Thread

As some of you may have noticed, I am completely out to lunch this week. May resurface at some point on the weekend, if I’m lucky. You can chat here,

The Discussion: 113 Comments

Hillary cannot win without dragging the party through the mud. Her victories, while impressive, are completely hollow in light of the delegate math. Go to Slate.com’s delegate calculator for proof:
http://www.slate.com/features/delegatecounter/

She has no reason for continuing.

Discuss

March 5, 2008 @ 8:28 pm | Comment

How about my version of the top 10 list of what really angers the Chinese public. And Hu Jia (or the environment for that matter) isn’t anywhere on the list.

In order of decreasing importance, with biggest complaint at the top:

– soaring inflation: expensive pork.

– economic disparity, namely the perception that those who get ahead cheated to get there.

– government cadre’s consumption habits: spending tax money on cars, food, liquor, and women.

– social ‘wind’. perception that social morals are degrading.

– collusion between business and local government.

– continued environmental degradation.

– “hexie”, removal of internet postings/blog entries.

– men’s soccer. (would be higher, but the Chinese are getting numb.)

– medical care. (pay-first treatment, + poor medical results, + patients assaulting doctors. vicious cycle.)

– anything involving Japan.

March 6, 2008 @ 3:45 am | Comment

Why’s Japan such an issue?

March 6, 2008 @ 4:53 am | Comment

@Cup of Cha — Shouldn’t the people decide whether Hillary should continue or not, or should we just completely ignore the voters of Ohio and Texas who obviously think she should? Sounds to me like you are calling for the democratic party elites to put their feet down and squash the “little people” who actually thought their vote might matter.

March 6, 2008 @ 5:11 am | Comment

@Lime,

> Why’s Japan such an issue?

The direct answer: because of Japanese aggression from 1931-1945.

As far as why that still remains an issue… there are a few different theories. Many in the West blame the Communist Party’s “patriotic education”, and insist Japan has been setup as a distracting scapegoat.

That certainly is a factor… but at the same time, in my own personal experience, the ones with the greatest personal hatred for Japan are the oldest generations who lived through WW2. One of my (then-pregnant) grandmothers fled through Guangzhou, barely ahead of Japanese troops. Another grandmother barely fled Nanjing ahead of Japanese troops, and returned to fields filled with the skulls/skeletons of the dead. They will forever have a special place in their heart for the Japanese invaders… and even then, their hatred for the “Japanese devils” doesn’t come close to matching the hatred expressed by those from the northeast/Manchuria area, which was occupied for decades. You could very easily think of these people as concentration camp survivors.

Why has this particular hatred lasted for so long? Partly because many in China felt Japan was treated with kid gloves after the end of the war. Unlike Nazi Germany, many senior Japanese officials (including the Emperor) didn’t lose their lives; the United States wanted a stronger Japan as a base for east Asian influence.

And also unlike Germany’s post-WW2 reparations to Israel, Japan hasn’t done nearly as much. No reparations, no personal apology (expressions of “regret” and personal apology are different concepts in east Asia), and a continued presence of right-wing militants in Japan who continue to insist they did nothing wrong.

Imagine a post-WW2 Germany in which Hitler wasn’t killed or imprisoned, but merely made “symbolic”. A Germany which didn’t pay reparations to Jews or Israel, and which didn’t return stolen wealth. A Germany in which a Nazi party remained not only legal, but celebrated loudly as the German president walked with them in order to pray at a Nazi-affiliated church.

I personally don’t share much of that hatred, perhaps because I know too many individual Japanese on a personal basis… none of them were involved in WW2, and none of them are right-wingers who defend Japanese imperialism. I’m just trying to explain the mind-set amongst many Chinese.

March 6, 2008 @ 5:31 am | Comment

@CCT
The regret vs apology issue is the same in the English world. Tony Blair expressed regret byt refused to apologise for the British participation in the slave trade because, it’s widely speculated, that this could give steam to law suits and demands for reparation payments. John Howard refused to apologise for Australia’s Stolen Generations, probably for similar reasons.

http://edition.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/europe/11/27/blair.slavery/index.html
http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,23117918-5001021,00.html
If you’re interested.

The Chinese view of modern Japan was one of the most surprising things I noticed in China. I didn’t know that its felt Hirohito should have been executed. Sorry I don’t have time to write anything more, class and projects and all that.

March 6, 2008 @ 8:20 am | Comment

@Lime,

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the vast majority of Chinese, at the end of WW2, would’ve liked to see the execution of anyone who ever wore a Japanese uniform.

And what happened instead? Hirohito wasn’t tried. Two class-A war criminals were later allowed to serve in the post-war Japanese government… imagine a Germany in which a Goebbels could be allowed to serve again!

Look at what happened in Europe, in the 60 years after WW2. Look at the Jewish diaspora. Wiesenthal dedicated his life to hunting down escaped Nazis. 60 years later, we’re still seeing men in their 90s brought to justice. To put it mildly, there are many in China that wish they could see the same.

March 6, 2008 @ 9:09 am | Comment

Thanks for the Top 10 list. Nice to know that Taiwan is just an elite problem, and not one of any importance to the masses.

Sort of like Japan, no?

March 6, 2008 @ 9:19 am | Comment

“the United States wanted a stronger Japan as a base for east Asian influence.”

How about pushing back against Soviet influence in East Asia, which was also of interest to China (Mao did not like or trust the Russians, he took their money as the strongman of the CCP while the think tank Chinese communists in Shanghai held meetings and drank tea). The US spent alot of money rebuilding Germany and Italy as well as its allies. Don’t forget that Mao refused the money that MacArthur forced Japan to pay, so there was a reparations package for China specifically (and not Vietnam, Taiwan, the Phillipines, Burma, Thailand, etc) but it was turned away. Why?

Germany also made the major mistake of invading Russia, a respectable if not major power on its border. If Japan had invaded Russia, it would have been torn in half and burned much worse than it got from the US alone. China is simply angry that it was not in a position to be able to return the level of pain Japan inflicted as Russia did to Germany.

And don’t think all German officials were prosecuted. Only top Nazi politicians. Many Nazi intel agents and scientists were spirited away to Russia, the US and UK to be used for their knowledge.

March 6, 2008 @ 9:43 am | Comment

@CLB:

I’m saying the opposite, namely that the people and not super delegates should decide. Hillary mathematically cannot catch up. Her “huge” victories on March 4 cumulatively picked up fewer delegates than Obama did in either Kansas or Idaho. In other words, Obama’s most unimportant victories have EACH had the impact of Hillary’s MOST important triumph thus far.

The people have spoken and Senator Clinton is grasping at straws and trying to change the rules to compete. She is savaging her own party for the sake of Clinton vanity.

March 6, 2008 @ 10:44 am | Comment

@baahaabaa “China is simply angry that it was not in a position to be able to return the level of pain Japan inflicted …”

Who is this China?

IMO this grievance against Japan is more rooted in painful memories + anger at right-wing attitudes + some jealousy. Except for those irresponsible FQ jibes on the internet (which are prone to be inflated), I don’t think that the Chinese people in general really want to inflict upon the Japanese what they had done to us more than half a century ago.

It would make my top 10 list of regrets, that China and Japan could not stand closer together in the new century …

March 6, 2008 @ 10:48 am | Comment

Hirohito wasn’t tried because, among other reasons, MacArthur et al. believed that they’d have large-scale revolt on their hands if he was, that it would destabilize the country and make reconstruction impossible. It was the key issue in negotiating for Japan’s surrender.

Mao did not like or trust the Russians, he took their money as the strongman of the CCP while the think tank Chinese communists in Shanghai held meetings and drank tea)

Well, the Comintern didn’t much like Mao or the Chinese communists neither.

And don’t think all German officials were prosecuted. Only top Nazi politicians. Many Nazi intel agents and scientists were spirited away to Russia, the US and UK to be used for their knowledge.

The same thing happened with the Tokyo tribunal. The most egregious example being that those in charge of Unit 731 were pardoned on account of the Truman administration thinking their knowledge of biological warfare would be useful. However, Nazi politicians were persecuted to a greater extent than their their Japanese counterparts. There was a purge, yes, but post-Occupation quite a few of the same conservative politicians returned to government under Yoshida, and one later even became PM.

If Japan had invaded Russia, it would have been torn in half and burned much worse than it got from the US alone.

Hard to imagine, considering how Japan was already firebombed to within an inch of its life.

And I suppose if we really want to talk about postwar justice, it should be mentioned that Japan has its own grievances – namely, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Were they really necessary? My own view is that even if you can make a case for the former, there’s no way you can justify the latter.

March 6, 2008 @ 10:50 am | Comment

“””””Two class-A war criminals were later allowed to serve in the post-war Japanese government… imagine a Germany in which a Goebbels could be allowed to serve again!”””””

hm, sounds just like China under the CCP. It is sickening how much violence and crime the Chinese people will happily excuse if the party line tells them to.

The party line allows the Chinese people to hold a grudge agains tthe Japanese, but the people are not allowed to hold the CCP accountable for repeatedly inciting hatred against significant and innocent portions of the Chinese population, not allowing people to think and uprooting the peoples consciences, destroying a culrutre through vile torture and terrorism.

No the Chinese poeple are not currently allowed to take a moral stance against the CCPs atrocities, so they hold a grudge against Japan while their prime opressor reigns unchallenged

March 6, 2008 @ 11:05 am | Comment

I understand that the CCP still interferes with the trial of potpot regime war criminals in order to keep its own culpability under wraps.

As mad as some are at Japan, the whole world should be outraged at the communist movement. But I think it will take a movement from inside China to really make it worthwhile…

March 6, 2008 @ 11:07 am | Comment

“social ‘wind’. perception that social morals are degrading.”

Are you saying that increasing immorality in China is a misperception? Or are you of the opinion that morals are as degraded now as they have always been?

March 6, 2008 @ 11:10 am | Comment

No the Chinese poeple are not currently allowed to take a moral stance against the CCPs atrocities, so they hold a grudge against Japan while their prime opressor reigns unchallenged.

Nationalism + a common enemy = very useful for the CCP. And of course, not just for the CCP – this tactic has been used by other authoritarian regimes as well.

March 6, 2008 @ 11:12 am | Comment

@DOR,

Taiwan isn’t a “problem”, because generally speaking, people are satisfied with the Taiwan status quo. It’s not reunified, sure… but it’s not independent either.

Although, now you remind me… the last 2-4 weeks has seen more activity because of the upcoming referendum.

An independent Taiwan would shoot up to #1 on that list very quickly.

March 6, 2008 @ 11:42 am | Comment

Glad to know, CCT, that atrocities from over six decades ago are high on your list, while atrocities and improper detentions from recent decades, years, and months are absent. How convenient! If only Japan had stabilized pork prices and helped China create a winning soccer team, perhaps the Nanjing Massacre could be justified?

It’s also great to know that we have an individual at the Peking Duck who is able to channel the top ten concerns of the entire Chinese people so as to enlighten us. I have shared your post with two Chinese friends who fully concur with your ability to state what concerns them most! You’re so cool!

March 6, 2008 @ 1:11 pm | Comment

What nausicaa said. To the letter.

Sorry if some feel the apology wasn’t complete enough, but to go on about it now the way some of the fenqing do, as if the new generations of Japan are as monstrous as the troops in Nanjing sixty yearts ago…anyway, we have discussed this topic too many times. We all know where the other stands. As site owner, I declare nausicaa to be right. CCT, you may be right about other things, but not this. Time to move on, and to recognize how anti-Japanese sentiment has been used and manipulated by the government. That, like much else, appears to be getting better, but it still speaks volumes about how they operate.

March 6, 2008 @ 1:31 pm | Comment

@richard,

Do you even read any more, or does the route from brain to keyboard bypass your eyes entirely? Combining this with your idiotic “red-handed” flash alert on Beijing propaganda… my opinion of you has dropped to a new low.

Let me paste for you again what I said above, in hopes that repetition will manage to help my words make an actual impact in the spongy substance between your ears:

I personally don’t share much of that hatred, perhaps because I know too many individual Japanese on a personal basis… none of them were involved in WW2, and none of them are right-wingers who defend Japanese imperialism. I’m just trying to explain the mind-set amongst many Chinese.

March 6, 2008 @ 1:42 pm | Comment

@kevin,

How about my version of the top 10 list..

Learn to read.

March 6, 2008 @ 1:43 pm | Comment

I imagine that if I could not read, I would not be posting here. Thus, your rebuttal is a bit immature, and an attempt to dodge the points made, particularly about the discrepancies in the treatment of history.
If you want to be the guy with the tinfoil hat who can “reveal” to us the top ten concerns of the Chinese people (quite a laughable project in and of itself), then be my guest. If pork prices are more important to you than the lives of your fellow citizens, then so be it. However, please don’t assume that all Chinese people are as gullible as you are. That, frankly, is an insult to your own nation.

March 6, 2008 @ 1:52 pm | Comment

The issues of “a nation” cannot be Letterman-ized to the exclusion of issues that supposedly don’t “matter” to you, like the repression of fellow citizens.
A+ on general format, D- on content.

March 6, 2008 @ 1:56 pm | Comment

Richard – I also very much agree with nausicaa however I don’t see much wrong in CCT’s description of the actual situation in China. CCT might have some personal “bad memories” but I believe he’s still being fair and objective in general.

To tell you the truth I’m very very “anti-anti-Jananese”, and personally feel more at ease with Japanese friends than with the West’s younger generations. The overly inflated anti-Japanese sentiment among my countrymen is regretible however it would be too easy to attribute that to the government’s manipulation, IMO. As you seem to have authority here (“as the site owner” “declare”) could you care to deliberate what the Chinese government has done to maniplute this, or what it could have done and have not done to improve the relationship? Btw kindly use established facts instead of groundless accusations and narrow-minded projections – I’m really tired of such things. Regards.

March 6, 2008 @ 2:09 pm | Comment

I was being a bit facetious of course when I said I was declaring nausicaa right and CCT wrong. As usual, CCT makes some valid points but I disagree with the central argument that the attitude toward the Japanese is justified because of their refusal to apologize, etc. Under Mao, this was a non-issue. The rage wasn’t a motivating force in so many people’s lives, especially as the war moved further into the past. The rage was then resurrected and exploited by a government seeking a common enemy, the oldest trick in the book (we’ve got “Islamofacism” as the enemy du jour). All the self-righteous talk of the need for healing that only a formal apology can bring – well, it just rings hollow, as Japan has apologized more than once. But then…the shrine! Yes, the shrine. Anything to keep it going. You could bulldoze Yasukuni and you could force the Japanese to issue a written apology in blood and sent 1 million yen to every Chinese citizen and still the anti-Japanese rhetoric would continue, because it has become a cottage industry here, something people dedicate their lives to. It’s BS, of course, but it serves a purpose.

Have we seen any good movies lately? Did everyone think “No Country…” deserved Best Picture?

March 6, 2008 @ 2:35 pm | Comment

Of course the CCP has built its own Yasukuni in Tiananmen Square, where those enshrined take the prize for the number of people killed.

As for a good movie, well, to be honest, “Semi-Pro.” Not particularly illuminating, if that’s what you’re looking for, but it provides a nice, relaxing break. And I am sure that it’s available on DVD already in China!

March 6, 2008 @ 2:39 pm | Comment

Semi-Pro? Embarrassingly enough I never even heard of if. Living here can be like existing in a cocoon. (Though actually, I think that’s just because of my job, not because I live in China. It would probably be this way in NYC.)

March 6, 2008 @ 3:06 pm | Comment

@CCT
Do you think there is much awareness of the internal politics of Japan in China? In particular, was Koizumi’s resignation noticed at all? My personal experience in China was that people knew next to nothing about contemporary Japan, but then they were mostly younger college students and seemed to know very little about the politics of anywhere, save the United States and, to a lesser degree, Taiwan.

March 6, 2008 @ 3:43 pm | Comment

How about the loss of the Upper House of the Diet to the DPJ, and the erosion of the LDP’s power in general. Is this something that has been noticed in China?

March 6, 2008 @ 4:39 pm | Comment

can we change the subject? japan always end up a flame fest…..i think we know everyone’s views on that one by now.

i think people are a bit harsh on cct. he is a ccp apologist, but he is usually polite and hasn’t resorted to outright flaming – as far as i am aware.

from my own students, i think medical care would come higher up the list as it was something they often mentioned in their essays as a worry, particularly with ageing parents/grandparents and soccer should come further down or perhaps off?

March 6, 2008 @ 5:17 pm | Comment

CCT said:

“And Hu Jia (or the environment for that matter) isn’t anywhere on the list.”

And then, on the very same list:

“- continued environmental degradation.”

Dear CCT,

Instead of asking others, if they are able to read, in that arrogant, patronizing tone you are so well known for, I suggest, that you read your own comments before you post them. Have you ever wondered what that “Preview” button is for?

March 6, 2008 @ 5:32 pm | Comment

mor, nice catch! CCT, any thoughts?

March 6, 2008 @ 5:44 pm | Comment

i think people are a bit harsh on cct. he is a ccp apologist, but he is usually polite and hasn’t resorted to outright flaming – as far as i am aware.

I think people are harsh on him because of the sneering contempt he has for dissidents and activists who are doing far more for China than he (or you or I) ever will. There’s being an apologist and there’s being an asshole.

March 6, 2008 @ 7:12 pm | Comment

@nausicaa

fair enough. (i like your style btw)

March 6, 2008 @ 7:53 pm | Comment

I’m not particularly fragile, by the way. Calling me an asshole doesn’t change my sentiment. Calling me a prophet doesn’t give me the giggles, either.

The fact that you insist Hu Jia has done “far more for China” than, say, the guy who cleans the sewers reflects how out of touch you are. There are activists intellectuals that I admire, and then there are manufactured symbols of the Western rights movement that I couldn’t care less about. Hu Jia is clearly one of the second. As I said before, as far as I can see, his greatest actual achievement was his ability to get arrested.

As far as anti-Japan sentiment and whether it’s “justified”… well, not to put too sharp of a point on it, does justification matter? Popular dislike of Japan may not seem fair to your sensitivities, but it absolutely exists, and it’s always existed. It’s sort of like popular dislike of Communism in the United States, for that matter… but god knows I’ll have little luck peddling that analogy to some of the people here. (“Communism is evil!!!”)

As far as Maoist China being friendlier to Japan… to put it mildly, Maoist China was a very unique time. If you want to talk about propaganda and a completely brain-washed world view, *that* would be the period to focus on. Every Chinese was an idealist; all Chinese believed that we were in an united struggle with the oppressed workers of the world, that we were going to rid the world of the scourge of colonialism, imperialism, and capitalism. All Chinese were filled with love and sympathy for the workers of the world… including those of Japan. We were supposed to be on the verge of a wonderful new world.

The death of Mao and the reforms of the late ’70s were an epochal moment in Chinese history. I don’t remember where I read this, but someone recently referred to “guike kaifang” (reform and opening up) as being equivalent to the moniker of a new dynastic era. This process erasure China of (most) of this idealism, and represented the return of cold pragmatism. And that’s where we are today. And in this pragmatic world, Mao is now cursed for having refused Japanese reparations (and giving up land to the Soviets).

PS. On the environmental thing… I realized I goofed right after I posted it. I wasn’t going to include it, but then got stuck after 7-8 items, couldn’t think of anything else. I decided that environmental degradation does deserve to be in the top-10 list, especially considering what happened in Suzhou last year.

March 7, 2008 @ 12:51 am | Comment

@Si,

You’re probably right, medical care should go higher on the list. I put it further down is partly due to optimism… what I’ve heard recently is that rural insurance coverage is looking up. And my personal limited experience with the health system has improved a lot over the last year or two. I’ve seen doctors on numerous occasions refuse hongbaos.

On men’s soccer… people are becoming very numb and fatalistic. It’s a little like the Japan issue, perhaps… it’s a gaping sore that won’t heal, but doesn’t actually hurt until you press on it.

Folks, as far as the top-10 list goes… pull yourself up out of your well and think for a second as if you’re actually Chinese.

For the average American/Canadian/whoever, what’s in their top 10 list? Does it include the Patriot Act or Guantanamo Bay? Or does it include social security, employment, and illegal immigration?

March 7, 2008 @ 1:02 am | Comment

@Lime,

> Do you think there is much awareness of the internal politics of Japan in China? In particular, was Koizumi’s resignation noticed at all?

Yes, it’s “noticed”… but I don’t think there’s too much sophistication when it comes to understanding foreign politics, as someone else mentioned. What percentage of Westerners are really aware of the differences between Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin?

I do think attitudes toward Japan are changing and will continue to change with growing familiarity. As I said, I have grandmothers who hate Japan with a passion, as well as numerous cousins who will never own a Japanese product in this lifetime… but I also have a cousin who works for Ford in Nanjing, and was sent for 2 years to study in Japan. Positive experiences like this will help to lower the hatred level.

China, Japan, and for that matter Korea are historically all very proud countries. If we put aside the pride for a second, numerous aspects of modern Japan deserves admiration and emulation from China.

In 100 years, I personally predict either deep mutual respect across the East China Sea, or another bloody conflict. One of two extremes.

March 7, 2008 @ 1:22 am | Comment

There are activists intellectuals that I admire, and then there are manufactured symbols of the Western rights movement that I couldn’t care less about. Hu Jia is clearly one of the second. As I said before, as far as I can see, his greatest actual achievement was his ability to get arrested.

Then you need to see further. He is from a family that suffered persecution during the anti-rightist movement, and he has been politically active for more than ten years. Perhaps not good enough for you, but the perfect dissident doesn’t exist. You could just as well wait for Messiah or Mr. Godot for that matter.

The distinction between “real” dissidents that deserve you admiration and “fake” dissidents that have been created by the “Western rights movement” is artificial. If you look closely at almost any dissident there are both “pure” Chinese elements and international elements in their career. Wei Jingsheng hung out with Western journalists for quite while before anyone knew about him. But what him famous was the decision of Deng Xiaoping to televise his trial and his defiant stand at that very trial.

And that is true for almost any dissident movement in any country. The civil rights movement really got off the ground when it got international attention, and quite predictably MLK was often singled out as an agent of foreign interests. No single country holds copyright on democracy or human rights, this is a global discourse.

I often find myself disagreeing with Chinese dissidents on many issues, but it would never cross my mind to denounce them as products of “Western” media.

March 7, 2008 @ 3:27 am | Comment

CCT: “””””””The fact that you insist Hu Jia has done “far more for China” than, say, the guy who cleans the sewers reflects how out of touch you are. There are activists intellectuals that I admire, and then there are manufactured symbols of the Western rights movement that I couldn’t care less about. Hu Jia is clearly one of the second. As I said before, as far as I can see, his greatest actual achievement was his ability to get arrested.””””””””

The reason you say this is because YOU are out of touch, depends which way you look at China. If all you care about is the price of pork ie your own greedy self, then caring and respecting activists would seem out of touch.

I believe it was you who said they care more about commodities than morals and the environment, so already your opinions are skewed along very materialistic and cold uncaring lines.

I am curious who you would say is an activist you respect. I am not saying Hu Jia changed very much, but it is not so easy to make change as well as stay alive in China, so I would hardly blame him for wanting better things for the people. It is very difficult to do this kind of thing in China so I think he at least has a courageous conscience, most Chineses consciences have been chiselled away, being totally confused and morally uncertain through propaganda efforts and threats by the overlord…

March 7, 2008 @ 3:37 am | Comment

The fact that you insist Hu Jia has done “far more for China” than, say, the guy who cleans the sewers reflects how out of touch you are.

So you clean sewers? Could’ve fooled me. I had you pegged for another one of the dime-a-dozen champagne liberals out to make a quick buck in China.

There are activists intellectuals that I admire, and then there are manufactured symbols of the Western rights movement that I couldn’t care less about. Hu Jia is clearly one of the second. As I said before, as far as I can see, his greatest actual achievement was his ability to get arrested.

You know, for such an avowed patriot, you sure have a hard time mustering up an iota of sympathy for a fellow Chinese and human being.

As far as anti-Japan sentiment and whether it’s “justified”… well, not to put too sharp of a point on it, does justification matter? Popular dislike of Japan may not seem fair to your sensitivities, but it absolutely exists, and it’s always existed. It’s sort of like popular dislike of Communism in the United States, for that matter… but god knows I’ll have little luck peddling that analogy to some of the people here. (“Communism is evil!!!”)

Communism is evil. Marxism (or at least the humanist strain of it) is not.

As far as Maoist China being friendlier to Japan… to put it mildly, Maoist China was a very unique time. If you want to talk about propaganda and a completely brain-washed world view, *that* would be the period to focus on.

That is certainly one of the periods to study, but the fact that you consider propaganda and brainwashing to be a negligible factor in explaining the popular attitudes of Chinese today only shows the efficacy of CCP propaganda.

Every Chinese was an idealist; all Chinese believed that we were in an united struggle with the oppressed workers of the world, that we were going to rid the world of the scourge of colonialism, imperialism, and capitalism. All Chinese were filled with love and sympathy for the workers of the world… including those of Japan. We were supposed to be on the verge of a wonderful new world.”

“We”? Were you there? Or only in your ganja-fueled fantasies?

I don’t remember where I read this, but someone recently referred to “guike kaifang” (reform and opening up) as being equivalent to the moniker of a new dynastic era.

Oh, the joys of being lectured to by a pseudo-Chinese expat who can’t even spell the pinyin for “gai ge kai fang” correctly.

March 7, 2008 @ 4:12 am | Comment

> He is from a family that suffered persecution during the anti-rightist movement, and he has been politically active for more than ten years.

Just about every intellectual family in China “suffered persecution during the anti-Rightist movement”. My grandfather was persecuted heavily both during the anti-Rightist movement and the cultural revolution. Does not imply a darn thing.

After reading the comments of Hu Jia’s mom + dad … I agree with them on just about every account.

… I was going to get into a long discussion of Hu Jia and which of his activities I support or oppose. But really… that’s not a discussion I find very interesting. It all boils down to: on an intellectual level, I agree a wiser/kinder China would be tolerant of their voices and opinions; on a practical level, I consider these Chinese Don Quixotes irrelevant.

They might act as social “conscience”, but they don’t have a practical solution in their body. They’ve become political symbols, not problem solvers. In my opinion, the time of the Western activists supporting Hu Jia would be better spent convincing the United States government to remove agricultural subsidies, and limit oil consumption… the developing world would appreciate the help.

Borrowing the words of what someone else said earlier (or maybe it was on a different thread)… if Hu Jia could lower pork prices or find a way to address soaring medical costs, I’d start caring for him far more.

March 7, 2008 @ 4:49 am | Comment

@CCT

I accept your point that Hu Jia’s activism, does have a limited influence on pork prices in China.

But earlier you said that you do admire some dissidents. Can you give us any examples?

March 7, 2008 @ 4:54 am | Comment

CCT it was suggested you not to go on about Japan anymore having had a lot of leeway previously. Next time don’t try to have the last word.

March 7, 2008 @ 6:11 am | Comment

Amban,

Are we talking about me again? You seem fascinated by me.

Here’s my short list of people which are unpopular with the Communist Party, but should be popular with the Chinese people. The truth is, in this day and age, China is a big enough stage that most everyone can help constructively… in their own way. Even the weiquan lawyers in China (whom I consider misguided) are able to be constructive, even if their long-term goals are to end authoritarian rule.

But when we talk about “dissidents”, you’re mostly talking about people who’ve taken an ideological, destructive position firmly in opposition to the Communist Party. And these people aren’t anywhere on my list.

Most of the people I list below are constructive, and could very well return to China and “help” (if they haven’t already).

– 许家屯 (in his 90s, and too involved with Party disputes)

– I’ve always liked many of 方励之’s writings and thoughts; we don’t agree on everything, but I’m sure we could talk. (settled firmly in his academic studies in the US.)

– 杨小凯. (dead, unfortunately)

– 戴晴… still resides in Beijing. I’m a big fan of her writings. I do disagree with her conclusion on the Three Gorges, but on technical reasons only.

– I used to appreciate Wang Lixiong’s perspectives, but I believe he’s fallen off the path in recent years.

March 7, 2008 @ 7:06 am | Comment

@Raj,

CCT it was suggested you not to go on about Japan anymore having had a lot of leeway previously.

I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.

March 7, 2008 @ 7:07 am | Comment

@Raj
I asked CCT a question about knowledge of Japanese politics in China, and he answered it. What’s the problem here?

March 7, 2008 @ 7:46 am | Comment

@CCT

I’m not interested in you; I’m interested in your views, just like anyone participating in a discussion take interest in what other people have to say even if you disagree with him or her. And I try to make a distinction between a person and what he or she stands for, so when I disagree with others, I usually refrain from saying things like “I wouldn’t piss on Mia Farrow if she was on fire” or speculate what may satisfy someone’s ego. Which is an important part of understanding what free speech is about.

Now, you have produced an interesting list of a few dissidents whom you profess to admire. Why not focus on them and how we can learn from them, rather than inserting rather nasty remarks about a junior dissident?

And let’s examine the list you have provided us with. They are either dead (Yang Xiaokai), in exile (Fang Lizhi, Xu Jiatun) or largely protected from persecution by powerful connections (Dai Qing). And in the case of Wang Lixiong, I suspect that his association with the Dalai Lama may make him look rather dodgy to some people.

Quite a safe list, I would say. Most persecution is safely in the past. There is no need to spend any time and energy to argue that we need to speak out on behalf of someone who happens to be in jail for his or her views. And why insisting on making a distinction between “real” constructive dissidents and destructive dissidents? Is the definition of a destructive dissident that you happen to be in jail because the government has decided that you are against it? That is a tautological definition of destructive dissent, which cannot form the basis of any meaningful discussion about how to expand the realm of free speech in China or anywhere else in the world.

March 7, 2008 @ 7:54 am | Comment

The wires are reporting that a right-wing Japanese activist killed himself on the steps of the Japanese Diet, reportedly in protest of warming Chinese-Japanese relations. And my observation, in response, is that obviously Chinese/Japanese hostility is not one-sided.

March 7, 2008 @ 8:22 am | Comment

@CCT

I don’t know more about this suicide than has been mentioned here, but the most obvious explanation to any suicide is mental illness, not extreme nationalism. I would refrain from speculating about what what a personal tragedy like this can teach us about Sino-Japanese relations.

March 7, 2008 @ 8:39 am | Comment

@Amban,

I guess you’re dissatisfied because no one on my list is currently in jail? Seems to me like you’re not at all interested in my views, or the writings of the people I consider interesting. At least, you didn’t express any opinion of any of their writings or theories… except that they aren’t in prison.

Seems to me you want me to come out and insist that the Communist Party is arresting intelligent, interesting dissenters.

Sorry, just can’t do it.

Even Liu Di, she of the “stainless steel rat” fame who spent some time in prison for her online writings, remains *outside* of prison today. She remains inside China, and is both a moderator (and active poster) on the “Free China Forum”:
http://zyzg.us/

Even 赵岩, previously arrested for revealing “state secrets” to the New York Times, is now out of prison… and not only that, but actually covering this week’s National People’s Congress in Beijing on behalf of the New York Times.

Even 程翔, previously arrested for working for a Taiwanese foundation which may/may not be backed by Taiwanese intelligence, is out of prison and in Hong Kong.

What if I had said any of those names? Would my list still be “safe”? What if I said Wang Dan or Wei Jingsheng… they’re in exile too. Why are they acceptable dissidents than Fang Lizhi and Xu Jiatun? (Xu Jiatun is an actual defector for god’s sake, while Fang Lizhi was one of the alleged black hands of Tiananmen.)

March 7, 2008 @ 8:45 am | Comment

The BBC mentioned it.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7278677.stm
I’ve noticed they’re not especially good with East Asian stories, so it might be missing some important parts. Sounds like both extreme nationalism and mental illness were probably involved.

March 7, 2008 @ 8:46 am | Comment

Amban,

I didn’t do the speculation, wire reports did. But I’ll let the BBC know that you disapprove of their terminology:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7278677.stm

> but the most obvious explanation to any suicide is mental illness, not extreme nationalism.

~huge, emphatic roll of the eyes~

Just above we had discussions that the United States allowed Emperor Hirohito to live after WW2, because of fears that millions of Japanese soldiers would either commit suicide or fight to the death otherwise.

Japanese and South Korean protestors often cut off their fingers in elaborate rituals, in order to express their outrage with the other country’s foreign policy.

Presumably… if the United States had provided free valium to Japan, it wouldn’t have had to deal with kamikaze pilots during WW2.

March 7, 2008 @ 8:51 am | Comment

@CCT

Seems to me you want me to come out and insist that the Communist Party is arresting intelligent, interesting dissenters.

No, I don’t think you would, neither did I expect you to answer my question why you make a distinction between “real” and “fake” dissidents. But from your answers it is pretty clear that you defer to the Chinese government to decide what is constructive or destructive criticism of government policy. If that is a strategic choice to avoid various problems, I understand you. But to sincerely believe that it is up to the Chinese government to decide what constitutes legitimate dissent is one indication that you are indoctrinated.

As for the people you mentioned, I have a great degree of respect for them, especially Fang Lizhi and Dai Qing, including their writings.

I didn’t do the speculation, wire reports did. But I’ll let the BBC know that you disapprove of their terminology

I do disapprove of the BBC speculating about that suicide and I think it is tasteless to spin this in any direction.

that the United States allowed Emperor Hirohito to live after WW2, because of fears that millions of Japanese soldiers would either commit suicide or fight to the death otherwise.

Today we also know that a lot of US policy towards Japan during and after WW2 was based on paternalistic and sometimes even racist assumptions about Japanese people. I would be careful to quote those assumptions as proof of anything.

March 7, 2008 @ 9:46 am | Comment

… huge, emphatic role of the eyes to CCT…

If you don’t actually have the ability to respond to comments, please don’t be so childish as to say “learn to read.” I am quite adept at reading (and even know how to type pinyin: guike kaifang? The turtle shell is opening?)

March 7, 2008 @ 2:23 pm | Comment

Furthermore… CCT, considering your respect for Fang Lizhi, do you advocate quanpan xihua (sorry, chinese characters never seem to display properly for me on this website)- 全盘西化? otherwise known as “complete Westernization”?
Considering Fang Lizhi’s writings about the universal nature of basic respect for the human being, what is “western” about “complete Westernization”? Is it proper to refer to respect for human rights as westernization, or perhaps simply as respect for the lives of a nation’s citizens (after all, there would be no nation without citizens). While “complete westernization” is a phrase that came out of Fang Lizhi’s writings (although it had earlier historical roots), might not the sporadic pejorative references to “quanpan xihua” in the Chinese media (Global Times, etc.’s derogatory references to “traitors”) be a means of naturalizing violations of human rights through a nation-centered conception of “unique” national characters and conditions? How is it that reified states’ so-called “rights” could ever override citizens’ concrete rights?
I personally have a lot of admiration for Fang Lizhi and his writings, and was quite shocked that you would list him as someone you respect, considering the immensely shortsighted and state-ist arguments that you have presented at this forum.

March 7, 2008 @ 3:18 pm | Comment

@kevin,

I’m sitting here writing to you in English, with science degrees from two of the best universities in the United States. Is there any doubt that I agree with Fang Lizhi’s assertions on the importance of “quanpan xihua”?

His definitions of the term, by the way, are not necessarily represented by a literal translation of the phrase. He’s saying that the Chinese should have confidence in the strength of Chinese culture, in our ability to remain ourselves while adopting every advanced technology or technique available from the West.

I absolutely agree with that sentiment. I did this math when I was just a kid; 1.3 billion Chinese, 600 million Americans + Europeans… even if every single Chinese was some how diluted or “corrupted” by a Westerner, that would still leave half of us as “pure” as ever.

That’s not to say I agree with Fang Lizhi on every point. Far from it. Even in the essay in which he discusses quanpan xihua, while I agree with him that the Qing dynasty missed a chance to emulate the meiji reform, I completely disagree with him that China’s failings in the 20th century came about because we weren’t willing to adopt “western” practices.

That’s ridiculous.

Sun Yat-sen was a US-raised Christian who tried to recreate China in the image of Western nationalism. The Chinese Civil War was basically a war between two distinctly Western ideologies: national socialism versus communism. On the one side, a Christian with an American-educated wife; on the other side, Communists educated in the communes of Paris and Moscow.

In fact, what *I* learned from the 20th century is similar to, but very different from Fang’s conclusion. My conclusion is that China must adopt Western ideologies with careful consideration. The wholesale importation of foreign philosophies and conclusions doesn’t work, because the societies of the developed West has ever had to deal with a problem the scale of China.

Blind emulation will only translate into horrifying, mutated results… like Jiang Jieshi’s corrupt nationalist government, and Mao Zedong’s misguided communist great leaps forward.

March 7, 2008 @ 3:48 pm | Comment

@Amban,

I, yet again, have no idea what you’re talking about. I’ve never used the term “real” or “fake” to refer to dissidents; only you have.

I believe some dissidents are informed, intelligent, and driven to helping China… but at some point along the way, they angered the Communist Party. This latter fact doesn’t concern me… I read their writings, and I understand their motives.

On the other hand, there are uninformed, unintelligent wanna-bes who (like all of us) appreciate attention, and the prospects of foreign sponsorship. And many of these are being turned into tools of an overseas cottage industry that only cares about making the Communist Party look bad, not resolving actual problems. Sorry, I’m not interested.

Not everyone falls clearly into one category or the other… some fall into both (at different points in their lives), and some don’t fall into either. I’m just trying to explain my own rough classification, and the reasoning behind why I couldn’t care less about some so-called “dissidents”.

March 7, 2008 @ 3:58 pm | Comment

CCT: Sun Yat-sen was a US-raised Christian who tried to recreate China in the image of Western nationalism. The Chinese Civil War was basically a war between two distinctly Western ideologies: national socialism versus communism.

Oh dear. That’s the first time I’ve ever seen Sun described as a national socialist. I do hope you realize that term carries some baggage.

March 7, 2008 @ 4:38 pm | Comment

As I was scanning…quickly and impatiently… through this thread, I came across this gem:

“Sun Yat-sen was a US-raised Christian who tried to recreate China in the image of Western nationalism. The Chinese Civil War was basically a war between two distinctly Western ideologies: national socialism versus communism. On the one side, a Christian with an American-educated wife; on the other side, Communists educated in the communes of Paris and Moscow.”

A. Sun grew up mostly in Guangdong. At the age of 13 he moved to Hawaii, then an independent kingdom, to live with his brother. He graduated from a mission school there and moved back to China around 1882 at the age of 16/17 to attend college and medical school in Hong Kong, about a decade before Hawaii was annexed by the US. Sun’s best connection to the US, other than Qingling, is that when the 1911 Revolution broke out in Wuchang, he was on a train to Denver, CO. (See Marie-Claire Bergรƒยจre)

B. If by “Western nationalism,” one includes the Soviet Union, who was by far Sun’s biggest international supporter in the 1910s and 1920s, than…sure. In fact, one of the appeals of Communism, in its Soviet form, was that it was a scientific ideology that was not, in the minds of Chinese Marxists, western. Russia had alway occupied a liminal place in the Chinese worldview. At the same time, Marxism explicitly criticized the imperialism of Western Europe and America, making it a suitably, if ironically, ‘anti-Western’ alternative to other ideas coming into China. (After Arif Dirlik, D.C. Price, Maurice Meisner, etc.)

C. The KMT were not “National Socialists” whatever weird Hitler fetish CKS (who was also a Christian with an American-educated wife) might have developed after reading Mein Kempf. That’s a lazy characterization if I’ve ever seen one. (John Fitzgerald, Lloyd Eastman, etc.)

D. I think the manichean dichotomy set up by whomever wrote this vastly understates the enormous complexity of the situation, including the shared influences and symbiotic development of the KMT and CCP in the 1920s. (Lucien Bianco, Meisner again, among many many others.)

Also, did I see somebody a-ways back or on another thread attempt to make some sort of strange linkage between Hu Jia and a Holocaust denier and then go on to unfavorably compare the global credibility of Amnesty International to that of The People’s Daily? I hope not…back to the books.

March 7, 2008 @ 4:41 pm | Comment

@CCT

On the other hand, there are uninformed, unintelligent wanna-bes who (like all of us) appreciate attention, and the prospects of foreign sponsorship. And many of these are being turned into tools of an overseas cottage industry that only cares about making the Communist Party look bad, not resolving actual problems. Sorry, I’m not interested.

This is precisely the problem with your argument and the reason why it can’t be taken seriously by anyone who really takes human rights seriously. To dismiss someone because they are a “tool of an overseas cottage industry” or just hate the ruling party, is nothing else than guilt-by-association. This is something that may convince a Joseph McCarthy or a Andrey Vyshinsky, but it is a dead end intellectually and ethically dubious.

March 7, 2008 @ 11:37 pm | Comment

@richard,

> Oh dear. That’s the first time I’ve ever seen Sun described as a national socialist. I do hope you realize that term carries some baggage.

I wasn’t describing Sun Zhongshan. I was describing Jiang Jieshi’s version of the KMT.

@Jeremiah,

> In fact, one of the appeals of Communism, in its Soviet form, was that it was a scientific ideology that was not, in the minds of Chinese Marxists, western.

I’d like to see you support that statement; I find the conclusion ridiculous. Marx is German, and Lenin is Russian… the pantheon of Communist lore consists exclusively of Europeans. Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping both studied in Paris, where they joined and developed the communist movement.

And your suggestion is that the Communist Party still saw Marxism/Communism as “non-Western”?

D. I think the manichean dichotomy set up by whomever wrote this vastly understates the enormous complexity of the situation, including the shared influences and symbiotic development of the KMT and CCP in the 1920s. (Lucien Bianco, Meisner again, among many many others.)

I think whomever wrote this paragraph vastly felt a need to participate in this conversation, without having much clue as to the actual context. (I’d like to see anyone give an overview of Republican China’s political development in two sentences without “vastly understating” the complications of the relationship involved. )

I don’t see how in the context of the quanpan xihua discussion, the “symbiotic relationship” between the Communist/KMT parties is deserving of any mention.

@Amban,

To dismiss someone because they are a “tool of an overseas cottage industry” or just hate the ruling party, is nothing else than guilt-by-association.

You’re a never ending spring of naive political correctness.

March 8, 2008 @ 12:26 am | Comment

A piece of news just came in. Human rights lawyer Teng Biao is reported to be missing and it is feared that he has been detained by the Chinese authorities

http://www.canada.com/topics/news/world/story.html?id=f6dc5a6f-9010-4cbf-b520-6b10f69d2f59

Clearly, the Chinese government didn’t mean anything when it promised improved human rights in China ahead of the Olympics.

March 8, 2008 @ 12:28 am | Comment

@CCT

You’re a never ending spring of naive political correctness.

Clearly you are running out of arguments.

March 8, 2008 @ 12:30 am | Comment

CCT””””””””They might act as social “conscience”, but they don’t have a practical solution in their body. They’ve become political symbols, not problem solvers. …..

Borrowing the words of what someone else said earlier (or maybe it was on a different thread)… if Hu Jia could lower pork prices or find a way to address soaring medical costs, I’d start caring for him far more.”””””””

Yeah and you wouldnt piss on Mia Farrow if she was on fire, why?, cause she isnt lowering the price of pork for you, that s just the kind of person you are. That is the most serious damage done to the Chinese nation. The Chinese peopel, through CCP indoctrination have been molded to only focus on money (since the CCP is evil, the CCP must not let morality be a factor) Morality and old values were predominant in the Chinese culture, but the CCP has indoctrinated them all away and now the Chinese people are just money grubbing zombies.

I want the best for China and the Chinese people, but the best is not cheap pork, the best is being a true and proud Chinese, the type of people who care about life and humanity, about philosophy and the arts, about nature and virtues…..

How can I wish the best for people with no souls? For those with no souls, i wish them to awaken and change and go back to being Chinese, and for the ones who still have souls, i wish them all the best because they deserve it.

By the law od karma, if you hate a person unless they give you cheap pork, you do not deserve cheap pork, you have to care unconditionally for values, only then will you be deserving fo cheap pork.

CCT””””””””Seems to me you want me to come out and insist that the Communist Party is arresting intelligent, interesting dissenters.

Sorry, just can’t do it.””””””””””””

Seems that you are absolutely 100% misinformed.

March 8, 2008 @ 12:43 am | Comment

I’m embarassed to say that I can’t contribute much to the discussion on Chinese dissidents here either (if you guys have enough time to argue about them here you should think about updating their English Wikipedia articles a bit), but it seems like we’re talking at cross purposes. ‘Human rights’ keeps being mentioned, but obviously there’s not consensus on what it means. In the view of the CCP, it obviously doesn’t mean freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of movement, equality under the law, habeas corpus, or democracy. So either the CCP has a radically different view of what ‘human rights’ means, or they just occassionally parrot it for the international press (“We’ll totally improve human rights for the olympics”) when in reality it means absolutely nothing.
To be fair to CCT, I don’t think he’s used ‘human rights’, only vaguely referring to creating a kinder, wiser China to die in. So is there any real point in talking about ‘human rights’ in the context of Red China (other than all of liberalish democrats think it might be nice if our ideas on human rights were adopted there). And if Red China does have a concept of ‘human rights’ what is it? Specifically the rights of individuals, as I’m sure we’ve all heard the chant about the ‘rights of the group’ superceding the rights of the individual.

March 8, 2008 @ 2:28 am | Comment

Kinda seems like angrily debating theology with an atheist, doesn’t it?

March 8, 2008 @ 2:37 am | Comment

CCT

You’re a never ending spring of naive political correctness.

Personal attacks are not welcome on the blog. Keep it civil.

The same applies to everyone else.

March 8, 2008 @ 2:43 am | Comment

โ€Chinese should have confidence in the strength of Chinese culture, in our ability to remain ourselves while adopting every advanced technology or technique available from the West.โ€œ
CCT, if all that you took away from Fang Lizhi’s writings was an enthusiasm for Western technology, you might want to try rereading some of his points, rather than telling others to “learn to read.”
Science and democracy go together, in the tradition of the New Culture and May Fourth Movements.
Also, if you have respect for Fang Lizhi, and still insist that the Ch. gov. doesn’t arrest intelligent people, I am at a loss to explain why Fang needed to spend nearly 2 years hiding in the US Embassy while he was listed Public Enemy No. 1 of the Ch. gov…

March 8, 2008 @ 3:13 am | Comment

Another piece of news that is bound to provoke the Chinese government and its supporters in cyber space:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/mar/05/china.musicnews

There will almost certainly be more incidents like this…

March 8, 2008 @ 5:23 am | Comment

To be fair to CCT, I don’t think he’s used ‘human rights’, only vaguely referring to creating a kinder, wiser China to die in. So is there any real point in talking about ‘human rights’ in the context of Red China (other than all of liberalish democrats think it might be nice if our ideas on human rights were adopted there). And if Red China does have a concept of ‘human rights’ what is it? Specifically the rights of individuals, as I’m sure we’ve all heard the chant about the ‘rights of the group’ superceding the rights of the individual.

None of us can influence Chinese government policy towards HR in the short term, I have no illusions about that. But if we give the Chinese government a veto over what is legitimate dissent and what is not, we are the prisoners of the Chinese government. That is, in effect, what CCT is doing when he endorses the idea of dissenting with the Chinese government, but attacks anyone who steps out of line and gets arrested by the Chinese government. And his attacks on people like Hu Jia and other is reminiscent of Maoist rhetoric about the “people” and “enemies of the people”.

Yes, no one forces people like Hu Jia, Teng Biao and Yang Chunlin to stick out their necks and get busted by the Chinese government for the sake of an abstract idea of human rights. But I find it offensive to attack them as stooges of foreign forces or come up with all kinds of innuendos about their motives. It seems to me that many netizens like CCT let their patriotism get the better of their judgment here. I know many Chinese who are deeply troubled by this (more troubled than I am), but they would never speak out against it, since they fear being branded as traitors.

March 8, 2008 @ 5:37 am | Comment

@Amban & CCT
Well of course every Chinese person is a prisoner of the state. That’s the fundamental nature of an authoritarian government, to act as a prison and as a fortress for its people. If I have understood him right, CCT has accepted the CCP as the legitimate legal authority in China proper (though not sure what his stance on the ROC is) and therefore has both the right and obligation to protect itself from threats to its stability, and being an authoritarian state, this includes people who point out unpleasent realities about the management of the country to their fellow countrymen. I don’t know enough about either Fang Lizhi or Hu Jia to guess at why CCT feels that the criminal dissent of one is more respectable or forgiveable than the criminal dissent of the other, but perhaps he could explain that in more detail.

March 8, 2008 @ 6:07 am | Comment

@Lime

I think you have summed up CCT’s position quite accurately. Or, you can make it even briefer: might is right.

March 8, 2008 @ 6:48 am | Comment

“Some Chinese intellectuals – and many foreign observers – view contemporary nationalism as something “imposed upon the people representing the will of a leader” But for most Chinese nationalism feels like a healthy act of self assertion, as Sinologist Eward Friedman says “Chinese nationalist experience themselves not as victims manipulated by political interests at the state center but as pure patriots who know the truth and will not bee fooled”

From “China fragile supepower” Susan L.Shirk

March 8, 2008 @ 7:41 am | Comment

Sorry to mention the Japan issue again.

When I saw those big demonstrations against Japan I thought… “It is not against Japan…. what is really going on is that people needs to demonstrate to show their anger, but they cannot do it against the CCP, so they demonstrated against something they are allowed to… Japan! ”

The CCP considered convenient at that time to put pressure against japan so did nothing to stop it, even encouraged it.

But things started to get out of control and also they suddenly realized what was subconsciously pushing the people to demonstrate. It is not about Japan! It is about China!

They are sitting over a pressure cooker.

March 8, 2008 @ 7:52 am | Comment

@Amban, CCT, & everyone else
Well I don’t think that ‘might is right’ is totally fair. CCT made the valuable point a few threads ago that the CCP is more effectively maintaining and improving the security and quality of life in its country than many democracies and most other dictatorships in the modern world. So, presuming we agree that human life/prosperity is a moral priority, there is an argument for supporting the CCP’s authoritarian rule. The persecution of dissenters, which equates to a high level of thought control, I believe, is unavoidable in a dictatorship. So, if you agree with me on that, and believe that the CCP is by and large a beneficial government to have in place, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

My bias is for a democratic state, the rule of law independent of any person or politcal party, and the freedom of thought that is subsequently allowed, but it is of course just a bias and one not necessarily shared by everyone or anyone else.
China, I have often been told, just can’t do democracy, owing to the large population, but of itself, I can’t see that there is any logic at all to this. What really might prevent democracy is the legacy of a socialist, centralised, command economy structured bureacracy, plus the huge population. Sometimes people say that there is something about traditional Confucian culture that would impede democracy too, but I think the ROC has successfully disproven that theory.

So what I’m wondering here is if CCT, or others, think that a) democracy is impossible in China for some other reason, b) democracy is possible, but you would lose the prosperity that the dictatorship has brought, or c) there is just something preferable about the authoritarian state that biasses you towards it in the same way I am biassed towards democracy.

March 8, 2008 @ 8:00 am | Comment

Kevin,

You mentioned Professor Fang: A couple of my favorite passages, just to add a little to this thread:

“It is only when you know something independently that you are free from relying on authorities outside the intellectual domain, such as the government. Unfortunately, things are not this way in China. I have discussed this problem with educators. In the past, even during the ‘seventeen years’ [GPCR], our universities were mainly engaged in producing tools [recalls Confucius’ famous dictum], not in educating human beings. Education was not concerned with helping students to become critical thinkers, but with producing docile instruments to be used by others. Chinese intellectuals need to insist on thinking for themselves and using their own judgment, but I’m afraid even now we have not grasped this lesson…

Knowledge must be independent from power, the power of the state included. If knowledge is subservient to power, it is worthless…When it comes to our fields of knowledge, we must think for ourselves and exercise our own judgment about what’s right and wrong, and about truth, goodness and beauty as well.

We must refuse to cater to power. Only when we do this will Chinese intellectuals be transformed into genuine intellectuals and our country have a chance to modernize and attain real democracy. This is my message to you today.

(Fang Lizhi, 1986)

‘Freedom, democracy, and human rights are the common heritage of humanity and do not belong only to the bourgeoisie. What I want to emphasize is this: freedom, democracy, and human rights have to be fought for; if we don’t fight, they will never arrive on their own.

(Fang Lizhi, 1986)

I actually worked with some of the guys who in 1989 bundled Professor Fang into the embassy. They tell a great story. There’s also a good account in Jim Lilley’s memoir.

March 8, 2008 @ 8:03 am | Comment

In Steven Covey’s famous book, he show a drawing that some of the people saw an old woman, and some of the people saw a young lady. Yet the whole picture is really both a young lady and an old woman, if you can see the viewpoints of the others.

What you ought to see, but you may fail to see, is the large number of the “silent majority” people whose lives have been vastly improved. The difference is, CCT knows these people personally. In China today, so long as your airing of your grievance doesn’t end up advocating the end of the current system, you are fine. Often if you have a practical solution to some concrete problems that is better, it’ll be utilized faster than most of other countries.

The other thing many people here fail to realize is, CCP, or the Chinese government, isn’t a singular and unchanged entity — it’s actually ever evolving every day.

March 8, 2008 @ 8:17 am | Comment

Lime, just curious. Do you consider Russia a democracy? Why? What is a democracy?

In the case of the US, you can’t elect supreme court judges, or central bankers who arguably have more to do with the well being of people than the 3 branches. Why a popular president can’t serve beyond 8 years — isn’t that very undemocratic? Is the US really a democracy?

March 8, 2008 @ 8:24 am | Comment

“Why a popular president can’t serve beyond 8 years ”

Just in case he becomes toooo popular.

March 8, 2008 @ 8:31 am | Comment

“The other thing many people here fail to realize is, CCP, or the Chinese government, isn’t a singular and unchanged entity — it’s actually ever evolving every day.”

The questions are.
In which direction are they going?
What will be the end result?

And….
Could something else do it even better?
And if yes, why should should they keep the power?

March 8, 2008 @ 8:36 am | Comment

@CCT
“while I agree with him that the Qing dynasty missed a chance to emulate the meiji reform”

I think that if they were an ethnic Han dynasty an evolution to a sort of constitutional monarchy(imperial) could have been possible

That they were Manchu put nationalism against the imperial house. Special after their big defeats against western powers.

Just think for am moment that they succeeded. and through a chinese Meiji restoration the country could be modernized.

The show of an constitutional Imperial China today would put the British Monarchy show to shame!!

Just think of all the elaborate rituals, ceremonies, etc. Several order of magnitude better that the change of the guard in London!!!
And for a country to receive an official visit of the very Chinese Emperor. Quite a feat!

And of course, discussion about which economy will be the biggest one in 10,20 or 40 years would be meaningless today….

But it could not be, and much has been lost in the process….

March 8, 2008 @ 8:53 am | Comment

@JXie
I’m no expert on Russia, but from what I’ve observed as a casual reader of the news, I would say no, as they don’t have actual elections and the law is the will of the President and/or his party rather than within the structure of the government itself. The US is, as the Congress and President are elected and remain subordinate to the law. The supreme court justices are a lousy part of it, but they are appointed and can be dismissed by an elected authority so they remain subordinate in the hierarchy (if you want a really good example of a crummy democratic set up, look at Canada where both the Supreme Court and the Senate are appointed), and of course the bankers are subordinate to the system as well.
Democracy has no hard definition, and others might disagree with my explanation here, but I think we can agree that there is a commonality between the government systems of Japan, the ROC, the USA, Australia, Britain, France and so on that is not shared by Russia, China, North Korea, or Zimbabwe. Perhaps somebody else can articulate it better?
I’m not suggesting that it’s the best system, or even inherently superior to China’s. It’s just the one I prefer.
And you’re right, I should add a d) to my list; d) China’s government is in the process of evolving into democracy or perhaps- if we really rack our imaginations here- something else that some might even find preferable to democracy. And if so what might that be?
Let’s talk about PRC and the CCP, which at the moment are one and the same, and this evolution.

March 8, 2008 @ 9:04 am | Comment

@Lime

Sure, I’m familiar with that argument. But it is one thing to say that it will take time for a democracy to develop in China, and quite another to everything you can to discredit people who have been thrown into jail because of their views and can’t defend themselves. Call me moralist, but I think it’s revolting to kick on someone who is lying down. That’s where I have come into this discussion.

March 8, 2008 @ 9:10 am | Comment

Lime, so you don’t know much about Russia… but somehow it doesn’t stop you from passing judgments. That’s fine, we all make snap judgments.

But what if I tell you the freedom of speech, by the spectrum of opinions available over the airwaves, and the political pluralism, by the number of viable party in Duma elections, are FAR better in Russia than in any Western countries?

“Why a popular president can’t serve beyond 8 years ”
Just in case he becomes toooo popular.

I understand the reason. My question is why insist calling it a democracy while obviously it’s undemocratic.

March 8, 2008 @ 9:35 am | Comment

But what if I tell you the freedom of speech, by the spectrum of opinions available over the airwaves, and the political pluralism, by the number of viable party in Duma elections, are FAR better in Russia than in any Western countries?

A truly preposterous statement.

March 8, 2008 @ 10:12 am | Comment

@JXie
Then I suppose I would have to bow to your superior knowledge of this subject, and ask if the elections of the Duma are considered fair by international observers, and what the legal relationship is between the Duma and the president.

@Amban
To continue to try to see it from CCT’s perspective, Hu Jia and the other jailed activists are in jail because they are criminals, and they are criminals because of their beliefs. So its not even a matter of trying to discredit them, it would be like accusing someone of trying to discredit Conrad Black while he’s in jail. That’s my interpretation of what he’s saying anyways. If I’m misrepresenting it, apologies CCT.
I do hope he further explains the difference in his views of Fang Lizhi and Hu Jia, because that does seem inconsistent if I’m correct.

March 8, 2008 @ 10:25 am | Comment

To continue to try to see it from CCT’s perspective, Hu Jia and the other jailed activists are in jail because they are criminals, and they are criminals because of their beliefs. So its not even a matter of trying to discredit them, it would be like accusing someone of trying to discredit Conrad Black while he’s in jail. That’s my interpretation of what he’s saying anyways.

That’s a tautology; they’re criminals because they’re criminals.

March 8, 2008 @ 12:28 pm | Comment

They’re criminals because the CCP says their beliefs and actions are crimes, and the CCP is the law.

March 8, 2008 @ 12:39 pm | Comment

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5Fk0vgHWTY

Unplug from the news sources with agendas, be they People’s Daily or New York Times. Travel more. Take to, more importantly, listen to other people. Empty that zen proverbial cup of tea.

March 8, 2008 @ 12:43 pm | Comment

Thinking about why Chinese Nationalists tend to react so strongly against criticisms of the CCP’s actions (not CCT necessarily, as he’s proven himself to be far more cosmopolitan in his views than the average Red China Nationalist), it occurs to me that it probably often has a lot more to with the legitimacy of a lao wei weighing in on something they view as a purely Chinese issue than it does on what they actually think about the issue. On a case like Hu Jia’s, or Taiwanian independence, or Falun Gong I often get the impression from patriotic Chinese that if there is to be any debate at all, it should be within China, as its no one else’s business. And this, of course, clashes with the more internationalist mindset of ‘socially concerned’ (for lack of a better term) North Americans and Europeans, who are used to criticising their own and each other’s governments. Hence Bjork being undoubtably confused as to why she got such a unanimously negative response after declaring for Tibetan Independence in the middle of Shanghai. Think I’m way off or on to something here?

March 8, 2008 @ 1:00 pm | Comment

@JXie
Hah. Show me a news source or person without an agenda and I’ll show you the rabbit hole. Your council is good, and I’m already taking it, as it is exactly why I’m here.

March 8, 2008 @ 1:07 pm | Comment

“”””””So, presuming we agree that human life/prosperity is a moral priority, there is an argument for supporting the CCP’s authoritarian rule.”””””

Human life/prosperity a priority for the CCP? Whatever, I dont think so. Maybe if the issue of them persecuting and murdering (also organ harvesting) of Falun Gong had not happened. Maybe if they didnt use the barrel of a gun to control peoples thoughts and behavious through terrorist lessons like 1989. Maybe if they hadnt wiped out morality and introduced merciless struggle as the new revolutionary god. Maybe if they protected the land for people to do their farming and have drinking water, maybe if they didnt spread aids and then desperately cover it up, force abortions, maybe if they didnt terrorize the Tibetans and threaten with torture anyone with a mind for justice.

Does prioritizing life include taking healthy people who are deemd criminal for being too popular (Falun Gong) and selling thier vital organs for a huge profit?

I think this attempt to see things from CCT’s perspective is pretty dangerous and I can see a lot of people sliding down that slippery slope. At a certain point you have to make a distinction between right and wrong. Everything is justifiable if you believe there is not big difference between right and wrong.

“””””They’re criminals because the CCP says their beliefs and actions are crimes, and the CCP is the law.”””””

thats it, the CCP says their actions are crimes, but it is they who are the true criminals. If the world worked like one big country at this point, the CCP faction would definitely consider all human rights orgs, all legal systems based on historical values, all traditional morals- subversive elements. because elements of justice fundamentally deem the CCP a criminal cult, just they happen to have a lot of power over people right now and people are corrupt out of their minds so, it could be that eventually our justice systems are purged as subversive elements or bourgeois elements etc, think about it, they have to purge all truth and justice in the world in order to keep up the lies and justify evils…

March 8, 2008 @ 1:20 pm | Comment

Lime, I think you have a point there with the Chinese wanting us to stay out of their stuff.

I think its about saving face. They believe they are the superior race and so it is probly quite painful for us to be lecturng them on what they have done horribly worng. That is the price they have to pay for blindly and cowardly following a retard party to human rights hell..

I guess they dont have the concept of, if you want to look good you should be good, not just fake an act and expect everyone to be fooled. And I think they are genuinely fooled also, they do not see what we see, so I think they find a lot of our criticisms to be exaggerated. They cant weigh both sides only seeing one side…

Im talking about Chinese people as if there were none here, sorry, thats rude.

I get involved with China stuff cause China is globally very significant. Also I see the brainwashing and misinformation going on there and it is not healthy at all. Unless the Chinese insist on dealing with truth instead of propaganda, no one will be able to deal with them on a totally civilized level.

It kinda upsets me that the people in China dont take back their integrity and DO SOMETHING, then we wouldnt have to…But I guess they cant if they dont know its happening, so I guess at least Bjork brought in a little of the outside world, so thats great…

March 8, 2008 @ 1:32 pm | Comment

@Snow
We don’t have to agree with each other, but if we don’t at least try to see things from the point of view of others, there will never be any discussions, only fights. One of the saddest discoveries that we all have to make eventually is that, as important as our ideals of right and wrong are to each of us, there is never going to be another person who shares them exactly.

March 8, 2008 @ 2:08 pm | Comment

Last week my wife and I watched together the youtube video shot by Hu Jia’s own video camera. My wife got bored in the middle of it, which was not surprising to me at all.

She said, “What does the guy do? He has a family to provide for, but he just stays home all day, every day?” I tried to explain to her that probably he has trouble in finding a job because of his anti-government stance. She was not convinced. “He can find something if he really wants to. Plays with his camera all day long? That’s creepy. He’s got a really understanding wife, for god’s sake!” She was down to earth, not pretending to be philosophical at all, but after several nights and reading comments posted here, I have came to a point to kinda being able to package her view into something more suitable for a comment to be posted here.

1. He may or may not have a real job, which I do not know. But isn’t being a revolutionary his “real” job? I read somewhere that the only place in today’s world you can call a “thinker” a job is France. By analogy, I would say China is now one of the few countries in the world whose revolutionaries are still admired, although not necessarily by the Chinese themselves. In other parts of the world, the title of revolutionary is obsolete or is replaced by more derogatory equivalents such as radicals, terrorists, or the socially ostracized.

2. The cops downstairs had a creepy job, and I agree with her that Hu Jia should have better things to do than play with his camera. The whole thing seemed like a creepy reality show, perfectly fit for broadcasting by do-gooders on the internet.

3. His wife is understanding, which beats my wife hands down. My tough luck.

4. But, if elections were held in China, he would have a very tough time to woo women’s votes should he run for a public position. Women are half of the humanity, you know, so their views matter.

5. I cannot speak for CCT, but as much as I can see, Fang Lizhi has a real job and knows how to do it, so Fang seems to be more grounded than Hu Jia.

6. Confucius said, “How can you clean the world if you cannot even clean your house?” So I need to go back to clean my house, I guess.

March 8, 2008 @ 2:53 pm | Comment

@Brgyags
“3. His wife is understanding, which beats my wife hands down. My tough luck.”

I hope for you that your wife is not reading this blog…..
๐Ÿ˜‰

March 8, 2008 @ 3:06 pm | Comment

About Bjork…

If she were singing in 1936 in Berlin and tried to do at the stage something in behalf of the jews, she would have gotten a similar answer from the people there.

The comparison is a I bit rude I know.

My point is. It is quite difficult to get a people away from an “inszinierte Realitรฏยฟยฝt” set up by the political agenda of a authoritarian government.
They have been fed their whole life with it.
Some are absolutely unable to get rid of it, other do not want to, and many of those who accomplish getting rid of will find the experience traumatic.

The greatest the crimes to hide, the more difficult for people to realize that what it is all about is a massive cover up.

March 8, 2008 @ 3:27 pm | Comment

She said, “What does the guy do? He has a family to provide for, but he just stays home all day, every day?” I tried to explain to her that probably he has trouble in finding a job because of his anti-government stance.

Is this a joke? Are you pretending that you don’t understand this? This guy was then under house-arrest and now he is incarcerated.

March 9, 2008 @ 12:02 am | Comment

Amban,

Based on the video, I cannot tell whether he was forbidden to work. I can tell that his wife was doing very well on her job and they live a quite comfortable middle-class life by the Chinese standards. As I said, his real profession is a revolutionary, so the question whether he was allowed to work is quite irrelevant. Even if he found one (besides being an activist), he would quickly lose it one way or another.

Being a combative dissident, he has everything sorted out. Jobless, monitored by the government, “house-arrested”, jailed, hyped by rights groups, etc. He is remarkably industrious if that is his “job”, because he is quite successful in getting the Chinese government to respond in the way he predicts.

For most of us common people, life is very unpredictable and we have to work our asses off to make it more predictable… He has a very unique approach, in which he reduces everything to the most basic just to retrieve the truth with certain predictability. Well, not my style.

March 9, 2008 @ 5:47 am | Comment

One simple question to Brgyags, CCT and Co.:
What crime did Hu Jia commit that justifies putting him into jail? Did he steal something? Did he hurt somebody? Why is he in prison, while lots of people who break the Chinese law get away with it? Did Hu Jia actually break any Chinese laws? Or is he just under arrest for not being harmonious enough?

March 9, 2008 @ 8:49 am | Comment

@Brgyags

Stop pretending that you don’t understand. When he shot that documentary he was under house arrest. He was physically prevented from leaving his apartment. Get it?

March 9, 2008 @ 11:35 am | Comment

OMG!!! Tony to be teaching “faith & globalization,” at Yale University.
” Blair, who stepped down as prime minister last year after 10 years in power, was to lecture on faith and globalization as the Howland Distinguished Fellow, and would start in the next academic year, the university said.”
Sure, he can boast about how he destroyed a 1,000 year old civilization as PM with political correctness, fascism, looting the UK Treasury, making Britain part of the UK of A. With violent crime rate is soaring, indigenous English people are fleeing England by the thousands each year. The countryโ€™s bankrupt both morally and financially, taxes and housing costs are insane, freedom is non-existent except for getting drunk… Blair and his gang destroyed England and turned it into a 3rd world nation among the developed nations with the most miserable retired population and death from hyperthermia….Where is his Peace Envoy as Palestinians are being slaughtered in the Gaza as we write?
What was the administrators of Yale thinking?

March 9, 2008 @ 12:18 pm | Comment

CHINESE REGIME KIDNAPS HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER BEFORE OLYMPICS
Again begging the question why exactly the fascist Chinese regime was rewarded with the honour of hosting this year’s Olympic Games, a prominent human rights lawyer has gone missing, presumed detained by the authorities, amid a crackdown on dissent ahead of the Beijing Olympics.

Teng Biao – who has defended Aids activists, Falun Gong practitioners and farmers fighting for their land – was last seen on Thursday, being bundled into a black car outside his home in Beijing.

He had recently been warned by police that he would be detained unless he stopped talking to the foreign media and writing about human rights abuses in the runup to the Olympics.

Shortly before he went missing, Teng told the Guardian that his passport had been seized, his phone bugged and his emails checked by the authorities.

He was warned that he also faced the sack from his job as a lecturer at the China University of Political Science and Law and risked detention.

“They told me I cannot accept any interview related to human rights and the Olympics. I said I cannot make such a promise. I have a right to speak,” he said last week. “I’m not sure if they will arrest me tomorrow. But I feel no fear.”

His wife, Wang Ling, said Teng left home at 8.25pm, saying he would be back in 20 minutes. About half an hour later, she heard shouting downstairs. Two witnesses told her that a man had been pulled out of the family’s car and taken away.

“It is strange because my husband is a very nice man who had no personal conflicts with anyone,” she said. “I don’t understand why this happened.”

Sources who met Teng this week said the lawyer looked downcast and under pressure because police had threatened to charge him with inciting subversion of state power, which carries a sentence of several years in prison.

This accusation is often levelled at dissidents. Last month, Hu Jia – a friend of Teng and a prominent civic rights and Aids campaigner – was arrested and is likely to face a similar charge.

Teng and Hu co-wrote an open letter last September that highlighted China’s failure to live up to its Olympic promise to improve human rights before the games, which will take place this August.

“When you come to the Olympic games in Beijing, you will see skyscrapers, spacious streets, modern stadiums and enthusiastic people. You will see the truth, but not the whole truth, just as you see only the tip of an iceberg,” the pair wrote. “You may not know that the flowers, smiles, harmony and prosperity are built on a base of grievances, tears, imprisonment, torture and blood.”

At least two other activists – Liu Jie and Yang Chunlin – have been put in prison or re-education camps after linking the Olympics to human rights campaigns or petitions against land seizures.

International human rights groups said they were deeply concerned about Teng.

“The detention of a member of the Beijing bar association signals an escalation in the repression against dissent ahead of the games,” said Nicholas Bequelin, of Human Rights Watch. “We urge the International Olympic Committee to end its silence about the suppression of Olympic critics by the Chinese government.”

Teng was aware of the political sensitivity of the Olympics, which he believed was the reason why Hu was arrested this year. “It is very, very dangerous for Chinese people to hold any kind of protest before the Olympics,” he said.

http://lairdkeir.spaces.live.com/

March 9, 2008 @ 1:09 pm | Comment

Lime,

I basically conceed with what you have said, but to say that the CCP is morally correct in valuing peoples lives and some total crap like that is not truthful, so I cant really bend towards that kind of mentality. I want to stay true to the facts. But anyway, I appreciate your trying to be sympathetic, but as i see it, the CCP is really scum, so it isnt helping CCT or anyone to bend towards this opinion. If someone is wrong, you are not doing then any favours in indulging them, the party will just laugh at you behind closed doors for being so foolish as to accept them…

But I agree that fighting is not good, so thatnks for letting me know if it seemd like i was fighting…

(-:

Thanks.

March 9, 2008 @ 1:16 pm | Comment

Amban,

Calm down. I got the impression that he could still walk around because of an incident in the beginning of the video. Hu Jia’s wife was protesting in front of a police car in the street, while Hu Jia was shooting the footage. I went back to the video and realized that it happened on June 21, 2006, which was prior to the period of the alleged house arrest. So you can be right and it is possible that he was not allowed to leave home during the period when the latter part of video was shot.

But I still don’t think my wife was wrong. If he wants to have a regular job, he has a chance to do so, because the current strategy of the Chinese government in dealing with the dissidents does not seem to intend on depriving them of legitimate livelihood. He may have to give up his activism, but that’s not what concerns her or me.

mor,

In some deep corner of my heart, I have sympathy for Hu Jia, because he reminds me of my adolescent years… That’s probably why I read a blog like this and make comments here. I would say I am still more rigid and more idealistic than most Chinese people, who probably will not even bother to have an argument on such a topic. Just to make you happier, I suggest you take my comments as a refutation of my own latent idealism. I need to remind myself how life really is and how the world works.

March 9, 2008 @ 2:43 pm | Comment

Brgyags, the world works the way it does because we allow it to. People like Hu Jia help to make the world work differently, and better. The fact that he is being treated like this is China’s great and unpardonable shame. To dismiss those who express outrage or seek to win his release as dreamy idealists is the typical reaction of the apologist. You know – that’s just the way the world works, Jews wear yellow stars and there’s nothing you can do about it.

March 9, 2008 @ 4:17 pm | Comment

The world works they way it does because we allow it to.

I disagree. The world works the way it does because MOST PEOPLE allow it to.

People like Hu Jia help to make the world work differently, and better.

This is just another kind of elitist view. On the other side of the same coin is China’s official elitist theory that a country in modernization needs centralized power to maneuver through perilous waters.

March 9, 2008 @ 5:00 pm | Comment

An elitist view? That people like Mandela and Martin Luther King and Gandhi make the world a better place by questioning the dominant paradigm? For a brief moment it looked like Mao was going to be such a leader as well, when he was promising autonomy to the minorities and freedom and liberation to all, just as Lenin did. Pity, he turned out to be nothing but a lying piece of shit and one of the Big Three butchers of all time.

Maybe a country in modernization needs strong central leadership. But whoever said strong leadership cannot exist alongside people like Hu Jia who try to improve the lives of others? One does not preclude the other. Only when the government is insecure, paranoid and weak on the inside. (Only people who are weak on the inside need to show their stregnth through oppression.)

March 9, 2008 @ 6:47 pm | Comment

@Brgyags

You didn’t answer my question. So I guess the only crime Hu Jia ever committed was not being harmonious enough. If that constitutes a crime, most commenters on this blog, including myself, should be under house arrest or in prison.

March 10, 2008 @ 4:04 am | Comment

@Brgyags

So you can be right and it is possible that he was not allowed to leave home during the period when the latter part of video was shot.

Given he fact that the entire video is organized around Hu Jia’s house arrest and that this is a widely known fact, it is quite astounding that you persist in pretending that the house arrest is not the topic of the video. Simply astounding.

Then there is another thing that is pretty remarkable. In earlier posts, you write:

The cops downstairs had a creepy job, and I agree with her that Hu Jia should have better things to do than play with his camera. The whole thing seemed like a creepy reality show, perfectly fit for broadcasting by do-gooders on the internet.

I can tell that his wife was doing very well on her job and they live a quite comfortable middle-class life by the Chinese standards.

Your impulse is to dissmiss Hu Jia’s story by pointing to the fact that Hu Jia and his wife have a comfortable life and can afford both a camcorder and a car, luxuries that are not shared my most Chinese. And then you go on to express your sympathy for the cops.

But when I watched Hu Jia’s documentary, I was wondering what police harassment would look like for Chinese that are not so fortunate as Hu Jia and his wife.

March 10, 2008 @ 6:36 am | Comment

“”””He may have to give up his activism, but that’s not what concerns her or me.””””

Well, whats more to say if you just dont care?

I think that being an activist is not a legitimate job, but I dont think Hr. Jia should have to be a perfect person (and should not be criticised for having some money er whatever). He is extremely brave to do what he is doing. If you dont know about the torture system along with brainwashing in reeducation centres and labour camps, then maybe thats how you can so casually dismiss this kind of character.

Elitist? Can you explain why thinking that people who stand up for values is elitist? Do you think we should all be equal, not cause any jealousy and all stay down just to blend in and not be elitist, I must totally be missing something….

Mor, I can guarantee that if i was not protected by what little but extremely important values my country still abides by, I would be wiped out by CCP party. And I agree that all of us here who have some degree of awareness and willingness to stand up for something would be the first to be elliminated in communist purge to cleanse away the black elements (obliterate reality, indoctrinate the world with communist party lies/cover-ups) But I am lucky I do not have dual citizenship Chinese since the CCP would use the excuse that they do not acknowledge Canadian citizenship and get screwed like Mr. Celil.

March 10, 2008 @ 12:21 pm | Comment

Very busy this week (thanks for noticing, eco-delta), so not much time to jump in.

I just want to go on the record as saying, though: I’m very concerned about the next 6-9 months for China.

The just released inflation numbers are just unbelievable. Food prices up by something like 30-40%? Pork prices up by 70%? Those results hurt tremendously.

Combine that with the distorting effects of the Olympics; new labor and tax laws; a US-led global slow-down; a Chinese currency which needs to appreciate for a very good reason, but should also *not* appreciate for a very good reason… who knows what we’ll see this summer.

At the same time, inflation numbers show a *decline* in clothing costs.

This strange combination tells me that the Chinese government has done an amazing job of laying the infrastructure (physical and economic) for export-driven manufacturing, but has unfortunately dropped the ball on domestic economic reform.

I think Beijing probably under-estimated the rate of domestic economic growth, and it didn’t invest in the right areas to prepare for it. I haven’t read enough to know exactly *where* it dropped the ball… but from what I’ve heard fertilizer is incredibly expensive, to the degree that even with skyrocketing food/crop prices, many farmers might choose to not work their plots this year.

I hope China will weather the next 6 months without too much pain and social upheaval.

PS. One thing I read which “sounded right”. Economists are now calling on Beijing to quickly do a one-shot 20% appreciation of the RMB. This will really brutalize low-margin manufacturers, but will at least take away some of the inflationary pressures in the Chinese economy.

I don’t even want to think about what 20% appreciation of the RMB will do to a US economy also facing growing inflation in a recessionary environment… talk about a perfect storm.

It’s very much a damned if you do and damned if you don’t scenario. Right now though, I personally believe China has to trade-off export growth for domestic money supply stability.

March 12, 2008 @ 3:12 am | Comment

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