Leaving China, Westernizing, Playing Victim, etc.

Update: Let’s add this to the thread. A very, very funny parody of the “why I’m leaving China” that seems in vogue at the moment.

Update 2: Wow.

This is an open thread to which I’d like to add a few links. I am late to this, but if you haven’t read Mark Kitto’s article on why he’s leaving China, do so now. I read it behind a pay wall more than a week ago and was blown away. Mark received some fame eight years ago when the magazine business he built from scratch was simply seized by the government, leaving him with no recourse. He only touches on that, a real act of badness, but it ties in with his other complaints about life in today’s China.

One of his criticisms is the emphasis on money. Now, there’s emphasis on money in all societies, and that leads to corruption and crime in all societies. But in China, the obsession with money takes on a quality all its own, and it may well lead to catastrophe.

Modern day mainland Chinese society is focused on one object: money and the acquisition thereof. The politically correct term in China is “economic benefit.” The country and its people, on average, are far wealthier than they were 25 years ago. Traditional family culture, thanks to 60 years of self-serving socialism followed by another 30 of the “one child policy,” has become a “me” culture. Except where there is economic benefit to be had, communities do not act together, and when they do it is only to ensure equal financial compensation for the pollution, or the government-sponsored illegal land grab, or the poisoned children. Social status, so important in Chinese culture and more so thanks to those 60 years of communism, is defined by the display of wealth. Cars, apartments, personal jewellery, clothing, pets: all must be new and shiny, and carry a famous foreign brand name. In the small rural village where we live I am not asked about my health or that of my family, I am asked how much money our small business is making, how much our car cost, our dog….

Once you’ve purchased the necessary baubles, you’ll want to invest the rest somewhere safe, preferably with a decent return—all the more important because one day you will have to pay your own medical bills and pension, besides overseas school and college fees. But there is nowhere to put it except into property or under the mattress. The stock markets are rigged, the banks operate in a way that is non-commercial, and the yuan is still strictly non-convertible. While the privileged, powerful and well-connected transfer their wealth overseas via legally questionable channels, the remainder can only buy yet more apartments or thicker mattresses. The result is the biggest property bubble in history, which when it pops will sound like a thousand firework accidents.

Fear about where China is heading seems to be a topic a lot of expats are worried about at the moment. There is talk here of the US “falling off a financial cliff,” but right now I think China is closer to the edge of that cliff, and that’s it’s also a steeper cliff than ours. I read about China’s falling exports yesterday, and about the chain reaction this creates across the country, and this is going to go on probably for years. It is or will soon be the party’s moment of truth: Can it hold onto power if the people don’t believe it can offer them enough financial opportunity?

Read all of Mark’s rather astonishing article. At the same time, think about Custer’s recent article about leaving Beijing. Pollution, health and safety were among his main reasons. I realize the departure of two expats doesn’t necessarily mean there’s some sort of shift taking place. But I think there is. I’ve had several conversations with expats who have just about had it with the pollution, the lies, the frustrations, the censorship of the Internet (sometimes to the point of simply turning it off) and anxiety over the country’s future. It seems for many China is losing its luster. Back in 2008 I said China would weather the economic crisis better than the US would. And it has. Now, four years later, I’m revising that prediction. I see China in real danger of a financial catastrophe. Its economic miracle really was a miracle but that doesn’t mean it can’t unravel. I edit a weekly newsletter for a multinational company; it’s all about how China’s various economic sectors are doing. I don’t think we in the west know the half of what’s going on in China, the stockpiling of products with no demand, the closure of factories, the slowing down of just about everything. I sure hope I am wrong and China lands softly. It’s still experiencing high growth, but after years of 10+ percent growth, a drop toward 7 percent can be cataclysmic.

There is much more to Mark’s article.

(This post turned out longer and more stream of consciousness than I expected. Apologies.)

Also please check out this post from a blog I should read more often. It’s about China’s relationship to the Olympic Games, what it means for them to win, how they perceive the media’s coverage of their training, etc. What grabbed me most was his comment on Westernization:

While I hesitate to make too much of the Olympics – I don’t think they mean anything in terms of real global power and influence – I can’t help but notice the irony in the PRC government, which regularly tells us that it resists “Westernization” and cherishes unique Chinese cultural accomplishments, expending of so much wealth and national energy to show the world just how well it can “Westernize” by succeeding in a European-inspired endeavor to recreate and romanticize an imagined Greek past. Yes, yes, I am perfectly aware of postcolonial theory… but it’s still ironic….

What bugs me, however, is when sanctimonious Party ideologues argue that “Westernization” is anathema to Chinese culture and unsuited to Chinese realities, when, in fact, the Party embraces those aspects of “Westernization” that serve its power interests (global capitalist trade and finance; Westphalian notions of sovereignty; Monroe Doctrine-like claims to the South China Sea; deals with Hollywood producers; Olympic victories) and reject those that would challenge its political hegemony (“Western” multi-party democracy). The worries about “Westernization,” on the part of CCP elites, is not about cultural authenticity, it’s about a narrower concern with maintaining the political power of a one-party state, which itself is a rather “Western” idea.

Let’s be honest guys. There’s plenty about “Westernization” that you like; it’s just that democracy thing you’re trying to avoid.

Isn’t just about everything in China today about Westernization? Isn’t it what reform and opening up were really all about, even though it attempted to disguise these Western tendencies with “Chinese characteristics”? Isn’t it what the thriving plastic surgery and fashion markets are all about? Doesn’t “development” in China mean becoming increasingly like the West, like pulling down hutongs and replacing them with Versailles-style luxury housing?

Finally, relatedly and belatedly is Custer’s magnificent post on China’s sense of victimhood, freshly stoked by perceived media bias against China’s performance in the Olympic Games. Scanning the outcry online and in the Chinese media, it is clear that any perceived slight against China, even a foolish remark by a swim coach, will immediately be seen as proof of an intricate and calculated conspiracy against China, and the whole burning and plundering of the Summer Palace comes to life once more. Victimhood is the staple food of so many of today’s young Chinese. I wish I had the time and patience and the fortitude to write posts like this one. And sorry for getting to all these stories late.

Okay, that was serious overkill. I hope there’s something in there you can talk about.

______________

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: 172 Comments

Excellent round-up of post’s Richard. For those who have not lived in China for a long haul, they would do well to read.

August 14, 2012 @ 6:16 am | Comment

When the initial freshness and exotic feeling fade away, you will find what a fcuking shithole this country really is. You will understand why people in every level of the society are jumping the ship.

What 60 years of Communist rule left in this land are 14 billion of zombies, who shares no/minimum common values as human kind from other part of the earth. They are fed by hatred and lies. They get so used to it, they don’t feel a thing when watching and reading it on TV and newspapers. The party destroyed every bottom-line of moral values long ago, replaced with a national-with competition for wealth and power to keep people occupied. So People do everything to get on top of the race including poisoning other people’s child.

As for the “economic miracle”, there is really nothing magical here. Making 800 million of those zombies into slaves by taking away everything they own or entitled to is really not ingenious.

As for those few who come to realize all these, it’s like living in the hell everyday. And what’s more important, it’s so boring. The information flow is strictly controlled, you only consume what you are fed to. Orwell’s 1984 may not be a better place, but won’t be worse either.

August 14, 2012 @ 6:40 am | Comment

I trust you all know much better than me, but this is all very strange to my eyes, given the breathless praise of the Chinese model by certain quarters in the West followed by the ranting of how disorganized, degenerate, and decayed the United States is, eg. Thomas Friedman among others, even James Fallows falls into the trap sometimes. It’s like you’re not even talking about the same country. What gives?

August 14, 2012 @ 7:26 am | Comment

Let me be clear and state that I haven’t given up on China, and if the opportunity were right I’d probably move back there. But lately there has been a lot to be nervous about, environmentally and economically and politically. China is growing and will keep growing, but it will also suffer a lot of pain at some point and that’s already started, even if it’s not so visible. There are still plenty of good reasons to go work and live in China, but recently the reasons to leave China and move back home have increased.

August 14, 2012 @ 7:30 am | Comment

Seriously, what gives? What gives is, Tom Friedman doesn’t speak a word of Chinese or know dick about the place that he didn’t hear from some erudite hand-picked official official leading him on a little tour of a Potempkin Green Energy Project or Tsinghua students asking him canned questions.

Really, as good of a summary of what’s wrong with China as the piece that Richard quotes from is, it doesn’t take 16 years in-country to make these observations. The poor guy likely just felt too invested to get out sooner.

August 14, 2012 @ 7:36 am | Comment

That’ll work for Friedman, but Fallows starts gushing sometimes, too, though less, and he knows at least basic Chinese IIRC and actually lives there.

August 14, 2012 @ 7:40 am | Comment

So long as nothing happens around the beginning of 2013 – going to see the in-laws and have a bit of a hoiday then!
Funnily enough, what Mark Kitto wrote is reflected in the views of my wife. Obviously not as strong as she isn’t a “foreigner” when back home but there is a sense, a feeling, that all is not 100% right.
Mind you, I had the same feeling about the UK and took the first opportunity to leave. However, Britain has done most of it’s downsizing so, unlike China, what I left will not and would never have the effect on assumes China in crisis would have….

August 14, 2012 @ 8:25 am | Comment

Fallows’ “gushing” absolutely always comes with caveats. No one is more cautious about China and the huge challenges it faces as Fallows. His new book gives as much play to China’s problems as it does its possibilities. I’d say his position on China is as fair as it gets. I hope no one ever compares him to Friedman.

August 14, 2012 @ 8:44 am | Comment

No one is begging you to stay, just GTFO.

August 14, 2012 @ 9:15 am | Comment

The same gushiness has been coming forth for years on the OTHER BRICS and we see, even in Brazil, some cracks developing..I take no pleasure in this, indeed a a long time investor it would be excellent IF the BRICs were doing economically well…
But one has to wonder why these pundits did not know or SEE the problems in China et al, the pollution. corruption and my personal favorite, the demographic imbalance..
How could they have been so blind?

August 14, 2012 @ 9:21 am | Comment

Let’s be honest guys. There’s plenty about “Westernization” that you like; it’s just that democracy thing you’re trying to avoid.

Find me any CCP official that made any public comment in any high profile venue, or CCP text after 1980, that is to the effect of ‘Westernization is bad.’ Nope, that was never the party line after Deng.

The official party line is, ‘China is very behind, and West has a lot of advanced technology and experience that China can learn from, and on those China SHOULD and MUST learn. But, China will not go down the path of wholesale Westernization, and particularly will not copy the Western political model.’

In other words, we objectively analyze the West, and take what we believe are good parts, and discard what we believe are bad parts.

Nothing in the world is 100% good or 100% bad, you must independently analyze everything. And CCP is doing exactly that, and as a result is finding good things and bad things, which, by common sense, makes sense.

Good for the CCP.

A parenthetical remark:

Does the US do the same with regards to China – does US policy makers find good parts in certain areas of Chinese policy or system that they believe the US should emulate? If the answer is no, then the US is NOT adopting a objective standard, it is adopting an ideological one. If you mean to tell that, truly, objectively every aspect of Chinese gov’t's policies and systems is bad, that there objective simply does not exist any good parts, then by definition that makes you an ideologue. Because even by math and statistics, that can’t possibly be true, even by chance, the CCP would be doing something good.

August 14, 2012 @ 9:31 am | Comment

@Chosunking

How could they be so blind? Google Sindey and Beatrice Webb, USSR. This is nothing new. Intelligent, well-educated, politically mainstream Westerners from democratic nations who would laugh at, say, vials of liquefying blood or Marian apparitions as silly superstitious often end up falling for other false miracles that are far more damaging, and even more ridiculous.

August 14, 2012 @ 9:39 am | Comment

For what it’s worth, Kitto knowingly entered into a highly restricted industry hoping to hold onto a company with which he had no legal ownership. His story is depressing and typical of how China operates but he did not simply have the company ‘seized’ as he never really owned it in the first place.

I do not necessarily disagree with Kitto’s arguments for leaving, or yours regarding concerns of China’s political and economic condition; however, you fall for the trap that the Chinese have framed for the rest of the world in terms of labeling concepts ‘Western’ or ‘Chinese’. It is a false dichotomy that allows for the polemic to continue.

August 14, 2012 @ 10:01 am | Comment

[...] post is entitled, Leaving China, Westernizing, Playing Victim, etc., and to grossly summarize it, many prominent Westerners who have spent many years in China and know [...]

August 14, 2012 @ 10:05 am | Pingback

Wow, the Clock has finally shown his true colors. He’s just another fenqing troll. I thought so.

August 14, 2012 @ 10:08 am | Comment

Yes, it always tickles my funny bone to hear “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics” – the “Chinese Characteristics” are pretty much capitalism and shooting anyone who disagrees.

August 14, 2012 @ 10:10 am | Comment

“Does the US do the same with regards to China – does US policy makers find good parts in certain areas of Chinese policy or system that they believe the US should emulate?”

Well, the previous administration emulated China’s use of indefinite detention and torture, at least on a limited scale. Was that what you had in mind?

August 14, 2012 @ 10:49 am | Comment

The third sentence in the first paragraph and the below excerpt, I feel, are all one needs to read in Mark Kitto’s entry.

“Apart from what I hope is a justifiable human desire to be part of a community and no longer be treated as an outsider, to run my own business in a regulated environment and not live in fear of it being taken away from me, and not to concern myself unduly that the air my family breathes and the food we eat is doing us physical harm, there is one overriding reason I must leave China. I want to give my children a decent education”

The rest is just another lame laowai rant. Another dude who felt that he could live in China, study Chinese and magically “become Chinese” and learned like 20 years too late that it wasn’t gonna happen, like ever. Sorry brah it’s not gonna happen anywhere in East Asia (Korea Japan etc), China ain’t an exception and neither are you.

His education rant is one that is similar to the structures in other East Asian countries and India (ie. just taking tests, making winners and loseer blah blah blah), is nothing special. Some other observations (ie. society being all about money and flash), the pollution etc. don’t take 16 years to figure out.

Ok so China is a pretty poor but rapidly growing, huge developing country with problems, lots of them big. In that general sense that’s nothing special.

Next entry please, Richard.

August 14, 2012 @ 10:51 am | Comment

If it was up to Chinese people to determine what “western” systems were worth adopting and what wasn’t, there would be no problem. The problem arises because it’s the ccp that’s making the decisions. They are not motivated by what western things might be good for Chinese people; only to avoid what might be bad for the ccp.

It’s laughable that the busted clock uses “we”, when he is more than likely sitting in the us of a.

August 14, 2012 @ 11:10 am | Comment

If it was up to Chinese people to determine what “western” systems were worth adopting and what wasn’t

I guess the 80 million people in China are genetically mutated, they are not Chinese.

August 14, 2012 @ 11:34 am | Comment

‘You will never be Chinese’

Is American identity, on a whole, determined by ethnicity? Is British? Notions of national identity are moving away from ethnocentricity in other countries, why couldn’t this happen in China?

August 14, 2012 @ 4:32 pm | Comment

Custer’s article summed up why I didn’t move to Beijing a couple of years ago. I’ve been traveling to China for over 30 years, and I’ve seen a lot. And there was a point where I really felt like, things could tip a good way or a bd way. Lately it feels like the evidence is piling up that it tipped bad. And it’s really sad to conclude this, given how utterly f***ed up the US is, but I decided I was better off staying in California (which has been no picnic, believe me).

I don’t know, maybe the whole world is going to hell in a hand basket.

August 14, 2012 @ 5:31 pm | Comment

And I think Kitto’s article is right on. He acknowledges that there are a lot of smart, sophisticated and brave Chinese people who are fully capable of building a better society, if only they are allowed to do so.

What is that Martin Luther King Jr. quote? “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.”

August 14, 2012 @ 5:45 pm | Comment

To the dunce clock,
How very very lame. Yeah, sure,those 80 million folks are Chinese, constituting about 6% of all Chinese. What about the other 94%? Oh, I guess they don’t matter. Even for an apologist, who must be measured using metrics not applicable to normal people, that was pathetic.

August 14, 2012 @ 6:16 pm | Comment

Excellent article, thanks for posting Richard

@otherlisa

Great MLK quote – basically what we are seeing is the death throes of the neo-liberal experiment. It will end painfully for all.

August 14, 2012 @ 6:28 pm | Comment

@Otherlisa – There is also what Winston Churchill (among others)said:

“The wheels of justice turn slowly, but grind exceedingly fine.”

For my own part, I think Kitto paints an altogether too gloomy picture.

August 14, 2012 @ 9:26 pm | Comment

Another confirmation of how “mercenary” many Westerners really are in essence. If the country is doing well and there’s money to be made (blood-sucked out), go to it. Start blood-sucking from it. Then hope it changes into the Western model overnight where you get tons of rights and entitlements without responsibilities and hardships. When that hope is not realised, start braying how bad the country is, the system, the people, the conditions, yada yada yada. Then leave the country. And then say that if the country starts to improve (aka if there is new blood to be sucked), you would consider going back to it.

And you guys wonder why a lot of Asians have absolutely no respect for Westerners.

Every trajectory upwards has its momentary corrections. There are times in a journey when one has to course correct, or one discovers that one took a wrong side road and needs to get back to the main path in order to get back upwards. The New York Stock Exchange did not get to its mercurial heights without many crashes here and there along the way. The US has had its own problems on its great descent upwards.

If you are not willing to stay the course with a country through thick and thin, through the times when it is great and the times when it faces tribulations, then yes, you are definitely not welcome in it.

China has pulled several hundred million people out of poverty. It is not going to send several hundred million of them back into poverty. It will definitely have its growing pains and its hard moments however. That is the cycle of life.

But sure, come to China only when the times are good and GTFO when it seems the times are bad. Like China is a prostitute that you can go to one day when you feel she is beautiful and you can avoid another when you think she isn’t looking too good.

Just think… one day, when the US and Europe has its hard moments, many of those prized “brainy immigrants” may even abandon ship for greener pastures. Are these the type of immigrants (permanent or otherwise) that you want?

I don’t need to troll at all. I just shake my head when I see the true colours of many Westerners. Seriously, don’t bother coming back. When someone says Asia belongs to the Asians, I can understand where he / she is coming from.

August 14, 2012 @ 9:48 pm | Comment

I was taught x2 things about china, when I first came, 12 years ago

if it is too hot in the kitchen, get out!

and my favorite

If you get too close to the fire, you burn!

Song of the Article

Nowhere to Run to….
-Martha and the Vandellas

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhcflDSUMvc

五毛党

August 14, 2012 @ 11:09 pm | Comment

You see, the real question I’d like to ask The Clock (except for what the hell actually did happen to Math) is, if you were going to cherry-pick from the US, UK, France and so-forth based purely on merit, why would the first pick for leaving be their political systems, when these have been for the main part pretty successful? The reason the CCP is all in favour of modernisation of everything except the political system isn’t because the ways in which it might do so have no merit, even in the Chinese context, but because they would mean the CCP no longer being in power.

August 15, 2012 @ 1:18 am | Comment

Gil, you shouldn’t have mentioned the US political system in your post. The Madisonian Presidential government has never worked very well outside the USA, it is very sui generis. When tried in other places it almost always ends in Caudilloism. If China adopted a carbon copy of our constitution it would be an unmitigated disaster.

August 15, 2012 @ 1:29 am | Comment

The ROC has a constitution heavily influenced by that of the US, as does South Korea, the main problem with the US’s constitution is that it’s always been a bit thin on the details. This might be sacrilege in some corners of the US, but if you were going to sit down and write a constitution, you wouldn’t want to write a heavy-on-value-statements light-on-content document like the US’s.

The system itself (after some heavy tinkering) doesn’t work too badly, the main problems are gerrymandering and built-in gridlock. It just wasn’t dictated by god the way some Americans seem to think it was.

August 15, 2012 @ 2:25 am | Comment

To TEL,
The problem isn’t with staying the course. The problem is with who determines the course that Chinese society is to be staying on.

Ironically, many people immigrated to the new world for a better life, from china and elsewhere. So that condemnation of seeking greener pastures in foreign lands applies more broadly than you had hoped or intended, I’m afraid.

August 15, 2012 @ 3:04 am | Comment

TEL,

It’s not about being ‘mercenary’. Migration is just a matter of push/pull factors.

If they are able to, people move for a better life. If, later, they believe that they could have a better life by either moving back, or going elsewhere, they do so.

This stuff about being in it for the ‘lang haul’ is just gobshite. If the situation in any region deteriorates, everyone, native and foreigner, gets out if they can.

August 15, 2012 @ 3:56 am | Comment

@ Gil, it’s interesting that those two countries also happen to have transitioned to democracy after having very caudillo-like Presidential dictatorships. Brazil is another example, too. Maybe the Madisonian system is also the easiest way out of caudilloism as well as the easiest way to fall into it.

However I read that, when the former Soviet Bloc nations threw off Communism they studied the constitutions of the major western nations before writing their own, and IIRC none of them except Russia adopted a Presidential, Madisonian type of system. And look what happened to Russia–from fledgling democracy to cynical, paranoid gangster kleptocracy in little over a decade.

American fetishism of the Constitution I chalk up to the lack of a head of state who is above politics, so symbols like the Constitution or the flag take the place of a figurehead presidency or a constitutional monarch. Founding Father worship is another attempt to fill the void.

August 15, 2012 @ 3:56 am | Comment

I meant ‘long haul’.

I just finished watching Red Dawn (1984) again. Did you know they’ve done a re-make? In the 2012 version, the baddies were supposed to be Chinese, but after they’d finished the film they realised it would be pretty hard to market it in the PRC. So they went though the whole film and changed all Chinese references to….. North Korea!

August 15, 2012 @ 4:02 am | Comment

“Is American identity, on a whole, determined by ethnicity? Is British?”

The Anglosphere countries, plus Brazil, are very exceptional cases when it comes to the concept of nationality. The vast majority of countries in the world are going to continue connect citizenship with either ethnicity or religion, whether explicitly or implicitly.

I know continental Europe pays lip-service to multiculturalism and mutliracialism, but it’s just that, and there’s increasing pressure for them to move back to the nationality-as-ethnicity model.

Expecting East Asia top adopt the Anglo-American model? That’s just plain utopian. It’s not going to happen, and any white guy that says he’s going to move to China and “become Chinese” I think of as utterly delusional.

August 15, 2012 @ 4:15 am | Comment

“Is American identity, on a whole, determined by ethnicity? Is British? Notions of national identity are moving away from ethnocentricity in other countries, why couldn’t this happen in China?”

I think it did (and probably does) happen in China. People became Han. I have read, a while ago, of people in traditional Manchurian areas rediscovering their Manchuness. Wang Lijun, ex police right hand man of Bo, was a Mongol. Given the influxes of different peoples into China over the millenia, I dare say scratching a Han will reveal a motley of different nationalities.

“Expecting East Asia top adopt the Anglo-American model? That’s just plain utopian. It’s not going to happen, and any white guy that says he’s going to move to China and “become Chinese” I think of as utterly delusional.”

Which Anglo-Saxon model are we talking about? US is different from UK which is different from NZ…..
And yes, a white guy will never become Chinese but a white guy can be a descendant of a Chinese.

August 15, 2012 @ 5:33 am | Comment

“Which Anglo-Saxon model are we talking about? US is different from UK which is different from NZ…..”

Of course there are differences, but the common thread is that nationality is an idea, or a club in all these countries and not really an ethnicity, for various reasons unique to each one.

August 15, 2012 @ 5:37 am | Comment

@Gil, that Winston Churchill quote is one my favorites, too!

And…the Red Dawn remake. What an utter low point from a Hollywood that has had many lows in recent years.

August 15, 2012 @ 6:17 am | Comment

The first Red Dawn was pretty loathsome as well.

August 15, 2012 @ 6:21 am | Comment

Since we’re on the topic of the Olympics and movies, Rocky IV is pretty bad, too. It does show however that the stereotypes Americans have of Chinese athletes are not racial, but political.

August 15, 2012 @ 6:44 am | Comment

Movies??? Well, I watched the remastered version of Bruce Lee’s Fist of Fury last night and it offered a very positive depiction of the Chinese struggle against Japanese Imperialist forces determined to subjugate HK and the Mainland.

August 15, 2012 @ 7:51 am | Comment

Many rich Chinese are leaving China as well, not just the expats.

August 15, 2012 @ 10:55 am | Comment

Richard, please tell me when you are getting out of China, I’ll pay for your ticket, thanks!

Farewell!

http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/selected-works/volume-4/mswv4_67.htm

August 15, 2012 @ 11:05 am | Comment

Clock, I hope your “farewell” means forever. You obviously know nothing — I left China some three years ago.

August 15, 2012 @ 11:08 am | Comment

Then I’ll pay for whoever is planning to leave.

August 15, 2012 @ 11:22 am | Comment

will immediately be seen as proof of an intricate and calculated conspiracy against China

Right – China’s simply being paranoid, the West has always been a benevolent, selfless actor. The recent wars in the Middle East, the financial pillage of Latin America and Africa, America’s aggressive policies in the West Pacific – these are all just myths cooked up by the Kremlin and the CCP designed to thwart the pure holy goodness that is the West.

and the whole burning and plundering of the Summer Palace comes to life once more. Victimhood is the staple food of so many of today’s young Chinese.

If victimhood is the “staple food” of young Chinese, entitlement and hubris in equal parts are the IV drip of all Americans. You need to stop with your preposterous “Summer Palace” straw man as if that’s the only crime the West has ever committed – but I’m glad to see you admit that it actually happened.

August 15, 2012 @ 11:56 am | Comment

east2west
Many rich Chinese are leaving China as well, not just the expats.

I eagerly await the Singapore-ization of Sydney and Vancouver

August 15, 2012 @ 11:57 am | Comment

Richard
I sure hope I am wrong and China lands softly. It’s still experiencing high growth, but after years of 10+ percent growth, a drop toward 7 percent can be cataclysmic.

I have yet to see any support for this notion, considering there are almost no other examples of nations that have grown 10% year on year to suddenly drop to 7%, not that China qualifies as their growth has slowed consistently for the last 4 years.

It seems like pop-econ nonsense cooked up for the people who can’t decide whether China is a basket case or a horrible all-consuming behemoth that wants to eat their freedoms.

August 15, 2012 @ 12:04 pm | Comment

“I eagerly await the Singapore-ization of Sydney and Vancouver”
—the exodus to these parts, and others, has been occurring for some time…probably decades.

THe west isn’t always benevolent yada yada. But that’s not proof of any conspiracy against China either.

August 15, 2012 @ 1:44 pm | Comment

Maybe we should chip in and send the Clock and CM back, just so they can have a taste of what it is they would like to confine Chinese people to.

August 15, 2012 @ 1:46 pm | Comment

@Ben
@Mike

‘You will never be Chinese’

European countries can not simply go back to ethnicity-is-nationality. How could this be achieved? Deporting everyone that isn’t white, or just by telling them they are no longer of that nationality?

Each country is unique. Each of the countries that has moved away from ethnicity-is-nationality has done so in a unique way due to unique circumstances. Right now, with the concept of Chinese nationality as it is, no foreigner can be accepted as Chinese. However, if the notion of Chinese nationality changes, it might be possible in the future.

There are more and more foreigners moving to China, settling down and having children. I’m not just talking about Westerners, there are also many form Africa and other Asian countries aswell. People will start to question the concept of Chinese nationality. This isn’t about following any other country’s model. Some things are just inevitable.

@Everyone

Wolverines!

August 15, 2012 @ 3:06 pm | Comment

The first thing that comes to my mind when reading Mark Kitto is “disappointed love”. It’s a strange idea that someone would “love” a country, but it seems to be a pretty widely recognized concept.

I think there’s a lot of valid criticism in Kitto’s article, but when you are a guest or an immigrant, there is no entitlement to belong (in an emotional sense – legal entitlement would be something else). Maybe there should be that kind of entitlement, but it looks unpractical to me, and I don’t think China ever “promised” that people will belong, as foreigners. Many Chinese people don’t “belong”, either, for what it’s worth.

And that’s where things become a bit suspicious, in my view. After many years in China, Kitto begins to predict doom and gloom for the country. I agree with Gil: the picture Kitto paints, when it comes to China’s economic development anyway, is too gloomy.

Once people are “over” with someone or something else, there frequently seems to be a desire to throw an ugly prophecy at him, her, or “it” – if possible one that will fulfill itself, or that, at least, will cause “the other” some sleepless nights.

I never “loved” China. Maybe that means that I missed something. But then, the whole concept looks unreasonable to me. Only personal relationships justify the risks of falling out with each other.

August 15, 2012 @ 5:42 pm | Comment

Kitto’s comemnts are an interesting contrast to what Devonshire said over at China Brieifng about his leaving though. Chalk and cheese, both Brits, both in publishing. One failed, the other succeeded. I guess maybe something to do with attitude? Kitto comes across as whinging; Devonshire just got on with it.

August 15, 2012 @ 5:57 pm | Comment

For my own part, China is a place for which I still have great affection. The people there are marked by a wonderous ability to be cheerful at the drop of a hat, a immense variety of local customs and foods, and this, I think, makes up for a lot.

Admittedly I was only there five years and not the decade or more that Kitto was there. I haven’t lived long-term in China since the end of 2007, and last visited there last year.

When I left I left for career reasons (i.e., having one). I was never under the impression that it would be possible to ‘become Chinese’, I have never wanted to be anything but what I am, which is British. I did learn the language – in fact I would say that above all else it was the pleasure of learning the Chinese language and through it exploring a great country that kept me there so long.

The question of going back – well, it would depend a great deal on the reasons for doing so. Yes, I am concerned to an extent about developments in China, but to tell the truth although things have been getting worse in the political field since 2008, they are not so much worse as they were when I first arrived.

The biggest problems in the political field are not what has been done to make things worse, but the dashing of hopes that things would be done to make things better. I think in the early years of the last decade a lot people bought into a narrative of inevitable reform for which there was no actual basis – particularly the hyperbole about the Olympics and other such developments acting as a catalyst for change.

Yes, pollution and so-forth have gotten worse, but they weren’t great in Shenzhen in ’07 either, and nothing in the world (with the exception of a disastrous economic slow-down) could have stopped it getting worse. Anti-foreigner sentiment may have increased in the public at large (or it may not have) but there was always a non-trivial amount of it – back in ’07 I thought anti-foreigner sentiments were held by around 25% of the population, a figure I feel no need to adjust either way now.

Is China due an economic slowdown? Right now, given what has been seen over the past ten years without any significant slow down, I really can’t think what would prove to me that one was coming. For all the news about ‘Ghost Projects’, the Chinese economy continues to grow, the figures may be suspect, but the overall picture is not. Would 7% growth be a disaster? I have a hard time taking this question seriously – the answer is “obviously not”, although if the reported figures fell this low the real figure would likely be significantly lower.

August 15, 2012 @ 8:48 pm | Comment

“you’ll never be Chinese”
MANY years a writer for Time wrote a article in about her experiences in Japan. She said that when she first got there she was very impressed with the people, how courteous they were, honest, hardworking etc.
In fact she became determined to become part of the culture, learning the language and history.
and of course, what she found out is what i found out in Korea after 4 years and Kitto and all the rest, in the mind of a Japanese(or Chinese, Korean) you will ALWAYS be the Gaijin..you could never, EVER be one of the chosen…

August 15, 2012 @ 9:50 pm | Comment

SK Cheung
But that’s not proof of any conspiracy against China either.

lol, conspiracy. It’s called “realpolitik”. America is actively undermining China in all fronts.

August 15, 2012 @ 10:04 pm | Comment

SK Cheung
Maybe we should chip in and send the Clock and CM back, just so they can have a taste of what it is they would like to confine Chinese people to.

We should ship you to the slums of India or Brazil, so you get a taste of what you want for China.

August 15, 2012 @ 10:06 pm | Comment

CM, I can’t speak for India but I can for Brazil, and you’ve got some outdated and bigoted views on it. Brazil since the end of the military dictatorship is one of the great success stories of the past 25 years, both economically and politically. Comparison of a developing country to Brazil these days would be a compliment, not an insult.

August 15, 2012 @ 11:51 pm | Comment

@ chosunking

That used to be what it was like in America, Britain and other countries. I know it sounds impossible, but people used to think the same about other countries.
I’m not saying it’s going to happen anytime soon. But I think it will in the future.

August 15, 2012 @ 11:57 pm | Comment

Oh, and Brazil has managed to grow its economy and actually have wealth inequality *decline*, not grow. AFAIK none of the other BRICs have managed this feat.

August 16, 2012 @ 12:01 am | Comment

“There are more and more foreigners moving to China, settling down and having children. I’m not just talking about Westerners, there are also many form Africa and other Asian countries aswell. ”

That’s nice. There are even more in Dubai, in fact the majority of the population in Dubai is non-Arab, but guess what? They still have zero political rights and cannot attain citizenship. Residency doesn’t mean acceptance. Ask any Pole that lived under the Russian Empire, or an African-American in the pre-Civil Rights era American South.

How will (continental) European countries move back to ethnicity as nationality? By making life there increasingly uncomfortable, especially for Muslims. Witness the banning of new mosques in Switzerland, or the increasing number of laws against the veil in France, or Merkel pronouncing that multiculturalism is “dead”. I say this not with approval, but just as a fact.

Ethnicity-as-nationality vs. nationality-as-club really is just a cultural difference though. I don’t think one is superior to the other. They both have advantages and disadvantages, and Asian countries shouldn’t be told they’re bad for not accepting the nationality-as-club model. A nation has the absolute right to control who gets into it, and who gets citizenship.

August 16, 2012 @ 12:12 am | Comment

The African-American analogy, now that I look at it, is pretty flawed, so please ignore it. The Pole under the Russians is much better.

August 16, 2012 @ 12:12 am | Comment

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/08/13/unlivable_cities
and today in FP////

August 16, 2012 @ 12:13 am | Comment

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/08/13/postcards_from_the_future#10
and in the same issue..the most dynamic cities of the future,,guess were most SEEM
to be???!!!

August 16, 2012 @ 12:20 am | Comment

@Chosunking

These subjective list articles without any kind of scoring system are complete garbage. The ultimate in journalistic laziness.

August 16, 2012 @ 12:23 am | Comment

You all have to go back to the top of this post and see the new update I added. I promise you’ll love it.

August 16, 2012 @ 12:56 am | Comment

@Richard

China Daily Show

I love that site.

August 16, 2012 @ 1:26 am | Comment

Expert hopes China will collapse 『between 2021 and 4012′
(China Daily Show)

- is pretty funny aswell.

August 16, 2012 @ 1:28 am | Comment

Wow, Jon Stewart might want to hire some of the China Daily Show dudes. That was good stuff.

“America is actively undermining China in all fronts.”
—oh brother. This is the latest iteration of ‘I hear footsteps in the dark…’

“so you get a taste of what you want for China.”
—what I want for China is for Chinese people to make choices for themselves. I have no idea why you’d think they’d make the same choices as Indians, since, well, China didn’t just get her independence from Britain, and it’s not 1950. But I guess you haven’t figured that out yet.

August 16, 2012 @ 3:25 am | Comment

“what I want for China is for Chinese people to make choices for themselves. I have no idea why you’d think they’d make the same choices as Indians, since, well, China didn’t just get her independence from Britain, and it’s not 1950. But I guess you haven’t figured that out yet.”

That’s impossible, see, because the omnipotent, all-seeing
“West” would cleverly manipulate the Chinese into going against their own self-interest. Remember, the “West” is the only real actor in history, non-western countries are merely passive victims who, if it weren’t for the “West” would be Happy Rainbow Puppy Land where unicorns shit solid gold bricks.

(Sarcasm off)

August 16, 2012 @ 3:32 am | Comment

To Ben,
:-)

August 16, 2012 @ 4:19 am | Comment

I see this topic has made the NY Times :-)

@Xilin, comment 52
There’s still a hint of ethnicity=nationality though I think this is tinged with a religious veneer. When that British citizen was executed recently, a lot of my British (ethnically so) friends said he was, in fact, Pakistani. For the whole multi-culti thing to work, all ethnicities should be able to mix and match regardless of what and who they are but there’s always an underlying segregative thing. Even appears to happen here in NZ – as I look out of my window onto the campus, I see a bunch of couples, seemingly the majority of them “birds of a feather”
But mostly yes, I agree with you :-)

August 16, 2012 @ 8:16 am | Comment

Here’s the link from the NYT in case you haven’t seen it. Charlie Custer is in the first sentence.

August 16, 2012 @ 8:21 am | Comment

In American society, voices and choices have lost their power, the gov’t does not NEED to be afraid of whatever protests people lodge, because they know those protests will have zero impact on their fate – have you ever seen a butcher trying to stop a pig from screaming before gutting the pig? Why bother? A pig’s scream won’t save it from the butcher table.

While in China, a pig’s scream can rouse other pigs, can struggle to loosen its ropes, and all pigs still have the awareness and willpower to rise against the butcher, therefore the butcher will try hard to stop the pig’s scream.

In Chinese society, people are seemingly not ‘free’ to speak their voice and not ‘free’ to make a choice, because voices and choices still have power there – the gov’t is still afraid of the voices and choices people might make, and thus, to preserve their power, quickly strikes down such attempts.

American society allows the illusion of voice and choice, because the American society is a much rotten state than China’s.

Anyone above the age of 40 who lived in both societies can see this very clearly.

http://www.maniacworld.com/illusion-of-free-choice.html

August 16, 2012 @ 8:34 am | Comment

Benjamin D
Oh, and Brazil has managed to grow its economy and actually have wealth inequality *decline*, not grow. AFAIK none of the other BRICs have managed this feat.

Let me guess, you’re going by income … and not actually wealth.

August 16, 2012 @ 8:42 am | Comment

@CM

No, I’m talking about wealth, though of course income is one component of that. It’s been commented upon widely.

@BTC

“America is worse!” is not an argument, it’s a red herring.

August 16, 2012 @ 8:55 am | Comment

I don’t know, Brazil had one of the WORST wealth Ginis in the world as of a few years ago at .785 so maybe you’re right.

It’s still godawful and using Google Earth alone to look at the sprawling favelas should be enough to verify this.

August 16, 2012 @ 9:00 am | Comment

@CM

Of course there’s still poverty there. But I’m talking about trajectories, which I think are more telling than current conditions. There are plenty of awful Chinese slums, too, (though, as I understand it, Chinese poverty tends to rural not urban) that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been economic growth there.

August 16, 2012 @ 9:02 am | Comment

Benjamin
There are plenty of awful Chinese slums, too, (though, as I understand it, Chinese poverty tends to rural not urban)

China doesn’t really have a slum problem if you’re talking India or Brazil scale. And rural Brazil is even worse than rural China. The fact of the matter is that China has among the lowest wealth Ginis while Brazil has one of the highest, and even with their current trajectory this will not change in 200 years.

August 16, 2012 @ 9:06 am | Comment

“China doesn’t really have a slum problem if you’re talking India or Brazil scale.”

Any data for this? Google Earth doesn’t cut it, I’m afraid.

” and even with their current trajectory this will not change in 200 years.”

Thanks, Nostradamus.

August 16, 2012 @ 9:08 am | Comment

Ok, so are there any problems China DOES have that it needs to address? Or is it the aforementioned Happy Rainbow Puppy Land? If so, which province are the gold brick shitting unicorns native to?

Try to answer without bringing up/blaming other countries.

August 16, 2012 @ 9:14 am | Comment

Any data for this? Google Earth doesn’t cut it, I’m afraid.

Go look up China’s policies on public housing, and yes, Google Earth is a pretty good indicator of how bad whole sectors of housing are. You just need to be willing to stomach such irrefutable fact.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_distribution_of_wealth

And then take a look at that.

SK Cheung
This is the latest iteration of ‘I hear footsteps in the dark…’

Don’t be an idiot. America has been trying to undermine China from destabilizing the Korean peninsula to funding right-wing groups in Japan to inflaming hostilities in the South China Sea to lobbying preposterous WTO claims to arming rebels in Tibet.

Only a complete ignoramus or retard would dismiss documented reality (as per declassified CIA/State Department files) as conspiracy theories. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and pin you as the former, as you were completely clueless as to the fact that Gini was not indeed an acryonym and that Mubarak was supported to the tune of $1.5b in military aid per year for decades.

You’re slowly making progress.

August 16, 2012 @ 9:16 am | Comment

Benjamin D.
Ok, so are there any problems China DOES have that it needs to address? Or is it the aforementioned Happy Rainbow Puppy Land?

I don’t know, are there any problems your precious faultless divine end-of-history great wonderful perfect West has that it needs to address? Or is it just so glittering fantastic rainbow fairy princess gumdrop teddy bear precious that it’s as pure as angel farts and can never-ever-never do any wrong?

Try to answer without resorting to your knee-jerk/preemptive China straw men.

August 16, 2012 @ 9:20 am | Comment

“That’s impossible, see, because the omnipotent, all-seeing
“West” would cleverly manipulate the Chinese into going against their own self-interest. Remember, the “West” is the only real actor in history, non-western countries are merely passive victims who, if it weren’t for the “West” would be Happy Rainbow Puppy Land where unicorns shit solid gold bricks.”

“Don’t be an idiot. America has been trying to undermine China from destabilizing the Korean peninsula to funding right-wing groups in Japan to inflaming hostilities in the South China Sea to lobbying preposterous WTO claims to arming rebels in Tibet.

Only a complete ignoramus or retard would dismiss documented reality (as per declassified CIA/State Department files) as conspiracy theories. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and pin you as the former, as you were completely clueless as to the fact that Gini was not indeed an acryonym and that Mubarak was supported to the tune of $1.5b in military aid per year for decades.

You’re slowly making progress.”

Shit, Benjamin, thought you were just joking there ;-)

And the NYT link…oops. Sorry, forgot to add it. I’m getting old or something..

August 16, 2012 @ 9:20 am | Comment

Wow, I never knew the US supported Mubarak. And here I thought we were a shining city on a hill which never commits any immoral actions in the world in the name of cynical self-interest. Good thing I have CM to enlighten me. Thank you for this great gift of knowledge.

August 16, 2012 @ 9:21 am | Comment

“I don’t know, are there any problems your precious faultless divine end-of-history great wonderful perfect West has that it needs to address? ”

You know, it’s quite possible to be critical of both “the West” (which I think is useless term) AND China. Not everybody has a Roadrunner vs. Coyote cartoon theory of geopolitics. Shocking, I know.

August 16, 2012 @ 9:23 am | Comment

You’re welcome, now you may ride off with your idiotic straw men.

August 16, 2012 @ 9:24 am | Comment

Orwell had people like you pegged a long time ago, CM:

http://orwell.ru/library/essays/nationalism/english/e_nat

You don’t really want to discuss anything. You just want to promote your own chosen power unit as some kind of substitute for self-esteem.

August 16, 2012 @ 9:25 am | Comment

I see you don’t get sarcasm, either.

August 16, 2012 @ 9:26 am | Comment

You know, it’s quite possible to be critical of both “the West” (which I think is useless term) AND China.

Then I suppose it’s too bad it’s not quite possible for said ‘bi-criticals’ to have any sense of priority. But I’m so glad you find the Rainbow Puppies of China so extra speshul that you’re willing to overlook America’s (much worse) acts to criticize the CCP.

God knows we need only your sarcastic teen faux-intellectualism to banish all evils the world around.

August 16, 2012 @ 9:26 am | Comment

You don’t really want to discuss anything. You just want to promote your own chosen power unit as some kind of substitute for self-esteem.

Thanks for the internet psychoanalysis, now get to hitting puberty before you save the world with your witty tardcasm.

“Chosen power unit”, wow, that’s deep.

August 16, 2012 @ 9:28 am | Comment

Is there any action which the CCP could commit that you would consider immoral? Or does the fact that the CCP commit it make it so that IT MUST be moral and justifiable to you?

Before you bring back a lame tu quoque (the only kind of argument you’re capable of making), yes, the United States government commits immoral acts all the time and I’ll call them as such when they’re done. I believe in judging acts by, well, the acts themselves, and not by who does them.

August 16, 2012 @ 9:29 am | Comment

““Chosen power unit”, wow, that’s deep.”

Actually, defining ones life around defending a government from even the most mild criticism isn’t deep, it’s pretty pathetic.

August 16, 2012 @ 9:31 am | Comment

Ben D
Is there any action which the CCP could commit that you would consider immoral? Or does the fact that the CCP commit it make it so that IT MUST be moral and justifiable to you?

The CCP could decapitate 1,000,000 children and eat their livers and I would still think they’re faultless magical sage-kings.

No, genius, I despise the CCP. The fact that they’re vastly superior to your precious democracies is kind of beside the fact.

I’ll call them as such when they’re done

No one has that much time. Stop BSing.

August 16, 2012 @ 9:33 am | Comment

The thing is, when I’m on blogs that deal with American policy, the are people *just like you* there, except they’re favored power unit is the United States government, which according to them can do no wrong and commit no immoral action because anything the USA does MUST be moral. Different sides, same stunted, religious thinking.

August 16, 2012 @ 9:34 am | Comment

Benjamin D
Actually, defining ones life around defending a government from even the most mild criticism isn’t deep, it’s pretty pathetic.

Yes, you are. I inject fact and reason into the debate, you merely ride a failed social experiment like your life depended on it.

August 16, 2012 @ 9:34 am | Comment

“The CCP could decapitate 1,000,000 children and eat their livers”

And you’d say “but the United States once invaded Nicaragua!”

August 16, 2012 @ 9:35 am | Comment

Benjamin D.
Different sides, same stunted, religious thinking.

I don’t think so. America is worse, so I criticize America first – and thwart her pathetic attempts at pre-emptive, China-(and sometimes Russia) dependent tu quoque.

August 16, 2012 @ 9:37 am | Comment

And you’d say “but the United States once invaded Nicaragua!”

You really are a stupid if you think that’s the worst thing America’s ever done.

August 16, 2012 @ 9:38 am | Comment

“I don’t think so. America is worse, so I criticize America first”

There are plenty of blogs dedicated to American politics, or so I hear. If someone said “But China occupied Tibet!” to a response about the Iraq War on a blog about American foreign policy, that’d be just as pathetic as what you do.

August 16, 2012 @ 9:39 am | Comment

“You really are a stupid if you think that’s the worst thing America’s ever done.”

Yup, America is Satan incarnate. I think you established that you believe that the first one trillion times you said it. Do you have ANYTHING else to add? Anything at all?

August 16, 2012 @ 9:40 am | Comment

Seriously, CM, I could write a bot script that does what you do.

August 16, 2012 @ 9:42 am | Comment

There are plenty of blogs dedicated to American politics, or so I hear. If someone said “But China occupied Tibet!” to a response about the Iraq War on a blog about American foreign policy, that’d be just as pathetic as what you do.

Except all of the pesky facts that indisputably show that China’s “occupation” of Tibet is far, far more benign than the disaster America’s made of Iraq and the Middle East as a whole.

So yeah, aside from that whole reason, facts, logic and priority thing they’re just as ‘bad’.

But since you insist on being a grandstanding doofus, let me explain this to you: I don’t defend China in isolated discussions about Chinese systems. Those are generally pointless, so I ignore them.

I defend China when people criticize the CCP to champion the failed policies of the West and democracy – see: SK Cheung and every other logic-immune troll.

So go ahead and save China with your witty tardcasm. I would love to hear your brilliant, original proposals. Start by explaining how the ‘wealth gap’ can be closed and what elements of Chinese tax law you would change.

August 16, 2012 @ 9:46 am | Comment

Benjamin D
Seriously, CM, I could write a bot script that does what you do.

lol, I love how you think you’re so edgy, intellectual and contrarian. You’re an insipid bore.

August 16, 2012 @ 9:47 am | Comment

“Except all of the pesky facts that indisputably show that China’s “occupation” of Tibet is far, far more benign than the disaster America’s made of Iraq and the Middle East as a whole.”

Of course it is. It’s done by China, and China must be better, because China is “your” side.

Yawn. At this point I don’t think you could pass the Turing Test. I’m done trying to engage you and get you off your little script.

August 16, 2012 @ 9:51 am | Comment

Here’s a little tidbit for Asperger-y basement dwellers: straw men and tardcasm does not incline anyone to be civil with you.

August 16, 2012 @ 9:55 am | Comment

Oh no, the usual Cookie Monster back and forth. Like a ping-pong game.

August 16, 2012 @ 10:12 am | Comment

and like in ping-pong, the Chinese team wins the gold

August 16, 2012 @ 10:50 am | Comment

“No, genius, I despise the CCP. The fact that they’re vastly superior to your precious democracies is kind of beside the fact.”

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHAAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

And this coming from an American who doesn’t like to live in China to boot! :-D Priceless!

August 16, 2012 @ 10:50 am | Comment

I’ll move to Singapore as soon as you move to India. Put up or shut up.

August 16, 2012 @ 11:07 am | Comment

Yeah, you’d go to Singapore – but you’ll miss your US so much you’ll go crying back again :-)

Have to say, confused about living in India. Why the India fixation? No way I’d live there – I’ve already lived in Leicester, Bradford and Slough, no need to go there. I would also live in Singapore as soon as you’d move to India. Shit, I’d even live in China if you move to India. Come to think of it, I might even consider taking your spot in the US if you move to India.

August 16, 2012 @ 11:38 am | Comment

” America has been trying to undermine China from destabilizing…”
—wow, more footsteps, more people lurking in the shadows. The paranoia runs deep here…which really isn’t news to anybody who has seen this guy fly off the handle repeatedly.

Yes, I still recall the Credit Suisse thing…it was a thing of beauty…showing China’s wealth GINI increasing just as its income gap was increasing…which is a mathematical certainty that you failed to realize, and are seemingly still unable to grasp. I guess there are many things the CCP didn’t teach you. But the things they did teach you, you certainly don’t tire of repeating. All very Pavlovian.

And man, #84 again shows your lack of imagination even when it comes to smack talk. It seems when someone throws down, the best you can do is change a couple of words, and say it back to them. Certain creativity limitations of the CCP system coming the to fore, me’thinks.

“No, genius, I despise the CCP.”
—except for when you try to tell people (including CHinese people) that the CCP is the best thing since a sliced bao. Which is all of the time.

“I don’t defend China in isolated discussions about Chinese systems.”
—then what the hell are you doing here? You are the comparison monkey that brings up irrelevant comparisons (almost exclusively with the US) all the time, when almost everyone else is just speaking about CHina. That’s your MO, dude. Can’t believe you’re giving up the ghost on that one.

“I’ll move to Singapore as soon as you move to India.”
—no, dude, move to China, to enjoy the CCP system that you have prescribed for every other Chinese person in China. That would be walking the walk, whereas all you’ve been doing is talking empty talk. And before you bring up slums of India again (which you are certain to do since its in your DNA, and the phenotype doesn’t stray far from the CCP family tree), read again what I already said in #70 (China didn’t just gain independence from Britain, and it ain’t 1950). Ergo, not a relevant comparison. Though of course, irrelevant and illogical comparisons have never stopped a comparison monkey like you before.

August 16, 2012 @ 1:01 pm | Comment

“and like in ping-pong, the Chinese team wins the gold”
—dude, don’t forget where you’re sitting…or standing…or whatever position it is that CCP apologists assume. It is curious though that so many of them choose to do so in the US of A. ‘The US is so terrible in so many ways, but I think I’ll just live there’; ‘China under the CCP is so wonderful in so many ways, but I think I’ll pass on that one’.

August 16, 2012 @ 2:29 pm | Comment

“and like in ping-pong, the Chinese team wins the gold”

Oh lordy-lord. I would say that you should be DQ’ed for not trying hard enough, but actually I think this the best you can do.

August 16, 2012 @ 5:40 pm | Comment

Mike Goldthorpe
I would also live in Singapore as soon as you’d move to India

Since you love democracy so much, you should have the pleasure of living in a country that was democratic from the get-go – and not empires (Britain) or countries that didn’t let blacks or women vote for hundreds of years (America).

SK Cheung
wow, more footsteps, more people lurking in the shadows. The paranoia runs deep here…

It’s established truth – far more realistic than your wet dreams of revolution in China.

showing China’s wealth GINI increasing just as its income gap was increasing

Gini is not an acronym. You’re welcome.

that the CCP is the best thing since a sliced bao.

Ugh. First, please shoot yourself for that godawful line. Second, they aren’t the best thing since anything except all the other crap governments out there. There is hard proof of that – performance is what matters.

when almost everyone else is just speaking about CHina.

Nope. Everyone else is speaking about China and whatever they’re using as a reference point.

no, dude, move to China, to enjoy the CCP system that you have prescribed for every other Chinese person in China.

I might, actually – but considering my principles are still served by Taiwan or Singapore (or South Korea, though I’d have trouble communicating), I choose them to get your panties in a twist.

Go somewhere that has been democratic since the start, or shut up.

August 16, 2012 @ 11:10 pm | Comment

Chris Devonshire Ellis says he’s leaving too (reads more like an advertisement than a farewell). Everyone lists air pollution as one of their reasons. The focus on money over morality seems an issue, too.

August 16, 2012 @ 11:43 pm | Comment

@Richard – CDE says he’s leaving? I thought he left after he resigned, but I guess that didn’t happen because although the Guardian says he did resign, Chris himself doesn’t seem to have followed through on that. Him listing Chinese society emphasising money over morality as a reason to leave is just priceless!

August 17, 2012 @ 12:28 am | Comment

“It’s established truth ”
—always makes me laugh when a CCP apologist speaks of “truth”…in any of its forms.

“Gini is not an acronym. You’re welcome.”
—LOL. Talk about missing the forest for the trees. Yeah, let’s fixate on how GINI is written, and ignore what the data actually means. But when one is stuck arguing the position that CM is, one needs to resort to the childish gimmicks. C’est la vie.

“performance is what matters.”
—indeed, and performance of a capitalist system in China has been good. What doesn’t matter is the authoritarian system that keeps hanging around like a bad smell.

“Nope. Everyone else is speaking about China and whatever they’re using as a reference point.”
—LOL. You are usually the only person/thing/bot here that keeps referencing the US of A without any provocation. I guess it’s the genetic predisposition. You’re not one to live up to your own stated principles, which is that you don’t compare unless someone else does so first. In reality, you reach for comparisons as a matter of routine, regardless of what others have or haven’t said. Tu Quoque is your middle name. Of all your faults, it doesn’t surprise me that a failure of principles can be added to that list.

“I might, actually – but considering my principles are still served by Taiwan or Singapore”
—might? Yeah, that’s putting your money where your mouth is. Taiwan is democratic, so that doesn’t even qualify. Singapore might be a closer approximation, but it still ain’t the real thing. Singapore has harsh laws, but they actually follow them. China makes up laws as they go, such as with CGC.

Nice job avoiding “India” in that last response, btw. Musta’ killed you to not reach for that one. So it can be done. What’s lacking is not the capacity, but the inclination. That CCP teaching can be awful hard to shake, I suppose.

August 17, 2012 @ 12:29 am | Comment

SK Cheung
What doesn’t matter is the authoritarian system that keeps hanging around like a bad smell.

Oh yes … because the authoritarian capitalist states of South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, all did so poorly

LOL. Talk about missing the forest for the trees. Yeah, let’s fixate on how GINI is written, and ignore what the data actually means.

LOL. Talk about missing brain cells. Yes, the Gini is increasing – so? It had been increasing steadily for decades before that, only to rest at second lowest in the world – which is absolutely remarkable for a large, developing nation. Even a drooling democracy-loving retard would acknowledge this.

Taiwan is democratic, so that doesn’t even qualify.

Nope. It was autocratic when developing.

August 17, 2012 @ 1:17 am | Comment

CDE’s article is pretty self-celebratory. I first thought that the Queen was speaking there, but then realized that “my husband and I” was missing.

August 17, 2012 @ 2:49 am | Comment

Beijing Cream points out some (apparent) inconsistencies between CDE’s bio and his most recent post.

August 17, 2012 @ 3:01 am | Comment

Thank you, thank you, thank you for that Beijing Cream link re. CDE. It made my day. Required reading. A masterpiece.

August 17, 2012 @ 3:30 am | Comment

“because the authoritarian capitalist states of South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, all did so poorly”
—and then 2 of the 3 became non-authoritarian, and even Singapore at least has and respects the rule of law. We’re not talking time travel here. We are talking about today. And today they are no longer authoritarian capitalist states…just capitalist states…which again shows that the authoritarian part ultimately isn’t necessary…and they don’t implode when they become democratic.

“It had been increasing steadily for decades before that”
—and will continue to do so, only at an increased rate compared to previous track record, because the income gap continues to increase. Income gap increases first, then wealth gap is sure to follow. It is a certainty just as the sun rising from the east. Maybe some day, you’ll figure that one out.

“Nope. It was autocratic when developing.”
—LOL. How stupid can you be? Are you planning to move to Taiwan circa 1990? Cuz that would be a neat party trick. But if you’re moving to Taiwan in 2012 or beyond, well, fact is it’s democratic, and no degree of CCP-inspired obfuscation is going to change that. As for when you might come to that realization, well, that’s debatable. So no, moving to Taiwan isn’t going to rescue you from your inability to walk the walk. I think it’s best that you go to China, m’boy. Besides, if the CCP is good enough for Chinese people, surely it’s good enough for you, no?

August 17, 2012 @ 4:23 am | Comment

SK Cheung
Income gap increases first, then wealth gap is sure to follow

Uh, not really. It is increasing, but we’ll know in a few months by how much – meanwhile, income doesn’t include taxes or living costs so it doesn’t translate directly.

I think it’s best that you go to China, m’boy. Besides, if the CCP is good enough for Chinese people, surely it’s good enough for you, no?

I probably will, actually. My point is that you need to go somewhere that was democratic from the start – I’ll happily move somewhere that was autocratic and then “liberalized” later.

That said 8 years of Taiwan’s democratic reform has been awful, though Ma is not bad.

August 17, 2012 @ 6:20 am | Comment

“Since you love democracy so much, you should have the pleasure of living in a country that was democratic from the get-go – and not empires (China) or countries that didn’t let blacks or women vote for hundreds of years (China).”
Errrrmmm, I do. I also ammended your post in my reply. Much better…..

August 17, 2012 @ 7:06 am | Comment

” it doesn’t translate directly”
—never said directly. But follow the income gap it will.

“I probably will, actually”
—fabulous. Don’t let the American door hit you in the ass.

“I’ll happily move somewhere that was autocratic and then “liberalized” later.”
—I’m sure you would too. But the point is for you to move back to China under the CCP, cuz that’s what you’ve prescribed for Chinese people. Or, in your parlance, go somewhere that was autocratic and remains so till kingdom come, if you had your druthers.

August 17, 2012 @ 7:40 am | Comment

“I’ll happily move somewhere that was autocratic and then “liberalized” later.”
Shit, I’d move to Germany too. And Italy. Spain is actually not that bad and France can be a hoot. I’d say I’d move back to Britain too but I think it’s reverting back to autocracy. Argentina’s also worth a punt – good wine there and the best steaks money can buy.

Sooooo, Cookster, why don’t you want to live in China?

August 17, 2012 @ 8:37 am | Comment

Not sure how people can think of China as one monolithic country to live in or not to live in.

I mean, I enjoy living in Chicago. I’d enjoy living in NYC or San Fran. Wouldn’t enjoy living in Fargo, ND or Pensacola, FL or Mobile, Alabama.

The same goes for China. China’s a pretty varied place, and just like every large country there are places I’d enjoy living in (Beijing, Qingdao, Hong Kong) and places I wouldn’t (Hefei).

And here’s the rub: if you’ve got a decent job and you’re living in Beijing, there’s practically no difference between that lifestyle and the lifestyle you’d have in New York. The cubicle days will be the same, the clubbing/dating nights will be the same, the weekends will be the same… the only things that will be marginally different will be the monthly payment for the VPN, crowded subways, and air pollution (and honestly, for people who don’t have small kids or asthma, it’s not that noticeable anyhow.)

The point there is that the politics of China (or a country in general) usually has no bearing on how the expat/ABC class lives their lives. To claim that there’s somehow a link between what goes on in Washington/Beijing and someone’s day-to-day lifestyle in the US/China is to miss the point, which is that oftentimes the biggest determinants of living comfort are not determined by any particular government.

August 17, 2012 @ 9:36 am | Comment

As for wanting a green card or visa–if I lived in Beijing, I wouldn’t want a green card. But if I lived in Shenyang, I would. Is that some fault of the Chinese government?

August 17, 2012 @ 9:37 am | Comment

Even thought most Americans can be characterized as Stupid, Lazy, Smelly and Evil (SLSE for short), I suspect these are the main reasons why most Chines choose stay in America (including myself):

1) America, due to its exploitative and hegemonic polices against the 3rd world, has acumulated a lot of wealth. This coupled with the fact that most Americans are S (stupid), makes very easy for us to take advantage of our American colleagues and neighbors and friends and exploit the rich resources and wealth of this country. (In Chinese lingo, ‘Stupid people + lots of money’ is a dream scenario for hunters)

2) America, due to its geographic luck, occupies a land with vast rich resources and gentle climate. So I can stay here and enjoy unlimited beverages, cheap goods in Warmart, big houses (although very poor quality with its plastic and shabby walls and stupid deigns), lots of free stuff to get from Churches, etc.

3) Given my love for China, I want to relieve the resource strain on my fellow Chinese back home. So one less person in China means one less competition for college, for jobs, one less consumer of water, of air, one less polluter of rivers. So if I can, I’ll try to stay in America, for the sake of my brothers and sisters, so they can enjoy more and compete with less.

As for America’s political system, its culture, its people, well those are all utter rubbish.

August 17, 2012 @ 9:47 am | Comment

Strewth, TickTock, you are an ungrateful bastard, aren’t you. You move away from what you thought was a country not worth living in, you take all the freebies you can from a religion you despise and you accept all the freebies the lazy and stupid taxpayers work hard to provide….and then you say you’re doing it for China.

No wonder you’re too scared to tell people your name. And, of course, this being an open forum, your comment is now going to get published around the world, making it harder for Chinese people to enjoy the fruits of your laziness.

4 words to describe you….Stupid, Stupid, Stupid and Stupid (Stupid for short).

August 17, 2012 @ 10:35 am | Comment

What are you gonna do about it , arrest me?

August 17, 2012 @ 11:16 am | Comment

…and in the role of Mother Teresa, our very own Dunce Clock! (applause all around).

Either the Clock is an incredibly selfless dude, willing to do his bit by slumming in America to make it easier for Chinese people back home…or he is full of shit and lacks the strength of conviction to live under the circumstances that he would prescribe for Chinese people. I’m betting on the latter. But he has to be given some credit for being shameless enough to come up with something like #131. That takes talent.

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

To T-Co,
I agree, if you live in a cosmopolitan place in China (and had the means), your life on a day-to-day basis may not be much different than if you lived in any other cosmopolitan place the world over. But that actually furthers the point. These guys like Clock and CM could live nearly identical lives but for the political system (and fragile legal system, Russian roulette food issues, and some lung problems), yet still refuse to do so, or to even say they would be willing to do so. That’s rather telling.

August 17, 2012 @ 11:30 am | Comment

@ SK

That’s precisely the point I was making–it means zilch whether The Clock or Cookie wants to move back to China to “back up his words” or not, because there are practically zero sacrifices involved.

The only real reason I could see for someone who doesn’t want to do that is because they already have attachments here–a mortgage, a family–that they can’t just yank up and relocate.

August 17, 2012 @ 11:57 am | Comment

“What are you gonna do about it , arrest me?”
TickTock, relax, you’re in the US. Ain’t like China where you might get arrested for thought crime. You’re safe, what you wrote was just stupid, not illegal :-)

@t_co, I know if I lived in China it wouldn’t make much of a difference to me (well, actually, it would – I have someting here in NZ I don’t think I’d be able to have in China). I dare say it’d be no different to my parents’ life in Malaysia or my past life in Rio, Salvador or Jakarta. Going to Shanghai is comfortable for me, heading out to Nantong gets away from that a bit and going further in to see other in law family members gets really away from China as a place I could be familiar with and more into China that would take adjusting to.

August 17, 2012 @ 1:08 pm | Comment

Mike Goldthorpe
Much better…..

Rather, it’s idiotic and nonsensical. The thing is I think it’s fine for China (and Taiwan, and Singapore, and South Korea) to use authoritarian measures to develop – and provide a better living standard to its people.

You on the other hand despise China and the Chinese people so you want to destroy said living standards. Sucks to be you.

August 18, 2012 @ 5:52 am | Comment

SK Cheung
yet still refuse to do so, or to even say they would be willing to do so. That’s rather telling.

Not really. You’re just being an idiot so I’m not going to dignify your nonsense with a serious answer. t_co explained it well enough.

August 18, 2012 @ 5:54 am | Comment

“You’re just being an idiot so I’m not going to dignify your nonsense with a serious answer.”
—LOL. I have never expected a dignified nor serious answer from you. But usually you at least offer some lame-ass attempt at a crappy answer. I guess you’re really speechless on this one. Figures.

T-Co speculated on why someone might not be able to walk the walk. But in the end it’s still just an excuse (for those who would want to use some or all of the reasons he cited). For someone truly dedicated to the cause as you supposedly are, selling a house and uprooting should hardly be insurmountable barriers.

And I would disagree with him that there are zero sacrifices. Sure, you could party like it’s 1999 in Beijing and Shanghai just as you could in Manhattan or Beverly Hills, but there is still the small matter of some of those other accoutrements I listed in #134 ( like “the political system (and fragile legal system, Russian roulette food issues, and some lung problems)” ).

August 18, 2012 @ 8:06 am | Comment

http://tealeafnation.com/2012/07/translation-one-authors-plea-for-a-gentler-china/

Sorry, completely O/T. But FOARP pointed this out on another blog. One good read.

August 18, 2012 @ 8:10 am | Comment

( like “the political system (and fragile legal system, Russian roulette food issues, and some lung problems)” ).

It’s becoming obvious you’ve never lived anywhere outside of Canada and Hong Kong. Generally speaking the West suffers from high inequality and everything that comes with it.

And there are plenty of mid-tier cities in China where “lung problems” are not an issue.

And no, it’s not easy to uproot hundreds of people and relocate them to another country. It’s not even easy to uproot 10 people and move them to another state.

August 18, 2012 @ 8:12 am | Comment

That’s an interesting article SK, but I don’t see how it supports whatever argument you’re trying to make. China could be gentle if the people wanted to be gentle. I think they’re nice enough, but blaming the government for a lack of civil behavior is just weak and stupid. They are partly responsible but the reality is, the average Chinese person is far more responsible for the tone of life in China than the government is.

August 18, 2012 @ 8:14 am | Comment

SKC, thanks for that remarkable link; I somehow missed that. I loved this section:

The third type of personality is called the “slave” personality. Like Lu Xun described, China has only had two [alternating] eras: Temporary stable periods during which people are slaves, and periods when people want to be slaves but can’t. In ancient times, slaves were loyal to the emperor and the dynasty. Today, most of them do not believe themselves to be slaves, but think they are the masters of their country. They have been taught since they were small to be loyal to the collective group, to the country, and to the Party. The only thing they are not to be loyal, is to themselves.

This type of person believes the government is above all else, and anyone who criticizes the government is their enemy. They believe they are patriots, and everything must be somehow “patriotic” to have any meaning at all. Studying is for the good of the country, and so is work, exercise, protecting one’s eyesight, even sex. The “national interests” that they speak of are actually mostly the interests of the government, the Party, the small minority of the people. Because of these so-called “national interests,” they’ll hate whomever the higher-ups tell them to hate. In a normal country, freedom, equality, and human rights are good words, but in the eyes of these slaves, they are all imperialist conspiracies. They support the practice of informing on others and betraying them, even turning in one’s own relatives, and are prepared to sacrifice their own lives at any moment.

This kind of slave, when subject to a long period of education in hatred, will become strange and easily angered, in its final stage becoming a “violent slave” personality. In the eyes of this type of person, most media in the world is anti-Chinese, all human rights organizations are anti-Chinese forces, all dissidents are filthy traitors and slaves to Western powers.

Yeah, all the dissidents are in the employ of the NED and CIA. This writer is brilliant. Brilliant.

August 18, 2012 @ 8:18 am | Comment

No way. He panders in broad nonsense prose and sprinkles his unappealing turd with overdone history tidbits that wouldn’t even tickle the tiniest intellectual nerve of the most slackjawed, gullible expat in China.

By saying Chinese people are slaves he implies that he understands anything about world history at large. The reality is that the Chinese population has generally been remarkably and uniquely free, if you go by the literal “slave” definition.

That this middling doofus inspires praise in expats is testament to the overbearing and paternalistic attitude Western China-watchers have toward the country. You could swap out a few words and his drivel would easily be mistaken for a rambling metaphor about what kind of turnip he prefers for breakfast.

Just mind-numbingly stupid and not insightful at all.

August 18, 2012 @ 9:01 am | Comment

To Richard,

don’t thank me. It was FOARP who put me onto it first.

To CM,

that article is not meant as any support for, or in furtherance of, anything discussed so far on this thread. It is completely O/T as I said. But I thought it was worth reading, and this was an active thread that might attract some eyeballs to it.

In general, I don’t think you can blame the government simply for the sake of blaming the government, when it comes to accounting for people’s behaviour. But the author isn’t doing that; he’s doing much more than that. He is asserting that the pervasive and inflexible control of the CCP is directly causally responsible for people’s behaviour. In other words, the average CHinese person is the way he/she is because it is all that the CCP allows him/her to be. He’s invoking mind-control automatons and the whole enchilada. I don’t think I’d go as far as he does. But he did, and I enjoyed reading it.

“there are plenty of mid-tier cities in China where “lung problems” are not an issue.”
—that may be so. But what of the others on that list of “problems”? And can you get the cosmo equivalent experience that T-Co was alluding to, in those mid-tier places?

At the end of the day, yes, you can lead similarly rich lives in China as you can in the US. But it comes at an added cost, and while some of that cost might be related to practical barriers like relocation, much of that added cost is not even measured in dollars and cents, as with political rights, legal protections, food safety, yada yada. Claiming only physical costs as the limiting barrier to “walking the walk” without realizing or acknowledging those “added costs” sounds just as self-serving as the Dunce Clock did in #131.

August 18, 2012 @ 9:13 am | Comment

“if you go by the literal “slave” definition.”
—LOL, dude. First, “slave” is but one of 4 personality types of which he speaks. Second, it is imminently evident that he is not referring to physical slavery, but rather, intellectual enslavement.

The article should come across as less stupid and lacking in insight if you (a) actually read the whole thing, and (b) understood what you had read. Is it in you? Surprise us.

August 18, 2012 @ 9:21 am | Comment

SK Cheung
He is asserting that the pervasive and inflexible control of the CCP is directly causally responsible for people’s behaviour.

Then he’s as deranged as he is relentlessly ignorant. If the state has such power over the minds of the people, they deserve to rule as the people are evidently content to be chattel. But he writes in the typical alarmist style of the darling chicken littles of China.

The truth is the people aren’t really so depraved. He clearly has either little understanding of history or a lack of compassion by his loose use of the term slave, and it’s very evident that he has no first hand or representative experience in other nations. Likewise the angry patriot he alludes to is little more than a loud minority.

At the end of the day, yes, you can lead similarly rich lives in China as you can in the US. But it comes at an added cost, and while some of that cost might be related to practical barriers like relocation, much of that added cost is not even measured in dollars and cents, as with political rights, legal protections, food safety, yada yada.

Again, do you really think that’s the only difference between China and the US? This is why no one can ever take your claims seriously. There are parts of America that are just god-awful. There is a whole list of cities where the murder rate is 40/100,000 and above: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_cities_by_crime_rate

Can you even think of ONE Chinese city with a double-digit murder rate? And it gets worse when you proceed to rape and assault. Even if there are nice cities in the US, how do you go about justifying and explaining away the vast gap in crime rates and living standards, particularly among racial groups?

This ties in to my previous points about personal responsibility, the people are a large part of how a nation is run no matter how authoritarian it is. Of course this means that we can attribute much of the good things happening in China to the people and thus the CCP gets no credit, but I never argued otherwise.

August 18, 2012 @ 9:26 am | Comment

“if you go by the literal “slave” definition.”
—LOL, dude. First, “slave” is but one of 4 personality types of which he speaks. Second, it should be eminently clear to anyone reading it that he was not referring to physical slavery, but rather, to intellectual enslavement.

It should come across as less stupid and lacking in insight if (a) you read the whole article and not just one paragraph, and (b) if you actually understood what it is that you read. Is it in you? Surprise us.

August 18, 2012 @ 9:26 am | Comment

“There are parts of America that are just god-awful. ”
—then why are you still here? T-co was giving you some cover in saying that life in China (in some respects) can be just as good as the US, but there might be other excuses why one might not go back. You’re saying that in many ways the US is supposedly worse. So what’s taking you as you return to the embrace of the CCP?

August 18, 2012 @ 9:31 am | Comment

And about the pollution, what do you really think the government can do? Ban cars? It was decried as authoritarian. Stop generating electricity? Ditch coal – and import more gas and oil? Stop the 10,000 year erosion of the Loess Plateau to lower PM2.5?

Likewise, with inequality, what do you think they can do? Redistribute the wealth? They already lease and tax land and some 93% of the population does not pay income tax. Should they have exemptions for sales tax as well?

The reality is you criticize the CCP for things they have no control over while you praise democratic governments for accomplishments that are not theirs to begin with. You don’t even bother to look at the sources of individual problems Chinese people face because you don’t care about finding solutions, you are just waging a misguided ideological war.

August 18, 2012 @ 9:31 am | Comment

You’re saying that in many ways the US is supposedly worse. So what’s taking you as you return to the embrace of the CCP?

Let me make this clear – the US is nice for people who are relatively not-poor. It sucks for the other 60, 70%. I’ve let you go on and on about me being a CCP stooge because it’s simply so astonishingly ridiculous.

For one, my origins are from Taiwan, not the mainland. Second, I do not watch CCP media nor have I ever sat down for a single lesson in any CCP school. I have never touched a CCP textbook.

But I’m sure you’ll insist that this is an elaborate lie, while simultaneously implying that I’m under the thrall of conspiracy theorists.

August 18, 2012 @ 9:35 am | Comment

And in case you’re wondering my staunch support of the Taiwan model comes from my first-hand experience of how drastically it has improved the lives and prospects of millions.

Nowhere else in the world but in the Tigers and China has such an economic miracle occurred. Without either the regional wealth effect or natural resources they created prosperous societies WITHOUT engaging in immoral wars.

August 18, 2012 @ 9:38 am | Comment

I have no trouble with the Taiwan model. Autocratic capitalism became democratic capitalism, and the sky did not fall.

August 18, 2012 @ 12:08 pm | Comment

Feeding trolls with sugar may be fun, but the environmental impact is very negative.

August 18, 2012 @ 1:40 pm | Comment

SK Cheung
I have no trouble with the Taiwan model. Autocratic capitalism became democratic capitalism, and the sky did not fall.

Well, to be fair, the 8 years after officially being democratic Taiwan’s economy underperformed severely vis a vis Singapore when it should have boomed. People were rich enough that it didn’t matter, though.

China is nowhere near as developed as Taiwan was in 2000.

August 18, 2012 @ 10:28 pm | Comment

[...]  ”北京烤鸭”博客:离开中国、西化、被迫害情结。。。—— [...]

August 20, 2012 @ 2:00 am | Pingback

“…the 8 years after officially being democratic Taiwan’s economy underperformed severely vis a vis Singapore when it should have boomed.”

Yeah, but Singapore doesn’t have a bunch of missiles aimed at it and it has international recognition as being a sovereign country. But hey, don’t let wee details get in the way of a good story, eh?

August 20, 2012 @ 5:39 am | Comment

Taiwan and SK have done it, which offers proof of concept. So the discussion isn’t about whether an authoritarian capitalist society can transition to a democratic capitalist one successfully. The only thing that remains is to determine at what point that can occur.

But as I’ve said before, that isn’t an a priori metric. It’s not like Taiwan hit a certain GDP/capita, and said “here we go”. They made the transition, then people went back and figured out what that number was when it happened. It’s a metric, but it’s not a law of physics, and CHina needn’t be held to that. And similarly, we will only know what GDP/capita China required after the fact.

August 20, 2012 @ 8:36 am | Comment

Mike Goldthorpe
Yeah, but Singapore doesn’t have a bunch of missiles aimed at it and it has international recognition as being a sovereign country. But hey, don’t let wee details get in the way of a good story, eh?

Irrelevant and whiny as usual. The “missiles” do nothing to affect Taiwanese growth, and neither does the international recognition. Taiwan doesn’t have to import 60% of its fresh water.

SK Cheung
It’s not like Taiwan hit a certain GDP/capita, and said “here we go”. They made the transition, then people went back and figured out what that number was when it happened

GDP is an decent proxy for the strength of laws, institutions, education, etc upon which these societies based their transformations. It’s not perfect but generally speaking people who are too busy working all the time are not going to have much time to complain to the government.

August 20, 2012 @ 10:53 am | Comment

Investors, Cookie, investors. You need people to spend their money for growth, n’est pas?

August 20, 2012 @ 11:42 am | Comment

“GDP is an decent proxy for the strength of laws, institutions, education, etc upon which these societies based their transformations.”
—a proxy of sorts, perhaps. But again, its specific level at the time of political transition is not a rigid parameter like a law of physics, as I said. That Taiwan transitioned at a certain level does not obligate China to the same thing.

“generally speaking people who are too busy working all the time are not going to have much time to complain to the government.”
—we’re not talking about complaining. We’re talking about the wherewithal to seek a different kind of government, and the ability to sustain it.

August 20, 2012 @ 12:11 pm | Comment

Mike Goldthorpe
Investors, Cookie, investors. You need people to spend their money for growth, n’est pas?

Uh, no. None of the “tigers” are particularly FDI dependent. In fact all are net creditors to the tune of trillions. Please stop pretending you know anything about economics.

SK Cheung
That Taiwan transitioned at a certain level does not obligate China to the same thing.

There’s no set rule as you said of course, but if anything China needs a higher standard than Taiwan does even to replicate their decade of failure during CSB’s terms.

August 22, 2012 @ 1:56 am | Comment

[...]  ”北京烤鸭”博客:离开中国、西化、被迫害情结。。。—— [...]

August 22, 2012 @ 2:36 am | Pingback

Aaaah, Cookster, your naivite is so touching ;-)

August 22, 2012 @ 8:42 am | Comment

http://tealeafnation.com/2012/08/mother-of-rape-victim-sentenced-to-hard-labor-chinese-blogosphere-explodes-in-indignation/

Sorry, O/T again. But it’s one of those things that make you go “hmmm…” when it comes to the farce that is the CCP’s legal system.

August 22, 2012 @ 1:43 pm | Comment

@ SK

This is why I think building one visible organization to interconnect all the levers of power in China is not such a great idea. There are simply too many levers to keep in line, too many jerks and jackasses that will abuse the existence of such an organization for their own ends. In the end, it erodes political legitimacy, it erodes social trust, it eats at the very fabric of the nation.

August 22, 2012 @ 2:58 pm | Comment

That being said, the big hiccup in that line of thinking is that there is no possible transition. The Party stays around because there is no viable alternative setup–neither a national organization of comparable scope and heft, nor an ability for Chinese institutions–as they currently stand–to operate without the guidance of an essentially extralegal entity.

The great challenge for the next generation of Chinese thinkers, then, is how to slowly constrain the beast, so to speak.

China has grown and developed to a point where its national survival is no longer at risk from being backwards or poor. So it no longer needs one gigantic set of extralegal forces to push it forwards. Rather, things can and should be codified. The mandate the Party has from the people can and should be renewed in popular elections. But how do we get there absent violent, chaotic revolution?

This is why the survival tactics of some of the hardliner Party members worry me. When they wish to forcibly integrate all the talented organizations that could possibly govern China, what ends up happening is that angry, disaffected people gravitate towards organizations which are wholly incompetent for the job they’ve been given. Basically, if the hardliners never allow a sane, loyal opposition to form, then they consign themselves to creating an insane, disloyal opposition, which (as the Taiping rebellion has shown) is infinitely more destructive.

August 22, 2012 @ 3:08 pm | Comment

The only other alternative would be for the CCP to invent some sort of “morality chip” that could be implanted in all of its high-ranking members. Because under the current setup, it assumes that the higher you go, the closer you become to sprouting wings and a halo.

August 22, 2012 @ 3:11 pm | Comment

To T-co,
if only “morality chips” existed…and they could ramp up production to make enough of them to go around for all the CCP higher-ups who need them (ie. every single last one of them).

“fixing” the current system might be well-intentioned, but I think ultimately futile. At some point, you have to accept that the old beater has no place to go but the scrap yard.

August 23, 2012 @ 5:49 am | Comment

Richard, has been forever, but after that letter I thought “I wonder what is going on on Pekingduck about this”

I’m at work though. so will read the 169 comments later after I’m off.

Hope you are well, congrats on the book.

LW

August 29, 2012 @ 4:01 pm | Comment

[...] now,” wrote Richard Burger, who has lived in Beijing for nearly four years, on his popular blog The Peking Duck, on Aug. 14. “There is talk of the U.S. ‘falling off a financial cliff,’ but right now I [...]

September 24, 2012 @ 8:01 pm | Pingback

[...] now,” wrote Richard Burger, who has lived in Beijing for nearly four years, on his popular blog The Peking Duck, on Aug. 14. “There is talk of the U.S. ‘falling off a financial cliff,’ but right now I [...]

September 26, 2012 @ 3:45 pm | Pingback

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