Archive for September, 2012

Sunday, September 30, 2012

“Open Government Information”: Tucked Away or Flatly Refused

In a further move to promote openness and transparency, the Chinese government is planning to extend the requirement for government departments to make public their sangong expenditures to lower levels of government,

China Daily reported in November last year.

The definition of these expenditures (sangong, 三公) includes government spending on overseas visits, the purchase and maintenance of government vehicles and government-sponsored reception,

But although the majority of State departments [sic]  have made public their figures as demanded, most of these figures are tucked away among assorted and separate budgetary items. The country’s current system does not obligate governments to include separate sangong expenditure figures in their budgets [...]

About one year on, The Beijing News (新京报) covers the same issue – on Saturday, republished by Southern Metropolis Daily (plus a number of other online mainstream media) on Sunday:

The State Council required every department to make their sangong expenditures transparent to the public before June this year, but so far, 34 departments refuse to do so, and 27 departments give no sufficient reasons for their refusal. As is hardly known, the “Open Government Information Regulations” stipulate that all “information that involves the citizens’, judicial persons’ or other organizations’ own interests” and “require the society’s and public’s awareness or participation” belongs to the range of the government’s informational openness, and should be made transparent to the public. As this reguolation was officially implemented on May 1, 2008, why are there still 34 departments who dare to refuse transparency against the law? Where is [their] conscience of law and discipline?

国务院要求中央各部门务必于今年6月前向社会公开本级“三公经费”支出情况,可是时至今日,还有34个部门拒绝公开,并且有27家拒绝公开的理由不充分。殊不知,《政府信息公开条例》规定,凡“涉及公民、法人或者其他组织切身利益的”和“需要社会公众广泛知晓或者参与的”信息都属于政府信息公开范围,理应向社会公开。特别是该条件早已于2008年5月1日正式实施了,为什么还有34个部委敢于顶风而上拒不公开呢?法纪意识何在?

In fact, the “Open Government Information Regulations’” Article 12 [article 13, actually, at least according to this translation - JR] stipulates that In addition to government information disclosed by administrative agencies on their own initiative provided for in Articles 9, 10, 11 and 12, citizens, legal persons or other organizations may, based on the special needs of such matters as their own production, livelihood and scientific and technological research, also file requests departments of the State Council, local people’s governments at all levels and departments under local people’s governments at the county level and above to obtain relevant government information. As for the sources of “sangong” from government revenues and fiscal revenues, tax revenues, people should have the right to know how their taxes were used, and how efficiently they were used. Only by transparency, once people know no reasonable use [of revenues] was made, or where more [means] would be needed, can the public be in a position to supervise, which in turn is conducive to guarantee the public’s rights to speak and to supervidse, and conducive to promoting promoting progress in building “sunshine government”, thus improving the governments’ capability of winning public trust.

事实上,《政府信息公开条例》第十二条规定,“公民、法人或者其他组织还可以根据自身生产、生活、科研等特殊需要,向国务院部门、地方各级人民政府及县级以上地方人民政府部门申请获取相关政府信息。”而“三公”经费来源于政府财政收入,财政收入又来源于税收,纳税人理应有权知道自己所缴纳的税款用在何处,用出了什么效益。只有公开之后,“三公”经费中哪些用得不合理,哪些需要加大投入等,公众心中才有数,才便于监督,有利于保障公众的表达权与监督权,推进“阳光政府”建设的步伐,从而提高政府的公信力。

With power comes responsibility, argues The Beijing News. Or, it adds,

With power comes responsibility, use of power needs supervision, violation of law requires compensation, and illegal action requires investigation. Leniency or softness on authorities’ cadres won’t do much to guarantee their own responsibility, or high standards in party and cadre control.

毕竟,“有权必有责,用权受监督,侵权要赔偿,违法要追究。”如果对权力机关干部监管失之于宽,失之于软,就难保他们对自己的所作所为负责,从严治党,从严治官,便无从谈起。

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Related

» How are you going to use this info, Lei Chuang, CMP, April 18, 2012
» Just Thin Air, Asia Times, Sep 12, 2008

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Friday, September 28, 2012

Zheng Lücheng: Thoroughly into Factories and the Countryside

Much of the following is based on CCP folklore and, and therefore not necessarily accurate. Links within blockquotes added during translation – JR.

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Main Link: 中国人民解放军军歌作曲者郑律成

Zheng Lücheng, famous composer. Born in Korea’s South Jeolla Province, Guangju, Yanglin Village in 1914, into a poverty-stricken family. Original name Zheng Fu’en, later, for his passion for music, changed into Lücheng. His father was a patriot, his three older brothers all gave their lives for the cause of Chinese and Korean revolution. In spring 1933, Zheng Lücheng and a group of Korean patriots came to China, entered the Korean anti-Japan resistance organization[s] in China, and ran the Nanjing “Korean Revolutionary Cadres’ School”. After graduation, he was active in resisting Japan in Nanjing, Shanghai, and other places, and in his spare time, he studied music.

郑律成,著名作曲家。1914年出生在朝鲜全罗南道光州杨林町一个贫苦家庭。原名郑富恩,后因酷爱音乐,改名律成。他的父亲是个爱国者,他的3个哥哥先后为朝鲜和中国的革命事业献出了生命。1933年春,郑律成和一批朝鲜爱国青年来到中国,进入朝鲜在华抗日团体开办的南京“朝鲜革命干部学校”。毕业后,他一边在南京、上海等地从事抗日救亡活动,一边利用业余时间学习音乐。

After the outbreak of the National Anti-Japanese War, Zheng Lücheng whole-heartedly went to Yan’an in October 1937, joined the Shaanbei Public School [for training cadres] and studied at the Lu Xun Academy of Art and Literature. At the beginning of 1938, he became the Anti-Japan-Resistance University of Military Administration’s musical director and vocal-music instructor at the Lu Xun Academy of Art and Literature. In January 1939, he joined the Chinese Communist Party. In May 1942, Zheng Lücheng took part in the Yan’an Arts Work Conference and attentively listened to Chairman Mao Zedong’s teachings. In August 1942, Zheng Lücheng was sent to the headquarters of the Eighth Army at the Taihang Mountains, as education director of the North China “Korean Revolution Military Administration School”. In January 1944, he returned to Yan’an.

全国抗日战争爆发后,郑律成怀着满腔热情,于1937年10月奔赴延安,先后入陕北公学、鲁迅艺术学院音乐系学习。1938年起任中国人民抗日军政大学音乐指导、鲁迅艺术学院声乐教员。1939年1月加入中国共产党。1942年5月,郑律成参加了延安文艺工作座谈会,聆听了毛泽东主席的教导。1942年8月,郑律成被派往太行山八路军总部工作,任华北“朝鲜革命军政学校”教育长。1944年1月回延安。

Zheng Lücheng frequently joined the anti-Japanese front and created a great number of musical works that reflected the soldiers’ battles against the Japanese. In April 1938, he wrote the “Ode to Yan’an” which spread from Yan’an to the whole country right after it came out, and inspired many progressive young people to hurry to Yan’an and to throw themselves into the revolution. In 1993, the “Ode to Yan’an” was included into the twenty Chinese Classics of the 20th Century, to enter the Chinese annals of music forever. In fall 1939, he completed the “Eighth Route Army Choruses” together with Gong Mu, among these, the “March of the Eighth Route Army Song” and “Eighth Route Army Anthem” which became military songs being sung in many places. During the liberation war, the “March of the Eighth Route Army Song” was changed into the “Military Anthem of the People’s Liberation Army”, with some changes to the text.

郑律成经常深入抗日前线,创作了大量反映抗日军民斗争生活的音乐作品。1938年4月间,他创作的歌曲《延安颂》一经问世,就由延安迅速传遍全国,对许多进步青年奔赴延安投身革命起了直接的鼓动作用。1993年,《延安颂》被评为20世纪华人音乐经典,永载中国音乐史册。1939年秋,他同公木合作完成了《八路军大合唱》,其中的《八路军进行曲》和《八路军军歌》成为广为传唱的人民军队战歌。解放战争时期,《八路军进行曲》更名为《中国人民解放军进行曲》,歌词略有改动。

After the victory in the Japanese War, Zheng Lücheng returned to North Korea and served successively as the Korean Workers Party Kangwon Province Committee’s propaganda director, North Korean People’s Army club director, the North Korean People’s Army Orchestra director, the Korean National Music University’s composing department director, etc.. During this time, he wrote songs in praise of Korean people’s struggles and Sino-Korean friendship, “Korean People’s Army March”, “Sino-Korean Friendship” and many other works. In 1950, he returned to China and took Chinese citizenship, settling in Beijing. He worked at the Beijing People’s Theater and Ensemble. He went thoroughly into factories, the countryside, and borderposts, left his footprints in many places, seeking for material for new works, and wrote a great number of musical works for workers, peasants and soldiers.

抗日战争胜利后,郑律成返回朝鲜工作,历任朝鲜劳动党黄海道委宣传部部长、朝鲜人民军俱乐部部长、朝鲜人民军协奏团团长、朝鲜国立音乐大学作曲部部长等职。在此期间,他谱写了歌颂朝鲜人民斗争和中朝友谊的《朝鲜人民军进行曲》《中朝友谊》等许多作品。1950年回到中国,随即加入中国国籍,定居北京,先后在北京人民艺术剧院和中央歌舞团从事音乐工作。他深入工厂、农村、边防,足迹踏遍了中国大地,到处寻找新的创作原料,为工农兵创作,谱写了大量的音乐作品。

Within several decades, Zheng Lücheng wrote more than 360 songs of different forms and genres, which won universal acclaim. Among them, the “Military Anthem of the People’s Liberation Army”, by its simple and succinct language, its sonorous rhythm, solemn and heroic melody, created a deep impression of the People’s troops’ image, the overwhelming way it pressed forward with an indomitable will, advancing fanfare, following the route of the army’s growth and its victory, and became part of the People’s Liberation Army’s combat effectiveness and political work. On July 25, 1988, the Military Central Commission officially made the song the People’s Liberation Army’s military anthem.

数十年间,郑律成谱写了360余首(部)不同形式、体裁的脍炙人口的音乐作品。其中《中国人民解放军进行曲》以淳朴简练的语言、铿锵有力的节奏、庄严豪迈的曲调,深刻地刻画了人民军队的形象,表现了人民军队一往无前的战斗风格和排山倒海的气势,如进军的号角,伴随着人民军队成长壮大和人民战争胜利的历程,成为中国人民解放军战斗力量和政治工作的一个组成部分。1988年7月25日被中共中央军委正式定为中国人民解放军军歌。

Zheng Lücheng passed away in Beijing, on December 7, 1976.

1976年12月7日,郑律成于北京逝世。

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Main Link: 郑律成 (baike.baidu)

Note: Ding Xuesong (丁雪松), born in Sichuan Province in 1918, was a cadre in Yan’an and married Zheng Lücheng there. She was a Chinese citizen; Zheng took Chinese citizenship around 1950.

On the eve of the birth of New China, Ding Xuesong was appointed to build Xinhua’s Pyongyang branch office as the office’s director. In October, one week after the branch office’s establishment, China and Korea announced the establishment of diplomatic relations. On June 25, 1950, the Korean War suddenly broke out. With the tensions on the Korean peninsula and domestic decisions on their mind, it was decided to immediately establish an embassy in Pyongyang. Its main task was to maintain contacts between the two parties and armies, and to get aware of changes on the battlefield without delay. With Ding Xuesong as the Xinhua branch office director and a member of the embassy, Zheng Lücheng’s situation became more difficult, and each of them having separate things of their own to do, their feelings for each other were [still] too deep to part with each other. So the only way was for Zheng Lücheng and Ding Xuesong to return to China. Ding Xuesong, with help by a letter written by the ambassador to Chief State Councillor Zhou Enlai, asked for both her and Zheng’s return to China, plus requesting a renewal of Zheng’s party membership, and Chinese citizenship for Zheng. Even though Zhou Enlai was very busy, he quickly approved the requests, and Mao Zedong obtained Kim Il-sung’s agreement. Kim Il-sung was very generous, saying “Zheng Lücheng wants to return to China? That’s alright. The Chinese Communist Party developed so many cadres for us, and if you want a Zheng Lücheng now, that’s no problem.”

新中国诞生前夕的9月中旬,丁雪松受命筹建新华社平壤分社并任社长。10月,新中国成立后一星期,中朝宣布建立外交关系。1950年6月25日,朝鲜战争突然爆发。考虑到朝鲜半岛的紧张局势,国内决定立即在平壤筹建大使馆。主要任务是保持两党、两军之间的联系,并及时了解战场的变化。丁雪松如留任使馆官员或新华社平壤分社社长,郑律成的处境将更加困难;或者从此分离,各自东西,可是两人感情非常深厚,不能割舍。那么,就只有是郑律成和丁雪松一道返回中国。丁雪松通过使馆给周恩来总理写信,要求回国,同时提出郑律成和她一起回去,转回郑律成的党籍并加入中国国籍的要求。周总理百忙中很快批复,并亲笔致函征得了金日成首相的同意。金日成同志十分大度,说:“调郑律成回国?可以嘛,中国共产党给我们培养了那么多干部,现在你们要一个郑律成,不成问题”。

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He [Zheng] and Ding Xuesong were both persecuted during the Cultural Revolution, and he fell into a deep depression. Tragically, when he heard of the fall of the Gang of Four, which signaled the end of the Cultural Revolution, he suffered a stroke and died.
From 1979 to 1984, Ding Xuesong represented the PRC as ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the Netherlands and later to Denmark.

Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Women, Lily Xiao Hong Lee (ed), New York, 2003, page 145.

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Related

» Wen and Jang: Joint Efforts, Aug 17, 2012
» The People’s Heroic Models, CCTV, Sep 26, 2009

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Update/Related

» Zheng Lvcheng, CRI/Soundcloud, Aug 4, 2012
[Update, Dec 23, 2012: now removed, but if you want the soundfile, contact me by email or comment.]

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Friday, September 28, 2012

An Ethiopian Hero of the Korean War

More than 3,000 Ethiopians fought in the Korean War, more than 120 were killed, more than 500 were wounded. The survivors returned to Addis Ababa as heroes.

BBC, Sep 24, 2012

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Related

» Comments: “War on the UN”, August, 2012

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Recommended Links: Tibet, Senkakus, and Revolutionary Opera

Woeser posted her observations about a propaganda film apparently produced by CCTV, and available in Chinese and English on YouTube. High Peaks Pure Earth translated Woeser’s blogpost, which had previously been broadcast on Radio Free Asia (RFA):

How CCTV’s Propaganda Film Depicts the Tibetan Self-Immolators.

Another East-Western beauty contest has been going on there on the Peking Duck. The threads are often very helpful for me to reflect on my own views – as a German, my country’s past is similar to Japan’s. The difference is that the whole world seems to believe that in Germany, we have done “a much better job” at addressing the crimes of the past. That’s certainly true when it comes to history books, but few people seem to remember then U.S. president Ronald Reagan‘s visit to the Bitburg Cemetary, where members of the SS are buried, along with Wehrmacht soldiers – at the insistence of then German chancellor Helmut Kohl. I’m not going explain my views here; they can be found there, among many others.

But there’s one thing I’d like to note here. Too many people like to make fun of – frequently rather brainless, I agree – Chinese protesters, or about fenqings who show up there in the threads. I suspect that to make fun of them serves at least two purposes: to laugh away worries about a possible war, and to feel morally superior.

If “we” – the West, or the Western alliances – were “superior”, our governments would send a clear message to Beijing, even if only behind the scenes. If the CCP leaders intend to use our countries and their people – i. e. us – as bugaboos to increase “social cohesion” at home, we can’t look at China as a friendly country. If the CCP – a totalitarian regime, after all – discretionarily uses economic means to “punish” Japan, no other country’s companies should be allowed to profit from gaps provided by such boycotts and sanctions.

I’m not suggesting that no business should be done with China. But when we do business with a state-capitalist country, we’ll need a state-capitalist approach ourselves – unless we want to allow a totalitarian regime to play one country off against the other. As long as we allow this to happen, we have no reason to make fun of useful Chinese idiots.

Last but not least, the DPRK Sea of Blood Opera Troupe is or (probably) was on tour in China. If you are a revolutionary-opera connoisseur, and intend not to miss their next time in China (or elsewhere in the world), feed your anticipation with this review on Sino-NK. It starts with Act II, and contains links to two previous instalments of the review.

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Related

» Good Ganbu’s Friday Nights, Nov 29, 2009

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Will The Great Rebalancing Rebalance the Chinese Economy?

A word of warning: the following post may not be an accurate reflection of what Michael Pettis, a finance professor at Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management, actually intends to say. My own political-economics understanding is very limited, and misinterpretations in this post are therefore not unlikely. On the other hand, Pettis’ views certainly differ from what I get to read in most daily papers, and that’s why I’m trying to catch on.
It should be a good idea if you go there and check the consistency of this post with what Pettis actually says – JR.

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China’s factory output shrank for an 11th straight month, Europe’s recession intensified and the manufacturing sector in the US had its weakest quarter in three years, the Guardian‘s economic editor wrote on September 20. Pressure was also mounting on Beijing for a fresh economic stimulus after the broad-based weakening in global demand continued to dampen export demand from China’s factories.

But not every economist is likely to endorse demands for another stimulus.

In July this year, Michael Pettis wrote that at least in June, previous interest rate cuts – or maybe just one of those – loan numbers finally surprised the market on the upside.

And that should be that, Pettis concluded:

[...] those calling for additional interest rate cuts and more rapid investment and credit expansion are wrong.  Why?  Because what is happening in China may be just what China and the world need.  After many failed attempts, over the past six months we may be seeing for the first time the beginning of China’s urgently needed economic rebalancing, in which China reduces its overreliance on investment in favor of consumption.

Pettis didn’t suggest that this was going to be easy, given high debt levels in China – but that in itself should encourage the rebalancing process now, rather than delay it, in his view. And rather than yet more investment (that’s what the previous stimulus packages were mainly about), at the cost of consumption, consumption itself had to rise.

The key to raising the consumption share of growth, as I have discussed many times, is to get household income to rise from its unprecedentedly low share of GDP.  This requires that among other things China increase wages, revalue the renminbi and, most importantly, reduce the enormous financial repression tax that households implicitly pay to borrowers in the form of artificially low interest rates. But these measures will necessarily slow growth.

To understand Pettis’ praise for the great rebalancing of China’s economy, it may be helpful to read one of his previous blogs, of May this year (but apparently also written in a newsletter weeks earlier), where he addresses the isssue of financial repression in China.

My understanding of these two blogposts by Pettis is limited – if you can add to it, so much the better. But I’m wondering if rising individual incomes would really lead to a significant rise in consumption. Don’t Chinese people have reasons to save still more, if their incomes increase – for their childrens’ (or, usually, their child’s) education, for their own retirement, etc.?

One of Pettis’ 2009 entries may provide some answers:

  • Chinese people feel poorer exactly when interest rates fall – because they save, and their means grow only slowly. Exactly that feeling of poverty would lead to – again – more savings.
  • Policies aimed at running trade surpluses is also implicitly aimed at raising the savings share of income. When you produce more than you buy, you won’t have spent all the production value on consumption – you are saving money.

Pettis re-stated his argument that Chinese policies were aimed at trade surpluses, and therefore made savings inevitable, in summer 2011. And he identified policies to the same end in Germany – including low interest rates, “set largely by Germany”, i. e. a country interested in such rates.

So this seems to boil down to the question if people in China – or Germany – would use their increased disposable incomes on consumption, or on still more savings (then at rather higher than lower interest rates). Saving money would become rather more than less rewarding – but given that Chinese (or Germans) would feel richer with their existing saving amounts, they might be more inclined to consume more. This would create Chinese demand for consumer goods made in China, and for consumer goods made abroad.

If current Chinese (and German) savings are really angst savings, Pettis could be right – provided that China (and Euroland) are good at implementing these “great rebalances”. But I believe that there are “cultural” and demographic factors in this, and that they are big. In his 2009 post, Pettis acknowledged that there may very well be such a thing as a cultural predisposition towards savings – but found that explanation muddled when it comes to predictions: after all, the very Confucianism that today supposedly fosters high savings rates nonetheless was the cause of the deep and persistent poverty fifty years earlier. Obviously, his 2009 post didn’t leave demographics out of the account either.

No misunderstanding here (I think) – Pettis only took issue with the “cultural”-drive explanation for savings in the context of Asian economic success. It’s certainly true that lots of savings – if possible – have always been a “Chinese characteristic”. But why should it cease to be one when disposable incomes rise? Old-age provisions and getting the best possible education for the children will continue to matter. People may save for the best, rather than the second-best goals once their disposable incomes are rising.

As her disposable income is rising, ...

Saving has never been so rewarding! As her disposable income rises, she’s saving on a John Deere 5R , and it’s going to take YEARS (click picture).

Rising interest rates may lead to a rising interest on the part of the banks to lend to “anyone” – and not just to big buddies.  That could also help to help smaller businesses to grow. But that would be investment, not consumption.

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Related

»  China’s Options as Exports Dwindle, Oct 12, 2011
» Not so Straight to the Bank, March 11, 2011

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

People’s Daily: How Food adds to Japanese Soft Power

Note: this is mainly based on a People’s Daily article of December last year. It may currently not be the season for this kind of articles in the Chinese press.

Main Link: 日本简明清晰的软实力, People’s Daily Online, Dec 5, 2011

The Japanese ministry of agriculture, forestry and fisheries prepared an application to UNESCO in 2011, to have the international body recognize Japanese cuisine or food (washoku in Japanese, heshi/和食) as part of the world’s intangible cultural heritage. By April this year, the only other cuisines listed as cultural heritage by UNESCO reportedly were French, Mexican, Turkish, Mediterranean and most recently, Korean imperial food. According to the Japan Times, UNESCO will issue its final judgment in November 2013.

Japanese Soba (thin noodles)

Japanese Soba (thin noodles) – click on this picture for more information, and its author).

Cheng Lin (成琳), a regular or unregular contributor to People’s Daily, considered Japan’s approach a move to expand the country’s soft power (ruan shili/软实力):

A country’s food culture is a vital component of a country’s [overall] culture, from which you can find out about its characteristics and ways of thought. “washoku” is a miniature of how Japanese people do things, and of Japanese culture. “washoku” pays great attention to the freshness of ingredients, the senses of seasons, and original flavors, and embodies Japanese adherence to a natural attitude. Japanese cuisine is also mindful about simplicity in the use of eating utensils and the environment where they eat, displaying simple and elegant, aesthetic consciousness. The greatest characteristic of “washoku” is about a combination of adaptibility and innovation, which speaks of compatibility [or of inclusiveness] and of creativity.

一个国家的饮食文化是该国文化不可或缺的组成部分,能由此看出该国的国民性格和思维方式。“和食”即日本料理,正是日本文化的一个缩影。“和食”讲求食材的新鲜感、季节感和原风味,体现了日本国民崇尚自然的态度。另外,日本料理在食物器具和饮食环境上也讲求简洁高雅,呈现出追求质朴淡雅的审美意识。“和食”最大的特点是“兼容并蓄、推陈出新”,这正是日本文化包容性、创造性的一个体现。

Cheng Lin emphasizes how Western and – historically – many foods which weren’t originally Japanese were incorporated into Japanese cuisine, enriching and perfecting (进一步丰富完善) it.

While the three types of Japanese drama – apparently the Noh play, the Joruri or puppet play, and the Kabuki play (能乐, 净琉璃文乐木偶戏, and 歌舞伎) – were too abstract for foreigners, and even younger Japanese people to appreciate them, washoku came with cultural characteristics that were succinct and clear, something that had already turned into part of Japan’s soft power.

According to statistics, the numbers of Japanese restaurants have continuously grown, all over the world. During the past ten years, their number in America increased by 250 percent, and by 300 percent in Britain, during the past five years. The owners of these restaurants may not necessarily be Japanese people, but those who go there show their endorsement of Japanese food.

有统计表明,日式餐馆数量在全球各大城市不断增加。美国的日式餐馆总数在过去10年中增长了250%,英国的日式餐馆在过去5年中增长了300%。尽管日式餐馆的拥有者不一定是日本人,但来此消费的食客认可的是日餐。

The remaining paragraph of the article addresses other factors that appeared to make Japanese culture “cool”, with pop music and “Hello Kitty” among them. Other items, too, but I guess I’ve never noticed them, and therefore don’t know how to translate them.

Cheng Li’s conclusion may or may not be correct, but is certainly conventional Chinese-Communist-Party wisdom about “building soft power” – from that perspective anyway, Japan’s application to UNESCO isn’t only about image, but about enhancing national cohesion (增强民族凝聚力), too.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

International Press Review: Senkakus, India’s Economic Reforms

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1) Senkaku Islands

The Economist discusses what could be done to avoid a war about the Senkakus. One of their editorials suggest that China needs reassuring that, rather than seeking to contain it as Britain did 19th-century Germany, America wants a responsible China to realise its potential as a world power – but that would amount to shutting up completely, if this is the Economist’s point in case for reassuring China.

The Economist recommends three immediate safeguards.

Meantime, Hundreds of Japanese marched through downtown Tokyo on Saturday in a loud but tightly controlled protest against China’s claim to disputed islands in the East China Sea,

reports Associated Press (AP).

Organizers of Saturday’s march said more than 1,400 people participated. That figure appeared high, but a rough count found at least 800 protesters.

China News Service (中新社) on the same topic:

Tokyo, Sept 22 (Sun Ran reporting) – An anti-Chinese demonstration with several hundred participants, organized by (a) right-wing organization(s) erupted on Saturday. During this demonstration, no injuries or property losses occured.

中新社东京9月22日电 (记者 孙冉)日本东京22日爆发了由右翼团体组织发起的数百人规模的反华游行。当天游行中并未发生人员受伤及财产损失的情况。

The right-wing organization is the “Hang-In-There-Japan National Action Committee” [Ganbare Nippon], and its leader is former Japanese self-defense airforce chief of staff, Toshio Tamogami. The organizers said that 1200 common Japanese people had taken part in the demonstration, but according to China News Service’s reporter’s estimate, there were about six- to seventhousand people, far from a thousand.

该右翼团体为“加油日本全国行动委员会”,其领导人物是日本前航空自卫队幕僚长田母神俊雄。组织方称当天有1200名普通民众参加游行,但据中新社记者现场目测,人数约六七百人,远没有达到千人规模。

The embassy apparently felt that no sufficient number of police had been deployed to protect the embassy, and the Chinese ambassador told China News Service that representations had been made to Japan to increase police presence and to protect [the embassy] and consulates on Japanese ground as well as Chinese-funded organizations (要求其采取切实措施并加强警力,保护好在日使领馆和中资机构的安全).

The “Go-Japan National Action Committee” is a Japanese extreme-right organization. In 2010, after a Chinese captain had been arrested, the organization also organized several anti-China demonstrations. On June 10 this year, the organization organized a fishing contest of more than 120 people in the Diaoyus adjacent waters.

“加油日本全国行动委员会”是日本极右翼民间团体,2010年中国船长被捕事件发生后也曾组织过数起反华游行。今年6月10日,该团体还组织了120余人前往钓鱼岛附近海域进行垂钓大赛。

Huanqiu Shibao republished the China News Service article. On the now customary emoticon board, 54 readers expressed anger, and twelve found the news ridiculous.

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2) Global Economy

Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh made a televised speech on Friday, trying to explain recent economic reforms to the public – cutting diesel subsidies, limiting subsidies on cooking gas, and allowing foreign supermarket giants to buy large stakes in India’s retail sector.

Singh warned the public that

The world is not kind to those who do not tackle their own problems. Many European countries are in this position today. They cannot pay their bills and are looking to others for help. They are having to cut wages or pensions to satisfy potential lenders.

I am determined to see that India will not be pushed into that situation. But I can succeed only if I can persuade you to understand why we had to act.

People’s Daily Online reports on Singh’s speech, too, but mostly restates the opinions from the international papers and other media:

On September 20, 50 million Indians are said to have taken part in an unprecedented national strike. On September 21, the “wave of explosions” reached the world of politics. Six members of Singh’s cabinet resigned, the ruling coalition split, and the Indian government was nearly “on the ropes”. Will the reforms be groundbreaking, or the beginning of a fierce struggle? In the view of German media, Singh, who is almost eighty years old, has been pushed with his back nearly to the wall: it’s either reform, or the end of his rule.

20日,据说5000万印度人参加了史无前例的全国性罢工。21日,“大爆炸冲击波”延至政坛,辛格内阁中有6人退出,执政联盟分裂,印度政府踏上“摇摆 的绳索”。这次改革是开天辟地,还是开启一场恶斗?在德国媒体看来,年近80的辛格似乎已被逼到墙角:要么改革,要么执政结束。

[...]

“Now, Singh needs to sell the concept of freedom to the Indians”, a Bloomberg analysis says, and these reforms meant that in the current economic crisis, only shock therapy could be an effective cure. The “Voice of Germany” [Deutsche Welle] commented on Friday that Singh had made more changes in his economic policies within a few days, than in all the eight past years. [...] The “Chicago Tribune” says that as India’s credit ratings faced the threat of falling to “junk status”, Singh has no time to demonstrate preparedness to consolidate the troubled economy, and rather has to run reforms at high speed, hoping to survive the “difficult time”. On Friday, Singh said in a nation-wide televised speech that “money doesn’t grow from trees”, and called on the people to “support the reforms against economic difficulties”.

“现在辛格需要向印度人兜售自由理念”。彭博新闻社分析称,这些改革措施意味着印度在经济危机的情况下只能通过“休克疗法”来治疗。“德国之声”21日评论称,辛格在几天之内对经济政策作出的改动,比过去8年总和还要多。[.....] 《芝加哥论坛报》称,信用评级面临降为“垃圾”级的威胁,辛格已经没时间展示整顿经济的严肃态度,从而强调改革速度,期望挺过“艰难时刻”。21日,辛格对全国发表演讲,称“钱不能从树上长出来”,他呼吁民众“支持应对经济困境的改革”。

[...]

But even if you only quote non-Chinese media and experts, you’ll find someone who provides the correct conclusions. People’s Daily Online quotes an “Open Europe” researcher, from a Huanqiu Shibao interview:

Britain’s “Open Europe” think tank’s researcher 保罗·罗宾逊*) told Huanqiu Shibao in an interview on September 21 that India’s most outstanding achievement in the past twenty years of reforms had been the privatization of state-owned companies. Those measures had provided Indian economic development with a more relaxed environment. However, 罗宾逊 believes that the instability of a democratic political system had led to indecisive government which kept sticking to conventions. China’s reforms had been clearly stronger than India’s, and deeper, too. Therefore, the effects [in China] had also been greater.

英国“开放欧洲”智库研究员保罗·罗宾逊21日在接受《环球时报》采访时表示,印度过去20多年的改革中最可圈可点的是对国有企业的“私有化”改革。政府 的改革举措为印度经济发展赢得了更为宽松的环境。不过罗宾逊认为,印度民主政治制度的不稳定导致政府优柔寡断和墨守成规,中国改革的力度明显比印度大,而 且中国的改革比印度更深入,因此效果也更大。

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Note

*) This isn’t a Chinese name, but I didn’t find its English equivalent.

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Related

» Singh’s Team, Times of India, Sep 22, 2012
» Too Complex to keep the Peace, Sep 18, 2012
» Nationalist Movement Strengthens, WSJ, Aug 14, 2012

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Friday, September 21, 2012

You Be the Judge…

… what’s nicer:

a) That parrot shitting from a pole, or …
b)
this cute family?

Those who know a thing or two about KT will also know that he doesn’t like cats. He does like fawning animals that do as he says (i. e. dogs), and he has a parrot whom he taught to caw stuff like

KT ten-thousand years! KT knows better! KT is a sex symbol!

To each his own.

To keep this strictly scientific, I’ll try to include one of those WordPress polling functions here:

No, I won’t. Too much of a hassle. Just leave your comments, and I’ll count them,  two years on or so.

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