Daily thread

Speak out against the machine. Subvert the dominant paradigm. Create your own reality.

The Discussion: 39 Comments

It’s nice to see the Iraqi insurgency is in its last throes: http://tinyurl.com/bbq84

July 16, 2005 @ 7:28 pm | Comment

Subvert the dominant paradigm. Create your own reality.

What is this, a thread dedicated to MAJ?

July 16, 2005 @ 8:03 pm | Comment

Martyn said:

I said that Chen Shuibian still has a lot of work to do after inheriting the corrupt filth that was KMT Taiwan.

I would say the same about China. When discussing China, how the hell can you take the views of someone who has never been here seriously?

I would have to say that I disagree. You don’t have to visit a country to know that the government is corrupt and you don’t have to visit Taiwan to talk to Taiwanese people.

I’ve never been to Taiwan, but I’ve dated two girls that were Taiwanese, I have several friends from Taiwan and my Chinese Foreign Policy professor was from Taiwan. All of them will tell you that the Taiwanese government is corrupt.

I wasn’t referring to ESWN as the know all of China and Taiwan, I was referring to a post he made awhile back about Brother Mosquito and how the Taiwanese government is known to deal with gangsters.

Shen Shui-bian is far from being an angel and I’d be willing to bet that he’s every bit as corrupt as all the other politicians in Taiwan.

July 16, 2005 @ 8:24 pm | Comment

One doesn’t need to go to a country to speak about it. Point taken. Still, I’d be hesitant to take seriously someones views about China if they hadn’t been here before and based their opinions on blogs, taechers and partners. Living in a place gives one a context and a deeper understanding.

Re KMT-Mafia, yes, the cooperation between the KMT government and criminal gangs prevalent in pre-1948 mainland China was wholly transferred over to Taiwan. The criminal gangs were useful for establishing an maintaining KMT rule in Taiwan.

The post-1948 Taiwan government had entrenched and vested interests and the families of mainland KMT supporters ran the government and big business. It was always a scandal that US anti-communist aid-money was often siphoned off into KMT family businesses.

40 long years of vested interests is a difficult thing to sweep away overnight. Chen Shuibian and the “Formosa” generation of the late 70’s represented ethnic Taiwanese who were often imprisoned for their attempts to oppose KMT fascist rule (colonial rule as they saw it). Their goal was freedom and democracy and they directly opposed the KMT political and big business elite.

After pressure from below was to great to resist, the KMT reluctantly allowed an electoral system–they had little choice. The DPP swept to power in 2000 and hasn’t looked back.

To say that Chen Shuibian and the new Taiwanese government are as corrupt as the KMT is wholly inaccurate. While the KMT political elite have been swept from power, the KMT business elite are still firmly entrenched with their millions. The DPP have already forced the KMT (once by far the richest political party in the world) to give up some of its companies, properties and land illegally plundered from the state during KMT rule but it still has a lot of work to do.

Still, to say that the present democratically-elected government is as equally corrupt as the former authoritarian KMT government is laughable.

To say that Chen Shuibian is every bit as corrupt as other Taiwan politicians is plain wrong. Where are his millions? Where are his family companies? Vested interests? Please provide evidence that Chen Shuibian is, as you say, “corrupt”.

July 16, 2005 @ 11:17 pm | Comment

Martyn,

I will concede that it might not be appropriate to say Chen Shui-Bian is just as corrupt as every other politician in Taiwan, but do you really believe that last election was straight up and legit?

Sure, it was a ‘democratic’ election, but Lien Chan and Chen Shui-Bian were both trying to maneuver their way to power by using some pretty shady tactics.

July 16, 2005 @ 11:54 pm | Comment

BTW, did you get those admin problems figured out?

July 16, 2005 @ 11:55 pm | Comment

Martyn – excellent comment. I would however add that while the DPP is nowhere near the levels of corruption of the KMT in its pomp, that doesn’t mean it isn’t corrupt at all. The DPP does seem to be ‘learning from the masters’ in this.

I believe corruption is much more visible in Taiwan nowadays: there is more transparency in government, the free press helps expose cases, and of course the 2 opposing political sides try to expose problems on the other side regularly. Compare that with one-party KMT rule where any attempt to expose corruption would end up with the exposer in prison (or worse).

Of course, yesterday the KMT elected their one clean politician Ma Ying-jeou to become their new chairman … which should help things also.

July 17, 2005 @ 12:02 am | Comment

There we can agree. The owner of my local pub in Taipei (Indian guy) told me he has a few business interests in southern Taiwan. When he goes down south for meetings etc. the local guys sitting across the table from him aren’t businessmen or local gevernment officials, they are mafia representatives. The mafia is so deeply entrenched in Taiwanese society that if Chen moved against them then they’d assasinate him.

No, for some reason the admin page doesn’t look the same/do the same as it did before, I still can’t hyperlink. I was going to try again today.

July 17, 2005 @ 12:05 am | Comment

Gordon, what do you mean by ‘legit’? That election has been put under more scrutiny than any election I can think of, and come up clean. Every single vote was recounted by a set of lawyers over several months, legal cases were put in front of the high court questioning every feature of it, and no problem was found. No ‘dimpled chads’ or halting of recounts in that election!

Of course, both candidates used some pretty inflammatory rhetoric – but that’s politics for you …

July 17, 2005 @ 12:07 am | Comment

Another point is that Taiwan in many ways is the polar opposite of China. For example, it has a riotously free media. It even puts the notorious British tabloid press to shame. As a lot of the newspapers/TV stations are owned and staffed by mainlanders or the sons/daughters of mainlanders (i.e. KMT hardcore–a throwback to KMT rule) trust me, if there was ANYTHING, and I mean ANYTHING dodgy about the last election then they would have sniffed it out and reported it in excruiciating detail. What did they report? Not a damn thing, only a load of speculation and hearsay.

Even since the pre-election assasination attempt, no one has come up with one single piece of evidence to suggest any wrongdoing by Chen or the DPP. Chen and the DPP also allowed investigation upon investigation in the face of KMT allegations.

Would you agree with that David?

July 17, 2005 @ 12:29 am | Comment

By the way, Gordon, it might be best if you didn’t go to Taiwan as there’s only a 50% chance that you’d return to China! Also, there’s only about a 10% chance that you wouldn’t initiate divorce proceedings and start shamelessly chasing Taiwanese women the length and breathe of the island! Haha.

I mean it, I’m only HALF joking here.

July 17, 2005 @ 12:32 am | Comment

China and Taiwan aren’t the only places in Asia to live. The NYT has a great column today on another country that sounds like heaven on earth.

July 17, 2005 @ 12:38 am | Comment

Haha! Like I said, the first ‘Chinese’ girl that I ever dated was from Taiwan. In fact, she was part of the reason I first started learning the language.

Taiwanese girls definitely have a different flavor (figuratively speaking) and sense of personality than most Chinese women I’ve met, but I also know a few men who are now divorced from Taiwanese girls and oooh…the stories…

From what I’ve heard, I have no doubt that I would enjoy myself quite extensively in Taiwan, but I’m sure it also has its issues just like China does…with regards to culture and society.

One of these days I’ll get around to visiting.

July 17, 2005 @ 12:44 am | Comment

Haha, you’re such a “prankster” Richard as one of our old friends might say.

If I had the choice I’d go and work in Vietnam as I’ve really enjoyed my past working visits. China is getting a bit ‘old news’ now and Vietnam is still looking like becoming a true US ally. No doubt if they do move firmly onto the US camp then the country will almost certainly do very well out of the relationship. If I were an entreprenuer, I’d prefer to put my money into an American ally that ‘We will nuke your ass” China.

Still re Taiwan, there’s definitely something special about the place. Wayne from A Better Tomorrow is a bit cynical for my tastes but he normally gets it right about Taiwan.

July 17, 2005 @ 12:48 am | Comment

And on that note I’m gonna lie down and read. For an unusually entertaining post on China and its economy and the China Dream that is still the obsession of intoxicated American businesses, I strongly recommend this fine post from a blog with a funny name, and the comments that follow.

July 17, 2005 @ 12:53 am | Comment

“Ooooh, the stories” Haha. Actually, I think you can compare very little between China and Taiwan. IMO, the two countries have very little in common. After being in China for so long (where IMO many of the people are just so different from anywhere else I’ve been they are plain wierd) I was shocked at Taiwan, I really didn’t want to leave. Still, my former company posted me from Taipei to Bangkok so, er, it wasn’t to difficult to leave! I did pack my things with a big smile as I remember. Haha.

July 17, 2005 @ 12:54 am | Comment

Thailand..now you’re talking!

Thai women have to be about the best. (just make sure it’s really a woman)

July 17, 2005 @ 1:05 am | Comment

Absolutely. This is not realy a discussion that I want to get into on a family website (!) so I won’t. All I will say is…..ohhhh…the stories. They’ll keep until I get the chance to meet you mate.

July 17, 2005 @ 1:16 am | Comment

I think pete (?) asked about Chinese books along the lines of Ishihara’s “The Japan That Can Say No!”. Yes, there’s quite a few of them about. I finally got my hands on an old copy of “China: Just Say No! co-written by 5 “Young Chinese Patriots”. It’s pretty frightening stuff and makes Ishihara’s book look like a manefesto of liberal decency and tolerance.

I’m working my way through it now but it’s pretty slow going. I’ve just done a quick and very dodgy translation of a bit of the Introduction (by He Peiling):
————————————————–
“…the direction that China—as the sole existing socialist superpower—will take has become an obsession with the rest of the world. The US, because of deep ideological differneces and its vile intention to completely dominate the world all by itself, views mighty China’s unstoppable ascendance with considerable anguish, fear and concern.

From the view of the US hegemon, mighty China will undoubedly become a rival that will, without fear or mercy, put an end to the global hegemony of inferior US culture, economy and military power!

Let us, the great Chinese people, recognise and smash the conspiracy from the so-called “free world” that is directly aimed at mighty China!

To summarise, the most basic and fundamental policy of the US is the containment of mighty China. The US has already launched a new Cold War aimed directly at China!”
————————————————–
Scary stuff, eh? from what I’ve seen the entire book is based on the unshakeable premise that America and China are heading straight towards an inevitable war, which China will win because China is prepared to accept massive losses and America is “soft”.

July 17, 2005 @ 1:34 am | Comment

I’m just glad that I come from a country that’s corruption free. Bush/Cheney are pretty honest folks.

July 17, 2005 @ 2:13 am | Comment

American’s don’t like American casualties.Fact.

July 17, 2005 @ 2:16 am | Comment

Rather than dismiss the above as the crazed rhetoric of a single book, it’s interesting to compare where the government stand on this issue. My lass has a book, again in Chinese language, that I tihnk she picked up in Hong Kong. It reports on the official reaction of the Chinese government to the Belgrade Embassy bombing: (again–dodgy translation)
————————————————–
People’s Daily, 15th May 1999:

“The Evildoers Will Meet Their Destruction”

“The US is comparable to Nazi Germany in its efforts to dominate the world. The bombing (of the Embassy) was clearly a deliberate attack! The US hegemon attacked our embassy as a warning to our increasingly powerful country not to challenge US hegemony. But! The Chinese people are aware of the US’s vicious/vile intentions! We will work tirelessly to build up our country’s national strength and beff-up its competitiveness!”
————————————————–
Beijing Youth Daily 19 May 1999:

“Our public opinion poll conducted by the Chinese Youth Research Centre of 831 people found that every single one believed that the vicious embassy attack was deliberate. 56% thought the US “barbaric and crazy”. 37% thought the US government was “controlled by Nazis”.

Furthermore, additional polls by the Chinese Youth Reseach Centre found that over 90% of Chinese youth–and 96% of college students–recognise the fact that the principle aim of the US is to contain China. 84% of Chinese youth believe that US allegations of Chinese human rights abuses are based “simply on malice” and are not truthful.”
————————————————–

July 17, 2005 @ 2:29 am | Comment

Bluffing is just another word for lying. If the Chinese are good at anything it’s lying. “Vulcan’s never bluff” Spock- Stardate 4202.1

July 17, 2005 @ 3:12 am | Comment

Martyn, those are some seriously scary quotes (and statistics!)

July 17, 2005 @ 5:56 am | Comment

I know, thanks, I thought I’d killed this entire thread with my ramblings!

July 17, 2005 @ 6:03 am | Comment

By the way, I hate, loathe, despise, the way those Chinese polls use the word “Nazi” so easily. It’s unforgivable and shows a shocking amount of historical ignorance.

July 17, 2005 @ 6:06 am | Comment

Marxists often refer to those to whom the object to as nazis. Nazis to the marists is just a perjorative you hurl at your opponent.

Countries can go insane, Japan did that in 1937; but it does not happen often and I would hope that the ongoing trade relations would develop the rational need for each other so war does not arise. Personally, I do not think China will become the collosus many imagine in 20 or 30 or even 50 years, even 100 years. Too many economic disfunctionalities in the system yet. That does not mean that the United States will not degenerate. There is a serious effort on the part of many to decapitalize America, and it is going on rather quickly now (needlessly, mostly rules that increase transactional costs to such an extent it is much easier to transfer wealth production outside America). The rules, with the entent of bettering America, acutally do not, just increase costs, add to the high labor cost and prevent technological efficency to compensate for the higher labor costs. Sarbanes Oxely, for instance, adds considerably to the cost of doing business in America; but the thing it is suppose to prevent, it can’t.

July 17, 2005 @ 7:01 am | Comment

Shulan, I am not ignoring you, it is just that I am in China and when I see your posts, the conversation has went on to a different direction, and I do not have as much free time as I would like. I apologize. Some of your comments I can agree with, but others I will take exception to.

I had mentioned earlier in some thread that Nazi Germany’s economic structure was modeled after Fascist Italy, which was called Corporatism (by Benito himself, I believe). It actually had quite a impact on “Liberals” worldwide. FDR used it to model his NRA program after. For some reason, I now read where people try to call that Capitalism. It was an ingenious way to control the capital markets without collectivizing them. It was not Capitalism, labor wages, pricing of products, etc. were not dictated by the market, but rather by the government. Although the State did not take possession of the private companies, since the state determined the pricing, that is the essense of Socialism. As a matter of fact, the private companies were formed into cartels, which is not capitalism (cartels are state sponsored).

July 17, 2005 @ 7:10 am | Comment

Do you have an photos of badly translated signs from China? Please send them to me.

July 17, 2005 @ 8:05 am | Comment

Gordon
I might have one from a Starbucks in BJ. Will look around. The sign was in the “head” which was for urinating only. The English said something like “Don’t sh*t here.”

July 17, 2005 @ 8:59 am | Comment

Lisa, you must check out the kitty pics at bingfeng’s teahouse if you haven’t already. You’ll love ’em.

http://blog.bcchinese.net/bingfeng/

July 17, 2005 @ 9:46 am | Comment

A most interesting thread over at Talk Talk China; it looks like a healthy number of the comments were deleted for being too vitriolically anti-China. Smart move by the site owners.

July 17, 2005 @ 10:25 am | Comment

Just for the record, my comment wasn’t anti-China. It was in response to the initial idiot.

July 17, 2005 @ 10:31 am | Comment

Thanks Martyn, I’ve been negligent about Friday cat blogging. I have my old sweet cat Murphy sitting on my lap right now, in fact…

July 17, 2005 @ 5:18 pm | Comment

Well OL, get to it, post a picture of your pussy.

July 17, 2005 @ 9:46 pm | Comment

um..cat, that is. ๐Ÿ™‚

July 17, 2005 @ 9:47 pm | Comment

Martyn:

I don’t think one can put much trust in Chinese public opinion polls. Imagine:

Pollster: “Hi, young man, I’m a seriously scary stranger, employed by an unidentified department of your one-party authoritarian government, and I’d like to ask you a few important political questions, your answers to which I will be writing down here in my official ledger.”

Subject: “Er, ok.”

Pollster: “Do you agree, as the glorious Chinese Communist Party has tireless explained, that the barbaric and crazy imperialist American warmongers intentionally bombed China’s entirely peaceful embassy, killing many Chinese civilians without justification. Or do you think that the glorious CCP is lying and that the Americans were right to kill your innocent countrymen, and, if the latter, can I please have your name, place of employment and the name of the head of your neighborhood Party association?

July 18, 2005 @ 12:23 am | Comment

Are you implying Chinese polls are skewed?

July 18, 2005 @ 12:31 am | Comment

Haha! Exactly. I remeber Gordon on HM finding a similar “poll” on Xinhua a couple of months ago.

“Polls” are all part and parcel of the great Chinese propaganda machine. Do your “poll” and report it as fact, as above.

Still, I only threw in the China Youth Daily “polls” as they were intresting, I was mainly concentrating the CCP’s post-Belgrade reaction to show that it was just as vitriolic and jingoistic as that book Zhongguo: keyi shuo bu!

July 18, 2005 @ 12:50 am | Comment

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