am | Comment

These internal political struggles are too exciting, too dramatic. Everyone looks very polite and calm on the surface, and yet under the table, there’s a life and death struggle. Hohoho.

I think the politcal struggles within the CCP represents the highest level of human intelligence in terms scheming. Of course this is not surprising, Chinese has 5000 years of scheming and tricks in politics.

The West looks at this event and can only see the surface. Completely cannot understand all the layer of intrigue behind it. Only a Chinese person can appreciate it, like a game of GO.

If the West wants to appreciate it? Read 5000 years of Chinese history and books, hohoho.

March 16, 2012 @ 7:49 am | Comment

Regarding Bo – was the timing of his public removal a coincidence or are some of the plotters Roan history buffs? Or indeed Shakespeare readers?

Did anyone send Bo a message to “beware the Ides of March”?

;-)

March 16, 2012 @ 9:39 am | Comment

Re: Bo Xilai. Talk about serendipidy. Hours after my above opening the thread, BBC reports his displacement. (No,I was over stating. He won’t be dropped headfirst down the village outhouse, but that has a nice ring to it.)

Basically, he is now as dead as a maggot.

The Party Disciplinary organisation will be all over Chongqing like a rash, scaring the bejesus out of his underlings, interviewing his mistresses and cutting off his money-political cronies at the knees. The latter will be showing him the same sort of loyalty he displayed towards his deputy Wang, and deservedly so. His support network will come apart like a cheap toy in the rain.

When he has nothing left but his s…eating grin, they will disappear him and a confession (ie corrupt practices) will be forthcoming.(Recall the Shanghai pension fund/real estate investigation prior to the last leadership handover.) A short trial reported on CCTV and a long sentence …maybe 15 years.

Prediction No. Two: his hair will turn grey overnight.

Let’s hope he made the most of his mistresses, Jaguar and that he guzzled and munched his way thru sufficient banquets, because basically this is just the first act before detention and the Big House.

While the PRC is a particularly odious social formation, it always provides a bit of decent blood sport before each leadership handover.

Whats schadenfreude in Mandarin?

March 16, 2012 @ 1:04 pm | Comment

I feel that closing the Du Gang thread was somewhat untimely, given Wen’s remarks about the need for political reform on Wednesday. Anyway – as this is an open thread, I’d like to suggest that Wen Jiabao might be a hesitant and not very successful member of the Du-Gang school, even if Du never taught him.

March 16, 2012 @ 5:41 pm | Comment

Schadenfreude = 幸灾乐祸 (xìngzāilèhuò), KT.

March 16, 2012 @ 5:43 pm | Comment

It’s a feeling so rare in China that it takes four characters to describe it…

March 16, 2012 @ 5:44 pm | Comment

@HX – And here was me thinking that “Go” in this context was an anglicisation of a Japanese word, and is the name of a sport in which Americans and Europeans have entered the top rankings . . . . . .

March 16, 2012 @ 8:33 pm | Comment

I am no fan of Bo Xilai’s at all, but in the long run, I wonder if it would have been better for Wang Yang to be marginalised instead (maybe he still will be). I strongly doubt that Wang is enough of a liberal at heart to push for major political changes at his own initiative … but, if the existing political structure turns against him, he might decide that major political change and liberalisation is the only way, and end up becoming China’s highest-profile liberal agitator.

March 16, 2012 @ 11:23 pm | Comment

http://dealbreaker.com/2010/10/ten-years-ago-paul-tudor-jones-had-an-acute-case-of-plantar-fasciitis/#more-30035

an article about the USD/RMB rate written by Paul Tudor Jones, a leading hedge fund manager. thoughts?

March 17, 2012 @ 1:34 am | Comment

@ Otto

Chinese politicians tend not to become agitators even after they have been marginalized, no matter which side of the spectrum they originate from. Zhao Ziyang and Hua Guofeng were from the liberal and hardline camps respectively, but both were kept effectively harmless after retiring. In Zhao’s case, while he had his own views and espoused them passionately between 1989 and his death in 2005, there was never any ability for him to organize and turn those views into a movement.

The key pillar of any ruling party is its monopoly on the ability organize and mobilize people. Every single ideology and meme in China has to utilize Party-controlled resources when it comes to creating a movement; this, more than anything else, is their long-term secret to success… and nobody knows this better than the Chinese establishment, no matter what their political stripe.

March 17, 2012 @ 2:08 am | Comment

I should add that this monopoly is not only the key pillar for the CCP but also the key pillar for any system of governance. There are important distinctions in degree and form of control over organizational ability; in Western democracies, this function is maintained by laws that create privileged channels for corporate money to flow to think tanks and NGOs. Of course, that form of control is far looser than what the Party exercises; China is evolving in that direction.

March 17, 2012 @ 2:13 am | Comment

To t-co,
Let’s hope the Ccp is evolving as you say. But the sum total of the hu jintao reign seems more like devolving than evolving.

March 17, 2012 @ 7:27 am | Comment

@justrecently, thanks for that translation! I actually really wanted to know.

March 17, 2012 @ 5:14 pm | Comment

This is very important. Please read.

Americans like to say they love freedom, but there are few freedoms left in the US. The government is tightening the noose to strangle Americans with ever-increasing nanny state laws so much that the US is starting to look like North Korea. What kind of hypocritical message is the USA sending to dictatorships like China and Cuba when a supposedly free country bans everything?

I am an American who tries to obey rules and hates hypocrisy. You
can imagine my anger when I look at the very obvious recent trend by the government to outlaw everything people do. I saw the financial crisis coming in 2008 and said nothing. Now I see the socialist military dictatorship and the bankruptcy of the US coming and cannot watch a potential train wreck happen without saying something.

I am extremely upset and baffled about the disturbing eagerness by the government to outlaw everything, but even more enraged by the complacency of Americans who don’t know or don’t care about the trend to repeal the US Constitution and make the USA a nanny police state. People shouldn’t just shrug their shoulders and say, “What can you do?” They should think of what they CAN do to keep our freedoms.

National, state, and local governments are using a shotgun approach to enact a flood of unconstitutional laws just to see what laws will stick in court. I used to scoff when people I thought were nuts talked about “black helicopters” and “jack-booted thugs”. Now I really wonder.

The Bill of Rights protects the rights of Americans, but here are some ways
these rights are under constant attack:

The Fourth Amendment protection against illegal searches is violated by the Patriot Act that allows secret warrants.

http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/webster/090419

The Fourth Amendment protection against illegal searches and seizures, the Fifth amendment that allows due process, and the Eighth Amendment that forbids excessive bail, fines, and cruel and unusual punishment are all violated by seatbelt and DUI checkpoints and asset forfeiture laws.

http://detnews.com/article/20091112/METRO/911120388/Police-property-seizures-ensnare-even-the-innocent

http://wvgazette.com/News/Advisories/201105091168

http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/dui-checkpoint-snags-seven-offenders-1.878793#axzz1d8KqudEA

http://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Sheriff-using-checkpoint-warnings-in-drug-fight-2229666.php

The Fourth Amendment protection against illegal searches and the Fourteenth Amendment that guarantees equal protection of the law is violated by Arizona’s immigration law that requires police to question people who look like illegal immigrants. Illegal immigration would be better stopped by having a strong border and fining employers of illegal immigrants, not by profiling Americans who look like foreigners.

http://www.salem-news.com/articles/may062010/arizona-law-rs.php

The Fifth Amendment of the Bill of Rights clearly states that people should not be subject to the same offense twice, but sex offenders can be convicted of crimes and then later be required to register as sex offenders and be held for life under indefinite civil commitment laws even after they complete their original sentences. “John TV” shows that embarrass and punish people arrested on prostitution charges also violate the Fifth Amendment guarantee of due process rights.

http://edition.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/01/12/scotus.sex.offender.law/index.html

http://www.acluofnorthcarolina.org/?q=due-process

The US has a secret panel “kill list” of Americans who are targeted to be killed. This clearly violates the Fifth Amendment which states no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. If China had a list like this, I am certain Americans would be outraged.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/05/us-cia-killlist-idUSTRE79475C20111005

http://www.aclu.org/blog/national-security/targeted-killing-death-without-due-process

President Obama recently signed the National Defense Authorization Act that allows the indefinite detention of any American or foreigner accused of terrorism without trial by the US military on US or foreign soil. This violates the Fifth Amendment which states no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law and the Sixth Amendment guaranteeing the right to a speedy trial. The unconstitutional NDAA also violates the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 forbidding the use of the military in domestic law enforcement.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/01/02/president-obama-signed-the-national-defense-authorization-act-now-what/

The Sixth Amendment guaranteeing the right to speedy trials is violated by holding prisoners at Guantanamo Bay without charge. The Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishments and is violated by torturing Guantanamo Bay prisoners. Whether the prisoners are foreigners or not makes no difference because it violates the intent of the Constitution and sends the message to other nations that human rights violations are acceptable. Taking the moral high ground is difficult when you are immoral yourself. If you want to prevent terrorism, give terrorists a trial, improve airline security, and don’t give out visas easily. Torturing suspected terrorists only recruits more terrorists. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

http://www.historiansagainstwar.org/resources/torture/cohn.html

I wish I was making this up, but the government has recently tried to censor the Internet with SOPA and PIPA and is currently creating legislation that outlaws protesting near the president.

http://www.usnews.com/debate-club/should-congress-pass-anti-online-piracy-legislation/proposed-anti-piracy-legislation-dangerous-and-unconstitutional

http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=11&articleid=20120304_11_A12_WASHIN367304

In addition to the above unconstitutional laws, most of the following actions have also been outlawed just in my lifetime:

Fast food restaurants have been banned.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/16/us/16fastfood.html

Feeding homeless people has become a crime.

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2011-06-02/news/os-homeless-feedings-arrests-20110601_1_group-feedings-feedings-in-public-parks-orlando-police

Sex tourism has been outlawed.

http://www.usatoday.com/travel/news/2004-02-18-sex-tourists_x.htm

Sex offenders have been required to register with the police and are forbidden from living, working, or going near beaches, swimming pools, libraries, churches, skating rinks, bowling alleys, gyms, theaters, stores, bus stops, schools, museums, and parks. Landlords
are forbidden from renting to sex offenders.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123500941182818821.html

http://www.times-herald.com/local/Restrictions-for-sex-offenders-registered-in-state-of-Georgia—1803015

http://totalbuzz.ocregister.com/2011/04/04/sex-offenders-face-being-banned-from-parks/51007/

http://www.news-journalonline.com/news/local/east-volusia/2011/09/03/daytona-to-consider-limiting-where-sex-offenders-can-live.html

Domestic violence abusers having been banned from having guns.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/06/us/06guns.html?pagewanted=all

Mandatory seatbelt use laws have been enacted.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-08-18-seat-belt-rear_N.htm

Car owners are now required to have liability insurance.

http://articles.latimes.com/print/1987-10-27/news/mn-16876_1_mandatory-auto-insurance-law

Americans are not allowed to travel to Cuba.

http://www.nytimes.com/2001/08/05/travel/bush-administration-showing-willingness-to-enforce-law-on-visiting-cuba.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

People who owe child support are not allowed to have passports.

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oew-welch21aug21,0,123074.story

People who have defaulted student loans are not allowed to have professional licenses.

http://www.iowacollegeaid.gov/DefaultPrevention/default.html

The US is one of the few countries that has the death penalty.

http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0777460.html

Americans must report any currency that they carry over $10,000.

http://imperialvalleynews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5859&Itemid=2

Americans must pay sales taxes on services.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/28/us/28taxes.html?pagewanted=all

Americans must now pay sales taxes on mail-order products shipped from other states.

http://articles.latimes.com/print/2009/jul/03/opinion/ed-tax03

Americans must pay US taxes on worldwide income.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/26/business/worldbusiness/26iht-tax.html?pagewanted=all

Americans must also pay income taxes to foreign countries when they work overseas.

http://www.sars.gov.za/home.asp?pid=44773

Americans must pay taxes on gifts given and received.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/24/your-money/24iht-nwgift.html?pagewanted=all

http://www.irs.gov/businesses/article/0%2C%2Cid=200722%2C00.html

The drinking age has been raised.

http://www.nytimes.com/1988/07/01/us/wyoming-finally-raises-its-drinking-age.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

Drunk driving has been outlawed.

http://www.nytimes.com/1987/03/23/us/drunken-driving-showing-decline.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

Homeowners cannot rent rooms in their homes.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/22/nyregion/22homeless.html?pagewanted=all

Debtors with defaulted student loans are forbidden from having driver licenses.

http://www.doj.mt.gov/driving/driverlicensesanctions.asp

Americans cannot have US or foreign bank accounts while living overseas.

http://blogs.wsj.com/hong-kong/2011/03/10/red-white-and-through/

Americans who do have overseas bank accounts must report them to the US government every year.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124804796387763807.html

Adultery is illegal.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/forum/2010-04-26-column26_ST_N.htm

Foreign workers are forbidden from working in many countries.

http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2008/9/23/central/2090943&sec=central

Unmarried couples may not live together.

http://www.usatoday.com/life/lifestyle/2005-07-17-state-law_x.htm

Oral sex is illegal.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/11/us/11bar.html

Some countries require websites to be licensed by the government.

http://articles.latimes.com/2005/jun/08/world/fg-chinaweb8

Panhandling is illegal.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2011-09-25/panhandle-ban-louisville/50541244/1

Loitering is illegal.

http://www.gainesville.com/article/20090714/ARTICLES/907149911?p=all&tc=pgall

Homeowners are legally required to mow their lawns.

http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Jailed-homeowner-reconsiders-mowing-lawn-1811557.php

There is now a 5 year lifetime limit on welfare.

http://articles.latimes.com/print/2002/apr/20/news/mn-39050

Bankruptcy has been outlawed.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2005-04-20-bush-bankruptcy_x.htm

Watering and not watering lawns are both illegal.

http://articles.latimes.com/print/2007/oct/07/nation/na-drought7

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-09-18-2585115022_x.htm

Fat taxes are being added to food.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/booster_shots/2008/08/alabama-places.html

Smoking indoors, in parks, at beaches, and on public transportation has been made illegal.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/03/25/us/more-california-air-space-set-for-no-smoke-zones.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

Sales of cigarettes to minors has been outlawed.

http://www.nytimes.com/1992/08/18/nyregion/keeping-teen-agers-smokeless-perth-amboy-moves-combat-cigarette-sales-minors.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

Airline passengers can now be added to “no-fly” lists, searched, and required to have an ID.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/22/us/22tsa.html

Driving while using a mobile phone has been banned.

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2010/01/three-more-states-enact-texting-while-driving-bans/1

Americans are now required by law to have health insurance.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/judicial/2011-06-29-health-care-ruling_n.htm

Cars are required to have air bags.

http://money.cnn.com/2007/06/25/autos/airbags/index.htm

Americans are now required to have a passport to visit Canada and Mexico.

http://www.theoaklandpress.com/articles/2009/03/14/business/doc49bb9a6967f18615571979.txt?viewmode=fullstory

The minimum driving age has been raised.

http://www.nytimes.com/2001/10/10/automobiles/how-we-drive-the-young-and-reckless-ready-to-drive.html?pagewanted=all

Curfews have been enacted.

http://www.nytimes.com/1990/11/21/us/atlanta-sets-a-curfew-for-youths-prompting-concern-on-race-bias.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

Homeowners must have a permit from the government to remove trees from their own private property.

http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20110930/COLUMNIST/110939996?p=all&tc=pgall

http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2011/jan/25/vero-beach-homeowner-issued-15k-fine-for-tree/

Homeowners are banned from installing fake grass on their lawns.

http://articles.glendalenewspress.com/2011-11-15/news/tn-gnp-1116-artificial-turf_1_artificial-turf-fake-turf-fake-grass

Premarital sex is illegal.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/print/524859/IDAHO-COUNTY-DUSTS-OFF-FORNICATION-LAW.html

Teaching about polygamy is illegal.

http://www.cdispatch.com/news/article.asp?aid=6979

Homeowners are legally required to shovel snow from their sidewalks.

http://extras.denverpost.com/news/news0215b.htm

Sex toys are illegal.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-10-01-2390404063_x.htm

Selling a toy gun is illegal.

http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2009/07/state_attorney_general_targets.html

Background checks are required for gun buyers.

http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1004884,00.html

Soft drinks are banned from schools.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/05/business/05junkfood.html?adxnnl=1&pagewanted=all&adxnnlx=1322741106-hCReaBGMgViZUZAYsO/m+w

Skateboarders, bicyclists, and motorcycle riders must legally wear helmets.

http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/argus/index.ssf?/base/editorial/1269631274148530.xml&coll=6

Skateboarding on roads is illegal.

http://articles.latimes.com/1991-10-31/local/me-878_1_laguna-niguel

Sleeping on the beach, in parks, on public streets, in alleys, or in a parked car is illegal.

http://articles.latimes.com/2008/dec/24/local/me-aclu24

Wearing baggy pants is illegal.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/30/fashion/30baggy.html

Redlight cameras are being installed at intersections.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/14/nyregion/14red.html

Speed cameras are being installed at intersections.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-05-13-traffic-cameras_N.htm

Pick-up trucks are required to be parked inside garages at night.

http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/06/14/2266463/city-to-start-enforcing-pick-up.html

Using a leaf blower is illegal.

http://articles.latimes.com/print/1997/jul/02/news/mn-8967

Bloggers are required to have business licenses.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/meghancasserly/2010/08/23/philly-requiring-bloggers-to-pay-for-business-licenses/

Loud stereos are illegal.

http://articles.latimes.com/2002/oct/16/autos/hy-wheels16

Indoor tanning bed use is banned.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/alltherage/2011/10/tanning-bed-ban.html

Putting indoor furniture outdoors is now illegal.

http://www.news-gazette.com/news/courts-police-and-fire/2010-06-22/fire-leads-ban-urbana-having-indoor-furniture-outside-home.ht

Fireworks are illegal.

http://www.gazette.com/articles/fireworks-120725-city-tents.html

Plastic bags have been banned.

http://articles.latimes.com/print/2010/may/31/local/la-me-plastic-bags-20100531

Children are now required to ride in child safety seats.

http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/700-new-state-laws-which-one-s-yours-1643340.php

Using Silly String is illegal.

http://articles.latimes.com/print/1993-11-26/local/me-61013_1_parades-doo-dah

Selling alcohol on Sunday is illegal.

http://www.latimes.com/travel/la-tr-insider14aug14,5623601,4512959,full.column

Feeding pigeons is illegal.

http://articles.latimes.com/2003/dec/23/local/me-sbriefs23.8

Sitting on a milk crate is illegal.

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/magazine/missconduct/2008/01/milk_crate_myst.html

Ex-cons cannot have a driver’s license, adopt a child, receive food stamps, obtain financial aid, have professional licenses, vote, or own a gun.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-07-22-ex-cons_N.htm

How many of above laws have you violated? The trend to ban and control every aspect of human behavior does not just affect evil criminals. This movement affects EVERYONE. If having sex before marriage is illegal, for example, 95% of Americans are criminals.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2006-12-19-premarital-sex_x.htm

Let those without sin cast the first stone.

These laws do not increase our safety. In fact, they make society more
DANGEROUS. If nearly everything is illegal, no one would respect the law and police would be overwhelmed. If ex-cons cannot work, start a business, or receive welfare, society cannot expect them to be law-abiding.

http://tscrestaurantgroup.com/index.php?option=com_smartformer&Itemid=176

http://www.ci.commerce-city.co.us/DocumentView.aspx?DID=126

http://hss.state.ak.us/dpa/programs/fstamps/

If sex offenders cannot live near schools or parks, domestic violence convicts cannot own guns, and drug users cannot get financial aid or food stamps, why not just deny
everyone with arrest records the freedom to move, own a gun, or receive welfare?

I am not a hippie conspiracist with rose-colored glasses who thinks criminals like sex offenders and terrorists are gentle little flowers, either. I am a conservative who realizes that are are people who do evil things in the world and I support tough laws. I DON’T support unconstitutional and unnecessary laws, however. The main activities that should be illegal are murder, rape, theft, and assault. The government should not regulate what people do in their bedroom,
what people eat, excessively regulate business, deny the freedom of speech, control religion, prohibit movement, outlaw guns, search people or property without a warrant, deny suspects a speedy trial, tell people what they should say or believe, ban alcohol or marijuana, or use cruel and unusual punishment.

Obesity, ugly clothes, tattoos, begging, porn, prostitution, public nudity, homosexuality, and houses painted purple are all disgusting, but personal behavior should be controlled by social criticism, not by government fiat. One cost of freedom is that we must see and hear things we disagree with. Life would be very boring if we were all forced to be conformists and live like robots.

The US really needs to end the nanny police state movement. Even if politicians says they won’t use unconstitutional laws on the books now, doesn’t mean that later officials won’t. Americans that stay silent while illegal laws are enacted should not depend entirely on the Supreme Court to protect their rights because courts once protected slavery, segregation, and concentration camps as well. The time to protest unconstitutional laws is before they are enacted. Americans cannot naively believe a dictator like Hitler or Stalin will never seize power in the US. Our founding fathers must be rolling in their graves.

Enough is enough. If you care about your liberty, talk about the changes happening to the US with your friends and family, vote, donate to the ACLU, contact the media, protest, and write to your elected officials. I cannot stress the need for action enough. Governments would love to take away all your freedom if they could. Thousands of Americans did not die fighting for freedom and democracy in wars to have liberty denied in the USA. Please do not let their sacrifice go to waste. Our freedoms are diminishing, not growing. Stand up, fight for your rights, and protect our freedom and values now!

http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html

http://www.economist.com/node/16636027

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_pri-crime-prisoners

http://www.dumblaws.com/

http://nannystateliberationfront.net/

http://www.aclu.org/

http://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/legislative/b_three_sections_with_teasers/active_leg_page.htm

http://www.lp.org/

http://www.heritage.org/index/
_________________________

First they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, but I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me, but there was no one left to speak for me.

If only one person is not free, then no one is free.

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

The best government is that which governs least.

Be the change you wish to see.

Give me liberty or give me death.

March 17, 2012 @ 7:46 pm | Comment

double-comment, expat.

March 17, 2012 @ 10:30 pm | Comment

justrecently (13)

“xingzailehuo” is an extremely frequently heard Chinese word, which suggests that the feeling may not be that rare.

It undoubtedly qualifies as a word in its own right; (it’s not just a “description”). And it has no more syllables than “Schadenfreude” does.

March 17, 2012 @ 10:40 pm | Comment

My remark that it was so rare a feeling in China was made tongue-in-cheek, jer.

March 18, 2012 @ 1:00 am | Comment

justrecently (#24)

I see it now. Apologies for my obtuseness.

March 18, 2012 @ 1:55 am | Comment

To expat,
A few things you mentioned might warrant consideration. But the sum total reads like a libertarian laundry list. Many of the behaviors that are being “controlled” are not rights, but privileges.

March 18, 2012 @ 7:07 am | Comment

Holy crap, Expat. As one of the “hall monitors,” please be warned, next time you leave a comment with that many links, it will be deleted. Try to keep your comments focused. You’ve got links breaking the comment box, for one thing. For another, you undermine your own argument by including, as SK puts it, a “libertarian laundry list.” Though I dunno, I think that’s more like a shopping list for a couple month’s worth of groceries.

March 18, 2012 @ 7:53 am | Comment

This story is really important. A foolish American posing as a kind of journalist opens the floodgates for the anti-cnn crowd to hurl invective about US media bias against China. And in this case, they have a lot of good material to back up their argument, unfortunately. Tragic, stupid, and as Fallows says, totally avoidable.

March 18, 2012 @ 9:31 am | Comment

*chuckle* And I wonder how many folks bit this “journalist’s” works hook, line and sinker….

And I wonder… is he the only one out there “spicing up” stories about China… I mean, if he can do it, others can easily do it too…. and plenty of “simple” folk can just as easily get suckered as well…

And I finally wonder… since many Westerners accuse various Chinese supporters / posters of being propagandists or 5-centers or similar stuff, who is the one propagating the propaganda and who is the one defending the facts / truth….

Not only interesting, but amusing times indeed.

March 18, 2012 @ 10:34 pm | Comment

Any reporter can add spice to any story, I’m afraid. This is a shocking example of slander against China, and of Apple. The one good thing about it is that real reporters blew the whistle and the story was retracted in an explosive one-hour mea culpa. I think that’s the key difference between the US and the Chinese media — the truth can come out in the major media. That doesn’t take away the gravity of this clusterfuck; public radio has been tarnished.

March 18, 2012 @ 10:39 pm | Comment

Any reporter can add spice to any story, I’m afraid. This is a shocking example of slander against China, and of Apple. The one good thing about it is that real reporters blew the whistle and the story was retracted in an explosive one-hour mea culpa. I think that’s the key difference between the US and the Chinese media — the truth can come out in the major media. That doesn’t take away the gravity of this clusterfuck; public radio has been tarnished.

Only reason it’s “whistle-blown” is because Apple got damaged, a major corporation with a lot of influence and clout among the American power/media circle got hurt. If Apple was not involved and it was only about the orgasm issues of the West like China damaging environment, poisoning american children, killing workers in Africa, then who will still whistle blow it? American journalists will be happy to let this go on.

March 19, 2012 @ 12:53 am | Comment

To red star,
Gimme a break. Not the first time apple has been accused of labour issues in china wrt Foxconn, and won’t be the last. It’s actually amusing that people try to single out apple , when so many other companies also use Foxconn stuff. But as they say , large trees catch more wind.

March 19, 2012 @ 1:30 am | Comment

You disapprove a link to an article of NPR retracting a fabricated mews piece and/or, perhaps, due to a post on my personal ideas. Not very Liberal of you, Richard. Or, maybe, very Liberal of you.

I’ve seen many people booted off your blog in the past five years, though some were very contentious, I found pieces of value within the rants. That is the problem with your comment section. If you don’t like what someone says – kick’um off. You’ve got too many cronies. And, you always side with them.

I believe there was nothing offensive in either post, yet you’ve barred me from posting because yourself and Other Lisa felt that it would be a waste of time to confront me. Very narrow minded attitude, Richard.

March 19, 2012 @ 4:14 am | Comment

APOLOGY. Feel free to strike the preceding comment.

March 19, 2012 @ 4:20 am | Comment

Obviously I’ve missed something, William. Er, what?

March 19, 2012 @ 4:54 am | Comment

I think Richard is actually on the case but I’ll log in and see if there are any comments stuck in spam/moderation. I believe Richard warned everyone of this possibility, but just to repeat, comments may be delayed.

Though how that thing by Expat made it through, I do not know!

March 19, 2012 @ 4:58 am | Comment

To red star #31,
You have it all wrong…..once again. Media in the US are in competition. They have every reason to fact check on other outlets, because having egg and on someone else’s face is good for business.

Besides, the fate of apple rests with their products. Notice how their stock broke $600 when ipad3 came out. I’d say stories like these were free advertising for them, except they don’t even need that.

March 19, 2012 @ 6:21 am | Comment

“You have it all wrong…..once again. Media in the US are in competition. They have every reason to fact check on other outlets, because having egg and on someone else’s face is good for business.”

Too simple, too naive. They are in competition for readership yes, but only under a set of fundamental unspoken rules. No media would report things that hurt the bottom lines of capitalistic system or the fundamental legitimacy of the US government, which is completely understandable because media re business entities in the US, and the capitalist system and the stability of the US system allow them to operate and thrive.

All Wall Street firms are in competition of course. But they are also united in opposing cutting bonus for executives, opposing raising corporate taxes, etc.

The factions within the CCP are in competition. But they are also united in maintaining the CCP dictatorship.

Just because two bodies are in competition does not mean they are enemies in every aspect.

Read Mao’s ‘Theory of Conflicts’. There are something called Internal Conflict, and External Conflict. Something called minor conflict and major conflict. How to distinguish those and harmonize the relationships of those are important.

You need to read more.

March 19, 2012 @ 8:10 am | Comment

While Hongxing’s comment above may sound a bit hokey, pressure to get advertisers, and later, corporate ownership, are perennial threats to the freedom of “the Western media”. However, being aware of those biases is one thing; using them to wholly discount entire news articles as products of some coordinated nefarious plot is another. The most you can say is that on certain stories there are isolated biases at play.

That being said, I do somewhat agree that some media institutions have serious bias issues. For example, the Economist has a heavy, heavy neoliberal policy bias and neoconservative foreign policy bias; the Washington Times is owned by the Moonies; the Wall Street Journal is like the Economist but without the eloquence. From the left, the Washington Post, as befits its readership of civil servants and DC politicos, is pretty center-left on everything.

What I think most people here can agree on is that it is not bias itself that is troubling but bias left unstated that poisons a healthy discourse. I have no issue with Mother Jones or Reason, for example, because they wear their colors on their sleeves. But when I read news, not editorial, articles in the Economist on other governments that might as well state “Ricardan liberalism uber alles” over and over and over again…

March 20, 2012 @ 1:17 am | Comment

Yes, the media in general may subscribe to a set of fundamental rules. But they do so because they choose to do so, and because their consumers do so. Any outlet of any media are free to subscribe to a different set of rules, or to a set that their consumers do not approve of. Not a great business model, but they are free to do as they please. Factions within the Ccp might compete, but they must stay within its confines. There is no ‘ free to do so as they please’. That would be the fundamental difference, though it is likely no longer perceptible to someone who as drank the kool aid as wholeheartedly as you.

How do you “hurt the bottom line of capitalistic systems”, pray tell? Are americans en masse likely to seek a non-capitalist system? Heck, are chinese people likely to seek a non-capitalist system at this point, knowing what they know? Is there an issue with the fundamental legitimacy of the US government? There may well be with the Ccp system, in case you haven’t noticed ( and you probably haven’t).

I agree there should be some overhaul of the pay structure of the financial sector. There may well be a role for regulatory agencies in any such overhaul. But that is a far cry from the ‘down with the US government’ nonsense that people like you seem to espouse.

You are correct that competitors need not be enemies in every respect. So it is extremely curious why you feel the media can’t do their job unless they decry everything about the government. Nothing like a little logical inconsistency to add to your savory mix.

I think you’d do well to stop the Mao worship, and learn to think for yourself. Never too late to start, even for types like you.

March 20, 2012 @ 1:35 am | Comment

Btw, #40 was for red star, of course. T-co weighed in in the interim.

I agree with t-co. And I’ve said this many times before. There is news. And there is opinion. To complain that someone’s opinion is biased is akin to complaining that the sky is blue. What else did you expect?!?

News should be “objective”. But with anything in life, caveat emptor. So if you read NYT vs wsj, you should be aware not only of what you’re reading, but where you’re reading it. And if you still get duped, it’s your own damn fault. On top of everything else, people seem keen to blame others rather than owning it themselves these days. Sign of the times. Though I must say I’ve been amusing myself watching fox news and msnbc back to back. Funny stuff.

March 20, 2012 @ 1:47 am | Comment

@ SK

Along this line of thinking is a golden quote from the British sitcom Yes, Minister:

Hacker: Don’t tell me about the press. I know exactly who reads the papers: the Daily Mirror is read by people who think they run the country; The Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country; The Times is read by people who actually do run the country; the Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country; the Financial Times is read by people who own the country; The Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country; and The Daily Telegraph is read by people who think it is.

Sir Humphrey: Prime Minister, what about the people who read The Sun?

Bernard: Sun readers don’t care who runs the country, as long as she’s got big tits.

March 20, 2012 @ 5:03 am | Comment

To t-co,
That is a good one. Though my lack of familiarity with British print journalism means I’ve likely missed about 90% of the joke. My viewing spectrum consists of not much more than little Britain and top gear.

March 20, 2012 @ 5:46 am | Comment

@t_co
Brilliant! Forgotten how funny Yes, Minister was!

March 20, 2012 @ 7:53 am | Comment

I think the Dictionary of Psychiatric Disorders has yet to catch up with the digital age, as there is no definition of an individual who provides a truly excessive number of links to make a very minor point.

Provide a definition, contribute to the advancement of medical science and jump a few pay grades.

@expat. I suggest a good session on google earth. You should be able to locate an uninhabited coral atoll somewhere which you could declare your very own nation state, and you could then run round in baggy pants to your hearts content.

Anyway, it is nice to know that you are prospering in an unregulated state of nature in the PRC.

March 20, 2012 @ 8:06 am | Comment

Expats entry truly belongs in some future digital archive. Leaves the HH crowd in the dust.

March 20, 2012 @ 8:10 am | Comment

Yes, the media in general may subscribe to a set of fundamental rules. But they do so because they choose to do so, and because their consumers do so. Any outlet of any media are free to subscribe to a different set of rules, or to a set that their consumers do not approve of. Not a great business model, but they are free to do as they please.

Yes, the vast majority of North Korean citizens do not voice their disagreements with the government openly. But they do so because they choose to do so. Any North Korean citizen is free to subscribe to any different set of religious beliefs- not a smart way to conduct yourself in North Korea, it may even get you killed – but ultimately they are free to do as they please.

March 20, 2012 @ 8:12 am | Comment

Some of those are brilliant:

“Children are now required to ride in child safety seats.”

Curses! I had hoped to rid myself of this infernal squalling babe by slamming my brakes on!

“Speed cameras are being installed at intersections.”

Oh no, not at my beloved intersections! That’s where I commit all my worst crimes!

“Wearing baggy pants is illegal.”

AND unattractive.

“Americans are now required to have a passport to visit Canada and Mexico.”

Whaaaat? Americans need passports to visit separate sovereign states? Surely not!

“Background checks are required for gun buyers.”

This one is clearly ridiculous: any shifty-eyed vagrant with $100 and a crack pipe should be allowed a gun!

March 21, 2012 @ 10:54 am | Comment

@ SK

Don’t worry, you’re still ahead. Besides that tv show, my exposure to British culture is mostly limited to Red Dwarf, Robot Wars, and Chicken Tikka. Oh, and Chef. Chef was bloody amazing.

@ Mike

Ah, the good old days of high school debate, sitting around a tiny laptop watching the entire first season of Yes Minister when we should have been prepping for the next day’s rounds…

March 21, 2012 @ 3:13 pm | Comment

@HX – “Choosing” not to have you and your family sentenced to tNorth Korea’s version of the GULAG (at the very least) is a rather strange definition of free choice.

March 21, 2012 @ 7:04 pm | Comment

To red star,
A limp response as usual. First, we’re not talking about north Korea, so only you will know why you’d bring it up here. Relevance, thy name is not red star. Second, as Gil notes, the threat of hard labour (or worse) means that north Koreans aren’t free to do as they please. I mean, Chen guangcheng was obviously “free” to shine a light on forced abortions, assuming you ignore the unjust imprisonment and ongoing illegal detention. Ai weiwei was clearly “free” to bring attention to the children killed in the Sichuan earthquake, assuming you ignore the trumped up charges and secret detention. To most sane people (don’t worry, you’re excepted), “free” doesn’t include those Ccp accoutrements. Sometimes I wonder why you bother with such pathetic arguments. But I guess nothing is too lame for folks like you.

Btw, why no stupid red star response to the other parts of #40? LOL.

March 22, 2012 @ 6:00 am | Comment

“Any North Korean citizen is free to subscribe to any different set of religious beliefs- not a smart way to conduct yourself in North Korea, it may even get you killed – but ultimately they are free to do as they please.”
Errr, doesn’t this actually tell us that they are, in fact, NOT free do do as they please? Or is there some other definition of freedom of choice I’m missing here?

March 22, 2012 @ 8:12 am | Comment

Why is a North Korean not choosing to voice his opposition to government not a result of his freedom of choice? He has two choices: oppose government, or not oppose government. He chose not to oppose government.

Why is that any less of a choice than a US media outlet choosing not to opposite capitalism?

March 22, 2012 @ 9:20 am | Comment

@ SK

Regarding the “capitalist system” that HX touches on, I think he is referring to the many instances where stories have been canned/copy has been edited to please advertisers or corporate owners.

While really 牛逼 papers like the Times (New York and London versions), WaPo, WSJ, et al might not need to bow down before advertisers, smaller papers usually do so. For example, Gloria Steinem once wrote a long essay about her time at the helm of Ms. magazine, a feminist paper, where she had to can many stories relating to the carcinogenic effects of female hair dye and hygiene sprays because Procter & Gamble was her top advertiser.

However, simply citing a litany of anecdotes is not nearly enough to prove a coordinated effort of censorship across media publications. And perhaps if we use such a systemic criterion of proof then such allegations of a conspiracy are unprovable. In contrast to the hamfisted directives of the Central Committee, Western “censorship” has a relative paucity of documentation. Therefore discussing this strain of argument is probably unproductive.

What *would* be productive would be to think about how to build a better system going forward. One thing I have always been interested in is speeding up the news cycle while fragmenting the media into a model approaching citizen journalism; when the market standard for news stories is to have a report within 5 minutes of the event occurring, and every videographer can put it up on youtube, then it will naturally be very difficult for a centralized news bureau to push any sort of coordinated line.

March 22, 2012 @ 10:16 am | Comment

To t-co,
The example you cited is very plausible. To me, it represents a business decision. Does it mean that a story potentially worth telling ends up going untold? Yes. But does it represent any systematic censorship (in particular, government censorship) being at play? No. And I think we are in agreement. Do I think “western news media” have room for improvement? Absolutely. But do the current constraints on western media in any way mitigate, justify, or absolve the ccp’s role in stifling Chinese freedom of speech and freedom of press? Absolutely not. But the usual suspects continue to conflate the two, for reasons that can only be apparent to them.

March 22, 2012 @ 12:37 pm | Comment

About “expat”‘s entry:

Clearly about half the entries are ridiculous and about another 30% iffy. Still, there are lots of things in there that are truly, truly disturbing.

Not that anyone wouldn’t agree. One recent development is that now murkans of all political persuasions as well as furriners can all agree the US is going to hell in a handbasket :)

March 22, 2012 @ 5:20 pm | Comment

@HX – Amazing logic. You have totally convinced me. Previous to reading your wise words I had been mislead by the idea that people who did things only because they would be killed/imprisoned otherwise were not acting out of free will. Now I see the truth: the next time you hear someone complain about being locked up simply for speaking the truth just remember – they chose to be there!

March 22, 2012 @ 8:29 pm | Comment

To 53,
When you refrain from criticizing government for fear of personal harm and all manner of reprisals as we know that governments like NK and the ccp are capable of (as my earlier examples have shown), that is not an exercise in freedom, but in self-preservation.

Why would US media want to “oppose” capitalism in the first place? Just because you’re nuts doesn’t mean they need to be. And I suspect even Chinese people are supportive of capitalism. So I have no idea what you are going on and on about.

And if someone in the US media did happen to oppose capitalism, they wouldn’t get sent to a labour camp. If someone in NK chose to oppose the government, they would be lucky to just get hard labour. Does that help you comprehend the difference, or do I need to speak even more slowly?

March 23, 2012 @ 12:58 am | Comment

Huanqiu Shibao explains neatly as to how people under a dictatorship make choices, or have options.

March 23, 2012 @ 1:18 am | Comment

To red star,
It’s been a pathetic display with you trying to make a lame argument. So let me make it for you, and show you precisely why it is lame.

NKoreans choose not to criticize their government because of “fear”. You like to think media choose not to criticize capitalism because of “fear”. A-ha, you say. Choices borne of “fear”… They must be the same. That’s all you’ve got.

But are they really the same? First, fear of death or gulags is hardly the same as fear of losing an advertiser, or even a job. Second, you have no basis to suggest that anyone criticizing capitalism would risk their ads or their jobs. And third, you have no basis to infer that anyone would want to criticize capitalism in the first place. So you are really up the creek without a paddle. Time to try some other asinine argument, cuz this one has gotten you nowhere as usual.

March 23, 2012 @ 1:44 am | Comment

“Why is that any less of a choice than a US media outlet choosing not to opposite capitalism?”

Errrrr….dunno, mate. Methinks this line was a bit of a pointer tho’
“…not a smart way to conduct yourself in North Korea, it may even get you killed…”

I’m not sure how familiar you are with freedom of choices but “My way or death” doesn’t really do it for me.

March 23, 2012 @ 7:38 am | Comment

“And third, you have no basis to infer that anyone would want to criticize capitalism in the first place.”

?

March 23, 2012 @ 9:32 am | Comment

You’re right, poor word choice on my part. Rather than “criticize capitalism”, I should say “oppose capitalism” instead.

March 23, 2012 @ 2:58 pm | Comment

Just because risking your life, makes it not a choice? You have a choice to stay alive, or risk your life for bigger reward. Whatever decision you make, that is a choice, made under free will, clear and simple.

Mao risked his life fighting for the top man in China, that was a choice.
A suicide bomber risks his life fighting for something he believes in, that is a choice.
A North Korean did not risk his life by speaking up against the North Korean regime, that also is his choice.

Why is it not a choice?

March 24, 2012 @ 10:03 am | Comment

Gordon Chang reported in Forbes that Bo sent a couple of hundred Chonqing security forces to surround the US consulate in Chengdu when Wang attempted to defect. Does anyone know if this is true? If so it would go a long way towards explaining why Hu & Co. came down so hard on Bo – I mean, who wants to go back to the days of provincial warlords with private armies? It’s bad enough that the Public Security Bureau is utterly lawless, but at least they follow the SG’s directions.

By the way, did anyone else notice this week that the Government just published a loyalty oath that will be required of all lawyers in China? They will henceforth be required to pledge loyalty to the rule of law and to the Party. Of course, only in an Orwellian country is that possible. “The Party is the the Law and the Law is the Party.” Oh, of course.

March 25, 2012 @ 3:00 pm | Comment

“Just because risking your life, makes it not a choice?”
—actually, it is your life, and I agree you can choose to do what you want with it. So a North Korean choosing to protect his life rather than criticizing the NK government is indeed making a choice. That’s not the problem. The problem is that he has to make such a choice at all. In other words, criticizing the government and losing your life are not commensurate, proportionate, or equitable choices. I can’t believe I am still having to explain such a basic concept to you. “choosing” to be a “suicide bomber”, by definition, means you are making a choice to die. “choosing” to “criticize government” should NOT mean the same thing, although it does in North Korea, which is one of the things that’s wrong about North Korea.

Furthermore, you have not even come close to reconciling the North Korean example with your run-of-the-mill media rant. You could start by working your mind slowly through the last paragraph of #60.

March 26, 2012 @ 5:58 am | Comment

To Doug,
I don’t know precisely how many security folks were sent to the US consulate, but they certainly had a presence there while Wang was on the premises. The timing of that incident in relation to Bo being sacked certainly suggests some relationship, although it’ll be impossible to know the cause-and-effect machinations within the CCP.

And yes, read about the new lawyer oath. It is quite a joke. Although it simply reaffirms what has always been the truth: “the law” is not the law of the land; “the Party” is.

March 26, 2012 @ 6:03 am | Comment

@SK

Friends tell me that a lot of this goes all the way back to the shit Bo pulled as a Red Guard. Some other princelings have stated (off the record, of course) that Bo is “less than human” (不是人) for his denunciations/disowning of his own father and mother during that time period.

While that is understandably an extreme anecdote, within the pool of people consulted for viewpoints on the next generation of leadership, the consensus appears to be that Bo has too much selfish ambition coupled with too little ideological/moral restraint to be in the PSC. This is not to say that any other member of the PSC has any less ambition, but usually they are much better at being “team players” than Bo ever was.

Something puzzles me about the whole Bo affair, though. Why couldn’t he have just played a more patient game in Chongqing? Trends in China would eventually favor the emergence of a strong leader willing to take deep risks in reform.

What looms over the horizon of the leadership transition is that this upcoming generation of leaders must tackle how to smoothly shift China to a consumer-driven economy. This task has been botched in Japan (1990), South Korea/Malaysia/Thailand (1997), the United States (1929)… and delayed/become a ticking time bomb in Germany, Taiwan, and Singapore. Those countries had the additional shock absorbers of a democratic system and mature capital markets–China does not. Put bluntly, no country, no matter how well-governed, has ever made this transition without a lot of pain. Chances are China’s transition would be painful as well.

In this regard, you have to think of the 586 billion dollar Chinese stimulus package put together in 2008 as the death knell of Bo Xilai’s campaign for the Politburo. The package essentially pushed China’s day of reckoning well past the 2012 Politburo handover–meaning that there would be no broad demand for a “New Deal” before the handover, meaning that Bo would never find a national audience that appreciated his message with sufficient urgency to outmuscle the traditional power structures of the Party.

From his reaction to the stimulus package (enthusiastic gorging of his own pet projects at the trough of cash) I doubt Bo ever figured out the correct response to such a move–lie low past this handover, then wait for shit to blow up in 2015-2016 and make his move at the 2017 Party Congress, using the tactic of building a crop of younger functionaries to lead a counter-push. This was basically what Deng did, using Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang, between 1976 and 1980.

March 26, 2012 @ 10:23 am | Comment

@ SK

A corollary: Messrs. Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang are historically savvy enough to realize that Bo could become a Deng-like figure if he retains the ability to speak to a national audience (even if that “speech” is quiet lobbying of ministry-rank officials/the PLA like Deng did in the 1970s). Therefore in order to make sure that their painful moves to restructure the Chinese economy don’t unseat themselves, they will essentially muzzle Bo. Imprisoning him might be piss off the Party elders who want to show the world that China has advanced beyond the tactics of Leninist power struggles. Hence they will need a leash on Bo.

March 26, 2012 @ 10:33 am | Comment

Just read the first 100 pages of Shaun Rein’s book, The End of Cheap China and had to stop. It’s not terrible. It’s just boring as shit. I’m going to give it two stars on Amazon. Anyone else read it? Are you going to review it on Amazon?

March 26, 2012 @ 11:24 am | Comment

To T-co,
you know far more about this stuff than I do. The reasons why Bo acted as he did may never be known. The open campaigning that he did was clearly a departure from the accepted method of how to play the game within the CCP. One end of the spectrum would be that he was simply unaware of the time-honoured acceptable way. The other end of the spectrum would be that he was so full of hubris as to assume that the rules didn’t apply to him.

I agree that China will be moving towards greater consumption as the driver for their economy. How that transition works out in the next few years will be fascinating to watch.

March 26, 2012 @ 1:28 pm | Comment

@SK

Well, I think the reasons are pretty easy to guess at. Bo was gambling that the rising pain in China from the current model would make his 2012 campaign successful, the rules be damned. He was banking that his model would just draw so much traction that his entry into the PSC would become a fait accompli. But the 586 billion dollar stimulus package delayed a lot of that pain. I’m not sure if Bo ever understood that fact.

As for China’s shift, my personal emotions on it veer something between morbid fascination and being scared shitless. I’ve already helped several friends’ parents move their assets out of China… have many more lined up.

March 26, 2012 @ 2:44 pm | Comment

Marsupial, I am not going to buy the book and I’m not going to review it on Amazon. The point of the book is already obvious — China is now expensive — and I don’t have to read a book about it. Reading SR’s columns is painful enough. To shell out money to read an entire book by him is not an appealing prospect. If anyone here has read it I’d like to hear what they have to say.

March 27, 2012 @ 4:01 am | Comment

The Epoch Times take on the Bo putsch
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/NC27Ad04.html
Would make a cracking movie…but not 100% sure there isn’t some baggage involved in the article’s sources that might paint a different picture from reality.

March 27, 2012 @ 6:41 am | Comment

Friends tell me that a lot of this goes all the way back to the shit Bo pulled as a Red Guard. Some other princelings have stated (off the record, of course) that Bo is “less than human” (不是人)

It’s an old Chinese rule (beyond the CCP) that you are less than human once you’ve been toppled. I hope that Bo Xilai‘s fundamental human rights will be respected, even if he showed no concern for those of others.

March 27, 2012 @ 9:15 pm | Comment

[...] long believed Bo Xilai to be a very unpleasant man, I suggest that we take allegations that he was less than human with a pinch of salt. It’s an old Chinese rule that people turn out to be monsters, once they [...]

March 27, 2012 @ 11:19 pm | Pingback

Now that Bo has face-planted off his pedestal, the obligatory stories about his misdeeds are starting to surface. It seems his anti-corruption initiatives may have employed some rather unsavoury tactics, including healthy helpings of police brutality and “confessions” extracted with torture.

You gotta hand it to the CCP. They sit idly by while these alleged transgressions were taking place. Now they air the dirty laundry long after the fact. What a terrific system!

Though I agree with JR. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Even if Bo ran roughshod over the legal rights of others, his own legal rights deserve to be respected. And even if respect for legal rights is not a long-held CCP tradition, it’s gotta start at some point. I wonder if Bo likes his chances that such respect will start in time to save his own skin.

March 28, 2012 @ 1:10 am | Comment

@ justrecently

Those comments were said in 2007, far before Bo was in any danger of being removed from office.

That being said the true punishment won’t fall on his head–he’s too popular for that. Pain will most likely come on his wife’s law firm and his son’s future business prospects.

March 28, 2012 @ 1:53 am | Comment

Also, the one precedent that the CCP has been pretty judicious in following is the rule that no physical harm may come out of the result of high-level power struggles. If Zhao Ziyang was allowed to live out the remainder of his life in peace and tranquility (including a paid-for membership at the most expensive golf club in Beijing) I doubt anything drastic will happen to Bo.

March 28, 2012 @ 2:47 am | Comment

Are those princeling quotes from a reliable source, t_co?

March 28, 2012 @ 2:50 am | Comment

AFAIK my friend had heard them from Deng Pufang.

March 28, 2012 @ 4:53 am | Comment

All red guards are not created equal. Bo was a princeling red guard, the ones responsible for the blood letting in Beijing during Red August in 66. This group started to oppose the CR when their own parents in the CCP elite became targets instead of the typical rightists, capitalists, and landlords of previous political movements. The grassroots red guards that took over afterwards were the ones that committed crimes against the CCP elite, and paid for it after the fact while the princeling red guards got off scott free and went on to become the new political elites of today.

March 28, 2012 @ 9:44 am | Comment

@ stickyrice

That is true to an extent, but many princeling Red Guards themselves suffered enormously in the later stages of the Cultural Revolution.

Some of them demonstrated backbone and paid for it… some of them ended up denouncing their own parents.

March 28, 2012 @ 12:45 pm | Comment

@ t_co – Fascinating, and plugs into something I have wondered about – the new leadership generation came of age during the CR, and would have been politically active during that time, yet their activities during that period are unknown. Still, the fact that such rumours only became current after Bo’s toppling does cast some doubt on them.

March 28, 2012 @ 3:51 pm | Comment

The slight lifting of this lid with Bo has made for really interesting speculations
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/NC29Ad02.html

Also murky is this http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-17539232
How many different ways can a man have died after being disposed of so quickly? Heart attack, alcohol poisoning and now…well, maybe just good old fashioned poisoning.
That’s the trouble with a heavily censored media – gaps are there to be filled with specualtion which then becomes, well, news.

March 29, 2012 @ 5:57 am | Comment

Re: Bo’s legal rights. Who gives a rats and that goes for his family also. Hopefully the reverberations will extend to his supporters and we get a really good blood letting/a bit of serious upper eschelon back stabbing which really upsets Party unity. Parasitic rent seekers turning on each other.

Legal issues have no place in this unfolding discussion.

Let’s see the same rules applied to the 08 types extended to their persecutors.

March 29, 2012 @ 8:37 am | Comment

@t_co

If denouncing your own parents is what qualifies as demonstrating backbone, then Bo Xilai certainly qualifies. That didn’t spare him jail time during the CR, which was unjust, but sure prepped him for the heavy handed tactics in Chongqing.

As for princeling red guards, I’m sure some of them have experienced hardships, but suffice it to say that in the end, their political connections kept them relatively unscathed compared to the grassroots red guards that were executed or went to labour camps. If your friend knows Deng Pufang, he/she should ask about Deng Xiaoping’s daughter Deng Rong’s role in the murder of Bian Zhongyun at Beijing Normal School’s middle school affiliate. Why were no red guards ever held responsible for this? Because the middle school students responsible were all children of the CCP political elite. China never really had a truth and conciliation process regarding the CR, and is condemned to repeat it. Bo simply took advantage of this fact for his own gain.

March 30, 2012 @ 7:34 am | Comment

@ SchtickyRice

I meant that the other way. Standing up for your own family in the face of overwhelming political pressure to do something terrible to them is what most people would consider backbone.

That question sounds like you are implying what happened to Deng Pufang is karma for something you think Deng Rong may be guilty of.

March 30, 2012 @ 3:53 pm | Comment

[...] they have been comprehensively covered by media including John Garnaut and numerous sites including Peking Duck where I blogged on Bo’s fall from grace just hours before BBC reported his removal as [...]

April 1, 2012 @ 7:47 am | Pingback

@t_co

This is not about karma at all. DPF did not deserve to be thrown out of a window and spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair, regardless of what his sister, or his father for that matter, may have done or not done. The real point is that the struggle between princelings and commoners is a continuing theme in Chinese society, from imperial times to current conditions today. The revolution simply replaced yellow princelings with red ones. The CR was just a temporary distraction, and the same families are now back in control. Despite that fact that China is not a hereditary communist dictatorship like North Korea, things are not all that different in this respect.

April 1, 2012 @ 12:44 pm | Comment

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