Archive for June, 2010

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Detective Li

In the afternoon of April 30th, Li Peng went to Zhao’s place and described his observations: “When I arrived, the room was empty of people, but filled with lingering cigarette smoke and ashtrays full of cigarette butts. That means that Zhao had already held a meeting, but with whom? Nobody knows!”

Wu Guoguang (吴国光) reviews what is supposed to be former chief state councillor Li Peng‘s (李鹏) diary.

Detective Li

On the desk of Comrade Ziyang, Detective Li found some very unhealthy material

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Related Tag: June 4

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Taiwan, ECFA, and the Traitorama

ECFA, the Economic Cooperation Framework Trade Agreement, is to be signed in Chongqing today. The choice of the big city in Sichuan Province was probably made for historic reasons in that it was the site of talks between the KMT government and the Chinese communists from August to October 1945, including talks between Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong themselves (the whole affair turned into a propagandistic movie in the 1990s). The location probably also wants to make an extra case for the agreement, as Chongqing is considered the diving board for the “development of western China” (西部开发) – a strategy that could maintain economic growth in China for the years to come.

Both sides chose the place, because both sides – the KMT or Ma Ying-jeou government and the CCP – want to make a case in favor of ECFA to the Taiwanese public. It makes the KMT and the CCP appear to stand on one side of the line, and much of the Taiwanese public – possibly a majority of it – on the other.The Taiwanese government apparently shunned an opportunity to have a referendum on ECFA – president Ma wants to see the agreement with Beijing through, and then convince the Taiwanese public:

With a message that ECFA will flood Taiwan with cheap goods, creating massive unemployment, and is a first step toward a Chinese political takeover, the opposition is looking to score big in the local elections to give it chance of ousting pro-China President Ma Ying-jeou in 2012 presidential polls.

“‘(The deal) gives Ma a beautiful list of scores he can deliver at the next elections,’ said Lin Chong-pin, strategic studies professor at Tamkang University in Taipei.

‘It’s a political decision made by Beijing, not economic. It’s Beijing’s high-level strategic political decision to win the hearts and minds of the Taiwan people and pre-empt the pro-independence opposition party.'”

Both the CCP and the KMT count on an effect which the Beijing-leaning Hong Kong paper Ta Kung Pao described this way, in April this year:

[Presidential] aides say that while the Green Camp is now strongly against ECFA, one has to remember that all the Ma government’s decisions since it assumed office have proven to be accurate. Now the DPP ostensibly condemns ECFA, but they do actually know that when ECFA comes into effect, it will invigorate Taiwan’s economy, enhance the competitiveness of Taiwan’s exports, and when it leads to the government’s success, the DPP will definitely pretend once again that this wasn’t the case. The Ma government believes that promoting ECFA amounts to step-by-step improvement, and the gains will emerge over time.

Former president Lee Teng-hui, who repeatedly warned against the ECFA’s political implications, on Saturday joined a protest against signing the agreement. Ironically, KMT lawmakers had called on the opposition to cancel the anti-ECFA march because it was “driven by political motives”.

Many independence-minded Taiwanese consider Ma Ying-jeou and the KMT sellouts these days. Chiang Kai-shek and maybe Chiang Ching-kuo, too, might have considered them sellouts, too, even if for less modest reasons than the Taiwanese opposition now. And many bloggers from Taiwan have long deplored that international media bought the Chinese version of Taiwan being a “renegade province”, or that there had been a “split” between China and Taiwan in 1949. Michael Turton, a Taiwan-based blogger, jubilates that finally, given most recent international coverage on ECFA,

A number of media outlets are openly acknowledging that the purpose of ECFA is to drag Taiwan into China’s orbit, and not attributing that to the opposition as a mere claim. Thanks, guys. Now isn’t it time to deal with the ridiculous “split in 1949″ formula?

Most of the media he quotes are Western. To some extent thanks to the efficiency of Chinese propaganda, and possibly for laziness on the other, the split theory is probably here to stay, at least for another while. Convenience may play a role, too. After all, the West’s main interest is hardly about Taiwanese self-determination. America can reserve the last word about Taiwan’s future to itself, as long as it stands behind the Taiwan Relations Act, and as long as it remains able to maintain a military edge over China – with or without ECFA.

Let’s face it: mainstream media are mainstream media. They are extremely useful sources of information – but only for a judgmental audience. For the “split” theory, frequently used by the BBC, too, Taiwan bloggers could help themselves to a cartoon made by Michael Cummings, published by the Daily Express on May 12, 1982, during the Falklands war. The BBC, back then, was heavily criticized for airing the views and positions of the military regime in Buenos Aires. Cumming’s cartoon was a historic recourse to World War One:

Traitorama »

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Related
Taiwan’s Unbelievable Justice, Sept 12, 2009
That was long ago, June 16, 2008

Monday, June 28, 2010

Lawlessness under the German Flag

Lawlessness under the German Flag

Lawlessness under the German Flag

People celebrating the German team’s four scores yesterday were fired at,  apparently from the neighborhood, in Bremerhaven. Two of the fans were reportedly injured with air gun bullets, one of them while at the wheel of a car participating in the party.

I love soccer, but I dislike much of the “fan culture”. Many flag-vaving people probably know little about soccer, and they seem to believe it’s a god-given right to turn themselves into a big festive nuisance with a chorus of klaxons. In fact, it’s an irregularity, and a silly one at that.

Which is no excuse for opening fire. But I can’t see why a huge piece of entertainment business – and that’s what the world soccer cup is after all – should entitle people to disturbing neighbors either. My feeling is that the shootist(s) and his/their targets (if indeed participants in the parade) were part of the same kind of audience. Shit happens when too many people are losing the plot.

Zi-lu said, “The ruler of Wei has been waiting for you, in order with you to administer the government. What will you consider the first thing to be done?”
The Master replied, “What is necessary to rectify names.”
“So! indeed!” said Zi-lu. “You are wide off the mark! Why must there be such rectification?”
The Master said, “How uncultivated you are, Yu! A superior man, in regard to what he does not know, shows a cautious reserve.
If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things.
If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success.
When affairs cannot be carried on to success, proprieties and music do not flourish.
When proprieties and music do not flourish, punishments will not be properly awarded.
When punishments are not properly awarded, the people do not know how to move hand or foot.
Therefore a superior man considers it necessary that the names he uses may be spoken appropriately, and also that what he speaks may be carried out appropriately. What the superior man requires is just that in his words there may be nothing incorrect.”
(Analects XIII, 3, tr. Legge)

Meantime, some of the press seems to be at war with the names, too. Scenes from a defeated country, Der Spiegel‘s online edition subtitled one of its  reports from England. Or, as the Hanoverian Rat sees it:

Gosh! So the BBC’s (British Broadcasting Corporation) liveticker ran the first verse of our national anthem – “Deutschland, Deutschland über alles”! And a mindful Spiegel Online reader took notice! That was really important.

But we are at war, aren’t we? Didn’t we defeat England yesterday? Didn’t you say that yourself?

May I tell you, the one who chose this glorious subtitle, something? Either you haven’t quite got over the – failed, after all – Blitzkrieg, or you confused the two halves of the playing field in Bloemfontein with Merry Old England – the Lions caught two firebombs goals on each side of it, didn’t they?

In the latter case, I suppose you are either a jerk, or wish to be considered one.

What I suppose for the former case – please don’t ask me.

Yours truly

Tai De

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Related
Dumbing Down, June 20, 2010

Monday, June 28, 2010

Summer Vacation

summer

summer 2010

The last few days of June are said to be indicative for the summer that comes. This would suggest a long and pleasant summer, except for people who dislike heatwaves.

Yesterday felt like summer. The vacation started on Thursday, and I started realizing it when fencing a paddock with an informal cooperative building society and listening to live coverage of how the German team, plus linesman Mauricio Espinosa and referee Jorge Larrionda (to keep to the complete story), kept the English on the wrong foot.

I grew up with radio, rather than television, coverage of soccer games. A good radio reporter can frequently tell you a goal before it is actually scored, just by using his or her voice. Sabine Töpperwien and Edgar Endres who covered yesterday’s knockout game are reporters of that category. Being a radio reporter is probably much more demanding than commenting pictures.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Obituary: Wu Guanzhong, 1919 – 2010

Wu Guanzhong (吴冠中), a contemporary Chinese painter, died in a Beijing hospital on Friday, aged 90. He was born in Yixing County (宜兴县), Jiangsu Province, on August 29, 1919. He graduated from the National College of Art in 1942, and studied fine arts at the National Higher School of Fine Arts (巴黎国立高等美术学校, École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts) in Paris from 1947, and returned to China in 1950 to teach at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts (中央美术学院), Tsinghua University’s Department of Archtecture, the Beijing Academy of Fine Arts (北京艺术学院), and the Central Academy of Arts (中央工艺美术学院 – now the Academy of Arts and Design of Tsinghua University). Functionaries of the China Artists Association (中国美术家协会) credited him with the creative concept of modernization of Chinese painting (“中国画现代化” 的创作理念) and the nationalization of oil painting.

Wu was part of a generation of Chinese painters, along with Zhao Wuji and Zhu Dejun, who went to France to study painting in the 1940s and then set about helping to transform Chinese art with Western techniques, the New York Times wrote in 2005. The suggestion that Wu helped to bring about the nationalization of painting, as Chinese obituaries quote the China Artists Association, points into a different, or at least different, direction.

At the most recent CPPCC conference (of which Wu was a member, too), China Artists Association’s deputy chairman and Guangdong Painting Academy president Xu Qinsong accused “western Capital” of influencing the trends of domestic (Chinese) art. According to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a recent Minsheng Bank’s decision to invest in contemporary Chinese art was political, and not simply about sponsoring.

During the Cultural Revolution, Wu Guanzhong was sent to the countryside to work in a Hebei village. In 1973, he was retransferred to Beijing to create paintings for a hotel, and in 1978, the Central Academy of Arts, the institution he had taught at from 1964, organized an exhibition of his works, apparently as a signal of rehabilitation. In 1991, he became an Officier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

In 1994, Wu became a member of the CPPCC’s Standing Committee, and in 2007, the Hunan Fine Arts Publishing House published The Complete Works of Wu Guanzhong.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Germany needs a President

Joachim Gauck, visiting Northrhine-Westphalia in September 2008 (published by Wikimedia Commons under a GNU Free Documentation License)

Joachim Gauck, September 2008 (published by wikimedia.org / GNU Free Documentation License)

Former federal president Richard von Weizsäcker told Germany’s main tabloid this week that the members of the Federal Convention which will elect a new federal president on June 30 should vote in accordance with their conscience, not in line with the politial parties which dispatch them. Weizsäcker is a member of chancellor Angela Merkel‘s Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Another widely respected political pensioner, former CDU secretary general and former prime minister of Saxonia, Kurt Biedenkopf, also advocated a free vote earlier this week.

Biedenkopf was right, Weizsäcker said. “The election is free.”

Half of the conventions’ delegates come from the federal parliament, the Bundestag. The other half is dispatched by the federal states.

The elders’ statements come as public opinion apparently favors the Social Democratic Party’s (SPD) and the Green Party’s candidate, Joachim Gauck. While the governing coalition’s candidate, Lower Saxony’s prime minister  Christian Wulff, is a career politician, Gauck is a parson and former civil-rights activist from Rostock, northeastern Germany.

Weizsäcker retired from politics in 1994, but has remained a political heavyweight in Germany since. Chances that Gauck may get elected have risen slightly since he declared his candidacy earlier this month. If elected (which is still not too likely to happen), the SPD and the Greens should resist any temptations to interpret such a success as a “victory” of the opposition. After the hapless exit of the previous federal president, Horst Köhler, the SPD had offered Merkel the option of agreeing to a mutually-agreed candidate, which she ignored. The most important reason to vote for Gauck is that he is the better candidate. And the most important reason not to vote for Wulff is that he has already become an instrument of chancellor Merkel, which would do his presidential authority no good.

Köhler had been the CDU’s and FDP’s anti-Schröder candidate in 2004, which turned out to be a heavy burden during Köhler’s years in office. Gauck should be nobody’s instrument. This time, we need a president again.

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“Mr. Gauck seems to be everywhere”, New York Times, June 25, 2010

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Dolkar Tso thanks Samdrup’s Lawyers

Karma Samdrup (嘎玛桑珠), a Tibetan businessman, was sentenced to 15 years in prison this week – apparently on June 24, which would be the  last day of another corrupted trial. The New York Times recounts the probable reasons for his arrest in January, and his imprisonment. Samdrup had been charged with “grave robbery” in Xinjiang, and his trial was held in Yanqi County, Xinjiang.

High Peaks Pure Earth translated a blogpost by Dolkar Tso (珍尕), Samdrup’s wife, reportedly written on Tuesday, June 22, and posted by Woeser on June 23. Dolkar Tso describes the first day of her husband’s trial.

Two Han-Chinese lawyers defended their Tibetan fellow citizen in court. In another post on Friday (re-posted by Woeser on Saturday), Dolkar Tso expressed her gratitude to them. On leaving from Urumqi by plane, she wrote that “a friend next to me quietly says what I don’t bear saying myself: Karma, we will leave you for a while.”

“Thank you” – these two characters are too weak to express my gratitude to the two lawyers. I don’t know how to express my gratitude adequately. I can’t imagine how, if not even lawyers resisted the temptations of money and confusing right and wrong, how could I face these circumstances? How deep would my despair run in that case? […] No people wish to hate others, and Yang Jia didn’t want to become Yang Jia. My heart doesn’t wish evil on others, and would fear be afraid to turn into Yang Jia’s abysmal, hopeless and lonely state of mind. Therefore, I can only once again use these weak words of gratitude to salute these two lawyers!

You haven’t only preserved our faith in law and justice, but made me even more convinced: when the choice is between right and wrong (在是非曲直面前), there is no ethnic difference. We are striving for truth and justice together, no matter  if we are Han or Tibetan. I appreciate the treasures and common life of our nationalities. Diversity provides us with experience and self-awareness. The common pursuit of goodness and beauty provide us with real unity and harmony.

I believe that even though we have seen this trial – a trial that benumbed my limbs and made tears well up in my eyes (泪如泉涌) -, I’m still not Yang Jia. I thank these two lawyers, I thank all friends of all nationalities, and from the beginning to the end, I don’t feel alone.

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Related
Han Chinese Defenders, April 26, 2009
Quote: Serf Emancipation Day, March 28, 2009

Friday, June 25, 2010

MND: Thank You for Your Efforts

On June 22, the ministry of national defense (MND) held a briefing for military attachés stationed in Beijing which was chaired by Colonel Geng Yansheng (耿雁生) as its new press secretary (国防部新闻事务局局长). Geng also  spoke in his new capacity as the Chinese defense ministry’s  chief spokesman earlier this week at a press conference about a joint Chinese-Pakistani “Friendship 2010 counter-terrorism” military exercise, China National Radio quotes China News Net. Geng’s appointment is considered to have been “low-key”, as no public announcement had been made in advance. Geng had  previously served as a combined foreign-affairs office’s (FAO) deputy secretary (国防部外事办公室综合局副局长) at the MND. Reports quoted by China News Net believe that as is tradition, the deputy press secretary will also serve as a spokesman, together with Geng.

The China Ministry of National Defense Information Office (MNDIO) was established in 2008, according to a paper by Matthew Boswell, written for the US-based National Bureau of Asian Research. The creation of the MNDIO could be understood in two ways, Boswell wrote in 2009:

(1) as a mechanism through which the PLA can more clearly and effectively interface with the outside world and
(2) as means for the PLA to generate a favorable public consensus on issues of strategic or political concern.

The PLA Daily, quoted by the MND website on June 23, still referred to Geng as the director of the Information Affairs Bureau of the FAO of the MND, but the MNDIO’s work was apparently crowned with success:

On behalf of foreign military attaches to China, Brigadier Antonio Grieco, the Italian military attaché, thanked Cheng Jingye [Department of Arms Control] for his briefing and said that they had a better understanding of the positive role played by China in international arms control in recent years and the efforts made by China in maintaining world and regional peace and stability.

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Related
Chinese Naval Exercise near Nansei Islands, April 24, 2010

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