[Moving this to the top.]

I haven’t opened a thread in weeks, since traffic dies whenever I go away, and also because they’re magnets for trolls and my patience for trolls is at an all-time low. Now that I’m back, I’ll put one up just in case.

If you need some inspiration, here are some links to stories that caught my attention this week:

Women’s rights (or, the right to murder women)
Book Review: Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics (superb)
“Super China” (why, in this writer’s mind, China’s in better shape than the UK or US)

Please remember I’m monitoring comments, so it may take a while for your contributions to materialize.

The Discussion: 65 Comments

Fiction meets reality once again…

Baxter: Product contained live bird flu virus

The company that released contaminated flu virus material from a plant in Austria confirmed Friday that the experimental product contained live H5N1 avian flu viruses.

The contaminated product, which Baxter calls “experimental virus material,” was made at the Orth-Donau research facility. Baxter makes its flu vaccine — including a human H5N1 vaccine for which a licence is expected shortly — at a facility in the Czech Republic.

People familiar with biosecurity rules are dismayed by evidence that human H3N2 and avian H5N1 viruses somehow co-mingled in the Orth-Donau facility. That is a dangerous practice that should not be allowed to happen, a number of experts insisted.

Accidental release of a mixture of live H5N1 and H3N2 viruses could have resulted in dire consequences.

While H5N1 doesn’t easily infect people, H3N2 viruses do. If someone exposed to a mixture of the two had been simultaneously infected with both strains, he or she could have served as an incubator for a hybrid virus able to transmit easily to and among people.

That mixing process, called reassortment, is one of two ways pandemic viruses are created.

The mistake was discovered by the National Microbiology Laboratory in Canada. It’s interesting to note also that the only news network reporting on the story so far are Canadian.

March 5, 2009 @ 11:01 pm | Comment

Yu Hua (余華) the author of the chinese novel To Live 《活著》is scheduled to give a lecture here at the University of Maryland. The flyer mentions that Zhang Yomou’s film version of the book was banned in China.

Does anyone know if this is still true? All the chinese people I know over 40 are aware of the movie. All the chinese people I have met from china in their 20’s or younger either had never heard of the movie or said they had heard of it but when questioned further did not seem to have any awareness of what the movie was about.

This bothers me especially considering the behavior of chinese people concerning bronze animal heads from the qing dynasty and basic human rights issues in tibet. This would indicate that the current generation of chinese are practically totally ignorant of their own fairly recent history and appear to enjoy this ignorance because it gives them the freedom to be in denial about their behavior regarding bronze animal heads and human dignity for tibetans.

I think I will go to the lecture and hope to ask Yu Hua his thoughts on the lack of interest of the current generation of young chinese in his important novel and film and how this affects the young chinese people’s ability to react to issues such as tibetan people’s basic human rights and issues of ownership regarding 18th century bronze animal heads that once belonged to the hated foreign Manchus.

March 6, 2009 @ 12:06 am | Comment

Lindel, just about everything is banned here, but at the same time is readily available.

This would indicate that the current generation of chinese are practically totally ignorant of their own fairly recent history and appear to enjoy this ignorance because it gives them the freedom to be in denial about their behavior regarding bronze animal heads and human dignity for tibetans.

Everything you say may (or may not) be true. However, in order to make such a sweeping judgment I would have more evidence in hand aside from the fact that people you’ve talked to in a certain age bracket haven’t heard of a book you like. The Chinese people are many things. I would not categorize them simply in the light of the bronzes story or the Tibet issue. The latter is a hugely complex issue with disagreements even among scholars. Most Chinese people sincerely believe their government pulled Tibet up from serfdom and unbearable poverty and backwardness. This is very different from our own perceptions, and the true story seems to me to lie somewhere toward the middle, but certainly not in the extreme versions of either the CCP propaganda machine or the Free Tibet movement.

March 6, 2009 @ 12:42 am | Comment

From Marc Faber’s blog:

He expects the U.S. will keep printing money like crazy, and even joked that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke appears to have Robert Mugabe as his mentor.

It gets worse. Faber thinks that geopolitical tensions, mainly over energy, will lead to a “dirty war” between the U.S. and a China/Russia faction that targets people living in cities.

March 6, 2009 @ 3:45 am | Comment


The Baxter bird flu story shouldn’t be surprising.

There’s no accountability anymore, for anything: Bankers pay themselves huge bonuses with the bailout money; Bernanke refuses to disclose which banks get bailout funds; US mercenaries throwing pizza boxes full of cash out of helicopters in Iraq; the CIA burns 92 tapes allegedly showing torture; the US national debt triples in 3 months; the US money supply increases 271%; war crimes go unpunished; Iran runs its uranium processing centrifuges for over a year with impunity while testing its missiles.

It’s like the scene in the movie “Boogie Nights” when the movie producer comes home to find his wife hump’n some strange guy in his bedroom. He says to his wife:

“What the FxxxCK are you doing?!”

Wife replies: “What the FxxCK does it look like I’m doing? Get out! Go sleep on the couch.”

March 6, 2009 @ 4:16 am | Comment

Richard wrote:
“Lindel, just about everything is banned here, but at the same time is readily available.”

As they say in Minnesota: “What the heck do ya mean?!”

March 6, 2009 @ 4:18 am | Comment

A mainland chinese person ignorant of the movie To Live《活著》is equivalent to an american ignorant of The Grapes of Wrath.

March 6, 2009 @ 5:26 am | Comment

“The Baxter bird flu story shouldn’t be surprising.”

Oh no, it’s not surprising.

Continuing on the same topic, I asked the question 2 months ago during the peak of the bird flu cases that occurred in January and February: Are we witnessing a silent crisis?

Regardless of all the dramatic consequences that such an irresponsible act of cover-up from the China’s government could bring upon the world.

*Roll the drums*… CCP does it again!

Wuhan Bird Flu Outbreak Censored by Local Media

The world would have thought that they’ve learned some lessons from the SARS episode; yet it’s seems that they have more pressing issues to attend to, such as writing the next “out of this world and deliciously whimsical” propaganda headline about China’s quick economic recovery.

Anybody that has had to deal with a 5 years old child faced with serious developmental and behavioral problems will easily understand this government’s psychology: Prickly, capricious, spiteful, violent, highly predictable and clearly identified as a pathological liar.

March 6, 2009 @ 5:48 am | Comment

@Lindel – Grapes of what? Wasn’t that that film where Tom Cruise races cars?

@Richard – I also liked ULN’s review – put it all into perspective and made me want to buy the book. One thing I’m waiting to see reviewed is James Fallows’ DVD set on doing business in China. Fallows is one of my (and I’m sure a lot of other people’s) favourite China writers, his piece on US/China trade/currency was one of the best things I read about China last year ( – actually the best thing I read that was written about China last year, the only thing that was better was a piece written in 2006). However I found the title very off-putting, evocative of the worst kind of fly-by journalism about how to turn a quick profit in the mysterious east – hence I’m waiting for someone out there (no, Amazon reviews are not trustworthy) to tell me whether my fears are justified or not.

March 6, 2009 @ 5:49 am | Comment

How is ignorance of To Live equivalent to ignorance of Grapes of Wrath in the US? By virtue of the fact that this movie was looked down upon by the cultural authorities (CCP), it was never adopted into the “canon” of great Chinese cinema. Only in the West, in Asian cinema classes and amongst China watchers has this film gotten its due honors, but for most Chinese this “canon” o Chinese cinema (as developed by the West) is totally foreign to them, and even if exposed, it was determined by foriegners, so under the current political circumstances why would they care. Yeah, it’s a great movie, but I wouldn’t be condemning Chinese youth for an understandable ignorance of which Chinese films are valued by Western critics and academics. Blame the CCP…

The Grapes of Wrath has been part of the “canon” of Great American Literature almost since the time it was published, it has been accepted by almost all authoritative literary circles as one of the best, and introduced that way in schools, so yes, ignorance of Grapes of Wrath, by an American is a sad sad thing, but not the same as “To Live” in China. (Plus its one of my favorite books, so I’m a bit biased).

March 6, 2009 @ 10:22 am | Comment

Spot on, Andy. A pity they haven’t read some of the wonderful books that are a staple to our education. On the other hand, I’m reading Peter Hessler’s magnificent River Town at the moment, and he writes at length about how Chinese people are taught to appreciate great poetry, and how the way they read poetry – as music, with actual understanding of the rhyme structures – is an art of appreciation that nearly everyone in America has lost ever since we lessened the importance on poetry reading on our curriculum.

FOARP, my guess is that the Atlantic business people saw an opportunity to capitalize of Mr. Fallows’ new and much deserved fame as a commentator on China. I can’t disagree with you – the”learn to do business in China!” DVDs sound a bit disharmonious with the beautiful work he’s been doing. Until I actually see the disks or know more about them, I’ll remain neutral and give him the benefit of the doubt. Fallows is perhaps my single favorite journalist and has been for a decade when since I first started reading him

March 6, 2009 @ 10:58 am | Comment

I’d like to draw attention to the Chinese government’s official reaction to the indictment of Sudan’s president. It’s nothing more than the usual delay tactics and sidestepping we have come to expect from a government without conscience. The issue is recapped here:

March 6, 2009 @ 9:29 pm | Comment

send me an email – I locked the thread specifically to bring this to an end. thanks

March 6, 2009 @ 9:53 pm | Comment

Robert Peston is right – China is relatively strong compared to the US/UK. We are both borrowing far too much and need to spend less. China’s stimulus package has a lot more ability to benefit the country by investing in necessary infrastructure.

On the other hand I think Gordon Brown is throwing my money down the toilet (at least when it comes to things like the VAT cut)!

March 6, 2009 @ 9:58 pm | Comment

It’s true the movie is banned in China, but we can down it from BT website,it is a great movie as well as Rice. This movie dunot go public cinema.The government do not like this “chase-award” film ,of it reflects the dirty/wrong history of the Party. But we can see Jia Zhangke’s films,it’s not banned.

Talk to Sudan,quoted from CCTV, We are good friends.Awalys correct in politic,same words used in North Korea.

March 6, 2009 @ 10:55 pm | Comment

Sorry xu – this isn’t the place, and I removed Raj’s comment as well. I will move this into the closed thread.

March 6, 2009 @ 11:06 pm | Comment

My point is that the Grapes of Wrath story of a family during the Great Depression has an equal significance historically to americans as the story of the family in To Live during the Chinese Revolution and the Cultural Revolution should have for Chinese. In fact considering that the events in To Live are closer to contemporary times in terms of how many years ago the story took place then To Live should actually have more cultural significance to the Chinese people. The fact that so many young chinese are totally ignorant of the impact the historical events depicted in To Live had on the people of China (including Tibetans) means that it is impossible for them to have any sense of compassion for the people of Tibet or have any real rational or legitimate opinions about auctions of bronze heads from the qing dynasty. Most of the young chinese seem to actually crave being kept in the dark about their own recent history to order to engage in infantile ignorant tirades about Tibet and bronze heads from the qing dynasty.

March 6, 2009 @ 11:20 pm | Comment

The chinese peoples emotional attachment to bronze animal heads from a water clock fountain in the summer palace of the hated foreign manchus that never saw or had awareness of is equivalent to the first african american winning an election.

This is my point of how silly, irrational, and ignorant the children of china are. Equating an ethnic minority winning an election demonstrating the overcoming of racism and segregation to a bronze head from the qing dynasty is pathetic.

I saw an ancient stone carving of the monkey king and the monk from Journey to the West at Fei Lai Feng near Lingyin Temple in Hangzhou. The carving had been damaged by the Red Guard during Cultural Revolution when they attempted to destroy it. The reason you children of china get upset about a bronze head that belonged to the hated foreign manchus and fail to get upset about your own worse behavior than the imperialists of 19th century is because of the propaganda and manipulation fo history you receive from your government. Until you come to grips with your own history you are incapable of understanding the difference between a bronze head that belonged to the manchus, repression of tibetans by your government, what it means for an african american to win an election, a jew to visit the wailing wall.

March 6, 2009 @ 11:48 pm | Comment

Lindel, all fair points. I doubt if it will resonate with some of my visitors though. It all goes back to how you’re taught, and whether you’re taught to question your society or except as blanket truths everything the teacher says. Again, the book I mentioned above, River Town, has some brilliant observations about this, written by Peter Hessler when he was a teacher in a Sichuan backwater for the Peace Corps. Required reading, even more than Grapes of Wrath. (Have to admit, I never read it but saw the movie.)

March 7, 2009 @ 12:02 am | Comment

N_a_S, that Sudan story is truly horrifying. Thanks for the link. Invitation to a total bloodbath.

China is just being “practical.” Gotta have those resources.

March 7, 2009 @ 12:06 am | Comment

This new piece of Crapaganda just came out.

Three people in Beijing self-immolation bid have “unreasonable demands”

Since when do people set themselves on fire because their “unreasonable demands” are being refused?

Let’s take a look at these outrageous unreasonable demands:

Exhibit A: Decent jobs
Exhibit B: An open apology from the local government

Conclusion: Fishy Story

It’s like comparing these people to a child that would threatens to hold his breath until he would faint unless he gets a lollipop at the store.

I don’t know for you but in my opinion self-immolation is an extreme act that denotes a profound despair and is generally committed by people that are absolutely hopeless or mostly by monks expressing their unshakable faith in their religion and doing it as a measure of last resort as an ultimate act of protest. I’m pretty sure that we will never know the bottom of this story as its the case with 99% of the social incidents that happen here in China.

But to see the government blatantly lying once again and trying to minimize such an incident is really exasperating.

Look how this piece of crap of disinformation is skillfully crafted. In order to discredit the people involved, they make sure to emphasize that three of them were physically or mentally disabled. Most probably an outright fabrication, of course.

How convenient it is… Case closed.

They really have an harmonized answer to everything don’t they?

— “I am a lie who always speaks the truth.” —

March 7, 2009 @ 12:22 am | Comment


You have a problem in your mind. Looting property should be returned, period. What does that have to do with all other issues (Like Tibet)? Other problems are subject to other debates.

Regarding the movie and the book, there are tons of movies and books about CR period. Many people in 1980s are familiar with such publications. Seriously, how many chinese books or movies or TV dramas have you read/ watched? Yes, there are not a lot of publications about CR these days. But why make you think that people want to read that year after year for 30 years? I am not familiar with American book market but I do not see any TV shows about Vietnam War currently.

And those judgements about new generation and history, oh we have a new sherrif in town and this time it is Lindel

March 7, 2009 @ 2:41 am | Comment

China and Taiwan talks ‘to end 60 years of hostility’

China is ready to enter into talks with Taiwan that could bring an end to 60 years of hostility between the two sides, the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said yesterday.


I think Hu has made similar comments, but the news is still worth mentioning.

March 7, 2009 @ 3:11 am | Comment

Yo Richard!

Why don’t you do a post about Walmart and what Walmart represents in respect of the US-China material, psychic relationship?

Walmart’s slogan: “Save Money. Live Better.”

Shouldn’t that read: “Save Your FxxCK’N Money. Don’t spend money you don’t have to buy shit you don’t need from Walmart!”

March 7, 2009 @ 8:27 am | Comment

What are the current, contemporary role models for Chinese girls these days?

March 7, 2009 @ 10:50 am | Comment

“… bring an end to 60 years of hostility between the two sides…”

Between the two sides? That’s a bit rich from Wen, I feel. Hostility has been pretty much a one way street for the last 60 years.

March 7, 2009 @ 11:34 am | Comment

Richard, you’re reading “River Town”? I loved that book, many revealing insights.

One of my favorite passages is Hessler’s description of the incredible level of horn honking in the town. He mentioned that many of the local taxi drivers had actually moved the horn switch to the gear shift so it would be easier to press. He once quantified the frequency, if I recall it was something insane like 37 honks per minute averaged over over a 45-minute trip.

Is Peter Hessler still writing from Beijing? A year or two ago he wrote a wonderful piece for … National Geographic(?) … in which he tagged along with a couple of Wenzhou businessmen as they went about opening a factory to make bra clips.

March 7, 2009 @ 9:22 pm | Comment

China and the US Bond Market

When Hillary Clinton recently went to the chinese to basically try to convince them to buy more US Government Bonds, was the equivalent of a Wall Street dog and ponny show. She is trying to convince the chinese that it is of their interest to keep loaning us money. This all thing is ridiculous.

Here is the idea. She is going to the chinese and she is saying “that in order to help our economy you should take your money from your own citizens and give it to us, so that we can spend the money on the products your citizens are producing and keep your citizens employed.

Why don`t the chinese just cut out the middleman? Why they don`t let their citizens keep their own money so that they can buy the stuff that they produce?

Why do the chinese need the United States? The reality is that they don`t.

The market rallied early in the week on talk of the chinese stimulus package ans they are the only country that is actually capable of stimulating their economy. Because the chinese are actually sitting on a pile of cash. Our cash, that they can spend.

THe difference is that when China wants to stimulate their econmy, China has the money to do it. When the United States government wants to stimulate the economy, we have to go to China to borrow the money.

Peter Schiff is the President and Chief Global Strategist of Euro Pacific Capital. As a result of his accurate forecasts on the U.S. stock market, economy, real estate, the mortgage meltdown, credit crunch, subprime debacle, commodities, gold and the dollar, he is becoming increasingly more renowned.

March 7, 2009 @ 9:35 pm | Comment

Slim, Peter Hessler is my hero and role model. I believe he left Beijing more than a year ago (went to Latin America with his wife?). I read Oracle Bones more than a year ago and it still haunts me. River Town is much different, more intimate, and should definitely be required reading for all visitors, expats, and anyone who really wants to understand what life is like in China.

I heard about his National Geography story (and heard the entire issue was sensational) but sadly it sold out in Beijing the very first day it went on sale. If anyone here has a copy, please consider lending it to me.

March 7, 2009 @ 10:08 pm | Comment

Richard, thanks for the link and for the “superb”.

I have been told many good things of P. Hessler but I never got round to reading any of his books, now I am curious again. I think I will get one with the next batch from Amazon. River Town or Oracle bones?

Incidentally, I found out these days that there is really some demand for reviews of China books. A few blogs carry reviews ocasionally, but it would be nice if someone did a website with a more comprehensive/updated list for people interested in China. On amazon only the top sellers get reviews. Even a book like Huang Yasheng’s, who is already a well known specialist in China, only had 3 reviews. I am sure we are all missing out on some valuable new books.

Just an idea, in case someone was looking for one.

March 8, 2009 @ 12:49 am | Comment

stuart, the KMT did keep threatening to invade China – although that was mostly down to Chiang’s mental problems in my view. In more recent years I’d agree it’s been pretty one-sided though.

March 8, 2009 @ 6:30 am | Comment

ULN, start with River Town. The books are chronological, and while Oracle Bones is self-contained, you have better insight into the students Hessler refers to if you’ve read River Town first. Both are indispensable.

I like the idea of a web site for reviews of China-related books. It’s very labor-intensive so finding good reviewers wiling to write the reviews on a site that isn’t there own may be a challenge.

March 8, 2009 @ 10:12 am | Comment

Based upon your research, where would be the best place in remote China to establish a millenarian, doomsday cult?

March 8, 2009 @ 10:37 am | Comment

fatbrick. i realize it is waste of time but here you go.

a european soldier took a bronze head from the Manchu Qing rulers summer palace. so legally the bronze head was not taken from the PRC, the CCP or the Han people. If there is a living direct descendent of the Qing dynasty who could make a claim to the bronze heads then a legal argument could be made for the bronze heads to return to that person.

have you hugged a manchu lately?

the whole idea of the CCP stirring up the loyal chinese children to whine about a bronze head that belongs to a manchu family whose last descendent is dead is absurd.

chinese “lawyers” attempting to use law or moral arguments for the return of these bronze heads in light of the CCP and the loyal chinese children’s own acts in destroying other cultural relics themselves is laughable.

also the chain of custody between the soldier who stole the head and the current owner and the length of time in between the original illegal act and the fact that original owners (manchu royal family) are dead make the legal grounds for return doubtful.

also the current owner did try to work out a deal so that the heads could go back to china, but apparently the PRC decided to block this in order to stir up ignorant children like your self into getting excited about two bronze heads while they busy themselves with preparations to torture and kill tibetans.

your right china does need a new sheriff, but it is not me. it is your crappy country and your responsiblity.

hopefully these so called chinese lawyers attempting to use the law to claim chinese artifacts will learn enough about the law and morality to decern the differences legal and moral between a thing and a human life.

March 8, 2009 @ 2:33 pm | Comment

“the whole idea of the CCP stirring up the loyal Chinese children to whine about a bronze head that belongs to a Manchu family whose last descendant is dead is absurd.”

The government distanced itself from the events and it looks like Cai will end up looking like a clown for his PR coup. Maybe it was not the perfect timing to try to capitalize on an opportunity.

If what is stated in this article is true…

Chinese art auction stunt backfires

March 8, 2009 @ 2:52 pm | Comment

No Bao – the stunt may have backfired, in that china won’t get the bronzes. But that was never the issue. Cai pulled off his David vs. Goliath stunt, China screwed up Christie’s auction, China got to rejoice, and now it’s on to other things. What do they care if they have the bronze heads or not? Now, next topic.

March 8, 2009 @ 5:18 pm | Comment

I can’t get my head around the fact that Wonder Woman is wearing a Chinese Communist Red Star on her hat together with her panties in the colors of the US flag. Wonder Woman gets me really excited, but I’m afraid that I don’t know who I should be getting excited about—China, or the US?

Could someone help me out? Thanks.

March 8, 2009 @ 11:11 pm | Comment


Of course I have hugged manchu. One of my former classmate is a living direct descendent of the Qing dynasty. I do not know what crappy country you are from, but I hope that kidnapping is illegal in your place. The “current owner” has no legal right over the properties in the first place. The fact that french courts won’t act just show their hyprocicy.

March 9, 2009 @ 1:11 am | Comment

To answer your question Thang, Wonder Woman Is Captain Chimerica’s wife.

Wiki Excerpt:

“The character of Captain Chimerica was developed by Marvel in the 40s but unfortunately the project was put on ice because of the international tensions linked to WWII. They felt that the concept was a bit before its time and would not be commercially viable (30 years too early).

This explains why instead they ultimately chose the Captain America character, who they felt was a more accurate epitome of American politics and moral values of this era.”

I heard that Marvel is now thinking about reviving the project in light of recent economic changes at the international level. They would be out of their mind to miss such a wonderful opportunity.

March 9, 2009 @ 1:15 am | Comment


“Don’t pay attention to the debt clock because Captain Chimerica is working overtime to restore global disorder and promote runaway bankruptcy.”

“Chimerica is sort of like a synthesis of Britain’s opium trade with China in the early 20th century for plunder of China’s silver (long seen as a currency during this period by polically powerful Silverites). Here now, in the early 21st century, ironically it’s China selling a form of death. China sells cheap goods as a form of opium to America in return for the suppression of America’s working class and labor force and ultimately the devaluation of its currency – a soon to become worthless paper. China gets a huge surplus from this relationship as the marginal cost / marginal benefit rule is being breached by the moral vacuum in the efficiency standard.”

“The chief Globalizers, Wall Street’s finest, pressed on to construct a supercalafragilistic torte of financial alchemy and had the Chinese government and industry hop on for the ride.”

Let’s raise our hands up, scream and enjoy the ride!

March 9, 2009 @ 4:39 am | Comment

I do not know what crappy country you are from, but I hope that kidnapping is illegal in your place.

What the hell is that supposed to mean, thickhead – er – fatbrick?

March 9, 2009 @ 8:00 am | Comment


I don’t know anything about Captain Chimerica.

Are you saying that Wonder Woman is an expression of the co-dependency/union of the US and Chinese economies, i.e., that Wonder Woman is a chimera?

Holy Moly!

So you’re saying that the top half of Wonder Woman is China, and the bottom half is the US?

I don’t know? Those Hooters look American to me? It makes me thirsty just think’n about ’em! Got Milk!

March 9, 2009 @ 5:51 pm | Comment

Pentagon: Chinese vessels harassed unarmed ship

My favorite part:

“Because the vessels’ intentions were not known, Impeccable sprayed its fire hoses at one of the vessels in order to protect itself,” the Defense statement said. “The Chinese crew members disrobed to their underwear and continued closing to within 25 feet.”

I think the PLA needs to seriously review their taunting skills.

March 10, 2009 @ 1:40 am | Comment

BtW, rumars are that the banknote of 500 and 1k yuan are to be introduced really soon.
How would that go along with all that?

March 10, 2009 @ 1:59 am | Comment

Ah, I guess the Pentagon is looking for more money before budget day comes.

March 10, 2009 @ 2:18 am | Comment

I also have to wonder how the US would react if China hasd surveillance ships spying off the coast of New York. We have a worse track record than China when it comes to playing chicken with our spies in the air or on the water. Not sure who’s right or wrong in this case (yet), but I can say that this will fizzle out soon. Neither side can afford this kind of distraction.

March 10, 2009 @ 10:03 am | Comment

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

The above lyrics is the original lyrics of a famous song called “The East is Red”, written in 1947 by a farmer in

China’s Shanbei Province, 2 years before the Communists won China. It was adapted into a musical ballet in 1964, by

musician He Luding. Mr. He Luding changed the “people’s livelihood” from the original lyrics to “people’s happiness”.

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

The original author’s name was Li Youyuan. He is a utterly poor farmer in the Shanbei Province, and farmers like to

sing songs during their sparetime. Li youyuan never received any education, and could read no more than his own name.

Then, why did he create such a song as “East Is Red”? Is it for fame? The fact is, very very few people knew the Li

Youyuan as the original author of the lyrics, even Mr. He Luding does not know about Li Youyuan after later. So this

orignal song was spread amongst the villagers of Shanbei Province, and eventually spread around the entire China.

If Li Youyuan did not create this song for fame, then why did he do it? Obviously there was no such concept as

intellectual property in China in the 40’s, so he writes and sings this song (or other songs) as a way to release some

emotion, or for pure recreation. Clearly he also did not write this song to kiss someone’s ass, because he never

attempted to make it known that he wrote it. Also, Li Youyuan was never a Communist party member, never participated in

the Revolution, and never received any benefits or “promotion” for this song. He was just a simple farmer and had been

that way till death.

Another interesting thing is: most of the famous songs today (even old folksongs from long ago) are written by

professional musicians, writers, or at least educated “intellectuals”. I have not seen another case where a popular and

famous song is written by a simple, plain, poor person, and an illiterate farmer at that!

And in 1943, when the song was written, the Communist Party was still struggling with the ruling Nationalists and did

not have the money and the resources to hire people to make propaganda for them, and certainly did not have money to

pay people to make propaganda. Most farmers in Shanbei Province had never even seen Mao Zedong, even during the

Revolution, the landlord of the house under which Mao lived in did not realize his tenant was the famous Mao Zedong.

This makes it even harder for such a song to spread so quickly by itself.

Now, let’s speculate on how this song was created. Perhaps one morning, the sun was rising from the east, and Li

Youyuan’s mind was hit by a sudden inspiration, and he started saying those words in his minds. He could not have

written them down, because he barely knew how to read his own name. So the lyrics and melody of this song was “sung” in

his mind, and as he started singing loudly in the field, other villagers heard and really identified with the lyrics

and the melody, and quickly it spread from one village to another, one province to another, all through people singing

to each other. In his lyrics, he used “toils for people’s livelihood”. Clearly, there were severe problems with the

Chinese people’s livelihood, and the villagers easily identified with it.

“East is Red” is also the song that’s broadcasted about 20 times on China’s first satellite, before that, neither the

US nor the USSR had the idea of playing a song from a satellite in space. In fact, the first ever song in human history

to be sent into space was written by that poor farmer Li Youyuan.

Whenever I see so many people celebrating the birth of Mao Zedong on Christmas Day every year, I feel especially happy

and pleasurable. Mao was born on the same day as Jesus Christ. But because of time differences, when the East is on the

26th of December, the West would still be on the 25th. Therefore, I think “East is Red” should also be sung during

Christmas just like any other Christmas carols, perhaps one day, all Churches everywhere would have lovely children
choirs singing “East is Red”.

Here is more information about this song:

Here are two different recordings of this song:

March 10, 2009 @ 10:57 am | Comment

Isn’t it illegal to have a non-profit website with the domain .org, but which engages in for-profit advertising of Chinese match-making services?

March 10, 2009 @ 4:24 pm | Comment

U.S Citizen, do not worry about the economy and the decline of your empire anymore.

Chuck Norris: Leader of the secessionist rebellion!

It’s time to practice your roundhouse kick in front of the mirror, it will become handy once you’re conscripted.

Schwarzenegger for president in 2012 and Chuck Norris as Secretary of State.

March 10, 2009 @ 4:30 pm | Comment

Thang, what are you talking about? What law are you referring to?

Last chance for you to show me you’re serious. My tolerance level for trolls is low.

Bao, that is one scary link. Is it April Fool’s or something?

March 10, 2009 @ 4:45 pm | Comment

Hi Richard:

Have to disagree. It was 75 miles out, which is totally legal. Furthermore China is acting whiny about it, but they they’ve done the same thing, sent their warships nearby their SE Asian neighbors on occasion, along with going into the disputed Spratley areas, and probably will do this more often as they expand their “brown water” navy into more of a “blue water” outfit.

As for America, the Russians did it to us during the cold war. And apparently they are trying to play games again with U.S., UK and Canadian airforces. Pretty much if you are going to play the military superpower game you are going to be playing mouse and cat with your competitors. No use complaining about it.

March 10, 2009 @ 5:18 pm | Comment


“Neither side can afford this kind of distraction.”

China can afford to piss about with the US Navy in their backyard, as the US has far greater problems to deal with. They are testing the waters with Obama.

As for the US’s track record I don’t know. But what I do know is that China appears to claim the South China Sea pretty much all the way to Indonesia and they have a track record of invading Japanese airspace and waters in the recent few years. It is not just the US who is getting pissed off with this behaviour. Whether the rest of the Far East and the US is in a position to do anything about this, I don’t know

March 10, 2009 @ 5:29 pm | Comment

Ever heard of BRIC?

The U.S navy don’t need to mess with China, the economy is doing a pretty good job right now.

Now let’s wait and see if the last letter standing in the BRIC acronym will be China, IF of course there is a last standing one. The jury is still out on that one…

Pay attention to the mantras in the news, third world and emerging economies will be the worst to suffer. I wonder what does it mean?

March 10, 2009 @ 6:04 pm | Comment

As a side note for my previous comment…

Analysis: so much more than a naval water fight

“However vigorously the Pentagon planners may deny it, the principle object of the anti-missile shield is the long-term military power of China.”

Food for thought, isn’t it?

March 10, 2009 @ 6:28 pm | Comment

Si, fixed. Will discuss the spy issue later (dinner first).

Bao, China will come out of the economic mess pretty well, relatively. I have it on good authority. So don’t worry too much. This is the place to be.

March 10, 2009 @ 6:36 pm | Comment

I’m not too worried, I just love to sound alarmist (with a light touch of self-criticism of course). 😉

But the world seems to have an insatiable thirst for doomsday scenarios.

World Wide Mob Mentality, Signs of our time or Self-fulfilling prophecies?

I think it’s a mix of all the above…

March 10, 2009 @ 7:00 pm | Comment

““However vigorously the Pentagon planners may deny it, the principle object of the anti-missile shield is the long-term military power of China.”

Food for thought, isn’t it?”

Certainly is. Though the best defence shield Obama could do now would be to move the US decisively away from a fossil fuel based economy, which would make many of these arguments redundant. Easier said than done, though.

“Bao, China will come out of the economic mess pretty well, relatively. I have it on good authority. So don’t worry too much. This is the place to be.”

For the next few years, certainly. Ultimately I am bearish on China. They will have to deal with three major problems in the long term: pollution, ageing population and lack of water which I think will scupper them. These days I am unconvinced by the argument for collapse (though I think there will be more and more local disturbances) but think stagnation is more likely.

March 10, 2009 @ 7:37 pm | Comment

Si, we’re not too far off in how we see China’s problems. I think we’re well on the way to stagnation now, at least in many sectors.

March 10, 2009 @ 9:52 pm | Comment

“I have it on good authority.”

I’m not sure I understood correctly your comment Richard, was it sarcastic?

And if not, out of curiosity, would you mind to share with us who are those sources (no names or specific positions, generally speaking)?

And are you part of the Bilderberg group?

(The last question is a joke)

March 10, 2009 @ 10:58 pm | Comment

Bao, what I’m actually trying to say is we have talked this to death too many times already. No one really knows what the future will bring and we can only talk about our best guesses. You know by now what my best guess is and I know yours. So just let it be.

About the “good authority” – I am referring to my excellent sources here in Beijing, business people and journalists and scholars familiar with dealing with the government, people who have a strong track record and whom I trust. And I don’t want to debate this now, because we’ve done so to the point of exhaustion over the past few months. Just accept that I’m right, and move on.

March 10, 2009 @ 11:42 pm | Comment

Well, I have to agree with you on this, I myself feel like I’m sounding like a broken record and I’m even boring myself (I can imagine the effect on the other readers).

But sorry, I can’t accept blindly that you are right, I never do that.

Let’s see what the future holds. And let’s put this topic to rest.

March 11, 2009 @ 12:03 am | Comment

Another Chinese BS claim to something that isn’t theirs. Yet another “official” response from a “government” of thugs who wouldn’t what’s legal and what’s not if someone shoved their own sham of a constitution down their throats. The CCP may have over a billion fooled with their lies, but once you cross the river into Hong Kong, or the sea to anywhere else the lies look as stupid and ignorant as they are.

March 11, 2009 @ 5:24 am | Comment

For anyone who is from the UK or has an interest in British politics/Gordon Brown’s visit to Washington, have a look at the video on the following page.

Something to cheer you up if you need a good laugh.

March 11, 2009 @ 5:44 am | Comment

Live bird markets to be shut down

“THE Ministry of Agriculture plans to close all live bird markets in medium and large cities across the country to combat a possible bird flu epidemic, Beijing Times reported today.

China built up stockpiles of a domestically-produced bird-flu vaccine for humans in February. The vaccine protects people aged 18-60 from the H5N1 virus.

China can make 20 million doses of bird flu vaccine annually.

Beijing is the first city in mainland to close live bird markets. Winter and spring are the peak seasons for bird flu.

A 19-year-old woman died of the virus in a Beijing hospital on January 5. The woman had bought nine ducks at a wet market in neighboring Hebei Province on December 19.”

Hmm, taking action nationwide… but NOTHING is going on, move along citizen!

March 11, 2009 @ 12:01 pm | Comment

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