Shichahai sunset thread

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Chat.

The Discussion: 98 Comments

When fans of “democracy” discuss how Chinese society needs “democracy”, they often cite rampant corruption, prostitution, high crimes, unemployment as the major reasons. Their conclusion is that China must have “democracy” today, otherwise everything will go down
in flames.

Now, I can’t help but be reminded of an infamous quack in ancient China named “Hu Wanlin”. This Doctor Hu gave only one kind of medicine to all his patients, and that is sulfuricum. If a patient went to visit Doctor Hu, he’d invariably tell him/her, “You have sclerosis of the liver, over-acceleration of the heartbeat, accumulation of gas in the lungs, and ulcer on the stomach, therefore you must take sulfuricum!

Are there are lot of problems in Chinese society today, a lot of ills? Of course there are, and some of them are rather serious. But can this drug called “democracy” cure all those ills?

To determine whether a certain drug can cure one or more than one type of disease, there is at least one way to find out. And that is to look at those patients that have taken that drug, and see whether their symptoms have subsided after taking the drug. If out of all those who have taken the drug, half of them see their symptoms subside, I will concede that that particular type of drug is effective. Ok, fine, even if 1/10 of the takers see their symptoms subside, I’ll say that the drug is potentially effective.

Therefore, I want to see which countries or regions of the world had certain types of social ills and saw the symptoms of the ills reduced after taking “democracy”. Even if I can only find one such country, that at least gives SOME credence to the drug.

Let’s first look at corruption. The countries that took “democracy” in recent decades include: Russia, East European countries, Yugoslavia (now Serbia and Montenegro), the Philippines, South Korea, Indonesia, and some African countries, plus Taiwan. Now, did corruption in Russia subside after taking the drug? Did it subside in Serbia and Montenegro? How about in South Korea? Indonesia?. I believe it did not subside in any of those countries. Is corruption not rampant in Russia today? Of course it is. And recently cases of human smuggling have
been on the rise in Eastern Europe.

Now, onto unemployment. Russia, Eastern Europe, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, did they solve unemployment? No, not only did they not, unemployment is more severe in those countries. I’m someone who places great emphasis on practical results. If there’s such an example of a country that saw its corruption greatly curbed, and unemployment rate greatly reduced after taking the “democracy” drug, then I’ll clap my hands and sing praise for “demoracy” everyday. To those gentlemen who are already singing praise for “democracy”, please give me a such example. Some people use Taiwan as a classic model of how democracy leads to wealth, and visit different Internet forums carrying the question-and-answer: “Do you know why Taiwan is so wealthy? Because it practices democracy!”. Did Taiwan really grow wealthy under democracy? Or did it grow wealthy under the reigns of the Jiang (Kiang) family, and only start to squander the wealth after the introduction of democracy?

There’s this illusion that as soon as China opens up its press and starts general elections, the officials will suddenly become very clean, all the prostitutes will go home, the employment problem will be solved, crime rates will go down. Haha, I of course do not believe that. Those who disagree with me, let us hold a simulated election here on the forum for those fans of democracy, and let those who want to run for the president of China give us a policy outline on how he/she plans to tackle corruption, unemployment, prostitution, crimes. And let us compare his/her proposed policies to that of the current Communist Party of China, and see which side’s policies are better!

Not only can they not solve any social problems, they’ll create new ones. Then why are they still singing praise for that “miracle drug”? I think, they deliberately want to weaken and destroy China.

January 6, 2006 @ 9:59 pm | Comment

You begin your rant on a false premise:
When fans of “democracy” discuss how Chinese society needs “democracy”, they often cite rampant corruption, prostitution, high crimes, unemployment as the major reasons.

Wrong. There is only one reason in China’s case – the tyranny of the CCP. I’ve never heard of anyone cite prostitution or crime as reasons for democracy. What on earth are you talking about? Corruption, certainly, though democracy alone can’t cure corruption.

January 6, 2006 @ 10:16 pm | Comment

Maybe you have not, but I of course have. I think there are too many people, especially democracy lovers, using corruption and prostitution to call for democracy in China

January 6, 2006 @ 10:22 pm | Comment

Prostiutution? Show me five links of calls to democracy that cite prostitution as a major reason. No, make it four links. Hell, just show me two links. Okay? It should be very easy to find if there are so many people complaining about it. I eagerly await the fruits of your famous research.

January 6, 2006 @ 10:36 pm | Comment

Prostiutution? Show me five links of calls to democracy that cite prostitution as a major reason. No, make it four links. Hell, just show me two links. Okay? It should be very easy to find if there are so many people complaining about it. I eagerly await the fruits of your famous research.

I think you can do so yourself very easily, just type in prostitution and china in some search engine like Yahoo or Webcrawler. Of course, if you come and say “I cannot find it!”. Well how many minutes did you look for it? Also, there are many other medias outside of Internet, like newspapers and brochures and leaflets or even TV.

But how about you give me an example of a country that has become very strong and wealthy and improved many of their problems such as corruption and unemployment as a direct result of using democracy?

January 6, 2006 @ 10:52 pm | Comment

I think you can do so yourself very easily, just type in prostitution and china in some search engine like Yahoo or Webcrawler. Of course, if you come and say “I cannot find it!”. Well how many minutes did you look for it?

You made the charge, the onus is on you to substantiate it. Until you do, I oficially call you a liar, Math. If it’s so easy, go ahead and clear your name. Until then, you’re new nickname is is Lyin’ Math.

January 6, 2006 @ 11:35 pm | Comment

Democracy is not a miracle drug.

Transparacy (not democracy) resolves corruption.

So what’s more likely to bring about transparancy?

1) A CCP that has to answer to no one
2) An official that might lose his job if he is corrupt due to popular mandate

January 6, 2006 @ 11:46 pm | Comment

Ed, that’s a great way to put it.

And again, why repress China’s media? I don’t think our Mathmatical friend has answered that one either…

And please don’t say because they disrupt Social Harmony…

January 6, 2006 @ 11:56 pm | Comment

Math, would like to get your thoughts on the above.

In any case, this is what I’m beginning to realize:

Pro CCP people:
Defend CCP because they did a “good enough” job.

Anti CCP people:
Generally have lived in various cultures and see the potential that is China, and how the CCP has hurt China compared to Taiwan’s progress, despite splitting only 60 years go.

January 6, 2006 @ 11:59 pm | Comment

Gordon, Ivan, I decided to take your advice. Sorry for the deelted comments.

January 7, 2006 @ 12:33 am | Comment

Richard,

YEAH, man! THAT’S how to do it! ๐Ÿ™‚

Now that freak will be tossing and turning in his bed all night, murmuring the word “ethnocentric” over and over and over again….

…soon he’ll start going REALLY crazy about you, like the Commissioner in the Pink Panther movies. Remember him? At the end of each Pink Panther movie he would go even crazier, and the final scene would be of him in a straitjacket, muttering, “Clouseau, Clouseau…”
Same thing will happen to this guy – he’ll be taken away in a straitjacket muttering, “Richard…ethnocentric…
Richard…ethnocentric….” And when he’s at the Funny Farm he’ll spend all day drawing ducks and crossing them out…..

January 7, 2006 @ 1:07 am | Comment

Math,
It is the basic responsibility of a government to protect and guide the people’s welfare. Don’t you get it wrong, that it was CCP’s benevolent governance that some Chinese people are making a better materialistic living than before. It wasn’t. Even if so, it were the least the government must accomplish for its hard working people. That is, using your Chinag Kai shek family’s political legacy as an example, it was one that they owed Taiwan being in the leadership. The KMT government was simply doing the least that they were supposed to do for the people on Taiwan. And yet at the same time, mountains of shameless corruption, embazzlement also occured, when Taiwan was at its infancy of economic development. For a long time when Taiwan was still establishing its democratic structure, KMT leadership continuously ate up tons and tons of wealth at the benefit of the citizens.

So you see quite simply, the demand for democracy and the values behind such a model is not and will not compromise the economic development of China. It is about the greater welfare of the Chinese people and their future generation.

January 7, 2006 @ 2:52 am | Comment

Richard, I know its a bit late, but you and Ivan have inspired me. This is my first post, its not exactly Milton, but here goes:

On you blog I often lurk
Enough to know Hongxing’s a jerk
Your reportage on China
Couldn’t be finer
Please keep up the good work

Happy New Year to all TPD readers, never mind Christmas, it doesn’t fit into my ideological framework.

January 7, 2006 @ 10:44 am | Comment

Zhou, thanks for the kind words, and please comment more often, either in verse or everyday prose.

January 7, 2006 @ 10:54 am | Comment

Richard,

Have you seen the latest rant by everyone’s favorite troll? Go down to the comments section. He’s flailing wildly!

January 7, 2006 @ 11:39 am | Comment

I think too many are missing the point.

The situation is this: many of you are saying : “the CCP is bad for China, we have a new method, and that’s democracy, elections, free press, and this and that…”

So the Chinese people say, “Oh, ok, so how do I know these new methods would work better for China and improve our lives?”

And you suddenly become very angry and your blood pressure goes high and yells “What do you mean!? These are universal methods that would work for sure!! How dare you question that! You are bad!!”

The Chinese say, “Well, you want to use these new methods on 1.3 billion people, don’t you think we should make sure that it’ll be a better method before we use it? What if we use that method and we become worse, will you refund me my money?”

You say, “No! If you use the new method and you become worse, it’s your own fault!”

The Chinese say, “Ok, bye bye, I’ll keep what I have, thank you.”

January 7, 2006 @ 12:43 pm | Comment

Speaking for 1.3 billion people is presumtuous, Math.

January 7, 2006 @ 1:29 pm | Comment

In other news, North Korea is demanding monetary compensation from South Korea for mistreating North Korean prisoners.

The irony of the world’s most egregious mistreater of prisoners demanding rectification from another country is lost on North Korea, I’m afraid.

January 7, 2006 @ 4:18 pm | Comment

Also, is that really what a sunset looks like in Shanghai? The lovely pollution haze makes it hard to tell where the sun ends and the halo begins…

January 7, 2006 @ 4:19 pm | Comment

Math,

You just lied to yourself. I said, the VALUES behind democracy are universal, not “methods”. No one ever asserted that democracy is perfect, but the values that push it to be the model so far work best as those values constantly correct the system from the bottom up. A democratic government is therefore, an ever improving system that stand upon these principal values.

You see, we all just saw your cowardice evading to admit that those values are indeed universal, regardless of “methods”. You are exactly like the old propaganda apologists for the corrupt KMT and CKS leadership legacy that wanted to privately embazzle the growth and reward of the hard working people by denying their rights to know better and share better. Shame on you.

January 7, 2006 @ 4:34 pm | Comment

Johnny K.
That’s the sunset at Beijing’s Shishahai district, where one of the old Imperial pleasure ground’s lakes is located and many royally patronized monasteries used to stand.

January 7, 2006 @ 4:39 pm | Comment

I know its hokey, but what the hey..

best news out of China in 2005 – crazy economic growth. i love it when the guy on the street you take for a bum pulls out a cell phone.

worst news – the ordering of a media blackout of Furong jiejie (sister hibiscus). this shows there is no ‘line that you just know not to cross’ in the media. she was completely non-political, and her message was completely superfluous, and she still was denied being herself.

January 7, 2006 @ 6:10 pm | Comment

It would be truly ironic, Johnny K, if the South once again gave appeasement money to the North.

January 7, 2006 @ 6:17 pm | Comment

I like getting people’s perspectives. But the communists aren’t answering any of my questions (for example, the one about transparancy above).

January 7, 2006 @ 7:54 pm | Comment

Ed,

The Communists here are afraid that if they answer your questions about transparency, it will lead to social instability.

January 7, 2006 @ 8:01 pm | Comment

You just lied to yourself. I said, the VALUES behind democracy are universal, not “methods”. No one ever asserted that democracy is perfect, but the values that push it to be the model so far work best as those values constantly correct the system from the bottom up. A democratic government is therefore, an ever improving system that stand upon these principal values.

You see, we all just saw your cowardice evading to admit that those values are indeed universal, regardless of “methods”. You are exactly like the old propaganda apologists for the corrupt KMT and CKS leadership legacy that wanted to privately embazzle the growth and reward of the hard working people by denying their rights to know better and share better. Shame on you.

I don’t think they are universal values at all. In fact, I am not a big fan of the world universal, because there is not a universal thing in the world. 1000 years ago in the Middle Ages of Europe, absolute worship of God or the Authority Church was also considered a universal value. Dividing people according to “Nobility” or “Farmer” was also a universal value too. So, it is meaningless to talk about universal , right? Can you promise me that “human rights is above sovereingnty” is a universal value? Can you promise me that “free media” is a universal value? Why? What about 1000 years from now in the year 3005, do you think thsoe values will change? What if I think those values are not good, and I think “sovereignty is above human rights” and “controlled media” should be the mainstream values? How do you know I am wrong? Of course, I could be wrong , but I don’t know. So why not respect each other’s values.

[Posted by 71.246.72.101. This is added while posting a message to avoid misuse of WebWarper: see http://webwarper.net/han Example of using WebWarper: http://webwarper.net/ww/~av/lycos.com ]

January 7, 2006 @ 8:40 pm | Comment

Math: The situation is this: many of you are saying : “the CCP is bad for China, we have a new method, and that’s democracy, elections, free press, and this and that…”

So the Chinese people say, “Oh, ok, so how do I know these new methods would work better for China and improve our lives?”

And you suddenly become very angry and your blood pressure goes high and yells “What do you mean!? These are universal methods that would work for sure!! How dare you question that! You are bad!!”

This is vintage “Math.” Start with a wildly absurd premise which you trot out as being a matter of fact, and then rant about it, as though you were having a serious discussion.

I dare say that not one person in this forum – not a single one – believes democracy and a free press are a Campbell’s Soup solution to China’s problem (“just add water, heat and serve!”). They are among the many, many building blocks that lead to a more functional, fair and successful society.

No one here has ever called anyone “bad” for not wanting immediate elections. Another Math fantasy. Elections are never a be-all and end-all. They’re a piece of the puzzle, and as in Iraq, they may well drag the country further into tyranny (at least in the eyes of naive Westerners who believe – idiotically – that every society longs for a Western-style system where religion is separate from government). No one sees free voting as the solution in and of itself. So start over, Math, and when you make these startling assertions always provide a link to back up what you are saying, okay?

January 7, 2006 @ 8:44 pm | Comment

This discussion reminds me of a news clip on Indonesia’s presidential election that aired last year on CCTV. The reporter interviewed several Indonesians from different walks of life, asking them what they thought about the election. Every single one answered positively. One fellow said something to the effect that “the president might be good or he might be bad, but at least we get to choose him.” This is a country whose economy plummeted in ’97 and became so corrupt that food vendors found it cheaper to import produce from Australia rather than pay all the bribes it took to move food across the country. Bloody sectarian riots and terrorist bombings have taken lives and destroyed property. Yet these Indonesians all expressed support for multiparty elections. I wonder if the folks at CCTV noticed the pro-democracy message in that news clip.

January 7, 2006 @ 8:59 pm | Comment

Math: I don’t think they are universal values at all. In fact, I am not a big fan of the world universal, because there is not a universal thing in the world.

No universal values in the world? What about these things:

Punishing wrong-doers
Prohibiting wanton murder, theft, looting, arson, rape
A longing for freedom
Hatred of cruel tyrants
Wanting to succeed as opposed to fail
Striving to improve one’s situation
Respect for one’s parents and family

This is just off the top of my head, but it is really an endless list. Almost all aspects of mankind, including our values, are universal. If you go back 6,000 years ago to the Old Testament or the books of ancient China (most of them burned, unfortunately by the Qin emperor) or the myths of every ancient and current societry, you will see they all contain universal threads and stories that parallel one another. Are there vast cultural differences? Of course. But the fundamental qualities that make each of us a human being are there – the urge to be free of slavery, the longing for love, the desire to strive for something better, the willingness to go to war or to defend one’s territory, the lust for power and the urge to be free. We are really very simple creatures, and some things will forever be the same despite geograqphy or ethnicity. These are the universal values of us humans, and to deny them is preposterous. Imagine, Math saying something preposterous.

January 7, 2006 @ 9:10 pm | Comment

I wonder if the folks at CCTV noticed the pro-democracy message in that news
clip.

I’m sure they’re broadcasting it every half hour.

January 7, 2006 @ 9:12 pm | Comment

Well of course if you write in very “philosophical” and “general” words, then you can argue there are universal values.

If you force me to say “How is making every citizen live a happy life not a universal value!” Well, of course I have no choice but to say yes that is a universal value. But is “having multi-party elections” a universal value? Well can you still be so sure, I don’t think you can be so sure at all. Why is “multi-party elections” more universal than “centralized managament” ? Why is “individual liberty” more universal than “national unity” ? What if I say “National unity” is more important than “individual liberty”! What’s wrong with it? I don’t think you can say there is anything wrong with it. Even Americans are saying these days that “No Terrorism” is more important than “Not having x-rayed and open suitcases in airports”. Even most Americans agreed to being secretly voyeured by Bush using phones. So, don’t be too absolute.

January 7, 2006 @ 9:20 pm | Comment

Hmm, checking into my history books and wondering, “Did Indonesia ever suffer a nationwide famine comparable to China’s of 1959?”

Ahhh….ah. No. No it didn’t. Indonesia has never had any famine comparable to Communist China’s.

Next question, “Did Indonesia ever destroy 99 percent of its own cultural heritage like Communist China did in the Cultural Revolution?”

Ahhh…no. Indonesia never committed cultural suicide like Communist China did. Indonesia never suffered the same kind of chaos as Communist China.

Hmmm….

January 7, 2006 @ 9:21 pm | Comment

Math, accusing others of being “absolute”! Precious.

Math, what values do you believe are not universal? There definitely are some – a few societies believe a man should have as many wives as he pleases, or that women should have their toes broken and their feet bound – but most of our values are universal. Please explain to us which values you believe are not. Thanks so much for sharing.

January 7, 2006 @ 9:28 pm | Comment

Richard — I’m relatively new to this site (but I LOVE IT!) so perhaps what I’m about to say has already been considered and rejected in the past.

One of the reasons I’m such a fan of PekingDuck is that it offers what I consider to be a very rational and thoughtful, but still humorous look at China. However, I find that trying to argue with Math is very much at odds with the qualities I just praised above. The basic idea (dem. in china?) of Math’s argument is worth discussing, but arguing WITH Math is an exercise in futility. For someone with very passable writing skills, his concept of logic and “proof” is oddly nonexistant.

Unless of course the purpose behind your replies falls under the third category of my praise for your site (its humor value), I say the “absolutists” practice our omnipotent democracy and vote – against Math – with our feet. In other words: there are some very smart people here, and I can’t figure out why they’re getting sidetracked by arguing with Math.

January 7, 2006 @ 10:30 pm | Comment

Math said: “Why is “multi-party elections” more universal than “centralized managament” ?”

Why, you can have both at the same time! The winner of the election gets to run the central government for a while!

Furthermore, isn’t China theoretically a multi-party system? There are lots of other small little parties with no power whatsoever, but they still exist.

January 7, 2006 @ 10:34 pm | Comment

Math,
Having “free media” or even media is NOT a value. You just kept refusing to see what values are. You are actually close when you say, “How is making every citizen live a happy life not a universal value!” Well, of course I have no choice but to say yes that is a universal value.” Because it is! It’s not that hard to say it, is it?

National unity does NOT have to be at the expense of Chinese people’s (or other citizens’) liberty. You know it and you know it’s not at all much to ask of. And yes, that liberty extends to you even if YOU declare “”National unity” is more important than “individual liberty”. You would be wrong to say that, but you have the liberty to say so and that another person has just the same liberty to attempt to debate you. So you see, it’s not that it would be wrong for you to say something wrong, but it’s wrong to punish you for speaking.

The Bush Administration example you tried to make is feeble. It’s you who’s being absolute and thinking in absolute terms; because you believe that sacrificing liberty = a must for national unity and national growth. Therefore, you believe strengthening a nation requires sacrifice of citizen’s liberty.

Well, that’s not the case for the U.S. even today. Americans allowed the security screenings, but they simultaneously demand their liberty protected. There are both government and non-government organizations in U.s. that monitor possible abuses of power, and they can hold such cases against the government. You see, that’s American citizens refusing an absolute policy. No one demands China to achieve that standard instantly, but again, as an educated elite of China, you owe your fellow citizens the leadership to initiate that first baby step to protect their liberty. You know it! Instead, you’d rather be apathetic when if government power abuses occur and yet actively seeking to cover up the wrong doings of the CCP. Come on, do you really have the decency and basic courage to call out a possible wrongful conduct by the CCP government? Do you? No, I doubt it.

January 7, 2006 @ 11:00 pm | Comment

Sometimes we just have to, Sammo.

The rest of the time, I scroll past…

Welcome, by the way!

January 7, 2006 @ 11:06 pm | Comment

Math: The Chinese say, “Ok, bye bye, I’ll keep what I have, thank you.”

By what means do you even support this? Certainly not the 70,000 protests each year. Since China doesnt not use a representative government, its really just someone on top saying “the people want this.” And the people either have to turn a blind eye or complain and go to jail.

January 7, 2006 @ 11:13 pm | Comment

Chester, right on.

Sammo, I interact with Math mainly to point out the utter absurdities of his diatribes and to get people to laugh. He’s a funny guy, and it’s humorous to see him tripping all over himself when his nonsense is exposed for what it is.

January 7, 2006 @ 11:29 pm | Comment

Wow, do you see how FAR the Communists have fallen? In Lenin and Mao’s time they said: “The Communist Party will destroy all other rivals! We will lead a worldwide revolution and throw all other ideologies into the trash heap!”

But today, they’re really pathetic. Math really is typical of a Communist Advertisement of today:

“The Communist Party: Because something else might even be worse.”

January 8, 2006 @ 12:08 am | Comment

Or:

“The Communist Party: We deserve to keep absolute power because we don’t suck as much as we used to.”

January 8, 2006 @ 12:09 am | Comment

Richard!!!!! Missed you on Saturday at Al’s!

Michael

January 8, 2006 @ 12:18 am | Comment

“The Communist Party: We know you would all vote for us if we ever let you.”

January 8, 2006 @ 12:18 am | Comment

I actually do like to get different people’s points of view, even if they are pro CCP. However, I feel like we’re not speaking the same language here. So for the sake of discussion, I’d like to cover basic logic. Not to be pretentious, just want to help the commies here with logic. I have a two degrees from Harvard or MIT in engineering ( keeping it ambiguous ) So here goes.

Section I: Flawed commie logic comparative argument
FLAWED: If A B
example: 2 3

As seen in TPD:
Non-commie: A is better than B, (evidence follows)
Commie: but both A and B are better than C, so you are wrong in saying that A is better than B

A = “representative government”
B = “communist dictatorship”
C = “famine and cannibalism”
(evidence follows) = transparancy, and all the other supports for a representative government not yet addressed by commies in this post

To spell out flawed commie logic:
Both representative government and communist dictatorship are better than cannibalism and famine, so representative government is no better than communist dictatorship.

Section II: Flawed commie logic on sufficiency argument
FLAWED: A is no sufficient for D, and B is not sufficient for D, therefore A is worse than B

As seen in TPD;
Non-commie: A is better than B, (evidence follows)
Commie: But A is not sufficient for D, just as B is not sufficient for B, or A is not better than B.

A = “representative government”
B = “communist dictatorship”
D = “a country without corruption, crime, unemployment, etc”
(evidence follows) = transparancy, and all the other supports for a representative government not yet addressed by commies in this post

To spell out flawed commie logic:
Representative government is not sufficient to eliminate corruption, crime, and unemployment, and neither is communist dictatorship. So representative government is not better than communist dictatorship.

By the way, Math, still waiting on your response regarding transparency.

January 8, 2006 @ 12:18 am | Comment

Forgot about the HTML tagging:

Fixed Section I: Flawed commie logic comparative argument
FLAWED: If A less than C, and B less than C then A less than B
also flawed: If A less than C, and B less than C then A greater than B
example: 2 less than 8, 3 less than 8, but it does not follow that 2 greater than 3

January 8, 2006 @ 12:20 am | Comment

“The Communist Party: We represent the People, so the People can just shut the fuck up.”

January 8, 2006 @ 12:26 am | Comment

Michael, I overslept. Sincere apologies. We need to get together sometime. Send me an email, okay?

Ed, very funny. Don’t expect a serious response from Math, though: he knows you’re right, but to say so is impossible.

January 8, 2006 @ 12:28 am | Comment

Math’s comment on “national unity” begs the question: unity to pursue what goals and in what manner? More to the point, who decides what those goals and methods are?

In America, we’ve been dealing with the trade-off between liberty and security. But it is a matter of public debate, and the balance of the two will be decided by the reaction of the public over the long term. Our unity is forged in the crucible of debate. By contrasting unity with liberty, Math is suggesting unity can only be imposed from above, and by snuffing out other opinions. Math is very imaginative in the way he contorts to find new justification for a contrarian position – he is the Bill O’Reilly of the Duck. Unfortunately, he has no imagination when it comes to seeing how the same goals could be achieved through alternate means.

I’ve heard many people in China refer to this kind of “unifying” in proverb. “The nail that sticks out gets hammered down”.

January 8, 2006 @ 12:35 am | Comment

Dave, don’t you understand? National unity IS an end in itself, because if “national unity” is broken then the gods will become angry.

“National Unity” is the Will of Heaven.
If China loses it, then the sun will not rise tomorrow. That is why China still needs to make Human Sacrifices to the gods, for the sake of National Unity.

January 8, 2006 @ 12:43 am | Comment

Well, Ivan, don’t forget about that pesky “Mandate of Heaven” notion. Because with 74,000 plus demonstrations last year, I wonder how much longer Heaven’s gonna put up with the current regime…

But that’s just me in a pessimistic mood…

January 8, 2006 @ 1:31 am | Comment

Actually, Lisa, the “mandate of heaven” is what I was alluding to in my sarcastic way.

China’s dirty little secret is that it HAS NO IDEALS, it HAS NO PURPOSE, except just to exist as some abstract power around which the universe revolves. China’s self-perceived role in the world is simply to exist, to ensure that the sun will rise – because in some magical way, China is the centre of the universe, etc etc etc….

….on and on they go, without ever confronting the truth which they STILL want to avoid – lest they stare into a void (no pun intended, the wordplay is deliberate): The World has moved on since the Bronze Age when archaic Priest-Kings pretended to make the sun rise every day – like the Chinese Communist Party still pretends to do even now…..

January 8, 2006 @ 1:52 am | Comment

Ivan, well, I don’t know if some sort of overriding national purpose, “manifest destiny” is necessarily a good thing (it sure has fucked up the US in recent years). And I don’t think that creating a “harmonious society” is really a bad goal, when it comes down to it. Don’t we all want to live in a place where things work, where there’s some sense of fairness and justice, and people are more or less kind to one another?

It always comes down to, what sort of system is most likely to achieve those results? And I end up advocating some form of representative democracy, not out of sheer idealism, but because I think it’s the most practical way of doing things in the end.

But I think you are also right, in that certain bottom-line principles are needed to guide us and to keep said democracy from degenerating into the kind of mob rule that is easily manipulated from above.

I’m not a religious person, and I don’t think said principles need to be based on religious beliefs (and in fact I think we’re better off if we don’t bring religion into it). But I’m sure there are some basic axioms of how we ought to conduct ourselves that can be applied universally.

I’d come up with a list, but I’m too tired right now…

January 8, 2006 @ 2:05 am | Comment

Lacking any kind of overriding “national purpose” is fine. In fact, MOST countries lack any overriding “national purpose”.

The problem with China is that it justifies the dictatorship of the CCP on some kind of unspecified “national purpose” – which happens to be nothing other than an entirely abstract concept of “China”. It’s OK to have no ideology – in fact that might actually be best – but if you have no ideology, then it’s really evil and destructive and SUPERSTITIOUS to impose your power on an entire country for the sake of an empty abstraction.

January 8, 2006 @ 2:20 am | Comment

Ivan, I think we may be saying different versions of the same thing, but I’m too tired to be certain right now…

Night all!

January 8, 2006 @ 2:37 am | Comment

Ivan,
are you saying China today has basically become mainly material and dominance obssessed, and yet at least there was a time it used to sing the Internationale as if it meant it?

January 8, 2006 @ 3:37 am | Comment

Chester,

No, I’m saying that Communism was always bullshit, but now that China has abandoned anything like real Communism, the Chinese Communist Party has become even more ideologically vacant; all that is left is a dead husk of China’s barbarian Bronze Age concept of itself as the centre of the universe, and that’s not a rational justification for Communist Party dictatorship.

January 8, 2006 @ 3:52 am | Comment

Michael, I overslept. Sincere apologies. We need to get together sometime. Send me an email, okay?

Ha! My students use that one on me all the time. No way I’m letting you get away with that!

I’ll be in touch when I come up, although I won’t be back in Taipei until next month. In the meantime, if you need a place to spend the night in the hopping city of Taichung, which is like Taipei except without anything, I’m your man.

Michael

January 8, 2006 @ 7:33 am | Comment

You guys seen any good documentary DVD’s on China that I can order online?

Something not made by Chinese Communist TV. Perferrably something frontline type or public television genre. I’m looking to order “China – A Century of Revolution (2000)” by Winstar studios. But I have no idea what windstar studios is.

Thanks

Math, any time you have to talk about transparancy, I’d like to get your thoughts.

January 8, 2006 @ 6:04 pm | Comment

even though CCTV sucks, i think their documentaries they show on their English channel are really quite good (really the only good show on that channel). They don’t fall in line with a lot of the other chinese language documentaries/propaganda pieces that show up on every other channel, and show things i don’t think foreign filmmakers would be able to capture, such as going back to one village to film a story over the period of several years. They don’t paint a rosy picture of country life either. Sure, they don’t deal with big issues, but the straightforwardness of them is something you can’t get on the Discovery or Travel channel here in the US.

January 8, 2006 @ 6:54 pm | Comment

Have you seen Gate of Heavenly Peace?

January 8, 2006 @ 7:13 pm | Comment

Anyone know where in the US I can get a copy of the Gate of Heavenly Peace?
I won’t bother asking where in China, haha.

January 8, 2006 @ 8:05 pm | Comment

I highly recommend the second disk of “A Century of Revoultuion,” because it has some really great footage from the Cultural Revolution period.
The first and third volume failed to amaze me, but were nevertheless pretty interesting.

January 8, 2006 @ 8:08 pm | Comment

Kevin, I’m trying to findout where you can get the DVD. Meanwhile, you can find a lot about it at this site, including a transcript.

January 8, 2006 @ 8:17 pm | Comment

I hear CCTV is going to produce a docudrama about the Cultural Revolution, titled: “Seventy Percent Correct”

January 8, 2006 @ 8:19 pm | Comment

Seriously, you’re going to find precious little film footage of Mao’s China, precisely because it was a barbarian country under Mao, and almost no candid films were made during those times. It’s almost as impossible as finding any realistic film footage of North Korea today.

And even today you’re not going to see any historically realistic documentaries made in the PRC. This will not happen until they begin to come to terms with the criminal history of the Communist Party.

Slightly off topic, one WONDERFUL movie which grapples with the crimes of the Communists, is “Burnt By The Sun”, by the Russian Nikita Mikhalkov
(with whom I have a marginal connection ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s set in 1936, during Stalin’s purges. Funny thing is, I’ve never found it in China, although I’ve found many other Russian movies here. I guess it hits a nerve with the Communist Party…

January 8, 2006 @ 8:27 pm | Comment

Meanwhile, here is a review of another movie by the same filmmaker. Click the link “Morning Sun” in the left sidebar under Keys to the Kingdom for more.
———————————————————

Morning Sun: The bizarre and colorful nightmare world of Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution comes alive in an extraordinary new ocumentary.
Smash the Old World!
– – – – – – – – – – – –
By Charles Taylor, Salon.com October 22, 2003

Oct. 22, 2003 | At moments, watching the superb new documentary “Morning Sun” suggests what it might be like to see atrocities rendered as oil paintings on black velvet. Two of the directors of this film about Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution, which aimed to rid China of Western capitalist influences, Carma Hinton and Richard Gordon, are
the team that made the great 1995 documentary “The Gate of Heavenly Peace” (Geremie R. Barmรฉ is the third director here). Hinton was born
in China in 1949, the year Mao came to power, and lived there until 1969, and that may have much to do with the amazing access the filmmakers have to archival material and to the key figures who are interviewed.

Even though the century just past accustomed us to the grotesque lies of totalitarian propaganda as they appear in newsreel footage and “official” newspapers, the monstrous kitsch that recurs throughout “Morning Sun” to glorify Mao’s rise and justify the mass denunciations and killings of the Cultural Revolution is flabbergasting. When you see footage of the 1964 musical extravaganza “The East Is Red” staged at the Great Hall of the People to celebrate the 15th year of Mao’s rule, you feel like you’ve fallen down the proverbial rabbit hole. Remember
those Hollywood musicals that climaxed with a big stage show so massive we realized it could never take place in an actual theater? “The East
Is Red” is that big, and we’re seeing it acted out in front of an audience. An entire Communist choir stands to one side of the stage while seemingly hundreds of performers move across it, acting out moments from Mao’s quest to rule China. The singers step forward to perform numbers whose lyrics all appear to have been taken from Mao’s doggerel poems or aphorisms.

Seeing the hearty smiles on their bland, confident faces is like having the most homogenized strain of American movie musicals reflected back at us in a sinister new form. It’s what you might expect to see if Angela Lansbury had been triumphant at the end of “The Manchurian Candidate” and staged the inaugural ball as a celebration of the
Chinese Communist struggle. When ballerinas in Mao outfits sprint, en pointe, across a woodland set, we’re watching something that might have
been produced by Metro Goldwyn Mao: “Seven Red Guard Soldiers for Seven Reactionary Counterrevolutionaries.”

History as spectacle-as predetermined narrative, as performance-is the controlling metaphor of “Morning Sun.” What plays out before us is a
tale of the acceptance of mass delusion and mass hysteria. Mao, under unexpected criticism because the economic policies of the Great Leap
Forward had been so disastrous, blamed those who worried about the mass starvation with being more concerned with economics than politics, with wanting to dilute a pure socialist state and open itself to imperialist/materialist/Western influence. What he proposed was an upheaval that would purge the very minds and culture of China, that would admit only the socialist purity he wanted, in which any recidivism would be a cause for public denunciation. First to go was Western literature and music and performances. Then, Communist Party officials themselves. His most useful tool was the young, especially the university students wanting to fulfill their revolutionary potential, even if it meant disowning or denouncing teachers, family members, friends.

So “Morning Sun” becomes a sort of a fairy tale, a story of children (Chinese youth and university students) coming under the influence of an all-powerful wizard (Mao), except that in this version the wizard is the good guy. Listen to the lexicon of Maoist iconography: the Long March, the Great Leap Forward, the Great Hall of the People. It’s mythomaniacal language designed to propagate its own legend. The propaganda musicals and dramas we see produced by the Chinese film industry (one in particular, in which a working-class boy’s materialist corruption is foretold by his admiring the cut of a new jacket) are as leaden and grotesque as you might imagine. In the context of the movie, they cut deeper than the newsreel footage narrated by a chirruping female voice proclaiming the greatness of Mao. (That’s some feat, considering that one of the newsreels we see tells how a school of deaf
children had their hearing restored by coming to understand the philosophy of their beloved leader. I’m not making this up.)

The footage has that effect because we are watching the story of people who took such shallow, banal things as signals for revolutionary
action, which meant public denunciations ollowed by exile, public beatings and execution-millions died in the Cultural Revolution. It all illustrates one of the contradictions of Communism: the way Marxist ideology, which is anti-religious, morphed in its official version into its own religion, inspiring a crusading fervor few modern religions achieve.

Interspersed among the footage are interviews with the people who slipped the confines of the fairy tale Mao was imposing on China. They include the student founder of the Red Guard, Luo Xiaohai, who became appalled at the violence the Cultural Revolution inspired; Song Binbin, whose name, meaning ‘gentle and refined,” was rechristened by the press “Song Be Militant” when Mao said to her, “Better be militant”; Li Nanyang, who struggled for years to prove herself a good communist, even rejecting her father, Li Rui, a former party official who was
disgraced after denouncing the economic policies of the Great Leap Forward; and Wang Guangmei and Liu Ting, respectively the widow and daughter of President Liu Shaoqi. In exile and in poor health, he was kept alive for the Ninth Party Congress in 1969 to prove the existence of enemies to the state and allowed to die of pneumonia shortly thereafter. Wang Guangmei was publicly ridiculed and denounced during the Cultural Revolution (we see film of her dressed in a humiliating costume before students who heap abuse on her) and jailed for many years.

These people speak as those who have wakened from a bad dream. Maybe one of the reasons they agreed to be interviewed for the film is that
they have all been wronged themselves. That doesn’t mean they appear before us to let themselves off the hook. You never get the ense, as you do listening to some of the collaborators in Marcel Ophรผls’ Holocaust documentary “The Sorrow and the Pity,” that they’re trying to cover their tracks or substituting justification for explanation of their actions. You do sense people who existed in a nation swept up into a fever dream, where resistance meant at best incredible hardship, and quite possibly death — not just for them but for their families as well. Because all of the interviewees are so thoughtful and eloquent,
we get a sense of how hard it was for them to suppress their doubts, and of the guilt those doubts caused them — the suspicion that they
themselves were backsliders.

The tension playing itself out in “Morning Sun” (the title comes from Mao’s dictum that the young are like the morning sun, “the hope of the future”) is the tension present in any revolution between inclusion — the belief that revolution will sweep everyone into supporting it — and the desire to maintain purity. One of the interviewees, Yu Luowen, had an older brother, Yu Luoke, who wrote an essay saying that the children of “bad families,’ in other words, the families deemed reactionary or capitalist, had as much right as anyone else to take part in the revolution. The essay won initial approval. What
revolutionary doesn’t want to believe that anyone can be won over by a revolution’s truth? But “Morning Sun” shows how attitudes were
mercurial, and Yu Luoke was arrested and shot. Luowen tells us that when soldiers came to inform his father what had happened, they reacted in disgust to see his father break down wailing. Li Nanyang relates an incident declaring to her classmates the infraction of calling her
father, deemed an enemy of the state, “Dad.”

Mao, whose visage seen throughout the movie is that of a fat, sedentary tomcat who’d scratch your eyes out at the slightest provocation, was
the only father any child obeyed during the Cultural Revolution, and “Morning Sun” shows how the Revolution was the strongest expression of the cult of personality that surrounded him. His purging of many Communist Party officials was an obvious move to consolidate his power. But it also had the purity of revolutionary logic — that is, the purity of something ready to eat itself alive. Disobedience to the party was a crime, unless it was disobedience or questioning of those whom Mao had branded traitors to the Revolution.

It would be enough if Hinton, Barmรฉ and Gordon had made a movie that is consistently lucid, one that supplies all the information you need at any given moment. They are also among the most humane of documentarians, never pushing their interviewees, allowing them the space to present themselves, extending them the empathy of
understanding how easy it was to get caught up in Mao’s crusade. And they manage the trick of making their films aesthetically pleasing without blunting their force as historical, human or political documents. There’s a brilliant section here intercutting a scene from “The East Is Red” with the same incident dramatized in a propaganda film. It’s the most concise expression of this film’s sensibility — the sense that real life, real history, has gone into hiding, and only
representations can be compared.

“Morning Sun” ends abruptly, with a few lines of narration setting out the paradox Mao represents for China: He is an ever-present image who stands for past tyranny but also for the possibility of rebellion. Whether that rebellion will be for good or another outburst of the nightmare of the Cultural Revolution, the filmmakers cannot say. The story they are telling here is still in the process of being written. It’s as good a sign as any of how absorbing “Morning Sun” is that the film’s sudden ending makes you greedy for more, for the balance of discernment and empathy that is their gift to contemporary documentary filmmaking.

January 8, 2006 @ 8:34 pm | Comment

I saw Morning Sun at the Asian American Film Fest. in San Francisco like 3 years ago. It was alright, I thought, but still rather reserved. I found it actually quite interesting/ironic to see it in San Francisco (where it was also produced), as the passion of “proletarian, underclass struggle” is still very catchy phrase. Perhaps it was only dealing with a section of the many layers of that 10 years of madness, you do feel greedy for more, kind of like a heart of darkness search.

January 8, 2006 @ 10:37 pm | Comment

Just ordered “A Century of Revoultuion” on amazon.

Rich, also ‘d like to know where to get a DVD of the video you mentioned, Ivan, if you figure out please let me know.

January 8, 2006 @ 11:49 pm | Comment

Wow, that review of “Morning Sun” was impressive.

At the risk of sounding like an apologist for Communist Russia (anyone who knows me, know that I’m glad Russian Communism is dead), still, I’m provoked to contrast the cinema of Mao’s China with the cinema of Communist Russia:

Even under Stalin, Russian movies were pretty good. Even as propaganda, it was INTERESTING propaganda, sometimes even beautiful. The movies of Sergei Eisenstein are the best exemplars.
“Alexander Nevsky”, 1938, made while the purges were at their peak;
and of course Parts One and Two of “Ivan the Terrible” (no relation ๐Ÿ™‚
in the 1940s…

…and THEN, it got even better in the 1960s. When Mao’s China was making mind-numbing movies like “The East Is Red”, Russia had Tarkovsky’s “Ivan’s Childhood”, and even “Rublev” about, of all people, the greatest Christian Icon painter of Russia (c. 1400s)….

…Tarkovsky made that one, “Rublev”, around 1970 – during China’s Cultural Revolution – a movie celebrating a CHRISTIAN PAINTER!

And then of course, Bondarchuk’s “War and Peace”, made between 1965-1968.

The arts flourished in Communist Russia, almost without cease – although some of the best artists, like Pasternak, were persecuted by the KGB. But even Pasternak died a natural death at the age of 70.

Just making some comparisons between Communist Russia and “Communist” China. Stalin f—ed Russia up horribly, unforgivably, but he didn’t try any wholesale destruction of Russian culture. Stalin cared, first and foremost and entirely, about his own power – but he had no particular interest in destroying civilization.

But Mao did. Mao wanted destruction for its own sake. Mao hated China, Mao hated civilization, Mao hated Mankind.

January 9, 2006 @ 12:04 am | Comment

Ed,

“Burnt By The Sun” is available in the US and in Europe, although I don’t know how to order it. I suggest looking it up on imdb or searching on the net until you find it. It’s worth getting just for the musical soundtrack.

I never personally met the filmmaker, Mikhalkov, but I did have a fist-fight with one of his protoges. ๐Ÿ™‚

January 9, 2006 @ 12:11 am | Comment

To my dear readers at Peking Duck,

I must begin by pointing out to you all that I have used a false email address when posting this comment, and that is because, being a celebrity, I wish, for reasons that should be obvious, to protect my privacy. I do invite you all to visit my website though.

I am currently touring China with my good friend, Pearl Lam, who many of you no doubt have heard of. Lam’s exhibition in Beijing’s The Contrast Gallery, “Awakening: La France Mandarine”, is just fabulous, and I urge you all to pay it a visit if you get the chance.

We are now in south China, and so now I can relax a little. In fact, I discovered this site as part of my general research on China, for I have been hooked on the energy and beauty of China ever since my first visit here many years ago.

As you all know, I am seriously into astrocartography, and China seems to be a lucky place for me. I intend to write about these feelings of mine in a future book. My third book, “Love By Numbers” is due to be released soon (sorry for the plug!)

I want to challenge all of the negativity that I have noticed many of you here have towards China. You see, there are wonderful planets running through Shanghai and Beijing and Guangzhou right now; it really is a lucky place. There is something so exciting about this country, China, right now, and I do believe that I have had past lives here.

It’s been a remarkable trip for me this time. I know that in China, the idea of fate usually overshadows the idea of free will. Eastern astrology is more fatalistic, that is true. In Western astrology we have more choice over our destinies, but despite the differences, I don’t think that Eastern and Western astrologies necessarily conflict, because both systems share similar themes and relationships.

As you all know, I’m an Aquarius, and I was born in the Year of the Dog – the new Chinese lunar year will be my year, so perhaps that’s why I am getting such great vibes about this place.

The other day, I detoured breifly from the mainland to give some readings to some new clients of mine in Hong Kong. Before I came on this trip I was a little concerned about how my Chinese clients would receive me. I thought, “How am I going to relate?” But I found that there was absolutely no problem. We all have the same dreams and aspirations. Afterwards I felt silly for even worrying about it from the beginning. But the experience made me realize something simple and yet so true. So simple in fact that many people often miss it altogether: it is why Eastern and Western astrologies are not necessarily conflicting systems of thought. You see, we all share, as human beings, the same aspirations and dreams, the same feelings and thoughts. That’s why I think China will rise. The people here want the same things that you and I want.

It is rising, and right now, as I said, wonderful planets are passing through China, which will bring plenty of luck and enormous good fortune. No need then, to be so negative.

Before you go, please don’t forget to visit my website, and if you’re a Capricorn, it’s time to tame your free spirit and use the wisdom of your experiences to make a strong commitment to “one” dream. Too many options deplete your power and your effectiveness, so finish one project and then move to the next.

Bye you all,
Linda Joyce (Yes, “the” Linda Joyce)

January 9, 2006 @ 12:45 am | Comment

I’m a big astronomy guy myself. This is not to be confused with astrology. Apparently the new name is astrocartography?

January 9, 2006 @ 1:21 am | Comment

I miss math ๐Ÿ™

January 9, 2006 @ 1:21 am | Comment

Oh, MAJ…what is this obsession you have with assuming female personaes?

Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

January 9, 2006 @ 1:43 am | Comment

Dear Linda,
I think you felt good in China because you had a good time visiting and not that your Chinese astrological sign is dog. In fact, you would tend to embrace more bumpyness in the year of dog, according to Chinese astrology; it’s your year offending the “Tai-sui”. To avoid that, a wise Chinese grandmother will advise you to an-tai-sui, or re-secure the Tai Sui at the nearst Temple/shrine. Good luck!

January 9, 2006 @ 1:58 am | Comment

“When fans of “democracy” discuss how Chinese society needs “democracy”, they often cite rampant corruption, prostitution, high crimes, unemployment as the major reasons.”

Apart from the rampant corruption, you’ve just described LA.

January 9, 2006 @ 2:31 am | Comment

Linda Joyce — any relation to Dr. Ann Myers?

January 9, 2006 @ 2:36 am | Comment

@chester
Well, I think “free media” which implies freedom of speech is very much a value. It’s a core value of the enlightenment and thus of todays Western culture. Without free speech in science there would be no scientific progress and withou freedom of speech in a society progress in society is very hard to achieve.

January 9, 2006 @ 2:38 am | Comment

I was expecting Richard to make someting of that lobiest who was caught dishing out the dirty money, funny he hasn’t mentioned it.

January 9, 2006 @ 2:43 am | Comment

I’ve posted about Abramoff before, but it’s been over-blogged. What more can I add to that conversation? All my suspicions about the GOP being a hotbed of wanton avarice, corruption and criminality have been confirmed.

January 9, 2006 @ 2:50 am | Comment

Shulan,
Yes, hence, free media is a highly valued establishment, but not a value itself (like freedom of speech).

January 9, 2006 @ 3:16 am | Comment

Richard, see my email.

January 9, 2006 @ 6:00 am | Comment

Ivan, I never got your email…?

January 9, 2006 @ 6:14 am | Comment

You got one now, Richard!

Meanwhile, all I can say about “Linda Joyce” is:

Amateur. You’re deep in over your head. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

January 9, 2006 @ 6:53 am | Comment

@chester
right

January 9, 2006 @ 7:13 am | Comment

I have just completed some research, and I can say that a recent commenter on this thread, is our old friend X….

And X has broken the laws of the People’s Republic of China, and the laws of Australia, AND the laws of Taiwan, AND the laws of the USA – he has broken the laws of ALL FOUR of those countries, by harassing Richard in that unwelcome comment, after Richard ordered X never to comment on this blog again.

I was going to write more here, about how “x” has….well, never mind. He has already written his warrant for arrest and for…..

January 9, 2006 @ 7:53 am | Comment

“x”, Richard’s main enemy, Richard’s intellectual nemesis (and I say that sincerely) where are you now?

“X”, if you just disappear, then you might be able to get away and just carry on with your own life, in your own ways. OR, IF you are as intellectually strong as I now think you are, THEN I have ANOTHER proposition for you! And I think you will like this (even if Richard doesn’t):

“X”, if you want to carry on with your comfortable life, then you can just disappear and this will all just go away. If you go away, then you will never have any further troubles.

I THINK that you are NOT stupid, and I THINK that you are NOT really irrational. I just think that you have gone a bit too far, about an old dispute on the internet.

I think you are smart enough, and wise enough, to let it go now. You can always know that you said your piece, and you can always know that WHENEVER anyone looks at Richard’s blog, everyone can always compare him with you.

I know you are a smart man, “X”. So am I. In fact, I WISH that the intelligence services of my country and our allies, had some people working for us who were as smart as you are. Your intelligence astonishes me.

But THIS BLOG is NOT the right place for you to fight, “X'”. (And you know that I know who you are – AND you know that THAT is why I respect your intelligence so much.)

Come on, “X”. As one “intelligent” man to another, let me tell you what we both know:

…you and I, we both know that Richard and his blog are small potatoes. I dally around on this blog just for fun. But you and I, WE know that there are other, better places for us to fight the good fight.

“X”, if you REALLY want to do battle with some real ideological enemies of yours, then please stop commenting on this site, and let me invite you to a REAL battle of wits! I would enjoy it, because I have come to respect your intelligence very much.

If you stop commenting on this blog for three months, then I will invite you to duel with me in SERIOUS ways, on another part of the internet.

But I will not take you seriously unless you keep this agreement, unless you show me that you have the discipline to stay off of the petty little blog for at least three months.

Are you up to it, “X”? Are you up to a REAL battle of wits in cyberspace?

Email me in three months, IF I see that you have refrained from making comments on this shitty little blog for three months, then email me and THEN I will enjoy dueling with you in a serious way.

Three months. “X”, if you show me that you have THAT much discipline, then I will meet with you in ANOTHER part of cyberspace – not like this petty, shitty little blog – you and I will meet for a REAL battle of wits, three months from now – IF you show me that you have that kind of discipline.

Meet me in three months, man! I have always wanted to have an intellectual opponent who is as strong as you seem to be! ๐Ÿ™‚

January 9, 2006 @ 9:45 am | Comment

“X” predates me here it seems. But it looks like some serious shit is going down.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4594452.stm

Guys see this?

BBC: “If [Taiwan] government officials are seen to be blocking the transfer [of pandas] for political reasons, that could hurt their popularity and boost support for the more pro-China Taiwanese opposition.”

I really don’t see how people in Taiwan could change their view on a party based on pandas. But I’m not living there.

January 9, 2006 @ 2:20 pm | Comment

I think this “panda offensive” is extremely smart. Basically puts the ball squarely in the court of Chen Shuibian and asks them, in front of everyone, “Are you accepting these pandas or not?”

If Chen accepts them, then the CCP can portray an improvement of atmosphere across the straits, and push for the three-links, more subsidized tariffs, more economic ties, etc. and further pull the business world of Taiwan closer to the Mainland and as a result would continue to create strong interest groups inside Taiwan that oppose independence.

If Chen rejects them, then what would be his legitimate reasons for rejection? These pandas are totally for cultural exchanges and are non-political. If he rejects them, the CCP can jump and portray him and his group as having no intention of improving cross-strait ties, narrow-minded, and cares about nothing but their own politics.

It’ll be interesting to see how Chen responds!

January 9, 2006 @ 3:38 pm | Comment

Smart move indeed. But cross-strait ties, in your context, pertains to Taiwan accepting PR China’s assertion that Taiwan is part of PR China. Whatever your view on the future of Taiwan, we both know that today, this is not a reality based argument.

Chen administration is trying to act in a way that is logically consistent with its view of Taiwan’s status. And this is important for a country that is ruled by law. Taiwan isn’t a dictatorship where they can say “capitalists should be punished one day” and then to switch “to get rich is glorious!” at the whim of a person.

January 9, 2006 @ 4:19 pm | Comment

Ivan: this petty, shitty little blog

Blasphemy! There were tears in my eyes as I read these shameful words.

I hope you don’t honestly believe “X” has the self-control to stay away for 3 months…

January 9, 2006 @ 5:05 pm | Comment

One of the sites that got spammed by MAJ looked at the special MAJ link courtesy of tpd and came up with this analysis:
“thanks for the link. By all the Gods that live, this MAJ guy is one sick puppy! His repeated apologies, made meaningless by his repeated lame excuses and justifications (“gosh, it’s ONLY a blog post!”), are only the beginning of what I can only call a “pathology.”
He repeatedly pastes other people’s words into his comments, and lets his readers believe they’re his own words, because he’s posting this drivel during work hours and has lots of email to sift through and thus can’t find the time to admit which words aren’t his own? If he’s too busy to get it right, he’s too busy to do it at all. QED. (That’s Latin for DUH.) Can’t he just…post in his spare time?
Then there’s the bit where he (sorta) changes his name and pretends to be a different person. Then he says he’s an IDEA, not a person, so the name’s changeable. Or something. The blithering went from ridiculous to just plain sad, and got too painful to read.
Wow, I’ve just realized I’ve rather overused the word “only” in my second sentence. Sorry about that. I guess that’s not as bad as overusing words like “utilize” or “paradigm,” but still…”

January 9, 2006 @ 5:07 pm | Comment

Keir, send me the link when you can. I gotta see. I hear he got into big trouble at his school because of this. Pity.

January 9, 2006 @ 5:13 pm | Comment

If “X” feels he needs a place to comment freely about China, there’s another open thread-type forum where he can be among good company.

Keir, I found the comments, no need to send the link. Thanks.

January 9, 2006 @ 5:25 pm | Comment

“Linda Joyce”, or “X”, it is only a day later and now I see you have ALREADY broken our deal!

I asked you to wait for three months, and now I see you are already trying to harass Richard and others, even more.

I thought you might be a fair man who could be dealt with in fair ways.
Now I see that your genius is above all fairness. People of highest intelligence, like you, are above fairness, I know.

So I see that you like magic. You mentioned “astrocartography” and I didn’t know what it was until I asked my partner in the Dominican Republic.
She explained to me. And she has something for you.

Sorry about that growing tightness you’ve been feeling in your throat.

January 9, 2006 @ 8:07 pm | Comment

China_Hand,
Again you lied to yourself in front of every one. You said, “These pandas are totally for cultural exchanges and are non-political.”
and then, you idiotically revealed the following,

“….If he rejects them, the CCP can jump and portray him and his group as having no intention of improving cross-strait ties, narrow-minded, and cares about nothing but their own politics.”

You see, even you already see the CCP using innocent endangered animals to do politics. You are evil but stupid!
๐Ÿ™‚ to you!

January 9, 2006 @ 8:33 pm | Comment

Madge,
You’re soaking in it. Really. It’s neither funny nor novel anymore, just creepy. You need professional help, and not from an “astrocartographer.”
Here’s some advice pulled from the real Linda Joyce website: ‘As far as your personal life is concerned, open up to new possibilities. Let the awakener (Uranus) bring you its gifts of enlightenment.’
So Mark, look toward Uranus …and go retrograde.

January 9, 2006 @ 8:40 pm | Comment

JC, touche!!

On that note, I’m going to start a new thread and shut this one down.

January 9, 2006 @ 8:44 pm | Comment

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