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.

The Discussion: 158 Comments

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

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