New thread, links, etc.

Please feel free to talk about anything, as long as you’re nice.

Also, please listen to this new piece on National Public Radio’s Marketplace. It’s about sex shops in China, and I’m interviewed briefly. An amazing subject; sex shops there are a world of difference from those in the West.

There’s also a lengthy new article by James Fallows on the possibility of more companies, especially tech start-ups, choosing to manufacture their goods in the US, not only in China. An important new trend?

Finally, there’s a disturbing new article on the surging AIDS epidemic in China. Some heartbreaking stories. (It’s World AIDS Day today.)

And now you can continue the never-ending debate on China’s system vs. America’s, if you don’t think you’ve yet said it all.

______________

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: 292 Comments

A “free for all” makes it harder to focus.

But since the host is talking about sex, one cannot avoid the issue of the upcoming ITU conference in Dubai during Dec. 3-14, where the world’s nations get together to decide the fate of the Internet. Most of the nations on Earth are in favor of banning porn and child molestation from the Web. America stands in the minority.

Main fight is going to be over whether ICANN should be stripped of the sole power to maintain domain names.

December 2, 2012 @ 4:07 am | Comment

Open threads are always free for alls. You can ignore my links; I just put them there because I find them interesting but don’t want to put up separate threads about them.

Banning porn on the Internet would be like trying to empty the Yangtze with a bucket. Child pornography should of course be banned and carry high criminal penalties. But mainstream pornography is there to stay; for millions of people, unfortunately, it is the Internet, and that holds true for many in China as well. It’s banned there, too, but anyone with a wi-fi connection and a VPN can hook up to torrent sites and get all the porn they want.

December 2, 2012 @ 4:11 am | Comment

Underage stuff is obviously disgusting. But for “mainstream porn” (if there is such a thing), well, if it’s depicting consenting adults, and consumed by consenting adults, fighting that is like pissing into the wind. I imagine politicians of all stripes, nationalities, and religious persuasions dabble in that sort of stuff far more than they would like us to know or believe, regardless of what they say at conferences.

I do agree, though, that there should be more equitable control of domain names, even if Al Gore did invent the internet.

December 2, 2012 @ 4:38 am | Comment

Re: Blood products/HIV/AIDS. In addition to a host of collection issues which are also discussed in Seeing Red in China, Chinese hospitals need to greatly improve their general infection control procedures.

Lets hope Xi’s recent hospital visit and dressing down of staff has some effect, but I doubt that it will produce any significant improvements, given general staff morale and way the health system is unfunded.

Blood is a big business commodity:

“AN AUSTRALIAN cardiac surgeon has been jailed in China after his local partner allegedly stripped him of the business he founded and listed it on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

The case of Du Zuying, who was a heart and lung transplant specialist at St Vincent’s Hospital and Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital, is perhaps the most startling in a series of murky prosecutions of ethnic Chinese Australians since the 2009 arrest of the Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu.

The company Dr Du founded, China Biologic Products, supplies blood plasma products to Chinese hospitals and is now valued at just under $300 million”.

John Garnaut
Read more: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/blood-threats-and-tears-as-deal-goes-bad-20121123-29yw6.html#ixzz2Dpuup3S0

Truly, the Australian Federal govt (and Bob Carr) is one of the most gutless entities in the Western world.
http://aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/Parliamentarian?MPID=wx4

December 2, 2012 @ 5:11 am | Comment

The CPC should act the national hero, and BE the reformer of the Chinese society for all millennia. The CPE led SWCC is already the best in Chinese history for over 1,000 years. It should take the most advantage of one-party efficiency (while it lasts) to do great things for the Chinese people.

One child policy was a good one, served its time, and should now be modified.

Mao experimented with bare feet doctors (more like bare feet paramedics, to great effect, and brought healthcare to the masses in a way never before achieved in China. Today national health insurance already serves over 90% of all Chinese citizens, although the ocverage is not comprehensive (yet). Given that Chinese medicine is “50 years behind” that of advance countries like America, the CPC can be proud of the fact that the life expectancy at birth in China is just a few short year behind that in America.

What is the next “big thing” that would be good and can be imposed by decree? How about presumed consent to organ donation upon death? This would not be new – quite a few European countries and Singapore already have it – but it certainly would be new for a 5,000 year old Chinese culture that still largely believes in dying without a complete corpse (死无全尸) is a horrible thing.

Only the CPC can pull this off for China. This would be a new iteration of getting rid of the old, and bringing in the new (破旧立新).

With (realistically) 20,000,000 “sets” of transplantable human organs (from cornea to hearts to lungs and even to faces) available each year, China can also develop medical tourism in earnest, and with all moral imperative.

December 2, 2012 @ 5:48 am | Comment

@KT

Thanks for the links. This a very critical issue for China, but one that will likely get much worse as China ages. Xi may very well have slogans, but without the money, what can he realistically hope to achieve?

December 2, 2012 @ 5:52 am | Comment

What is the “next big thing” for China? China already knows how to manufacture, and is learning quickly how to cost effectively do R&D. The one area that would be profitably developed is how to wield the financial tools of the brave new world advocated by America.

I am personally convinced that a bunch of “wise” Americans, mostly financial types, decided about 30 years ago that as globalization progresses and manufacturing jobs migrate to lower cost countries, America has to develop a new set of comprehensive competitive advantages.

Thus started FINANCIAL ENGINEERING as the industrial policy for America.

It is not hard to understand why FINANCIAL ENGINEERING looks so attractive. It is not constrained by natural resources, labor, or even regulations, and sky is the limit in terms of growth potential. Save for limited high tech, and certain historical sectors such as aircraft, and natural resource plays (agriculture, shale gas), America is no longer competitive in a globalized economy across a wide swath of industries, where production will go to the lowest total cost suppliers. America’s cost and input factors (labor, regulations, etc.) are simply too costly. Under such constraints, in WHAT areas would America still be competitive? Extreme scale gambling is one such area (at $700 Trillion, or about 50 TIMES the American GDP, the derivatives casino is the largest in human history by far) – especially if: (a) the gamblers also playing croupiers are backed with the full faith and credit of America (Washington continues to subsidize the American banksters (to the tune of almost $10 Trillion dollars in low and no cost loans since 2008), and (b) the gambling contracts (derivatives contracts) are rigged (written to be one way by the best of Wall Street minds).

Today, this financial AIDS is pushed by America on all fronts, including the TPP, which strips the member countries of sovereign control over capital flows.

So how can China counter such onslaught of “new technology”??

In the spirit of “you dance your way, I will dance my way,” Beijing let the people decide, and to take advantage of the still asymmetric nature of the markets.

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/NL01Ad01.html

Call to all Chinese Soros: this can certainly be a very profitable juncture. I shorted the Yan around 78, and it looks pretty. Short everything Japanese, stocks, the Yen, etc., and see what another 24 months of sustained boycott will do. Total profits on the short side is already in the tens of billions of dollars (not all to me, LOL), but you get the picture. It would make up for the Japanese failing to pay war reparations, and for their welching on the CWC (refusing to remove, remediate and compensate for the 1,000,000 pcs. of chemical warfare ordnance buried all over China by the JP military).

The beauty is that this is largely asymmetrical, as it is still very difficult to short Chinese securities (except for the few that are listed overseas, or have ADRs). Also, no government intervention is required.

December 2, 2012 @ 6:10 am | Comment

Stepping back a bit, China should be socio-culturally well placed to deal with one aspect triggering the spread of HIV/STDs. It is not bedevilled by that other virus – Evangelical christianity – which is prosecuting vicious anti-gay attitudes/legislation in the majority of African countries.

Literally tons on the net, but this link will do:

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidestoryus2012/2012/07/201272792948296720.html

(Not to forget purely indigenous forms of christianity such as Ethiopia.)

While China does not exactly accept gay rights organisations, it doesn’t exactly persecute the hell out of gay folk either.

The PSB should keep a very close eye on overseas evangelical contacts within China, and individuals directly associated with the Vatican cult should automatically be treated with extreme prejudice.

Obviously, the christianity gig in China is far more complex than I have indicated above, ….

December 2, 2012 @ 7:12 am | Comment

Another bridge collapse, another tofu project, local provincial village official apparently was using cheap materials.

This is not what harmonious society should. CPP needs to uproot corruption.

http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2012-12/01/content_15977339.htm

December 2, 2012 @ 10:08 am | Comment

KT, funny you should limit yourself to Evangelical Christians. I suppose thats just to contrast that to the tolerant and accepting way gays are treated in Islamic areas of the world. Right? The problem isn’t religion, its the stupidity. Too damn many people running around thinking God whispers in their ears only.

You might want to also look at other christian denominations. The Anglicans for instance. The Mormans and Catholics favor civil unions, but oppose marriage for same sex partners.

Restrictions of the internet run square into the Consitution’s First Amendment protections. While other countries are in no way bound by American laws, America is. No way the US government can agree to anything that restricts Americans’ First Amendment rights. The US ends up defending porn on the internet by opposing any inroads on net content.

December 2, 2012 @ 10:14 am | Comment

And since this is an open thread….who is the better guitarist, Roy
Buchanan, Stevie Ray Vaughn,Clapton, or Hendrix? And so the bloodletting has its beginning.

December 2, 2012 @ 10:20 am | Comment

Oh Clock, just as water finds its level, I guess logical fallacies like tu quoque are all that you have to aspire to. Sometimes you make me miss math…he was stupid as dirt but at least had a brain; you, on the other hand…

December 2, 2012 @ 10:41 am | Comment

@ Goju. I think I have asked before: is Goju taken from that…um ….dead strange Miike movie.

That was simply a broad brush-stroke post arising from the fact that I’ve been cruising a lot of African sites of late. Plus reporting by BBC on anti-gay legislation presently being enacted in Uganda.

I suppose I should also fess up. Worked in medical education in the STD Sexual Health area for many years.

In no way was I letting Islam off the hook. There male sexual anxiety rules supreme.

And since I’m on a blog sabbatical at present, and very much doubt if I will get my big post on Islam written, so I might as well mention the centre piece of that scribbling here, namely Passionate Uprisings: Iran’s Sexual Revolution by the anthropologist Pardis Mahdawi. Stanford University Press 2009. Talk about a massive amount of nookie taking place is a supposedly Shiite fundy state. Even got a bit rich for me, when she discussed orgies organised by children of mullahs.

http://www.powells.com/review/2008_12_30.html

Just one review example to illustrate my point, and it is a highly recommended read.

And just to keep this post light and lay down some parallels with recent China, try reading this:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/a-police-chief-incarcerated-prostitute-scandal-rattles-tehran-government-a-550156.html

Rape and sexual abuse is absolutely rife in the Islamic world.

At least in Iran young women are now physically fighting back: komites/members of the morality police in Tehran have the shit kicked out of them quite often nowdays, when attempting to enforce female dress codes.

Music: rarely listen to much these days since I’ve adopted a post-modernist and only read about it.

December 2, 2012 @ 11:18 am | Comment

Goju is from Goju-ryu karate. One of the styles I studied.

Lots of interesting things going on in Iran. Very strong and determined opposition movement. Do you follow Michael Totten? He posts from some incredibly dangerous places and seems to have a much diffeent take on things in the ME than the MSM.

Africa is truly insane. Unbelievable abundance of resources, and everyone just seems to focus on killing each other. Lots of leftover issues from colonial times, but at some point they got to stop laying waste to the continent and get their colledtive shit together. A Unified Africa would rival the economic power of China or the US.

December 2, 2012 @ 12:10 pm | Comment

Zhu

“Today national health insurance already serves over 90% of all Chinese citizens, although the ocverage is not comprehensive (yet).”

China certainly deserves credit for expanding coverage rapidly, but we ought to examine the make-up of the coverage and its financial sustainability. As has been noted by consultancy firms and academic researchers like Karen Eggleston, China has pursued a “wide but shallow” approach to coverage, and out-of-pocket expenses for those covered still constitute 50% of spending. A family member of my own underwent a serious operation (“covered” by insurance) in the early aughts that cost him more than 100000 RMB. I would also be concerned about county level subsidies since the financial meltdown.

Tubby

“Lets hope Xi’s recent hospital visit and dressing down of staff has some effect, but I doubt that it will produce any significant improvements, given general staff morale and way the health system is unfunded.”

I too doubt it. Hospitals are release valves for distrust and anger toward the government, and how can they not be when people have to travel thousands of miles and wait in line for days to have access to one of the few hospitals receiving adequate funding to specialize in certain procedures. Chinese doctors have been put on the front line, and they are getting a beating.

http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2012/08/29/report-chinas-health-care-system-deeply-sick/

December 2, 2012 @ 12:25 pm | Comment

@Handler 15

Yes, in an ideal world everyone has 100% of health care covered by the Gov’mint. But China is much less well off compared to Canada (yet).

Life is about choices. This is not being cynical, but I am sure someone actually went through some actuarial computations to see whether totally cutting off smoking would be beneficial, and the calculation came down of protecting tax revenues in order that the government can do what it does to better the people’s lives in other ways.

But there are in fact many new things that can be tried (and measured, and adjusted) to better the health care in China. The original barefeet doctor concept would be a good start. Universities can give scholarships for doctors (which is an undergrad degree in China) who are willing to serve in rural areas for 5 years after graduation. In terms of facilities, Beijing could build mini facilities adjunct to local schools – like an expanded nursing room, but with 2-way video link to county level hospitals, to use tele-medicine where it comes to slightly more involved cases, so that the rural doctors can also train with the more experienced city doctors on the job. Stock each of these rural health stations with a couple thousand dollars’ worth of commonly used medicines, and the quality of the health care development can be greatly improved for rural areas of China.

Also, as China is richer every year, it is time to attack smoking.

December 2, 2012 @ 1:41 pm | Comment

“Universities can give scholarships for doctors (which is an undergrad degree in China) who are willing to serve in rural areas for 5 years after graduation.”

It hasn’t been successful with teachers, and I can’t see it being successful with “doctors” because the cost of tuition is not commensurate with income they’d be giving up. Perhaps just as importantly, their career prospects would be severely curtailed from the beginning since extended apprenticeships and nepotism are a critical part of the medical community. What you’d essentially be hoping for is an expansion of the number of medical degrees awarded, but rapid educational expansion in China has been coupled with declining competency as unqualified individuals find themselves enrolled. Moreover, this would require a substantial increase in the equipment and infrastructure used for training in universities as well as the new “mini-facilities”, and I’m afraid this would largely be redundant. Medicine is easy to get in China. Proper diagnostics and surgery, which is rarely covered by insurance, is much harder to come by.

December 2, 2012 @ 2:22 pm | Comment

Yes, its a pretty crummy system when the Purchasing Dept and Human Resources are the most sought after employment areas in a hospital. As serious hospital reform is very hard to envision, a bit of tinkering with the existing system would improve public confidence.

1. Vastly improved infection control protocols.
2. Guaranteed patient confidentiality.
3. Doctors actually spent a lot more time talking/explaining signs/symptoms, procedures, etc to patients. This is key.
4. A much higher base salary for docs and nurses.

How the hell can one achieve No. 3 when, for example, the doc for stomach conditions has a thru put of about 60 patients per day. Having got to know a group of docs and nurses over a long period of time, I could go on forever. And they were very nice people who were doing their best in a totally f… institutional model.

Also enjoyed putting my feet up on the conference table in the opulent cadres boardroom during breaks.

December 2, 2012 @ 5:49 pm | Comment

http://blogs.voanews.com/breaking-news/2012/12/02/china-imprisons-local-interceptors/

A Beijing court has imprisoned 10 men for illegally detaining citizens who tried to lodge complaints with the central government.

A step in the right direction.

December 2, 2012 @ 7:20 pm | Comment

IN REFERENCE TO THE ARTICLE, I think the only way we’re really going to hear both sides of the coin is by letting Mainland Chinese residents speak. Then we can get the full story. But that’s not going to happen for the forseeable future. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/nov/21/china-arrest-blogger-twitter-joke

So we can only rely on state backed/washed media and foreign journalists with a couple of very rare exceptions such as caixin http://english.caixin.com/ which is actually in hong kong now. China smack does well too.

So anything as far as comments are concerned don’t really have any lasting value. Let Mainland Chinese people criticize Mainland China just like British criticize Britain. A foreigner’s perspective is much different.

That’s one thing I learnt from my time in China and from my Chinese friends. We’re the same. Good people with corrupt incapable leaders. Go China!

December 3, 2012 @ 7:12 am | Comment

Canada has universal health care, and it is something most Canadians value and cherish. In a recent survey, it actually ranked in importance above the economy, among those Canadians surveyed. It’s part of the social safety net that Canadians enjoy more than most other nations. Comprehensive health care and social safety nets are something Chinese lack, and something Chinese governments can put their wherewithal towards, CCP or otherwise. Of course it requires up-front investment, but studies (in western nations anyway) suggest that timely affordable prevention and care is actually cost-effective by improving productivity of those who would otherwise be absentees from illness, and also because treating relatively mild disease early is cheaper than having to treat advanced disease later on. It’s a case of pay less now, or pay more later.

KT was alluding to HIV earlier. In my province, HIV treatment is free (not just the medical care, but the drugs too). Took a substantial initial and ongoing investment. BUt the incident HIV rate is now the lowest in Canada, which means the government is actually saving money from not having to treat a bunch of new patients who otherwise would’ve been infected.

Zhu #16 is actually (and surprisingly) not unreasonable. As opposed to teachers as cited by Handler, rural incentives do work, at least in my province. Ultimately, you have to make it financially worthwhile to spend time in booney-town. The way my province handles it is to forgive student loans, and also to pay premiums to doctors willing to work in the sticks, such that they are well-compensated for being in the middle of nowhere. I think that would be feasible in China, or anywhere for that matter. It just requires the willingness to provide funding for it.

As for smoking, the bean counters will have to decide if taxes from cigarettes off-sets the health care expenditures for treating smoking-related diseases. But prohibition isn’t the answer either. You’ll just be creating new business for criminals. Hike taxes to make it financially stupid to smoke, but also provide affordable means for people to try to quit.

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

To T-co,
agreed. But many a baby-step in right directions in the past have gone nowhere. We’ll see how this goes.

December 3, 2012 @ 7:19 am | Comment

To curl,
yeah, the CCP is great and Chinese are so fortunate to have them, but they shouldn’t hope to have input into their own governance, they shouldn’t look to pass judgement on the CCP’s performance, and they certainly shouldn’t hope to be able to crack jokes at the expense of the CCP either. THe CCP is great cuz they say so, and everything else is criminal.

December 3, 2012 @ 7:25 am | Comment

This, too, might be a step in the right direction.

December 3, 2012 @ 8:18 am | Comment

@t_co, #19 – seems not necessarily… http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/world/archives/2012/12/03/2003549253

December 3, 2012 @ 8:26 am | Comment

“And now you can continue the never-ending debate on China’s system vs. America’s, if you don’t think you’ve yet said it all.”

Heheheheheh. I do love all the Chinese-Americans telling us how great China is.

December 3, 2012 @ 10:35 am | Comment

Or when you’re not even from X country, or talking about X country but some guy just has some axe to grind so it always gets brought up. Like every country in the world is the 5xst state of X country. That really confuses me. Smacks of insecurity.

Whoever said China should be democratic anyway? I think following human rights, free media and maybe some control on that corruption monster would be fine for me. Keep the quasi capitammunism if it works. One party, ten parties. Who cares? Giving the citizens innate freedoms and dignities are just a sign of functioning rule of law and good governance. It’s the ultimate goal of communism anyway – perfect equality. I’d be sweet with that. Works for Singapore. Sorta.

December 3, 2012 @ 7:35 pm | Comment

The CPC is great because it delivers.

December 4, 2012 @ 2:32 am | Comment

And the broken tape recorder drones on. More Kool-Aid, anyone?

December 4, 2012 @ 3:24 am | Comment

“The CPC is great because it delivers.”
Isn’t that one of Wen’s quotes? But you are right, it sure does pay to be a servant of the people…
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2012/12/03/a-chinese-comedians-scathing-critique-of-corrupt-officials/

December 4, 2012 @ 4:44 am | Comment

Mike, thanks a lot for that link. I hope zhuzhu reads every word. Then he’ll say other countries are corrupt, too.

December 4, 2012 @ 4:50 am | Comment

Unfortunately, it looks like the little step T-Co alluded to in #19 never really occurred.

http://www.tealeafnation.com/2012/12/a-stunning-reversal-after-welcome-news-for-rule-of-law-in-china/

It seems many people did want to believe it, and did want it to be true. I wonder if that sentiment will amount to anything in the grand scheme of all things CCP.

December 4, 2012 @ 6:21 am | Comment

It seems many people did want to believe it, and did want it to be true. I wonder if that sentiment will amount to anything in the grand scheme of all things CCP.

T_T

December 4, 2012 @ 6:32 am | Comment

Look, the CPC is not GOD, and it is not capable of solving all of China’s problems all in 7 days, giving the limited resources and human foibles. But the question is NOT whether the CPC led SWCC is perfect – it should instead be: IS THERE ANYTHING BETTER? And the answer is an emphatic “NO.” No other system in the world today, or in human history, is or can be better for the Chinese people of today, because NONE has been able (empirically) to DELIVER the public goods that the CPC did, and is still delivering.

The average growth for China’s economy for the next 20 years, a whole generation, is 8%. America? 2% if you are lucky. Canada? Even lower.

Of course there is corruption. Even Hong Kong has corruption, with ICAC going full blast. That does not matter at the end of the day. It is whether the people’s lives improve that matters.

December 4, 2012 @ 9:45 am | Comment

@Goldthorpe 34

OK I read it. What does it mean? The fact that in America folks can supposedly talk – is that meaningful at all? WHICH country sees the living standards of the people double every 7 to 8 years in the last 34? Which country will see 8% economic growth for the next 20 years?

Facts are facts. The psudo-democracy means NOTHING when the words and expressions of the plebeians are duly IGNORED, and votes mean nothing when both parties are hijacked by the same banksters, and gave bi-partisan support to fork over another $10 Trillion dollars (that the plebeians do not have) to the banksters after 2008. Democracy does not solve problems. Good government does – and that is what Beijing has, in spades. Beijing plans great plans, and executes the plans capably.

There was a report today that American public companies are priced much higher (at 15 P/E) compared to their China counterparts (about 8.5 P/E), even though the Chinese companies grow at 3 to 4 times the rate in comparison. I see that not as a weakness but rather a strength. There is still time for the Chinese population to accumulate real wealth, the fruit of all that wonderful planning and growth, before effective floating of the RMB, at which time the P/E will equalize, and either the Chinese public companies will go up 5 or 6 times, or the American ones will seek their level accordingly.

With the CPC, there is no $700 Trillion derivative casino ultra leveraging – touch the stones to cross the river, means that the prospects and the gains are real. There is little froth. The gains and the strengths are real.

December 4, 2012 @ 9:56 am | Comment

Zhubster – which country are you living in?

Thought so.

Nuf sed.

December 4, 2012 @ 10:15 am | Comment

Here’s one to thing about. China manufacturing vs. Vietnam. China Law Blog says China is where it’s at and Vietnam is just a Province: http://www.chinalawblog.com/2012/11/china-still-the-place-to-be-for-manufacturing.html
China Briefing says Vietnam will get more attractive than China: http://www.china-briefing.com/news/2012/12/03/letters-from-america-vietnam-as-a-manufacturing-destination-for-u-s-companies.html
Two China business blogs, two different opinioning.
WHO is right Dan Harris or Chris Devonshire?

December 4, 2012 @ 10:27 am | Comment

@Tan Binh
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10851800

Looks like it’s China in this article. Oddly I don’t see a lessening of immigration from China to here or indeed the US. Matter of fact, seems house prices in Auckland are high because of Chinese parking their money somewhere safe and to get a NZ passport http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10850092 and http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10848593

Seem “Which country will see 8% economic growth for the next 20 years?” isn’t something people are willing to bank (pardon the pun) on, including Zhuzhu above.

December 4, 2012 @ 10:52 am | Comment

Everyone needs to go check out this new story now, the top ten myths about China by one of its shrewdest observers.

My favorite:

3. There is good corruption and bad corruption, and China’s corruption hasn’t slowed things down. Economists see signs that so much money has gone to waste and corruption or simply to poor uses that China now needs to spend two or three dollars in financing to generate a dollar of growth in the G.D.P—a ratio that is up from one to one just six years ago.

But they’re all superb. I’d like to paste the whole thing here.

December 4, 2012 @ 11:00 am | Comment

“Is there anything better” is the wrong question for an environment that for over 60 years has tolerated no alternative. THere isn’t anything better because nothing else has been allowed. It’s that correlation bit yet again. Could there by something better? Absolutely. Capitalism without CCP characteristics (like lack of law, up-to-eyeballs corruption, and crappy human rights, for starters) would be a good place to look.

And sure, you want to improve people’s lives. You just don’t need all those lousy CCP characteristics in order to do so. It seems the zoo-keeper thinks it’s the CCP, or nothing at all. To compound his lack of grasp of logic, I guess it makes sense for him to throw in a logical fallacy of false dichotomy.

And, OMG, give the US system a break already. Yeah, we know he lives in the US while prescribing stuff for Chinese people from afar. But jeez louise, open your eyes and learn something beyond US borders. No one has ever said China needs a US system, but that is all you ever seem capable of arguing against.

December 4, 2012 @ 12:30 pm | Comment

To be fair the lack of law, up-to-eyeballs corruption, and crappy human rights are not necessarily only CCP characteristics but the characteristics of classic chinese society, china until today has yet to see an established real modern society on par with the few nations on earth.

December 4, 2012 @ 1:44 pm | Comment

I guess another way to frame the question, then, is whether modern Chinese are satisfied to be rooted in some of the historical shortcomings of classic Chinese society. If they are, then the CCP is all they need, cuz the CCP has shown no capacity for improving upon those things. But if modern Chinese want to become a modern society, then the CCP has shown after 60 some odd years that it isn’t up to the task.

December 4, 2012 @ 3:25 pm | Comment

What are you expecting then? Although chinese have risen up countless times before they have only done so when their lives really become unbearable (in the sense that basic survival cant be covered), even if you do not believe in CCP propaganda are you expecting the majority of chinese citizen facing the risk of dying off the next day right now? Not to mention CCP like any other dynasties made sure that there wont be any working alternative beside themselves, which is one of the reasons why most of them could last through a few centuries before time is up. And you may not like it (or even believing in it) chinese people do have different political mentality and they tend to do risk counting like for so many other things, even the so called “modern” Chinese may not have realized the course of the modern(western) society, most still rely only on ideals not any different than the commies themselve once were.

Also do you believe that like the revolutions in Egypt, Libya or Syria (or Irak/Afg style) a similiar revolution in china would be the better alternative? Sadly the people do pay attention and its probably safe to say that there isnt much encouragement even from the news outside of the great firewall. Wonder what went wrong with chinas Jasmine Revolution? Well one can always tell himself that its just below the earth prepared to pop out at any moment.

December 4, 2012 @ 4:05 pm | Comment

Revolutions rarely results in better change, but delaying peaceful evolution makes violent revolution pretty much inevitable. Unfortunately, certain Chinese stakeholders have an incentive to delay peaceful evolution as much as they can, which makes them, in essence, free riders on political stability. The other unfortunate circumstance is that evolution sped up too quickly risks revolution.

Hence the challenge confronting Chinese policymakers is the classic political Goldilocks conundrum–how to get the pace of change “just right” so that China can reach its full potential and take her place in the sun.

December 4, 2012 @ 5:14 pm | Comment

To riverer,
I actually readily liken the CCP to the dynasties of yore, so I’d be happy to go with your analogies. And as I’ve always said, if Chinese citizens are actually satisfied with the CCP, and more importantly, are content to continue with the status quo, that’s most wondrously fantastic. But that’s for them to decide. Forgive me, however, for having an extremely healthy cynicism listening to people wax on about what Chinese people apparently do and do not want, and what type of political mentality they may or may not have.

No, I didn’t think the Jasmine thing of the last 2 years was an issue, because, as you say, Chinese people aren’t starving to death tomorrow. The economic circumstances were rather different from those middle eastern states.

But as T-Co suggests, and you seem to acknowledge, dynasties have a finite shelf-life before reaching their best-before dates. And sure, in the past, Chinese people were in a pattern of dynastic turnover and renewal. But “modern” Chinese people needn’t be bound by those same historical habits. I have no reason to believe that Chinese people are inherently incapable of political evolution.

December 4, 2012 @ 5:59 pm | Comment

“Hence the challenge confronting Chinese policymakers is the classic political Goldilocks conundrum–how to get the pace of change “just right” so that China can reach its full potential and take her place in the sun.”

More like how they can keep their place on the gravy train until running the country becomes the next generation’s problems. China’s policymakers – at least if you’re talking about the men sitting in the Politburo – are far more concerned with the bottom line for them and their families than they are for the nation as a whole. At the moment, China’s prosperity enriches them, but things may be approaching the point where China’s economy may not be growing so quick but the leadership still wants to fill the familial coffers the same as Wen Jiabao and Bo Xilai did.

December 4, 2012 @ 10:53 pm | Comment

@Richard 40

“China now needs to spend two or three dollars in financing to generate a dollar of growth in the G.D.P—a ratio that is up from one to one just six years ago.”

Er, not to point out the flaw in that schadenfreude, America needed US$10 Trillion in financing to prop. up nary 2% growth since 2008. That is $2.5 Trillion a year, on 2% of $14.5 Trillion GDP, which works out to more than $90 per $1 in GDP growth for America.

$90 is slightly larger than the “two or three dollars in financing,” if you have not noticed. The difference is that with one party efficiency, the Chicoms spent that financing on Main Street, while the democracy in America, with bipartisan support, spent it all on the banksters.

No comparison.

December 5, 2012 @ 3:28 am | Comment

The pigheaded one clearly needs more coffee. 2.5T/(14.5T x 2%) = 8.6.

OK, not 90 to 1. But 8.6 is still higher than 2 to 3. Moreover, quality is more important than quantity. What you spend the money on matters. China’s investments buy REAL growth, as urbanization going at full tilt, with another billion people to move from rural to urban settings in the next few decades.

Contrast that with the decades long de-civilization efforts under the American democracy.

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page/NL05Aa01.html

It is truly amazing the difference it makes in having real leaders chosen by a meritocracy, as vs. having clowns masquerading for national leaders, chosen in liars’ contests (campaign promises, be they made in America or Canada, are just that – such an oxymoron that NOBODY expect that they be kept).

December 5, 2012 @ 3:44 am | Comment

Er, not to point out the flaw in that schadenfreude, America needed US$10 Trillion in financing to prop. up nary 2% growth since 2008. That is $2.5 Trillion a year, on 2% of $14.5 Trillion GDP, which works out to more than $90 per $1 in GDP growth for America.
$90 is slightly larger than the “two or three dollars in financing,” if you have not noticed. The difference is that with one party efficiency, the Chicoms spent that financing on Main Street, while the democracy in America, with bipartisan support, spent it all on the banksters.
No comparison.

Zhu, this is one of those cases where comparing to America is not only counterproductive, but stupid. Just because America does it terribly does not mean China should do it badly.

National debt is the exhaust a sociopolitical system puts out, when it tries to prop itself up against the laws of economic gravity. Sooner or later, the fuel runs out and gravity wins. China is at a rare moment right now where it can make painful economic choices with less risk of systemic collapse. Wait too long, and China turns into Japan, or worse yet, Greece. In this regard, when the Party transfers Chinese savings into inefficient stimulus, it delays the day of reckoning, worsens the shock, when it comes, and mortgages the future of China’s children. Is that what we want?

December 5, 2012 @ 5:27 am | Comment

@t-co 50

But those choices are not painful at all. The plans are there for all to see, and the plan is rather simple. There’s another 1,000,000,000 Chinese to urbanize in the next few decades. With that as frame of reference, no amount of infrastructure building (roads, trains, cities, schools, hospitals, ports, airports, etc.) can or will likely be excessive. It is actually difficult to make bad mistakes – as the growth in demands soaks up whatever is produced.

Compared to America, the advantages are clear: (a) China even today has a lower base, so it is easier to grow – folks feel good as long as they see improvements – in contrast it is much harder to improve from where America is, per capita; (b) the Chinese people love to save – it is part of the culture; the savings in turn drive investments; (c) costs is still much lower in China; infrastructure building costs at leaset 30% to 50% lower in cost; (d) China has the world’s largest industries in most of the “stuff” needed for building, and scale equates with lower costs; (e) the cycle is beneficial – more development brings more business activities as more folks are urbanized, in turn driving more demand.

So all in all, the prognosis is indeed quite good – growth of 8% a year for the next 20 to 30 years is not out of the question. For that reason, the share valuations of Chinese public companies are literally dirt cheap, and the U.S. stocks truly frothy.

December 5, 2012 @ 5:52 am | Comment

Actually, the BIGGEST difference between a single party meritocracy and a democracy is that the former can be counted on to do the right things, while over time the latter will always try to be the sugar daddy to everyone, ending up with untenable debts galore.

http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/congress/item/13806-the-national-debt-what-really-needs-to-be-done

“In reality, the national debt, when all the promises that the government has made to everyone — China, Japan, the Social Security trust fund, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment benefits, federal employee health and retirement benefits, healthcare and retirement benefits to veterans — are added up, exceeds $200 trillion . . . .”

$222 Trillion has to be a human record. It is clear that going forward, America has to welch on its obligations.

Democracy simply is too expensive and wasteful for China to attempt.

December 5, 2012 @ 6:51 am | Comment

I want everyone to know the link zhuzhu gives us is from the official mouthpiece of The John Birch Society! Oh the delicious irony. And Zhu, Social Security is not a part of the national debt, by the way. Do you know what the John Birch Society is? Do you know their stand on China? Do you really see them as a legitimate source?

December 5, 2012 @ 7:17 am | Comment

You can blame a lot of things on the unique attributes of American government, but the debt. Huge national debts have arisen in every form of government known to man. What IS unique about modern Western democracy is its ability to pile up IOUs without affecting broader economic health. After all, when debt in the USSR hit 117% of GDP in 1991, the economy imploded, yet it takes a 140% debt in Greece for bad things to start happening and Japan is still ticking with 200% debt to GDP. Now these feats of governance–they are things worth learning.

December 5, 2012 @ 8:04 am | Comment

“… the savings in turn drive investments”.

Given the way loans are handed out for um…investment, sooner or later, those commensurate depositors are going to get the rough end of the pineapple.

Schools, hospitals ???? big eye roll. I think we should be talking about ongoing funding and social capital (well trained teachers and health professions etc) here.

“It is actually difficult to make bad mistakes – as the growth in demands soaks up whatever is produced”.

Fact: interest on bank deposits is kept artificially low to facilitate sweetheart loans to SOE’s and the well-connected.

Do you have a policy statement on the shadow banking system?

@Zhu. Horse tranquilizer and economics are not a good mix. Off to rehab or move your house trailer to HH land. Whatever, you are writing superficial drivel.

December 5, 2012 @ 8:05 am | Comment

@t_co 54

I’m sorry, but it is delusional (as the Europeans are finding out to their chagrin) that you can “pile up IOUs without affecting broader economic health.” Japan may very well implode if the Chinese people keep up the boycott.

@Richard 53

Yes I have heard about the John Birch Society. But it does not detract from the “fact” that the obligations of the American govt. are much higher than what is booked as “national debt”. You mean nothing would happen if Social Security stops payment next month?

Numbers aside, my point was more about how it got to that humongous size – it would only happen in a democracy.

December 5, 2012 @ 8:17 am | Comment

“Numbers aside, my point was more about how it got to that humongous size – it would only happen in a democracy.”
Not really. Could only be found out in an open democracy, maybe, but huge debts are not a symptom of democracy. Germany, last time I checked, is a democracy and that country is paying for other European countries…all of who are, in general, recipients of Chinese immigrants…

December 5, 2012 @ 8:50 am | Comment

Well, I detect miniscule improvement at the zoo. Lately, among all the US references, there is the odd mention of Canada. So given enough time, de novo synaptic activity can in fact occur, above and beyond the rote regurgitation we’ve been treated to thus far.

But I still don’t get the US comparisons. Yeah, the US has debt, and they have lower growth. But they’re at a much different stage in evolution, and their people have many things Chinese do not (both in terms of things, and freedoms/rights).

Currently, CHina has growth that is in part predicated on building bridges/roads that hardly anyone uses, and apartment buildings that hardly anyone lives in. Is that “real” growth? Now, the zoo-man suggests that this is simply in anticipation of future urbanization of huge masses…kinda the field of dreams/build-it-and-they-will-come logic. And that may turn out to be the case. We shall see.

But as I’ve often pointed out, it should again be noted that China’s “advantages” listed in #51 do not require the existence or persistence of the CCP. And China taking advantage of those “advantages” certainly does not require the CCP…unless CHinese people actually opt to keep them around, of course. It should be their choice, after all.

December 5, 2012 @ 10:56 am | Comment

To Richard #40,
“10. Local bureaucrats might be corrupt, but decision-makers at the top are carefully selected and have deep public approval.

Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/evanosnos/2012/12/top-ten-myths-about-china-in-2012.html#ixzz2E8wrHNTv

I thought myth #10 was particularly apropos to recent topics of discussion.

December 5, 2012 @ 11:10 am | Comment

Funny how the Chinese that don’t have the protective blanket of the CCP seem to suffer so much. Poor Taiwanese…. :-(

;-)

December 5, 2012 @ 11:18 am | Comment

How the covered-up Ferrari crash helped strip Hu Jintao of his power. Wonderful story. Chinese corruption is so in a class by itself.

December 5, 2012 @ 12:53 pm | Comment

Sigh, another ‘victim getting no help from bystanders’, and what’s worse this time is that someone took the time to take a photo of the victim for profit.

No moral standards, no social compassion, just money in the eyes of the citizens.

What’s wrong with Chinese society today? This must be the ideological vaccum left by the CCP?

http://i.imgur.com/e5QA6.jpg

December 5, 2012 @ 1:00 pm | Comment

Great read, Richard. Ahhh, “meritocracy” at work can be such a sight to behold sometimes. Zoo-keeper must be so proud.

I imagine the Jason’s and Clocks of the world will be hard at work looking up tu quoques as we speak.

December 5, 2012 @ 1:10 pm | Comment

Clock, you moron, the guy was in front of a moving train. It’s not like he was on the sidewalk and people just walked by. I really should ban you, but you do provide comic relief. I miss your friend Math.

December 5, 2012 @ 1:58 pm | Comment

SKC, Clock’s comment directly above is another tu quoque. It’s all he knows how to do. Sad.

December 5, 2012 @ 1:59 pm | Comment

To Richard,
that’s too funny. Like I said before, Math was dumb as dirt but at least had a brain. More than I can say for clock.

‘clock is so stupid…’

‘how stupid is he…?’

‘he’s so stupid that, even when employing a logical fallacy like tu quoque, he still can’t find something that’s actually comparable, for purposes of comparison.’

December 5, 2012 @ 2:23 pm | Comment

OK clock, let me spell it out since you are clearly too stupid to figure this out yourself.

Richard linked in #61 to the story of Hu’s right hand man who employed corrupt practices, including inducing a SOE to pay hush money to a victim, in order to cover up an embracing event (in this case, his own son going bye-bye while messing up a Ferrari).

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to find an American bureaucrat whose child is killed in a car he shouldn’t be able to afford, who then breaks rules in order to try to keep the story from seeing the light of day, up to and including funneling hush money through a government agency. Now go fetch.

December 5, 2012 @ 2:28 pm | Comment

my bad there, should be “embarrassing”, not “embracing”.

Go luck tu-quoque-ing.

December 5, 2012 @ 2:29 pm | Comment

(And the two Tibetan girls were half naked.)

And I wouldn’t mind picking up on all the other dirt and sleaze which didn’t see the eventual light of day, which was used as bargaining chips in the run up/horsetrading prior to the handover.

The zhongnanhai functions as part counting house and part brothel. Just imagine if Bo had not come undone.

We would have a Sino version of Tinto Brass’ Caligula.
Zhang Ziyi could play Messalina.

December 5, 2012 @ 3:41 pm | Comment

@KT

Saw that article. So the guy wants to run a tabloid? Get in line, lol

I subscribe to a Clitonian view of politics–I don’t care who’s fucking who as long as they get the job done…

December 5, 2012 @ 7:45 pm | Comment

A step in the right direction

hopefully not a hoax

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/12/05/china-an-extreme-communist-makeover.html

December 5, 2012 @ 8:11 pm | Comment

RE: Above – Interesting, but I’ll believe it when I see it. Pomp and circumstance are such a part of official life that it is hard to believe that they will be dropped.

December 5, 2012 @ 8:43 pm | Comment

PS – I thought the crowds of flag-waving PRC students at foreign occasions were ‘spontaneous’?

December 5, 2012 @ 8:45 pm | Comment

PS – I thought the crowds of flag-waving PRC students at foreign occasions were ‘spontaneous’?

A lot of them are. I was one. Of course, the consulate here also made sure to give us loads of free flags and the ultimate undergrad motivator–free potstickers and bubble tea

December 5, 2012 @ 9:32 pm | Comment

The lamest, most execrable comment on the excellent NYT Lin Gu story is by none other than a guy named “godfree.” No shame — perhaps fine for an anonymous commenter, but not for someone who sells his services as a kind of retirement planning adviser.

December 6, 2012 @ 1:25 am | Comment

. . . as well as helping organise buses etc. Was a time when saying that the PRC government helped organise these receptions drew accusations of racism and mindless bias.

December 6, 2012 @ 1:29 am | Comment

@70: Nothing really wrong with that article, but this: “Even with heavy censorship, in recent years China’s English language state-run media have run enough salacious content to embarrass your mother:”

China’s English language state run-media? I sometimes wonder if the quality of reports in the foreign media would go up if they actually read local, Chinese media. A lot of it isn’t as dry and boring as the English version, and there are good newspapers that don’t just repeat official stuff.

December 6, 2012 @ 1:33 am | Comment

Is there corruption under SWCC? Of course. But there is corruption everywhere there is power – even in Canada. Corruption is so rampant in America it had to be legalized so it is no longer actionable anymore – it is now legit campaign contribution, and all the pols are respectable and legit even as they all have women (just like in China), and fast cars (just like in China), and fat bank accounts (just like in China).

The only major difference? China had 10% growth rates for 34 years, and folks’ living standards doubled every 7 to 8 years for the last 34, AND today the growth rate is over 8% still (it averaged over 9% in the 3 years after the 2008 debacle). It appears that the corruption in China is not as harmful, because the meritocracy actually selects real leaders, that are both capable and dedicated, unlike the clowns that masquerade for leaders in the West. 20 million new jobs each year. 1,000,000,000 more rural folks to be urbanized in the coming decades. Biggest in just about any industry you can dream of in another 2 decades. Now that’s something to shoot for.

Multi-party gridlock would have meant, just like in India, the Chinese cannot even dream that dream.

December 6, 2012 @ 2:20 am | Comment

Corruption in the US is of a far different kind than in the PRC. You will never have people killed by a lawmaker’s son driving a Ferrari in the US and covering it up. The media is way too ferocious. Everyone in power is fair game for a ruthless media, even the director of the CIA. White collar crime runs rampant but it is often caught and punished (ask Bernie Madoff and the scores of hedge fund managers now under investigation). It’s true, “banksters” got away with murder but determining what they did that was actually illegal is a nightmare and famously hard to prosecute. But this is hardy comparable to corruption that lets village chiefs throw residents out onto the street or to siphon off taxpayers money to buy Ferraris. It doesn’t compare to actually holding enemies (activists, for example) under arrest, or sending in goons to beat up uppity villagers. A free media and free speech makes such crimes difficult to impossible to pull off in a free and open society. To say “both sides to it” is simplistic and ridiculous. Both sides have corruption. But they are very different beasts. And you read charges against white-collar corruption and government corruption in the newspapers here everyday. Far more than you read about government malfeasance in the PRC.

December 6, 2012 @ 3:55 am | Comment

To me it seems compared with modern western society chinese society still lacks rule of law among other things, it is quite easy for those with power and wealth could “define” law to their advantages, like many people have pointed out media coverage and independent judiciary are still lacking, although the rise of chinese netizen is helping to improve the situation (and cause more confusions). Often the question the law in China is less about right or wrong than how to calm the people and deal with the troubles fast & efficent (if only with temporal solution), like when there are many people who did something wrong “law”(enforcer) might still be looking elsewhere if its not too serious, I believe there is the chinese quote that the law does not punish everybody(=if there are too many/”enough” people).

In connection with the rule of law in chinese society it would be interesting to know something about the history of legalism in china, chinese had such legalist reforms to create a society defined and ruled by law more than 2000 years ago (Qin), and there were mini legalist reforms during the Sui dynasty, apparantly the old chinese back then had the view that a society ruled by law will be cold, full with inhuman punishment and non tolerance for human feeling which would result in unbearable tyranny, while a society ruled by people (aka people with power bending law at will) would be more “benevolent” – if they abuse the law then all the blames could be put on them until other people take up the position and walk down the same path – a neverending circle.

December 6, 2012 @ 4:53 am | Comment

@ t_co. Look, when you’ve got five plus mistresses, you’re on the job but not the one which pays your salary.

Ernai and corruption are synonymous. Its all about the Big Man culture with the small …., and China is not the only social formation afflicted by this condition.

Its all about displaying power and social exceptionalism.

And I’m still bloody seething over China’s interference in Ozland’s internal domestic affairs during the running of the Olympic torch in 08. Seven arrests, six of which involved PRC visitors wielding sticks attacking Free Tibet protesters. Military personnel disguised as torch support. I would have broken their legs and deep sixed them in the shark infested Timor Sea. Another instance of a gutless Federal Govt here.

December 6, 2012 @ 5:18 am | Comment

@SKC, comment #67
I’ll give Clock a hand (and by ‘eck he needs all the help he can get!)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chappaquiddick_incident

Oh, yeah….wasn’t covered up by the state, so doesn’t really work. But hey, close, eh? Sorta…kinda…

December 6, 2012 @ 5:33 am | Comment

@Richard 80

Whether one side or the other is “better” always involves a definitional problem. There really is no dotrinal advantages in all this “free press” (how free can it be when over 95% of media in the U.S. is owned by 6 entities?) or “democracy”, that you can demonstrate with facts or experience. Is China more corrupt? Well the reported corruption might be more colorful, but add up the sums, and it is hardly a rounding error in the multi-trillion dollar scale largess given to the banksters of America. So which one is more corrupt?

At the end of the day, the only thing that matters to those on the ground is whether the lives of the folks are getting better year after year. Using the civilian example, if it is OK for Bill Gates (who became No. 1 richest man on Earth through a monopoly) to be rich while the poor get poorer, why is it not OK for some of the cadres to live it up some, to the extent that the lives of the average Chinese improved A LOT, and continue to improve?

In American history, it is not unusual for people who know too much to die of mysterious causes (I think the most recent was a chief of staff), and those just die without reporting.

I may be slightly cynical, but China gets a disproportionate bad rap, and it is all part of Western PROPAGANDA. How can a government that has brought so many out of poverty be bad? It might need improvements (don’t they all?), but it is not inherently bad.

December 6, 2012 @ 6:04 am | Comment

How can a government that has brought so many out of poverty be bad?

Oh, I dunno…. Check out German history in the mid-1930s. Maybe you’ll get the idea.

December 6, 2012 @ 6:06 am | Comment

And I’m still bloody seething over China’s interference in Ozland’s internal domestic affairs during the running of the Olympic torch in 08. Seven arrests, six of which involved PRC visitors wielding sticks attacking Free Tibet protesters. Military personnel disguised as torch support. I would have broken their legs and deep sixed them in the shark infested Timor Sea. Another instance of a gutless Federal Govt here.

Care to elaborate? All I heard about the torch protests were Tibet folks ganging up on a lady in a wheelchair.

December 6, 2012 @ 6:15 am | Comment

Oh, I dunno…. Check out German history in the mid-1930s. Maybe you’ll get the idea.

That’s an unfair analogy, Richard. Hitler inherited an economy whose foundations (industrial capital stock, agricultural productivity) were intact but which had an aggregate demand problem. Deng inherited an economy with no capital stock and no agricultural expertise to speak of.

December 6, 2012 @ 6:17 am | Comment

t_co, zhuzhu said these exact words:

How can a government that has brought so many out of poverty be bad?

To this I answered, check out Germany in the 1930s. That is a perfectly valid response and I stand by it firmly. I never said China’s and Germany’s situation was the same, or different, Just that it is very, very, very possible for a government to help bring their countries economic benefits while still being very, very, very bad. You can’t point to only economic success and say that’s the only measurement of government, discounting torture, persecution, war mongering, mass murder, corruption, etc.

December 6, 2012 @ 6:22 am | Comment

. . . as well as helping organise buses etc. Was a time when saying that the PRC government helped organise these receptions drew accusations of racism and mindless bias.

Not really. Aside from the free food, they didn’t offer very much. The extent of the “organizing” was pretty much an email from the consulate office to various student clubs and, ironically enough, churches with large numbers of Chinese expats listing a time, place, and parking and transit directions. These are the same methods I’ve seen organizations like Greenpeace and AIPAC (both of which I am members) use to gather people into a time and place–and in both cases, the resulting demonstrations or assemblies would be categorized as spontaneous.

December 6, 2012 @ 6:26 am | Comment

Since we are into semantics, the pigheaded one will rephrase:

“How can the CCP led SWCC government, that has brought so many out of poverty in the last 3 decades, and which did not war on other nations in the last couple of decades (an entire generation), be bad?”

December 6, 2012 @ 6:52 am | Comment

“How can a government that has brought so many out of poverty be bad?”

Seeing as it was that self same government that made all those people poor in the first place….

Haven’t we done this to death before?

December 6, 2012 @ 6:55 am | Comment

@Richard 88

“torture, persecution, war mongering, mass murder, corruption, etc.”

You have to put it in CONTEXT. We are not discussing governance in general, or theoretical comparisons of the normatives, schools of politics and such. The undertone of this entire website is that the CPC led SWCC is bad news – in fact so bad that it should be abolished, overthrown, etc. Thus NED funded attacks by Chinese nationals on the Chinese Constitution itself is JUSTIFIED, and the Chicoms should just grin and bear it, and be thankful that Westerners care so much that they want to change things for the “better” for the Chinese.

To that I flip the bird and disagree.

Whether something is good or bad has to be measured against how its done elsewhere. By any measure, the CPC led SWCC is hardly “worse” than the gold standard, America.

December 6, 2012 @ 6:58 am | Comment

The undertone of this entire website is that the CPC led SWCC is bad news – in fact so bad that it should be abolished, overthrown, etc. Thus NED funded attacks by Chinese nationals on the Chinese Constitution itself is JUSTIFIED, and the Chicoms should just grin and bear it, and be thankful that Westerners care so much that they want to change things for the “better” for the Chinese.

If that’s what you feel this blog is about then please do us all a big favor and leave. You’re totally wrong — no one here that i know of is in favor of abolition or overthrow of the Chinese government — but you seem to love your little fantasies (and yes, we’re all on the NED payroll, too). So seriously, if you want to be stupid and to attack your host’s site please, feel free to go elsewhere. Thanks.

December 6, 2012 @ 7:02 am | Comment

“Not really. Aside from the free food, they didn’t offer very much. The extent of the “organizing” was pretty much an email from the consulate office to various student clubs and, ironically enough, churches with large numbers of Chinese expats listing a time, place, and parking and transit directions. These are the same methods I’ve seen organizations like Greenpeace and AIPAC (both of which I am members) use to gather people into a time and place–and in both cases, the resulting demonstrations or assemblies would be categorized as spontaneous.”

Not in my book it wouldn’t – to me ‘spontaneous’ means people did it by themselves without prompting. The clue is in the comparisons you make – AIPAC and Greenpeace are political lobbying groups who organise demonstrations to further a political cause. A spontaneous gathering of people by definition is not organised by an outside force but arises through the independent actions of its members. That the people who take part in a pre-planned demonstration do so willingly does not make it spontaneous.

I guess I also should say – there were strenuous denials back in 2008 that any of the things you describe happened. People who pointed out the the counter-demonstrations very clearly appeared to have been organised, likely by the Chinese embassy, were condemned as yellow-peril obsessed racists. Now it appears that the PRC government does have a hand in such things (otherwise how could they ask for them to be stopped?).

December 6, 2012 @ 7:29 am | Comment

“To that I flip the bird and disagree.”

Flip the bird, eh? Remember that post I wrote about being an arsehole? Well, here we have a good example. To disagree is one thing, to do so in a fit of pique and with a rude gesture is completely another.
Now you can see (as can we) why no one likes you. You ethnicity is not in any way an influence on our views of you but the fact you are, in act at least, an arsehole is.

December 6, 2012 @ 8:00 am | Comment

Oh, and forgive me ignorance but what is the CPC led SWCC? CPC I know is the CCP but SWCC? Small Wind Certification Council? Southwestern Community College?

December 6, 2012 @ 8:03 am | Comment

“Westerners care so much that they want to change things for the “better” for the Chinese.”
—give that straw man a break. He deserves one, cuz CCP apologists like Zookeeper have been working him like a slum factory.
Just let Chinese people decide for themselves what they want, and what would represent a change for the “better”. That would be plenty sufficient, and far preferable to having a butt-kisser from California tell them what’s best for them.

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

To Mike #83,
that came to mind for me as well, but if the best the clock can do is to reach back to a young senator Ted, that’s pretty damn lame…though pretty damn lame is certainly the clock’s calling card.

December 6, 2012 @ 8:36 am | Comment

The Ted Kennedy incident is a very good example of money and power corrupting the judicial process. That it seems to be such a rare event in the US speaks well for the US judicial system. Certainly not perfect, but always striving to be.

SK, isn’t it amusing that the same people that dismiss this incident due to the time elapsed since it happened also have no problem going back even longer to rehash Bush’s NG service? People have no issues with going back and examining events like the Great Famine, the rise of Hitler, etc. Personally, I have no problem with anyone going back any number of years they choose to. As long as we all get to play by the same rules. Injustice should not have a time limit.

There are other instances of the US judicial system going awry. New Orleans police dept would be one. Not just in the aftermath of Katrina, but its entire history is rife with corruption.

No system is without corruption and abuse of power. Anytime such power is given to someone, it is inevitable that it will be abused. The US system is self-correcting. It responds to the people.

December 6, 2012 @ 9:23 am | Comment

Corruption – gotta love it. At least I live in a relatively uncorrupt place. Not sayng there isn’t any here (Hollywood can change the laws here and then there was this scandal http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10849319 though really, it’s not that big a scandal :-) )
Anyhoots, check out how each country compares here http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2012/dec/05/corruption-index-2012-transparency-international

December 6, 2012 @ 9:44 am | Comment

To Goju,
agreed. There is no such thing as “no corruption”, simply because humans are fallable regardless of the system they’re in. But the system can and should at least be tailored to minimize the likelihood of corruption, and to punish those who cross the line. This is where the CCP falls on its face.

There is nothing wrong with exploring incidents of corruption in western/US history. But it is lame-ass and pointless to do so in the tu-quoque manner with which the CCP apologists around here do it. That is what I and others have been mocking in the last day or 2.

December 6, 2012 @ 11:16 am | Comment

I guess I also should say – there were strenuous denials back in 2008 that any of the things you describe happened. People who pointed out the the counter-demonstrations very clearly appeared to have been organised, likely by the Chinese embassy, were condemned as yellow-peril obsessed racists. Now it appears that the PRC government does have a hand in such things (otherwise how could they ask for them to be stopped?).

You mean the torch relay stuff? Yeah we never got any notification of that. I thought you were referring to crowds that showed up to greet Chinese dignitaries. AFAIK all that the Chinese Olympic committee did was publish a schedule of the torch relay; most of the Chinese people who went out to visit it did so on their own.

What’s more, we got notifications for Chinese dignitaries ranging from Jackie Chan and Zhang Ziyi to Hu Jintao. I highly doubt these all were “government-sponsored” per se. Likely just emails that get forwarded around the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and get passed to student organizations.

If being emailed a time and a place and parking directions disqualifies a gathering as “spontaneous”, then most assemblies in the United States or any Western nation would be disqualified, I think. Is that the criterion you’re applying in this case?

December 6, 2012 @ 4:45 pm | Comment

If being emailed a time and a place and parking directions disqualifies a gathering as “spontaneous”, …

Being emailed is, in essence, a political issue. Even if it is about Jackie Chan.

December 6, 2012 @ 5:17 pm | Comment

Being emailed is, in essence, a political issue. Even if it is about Jackie Chan.

What about flyers then? Someone puts up flyers advertising a demonstration, does that mean the demonstration isn’t spontaneous? Or what if the demonstration spreads via social media? Does that mean it’s not spontaneous anymore?

No one was forcing me to go when they emailed me. It was more like a “here is an event, time/place/directions, go if you want.”

December 6, 2012 @ 5:35 pm | Comment

To T-co,
I think there is a difference between “spontaneous” and “staged” (for lack of a better word). Demonstrations are organized, and by definition aren’t “spontaneous”. For a demonstration (or “crowds of flag-waving PRC students at foreign occasions”) to be spontaneous would require that they be un-planned, and I doubt that to be the case very often. But just because something is planned doesn’t mean they’re staged either(ie demonstrators are presumed to be attending of their own free will, and aren’t being bussed in and paid for their participation). If they provide bubble tea and some potstickers, is that enough enticement to cross the threshold of “staged”? I wouldn’t think so. But if they offered every demonstrator $100, that would. THe actual threshold is probably somewhere in between those two points.

I think FOARP’s point is this: if the CCP can say they will stop with the flag-waving displays, it implies some control over the existence of such displays previously. I mean, it makes it meaningful (and feasible) to say you will stop doing something only if you were willfully doing that thing in the past.

December 6, 2012 @ 5:37 pm | Comment

““here is an event, time/place/directions, go if you want.””
—that’s precisely it. That event isn’t spontaneous. Just like twitter flash mobs aren’t spontaneous.

December 6, 2012 @ 5:41 pm | Comment

What about flyers then?

The idea that ideological work makes individual phonecalls to ordinary citizens to get them mobilized is somewhat antiquated, t_co. In fact, even mass activities in the past weren’t carried out that way.

I invite everyone to read People’s Daily’s style-of-work editorial as linked in my previous comment and to decide for themselves if it takes a cadre-citizen contact to validate the link between spontaneous events and ideological work.

And yes – one phonecall (or tweet, or whatever) would lead to an edict that would stop the spontaneous activities in question.

December 6, 2012 @ 6:04 pm | Comment

The idea that ideological work makes individual phonecalls to ordinary citizens to get them mobilized is somewhat antiquated, t_co. In fact, even mass activities in the past weren’t carried out that way.
I invite everyone to read People’s Daily’s style-of-work editorial as linked in my previous comment and to decide for themselves if it takes a cadre-citizen contact to validate the link between spontaneous events and ideological work.
And yes – one phonecall (or tweet, or whatever) would lead to an edict that would stop the spontaneous activities in question.

I don’t understand your point here. Could you please elaborate?

December 6, 2012 @ 6:38 pm | Comment

I think FOARP’s point is this: if the CCP can say they will stop with the flag-waving displays, it implies some control over the existence of such displays previously. I mean, it makes it meaningful (and feasible) to say you will stop doing something only if you were willfully doing that thing in the past.

The CCP article/document we are all referring to implies domestic displays of pomp, not foreign displays. The PRC has almost zero control over the actions of overseas Chinese. There’s a significant difference between crowds showing up to see the torch for the 2008 Beijing Olympics in New York City or LA versus kids being told to toss flowers at visiting local county officials in Anhui or Henan. The former is a whole heck of a lot more organic and natural than the latter. To somehow equivocate the two is really just a symptom of knee-jerk skepticism.

December 6, 2012 @ 6:44 pm | Comment

I don’t understand your point here. Could you please elaborate?

I quote: The issue of work style, in essence, is a political issue, embodying the common aspiration of the people.

It’s the party which defines what “the common aspiration of the people” is, t_co. It also defines China’s international claims. And it defines how these claims are propagandized to the people: through mainstream media, social media, through school lessons, through party cells, and (if need be) by invitations for tea with the public security office and beyond. There is a public for the discussion of technicalities – basically about how to attain those “common aspirations”. But there is no public debate about the dogma.

Hence no phone calls. You don’t condition an entire nation through phone calls. It starts in the kindergartens.

December 6, 2012 @ 7:23 pm | Comment

The PRC has almost zero control over the actions of overseas Chinese.

That’s true for overseas Chinese who aren’t invested in China. The other way round: once people are invested in China, they will be very careful about what they say and do.

Business, too, is politicized, and there is no rule of law that would prevent local or central Chinese authorities from abusing that link.

That’s not to say that anyone has to oblige. But those who do oblige are usually most influential when it comes to China-related debates. And that’s far from “almost zero control”.

December 6, 2012 @ 7:29 pm | Comment

“If being emailed a time and a place and parking directions disqualifies a gathering as “spontaneous”, then most assemblies in the United States or any Western nation would be disqualified, I think. Is that the criterion you’re applying in this case?”

Indeed it is the standard I’m applying. When an organisation emails a bunch of people saying “hey, come to X and show everyone what you think about Y” and offers no other incentive, the people who do so are acting according to a prompt – by definition this is not spontaneous. Obviously there is no problem with this per se unless the organisation concerned is trying to pretend that the gathering is actually spontaneous.

In the case of demonstrations by free Tibet organisations and other organisations along the course of the torch relay in 2008, very clearly these were not ‘spontaneous’ because they were announced ahead of time. The counter-demonstrations were also very clearly not ‘spontaneous’ to anyone who observed them – the people in them appeared to belong to various student organisations of the same kind you refer to as being mobilised by embassies and consulates for ‘spontaneous’ demonstrations of affection for visiting leaders, and were organised by armband-wearing stewards. The strong suspicion was that the embassy had helped organise the counter-demonstration – although the only sources confirming this suspicion were dubious (Stratfor and The Epoch) – yet the counter-demonstrators themselves insisted that they were acting spontaneously and accused those suggesting otherwise of bias or even racism.

Frankly I see no great problem with this kind of activity so long as it is done openly and not with the pretence that it is spontaneous, and so long as no undue pressure is brought on people to take part. Obviously the entire reason the embassy organises these demonstrations is for the purpose of presenting them as representative of opinion amongst ethnic Chinese in other countries, so admitting that they are not spontaneous would defeat the point. It would also contradict PRC government rhetoric of non-interference in the affairs of other countries. Can you imagine what the PRC response would be if, for example, the Japanese embassy in Beijing tried to organise their citizens in China for a counter-demonstration against the Diaoyutai protests?

The point about undue pressure being brought to bear on Chinese expats, though, is a real one. In the past I have pooh-poohed alarmism surrounding Confucius Institutes, and I still think the warnings that they are essentially ‘spy centres’ are paranoid and wrong. However there are credible reports of PRC citizens studying overseas facing questioning on their return to China based on reports made by fellow students – particularly amongst mainland students studying in Taiwan. It is also very hard to believe that involvement in activities such as the 2008 Olympic torch relay counter-demonstrations will not be seen as highly meritorious by the authorities in mainland China.

December 6, 2012 @ 8:21 pm | Comment

PS – New interview with Liu Xia:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20121206/as-china-nobel-house-arrest/?utm_hp_ref=homepage&ir=homepage

H/T Rectified Name. It would be nice if this had been brought about by new policies, but AP say they sneaked in when the guards watching her flat went off for lunch.

December 6, 2012 @ 8:41 pm | Comment

I was told by a friend a few years ago that he and his wife might participate in some “China-Tibet-one-family” activity overseas – that’s where they lived. They had been “invited” (again, presumably not by a phone call, but by those common aspirations. And with some likelihood, it wouldn’t even have harmed them or their relations substantially if they had said “no”. They just felt that it wasn’t worth the risk of declining.

It was an understandable – and even respectable, in my view – decision. They took the interests of people into account with whom they felt truly connected – and that wasn’t the organizers of those political events, to be clear. They weren’t politicized themselves on that issue.

It is naive at best to suggest that all that stuff is “spontaneious”. It’s useful to look not just at the crowd, but at the individuals within the crowd, to judge a situation.

December 6, 2012 @ 8:59 pm | Comment

Everyone needs to check the link FOARP provided two comments up. This is journalism at its best, and the CCP at its worst. How can this possibly be defended, even by the most die-hard fenqing? China is so great, its progress so stunning, its reforms so dramatic — unless you are on the receiving end of the government’s wrath. A must-read.

December 6, 2012 @ 11:57 pm | Comment

“It is naive at best to suggest that all that stuff is “spontaneous”.”

I’m not sure anyone in the comments here have said that it’s all spontaneous. t_co’s point, I think, is that it’s not all government-ordered (which is a point I’ve heard made several times).

One thing that fascinated me in 2008 was how Chinese demonstrations were seen by foreign media as being completely government-orchestrated, and Tibetan demonstrations were seen by most Chinese as being completely TGIE-orchestrated. A lot of people just couldn’t believe there were any righteous grievances – when the wrong side is upset, it’s always just because of propaganda.

December 7, 2012 @ 1:40 am | Comment

@FOARP 112 and @Richard 114

I am no fenqing (no longer qing) and I certainly have experienced enough to speak thoughtfully.

I was in Hong Kong during the early Diaoyutai protests (when Hong Kong was till under British rule). I know exactly what Western “democracy” is, at least as the Brits practiced it in Hong Kong – at the tail end, as means to plant seeds of disunity and cause trouble for Beijing. Despicable as usual, but then what can you expect of Anglos?

During TAM, I was duped, as many Chinese were, into supporting anti-Beijing rallies and raised money for the cause. In fact I still have the videos and the propaganda memorabilia from that era. Today, looking at those, reminds one of being sold down the river and helping count the money. It is now clear that TAM was an early iteration of the color revolution attempts, the never ceasing efforts (that are still going on TODAY) to subvert China and to split the nation asunder, preferably (preferred by the West) into 10 pieces or more.

Liu, Xia was personally responsible in handling the foreign government money. No sovereign nation can or should tolerate traitors who take foreign government funds and advocate the abolition of the nation’s Constitution. If she was not thrown in jail for her action, she should count her blessings and thank the people for the leniency shown.

December 7, 2012 @ 2:50 am | Comment

The facts and the sequence of events are not in serious disputes.

NED was and is funded directly by the U.S. Congress.

NED was and is responsible for funding revolutions and removal of foreign governments. It claims that it only promotes democracy, but the evidence is there for all to see.

The group that Liu, Xiao Bo headed took substantial NED funding. The exact amounts are not reported, but others pieced together bits and pieces reported by NED and came up with at least US$1.6 million. So it was likely much more.

Liu, Xia was personally involved in handling at least a significant portion of the money.

Liu, Xiao Bo openly advocated the abolition of the Chinese Constitution.

___________________________

The same set of facts, if it applies to a U.S. person, in my opinion would also land him in jail, for example under the Foreign Agent Registration Act.

December 7, 2012 @ 2:59 am | Comment

“Liu, Xia was personally responsible in handling the foreign government money”

So was Mao. I believe he accepted a lot of Soviet money and American money. A spurious argument on your part.

“Despicable as usual, but then what can you expect of Anglos?”
There’s that arsehole element appearing again.

December 7, 2012 @ 3:35 am | Comment

“The same set of facts, if it applies to a U.S. person, in my opinion would also land him in jail, for example under the Foreign Agent Registration Act.”

Got any proof?

Wrt to Liu Xiaobo, it’s odd that he gets imprisoned for writing about stuff. In the UK, you can do the same and get government funding. In fact, you can even form a political party and openly advertise the fact you want to change the constitution.
http://www.republic.org.uk/
BUT – there’s more! Not only can you form a political party with the intent of overthrowing the head of state and changing the constitution legally, if you disagree with some aspects of that political party, you can form another one!
http://www.democraticrepublicanparty.co.uk/
Indeed, the head of state’s first minister, the prime minister, can arrange for a referendum about the break up of the state as a political entity! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-19942638
Amazingly, the person seeking to split the state is not thrown out of the country and hounded by the political establishment or called names similar to “jackal in monk’s robes” but is actually allowed to sit in government and lead a political party http://www.scotland.gov.uk/About/People/14944/Scottish-Cabinet/First-Minister

Yeah, what can you expect from those Anglos, eh?

December 7, 2012 @ 4:28 am | Comment

@t_co # 86. Please read carefully. I was referring to the torch run in Australia.

And the Canberra PRC embassy orchestrated every (underlined) aspect of the Chinese turnout during the run. All Chinese ESL students here were also given a friendly reminder to do the ‘right thing”.

Furthermore, the Canberra embassy routinely interferes in domestic affairs. Whenever a local film festival contains an item deemed objectionable by Beijing, local embassy officials start making threatening phone calls to theatre managers and festival organisers, when the correct procedure should be a govt to govt diplomatic note.

I have extended you every courtesy here.

Next misinterpretation of my factual reporting and I will lapse into my normal self and become extremely unpleasant.

December 7, 2012 @ 4:52 am | Comment

To T-Co,
“one staple of Chinese propaganda, the drummed-up crowds of Chinese students and expats that greet leaders when they touch down on foreign soil, will also be dropped.”
—that was straight out of your link in #72. I would agree with your contention in # 108 that most of the article refers to domestic pomp. But that statement I’ve highlighted here also speaks for itself.

Now, you’re referring mostly to Olympic torch relay crowds, and that is a different animal. But to categorically suggest that “PRC has almost zero control over the actions of overseas Chinese” seems to be contradicted by your own link.

December 7, 2012 @ 5:29 am | Comment

Re. the torch relay: In 2008 my work involved the relay and I travelled to cities in Asia where the torch was passed. Trust me, the Chinese government played a huge role in getting out the crowds of overseas Chinese.

December 7, 2012 @ 5:34 am | Comment

To WKL,
thanks for “orchestrated”. That is the best terminology yet. Even wrt the torch relay stuff, clearly the TGIE stuff and the pro-CCP stuff were not spontaneous in any sense of the word. The degree of “orchestration” is what, in my mind, distinguishes a genuine expression of protest in contrast to just your run-of-the-mill display of propaganda.

So really, it comes down to what degree of facilitation serves as the threshold between a “real” display as opposed to a circus act.

December 7, 2012 @ 5:39 am | Comment

@Goldthorpe 119

Yes Anglos. For the Brits 100 year presence in Hong Kong, it was single party (Crown) through and through. All branches were corrupt to the core. I remember going down with my father to pay the British banker over Chinese New Years, or the credit lines do not get renewed. Democracy? You joking? Dissidents are summarily rounded up, roughed up, thrown in jail, and often deported.

And it is the looking down their noses at the Chinese that was the most provoking.

We who lived in Hong Kong know all about the Anglos. I’ll have to tell you the whole city applauded when Thatcher, coming out shaken from the meeting with Deng, Xiao Ping over the return of Hong Kong, was shown tumbled down those stairs before the People’s Great Hall to kowtow on all fours before the Mao picture across the TAM square! Symbolically it was quite satisfying to see the Anglos tumble down those steps, which portended the continued decline of the UK (which is still continuing). For what they did to China and the Chinese people, nothing is too good.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dh1N1GIYxDw

December 7, 2012 @ 6:28 am | Comment

I’ll bet you dollars to peanuts that the footage never saw play on British TV in context (i.e., that this was right after she met with Deng, Xiaoping, in which the Brits were told to take a hike when they asked to continue to hold Hong Kong as a colony).

So much for free speech and fair reporting. As is to be expected of the West.

December 7, 2012 @ 6:32 am | Comment

Y’see, an empty chair would be shown thousands of times. But this historic tumble simply is too much for Anglo sensitivities.

December 7, 2012 @ 6:34 am | Comment

To Zoo-lander 116/117,
ok, so you’re an angry old fart.

Anyhoo, what is the justification for Liu Xia’s house arrest? What is she charged with? Nothing. What is she convicted of? Nothing. And yet there she sits in extra-judicial detention. This time, it’s not in some backwater armpit like CGC, where the central government can pathetically blame corrupt local officials. This time, it’s in Beijing. THose corrupt local officials would be the central Beijing ones. Those with merit, apparently.

And as WKL already showed you earlier, (and cleaned your clock), none of that NED nonsense is in the charges Liu Xiaobo was accused of, much less convicted of. So you have no justification for Liu Xiaobo’s imprisonment, and even less justification for Liu Xia’s illegal detention. Ahhh, the CCP. What’s not to like, eh? Rule of law? Never heard of it.

December 7, 2012 @ 6:38 am | Comment

I actually was quite fine with HK under the Brits. No, it wasn’t democracy…but it was never meant to be, so I guess you’re now the expert at pointing out the painfully obvious. Nonetheless, far better than the alternative of the CCP. 1997 was a big reason for leaving, for me and many others.

December 7, 2012 @ 6:43 am | Comment

What is that term? BANANA?

December 7, 2012 @ 6:50 am | Comment

1997 was a very memorable year. I made the right decision – as the likes of SKC ran out the door, I bought real estate.

I am living rather comfortably today because of that decision.

December 7, 2012 @ 6:51 am | Comment

What about all those self igniting natives?

If instead of Wounded Knee, the natives burn themselves. Do you believe it would have made ANY difference at all? Would the Brits have demanded that America negotiate with the natives with no preconditions?

Just asking.

December 7, 2012 @ 6:54 am | Comment

Beijing did make a strategic mistake, and is still paying for it.

Self immolation is a serious matter.

Religious or terrorist training? There is often a fine, or nonexisten­­t line between the two, with fanatical cults that teach self immolation­­s. When even death cannot deter, it is time to de-legaliz­­e the entire sect. Public safety and societal stability is more important than any claim of the selfish wishes of any religious sect to interfere in the political process. Assimilati­­on is the only viable road going forward.

Start with banning the brainwashi­­ng of children – no one below the age of 18 should be allowed to be housed or indoctrina­­ted full time in any house of worship, be they madrasas, churches, or monasterie­­s. A Sunday school session or two is fine, but 24 hours a day immersion of children in religious brainwashi­­ng is simply sick.

Open any link showing photos of life in a Tibetan monastery, and you’d see kids as young as 5 or 6 dressed in the garb of monks. That is and will continue to be a big problem in Tibet.

December 7, 2012 @ 6:54 am | Comment

I actually was quite fine with HK under the Brits. No, it wasn’t democracy…but it was never meant to be, so I guess you’re now the expert at pointing out the painfully obvious. Nonetheless, far better than the alternative of the CCP. 1997 was a big reason for leaving, for me and many others.

SKC, you’d love this movie idea some UToronto kid just passed me. (his mom runs a movie studio in China owned by his dad’s real-estate company, so he probably has the cash to buy the rights for it and the ability to make the movie)

From the email:

City: Hong Kong. Easiest setting—we can even keep the tabloid angle. Set this right after the HK handover in 1997, so that we have an excuse for the sudden imprisonment of all the old-guard triad members and an excuse for the Hollywood angle.

Characters:

Bud White—becomes a violent cop, we just directly port him over. Give him a backstory growing up in the Kowloon Walled City

Jack Vincennes—easy port. Corrupt good-old-boy.

Ed Exley—straight arrow. Grew up in Vancouver. Ambitious and a little anal-retentive. I could go on but they would just be synonyms after a while

Dudley Smith—simple port. Better yet, cast a traditional “good guy actor” in this role. Andy Lau?

Sid Hutchens—becomes a tabloid writer. Apple Daily ftw

Pierce Patchett—easiest port in the entire movie. Hong Kong has tons of eccentric tycoons. Let’s start with the one who tried to marry off his daughter for millions of HKD

Police chief—we gotta get this past the laws and regulations of mainland China, so we make this guy an upstanding, fine Party member who, better yet, is recently dropped in from Beijing. Chen Daoming, easy. He’ll draw the mainland market and get us past SARFT

The district attorney—easy port. We make this guy a mainlander too, but we switch him to being HK native if the government complains too much

Stensland—simple port.

Buzz Meeks—simple port.

Sue Lefferts—young, innocent mainland girl caught up in shit way way wayyyyy over her head. easy port

Mexicans—Filipinos?

Black people—What other ethnic minorities live in HK and get hated on all the time? Henanese?

Matt Reynolds—simple port. We can get Edison Chen to play him for irony value

the councilman—replace him with a legco guy

And the big one:

Lynn Bracken: Who gets to be both the Woman in Black, and the Lady in White? And more importantly, which HK actress does she get cut to look like? I’m no pro on HK movie stars so I’ll let someone more knowledgeable take this one. But yes, this is an easy port as well. Loads of pretty girls to pick from.

Plot:

The plot almost writes itself. Handover in 1997—cue the PLA rolling in, fireworks everywhere, old-line triad guys either getting on the Cathay Pacific flights to LA, Vancouver, or Sydney or getting locked up by the PSB.

Intro the three main characters. Testimony part and everything flows smoothly. Replace the ghetto with the shittier parts of Kowloon. Replace the councilman with a legco member. Make the Santa Barbara Freeway the Hong Kong Airport project. Make the 25 pounds of Heroin… 25 pounds of heroin. Make the gay actor a gay actor. Make Sue Lefferts’ mother an old lady from the countryside. Include an obligatory Macau high roller scene (did you know that Macau casinos would pay us to put that in there?)

There’s more, but I don’t want to spoil the plot

December 7, 2012 @ 7:09 am | Comment

For a few short years in Taiwan, they said there was so much cash it flooded the ankles (淹脚目). I think the situation is the same in the big cities in China right now. Even Yao Ming is rumored to have invested in multiple movie projects. Hollywood types are salivating about Chinese money.

I still think it is going to be illusory – it will be years before there will (or can) be real box office blockbusters possible in China. Total ticket sales is typically 1/50th that in the U.S. So at least that part will be consistent – most of the movie projects will lose the investors’ shirts for them.

December 7, 2012 @ 7:20 am | Comment

Some stats
http://drezner.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/12/06/is_norway_a_low_quality_badly_behaved_country
Not that the CCP is a petulant party or anything…

December 7, 2012 @ 7:21 am | Comment

“We who lived in Hong Kong know all about the Anglos. I’ll have to tell you the whole city applauded when Thatcher,…..”

Which presumably explains why so many people of HK extraction now hold British citizenship, Australian citizenship, NZ citizenship, Canadian citizenship, etc, etc.
A bit like you, I’d wager ;-)

December 7, 2012 @ 7:23 am | Comment

Which presumably explains why so many people of HK extraction now hold British citizenship, Australian citizenship, NZ citizenship, Canadian citizenship, etc, etc.

Plenty of mainlanders hold overseas citizenship too, yet I don’t see them preferring a foreign government to rule over the mainland either.

December 7, 2012 @ 7:26 am | Comment

For a few short years in Taiwan, they said there was so much cash it flooded the ankles (淹脚目). I think the situation is the same in the big cities in China right now. Even Yao Ming is rumored to have invested in multiple movie projects. Hollywood types are salivating about Chinese money.
I still think it is going to be illusory – it will be years before there will (or can) be real box office blockbusters possible in China. Total ticket sales is typically 1/50th that in the U.S. So at least that part will be consistent – most of the movie projects will lose the investors’ shirts for them.

This is going to be one of those Asian movie epics in the vein of A Better Tomorrow or Infernal Affairs, I think. It’ll make a profit.

December 7, 2012 @ 7:27 am | Comment

@Goldthorpe 137

The Chinese diaspora in recent decades is very much like that of the Jewish folks. The more adventurous move overseas to where they perceive greater opportunities – usually in the form of, at least comparatively speaking, “easier” environments. The Chinese people work hard and work smart. If you have not worked in Chinese society, it is hard for you to comprehend how hard it is to compete against the Chinese.

December 7, 2012 @ 7:29 am | Comment

So you DO have a passport other than a Chinese one.

Thought so.

December 7, 2012 @ 7:34 am | Comment

The Chinese diaspora in recent decades is very much like that of the Jewish folks. The more adventurous move overseas to where they perceive greater opportunities – usually in the form of, at least comparatively speaking, “easier” environments. The Chinese people work hard and work smart. If you have not worked in Chinese society, it is hard for you to comprehend how hard it is to compete against the Chinese.

That’s not really accurate, Zhu, but neither is Goldthorpe’s comment either. People emigrate for a huge variety of reasons. The number one reason people leave HK isn’t because it’s politically repressive, but because housing is ridiculously expensive there compared to other global cities like Vancouver, San Fran, LA, NYC, London, or Paris.

Never attribute to political repression that which can adequately be explained by simple microeconomics.

December 7, 2012 @ 7:35 am | Comment

@t_co 139

I have actually sat through a couple of script pitches in the last year. The “slant” is towards “bicoastal” projects that, at least on paper, can have international appeal, and would have both Asian and Western faces. Asian movie epics will continue to be made. But if there are all Asian faces, it will not get the big budgets ($50 MM and up, by Asian standards it would be considered big).

Westerners are relatively much more xenophobic (compared to the Chinese) as it comes to movie culture. If the movie does not have Western actors, the perception is that there will not be widespread Western acceptance.

December 7, 2012 @ 7:35 am | Comment

@t_co 142

The pigheaded (moi) allows himself some license to be tongue in ample cheeks.

December 7, 2012 @ 7:38 am | Comment

Hey t_co Love it, but I’m the Sid Hutchens around here, okay. “You read it here, hush, hush and very confidential”.

I can’t even remember which of the LA Quartet novels it was, but can recall the characters.

Went to an Ellroy book launch for American Tabloid…signed “blood and gore, J. Ellroy”.

Asked him the best question of the evening. “I view Buzz Meeks (Hughes fat fixer obsessed with helping out the Va Va Voom girl) as a character on the road to redemption and goodness in a highly corrupt city. Do you think I need counselling?”

He agreed both in regard to the counselling and my characterization of Meeks.

Pierce Pratchett = we need some Sino sexually kinked blackmailer. Your call.

Police chief = lets get Wang Ligun paroled for the role.

And the possibilities for product placement are limitless.

What about a KT, T-CO, SKC tri-production.

I will handle the publicity and the casting couch, and you and SKC can sort out your respective responsibilities.

December 7, 2012 @ 7:40 am | Comment

I have actually sat through a couple of script pitches in the last year. The “slant” is towards “bicoastal” projects that, at least on paper, can have international appeal, and would have both Asian and Western faces. Asian movie epics will continue to be made. But if there are all Asian faces, it will not get the big budgets ($50 MM and up, by Asian standards it would be considered big).
Westerners are relatively much more xenophobic (compared to the Chinese) as it comes to movie culture. If the movie does not have Western actors, the perception is that there will not be widespread Western acceptance.

Not necessarily. Case in point: Slumdog Millionaire. But yeah, this movie script is not designed for Western audiences (since it’s a remake of a Western script).

Second, while the US movie market is (I agree) terribly racist (try talking with a casting director or film critic sometime) and calcified, Europe is a lot friendlier to these sorts of movies. Unfortunately, the US is the largest film market.

Even though you mention that Chinese watch Hollywood content a lot, that’s because Hollywood content has large budgets which equate higher quality. But Hollywood doesn’t care about them because they don’t pay. If we made Hollywood quality movies starring all-Chinese casts, Chinese people would flock to watch it–but unfortunately Hollywood won’t because that won’t make it money.

One relatively tragic phenomenon is that because China pirates so much creative content, no one bothers to create that sort of content for Chinese tastes. If China whines about unfair portrayals in international films, they should just do what white males do and plunk down billions each year to go watch movies–you would see depictions of Chinese improve overnight. Just trust me on this.

Bottom line: if SARFT wants movies that make China look awesome, make it so that filmmakers make money by making China look awesome.

Thankfully, the new crop of cadres at SARFT seems to be getting it. Who knows, maybe in 10 or 15 years Hollywood will be singing China’s praises all the way to the bank–and it will be someone else’s turn to complain? ^_^

December 7, 2012 @ 7:44 am | Comment

“The number one reason people leave HK isn’t because it’s politically repressive, but because housing is ridiculously expensive there compared to other global cities like Vancouver, San Fran, LA, NYC, London, or Paris.”
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/hk-chinese-join-rush-to-apply-for-british-passports-1302755.html

So….these houseprices were set to skyrocket on the 1st July ’97?

I know why people emigrate – I am an emigre myself.

Interesting that Zhubster has an Anglo passport, mind….

December 7, 2012 @ 7:45 am | Comment

I will handle the publicity and the casting couch, and you and SKC can sort out your respective responsibilities.

Translation: I will handle getting boozed at LA parties and screwing young starlets, and you and SKC are the ones that have to haul my hungover ass to film lot each day, plus deal with crying, jilted young actresses when they don’t casted.

December 7, 2012 @ 7:46 am | Comment

“The number one reason people leave HK isn’t because it’s politically repressive, but because housing is ridiculously expensive there compared to other global cities like Vancouver, San Fran, LA, NYC, London, or Paris.”

Thousands, out of a city of millions. Try harder.

December 7, 2012 @ 7:47 am | Comment

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/hk-chinese-join-rush-to-apply-for-british-passports-1302755.html
So….these houseprices were set to skyrocket on the 1st July ’97?
I know why people emigrate – I am an emigre myself.
Interesting that Zhubster has an Anglo passport, mind….

Thousands, out of a city of millions. Try harder.

December 7, 2012 @ 7:47 am | Comment

“If we made Hollywood quality movies starring all-Chinese casts, Chinese people would flock to watch it–but unfortunately Hollywood won’t because that won’t make it money.”

Ummmm, wouldn’t Kung Fu Panda count? ;-)

Sorry – it’s Friday here.

I’m not overly fond of Hollywood. They take perfectly decent British movies and change them to something else.

December 7, 2012 @ 7:48 am | Comment

Ummmm, wouldn’t Kung Fu Panda count?
Sorry – it’s Friday here.
I’m not overly fond of Hollywood. They take perfectly decent British movies and change them to something else.

ROFL, Kung Fu Panda is about as accurate a description of Han Chinese as Bugs Bunny is of White Americans.

What are some good British movies? I’ve watched four British TV series–The Thick of It, Yes Minister, Chef, and Coupling–and loved every one of them.

December 7, 2012 @ 7:52 am | Comment

Oh, and can’t forget Blackadder either. Rowan Atkinson is a comedy god.

December 7, 2012 @ 7:53 am | Comment

To t-co,
I wasn’t a crazy LA confidential fan, so I can’t say the plot details resonate much or seem all that appealing. If he’s aiming for those movies ( a better tomorrow in particular) then good luck to him cuz he’ll need it.

December 7, 2012 @ 7:53 am | Comment

“Thousands, out of a city of millions. Try harder”
Still a large increase in the numbers. Where previously it was maybe hundreds, that turned to thousands.
They still come out in huge numbers – you should see downtown Auckland.

December 7, 2012 @ 7:53 am | Comment

Apol. To continue. Authenticity fact checker. I have a good Chinese friend who played in a band for about ten years (1990 – 2000), covering EVERY sleazy nigh club then found in the Pearl River Delta.

I think we could have a long opening sequence which would leave Takashi Miike’s Dead or Alive in the dust, when it comes to pure sleaze and authenticity.

December 7, 2012 @ 7:54 am | Comment

Still a large increase in the numbers. Where previously it was maybe hundreds, that turned to thousands.
They still come out in huge numbers – you should see downtown Auckland.

The other point is that any pre-handover emigration can be more attributed to Beijing’s bark than it’s bite, and if you wanted to zero in on repression as the driving variable behind leaving HK, then you could attribute large chunks of post-handover emigration to the same bark rather than bite.

Hong Kong’s rule of law and civil liberties have not changed one whit since the handover, and, if the elections take place in 2017, (which under a Xi administration I think should happen) they can be said to have measurably improved.

Basically I’m not buying the claim that HK emigres represent some sort of terrifying ordeal Hong Kong is being subjected to. Hong Kong has been making money off China for nearly all of its existence, so why should Hong Kongers hate being a part of China?

December 7, 2012 @ 7:57 am | Comment

Apol. To continue. Authenticity fact checker. I have a good Chinese friend who played in a band for about ten years (1990 – 2000), covering EVERY sleazy nigh club then found in the Pearl River Delta.
I think we could have a long opening sequence which would leave Takashi Miike’s Dead or Alive in the dust, when it comes to pure sleaze and authenticity.

If you’re for real, contact me off this thread. I’ll ping you my email from your blog’s contact page

December 7, 2012 @ 7:58 am | Comment

Good Brit movies? Oooooh, the Ladykillers is good. And the Italian Job (“You’re only meant to blow the bloody doors off!”). I also enjoyed Life of Brian.
I’m not sure how the James Bond franchise classes – that’s Hollywood…but it’s British. The more recent ones were enjoyable. But that does remind me of The Pink Panther (with Sellers). And The Office – not the American one. I worked near Slough and had a boss that was oh so similar…probably one of the main reasons for emigrating (heck, even Betjeman advocated the bombing of Slough…)

December 7, 2012 @ 7:59 am | Comment

Do you guys have too much time on your hands or what?

December 7, 2012 @ 7:59 am | Comment

I wasn’t a crazy LA confidential fan, so I can’t say the plot details resonate much or seem all that appealing. If he’s aiming for those movies ( a better tomorrow in particular) then good luck to him cuz he’ll need it.

Hmmm, okay. Actually this is something we have been wondering about, since LA Con had a good run in America, but US audience tastes differ from HK or Mainlander tastes (as those two aren’t the same either). So… what didn’t you like about it?

December 7, 2012 @ 8:00 am | Comment

“Basically I’m not buying the claim that HK emigres represent some sort of terrifying ordeal Hong Kong is being subjected to. Hong Kong has been making money off China for nearly all of its existence, so why should Hong Kongers hate being a part of China?”

I don’t think they do hate being a part of China. None of the (British) Hong Kongers I know hate being Chinese. All are rather proud of it. I have a feeling the argument is more that the CCP is not China and that’s what many appear to have slight issues with… In this I think most HKers are like the Mainlanders that have left – they don’t hate China or being Chinese but there’s some feeling that it’s safer to have that exit planned. As well as air, food, healthcare etc, etc…

December 7, 2012 @ 8:03 am | Comment

Chariots of Fire was British. Don’t remember if the one that got the Oscar was a remake by Hollywood or not – it did look big budget, if I remember correctly.

I believe the sequel to that (about how the runner retired, and went to China to proselytize) was pitched as a movie. They tried to get city money from a number of Chinese secondary cities. Don’t know if it ever moved forward.

December 7, 2012 @ 8:04 am | Comment

“Do you guys have too much time on your hands or what?”

See comment 151 ;-)

December 7, 2012 @ 8:04 am | Comment

@ T_CO. Strongly recommend that our now co-production totally excludes any and all Caucasian actors. Strictly Mandarin or Cantonese. Japan makes killer hard-boiled flics and there is not a honky in sight. Absolutely, no theoretical underlined reason why China couldn’t do the same.

I would walk a country mile to see Beijing Blues.

December 7, 2012 @ 8:06 am | Comment

Downton Abbey – wife’s fave at the mo. Seems popular with a lot of Chinese as it resembles some famous Chinese story about a family and their servants.

December 7, 2012 @ 8:06 am | Comment

Thought that the Tai Ping Revolution would make a good movie, and then a TV franchise. Much more colorful than 3-Kingdoms, with many more tragic heroes. It was the first Chinese attempt to go with democracy and Western styled government, and it turned out very badly. The resulting turmoil cost China about 1/3rd of her population.

December 7, 2012 @ 8:15 am | Comment

Chariots of Fire contains an absolutely crap tear jerk plot, which I suspect would be looked upon favourably as a remake by SARFT, due to its moral uplift. Vomitious.

Move SARFT and the Party out of the ambit of influence, and I’m certain there are Chinese directors capable to turning out seriously gritty flics with very high production values. To be sure, many of these movies would go straight to DVD initially, but as witnessed by Japanese, DVD sales and rentals can be truly massive, before directors go on to open in the big movie complexes.

December 7, 2012 @ 8:23 am | Comment

To T-co,
nothing in particularly I disliked about LA Confidential; just was rather indifferent about it. Didn’t leave the theater wanting to see it again, and have only seen it that one time. Unlike, say, The Departed, which I’ve seen multiple times and bought the proverbial T-shirt.

I agree with what I interpret as your point about Hollywood. The studios are in it to make money, and that is the prism that drives decisions. If there is an Asian lead who could draw like Smith, Damon, or Di Caprio, that guy would be cast. If there was a story about an Asian protagonist that would be box office gold, that story would get green-lit. It’s bizarre to me that people would have selective recall and cherry pick stuff just to support an artificial narrative of some anti-China/racial suppression motive.

I can only speak from personal experience that I left HK before the CCP came. In retrospect, that may have been unnecessary, as things turned out…so far. And if you’re right about 2017, and Xi allows real progress, then so much the better. Alas, don’t regret leaving one bit, if for no other reason that I can now enjoy the sports I enjoy, which would not have been possible in HK (though I hear it’s slowly improving). Of course, there is also the spectre of 2047, but it may be a brave new world by then, with any luck. And at that point, I’ll probably be more worried about the resilience of adult incontinence pads than with the resilience of HK and CHina.

December 7, 2012 @ 8:52 am | Comment

http://andrewhong.net/2012/09/07/hong-kong-national-education-get-ready-for-a-new-wave-of-migration/
“The announcement of the 1997 British handover of Hong Kong to China led to an estimated 10 percent of the population taking up citizenship in places like Canada, the United States, and Australia. This led to the huge wave of migration that we saw in Australia in the late ’80s and ’90s.”

Aha. Thought so. OK, it does say after this sentence that there’s a trickle coming back….but I feel vindicated :-) Even though 10% or millions is still thousands, but 10% is 10% and that 10% aren’t the thickies at the bottom of the pile.

December 7, 2012 @ 9:09 am | Comment

Those who left were fools. Those who stayed and bought up the vacated real estate (like the pigheaded), made a bundle.

December 7, 2012 @ 9:19 am | Comment

“Those who left were fools.”
Aaah, mate, don’t be so hard on yourself. Hindsight is 20/20 but really, how would you know about the prices of things? Some people did make money, though – property in London, Manchester, Auckland, Vancouver etc also went up – just had to sell before the bubbles popped.
Top tip – Auckland prices are going up…but you have to fight off the Chinese investors to make a purchase….

December 7, 2012 @ 9:36 am | Comment

@ SKC. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you seem to project a movie culture scene for China consisting of big box office stuff with big draw stars. This mentality leads to rat shit outcomes. Why finance on hoped for blockbusters, when that finance can launch ten less ambitious projects.

There is an alternative. Lets assume ground zero in Chinese cinema now, and no political interference in script development, plot/character development etc, and all that other stuff which goes into the making a good movie.

Also forget about China’s pantheon of existing stars and starlets….christ, they are all tainted and getting old, or in the gossip mags. And most of all forget the blockbuster mentality.

I,m sure there are tons of young aspiring film makers in China at the mo, some with talent and access to money, and some with one and not the other. No money, go lo-fi with a digital camera.

It takes time and it will probably be a Darwinain process. Script writers will need to develop their craft as will all the other isms require to make a movie. New main and support actors will develop their skills and personnas. Tons of low budget movies will be made. Many of them won’t even be bootlegged, while others will rise to the fore and capture a small amount of public attention. Bigger budgets on bigger movies follow and sooner or later one will breakout in the West.

In my scenario, we would begin with a few El Mariachi’s (which made a squillion considering the initial outlay) and end up with a number of Chinese directors equivalent to John Sayles.

The latter is a pretty darn good outcome in my books.

Finally, the Hollywood mentality is turning out complete dross of such gut-wrenching proportions, that a good percentage of western film consumers would opt to spend their hard earned on a decent middle-range Chinese movie. At least that is the case in my social circle.

December 7, 2012 @ 9:37 am | Comment

@KT: I can recommend Jia Zhangke [贾樟柯] if you’re into indie movies. He’s the only guy I know who does hyperrealistic stuff, and there are no well-known actors in his movies (or it didn’t used to be – Zhao Tao is getting more exposure these days). He’s recently moved into the legal framework but I don’t think that’s making his movies worse. Incidentally, the first movie he did, Xiao Wu, gave him a fine of around 10000 RMB which was a lot at the time, the reason being that it won a prize at the Berlin International Film Festival despite not being registered, and even worse, depicted China in a negative light (though personally I don’t think it didn’t, but that’s another story).

December 7, 2012 @ 9:55 am | Comment

@SKC: “Of course, there is also the spectre of 2047, but it may be a brave new world by then, with any luck.”

I’m a 100% certain (or 95% at least) that China is going to have a very different political system by then. It’s 35 years into the future, after all. 35 years ago, very few predicted the fall of the Soviet Union, China choosing market reforms and the reunification of Germany. Things just won’t stay the same. Hey, even North Korea will be different.

December 7, 2012 @ 9:58 am | Comment

@ Wukailong. Many thanks. Time I did some serious research on indie Chinese cinema. Any other suggestions, hit my blog mail add.

All China bloody needs is its own successfully replicated Hollywood.

Nor does it need Taiwanese fluff comedies or South Korean MTV sheened flics.

December 7, 2012 @ 10:11 am | Comment

To KT,
I was trying to describe the typical Hollywood narrative among CCP apologists, as well as my understanding of what makes Hollywood go around. I don’t intend to suggest that the Hollywood model is what China requires, or wants. Though admittedly, I’m not high brow when it comes to flicks, though I can enjoy a good indie artsy thing as much as the next guy. And you’re right, for every high reward blockbuster like, say, MI 4, there will be high risk bombs like Battleship. For a nascent industry, it may well make better financial sense to go the low budget route, just to increase your chances of getting out of the red.

Maybe what China could use is stuff like Sundance. But the assumption of absence of political interference is also rather unrealistic right about now. Artsy stuff that meets CCP approval could be on the verge of nauseating.

+++++++++++++++
In my experience, many people came to Canada for the passport. Once they got it, quite a few went back to HK to work. If you were in certain industries, it was simply more lucrative in HK. For my line of work, staying in Canada was a no brainer. Not to mention that my house and my view would also not be feasible in HK.

December 7, 2012 @ 12:33 pm | Comment

@ Richard # 160. Tongue in cheek. Don’t know why you are complaining about all this traffic and well mannered cross-cultural exchange. It drives your advertising and I’ve now been invited to every possible dating site with the exception of the Ukraine.

Plus stock market brochures about why I shouldn’t invest my hard earned in Chinese shares. Even my cat errs on the side of caution there.

December 7, 2012 @ 2:18 pm | Comment

KT, I’m not complaining at all. I am just amazed at so many people devoting so much energy to an open thread. Keep commenting if you want.

December 8, 2012 @ 2:01 am | Comment

FYI, been doing a bit of thinking (and reading) on Liu Xiaobo. While publishing a Charter 08 and taking NED money were the wrong tactical moves to advance the cause of Chinese reform, his heart is in the right place.

I almost want to give him a clean bill of health, were it not for his pronouncements on how Western rule might be better for China (citing HK as an example). Stuff like that makes me (and other Chinese reformers) question his bona fides.

At least he’s determinedly thoughtful, unlike the attention hog Ai Weiwei is. Ai goes through the motions of looking like a dissident and reformer, but in reality I think he’s just a shell using the act of being a dissident to stay “fresh” in the ruthlessly faddish world of Chinese art. I sometimes wonder how real Chinese dissidents view him–useful lightning rod, or simply China’s equivalent of the shock jock Howard Stern?

December 8, 2012 @ 8:48 am | Comment

http://english.caixin.com/2012-12-07/100470022_all.html

Gripping article on the drama in Chongqing

–SKC, KT, Goldy, Zhu–

Maybe we should set LA Confidential in Chongqing instead? hahaha

December 8, 2012 @ 1:33 pm | Comment

Certainly full of rotten characters. But where’s the good cop? Who would play the naive/idealistic good guy who gets the babe? Perhaps you’ll have to change it to a lawyer and model it after this Li dude.

Kidding aside, it’s pretty disturbing, and pathetic, that all of this was allowed to go down when Bo was in favour, and this litany of wrongs (and probably many others) only begin to have a chance to be righted after a shift in the political winds. That’s not law, or justice. That’s just the 21st century version of the medieval concept of might makes right. It’s yet another encapsulation of all that is wrong with the CCP.

December 8, 2012 @ 2:55 pm | Comment

@“If we made Hollywood quality movies starring all-Chinese casts, Chinese people would flock to watch it–but unfortunately Hollywood won’t because that won’t make it money.”

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero made millions in US box office.

December 8, 2012 @ 4:43 pm | Comment

“I almost want to give him a clean bill of health, were it not for his pronouncements on how Western rule might be better for China (citing HK as an example). Stuff like that makes me (and other Chinese reformers) question his bona fides.”

Really, t_co, you either need to find new talking points or give up on the pretension to be a Chinese reformer. Everything you say about Liu and Ai fits perfectly with the standard apologist screeds against them on various newsites, albeit in a slightly more generous form. You don’t think that’s a bit embarrassing? Here is one, with “JMWong” providing the service.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/nov/27/china-liu-xiaobo-nobel-peace-prize

What evidence is there that Liu wanted any western nation to rule China?

December 8, 2012 @ 5:56 pm | Comment

T_CO. One thing is certain, this flic shouldn’t emulate LA Confidential. I would be looking for a grainier, much more washed out colour palette. And no one would wear a hat, and I would be looking for a Japanese continuity editor.

I would also want everybody to see Youth of the Beast/Seijun Suzuki and Battles without Honour and Humanity/Kinji Fukasadu just to make them forget every Hollywood movie they’ve ever seen. Maybe even throw in Bangkok Dangerous by the Kong Brothers.

Having trouble envisioning a sound track though.

December 8, 2012 @ 6:50 pm | Comment

@Jason. Apologies, but I can’t see any openings in this film for you, since your taste in movies stinks to be perfectly honest.

December 8, 2012 @ 6:54 pm | Comment

@KT

Come again.

December 8, 2012 @ 7:12 pm | Comment

@Handler

In addition to his support of US on Vietnam/Korean/Iraqi War (even calling Senator Kerry, a slander-monger) and NATO on Afghanistan, Liu said that China’s tragedy is that it wasn’t colonised for at least 300 years by a Western power or Japan.

December 8, 2012 @ 7:21 pm | Comment

According to “JMWong”, “jerrycom”, and “leeweeshing” BTL in the article I linked to, everybody knows this but no one can link to it or prove it. The rumor been circulating among apologists for some time now. Yet where is there a reliable citation of the source text? Sautman apparently has provided citations “no longer found”, which includes one on the phrase “to choose westernization is to choose to be human,” yet strangely he doesn’t link to the money quote in his Guardian hit piece. And his articles or (once working, I presume) links appear to be the citation for every other article on the subject.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/15/nobel-winner-liu-xiaobo-chinese-dissident

So we are left with the quote he provides:

“It took Hong Kong 100 years to become what it is. Given the size of China, certainly it would need 300 years of colonisation for it to become like what Hong Kong is today. I even doubt whether 300 years would be enough.”

Which is not an explicit call for Western rule of China, and compared to a lot of what is published in Hong Kong, is light fare.

December 8, 2012 @ 9:58 pm | Comment

“It took Hong Kong 100 years to become what it is. Given the size of China, certainly it would need 300 years of colonisation for it to become like what Hong Kong is today. I even doubt whether 300 years would be enough.”

That’s not a call for colonization?

December 8, 2012 @ 11:11 pm | Comment

Again, the issue is that with comments like that, he will have 1) a tough time arousing much sympathy from a domestic Chinese audience for him and his wife’s ‘plight’ (I put this in quotation marks because much of Liu Xia’s treatment has to do with the fact that she sent threats to the court which passed judgment on her husband) and 2) a tough time getting Chinese intelligentsia and decision-makers to take his views as ones presented in good faith and not as a proxy for foreign interests.

You’re arguing the question of “ought”, Handler. I’m arguing the question of “is”. What “is” can be proven or disproven, but on the question of what “ought”, I will have my beliefs, and you will have yours, and no amount of arguing from either side can really convince the other.

December 8, 2012 @ 11:17 pm | Comment

The key criterion I use to assess whether someone is a “Chinese reformer” is whether they are wholeheartedly trying to find the most best path in the realm of answers of “what is” to fulfill their wishes of “what ought to be” for China.

December 8, 2012 @ 11:20 pm | Comment

“It took Hong Kong 100 years to become what it is. Given the size of China, certainly it would need 300 years of colonisation for it to become like what Hong Kong is today. I even doubt whether 300 years would be enough.”

What part of this ~30 year old statement is an actual serious call for colonisation?

“The key criterion I use to assess whether someone is a “Chinese reformer” is whether they are wholeheartedly trying to find the most best path in the realm of answers of “what is” to fulfill their wishes of “what ought to be” for China.”

I seem to remember a Chinese leader who was full of ideas of what the best path for achieving his wishes of “what ought to be” for China – including the mass production of low-grade steel, brainwashing, the smashing of ancient culture and so-forth. Was he also a ‘reformer’?

“Again, the issue is that with comments like that, he will have 1) a tough time arousing much sympathy from a domestic Chinese audience for him and his wife’s ‘plight’ (I put this in quotation marks because much of Liu Xia’s treatment has to do with the fact that she sent threats to the court which passed judgment on her husband) and 2) a tough time getting Chinese intelligentsia and decision-makers to take his views as ones presented in good faith and not as a proxy for foreign interests.”

According to you people have ‘no sympathy’ for someone they are not even allowed to hear about, a defenceless and totally innocent woman ‘threatened’ a court (how?) and therefore deserves to be kept in permanent house arrest without trial, Liu Xiaobo should be totally ignored because whilst denied employment by the state he took foreign grants (unlike people like Sun Yat-sen), and publishing Charter 08 was a mistake even though all the majority of what it said were things the CCP has at one time or another supported. And you call yourself a reformer?

December 9, 2012 @ 12:36 am | Comment

Thank you, FOARP.

December 9, 2012 @ 1:50 am | Comment

@t_co

“It took Hong Kong 100 years to become what it is. Given the size of China, certainly it would need 300 years of colonisation for it to become like what Hong Kong is today. I even doubt whether 300 years would be enough.”

So the 300 years is not a clue that this is a bit of hyperbole? You actually think he is calling for 300 years of colonization, that that is a serious estimation calculated with care, and thus a serious recommendation?

What he is saying is that China is so backward legally, politically and socially that it can’t even hope to be like Hong Kong even if it underwent the same process of development.

“Again, the issue is that with comments like that, he will have 1) a tough time arousing much sympathy from a domestic Chinese audience for him and his wife’s ‘plight’ (I put this in quotation marks because much of Liu Xia’s treatment has to do with the fact that she sent threats to the court which passed judgment on her husband) and 2) a tough time getting Chinese intelligentsia and decision-makers to take his views as ones presented in good faith and not as a proxy for foreign interests.”

1) I presume you have reliable evidence for indicting Liu Xia all on your own. 2) Then again, I don’t think people who repeat rumors about his purported call for 300 years of colonization without being able to link to independent evidence are intelligent or concerned with good faith.

“You’re arguing the question of “ought”, Handler. I’m arguing the question of “is”. What “is” can be proven or disproven, but on the question of what “ought”, I will have my beliefs, and you will have yours, and no amount of arguing from either side can really convince the other.”

You know, your inanities don’t speak to the sincerity of your position as much as a link to reliably independent evidence would. Your assumption that he actually did call for China to be colonized–which leads to how he is handled by Chinese “intelligentsia”–is no more an argument of “is” than my own. What source text did you see his comments in?

“The key criterion I use to assess whether someone is a “Chinese reformer” is whether they are wholeheartedly trying to find the most best path in the realm of answers of “what is” to fulfill their wishes of “what ought to be” for China.”

That’s funny. The key criterion I use to assess whether someone is a “Chinese reformer” is whether he has a handle-bar mustache. I mean, that’s at least a more discriminating qualification than your own.

December 9, 2012 @ 1:55 am | Comment

@FOARP 194

No, Liu, Xiaobo should not be ignored. He is criminal who took foreign government money and viciously attacked the very Constitution of China. In my opinion his 11 year sentence is too light.

Liu, Xia looks very much the part of a brainwashed “Tibetan native” – with her shaved head and prone to outbursts of throwing tearful temper tantrums in front of the camera. Very unappealing and very un-Chinese.

I totally agree that few Chinese would sympathize with such traitors of the national cause. These are not reformers. They lack the intellectual capabilities or people skills to convince or to make things happen in China. Yet they take foreign government money to subvert China. History spits on such.

December 9, 2012 @ 2:45 am | Comment

@Handler 196

It is well recognized by most Chinese (go look at the 100,000,000 strong Chinese blogosphere, if you can read the language) that Liu was serious when he mentioned colonization – he actually believes that colonization is better for China than the CPC. He follows it up with taking foreign government money to subvert and try to advocate the overthrow of the CPC led SWCC.

In most countries he’d be shot for the crime.

“China is so backward legally, politically and socially”?? HOW backward?? Up from nothing at the turn of WWII, today No. 1 in over half of basic industries, number 2 (and very soon number 1) economy on Earth, 8.4% growth this quarter, and close to 9.5% average in 2009, 2010, and 2011. HOW BACKWARD?

Sometimes one has to wonder whether mad cow has wider effects in the West than previously reported.

December 9, 2012 @ 2:54 am | Comment

“Liu, Xia looks very much the part of a brainwashed “Tibetan native” – with her shaved head and prone to outbursts of throwing tearful temper tantrums in front of the camera. Very unappealing and very un-Chinese.”

“China is so backward legally, politically and socially”?? HOW backward??

It counts you as a supporter.

“It is well recognized by most Chinese (go look at the 100,000,000 strong Chinese blogosphere, if you can read the language) that Liu was serious when he mentioned colonization – he actually believes that colonization is better for China than the CPC. He follows it up with taking foreign government money to subvert and try to advocate the overthrow of the CPC led SWCC.”

Shouldn’t be any difficulty finding a strong citation then. *twiddles thumbs*

December 9, 2012 @ 3:19 am | Comment

That Liu quote about HK is old news. It’s been trotted out by Jason and apologists like him too many times to count.

First off, it’s stupid to judge a guy based on what he said several decades ago, in isolation. I expect that of Jason and Zoo cuz they don’t know any better; I’m surprised that t-co would do this, however.

Second, Liu was comparing HK to what it would take for China to become something resembling HK, in terms of development. He’s not saying that China needs to or ought to become HK. As FOARP says, it’s a metric to show how backward China was at the time. People who see that quote, even in isolation, as a call for China to be colonized want to or need to see that.

As for reformer bona-fides, the Charter lists what Liu thinks “ought” to occur for China. By extension, he is identifying the myriad shortcomings with what “is” China. I’m not sure what else is required, unless someone wants to or needs to see that HK quote through a pre-ordained prism.

And really, if Liu Xia threatened somebody, then for fucks sake charge her with it. House-arrest without charge and without conviction is just bullshit of the highest order…or just any given Sunday under the CCP. What’s not to like about that, eh? Just another sign of corrupt local officials who aren’t under the control of the Politburo…even if they do live in the same frickin city.

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

To Zoo-keeper,
give it a rest. Read the verdict that WKL provided. Total utter complete ignorance of reality cannot be an enduring excuse even for a flaming 5-star idiot like you.

December 9, 2012 @ 3:21 am | Comment

Good luck getting through to zhuzhu on this one. The notion of LXB as a criminal who wants to see China colonized is so ingrained in the fenqing psyche it can probably never be extricated. It has become their truth, despite the utter lack of evidence. They are unable to distinguish between a hypothetical remark and a guiding philosophy.

December 9, 2012 @ 3:29 am | Comment

To the zoo-lander,
” In a well-known statement of 1988,…”
—I know CCP history starts in 1980 for you. But Liu’s quote is from 1988. Quoting 2009 growth stats do nothing to impugn Liu’s opinion FROM 20 FRICKIN YEARS EARLIER. Sometimes, the lack of logic among CCP apologists like you is simply mind-bending. How do you people not fall down more? Do you guys wear helmets?

Not to mention that economic growth rates do not rebut political, social, or legal backwardness. But that logic will no doubt far exceed your pay-grade.

December 9, 2012 @ 3:41 am | Comment

Shouldn’t be any difficulty finding a strong citation then. *twiddles thumbs*

Handler, you’re beginning to sound a bit like Harry E. Barnes on the Holocaust, so here you go.

http://www.open.com.hk/content.php?id=44&authorz=38

問:中國可能在根本上加以改進嗎?

Is it possible for China initiate any deep reforms?

劉曉波:不可能。即使一兩個統治者下決心,也沒有辦法,因為沒有土壤。

It’s not possible. Even if one or two rulers made that decision, it would be impossible, because the “fertile soil” [note: referring to sociopolitical conditions] is not there.

問:那甚麼條件下,中國才有可能實現一個真正的歷史變革呢?

Question: Then under what conditions, could China actually achieve historical reforms?

劉曉波:三百年殖民地。香港一百年殖民地變成今天這樣,中國那麼大,當然需要三百年殖民地,才會變成香港這樣。三百年夠不夠?我還有懷疑。”

Liu: After being colonized for three hundred years. It took Hong Kong 100 years of colonial rule to reach its present-day conditions. With how large China is, China likely requires three hundred years of colonialism to reach that. Actually, is three hundred years even enough? I have my doubts.

問:十足的「賣國主義」啦。

Questioner: So, 100% traitorism. (The literal translation is “sell-out-the-country” -ism)

劉曉波:我要引用馬克思《共產黨宣言》的一句話:「工人沒祖國,決不能剝奪他們所沒有的東西。」我無所謂愛國、叛國,你要說我叛國,我就叛國!就承認自己是挖祖墳的不孝子孫,且以此為榮。

Liu: I wish to draw upon a line from The Communist Manifesto: “Workers have no nation–hence they cannot sell out that which they do not already have.” I do not care if my words are patriotic or traitorous. If you find me to be a traitor, then so be it! I proudly admit I am an unfilial son digging graves for his forbears.

問:你是說,中國還要走香港的路?

Questioner: You are saying, China needs to go the road of Hong Kong?

劉曉波:但歷史不會再給中國人這樣的機會了。殖民地時代已經過去了,沒有人會願意再背中國這個包袱。

Liu: Sadly, history won’t give China that opportunity again. The era of colonialism is over–no one appears willing to shoulder the burden of [uplifting] China anymore.

December 9, 2012 @ 5:16 am | Comment

Yeah, the 300 years quote is just a snippet of what Liu really believes. He honestly believes that China should be “uplifted” by foreign (read: Western) rulers. Even though his ideas are decent and he appears to take himself seriously (unlike Ai) he’s damaged goods from a reform standpoint. Every time his name gets mentioned, statists get more ammunition to tie the partially desirable ideas in his Charter 08 with the utter stupidity of the author.

To really get the traction necessary to implement their ideas for bettering China, any Chinese reformists still associated with LXB would be well-advised to ditch Liu as the poster boy for radical reform and find someone else. A perfect way to do this is a new charter that advocates political reform, penned by someone reliable, without a track record of calling for foreigners to subjugate his motherland.

My friends tell me this is likely to happen in a few months, in the run up to the third Plenary in 2013. Big changes afoot then, and as a Chinese reformist, I couldn’t be more excited.

December 9, 2012 @ 5:26 am | Comment

@t_co: I share your sentiments completely but not necessarily your optimism. China needs reform for a number of reasons, most pressingly economic and social, and I would love to see it. But are these forces strong enough against the vested interests?

Btw, do you have any opinion about the book “攻坚:十七大后中国政治体制改革研究报告”? It lays out fairly concretely what reforms would be needed at this stage.

December 9, 2012 @ 5:41 am | Comment

@WKL

Aye, and there’s the rub–people like LXB weaken Chinese reform in the face of vested interests by giving them easy outs to argue against it. And often, the vested interests themselves are to blame for this sorry dynamic. Case in point, Chen Guangcheng. When CGC argued for the rights of Shandong farmers and against the one-child policy–that was a great moment for China, but then he got locked up, roughed up, and decided to flip a shit and head for the embassy. Now, China loses yet another intellectual and the vested interests get stronger.

Haven’t read 攻坚 yet, but heard really good things about it. Do you have a summary of its main points?

December 9, 2012 @ 6:01 am | Comment

I have read the interview with Liu Xiaobo’s”traitorous remarks” about colonisation, also had some discussion with friends from mainland, unfortunately I was back to Europe by then and couldnt see the moods and reactions from inside of China with my own eyes. What I was told however is that as long as ideals of those like Liuxiao bo is appealing to the western world, the feelings of the chinese(who have different opinions) can be easily dismissed by people and medias of the free world as “brainwashed” or “slave mentality”. Btw all my friends from the mainland china seems to dislike Liu Xiaobo very much, if this was caused by the partys brainwashing then they seem to be pretty successful “again”.

December 9, 2012 @ 6:11 am | Comment

I believe Nobel prize winners like Dalai Lama or Liu Xiaobo would actually cause more division between China and rest of the world instead of building bridge. What have they done in term of deserving Nobel prize for “the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses” is also mystery to me, but then again even US presidents can be awarded with Nobel peace prize. Btw recently the “other” chinese who has won the Nobel price is being slamed for “supporting” censorship and refusing to sign petition for releasing Liu Xiaobo. Although Mo Yan has criticized censorship in china and “hoped” for the freedom of Liu Xiaobo, what he also made clear is that he believe censorship is necessary and that he is no fan of Liu’s Ideals.

December 9, 2012 @ 6:34 am | Comment

The Chinese government probably should’ve treated LXB the same way as they treated Woeser. Granted, in Liu’s case, he is considered an enemy of the state by many, in which case he is also lucky not getting Anwar al-Awlaki’s treatment, or worse, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki’s treatment.

As bad as Liu’s viewpoints in his Open Magazine interview seem to be today (at least to Chinese), he was from from alone among the Chinese intelligentsia in the 80s. Liu’s deal is that he has never grown since then and clung to his quixotic and increasingly laughable views, and the whole China has moved on. His jail terms certainly didn’t help. Even in a letter in 2000 to his friend, he questioned his own sanity after he was released from yet another jail term.

In the post-global financial meltdown world, not only the vast majority of the Chinese think China is on the right track, methinks but also they agree with the majority of the Westerners that the Western countries are on the wrong track (with the noticeable exception: Germany). In that sense, Liu is important not to China but to the West, hence the NPP.

December 9, 2012 @ 7:26 am | Comment

To T-co #203 and 204,
thanks for 203. I would agree that LXB is damaged goods. But imo, that’s because of the character assassination courtesy of the typical CCP hatchet boys, and not because of his Charter or what he currently stands for philosophically.

Based on 203, it appears that in 1988, he saw no fertile ground for reforms. It appears he felt China COULD be improved with western influence, but I don’t interpret his words as suggesting that SHOULD happen. And he seems realistic about the fact that it WASN’T GOING TO happen. And to me, he seems to be denouncing the legitimacy of China under the CCP. He could no doubt be construed as a “traitor” to the party, but he doesn’t strike me as being traitorous to his country.

All that being said, I’m not hopeful of the “poster-boy” model being successful with meaningful reforms. Any potential poster child will simply be invited for tea, illegally detained, wrongfully imprisoned, or disappeared by the CCP.

December 9, 2012 @ 7:32 am | Comment

LXB is no different from Li, Hongzhi of the Faluns. Both believe in things that any redblooded Chinese ought to hate – Liu the assertion that China needs “300 years of colonization”, Li the assertion that he is the cohort of Jesus and Shikamuni and that he can walk through walls. Both are either delusional or highly deceitful, and both seek foreign money to subvert the capable Chinese government.

Too bad Li was able to run (with American funding, no doubt) before he can be jailed – or he could show us how to walk through walls, right there on real time TV. Maybe today he can give LXB an online course.

Actually, with such high demands in the U.S. (with the world’s largest incarcerated population), Li can do hot jailbreak business online. Liu can do a brisk business selling books on serving Western colonial masters.

December 9, 2012 @ 7:56 am | Comment

To me Liu Xiaobo appear to be someone who hold his dreams above anything else, for him ideal society stands above national identity or any feelings for tradition/culture, no qualm whatsoever. Seems to be one of those idealistic type from older days of revolution.

December 9, 2012 @ 7:58 am | Comment

“Liu the assertion that China needs “300 years of colonization””
—when you’re not tending to your animals, zookeeper, learn to read. He’s not saying that China needs 300 years of colonization; he’s saying that even with 300 years of colonization, China could not have attained the level of HK, circa 1988, or to have the fertile soil for reform. Sometimes you ESL CCP types just lack basic skills of English comprehension.

December 9, 2012 @ 8:17 am | Comment

Question: Then under what conditions, could China actually achieve historical reforms?

Liu: After being colonized for three hundred years. It took Hong Kong 100 years of colonial rule to reach its present-day conditions. With how large China is, China likely requires three hundred years of colonialism to reach that. Actually, is three hundred years even enough? I have my doubts.

Questioner: So, 100% traitorism. (The literal translation is “sell-out-the-country” -ism)

Liu: I wish to draw upon a line from The Communist Manifesto: “Workers have no nation–hence they cannot sell out that which they do not already have.” I do not care if my words are patriotic or traitorous. If you find me to be a traitor, then so be it! I proudly admit I am an unfilial son digging graves for his forbears.

Those questions and answer made it pretty clear to me what kind of person Liu Xiaobo is, assuming the english translation didnt twist the meaning.

December 9, 2012 @ 8:27 am | Comment

@SKC 212

“Sometimes you ESL CCP types just lack basic skills of English comprehension.”

Uh huh. My Chinese comprehension, however, is rather better than any banana.

問:那甚麼條件下,中國才有可能實現一個真正的歷史變革呢?

劉曉波:三百年殖民地。香港一百年殖民地變成今天這樣,中國那麼大,當然需要三百年殖民地,才會變成香港這樣。三百年夠不夠?我還有懷疑。”

He was expressly asked how China can actuate a re historical change. He did not hesitate, he did not equivacate, LXB came out and answered (literal translation): “Three hundred year colony.” There is absolutely nothing ambiguous what this “Nobel Prize winner” was trying to say, and there is absolutely no question at all that the West gave the prize to LXB to subvert China.

December 9, 2012 @ 9:17 am | Comment

The Nobel Peace Prize is given for making things more peaceful for the WEST. It REQUIRES making trouble for the rest of the world, so that the West would be needed, and the dependence continues.

December 9, 2012 @ 9:20 am | Comment

Indeed, the translation seems reasonable (thanks to T-co for providing something in traditional that I can read).

I guess it’s like beauty: the interpretation is in the eyes of the beholder.

December 9, 2012 @ 9:41 am | Comment

To the zoo-keeper,
even in traditional Chinese, you can’t read the entire transcript without taking things out of context. What did they teach you in HK? Did you learn nothing apart from CCP butt kissing? ESL types like you can be excused for crappy English. And the crappy logic is to be expected from CCP apologists. But drivel even in Chinese? Incredible.

For historic reforms of China under the CCP as she was in 1988, it would take 300 years of being a colony, if not more. But colonialism is from a bygone era, and would never happen.

So really, from where he stood in 1988, he is saying there was no feasible route to historic meaningful political reform.

There is nothing subversive towards CHina in hoping for political reform from the CCP status quo. THe CCP is not China. It really is high time for you CCP apologists to get that through your incredibly thick skulls.

December 9, 2012 @ 9:56 am | Comment

@character assassination courtesy of the typical CCP hatchet boys

Pointing out hypocrisy of what he really believes in ain’t no character assassination.

His support of US imperialism of spreading democracy in Korean War (Prior to the Korean War, US-supported Rhee’s adminstration terrorized dissent), Vietnam War, Iraqi War, NATO in Afghanistan, and Israel on it’s brutal occupation of Palestinan washes away his “intent” of freedom of speech, freedom of expression, free to protest, media freedom. The amount of manipulation of the media and stifling of dissent during the wars he is supporting makes his “freedom in China” (although good intentions) shenanigans a hypocritical stance.

He only believes those things only when US/NATO war agenda suits him.

December 9, 2012 @ 10:08 am | Comment

“Pointing out hypocrisy of what he really believes in ain’t no character assassination. ”
—actually, it is, when you ‘good folks’ choose to focus on what the guy said in 19-freakin-88 rather than parse the substance of what he said in 2008. When you can’t beat the message, beat on the messenger. Standard operating procedure for neanderthals, I realize, so it’s nothing more or less than what I’ve come to expect from you people.

December 9, 2012 @ 11:15 am | Comment

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/evanosnos/2012/12/the-novel-prize-winner-mo-yan-and-the-hazards-of-hollow-words-in-china.html

“Patsy”? Ouch. I guess not all Nobel laureates are created equal.

December 9, 2012 @ 12:40 pm | Comment

@SKC

The same pattern from 2001 and 2004 of his stance of US Democracy-spreading to governments that US doesn’t like, while ignoring dissent and victims of US aggression, fits the same connotation of what he wrote in 1988. He bills himself as some kind of freedom fighter yet his stance fits the typical Reagan/Bush/Obama rhetoric of the War Party.

December 9, 2012 @ 1:05 pm | Comment

Pointing out hypocrisy of what he really believes in ain’t no character assassination.
His support of US imperialism of spreading democracy in Korean War (Prior to the Korean War, US-supported Rhee’s adminstration terrorized dissent), Vietnam War, Iraqi War, NATO in Afghanistan, and Israel on it’s brutal occupation of Palestinan washes away his “intent” of freedom of speech, freedom of expression, free to protest, media freedom. The amount of manipulation of the media and stifling of dissent during the wars he is supporting makes his “freedom in China” (although good intentions) shenanigans a hypocritical stance.
He only believes those things only when US/NATO war agenda suits him.

At the end of the day though, I think we can pretty much agree that LXB is an educated and principled man–but one who has unfortunately been alienated pretty hard over the past twenty-five years, and decided to “摊牌” (show his hole cards) in 2008. The real challenge is how to use the ideas of constitutional reform as a means to improve governmental efficiency while avoiding the quite frankly Quisling-esque taint LXB gave them.

December 9, 2012 @ 1:21 pm | Comment

To Jason,
pray tell, if your point is that from 2001 to 2004 he was on a supposed war-mongering kick, in what way does that relate to, promulgate, or extend his supposed traitorous views of 1988?

You are basically moving from one criticism of him (OMG he’s a traitor) to another (sweet beejeezus murphy he likes war). But what you still haven’t done is said one intelligent thing about where his Charter 08 is flawed. And sadly, you’re not alone. Way too many CCP apostles like you. So y’all are still beating on the messenger, while being a deaf mute on the message. Luckily, we’re on the internet, so unless you’re blind too, you really should go and familiarize yourself with the thing. If you said even one intelligent thing about that, it would be a pleasant diversion from the character assassination bit that typifies you folk.

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

To T-co,
indeed, that is the challenge. Far too many people are overly concerned with who’s ideas they were, and not adequately concerned with the ideas themselves. Of course, pushing the focus on the former at the expense of the latter is the handiwork of my favourite group of people.

December 9, 2012 @ 1:54 pm | Comment

@SKC

Heh. There are engines for reform within the party, just as there are engines of conservatism…

December 9, 2012 @ 2:15 pm | Comment

@t_co

“Handler, you’re beginning to sound a bit like Harry E. Barnes on the Holocaust, so here you go.”

Right, because our positions are truly comparable. Chinese apologists regularly avoid citing any evidence on this issue, and (probably because) when they do it becomes clear they are basing their arguments off of a single source (that’s the same one cited by Sautman) which provides an exceedingly small snippet of dialogue from a two hour discussion (約談了兩個鐘頭) held twenty years earlier. They are using this to assail a person’s character and justify throwing him in jail for 11 years. So by asking them what source text they’ve seen to justify this act, I’m pretty much, you know, holocaust denying. Seriously, how do you allow yourself to pretensions to any moral gravity?

Here is why I think they refuse to cite the text: the evaluation of the interviewer, which is rather important when we are given such limited context, is clear.

由此可見,劉曉波的意思是要在中國實行英國在香港推行的資本主義政策,起碼需要三百年,才會變得和香港一樣好。他並不是要中國再去當誰的殖民地

“From this we can see Liu’s meaning: if you want China to implement the same capitalist policies which Britain carried out in Hong Kong, it would take at least three hundred years before China could finally become as good as Hong Kong. He certainly doesn’t want China to again become anyone’s colony.”

While he also goes on to say Liu used the phrase on a number of occasions, including the statement that it played a role in his persecution, the author also notes that Mao said something much worse (he advocated fracturing China). I would also add that Dr. Sun stated full colonization for China would have been better than half-colonization, and did so for the same reason: no one would pick up the responsibility of transforming China’s backwardness.

I’d like to see the whole dialogue in print. The author says recordings were made. Where are they?

December 9, 2012 @ 2:21 pm | Comment

“The real challenge is how to use the ideas of constitutional reform as a means to improve governmental efficiency while avoiding the quite frankly Quisling-esque taint LXB gave them.”

You seem quite into this arbitrary Nazi comparison (collaborator) business today. Why don’t you tell us why you think LXB is a principled man to make up for that.

December 9, 2012 @ 2:29 pm | Comment

Good thing the capable and dedicated leaders of the CPC are disciplined enough to ignore all this noise, and instead concentrate on Job One – bettering the lives of the 1.34 Billion Chinese people. The results are truly gratifying, especially since ALL of the detractors are crawling along at 1.5% growth if they are lucky, and ALL have to beg Beijing for money.

“We have no need for your so called ‘Universal Values’ today, y’see. If you wanna do business, you are most welcome. If you are here to proseletyze, please get the feck out of the way, as there is a long line behind ya.”

December 9, 2012 @ 3:25 pm | Comment

@pray tell, if your point is that from 2001 to 2004 he was on a supposed war-mongering kick, in what way does that relate to, promulgate, or extend his supposed traitorous views of 1988?

What he said in 1988 IS war-mongering! The same as 2001 and 2004.

@But what you still haven’t done is said one intelligent thing about where his Charter 08 is flawed.

His “commendable intent” of freedom of speech, freedom of expression, free to protest, media freedom in China (sounds too good to be true as was with the Communist utopia of redistribution of wealth) doesn’t reflect his stance on the War Party of the US and NATO as they stifled dissent and created media disinformation, manipulation, and cover-ups.

His low tax plan, his deletion of socialist system, and his trust in bankers and captains of industry to raise standards of living and expanding the country’s productive base are problematic. It sounds a lot like the Republican plan here in the US.

December 9, 2012 @ 3:28 pm | Comment

I think we can safely dismiss this pointless smearing of LXB for unserious statements made 25 years ago with no connection to what LXB became famous for (Charter 08) and just move on, no?

And no, “attacking the constitution” is not a crime – the CCP itself has had three of the things, all of them either modelled on or directly copied from the USSR constitution. Nor is accepting foreign grants a crime in China. Espionage is a crime in China, but no evidence has ever been produced showing LXB to have been a spy or foreign agent, and this was not the crime he was sentenced under – that was the crime of ‘inciting subversion’ by publishing articles.

As an example of just how disingenuous the rhetoric of “we would listen to him but he’s too closely linked to foreigners” about LXB is, consider the case of Guo Quan, who actively eschewed foreign links, and made his appeal for a nationalised military and democratic government directly to Hu Jintao. His reward? Ten years for ‘subversion of state power’.

Consider also the case of Chen Pingfu, whose crimes his prosecutors described thus:

“Between July 2007 and March 2012, the defendant Chen Pingfu registered blogs or microblogs under the name “Chen Pingfu” on NetEase, Baidu, Sohu, Mtime.com, Sina, Tianya, and other websites where he published or reposted 34 articles including . . . [a long list of article titles] . . .

In these articles he expressed such inflammatory views as that Marxism, Leninism, Mao Zedong Thoughts, Deng Xiaoping Theory, Three Represents, and Scientific Development have no benefit for the society and the people; that the Communist Party rule knows only to push ordinary people around and not let them make a living; that the current system is not democratic enough, and that democracy and constitutionalism should be implemented.”

Again, Chen Pingfu had no foreign links that anyone ever demonstrated, his only crime was publishing articles saying what the vast majority of Chinese people think already.

We don’t hear anything about Guo Quan or Chen Pingfu from fenqings because their avoidance of any foreign links has also denied them support from foreign groups which would make their names more widely known. However, they suffered exactly the same punishment that LXB did. I therefore find it impossible to take this talk of how LXB brought his imprisonment on himself through foreign links seriously.

December 9, 2012 @ 5:11 pm | Comment

For another look at the pressures brought to bear on genuine reformists (i.e., not Xin Jinping fanbois using a meaningless definition of reform to pose as ‘reformist’) by the PRC authorities regardless of whether those concerned receive foreign assistance or not, see this article:

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-china-students-20121209,0,5674181.story?page=1

December 9, 2012 @ 5:21 pm | Comment

To 227:
good grief, dude, do they pay you 75 cents per or something. Cuz you sound like a broken record even more than the average CCP apologist, and that is truly a hard thing to do.

It’s sure nice of those CCP folks to ignore Chinese people too. And job one is looking after number one, which they are admittedly very good at. Just ask comrade Wen.

To 228:
“What he said in 1988 IS war-mongering!”
—OMG. You CCP apologist types really will say just about anything. Does gravity exist in your universe? Cuz logic certainly doesn’t seem to. Or self-respect.

“…doesn’t reflect his stance on the War Party of the US and NATO as they stifled dissent and created media disinformation, manipulation, and cover-ups.”
—first off, whatever his stance is, I’m sure you’ve grossly mischaracterized it. Second, what does it have to do with his vision of China? And third, you’ve just described the CCP; his Charter was about how to change China, not just more of the same of the usual CCP baloney. I think you’ll have to go and read that puppy again.

December 9, 2012 @ 5:49 pm | Comment

@It’s sure nice of those CCP folks to ignore Chinese people too. And job one is looking after number one, which they are admittedly very good at. Just ask comrade Wen.

Chinese people doesn’t need repetitive political slogans, jargons, where everything is black and white, and instant overnight political change which the charter is filled with. This is a more complicated situation that needs to be fleshed out and smooth transition of change.

@OMG. You CCP apologist types really will say just about anything. Does gravity exist in your universe? Cuz logic certainly doesn’t seem to. Or self-respect.

How about self-determination which Liu Xiaobo doesn’t have. More of these Reagan/Bush/Obama jingoistic individuals while hiding behind the word “freedom.”

@ I’m sure you’ve grossly mischaracterized it.

You wish that I mischaracterized.

@ his Charter was about how to change China, not just more of the same of the usual CCP baloney. I think you’ll have to go and read that puppy again.

Except it’s all jargon and rehash politicial and economical failed policies of the War Party.

December 9, 2012 @ 9:26 pm | Comment

“War party”, right . . . pretty much all of the reforms suggested in Charter 08 are things that the CCP itself has said it is in favour of at one point or another. Former Xinhua/People’s Daily administrators Hu Jiwei, Li Pu, Dai Huang, and He Fang wrote a letter protesting Liu’s incarceration for exactly this reason – figuring, correctly, that they were protected from similar incarceration by their advanced aged and status as old party members.

But let me ask you, why are we even talking about Liu Xiaobo? Why aren’t we talking about Bao Tong – a senior communist but also pro-democrat – who has been under house arrest for many years now for urging reform and helping to draft Charter 08? Why aren’t we talking about He Depu, Jiang Lijun, Zhao Changqing, Ouyang Yi, Sang Jiancheng, Han Lifa, and Dai Xuezhong, all of whom were tried for the same ‘crime’ (‘subversion’) after they wrote a letter calling for free elections to the 16th National CCP Congress? Why aren’t we talking about Wang Xiaoning, who was imprisoned after writing in support of democratic reform?

The reason why we are talking about Liu is because the prominence and assistance Liu’s overseas connections give him keeps him in the public spotlight. The government would have no need to trash Liu’s reputation through the propagation of the set of asinine talking points we see mindlessly reproduced here if they could simply lock him up and make everyone forget about him the way they did to Bao Tong.

December 10, 2012 @ 12:15 am | Comment

We don’t hear anything about Guo Quan or Chen Pingfu from fenqings because their avoidance of any foreign links has also denied them support from foreign groups which would make their names more widely known. However, they suffered exactly the same punishment that LXB did. I therefore find it impossible to take this talk of how LXB brought his imprisonment on himself through foreign links seriously.

I never said that LXB brought imprisonment on himself through foreign links.

What interests me is not the personal plight of said individuals but their ideas. The value of a dissident’s ideas does not magically increase when he (it’s mostly a he, strangely) gets thrown in jail by a government.

That being said, if some of these people are imprisoned for the sole act of having spoken political views unpleasant to those in power, then of course they should be released.

December 10, 2012 @ 1:01 am | Comment

The reason why we are talking about Liu is because the prominence and assistance Liu’s overseas connections give him keeps him in the public spotlight. The government would have no need to trash Liu’s reputation through the propagation of the set of asinine talking points we see mindlessly reproduced here if they could simply lock him up and make everyone forget about him the way they did to Bao Tong.

Actually, Bao is a different matter entirely. I know this because my uncle worked with him in the mid-80s.

Bao was the “参谋” (advisor) for many of Zhao Ziyang’s moves to resist the Party Center between late April and June 4, 1989. He was also the central figure behind Zhao’s effort to make the State organs, as opposed to Party organs, the leading institutions of power–a move which would have massively increased his own stature, as Bao was highly ranked in the State Council and not the Central Committee. In short, Bao was playing a game of thrones just as much as Zhao, and like all games involving shiny chairs, there were both noble ideals and selfish interests to the mix.

Indeed, the Party’s treatment of Bao has been remarkably lenient for someone who, to some extent, was capitalizing on the impending of dozens of hunger strikers and politically defeated. His daughter has been allowed to participate, to some extent, in China’s post 1992 economic boom, sharing in the fruits of her connections as other princelings have, and he continues to write in Beijing. Bao is a symbol of political liberalization, ironically enough, if you consider what Deng did to the last set of political losers involved with mass movements (the Gang of Four).

December 10, 2012 @ 1:18 am | Comment

“Chinese people doesn’t need …”
—again, I just love how CCP apologists speak for Chinese people. I’d rather let Chinese people decide for themselves what they do and don’t need. But CCP apologist apples sure don’t fall far from the CCP tree.

“This is a more complicated situation that needs to be fleshed out and smooth transition of change. ”
—and in the meantime, let’s just throw people with ideas in jail, and put their wives under house arrest without charge. Nice system. Too bad you’re not living under it.

“How about self-determination which Liu Xiaobo doesn’t have.”
—and right now, he doesn’t have it because of the CCP.

“You wish that I mischaracterized.”
—I KNOW you mischaracterized, because you’re a CCP shill, and folks like you will say anything about CCP critics and opponents. Logic doesn’t exist for you people. Never has, and never will.

And again, even when challenged directly, you people can only criticize the messenger, and are speechless on his message itself, other than ad hominems that his message might sound like something the GOP might say…which itself is more a criticism of him than of his message. You people are truly pathetic, and you’re never shy about showing it.

December 10, 2012 @ 1:33 am | Comment

Why aren’t we talking about He Depu, Jiang Lijun, Zhao Changqing, Ouyang Yi, Sang Jiancheng, Han Lifa, and Dai Xuezhong, all of whom were tried for the same ‘crime’ (‘subversion’) after they wrote a letter calling for free elections to the 16th National CCP Congress? Why aren’t we talking about Wang Xiaoning, who was imprisoned after writing in support of democratic reform?

We should talk about the idea–not the man. Given that they already are willing to sacrifice their own interests for their ideas, it is what they would have wanted. Are their ideas what is right and good for China? If not, too bad. If so, how do we implement them?

One thing I find strange is how when Western observers talk about dissent in authoritarian political regimes, they always focus on the man first. That’s unproductive. Consider a high-level dialogue between, let’s say, Hilary Clinton and a member of the Foreign Affairs LSG, is it more productive or beneficial to either nation to spend 30 minutes of valuable airtime talking about the plight of one man, or more productive to talk about policies which shape the lives of millions?

My call to Western scholars and pundits is this: if you want to talk China, impress us with your ideas and your results. Show us how economic rebalancing and the speedy South Korean recovery after 1997 was directly attributable to a democratic transition, or how Japanese bureaucratic calcification has consigned them forever to weakness. Show us how higher levels of social trust and democracy in the US allow for increased social welfare through more efficient capital markets. Show us how Germany’s impeccable postwar liberal heritage lets it bully the smaller members of the EU without international backlash.

December 10, 2012 @ 1:39 am | Comment

To T-co and FOARP:
very good points. Those who remain obscure and relatively anonymous are ignored in terms of publicity and notoriety, though I’m not sure if they’re less mistreated by the CCP. They may be less publicly mistreated by the CCP, since the CCP may only feel the need to punish them without having to make an example/cautionary tale out of them. But I’m not sure if that makes it better or worse for them personally.

I agree with the distinction between the man and his ideas. It’s the ideas that get the man in trouble. But it’s the man that’s put in jail. And he’s more tangible than his ideas are, literally and figuratively. That’s probably why the focus is on the man. But I agree it does play into the hands of the CCP and its apologists, who would like no better than to smear the man and never talk about his ideas. I mean, just look at the Jason’s and Zookeepers of the world. Even when challenged directly, they stick to the CCP playbook of character assassination. I think T-co is right in that the more productive avenue in the long run is to focus on the ideas themselves. But that does run counter to the notion of correcting the injustice.

December 10, 2012 @ 1:56 am | Comment

The ONLY competent entity that did good deeds for the Chinese people in the past few decades was (and is) the CPC. PERIOD.

Western scholars and pundits are clueless about China in general, and about ideas and results that would be suitable for China. The reality is that Western economists cannot even explain how the Chicoms did it (10% growth of the economy without any major dips for 34 years) even after the fact. They are so “concreto” with respect to economic theory that they can only use terms such as “miracle”, or “fraud”, or “unsustainable”, and keep insisting that the Chinese economy will self destruct.

It is not just a truism that the Chinese people (for the last 5,000 years) could care less who the emperor is – but they DO care about whether their lives are getting better year after year. They can see results, and they ask for more of the good times. That’s why Pew Research consistently show over 85% support for Beijing by the Chinese citizens.

“Reform is needed” is a cliche. China has been, and more importantly, IS going on with reforms at the highest speed of all major economies. New methods and policies are tried, often in small, digestable chunks, results measured, policies adjusted, and what works gets amplified, what does not gets discarded. That applies not only to economics, but also to politics. 9 members too unwieldy for the Central Committee? Cut it to 7. Economic zones work? Make 5 more. Macau too handy for corruption? Crack down on it. This agility in reforms is only possible with the one-party meritocracy of Beijing, and not possible with the gridlock inherent in democracies.

Even Harper, a diehard Chicom hater (he even skipped the Beijing Olympics) had to eat crow and come to Beijing to kiss arse. By standing firm on reasonable grounds in international relations, Beijing prevails more often than not. Again, Canada has to return Lai, Xingchang (albeit not before squeezing him dry with legal fees) to face the music, and Canada agrees to the Nexen deal this week. Success breeds success.

8.4% economic growth (which is China TODAY) is more successful than any other major economies in the world. The question is not what China can learn from the West – China continues to learn from everyone, and adopt what works but screens out the crap (such as democracy gridlock). That is why the CPC delivers results consistently without big ups and downs that the Western world expects as a fact of economic life. The analogy is that the West mistakes irresponsibility for freedom in matters such as sex, and as a result, the West gets used to SDI (in the U.S. the CDC reports 90% prevalence of incurable SDI amongst all Americans – the herpes simplex virus). Another analogy is how political bribes are “dealt with” simply by legitimization – it is now called “campaign contributions” and even delimited in amounts (Citizens United, multi–billion dollar PACs). Voila, no more political bribes (REALLY??!!). China chooses a different route – instead of sweeping the real problems under the carpet or legalizing them (like America will legalize marijuana), Beijing confronts the problems head on, through continuous reforms.

Reforms simply cannot be as fast or as effective except under single-party meritocracy. It is empirically proven.

December 10, 2012 @ 2:15 am | Comment

Wow, talk about a broken record. Even quotes the infamous Pew Survey. Here’s a real analysis of just how satisfied Chinese people are: http://jrnetsolserver.shorensteincente.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/9775.full_.pdf (PDF). Do you have the courage to take a look? It’s not bad, but it’s nowhere near the Pew survey and it is far better researched. Sorry if the spacing is off.

Despite an unprecedented rate of economic growth, China’s life
satisfaction over the last two decades has largely followed the trajectory seen in the central and eastern European transition countries—a decline followed by a recovery, with no change or a declining trend over the period as a whole. There is no evidence of a marked increase in life satisfaction in China of the magnitude that might have been expected based on the fourfold increase in the level of per capita consumption during that period. In its transition, China has shifted from one of the most egalitarian countries in terms of distribution of life satisfaction to one of the least egalitarian. Life satisfaction has declined markedly in the lowest-income and least-educated segments of the population, while rising somewhat in the upper SES stratum.

Anyway, it won’t matter. Zhuzhu is just going to spew the same old stuff.

December 10, 2012 @ 2:28 am | Comment

The ONLY competent entity that did good deeds for the Chinese people in the past few decades was (and is) the CPC. PERIOD.

That’s partially because the only entity that could do any deeds for the Chinese people in the past few decades was the Party.

Is a political monoculture good or desirable? That’s an open question, and unfortunately, one which does not readily lend itself to using past history as an analytical guide. The combination of favorable demographics and international conditions for Chinese economic development from 1978 to 2008 is unlikely to be repeated in the near future. While the CPC no doubt deserves credit for maximizing the boom and keeping the country from going off the rails, can its institutional levers function as well when faced with a combination of stressors (unfavorable demographics, a debt overhang, international pressure, and massive environmental problems) that, even alone, have knocked countries unconscious (e.g. Japan, the US in the 1930s), turned them into monsters (Weimar Germany), or broken them apart (e.g the USSR)?

The first point is not that a “one-party meritocracy” handles the petty annoyances of “governing in good times” (which most of Zhu’s points touch on) better than peer governments around the world. The point is that China requires this current system to handle really fucked-up situations that no one can foresee.

The CPC’s past record in this regard, the Great Leap Forward, does not bring one hope. Mao responded by going into full ostrich mode and taking revenge on everyone (Liu Shaoqi, Peng Dehuai) who disagreed with his ideas. The CPC must do better, but can it? And what ideas will let it do so? And if not, is there a better system out there that can handle the stress?

The second point is that China can’t necessarily copy other countries to find its system either, because we’ve seen huge numbers of countries with systems ranging through liberal democracy, technocratic autocracy, and theocracy, pure, unadulterated despotism stumble when faced with the stresses that China will face over the next two decades. More than anything, China needs now an open and honest, but civil, dialogue across the breadth and depth of society on this subject.

In this regard, the best reason for calling for the release of those dissidents is to encourage other Chinese who have ideas to speak their mind as well.

December 10, 2012 @ 3:09 am | Comment

Obviously, the zoo-meister is a broken record. Lucky for us (or not), he’s a long winded one.

As T-co says, the CCP is the only game in town. So it’s illogical and disingenuous to suggest that they can be the only entity that is good for CHinese people, since no other one has been allowed or tolerated. And of course, that record is checkered if you look at its entirety, and not just the last 30 years like the zookeeper likes to do. With communism, the CCP sucked. With capitalism, economically at least, the CCP has done better. So clearly, the CCP is not the key ingredient here.

It’s hilarious that people like zoo-lander want to trot out methodological garbage like PEW because top-line results show the CCP in a good light, but are reluctant to put that sentiment to any real and meaningful test. Like I’ve said many times before, you can taste the fear and lack of conviction. But for a CCP butt-kisser, those traits, along with the requisite crappy logic, are ever dependable staples.

December 10, 2012 @ 3:24 am | Comment

To me China is a country focused on “progressing” at any cost, which means the wellbeing of the people being often ignored to ensure speedy developments for industry and economy, with the negative impacts on society and environment taken as sacrifices, kinda like certain periods of western industrial revolution society, at certain stages social development and political liberalisation should come naturally (often connected with turbulences).

Unlike south Korea or Taiwan who have walked on similiar paths before becoming more liberal China was handicapped with many decades of isolation and its giantic size, and now with western society in relative decline in the eyes of many chinese such a path may have become less attractive. However I have heard many times that CCP leadership favoured the so called Singapore model.

December 10, 2012 @ 3:36 am | Comment

What types of reforms can make the people’s lives better? What can be done economically or even PROFITABLY and improve Chinese society?

1. Criminalize foreign attempts at subversion. Make it a serious crime for foreigners to fund efforts at subversion, with treble damages (3 times the sum paid) and mandatory jail sentences for the personnel of the foreign perpetrators (CEO, CFO who authorized payment, and the actual perpetrator individuals).

2. Remove all statutes of limitation on corruption crimes. Chase the Tan Guan around the world for life much as the Israelis chase Nazis. Impose treble damages on the nominal sums of the corruption on BOTH SIDES of corruption, including foreign players. Again, mandatory jail sentences for all, INCLUDING for the personnel of the foreign perpetrators (CEO, CFO who authorized payment, and the actual perpetrator individuals). Make the law “follow the money” – i.e., all proceeds and benefits considered “fruits of the poisonous tree”, subject to forfeit and treble damages – and this applies to all forms of payments and benefits paid to the family and front-persons. They can run, but they cannot hide. China’s can take the lead in combating corruption around the world.

3. Institutionalize a whistle blowing industry, by empowering a new power faction – the Chinese lawyers. IF they make too much money, cap it later. But since whistle-blowing is typically rewarded with only a fraction of the recovery (5, 10, 15%, etc.), the people recovers much more anyway.

4. Use technology. Use data-mining to investigate corruption. This will generate hundreds of thousands of database jobs and generate expertise.

5. Mandate presumption of whole body organ donation at death. This will immediately solve all organ transplant shortages, and help develop inbound medical tourism.

What else is without cost (actually a profit center) and can improve the people’s lives?

December 10, 2012 @ 5:23 am | Comment

The ONLY competent entity that did good deeds for the Chinese people in the past few decades was (and is) the CPC. PERIOD.

I repeat that because it is true. No other system worked as well, for an economy of a size and at the stage of development of China. The eastern European economies are shrimps compared to China. The most comparable is India, the largest democratic system in human history. By 1978, India had an economy slightly larger than that of China, and a population about the same size. 34 years later, China’s is 3 or 4 times bigger. Democracy, with its inherent gridlock, inefficiencies (leaders have to spend more than half of their living moments begging or extorting money to run the next liars’ contest), and corruption, simply does not perform as well. Faced with problems, democracies talk and talk and talk.

China does.

December 10, 2012 @ 5:31 am | Comment

“The ONLY competent entity that did good deeds for the Chinese people in the past few decades was (and is) the CPC. PERIOD.”

Not really. To the Chinese people who, like yourself, emigrated, the governments of the countries that they, like you, willingly chose to live under have done them better (otherwise they, like you, wouldn’t have emigrated).
I believe the Chinese of the Republic of China did really well after democracy came about. Mind you, they didn’t do too bad under the KMT either. Singapore is run as a personal fiefdom of the Lee family – not CCP either and again, not doing too bad.

December 10, 2012 @ 5:42 am | Comment

Despite all the badmouthing, NONE of you can come up with any substantial evidence that multi-party democracy is “better” in any measurable way, if growth and peace are goals.

In the last 3 decades, ALL of the wars and military killings in the world were perpetrated by democracies. China’s military does not war, does not go around the world to rape under SOFAs, and does not do drone murders (yet). China shares the prosperity by exporting well priced Made in China to boost the living standards of billions of people around the world (this is famed to be the most effective, if not the only effective, poverty alleviation effort in the world in the past qurater century), and by importing more and more from everybody.

So why this blind aggressive hatred pushed against the best government that happened to the Chinese people (if not the whole world) in the last 1,000 years?

December 10, 2012 @ 5:43 am | Comment

“(yet).”

Nuf sed.

December 10, 2012 @ 6:13 am | Comment

If it’s so good, why did you leave, really?

December 10, 2012 @ 6:13 am | Comment

If it’s so good, why did you leave, really?

How do you even know he’s Chinese?

December 10, 2012 @ 6:59 am | Comment

To Riverer,
“To me China is a country focused on “progressing” at any cost,which means the wellbeing of the people being often ignored to ensure speedy developments for industry and economy…”
—but wait a sec. Shouldn’t you let the people of that country decide if ‘progress at any cost’ is still the preferred route? Why would you prescribe that from afar? Granted, you’ve acknowledged the “to me” part. Aren’t you curious what it would be “to other Chinese people”?
And why does political well-being, freedom of speech, information access, and rule of law have to be sacrificed at the altar of this “progress”?

To me, those sacrifices are for the sole purpose of keeping the CCP in power, and contribute nothing to the economic progress that Chinese people presumably seek.

To 244:
economically, sure, you can do all those things. And guess what? You don’t need the CCP for any of them.

And China needs to combat corruption in her own country (and within the CCP). Now, would you want the CCP to police herself? Gee, I don’t know…would you want the fox to guard the hen house?

And that’s my point all along. China can continue doing what she does, and even embark on some of those improvements you listed, without all those nasty CCP accoutrements.

To 245:
“I repeat that because it” must pay well. Differentiating correlation from causation probably doesn’t.

December 10, 2012 @ 7:08 am | Comment

To T-co,
all we know is that he posts from California, claims to have been in HK circa 1997, and seems to be able to read some traditional Chinese (though not all that well).

Anyway, I know it’s old news, but as you say, enough with the character assassination game that CCP apologists like to play (since they can’t seem to do anything else). Let’s talk about the ideas of the man instead:

“1. A New Constitution. We should recast our present constitution, rescinding its provisions that contradict the principle that sovereignty resides with the people and turning it into a document that genuinely guarantees human rights, authorizes the exercise of public power, and serves as the legal underpinning of China’s democratization. The constitution must be the highest law in the land, beyond violation by any individual, group, or political party.”

So Jason’s and zookeepers, here is your chance to shine…or to at least show us that the space between your ears does in fact contain particulate matter, however underdeveloped it may be. Tell us what’s wrong with #1. There are 19 of them, and tis the season so we’ll do this like an advent calendar, if Richard will allow it.

December 10, 2012 @ 7:18 am | Comment

@ riverer 243

That all sounds great on paper until you’re the one whose family has been evicted and cousin beaten into a coma for trying to stop them because they weren’t giving jack all for compensation.

Or your dad gets some job related cancer from his lifetime of work at the chemical factory and they have to spend their life savings and sell their house to pay for the treatment.

Or your cousin, after a long deliberating process, makes it into a government job, only to become corrupt, arrogant and take on three mistresses. This destroys their marriage and their child now lives between her grandparents and whatever sleazy guy’s place that she’s now fucking from school.

Or your uncle dies after getting electrocuted in the boat manufacturing company he worked in, and partly owned. The company (other owners have govt. connections) blamed him, even though there are 3 different stories and none of them match the evidence. His family got next to no compensation.

Or your sister marries a rich business man 20 years her senior (his second marriage), only to find out after 2 years he has 3 mistresses and now they barely talk, have no kids (he didn’t want any as he has 2 kids from his first marriage), sleep in different beds and she is desperately lonely and depressed. But she has money.

Or your aunt and her entire family are killed after a landslide caused by mining and deforestation of the mountains behind their village.

Or your husband gets hit by a car while riding his electric scooter. The driver drove off and all witnesses said nothing because it had government plates. He is now brain damaged.

All these things have happened to my colleagues in China over 5 years. If this is an achievement then I would hate to see the failure.

This isn’t development. These are people. Why are Chinese people worth less than other country’s people? People that say “these are the sacrifices of blah blah blah..?” are essentially saying, Chinese lives are worth less than other country’s.

Yes, many countries made mistakes in their past development but that is no reason to follow in their mistakes. If anything, it’s every reason not to. Japan didn’t. South Korea didn’t. Singapore didn’t. There is no excuse to sacrifice human rights and lives in the ruse of development. If your economic model and government is so great, then these things should not still be happening.

And why are people always putting America up as a straw man? Damn, give that fella a rest.

Look at South Korea. Eastern. Democratic. Successful.
Look at Australia. Asian/Australasian. Democratic. Successful.
Look at Germany. European. Democratic. Successful.
Look at Chile. Latin American. Democratic. Successful.
Austria. Norway. Iceland. Switzerland. Denmark. Canada. France. New Zealand.

Most of these country’s have functioned successfully with democracy for over 100 years now.

Each country is it’s own entity and each should be judged on it’s own merit. Democracy has more than one form and it’s fairly successful in many cases. Show me a similar track record for communism and I’ll give it the time of day.

This mythical country called “the west” is one of the worst generalizations I’ve ever heard. From my experience, it’s a convenient political creation so some country’s can conveniently discount all achievements of democracy and still manage to pass it all off as ‘America’. Lame. That term is for people that don’t want to think too hard. I keep hearing, south park’s Matt Damon voice when I read “the west”.

Finally, what cracks me up, is the CCP is constantly bringing up how “the west” (in Matt Damon voice) raped China in the past and that’s why it’s in it’s current state today e.g. opium wars (cue violin). I don’t know if anyone noticed but America dropped a NUCLEAR BOMB on Japan. Oh, sorry. Dropped 2 NUCLEAR BOMBS on Japan. Plus hundreds of thousands of carpet bombs. Japanese seem to have gotten over it and developed quite well. Germany too I might well add. They don’t cling to this victim complex like dag of poo on your ass hairs. Seriously. It was history. Grow up and move on. It just shows weakness.

A country will never be strong if it keeps blaming it’s woes on what happened sixty years ago. China has had devastating wars all through it’s history. It recovered and moved on.

December 10, 2012 @ 7:39 am | Comment

To S. K. Cheung
Like I have said repeatedly before I have done my part of what it would be “to other Chinese people”, with first hand experiences no less (since I am already familiar with media materials). Though obiviously the results of my findings is quite different from what I have expected; A few smiled and said nothing, others complain a lot but in the end still acknowledge that CCP rule is better choice for the whole nation than any other options available(including revolution), and of course those who believe CCP is the best thing ever (yep those people do exist). Given the fact that I was only able to communicate using english (and my english is far less than perfect) I did get the impression that most chinese I met are not ready to go against CCP (to say the least). It was unfortunate that I wasnt able to visit HongKong since people there would probably have a very different opinions compared with the mainland.

December 10, 2012 @ 8:02 am | Comment

To curl of the burl
I believe I know how successful Germany is better than most here, and its not necessary to tell me those “truths” about China since I was told almost nothing else about China my entire life so far. I still believe many of those indeed are real even after my time in China, but there is much more about China than what we have been told.

December 10, 2012 @ 8:16 am | Comment

Look at South Korea. Eastern. Democratic. Successful.
Look at Australia. Asian/Australasian. Democratic. Successful.
Look at Germany. European. Democratic. Successful.
Look at Chile. Latin American. Democratic. Successful.
Austria. Norway. Iceland. Switzerland. Denmark. Canada. France. New Zealand.
Most of these country’s have functioned successfully with democracy for over 100 years now.

You might want to do some reading on that claim. South Korea democratized after 1988. Hitler is, most definitely, not 100 years in the past. Chile had its elected president deposed in a CIA coup in 1973, replaced with Pinochet, and didn’t fully return to democracy until after the Cold War. Austria didn’t have democracy until after WW2. France’s current democratic system emerged out of a coup d’etat by ex-General Charles De Gaulle in 1958.

How about nations who adopted democracy while their per capita GDP was under the contemporary global average?

India. Nigeria. Liberia. Algeria. Rwanda. Are these governments successful, as defined by whether their governments created outsized benefits above and beyond any other form of government? Not by a long shot, even if we dropped the standards of “good governance” down to just keeping people from dismembering each other over religious and ethnic differences. I could go on listing countries that end with the word ‘a’ but I would just be repeating myself.

The track record of democracy is just like that of other forms of government: decidedly mixed and wholly dependent on local conditions.

But I do agree–straw men are not useful at all, and it is not useful at all for China to unfairly pillory democracy or unduly praise authoritarianism, or vice versa.

December 10, 2012 @ 8:56 am | Comment

“How do you even know he’s Chinese?”
I don’t, any more than I know you are. But it was his (or her) admission and for that I have to accept it until told otherwise. I know the internet is full of people that are not what they claim to be. I just play along :-)

Regarding Germany, I recall reading some historical stuff – you know, people saying democracy can never work in Germany as they’ve never had it and the Germans need a strong leader, authoritarianism being part of the German psyche, etc, etc. Sort of like this http://colley.co.uk/garethjones/german_articles/under_hitler_2.htm

December 10, 2012 @ 9:08 am | Comment

@—and in the meantime, let’s just throw people with ideas in jail, and put their wives under house arrest without charge. Nice system. Too bad you’re not living under it.

I’ll give you that. The heavy handed approach makes Liu a martyr rather than a neo-con.

December 10, 2012 @ 9:10 am | Comment

“The track record of democracy is just like that of other forms of government: decidedly mixed and wholly dependent on local conditions.”
Is that due to the system or due to the governing person/people? Elections by themselves do not a democracy make – China has elections, after all.
And, of course, you then have to define democracy. I hear “western democracy” bandied about like it’s a monolithic thing. It isn’t – there’s different democratic systems – Britain has a different system to New Zealand which in turn is different to that from the US. You pick the system that works for you.

“You might want to do some reading on that claim. South Korea democratized after 1988. Hitler is, most definitely, not 100 years in the past. Chile had its elected president deposed in a CIA coup in 1973, replaced with Pinochet, and didn’t fully return to democracy until after the Cold War. Austria didn’t have democracy until after WW2. France’s current democratic system emerged out of a coup d’etat by ex-General Charles De Gaulle in 1958.”

Yeah, but they’re still successful. And the success and quality of life has really increased since adoption of various forms of democratic choice. Thing is, as SKC said, they are as successful as they are heteroethnic.

December 10, 2012 @ 9:35 am | Comment

Is that due to the system or due to the governing person/people? Elections by themselves do not a democracy make – China has elections, after all.
And, of course, you then have to define democracy. I hear “western democracy” bandied about like it’s a monolithic thing. It isn’t – there’s different democratic systems – Britain has a different system to New Zealand which in turn is different to that from the US. You pick the system that works for you.

It’s not due to anything. My entire point was that democracy is a fundamentally neutral “thing”, just as much as one-Party rule or theocracy is a fundamentally neutral “thing”.

Of course we can attach so many qualifiers to the way you define democracy that it becomes essentially a perfect form of government. People have been using that to argue ideology since the French Revolution, but Mike, I don’t think that would be a very productive discussion.

December 10, 2012 @ 9:51 am | Comment

Trouble is, you can’t have a perfect form of government, just one that’s better than the others. As you say, people are still debating it, but whichever way people follow it AND if it is implemented as it should be (not usurped or used as “a streetcar that you ride to your destination, then get off”).

Damn, have to leave. Some bloody idiot has turned a truck over on the motorway – obviously the way I go home. Need to pick up daughters so best set off now and try and find a detour. Democracy may be the best form of governance but it still doesn’t protect us citizens from fuckwit drivers….

December 10, 2012 @ 10:07 am | Comment

Apologies for comment above sounding truncated – t’was the truck incident and wifely voice via telephone asking me what we can do. I think you get the gist of what i was saying before my mind was taken elsewhere… ;-)

December 10, 2012 @ 10:08 am | Comment

Yeah, but they’re still successful.

1) define success
2) is it due to democracy?

And the success and quality of life has really increased since adoption of various forms of democratic choice.

First, Korea’s highest economic growth rates came under dictator Park Chung Hee who didn’t even .

Second, that might be the case for the cherry-picked examples you cited, but to claim that their transitions somehow imply China should learn from that is just as fallacious as claiming that Russia, India, and Nigeria’s botched democracies are warnings against a democratic transition.

Thing is, as SKC said, they are as successful as they are heteroethnic.

And every unsuccessful example comes from a different ethnicity as well.

December 10, 2012 @ 10:36 am | Comment

“1) define success
2) is it due to democracy?
And the success and quality of life has really increased since adoption of various forms of democratic choice.
First, Korea’s highest economic growth rates came under dictator Park Chung Hee who didn’t even .
Second, that might be the case for the cherry-picked examples you cited, but to claim that their transitions somehow imply China should learn from that is just as fallacious as claiming that Russia, India, and Nigeria’s botched democracies are warnings against a democratic transition.
Thing is, as SKC said, they are as successful as they are heteroethnic.
And every unsuccessful example comes from a different ethnicity as well.”

Firstly I don’t think democracy is necessary, especially when developing as uneducated people don’t always make the best voters but I think once a countries GDP and infrastructure gets to a certain point, things like free media, human rights and environmental accountability would be.

I just think not all democracies are the same and one should be able to see the difference.

Also, having high GDP when South Korea was at that stage of development was fairly uniform with every other developing country e.g. Brazil, Russia, Japan, Taiwan.

But making that transition to a developed country is where top governance is necessary. It comes down to economics, not politics. If the party and their SOEs that made squillions off the current economic model can shift off that model to the money into the hands of ordinary people then great.

Singapore did it with a one party state. Good on em. They did what was in the best interests of the people without sacrificing human rights.

Taiwan, Japan and south korea did it with democracy.

I think it comes down to good governance and corruption control.

I think Deng Xiao Ping put it best when he said “It doesn’t matter if it’s a black cat or a white cat, as long as you can eat it.”

Maybe I got that wrong.

December 10, 2012 @ 12:14 pm | Comment

To riverer,
I don’t question your experiences in polling Chinese people you know or have come across. However, that’s anecdotal. I’m referring to something more systematic, or at least scientifically rigorous. Of course, the PEW stuff ain’t it.

December 10, 2012 @ 2:28 pm | Comment

“We should talk about the idea–not the man.”

Good.

“Given that they already are willing to sacrifice their own interests for their ideas, it is what they would have wanted.”

Errr . . . I’m pretty sure that none of those people actually wanted to end up in jail. Unless you’re trying to imply that their crazy or that they purposefully brought it on themselves. But then we’re not talking about the man any more, right?

“One thing I find strange is how when Western observers talk about dissent in authoritarian political regimes, they always focus on the man first.”

Dictatorships are almost always signatories of treaties which commit them to very basic standards of human rights, including freedom of speech, and freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention. No-one will hold the Chinese government to this commitment except the PRC’s co-signatories.

The PRC government did not respond to Charter 08 by criticising its content, largely because Charter 08′s content largely represents things the CCP has said that it is in favour of at one time or another and which anyway would be fairly appealing to most people in the PRC. Instead they went to work on the authors and signatories, threatening them into silence, dirtying their reputations, and imprisoning one of the primary authors on a bullshit charge of ‘subversion’.

Looked at like this, it’s clear why we end up talking about Liu Xiaobo and not Charter 08.

“My call to Western scholars and pundits is this: if you want to talk China, impress us with your ideas and your results.”

Why should ‘western’ scholars do this instead of trying to get better treatment for their counterparts within China who try to do this? The problem is not that the case for democracy has not been made. The problem is what happens to those that make it.

December 10, 2012 @ 2:44 pm | Comment

In fact, the more I look at this, the more it looks like yet another conscience-salving, blame-the-victim bromide for soft CCP apologists of a type very familiar, on a par with classics such as (paraphrasing from the HH canon):

“Dissidents who’ve spent decades in prison or in exile need to be more in touch with the people”

“Dissidents should avoid foreign links and maybe they wouldn’t get arrested – oh wait, they’ll get arrested anyway? Then let’s stop talking about them.”

“Pro-democracy advocates aren’t making their case strongly enough. Oh wait, they’re all in jail you say? Well then let’s just ignore that”

December 10, 2012 @ 5:14 pm | Comment

MOST of you Chicom bashers, I am sorry to say, miss the point. The CCP led SWCC IS (not WAS) the most successful economic system in the world, having achieved what NO OTHER SYSTEM is capable of even theoretically achieving. Pure capitalizm empirically brings huge ups and DOWNS, causing instability and turmoil on the down leg. The Chicoms have worked out a method and a system to smooth out the down so there is literally only growth, and what glorious growth it was!!

At the risk of repeating – NO OTHER SYSTEM was capable of achieving this type of transformation on an extended basis like China’s (and the reforms and successes are still progressing AS WE SPEAK). It makes it RATHER SILLY for China bashers to insist that China must do something else. LIKE WHAT? Throw away success and adopt gridlock and failure?

At the end of WW II, China not only was war ravished, China had a illiteracy rate exceeding 85% when Mao took power, and life expectancy was around 50. Slightly better than America at time of establishment, but not by much.Yet today, after a short few decades, China has a literacy rate of over 97%. Today, China has a life expectancy at birth only a few years behind that of America (despite the fact that the per capita health spending is less than 1/20th that in America). More Americans will probably die of the West Nile virus this year than Chinese of SARS at its peak. Doing more with less is a Chinese specialty.

Through hard work and discipline (which Westerners obviously lack), over the past three decades, China has been able to accumulate over 3 trillion dollars in foreign currency reserves.

For innovation, China has BSB – the system and technology to build the 30 storey hotel in 15 days. By year end BSB will likely start work on the world’s tallest building, to be completed in 90 days. China builds infrastructure with a 30% cost advantage over the West. Its construction machine industry is growing from strength to strength. By 2050, it is likely that Caterpillar and Komatsu will just be memories. And it is poignant to note that infrastructure is meat and potatos (or seafood and rice in Chinese terms) job creators, unlike flighty high tech, sustaining huge number of good, solid paying jobs by Chinese standards (engineering jobs around $1,000 a month).

The Chinese economy has grown 7 times faster than the U.S. economy has over the past decade.

In 2010, China produced more than twice as many automobiles as the United States did.

In 2010, the production of certain commodities:
Steel: China 627 million tons. USA 80 million.
Cotton: China 7.3 million tons. USA 3.4 million.

15 years ago, China was 14th in the world in published scientific research articles. Today China is expected to pass the United States and become number one very shortly. China now awards more doctoral degrees in engineering each year than the United States does.

China now has several of the fastest supercomputers in the top 20 in the world. Lenovo is months away from being No. 1 in the world in PCs. By 2020, China would likely be producing more computers than the rest of the world combined.

China now has the world’s fastest train and the world’s most extensive high-speed rail network.

China is now the number one producer of wind and solar power on the entire globe.

China controls over 90 percent of the total global supply of rare earth elements.

China is now the number one supplier of a number of components that are critical to the operation of U.S. defense systems.

In China, the average household debt load is 17% of average household income; that compares with 136% in the USA.

China today graduates 6 million college grads a year, with half of them in the sciences and engineering. Doing R&D in China costs only 1/5th of that in the West.

If Chicoms are bad or if SWCC is madness, there is a method to that madness, and it is improving the lives of the Chinese citizens year after year, without major dips.

December 11, 2012 @ 1:06 am | Comment

Dissidents are in jail in some countries. At least they are alive. There are no drones chasing their family car’s tail pipe with missiles.

December 11, 2012 @ 1:09 am | Comment

As for SKC’s broken record assertion that China’s economy would have done “just as well” with or without the Chicoms, the FACTUAL EVIDENCE simply blows that theory out of the water.

Nobody else did it or is doing it. Nobody else knows how to do it. Nobody can muster 8.4% growth in Q4, 2012. Nobody can do 34 years of continuous growth without a major recession. 10% growth for 34 years, without any major recession. The West (including all its Nobel Prize winning economist) could even explain how the Chicoms did it, or is doing it. It is like trying to explain quantum mechanics to kindergarteners – they lack the language and the math to even comprehend, let alone replicate.

So they talk about “human rights” instead.

December 11, 2012 @ 3:05 am | Comment

#268-270, yawn. Is that broken record still playing? Is that guy getting paid by the word?

If things are so great, why not let Chinese people be the judge? Hello, anybody home?

Anyone recall what happened before 1980? Bueller? Bueller?

Hey, zookeeper and Jason, where are the witty barbs about Liu’s suggestion #1 from Charter 08 (see #252). That’s why I always say about CCP apologists that you get more from what they don’t say than from what they do say (especially when faced with zoolander’s repeated verbal diarrhea).

Alright boys and girls, next sweet morsel from that advent calendar.

“2. Separation of powers. We should construct a modern government in which the separation of legislative, judicial, and executive power is guaranteed. We need an Administrative Law that defines the scope of government responsibility and prevents abuse of administrative power. Government should be responsible to taxpayers. Division of power between provincial governments and the central government should adhere to the principle that central powers are only those specifically granted by the constitution and all other powers belong to the local governments.”

Jason and zoo-meister, don’t let that cat get your tongue now, y’hear.

December 11, 2012 @ 4:12 am | Comment

“2. Separation of powers. We should construct a modern government in which the separation of legislative, judicial, and executive power is guaranteed.

First off, not sure why LXB conflates a “modern government” with one where separation of powers is guaranteed. (A parliamentary system like the UK’s does not separate executive and legislative powers in a clean fashion.) Second, why is that the right choice for China? Remember that the last time China tried separating executive and legislative powers, the Yuan Shi-kai ended up making the KMT-controlled parliament useless. Finally, if you make the power structures in the State too convoluted, you increase the need for non-State institutions (political parties) to coordinate political appointments and decisions across the branches, which usually cuts down on government transparency.

Separation of powers is not a bad idea in theory, but it is a bad idea if carried to excess. This idea needs more discussion.

We need an Administrative Law that defines the scope of government responsibility and prevents abuse of administrative power. Government should be responsible to taxpayers.

This idea makes a ton of sense and is an area in which, if executed properly, China can lead the world. The administrative law should be implemented nationwide, but strict fiscal transparency should be introduced more carefully.

I’d recommend the fiscal half be implemented in a rich(er) coastal city (say, Guangzhou, Xiamen, Shanghai, Wenzhou, or Shenzhen) first, and gradually introduced to other cities without debt-repayment problems.

Why the debt issue? One sticking point in this is that past 2015 or so, many Chinese cities will be locked into repaying their debt binge from the past ten years, and hence they will be paying back a lot of tax revenue to the center (the banks in Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen/Hong Kong) rather than spending it on local services (or seizing a bunch of land to sell off in a desperate attempt to stay solvent). Making citizens of those cities too… aware (the right word?) of that debt would encourage labor and capital to move from more indebted cities to less indebted ones, and lock debt-laden cities into a bankruptcy spiral.

Division of power between provincial governments and the central government should adhere to the principle that central powers are only those specifically granted by the constitution and all other powers belong to the local governments.”

This jives with what I’ve said previously–that the CCP needs to be able to tell its citizens that there are things the government can’t do on their behalf. This is a great idea and will neatly absolve the center from blame for any morass that comes out of debt repayment and local governance issues.

December 11, 2012 @ 4:32 am | Comment

“1. A New Constitution. We should recast our present constitution, rescinding its provisions that contradict the principle that sovereignty resides with the people and turning it into a document that genuinely guarantees human rights, authorizes the exercise of public power, and serves as the legal underpinning of China’s democratization. The constitution must be the highest law in the land, beyond violation by any individual, group, or political party.”

China’s current constitution, from a legal standpoint, is fine. What China really needs is to actually follow it–or barring that, change it to reflect political reality. If that means making the constitution explicitly call for one-Party rule and de facto governance by the PSB, then so be it, no need for government-by-fig-leaf. On the other hand, I’d be a lot more impressed here if Liu actually illustrated how to build respect for constitutional law into China’s legislature and judiciary.

Overall, though, this is one of those changes that is unlikely to have any near-term effects, and hence will be low-priority in the upcoming administration. I’d really get a ton more excited if Liu talked about how to do that.

December 11, 2012 @ 4:41 am | Comment

@SKC 272

You might as well be preaching about the Kingdom of Heaven or some such silliness. YOU may be full of faith (or in my view, full of it) and truly believe that democracy is “better”. But that’s neither here nor there.

There is NO EVIDENCE AT ALL that whatever you are writing or wet dreaming about actually works better than SWCC. The FACTS are that the Chicoms led the best performing (growth) major economic system known to Man in the last 3 decades.

December 11, 2012 @ 5:19 am | Comment

jxie, your comment way up there got caught in the spam filter because of all the links. Sorry.

Separation of powers is essential. Maybe not 100 percent separation, but without it there can be no effective rule of law.

December 11, 2012 @ 5:19 am | Comment

Liu Xiaobo’s interview in 1988 was, in my view, a swipe at the way the CCP keeps using the mortifications of the past for justifying the mortification it inflicts on the people itself.

Was it unwise to make that statement? Maybe, but I don’t think it was. When friends of mine wish British or American occupation back on Germany (which happens from time to time), I understand their sarcasm. In fact, I wish the Brits would have been able to keep the political parties out of public broadcasting, for example, before handing much of their power over to those German parties. Would have done our broadcasters a lot of good. But naturally, this has become our business now.

I don’t doubt my friends’ patriotism. And I don’t need to prove mine by doubting theirs.

December 11, 2012 @ 5:46 am | Comment

To 275,
you, definitely, are up to your eyeballs butt-kissing the CCP. But that sentiment is as worthless as yesterday’s newspaper. Not to mention you even lack the strength of conviction to live under the environment you so adore. The only thing you can do is prescribe it for others. So all in all you’re just a waste of time.

I notice you’ve swallowed your tongue on the particulars of what Liu wrote. Typical. Predicting CCP apologist behaviour is like predicting the sunrise.

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

To T-co,
I think the example you cited is one where separation of powers did NOT succeed. If the executive can render the legislature obsolete, then there is no separation to speak of. I don’t think it argues that such a system is not right for China.

It’s true China has a constitution. It’s also not worth the paper it’s written on. And it’s too CCP-centric. Makes sense to me to have a constitution that focuses on people, and not a political pary.

December 11, 2012 @ 6:11 am | Comment

@Richard 276

“Separation of powers is essential.”

WHY? Without inquiry, it is merely faith, faith that cannot withstand the daylight of empirical data. Rule of law can perform well in a one-party meritocracy where the top leaders are well chosen.

Besides, the term “rule of law” assumes that there is a set of laws, and the system stick to those laws. Subsumed within that is the assumption that when society and the world changes, the laws change. It is MUCH MORE EFFICIENT and FLEXIBLE to have the one party to make new laws (much faster reforms, as is experienced in China today) and decide what laws mean (e.g., which cult is to be outlawed) than using the guaranteed gridlock of democracy.

December 11, 2012 @ 6:12 am | Comment

The CPC’s centrality in China’s Constitution accounts for most of the success of SWCC. The system provides reasonable guaranties that the national leaders chosen are qualified, proven on the job to be capable, dedicated, and can work well with contemporaries. The centrality also eliminates wasteful gridlock and liars’ contests.

December 11, 2012 @ 6:27 am | Comment

The CCP-centric constitution works well for the CCP, no question. Is it a prerequisite for China’s success? Nope. You certainly have no proof of it (and don’t be stupid and just use correlation again). And since you make the affirmative assertion that the CCP is essential, the onus of proof is on you. You’re like a newbie student in a first-year logic class…and not a very bright one.

Are you seriously suggesting that “rule of law” is working well in China right now? LOL. Separation of powers helps to ensure that no one arm of government, person, or party, can trample over the law and people’s rights. That is precisely what happens in the CCP aristocracy.

December 11, 2012 @ 6:36 am | Comment

@SKC:

All crows are black. Those in power WILL trample the rights of the plebeians, no matter what form of government there is. America the democracy was the most murderous (wiped out over 95% of the native population) in ethnic cleansing, and enslaved 1/3 of its denizens for many decades.

More modern examples? 9 old geezers deciding to annoint Dubya as supreme commander, who then duly declared the “Unified Executive” doctrine, and celebrated the use of torture (these doctrines are live and well in America today – go watch the new movie on killing Bin Laden (“Zero Dark Thirty”, which celebrates waterboarding and use of boxing (as in putting in a small box) as routine procedures). And since legalizing pol-bribing is not enough, see Citizens United. Looking in from the outside, the clowns are really no less frightening than any that Stephen King can depict. Where and what is this so called superiority of separation of powers?

The only thing that a system can excel in is how to best select capable leaders. The CPC centric system is one of the best in ensuring that.

December 11, 2012 @ 7:00 am | Comment

@Richard (241): Why is the PEW survey “infamous”? The paper you quote doesn’t deny its validity but puts it into perspective in comparison with other similar surveys. Having said that, the Easterlin paper provides much needed discussion on this subject and makes several good points:

“The surveys conducted to date‡ have tended to be disproportionately urban (e.g., the Pew and Asiabarometer surveys). Economic growth was disproportionately urban during this period, with urban incomes rising markedly relative to rural incomes (10– 12). Thus, even though the life satisfaction data have an urban bias during this period, economic growth does as well, and comparing the two factors seems reasonable.”

“It would be a mistake to conclude from the life satisfaction experience of China, and the transition countries more generally, that a return to socialism and the gross inefficiencies of central planning would be beneficial. However, our data suggest an important policy lesson, that jobs and job and income security, together with a social safety net, are of critical importance to life satisfaction.”

Actually, the PEW site contains a lot of information, not just on China, and one thing I noted before when checking it out was that optimism in general tended to be much higher in developing countries. It might just be human nature; things are visibly changing and people in these countries have something to look forward to, whereas the developed countries are facing an economic slump and the future looks very uncertain. Change is more important than current level of well-being, which also reminds me of the results from other investigations that says that below a certain level, material increase actually makes you happier. When you get above that, you need other changes.

I don’t have more time right now so the rest will be short, but I think this constant focus on growth rates is misguided. Different talent is needed for different stages – Mao could create the PRC, but he couldn’t rule the country very well. Deng could create the current system and transform the current system, but his ideas won’t necessarily be able to lead to higher-quality growth. Countries grow at high levels when they are poor, not when they’re approaching developed status. Whether China can get past the current stage and avoid middle-income stagnation is the one million dollar question that is up to Xi and his colleagues.

December 11, 2012 @ 7:05 am | Comment

“Those in power WILL trample the rights of the plebeians”
—if there is no mechanism to check that power. Which is precisely the point of separation of powers, and precisely what’s missing under the CCP. Of course, in the CCP’s case, it’s the confluence of lack of power separation, lack of rule of law, and lack of constitutional protections (did I forget anything?).

American foreign policy is not a weakness of her democracy. And I have every intention of watching ZDT, which is garnering much Oscar buzz. And I’ve been a fan of Bigelow since Hurt Locker, and of course I’m a fan of Jessica Chastain.

I would let Chinese people decide what works best for them. And I’d let them decide how best to select their leaders, rather than just letting the CCP do it behind closed and corrupt doors. I mean, look at you. You love the CCP, just not enough to be under them. How noble.

December 11, 2012 @ 7:31 am | Comment

@WKL 283. First Pew is a very competent pollster by the other polls they have done. For any pollsters worth their beans, if they over-poll a subset of the population and there is a traceable bias between those within and without the subset, the pollster has to adjust for the polling bias — this is Polling 101 that may involve a bit math Sheldon Cooper learned at age 8 but many have never learned in their lives. Personally at least in the last decade or so, I’ve found the rural residents are more satisfied than the urbanites. One thing stands out for the Hu/Wen era — good or bad it’s up to you — it’s their ability to increase the tax base (at this point for an apple-to-apple comparison, already larger than the US federal tax base), and distribute the wealth to places like health insurance, rural pension, etc. Urbanites on the other hand have their gripes such as rising housing price.

In Pew’s data, not all developing nations are happy, e.g. Kenya at 19% (2011), Lebanon at 11% (2011), Pakistan at 12% (2012). My prediction is that the post-Arab Spring “sugar high” experienced by Egypt will wear off, and they will make a new low soon — regardless nominally they are a democracy or not, at least a democracy endorsed by a few Western governments. Their fundamental problem is the lack of proper education among the overly populated young age groups.

It’ll be a very lengthy discussion on why/how some are doing well and some aren’t. For starter, many call China an authoritarian, a Leninist, or even a dictatorship (with a dictatorial retirement pension plan apparently), I would think calling it a resurrected and reformed Confucian society might be more accurate nowadays. What it means is, even if Egypt after the “sugar high”, wants to emulate China — it may not be able to!

Anyway, if something works, why mess with it? At a blackjack table, if something appears to be “working”, it may be mathematically a bad play. But do we have that type of scientific certainty in political science and economics? Maybe all theories we know now will be laughed at a couple of generations later — heck, just think about what people held as truths before the global financial meltdown and the pain they had gone through when the system was shaken to its core. I can’t help but think maybe most of the early 21st century Western democracies are reserve-mortgaging their futures now and they simply can’t stop it? — and you won’t know the endgame ’til everything is reserve-mortgaged… But I don’t know, I am just thinking out-loud.

A lot of what’s discussed here reminds me of the option backdating “scandal” at Apple when Jobs was still alive. Some aggressive prosecutors who sometimes make their bone by slaying the “big guns” floated the idea that they might go after Jobs, to pretentiously protect the shareholder interest. Well, at this very moment, going after the Chinese system that is producing fabulous results, is kind of like that.

December 11, 2012 @ 8:57 am | Comment

@jxie 285

Running economies is definitely not comparable to gambling (blckjack, craps, etc.). Historically, there is no evidence that nations and peoples take random turns at doing well. If economies do well, it is because someone planned, and those plans worked. Even in a “free market” economy, there has to be enabling infrastructure buildup that does not come about without careful planning and expert execution of such plans.

There is nothing magical about the Chicom plans. Unlike this opaque phenomenon known as the “free market” (where different players have different access to info), the Chicom plans for the Chinese economy is open for comments.

December 11, 2012 @ 9:59 am | Comment

@zhubaajie 269

Actually, HEAPS of countries have gotten to this level of development. Brazil, South Korea, Japan, etc. Stats mean nothing. China has the largest population in the world at a developing economic stage with massive investment model to supercharge it hence they have large hard commodity output. But it’s going to crash.

http://english.caixin.com/2012-08-13/100423159.html

http://www.mpettis.com/2012/09/16/by-2015-hard-commodity-prices-will-have-collapsed/

The amount of scientific articles doesn’t really doesn’t allude to anything especially when they’ve done the top down approach of ordering faculties to write/plagiarise certain quotas by a certain date. Science is certainly about quality not quantity. America is still the most innovative country in the world has been for quite a long time for a reason. I’m not American but I can respect when a country is great at something and learn from them.

http://thisischinablog.com/2012/10/31/kai-fu-gets-it/

http://concordnewsradio.com/?p=908

BTW China’s economic rise has been impressive but not miraculous. It has been explained and examined many times over. Actually Japan did a very similar thing only they didn’t have any where near the amount of overinvestment imbalance that China has and look at it now. Stagnant economy. debt is 200% of GDP.

Why? Because of overinvestment of infrastructure and lack of political will to break up the big companies and slow down the real estate bubble among the many reasons. The government couldn’t make the hard choices needed to rebalance the economy so they got the lost decade. Years and years and years of stagnant growth.

Sound familiar? That’s because it is. People say Japan was a different kettle of fish. That’s right. When Japan hit this equivalent level of breakneck GDP growth, they had social security, one of the best education systems, extremely developed rule of law and very well developed technology and innovation sector at this level in their development (and they didn’t have to shit on human rights to get there!). China vastly lacks in these sectors in comparison.

China has flogged the current economic investment model to death. Chinese and foreign leaders and experts are pretty unanimous on that. Even the most bullish of China experts are now admitting their are some serious roadblocks ahead. Xi Jin Ping, Wen Jiao Bao and Hu Jin Tao have all reiterated this. Turning it into action?

http://www.carnegieendowment.org/2012/11/13/role-of-soes-in-china-s-future/eihr

http://english.caixin.com/2012-08-13/100423159.html

http://www.mpettis.com/2012/10/27/when-the-growth-model-changes-abandon-the-correlations/

http://www.carnegieendowment.org/2012/11/08/corruption-and-reform-in-china/eigx

If the government in China doesn’t have the clout to overcome the vested interests that have gained so much from the current economic investment model, then China is in for Japan in the 90′s times 3. I hope they do. With the level of corruption atm I am cautiously optimistic.

Again, if the CCP can overcome corruption and do it, great. Singapore did it with one party so it’s possible. I’d like it see it happen. It’s in every country’s best interest.

BTW. This is called the Peking Duck, hence I am writing about China. If it was called the Washington Turkey, I’d write about America. But I don’t live in America and it doesn’t interest me a whole lot. I lived in China for ten years, so I have an interest in it’s development. I’m not writing about the U.S.A. so please don’t respond in reference to it.

December 11, 2012 @ 10:08 am | Comment

@curl 287

China is the No. 2 economy, America is No. 1. You cannot talk about what is good for China without comparisons.

China is very much different from Japan. The level of development is still low. In a globalized world it means that China still enjoys tremendous comparative advantages in costs. Infrastructure building for example – Chinese teams can offer (a) engineering cost at 30% lowe; and (b) available financing. These are not cut rate financing, but LIBOR plus 3 or 4%, rather profitable but still competitive.

The China price model is far from exhausted. It is just getting started, as Chinese exports to the entire world (don’t just think of the First World) ramps up. China is very well placed to take full advantage of the worldwide economic recovery. It would not surprise if the Chinese economy goes back to 10% growth in a couple of years.

December 11, 2012 @ 10:37 am | Comment

Well, unfortunately, the Chinese leaders have no intention of using the model for much longer for good reason.

You’ve contradicted yourself 3 times in one post.

1. Pardon me if I trust 90% of the world’s financial experts and the head CCP leaders (that you spought are always right) over you.

2. You are the one always telling us you can’t compare ‘western’ economies with the Chinese economy and here you are saying the complete opposite.

If you’re going to compare China’s economy, compare it to a country that is or was at a similar stage of development.

3. You just said I shouldn’t compare Japan for that exact reason. Although I think it was at a similar stage of development. America, obviously not.

You’re either playing devil’s advocate or you lack understanding/intelligence.

FAIL. EPIC FAIL.

December 11, 2012 @ 11:42 am | Comment

Er, mumble mumble – Curl, I’d respond if I know what you are talking about.

China’s exports are at a crossover stage. Sales by China to 1st world nations is now less than that to the rest of the world. And that trend will continue. Beijing is doing a great job of developing the economies of the developing nations, so in turn they can buy more Made in China. China is the nation that is best reaping the benefits of globalization. It’s well priced Made in China goods are most suitable for the close to 5 billion people of the developing world.

So I totally disagree with the assessment that China’s exports is going to shrink.

In the next two decades, the mix of technology and IP content is going to change. You will see many more China products protected by IP (Copyrights, design registrations, etc.), and you will see new business/legal combinations such as massive IP portfolios, which translate to higher profits.

December 11, 2012 @ 1:46 pm | Comment

Remind me, how do those things require the CCP? How would the rule of law, freedom of speech, and information freedom within CHina, curtail any of those activities? How would Chinese people screw those things up but for the paternalism of the CCP? This I would love to hear.

December 11, 2012 @ 1:53 pm | Comment

This thread has gone on long enough. I’ll open another one in a day or so.

December 11, 2012 @ 2:13 pm | Comment

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