Merry Christmas

I don’t think there’ll be many readers sitting around reading blogs today (I won’t be), but just in case, this is an open thread. Anything goes.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 158 Comments

Tanks – China: 0. USA: 149.
Vehicles: China 0: USA 3800 (1 per 4 soldiers)
Armored vehicles – China: 0 . USA 35.
Artillery: China 66. USA: 300.
Mobile rocket launchers: China: 27. USA: 550.

When a weak nation is invaded by a stronger one, that the weak can resist with all its might until the last breath is already an heroic feat. For a weak nation to challenge a strong one by going outside of her own borders, that had never been tried before.

When Man Anying, his son, was killed on the battlefield in Korea. Mao himself, upon being delivered the news, said famously: “Hundreds of thousands gave their lives on that battlefield, we can’t dwell on just one person. What happened happened, let’s move on. I’m the leader of the nation, I’m the one who decided to send our troops to Korea. If my son doesn’t go, how can I convince the nation to support this war? He’s Mao Zedong’s son, there can be no other way.’

When Mao shook hand with the mother of Huang Jiguang, another PLA soldier who gave his life in Korea, we saw no sadness on the mother’s face, only smiles.

Why? Because she knew. She knew that of the arsenal of heroes who were forever resting on that battlefield, her son was among them, but so was Mao Zedong’s. The person now shaking her hands and sending his condolenscnes, was also a family of the war hero. From this mother we saw a spirit larger than life, a spirit of fearlessness, a spirit of sacrifice, a spirit of idealism, a spirit of a hero, a spirit of a mother.

Those are also the spirits of Mao.

Mao belongs to China, but he also belongs to the world. He is of the Chinese people, but also of the world’s people.

Happy birthday, Chairman.

[ Huang ji guang's mother shaking hands with Mao, 1954 ]

http://i0.sinaimg.cn/book/excerpt/sz/2008-06-23/U2883P112T3D239013F1819DT20080623144433.jpg

December 26, 2012 @ 11:43 am | Comment

Merry Christmas all!

December 26, 2012 @ 5:40 pm | Comment

Happy Holidays folks!

December 26, 2012 @ 6:15 pm | Comment

Merry Christmas.

December 26, 2012 @ 7:31 pm | Comment

Merry Christmas! Hope all are enjoying the company of friends and loved ones. :)

December 26, 2012 @ 7:36 pm | Comment

Peace, cheer and joy to everyone!

December 26, 2012 @ 8:03 pm | Comment

A highly educated Mainland Chinese immigrant’s experience in America is an experience in regression: regression of mental capacity, regression of physical strength, regression in language ability (both Chinese and English), regression in cooking skills, regression in food tastes, regression in fashion tastes, regression in mental spirits, regression of hairline, regression of handiness, regression of sexual potency. The only thing that doesn’t regress is his age.

Sigh.

There are 8 types of Chinese people who are suited to staying in America:

1) Women, especially women with PhD’s and women with ugly appearance.
2) Chinese men who do not like beautiful Chinese women
3) People who enjoy getting PhD’s and post-docs.
4) People who enjoy staying in windowless labs for 8 hours a day earning 30,000 a year.
5) People who like playing ping pong with his wife in their house’s basement on weekends.
6) People who like living in the middle of nowhere.
7) People who enjoy speaking chinglish to their kids everyday and their kids being ashamed of them.
8) People who like fried chicken

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December 27, 2012 @ 12:26 am | Comment

Clock, I’m beginning to think you’re actually some racist white guy posting out of his mom’s basement. Just go away.

December 27, 2012 @ 2:37 am | Comment

You are an ABC, why do you stay in China and not in the US? Clearly you’ve made a calculation that being in China is better for your career than being in the US right now.

December 27, 2012 @ 3:20 am | Comment

Is the CCP finally getting serious about corruption? An excellent article in the Times makes you wonder. High-level officials are exempt, of course, but local officials may be in for greater scrutiny and punishment. Let’s wait and see. Every regime promises to crack down on corruption. Well worth a read.

Update: Another article says China is about to crack down heavily on those posting about corruption on the Internet. Every time we get a glint of hope, we end up disappointed.

December 27, 2012 @ 3:30 am | Comment

Another good read, this one on how China has backed itself into a corner over the disputed islands. Will there be war?

December 27, 2012 @ 3:33 am | Comment

I’m beginning to think you’re actually some racist white guy posting out of his mom’s basement.

Yes, absolutely. Chinese people would never talk like this. Only WASPs can show bad manners, a disturbed mind, or a desire to make other “races”, nations etc. “look bad”.

December 27, 2012 @ 3:54 am | Comment

Ironic that he’s posting from America.

Everyone needs to go see Bloomberg’s incredible look behind the curtain of China’s princelings. Be sure to click on the graphic. This is Pulitzer material.

December 27, 2012 @ 4:06 am | Comment

Merry Christmas, everyone. I hope you are enjoying the holidays.

@CM,

‘No, I said specifically that countries with economic ties with China are booming.’

Let me remind you:

Xilin : ‘Previous world powers have brought economic growth to other nations.’
CM: ‘No, they haven’t. Any time a European colonial (or Islamic imperial, etc) power has brought “economic growth” to a polity it was only to serve their own interests.’

Look, either they did bring economic growth, or they didn’t. I completely agree that economic ventures were designed primarily to benefit their own interests. But, when I ask you whether or not Chinese ventures in Africa do not serve Chinese interests, you remain silent.

‘That are income/wealth adjusted.’

Look, you haven’t provided any evidence to support your claim that ‘Chinese people have the lowest crime rates in the world’. When I provide evidence to counter this, you say that statistics have to be wealth adjusted or take into account the fact that China is a developing nation. But the statistics just don’t fit into any of this. Taiwan is more developed and wealthier, per capita, than mainland China, but has a higher intentional homicide rate (three times higher). How is this possible?

‘To the contrary, the Qing court made efforts to constrain the movement of people onto Taiwan.’

The colonisation of Taiwan was started by Europeans and completed by the Chinese (and don’t forget the Japanese). It started way back in the Ming dynasty. The fact that the Qing court did implement measures to control the movement of people into Taiwan does not mean they didn’t want anyone going there at all. Chinese migration to Taiwan resulted in numerous conflicts with the aboriginal peoples there, a complete change in demographics, and the loss of aboriginal lands, culture and language.

You claim that you are ‘not aware of any attempts by any Chinese polity to force its culture on other peoples’ and when I give you an example (山地平地化), you state that this was an ‘internal’ issue. So, you are saying that China expanded its borders to encompass other peoples, then forced Chinese culture on these peoples. This is exactly what I was getting at with the model I gave in the last thread:

‘….first comes trade, then military forces to protect financial interests and growing numbers of citizens overseas, then aggressive promotion of one’s culture, religion, language, form of governance etc.’

Does the experience of Taiwan not fit into this model?

‘China had tributary obligations to the preceding dynasty in Vietnam. It’s not exactly an “invasion”.’

How else would you describe the Ming military activities in Vietnam between 1406 and 1407 if it not by using the term ‘invasion’? Are their actions not an example of ‘sociopathic, rent-seeking, evil behaviour’?

Which culture or people, that has risen to a position of power, can claim to have a peaceful history free from the blemishes of expansionism and aggressively promoting their own culture? If all other powers have done this before (and not just the Europeans, but any power that has risen to a position of dominance) then will China do the same if it does become more dominant? If you think not, then please tell me why? It is a historically proven method for promoting your culture and elevating your position at the expense of all others.

December 27, 2012 @ 3:30 pm | Comment

And a happy new year to you, too, Xilin.

December 27, 2012 @ 10:03 pm | Comment

Perhaps my mental image of the average PRC nationalist Internet troll is off base, (and I acknowldge that the Clock eliminates himself from consideration with the “highly educated” qualifier) but still I don’t see people like the Clock possessing many or even any of the attributes he is claiming will regress in America. Mental capacity? Physical strength? Language ability? Fashion tastes? Sexual potency? The jokes write themselves.

December 28, 2012 @ 1:04 am | Comment

The round of non-governmental confrontation over the Diaoyu Islands has been one of the most profitable for many Chinese. ONE WAY BET. As the patriotic Chinese refuse to buy Japanese goods, Chinese Soros clean up on shorting the Yen. Even small frys can make money on this easy bet. The Yen is already at 86 (down from 79 a few weeks ago).

Even the Nikkei, which is showing a bull flag pattern (more like a B.S. flag), could come tumbling down in 2013, as the investors realize that the export dependent stocks (Toyota, Honda, Sony, Matsushita, anyone), largely shut out of the massively growing China market, have no prospects even with a falling Yen. This is especially true if a military dispute flares up.

Abe has nowhere to go but print more Yen, at a time when the JP national debt is already 225% of GDP. Abe is openly shooting for an inflation target of 2%, and demanded that the Japanese central bank print as much Yen as needed to achieve that. Beijing should certainly help Tokyo along, by tagging a 25% export surtax to Japan until done. Over 70% of exports to Japan from China are done by Japanese outfits anyway, and those facilities and factories can be picked up for a song thereafter. Moreover, if you remove Made-in-China, Japan will really see what hyperinflation means.

When it is all said and done, the JP bond interest rates would probably pop by 5-10% a year. All’s well that ends well.

And to celebrate, the pigheaded (moi) won $8.38 over 8 rounds of Mahjong with old friends this Christmas weekend, with two-style huo-guo (hotpot) dinner to follow. Good friends shared the remaining half jug of Nu-er Hong scalded over hot water, and roundly cussed out the Japanese and Chicoms and all things unsatisfactory. Mmm-mmm,no Michelin 3 star experience can beat that.

Happy holidays to all!

December 28, 2012 @ 1:41 am | Comment

Aaand a happy new year to you, Tai De and slim.

December 28, 2012 @ 2:57 am | Comment

And to you JR, and to everybody who dines on Peking Duck here.

December 28, 2012 @ 4:15 am | Comment

Mm. Happy new year. Already gained two kilos…

December 28, 2012 @ 6:58 am | Comment

Mm. Happy new year. Already gained two kilos…

I read this as

Mm. Happy new year. Already gained two kids…

>_>

December 28, 2012 @ 6:40 pm | Comment

A belated merry Christmas to one and all.

December 28, 2012 @ 8:40 pm | Comment

Thoughts for the new year:

Treating China as a non-Market Economy is such B.S. – it is a rigged game to discriminate against China in trade. The discrimination must be met head-on: any country that does not recognize China as a market economy shall henceforth be treated as a non-market economy by China, and the production and utilities costs of Switzerland shall be used in surrogate calculations. There is NOTHING in the WTO rules that says that China has to recognize other nations as market economies other than by China’s own laws. The laws can and must be changed. NZ already recognized China as a market economy since 2004, and the two nations enjoy wonderful trade relationships.

Start with Japan and Korea.

December 29, 2012 @ 11:40 am | Comment

I have always wondered how a 25% surtax on exports would make importing countries appreciate well priced Made in China a lot more.

Such goods – the fruits of the smart work and hard work of the Chinese, have literally been the most effective (some insist the only effective) poverty alleviation program in human history for the last 30 years. It works all around the globe, and provide on a daily basis higher living standards to much of the 6.5 billion souls on Earth.

All thanks largely to the CPC, of course.

Don’t be ingrates. Say thanks to the Chicoms this holiday season, after you look through the presents, and come to realize that most of your holiday joy of giving and receiving would be a lot less enjoyable but for Made in China.

Come together now, THANK YOU CPC, THANK YOU CHINESE PEOPLE, THANK YOU CHINA!!

December 29, 2012 @ 11:45 am | Comment

You have definitely earned your 50 mao.

December 29, 2012 @ 12:39 pm | Comment

Aaand a merry Christmas to you, Richard.

Zhuubajie’s motivation is personal, I believe. He wants to believe that he (he’s equating his view with Chinese views much of the time) is good for something – hence the talk about “ingrates”, re China’s measures to save our lives with affordable consumer goods.

I’m sure that China has a lot to offer to the world, but consumer goods aren’t the first things that would come to my mind. As long as I used filament bulbs on my bike, I always bought two for the front, and three for the rear lamp every time – those small rear bulbs were worst. I bought one for accidentally breaking the bulb from the winding while inserting it, one to use it, and one to replace the new bulb after a few hours of operation. I’d have preferred the bulbs I I had known before – the ones that went on, and on, and on. It would have done a favor to the environment, too. But the problem was that there were no such bulbs anymore. “Sorry”, the dealer said, “they are all from China now”.

Not that I’m blaming China for that – I just don’t think there’s a lot of reason to be unilaterally “grateful” for the currents of global trade. If zhuubaajie needs more self-esteem, he should try to earn it. It’s for him to decide how much decent behavior on his part would satisfy him.

December 29, 2012 @ 2:01 pm | Comment

Gained two kids? How awful.

I’m returning back to non-market economy China tomorrow, soil have to start accessing the site through a proxy again because CERTAIN PEOPLE are afraid of their own shadow…

December 29, 2012 @ 3:58 pm | Comment

Thanks for the excellent comment, JR. A fine assessment of what motivates our new friend.

Please note that’s I’ve added a new guest post directly below.

December 30, 2012 @ 1:30 am | Comment

@JR

Instead of psychoanalyzing the pigheaded (a lost cause through and through, as Zhuubaajie is clearly a persona), why not stick to issues and facts and opinions instead?

Calling on Westerners, especially Americans and Aussies not to be ingrates, is more than justified. Both get much more than they give to China.

December 30, 2012 @ 10:19 am | Comment

Thanks for the excellent comment, JR.

Nothing commendable, Richard. All it takes to see the guys misery is to take a few steps back from the “interaction”, and to look at it. My recommendation would be not to talk with, but about him – and his points, if there are any. Xilin’s advice (previous thread, now closed) amounts to the same approach.

Obviously, that’s not the kind of debate zhuu baajie would like to have.

December 30, 2012 @ 8:30 pm | Comment

Japan, in the midst of things, is trying really hard to stir things up. It just hijacked another Chinese fishing boat under threat of firing and sinking it. The alleged infraction? Passing through the 200 nautical mile zone of once of its small islands. No fish was found. There was supposedly 1.5 kg (yes, 3 lbs) of coral. There is no proof at all that the coral came from that part of the sea. There is no proof at all that the Chinese vessel was doing anything except passing through. Yet the ship has been detained, and livelihoods are lost.

What’s this crap about threatening the freedom of passage on the high seas??!! WHERE are the Americans in upholding that freedom?

It is Japan that is provoking a conflict. 1.5 kg of rocks – a little bigger than the size of a fist. The Japanese believe that with the muscle of the hegemon behind it, it is free to do whatever it pleases, no matter how unreasonable.

December 31, 2012 @ 4:15 am | Comment

What is good must be universal.

This is not the first time that Chinese vessels are stopped and towed back to a foreign port for search and seizure. If America the “policeman” is not going to stop the Japanese hijacking of Chinese vessels merely passing through alleged EEZ, that is now the expected conduct of nations.

Next time that spy ship is “passing through” China’s EEZ, there better not be that 1.5 kg of rock on the ship, as that is now the international standard.

December 31, 2012 @ 11:03 am | Comment

Japan is sending ships to go hunt whales in Antarctic waters claimed by Australia. The move is wildly unpopular in Australia, both touching the nerves of environmentalists and nationalists.

Maybe China should do a little bit of tit-for-tat, and conduct some ‘friendly’ high seas interdiction of the whaling ships when they’re heading to the zone to ‘inspect’ the ships and make sure they’re not carrying illegal whaling equipment. Would be nice to stall them long enough so that they miss the whaling season.

It’d be a great wedge issue to put the US in a bind, and win support for China in Australia.

December 31, 2012 @ 12:38 pm | Comment

FYI, the excuses Japan is using to hold the Chinese crew make no sense. First off, biased assertions from the BBC and Reuters notwithstanding, the boat was not in Japanese waters–it was in the Japanese EEZ, which is legal to traverse. Second, coral fishing is something that typically removes 50 or 100kg of coral in one go; how is 1.5kg of coral indicative of violation of the EEZ? Third, how is Japan even proving that the boat was ‘fishing’ in the waters and not just passing by?

Good luck to PM Abe in trying to complete his plans for quantitative easing. A proper Chinese response would be to quietly amass a position in Japanese government bonds with the Chinese sovereign wealth fund, and initiate a Soros-style attack on Japan, but with all of China’s financial firepower. If Soros could break the Bank of England with a mere billion dollars of dry powder, imagine what a few hundred billion dollars of Chinese financial muscle could do to the brittle Japanese bond market.

December 31, 2012 @ 12:47 pm | Comment

@t_co – Soros had the advantage of having the fundamentals in his favour – the BoE was trying to maintain an unmaintainable position and he was just among the first to call them on it. No-one could simply engineer that kind of situation.

As for the EEZ being the equivalent of a territorial waters, since the PRC government is foremost amongst those countries which have behaved as if it is (cf. harassment of US navy ships transiting through the South China Seas) it’s going to be a bit difficult to claim otherwise.

December 31, 2012 @ 2:40 pm | Comment

t_co # 34 Wedge issue! Surely you are jesting? For better or worse, Australian Federal govts of either persuasion are rusted on to the US alliance, and it ain’t about to get unrusted over Japanese whaling.

Anti-US sentiment peaked here in the 1970s -Pine Gap, Vietnam.

We don’t mind them investing their blood and treasure in the Pacific pivot.

There is little hard support for China here, despite drivel by Rudd and Emerson…we just sell them minerals and buy their widgets.

And, on th contrary, Japan is highly regarded in this country despite its rotten WW11 record.

And the more China pisses of Vietnam and its neighbours, the greater the suspicion here of the Big Red Dragon and its blue water intentions.

(You should write up your devious plan and post it off to The Diplomat.)

December 31, 2012 @ 4:17 pm | Comment

Norway’s whale policy also comes in for the same amount of flack. However, that doesn’t stop tons of Norwegian students descending on our beaches, universities and liquor outlets each year.

Breaking the Japanese bond market.

Have you just drunk a large carton of megalomania?

You are being plain silly today.

December 31, 2012 @ 4:30 pm | Comment

@t_co, Soros’ wolfpack (he and his hedge fund peers) had considerably more than $1 bil in the 1992 game. Nobody can win a duel within the realm of the Japanese bond market against the Japanese, because the Japanese own the supply of the currency and the bonds, on which the game is played. To “break” a central bank (BoE in 1992, or BCRA in 2002), you will have to play a game with at least one leg the central bank doesn’t own the supply of. Granted once in a blue moon you have a black swan case such as Russia’s 1998 default on Ruble-denominated bonds, but if Russia perceived it was the financial attack by a foreign country, even the drunken Yeltsin could’ve just printed more Ruble to meet the domestic bond obligations.

At the end it was all fundamentals. What the BoE couldn’t defend, or at least chose not to defend further, was the exchange rate between British Pound and Deutsche Mark at above 2.70. Sure once the line was breached, it went as low as 2.15ish in 1995, but it eventually bounced back and went as high as 3.00ish before DEM turning into EUR.

On the other hand, after the Argentine Peso crashed and the central bank couldn’t defend parity with USD, a decade later it’s US$1 = ARS5.

Don’t get me wrong, there is major weakness in the Japanese system, and IMHO Japan is in a terminal decline, fundamentally. Now is not the time to let loose your wolfpack.

BTW, the fishing boat incident ended with a $50k fine. It would be silly to start a financial war for a small case like that, especially without a perfect timing.

BTW 2, Soros and his wolfpack, now much better funded attacked Euro in early 2010. The whisper was USD/EUR parity. They took the chips off the table after China provided the support to Euro.

January 1, 2013 @ 4:49 am | Comment

Instead of pontificating, the Chinese puts the money where the mouth is.

$1.7 on a put option on a Yen ETF already turned to over $8 in less than 2 months, and the Yen is only at 86 (from 79′ish). There’s a very long way to go yet to 120.

January 1, 2013 @ 5:06 am | Comment

The most successful trait of the CPC is that there is no hubris. The Chinese have no false pride, like you know who, that they know everything. Instead, the Chinese are open minded and are willing to try different ways that seem to be working for other cultures.

http://africa.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2013-01/01/content_16073482.htm

The combination of a system that graduates 6 million university grads each year, with half of them in the sciences and engineering, AND incorporating different ways of thinking, will continue to mean that China will have cost effective R&D (currently at 1/5th the cost of doing it in the West). That in turn guarantees that China’s development will be faster than that of everyone else’s.

The quality of the leadership really does make a difference. Chicoms have leaders, instead of clowns pretending to be leaders.

January 1, 2013 @ 5:10 pm | Comment

Whomever says that economic pressure is not working?? Abe the clown is taking the unswerving claim of ownership of the Diaoyu Is. seriously, and as a direct consequence of continued and effective Chinese boycott, Abe is forced into taking unprecedented action – massive nationalization to keep the industries from dying.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/industry/9773883/Japan-plans-nationalisation-of-factories-to-save-industry.html

The boycotts caused Japan another 500,000 MT of steel output just this current quarter. Japan’s steel industry is already at least one generation behind those in China in terms of technology. Strip it of a major market, see Japan steel come tumbling down also.

http://www.amm.com/Article/3126436/Steel/Chinas-boycott-to-curb-Japan-steel-output-550000T.html

This is no longer a tactical move, but of substantial strategic value. Yank out Japan as “ding zi” 钉子, it serves multiple purposes. WHO is Australia and Russia going to sell to once Japan is gone as a major customer? The terms of trade would improve all of a sudden in the neighborhood.

What is beautiful is that this is asymmetrical. During the last six months, while Japanese exports to China decreased, that going the other way did not – Japan today RELIES on well priced Made in China for much of DAILY NECESSITIES, i.e., the imports from China are not elastic. (The same is actually true for America). If Abe tries to retaliate by blocking Chinese exports to Japan, it just accelerates the inevitable. Hyperinflation would come on a much faster schedule, and interest rates on that huge national debt, which is 225% of Japanese GDP, will balloon to 7, 8, or even 10% a year, sinking Japan’s economy permanently. 25% surtax on exports to Japan would be a logical next move.

Bonds is just one area. A continued boycott is the key for this sustained strategic move. Give the Japanese all the talk they deserve, but hold steady on replacing purchases – even switching to American and European and Korean brands would be O.K. But this is not the time to practice 妇人之仁.

January 2, 2013 @ 5:11 am | Comment

Happy New Year, zhuzhu.

January 2, 2013 @ 5:24 am | Comment

“Japan was playing with fire by trying to reflate, warning that this could decimate the bond portfolio of Japanese lenders and set off a banking crisis. The banks hold government bonds worth 900% of their Tier 1 capital.”

Most of those JP govt. bonds are paying only around 2% interest. If interest rate doubles to 4 or 5% interest, the value of those existing bonds more have HALVES. That would wipe out the entire Tier 1 capital of the JP banking sector 4 or 5 times over. Abe would have no alternative but to print more gazillions of Yen.

Yes, China also holds SOME JP govt. bonds, and would suffer losses if the JP bonds fall disastraously. But the leverage is MUCH sweeter than that with American treasuries. Most of JP govt. issues are held DOMESTICALLY. China’s holding is less than half of one percent of total JP govt. debt. That means China’s loss is magnified 200 fold within Japan, and well worth it strategically.

Already Abe has mandated at least 90 Yen per Dollar – it is a foregone conclusion that Japan WILL overshoot, and likely end up with 120 or even 160 Yen/Dollar. Watch the fireworks go off, as the Chinese Soros clean up. Most American hedge funds already have Yen specific teams to take advantage of this sick economy ran by fools. 2013 is going to be kabuke year as you watch the Japanese economy melt down right in public view.

January 2, 2013 @ 5:34 am | Comment

Why are you working on a holiday?

January 2, 2013 @ 5:35 am | Comment

Happy New Year to you too, Richard.

ZhuZhu would more likely be a girl’s name in Chinese (pearl pearl). Bajie (8-admonishments) or even Pigheaded will do.

January 2, 2013 @ 5:37 am | Comment

It’s just a nickname, no harm intended. Enjoy your holiday, take a break from commenting here. Surely you have better things to do. The last five comments are all from you. Do you have any hobbies, like stamp collecting or butterfly catching? Get out some more and live your life instead on anchoring yourself to silly blogs. No one’s reading today anyway.

January 2, 2013 @ 5:41 am | Comment

Some people say a man is made outta mud
Ol’ Pigsy is made outta bullshit and blood
Bullshit and blood and fingers and sick
A mind that’s a-weak and a keyboard that’s quick

You load sixteen comments and what do you get?
A stinkin’ wumao and deeper in debt
Sun Yat-sen don’t you call me ’cause there’s nothing to see
I owe my soul to the CPC

January 2, 2013 @ 5:48 am | Comment

Don’t know about soul. But most Chinese owe the CPC their improving living standards (still improving after 34 years) and national pride in being Chinese, that is true.

January 2, 2013 @ 6:04 am | Comment

Xilin
Let me remind you:

You’re dodging my point and making it about your rhetoric and semantics, so I accept your defeat on this point unless you clarify.

I said countries with ties to China are booming, as in the people are thriving. NOT that they’re being led around in chains and threatened with dismemberment if they don’t work, as happened during the Scramble for Africa. China’s involvement in Africa is COMPLETELY different, and I will not bother to explain this because you know it’s true.

when I ask you whether or not Chinese ventures in Africa do not serve Chinese interest

This is completely asinine. I apologize if I am misreading a legitimate question, but at best it’s irrelevant to my point.

Look, you haven’t provided any evidence to support your claim that ‘Chinese people have the lowest crime rates in the world’.

I absolutely have. Again, it’s implied that there is an inherent cultural factor involved all other things equal. Lets actually get back to the point and not grasp at semantics.

Taiwan is more developed and wealthier, per capita, than mainland China, but has a higher intentional homicide rate (three times higher). How is this possible?

Taiwanese are *a* Chinese people, not *the* Chinese people.

The fact that the Qing court did implement measures to control the movement of people into Taiwan does not mean they didn’t want anyone going there at all.

Where did I make any claims on the Qing court’s desires? In fact they did NOT want Chinese people going overseas, including Taiwan. But their legislation was realist and they eventually relented, allowing Chinese migrants to officially take wives and settle in Taiwan. Regardless, lets get back to the point. We were talking about China being expansionist, as in the PRC. For one, the settlement of Taiwan was not government sponsored. Private individuals simply rode off to trade and eventually intermingle with the locals. The whole reason why I brought up the series of restrictive laws is to illustrate that point. By your analogy, the Chinese presence in Singapore is also state-sponsored colonization. Lastly since you mention the Ming I want to remind you that it was only when the dynasty collapsed that mass migration to Taiwan took place, so yes a destabilized China is dangerous. I don’t see how this tells us anything about how China may behave in the future.

Chinese migration to Taiwan resulted in numerous conflicts with the aboriginal peoples there, a complete change in demographics, and the loss of aboriginal lands, culture and language.

You are avoiding the specifics for a reason and simply using a superficial analysis to equate the relatively mild expansion into Taiwan by private Chinese individuals with state-sponsored genocide and the literal dumping of people in the United States, Canada and Australia.

For one, “the aboriginal peoples” are not a monolithic group. Many tribes got along peaceably with the Chinese which stands in stark contrast to their near-universal hatred of the Portuguese and Dutch (who also came to be despised by the Indonesians and Japanese), so I will take that as a credit to my main argument which is that Chinese people treat others better than Europeans do. In fact, if I recall correctly, the Chinese took arms against the Dutch alongside the natives to kick them off the island. Lastly, the Chinese and Aborigines probably fought among themselves than with each other.

So, you are saying that China expanded its borders to encompass other peoples, then forced Chinese culture on these peoples.

And by my above point, your characterization of “China” is inappropriate. Chinese individuals settled a region and then the KMT, facing an existential threat, imposed nationalist ideology on not only the natives but benshengren and all the various other Chinese groups from all over the mainland.

Does the experience of Taiwan not fit into this model?

Clearly, it does not. Trade with the aborigines was done informally, often by people considered by the Qing to be undesirables. It was not state or company-sponsored mercantilism as was the case of Perry in the Ryukyus or the Dutch elsewhere in Asia.

Second, “military forces to protect financial interests” absolutely does not characterize either Koxinga’s retreat during the collapse of the Ming (in which he ousted brutal Dutch colonizers) nor the KMT flight to Taiwan. We should note that China was also pressured into relaxing restrictions on immigration to Taiwan because of European encroachment, and we can draw similarities between this and the fate of the Lhasa government in what is the TAR today. In Taiwan’s case we can make a strong argument that China’s presence thwarted European exploitation, which by Indonesia’s example is known to be particularly harsh. Later Japanese adventurism was likewise rebuffed.

How else would you describe the Ming military activities in Vietnam between 1406 and 1407 if it not by using the term ‘invasion’?

I would absolutely not characterize it as an invasion, as I said before, because the Chinese intervened to reinstall a vassal dynasty after a rebellion at the request of a member of the preceding dynasty.

They subsequently attacked a Chinese diplomatic mission and the borderlands around what is presumably Guangxi today, as the Vietnamese were prone to do. So not quite like up and taking over a continent and torturing people who have never offended you near to extinction.

Which culture or people, that has risen to a position of power, can claim to have a peaceful history free from the blemishes of expansionism and aggressively promoting their own culture?

Again, I am bored of superficial generalizations. The details matter.

January 2, 2013 @ 9:03 am | Comment

Using Chinese culture to nourish Africa’s indigenous culture:

This monk is talking about promoting Chinese culture and religion to save Africa. Nobody finds that remotely interesting?

I’m not sure if my post on that Chinese charity simply came at a quiet time for blogging or is simply not of interest to any of the readers here.

If it is the latter, I’m suprised that I could have such a strong reaction to watching those videos of the African children dressed in robes reciting scriptures and jumping around in shiny nylon doing Shaolin wushu. I had such a strong reaction because of my education and background. I was taught that sentiments such as those that the monk expresses are simply wrong and that forcing your culture on others is just plain wrong.

January 3, 2013 @ 1:24 pm | Comment

@CM

‘Any time a European colonial (or Islamic imperial, etc) power has brought “economic growth” to a polity it was only to serve their own interests.’

Apologies if I misread this, but I thought your main point here was that whereas previous powers brought economic growth only as a means to serve their own interests, Chinese ventures in Africa are different in that they are not designed only to serve Chinese interests. Chinese ventures are different in that the Chinese don’t go around butchering or enslaving people like the Europeans and Arabs did, but their ventures are all the same in that they are primarily aimed at serving their own interests.

‘Chinese people have the lowest crime rates in the world’

I’d really be interested in reading any studies or figures that you can reference, because I can’t find anything on it. The fact that you haven’t provided any references probably means you don’t have any, and this is just one of those ‘everybody knows it’s true’ comments. You mention overseas Chinese and Singapore, but then when I mention Taiwan, you say they are only ‘a’ Chinese people. The country with the most Chinese people is obviously China, which doesn’t have the world’s lowest crime rate. Furthermore, if crime rates need to be ‘income/wealth’ adjusted in order to fit your claim, it just shows how little an impact cultural background has on crime. Perhaps you should state in the future, ‘when Chinese people are wealthy they have the lowest crime rates in the world’.

The stationing of government troops and the building of fortifications in Taiwan during the Qing dynasty to protect Chinese immigrants is state-sponsored colonisation/expansionism. Arguing that the colonisation of Taiwan was achieved without state support and solely down to individuals working independently of the government is both incorrect and irrelevant, because we’re discussing whether or not there is something inherent in Chinese culture which prevents Chinese people from behaving in an expansionist or imperialistic way. Surely if culture affects the government, it also affects individuals as well?

CM : ‘I am not aware of any attempts by any Chinese polity to force its culture on other peoples’

CM : ‘the KMT, facing an existential threat, imposed nationalist ideology on not only the natives but benshengren and all the various other Chinese groups from all over the mainland.’

Unless you seriously think Taiwanese aboriginals are ‘皇炎子孫’, you are arguing against yourself.

We’re discussing history here, and as such, there aren’t any ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers. This isn’t a debate anyone can ‘win’. You have your own reading of history, as do I. How each of the historical periods we have discussed will be viewed very differently by different people. When you state that the Chinese ‘intervened to reinstall a vassal dynasty’ in Vietnam, someone else might refer to ‘regime-change’ or simply ‘invasion’. How do you think a Vietnamese would refer to it?

My position has always been that China has been expansionist in the past, but that limits were set on this by domestic concerns. I’m interested in whether or not a more powerful China will attempt to expand its influence and back it up with an increased military presence around the world. Will there be similar ‘military exchanges’ and ‘training’ in far flung regions (similar plans have proved to be the beginnings of much greater military presences in the recent histories of other powers)? I’m interested in whether or not there will be aggressive promotion of Chinese culture around the world. Will the government, or individuals (take Master Hui Li’s endeavours as an example), aggressively promote Chinese culture as a means of helping or aiding less developed nations?

I think the above are all possible. Not definite, but possible. Your position was originally that China does not have a history of expansionism and has never forced its culture on other peoples. When I present just one example of this, you change your position to basically saying that when the Chinese have been expansionist, they were nicer to the people they colonised than the Europeans. Is that supposed to be praiseworthy?

January 3, 2013 @ 1:49 pm | Comment

Xilin
. You mention overseas Chinese and Singapore, but then when I mention Taiwan, you say they are only ‘a’ Chinese people. The country with the most Chinese people is obviously China, which doesn’t have the world’s lowest crime rate

You’re forgetting the rest of the 60 million or so in the Chinese diaspora.

when Chinese people are wealthy they have the lowest crime rates in the world’.

Absolutely not. Adjusted for income and wealth, regardless of what income and wealth you choose, they have the lowest (or are tied for lowest).

The stationing of government troops and the building of fortifications in Taiwan during the Qing dynasty to protect Chinese immigrants is state-sponsored colonisation/expansionism.

Most of which were to fend off Europeans and Japanese, long, long after millions of Chinese settlers had left, WITHOUT official government support, to settle the region. Only after several decades of provocation by Europeans.

Unless you seriously think Taiwanese aboriginals are ‘皇炎子孫’, you are arguing against yourself.

Disagree. KMT national ideology can hardly be defined as “Chinese culture” in the sense you are implying – especially, as you recall, because it took into account the fact that China was a multiethnic nation. There is no single traditional Chinese culture. It was merely a product of political expedience and it’s hard to say the aborigines were much more or less subjected to it.

someone else might refer to ‘regime-change’ or simply ‘invasion’. How do you think a Vietnamese would refer to it?

Then they use the terms “regime-change” rather loosely. China did not topple an established or legitimate dynasty (not that medieval empires can really be legitimate). “The Vietnamese” today I’m sure view it in whichever way suits their particular brand of no-logic nationalist revisionism. Back then, there is not a clear picture. But considering they tolerated the Chinese presence for literally a thousand years, while ousting the hated French in mere decades, we learn something substantial about the difference between Chinese and French “colonial” rule, which is the whole crux of this present diversion.

My position has always been that China has been expansionist in the past, but that limits were set on this by domestic concerns.

You are using highly loaded terms out of context, and I would say you are flat-out wrong on the nature of China’s settlement of Taiwan which was driven by private individuals, and you are ignoring context in the Vietnamese situation. I am questioning your grasp of the narrative. You seem eager to condemn Chinese dynasties and give Europeans a tacit pass by putting their imperialist impulses in the same class as China’s own methods. I admit I know relatively little about Ming’s relations with Vietnam but I am definitely familiar with Taiwan’s history. There is absolutely NO comparison whatsoever between Europe’s behavior overseas and that of China’s in Taiwan.

If China were so expansionist, then why did it never make any attempt to invade Japan when it was weak? Why didn’t it attack the Ryukyu’s before the 1600s? Why didn’t it conquer the Tocharians who, by Chinese census estimates, were so few in number that their fighting age men were vastly outnumbered by the royal guard? Your pinning of this on China’s inability to do the deed stand out as being ungrounded, considering they contemporaneously annihilated much greater threats during the relevant time period.

When I present just one example of this, you change your position to basically saying that when the Chinese have been expansionist

Wrong on both counts. By your definition of expansionist, ALL polities and not just strong ones are expansionist. Vietnam has been far more aggressive than China given the capabilities of the people they (repeatedly) invaded. If you mean that kind of expansionism, then you are wasting your words. Even if we take this for granted however, you are still dodging the specifics, and trying to cover for Europeans with (again) superficial generalizations is a useless exercise with no practical benefit.

Second, don’t put words into my mouth. Here is what I said: “China is in no way like European powers and never has been, in such a way that is good for everyone else.”

Also: “Except China was the world’s dominant power for varying stints adding up to thousands of years, and they were very rarely belligerent or dangerous”

I don’t see how “very rarely belligerent” translates into “does not have a history of expansionism”. Let us not forget that this is in the context of one of your first arguments which was this: “What makes you think that China will behave differently from other previous world powers when faced with essentially asymetrical power relations?”

China has been faced with asymmetrical power relations for millennia. I gave you three easy examples above with the Tocharians, Ryukyuans and Japanese. If you recall, around 400 BC or so a small contingent of Koreans easily colonized Japan. The same Korean state that was losing militarily to its Northern neighbor, who in turn was being trounced by one solitary bordering Chinese state.

You seem to be addressing me with the intent of only recognizing bits and pieces of Chinese history which serve your particular argument or worldview.

January 4, 2013 @ 7:27 am | Comment

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-20911823

Good news. The actions of the journos and staff at the Southern Weekly should be praised. What’s the harm of asking for more constitutional reform in this transition period? This is the right time to make these points. Encouraging a good civil dialogue when the policymakers are ready to discuss changes is the best move to make.

Also, there’s really no excuse for the clumsy way Tuo handled this. He should be reassigned to Antarctica.

January 5, 2013 @ 3:22 am | Comment

I heard this in the radio this morning. It will be fascinating to see how this turns out.

January 5, 2013 @ 3:24 am | Comment

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1120156/tuo-zhen-crusading-journalist-turned-guangdong-propagandist

Fascinating biography of the propaganda official in question, Tuo Zhen.

Crusading journalist turned censor. Would make an interesting biopic if the producers could get SARFT drunk enough.

January 5, 2013 @ 5:10 am | Comment

@t_co:

“What’s the harm of asking for more constitutional reform in this transition period?”

That would depend on the environment. The naked aggression and hostility towards China simply allows no sleep. Constitutional reforms can wait till another century.

President O just signed this into law on Jan. 2., 2013, ordering the Commander of the U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) to submit a report by Aug. 15 on the “underground tunnel network used by the People’s Republic of China with respect to the capability of the United States to use conventional and nuclear forces to neutralize such tunnels and what is stored within such tunnels.”

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130105/DEFREG02/301050003/New-U-S-Law-Seeks-Answers-Chinese-Nuke-Tunnels?odyssey=nav|head

China is not even “allowed” to have second strike capability to ensure MAD as a deterrent. When asked to take down pants to spread them, Beijing’s only allowed response is to ask demurely “how wide?”

When China is strong enough to openly talk credibly about how to accomplish those last two paragraphs in the article in 20 different ways, then there would be real peace, and Beijing can consider further Constitutional amendments to the liking of the plebes.

January 6, 2013 @ 6:17 am | Comment

@Zhuu

That would depend on the environment. The naked aggression and hostility towards China simply allows no sleep. Constitutional reforms can wait till another century.

If abolute security is your criterion for reform, then it may take longer than that. Aside from being unattainable, absolute security for any one state means absolute insecurity for all others.

January 6, 2013 @ 7:01 am | Comment

@t_co:

There is no such thing as absolute security – China does not pursue that; America does (futilely), unfortunately. China has a stated policy and practice of no first strike. America is the only nation on earth that practiced first strike, and still uses the threat of first strike as “diplomacy.”

Constitutional amendments can wait. Achieving some modicum of strength to make sure that first strike against China is not a viable option, is more important. When the tunnels do not matter (probably as a result of having 20,000 mobile launched ramjet missiles that can hit anywhere on Earth within one hour, and 5,000 nukes in orbit or some such craziness not yet conceived), then there’d be real peace.

January 6, 2013 @ 7:32 am | Comment

“When China is strong enough to openly talk credibly about how to accomplish those last two paragraphs in the article in 20 different ways, then there would be real peace, and Beijing can consider further Constitutional amendments to the liking of the plebes.”

Lest you guys miss Zhu’s reference, he’s calling for China to discuss this achievement:

“Karber’s paper estimates that China’s true nuclear arsenal, if used against the U.S. as a “counter-value attack,” would inflict 50 million direct casualties; plus-or-minus 50 percent would suffer radiation sickness ranging from debilitating to life-shortening; two-thirds of the 7,569 hospitals would be destroyed or inoperable and half the physicians would themselves be casualties. One-third of the electrical generation capacity and 40 percent of the national food producing agricultural land would be destroyed or exposed to significant residual radiation. 100 million Americans would face starvation within the first 10 years of the initial attack.

“Bottom line,” Karber’s report said, “200 million lost, and surviving Americans will be living in the dark, on a subsistence diet, with a life style and life expectancy equivalent to the Dark Ages.”

What a deranged world it must be for some, that Beijing has to “openly talk credibly” about how to destroy the US with nuclear weapons before considering changes to the PRC’s constitution. This is stated in response to the a defense report being ordered–oh, the horror.

There are times when one just has to mark the radical stupidity of Zhu and his supporters because it beggars belief.

January 6, 2013 @ 10:21 am | Comment

@Handler:

Let me get this straight – it is perfectly alright for America to pass public laws this month in 2013, and openly mandate the total destruction of China’s nuclear deterrent (thereby making first strike by America that can kill over 1 billion Chinese and send China back to the Stone Age) so much more likely – BUT it is horrific and inappropriate for China to even remotely dream of deterring such aggression by America.

Did I get it right?

WHICH is the nation (China or America) that has actually USED nuclear weapons in first strike, AND that against a non-nuclear nation, AND today refuses not to use first strikes even against non-nuclear nations??

Radical stupidity it is, and it is clear which one is the rogue.

January 6, 2013 @ 10:56 am | Comment

BTW, Karber’s paper is yet another piece of conjecture. CHINA has never made such assertions. Westerners wet dream such things – in the last few thousand years the “West” took glee and consider it a birthright of the West to wipe out other peoples wholesale. Therefore they have the worst fears that the same could be done to it.

CHINA had never made such assertions.

January 6, 2013 @ 10:59 am | Comment

“it is perfectly alright for America to pass public laws this month in 2013, and openly mandate the total destruction of China’s nuclear deterrent (thereby making first strike by America that can kill over 1 billion Chinese and send China back to the Stone Age) so much more likely”

There are a few things wrong with your lunatic reading, Zhu. First and foremost is your belief that a president ordering his defense ministers to account for a second strike capability amounts to threatening to kill over a billion Chinese (your typically paranoid projection). The law only mandates having a viable strategy in place to overcome what is widely perceived to be one of China’s nuclear arsenal’s most critical strengths.

The second is your belief that “CHINA has never made such assertions.” It is well known, in fact, that Zhu Chenghu made precisely such an assertion when he claimed China would attack major US cities with nukes in response to a conventional *defense* of US ships in the Taiwan Straits. Now you could try to spin this by stating he was expressing a “personal opinion” and that he was “punished” for his comments, but it’s hard to do so in light of his being selected to represent the PRC at the 2010 IISS Shangri-La Asian Security Summit, with its nuclear implications.

http://www.iiss.org/conferences/the-shangri-la-dialogue/shangri-la-dialogue-2010/plenary-session-speeches/first-plenary-session/robert-gates/qa/

If the PLA is using Zhu to try to create a credible fear, we should acknowledge that they have already gone beyond the restrictions of MAD, for Zhu’s comments indicated the willing acceptance of the total destruction of every PRC city “east of Xian” in response to a *PRC first strike*. Obviously if you are willing to sacrifice 1 billion of your countrymen, as I’ve no doubt the PLA is psychotic enough to do, MAD no longer applies.

The third, and perhaps most important, is that you, Zhu-man, did not say that China should pass “openly and credibly” pass laws to “neutralize” US nuclear capacity. Rather, you appropriated Karber’s conclusions and stated that China should openly and credibly discuss “how to accomplish those last two paragraphs in the article,” which focused on the destruction of US infrastructure and the widespread death of US citizenry. I’m not surprised how drastically your ethnic paranoia has twisted you. But do you really think you are aiding relations between China and the US by encouraging China to openly and credibly discuss such events? Is that even your goal?

January 6, 2013 @ 11:55 am | Comment

@Handler:

So that’s how white folks spread fears of the sexual prowess of Negroes, in order to saye the honor of respectable women folk? How silly you sound.

Who started it? China did not. If Zhu, Chenghu stated the obvious (yes, his personal opinion), it was after decades of open threats by America, year in and year out, of nuking China (and many others around the globe).

Yes, I actually believe it helps to minimize misunderstandings, by discussing all issues. But the Beijing Chinese are too polite to do so – but that had not stopped the others from doing so, even to the extent to codifying strategy opening to propagandize the threats.

Lee, An and other Chinese directors should do real movies ala Dr. Strangelove. American “reality” supplies so much free material that no scriptwriter can dream up.

January 6, 2013 @ 1:46 pm | Comment

But nukes and annihilation are so depressing. Let’s talk about making money on the Japanese instead. Handler have you made your money on the dropping JP Yen yet?

Like shooting fish in a barrel.

With all those hundreds of billions in profits in shorting the Yen, Chinese companies can afford to buy the closing JP ventures in the next year or two, for pennies on the dollar. It really does feel good physically to make this money on the foolishness of Downturn Abe.

The combination is truly priceless this time around. Downturn Abe guaranteed the demise of Japan and the Yen, by building a cabinet of ultra-nationalist freaks. The resulting ill-will all around the globe makes this an ideal environment to help the Japanese along, while shorting the Yen, which dropped from 79 to over 88 in just a month or so!! That is a chance in a lifetime, as we see the Yen melt down to 120, and even 160, as the JP interest rates grow to 7, 8 or even 10%. With the avereage JP bank holding 900% of its tier one capital in JP government paper, that would mean that the entire JP banking industry will see its capital wiped out 4 or 5 times.

No nukes needed.

January 6, 2013 @ 1:55 pm | Comment

@Zhu

“So that’s how white folks spread fears of the sexual prowess of Negroes, in order to saye the honor of respectable women folk? How silly you sound.

Who started it? China did not.”

Come now, Zhu. While your ethnic animosity is obvious and stultifying, this childish ploy should be beneath you. You are a reminder that many of China’s overseas supporters are primarily motivated by a very primitive racism, and little else. This, by the way, is largely why such people get sensitive when we look a little more closely at the figure behind their comments.

“If Zhu, Chenghu stated the obvious (yes, his personal opinion), it was after decades of open threats by America, year in and year out, of nuking China (and many others around the globe).”

Year in and year out threats of nuking China? I’d like to see you substantiate that claim. No, Zhu Chenghu was not expressing a personal opinion, nor was his “punishment” meaningful in any way. He was selected as a voice of the PRC following his comments. There is simply not much you can do to spin this.

“Yes, I actually believe it helps to minimize misunderstandings, by discussing all issues.”

So…suggesting that China can only consider constitutional reform after it is able to openly discuss the nuclear destruction of the US, this is your attempt at deepening dialogue. I see. Thank you once again for your contribution. You are supporting a worthy cause.

January 6, 2013 @ 3:02 pm | Comment

*Sigh* Are you SKC’s vacation replacement, handler? Is it really fun to “expose” a dimwit who does everything to expose himself anyway?

January 6, 2013 @ 9:56 pm | Comment

JR

Why would you think I find it amusing? I don’t think I’ve taken that task upon myself, and I’m willing to bet the number of comments I’ve actually addressed to Zhu is about the same as the number you have, still in the single digits. As much as I appreciate your occasional moralizing (and sighing), there are certain instances of egregious stupidity that should not go unremarked. Perhaps you might trust that you are not the only one who has some notion of reserve.

January 6, 2013 @ 11:04 pm | Comment

I’m willing to bet the number of comments I’ve actually addressed to Zhu is about the same as the number you have, still in the single digits.

I’m not willing to count the digits now, handler. But I’m willing to bet that yours exceed mine by now – when it comes to zhu’s actual “points”.

January 7, 2013 @ 1:03 am | Comment

In the spirit of the holidays, let’s wager a bottle of Black Bushmill’s on it.

January 7, 2013 @ 1:45 am | Comment

Handler
You are a reminder that many of China’s overseas supporters are primarily motivated by a very primitive racism

Hilarious coming from a white “man”.

January 7, 2013 @ 2:07 am | Comment

Only if you are of Russian-orthodox faith. Otherwise, the holidays are over.

January 7, 2013 @ 2:10 am | Comment

There’s a pretty big one coming up.

January 7, 2013 @ 2:44 am | Comment

Friends shouldn’t let friends engage Zhuubaajie. Let’s make it a motto for 2013.

January 7, 2013 @ 4:05 am | Comment

Speaking for China is a formal job in the government hierarchy, and they appear on CCTV everyday to answer press questions and announce the pronouncements of China. I checked that org chart, and Zhu never had the position of spokesperson. He was the dean of a school when he made the comments on his personal opinion in 2005. Zhu never even ran Er Pao (the Chinese missile forces), which has sole control over China’s ICBMs.

But Zhu did have unique fame, as the U.S. House of Representatives demanded his dismissal (in the mind of the thug,the potential victims are not even allowed to dream of self defense). Beijing was never as childish, and never called for the dismissal of American officials who openly call for suppressing China’s defense – such as President O who just signed the bill for taking out China’s second strike capabilities.

January 7, 2013 @ 4:16 am | Comment

With “friends” like Slim, JR, and Handler, who pat each other on their backs and congratulate each other for avoiding the truths presented by the pigheaded one (Moi) like the plague,the world will be a better place?

What do you think?

Don’t like my facts, post your own. Don’t agree with my analysis, tell us why.

January 7, 2013 @ 4:41 am | Comment

This has actually been a most merry Christmas, and a happy new year.

The pigheaded (moi) shall celebrate again with scalded Chinese “white wine” (80 proof), served with pressed salted duck,and peanuts with chili peppers, if the Down-turn Abe fueled JP Yen starts dropping like a rock again in a few hours. This has been a most festive holiday season – the next few seasons’ gifts are already paid for by the fool’s moves to devalue the Yen.

Slim, JR and Handler, WHAT do you have to celebrate for these holidays?

January 7, 2013 @ 5:07 am | Comment

The newest poll (Kyodo News) showed only 2/3rd of Chinese people boycotted Japanese products.

http://truthdive.com/2013/01/06/Two-thirds-of-Chinese-boycotted-Japanese-goods-over-Senkaku-Islands-dispute.html

There is definitely room for improvement.

January 7, 2013 @ 9:56 am | Comment

There’s a pretty big one coming up.

Easter? International Womens’ Day?

January 7, 2013 @ 12:22 pm | Comment

You ethnocentric son of a hamster. Groundhog Day, of course.

January 7, 2013 @ 7:36 pm | Comment

New must-read article: Why China’s attempts at soft power are doomed to fail: http://thediplomat.com/2013/01/07/destined-to-fail-chinas-soft-power-offensive/

January 7, 2013 @ 11:34 pm | Comment

“The Diplomat” is never to be taken seriously. It’s like The Onion of foreign affairs.

January 8, 2013 @ 3:36 am | Comment

You’re like The Onion, too. How about addressing what the writer said. Did you read it?

January 8, 2013 @ 4:05 am | Comment

I did. I think Keck’s addresses many of the difficulties of public diplomacy, but I think he’s got blinders on regarding successes of Chinese soft power in recent years.

First, I completely agree that Chinese censorship of the internet crimps Chinese soft power in the long-run. I have a Weibo, a Renren, a Facebook, and a Twitter. Two of those are cut off from the other two in terms of being social networks. We’re seeing the formation of a walled-off “ChinaNet” and a larger global “Internet” in terms of social and digital networks, and that is not good for China’s long-term aspirations to operate as a global hub of commerce and power. Look at the discussion boards of any article relating to China–plenty of Westerners talking about China, but not many Chinese people on there, maybe because those sites are blocked. The Chinese people have a clear idea of what they want, and no amount of Western agitprop is likely to sway that, but giving those people the opportunity to defend their country in the multi-cast media of the future will be vital to China’s image abroad.

Second, could China ever make web and mobile social networks popular enough to attract young people around the world to Beijing or Shanghai servers, rather than to servers based in Cupertino, Palo Alto, or Mountain View? It will be hard regardless, but damn near impossible if the state administration of the internet continues to ‘regulate’ the Chinese internet as heavily as it does.

Third, on a more macro level, Chinese media outlets have trust issues due to their government affiliation, but I don’t think that’s an insurmountable hurdle. Look at Russia Today, the BBC, and Al-Jazeera–while people might acknowledge bias from these sources, they remain wildly popular in the West (RT has more Youtube subscribers, for example, than the next three largest news channels combined.) Done in the right manner, China can pull off the same trick, but it needs to give its overseas outlets enough pizzazz and editorial freedom to do that.

However, at the same time, I think Keck’s got some blinders on when the most popular aspects of ‘soft power’ he thinks China presents to the west are Ai Weiwei and Liu Xiaobo. Jet Li? Jackie Chan? Yao Ming? Jeremy Lin? Zhang Ziyi? Chow Yun-fat? The HK skyline in Dark Knight? These are all icons that are both more popular and the West more readily identifies with China than a fat, balding artist and a tragic dissident.

January 8, 2013 @ 4:54 am | Comment

Also, just for your future reference, Richard, The Diplomat is a notoriously pro-Japan, anti-China rag. Its chief editor was wrapped up in Osaka real estate deals with the forefathers of the current Japan Restoration Party (the party of Shintaro Ishihara and denying the Rape of Nanking), and much of its funding comes from the same donors that fund the JRP.

Don’t believe me? Try mentioning ‘Nanking’ in the comment boards there–your comment is automatically flagged for moderation. Pretty disgusting if you ask me.

January 8, 2013 @ 4:59 am | Comment

Thanks for that, t_co

The Diplomat is a Tokyo-based, online current affairs magazine covering politics, society and culture in the Asia-Pacific. The magazine, originally a bi-monthly print magazine, was founded by David Llewellyn-Smith, Minh Bui Jones and Sung Lee in 2001

Notable contributors have included:
Gordon G. Chang

Enough said. That almost puts them on the level of Fox News in terms of shit rag quality.

January 8, 2013 @ 5:07 am | Comment

t_co, movie stars from Hong Kong, the skyline of Hong Kong, and Taiwanese basketball players do nothing for Chinese soft power. Ask most Americans if they’ve heard of Zhang Ziyi. They are irrelevant. The whole point of the soft power campaign is government legitimacy, to give the world a more nuanced look at China. This is belied and wiped out by their treatment of Ai Weiwei and Liu Xiaobo. Do you honestly believe Jeremy Lin boosted China’s soft power? If so, was it in any way comparable to the impact of Liu Xiaobo Nobel Peace Prize fiasco? Meaning, which more affected the image of China? Did Lin’s playing impact anyone’s perceptions of China? Not that I know of. Did Liu’s empty seat in Oslo? Most definitely.

January 8, 2013 @ 6:06 am | Comment

Maybe the Diplomat is a “rag,” but this article was tweeted and recommended by some of the smartest China experts I know, like Philip Pan. The author writes for a wide array of publications like Foreign Policy.

January 8, 2013 @ 6:08 am | Comment

Re Keck:

Yeah Yeah, bunch of clowns celebrating the backwardness of China’s external propaganda efforts. It takes time to learn how to do it cost effectively. Hey, a short 50 years ago, fewer than 1% of all Chinese spoke English. Today more than half are blogging in English. There is a learning curve, but the Chinese are fast learners. It took England 150 years for its middle class to double its living standards, and America 30. China’s economy doubled every 7 to 8 years in the last 34, and the trend continues – in this recession for the so called “soft power” nations (as if it did anything for them!!), China plows on ahead with 8.2% growth projected for 2013.

Who needs “like” when one has oodles of greenbacks, and soon an internationalized Yuan (unlimited fiat currency) to spend? THAT, is real power. Talk is cheap. How much money did PSY make out of the over 1 billion downloads from Youtube? Low 7 figures. I believe the expression is “Big Fluting Deal!”

“According to Professor Yiping Huang of Peking University, writing in the September 2012 issue of East Asia Forum, what we have seen to date is only the beginning:

Chinese outward direct investment is a relatively new phenomenon. In 2002, the first year after China’s accession to the World Trade Organization, China’s total ODI [outward direct investment] was less than US$3 billion. By 2010, however, it had already increased to more than 20 times this amount. According to forecasts by economists at the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, if China does liberalize its capital account, Chinese ODI stock could rise from US$310 billion in 2010 to US$5.3 trillion by 2020. If this prediction turns out to be correct, then China may well become the world’s largest outward direct investor by this time.”

$5 Trillion will buy up the entire Western press, don’t you think? China bashing writer jobs will be much harder to find. That might be a truism, but reality will not be far from the mark, as China’s “message” overseas improves inevitably.

January 8, 2013 @ 7:47 am | Comment

The truth is that the West has a stronger voice not because it is in the right, but because it owns the implements of speech – the effective control of the “megaphones”, so to speak.

“Free speech” is only allowed in the West when it is made by know nothing plebes shooting off their mouths – of no consequences. It is just so they let off their steam. The standard of tolerance is that such speech will be allowed as long as it is not painful and does not even scratch where it itches. If it is by someone in the know (Julian Assange anyone?), then the kidgloves come off to show those brass knuckles.

January 8, 2013 @ 8:41 am | Comment

@Richard

Do you serious believe most Americans would know or even care about Ai Weiwei and Liu Xiaobo? Heck some Americans still debates torture as legit way to combat war of terror. Some Americans doesn’t care about the harassment of Bradley Manning’s supporters including Glenn Greenwald.

Even Americans can’t identify Zhang Ziyi, those who watched two heavily-promoted films of hers: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Memoirs of a Geisha would have a sense.

@The whole point of the soft power campaign is government legitimacy

That is full of shit.

January 8, 2013 @ 11:13 am | Comment

Ai Weiwei is an international celebrity. Liu Xiaobo’s empty chair was front-page news around the world. Anyone who follows the news knows who they are.

Zhuzhu, once again you astound us with your ignorance. Julian Assange is free to say whatever he wants. He has not been censored. Wikileaks is still up. Maybe he can’t find hosting here, but he can always go elsewhere. Again, his speech has never been stopped, and the NYT and other media were free to publish the Wikileaks cache, much to the US government’s chagrin. But that is how the First Amendment works. The US has its flaws, but its track record on freedom of speech is pretty amazing — we can impeach president Clinton or defy the government with the Pentagon Papers, all because of freedom of speech. You can put your comments here with no fear of censorship, no matter what keywords you use. You obviously know nothing about freedom of speech in America.

January 8, 2013 @ 12:02 pm | Comment

Since with too many URLs, a comment stands a good chance of being sent to spam queue… I will go on without the actual links.

If you learn about China through solely major Western MSM, it’ll be very hard to understand why based on Pew surveys the following nations have overall favorable views on China (favorable > unfavorable):

* Most developing nations (with the noticeable exception India), including Africa, Middle East and developing Asia.
* Russia, Brazil.
* Greece, and increasingly Spain.

Moreover even in the US by a recent Gallup poll, the age group 18-34 has a ratio of 54%:32% favorable:unfavorable views on China, compared to the ratio of 42%:44% of the general public.

Much like a political campaign, it is all about winning over the middle. By that China’s soft power push while still has much to improve, is far from being a failure.

In the recent flare-up between Russia and France for Depardieu’s converting his French citizenship to Russia citizenship, some French pols brought up that in France they might need to celebrate Pussy Riot. What a hoot! While Depardieu is quite probably the most decorated French actor, Pussy Riot is a bunch of talentless behavioral artists.

Ai, “international celebrity” or not, is China’s Pussy Riot. Did the Nobel Peace Prize Committee like Liu’s support of colonialism, or his support of Bush’s Iraqi War, or his disdain of Chinese civilization, culture and people — or all of them combined?

January 8, 2013 @ 1:24 pm | Comment

Richard
Anyone who follows the news knows who they are.

Guess most Americans don’t follow the news.

January 8, 2013 @ 1:30 pm | Comment

t_co, movie stars from Hong Kong, the skyline of Hong Kong, and Taiwanese basketball players do nothing for Chinese soft power. Ask most Americans if they’ve heard of Zhang Ziyi. They are irrelevant.

Well, I brought up movie stars and NBA players because Keck was citing Gangnam Style as an example of Korean soft power.

Also, in the geographically-challenged minds of Middle America, those distinctions you cited are pretty blurry.

The whole point of the soft power campaign is government legitimacy, to give the world a more nuanced look at China.

I strenuously disagree here. I think you’re making the same mistake Zhu is making–conflating a nuanced view of China with viewing the CCP as more or less legitimate. Does Psy make Americans view South Korea’s chaebol-owned government as any more or less corrupt? Likewise, I don’t think the point of soft power is to make people view a government in any way, but simply to have warm feelings for a particular nation. If that truly is the point of Chinese soft power, then China has lost the war there before even firing a shot, because the goal is inherently impossible.

This is belied and wiped out by their treatment of Ai Weiwei and Liu Xiaobo. Do you honestly believe Jeremy Lin boosted China’s soft power? If so, was it in any way comparable to the impact of Liu Xiaobo Nobel Peace Prize fiasco? Meaning, which more affected the image of China? Did Lin’s playing impact anyone’s perceptions of China? Not that I know of. Did Liu’s empty seat in Oslo? Most definitely.

Maybe amongst select intelligentsia of the US and Europe, but I don’t think among LXB has a bigger appeal to the masses than Yao Ming does.

But I will agree–China should improve its rule of law and human rights situation. The point of doing that, though, shouldn’t be because it will improve China’s image abroad, but because bettering the lives of the citizenry and letting them express themselves freely is the right thing to do. They are, after all, the basic ends of the social contract.

January 8, 2013 @ 3:16 pm | Comment

Cookie, you are right, most Americans don’t follow the news. Most Americans know little about China, or even their own government. But for those who do follow the news, Ai Weiwei and Liu Xiaobo are well known.

t_co, I’m sorry but Yao Ming may be a popular basketball player and it was a good reflection on China that he was so successful. But he did not nearly affect the world’s opinion of China’s government the way the treatment of Ai and Liu did. The 2008 Olympics and the Shanghai World Expo are excellent examples of China building soft power. Unfortunately they stabbed themselves in the back with their policies toward dissidents/activists and their censorship of the Internet. Where China truly benefited from these mega-events was domestically, where a huge groundswell of pride and approval was felt throughout the nation, with a lot of justification. This is the depressing fact about China — they really can build soft power, but seem determined to sabotage themselves.

January 8, 2013 @ 9:48 pm | Comment

Richard
But he did not nearly affect the world’s opinion of China’s government the way the treatment of Ai and Liu did.

The world’s opinion of “China”, according to Pew, is not that bad – unless you are like some unnamed Western press organizations who think Europe and America are “the world”.

January 8, 2013 @ 11:47 pm | Comment

It depends on what questions you ask. China is seen by the world, correctly, as an economic powerhouse and a country that gets things done. I think much of the world looks at China with awe and probably some envy. I’m sure that’s reflected in the polls. But if you ask about censorship, human rights, freedom of speech, representation of the masses, corruption etc. you may get a different response.

January 9, 2013 @ 12:04 am | Comment

Caught the question of “who is this Chinese Nobel Peace Prize winner?” in some casual social conversations whereby a short and to-the-point answer was expected. When the audience didn’t contain white Americans or white Europeans, “a self-hating sellout” tended to do wonder and no more was needed. The audience knew exactly what it meant.

In a couple of unfortunate occasions that the short answer couldn’t possibly work, my answer was that the NPP Committee really intended to give to an unnamed, idealized but non-existent Chinese dissident, but somehow managed to muff it all up and handed it to a very flaw character.

The keywords such as human rights, once you go out of the small community you are in, mean far less than you would think. Nothing destroys idealism faster than just a hint of sanctimony.

This soft power thing goes both ways. What’re the opinion on the West by the Chinese nowadays, especially the young Chinese? The moment you want to judge, is the moment you will be judged.

January 9, 2013 @ 1:15 am | Comment

Richard
But if you ask about censorship, human rights, freedom of speech, representation of the masses, corruption etc. you may get a different response.

You refuse to acknowledge that the vast majority of people in the world do not care about any of this even in their own nations, at least when put beside the first priority of feeding the population. Only certain kind selfless people believe they should bomb people into (or out of, if they vote for someone you don’t like) democracy.

January 9, 2013 @ 1:54 am | Comment

Ai, Weiwei and Liu, XB are silly nothings. XB’s in modern Chinese lingo.

Real American Chinese relationship is driven from Washington and Beijing. The most recent appointments in Washington are 2 steps forward but one step back.

First, Kerry for SOS, and Hagel for Defense. Not bad choices for moving towards a meaningful G2 of equals.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/donald-gross/hagel-kerry-us-china-relations_b_2432141.html

But John Brennan, “enhanced-interrogation” Brennan for the head of the CIA – now that gives the world a clear message of what America is all about. Combine that with the newest law signed into effect Jan. 2 by Obama (to “effectively neutralize” China’s 2nd strike defenses), and there are no illusions at all in Beijing about what Americans are about. Kerry and Hagel will talk the sweet talk, the American press will carry on with the high-horse propaganda and bash China, and the other guys will do the dirty deeds. Business as usual, and ruthless and dark-hearted as ever.

January 9, 2013 @ 3:51 am | Comment

The biggest difference between China and America is that China for the last 35 years has been the most reforming nation on Earth. The entire machinery is geared towards reforms and changes and betterment.

In contrast, Americans are so confident that their system is so very much superior to anything else, that no changes are entertained at all.

Things change in China, and they are changing at a rapid clip today. Things don’t change much in America.

January 9, 2013 @ 3:55 am | Comment

CM: You refuse to acknowledge that the vast majority of people in the world do not care about any of this even in their own nations, at least when put beside the first priority of feeding the population.

Totally false. I have always said that as long as the Chinese people are making money and succeeding the majority will be willing to not care about these things. That said, it’s good to see in the past few days a growing frustration amid a lot of Chinese people over the government’s censorship and propaganda. But it won’t be a deal breaker; many if not most Chinese have faith in their government, for now.

All of that said, my point remains: China’s severe shortcomings in these areas — censorship, human rights, intolerance of dissent, etc. — will keep it from making the gains in soft power it so desperately longs for.

January 9, 2013 @ 4:04 am | Comment

And I have no doubt that whatever America’s media elites are trying to pull with Southern Weekly are bound to backfire, as their meddling in Tibet led to the downfall of many moderate politicians, and the support for Tiananmen protests resulted in prison sentences and persecution of Chinese liberals.

I have faith that the West’s misguided handling will again lead to repression for Southern Weekly.

January 9, 2013 @ 4:46 am | Comment

But jxie, for all of America’s fuck-ups, and there were many, especially under GW Bush, America’s soft power influence is a matter of fact. it is still the country that is expected, rightly, to offer huge aid for emergencies, like the Haiti earthquake or the 2004 tsunami, and American influence, for better or worse, is everywhere. There’s Voice of America, the Peace Corps, the Center for Disease Control, CARE and so many other government endeavors that contribute to US soft power, the most successful soft power campaign in the history of the earth, even if the US did kill Native Americans and invade Iraq, etc. So I think America can be said to have won the soft-power wars, and China is anxious to get into the game. Unfortunately it trips over its own feet.

January 9, 2013 @ 5:15 am | Comment

@Richard:

Soft power is not a war. There is no beginning and no end. It is still going on. As China’s economy grows (8.2% projected for 2013), ALL power will grow – hard, soft, military, economic, moral, etc., they will all grow commensurately.

Again the key point is that the Chinese know that improvements are needed, and are making them.

January 9, 2013 @ 5:22 am | Comment

What improvements do you mean? Free speech? (Ask Southern Weekend about that.) Attitude toward dissidents? (Ask Liu and Ai about that.) What are the improvements being made to boost China’s soft power? Maybe the Confucius Institutes or the increasing push into international news? Those are the only things that come to mind.

January 9, 2013 @ 5:26 am | Comment

“censorship, human rights, intolerance of dissent” – those are not shortcomings. They are what are necessary for 8% growth for another 35 years. It is about balancing the multiple societal needs.

With the improving economy, and a great (3 or 4 generations of) leadership that cares about the well being of the people, much more can be done. Plans are already announced for paying for 70% of medical costs for 95% the rural population.

January 9, 2013 @ 5:27 am | Comment

You really are a troll. As if human rights abuses are necessary for a country to thrive. Hell, with your attitude, literally every crime, no matter how heinous, can be brushed off because there was economic growth. Depraved.

January 9, 2013 @ 5:29 am | Comment

@Richard:

Improvements – as in building and enabling a 500,000,000 strong (and growing) web participation, with over 100,000,000 active blogs updated each day. The Chinese use of the web is much more vibrant and productive than that in the West. Making porn that much less accessible to the general public was and is a right decision.

Confucius Institutes are only a small fraction. CCTV is pushing full speed ahead, with hundreds of bureaus all over the world. America has military bases, China has reporters – in America alone there are thousands.

The Ministry of Culture is amply funding cultural exchanges and export of performances. There are deals (many more in the works)for dubbed or subtitled Chinese soaps to be broadcast overseas.

Newsworthy content – like the 30 storey hotel built in 15 days (or was it the other way around), generate awe and envy, both positive images.

A big part of the improvement is done through involving overseas Chinese. It is not just a truism that a good image of China rubs off on all Chinese around the globe, and it is in their best interest to do what is needed for the nation of their ancestors. In recent years I am seeing (I have been commenting online for at least 15 years) MANY more outspoken Chinese persons commenting on the web to counter China bashing.

Money, content, message – the improvements are happening every day, and it is continuing.

January 9, 2013 @ 5:36 am | Comment

@Richard:

You can prove me wrong by naming ONE nation that had performed better than China in making the lives of the citizens better, in the last 3 decades.

So your definition is that one is a troll if he disagrees with you?

January 9, 2013 @ 5:38 am | Comment

@ The 2008 Olympics…. of China building soft power. Unfortunately they stabbed themselves in the back with their policies toward dissidents/activists and their censorship of the Internet.

When you have comments on youtube and twitter on the disappointment of the 2010 Winter Olympic Opening Ceremony and revisiting the videos of the Beijing Olympic Opening Ceremony nostalgia, the soft power of the Beijing Olympics was successful.

When you have London Olympic Committee hire Danny Boyle, their internationally recognizable director similar to Zhang Yimou, to have an film-like artistic vision similar to Yimou, the soft power of the Beijing Olympics was successful.

January 9, 2013 @ 6:52 am | Comment

So I think America can be said to have won the soft-power wars, and China is anxious to get into the game.

You are clearly out of touch with world opinion. China leads the US in almost the entirety of the developing world.

January 9, 2013 @ 7:00 am | Comment

@Richard/#104

FWIW, specifically I meant the view on the West as a whole in China, after Liu was awarded the NPP. For better or worse, Liu is first and foremost known in China for his “300 years of colonialism” tag line. Of course, there are a lot more nuances in Liu than that “300 years” line. Basically, China’s image is damaged in the West for keeping Liu in jail to serve his sentence before he became famous in the West. In the meantime, the West’s image is also damaged among common Chinese.

Sure the US has a lot more soft power than any others, but is it waxing, or waning? That seems to be a question with answers all over the place by American pundits, but outside of the US, the answers seem to be fairly uniform.

Personally I agree with t_co w.r.t. the GFW. Make a plan… something like within the first term of Xi, to tear it down. Sure this is the possibility of that malicious rumors can do a lot of damage, but you can legislate most of those concerns instead of this BS that comes with tremendous collateral damage.

On this soft power thing, it’ll be hard to convert you Richard, or Keck. Even CCTV America can out-sleek Al Jazeera, you probably will still consider it a propaganda outfit. However, it will likely find more receptive audiences in Sao Paulo, Moscow, Jakarta, and Largos. Heck it’ll be probably more receptive by those young Americans who haven’t made up their minds yet.

January 9, 2013 @ 7:57 am | Comment

Jason, the soft power achievement of the 2008 Olympics was a big success.

Zhuzhu, your comment above proves my point — China is desperately trying to bolster its soft power. We agree on that. To date, most of these efforts have shown little to no success.

You can prove me wrong by naming ONE nation that had performed better than China in making the lives of the citizens better, in the last 3 decades.

I’ve always said how impressive China’s growth has been, so stop being such an obnoxious broken record. What I object to is your argument that the growth justifies censorship, the brutal treatment of dissidents, etc.

And you are a troll and everyone here knows it. Not because I disagree with you, but because you spam the threads with the same message over and over again. I often don’t agree with t_co or jxie or Jason or some of my commenters on the other side but I wouldn’t accuse them of trolling. Anyone looking through the recent threads can see you meet the troll description, in spades.

January 9, 2013 @ 7:58 am | Comment

jxie, when I see CCTV’s international ambitions come to fruition I’ll agree with you. It’s clear this means a lot to them and they may well succeed. So we’ll see. Thanks for the intelligent comment. We actually are in agreement on most issues. I think US soft power did wane under Bush, though it went back up under Obama, at least somewhat. Still, the US’ soft power apparatus is huge, and there’s none other in the world that compare with it, even if lots of people in the world hate the US, justifiably or not. And I know plenty do.

January 9, 2013 @ 8:00 am | Comment

This is must read: http://www.tealeafnation.com/2013/01/chinese-censors-up-the-ante-and-two-newspapers-resist/

Apparently not all the Chinese people believe the government is doing them a great favor by blocking, censoring and manipulating the news. It will be intriguing to see where this goes. I’m not that optimistic, as the government really can’t loosen the reins much on this issue. It has nothing to do with growth, as zhuzhu idiotically claims, and everything to do with the survival of the party as the sole political force in China.

January 9, 2013 @ 8:11 am | Comment

@Richard:

There really is no difference – it may be a difference in degree, but not in nature. National security guarantees a stable environment for all to be who they can be, and thus is beneficial. What you call brutal treatment (roof over the head and 3 squares a day is brutal treatment?) – at least the “dissidents” (all of whom violated China’s laws, and many even took foreign government money with aim to subvert) are still alive. How does that compare to America, which uses its president’s time each morning during breakfast coffee, to work up the drone list for the day (as judge, jury and executioner)?

There really are no absolutes. You may believe that there is a God; I don’t. Good and bad has to be gauged from the overall goals and the results. The Chicoms have nothing to apologize for, having brought the Chinese nation this far ahead (ahead of everybody else by a mile) in these last 34 years. That is not a broken record. That is the truth. ALL of the actions taken during the last 34 years are justified – they are rational decisions made in a very hostile international environment, and the Chicoms have done very well for the Chinese. Chairman Mao might have made mistakes that are hard to justify; the Chicoms after Mao have done well.

January 9, 2013 @ 8:12 am | Comment

@Richard:

Of course regulation of speech as effects on growth and prosperity. Chicoms made an important decision more than a decade ago – China must have the most modern internet linked economy. Beijing paid for building the infrastructure – the largest fiber and wireless networks on Earth. The result is an unqualified success – China has the largest Net population of any country in the world, and E-Commerce is starting to eclipse that in other regions. However, with access comes foreign funded subversion. Even small dis-satisfactions can get blown up, both online and on Main Street, due to the multiplier nature of the Net. Therefore reasonable regulation is indispensable. China needs stability and the Chinese people need economic growth. Anything not in that service should be duly moderated and dealt with.

Same system works here in the U.S. Many of my posts over the years are blocked. Like for example just about anything negative about Japan would be blocked at The Diplomat site.

January 9, 2013 @ 8:26 am | Comment

@Richard:

IF the Chicoms are only interested in their own survival, they would not have made the half trillion dollar investment in China’s web infrastructure. That has the effect of making everyone “smarter” (by making them more capable with web access – and smarter folks are much harder to control.

January 9, 2013 @ 8:35 am | Comment

China’s web infrastructure is not for free speech. It’s an integral part of the economy, and it does serve as a safety valve to give the people a say in matters such as local corruption and other injustices (always local gripes, not aimed at the central powers; those that cross that red line are often deleted and even punished).

Anyway, you are still a broken record: “China needs to regulate speech and restrict freedoms if it wants economic growth; in fact, it is just this repression that made this growth possible! Hooray! They go hand in glove, repression, brutality and growth. Can’t have one without the other! So repress away. The more the better cuz it means more growth. Each dissident arrested means a small but meaningful addition to China’s GDP!”

Really, zhuzhu, you make me sick. I don’t believe a single word you say about anything, and hereby name you, officially, Troll No. 1.

January 9, 2013 @ 8:55 am | Comment

Restricted web is better than no web.

January 9, 2013 @ 10:07 am | Comment

For a meaty report on how the New China is really thinking today, instead of blind China bashing trash that you are fed daily, read what the Europeans are publishing:

http://www.thechinastory.org/2013/01/mark-leonard-introduction-to-china-3-0/?utm_source=Sinocism+Newsletter&utm_campaign=6babebb771-The_Sinocism_China_Newsletter_For_01_08_2013&utm_medium=email

The report is sort of hefty at 144 pages, but worth the time. China has much more (quantity) and better (quality) free speech than smug America can ever hope to have. In America irresponsibility had long been (and continues to be) mistaken for freedom, and commentators spew garbage, knowing full well that whatever trash they disseminate will likely be duly ignored. Chinese thinkers are more responsible – knowing that their suggestions will be read, and might actually be adopted as part of China’s rapid reforms.

January 9, 2013 @ 10:26 am | Comment

China’s internet is not for irresponsible speech; America’s is.

China’s internet is not for porn; America’s is.

China’s internet is for the productive use by citizens; America’s??

With privilege comes responsibilities.

January 9, 2013 @ 10:48 am | Comment

The debates in China are rich and vibrant, with little interference from the Politburo. What you can think of or read about in the Western press, is most likely 2-3 years old. Worry not your little brains silly that somehow “repression” is stifling Chinese thoughts.

January 9, 2013 @ 10:54 am | Comment

“Jason, the soft power achievement of the 2008 Olympics was a big success.”

To some degree the event itself was (circuses), but not the lead up to it and the issues which impinged upon it. Otherwise the same Pew Global Attitudes Project some are apparently fond of citing would not register a nearly unanimous decline in favorability ratings for China in 2007 and 2008.

China’s most precious quality in favorability is simply due to the fact that for most, it is largely still an unknown. This applies to citizens of the US as much as it does to citizens of Mali. I’m afraid the Olympics can’t really be said to have in any way altered this fact as it was a banquet of pretentions.

I prefer to assess soft power in terms of how much latitude it grants to the nation’s extension and application of hard power, otherwise the notion of “soft power” is easily conflated with cultural (and not institutional) exposure (and not influence). Any proper assessment of China’s “favorability” in this respect requires an exploration of Pew’s results concerning China’s growing military power.

January 9, 2013 @ 12:21 pm | Comment

Clearly soft power in that sense is worthless. It’s better taken as the ability to resist propaganda, and in developed nations China is not doing so well against Western plutocrats.

However they are doing well at home, in Africa, and in the “Muslim world” and moderately well in Latin America and huge swathes of Southeast Asia.

January 9, 2013 @ 12:28 pm | Comment

“That is the truth. ALL of the actions taken during the last 34 years are justified – they are rational decisions made in a very hostile international environment, and the Chicoms have done very well for the Chinese.”

I can use exactly the same argument in favour of colonialism: hundreds of years of colonialism brought prosperity to the colonists. Ignore the effect it had on the colonised because the outcome was positive for the state taking the action.

January 9, 2013 @ 12:39 pm | Comment

I can use exactly the same argument in favour of colonialism: hundreds of years of colonialism brought prosperity to the colonists.

What a joke. The vast majority of the prosperity has gone to the Chinese people.

Consider your laughable argument dismissed.

January 9, 2013 @ 1:05 pm | Comment

@Handlers/#124,

China’s most precious quality in favorability is simply due to the fact that for most, it is largely still an unknown.

I can’t quite figure out if this is due to that you don’t go out much (hey I can conjecture too), or you simply infer from the fact most people in the world aren’t very well informed, which does seem to have its merit.

Despite there is a choice “Not Sure”, most people likely just pick whatever first impression popping out of their mind. During my travel around the world, I have heard positive reviews of China for all kinds of strange reasons. A common theme among those from developing nations seems to be how China inspires them and gives them hope; and a common theme among those from Islamic countries seems to be one day maybe China will help them free from the Western oppression.

Anyway, if you read the popular daily newspapers outside of the Western nations, and watch their versions of Charlie Rose, China is constantly being mentioned, often surprisingly (to me) positive. Not that I do that a lot, but I think I have enough samples.

BTW, you know the weirdest survey result? 62% of Germans consider China the world’s current leading economic power, and only 13% consider the US. If I didn’t know and you asked me which nation fit that skewed result, I would have said Brazil (in reality 45%:27% in favor of the US). If you go to the port of Santos, the largest container port in Latin America, the sight will convince you: Chinese shipping companies’ names are simply overwhelming.

Speaking of this, in the 2010 Air France crash (from Sao Paulo to Paris), there were 9 Chinese on board (the 4th nationality after France, Brazil and Germany) — and apparently they were on several different business trips. Those French, Brazilians and Germans were probably leaving home or going home, but why that many Chinese? A rather uncommon trip to take for a Chinese, isn’t it?

There are Chinese everywhere… I’ve been told many times, most of them carry themselves in humble and respectable ways.

January 9, 2013 @ 1:45 pm | Comment

You’ll excuse me if I don’t, I’m sure. The colonising nations got great benefit from the colonies, though those suffering under colonial rule received little to no benefit. But the important thing is the colonial nations got what they wanted to the benefit of themselves.

Following the logic of the “censorship/black jails/forced labour/anything in the name of stability and economic growth” argument used by yourself and Pigsy – i.e. “the ends justify the means”, then actually colonialism was great for the imperial nations and also the completely right thing to do.

January 9, 2013 @ 1:48 pm | Comment

http://www.amazon.com/Britains-Forgotten-Wars-Colonial-Campaigns/dp/0750931620

And the Amazon abstract totally misrepresents the content.

January 9, 2013 @ 5:11 pm | Comment

Knowing you that is some kind of dig at the CCP, but laughably enough it fits the US narrative far more closely.

January 10, 2013 @ 2:19 am | Comment

I agree with jxie and disagree with Handler on this subject in #123 and #130. China is ubiquitous in world media and much of the representation in highly positive. That doesn’t mean China has dug its way out of its delf-imposed soft power dilemma. When it fucks up in its treatment of a dissident or for sabre rattling to aggressively over a territory in question the old image of a prickly, belligerent, unable-to-reason plutocracy comes back into focus. When it comes to soft power the government is its own worst enemy. I want China to succeed in its soft power aspirations, and they keep getting in their own way.

Handler, I totally disagree about the Beijing Olympics. It was a dazzling success and gave millions of viewers, inside and outside China, a new image of China that was breathtaking, audacious and brilliant. People in the Olympic industry still talk about it and use it as a benchmark for how to create the next Opening Ceremony. None can, I predict, ever come close. London failed like a bomb, even if I had fun watching it.

January 10, 2013 @ 4:14 am | Comment

Richard
When it fucks up in its treatment of a dissident or for sabre rattling to aggressively over a territory in question the old image of a prickly, belligerent, unable-to-reason plutocracy comes back into focus

So? Taiwan has been far more active in both the Diaoyutai and the Spratlys (be it private vessels harassing the Japanese coast guards or garrisoning more troops and artillery pieces on Taiping Island), and yet gets no press whatsoever in the West. You’re not permitted to dodge this point again unless as a tacit concession of defeat on all of your arguments vis a vis China’s (both of them) territorial claims in the East and South Seas.

Lets stop pretending China’s actions have anything to do with the kind of press she receives in the West, which is OVERWHELMINGLY NEGATIVE to the point of slander. Nations with no such interests in smearing the PRC have a far more balanced public view of China.

As for the part on dissidents, please see again the part where many of us have told you that few people outside of the West “care” about Chinese dissidents, never mind the fact it isn’t genuine.

On a related note you’ll have to justify why younger Westerners are far less prone to hate the PRC than older ones. Please, argue how the web generation is less informed than (in America’s case) majority-homophobic 45s-and-ups. So who is China’s “soft power” really failing with, not that China invests much in soft power?

I want China to succeed in its soft power aspirations

Of course you don’t. If you did, you wouldn’t be using your position in American media circles to encourage behavior that history has shown to be overwhelmingly harmful for Chinese “dissidents”.

January 10, 2013 @ 4:52 am | Comment

The focus of the Chinese government’s soft power push is the West and its own backyard. The most pressing of these is its own backyard, and all gains there are more than cancelled out by the government’s other actions.

The Chinese goverment’s soft power push in the West is more of an enigma. I’ve seen, and have even spoken to a few, Chinese officials at events in the UK. They’re so focussed on winning not only acceptance, but praise and, dare I say it, ‘love’ from the West. Freud would have a field day.

@CM, your points about Taiwan are just wrong. They have reduced numbers on the islands, have replaced marines with coastguards and the weapons they have there are obsolete. Ma gets hammered regularly in the press because the people say he isn’t firm enough on the ROC’s territorial claims. Since 1949, how many clashes has the ROC had with other countries in the region. How many has the PRC had?

January 10, 2013 @ 11:02 am | Comment

@Richard,

‘London failed like a bomb, even if I had fun watching it.’

Saying that it ‘failed’ shows that you don’t understand what they were trying to achieve. Saying that you enjoyed it shows that they achieved it (at least in regards to you).

@CM,

I only came across your reply by chance; it didn’t come up straight away. Don’t know why.

Please provide links to the data you have that shows that Chinese people have the lowest crime rates.

Re-read my comments on how different people view historical events such as those in Vietnam. Your use of language, and mine, illustrates my point.

You seem to think that I am trying to gloss over European colonial atrocities. In fact, they have formed the core of much of my argumentation, along with examples from other colonial powers from around the world. I am illustrating that atrocities have been committed by peoples and cultures around the world. You focus almost solely on Europeans, and try to claim that the Chinese are on some way morally or ethically superior. When I ask you to describe how, you just say words like ‘this is the data [which you still haven't produced], make of it what you will’.

When I reference 山地平地化, you first say that they were not other peoples. When I blow that out of the water, you say that the KMT were not really forcing Chinese culture on them, but that it was nationalist ideology. This is still culture, and it is Chinese as they are Chinese. It was their culture, and they forced it on others. Besides ideology, take another example: what common language did a lot of the tribes living in the mountains use before 1949? Japanese. The KMT banned the usage of tribal languages (and obviously Japanese) in schools and forced which language on the aboriginals? Chinese. Now you know of a Chinese polity forcing Chinese culture on other peoples.

January 10, 2013 @ 11:04 am | Comment

Xilin, I truly enjoyed the 2012 opening ceremony. Then I read all the negative coverage, which is how I define a “bomb.”

January 10, 2013 @ 11:14 am | Comment

2013 is not a year to worry about soft power.

What are the odds that there is no war over the Diaoyu’s in 2013? And what are the odds the Japanese Yen would not drop to 250 as a result thereof?

Beijing imported 2.6 million tons of rice in 2012, and China is fully prepared to go ahead with whatever contingencies there are. All the short bets are already placed, and the world just waits for the foolish Japanese to fire that first shot. As the conflicts flare, you will see the genius of keeping little Kim on the front line.

January 10, 2013 @ 11:26 am | Comment

@ Richard

“I agree with jxie and disagree with Handler on this subject in #123 and #130. China is ubiquitous in world media and much of the representation in highly positive.”

jxie’s point is rather incoherent, and we know this because he follows it up with a very peculiar set of anecdotes and tangents which end by trying to show “There are Chinese everywhere” on the basis of an Atlantic plane crash. I don’t really know what kind of mind bothers to mention that stuff, nor why it goes about registering that information as meaningful, but ok. Yes, China is in the news quite often these days, but that certainly doesn’t mean people think they understand the place or the direction its headed in. Most who follow China-related news know they are getting snapshots at best of dynamic processes, and they recognize the direction of such processes is difficult to determine. Those who don’t can hardly even grasp the China is communist/China is capitalist “paradox”, let alone address the “civilizational” aspects of China’s development. It is my contention that China largely benefits from this uncertainty, just as it benefits from most people not knowing China is behind North Korea’s nuclear program.

“Handler, I totally disagree about the Beijing Olympics. It was a dazzling success and gave millions of viewers, inside and outside China, a new image of China that was breathtaking, audacious and brilliant.”

It may have been dazzling, but it was a false image from beginning to end, from infrastructure to people, and it severely contorted the “Olympic Spirit”. Its pretensions began long before the torch run, long before organizers started singing the “We are ready” song prior to the construction’s completion, and they continued through the organization of “social guardians” who kept the peace and filled the seats, and carried over into Chinese athletes as a representation of the nation. Whatever “image” of China it gave is certainly not to be confused with knowledge.

“People in the Olympic industry still talk about it and use it as a benchmark for how to create the next Opening Ceremony.”

People in the industry approve of the client who spent the most. I’m not surprised by this. They probably also like the priority the Olympics had in China. But do they like what the Olympics was associated with in China–the crises, the encroaching issues? I doubt it. They weren’t easily managed.

@Cook

“Clearly soft power in that sense is worthless.”

Clearly it is not. A very large proportion of US military bases around the world (established either without invasion or continued beyond significant threats) indicate that *soft power*, not only hard power, has worth. The concept of soft power is inherently mediational, so it shouldn’t be opposed to hard power. And since it is mediational, we shouldn’t attempt to engineer it out of material completely divorced from hard power. Only by affixing it to hard power in our assessment are we allowed to see how far nations can go to create a positive environment for themselves or get what they want how they want (hence the latitude). This conception, of course, does not mean soft power has no other contingent values, culturally or otherwise, with respect to a nation’s character or people’s lifeways; it simply means the ability to wield military/economic might *without significant political blowback* would be a powerful testimony to the soft power capacity of that nation. Likewise, other nations’ sensitivity over a nation’s military moves is a powerful testimony to a failure of soft power.

“It’s better taken as the ability to resist propaganda”

Ah…considering that resistance comes about through rather obvious propaganda and coercion? No, that’s not it. Locking oneself in a room and reading only the newspapers you create to make you feel good is no one’s definition of power.

“which is OVERWHELMINGLY NEGATIVE to the point of slander”

I’ve never understood why the PRC apologists think this is the best the West could do if it wanted to slander China. Cynicism will only get you so far.

January 10, 2013 @ 11:40 am | Comment

I’ve never understood why the PRC apologists think this is the best the West could do if it wanted to slander China. Cynicism will only get you so far.

I’m curious as to what more you think the West could do if it wanted to slander China.

January 10, 2013 @ 11:45 am | Comment

It may have been dazzling, but it was a false image from beginning to end, from infrastructure to people, and it severely contorted the “Olympic Spirit”. Its pretensions began long before the torch run, long before organizers started singing the “We are ready” song prior to the construction’s completion, and they continued through the organization of “social guardians” who kept the peace and filled the seats, and carried over into Chinese athletes as a representation of the nation. Whatever “image” of China it gave is certainly not to be confused with knowledge.

‘false’…’pretensions’…’image =/= knowledge’

I’m curious, Handler–how do you know that whatever image it gave off was not representative of reality? I’m not talking about your perception of China, here–I’m talking about the average individual living in New York City, Istabul, Moscow, or Lagos. Have you been doing some opinion polling that suggests that result, or are you just filling up the comments here with more of your Sinophobic blather?

January 10, 2013 @ 11:52 am | Comment

People in the industry approve of the client who spent the most. I’m not surprised by this. They probably also like the priority the Olympics had in China. But do they like what the Olympics was associated with in China–the crises, the encroaching issues? I doubt it. They weren’t easily managed.

How do you know what ‘crises’ and ‘encroaching issues’ the Olympics was associated with in China? How do you know they didn’t like it? How do you know they even cared? You’re on a hyperbolic trajectory here, but you’re running woefully short on specifics.

January 10, 2013 @ 11:53 am | Comment

Most who follow China-related news know they are getting snapshots at best of dynamic processes, and they recognize the direction of such processes is difficult to determine. Those who don’t can hardly even grasp the China is communist/China is capitalist “paradox”, let alone address the “civilizational” aspects of China’s development. It is my contention that China largely benefits from this uncertainty, just as it benefits from most people not knowing China is behind North Korea’s nuclear program.

The no true scotsman argument?

FYI–that wording you’re using–snapshots of dynamic processes–I recognize that. How’s the weather in DC?

January 10, 2013 @ 11:57 am | Comment

@Handler/#140

I don’t really know what kind of mind bothers to mention that stuff, nor why it goes about registering that information as meaningful, but ok.

Because I was trained as an engineer who wants to understand the world based on facts and figures and then by logical reasoning. All I can provide you are facts, data and my line of reasoning. I can provide you more evidence such as the 169-year old Economist for the 2nd time in its history creating a new section just for a country (China, previously the US), which logically means its readers want to know China more, and likely China is becoming more known to its readers; Or I can expand the “leading economic power” survey… But what for? — These are all anecdotes. Plus your mind doesn’t seem to work that way.

If you may humor me, how the fuck can you know the following — “China’s most precious quality in favorability is simply due to the fact that for most, it is largely still an unknown”? The problem with what you have written seems to me is just a bunch of truthiness. I can’t even begin to address them — you treat your conjectures as truths as facts, and build your whole worldview that way.

I can make an educated guess how this came about:

– Handler’s mind: China is [negative adjectives]. I know it for sure for certain, based on my gut where all my nerves end.
– Reported fact by others: China is viewed positively by majority of the people of a lot of nations.
– Handler’s mind: These people are wrong. The only reason why they view China positively is because they don’t know China as I do, and I know it for sure for certain, based on my gut where all my nerves end.

Take that for its entertainment value, if there is any.

January 10, 2013 @ 12:55 pm | Comment

I can make an educated guess how this came about:
– Handler’s mind: China is [negative adjectives]. I know it for sure for certain, based on my gut where all my nerves end.
– Reported fact by others: China is viewed positively by majority of the people of a lot of nations.
– Handler’s mind: These people are wrong. The only reason why they view China positively is because they don’t know China as I do, and I know it for sure for certain, based on my gut where all my nerves end.
Take that for its entertainment value, if there is any.

It’s not all just in his head. I’m fairly certain Handler has surrounded himself with a like-minded group of people. What’s disturbing is how some elements and ideas from this Sinophobic echo chamber have infiltrated upper-level policymaking circles in the US (especially) and Europe (mostly as a follow-on to the US).

Current US doctrine and the pivot is dragging the American people into a competition that does not help them. It is of no benefit for the average American if East Asia is turned into a giant armed camp, with an iron curtain running down the first or second island chains (as Andy Marshall and the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment or Arthur Waldron and his pro-Japan zaibatsu backers would love to see). On the contrary, it would place tens of thousands of American lives at risk–possibly millions, if one considers the possibility of nuclear escalation.

China is not the Soviet Union because China is plugged into the global system and helps America prosper. A gain by China is not a loss for the American citizen. It may be loss for the American security establishment or certain Japanophiles in Foggy Bottom, but it would be a lie, and a great one at that, if the American people believed that what hurt the interests of those folks hurts the interests of Main Street.

Bismarck once said that the Balkans were not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier. Why should the Senkakus, Dokdo, and Sakhalin be worth the bones of a single American sailor?

January 10, 2013 @ 1:40 pm | Comment

The problem with what you have written seems to me is just a bunch of truthiness. I can’t even begin to address them — you treat your conjectures as truths as facts, and build your whole worldview that way.

Bingo. This is really the crux of Handler’s issues with China, and indeed, with a lot of the discourse on China in the Western world. Instead of actually looking at what China is, they try and fit the square pegs of reality into the round holes of their prior assumptions about China.

That’s how you get tortured sentences like

“I prefer to assess soft power in terms of how much latitude it grants to the nation’s extension and application of hard power, otherwise the notion of “soft power” is easily conflated with cultural (and not institutional) exposure (and not influence).”

January 10, 2013 @ 2:23 pm | Comment

@Richard,

Reviewers around the world found it quirky, off-the-wall and funny. That was the point. All I can remember from the Beijing Olympics was a supernova-esque firework display. How many different things can you remember from the London opening ceremnony? The London opening ceremony was about promoting ‘Brand Britain’. It succeeded in doing so.
If you want negative reviews, try the French. They’re always negative about anything British and have never really forgiven the British for helping them out in the war.

January 10, 2013 @ 6:06 pm | Comment

@jxie

“Because I was trained as an engineer who wants to understand the world based on facts and figures and then by logical reasoning.”

That is perhaps an overly optimistic view of your comments above. Let’s take a look at them.

“Despite there is a choice “Not Sure”, most people likely just pick whatever first impression popping out of their mind.”

Not exactly the most informed consideration then, based on the mimetic utterance of images they’ve been exposed to.

“During my travel around the world, I have heard positive reviews of China for all kinds of strange reasons.”

Great. I don’t doubt the veracity of your point; it is, however, merely anecdotal, and one has to wonder why you find these reasons strange.

“A common theme among those from developing nations seems to be how China inspires them and gives them hope”

Hope generally being especially well informed? Informed about China’s social circumstances or merely its economic growth? Because when half of China’s population considers corruption, the gap between the rich and the poor, and food safety “very big problems”, I’m not sure how much weight we want to put on hope in that regard.

“and a common theme among those from Islamic countries seems to be one day maybe China will help them free from the Western oppression.”

Again, this is hope, if you are reporting it accurately, and one must point out it is hope which completely flies in the face of reality to date. Another word for that is baseless.

“Anyway, if you read the popular daily newspapers outside of the Western nations, and watch their versions of Charlie Rose, China is constantly being mentioned, often surprisingly (to me) positive.”

Alright. Yet this does little to support your point because “being mentioned” in the positive does not speak to the depth of exploration or the effectiveness of information distribution. I haven’t contested the fact that we’ve seen an explosion of China-focused reporting over the past 6-8 years, much of it positive.

“BTW, you know the weirdest survey result? 62% of Germans consider China the world’s current leading economic power, and only 13% consider the US. If I didn’t know and you asked me which nation fit that skewed result, I would have said Brazil (in reality 45%:27% in favor of the US). If you go to the port of Santos, the largest container port in Latin America, the sight will convince you: Chinese shipping companies’ names are simply overwhelming.”

That may sound appealing to you, but logical it is not, as it only supports my argument on general ignorance, just as the 40% of Americans who believed China was the world leading economy in a 2008 Gallup poll does.

“Speaking of this, in the 2010 Air France crash (from Sao Paulo to Paris), there were 9 Chinese on board (the 4th nationality after France, Brazil and Germany) — and apparently they were on several different business trips. Those French, Brazilians and Germans were probably leaving home or going home, but why that many Chinese? A rather uncommon trip to take for a Chinese, isn’t it?

There are Chinese everywhere… I’ve been told many times, most of them carry themselves in humble and respectable ways.”

And your final comment is the most peculiar of all. This does not speak at all to a general knowledge of China, obviously, but its failings don’t end there. Absent further numbers of the frequency of Chinese making this flight, it doesn’t even support your broader argument (I take it) of widespread Chinese interaction, though I do find that likely.

And I might add one more point. I’m sorry if I see in this a common refrain in Sino-commentary: overseas Chinese looking at any and all evidence they can, to the degree that they are even pleased to make hay of 9 dead Chinese in a plane crash, in order to make themselves feel more respected (exactly what you did at the end there). I do worry about the mindset of people who highlight information like this when there might be so many other pieces of information to draw on.

In short, nothing you’ve said in the comment you believed was based on facts and figures and logical reasoning showed any of that crucial last element: logical reasoning. Your argument is incoherent.

January 11, 2013 @ 12:57 am | Comment

@jxie

“I can provide you more evidence such as the 169-year old Economist for the 2nd time in its history creating a new section just for a country (China, previously the US), which logically means its readers want to know China more, and likely China is becoming more known to its readers; Or I can expand the “leading economic power” survey… But what for? — These are all anecdotes. Plus your mind doesn’t seem to work that way.”

Ok. However, the Economist has a weekly circulation of under 50000 in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East combined. I’m not sure how much of a point you can make with that. Moreover, want of knowledge is just that: want. I could also note the sales numbers for Martin Jacques’ books, an author whose knowledge of China is primarily characterized by such want, and point out that they’ve done a complete disservice to knowledge on China. This of course would not be to spuriously criticize the Economist or the Wall Street Journal or any other merited publication by confusing their work with Jacques’, but only to show that publication does not equate to the broadcast of meaningful information let alone its clarity or reception. Your foray into the leading economic power survey thus far hasn’t been very effective, but perhaps you’d like to try again? All you have cited thus far is an increasing awareness of the importance of China on the global stage. True, no doubt. But not the same as knowledge.

“If you may humor me, how the fuck can you know the following — “China’s most precious quality in favorability is simply due to the fact that for most, it is largely still an unknown”? The problem with what you have written seems to me is just a bunch of truthiness. I can’t even begin to address them — you treat your conjectures as truths as facts, and build your whole worldview that way.”

Here I take your argument more seriously. Leaving aside the deplorable results of the decade old survey by the Asian Society and the infamous ChinaNow survey in Britain in 2007 which indicated that only 7% of Britains knew who Hu Jintao was, or the Gallup poll in the US which I referred to above, I don’t have access to any survey which indicates a general ignorance of China throughout the world, so your question is certainly warranted. That said, I make no assertion of truthiness, for there is no shortage of reports and editorials in China and abroad which bemoan the very thing I claim, and the SSRC’s report on China-Africa knowledge networks seems to concur:

“The paucity of African research capacity on China is of concern not simply for the breadth and depth of the research agendas in Africa, but also for African policy makers. Government officials often lack in‐depth analysis on the agendas, motivations and goals of their international partners, and thus have difficulty negotiating trade and loan agreements on an equal footing. Without a solid base of independent research in African universities on both the effects of Chinese engagement in Africa, and serious study of China itself—its government structures, decision‐making processes, foreign policy priorities, and so forth—it will be difficult for African policy makers to ensure that they can turn Chinese engagement to the region’s benefit.”

Lauded “diplomat” and Vice Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Zhao Qizheng certainly concurs in his book Explaining China to the World.

“I can make an educated guess how this came about:

– Handler’s mind: China is [negative adjectives]. I know it for sure for certain, based on my gut where all my nerves end.
– Reported fact by others: China is viewed positively by majority of the people of a lot of nations.
– Handler’s mind: These people are wrong. The only reason why they view China positively is because they don’t know China as I do, and I know it for sure for certain, based on my gut where all my nerves end.”

Let’s try that plugging in some real factors.

Handler’s mind: China is [the worst practitioner of nuclear weapons proliferation in history]. I know that for certain based on evidence acquired when Libya gave up its nuclear weapons program.

Reported fact by others: China is viewed positively by the majority of people of a lot of nations.

Handler’s mind: Either they don’t know about China’s proliferation or they don’t care. *Checks Pew’s Global Attitudes Project again* Oh. Ok, they don’t know.

January 11, 2013 @ 1:16 am | Comment

@Handler/#

Your whole life experience, or mine, or anybody’s, is just a collection of anecdotes. Though based on these anecdotes, one can potentially form theories and further prove or disprove them. If even something like Pew’s Global Attitude Survey isn’t good enough for you, what else is good enough to change your mind — not that it has to be you to change mind, it can be me. Try to pursuance me: I have an open mind.

You can go back to everything I have written: I try my best to give fully qualification if something is just my owner personal anecdotes, and not make sweeping generalized statements.

Informed about China’s social circumstances or merely its economic growth? Because when half of China’s population considers corruption, the gap between the rich and the poor, and food safety “very big problems”, I’m not sure how much weight we want to put on hope in that regard.

Don’t forget that in the meantime 82% of them are satisfied with the country’s direction, by far the highest in the world, which logically means most of them believe these problems can be mitigated. You can hardly say that on some other countries facing their own problems. Are China’s problems unique in the developing world? If not, then maybe those from the developing world don’t care that China has those problems, and rather want to know how they plan to solve them. What were the pressing problems 1, or 2 decades ago? Maybe low income level, lack of decent education, or even as mundane as power outage, fresh water shortage? Life in a way is a series of problems — some are good at solving the problems and moving on. People take notice of that type of things.

Some 300k Africans visited Guangdong in 2010 alone, and many have lived there for years. Some of them returned home and became their opinion leaders. Sure probably most of those surveyed had never been to China, but their 2nd-handed or even 3rd-handed knowledge on China may be quite authentic, and potentially more balanced than yours.

["Leading Economic Power" survey] may sound appealing to you, but logical it is not, as it only supports my argument on general ignorance, just as the 40% of Americans who believed China was the world leading economy in a 2008 Gallup poll does.

You’ve got me wrong. The choices of the question were the US, China, Japan and the EU. For starter, if many pick China, it has to mean they think China isn’t unknown to them, at least to the extent how it may affect their life. In the case of Germans, the growing market of China and the competitions from China as both opportunities and challenges, probably make them choose the pick. You problably mistakes me as “who has the biggest swinging dick”… The US by having on paper the largest GDP, has by specs the largest one. It mostly gets back to the point how much the people in the world know about China.

[O]verseas Chinese looking at any and all evidence they can, to the degree that they are even pleased to make hay of 9 dead Chinese in a plane crash, in order to make themselves feel more respected (exactly what you did at the end there).

Let me just say you don’t know me. I am at a point of my life that mostly don’t care about approval or “respect”, but rather trying my best to understand the world to position my investments, and my time. It’s curious that you default me to the position of seeking respect… maybe Chinese seeking the respect of others fit your worldview?

Hey it was a random anecdote. Every trip I take, I marvel at how many Chinese around, and often at some very unexpected places — which goes back my question to you, how the heck can China be so unknown.

January 11, 2013 @ 2:16 am | Comment

@t_co

“I’m curious, Handler–how do you know that whatever image it gave off was not representative of reality? I’m not talking about your perception of China, here–I’m talking about the average individual living in New York City, Istabul, Moscow, or Lagos.”

A distorted mirror cannot possibly grant an accurate representation of reality, t_co, unless of course you incorporate the distortions (particularly if they are intentional) into your understanding of a larger reality. If people are putting on a show of being ready when, in fact, they are not ready (construction not being completed), this does say something about reality, only not what the organizers of such a performance are trying to claim about it. If Beijing claims to be open to petitions yet uses “safe petition zones” as a lure to detain and prosecute every person who applies for petitions, this too says something about the larger reality. What I am refering to when I claim the Olympics were a banquet of pretensions is the fact that the representations created by the Chinese government and Chinese organizers did not conform to reality. They could only be informative to the extent that people were aware of Chinese distortions.

“How do you know what ‘crises’ and ‘encroaching issues’ the Olympics was associated with in China? How do you know they didn’t like it? How do you know they even cared? You’re on a hyperbolic trajectory here, but you’re running woefully short on specifics.”

Do you really need a reminder?

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/58f30a4c-047a-11dd-a2f0-000077b07658.html#axzz2HTR1QNGH

http://beijing2008.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/06/26/the-starting-line-china-denies-ioc-criticism-after-officials-tibet-remarks/

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120835833297019609.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/olympics/7265593.stm

“The no true scotsman argument?

FYI–that wording you’re using–snapshots of dynamic processes–I recognize that. How’s the weather in DC?”

Hardly, for my claim is not universal. As for the wording you presume to recognize, I do apologize if I am inadvertently plagiarizing, but feel free to ask Richard whether or not I’m in DC.

“Current US doctrine and the pivot is dragging the American people into a competition that does not help them. It is of no benefit for the average American if East Asia is turned into a giant armed camp, with an iron curtain running down the first or second island chains (as Andy Marshall and the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment or Arthur Waldron and his pro-Japan zaibatsu backers would love to see).”

Appealing to an atavistic US inclination to isolationism is probably not best done by invoking the iron curtain.

January 11, 2013 @ 2:20 am | Comment

“Your whole life experience, or mine, or anybody’s, is just a collection of anecdotes. Though based on these anecdotes, one can potentially form theories and further prove or disprove them.”

Fair enough, jxie. I do think there is more to it than that, but I agree that a large part of our judgments stem from anecdotes.

“The choices of the question were the US, China, Japan and the EU. For starter, if many pick China, it has to mean they think China isn’t unknown to them, at least to the extent how it may affect their life.”

I don’t follow this logic. All that it means is that they have heard inaccurate information about China.

“You problably mistakes me as “who has the biggest swinging dick”… The US by having on paper the largest GDP, has by specs the largest one. It mostly gets back to the point how much the people in the world know about China.”

I assure you I don’t, jxie, but I shall consider using that as a pick-up line. Still, I don’t understand how clearly mistaken views of China can help show that China is meaningfully known.

“Let me just say you don’t know me. I am at a point of my life that mostly don’t care about approval or “respect”, but rather trying my best to understand the world to position my investments, and my time. It’s curious that you default me to the position of seeking respect”

I do apologize if what I said was a misrepresentation of your intent or interest in that peculiar reference, but I truly feel that was a reasonable assessment of a coda from nowhere.

January 11, 2013 @ 2:57 am | Comment

It’s curious that you default me to the position of seeking respect… maybe Chinese seeking the respect of others fit your worldview?

JXie, it’s because Handler spends his days panhandling for the respect of his wonkish peers, so he naturally assumes everyone else is after the same thing.

January 11, 2013 @ 4:05 am | Comment

This is getting merrier by the week.

3 sorties of Chinese planes, including J-10s and J-7s, took patrol over China’s territory. The JP air force scrambled F-15s.

http://military.china.com/important/11132797/20130110/17626364.html

The boycott is going to last a very long time.

January 11, 2013 @ 4:43 am | Comment

Good news for everyone — I am closing this thread!

A new one has been opened above titled “Han Horse.”

January 11, 2013 @ 5:32 am | Comment

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