Archive for October, 2009

Saturday, October 31, 2009

China Ministry of Health: H1N1 Rising Rapidly

The deputy director of China’s health ministry emergency office, Liang Wannian (梁万年) said on Thursday that currently, among all influenza viruses in China, nearly 80 per cent are type A H1N1 viruses. The number of cases were rising quickly, the severity of the cases and cases of death were incessantly rising, schools were reporting that the gravity and number of infections per capita were rather high, and regional differences in the disease weren’t were becoming less evident. Reports from schools seem to indicate some community level outbreaks (聚集性疫情病例). First community outbreaks were confirmed in China on June 26, 2009, in Japan on May 17, in Hong Kong on June 11, and in Macau on June 23. Taiwan reported the first community outbreak on July 25. Wikipedia has compiled a list of first cases, community outbreaks and first deaths confirmed in Asia.

Statistics across China may not be entirely reliable, but the numbers reported showed a rising trend between mid-September and the end of October already, as more than 60 per cent of the 9,103 cases reported by mid-October September had been reported within the three latest weeks.

According to Singapore’s Morning News, the total of cases reported in China was at more than 42,000 three days ago, on Wednesday.

Liang said that as temperatures are now continuously falling, prevention and control needed to be tightened, and the task was becoming more difficult. By the end of October, 26 million flu vaccine doses are scheduled to be on stock to react to the second wave of the epidemic. Students and teachers, aged people, medical and health service staff, and army and police people will be vaccinated first.

Priority being given to the elderly looks somewhat surprising – according to  Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organization, most cases of severe and fatal infections have been in adults between the ages of 30 and 50 years.

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Related:
Current WHO phase of Pandemic Alert, who.int

Friday, October 30, 2009

Weekender: Foreign Misinterpretations, or We Invented the Katyusha

An Uyghur described on his blog early this month about how he was refused hotel accomodation and access to internet cafes by Han Chinese staff. Foreign bloggers picked up his story and translated it into English. Two days after posting his experience, he reacted to the international attention, criticized the translators as a “boring and silly crowd abroad” (那些国外的无聊人群) and played the events described in his earlier post down as funny (好玩) – as he had to some extent done in his initial post, too. In his latter post, he also emphasized that all ethnic groups in China will always be one family1). Black and White Cat translated both his initial post and his following reaction to foreign coverage.

My first thought after reading the Uyghur’s second post was that he had probably stated his opposition to the foreign translations clearly enough to avoid being considered a splittist element, a traitor, or whatever. My second thought was that if there wasn’t something wrong in China’s “family”, he wouldn’t have had to react to the foreign translations at all. It wouldn’t even matter how patriotic he really is.

The Uyghur blogger’s statement may reflect his true feelings – but I’m usually only sure that people in China state their true feelings when they are somehow critical of the status quo. Criticism may come at a price. Affirmation of the status quo doesn’t, and sometimes helps to avoid trouble. This is the usual relation between the oppressors and the oppressed.

In the 1950s, Vladimir Dudintsev wrote his novel Not by Bread Alone. It caught the attention of the press and the critics in Europe and North America, soon after the journal Novy Mir had published it in instalments in the USSR. The attention abroad worried Dudintsev. It was 1957, early after the beginning of the Khrushchev Thaw.

On February 19, 1957, he wrote a letter to a German publishing house2).

Dear Sirs,

I have learned that you intend to publish my novel “Not by Bread Alone” in German.
I regret to have to inform you that I have transferred the translation rights to the French agency “Agence Littéraire et Artistique Parisienne”, 23, rue Royale, Paris 8e, through the publishing house “Mezhdunarodnaja Kniga”.
When negotiating with this agency, I stipulated above all the high quality and absolute objectivity of the translation. I believe that I need to advise you of this point in particular because in an advertisement by your publishing house at hand here, my given name Vladimir has been altered into Vasilij. Also, in your brochure, angled comments from a variety of newspapers about my novel are published, and it is expressly stated that my book won’t be published in Moscow. This brochure is on my desk, next to the galley proofs of my novel, which will soon be published by “Soviet Writers’ Publishing House”. Therefore, you can see that I have reason to worry about the quality and objectivity of this German translation.
For the reasons mentioned above, and to avoid possible inconveniences, I ask you to shelve the publication of the book, until all questions have been clarified with the “Agence Littéraire et Artistique”.

Yours respectfully
V. Dudintsev

What follows is a capturing exchange of letters between Henri Nannen, the German publisher who, according to Wikipedia, had spoken the Olympic Oath at the Games in Berlin in 1936, who had reportedly been a member of a Wehrmacht propaganda unit in Italy during the war, and Dudintsev on the other hand, himself a Russian veteran in the same war only little more than a decade before their correspondence.

In his reply, Nannen bids for Dudintsev’s trust in his publishing house’s objectivity. He explains the flaws on some of the first book jackets, the way they came to assume that the book wouldn’t be published in Moscow, and he states clearly that he doesn’t think of Dudintsev as a Soviet oppositional in disguise.

[Lopatkin could have failed] in our country, too], because of the bureaucracy, a high-handed apparatus, the cohesive front of managers. […] It isn’t therefore just the story in itself which fascinates us, but rather the fact that in this “realistic” form, it could be written in the Soviet Union, but above all the human warmth coming from literary characters such as Lopatkin or Nadia Drozdova, or the strange professor Busjko, which captures readers in the Western world, too.

At the same time, Nannen tries to take the higher moral ground in some regards. He quotes the French agency as saying that a translation wasn’t on the cards, as the author wanted to rewrite his novel, and that the publishing house Kultur und Fortschritt in East Germany had also told him that a German translation wouldn’t be possible before summer 1958 at earliest, because it couldn’t be published as it had been by Novy Mir.

And he reminds Dudintsev that Soviet publishing houses published Western works without paying fees to the authors at all, because Moscow hadn’t joined international treaties for the protection of intellectual property. Because of the Soviet Union’s abstention, Western publishing houses were also free to publish translations of Russian works anytime.

But that isn’t meant to say that we would apply the practise of Soviet publishing houses and make use of your work without paying. We only want to offer West German readers the opportunity to read your novel unchanged.
Consequently, we acted along your requirement and made the highest demands to the quality and objectivity of the translation. If the initial book jackets carried the name Vasilij instead of your correct name Vladimir – the book itself carries the correct name – we ask you to excuse us for this mistake, which resulted from a communication error. But please do not infer from this on the quality of the translation, which has been carried out with all necessary care by a translator who has translated many classical and modern works from Russian before. You may really put your mind at rest concerning this, more so, than if we had accepted the offer of the “Agence Littéraire Parisienne” which all of a sudden, after our house had advertised the book, and English, French and American editions are to follow – offers us a license, if we verbally stick to the offered translation. As we know who runs this “French” agency in reality, we aren’t surprised either that they want to regain the initiative and offer to accelerate the matter, in that six different translators (and how many editors?) would tackle the task.

Dudintsev and Nannen agreed that the author should add a preface to his novel’s German translation. This is how it starts.

In all the years I worked on my novel, never came the disquieting thought to my mind that I might carry dirt to the front of my own door with my work. Whoever wants to clean his house, must throw the dirt out of the house – should one stop doing this because passersby might say: “Now look what a lot of dirt he stored at home”? The caution seemed unnecessary to me, and I was also way too captured by my material to have my hand disabled.
It is true, I had to reckon that in the West, phenomena of our Soviet daily grind may be viewed under different aspects than we would view them. But if one reads the book of a Soviet author anyway, why then would one read ones own intentions into it?
After all, I don’t turn everything into my own point of view, either. I read the books of many well-known West European authors, but I don’t sit down immediately to write political accusations against their regimes and governments.
[…]
We, the Soviet people, jealously guard the basic principles of our lives, the cleanness of the new situation, into which we have been put as busy members from the times of our youth, and we make sure that nobody will abuse the momentum and enthusiasm of our hearts. With all force man is capable of when people want to deny him the achievement of his aims in life, we decline those troublemakers who want to carry disappointment, sullenness, and selfish calculations into our ranks. We descend on them with all our wrath. And no matter how resilient one of these acquisitive egotists may be, we will force him to capitulate.
My Soviet readers saw these feelings in my novel. But these feelings have nothing to do with the small plumes of hope that may rise in the heart of a Russian landholder aged in emigration, who hopes to find a propagandistic note in my novel.

Dudintsev probably meant what he said. But the Soviet authorities had different ideas, and many of his peers joined the Soviet rulers’ attacks on him. In his self-defense to a plenary session of the Union of Writers, probably in March 19573), he said:

“How I was lying in a trench and above me flew 40 of our planes and two German planes, how the Germans, one after another, shot down our pilots, and how the question occured to me: how was such a slaughter possible given the great numerical superiority of Soviet planes? And I was always searching for an answer, collecting material for the novel.”

An angry and patriotic response by another author: “Dudintsev apparently forgot that we, not the Germans, invented the Katyusha!”4)

In a preface to a British edition of his novel, Dudintsev wrote that foreigners had misinterpreted it. Little else was seen or heard of him during the rest of the 1950s and most of the 1960s, according to the New York Times‘ obituary of July, 1998.

Ten years before his death, and three years before the Soviet Union’s, he was awarded the USSR State Prize.

________________

1) “We will be one family forever” (我们永远是一家人!)
2) Lizenzausgabe (Stern Verlag / Bertelsmann), Gütersloh 1958, p. 437
3) ibid, p. 447, Nannen quoting Literaturnaya Gazeta, March 19, 1957
4) ibid

____________

China – A Nation State, March 9, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

U.S. stalls F-16 Jet Fighters’ Sales to Taiwan

Taiwan’s president Ma Ying-jeou (马英九) told reporters on Thurday that his government still hoped to acquire 66 F-16 fighter jets, but that the U.S. government was stalling in replying to Taiwan’s request for F-16 jet fighters because of displeasure from China. Taiwan’s defense needs are under review in Washington.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

#fotw

“We are surprised and euphoric. […] We are glad to provide people from China with a platform for protests in this way.”

Carsten Hein, project coordinator with Kulturprojekte Berlin GmbH, host of the Berlin Twitter Wall, on Monday.

Predictably, by Monday evening local time, the Berlin Twitter Wall was no longer accessible in Beijing.

Mark MacKinnon, October 27

Monday, October 26, 2009

Shanzhai Shandong Cars? CCTV hurts Feelings, Provincial Newspaper Heals the Wounds

Shandong Province has become a base for the production for shanzhai or knockoff cars (山寨汽车), Lu Zhong Morning News (鲁中晨报, published online by Xinhua) quotes a CCTV report, and the outside’s world’s  focus is now on Shandong’s electric car industry. The reactions aren’t always friendly, writes the paper. At the same time, according to the Shandong Province Car Industry Adjustment and Revitalization Plan (山东省汽车工业调整振兴规划) and other policies and regulations, alternative-energy cars (新能源汽车) have become a breakthrough opportunity and will help Shandong to transform itself from a big automotive province into a strong automotive province (实现其从汽车大省到汽车强省的转身), writes Lu Zhong Morning News.

Provincial cities like Liaocheng (聊城, political center of Dongchangfu District / 东昌府区) and Zibo city (淄博) encouraged the development of electric cars, and private investment (民间投资) in the industry. But technological, financial [and 牌照 – seems to refer to license and registration] factors still limit the development.

CCTV made Shandong’s car industry a topic in its Economy 30 Minutes (经济半小时) program on October 23, and stated that Shandong was known as a knock-off car industry base with an annual output of 100,000 shanzhai cars.

And with that, Lu Zhong Morning News moves away from the  offensive topic, and starts touring a beautiful garden of industrial opportunities.

When the outside world hears about the car industry in Shandong, heavy trucks (重型卡车), light vehicles (轻型汽车) and motorized agricultural tricycles (三轮农用车) come to peoples’ minds, writes the paper. Among them, China National Heavy Duty Truck Group (山东重汽), Weichai Power Company Ltd (潍柴动力), and Shandong Shifeng Group (时风集团) are familiar names. In 2008, Shandong produced 167,000 heavy-duty vehicles (重型汽车), 302,000 light vehicles (轻型汽车), and 1,499,000 motorized agricultural tricycles or low-speed vehicles (三轮及低速汽车) – 30.9 per cent, 27.4 per cent, and 74.6 per cent of China’s national output respectively.

But compared to places like Jilin (吉林), Shanghai, and Anhui, all of which are also striving for the position of a big automotive province or city to a strong automotive province or city, Shandong Province still looks comparatively slow. Lu Zhong Morning News quotes Shandong Automotive Industry Association’s (山东省汽车行业协会) executive vice president Wei Xueqin (魏学勤) as having said previously that while Shandong Province may count as a big automotive province, it can’t count as a strong one, as there were still structural conflicts (结构性的矛盾). Besides, in terms of passenger cars (轿车), Shandong’s share in China’s national output is rather small. With an output of 164,000 in 2008, Shandong only accounted for 3.24 per cent of national output. Lu Zhong Morning News cites rather low degrees of specialization and little value added in exported products, as well as traditional energy sources and low efficiency as points of criticism of Shandong’s automotive industry.

But it is exactly for these reasons that Shandong could achieve the status of a strong automotive province,  by developing an alternative-energy automotive industry, writes the paper. If the plans drawing on this assumption still shouldn’t turn out to be unbeatable, the plan’s title certainly is: Shandong Province People’s Government General Office’s Opinions Concerning the Promotion of Alternative-Energy Car Industry Development (山东省人民政府办公厅关于推进新能源汽车产业发展的若干意见). The plan will support Shandong Shifeng Group (see above), Qilu Buses Company (齐鲁客车公司), Yantai Medium and Premium Buses Company (烟台中上客车), etc,  writes Lu Zhong Morning News. The newspaper has spotted some early structural changes, such as Weichai Power Company Ltd having formed a Shandong Heavy Industry Group with two further companies in June, and other automotive companies also moving into the direction of alternative-energy cars.

Lu Zhong Morning News concludes that

one can say that under official guidance, Shandong is now accelerating its transformation from a big automotive province to a strong automotive province. Powerful private investment is also a driving force in achieving this goal. “The policies are now clear, the market has a big potential, what we are now thinking of is development”, a responsible at Shandong Tangjun Ouling Automobile Manufacture Co., Ltd earlier told this newspaper.

可以说,在官方的主导下,山东正在加快实现其从“汽车大省”向“汽车强省”的转身。而在其中,民间投资力量也成为山东实现汽车强省目标的推动力量之一。“政策已经明确,市场又存在很大潜力,我们现在考虑的是发展。”唐骏欧铃汽车相关负责人此前更是向本报表示。

____________

Related:
Wanted: Changes on the Global Supply Side, October 12, 2009
China-made Electric Car heads for U.S. Market, August 24, 2009
China’s Car Exports Falling, August 19, 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ma Ying-jeou: The KMT is Taiwan

Today is Retrocession Day (光复节) in Taiwan. Singapore’s Morning News (联合早报) writes that Taiwan’s ruling party, the KMT (国民党, Kuo Min Tang), will argue that it was the KMT which, as the ruling party of the Republic of China (中华民国), had recovered Taiwan from Japanese rule, and then – in president and KMT chairman Ma Ying-jeou‘s (马英九) words – created Taiwan’s political and economic miracle. The KMT, also in the words of the president, would add that it was still the party which was leading the people of Taiwan to face the challenges of the 21rst century (“创造台湾经济与政治奇迹的,是国民党;如今带领台湾人民面对21世纪挑战的,还是国民党”).

The KMT argues that it had recovered Taiwan (光复台湾), defended Taiwan (保卫台湾), and reconstructed Taiwan (建设台湾).

Morning News points out that Taiwan Retrocession (台湾光复) is interpreted in completely different ways by the KMT and Taiwan’s main opposition party, the DPP (民进党, Democratic Progressive Party). The DPP criticizes the way the KMT equates the end of Japanese rule over Taiwan with a “return to China”, rather than the day when the Taiwanese were put into a position to become their own masters.

Former Taiwanese Lee Teng-hui (李登辉), Taiwan’s (or the Republic of China’s) first democratically-elected leader, diluted the role of Retrocession Day, and the DPP, when introducing two-day weekends (rather than only Sunday as a day off), scrapped Retrocession Day as a holiday and discontinued the tradition of large-scale commemorations from 2001.

Beijing, in turn, picked up the tradition in 2005 and has since emphasized the importance of Retrocession Day as a great victory of the Chinese people in the anti-Japanese war, and as Taiwan’s return into the bosom of the motherland (中国人民在这一天取得抗日战争的伟大胜利,以及台湾重新回到祖国母亲的怀抱), writes Morning News.

Taiwan’s opposition hasn’t made Retrocession Day (or its rejection of it) a big issue so far this year. But earlier this month, former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁, currently jailed on what appear to be rather flimsy charges) declared that the idea that the ROC possessed sovereignty over Taiwan had to be unequivocally denied so that a new and independent country could be established in Taiwan, the KMT website quotes from unspecified newspapers.

A blogger from Taiwan, Talk Taiwan, posted some remarks on Taiwan’s legal status on Friday which describe an alternative viewpoint to the KMT’s Retrocession concept.

____________

Related:
Taiwan’s Unbelievable Justice, September 12, 2009
Taiwan was temporarily…, June 16, 2008
“L’état, c’est moi” , Infoplease

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Red Flag Review Car, Wo Buy Ni

The Red-Flag military review car (红旗牌检阅车) used by Hu Jintao (胡锦涛) on October 1 was specifically made for the CMC, party and state chairman himself, Ta Kung Pao (Hong Kong) reported on October 3.*)

But soon, all patriotic compatriots from Hong Kong and Taiwan who own a factory in China can buy their own Red Flag review cars from China FAW Group Corporation (中国第一汽车集团), and inspect their workforce with it every morning, if they like.

That photo is too big for this blog

Please click the undermentioned link for this photo's original size

Ta Kung Pao obtained the news that China FAW Group will offer such cars at a price of more than eight million yuan RMB.*) So arise, compatriotic bosses from Hong Kong, and get yourself one, as soon as they enter the market.
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Related: Three Represents, Wikipedia

Note/Update, Nov. 3, 2010
*) This link – http://www.takungpao.com:10000/gate/gb/www.takungpao.com/news/09/10/03/guoqing6005-1151110.htm – is no longer available.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

JR’s Weekender: Discotheques

Inventions: A Special Day in History

Inventions: A Special Day in History

The discotheque was invented in China Germany 50oo years and five days ago. This is good news about China, and bad news about Germany. Maybe China did nothing right on October 19th, 1959, but it didn’t invent the discotheque either. That was my country. American soldiers stationed in West Germany took our latest civilizational accomplishment home to their country, writes Wikipedia. In addition to the dance and fashion aspects of the disco club scene, there was also a thriving drug subculture, particularly for drugs that would enhance the experience of dancing to the loud music and the flashing lights, such as cocaine (nicknamed “blow”), amyl nitrite “poppers”, and the “…other quintessential 1970s club drug Quaalude, which suspended motor coordination and turned one’s arms and legs to Jell-O”.

I’ve never been to a discotheque because I wanted to – rather, because friends insisted that it was a good place – or, when I was younger and in a mood of protest against the false bourgeois world, on christmas, just for desecrating the holidays. In a way, I found it natural that a lot of people there used drugs. If I had had to be there every Friday and Saturday night, I’d have used drugs, too. How else can you stand such a packed and noisy place?

Not to forget the bouncers. I wouldn’t feel offended if a bouncer refused me entry, but I feel that something must be wrong with the institution of bouncers. Don’t know why. I like pubs, where people go in and out as they like, so long as they stirr no trouble. A pub, no matter how rough it may be, is civilized. Discotheques are vulgar venues.

P.S.: Before you are asking, JR hasn’t tried to get into a discotheque last night. He’s only pointing out that October 19 is a special day in history.

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