Great Hall of the People, XXIV

A new thread.

The Discussion: 85 Comments

Sorry for the length but this, from the Peoples’ Daily (, is just too good not to post in full:

China’s socialist political democracy shows Chinese characteristics: white paper

China’s socialist political democracy shows distinctive Chinese characteristics, says a white paper on Building of Political Democracy in China, issued by the Information Office of the State Council on Wednesday.

The white paper says,in building socialist political democracy, China has always adhered to the basic principle that the Marxist theory of democracy be combined with the reality of China and assimilated the democratic elements of China’s traditional culture and institutional civilization.

The white paper says China’s democracy is a people’s democracy under the leadership of the CPC, a democracy in which the overwhelming majority of the people act as masters of state affairs and a democracy with democratic centralism as the basic organizational principle and mode of operation.

The white paper says China’s democracy is a people’s democracy under the leadership of the CPC. The democratic political system in China was established by the Chinese people led by the CPC. The development and improvement of this system are also carried out under the CPC’s leadership, which is a fundamental guarantee for the Chinese people to be masters in managing the affairs of their own country.

The white paper says, China’s democracy is a democracy in which the overwhelming majority of the people act as masters of state affairs. That the people are the masters is the quintessence of China’s socialist democracy. In China, the publicly owned sector of the economy is the economic foundation of China’s socialist system. In the primary stage of socialism, the state persists in the basic economic system with public ownership playing a dominant role and diverse forms of ownership developing side by side, and in the distribution system in which to each according to his work is predominant while other forms of distribution exist side by side. This ensures, from the perspective of economic foundation, that China’s democracy will not be manipulated by capital; it is not a democracy for a small number of people, but one for the overwhelming majority of the people. In China, people enjoying the democratic rights include everyone who has not been deprived of political rights by law.

The white paper says China’s democracy is a democracy guaranteed by the people’s democratic dictatorship [George Orwell, call your office — ed.]. Under the people’s democratic dictatorship, on the one hand, democracy of the widest scope is practiced among the people, human rights are respected and ensured, and state power is in the hands of the people and serves the interests of the people. On the other, criminal activities, such as sabotage of the socialist system, endangering state security and public security, infringement on citizens’ rights of the person or their democratic rights, embezzlement, bribery and dereliction of duty, are penalized according to law so as to safeguard the fundamental interests of the broad masses.

The white paper says China’s democracy is a democracy with democratic centralism as the basic organizational principle and mode of operation. Democratic centralism is the fundamental principle of organization and leadership of state power in China.

It requires that we give full play to democracy and discuss matters of concern collectively, so that people’s wishes and demands are fully expressed and reflected. Then, all the correct opinions are pooled, and decisions are made collectively so that the people’s wishes and demands are realized and met.

The practice of democratic centralism also requires that “the majority be respected while the minority is protected.” We are against the anarchic call for “democracy for all,” and against anybody placing his own will above that of the collective.

My first thought was that some satirical genius had hacked into the Poeples’ Daily website. But no, it seems they are actually serious.

October 20, 2005 @ 7:10 am | Comment

About the White Paper which Than cited:

Paradoxically, this kind of official nonsense makes me feel better about China. Let me tell you why:

I forget who said it – it was some Victorian English person, who said:

“Hypocrisy is the tribute which vice pays to virtue.”

So, yes, China’s “White Paper” is full of hypocrisy. But the fact that they feel the need to publish such hypocrisy, is evidence that they feel some pressure to do so.

Hitler was not a hypocrite. He and the other Nazis were very bald and brazen and open about how much they hated – they hated democracy, they hated Jews, they hated minorities, they hated EVERYthing and EVERYone other than themselves. And they were very open about this, because they felt very confident in their own power.

Hitler was VERY open about his contempt for democracy. And he had good reason to be, because for a long time, he had uncontested power – uncontested in his own country or by any other country. Go and read, or listen to, some of Hitler’s speeches. He does not pay any tribute to any virtue. He only speaks about the Party, and the Party’s Power, and love of the Party – without any reservation.

Today’s ruling Party of China is nothing like that. Yes, they’re hypocrites. GOOD! If they feel the need to work SO hard to be hypocritical – to their own people and on the world stage – then it means they feel pressured. They know their limitations, in some way.

And, not all of them are hypocrites.

This White Paper demonstrates the limitations of the CCP. It’s hypocritical, but ALL reforms begin with some kind of hypocrisy…..

October 20, 2005 @ 7:26 am | Comment

PS, we Americans could also say that the Founders of our country were hypocrites when they said, “All men are created equal” in 1776 when ten percent of Americans were slaves.

That’s what I mean when I say, all reforms begin with some degree of hypocrisy.

October 20, 2005 @ 7:28 am | Comment

Thanh, that is amazing, thank you!

The white paper says China’s democracy is a people’s democracy under the leadership of the CPC. The democratic political system in China was established by the Chinese people led by the CPC. The development and improvement of this system are also carried out under the CPC’s
leadership, which is a fundamental guarantee for the Chinese people to be masters in managing the affairs of their own country.

Did you get all that self-congratulations and self-adoration?

It’s funny, I have a “friend” who is a textbook narcissist. All he talks about is himself and his imagined achievements. When you hear him talk, you can scarcely believe he doesn’t realize he’s parodying himself. And that is exactly what I felt as I read this self-laudatory, dripping-witrh-self-praise narcissistic nonsense. No wonder my narcissistic “friend” is so attracted to the CCP. It reminds him of himself, and nothing gives him so much pleasure as thinking about himself.

October 20, 2005 @ 8:13 am | Comment

What?! Nothing at all about the attempted online sale of babies on ebay in Shanghai ?!

October 20, 2005 @ 9:35 pm | Comment

They had a wrestler called the Narcissist. All the Gorgeous and Adorables were taken….

October 20, 2005 @ 10:59 pm | Comment

My God; that Yushukan museum is disgusting! I had no idea how bad it is. I knew all about how it claimed that Japan occupied China and Korea in order to liberate and protect Asia from Russian Bolshevism and European colonialism,the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was “forced” by “a plot” by FDR and that Japanese-led massacres, Korean comfort women, Chinese sex slaves, or tortured POWs are not mentioned.
But look what is- Adolf Hitler was merely “trying to reclaim the territory lost in World War 1.” No mention is made of Poland, Czecholslovakia, France etc etc etc or that little matter of the Holocaust. It sells books called “The Alleged Nanjing Massacre,” and $90 embossed volumes that glorify kamikazi pilots.
This is what the Independent reports it having on its walls:
What is not familiar is the story line. In a version that most historians would refute, Mr. Roosevelt drew Japan into a conflict hoping, in part, this would end the Great Depression: “The only option open to Roosevelt โ€ฆ was to use embargoes to force resource-poor Japan into warโ€ฆ. The US economy made a complete recovery once the Americans entered.”

When Secretary Hull asked Japan to remove its troops from China in the spring of 1941 and to stop the planned invasion of Southeast Asia, this “showed the US was hostile to Japan.” As old diplomatic images scroll, a voiceover says: “We had huge interests in China and many fellow countrymenโ€ฆ. We could absolutely not abandon these interests.”

US requests during that summer to negotiate were “a pretext for the Americans to initiate hostilities toward Japan.”

The timeline speeds up: On July 25, Japanese “advances” into French Indochina give the US “the excuse it needs to adopt hard-line policies against Japan.” On Aug. 1, “The US resolves to go to war against Japan.” The Aug. 10-14 mid-Atlantic meeting between Roosevelt and Churchill results in a secret agreement to carry out the attack on Japan. On Nov. 7, “The US plan to force Japan in to war is set in motion.” Nov. 20: Japanese ambassadors in Washington attempt a final compromise. But by Nov. 25, Roosevelt is “exploring ways of getting Japan to attack.”

October 22, 2005 @ 3:39 am | Comment

Ok, guys, time for another Math’s post:

“East Is Red, The Sun Rises, A Mao Zedong is born in China, he toils for the people’s livelihood, he is the savior of the people”

The above lyrics is the original lyrics of a famous song called “The East is Red”, written in 1947 by a farmer in China’s Shanbei Province, 2 years before the Communists won China. It was adapted into a musical ballet in 1964, by musician He Luding. Mr. He Luding changed the “people’s livelihood” from the original lyrics to “people’s happiness”.

Almost everyone my generation in China can recite the entire lyrics and sing the entire song in our sleep.

The original author’s name was Li Youyuan. He is a utterly poor farmer in the Shanbei Province, and farmers like to sing songs during their sparetime. Li Youyuan never received any education, and could read no more than his own name.

Then, why did he create such a song as “East Is Red”? Is it for fame? The fact is, very very few people knew the Li
Youyuan as the original author of the lyrics, even Mr. He Luding does not know about Li Youyuan after later. So this orignal song was spread amongst the villagers of Shanbei Province, and eventually spread around the entire China.

If Li Youyuan did not create this song for fame, then why did he do it? Obviously there was no such concept as intellectual property in China in the 40’s, so he writes and sings this song (or other songs) as a way to release some
emotion, or for pure recreation. Clearly he also did not write this song to kiss someone’s ass, because he never attempted to make it known that he wrote it. Also, Li Youyuan was never a Communist party member, never participated in the Revolution, and never received any benefits or “promotion” for this song. He was just a simple farmer and had been that way till death.

Another interesting thing is: most of the famous songs today (even old folksongs from long ago) are written by professional musicians, writers, or at least educated “intellectuals”. I have not seen another case where a popular and
famous song is written by a simple, plain, poor person, and an illiterate farmer at that! And in 1943, when the song was written, the Communist Party was still struggling with the ruling Nationalists and did not have the money and the resources to hire people to make propaganda for them, and certainly did not have money to pay people to make propaganda. Most farmers in Shanbei Province had never even seen Mao Zedong, even during the Revolution, the landlord of the house under which Mao lived in did not realize his tenant was the famous Mao Zedong. This makes it even harder for such a song to spread so quickly by itself.

Now, let’s speculate on how this song was created. Perhaps one morning, the sun was rising from the east, and Li Youyuan’s mind was hit by a sudden inspiration, and he started saying those words in his minds. He could not have written them down, because he barely knew how to read his own name. So the lyrics and melody of this song was “sung” in his mind, and as he started singing loudly in the field, other villagers heard and really identified with the lyrics and the melody, and quickly it spread from one village to another, one province to another, all through people singing to each other. In his lyrics, he used “toils for people’s livelihood”. Clearly, there were severe problems with the Chinese people’s livelihood, and the villagers easily identified with it.

“East is Red” is also the song that’s broadcasted about 20 times on China’s first satellite, before that, neither the US nor the USSR had the idea of playing a song from a satellite in space. In fact, the first ever song in human history to be sent into space was written by that poor farmer Li Youyuan.

Whenever I see so many people celebrating the birth of Mao Zedong on Christmas Day every year, I feel especially happy and pleasurable. Mao was born on the same day as Jesus Christ. But because of time differences, when the East is on the 26th of December, the West would still be on the 25th. Therefore, I think “East is Red” should also be sung during Christmas just like any other Christmas carols, perhaps one day, all Churches everywhere would have lovely children choirs singing “East is Red”.

Here is more information about this song:

Here are two different recordings of this song:

October 22, 2005 @ 8:45 am | Comment

Whenever I see so many people celebrating the birth of Mao Zedong on Christmas Day every year, I feel especially happy and pleasurable. Mao was born on the same day as Jesus Christ.

Tell us, do you also get an erection on April 20th?

October 22, 2005 @ 9:02 am | Comment

How does this have anything to do with Adolf Hitler? I don’t like Hitler very much, he did some bad things.

October 22, 2005 @ 9:10 am | Comment

The fact that you get all warm and fuzzy over the birth of one of the world’s great butchers made me think you might get aroused thinking of the death camps and the birth of the man who made it all possible.

October 22, 2005 @ 9:16 am | Comment


October 22, 2005 @ 10:06 am | Comment

Keir, I get crucified when I delete. He’s now formally warned – a single asinine comment and he’s out and deleted.

October 22, 2005 @ 10:07 am | Comment

Oh, and as a postscript to the controversial Effeminate Chinese Men? post, you will definitely want to see this response.

October 22, 2005 @ 10:32 am | Comment

yushukan, yeah.

now you may have a little sympathy on the irrational korean and chinese.

the link for keir’s script is here

October 23, 2005 @ 12:22 am | Comment

Another glorious day for press freedom in the PRC:
Hangzhou, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) — A traffic police chief was suspended from his duties because of an impingement to a newspaper office Wednesday in Taizhou City of eastern China’s Zhejiang Province, local police said on Saturday.

Li Xiaoguo, head of the Jiaojiang Traffic Police Detachment under Taizhou Public Security Bureau, was told to halt work and make a self-criticism for his assault on a veteran newsman, according to Wu Yuqing, a senior police officer who had handled the case.

A report entitled “Is Fee Required to Pay for Electric Bike’s Registration?” was carried Wednesday by Taizhou Evening News, which is affiliated to local Taizhou Daily, to solicits opinions of locals and give an explanation by another traffic cop pertaining to the charge.

“The report was based on interviews with Taizhou CPC commission for discipline inspection and the city’s complaint-receiving center,” said Lu Weibo, a reporter of the evening news.

However, Li Xiaoguo rushed to the newspaper office along with his two peers, demanding a “correction” to the report and a penalty to the reporter, said Wu Xianghu, deputy editor of the newspaper.

“After being rejected, Li pointed his fingers at me and cursed me, and hit my head hard with his handbag,” Wu said. “So we fell together by the ears.”

Then, Li whistled up more policemen, who later raised Wu up and moved him violently from the fifth floor of the office into a police wagon.

Wu, a liver cancer patient whose liver had been transplanted two years ago, got a number of injuries on his body and suffered the inconsistency of faeces from Li and his peers’ assault.

I wonder if ESWN will translate the TKP report on this incident and post it?

October 23, 2005 @ 1:51 am | Comment

Thanks a lot for sharing that Dylan. Thank God for reform.

October 23, 2005 @ 2:27 am | Comment

Keir, in the last PKD thread on Koizumi I pointed out the Yasukuni Shrine Official Website. No one responded to the nationalist and historical revisionist stuff I pointed out, least of all ACB who commented after me that shrine visits are not a sign of nationalism. The webpage says this:

This matter is drawn upon the judgment professed by the Military Tribunal for the Far East that Japan fought a war of aggression. Can we say that this view is correct? We must pass judgment on this matter in the same manner of a tribunal that passes judgment after gathering credible proof. We cannot help but feel that the possibility of ulterior motives have not been discounted. Isn’t it a fact that the West with its military power invaded and ruled over much of Asia and Africa and that this was the start of East-West relations? There is no uncertainty in history. Japan’s dream of building a Great East Asia was necessitated by history and it was sought after by the countries of Asia.

I don’t think Japan has any new designs on conquering Asia, and I don’t think most Japanese people believe WW2 was about the liberation of Asia. But Koizumi and the government are clearly deeply influenced by a bunch of right wing nutjobs, which sounds awfully familiar… I’m sure I know another country like that… Anyway, I’ll remember eventually. The point is, the Shrine is clearly under the control of said nutters. And the Shrine’s origins are nationalist: it’s to commemorate the dead of the Boshin Civil War – only those who fought for the Emperor. That’s like an American Civil War memorial for only the Union soldiers.

October 23, 2005 @ 3:06 am | Comment


The Chinese government must be moved to tears by your comment.
But I agree with you.

October 23, 2005 @ 9:16 am | Comment

This just in! Drudge reads pekingduck? Drudge Report has a link to neo-nazi jailbait featured by Richard TPD a couple of days ago.

October 23, 2005 @ 11:17 am | Comment

Yeah, I always knew that davesgonechina. But not that it was THAT bad…

October 23, 2005 @ 5:48 pm | Comment

A propos of little, except that we were discussing Wikipedia recently, the Guardian has an interesting-ish article up, where experts review Wikipedia articles in their specialist subjects.

October 24, 2005 @ 12:39 am | Comment

I just visited the Prussian Blue web site and I’m literally in shock. How can such depravity exist, let alone fluorish? Did we learn nothing of the horrors of the Nazis?

Check out some of their lyrics, and their links. Freedom means they have the right to be racist haters, and it also gives me the right to say I think they’re headed straight to hell. The sooner the better.

October 24, 2005 @ 1:48 am | Comment

You mean it’s NOT a spoof!?!?!?!?!

October 24, 2005 @ 2:06 am | Comment

It’s for real.

October 24, 2005 @ 2:09 am | Comment

At least I think it is – did you read the articles about them? It’s totally consistent with what’s on the site.

October 24, 2005 @ 2:10 am | Comment

It is real, best as I can determine. I first heard about the darling little stormtroopers a couple of years ago, IIRC.

October 24, 2005 @ 2:38 am | Comment

I wouldn’t worry about Prussian Blue. You just know those two gals are going to grow up hankering for big, black cock. *iz evil* >:P

October 24, 2005 @ 2:45 am | Comment

I think blogspot has been banned again. ๐Ÿ™ Has anyone else had a go at it?

October 24, 2005 @ 3:42 am | Comment

I think we all knew it would be a temporary thing – they do this all the time, un-ban a site and then re-ban it weeks later.

October 24, 2005 @ 3:46 am | Comment

Sorry, sorry, false alarm. The governments trigger-happy website banning device brings out the girl who cried ‘wolf!’ in me.

October 24, 2005 @ 3:52 am | Comment

The British government has been dealt an embarrassing blow as according to confidential reports, (which had to be leaked of course)
nearly half of all Iraqis sympathised with violent attacks against British and US coalition troops.
As the shadow defence minister responded to this news, “if British soldiers are putting their lives on the line for a cause which is not supported by the Iraqi people, then we have to ask the question ‘What are we doing there?'”

October 24, 2005 @ 3:55 am | Comment


October 24, 2005 @ 4:03 am | Comment

Keir, where’d you get that story? It’s good.

October 24, 2005 @ 4:05 am | Comment

all the papers
I’m scared now to source the Guardian….

October 24, 2005 @ 7:07 am | Comment

Hey guys, just became aware of this website:
It translates arabian tv programs into english.
Watch it! It’s scary.

October 24, 2005 @ 10:06 am | Comment

That Prussian Blue website is one of the most funny and still most strange things I have seen, they look 13, stilll in braces, very strange, but funny.

What happened to Martyn, did he retire from TPD?

October 24, 2005 @ 3:34 pm | Comment

“Prussian Blue”: I hope they do some research and find out that their Prussian ancestors were Jews.

(Jews of Northern Germany – esp Berlin – often were blonde and blue eyed. At least back when some of them still existed. And they intermarried with “Gentiles” quite a lot.)

October 24, 2005 @ 5:08 pm | Comment

Blonde Jews: Oh wait, a convenient example comes to mind: Kirk Douglas. His father was, I think, from Russia, but still, good example of how Northern European Jews can often look like perfect Vikings. (And Kirk Douglas was great in the movie,
“The Vikings”)

Also Paul Newman, blue-eyed, “Nordic”-featured Jew.

October 24, 2005 @ 5:11 pm | Comment

I don’t find the Yushukan stuff surprising. It reads like Japanese pre-war propaganda that just happens to omit what actually happened.

But many Japanese have at least some sympathy for the views expressed. Complex reasons, I guess:

1. It is difficult for anyone to accept that their own country and everything it did is as unrelievedly black as others portray it.

2. The pre-war propaganda may actually have had some idealism behind it (driving whites out of Asia, for instance); pity it was hijacked by the militarists as a pretext for their invasions ๐Ÿ™‚

3. Put yourself in Japanese shoes and not Western shoes for a moment. If you were a country like Japan in the 1920s/1930s, what would you have done? Many Japanese actually believe that their country had no choice.

4. In an era when lebensraum thinking was abroad and every self-respecting country had colonies, Japanese actions had a certain logic at the time. Nowadays ‘Little Japaners’ are the norm; no one would seriously propose territorial aggrandisement, but before the war the idea of a ‘greater Japan’ was both accepted and feasible. Historically, other countries (like Russia, China and the US) practised territorial expansion on a grand scale, and got away with it.

5. Post-war introspection in Japan was highly politicised. It was a hallmark of the left. Many people will reject abject criticism of Japan’s past in the same breath as they reject the left. (I have been told that the credibility of many left-wing scholars in Japan was severely compromised by their apologism for the Cultural Revolution. Ironic, isn’t it? China’s natural allies in Japan were indirectly destroyed by Mao Tse Tung.)

I don’t want to defend Yasukuni’s revisionism one iota. But the revulsion that people are showing for Yushukan seems to be partly caused by horror at the idea that such ideas could still be actively espoused in Japan. They are merely an extreme version of what many Japanese still have sympathise with to some extent in their hearts.

October 24, 2005 @ 7:45 pm | Comment

JD: I noticed that alot of the experts said the wikipedia entries were mostly factual, not very well written and hardly comprehensive.

Which is pretty much what anybody expects out of wikipedia, right?

Shulan: MEMRI TV is cool! I love monitoring projects like that.

October 24, 2005 @ 8:54 pm | Comment

Ivan- Berst example would be Rienhardt Heidrich

October 24, 2005 @ 10:06 pm | Comment

Dave: Exactly. If I want detailed information, or someone’s opinion, I’m prepared to pay for the effort of writing it. I’m not going to demand it from a free online encyclopedia. That would be like bitching about Babelfish’s translations not being that great.

October 24, 2005 @ 10:07 pm | Comment

Did Heydrich have Jewish relatives? I forget. He was, perhaps, the single most evil man whoever lived, even pre-empting Hitler himself. Hard to measure, of course, but he definitely gets a gold star (or perhaps, if you’re right, a yellow star?).

October 24, 2005 @ 10:14 pm | Comment

The Sichuan big-headed boy report.

Richard will you move this to get more exposure, please?

Two weeks ago the boy had nerosurgery by a doctor at the Sichuan Provncial Hospital in Chengdu. By the account of the surgeon, all went well. BTW, the doc is a great guy. One problem is that there has been some damage to the child’s brain, so a full recovery to normal child is not predicted.

Then several days after the surgery, the boy got pneumonia and went into the intensive care unit. Pretty serious for the 10 month boy just after surgery. It also has been discovered the boy may have TB and a heart problem. Just talked to the pediatric doctor. He said the boy is doing better on the pneumonia problem.

So far the paid bill has been RMB20,000. Collection boxes have been set up in Chengdu at two bar/cafes near the Traffic Hotel. They are Anchor Bar and the Highfly cafe. Anyone around that vacinity is asked to donate as the medical expenses are on going and the family is poor, poor, poor.

This is a general solicitation to all readers for donations. The kid needs continued medical treatment. Funds are needed for the treatment. When I work out a donation system for people outside Chengdu I will post it here if Richard permits.

October 25, 2005 @ 2:39 am | Comment

Pete, please feel to write a guest post about this; it’ll get more attention that way. Any links you can offer?

October 25, 2005 @ 2:43 am | Comment

Where’s Ivan? I need a Russian perspective:


A similar tragedy, concerning a Chinese businessman found murdered in Khabarovsk, Russia, was reported yesterday by China News Services.

The man had been missing for several days when his body was found. He had been handcuffed to a tree and shot in the head.

Would a Russian handcuff someone to a tree and shoot them in the head for any particular reason? Sounds like some Millers Crossing mob retribution to me. Just wondering if there’s some subtext there.

October 25, 2005 @ 3:00 am | Comment

Sounds like a business killing to me. There’s an excellent book called VIOLENT ENTREPENEURS – about the rise of protection rackets in Russia in the 90s – which emphasises the role of melodramatic terror when ‘punishing’ businessmen – often drawn from American movies.

I was in Russia last month, and I’ve never seen so many beatings, fights, etc. Brrr.

October 25, 2005 @ 3:56 am | Comment


Oh, how SWEET of you to think of ME whenever you have a question about handcuffs! ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway: The Russian “mafia” (who are not any kind of traditional organisation – it’s just a general phrase for a mix of business interests and police power) do not have any traditional, symbolic methods of execution. Not like the Italian mafia.

This looks more like an improvised matter of convenience. They wanted him to be found – to send a warning to others – but not for a while. So they handcuffed him to a tree outside of town – and let the wolves or dogs gnaw at him a bit, to make it more dramatic. But they wanted him to be found. It’s easy to make someone disappear in Siberia (or the Russian “Far East”, where this happened. Technically it’s not Siberia but it’s similar.)

It was an assassination with a message, and it was done by someone who had no fear of punishment. THAT much I can see.

Also, the Russian “mafia” overlap with the FSB/KGB (the new and old names of the intelligence services, or the main branch anyway) as well as with the police and just about every kind of militia/intelligence. The boundaries between law and criminality are very blurry in Russia, and always have been.

(Contrary to common Western belief, Russians are NOT authoritarian. They are the opposite. Russians are basically anarchists, EXCEPT, EXCEPT where issues of National Security are concerned. Whenever Russians feel threatened by foreign powers, they rally and get organised.)

And so, as this DOES appear to have been a “business killing”, I perceive something else: Considering that it involved a Chinese “businessman” near the border of China – in a region over which China still has revanchist grievances – I can see how it might have involved Russian security concerns as well.

Because: China’s intelligence operatives work cheek by jowl with, and in, “private” commerce, perhaps more than most other countries do.
My point here being, that I’m 100 percent sure that the KGB (as I call Russia’s intelligence, for convenience)
was watching this guy closely as a suspected (or a presumed) Chinese spy. (Which also is an especially vague term – the boundaries between civilians and spies are ESPECIALLY blurred in China, traditionally, like for the last 2000 years China has had a peculiar way of blurring those lines.)

Now, it’s not my affair, because I’m not a Russian citizen. This one is between Russia and the victim and anyone connected with him. However, I’m just sayin: A “business” killing of a Chinese businessman in the Russian Far East, is probably not just about business.
In this case it might have involved concerns for state security – as defined by the Russians – and I’m not saying I agree with them. I’m just saying, this is how they think.

I of all people, I am NOT a great fan of the KGB. But on the other hand I DO understand and respect Russia’s concerns for security in its eastern regions, bordering on potentially hostile countries.

So I wouldn’t be surprised if the KGB did this. And I’m not making any judgements on who was right or wrong. I’m literally neutral on this one.

October 25, 2005 @ 6:13 am | Comment

Oh and now to James:

You say you never saw so many fights as you did in Russia? Actually I DO believe you. But some qualifications and questions:

1. You were there “last month”, meaning, you never lived there. You just got a short glimpse. So although I DO know what you mean, still I want to ask: WHERE in Russia were you? It’s a huge place.

2. Alright, yes I admit, violence really is endemic in Russia. (And some regulars on this site know how I occasionally refer to my experiences with – or around – violence there. However, most of what goes on is just scuffling, or heated exchanges which very much resemble how the Irish behave.

The Russians have a LOT in common with the Irish, their love of literature, their romanticism, their hospitality, their drinking and yes their fighting.
(By the way I have a lot of Irish blood – more than Russian – precisely why I fit in even all the more in Russia. ๐Ÿ™‚

But – well, at least as far as drinking and fighting goes (setting aside the nicer qualities like hospitality and warmth) – the British also have a lot in common with the Irish. (Minus the warmth and hospitality, I mean.)
And James, your email seems to be UK based. So, if you’re British, I wonder:

3. Be honest, have you NOT seen just as much insane drunkenness and violence in Britain as you saw in Russia?

If not, then you don’t get out enough in Britain.


October 25, 2005 @ 6:34 am | Comment

Just watching the show about “Taiwan came back to China”.
It makes me so sick!
Heroic chinese people, who gave their lifes, for China.
Hey, they gave their lifes for Taiwan!
Mainland, be aware of problems if you want to go there!
And China defeated the Japanese Troups? Yes, like the netherlands did defeat the germans in WW2, maybe…

This nationalistic route of the last few months makes me afraid. Is this the preparation for the coming invasion?
And the rice-eater believes all this bs.
Still a lot of problems in this country…

October 25, 2005 @ 7:26 am | Comment

I know that Austin has suggested that we all just shut up about bird flu, but, just happened to notice this.

(sorry, I need to learn how to do that tinyurl thing)

Did anybody notice anything on the news today?

October 25, 2005 @ 9:31 am | Comment

Dear Ivan –

I was only in Siberia – Chita and Novosibirsk – for a few days, and I wouldn’t judge an entire country on those merits – but the violence was both endemic and obvious. Partially I was shocked because I *was* only there a few days, but I saw violence all the time. I grew up in Manchester, and I saw a lot of rough things and was mugged a few times BUT those were restricted to certain times and places (like Friday night in a rough part of town.) What was so shocking, for me, about Russia was the way that violence seemed to be able to break out anywhere and anytime. Equally, I despise English binge drinking – but it’s rare that it happens at 12 noon!

A sample. In Novosibirsk, I saw a young guy – about twenty – stomping on a middle-aged man on the roadside. I mean *stomping*, too – blood streaming from between his fingers, his face broken and beaten. Two girls were cheering him on. It was about two’o’clock in the afternoon, on a big street, and there were five or six other people standing around watching. At least a couple of them were clearly disgusted, but none of them were shocked, nor made any effort to interfere. (In fairness, the guy doing the beating looked pretty tough, and they were mostly middle-aged.) I pulled him back from the guy he was beating and the two girls shrieked that the guy on the ground was a thief and they were going to take him to the police. (My spoken Russian isn’t good, but I understood ‘thief’ and ‘police’ and a few other words, and I think that’s what they were saying.) When I left they were binding his hands with his belt.

Another example; a fight between Mongolian traders and Russian thieves at the station, where both sides drew knives and were dancing round each other. Eventually the Russians ran, and one of the Mongolians threw his knife at him. Fortunately, he missed.

The Russians have many virtues; I spent a lot of time in the Russian community in Australia, and it was often charming. I almost married into a Russian family, in fact! But I think that their virtues are mostly private – hospitality, friendship, poetry – and their flaws public. There isn’t much civic culture in Russia – let alone a service culture!


October 25, 2005 @ 10:41 am | Comment

I spoke more Chinese than Russian when I was in Chita, incidentally. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’d be amazed if a lot of Siberia wasn’t de facto Chinese within the next fifty years, given the way the Russian population’s going.


October 25, 2005 @ 11:02 am | Comment


1. The stories you have told about your brief time in Russia, sound familiar to me. I believe you.

2. But on the same note, when you say you expect the Chinese to take over Siberia:

Just think of what you have witnessed, of the fury of Russians.

It will never happen. China will never expand beyond its borders, into Russian Siberia.

Because – as I’ve said before on this site – in a street fight or in any combat situation, I’d rather have one good Russian on my side, rather than 100 Chinese.

One good Russian can outfight 100 Chinese. I know from experience.

I love and respect China. But I also know, that if China ever tried to take ANY territory from Russia, my good Russian friends and relatives would turn Shanghai into an ashtray and then they would slaughter any Chinese who dared to invade across Russia’s borders.

The numbers, the population, does not matter. The quality of the people matters. And one good Russian warrior is worth 100 Chinese. I’ve seen them in action.

If anything, the next problem to worry about – on the border between Russian and China – is not China invading Russia. No. China should worry about Russia expanding its borders to take back Xinjiang.

Russia does not need to worry about China. Even a million pathetic Chinese peasants in the “People’s Liberation Army”, are not enough to defeat Russia. Because, most of the Chinese Army consists of weak, undisciplined peasants. Russia’s Army is something else. Russian soldiers understand – as the Chinese do not – what it means to fight and die for honour. (And they are literally, physically bigger and stronger, too, the Russians. And they have native, natural courage, which almost NO Chinese have. 99.999 percent of Chinese men are natural cowards, who would never dare to risk their lives unless they had no choice. But 99 percent of Russians are the opposite – they WANT to get a chance to die in a good cause!

And if the Russians ever decide to take Xinjiang, they will. And the Chinese will just have to sit and take it. Unless they want to be bombed into the dark ages and then have their remaining cities occupied by the Russian Army.

Population means relatively little, when it comes to war. What matters is the qualities of the people, and how they fight.

And China cannot hold a candle to Russia, when it comes to valour and fighting skills, and willingness to die for Honour.

I know whereof I speak. Good Russians have risked their lives to save my life. But – good as they are in some ways – I have NEVER seen any of that kind of valour in any Chinese.

Chinese are natural cowards. Russians are natural warriors. China should be worried and afraid, about Russia. Be very afraid. ๐Ÿ™‚

October 25, 2005 @ 12:06 pm | Comment


Now my Russian friends and family will be disappointed in me, if I do not sing, the Russian national anthem:

Soyuz! Nerushimy, respublik svobonky!
Splotila naveki Velykiya Rus!
Na ZDRASTvetyet soyuzdanny
SOZ-danny volyey Narod!
Yedynny mogushy, Sovietsky Soyuz!

SLAVA! Otchestvo Nasha Sbodnoye!

etc etc etc etc

I will sing that, before I ever countenance the PRC ever invading any part of Russia. Seriously!

I would rather die, than see Russia give even one acre to the PRC.


October 25, 2005 @ 12:27 pm | Comment

Dear Ivan –

I don’t think there will be any military takeover. I think that increasingly Chinese settlement will so outnumber the Russians that Siberia will be, in practice, run by Chinese companies. Remember that not only is the Russian population shrinking by half a million a year, but there’s also a big population movement from East to West – it was only the ability of the Tsars and then the Soviets to force movement that kept Siberia populated by Russians in the first place.

If it ever did come to a shooting war … well, I think you might be a little biased in your assessment of the two sides, hmm? ๐Ÿ™‚ The last people to denigrate the fighting skills of the Chinese were the Americans … just before the crossing of the Yalu River.


October 25, 2005 @ 1:04 pm | Comment

That’s half a million a year without AIDS, mind you. 1% of the population is HIV+ now, which is considered by many to be the epidemic tipping point.

Fifty years time, Russia will be behind the Urals in all but name – maybe even in that. Asian Russia is a relatively new phenomenon, historically speaking, and I fear that in the long run it’s as doomed as British India.


October 25, 2005 @ 1:08 pm | Comment

Thanks for the lyrics, Ivan. I have Paul Robeson’s version but it’s the magnificent Red Army choir’s version Iplay during quiz games in my class.
I fear James is right. This is why mavericks (it’s that nut-case who wants to reclaim Alaska forcibly, but can’t write his name) who brought into Parliament that bill to prevent Russian women from marrying foreigners, calling Slavic women the world’s most beautiful. I thought he meant mail-order brides but, no, it was reported that such treasure was leaving Russian men (described as drunk) for………(drum roll)
Chinese men!

October 25, 2005 @ 4:15 pm | Comment

By the way… I took part in that Terry Fox run Saturday and formuch of the way it was the Soviet anthem that kept me going

October 25, 2005 @ 4:41 pm | Comment

Ooh, someone’s goading the bear.

Launching into the national anthem with puffed chest and denouncing others as honour-less…hmm, where have I witnessed this brand of patriotism before? ๐Ÿ˜‰

October 25, 2005 @ 4:51 pm | Comment

“I would rather die, than see Russia give even one acre to the PRC.”

I believe you. I’ve heard Russians say similar things about four miserable islands off the coast of Hokkaido. The Japanese even tried to bribe Russia to get them back! It would not be acceptable to any red-blooded patriotic Russian to give back a square centimetre fo Russian territory!

Fair enough. So Japanese money never made it into Siberia to develop Russian resources. Maybe Russia will regret that one day (maybe)… For the price of four islands, they might have had a useful counterbalance to Chinese pressure on Siberia. (The contrast between the Japanese trying to use the bait of money and Russia turning it down out of national and territorial pride is actually rather comic, in a pathetic sort of way).

October 25, 2005 @ 7:34 pm | Comment

Wow, is this topic still going on?

Well as I said, I’m not a Russian citizen. But I do understand how they think and yes I have strong sympathies for them.

Thing about the islands near Japan, for example – good example of the essential Russian predicament: Its borders are very hard to define geographically, and history has taught the Russians that if they give an inch to anyone, they’ll lose a lot more than an inch. So, there’s kind of an obsession with defending the borders against even the slightest incursions – and it’s not just symbolic, it’s practical.

October 25, 2005 @ 7:58 pm | Comment

Ivan boasted:

And one good Russian warrior is worth 100 Chinese. I’ve seen them in action.

How about one Russian warrior against 100 Chinese mounted on armored elephants?

How about 1 Russian against 99 Chinese led by one Japanese general?

How about 100 of Russia’s finest warriors using their bare fists against 1000 middle-aged Chinese businessmen armed with flame throwers?

What becomes of your mighty Russian warriors in these situations, Ivan? ๐Ÿ˜‰

October 25, 2005 @ 8:31 pm | Comment

Me and Natasha, we make beeg trouble for Squirrel and Moose!

October 25, 2005 @ 9:33 pm | Comment

Russian fighters versus Chinese fighters.

What a stupid comparison. One “good” Russian fighter, by the commenter’s classiication, is that a professional, trained special forces fighter? Against 100 peasants? Fair fight eh?

The real question is who really gives a f**k.

October 25, 2005 @ 11:52 pm | Comment

Yeah Ivan- What exactly is your position on the dishonourable continued occupation of the Kuriles, land stolen from a country the USSR had signed a non-aggression pact with and then betrayed it?

October 26, 2005 @ 1:07 am | Comment

deleted for profanities

October 26, 2005 @ 1:09 am | Comment

Uh, who the hell are you, Thahn? You seem to have your pant1es in a bunch for some reason. I notice that you don’t have a legitimate email address. I just love guys who insult and hide afterwards.

It’s nice to know that I’ve achieved notoriety.

I don’t remember saying much of anything about Galloway, but it would be swell if you’d include evidence or a link to back up what you’re saying. I’d be happy to apologize if I spoke in error. Even to a little prick like you.

October 26, 2005 @ 1:20 am | Comment

Oh, by the way, is it an insult for a female to be called a cocksucker? Just wonderin’…

October 26, 2005 @ 1:40 am | Comment

Unfortunately, Other Lisa, I think it is, although I can’t understand why! If humanity likes sex so much, how come the associated vocab is such a putdown?

October 26, 2005 @ 2:01 am | Comment

Humanity is very conflicted, methinks.

I was responding to a comment which was deleted – and before I get another round of insults, not by me…

October 26, 2005 @ 2:05 am | Comment

Well, cocksucker is a neutral term in that it only describes someone who sucks cocks. Mr. Thahn himself could be a cocksucker. See, completely neutral epithet. (He probably does anyway.)

Humanity is schizoid in the extreme. Tell me how a promiscuous man is a “stud” or in the hip vernacular, “playa”, and a promiscuous woman a “slut” or “ho”.


October 26, 2005 @ 2:16 am | Comment

Yeah, mon!

Past my bedtime. This cocksucker’s hitting the sack…

October 26, 2005 @ 2:18 am | Comment

Good question Other Lisa. I don’t think I ever heard the word used as an insult on a woman. It was stated as a fact. Either it was stated she was or it was not mention when talking about a woman.

October 26, 2005 @ 2:19 am | Comment

Hmm … with all the warnings about avian flu nowadays cock sucking must be a pretty dangerous activity, so it’s probably a negative term.

October 26, 2005 @ 2:46 am | Comment


The US state department website etc claim that Iraq forced them to attack and that they were doing it for the good of the Iraqi people.

I also await your official letter stating that you will now boycot veterans day celebrations for civil war victims who died X hundred years ago on the grounds that the same ceremony also covers modern war criminals from the Vietnam war.

October 26, 2005 @ 3:09 am | Comment

Humanity is schizoid in the extreme? Maybe mankind is… not sure about humanity!

October 26, 2005 @ 3:13 am | Comment

ACB, show me the State Dept. website that says that and I’ll denounce that too.

And as far as my visiting a cemetary, if its run by nationalist historical revisionists then I will boycott it. I didn’t say anything about the war criminals, I was talking about the fact that it DOES have nationalist origins (whatever, a place can grow beyond its origins) and it IS run by people who are distorting the historical record to an obscene degree.

And most important to the point, I’m a private citizen, not a head of state. No one cares about my official letter. If I were in a position of authority, I’d sure as hell clarify my position vis-a-vis honoring the dead vs. endorsing revisionist history. He can do the first without doing the latter, if he bothered, which Koizumi clearly doesn’t.

And I find it ironic you’re using the whole “but the US does it too!” whiny bulls**t that you’ve called Chinese nationalists for using. If you need to order new panes for that house you live in, I got a cousin who works in glass.

October 26, 2005 @ 4:15 am | Comment

Dave, I love ACB, but your response to him is just soooo great. Thanks.

October 26, 2005 @ 4:23 am | Comment


The US state department website etc claim that Iraq forced them to attack and that they were doing it for the good of the Iraqi people.

I also await your official letter stating that you will now boycot veterans day celebrations for civil war victims who died X hundred years ago on the grounds that the same ceremony also covers modern war criminals from the Vietnam war.
Posted by ACB at October 26, 2005 03:09 AM

The classic hallmark of nationalistic reasoning: “Your country does it too!” So what? That doesn’t make it right, that just makes both governments wrong. And of course the lumping together of the citizen with the nation… like I’m responsible for the State Department, or a Japanese citizen is responsible for Koizumis actions. Classic specious reasoning. ACB, I call you out as being exactly what you spend so much time debunking. You are no different than every single bulls**t Chinese nationalist who comes on here screaming for Japanese blood. You have become thine enemy.

Well done.

October 26, 2005 @ 4:26 am | Comment

Richard, he done made me mad.

October 26, 2005 @ 4:26 am | Comment

Hey Richard, can you perhaps post Michael Friedman’s NYT editorial on here? I don’t have access and I’d like to see what he says about “chinese capitalism.”

October 26, 2005 @ 8:25 am | Comment

Done. Now all I ask is you rebuke FSN9 for his appalling new comment in the Grim Milestones thread.

October 26, 2005 @ 8:42 am | Comment

Starting a new thread above.

October 26, 2005 @ 8:42 am | Comment

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.