Hey, I can’t always come up with a creative name for these open threads, especially when I’m in an uncreative mood like today. But please, don’t allow my lack of ingeniuity to keep you from sharing.

The Discussion: 60 Comments

Doesn’t matter what you call it. Like you said last time, build it and people will come.

You seem to go back and forth about moving to Asia. Are you really sure it’s what you want to do? This is a big decision. Please don’t rush it.

June 27, 2005 @ 8:24 pm | Comment

Great Hall of the People II?

June 27, 2005 @ 8:31 pm | Comment

Next time, FSN9; once I give it a name, I can’t take it back. I operate under strict rules.

Brian, no rushing. But I have to admit, I feel desperate today. I thought I was going to cry at work as I looked at all that technical jargon on my computer screen and said to myself, “What in god’s name are you doing here?”

June 27, 2005 @ 8:35 pm | Comment

It’s been an unusually hard day, and i’m turning in early. Please, don’t let me lose face by waking up to zero comments!

June 27, 2005 @ 9:25 pm | Comment

Richard, you’ve recently posted some Gertz stories. While these are indeed shrill I think there is some truth underlying them. For a more sober assessment see:

I think you are often overoptimistic, not to say a bit naive (no offence). Yes, China is indeed developing in many positive ways and integrating into the world economy, but don’t forget certain characteristics such as nationalism, insecurity, victimhood, etc. as well described by DanT in an earlier comment.

Living in China for the last 5 years I have often been amazed at the kind of views people hold. Where usually docile people suddenly become firebrands re. US, Japan and especially Taiwan. “We’ll get it back at any price”. The damage: “We’ll rebuild”. The relatives: “They’ll sacrifice”. The Olympics: “Less important”.

Also, it is far from propaganda rubbish that a conflict with the US is to some extent pre-programmed, most likely about oil. China is going to encroach more and more on US sphere of interests and is the US going to allow that? And is it going to easily give up it’s predominance? China WILL, on present trends, become the most powerful country in the world in most senses, be it in 20, 40, or 60 years. That puts it squarely on collision course with US. Believe it or not and we can only hope that there will be cool heads in the respective positions on both sides to manage the situation.

June 27, 2005 @ 9:46 pm | Comment

oh please dont start numbering things. great hall of the people 427…

pick one and make us learn how to read dates ; )

June 27, 2005 @ 10:18 pm | Comment

Heinz, the key phrase there is “on present trends”. In the words of the securities industry (that great font of wisdom), prior performance may not be an indicator of future gains. Signs point to a looming bust on the far side of the boom.

China’s surge in –largely economic– power in the past few years notwithstanding, they are a ways from being the most powerful country on earth by many yardsticks: Militarily, economically, and certainly sociopolitically.

That doesn’t mean that the US (and, more pressingly, Russia, Taiwan, Japan and Southeast Asia) shouldn’t factor China as a geopolitical force into their planning.

But it does mean that the truth lies somewhere in between the shrill alarmism of China as some kind of inevitably rising, malevolent threat and an equally naive, blase approach in which China will stay confined to its current, smallish sphere of influence.

Frankly, I think that China will continue to be a geopolitical rival to the US in the regional sense (hardly trivial), but not the global one. For the moment, there are too many, deep, structural problems here that I think will hinder China’s rise to truly global status.

I think the thing that jangles the US is that, in the past, major state powers have either been allies or clients (European countries, Japan), or the Soviet Union (a clear, strategic enemy). China is a different animal altogether – not enemy, not ally, definitely not client.

I think the US doesn’t have the mental framework, for lack of a better metaphor, for a rising global power that doesn’t fit into any of those previously defined categories. That’s why you see attempts to pigeonhole it as buddy (Clinton) or rival (Bush).

The truth of the equation lies somewhere else.

June 27, 2005 @ 10:21 pm | Comment

From The Independent:

Ngawang Sangdrol was just 13 when she was first imprisoned by China in Tibet. She was so small her prison guards found it easy to pick her up by the legs and drop her, head first, on to the stone floor of her cell.

They beat her with iron rods, placed electric shock batons in her mouth and left her standing in the baking heat until she collapsed of exhaustion. They called her the “ballerina”, because when the pain became too much for her, she would stand on the tips of her toes like a dancer. “The more we cried out in pain,” she said, “the more they laughed.”

“They would put a rope around your neck, tie both your hands and hang you down from the ceiling. They used iron bars to beat you systematically,” she says. “And once you are imprisoned there is no difference between a child and an adult and an elderly person, or between a man and a woman. All punishments and torture methods are equal for everyone.”

June 27, 2005 @ 10:35 pm | Comment

The Chinese would NEVER hurt anyone! They are kind AND honest.

June 27, 2005 @ 10:45 pm | Comment

Well, it’s not like they desecrated a Koran or anything.

June 27, 2005 @ 10:47 pm | Comment

The Koran is the”Holiest of holies.”

June 27, 2005 @ 10:49 pm | Comment

I second Will. I think he’s called it exactly right.

Shanghai, regarding “Foreign Babes,” the set up is, there are these two wild American girls who fall in love with these two Chinese brothers – I mean, in the TV show the author sort accidentally stars in. The other American girl proves herself to be a good Chinese wife, she adopts Chinese customs, moves into the courtyard house to take care of the parents and make jiaozi, all that.

The baaad girl, Jiexie, tempts the other brother, who I believe is unhappily married. In the end they go off to America. But even though she is kind of the evil temptress, the show basically celebrates their love and approves of it. So it’s not this total, “American women are wanton s1uts” kind of message.

But like I said, at this point in the book, the author is so clueless as to the content of the show – she doesn’t understand how China operates, she’s constantly getting ripped off and she doesn’t speak that much Chinese – that she really doesn’t realize what she’s getting herself into and what she’ll come to represent.

June 27, 2005 @ 10:52 pm | Comment

BTW,Richard,Have you ever seen that guy in Phoenix who suffers from infantilism?He dresses like a toddler in diapers and shit.He goes EVERYWHERE like that.Sucks on a pacifier.I say him in this shitty bar in Phoenix 3 years ago.Now thats RAD!

June 27, 2005 @ 10:56 pm | Comment

From The Independent

Tarek Dergoul, a British citizen born and brought up in east London and released without charge after almost two years at Guantanamo Bay, describes one of many assaults he suffered in American custody.

“They pinned me down and attacked me, poking their fingers in my eyes, and forced my head into the toilet pan and flushed. They tied me up like a beast and then they were kneeling on me, kicking and punching. Finally they dragged me out of the cell in chains, into the rec yard, and shaved my beard, my hair, my eyebrows.”
Possibly because he was British, Dergoul said he was spared the beatings he saw being administered to others in neighbouring cages. “Guards with guns and baseball bats would make the detainees squat for hours, and if they fell over from exhaustion, they’d beat them until they lost consciousness. They called it “beat down”.”
Dergoul also described the use of what was known as the ‘short shackle’ – steel bonds pulled tight to keep the subject bunched up, while chained to the floor. “After a while, it was agony. You could hear the guards behind the mirror, making jokes, eating and drinking, knocking on the walls. It was not about trying to get information. It was just about trying to break you.” In theirs letter to Bush, Rasul and Iqbal (also British citizens) also said they endured this procedure.

Indeed Conrad, the world must oppose torture and terrorism, wherever it occurs, and no matter who the victims and perpetrators are. I think we can both agree on that one at least.

Mark Anthony Jones

June 27, 2005 @ 10:58 pm | Comment

I would PAY for that kind of treatment.I’m gettin’ a chubby now.

June 27, 2005 @ 11:00 pm | Comment

MAJ, Americans don’t torture people.We “Coerce” Big, Big difference.

June 27, 2005 @ 11:02 pm | Comment

No American Man – Americans don’t “coerce” either, if we are to believe Conrad – they merely exercising their superior “bargaining power”, as he has argued on an earlier thread.

Mark Anthony Jones

June 27, 2005 @ 11:04 pm | Comment

MAJ. Everyone likes a bargain.

June 27, 2005 @ 11:06 pm | Comment

American Man, you are a true product of the Cable TV Generation. And I say that with love (and a small amount of fear).

However, the point of those two Independent articles is good. When push comes to shove, we all suck. You find me the nation, and I’ll find you crime against human rights. So let’s not sit too tall in the saddle of our moral high-horse when passing judgment on other regimes.

This is particularly true of the US, which is prone to lend its support to other regimes for purely pragmatic reasons of realpolitik than for any noble, higher purpose. If anyone can explain to me in moral rather than geopolitical terms why Hu Jintao deserves a clout around the earhole while Hosni Mubarak deserves lots of American aid, I will buy you a beer (Yanjiing, and you need to come to Beijing to collect).

The relationship between the US and China is much more complex than “us good, them bad”.

June 27, 2005 @ 11:12 pm | Comment

Too much Mo Rocca, Louis Theroux perhaps?

June 27, 2005 @ 11:13 pm | Comment

Yup, people often ask me”Why is America sooooo bad” Duh?”Cause we can be,YOU gonna stop us?”Nope.Pretty f’n simple really.

June 27, 2005 @ 11:16 pm | Comment

other lisa : well summed, thanks for the heads up. now I’ve got to buy the book ; )

slim : “How can we call Chinese guys “ill informed” when a very attractive American women voluntarily appears on national television to confirm just this notion?”

I’d like to think even men can understand the concept that television isn’t actually reality.

June 27, 2005 @ 11:20 pm | Comment

Dear Will,

Thank you! At last, I hear a voice of sound moral reason on the pages of this website! I couldn’t agree with you more – everything you just said above is EXACTLY what I believe, and it reflects PRECISELY the spirit behind ALL of my contributions to this website – though unlike you, most readers here cannot seem to understand or appreciate that.

Thanks again Will. You’re a breath of fresh air today!

Best regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

June 27, 2005 @ 11:24 pm | Comment

Sanford and Son was real,Chico and the Man, real……………Three’s Company.. real…… I met Jack Tripper in San Diego….

June 27, 2005 @ 11:25 pm | Comment


You, of course, fail to disclose that, even if you accept Tarek Dergoul’s account at face value, he is describing A SINGLE INCIDENT that allegedly happened to him. And, by his own admission, it happened after he refused to comply with guards’ orders and resisted a search, requiring the Extreme Reaction Force to be called in to subdue him.

‘They had already searched me and my cell twice that day, gone through my stuff, touched my Koran, felt my body around my private parts. And now they wanted to do it again, just to provoke me, but I said no, because if you submit to everything you turn into a zombie. ‘I heard a guard talking into his radio, “ERF, ERF, ERF,” and I knew what was coming – the Extreme Reaction Force. The five cowards, I called them – five guys running in with riot gear.

If he got his head stuffed in a toilet and his eyes poked, that’s unfortunate and should not have happened, BUT, prisoners must NOT be allowed to defy guard’s orders with impunity either.

Also, why do you feel compelled, when faced with a disclosure of Chinese abuse of Tibetans, on a China oriented website, to post an off-topic comment on Guantanamo. One might, your protests to the contrary notwithstanding, view that as an example of knee-jerk anti-Americanism.

June 27, 2005 @ 11:31 pm | Comment

Did you know that Tibetan’s only bathe three times in their lives?Just ONE of the MANY interesting things I have learned in China.

June 27, 2005 @ 11:39 pm | Comment

I also learned to leave all of the windows open to get rid of the mosquito’s.

June 27, 2005 @ 11:43 pm | Comment

Dear Conrad,

I can, if you like, provide you with over twenty descriptions of torture and abuse documented to have occured at Guantanamo Bay – not all of them were the result of the prisoner having defied a guard’s orders! And at any rate, all of the reports into abuse have shown the torture at Guantanamo Bay occurs systematically.

Why did I post this? Certainly not a knee-jerk anti-American reaction, as you surmise. I posted it for the very same reason that Will surmised – do demonstrate that China, while its abuses are immoral and unacceptable, is not unique in its behaviour. Perhaps you can explain why you posted your cutting from The Independent? Was it a anti-China knee-jerk reaction of yours i wonder?

Don’t be so ridiculous! And look at yourself – trying to downplay the seriousness of the human rights abuses that are occuring at Guantanamo Bay – making excuses for it, trying to excuse the inexcusable again. Imagine if someboody was to try to downplay the type of abuses that are occuring in Chinese prisons?

If you accept the findings of Amnesty International’s report on the laogai abuses, then, if you wish to remain consistent, then you ought to also accept their report on the abuses taking place daily at the Guantanamo Bay prison. You ought to be condemning both as equally appalling and unacceptable.

Mark Anthony Jones

June 27, 2005 @ 11:43 pm | Comment

The other reason, Conrad, why I posted this information from The Independent to compliment yours, is because, as Will very rightly says, China is not “evil” and America “angelic” – the world is far more complex than that. This kind of evil can happen anywhere – if people allow it. Even in China, yes! Even in at the hands of Americans, yes!

Mark Anthony Jones

June 27, 2005 @ 11:48 pm | Comment

mark, your passion for the ‘bigger picture’ might be a distracting element, when in threaded topics some people tend to think within the confines of that situation. not apples to oranges, but macintosh to macintosh if you will. also, your points stand the first time, and clarification seems to only make people think you’re beligerant, even if you’re just trying to make yourself understood.

conrad, there you were, poised on the brink of an interesting discussion (how far can guards go without it being too far) and then, given the comments history of mark, might have blown it astray and will see instead a lengthy treatise on why he’s not anti-american. passion for a cause, particularly one you seem to agree with, does not necessarily translate into a blindness to the positive aspects of said culture/country. which, really, could be applied to a lot of ideas around here.

climbing off my high horse now…

June 27, 2005 @ 11:50 pm | Comment

MAJ, America is a Christian country.The good Lord works in mysterious ways.It’s best not to question the Lord. .

June 27, 2005 @ 11:53 pm | Comment

Thank you echo – I acknowledge you point. Perhaps it’s because my major is history, that I’m always looking at the bigger picture. Still, it remains to be answered as to why so many people her enjoy dismissing me as anti-American everytime I present an argument. Either they’re merely trying to entertain themselves by attempting to stir me up, or its their way to try to marginalise my views – by trivialising me with a label, a smear campaign, if you like, to tarnish my credibility.

The question of how far should prison guards and interrogaters be allowed to go before their behaviours constitute torture – an abuse of human rights – is, I agree, an interesting one.

Mark Anthony Jones

June 28, 2005 @ 12:03 am | Comment

Echo – and really, the author of “Babes” literally does not understand the nature of the role she’s agreed to play until she’s already sucked into it. She is really a very earnest sort and wants to do the right thing, and maybe if she’d known upfront what she was getting herself into, she would not have done it. And writing this book, she is very self-aware and funny as hell about her own failings.

June 28, 2005 @ 12:11 am | Comment


June 28, 2005 @ 12:12 am | Comment

OMG, Conrad lives! You’ve been missed.

June 28, 2005 @ 12:24 am | Comment

Hey, don’t take my word for it!

June 28, 2005 @ 12:26 am | Comment

What the heck are you quacking about, Mike? I can’t understand what it is you are trying to say.

Post what? Censor what?

June 28, 2005 @ 12:32 am | Comment

I was censored yesterday.It WAS pretty gross.It is his blog after all.Start your own.

June 28, 2005 @ 12:44 am | Comment

What AM said…the second part.

June 28, 2005 @ 12:57 am | Comment

Sure, you’re right but Richard can’t keep deleting people AND keep declaring his blog is unrestricted and uncensored. Easy.

As simonworld said:

“I do find it interesting he (Richard) continually deletes comments but at the same time declares them open and free. Can’t have it both ways.”

June 28, 2005 @ 1:04 am | Comment


June 28, 2005 @ 1:16 am | Comment

Mike, “continually censors threads”? I haven’t seen any evidence of that, have you?

June 28, 2005 @ 1:23 am | Comment

Chinese Doctor Friend: “Haven’t you ever wondered why Chinese men are ALL genius’ ” AM: “Well, I must say, that always crosses my mind”CDF:” Because Chinese men eat alot of river fish.” Must be the PCB”S

June 28, 2005 @ 1:23 am | Comment

Depends on your definition’s of continually,censor and thread.For me only one.I would’nt want my momma to have read it. I was in a mooooooood!

June 28, 2005 @ 1:25 am | Comment

That Da Shan sure is a handsome man.Sorry,I have a weird Da Shan fetish.Does he look like a young/thin Dan Ackroyd or what?Both Canadian!To me they look aboot the same.Ey?

June 28, 2005 @ 1:59 am | Comment

other lisa : the problem with censorship is that you rather wouldn’t see the evidence of it, not unless someone posts it to their own blog and you happen to go there ; )

I didn’t know am got censored yesterday until he mentioned it. unless we’re constantly here watching we will never know exactly how much censorship may or may not be around.

but you and am are right, it’s richard’s site and he is free to run it however he sees fit.

mark : richard’s going through a bit of a rough patch at present. he’s got bigger things on his mind and is likely not in a place where he needs or wants to deal with any of this. so while I very much aprpeciate your efforts and hope there will be a chance in the future to have a peaceful and productive conversation about it, perhaps this isn’t the best time or place.

June 28, 2005 @ 2:01 am | Comment

One of the Walton (Walmart) family just John Denvered his Experimental plane. Karmic revenge .

June 28, 2005 @ 2:21 am | Comment

DAMN you! Now I have this image in my head of Da Shan as one of ‘the Blues Brothers”
Another good movie ruined for me.

June 28, 2005 @ 2:51 am | Comment

Dear Conrad,

One other point here, regarding the laogai prisons.

The Laogai Research Foundation, which is extremely critical of the abuse that goes on in “some” of them, also notes that “Laogai prison camps house only the criminals who have completed the process of arrest, trial and sentencing.”

By contrast, most of the Guantanamo Bay prisoners, many of whom have been there for years, and many of whom have also been tortured and abused, have yet to even be charged with a crime, let alone have their cases heard in court!

I know that the type of forced labour that many prisoners have been known to be given constitute abuses greater than what the Guantanamo Bay prisoners have had to endure – I think we agree on that – but according to the Laogai Research Foundation, the most common, usual form of abuse used is “solitary confinement…beatings with fists and cattle prods, exposure to extreme cold and extreme heat, sleep deprivation, shackling and starvation.”

Now this sounds very similar in fact, to the most common forms of abuse inflicted on inmates at the Guantanamo Bay facility. In both cases, in both some of China’s laogai prisons and at Guantanamo Bay, there have been worse, more horrendous examples of abuse inflicted – but in both cases, what I have just described above is the more usual.

So you see Conrad, the differences may not be quite as great as you at first assumed.

Mark Anthony Jones

June 28, 2005 @ 3:00 am | Comment

“We got half a tank a gas,two packs a cigarettes its dark out and we’re wearing sunglasses.

June 28, 2005 @ 3:02 am | Comment

No, you missed Da Shan’s coda line:
“….we’re wearing sunglasses AND I HAVE A SH-T-EATING GRIN ON MY FACE!”
(Sorry, is it OK for me to insult Da Shan here?)

June 28, 2005 @ 3:16 am | Comment

I don’t feel comfortable with you insulting ANYONE.Ivan you really must more be careful with your mean spirited posts.Not everyone shares your sense of humor.Shame on you Ivan!Oh,I just checked the rule book. It IS OK to insult that waste of sperm!

June 28, 2005 @ 3:28 am | Comment

Other Lisa, thanks for low-down on “Foreign Babes”, I’m glad to hear it wasn’t exactly what I feared. Now I think I have to read it!

Echo mentioned:
“I’d like to think even men can understand the concept that television isn’t actually reality.”

Heh! Well, it may not actually be reality, but there seems to be some sort of feedback-loop relationship between the two.

That’s why I keep my tv safely unplugged. 😉

June 28, 2005 @ 5:38 am | Comment

Guys Mike came on here and needled me, spamming different threads with a link trying to embarrass me. Look, use this site to comment and talk, but if you come on here and try to make me look bad and go out of our way to do so, why on earth must I provide you the platform to do so?

All of you know, I practically never delete comments. If I did, no one would be here. I am human. If I am in a bad mood and I think someone is being absurd, maybe once in a very blue moon I’ll delete a comment. But that is so rare, it’s almost never. Mike really broke my rules, when I said don’t use this site to intentionally get me mad. And he knows it. I feel I have the right to “censor” him because I pay for this site and work hard to maintain it and I didn’t do so for people to abuse it.

June 28, 2005 @ 7:05 am | Comment

And echo, thanks for your support.

June 28, 2005 @ 7:22 am | Comment

Don’t feel all special now Richard, the little jerk tried baiting me the other day too. 😛

Personally, I agree with you. (but I am curious as to what he said)

June 28, 2005 @ 7:34 am | Comment

Gordon, I’m glad to know I’m not the only one!

I’ve posted a long reply in the comments to the post below on whether I should move to Asia. I hope you can check it out.

June 28, 2005 @ 12:23 pm | Comment

Your commenters who say Chinese people don’t care about free speech are simply wrong.

June 28, 2005 @ 5:34 pm | Comment

Damn, no new open thread – I’ll post it here, maybe richard can move it to the new open thread

I’ve got friends in china coming back to cambridge in a few days – are there any really good new Chinese TV programs on DVD or VCD? Any must read Chinese books out? Not often I get this chance!!!

June 28, 2005 @ 6:46 pm | Comment


“Laogai prison camps house only the criminals who have completed the process of arrest, trial and sentencing.

So Grandma Wong, after being hauled away by benevolant Chineses security forces for doing Falun Gong exercises, is tried and sentenced by the fair and impartial PRC judicial system.

Meanwhile Muhammed al-fuqwit, captured during combat operations in Tora-Bora, only has the right to file a petition against the US President and get a hearing before that instituion of inequity, the US Supreme Court (See Rasul v. Bush).

Goddam American war criminals.

June 30, 2005 @ 4:44 am | Comment

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