More on esteemed China pundit Philip Cunningham

Due to a number of reasons, I am removing this post and its comments, which take this blog in a direction I’d rather avoid. Thanks for your understanding.

The Discussion: 17 Comments

Suppose it wasn’t Cunningham who wrote the piece. What about the article is there to attack? I think some people let their dislike of the Chinese government take them too far from the interests of the Chinese people. Denying Nanjing IS denying the holocaust in China, and the Chinese people have every right to be upset. No government, Communist or democratic, could possibly say to the people they can’t protest against something like the history books. That’s “political suicide,” to use Japan’s reason for visiting the war shrine.

April 19, 2005 @ 2:40 pm | Comment

I cannot see the point of a personal attack of Cunninghham as CCP-lover to dismiss him offhandly. If that’s valid, then what’s the difference between CCP’s propaganda and this blog?


April 19, 2005 @ 4:07 pm | Comment

I agree with most of his article, although I think he is a little over the top. Does this make me a shill for the CCP? Do I need to present my anti-communist credentials now?

Anyway, I don’t get all of these ad hominem attacks. I think it is better to debate the issues. If you disagree with his argument, then debate his points rather than smearing him with a CCP shill stain.

April 19, 2005 @ 4:40 pm | Comment

I wonder if Mr Bush could be in the White House without hiring a significant number of shills.

April 19, 2005 @ 5:07 pm | Comment

I said Cunningham is brilliant and has many things to say that are worth considering. Unfortunately, when I saw him in action I got the distinct impression he had sold out to the CCP. And that impression has been reinforced several times since then. So at a time when people are pointing to his LA Times article on Japan without knowing his history of kowtowing to China, I think it’s valid for people to bring this up. I am sorry if the word “shill” was too strong, but in this case I sincerely believe the shoe fits, as do others familiar with Cunningham’s work.

April 19, 2005 @ 5:46 pm | Comment

I cannot see the point of a personal attack of Cunninghham as CCP-lover to dismiss him offhandly. If that’s valid, then what’s the difference between CCP’s propaganda and this blog?

I have explained my reasons for taking Cunningham with a grain of salt in previous posts. This blog varies greatly from CCP propaganda. It is admittedly opinionated, one-sided, outspoken and prejudiced. But it is not funded by citizen tax dollars, only by me, and I don’t claim that anything I write is necessarily the truth. Sincere, absolutely. True — that’s strictly subjective. The CCP on the other hand uses taxpayer dollars to keep the public in the dark, to create its own “truth” and to suppress free thinking. I try to do the opposite, encouraging all points of view and admitting from the very outset that I might not have the slightest idea what I am talking about.

April 19, 2005 @ 5:52 pm | Comment

Yhe, the subject isn’t whether Nanjing was terrible or not. It was. The issues is whether the fellow attacking Japan and defending China’s ugliest moment in the LA Times has a history of standing up for the CCP.

April 19, 2005 @ 5:57 pm | Comment

My angle is different from pretty much everybody here.

While I don’t think the LAT article is over-the-top or by itself makes Cunningham a shill or even a spokesman for the CCP, I don’t see why Richard should bend over backwards to balance his accusations against the author with praises, either.

To me, the article in question is downright mediocre. Anyone who’s sufficiently pro-China and totally willing to ignore counter arguments can write something like that after a bit of googling.

Perhaps Richard is more familiar with Cunningham’s work than I am, but nothing I’ve seen so far can qualify him as brilliant or astute. This is, after all, a guy who studied Thai language and literature and taught at Thailand’s most prestigious university and yet still regard Thirayuth Boonmi as a “respected academic”.

(Granted, many of his colleagues in Thailand’s so-called academia probably share his views — “prestigious” being very much relative. But that’s actually an argument against him, and doubly so because his ability to read Thai should enable him to know what a bunch of outrageous frauds Thai social science professors are.)

Besides ignorance, it must take utmost intellectual dishonesty from someone who is, to say the least, chummy with China Central Television to say something like this:

[T]he rote, obligatory praise voiced by ruling [TRT(Thai Rak Thai)] party supporters sounds eerily similar to the worst of communist propaganda, the irony being that the press is now beginning to loosen up in China while Thailand slips backward.

Cunningham gets the part about China’s loosening up right. Who doesn’t? I don’t expect much more than that from him, though.

April 20, 2005 @ 2:23 am | Comment

Tom, my apologies but your comment was held up because the filter doesn’t allow more than 2 URLs per comment.

I am no scholar of Cunningham’s writings. I saw him several times on TV and was extremely impressed by his intelligence, eloquence and knowledge of the region. But I looked up articles he’d written and listened carefully to his answers and was struck by his tendency to almost inevitably agree with his interviewer on CCTV-9 or, in his articles, with the CHinese government. I’m afraid I don’t know enough about Thai history/politics to judge what he’s written on the subject.

April 20, 2005 @ 4:17 pm | Comment

Phil Cummingham, in my opinion, is an intellectual in the style of the great “gao-wan-kuang” Li Ao. The Party could do anything and they would have some “very intellectual” reason to explain why that was the right thing to do. In my opinion (and I agree that I am slight extremist, but…), input from such mouthpieces is dragged out (or jumps out?) on a regular basis as an “outside perspective” justifying whatever may be happening at the time. Four years ago, I probably would have agreed with them, but experience has thankfully taught me otherwise. Maybe someday they will look in the mirror and think about what they are doing.

April 21, 2005 @ 11:52 pm | Comment

Whatever you think of Cunningham’s writing, calling him a paid shill for the Communist Party is unsubstantiated libel.

April 22, 2005 @ 10:35 pm | Comment

Jeremy, I crossed out the word shill the very same day I wrote the post and I regret that I used such a strong term. I think he’s brilliant, but I think he does serve a spokesperson role, whether he means to or not.

April 23, 2005 @ 11:46 am | Comment

Richard do not cave like this. I’ve been watching Cunningham’s work in Asia for years and he’s a toady and a shill. Yes, a shill for the CCP. You don’t have to apologise for saying that. You are too beholden to the people on your blogroll to the left. Are you afraid of losing readers if you say things that are true that they don’t like? I am really disappointed. If the truth hurts, too bad. I thought you would be stronger than this. I don’t know if I’m coming back.

April 23, 2005 @ 1:22 pm | Comment

Tom, I hope you don’t go for good. I got upset about my use of the word “shill” even before I got the comments — I just knew its tone was too harsh. For all my disagreements with him, I enjoyed watching Cunningham (as I keep saying, the guy is smart) and feel that simply dismissing him as a shill was unfair. It has nothing to do with pleasing my commenters or my blogroll. God knows, I’ve gotten into enough arguments with them all before over one thing or another.

April 23, 2005 @ 9:28 pm | Comment

I have to conclude you’re an asshole Richard. Just because he went to Harvard and is a fulbright scholar doesn’t mean Cunninmgham’s smart. you can think for yourself without your friends telling you what to say. Like I said, I’m disappointed.

April 23, 2005 @ 10:58 pm | Comment

My comment should have been posted at the other blog where there is a direct accusation of Cunningham taking money. I am not arguing about Cunningham’s politics. However I do not believe it is fair to accuse someone of being a paid mouthpiece without evidence. Left-leaning people in the US also accuse, without evidence, prominent right-wing bloggers and writers of being paid shills, and it is equally wrong.

April 23, 2005 @ 11:30 pm | Comment

Are we going to see ye again? Why leave when you are on a roll? Oh, maybe you would have to apologize if you came back? Probably something you have no experience doing or the decency to learn how.

April 24, 2005 @ 10:18 am | Comment

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.