People call me a traitor

So says Li Chengpeng, described as “a writer and a blogger who has over five million followers on Sina Weibo.” In this shocking excerpt from a long article he wrote on the 2008 Sichuan earthquake he describes firsthand watching the horrors unfold in Beichuan, where he saw children trapped under the rubble of the tofu school buildings moving their fingers, pleading to be rescued. All of them died.

Li describes himself as a former Chinese patriot who had sucked in all the propaganda and lies verbatim. He describes how he was manipulated like a soft lump of clay.

I was a typical patriot before 2008. I believed that “hostile foreign forces” were responsible for most of my peoples’ misfortunes. As a soccer commentator covering games between Japan and China, I wrote lines like, “Cut off the Japanese devils’ heads.” I saw Japanese soccer players as the descendants of the Japanese soldiers who brutally killed Chinese civilians in the 1937 massacre of Nanjing. I used to curse CNN for its anti-China commentaries. I was one of the protesters who stood in front of the U.S. consulate in Chengdu and raised my fist after the U.S. bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade in 1999.

Now he wants to know how it happened, why some schoolhouses crumbled “like crackers” while others, built with the supervision of the PLA, stood unscathed. He wants to know what stands at the root of the problem, the graft, the corruption, the kickbacks, the sleaze. And by asking these questions he exposes himself as an agent of “foreign devils.”

A month after the quake, I returned to Beijing. One day I bumped into a respected journalist from CCTV, the state television news channel. We talked about the shoddy “tofu structures” that claimed many lives during the quake.

“Corrupt officials deserve to be shot dead,” I barked.

“No,” responded the respected wise man while gazing intently at me. “Tackling such issues in China must be a gradual process. Otherwise, there will be chaos again. After all, we have to rely on these officials for post-quake reconstruction.”

I used to have a lot of respect for that man. Now we are strangers.

Some people now call me a traitor. Some call me an agent of the foreign devils. But how can I be an agent of the foreign devils when I don’t even have a U.S. green card, when unlike much of the Chinese elite my child doesn’t drive a Ferrari or study at a prestigious foreign university, when I don’t own any real estate in the United States or Europe. I love my country, but I cannot love a government that is responsible for so many shoddy “tofu structures.”

He is still a patriot. He still wants Taiwan to return to its mother’s arms. But now he sees his patriotism in a new light.

Patriotism is about taking fewer kickbacks and using proper construction methods when building classrooms. Patriotism is about constructing fewer extravagant offices for the bureaucrats and building more useful structures for farmers. Patriotism is about drinking less baijiu (a fiery Chinese spirit) using public money. Patriotism is about allowing people to move freely in our country and letting our children study in the city where they wish to study. Patriotism is about speaking more truth. Patriotism is about dignity for the Chinese people.

I love this article. I love its love for the Chinese people. I love its drawing a distinction between being pro-China and being pro-corruption, the folly of believing you can only be a patriot if you accept carte blanche all the propaganda and injustices brought by venal officials who abuse their power. I love its definitions of true patriotism as opposed to blind allegiance. I love its honesty and the author’s willingness to challenge his own principles.

Read it. Cut it out and paste it on the wall. Refer to it whenever any idiot tells you it’s impossible to be critical of the Chinese government without being “anti-China,” a “China basher.” Li has exposed them as lemmings incapable of thinking for themselves even in light of the strongest evidence. This blind acceptance of all the government’s crap isn’t patriotism at all, it’s self-delusion and the surrender of one’s critical faculties. We all know that. But it’s wonderful to hear it from a former true believer who came to see for himself what the truth actually is. And that makes him a traitor and a threat.

______________

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: 144 Comments

If Wen Jiabao is the superego of the Chinese reform movement, Li Chengping has just become its id. Who is the ego? Who will be the one who ties all the disparate forces together with a coherent strategy?

May 26, 2012 @ 1:16 am | Comment

Also noteworthy: Li’s tribute to the honest construction supervisor whose six Beichuan schools all proved safe. “The mainstream media is prohibited from praising this man. They may not even mention his name.”

And the shocker:

“One evening two years ago, I received a call from him. He said he had been forcibly treated for fictitious mental problems and his wife had left him.”

I wouldn’t hold my breath for reform.

May 26, 2012 @ 2:18 am | Comment

Gou Yandong. Thanks for sharing this article. Very sad, but also moving.

May 26, 2012 @ 2:25 am | Comment

Great article. Nice to see a blind patriot become an enlightened one. Too many of the former, not enough of the latter, it seems.

May 26, 2012 @ 2:45 am | Comment

This is irrelevant to your post.

Nonetheless, I must say I find it interesting that Li Chengpeng mentions rich, privileged Chinese kids driving Ferraris.

Especially after what happened with a Ferrari car in an accident in Singapore recently.

May 26, 2012 @ 3:39 am | Comment

Now that China’s on the ascent, Chinese people don’t want anybody to burst their bubble. The implicit social contract between Chinese citizens and Beijing leaders is, people can enjoy the economic prosperity if turn a blind eye to extreme social control policies. I find once a country has had a highly unstable history, in China’s case widespread famine, violence, etc. when the situation improves, you don’t complain. Especially when the situation improves to the point you can drive a Ferrari. It’s happens everywhere under authoritarian regimes, as long as the oppression is happening to someone else, mind your own business.

May 26, 2012 @ 4:59 am | Comment

He presumably still understands that certain foreign powers are indeed a threat, and are responsible for many bad things that do happen to Chinese people.

I HIGHLY doubt the typical Chinese nationalist loves corrupt officials. I despise them far more than any of you do, I’m sure, but a true nationalist doesn’t let either side (bad foreigners or bad natives) off the hook because one just happens to do something ridiculous on any given day.

In fact almost all of the progress China has seen in the last 30 years is due to nationalists and patriots who realize that corrupt officials are just as bad as “foreign scum”.

May 26, 2012 @ 5:52 am | Comment

What is Scientific Democracy?

Democracy, whether in China or in the West, is a big and sensitive topic, both theoretical and practical. Generally speaking, democcracy can be interpreted in three different ways.

The first interpretation is democracy as a political system for a state, otherwise known as ‘democratic politics’. When interpreted this way, democracy is strong bound to classes, politics, and ideology.

The second interpretation is demcoracy as a organizational form, specific to an organization or an operation and its associated principles. Democracy in this sense serves a specific purpose, a specific organization, a specific politics, a specific class. Whatever it serves, it exhibits the characteristics of its host.

The third interpreation is democracy as a value system, a philosophy. Democracy in this sense is bound to ideology and classes.

These three interpretations of democracy are inter-related, complementary, and distinct.

No matter which interperation, democracy is specific, historic, dynamic. There never existed a form of democracy that is an abstract, supra-class, supra-history, permanent, and universal. To adapt to the economic development of capitalist market economy, the capitalist class created ‘capitalist democracy’. Capitalist democracy was historically progressive and revolutionary during the rise of capitalism. However, Capitalist Democracy was, from the very beginning, democracy for the few. It was a democracy based on a minority governing a majority. It was a democracy preconditioned on the protection of the economic interests derived from private ownership of wealth and property of the capitalist class. Therefore, it is limited, reactionary, hypocritical, and deceptive. For the proletariats and the workers, Capitalist Democracy is not real democracy. It is cloaked in a superficial apperance of popular representation, and in reality masks its class nature of a minority governing and suppressing a majority.

Socialist Democracy practices a people’s democracy, and is based on socialist public ownership system. It is a scientific democratcy. In the political ecosystem of socialism, all operations of socialist democratic politics, and the political operation of its governing political party must invariably be conducted under the principles of democratic centralism. Democratic Centralism is an organic unity between centralism under democracy and democracy guided by centralism. It is the most fundamental orgnaizing principle and operating system of proleterian political parties an socialism countries. The Chinese Communist Party, in its course of realizing Democratic Centralism, has continously solidified, systematizied, codified, and sinicised the principles of Democratic Centralism, and made great contributions to the theories of Marxist Democratic Centralism. The success of building the Socialist democratic politics under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party proved the scientific nature of Democratic Socialism.

In our country, the reason socialist democracy is scientific is that it is based on solid economic fundmentals, solid organizational fundamentals, solid social fundamentals. Of course, nothing is perfect in the world, and Socialist Democracy continues to improve itself as it matures.

May 26, 2012 @ 7:49 am | Comment

The Clock — is Math back???

May 26, 2012 @ 9:00 am | Comment

“Democratic Centralism is an organic unity between centralism under democracy and democracy guided by centralism.”
—just as a circle is a line that happens to go around in a circle. Dude, your little essay is the epitome of circular reasoning, using “reasoning” in its broadest and most flattering sense.

Rarely has someone said so little with so many words. But forgetting about any of the concepts bastardized therein, the essay simply fails merely as an essay. While the essay purports to define a “scientific democracy”, such a definition is never provided. So just as a writing exercise, it is garbage.

THe concepts, of course, are equally moronic…but we’ve been through all of that before. Don’t know if Clock is Math, but they do sound like idiotic twins separated at birth. And I highly doubt that China is “his” country. Much more likely that “his” country is the US of A.

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

To CM:
“but a true nationalist doesn’t let either side (bad foreigners or bad natives) off the hook because one just happens to do something ridiculous on any given day.”
—actually, that could be true. The thing is that most CCP types are far too ready to let CCP misdeeds slide…as you well know. And I think that’s Li’s point: someone willing to turn the other cheek for the CCP is not a true nationalist. Couldn’t agree with him more.

May 26, 2012 @ 9:40 am | Comment

In our country, the reason socialist democracy is scientific is that it is based on solid economic fundmentals, solid organizational fundamentals, solid social fundamentals.

And when will it begin to work, By the Clock? So far, it just tries to mask a totaltitarian dictatorship.

Democracy, whether in China or in the West, is a big and sensitive topic, both theoretical and practical.

That’s the onbly line that mentions the practical aspects of democracy in China – no surprise that the rest is all about “theory”.
Once “ordinary people” stop buying shares in corporations, and get force-fed with them in turn, I might agree that “is limited, reactionary, hypocritical, and deceptive”.

Socialist Democracy practices a people’s democracy, and is based on socialist public ownership system.

Which is nice for corrupt officials who fix the prices for farmland turned to development areas – and who decide who gets the lion’s share of the sales. When socialist democracy comes from the top, it is bound to be limited, reactionary, hypocritical, and deceptive.

People where I live use two different kinds of currencies – the euro, and a local currency, agreed to by those locals who use it. The same thing is happening in other regions in Germany. If the economy was based on public ownership, no such experiment could work, and the only way to put pressure on monetary and social systems to improve would be to write big, theoretical posts.

Once a system without freedom of contract and rule of law is called a “democracy”, you only have “the masses”, who are not supposed to have individual ambitions.

May 26, 2012 @ 2:07 pm | Comment

In China, Li Chengpeng is best known for his sports writing. Aside from a great many essays, he also wrote a scathing, best-selling exposé on Chinese football (soccer). Unfortunately for him, he is also known for having been arrested for patronizing prostitutes. During the last World Cup, following an exiting U.S. win over Algeria, Li wrote the following essay (in Chinese) praising the U.S. team’s effort and spirit – not his best work, but one of my favorites:

要敢动 不要感动 美国精神值得人们去学习

http://sports.shangdu.com/wz/2010_6/24/article-29316-1.htm

May 26, 2012 @ 3:11 pm | Comment

@Cookie Monster

‘but a true nationalist doesn’t let either side (bad foreigners or bad natives) off the hook because one just happens to do something ridiculous on any given day.’

I don’t think the author is trying to let ‘bad foreigners’ off the hook. You state that foreigner powers ‘are responsible for many bad things that do happen to Chinese people.’ So, in the interests of balance, how do you think the author could improve the article, which I summarise below:

I was an unquestioning patriot.
I was taught and believed that foreigner powers were dangerous.
I saw massive corruption and questioned my beliefs.
But I am still a patriot, and support use of force concerning Huangyan Island.
We should focus on domestic issues.
And foreigners are still bad and do bad things in China such as….

What recent examples would you add?

May 26, 2012 @ 5:51 pm | Comment

I think the key thing to remember in all considerations of so-called “China Bashing” is that the Party and the nation are two separate entities.

In other words, criticism of the Party is not criticism of China. Only authoritarian governments unshakably equate themselves with the state as a whole.

Furthermore, as I pointed out to Richard during our delightful afternoon tea the other weekend, Party members actually represent a minority of the population at 80 million. There are, in fact, more mentally ill people in China (110 million) than there are Partymembers.

However, you could be forgiven for regarding them as one and the same at least.

May 26, 2012 @ 5:51 pm | Comment

@Nars,interesting stats. This is what you get if you calculate party membership as a percentage of total population:

China:

Communist party: 0.06%

US:

Democratic Party: 0.1%
Republican Party: 0.9%

May 26, 2012 @ 6:25 pm | Comment

[...] best reaction to the piece so far comes from The Peking Duck: I love this article. I love its love for the Chinese people. I love its drawing a distinction [...]

May 26, 2012 @ 9:58 pm | Pingback

The thing is most people attack the party to attack China, i.e to destabilize the nation. They have no real interest in helping the Chinese people. In fact many key China-haters that are the source of most anti-Chinese propaganda despise the Chinese people.

May 27, 2012 @ 1:10 am | Comment

Wow CM, how many gross generalizations can you utter in one day? Between here and the Devil thread you must be gunning for a personal best or something.

Take Xilin’s stats: if you criticize the CCP, you are at most criticizing 1/16 of the population (and that’s assuming that all party members are true believers, and not in it just for the guanxi/nepotism benefits).

May 27, 2012 @ 8:53 am | Comment

“This is what you get if you calculate party membership as a percentage of total population…”

I think there are meaningful differences between “party membership” in China and the United States, especially with regards to admission standards, benefits & membership responsibilities. A simple comparison of membership rates probably doesn’t tell us much.

May 27, 2012 @ 3:43 pm | Comment

Apologies all. The figures I gave are incorrect. I missed off some zeros. My fault entirely, I should have checked them.

Party membership as a percentage of population:

China:

Communist party: 6%

US:

Democratic Party: 10%
Republican Party: 9%

Once again, my apologies for misleading people.

May 27, 2012 @ 4:14 pm | Comment

@Matt, I agree that there are stark differences between membership. The comparison shows that for whatever reason, be it difficult entry requirments or the responsibilities of membership, as a percentage of population, fewer people join the Communist Party than join the Republican Party.

May 27, 2012 @ 4:23 pm | Comment

Matt raises a good point about admission standards.

According to Xinhua, in 2010 only 3.075 million of the 21.017 million who applied to join the party were accepted. As a percentage, that is only 14%.

May 27, 2012 @ 5:07 pm | Comment

“China:

Communist party: 0.06%

US:

Democratic Party: 0.1%
Republican Party: 0.9%”

So… which can claim popular legitimacy and therefore be credibly taken to “speak for” the people? Is it the people who are voted for at regular intervals by universal suffrage or is it the self-appointed oligarchs who will shoot you in the back as you run away if you attempt to change the self-perpetuating system?

May 27, 2012 @ 5:33 pm | Comment

I don’t think a direct comparison of party enrollment rate between the CCP and US political parties is relevant. As others have said, the bar for acceptance is different.

In the US, even if only 19% are members of one party or the other, 100% have access to democratic institutions.

In China, the apologists like to say that within the CCP, “democracy” is at play…although you’d be hard-pressed to see it with the whole Bo fiasco. But even if you accept the initial assertion hook/line/sinker, that still leaves 94% of Chinese people who cannot avail themselves to “democracy”, even nominally. That to me would be the bigger and more relevant difference.

May 28, 2012 @ 2:33 am | Comment

Xilin
And foreigners are still bad and do bad things in China such as….

The US and much of the West is, at the very least, a strategic competitor. But it’s stated policy for them to contain Chinese influence, as part of a broader global strategy that strives to impede the growth and self-sufficiency of all major developing nations and blocs of nations (Russia, Middle East, parts of South America).

Likewise, Western firms and individuals are inclined to rent-seeking and are not at all invested in the welfare of the Chinese people. The influx of Western culture and the disease of West-worshiping are the result of the CCP’s lack of spine.

May 28, 2012 @ 3:28 am | Comment

Cheung
100% have access to democratic institutions.

On paper. The simple fact is, however, that 30-60% of eligible people don’t vote, which tends to mean only those with more extreme political leanings turn out.

That said the point is moot because “democratic institutions” have not been proven to be of benefit to anyone. As a package deal, that is, since I’m sure you will claim human rights and rule of law are exclusively democratic, and I don’t feel like going over why you’re utterly wrong once again.

if you criticize the CCP, you are at most criticizing 1/16 of the population (and that’s assuming that all party members are true believers, and not in it just for the guanxi/nepotism

There’s a fine line between criticism and propaganda designed to destabilize a nation. Too many people who make absolutely ridiculous claims against the “Chineee gubmint” have no clue what they’re talking about or have some kind of ulterior motive.

99% of all lines that include “the Chinese government is …” are simplistic if not idiotic.

May 28, 2012 @ 3:35 am | Comment

I think most people are well aware of the following:

The US and much of the West is, at the very least, a strategic competitor. But it’s stated policy for them to contain Chinese influence, as part of a broader global strategy that strives to impede the growth and self-sufficiency of all major developing nations and blocs of nations (Russia, Middle East, parts of South America).
Likewise, Western firms and individuals are inclined to rent-seeking and are not at all invested in the welfare of the Chinese people. The influx of Western culture and the disease of West-worshiping are the result of the CCP’s lack of spine.

But that’s wholly irrelevant to the question of whether foreigners in China share some sort of collective guilt.

Most of the things you’ve listed are the crimes of Western institutions, and only a certain subset of them. Granted, these institutions (the Pentagon, Western media conglomerates, investment banks) are powerful, visible, and extremely aggressive. But they in no way represent the entire Western civilization any more than unscrupulous Chinese manufacturers or hackers or IP thieves represent the entire Chinese civilization. Even if we established that these institutions stood in the majority, it’s still yet another logical shift before you can start assigning collective guilt to individuals within that civilization. Once you put aside ethnic and class biases, each of these logical shifts becomes very, very difficult.

Furthermore, I’d argue that China is not “West-worshiping” because the CCP lacks spine. People everywhere look for strength–strong models of growth, strong models of social organization, strong technologies, economies, and militaries–but it is not the CCP’s sole onus or responsibility to bring those things to the Chinese people. As has been mentioned before by numerous commentators here, the CCP is 6% of the Chinese people. How is it fair to make it so that only they are the ones to bear this cross of iron? If China wants to become strong, respected, then Chinese people should look in the mirror and start from there. Solve their own problems–from this perspective, the CCP’s greatest task ahead is not to build *spine*, but to show restraint, and nurture a civil society, even if it may feel politically uncomfortable doing so. This is not an easy task–I would argue that the United States did not have a truly independent, vibrant civil society until the bloodletting following Nixon’s resignation caused the FBI and CIA to dramatically scale back their domestic activities. But if China can make the shift from agarian communism to industrial capitalism, then I have every confidence that China can make this leap as well.

May 28, 2012 @ 5:51 am | Comment

t_co
But that’s wholly irrelevant to the question of whether foreigners in China share some sort of collective guilt.

I wouldn’t broadly accuse Westerners of being guilty of the disgusting crimes their governments commit, but it’s INDISPUTABLE that individual Westerners (relatively speaking) are the ones on the offensive and playing pawn in the “culture/civilization” wars that the people and institutions you name instigate.

It’s also indisputable that as far as being cronies and apologists of said entities, Westerners as a whole are more guilty. When’s the last time you saw an obnoxious, preachy column directed at the West’s institutions by a Chinese individual, that wasn’t some kind of reaction to provocation? When’s the last time you’ve seen a Chinese citizen claim that the PRC’s model of governance is the end-all-be-all of governments and social organization?

The thing about authoritarian governments is that there is, as many mention, a clear distinction between the people and its ruling political party. In democracies, there is no such thing. There’s no way to proceed logically from this point without either criticizing the electorate or the core ideas of democracy itself.

As far as individuals in the West go, some blame for the problem (poor relations between the West and China/rest of world) can indeed be ascribed to them. “They” are at best complacent and do not challenge the corporate/elite line on a wide range of subjects. But all of this needs to be taken into context, of course.

As far as where the onus lies for China’s development, the people have been taking part, of course. The CCP hasn’t been solely responsible for either everything bad or everything good that happens in China, which brings up a relevant point: in many cases the “horrible” things that happen in China, and which are pinned on the government, are committed by private citizens in China and not the government. This is another way in which the “CCP vs. Citizens” trope puked up by corporate/USGov rectums is manipulated to cynically prejudice their readership against China as a whole.

Likewise, China has already been in a decades long (if not longer) process of solving its own problems. But primary sector reform and building infrastructure is a lot less glamorous and newsworthy than political agitation. Similarly, over-acceptance of everything foreign is likewise not necessary for civil society to flourish. A pragmatic approach is always best, and the kind of excuse-making on the laowais’ behalf you see from the (allegedly hypernationalist) Chinese public is a sign of poor critical thinking skills and general ignorance.

May 28, 2012 @ 6:13 am | Comment

“But it’s stated policy for them to contain Chinese influence, as part of a broader global strategy that strives to impede the growth and self-sufficiency of all major developing nations”
—insofar as the US (and the world, for that matter) are in competition with China as well as with each other, of course policy is positioned such that each individual entity/state strives to make sure it stays competitive and doesn’t get wiped out. That’s not “containment”; that’s just competition. But the ongoing fallacy of suggesting that western nations are “keeping people down” the world over is just needless overuse of the victim card.

It is true that voter turnout can be terrible at different times and places. Alas, people have the right to vote but cannot be compelled to exercise that right. If you can vote and choose not to, then obviously one can’t bemoan the result. But it’s also not the fault of the system. Rights are there if you choose to exercise them; rights are not there such that you are forced to.

Democratic institutions are indeed a package deal, but in theory I guess you can go a-la carte. I suppose “human rights” and “rule of law” need not be the exclusive domain of “democracies”; but I’d love to hear of some real-world examples of authoritarian states which preserve human rights and sustain the rule of law. Even Singapore, which seemed to be the go-to example in the past, is moving to multiple parties and away from single family rule. In China at least, you’d be hard pressed to find human rights and rule of law that don’t get trampled the moment the CCP feels like it.

““democratic institutions” have not been proven to be of benefit to anyone.”
—scientifically? Probably not. Has a parachute ever been scientifically proven to be of benefit to anyone jumping out of a plane? I don’t think so either. My guess is most people would prefer a parachute nonetheless. My guess is also that most people would prefer having democratic institutions over not having them, if given the choice. What’s lacking in China is that choice.

“Too many people who make absolutely ridiculous claims against the “Chineee gubmint” have no clue what they’re talking about”
—nice unsubstantiated gross over-generalization yet again. You’re full of those lately. But I suspect most people on this board don’t speak with a southern drawl, and can easily distinguish the CCP vs China as a nation vs Chinese as a people.

“The CCP hasn’t been solely responsible for either everything bad or everything good that happens in China, which brings up a relevant point: in many cases the “horrible” things that happen in China, and which are pinned on the government, are committed by private citizens in China and not the government. ”
—that’s fair. But as the government, the buck stops with it. If private citizens are committing “horrible” things, it’s the government’s job to put a stop to it. Take the CGC case, once again. I can believe the central party did not demand that he be held in illegal detention. I can accept that it was the work of local bad apples. But to be aware of it and do nothing makes the CCP an accomplice after the fact, and counts her into the list of those culpable.

May 28, 2012 @ 8:41 am | Comment

@SK

One thing your post made me think of was the way that a substantial amount of the injustice that goes on in China today is not a result of the Party wanting to do something, but a result of special interests using the system the Party has set up to pursue their own narrow ends. This doesn’t absolve the Party of anything, since the relationship is mutual; the core of the system is that the Party is the only way to get anything, good or bad, done in China, and it prefers to use any means necessary to stay that way.

Harping on good anecdotes or bad anecdotes that arise from this system is not a productive way to advance debate. What is far more compelling is an examination of the systemic benefits or flaws of such an arrangement.

May 28, 2012 @ 9:05 am | Comment

When’s the last time you saw an obnoxious, preachy column directed at the West’s institutions by a Chinese individual, that wasn’t some kind of reaction to provocation? When’s the last time you’ve seen a Chinese citizen claim that the PRC’s model of governance is the end-all-be-all of governments and social organization?

Why would it be such an awful thing if some Chinese individuals did write articles like that? It’s not as if it could start a revolution, undermine social stability or whatever. Even if the intention was to destabilize “The West”, I don’t imagine any real harm could result apart from hurting the feelings of some people. It might even lead to some benefit, who knows?

May 28, 2012 @ 9:46 am | Comment

I love my country, but I cannot love a government that is responsible for so many shoddy “tofu structures.

Nobody ever defined patriotism as love for one’s government. Otherwise we would have to say that all CCP members prior to 1949 were traitors.

May 28, 2012 @ 9:50 am | Comment

Li Chengpeng is lucky to be living in a democratic country like China. If this were in the fascist USA, he would’ve been shot in point blank range by FBI agents, and his body made into pate from a Boeing airplane engine running on full speed.

May 28, 2012 @ 10:11 am | Comment

To T-Co,
agreed. Moreso than in democracies, the CCP’s way is the only way. So she has even less wiggle room to absolve herself of responsibility for the bad stuff that goes on.

I also agree that a global assessment is the way to go, rather than the nickel and dime route. The parameters for such an assessment might be cause for some debate. As well as who does the assessing.

To Peter,
exactly. A Chinese person who wants to criticize western institutions can get in line with all the westerners who readily do precisely that.

May 28, 2012 @ 10:26 am | Comment

SK Cheung
But the ongoing fallacy of suggesting that western nations are “keeping people down” the world over is just needless overuse of the victim card.

Care to substantiate this arrogant nonsense? I want to know just how tight the blinders are wrapped around your skull. I could similarly dismiss your claims of abuses against the Chinese people by the CCP as mere whining.

But it’s also not the fault of the system.

No, but it demonstrates a flaw in the idea.

I’d love to hear of some real-world examples of authoritarian states which preserve human rights and sustain the rule of law.

There are no real-world examples of any state that preserves human rights and sustains the rule of law but if you want one that’s relatively tame, try Singapore or Taiwan in the late 90s.

Has a parachute ever been scientifically proven to be of benefit to anyone jumping out of a plane?

I don’t think you understand the scientific process.

My guess is also that most people would prefer having democratic institutions over not having them

It doesn’t matter what “most people” prefer.

If private citizens are committing “horrible” things, it’s the government’s job to put a stop to it.

You just lost. I don’t even know where to begin on how this statement completely destroys everything you’ve tried to argue up until this point. Are you saying that the government is responsible for every single thing that happens within the borders of a state?

May 28, 2012 @ 10:39 am | Comment

Peter
Why would it be such an awful thing if some Chinese individuals did write articles like that?

It’s just dangerous to believe in absolutes and ideology, especially where government is involved. Look at where America’s blind, foaming at the mouth jingoism has gotten them.

May 28, 2012 @ 10:41 am | Comment

@xilin Agreed. My limited understanding is that it’s comparatively harder to be admitted to the CCP than US political parties.

I’ve never bothered to become a “card carrying” member of a US political party, but I think you simply have to make a small donation. I have “registered” with a party to vote in a primary election, but that’s simply a box that I checked while filling out my voter registration form. I think few Americans join a political party because there’s little (maybe no?) practical benefit.

May 28, 2012 @ 11:57 am | Comment

It’s just dangerous to believe in absolutes and ideology, especially where government is involved. Look at where America’s blind, foaming at the mouth jingoism has gotten them.

You may well be right, but I still don’t see why it would be a problem if Chinese people criticised Western institutions. If hostile governments are doing this to destabilize China and undermine it’s political system, why not retaliate in kind if it’s such a powerful weapon? Also, it’s not hard to imagine blind jingoism getting China into trouble given that the government actively fosters it.

May 28, 2012 @ 12:19 pm | Comment

“Care to substantiate this arrogant nonsense?”
—are you asking me to prove a negative (that western nations DON’T hold people down)? Come now. Logic 101, dude. The onus is on you to establish your point. I can wait.

“I could similarly dismiss your claims of abuses against the Chinese people by the CCP as mere whining.”
—that wouldn’t surprise me one bit. Except there’s lots of proof of those abuses…let’s start with CGC, shall we?

“No, but it demonstrates a flaw in the idea.”
—and what is the “flaw”? That people can’t be compelled to exercise their right to vote?

“try Singapore or Taiwan in the late 90s.”
—see, I knew Singapore would come up. And have you seen where they’re headed? Look at the multi party elections in Singapore. Look where Taiwan is now. Not a bad trajectory for China to emulate in terms of the evolution of human rights preservation and acquisition of the rule of law.

“I don’t think you understand the scientific process.”
—LOL. Is that the best you got?

“It doesn’t matter what “most people” prefer.”
—yes, we know, we know. It only matters what the CCP wants. Spoken like the gold-star CCP apologist that you are.

“Are you saying that the government is responsible for every single thing that happens within the borders of a state?”
—obviously not every single thing. If someone gets divorced, that’s not the government’s fault. If someone dies of a heart attack, that’s not the government’s fault. But if something bad happens that is within the jurisdiction of the government (like law and order, for instance), then ultimately that is the government’s responsibility. Failure to discharge that responsibility properly would be the government’s fault. That doesn’t mean a person committing murder or rape is the government’s fault. But doing nothing in response to a rape or murder (such as if a government institution like the police don’t do their due diligence in investigating those crimes) would be the government’s fault. And as I said, in CGC’s case, I am willing to stipulate that his initial illegal detention is not the central CCP government’s fault (though it certainly is the fault of the local government), but turning a blind eye to the illegal activities of lower levels of government is certainly the fault of those higher up the food chain.

May 28, 2012 @ 1:27 pm | Comment

“Patriotism is about speaking more truth.”, says Li Chengpeng.

http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2012/05/china-arrests-man-suspected-of-killing-11/

http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2012/05/sensitive-words-foreigners-and-cannibals/

That there unfortunately was a serial killer in Yunnan is not the point. Sadly, there are crazy people everywhere. But why is the CCP deleting weibo references to the case? Isn’t that speaking less truth? Wouldn’t that almost be…gasp…unpatriotic? Yes, I know that is readily apparent to most, but not all, people on this board.

May 28, 2012 @ 1:39 pm | Comment

“Are you saying that the government is responsible for every single thing that happens within the borders of a state?”
—obviously not every single thing. If someone gets divorced, that’s not the government’s fault. If someone dies of a heart attack, that’s not the government’s fault. But if something bad happens that is within the jurisdiction of the government (like law and order, for instance), then ultimately that is the government’s responsibility. Failure to discharge that responsibility properly would be the government’s fault. That doesn’t mean a person committing murder or rape is the government’s fault. But doing nothing in response to a rape or murder (such as if a government institution like the police don’t do their due diligence in investigating those crimes) would be the government’s fault. And as I said, in CGC’s case, I am willing to stipulate that his initial illegal detention is not the central CCP government’s fault (though it certainly is the fault of the local government), but turning a blind eye to the illegal activities of lower levels of government is certainly the fault of those higher up the food chain.

True. In addition the first key question any citizenry has to ask themselves, on a constant basis, is “what should our government care about?” Applying it to China today, we see that many, many Chinese citizens want the government to care about different things rather than just simply preventing riots and keeping GDP growth high via artificially lowered interest rates.

May 28, 2012 @ 1:40 pm | Comment

@SKC – Somehow you appear to have failed to see the point: When Chinese people express themselves to be generally happy about the state of things, this means they are happy with the CCP, but when people complain about a specific case, this is nothing to do with the CCP.

May 28, 2012 @ 9:12 pm | Comment

Peter
You may well be right, but I still don’t see why it would be a problem if Chinese people criticised Western institutions. If hostile governments are doing this to destabilize China and undermine it’s political system, why not retaliate in kind if it’s such a powerful weapon? Also, it’s not hard to imagine blind jingoism getting China into trouble given that the government actively fosters it.

The government does not foster jingoism. Chinese nationalism is the natural reaction to foreign provocations, they simply channel this sentiment to meet certain ends – often incompetently.

And there is definitely nothing wrong with criticizing foreign governments on reasonable grounds, but of course the CCP tries to keep things tame.

May 28, 2012 @ 11:52 pm | Comment

are you asking me to prove a negative (that western nations DON’T hold people down)

Like how you constantly ask people to prove that the CCP doesn’t “oppress” the Chinese? And no, you’re not being asked to prove a negative. You can likewise frame any argument as a negative. The onus is on you to disprove consensus and established fact.

I think what you’re looking for in your logic 101 textbook is “argument from ignorance”. Read up.

?Except there’s lots of proof of those abuses…let’s start with CGC, shall we?

I see your CGC and up you $30-50 billion funneled to the Mubarak regime by the West for torture and military occupation. You lose by a factor of some 50,000 or more.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/05/egypt-hosni-mubarak-trial_n_949099.html

That people can’t be compelled to exercise their right to vote?

Ugh, that democracy does not even begin to express the will of the people, much less their interests.

Not a bad trajectory for China to emulate in terms of the evolution of human rights preservation

In that case China still has 20 or so years of authoritarian capitalism to go.

Is that the best you got?

I don’t know, can you make any worse arguments?

It only matters what the CCP wants.

Nope. It only matters what is good for the people and the country, and stability is good.

But if something bad happens that is within the jurisdiction of the government (like law and order, for instance), then ultimately that is the government’s responsibility.

Good to see you pin the full blame of high crime rates in Brazil and the US on democratic government, the Iraq and Afghan Wars on democracy, mass starvation and millions of child deaths per year on India’s government, etc.

What were you saying again about regime change in China?

May 29, 2012 @ 12:02 am | Comment

t_co
Applying it to China today, we see that many, many Chinese citizens want the government to care about different things rather than just simply preventing riots and keeping GDP growth high via artificially lowered interest rates.

Do you really think that’s all they do? Many young Chinese want the CCP to heavily militarize, vastly expand their nuclear arsenal, adopt a confrontational stance toward neighboring territorial revisionists, and be more assertive on the national stage.

Aside from that, the people appear to be satisfied, for now.

May 29, 2012 @ 12:06 am | Comment

The government does not foster jingoism. Chinese nationalism is the natural reaction to foreign provocations, they simply channel this sentiment to meet certain ends – often incompetently.

What’s the difference between “fostering jingoism” and “channeling this sentiment”? In any case, you are wrong. The Chinese police were providing anti-Japanese demonstrators with eggs to throw at Japanese cars and visitors in 2005. The government was in the forefront until their ends were met, and they quickly brought it to a halt. They constantly keep alive memories of sensitive issues (we all know what they are) and periodically stoke them to cause distractions.

Richard has the flu and can’t comment very frequently at the moment.

May 29, 2012 @ 12:19 am | Comment

Richard
The Chinese police were providing anti-Japanese demonstrators with eggs to throw at Japanese cars and visitors in 2005.

I think you are proving my point, Richard. They provided the eggs to throw, not the will the throw them. I’m laughing by the way, throwing eggs is pretty insignificant. Who should we blame if Koreans are cutting their fingers, lobbing molotov cocktails, and beheading dogs in front of the Japanese embassy?

The Chinese police has more of a hand in CONTAINING the protests than anything else. Something Westerners may not understand is that it’s not just China who protests Japan. And why does China not have the right to remember its own history? Do they need to start removing the Nanjing Massacre or maybe all of World War 2 from their history books to please foreigners? The Opium Wars and foreign abuses during the late Qing?

Considering they are uniquely positioned in never receiving sincere apologies (some scripted nonsense from Japanese PMs are meaningless) or reparations for any of the crimes mentioned, it’s absolutely far to assume the relevant parties are not the least bit remorseful.

May 29, 2012 @ 12:24 am | Comment

“Like how you constantly ask people to prove that the CCP doesn’t “oppress” the Chinese?”
—since when have I done that? It is patently obvious to all but the most indoctrinated that the CCP routinely oppresses Chinese people wrt human rights and rule of law.

“And no, you’re not being asked to prove a negative.”
—then I guess this statement from #29 is good to go: “the ongoing fallacy of suggesting that western nations are “keeping people down” the world over is just needless overuse of the victim card”

“The onus is on you to disprove consensus and established fact.”
—consensus and established fact in whose eyes? Yours? Don’t make me laugh.

“I see your CGC and up you $30-50 billion funneled…”
—here we go yet again. How does talk about proof of CCP abuses lead to mention of Mubarak? When the argument starts to go south, start bringing up irrelevant comparisons. In fact, that will be the new litmus test for you: when you start to compare, I know your argument is down the tubes. Again, typical, and predictable.

“democracy does not even begin to express the will of the people, much less their interests”
—thus again demonstrating your lack of comprehension of the concept.

“In that case China still has 20 or so years of authoritarian capitalism to go.”
—hey, at least there is an end in sight. Say, will you be there to enjoy any of that authoritarianism, or will you just cheer it on from the comfort of the US of A?

“stability is good.”
—indeed. Stability isn’t the problem. The CCP is the problem. That hasn’t changed.

Absolutely, high crime rates are a government issue. The US war on drugs is a failure. The Mexican one ain’t going so well either. Childhood illness and poverty in India is a government issue. Just as food safety, shoddy construction, and poverty are government issues in China under the CCP. Not to mention, of course, the human rights stuff, and the lack of rule of law. Oh and the corruption. Oh and the pollution. So no, “democracy” doesn’t cure all that ails you, and that was never the point. Neither does authoritarianism, obviously. The point is that looking for “perfection” is not a realistic discriminator. Once you get that through your thick skull, you can weigh the pros and cons of each. The choice is clear. A CHinese people need is the freedom to make one.

May 29, 2012 @ 2:18 am | Comment

sorry…”all Chinese people need…”

May 29, 2012 @ 2:20 am | Comment

Do you really think that’s all they do? Many young Chinese want the CCP to heavily militarize, vastly expand their nuclear arsenal, adopt a confrontational stance toward neighboring territorial revisionists, and be more assertive on the national stage.

Of course this isn’t all they *do*. But those are the only ends they are trying to *achieve*. There are a multitude of means by which they achieve them.

When you look at the implicit promotion criteria within the Chinese bureaucracy, you’ll see that the only two consistent points that propel an administrative official (not advisory official, e.g. the MOFCOM, NDRC, or Foreign Ministry) upward are preventing riots and maintaining economic growth. Every other metric (environmental, elections, etc) fails a statistical significance test.

Officials aren’t stupid. These are the incentives they face, which means that they are the only things they care about.

In that vein of logic, your first three points (nuclear arsenal, confrontational stance, and militarization) all drive towards the same goal of being more assertive on the (inter)national stage. Perhaps that will be what the Party adopts as an “official” goal after the next congress, though I hope not. China shares a number of geopolitical similarities to Germany–too big for East Asia, but not yet big enough for the world. It took the Germans two World Wars to figure out the correct way to leverage their power into influence within Europe–looking at the EU today, we see its multilateral institutions and economic mechanisms give Germany indirect control over far more countries than its armies could ever conquer. I hope China can draw some lessons and pursue a similar integrationist model of foreign policy in East Asia.

May 29, 2012 @ 2:52 am | Comment

SK Cheung
the CCP routinely oppresses Chinese people wrt human rights and rule of law.

Nope.

the ongoing fallacy of suggesting that western nations are “keeping people down” the world over is just needless overuse of the victim card

Right, it’s a fallacy because you say it is.

consensus and established fact in whose eyes? Yours? Don’t make me laugh.

Everyone with a functioning brain.

here we go yet again. How does talk about proof of CCP abuses lead to mention of Mubarak?

Since you can’t remember your own argument, I equated your nonsense/idiotic claim of the West not abusing the human rights of foreigners with your less idiotic claim of human rights abuse against the Chinese population by the CCP. My mention of Mubarak accomplishes what your whining about CGC does several thousand fold.

You lose the point. Try again.

Say, will you be there to enjoy any of that authoritarianism, or will you just cheer it on from the comfort of the US of A?

More ad hominem from the idiot who always talks about “logical fallacies”.

The CCP is the problem.

Yes, the CCP is the problem because you say so. Care to make any more unsubstantiated claims?

Childhood illness and poverty in India is a government issue.

So should the people overthrow their government?

Not to mention, of course, the human rights stuff, and the lack of rule of law. Oh and the corruption. Oh and the pollution.

All of these are worse in India, with the exception of pollution if you go by PM2.5 – of course, at least half of this comes from desert storms, but I’m sure you’ll blame the CCP for the weather.

“democracy” doesn’t cure all that ails you. Neither does authoritarianism, obviously. The point is that looking for “perfection” is not a realistic

Yep. It doesn’t cure anything. Both systems are almost equally bad, like I said before. A transition one way or the other needs to be steady, sustained and non-disruptive.

A CHinese people need is the freedom to make one.

Unsubstantiated claim.

May 29, 2012 @ 3:20 am | Comment

t_co
Of course this isn’t all they *do*. But those are the only ends they are trying to *achieve*. There are a multitude of means by which they achieve them.

What do you think the role of government is and how much recourse do you think the CCP has to enact it? They are doing well or rapidly reforming on all fronts except pollution control.

When you look at the implicit promotion criteria within the Chinese bureaucracy, you’ll see that the only two consistent points that propel an administrative official

I have my doubts on this. Unless you have some kind of insider information, I doubt there is any concrete data to support this claim.

In that vein of logic, your first three points (nuclear arsenal, confrontational stance, and militarization) all drive towards the same goal of being more assertive on the (inter)national stage.

That point was about how the CCP moderates the stance of private individuals. It’s a warning to everyone who naively thinks regime change in China would automatically change everything for the better – we need only look at the example of Egypt and Iran to toss that kind of thinking out the window.

China shares a number of geopolitical similarities to Germany–too big for East Asia, but not yet big enough for the world.

China has absolutely nothing in common with Germany, except that it has a hostile and paranoid incumbent hegemon to deal with. China hasn’t reacted to American provocation anywhere near as badly as Germany did to Britain’s. Nor does China have any expansionist designs on the rest of East Asia, and anyone who argues otherwise is lying, stupid, ignorant or some combination of the three. Germany did not start out by ceding territory unilaterally to all of her neighbors, in fact her intents were just the opposite.

I hope China can draw some lessons and pursue a similar integrationist model of foreign policy in East Asia.

China has been conciliatory and integrationist. But her neighbors simply mistake it for weakness and it encourages ever more preposterous land grabs and infringements of Chinese interests. There isn’t much of a parallel, as Germany’s new government wasn’t stupid enough to give away 90% of contested land within a decade of consolidating power.

May 29, 2012 @ 3:32 am | Comment

“Right, it’s a fallacy because you say it is.”
—no, it’s a fallacy because there is no proof that western nations are “keeping people down”.

“I equated your nonsense/idiotic claim of the West not abusing the human rights of foreigners with your less idiotic claim of human rights abuse against the Chinese population by the CCP.”
—this sentence doesn’t even make sense. Furthermore, I think you have thread confusion, cuz the focus on the distinction between foreigners and Chinese people is fodder for the other thread. Third, I have no idea where you got “West not abusing the human rights of foreigners” cuz I never said it. I guess making no sense linguistically, making no sense in the course of the discussion, and inventing stuff I didn’t say are now your methods of choice for yet more obfuscation and excusing the introduction of irrelevant comparisons. Nice.

“More ad hominem ”
—hardly. Just asking some questions. So, will you be there to enjoy any of that remaining authoritarianism in the next 20 years? Or will you cheer authoritarianism on instead from the comfort of the US of A? Simple questions, really.

“So should the people overthrow their government?”
—that’s up to the Indian people. Just like a judgment on Chinese governance should be offered up by Chinese people. Not that complicated.

“All of these are worse in India”
—then maybe Chinese people won’t adopt India’s government…which is not a problem that is rooted in reality…and which doesn’t preclude Chinese people from adopting their own version of democratic governance if they so choose.

“exception of pollution if you go by PM2.5 – of course, at least half of this comes from desert storms,”
—half? Gimme a break. Is there a dust storm in Beijing every other day? Part of it is weather related. The rest of it, as well as all the other forms of water and air pollution, are on the CCP.

“A CHinese people need is the freedom to make one.

Unsubstantiated claim.”
—do you know why it’s unsubstantiated? Cuz the CCP doesn’t have the balls to ask the question. Neither do you, it seems.

“A transition one way or the other needs to be steady, sustained and non-disruptive.”
—then let’s get started. What are you waiting for?

May 29, 2012 @ 4:54 am | Comment

SK Cheung
it’s a fallacy because there is no proof that western nations are “keeping people down”.

Then how do you characterize military aid to Egypt and Saudi Arabia? At the very least, in your mind, America delayed Egypt’s democratic revolution by several decades, and that has inherent negative value.

So, will you be there to enjoy any of that remaining authoritarianism in the next 20 years?

Ironically, I probably will be.

that’s up to the Indian people. Just like a judgment on Chinese governance should be offered up by Chinese people.

There’s no “abolish the government” box on Indian ballots, last time I checked. Look what happened to the Sikhs when they wanted to escape from the Republic of India. So are you condoning violent revolution in India? This is question you always dodge – how do you propose the “Chinese people” should get rid of their government?

which doesn’t preclude Chinese people from adopting their own version of democratic governance if they so choose.

They don’t seem to want it all that badly.

The rest of it, as well as all the other forms of water and air pollution, are on the CCP.

You mean because any other government would have employed lower emissions development? The sheer amount of air pollution is the result of power production. China is less efficient than developed nations but is much, much more efficient than other developing nations. So you can likewise blame the people for using too much power.

As for your comment, “Is there a dust storm in Beijing every other day?”, this just displays total ignorance. First of all, dust storms aren’t the only source of dust in arid regions. PM2.5 is circulated from arid regions all the time. Second, emissions and dust storms produce different amounts of PM2.5. I’m going to ask what your major/occupation is now so I can employ some kind of analogy explaining precisely how ridiculous your rhetorical question is.

do you know why it’s unsubstantiated

No, the “need” is unsubstantiated.

then let’s get started. What are you waiting for?

So you’re trying to tell me economic development doesn’t pave the way for political reform? Maybe you know something all of the economic and political architects of East Asia don’t.

May 29, 2012 @ 5:30 am | Comment

Cookie Monster, have you sent off your entry to the 2012 Hidden Harmonies essay contest yet?

May 29, 2012 @ 5:37 am | Comment

The US prolonged Mubarak’s stay in power. That does have inherent negative value because it delayed Egyptians from availing themselves to democracy.

And congratulations. So when do you move back to the motherland and end the hypocrisy of singing the CCP’s praises without living under it?

Indians can abolish the current government by voting for another. If you mean abolish the entire system of government and move to an authoritarian alternative, is there much apetite among Indians for something like that? In the current framework, the only non-violent way for Chinese to rid itself of CCP authoritarianism is for the CCP to allow it. If the CCP doesn’t allow that, then in time, less appealing alternatives may occur, and it will be on the CCP’s head based on their own incalcitrance.

As for whether Chinese people would opt for democratic governance if given the choice, the only way to know is to ask them. And that question might start getting asked if economic growth (which is the CCP’s only bartering chip for legitimacy) progressively slows.

No one is reinventing the wheel. We are at this point now. What the CCP is culpable for is what it doesn’t do wrt pollution moving forward. Incidentally, that means enforcing its own laws, such that companies can’t illegally discharge toxins into rivers, or remove scrubbers from smokestacks.

PM 2.5 comes from natural and man-made sources. It seems Chinese authorities are making it a priority to reduce PM 2.5:
http://www.china.org.cn/environment/2012-03/20/content_24943830.htm

so either she is going to take on mother nature, or is finally acknowledging a man-made problem that they have overlooked until very recently.

Economic development can pave the way for political reform. The former is afoot; just waiting for the latter to get started.

In conjunction with Li Chengpeng, here’s another perspective on being a true patriot (and singing the CCP’s praises isn’t one of them):

http://www.rectified.name/2012/05/28/america-remembers-its-veterans-why-not-china/

May 29, 2012 @ 6:28 am | Comment

“Patriotism is about speaking more truth. Patriotism is about dignity for the Chinese people.”

http://tealeafnation.com/2012/05/chinese-local-official-rapes-nearly-100-young-girls-before-capture/

“In over 389,000 tweets on Weibo, netizens felt systemic problems were to blame for what amounted to a cover-up, or at least reflexive foot-dragging, from authorities predisposed to “shelter” one of their own.”…not so patriotic, it seems.

May 29, 2012 @ 7:15 am | Comment

Xilin
Cookie Monster, have you sent off your entry to the 2012 Hidden Harmonies essay contest yet?

I don’t know, have you sent in your resume to Fox News?

Cheung
Indians can abolish the current government by voting for another.

Not that easy, they’d have to vote to systematically strip all the lobbyists, oligarchs, etc of their power and disproportionate wealth if they truly wanted to make their lives better, but the chances of that happening are slim to none.

(which is the CCP’s only bartering chip for legitimacy)

Again, the CCP is responsible for far more than just economic growth. Security and scientific/technological development are two other big ones. That and massive redistribution of wealth is another thing that will probably keep them in power for a while to come.

Incidentally, that means enforcing its own laws, such that companies can’t illegally discharge toxins into rivers, or remove scrubbers from smokestacks.

And how is a democratic country better equipped to enforce said laws? Compare China to say India, Mexico or Brazil. The only thing going for the other three is that they have no real industry to speak of. Their enforcement of environmental laws is god awful. If anything private polluters would fear the iron fist more than they would a bunch of toothless, easy-to-bribe law school grads. In fact one of the best things Taiwan, Singapore and China ever did was wipe out large criminal organizations.

so either she is going to take on mother nature, or is finally acknowledging a man-made problem that they have overlooked until very recently.

It wasn’t overlooked. They just had few economically feasible solutions before now. China’s emission standards are good, but enforcement is shit like it is in any other poor country. The problem is that natural processes and man made pollution interact and both are made exponentially worse.

(and singing the CCP’s praises isn’t one of them):

Neither is singing the praises of hostile nations.

May 29, 2012 @ 9:32 am | Comment

Chinese nationalism is the natural reaction to foreign provocations, they simply channel this sentiment to meet certain ends – often incompetently

If the Chinese government thinks nationalistic sentiment helps them meet certain ends, then incompetently or not why would they not want to create more of it? In fact this is exactly what they do, it’s impossible not to notice this.

May 29, 2012 @ 9:54 am | Comment

Except they don’t “create it”. Should they erase Chinese history to suit the desires of thin-skinned foreigners?

May 29, 2012 @ 10:23 am | Comment

So basically, if Chinese almost overwhelmingly feel the same way about an issue it’s because that’s the only reasonable way to feel? It’s not that the government has managed to keep most people thinking within narrow boundaries on certain issues by pounding home the same messages again and again, it’s just that Chinese history is in fact less nuanced than the history of other places? Going on about the 八國聯軍 is a totally organic and natural response to new reports of foreign thuggery in Beijing that would be happening just as much if China had exactly the same history but didn’t have a propaganda department, Party committees in university, etc? Please forgive me if I’m strawmanning here, but unlike people like Pug_ster you don’t actually seem to be stupid, so I have trouble believing that this is really what you think.

May 29, 2012 @ 11:00 am | Comment

“Chinese nationalism is the natural reaction to foreign provocations…”
As in Hong Kong and Singapore? And maybe Taiwan?

http://www.atimes.com//atimes/china/ne23ad01.html

I also think you’ll find nationalism is a sentiment often stirred up by a governing party – especially one that has total control of what people read to form their views.

May 29, 2012 @ 11:59 am | Comment

Except they don’t “create it”. Should they erase Chinese history to suit the desires of thin-skinned foreigners?

So if some organisation (I was going to suggest the Dalai Lama’s government in exile but you can substitute the CIA if you like) were to create media articles for Tibetans to read, reminding them of particular historical instances which could reasonably be expected to inflame pro-independence sentiments, or make people feel pro independence when they were not already – wouldn’t it be reasonable to describe that as “creating” pro-independence sentiment?

You could call it “fostering”, “instigating”, whatever you like.

Even if some were to argue that “pro-independence sentiment is a natural reaction to the actions of the Chinese government”, I assume you would still attribute some of it to the actions of the CIA/DLGiE?

As for erasing Chinese history, the CCP invests a lot of energy and technology controlling information. They can’t afford to take a relaxed attitude towards history or current events. They are too busy managing their own people’s opinions to worry about thin-skinned foreigners.

May 29, 2012 @ 2:10 pm | Comment

@CM

“should they erase Chinese history to suit the desires of thin-skinned foreigners?”

Why not? They erase history to suit their own thin-skinned desires.

May 29, 2012 @ 2:52 pm | Comment

“Not that easy, they’d have to vote to systematically strip all the lobbyists, oligarchs,”
—if Indians so choose, that’s what they’d have to do. And they can still do it peacefully. They still have more options than Chinese people have with the CCP. And a better chance of doing it.

“Again, the CCP is responsible for far more than just economic growth.”
—and even then only partial credit. Remember, if you’re not going to lay blame at the CCP’s feet for the bad stuff, you can’t credit her exclusively for the good stuff. Besides, economic growth is the main thing that allows people to at least buy into the arrangement with the CCP. It’s the reward for putting up with all the other crap. If/when the rewards start to slow, it’s only human nature that the tolerance for crap will decrease. And people will start to seriously consider other alternatives.

“And how is a democratic country better equipped to enforce said laws? Compare China to say India, Mexico or Brazil.”
—so let’s look at that. You love your comparisons. The CCP sucks at something; ah but some democratic countries suck at those very same things. OK then, if it’s going to suck in both scenarios, would I rather be in a democracy, or in an authoritarian state? Seems like an easy decision to me.

“It wasn’t overlooked.”
—well, they were in no hurry to even disclose it, let alone deal with it. Then the US embassy in Beijing started posting results, and people on weibo went from asking ‘what the hell is pm 2.5′ to ‘why the hell is it so high’ to ‘why is our own government not telling us the straight goods and we need to get it from the Americans’…you know, the “speaking more truth” part that Mr. Li mentions about being a patriot. Then all of a sudden, Beijing is releasing results, and an action plan is spawned. If it wasn’t “overlooked”, then it was ‘didn’t want to look’ and ‘let’s ignore it and hope it goes away’.

“Neither is singing the praises of hostile nations.”
—true. Which is why I don’t praise the US because there are many things the US does poorly. But neither is that relevant to a blog about China. And the fact that the US does certain things poorly is also not relevant to discussing what CHina needs to improve, in any event. That’s one of your problems. Comparisons (when relevant, which isn’t often the case with you) can explain, but they can’t excuse. You use it exclusively for the latter. That’s not “speaking more truth”, but less.

To Peter #63:
good point. Chinese “nationalism” apparently percolates just beneath the surface, and that’s through no fault or manipulation of the CCP. Ah, but Tibetan nationalism, that’s all the work of the evil TGIE, CIA, NED, FBI…did I miss anybody?

To Narsf #64:
hey, you should know that erasing history that furthers the CCP’s purpose is not OK, whereas erasing history that embarrasses the CCP is patriotic to some people.

May 29, 2012 @ 4:46 pm | Comment

It’s become one of the most cliched outcry of victimhood by “China bashers” that they were wrongfully labelled “anti-China” simply for their (supposedly fair and just) criticism of the Chinese government. Yet no one has provided actual evidence for this other than post hoc ergo propter hoc.

Yes, they’ve voiced their criticism and got that label afterwards, but that doesn’t mean they’ve got the label because of that particular category of criticism. More likely than not, those people are called “China bashers” because — they are: In addition to their opposition to the Chinese political apparatus, they often maintain a whole array of unhealthy attitudes (such as irritation, impatience and — most of all — self-aggrandizing pity) to the Chinese people and society at large. Those attitudes seep through whenever they are “merely” criticize the government (or so they think), and people sense it. That’s how they get the anti-China label.

And to be clear, when I say “they”, what I mean is of course people like yourself, Mr. Burger.

May 29, 2012 @ 4:50 pm | Comment

http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2012/05/tiananmen-father-hangs-himself-in-protest/

Speaking of erasing history…

May 29, 2012 @ 4:57 pm | Comment

@ S.K.

Do you think it’s ever likely that the Party will recognise the atrocities of the Great Leap Forward p, the Cultural Revolution and the massacres in Beijing of 1989? Or do we believe that these failures are so intrinsically linked to the failings of the Party in general that to admit them would unweaned the fabric of their own existence?

May 29, 2012 @ 8:35 pm | Comment

To #66: Whatever. I am only called a “China basher” by a small group of Chinese guys living in the US who see China bashing absolutely everywhere, in James Fallows, in Charlie Custer, in me, in everyone who sees fault with any aspect of China’s political system or who criticises the likes of Yang Rui. Everyone who has read this blog steadily, and anyone who actually knows me, knows I am anything but a China basher or China hater. I’m not worried about the miniscule number of fanatics who recently referred to James Fallows as a “psychopath” and a “scoundrel.” These people are ignoramuses and see China bashing at every turn. Most intelligent people avoid such echo chambers and look at them as a rather bizarre product of ABC’s or Chinese all of whom have chosen to live in America and who damn it whenever they can. Who is the true basher?

May 29, 2012 @ 8:47 pm | Comment

Short version of WGJ’s comment: “I know you are, you said you are, but what am I?”. Basically, the only people out there using the phrase “China-basher” are people for whom all criticism of the Chinese government is “China bashing”. The people who they concentrate on are usually actually the most sympathetic to China – something they are too blind to see.

May 29, 2012 @ 9:15 pm | Comment

@ CM

What do you think the role of government is and how much recourse do you think the CCP has to enact it? They are doing well or rapidly reforming on all fronts except pollution control.

What I think isn’t really relevant for this question–it’s what the Chinese think, what they want. And they want a government that addresses structural inequity, corruption, inflation, environmental concerns, product safety, and if not rule of law, at least predictable, non-nepotism-driven government.

I have my doubts on this. Unless you have some kind of insider information, I doubt there is any concrete data to support this claim.

Just trust me on this. I wouldn’t appreciate being named for the sake of an online debate and my friends wouldn’t either.

That point was about how the CCP moderates the stance of private individuals. It’s a warning to everyone who naively thinks regime change in China would automatically change everything for the better – we need only look at the example of Egypt and Iran to toss that kind of thinking out the window.

Of course. This is kind of a strawman argument because I’m not really calling for regime change or democracy–I’m simply calling for a vision for the next ten years of China that is coherent, achievable, and also addresses the concerns of the majority of Chinese people. A regime is merely a means to address that vision, but right now no vision even exists, which is what is most troubling.

China has absolutely nothing in common with Germany, except that it has a hostile and paranoid incumbent hegemon to deal with. China hasn’t reacted to American provocation anywhere near as badly as Germany did to Britain’s. Nor does China have any expansionist designs on the rest of East Asia, and anyone who argues otherwise is lying, stupid, ignorant or some combination of the three. Germany did not start out by ceding territory unilaterally to all of her neighbors, in fact her intents were just the opposite.

If you look at 19th-century Germany, you’ll notice that the country didn’t have expansionist designs. While Bismarck was around (before 1895), they didn’t respond to any British provocations (not until the launching of the HMS Dreadnought in 1906). No, that isn’t the similarity. The similarity is that just like Germany, China is too large to fit with her neighbors, but not large enough to challenge the incumbent hegemon globally. Also, I might add that China, like 19th-century Germany, is a power with “one foot in the mud, and another in the sea”–a power with both substantial continental and maritime security concerns, spread across multiple fronts. This is no compliment. Wilhelmine Germany’s geopolitical situation was one of the most challenging of her era, and easily the worst of the three major rising powers (Germany, Japan, USA). The PRC’s position is likewise terrible.

This is why an integrationist approach is the best approach. Given how most of China’s potential peer competitors sit right next door to her and to each other, this means any Chinese aggression creates geopolitical problems for all of them, whose only common denominator is Chinese strength. That’s about as blatant an invitation to creating a counterbalancing coalition as you can get.

When the US deploys force into a theater of the world, by definition it will only tread on the interests of a single other “competitor” at a time. Russia, for example, is not threatened by basing US marines in Australia. China would not care too much about another Balkan intervention. The EU would not really give a shit about the Seventh Fleet making another jolly soiree through the Taiwan Strait. But if China deploys marines into the South China Sea, then China threatens India, Australia, Japan/SKorea/Taiwan (shipping lanes) and all 10 members of ASEAN. If China gives North Korea modern weapons, then China threatens Russia, Japan, and SKorea plus the United States at the same time.

This is where I think we need to clarify something:

China has been conciliatory and integrationist. But her neighbors simply mistake it for weakness and it encourages ever more preposterous land grabs and infringements of Chinese interests. There isn’t much of a parallel, as Germany’s new government wasn’t stupid enough to give away 90% of contested land within a decade of consolidating power.

Being integrationist does not mean being passive or conciliatory. It means pursuing your interests vigorously, but not unilaterally. Rather, it means finding as many neighbors who share your interests as possible, and then building institutions to bind those neighbors together to even support you when their interests are not at stake. A textbook example would be the Zollverein (Customs Union) created by Prussia following the Napoleonic Wars–it started off as a mechanism to encourage intra-Germany trade, but quickly turned into a mechanism to isolate Austria (Prussia’s historical rival) from the other German states.

Integration is not about giving up territory. Rather, it’s about identifying common pain points and seeking build coalitions against common rivals. For example, North Korea is a common security issue–but creating conditions for a rapproachement between North and South Korea, while making it very hard for Japan to pursue her interests in the matter (perhaps by controlling the negotiation process), could lead to attempts to stall the process by the Japanese, which would easily create a counter-Japan bloc in Northeast Asia. Likewise, the South China Sea could be changed into a mutual economic zone for all bordering parties, and then the mutual ocean management could be expanded to all the oceans of all parties, and ultimately aimed at Japan’s EEZ, by far the largest of an East Asian country–or it could be expanded to create a “joint maritime security force” protecting all shipping passing through the area, again giving Japan an issue of concern with ASEAN, especially Vietnam. Or another possibility would be to encourage the Japanese to take the lead on the Kra Isthumus canal project, bypassing the Singapore chokepoint, in order to poison Singapore/Japan relations. Or another move would be to force Japan to depress the Yen and hurt exporters across the region in an effort to fight off a concerted Soros-style attack on its ailing national finances–and then respond by shrugging off the IMF and forming an intra-regional bailout fund that excludes Japan and is centered on China. None of these moves are “conciliatory” in the least. However, these moves all serve one subset of Chinese national strategy–isolating its most powerful neighbor from the rest of the region.

The above would be just one example. There are more aims, and more moves to pursue, but integration is not conciliation, not in the least. And any one of these moves, in my opinion, would create better results than yelling about a useless rock in the middle of nowhere.

May 29, 2012 @ 11:11 pm | Comment

To #66: Whatever. I am only called a “China basher” by a small group of Chinese guys living in the US who see China bashing absolutely everywhere, in James Fallows, in Charlie Custer, in me, in everyone who sees fault with any aspect of China’s political system or who criticises the likes of Yang Rui. Everyone who has read this blog steadily, and anyone who actually knows me, knows I am anything but a China basher or China hater. I’m not worried about the miniscule number of fanatics who recently referred to James Fallows as a “psycopath” and a “scoundrel.” These people are ignoramuses and see China bashing at every turn. Most intelligent people avoid such echo chambers and look at them as a rather bizarre product of ABC’s or Chinese all of whom have chosen to live in America and who damn it whenever they can. Who is the true basher?

The funny thing is the people who really want to “hurt China” are probably too smart to pipe up about it, and the people talk about it all day are too dumb to actually do anything. The only vocal “China basher” who is even a remote threat to Chinese interests would be Art Waldron of the University of Pennsylvania, and even then, the man has an ego the size of a Mack truck, and made his bones being an apologist for Japanese war crimes, which makes him profoundly ineffective as a public intellectual. Finally, most Western public intellectuals approach China through the lens of “how will this affect the West” (duh) so trying to say they are bashing or not bashing on China is kind of like trying to judge the position of a ball on a left-right axis when its true trajectory is up or down.

May 29, 2012 @ 11:27 pm | Comment

To T-Co:
“What I think isn’t really relevant for this question–it’s what the Chinese think, what they want. And they want a government that addresses structural inequity, corruption, inflation, environmental concerns, product safety, and if not rule of law, at least predictable, non-nepotism-driven government.”
—Amen…and I’m not even religious.

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

What I find interesting about the wgj’s of the world is that they gravitate to “China-basher” labels either due to an intellectual inability to recognize the difference between China and the CCP, or are overcome by an indoctrinated willful blindness towards it. Hampered by the inability to logically defend the CCP’s actions on its face, they need to make it about the Chinese nation or Chinese people to insulate the CCP itself.

May 30, 2012 @ 12:36 am | Comment

Has anyone heard of The 4th Media (www.4thmedia.org)? They’ve got some new article up making Custer out to be some kind of Soros 5th columnist.

May 30, 2012 @ 12:41 am | Comment

@Xilin

Has anyone heard of The 4th Media (www.4thmedia.org)? They’ve got some new article up making Custer out to be some kind of Soros 5th columnist.

ROFL. If George Soros has any sort of fifth column in China, it would be state investment bank, CICC–the sweetheart fees Soros’ RMB funds pay CICC bankers is something like 50% more than even what the Goldman funds pay.

May 30, 2012 @ 2:03 am | Comment

RE 4th media: Yoichi Shimatsu — need anybody say more?

May 30, 2012 @ 3:53 am | Comment

What’s up with that website, anyway? How many of those “international voices” columns are used with permission? Seems like they want to mix in some respected names like Noam Chomsky in with the crazy. And do they actually have any kind of original content besides Yoichi Shimatsu’s little rant? Most of the handful of articles I checked seem to be uncredited content from Russia Today.

May 30, 2012 @ 4:14 am | Comment

MAC
, if Chinese almost overwhelmingly feel the same way about an issue

You need to substantiate this. Sounds like paranoia to me.

pounding home the same messages again and again

If by pounding home you mean occasionally bringing it up, yes.

Going on about the 八國聯軍 is a totally organic and natural response to new reports of foreign thuggery in Beijing that would be happening just as much if China had exactly the same history but didn’t have a propaganda department

Yes. Instead it’d be private individuals or companies bringing up the past, as they do in South Korea.

Mike
I also think you’ll find nationalism is a sentiment often stirred up by a governing party

I also think you’ll find China (and a few other nations) are exceptions.

Peter
were to create media articles for Tibetans to read, reminding them of particular historical instances which could reasonably be expected to inflame pro-independence sentiments

Except the TGIE has nothing real to go off of. They have to manipulate the facts to “inflame pro-independence sentiments”, and even then they fail miserably as anyone who notes the general apathy of Tibetans to the “cause” can see.

Not a very good analogy.

May 30, 2012 @ 5:17 am | Comment

My god, that rant against Charlie Custer is downright insane. Never seen anything quite like it.

May 30, 2012 @ 5:26 am | Comment

Cheung
They still have more options than Chinese people have with the CCP. And a better chance of doing it.

Are you willing to bet on that?

Remember, if you’re not going to lay blame at the CCP’s feet for the bad stuff, you can’t credit her exclusively for the good stuff

You’re being vague. I credit the CCP what they’re due, good or bad.

It’s the reward for putting up with all the other crap

The majority of Chinese citizens don’t feel like they’re “putting up” with anything. Not more than people in any other nation, at least.

OK then, if it’s going to suck in both scenarios, would I rather be in a democracy, or in an authoritarian state? Seems like an easy decision to me.

First, reading comprehension. China is better than any other developing nation as far as crime rates go. So democracy contributes to the “sucking”, as you’d say. You still need to prove that democracy is actually good for deterring pollution and crime. In practice, and not theory.

Then all of a sudden, Beijing is releasing results, and an action plan is spawned. If it wasn’t “overlooked”, then it was ‘didn’t want to look’ and ‘let’s ignore it and hope it goes away’.

Yes, this explains central’s massive spending on energy efficiency and clean energy right? What should they do? Force people to use less power?

But neither is that relevant to a blog about China

Sorry, but any “blog about China” directed at a foreign audience is not just about China, especially when China is used to serve their agendas. In fact by calling for democracy you are implicitly comparing China to every democracy that ever was, so you are inviting criticism unless you think reason should be tossed aside and China should base private and collective decisions off of failed theories.

but they can’t excuse. You use it exclusively for the latter.

Nope. I use them to dismantle points, you try to dodge this by reframing the question or the argument.

Ah, but Tibetan nationalism, that’s all the work of the evil TGIE, CIA, NED, FBI…did I miss anybody?

Except what the TGIE advocates is not Tibetan nationalism, it’s US-sponsored idiocy. A real Tibetan nationalist would be just as eager to claim Tibetan areas in India as he would in China. Guess which claim the TGIE refuses to even acknowledge?

May 30, 2012 @ 5:29 am | Comment

I’ve seen loads like it, most of it on Hidden Harmonies.

May 30, 2012 @ 5:34 am | Comment

“Yoichi Shimatsu is former editor of the Japan Times Weekly and an occasional guest speaker on the Dialogue program.”
—I guess somebody is trying to get a more regular gig on Dialogue, hence the shameless suck-up job on behalf of Yang and the CCP. Actually, the article is no more than an elaborate guilt-by-association piece. Custer writes for so-and-so, which is funded by so-and-so, which works in conjunction with this-and-that to broadcast such-and-such. THe usual low-brow smear stuff that doesn’t even begin to address why Custer went after Yang in the first place. It’s like Charles Liu with his NED stuff…nothing more than arcane conspiracy theory.

May 30, 2012 @ 5:39 am | Comment

‘The majority of Chinese citizens don’t feel like they’re “putting up” with anything.’

How on earth do you know what the majority of Chinese citizens feel? Could you cite a government survey that says something like 99% of citizens believe things are going swimmingly?

May 30, 2012 @ 5:41 am | Comment

Cheung, they ranted on HH for ages about NED funding China Aid (which they had). I checked and found out that NED did fund China Aid but hadn’t since 2010. I posted about it and they banned me.

Shimatsu’s logic:

Soros donates to Link. Custer writes for Link. Custer is payrolled by Link.

The CCP funds CCTV. Custer goes on Dialogue. Custer is payrolled by the CCP.

May 30, 2012 @ 5:46 am | Comment

t_co
What I think isn’t really relevant for this question–it’s what the Chinese think, what they want. And they want a government that addresses structural inequity, corruption, inflation, environmental concerns, product safety, and if not rule of law, at least predictable, non-nepotism-driven government.

Structural inequity? 93% of Chinese people don’t pay income taxes and healthcare, schooling and infrastructure are subsidized. China has a very low wealth gini (not income). As far as corruption goes, China is better off than most developing nations – and they are (slowly) working on the problem. Inflation is pretty much unavoidable when per capita incomes are rising so quickly. As for the rest, they’re things you find everywhere so you have to be more specific.

I’m simply calling for a vision for the next ten years of China that is coherent, achievable, and also addresses the concerns of the majority of Chinese people.

Aren’t they at least paying lipservice as far as corruption and pollution go?

As far as the comparison with Germany after unification goes, if the world wants to demonstrate that they have learned from their mistakes, they should know better than to meaninglessly provoke China. One key difference here is that the balance of power between China and America is nothing like that between Germany and Britain. China is in a much better position, relatively speaking.

Given how most of China’s potential peer competitors sit right next door to her and to each other

China’s only true peer competitor at the moment is the US. Russia is too far away and India is a catastrophe. Japan is financially and technologically powerful but with regard to China stands to gain everything from cooperation and lose everything from conflict.

The thing is a counterbalancing coalition was already made long before China was a threat. The PRC has never been an aggressor to neighboring states, but quite the opposite. Likewise, Chinese marines in South China do not threaten anyone unless she were to then commit economic suicide by blockading the region. China already has the power to do so, but also the restraint not to. The PRC gets none of the praise it deserves for acting responsibly in the region. I wouldn’t be surprised if the various ASEAN states have skirmished with each other more than with China.

Being integrationist does not mean being passive or conciliatory.

Yes, they are separate qualifiers. China has been trying to cooperate on nearly all fronts with everyone. The fact that this looked upon with suspicion says nothing of China’s past or character and everything about the paranoid powers trying to contain her. Be they business deals in other developing nations or joint research with developed nations, everything that China does is regarded warily. This is the product of propaganda and self-fulfilling prophecies. As expected, however, there’s a web of foreign entanglements and deceptions impeding everything from the democratic ouster of the LDP in Japan to the resolution of the 1962 farce on the Sino-Indian border.

Likewise, the South China Sea could be changed into a mutual economic zone for all bordering parties, and then the mutual ocean management could be expanded to all the oceans of all parties

That’s exactly what China is calling for. The US is not pleased and has decided to meddle, and various ASEAN states have seized on the opportunity to revise history and play the victim. It’s pathetic, but expected.

As far as the examples you listed go, China doing so much as buying a minority stake in a third country is the cause for much shrieking and moaning, so there is a lot of general stupidity for them to get through first.

May 30, 2012 @ 5:53 am | Comment

Xilin
Could you cite a government survey that says something like 99% of citizens believe things are going swimmingly?

Don’t be obnoxious. Government survey? You’d automatically dismiss the results as being faked or a conspiracy.

Pew, however, did some opinion polls.

May 30, 2012 @ 5:55 am | Comment

CM
“I also think you’ll find China (and a few other nations) are exceptions.”

Actually, I have found they aren’t.

May 30, 2012 @ 6:09 am | Comment

MAC
, if Chinese almost overwhelmingly feel the same way about an issue

You need to substantiate this. Sounds like paranoia to me.
——-
I could never substantiate this to your satisfaction because it’s unlikely that a reliable study with a decent sample size could/would be conducted on such issues in today’s China. All anyone has are anecdotes. Nevertheless, I don’t think it’s a wild stretch to say that Chinese people’s views on territorial integrity tend to be a bit more uniform and strongly-expressed than facts alone are likely to explain.

Then again, I trolled Huanqiu.com with a Chinese-language post telling people to look at the Scarborough Shoal on the map, apply some basic sense of fairness and stop whining about being bullied, and while the message calling me a “hanjian” (so flattered, is my Chinese that good?) got 200+ “supports,” mine got 80, which I found pretty surprising.

pounding home the same messages again and again

If by pounding home you mean occasionally bringing it up, yes.
——-
Shows about killing the little Japanese devils seemingly on non-stop through the month of August? (Or do they do it the month leading up to 8/1?) Huanqiu, pre-revamp, seemingly featuring a historical picture series about 八国联军 or the Japanese invasion on its front page nearly every day? This seems more than “occasional” and more than one would see in a healthier society where the government didn’t had less of a hand in the messages sent by the media and schools.

Again, I don’t think anyone here denies the historical basis for Chinese grievances or thinks that the CCP whipped up all these feelings out of nothing, but if you don’t think it does anything to foster them (and yes, I know it often clamps down on them too )or that it has to at least some degree unnaturally limited the scope of public opinion on some key subjects, then I don’t think you’re being honest with yourself.

May 30, 2012 @ 6:10 am | Comment

Cookie Monster, if the Chinese people are so content and happy with their government why are there so many protests?

You are going to reply that there are lots of protests in other countries, like the UK, for instance.

And I’ll reply that yes, there are, and lots of people here in the UK think the government are crap and are very critical of them.

That’s why there are elections and they get booted out every couple of years.

May 30, 2012 @ 6:13 am | Comment

Mike
Actually, I have found they aren’t.

Your findings must not count for anything, then.

MAC
I don’t think it’s a wild stretch to say that Chinese people’s views on territorial integrity tend to be a bit more uniform and strongly-expressed than facts alone are likely to explain.

What do you mean by views on territorial integrity? If you mean they shouldn’t tolerate secessionists and foreigners trying to steal land, this is something supported by many people in the ROC as well – only they don’t believe Mongolia should have been allowed to leave.

I don’t disagree when you say the CCP limits the scope of discussion on a wide range of subjects, however many overlook the fact that they do it to the benefit of foreigners as well. If I were in charge of media I would be putting up specials of Western financial terrorism and illegal wars non-stop and do a tit-for-tat with investigations on racism and wealth inequality.

Xilin
Cookie Monster, if the Chinese people are so content and happy with their government why are there so many protests?

There is a lot of everything in China.

That’s why there are elections and they get booted out every couple of years.

I think a more apt analogy would be a revolving door. The boot would covered in shit and stepping somewhere on the electorate’s face.

May 30, 2012 @ 6:19 am | Comment

and more than one would see in a healthier society where the government didn’t had less of a hand in the messages sent by the media and schools.
———

Curses, my error reveals my edit- Yes, I toned down “didn’t have a hand” to “had less of a hand” because I didn’t want to get caught using absolutes.

May 30, 2012 @ 6:20 am | Comment

“Your findings must not count for anything, then”
They do, actually :-) Just not to you. But then your findings don’t cunt for anything to anyone else here. What does that tell us?

Re PEW
http://www.21cb.net/eric-x-li-china-misconceptions/

May 30, 2012 @ 6:22 am | Comment

Everyone hates local officials, though I think it’s kind of simplistic to do so.

May 30, 2012 @ 6:25 am | Comment

Cookie Monster, if the Chinese people are so content and happy with their government why are there so many protests?

Cookies Monster:
There is a lot of everything in China.

Weak. Very weak.

If the people are content and happy with their government, why censor? There are loads of protests now, but would there be more if there wasn’t censorship?

May 30, 2012 @ 6:26 am | Comment

I doubt it. The CCP is too unsophisticated to censor properly. I say it somewhat keeps protests that do occur from getting violent or otherwise spiraling out of control.

Weak. Very weak.

No, it’s not. My point was you should take into account the proportion of the population protesting, and not just big numbers.

May 30, 2012 @ 6:33 am | Comment

Chuckle. One second you praise the CCP for being responsible for everything good that happens in China, the next you say they are ‘too unsophisticated to censor properly.’

Weak. Still Weak.

It’s not just about proportion. The number of protests in China is going up every year. Even the government admits that.

May 30, 2012 @ 6:38 am | Comment

Xilin
One second you praise the CCP for being responsible for everything good that happens in China

Try an eye exam or maybe a lesson in reading comprehension.

May 30, 2012 @ 6:45 am | Comment

Structural inequity? 93% of Chinese people don’t pay income taxes and healthcare, schooling and infrastructure are subsidized. China has a very low wealth gini (not income). As far as corruption goes, China is better off than most developing nations – and they are (slowly) working on the problem. Inflation is pretty much unavoidable when per capita incomes are rising so quickly. As for the rest, they’re things you find everywhere so you have to be more specific.

Income taxes matter little–the biggest tax in China (and this I have raw data for) is the repression on household interest rates–Chinese people simply have no place to put their money that earns a decent return; most household capital is forcibly recruited (drafted, like soldiers) into government-sponsored investment projects. The net losses to households in terms of “denied income” approach something like 2 or 3% GDP per year.

As for public services, substantial fees come on top of a nominally low price. I don’t have hard data for this, but I can say that anecdotally education and healthcare costs are two of the largest fixed costs for most of my relatives living back in Beijing.

Infrastructure I will agree here–China has done an excellent job, but that in no way fixes inequity, since the biggest beneficiaries of most of the infrastructure have often been large enterprises and export industries.

Inflation is actually more a product of the same capital repression that causes household income to languish. More money is being injected to fund projects which don’t necessarily produce *real* goods and services (empty housing lots, bridges to nowhere, certain high-speed rail lines, etc.). Eventually that shows up as inflation.

Corruption deserves special mention here. Most corruption in China is different from other developing nations, in that it’s institution-to-institution. The most problematic symptom of Chinese corruption isn’t necessarily that people take bribes–it’s that since most capital is “public”, economic decisions lack economic reasoning and instead revert to political reasoning. We saw a similar phenomenon in the late 80s in Japan, and eventually those chickens nearly broke the Japanese economy when they came home to roost. This I have seen firsthand–often would be the time when we would just approve hundreds of millions of RMB in loan packages and equity injections and fudged accounting and loan extensions and god knows what else just to “give face” to one or another ambitious/favored politico’s pet project, even when those projects were bleeding cash like crazy. There was a reason why Chongqing could afford to spend 1 billion RMB planting ornamental trees and multiply the municipal debt threefold in 4 years. That reason was Bo Xilai, it wasn’t because we and the other banks thought Chongqing’s economy would end up taking off. More than anything else, this phenomenon will kill the Chinese economy.

As far as the comparison with Germany after unification goes, if the world wants to demonstrate that they have learned from their mistakes, they should know better than to meaninglessly provoke China. One key difference here is that the balance of power between China and America is nothing like that between Germany and Britain. China is in a much better position, relatively speaking.

Actually, China is in a much worse position, relatively speaking. German industrial output surpassed Britain in the 1880s, and by the 1900s was nearly 30% more than Britain’s. Germany had substantial reserves of industrial resources (coal, iron, aluminum, manganese) within her borders, unlike Britain which relied on imports. Germany also had the most powerful land army in Europe, with an officer promotion system (the famous Prussian General Staff) that was a generation ahead of its time. China has none of these advantages on America; China’s military has impressive hardware but has a corrupt promotion model; China does not have the most powerful land army; China is even more reliant on imports of some industrial minerals (iron ore in particular) than even the United States. Oh, and China will face an aging crisis over the next thirty years thanks to the one-child policy, while the American population pyramid remains youthful thanks to immigration.

The thing is a counterbalancing coalition was already made long before China was a threat. The PRC has never been an aggressor to neighboring states, but quite the opposite. Likewise, Chinese marines in South China do not threaten anyone unless she were to then commit economic suicide by blockading the region. China already has the power to do so, but also the restraint not to. The PRC gets none of the praise it deserves for acting responsibly in the region. I wouldn’t be surprised if the various ASEAN states have skirmished with each other more than with China.

True, the world stage these past two years has not been kind to China. But the world isn’t “needlessly provoking” China. Nations act in their own interests, and China’s weaknesses–not her restraint–make her an easy target. The proper response is to focus on national strength and building up allies, rather than lashing out and spending political capital on non-strategic territorial disputes. Someone who is as patriotic as you are should learn the critical distinction between building up strength and spending it. Simply acquiring Huangyan Island won’t win respect–or increase influence. However, if China can turn this crisis into a multilateral resolution to the whole South China Seas dispute, in a way that handily excludes the US and Japan from the region, then that can be called a good move on the chessboard. But until then, simple, raw aggression–the sounds of cannons–or marines on islands–is counterproductive.

China’s only true peer competitor at the moment is the US. Russia is too far away and India is a catastrophe. Japan is financially and technologically powerful but with regard to China stands to gain everything from cooperation and lose everything from conflict.

I would disagree w/rt to Japan, not because of her power or economic dependence on China trade, but rather because of her position. Chinese power projection is directly threatening to Japanese maritime security. This fact is geographic and hence immutable. Unlike other powers, which can become net positives for China’s security while remaining independent equals (e.g. Russia and India, since their natural spheres of influence point towards Eastern Europe and the Arabian Sea), Japan cannot contribute to China’s position without being subordinated first. Japan knows this, China knows this, and the US knows this.

Everyone hates local officials, though I think it’s kind of simplistic to do so.

Quite true. The real change needs to happen in the incentives they face. These are simply ambitious people, and for too long the only compass point they’ve been provided is to drive up GDP figures/maintain stability. Give them other compass points, and they’ll pursue those, in time, as well.

May 30, 2012 @ 7:44 am | Comment

To #80:
“Are you willing to bet on that?”
—absolutely. For Chinese people, in the foreseeable future, the chance of ridding themselves of the CCP is zero. On a timeline like maybe 20 years, I’d think there would become some likelihood.

“I credit the CCP what they’re due, good or bad.”
—if only that were true…You seem to acknowledge the corruption issue, but that seems to be about it. Better than nothing, I suppose.

“The majority of Chinese citizens don’t feel like they’re “putting up” with anything. ”
—and you know this how, exactly? I readily admit I don’t know, one way or another…which is why I’ve always suggested we ask them. In a scientifically rigorous manner. And please, spare me that Pew garbage you guys like to bring up.

“China is better than any other developing nation as far as crime rates go.”
—can you prove that?

“You still need to prove that democracy is actually good for deterring pollution and crime. In practice, and not theory.”
—like you said, law and order isn’t just crime; it’s also enforcement of existing laws. It’s not just deterring pollution, but also prosecuting offenders. And like I said, even if we stipulate that “democracy” and “authoritarianism” can be equally bad in those things, people still need to make a decision about what they want to live under. And like I also said, in order to put up with the hassle of authoritarianism, there better be a pretty good carrot. The only real carrot that the CCP has is the economy. If and when that goes, so goes any legitimacy the CCP has left.

“this explains central’s massive spending on energy efficiency and clean energy right”
—that’s a good start. Who knew that telling the truth would spur these guys into action. Patriotism, in the true sense like Li describes, is pretty good stuff after all.

“used to serve their agendas”
—here we go. Footsteps…shadows around corners…voices…

“In fact by calling for democracy you are implicitly comparing China to every democracy that ever was”
—never have I said that China needs to emulate anybody, much less the US which seems to be the source of all fascination for you folks (which I suppose makes sense since most of you live there). She can certainly progress of her own accord under democratic principles.

“I use them to dismantle points”
—and how/when have you done this? Your points start and end with “well so and so is just as bad or has done this and that, so no one should complain about China”. Just excuses. Every comparison of your amounts to nothing more than a tu quoque fallacy. In fact, were it not for that fallacy, you’d almost have nothing to say at all.

“TGIE advocates is not Tibetan nationalism, it’s US-sponsored idiocy.”
—now you’re an expert in Tibetan nationalism? LOL. Why are you guys always so keen to tell other people what they should want?

“A real Tibetan nationalist would be just as eager to claim Tibetan areas in India as he would in China.”
—and your expertise in “real Tibetan nationalism” is derived from….

May 30, 2012 @ 7:58 am | Comment

“The CCP is too unsophisticated to censor properly.”
—why censor at all? Why prevent access to outside information? Why remove weibo tweets? Why preserve opacity instead of fostering transparency? If the CCP is doing such a good job, and knows it, why the fear of “speaking more truth”? The CCP appears to not be very patriotic.

May 30, 2012 @ 8:07 am | Comment

Except the TGIE has nothing real to go off of.

Whether you are right or not, it’s irrelevant. If the CCP can blame the DL/hostile outside forces/space aliens for anti-Chinese and pro-independence activity, why can it not be blamed for nationalistic jingoism? Obviously nobody would claim that all nationalism in China is simply created out of nothing by government propaganda, but you would have to be naive not to think that they don’t actively try to foster it.

May 30, 2012 @ 8:42 am | Comment

Guys… really? Engaement with these people is pointless. As soon as you read the phrase “China Bashing” you simply have to ignore the poster.

This use of “China Bashing” is simply a government propagandist tactic, and it works. Why? Because they know our weakness: we feel guilty when we are accused of going on the attack, so it forces us on the defensive. And what’s more, one of our strengths – the plurality of our opinions, becomes a weakness.

Suddenly we are “China Bashers” – we are the guilty party, we are the aggressors. Many people rail at the accusation: our arguments are logical, sensible and made from impartial and fair observations, how are we “China Bashers” when we are simply pointing out the truth? And you see, we are put on the back foot, having to defend our reasonable and logical conclusions, when really explanations should be forthcoming from our accusers.

What’s worse then, are tose people who take the term “China Basher” to heart -what if we ARE wrong? What if truly we ARE being too cruel? Are we so perfect? Immediately a section of the commentors begin to self-doubt and doubt the other section who try to maintain a cogent line of argument. But now, these people are facing two sets of accuser: he propagandists and then their own former allies who feel that the label of “China Basher” is somehow unfair, but really we should tone down our negative comments, look at ourselves…

…and suddenly, our strength, our ability to think for ourselves is used against us. We begin thinking the same as the other side. We begin to doubt. Not because there is truth in their words, not because they have constructed a reasonable and careful argument, no: but because of a simple label. With two words, we have been torn apart.

So: simply disengage. When you come up against accusations of “China Bashing” just ignore them, laugh at the accuser. But whatever you do, don’t take the bait. If you have based your assertion on fair evidence, then it is not “China Bashing” and never will be. Ignore the label. Ignore the accusations. You have done nothing wrong and they only wish to use a psychological tactic to weaken your own self-belief. Note that your position is no weaker, they have done nothing to discredit or disprove your argument, all they have done is sown doubt.

E pluribus unum, it’s the tactic they use against their detractors, and it’s time to turn the tables. You will see, from China Daily, to China Geeks, to the BBC, to PekingDuck and all over the internet that their tactics are all the same: “You are China Bashing” “America is worse because of x” and then the all-encompassing “Your history is shameful, you have no right to speak!” Everywhere, it’s the same. Everywhere. Why? Because they have been taught that unity is strength.

It’s something we have forgotten, and now it’s time to remember.

May 30, 2012 @ 9:01 am | Comment

t_co
Chinese people simply have no place to put their money that earns a decent return

Yet household net worth in China has been rising 15% year on year for a decade. They’re getting “richer” faster than anyone else in the history of humanity. It will probably rise and fall due to housing prices, but it can’t be said that their fortunes aren’t growing.

but I can say that anecdotally education and healthcare costs are two of the largest fixed costs for most of my relatives living back in Beijing.

But do they use only basic health services? It sounds like they’re paying for someone’s post-secondary tuition as well, because there’s no way the school fees should be killing them in Beijing.

since the biggest beneficiaries of most of the infrastructure have often been large enterprises and export industries.

But they’ve also built sanitation systems, and full rural electrification should be complete this decade. Likewise they have done better than anyone else in proliferating internet and computer use, as well as mobile communications.

As far as putting too much investment into housing goes, I can see that being a problem later but not now when China has a severe shortage of decent housing. I agree that the level of corruption in China is unacceptable, but I’m still glad they’re not India or Brazil or Mexico or just about any other major developing (and many developed) nation I can think of.

For China’s geopolitical situation, I compare it favorably to Germany’s because Britain’s ability to project power and influence Germany’s trajectory is much greater than America’s ability to derail China – much of it due to proximity, the fact that America has countless and very credible rivals and enemies, and because China has a nuclear deterrent which makes a minimalist and asymmetric approach to defense somewhat feasible. With regards to demographics, my personal opinion is that older Chinese people are simply less expensive than Westerners, and that advances in medicine will help keep them productive and happy. That, and America’s population has been predominantly bad growth i.e the least educated and least productive elements of society with high birth rates, the immigration of unskilled labor, coupled with the beginnings of reverse brain drain. But only time will tell.

Simply acquiring Huangyan Island won’t win respect–or increase influence. However, if China can turn this crisis into a multilateral resolution to the whole South China Seas dispute, in a way that handily excludes the US and Japan from the region

My stance is that China should absolutely not capitulate and cede a single inch of land to anyone, ever. I agree that they should be pragmatic and use these disputes as a way to get a dialogue going with ASEAN. I would have no problem with China sharing or even giving away rights to resources as long as there is a diplomatic payoff. However I highly doubt Japan and the US will allow themselves to be excluded.

Japan cannot contribute to China’s position without being subordinated first.

I don’t see it this way. China has nothing to gain from antagonizing Japan, and Japan’s interests do not collide with China’s. They would be perfect economic partners in theory. I’m guessing the US recognizes this and thus has systematically poisoned the well by funneling billions to the Japanese far right. Likewise I don’t think the CCP works to China’s benefit when they allow anti-Japanese sentiment to rage, even if they are not in the wrong, morally speaking.

May 30, 2012 @ 10:31 am | Comment

narsfweasels, just two words: Thank you.

May 30, 2012 @ 10:41 am | Comment

SK Cheung
For Chinese people, in the foreseeable future, the chance of ridding themselves of the CCP is zero.

The chance of Indians abolishing the exploitative classes among them is likewise zero. I would not be surprised at all if China is semi-developed in 20 years and they still have millions of children dying of diarrhea every year.

You seem to acknowledge the corruption issue, but that seems to be about it.

No, I acknowledge pollution and their poor handling of foreign affairs, but I also acknowledge that many other governments are worse.

And please, spare me that Pew garbage you guys like to bring up.

Right, because Pew is such a disreputable source. It’s garbage because you say so. So lets say you give a poll asking them what they think. If they say they are displeased, it’s garbage, so I win.

can you prove that?

There are no major developing nations with a lower crime rate than China’s, afaik. Unless they’re certain countries that don’t consider rape, mutilation and murder crimes if they are performed ritually.

people still need to make a decision about what they want to live under.

The thing is, a democracy isn’t the people making decisions. At best it’s 51% of the electorate making decisions, regardless of where they live and how relevant the issue at hand is to them. Or it’s people hired by other people appointed by empty-headed lawyers making decisions.

The only real carrot that the CCP has is the economy.

No, it isn’t. Again, the CCP does much more than just provide economic growth. In fact the vast majority of people in China probably do not give a shit about the economy. GDP means nothing to the majority of China’s poor as it rarely reflects their incomes. Clearly they are being given something else that they want, and I’d guess security and subsidies for living costs are what stop them from rioting.

Who knew that telling the truth would spur these guys into action.

Except they were doing this long before the complaints about particulate matter.

here we go. Footsteps…shadows around corners…voices…

Right, I forgot you live in a world where nations don’t plot against other nations.

never have I said that China needs to emulate anybody

Good. They aren’t right now.

She can certainly progress of her own accord under democratic principles.

But she doesn’t need to.

Your points start and end with “well so and so is just as bad or has done this and that, so no one should complain about China”

Nope. My point is your claim that China’s government is exceptionally evil is not substantiated by fact.

now you’re an expert in Tibetan nationalism

Compared to you, yes, I would be called an expert.

and your expertise in “real Tibetan nationalism” is derived from

Reason and knowledge, they can be helpful.

May 30, 2012 @ 10:43 am | Comment

narsfweasels,

No one who only offers up logical arguments would be so defensive. Clearly China watchers are not disembodied heads floating around testing claims of political fact from a rigorously logical perspective.

There is always motive and interests involved here, and that’s what’s being attacked. Don’t hide behind faux logic when they are called into question. If you seriously want us to believe that even 1% of “China critics” give a single shit about any PRC citizen, you’re beyond insane.

May 30, 2012 @ 10:47 am | Comment

Really, which do you think is more believable?

“I am the Great Impartial Foreigner. Because of my generosity and my endless love for all men, I am here to debate government and politics! I hope my inarguable and flawless ‘logic’ will lead you to become a stronger nation, so that you may better compete with my own in the international arena!”

“I am the Egotistical/Cynical Foreign Douche. I make grand claims and then dodge responsibility for them by referencing Wikipedia’s logical fallacies page, and then employing the entries in a hamfisted way. Tu quoque! Tu quoque! Stop oppressing me!”

May 30, 2012 @ 10:52 am | Comment

@ Richard

You’re welcome!

May 30, 2012 @ 10:53 am | Comment

“Right, because Pew is such a disreputable source. It’s garbage because you say so.”
—read the entire point, could you? I said what’s needed is a scientifically rigourous survey. Pew might be reputable in some arenas, but their China surveys are scientifically useless. Year after year, they sample people who represent about 40% of the population (and read that carefully: they don’t sample 40% of 1.3 Billion; they survey people that would represent 40% of 1.3 billion. In fact, in the 2 I’ve actually read, nowhere is there even mention of exactly how many people were actually surveyed). Not only that, but the 40% that were represented basically come from the 8 or 10 largest urban centers in China. So basically, it is a survey of some big cities in China. You can’t say the Pew survey represents Chinese opinion when 60% of Chinese opinion (mostly of those outside the largest urban areas) are ignored. Strictly scientifically speaking, it is useless. To be fair, they acknowledge some of their methodological limitations, and hint that perhaps the government doesn’t allow them to do their scientific work outside the big cities. But the methodological issues themselves are enough to render Pew meaningless. Add on top of that the less quantifiable but nonetheless technical issues like what questions are asked, how the questions are framed, and the methods of guaranteeing anonymity such that respondents can answer freely without fear of reprisals, and you basically have a useless data set. However, the top line results sound nice to folks like you, which is why you like to buy it hook/line/sinker without any critical appraisal whatsoever.

“I acknowledge pollution and their poor handling of foreign affairs, but I also acknowledge that many other governments are worse.”
—but Chinese people aren’t choosing to inherit someone else’s government, nor are they choosing the government for other people. If the CCP has failings, it’s Chinese people who are being failed. And if Chinese people are being failed in some way, it should be up to them to weigh the good vs the bad, and decide if the CCP gets to keep the job.

“So lets say you give a poll asking them what they think. If they say they are displeased, it’s garbage, so I win.”
—this would be the part about scientific rigour that you need to learn about.

“afaik.”
—surely you don’t expect that to pass as proof, do you?

“At best it’s 51%…”
—we go through this every time, don’t we? Yes there’s voting. And then there are laws, independent judiciary, a functional constitution. Separation of powers would be even better.

“In fact the vast majority of people in China probably do not give a shit about the economy.”
—LOL. Any chance you can share with us how you came upon this “fact”? And if the economy spirals downward, where will these “subsidies” come from?

“Except they were doing this long before the complaints about particulate matter.”
—oh, so they were acting on something that wasn’t a problem? Or was there a problem that the CCP didn’t want people to know about…until the US told them? Gosh, it’s as though the US embassy was more patriotic than the CCP was in terms of speaking more truth…to Chinese people. Go figure.

“world where nations don’t plot against other nations.”
—in my world, they compete. Conspire, no so much.

“Good. They aren’t right now.”
—”they” aren’t anything at this point. “they” being Chinese people, who are being held at the whim of the CCP. Once they get out from under that grip, then they can pursue the form of political governance as they please.

“But she doesn’t need to.”
—and that need should be determined by Chinese people, not the CCP, and certainly not by some guy sitting in the US of A.

“My point is your claim that China’s government is exceptionally evil”
—I’ve never said the CCP is exceptionally evil. But they are more evil than Chinese people require, or deserve. Again, no tu quoque fallacies necessary.

“Compared to you, yes, I would be called an expert.”
—you’re a moron who is so willfully blind as to consider yourself capable of speaking on behalf of Tibetans. Shameless stuff. I’m honest enough to know that Tibetans know what Tibetans want far better than I do.

“Reason and knowledge”
—LOL. So now you try to infer what a true Tibetan nationalist feels, and internalize it into your Han (and retarded) mindset? Again, shameless stuff. Not only do you pretend to know what Chinese citizens want when you’re not even a Chinese citizen in CHina, you pretend to deeply understand that which you never were, and have never been. There is no depth too low for types like you to stoop.

May 30, 2012 @ 12:22 pm | Comment

@SKC – Really, there’s just no point arguing with Cookie. He’s shown himself to be an angry racist who likes to come here to argue about things he wants to argue about. Don’t play his game.

May 30, 2012 @ 4:25 pm | Comment

I think the way t_co is debating with CM is useful – one only needs to know when to pull the plug. My thumb-of-rule is this: once I feel that I’m getting defensive, or bored, I’ll do a short soul-search. And if I believe that what caused these feelings isn’t actually my problem, I’ll either say nothing at all, or I’ll keep to a limit of two lines. To each his own policy, but personally, I’d find these threads much more readable without endless tugs-of-war, which usually keep centering around the same leitmotives.

May 30, 2012 @ 6:27 pm | Comment

P.S.: Short links to where an issue was discussed before may be useful, too, in such cases.

May 30, 2012 @ 6:30 pm | Comment

Cookie Monster,

To give you credit, you do write well. Most of the time. But you’ll never convince anybody as long as you make sweeping statements like:

‘If you seriously want us to believe that even 1% of “China critics” give a single shit about any PRC citizen, you’re beyond insane.’

One more thing: whom are you refering to as ‘us’?

May 30, 2012 @ 6:32 pm | Comment

Gil
He’s shown himself to be an angry racist

White person pulling the race card, thank you for the laugh.

Xilin
whom are you refering to as ‘us’?

Rational thinkers.

May 31, 2012 @ 12:31 am | Comment

Cheung,

If I’m not mistaken the countryside still remains the party’s ‘stronghold’ so to speak. People who are poor and less educated are easier to bribe. And isn’t the great big hope for China that the urban, educated and middle class Chinese would revolt and overthrow the CCP? I remember the angry Westerners spewing and gnashing their teeth, saying the Chinese middle class was evil, for not wanting immediate regime change. If the people were actually afraid of reprisals they would not be spamming anti-government comments all over the internet, nor would they be openly criticizing them on other forms of public media. This notion that Chinese people are looking over their shoulders and cowering in fear of the government is ridiculous.

it should be up to them to weigh the good vs the bad, and decide if the CCP gets to keep the job.

That’s why they protest, and the government often listens. They are not at all powerless, the CCP knows that if they don’t satisfy their people they will be out on their asses (and quite possibly killed in the streets).

And if the economy spirals downward, where will these “subsidies” come from?

“The economy” is too much of an abstraction for the typical poor person in China to care about. If the economy “spirals downward” there is still $20t in holdings and at least a few trillion in income they could tax to maintain living standards for the poorest.

oh, so they were acting on something that wasn’t a problem? Or was there a problem that the CCP didn’t want people to know about…until the US told them?

Don’t be stupid. They were implementing pollution controls long before they published PM2.5 data. You don’t need that info to know Beijing’s air is dirty.

in my world, they compete. Conspire, no so much.

How adorable.

you’re a moron who is so willfully blind as to consider yourself capable of speaking on behalf of Tibetans.

I think you are describing yourself. Either for Tibetans or for the rest of the PRC population.

and internalize it into your Han (and retarded) mindset?

Did I ever say I was Han? I don’t pretend I “deeply understand” anything. I just know I understand more than you do, because you’re an indoctrinated Asperger’s patient with no capacity for independent thought or reason. You can’t manage anything that involves context or degrees.

One last time, what is your occupation and major?

May 31, 2012 @ 12:42 am | Comment

and internalize it into your Han (and retarded) mindset?

Did I ever say I was Han? I don’t pretend I “deeply understand” anything. I just know I understand more than you do, because you’re an indoctrinated Asperger’s patient with no capacity for independent thought or reason. You can’t manage anything that involves context or degrees.
One last time, what is your occupation and major?

Guys, let’s try to keep this impersonal, ok?

Yet household net worth in China has been rising 15% year on year for a decade. They’re getting “richer” faster than anyone else in the history of humanity. It will probably rise and fall due to housing prices, but it can’t be said that their fortunes aren’t growing.

Most of the rise in household net worth is locked up in real estate. Home equity loans are rare, so there’s no way to take the money out. You can’t eat your house. And what’s more, this is even more evidence that there is substantial capital “guidance” being employed; do you really think Chinese households continue to pour their wealth into a housing market most Chinese believe to be a gigantic bubble because it is the best market, or because it is the only outlet for their savings?

For China’s geopolitical situation, I compare it favorably to Germany’s because Britain’s ability to project power and influence Germany’s trajectory is much greater than America’s ability to derail China – much of it due to proximity, the fact that America has countless and very credible rivals and enemies, and because China has a nuclear deterrent which makes a minimalist and asymmetric approach to defense somewhat feasible. With regards to demographics, my personal opinion is that older Chinese people are simply less expensive than Westerners, and that advances in medicine will help keep them productive and happy. That, and America’s population has been predominantly bad growth i.e the least educated and least productive elements of society with high birth rates, the immigration of unskilled labor, coupled with the beginnings of reverse brain drain. But only time will tell.

This is where I get concerned, actually. I’m assuming you’ve taken some college macroeconomics, so if you generalize the entire Permanent Income Hypothesis to arrive at the optimal “social savings system” for a country with high investment as proportion of GDP, you’ll find that the a population growth factor of less than 1 can create *severe* problems for any investment-driven economy.

Put in layman’s terms, it is the phenomenon that young, working people are net savers, while old, retired people are net consumers. The more old people you have proportionately in your economy, on a macro level, the slower your available pool of savings to finance new investment grows. Eventually that rate tips negative: the whole populace withdraws more savings, on a macro basis, than it puts back in. That’s when interest rates start climbing and your country, on a net, overall basis, has to start using the returns from the investment projects it has built up over the past few decades to support its graying population–or else the standard of living begins to stagnate, and then fall.

Sure, you could make it so that on a proportionate basis to GDP, each retiree in 2020 gets less than a retiree in 2000. But that will naturally shorten life expectancy and prove to be extremely unpopular in a culture as respectful towards the elderly as Chinese culture. And what if the elderly begin to protest, or apply political pressure? How could you justify muzzling them?

We see a milder version of this phenomenon already at play in the US capital markets, with the mass retirement of baby boomers and their 401k withdrawals beginning to raise the implied cost of capital across all asset classes. But China has it far worse because of the one-child policy, which means that when the “bulge bracket” of population hits retirement age, the subsequent reversal of working-age to retirees will occur much more quickly.

In this regard, Japan will be China’s canary in the coal mine: her demographics and debt profile mean she will experience this phenomenon about three decades before China does. Also, her basket of many wasteful projects ensures that she will experience a similar difficulty in generating enough excess return to finance her elderly as China will eventually experience. This is also why I worry so much about corruption and malinvestment–because we, you and I, will be the generation that has to pick up the pieces twenty years down the road, when we inherit a stagnating economy stuck in a thirty-to-fifty year debt-repayment cycle.

May 31, 2012 @ 2:31 am | Comment

The party stronghold (and entire raison d’etre) used to be agrarian. But that may no longer be the case…or more scientifically, we don’t know if that is still the case or not. And presumably, the reason for mass urban migration is because rural life is no longer what it was made up to be. There is no reason to assume that rural support for the CCP remains strong, especially when those people remain poor and they’re looking at all the urban wealth. Even if they once accepted that some people need to get rich first, sooner or later they’ll want to know why it’s still not their turn.

“This notion that Chinese people are looking over their shoulders and cowering in fear of the government is ridiculous.”
—not looking over their shoulder. But neither do anonymous internet postings prove that Chinese citizens feel they can freely speak their mind without reprisals, in circumstances where they might be identifiable. I don’t know how Pew carried out the survey cuz they never specify, but if it was by phone, can the respondent be sure that their answers will be tabulated in a blinded fashion, and not directly attributed to their phone number? I wouldn’t be so sure.

“That’s why they protest, and the government often listens”
—as noted by you and others, there are more protests, and they seem to be tolerated for the most part. The government might be listening. But do they hear anything? Who knows. Do those protests achieve anything? It seems the Wukan protest did effect change. The Dalian protest might result in a factory relocation. But those are the exceptions. The government seems to treat protests as “pop-off valves” to let people vent off some steam, only to then continue doing what it was doing.

” tax to maintain living standards for the poorest.”
—sure, they could rob Peter to pay Paul and do the little Dutch boy thing for a bit. And maybe you’ll keep the “poorest” satisfied for a while but increasingly piss off those less poor. Any way you slice it, without economic benefits to offer, the CCP has nothing else to offer that is sufficiently enticing to justify its existence.

“You don’t need that info to know Beijing’s air is dirty.”
—you’re not kidding. And thanks to the US embassy’s lead for speaking more truth, Beijingers now have a way to quantify it, and follow it. Imagine that…being empowered to know what’s going on…that’s fairly patriotic.

“I think you are describing yourself. Either for Tibetans or for the rest of the PRC population.”
—wrong. Never have I said that I know what Tibetans want, or what Chinese citizens want. I’m the one who always says that, if you want to know, you need to go and ask them. You would be the American who pretends to know what PRC citizens want. And now you’ve graduated to trying to speak for Tibetans. Nice.

“Did I ever say I was Han?”
—no, you didn’t. That was my assumption. If it’s wrong, then say so and I’ll retract it.

“I don’t pretend I “deeply understand” anything”
—then stop spouting off nonsense about what Tibetan nationalism should look like, and what a real Tibetan nationalist should want.

Tu quoque is a logical fallacy. There are no shades, degrees or context about it. Employing a logical fallacy does not result in your argument becoming logical. That is an undeniable fact. If I say “China is worse”, then you can logically introduce a comparison to show that China is not worse. But if I say “China is wrong”, a comparison serves no logical purpose besides invoking said fallacy, because any comparison you use will not show that China is right, only that China is just as wrong as the subject of your comparison…which is what tu quoque is.

May 31, 2012 @ 3:41 am | Comment

“If you seriously want us to believe that even 1% of “China critics” give a single shit about any PRC citizen, you’re beyond insane.’”
—I would be equally skeptical about CCP apologists…especially the ones who aren’t walking the walk. On places like here and HH, I’d say that’s most of them.

To Xilin,
I’m not surprised HH shut you out. One of their admins tried to ban me at FM even when he didn’t have the authority to do so, basically because I had the temerity to vehemently disagree with him. Knowing his proclivities is one of the reasons why I don’t do HH. Knowing the wildlife that roam freely there would be another.

May 31, 2012 @ 3:48 am | Comment

t_co

As a percentage of total net worth China’s assets are actually quite liquid, though it is also my impression that the Chinese banking sector is vastly underdeveloped. Then again most Americans (outside of the 1% uber rich, who control 90% of liquid assets) actually do have their money tied up in real estate … and debts.

When it comes to demographics, I don’t think the elderly in China will tax the system as much as the baby boomers are in America. Same goes for Japan. I’m of the belief that Japan is actually doing quite well, it’s just that fewer people are working shorter hours. Otherwise their productivity growth has been pretty good.

Likewise I don’t think the elderly spending their savings will result in a shortage of funds for investment – it seems like in China at least, they are saving for that purpose and any economic impact this has is being drawn out over their lifetimes rather than building to a breaking point.

May 31, 2012 @ 5:55 am | Comment

SK Cheung
And presumably, the reason for mass urban migration is because rural life is no longer what it was made up to be

Rural life is better than it ever was, which is not saying much.

It seems the Wukan protest did effect change. The Dalian protest might result in a factory relocation.

There was also that CCP official that got knifed for being a rapist pig, the woman was exonerated. Li Qiming was also brought to justice after netizens complained (though in my opinion he should face the firing squad). The list is virtually endless – there have also been delays and relocations of dam building.

they could rob Peter to pay Paul and do the little Dutch boy thing for a bit

So only taking 7% of the Chinese population’s income is not robbery? But maybe restricting this further to 5% would count as robbery.

Imagine that…being empowered to know what’s going on…that’s fairly patriotic.

Oh yes, the US embassy’s self-serving actions mean so much more than Beijing spending billions on environmental protections, right? And no, that information didn’t give Beijingers any recourse to protect themselves, really. It gave them information so that they can better lobby the government, but it’s up to each of them to cut down energy use and stop driving around so much.

You would be the American who pretends to know what PRC citizens want.

Uh, nope. While it’s interesting to know what 51% of PRC citizens might want on any given day (after campaigns of manipulation and lies), everyone knows what they need – which is security and growth.

then stop spouting off nonsense about what Tibetan nationalism should look like, and what a real Tibetan nationalist should want.

It’s common sense that a real nationalist would not give up a huge chunk of their most fertile land to India. Either that, or show me an example of nationalists whose core tenets involve capitulation.

But if I say “China is wrong”, a comparison serves no logical purpose besides invoking said fallacy

Except “China is wrong” is not your argument. If all you’re saying is “China is wrong” I can say “how awful/sad/bad/horrible.” And that’s that. But in reality, “what should be done about it” is what we’re debating.

May 31, 2012 @ 6:07 am | Comment

Taxing 7% of the Chinese population’s income, that is

May 31, 2012 @ 6:09 am | Comment

“Rural life is better than it ever was, which is not saying much.”
—which is precisely why they’re moving to the cities, because the gulf between city and rural is larger than it ever was. For those who stay behind, I don’t see how you could assume they are satisfied with the CCP when they’re literally and figuratively being left behind. But as I say, I don’t know, and I think we should ask them.

Some protests have effected change, when the CCP feels like letting them. It’s not a systematic thing. And I’m not sure netizen outrage resulting in convictions and/or stiffer sentences is necessarily such a good thing either.

“So only taking 7% of the Chinese population’s income is not robbery?”
—where do you even get this thing that only 7% of Chinese people pay tax? Between income tax, land use tax, city construction tax, car tax…I find it hard to believe that only 7% of Chinese people pay up. You’re going to have to back that up.

But that notwithstanding, the bottom line is if the economy falters, standard of living is going to go down. Not sure how you get away from that. And once that happens, I imagine the CCP looks even less attractive to Chinese people than she does now.

“It gave them information so that they can better lobby the government,”
—speaking more truth so that they in turn can demand that their government speak yet more truth. It’s a dominoe effect – patriotism style. Actually a pretty good precedent.

“everyone knows what they need – which is security and growth.”
—and it would be nice to know who they think could best provide those things for them, or whether they feel the CCP way is the way they want to go. Still boils down to asking them, rather than pretending to know while sitting in the US of A.

“It’s common sense that a real nationalist would not give up a huge chunk of their most fertile land to India.”
—it’s also common sense that a nationalist would reject being invaded by another country. You know what’s better than common sense in trying to infer what other people want, and why? That’s right, you go and ask them.

“But in reality, “what should be done about it” is what we’re debating.”
—indeed. If China is wrong and that is sad/horrible/yada yada (no argument from me there, btw), then what should be done is something different than what CHina is doing right now. That still requires no comparison.

May 31, 2012 @ 7:40 am | Comment

Not sure if this has been posted – too lazy to scroll up ;-)
http://www.globaltimes.cn/NEWS/tabid/99/ID/712253/China-wrestles-with-redefining-love-of-the-country.aspx

“Upon graduating in 2004, Ying moved to Guangzhou to work in the international trade industry and naturally came into contact with more foreigners. Whenever foreigners would criticize China or discuss sensitive topics, she would confront them and argue aggressively in defense of her country.

However, her views about what it means to be “patriotic” began to change as she learned more and matured.”

Some still have a way to go yet…

May 31, 2012 @ 9:02 am | Comment

Mike
Some still have a way to go yet…

Yep, you do.

SK,

How do you propose the “gulf” is closed between China’s rural and urban areas? It seems like the CCP is already pulling all the stops. They subsidize just about every expense in the countryside and have plowed billions into rural infrastructure. They exempt the vast majority of rural residents from income taxes (I didn’t say all tax). Most people suggest abolishing the hukou system but that would make the flow of people unstoppable.

Can you imagine any democracy today approving Chinese-style taxation? People in America already howl about the “we are the 53%” bullshit. So what do you propose they do, that they’re not already doing?

And no, if the economy falters it’s not necessarily true that standards of living will fall equally. Some industries and sectors and income brackets take more of a hit than others.

and it would be nice to know who they think could best provide those things for them, or whether they feel the CCP way is the way they want to go. Still boils down to asking them, rather than pretending to know while sitting in the US of A.

That’s too bad, because it’s not going to happen any time soon. The CCP will just have to keep making them rich, safe, better educated, healthier etc against their will.

it’s also common sense that a nationalist would reject being invaded by another country

Non sequitur. You agree with me that they’re not real nationalists then. A real Tibetan nationalist would want the parts in China AND India. That’s about the only rule there is, if we reference the historical record.

May 31, 2012 @ 11:14 am | Comment

“It seems like the CCP is already pulling all the stops.”
—and yet the gulf still grows. I’m not saying somebody else might do better. I’m saying that there’s no reason why such a progressively widening gulf would be cause for those being left behind (the rural folk) to embrace the incumbent (the CCP).

“They exempt the vast majority of rural residents from income taxes (I didn’t say all tax).”
—yes, and I’ve listed some of the other ones that they still have to pay. And I didn’t find anything to refer to even the exemptions that you claim the CCP gives to rural folk specifically for income tax.

“So what do you propose they do, that they’re not already doing?”
—I’m no economist, and the point isn’t what I would do instead. The point is how Chinese people think the CCP is doing, and whether they still want the CCP to be the ones to keep doing it. If the rural folk are going to get left behind regardless, why get left behind AND be stuck with the CCP? Like I said, the only reason to put up with the CCP crap is economic. THe economic benefits (and everything else downstream of that) could plausibly buy their complacency; take that away, and I can’t imagine why anyone would remain so tolerant of the CCP’s schtick.

“if the economy falters it’s not necessarily true that standards of living will fall equally.”
—fine. You’re right, I imagine the higher-up CCP types will still be living it up, and the princelings will continue to go to US universities whose tuition fees would, on casual observation, be well beyond the means of someone living off a CCP salary. But whether they fall “equally” or not, fall they will (to however many varying degrees you want to slice it), and I would be curious to know how appealing the CCP looks if/when that happens. My guess is “not very”, but again, I’d be happy to get the straight goods directly from Chinese people.

“That’s too bad, because it’s not going to happen any time soon.”
—it is what it is. Doesn’t make it right, or moral. But that is the reality for the time being, which is too bad. If the CCP was so confident that she was doing so much good, she should have the balls to put that confidence to the test. Alas, she doesn’t. Which in itself is rather revealing.

“You agree with me that they’re not real nationalists then.”
—no, I’m saying common sense is dependent on who is wielding it. To find out what a real Tibetan nationalist wants, you would at least have to start by talking to a real Tibetan. I’m definitely not it. And neither are you. The difference is that one of us has the audacity to pretend to be, which really is laughable.

May 31, 2012 @ 11:54 am | Comment

“Yep, you do.” Oh dear, how spottily adolescent.

“However, her views about what it means to be “patriotic” began to change as she learned more and matured.”

Stress on the last word.

May 31, 2012 @ 12:07 pm | Comment

SK
The point is how Chinese people think the CCP is doing, and whether they still want the CCP to be the ones to keep doing it.

So you admit you don’t even have the faintest idea of 1) how the situation came about 2) how the problem can be solved 3) what the CCP is currently doing, but you think that 60% of China’s least educated people living in the countryside should be given the power to restructure her economy, that is growing at 8-9% a year?

I imagine the higher-up CCP types will still be living it up, and the princelings will continue to go to US universities whose tuition fees would, on casual observation, be well beyond the means of someone living off a CCP salary

You’re being petulant and just tossing anecdotes around. You don’t think there will be rich assholes in China if they clean up the government slightly?

she should have the balls to put that confidence to the test.

The CCP doesn’t answer to you or anyone else telling them to give a referendum. The vast majority of protesters in China don’t even ask for it, they are too busy (and rightfully) complaining about the environment and wages.

you would at least have to start by talking to a real Tibetan.

Uh, nope. I could ask a real Tibetan nationalist, but if he agrees with the TGIE’s relinquishment of Tibetan areas in India he’s an idiot, and his opinion can be handily dismissed.

Mike
Stress on the last word.

Yep, you need to grow up.

May 31, 2012 @ 1:55 pm | Comment

Ask a real Tibetan, not a real Tibetan nationalist, of course.

May 31, 2012 @ 1:56 pm | Comment

Ah, once again it’s Merp who gets to decide on definitions. Anyhoo, Merp is a fuckwit who should be ridiculed rather than engaged with.

May 31, 2012 @ 3:23 pm | Comment

People can’t be reasoned out of ideas they were not reasoned into, SKC, and the mission of trolls is to derail threads. Another derailment by Cookie Monster, reaching into his deep fallacy arsenal for a surprisingly effective non sequitur about Tibetan areas of India.

May 31, 2012 @ 8:24 pm | Comment

Most of what CM has is belligerence, poor logic, and immature one-liner comebacks…which befits the prototype of his kind of folk. Oh, and the lack of character to acknowledge factual mistakes, plus the overwrought delusions of grandeur that allow him to feel suitable to speak on behalf of groups of people to which he does not belong. I can’t stand such folk. Which is why I don’t leave their drivel unchallenged.

++++++++

“but you think that 60% of China’s least educated people living in the countryside should be given the power to restructure her economy,”
—pathetic attempt to introduce class warfare and denigrate rural Chinese folk at the same time. These are the same people you tried to suggest would wholeheartedly support the CCP (without evidence, of course). Are they just as incompetent to make that decision also? Or are their decisions and opinions only legitimate when you agree with them, and illegitimate when you don’t? (that wouldn’t surprise me one bit given your proclivities, which are pervasive among all of your type). Like I’ve said many times, the economy NOW is still good, so it’s understandable that Chinese people tolerate the CCP in exchange; but when growth is no longer 8-9% (and that is a question of when), that trade-off looks a lot less attractive. And when the economic accoutrements are no longer there, the CCP will no longer be tolerated.

“just tossing anecdotes around”
—well, there’s Bo Melon-melon, and Xi Jinping’s daughter, and Wen’s granddaughter for starters. I can’t name others off-hand. But I doubt they’re exceptions to the rule. You can knock yourself out trying to even explain those 3 to me. How did they afford the tuition, I wonder? Rich Chinese aren’t necessarily assholes by any stretch. And of course, getting rid of the CCP will not rid China of rich people (and there would be no reason to). But it’s the ones that smack of corruption that are most galling. All of which of course has nothing to do with what I was saying, which is that when the economy falters, standard of living will go down in general, and that is the CCP’s only bartering chip.

“The CCP doesn’t answer to you or anyone else telling them to give a referendum.”
—no kidding, eh? And that’s the problem. The CCP answers to no one but themselves. And that’s why they don’t see the need to speak the truth, because it doesn’t matter one way or another. So it’s up to people to come to the realization that Li has, that it’s up to them to speak the truth, and demand that government do the same. I mean, the CCP won’t do it, but somebody has to be a true patriot in China.

“his opinion can be handily dismissed”
—LOL, yeah, if he doesn’t disagree with you, his opinion can be dismissed…even if he’s Tibetan and you’re not…and you’re talking about what real Tibetans want. Unbelievable…except that for people like you, so predictable.

+++++++++

It’s also revealing what CM chooses to respond to, and what he ignores. As is typical of his type, when he has no answer for something, or when he is asked to back something up but can’t, he simply moves on. No recognition or acknowledgment thereof whatsoever. I find that to be very revealing of the mindset and type of upbringing of such individuals. What I don’t know is whether it is nature or the CCP’s nurture that is predominantly responsible for the selection of such characteristics.

June 1, 2012 @ 12:57 am | Comment

Atticus
Ah, once again it’s Merp who gets to decide on definitions. Anyhoo, Merp is a fuckwit who should be ridiculed rather than engaged with.

Spoken like a true retard.

Slim
reaching into his deep fallacy arsenal for a surprisingly effective non sequitur about Tibetan areas of India.

Right, a “non sequitur”, it answers Cheung’s irrelevant statement about Tibetan nationalism quite perfectly, something you’d know if you were capable of reading comprehension.

SK Cheung
And when the economic accoutrements are no longer there, the CCP will no longer be tolerated.

Good to see you admit you want to see a civil war fought between China’s modern military and a few million rural citizens armed with pitchforks and molotov cocktails. My guess is that China will continue political reforms and better enforce her own laws over time, but you’d prefer to see millions dead. I think it’s about time for you to go watch videos of Tiananmen, you’re getting a bit angry and it seems like you could use that relief.

How did they afford the tuition, I wonder?

I’m guessing they were given scholarships, as it’s a stated goal of their host nations to indoctrinate the offspring of the CCP.

and that is the CCP’s only bartering chip.

This again. You already admitted before that they do more than just provide economic growth. The only thing you do is make unsubstantiated claims, get into a holy rage about your failed social experiment, and beg for help from the one single collective brain cell we call slim and atticus.

LOL, yeah, if he doesn’t disagree with you, his opinion can be dismissed

Nope. If he’s an idiot and a hypocrite, it’s safe to say his opinion is not worth much.

even if he’s Tibetan and you’re not

Thank you, now I can silence every person of non-Chinese descent and find a single example of a pro-PRC Tibetan as irrefutable proof of the PRC’s legitimacy in all areas of Tibet.

Unbelievable…except that for people like you, so predictable.

What’s unbelievable is your ad hominems. Oh wait, they’re not.

It’s also revealing what CM chooses to respond to, and what he ignores.

I isolated the only points worth responding. Everyone is seriously tired of your lack of logic. Every time I don’t respond point by point to all of your fallacies you whine like a little girl. I’m not going to be held hostage to your most idiotic arguments, but thank you for asking.

One more time: what is your occupation and what is your major? I want to know the source of your infinite ignorance and perfect irrationality.

Like I sai

June 1, 2012 @ 2:17 am | Comment

oh jesus. can we all chill for a bit, have a virtual beer?

June 1, 2012 @ 2:56 am | Comment

We’d need some worthless hipster beer for Slim

June 1, 2012 @ 3:00 am | Comment

I guess I should also clarify on the foreign policy bit:

China has less of a risk of being invaded than did Germany in 1914–true. But China has a much crappier ability to project force outward than did Germany, and will forever be bottled up in her own three seas so long as Japan still has a first-rate (or even second-rate) military (and the US continues to use Japan as the “deputy” for the Western Pacific).

The key aim of China’s grand strategy should be to isolate Japan from the rest of Asia, and then use that isolation to force America to a choice between keeping Japan as an “special ally” or engaging with a China-led Asian order. Everything else should work towards that goal. This doesn’t mean antagonizing or attacking Japan–simply working to isolate it. Indeed, if the strategy is pulled off with a significant amount of finesse, it can dovetail with isolationist and xenophobic tendencies inside Japan to make sure Japan itself is “happy” with this sort of trend.

June 1, 2012 @ 3:03 am | Comment

In this regard, the basing of American marines in Australia is a net positive–it makes it more likely that the United States can be persuaded to shift her main security relationship in Asia to Australia, which for all intents and purposes is no strategic threat at all to Chinese control of the Western Pacific.

June 1, 2012 @ 3:06 am | Comment

Yet why would China want to project such force in the Western pacific? It would make sense to isolate Japan as a stepping stone to a broader strategy if China’s aim were to militarily dominate the region.

But I don’t see the point, with just a modest rise in military spending China will become the de facto dominant power. If Japan were stupid enough get involved in a theoretical US-provoked conflict with China, they would probably be completely flattened by Chinese missiles within a few hours.

June 1, 2012 @ 3:13 am | Comment

“you admit you want to see a civil war fought between China’s modern military and a few million rural citizens armed with pitchforks and molotov cocktails.”
—and where have I said any of that, pray tell? C’mon, dude, among all your other proclivities, you gotta reach for the “creative reading” bit too? What I’d like to see is Chinese people making laws for Chinese people, and enforcing them.

“I’m guessing they were given scholarships”
—you’ve been doing a lot of this “guessing” lately. Well, my “guess” is that their tuition is being funded by the ill-gotten gains through corruption of their parents…you know, the Bo’s, Xi’s and Wen’s of the CCP world.

“it’s a stated goal of their host nations to indoctrinate the offspring of the CCP.”
—man, there really is no bs that is too much bs for you to try, is there? “stated goal”? Care to show us where this is stated? Care to show us where in Harvard’s mission statement we might find what you suggest here?

“they do more than just provide economic growth.”
—and everything is paid for by,and predicated on, said economic growth.

“find a single example of a pro-PRC Tibetan as irrefutable proof of the PRC’s legitimacy in all areas of Tibet.”
—talk about dumb-ass logic. We are speaking about “A Tibetan” metaphorically, not literally, you idiot. That’s like me saying that a single anti-CCP Tibetan serves as irrefutable proof that the PRC lacks legitimacy in all of Tibet…which would be a ridiculous thing to say, not because the PRC necessarily has legitimacy, but because a “single example” is not proof of anything. It is just incredible the depths you people go to in order to try to salvage your pathetic POV.

When you respond point-by-point, as you like to do, it is telling what you respond to, but even more telling what you don’t respond to, particularly when even the responses you do manage to conjure up are of fairly useless quality and decidedly low-rent logic, as seen above. Just in the last 2 days you’ve had chances to back up your assertions about income tax exemptions, Chinese crime rates, CCP rural support, and heck, even whether you’re Han (I don’t even care about the last one, but I made an assumption which you took exception to, so I offered to retract if you weren’t…and still the sound of silence). And you would be wrong (again) to consider this as a complaint. What you do and don’t do is of no importance to me. But it merely adds to my ongoing assessment of your depth of character, or lack thereof.

June 1, 2012 @ 5:03 am | Comment

You use “proclivities” far too much. I’m not your 8th grade English teacher.

What I’d like to see is Chinese people making laws for Chinese people, and enforcing them.

I’d like to see each Chinese citizen get 1 ton of gold and diamonds and live to age 800, but I’m not holding my breath either.

is that their tuition is being funded by the ill-gotten gains through corruption of their parents…you know

Oh right, please tell me all about Wen’s “ill-gotten gains”. My guess is far more credible than yours. Even the full $60,000 a year is really not insanely expensive (though still quite pricey) for maybe the top 10-20% of people who live in China’s first-tier cities.

Care to show us where in Harvard’s mission statement

Oh yes, I will promptly get you the Harvard State Department’s statement on The Republic of Harvard’s geostrategic goals.

Just in the last 2 days you’ve had chances to back up your assertions about income tax exemptions

You were too cross-eyed and Asperger-y to read that sentence properly, remember? You went off on a wild tangent listing all the other taxes that Chinese citizens pay. Apology accepted.

The new threshold means 7.7% of wage earners will pay personal income tax and the government will loose RMB 160 billion (US$24.8 billion) in tax revenue a year.

http://www.kcs.com/newsletter/July11/TaxCut.html

You can literally find this information everywhere. Your pathetic strategy is to try to tie me down by forcing me to prove established and well-known fact and do your Googling for you. Don’t be such a stupid child.

Since you refuse to answer my question about your major and your occupation, I will assume they are performance histrionics and toilet bowl taste tester, respectively.

By the rules of the Cheungsian dialectic, that means I win the argument.

June 1, 2012 @ 5:33 am | Comment

“I’m not your 8th grade English teacher.”
—oh brother. You use crappy logic far too often as well, but it’s beyond anything that schooling can salvage at this point, I’m afraid.

“I’d like to see each Chinese citizen get 1 ton of gold”
—gee, that was useful. Say, is that your contribution to “true patriotism” as described by Li? That was the point of the thread, though it appears you’ve long forgotten about that.

“for maybe the top 10-20% of people who live in China’s first-tier cities.”
—again, I’m not talking about the kids of rich land tycoons. Of course they can afford it. But how does a CCP guy on a CCP salary manage it, i wonder? It seems many Chinese netizens wonder about the same thing.

“I will promptly get you the Harvard State Department’s statement on The Republic of Harvard’s geostrategic goals.”
—you said it was the “stated goals”, remember? Surely you would have read said goals to know what was stated therein, no?

Thanks for the link. There, you established one of your points. Only a couple more to go…

On this time around, it seems you’ve at least shown the good sense to give it a rest with your “single example of a pro-PRC Tibetan ” nonsense. That argument was nutty even by your humble standards.

“I will assume they are performance histrionics and toilet bowl taste tester, respectively.”
—it is unfortunate that the CCP is represented on the English language internet by people inclined towards such juvenile antics as you are. Alas, they have to take what they can get, and the cream of the Chinese crop aren’t exactly chomping at the bit for such a thankless task. So they, and consequently we, are left with geniuses like you. The Tourette’s style hollering of “I win I win” is at once comical and a little sad. You should really get that looked at.

June 1, 2012 @ 8:05 am | Comment

SKC, why argue with a pre-pubescent?

June 1, 2012 @ 8:46 am | Comment

Spoken like a true retard.

Merp, I’m that retard against whose mother you made some particularly vile comments (remember the chopsticks, you disgusting animal), so, you arrogant dog, you can go eat a bag of dog-cum dumplings. Anything you can ever say is tainted, you fuck.

P.S. I’m a bit of an prick most of the time, but, you can eat the shit out of my arse.

June 1, 2012 @ 8:49 am | Comment

Whay can’t trolls be dealt with by the methods they wish us all to enjoy? Do a la CCP and either ban them or make them post under their real identities :-) What’s good for the goose is good for the gander and if it means the purile time wasters and fuckwits are kicked off then the rest of us can enjoy a decent argument and discussion.
While not as bad as pugster or the infamous Allen Snyder of the telegraph, Merp doesn’t actually contribute much apart from a dislike of Chinese CCP stooges. They certainly do not contribute to any effort by their paymaster to projecting a positive image of China – luckily millions of Chinese seem to be able to do that without resort of infantile arguments and name calling….even if many of them do end up marrying white Anglo-Saxons like me ;-)

June 1, 2012 @ 9:04 am | Comment

Guys, I’ve had the flu since I came back from China and can’t babysit the threads, but this is ridiculous. I’m closing it down and starting a new open thread, which will hopefully be a lot less ridiculous than this one.

June 1, 2012 @ 9:07 am | Comment

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