Archive for ‘history’

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

China’s Legal Reform Projects: Slowly, very slowly

The fourth plenary session of the 18th CCP central committee took place from October 20 to October 23. Less than a month before the opening of the plenum, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) quoted a politburo statement of September 29 as saying that the plenary session’s focus would be on improving the administration of law. At the center of that, according to the SCMP, would be a battle against corruption.

In July, Stanley Lubman, a lawyer and longtime observer of legal issues in China, wrote in the Wall Street Journal‘s (WSJ) China blog (China Realtime) that the CCP’s central leading group for judicial reform of the party and the “Supreme People’s Court” were signalling a serious intention to implement measures that could lead to a shift of power over finances and personnel in basic courts, from local governments and local “people’s congresses” to provincial governments. Pilot projects were planned in Shanghai, Guangdong, Jilin, Hubei, Hainan and Qinghai. If successful, these reforms could boost citizens’ chances to challenge local cadres over issues such as illegal land seizures or concealment of violations of product safety and environmental laws. However, this didn’t mean that courts would be insulated from pressures from those higher-level officials on their decision-making. Importantly, nothing in these reforms is aimed at diminishing Communist Party control over outcomes in the courts.

Lubman also links to a creative-commons translation cooperative, China Law Translate, which describes the pilot projects on the provincial and municipal (Shanghai) level in more detail.

Ultimate CCP control reservation apart, Lubman’s article came across as sort of optimistic. Less so an article by Russell Leigh Moses, dean of academics and faculty at the Beijing Center for Chinese Studies, published on October 24. If the communique issued after the plenary session was something to go by, this was a plenum that wasn’t interested in engineering far-reaching changes to China’s legal system. China would move slowly, very slowly, suggests the headline.

That said, the term under the party’s leadership (党的领导 / 党的领导下), quoted from the communiqué by Moses as a reminder that the conception and implementation of law belongs only to the Communist Party, can’t have surprised any observer.

According to the Economist, the CCP’s new enthusiasm for the rule of law springs from the campaign against corruption – see first paragraph of this post, too (SCMP quote). The battle is old (Xi Jinping’s predecessor as party and state chairman, Hu Jintao, warned in November 2012 that corruption, if not tackled by politics, could prove fatal to the party.

The battle is even older than old. Shen Zewei, China reporter for the Singaporean daily Lianhe Zaobao (United Morning News), quoted a Taiwanese researcher, Lee Yeau-tarn, in 2009 that Chiang Kai-shek had been able to implement land reform in Taiwan, but not in the mainland, because the KMT had been intricately connected with the despotic gentry.

This suggests that even Moses’ forecast could prove overly optimistic for China.

The Economist’s November 1 edition, however, sees the glass half-full – or even more positively. After all, one of the weekly’s editorials argues, the constitution, emphasized by the CCP leadership,

enshrines property rights. Of the many thousands of “mass incidents” of unrest each year in rural China, 65% relate to disputes over the (often illegal) seizure of land by officials. Mr Xi wants to make it clear that their behaviour is not just illegal but also unconstitutional. That sounds scarier.

Farmland reform, which was at the focus of the 17h Chinese Communist Party Central Committee’s Third Plenary Session in 2008, back then under the Hu Jintao/Wen Jiabao leadership -, is also moving slowly, very slowly. And the fourth plenary session of this 18th central committee might be considered another push into the direction of a more just, and more efficient, use of land – six years later.

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Related

» Dead Cats, rotten Fish, Nov 7, 2011
» Rural Land Certificates, July 10, 2011
» Wen Jiabao’s Endgame, April 21, 2011
» Tossing the Mountain around, Nov 8, 2010
» Farmland Reform, Oct 8, 2008

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Quick Review: Princess Cheng, the Dalai Lama, and the Motherpapers

Stay away from blogging for a fortnight, and you will miss out on a lot of news. Here are some that caught my attention during the past two weeks, without time to blog about them, let alone making a real translation of it.

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1. This Land is my Land: Princess Wencheng, from Tang China to Tibet

Wang Lixiong, a Chinese tibetologist, described his take on the Tang Dynasty’s motives to get Princess Wencheng married to then Tibetan King King Songtsän Gampo.

Wang’s take is that the mere fact that you marry one of your princesses to the ruler of a distant land still doesn’t make that ruler’s land your land. If and how far his view may differ from the narratives Chinese propaganda has spread abroad successfully, would take a good translation of the entire blogpost, as published by Tsering Woeser, on October 23.

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2. That Land is China’s Land: no Entry into South Africa for Dalai Lama

I’m wondering if the Dalai Lama expects to see the country of South Africa in his lifetime. Chinafile collected some links and reactions to this most recent – apparent – refusal from Pretoria to grant Tibet’s spiritual leader a visa.

Pretoria reportedly also blocked a Dalai Lama visit in March 2009. Less than two month later, then South African minister for International Relations Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said that the Dalai Lama could now visit South Africa any time he wanted.

Anyway. So far, it hasn’t happened.

one_hundred_fake_euros

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3. What shall we do with the Motherpapers?

Nothing, says China Media Project (CMP), Hong Kong, a website observing the mainland Chinese media scene.

Not if it is about People’s Daily, the mother of all motherpapers, anyway. Motherpapers, writes CMP, usually get their budgets right from the Chinese Communist Party, and may also be supported by their child papers (which are more commercial, carry more advertising, and may have more interested readers). Because you can’t discuss the real challenges in China.

Personal note: I’m sometimes criticized by Chinese people for reading People’s Daily or other orthodox stuff, and for watching Xinwen Lianbo, the main CCTV news broadcast. There are so many more interesting media, they say.

Which is true. But as the CCP never invites me to their schooling sessions, not even on village level, motherpapers and CCTV is all I can get for my better information about how the party is ticking.

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There’s still more stuff I (just as superficially) read during the second half of October, but I might still get round to them in some more detail.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Dempsey Visit: China People’s Broadcasting Station explains US-Vietnamese Partnership

Huanqiu Shibao had a rendition on a China People’s Broadcasting Station (CPBS, aka China National Radio) on Sunday. The following is a translation of the rendition.

Main Link: http://world.huanqiu.com/article/2014-08/5108330.html

China People’s Broadcasting Station Net (CPBS Net), Beijing, August 17 – According to the Voice of China’s “CPBS News”, the war that lasted for twenty years, from 1955 to 1975, gave both America lasting pain. After the end of the war, the two countries started opposing each other for twenty years, until the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1995.

央广网北京8月17日消息 据中国之声《央广新闻》报道,1955年到1975年,历经20年的越战给美越两国人民造成了永久的伤痛。越战后,美越两国开始了长达20年的对抗,直到1995年,两国才正式建立外交关系。

But after a family feud of half a century, and during the nineteen years of U.S.-Vietnamese relations that followed, tremendous changes have taken place. Just this month, on August 13, and for the first time after 43 years, an American Chief of Staff, Martin Dempsey, visited Vietnam, the highest-level military visiting Vietnam. Also, America will remove some parts of the arms embargo that had been in place for thirty years. Some Analysts believe that the warming up [in the two countries' relations] is food for thought. [Voice of China's] “Global Mandarin Broadcasting Network” America observer Yu Hao explains:

然 而,这长达半个多世纪的“家仇国恨”,在随后的十几年美越交往中发生着翻天覆地的变化。就在本月13号,时隔43周年后,美军参谋长联席会议主席登普西访 问越南,成为越战后首访越南的美国最高军事长官;而历经30年后,美国也将解除对越南部分武器禁运。有分析称,美越此时的“暧昧”关系值得深思。《全球华 语广播网》美国观察员余浩介绍:

What is the reason for the U.S. to lift the arms embargo against Vietnam right now? Most American media are looking at this with the background of rebalancing American forces towards Asia-Pacific, and Dempsey also emphasized in Vietnam that America didn’t want Vietnam to choose between the two big countries of America and China.*) In recent years, both America and Vietnam have become wary about China and have strengthened military cooperation. One by one, American secretary of defense and secretary of state visited Vietnam, even exploring the possibility of American warships calling at Cam Ranh Bay, and this time, Dempsey hinted that the arms embargo against Vietnam could be lifted, and one could say that this was boosting U.S.-Vietnamese military cooperation. The ultimate success depends on U.S. Congress approval. However, during this year, many members of Congress have visited Vietnam, like Senate heavyweight John McCain who visited only a few days ago and said that at the earlierst, a partial removal of the arms embargo could be achieved by September this year.

余 浩:为何美国在这个时候要解除对越南的武器禁运呢?美国的媒体大多是将其放在美国亚太再平衡和南海主权争端中越关系紧张的大背景下来观察,登普西在越南也 强调,美国并没有让越南在美中两个大国之间进行选择。近年来美国和越南这两个对中国同样有戒心的国家强化军事合作关系,美国国防部长、国务卿相继访问越 南,甚至探讨美军军舰在金兰湾停靠的可能性,登普西此次放风解除对越南武器禁运,可谓是给美越军事合作加油打气,最后能否成功还取决于美国国会是否批准, 不过今年以来美国议员密集访问越南,重量级参议院麦凯恩前几天刚刚访问过越南,并且称解除对越武器禁运,最快有可能于9月份部分实现。

While America and Vietnam established diplomatic relations, military exchange between the two sides has only been superficial, but when it comes to trade cooperation, it is almost comprehensively in full bloom, having reached leapfrogging style.

虽然1995年美越建交,但双方的军事交流还仅仅是浅尝辄止,不过,说到双方的经贸合作,几乎是全面开花,实现了跨越式的发展。

In 1994, one year before the establishment of diplomatic relations, U.S. president Clinton lifted the economic embargo against Vietnam, and the two countries’ trade grew quickly. On December 10, 2001, the U.S.-Vietnamese bilateral trade agreement came into effect, and since then, trade relations have boomed. From January to July this year, Vietnam has exported goods to the U.S. totalling 16 billion U.S. dollars, a year-on-year increase of 24 percent. A forecast by the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam says that bilateral trade relations will reach 336 billion Dollars in 2014. Currently, Vietnam’s exports to America are the third-largest among ASEAN states, second ony to Malaysia’s and Thailand’s.

1994年暨美越建交前一年,美国总统克林顿宣布取消对越南经济的禁运政 策,当年两国的双边贸易便实现了快速增长,2001年12月10日,美越双边贸易协定生效,自此,美越经贸关系发展迅猛,今年1到7月,越南对美国货物出 口额为160亿美元,同比增长24%,越南美国商会预测,2014年越美双边贸易额将达到336亿美元,目前越南对美出口额在东盟国家中位居第三,仅次于 马来西亚和泰国。

Looking back at the Vietnam war, and exactly because of that war, America implemented a comprehensive arms embargo against Vietnam as early as in 1984. PLA National Defense University professor Li Li explains:

回首越南战争,正是由于这场战争,早在1984年,美国便对越南实施了全面的武器禁运。中国国防大学李莉教授介绍说:

In 1984, America officially passed this kind of law, banning all further supplies of military equipment. This included two levels, one about military high-tech, the supply of which wasn’t only prohibited for American companies, but also the entire European Union, countries the EU had relations with, had to join the ranks. This included some important advanced material technology, some electronic devices, or high-precision lathes the supply of which wasn’t allowed either. Adding to this, the definition of combat-class equipment is really broad, including missile equipment, these things are untouchable. It was a comprehensive limitation, and done very thoroughly.

李莉: 1984年美国是正式通过这样一个法律,禁止以后再继续向越南民主主义人民共和国出售所有相关军事装备的物品,包括两个层面,一个就是军事高技术,他不仅 自己不允许向越南提供,此外要求整个欧盟,包括所有和他有关系的国家,都参与到这个行列当中,包括新的一些重要的材料技术,包括一些信息技术、一些电子仪 器、精密的车床加工的这些技术都不允许提供。 此外,就是战斗类的装备是非常宽泛的,涉及陆海空,包括导弹类的装备,这些东西更是碰都不允许碰的,是全面的一个限制,做的是非常彻底。

By following two previous U.S. secretaries of defense and visiting Vietnam, too, joint chief Dempsey almost stirred a “Vietnam-mania”. According to one point of view, American intervention in the South China Sea is no longer just a posture, but some kind of real action. When secretary of state Kerry had just left Vietnam, Dempsey entered, so how come that currently, high American officials, one after another, visit Vietnam, especially a high-level military official? Xu Liping, director of the Chinese Academy of Social Studies’ China Network for the Asia-Pacific Research analyzes:

继此前两任美国防长访问越南,参谋长联席会议主席登普西也前往河内,美 国军方似乎掀起了“越南热”。有观点认为:美国对南海的干预,不再仅仅是一种姿态,而是一种实际的行动。美国国务卿克里前脚刚离开越南,登普西就紧随其 后,那么美国高官为什么会选择此时陆续访越,尤其是美军方高层?中国社科院亚太研究所文华研究室主任许利平分析:

I think that one should say that Dempsey’s visit to Vietnam is an important part of a close U.S.-Vietnamese relationship. Because we know that last year, Vietnam’s state chairman Truong Tan Sang visited the U.S., and Vietnamese-U.S. relations were raised to a level of comprehensive partnership. This is a very important point of view, because as we know, America’s relations with south-east Asian nations like Indonesia have also been raised to the level of comprehensive partnership. One could say that this is a new form of American relations with Asian countries. To strengthen economic relations with them is also an important part of the American rebalancing strategy towards Asia-Pacific, so I believe that Dempsey’s visit is another aspect of this component.

许利平:我想登 普西访问越南的话应该来说是越南和美国密切关系的一个重要组成部分,因为我们知道,去年越南国家主席张晋创也访问了美国,把越南和美国的关系提升为全面伙 伴关系,是一个非常重要的转折点,因为我们知道美国和东南亚的国家比如说印度尼西亚也提升为全面伙伴关系,应该来说也是美国和亚洲国家一个新型的伙伴关 系,强化这些亚洲国家在经济上面的联系,也是美国亚太再平衡战略的一个重要的组成部分,所以我觉得登普西访问也是这种组成部分的一个方面。

The highlight of Dempsey’s Vietnam visit is the strengthening of the two countries’ military cooperation, and a focus on maritime security. Some experts believe that this could put pressure on China.

登普西此次访越,亮点是两国合力加强军事合作,聚焦海事安全。有分析称,这将给中国施加压力。

Xu Liping: One should say that this is a breakthrough in U.S.-Vietnamese relations. America hopes that lifting the arms embargo will increase American arms exports which is, in fact, important for the U.S. economy. From a Vietnamese perspective, all arms imported by Vietnam have come from Russia, and that makes it a rather single market, and if America lifts the arms embargo, I guess this would increase Vietnam’s defense capabilities. Both sides can thus take what they need. Thirdly, and personally, I believe that of course, America’s strengthening of relations with Vietnam also includes considerations about the South China Sea. In fact, America wants to turn Vietnam into a chess piece for disputes with China, but their cooperation with Vietnam on the South China Sea issue is limited because on the one hand, Vietnam still has many misgivings about the U.S., and on the other hand, America, domestically, isn’t too relaxed about Vietnam either. So I think the cooperation between the two will be of a rather limited kind.

徐利 平:这应该来说是美越关系的一个突破,美国希望解除武器禁令扩大美国的武器出口,实际上也是对美国经济的吃紧,对越南方面来讲,由于历史上的原因越南一直 的进口武器都是来自于俄罗斯,应该来说市场是比较单一的,如果美国武器的禁运的解禁我估计会提高越南的这种国防能力,双方是一种各取所需,第三,我个人认 为美国强化和越南的这种关系,当然也有南海方面的考虑,实际上美国也希望把越南作为中国在南海争端方面的一个棋子,但是实际上美国在南海问题上跟越南的合 作我觉得他是有限度的,因为一方面的话越南对美国还是有很多的疑虑的,第二个美国国内也并不是对越南很放心,所以双方之间我觉得是一种有限度的合作吧。

We have noted that year-on-year, Vietnam’s exports to the U.S. have risen by 24 percent from January to July. In these contacts with a superpower, and in political or economic terms, Vietnam hardly incurs any disadvantages. What do you believe is Vietnam’s mentality in this commitment to contacts with America – what are the values they are choosing?

我们注意到,越南今年1至7月对美国出口同比增长24%,在与超级大国交往中,越南似乎在政治和经济上都没有吃亏,您认为越南与美国的交往秉承什么样的思路和价值选择?

The fact that America and Vietnam establish this kind of comprehensive partnership, that they strengthen economic cooperation and that both sides take what they need is part of a Vietnamese objective to implement a rebalancing strategy in its foreign relations, in its diplomacy. Vietnam’s actual overall goal is to establish this kind of strategic partnersip with all great powers. In fact, Vietnam’s foreign ministry has said that it wants to establish strategic partnerships with all five permanent members of the UN Security Council, but America remains as a scond choice, and to establish this kind of comprehensive partnership and rebalancing is something Vietnam hopes to use to increase its regional influence. Actually, Vietnam doesn’t want to side with just one great power, and I believe that this, too, is an important part of Vietnam’s strategy of balancing great powers.

许利平:美国和越南建立这种全面伙伴关 系,加强经济的这种合作,各取所需,实际上越南的对外外交的一个思路是要实现一种对外的这种平衡的战略,实际上他的总体战略是要和所有的大国建立这种伙伴 关系,越南的外交部其实已经提出了要和五大常任理事国都要建立这种战略伙伴关系,但是和美国只是退而求其次,建立了这种全面的伙伴的关系,实际上越南是希 望通过这种大国的平衡的战略来突出越南在这个地区的影响力,实际上越南也不可能想要任何的大国一边倒,我觉得这也是越南的这个大国平衡战略的一个重要的组 成部分。

An hour and twenty minutes after publication, 44 Huanqiu readers had expressed anger at the article (or what it describes), four readers are delighted, one is bored, and 22 feel that what they’ve read is ridiculous.

Huanqiu, a paper and website with a rather nationalist readership, also reported on Martin Demsey’s visit during the past days, all in a rather noncommittal mode – something also frequently practised by Chinese media during the 1980s/1990s when covering (controversial) foreign issues, but quite different from the often stirring ways Huanqiu articles were written around 2008/2012.

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Note(s):

*) “to choose between being a friend of the United States and a friend of China”, AFP, Aug 16, 2014

Similar statement:

“The Cold War is over. It ended. Russia’s not our enemy. The people of the Czech Republic don’t have to choose between being a friend of the United States or a friend with Russia, you can be both. We don’t believe in a zero sum world,” President Bush said today in Prague

Wall Street Journal, June 5, 2007

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Related

» Help to counter China, USA Today, Aug 18, 2014
» US urged to lift ban, VoV, Aug 14,2014
» 首次访问越南, Huanqiu, Aug 14, 2014
» Australia-US ties, BBC News, Aug 13, 2014
» 王毅晤越南副总理, Huanqiu, Aug 9, 2014
» Low-class nationalism, May 19, 2014
» Vo Nguyen Giap, October 4, 2013
» Giving away the Store, US News, July 23, 2013
» Syria & South China Sea, Aug 5, 2012
» Nothing to deploy, July 30, 2012
» Don’t get burned, June 21, 2012
» Communiqué, Oct 16, 2011
» Five Questions to a Hegemon, Aug 18, 2010
» Threat of an Invasion, April 29, 2009

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Meeting in Myanmar: Correcting “False Impressions” created by Japan

Japanese foreign minister Fumio Kishida and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi met on the sidelines of the 47th ASEAN foreign ministers’ meeting in Myanmar’s (aka Burma’s) capital city Naypyidaw, and the 4th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, an extension of the ASEAN conference that also includes China and Japan. The two chief diplomats reportedly met in the evening of Saturday, August 9. Both ministers took seats during their – informal – bilateral meeting which ended around 11 p.m. local time, according to a Xinhua report of August 11, apparently quoting Japan’s Kyodo news agency.

The same Xinhua article also quotes an academic from the Chinese ministry of commerce’s research institute who had told Huanqiu Shibao that Wang Yi’s preparedness to have informal talks with his Japanese counterpart showed China’s sincerity and peaceful intentions.

Fumio Kishida made public comments about the meeting on Sunday morning, according to Xinhua quoting Kyodo. It was the first meeting between a Japanese and a Chinese foreign minister after Japanese prime minister had regained office in December 2012.

Last time, then Japanese foreign minister Koichiro Gemba and then Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi held talks in September 2012, according to a Asahi Chinese news article on Sunday. Apparently, this refers to a meeting on September 26, 2012, in New York. At the time, nearly two years ago, Gemba reportedly referred to his talks with Yang as “severe”.

According to the Xinhua article, the meeting took place at Kishida’s request. However, the same article also quotes Japan’s Kyodo news agency as saying that Beijing had been interested in talks between the minister, in the run-up to the APEC summit that is going to be held in Beijing in November. However, if there would be a meeting between Chinese party and state leader Xi Jinping and Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe would still depend on Japan, not least on the issue of the Yasukuni Shrine. If prime minister Abe decided to visit the shrine on August 15 – the day when a Japanese leader usually visits if he decides to do so at all -, Beijing could still change its mind, Xinhua quotes Mainichi Shimbun.

Hong Kong’s Phoenix Media published a Caixin report on Sunday, referring to a “secret visit” to Beijing, made by former Japanese prime minister Yasuo Fukuda. The South China Morning Post (SCMP, Hong Kong) had reported the elder statesman’s visit to Beijing (and his possible meeting with Xi Jinping) on August 1, and the Asahi Shimbun reported on August 3 that Yasuo Fukuda had indeed met the Chinese leader, and that the former prime minister had made use of his personal network in China, rather than of the Japanese foreign ministry, to arrange a meeting.

The Chinese side in particular appears to emphasize the unofficial nature of the meeting, and towards the end of the Xinhua article, Tang Chunfeng (唐淳风), described as a resarcher at a minstry of commerce research institute (and maybe a former official at the Chinese embassy in Tokyo), is quoted as saying that Japan’s leaders needed to understand that Sino-American relations would develop regardless of Japan, as Japan didn’t have the resources to balance those relations.

The Xinhua article is fairly deliberative, by Xinhua standards anyway. After all, it includes Japanese assessments that Beijing, too, might be interested in a Abe-Xi summit. But the appearance of a researcher like Tang Chunfeng is no coincidence. Remarks by Tang open and close the article, and Tang’s closing remarks, besides playing Japan’s international weight down (which should go down well with most Chinese readers and soothe any possible anger), Tang also points out that Japan, while being responsible for the Sino-Japanese tensions, always tries to give the world the impression that “China doesn’t give Japan any opportunities to talk” (唐淳风对《环球时报》说,中日关系紧张的责任在日方,而日方总是试图给外界造成“中国不给日方任何和谈机会”的假象).

According to Radio Japan‘s Chinese service (August 10 podcast, 21:01 JST),

it is believed that Wang Yi, during the meeting, emphasized China’s standard [or consistent] position that China wouldn’t make concessions on these issues [Senkaku / Diaoyu Islands], and hoped that Japan would make concessions.

关于尖阁诸岛(中国称钓鱼岛)问题以及历史认识问题,据认为,王毅在会谈中强调了中国的一贯立场,即中方不会在这些问题上退让,并希望日方作出让步。

Also according to Radio Japan, Wang Yi told “this station” (i. e. Radio Japan or NHK) that the meeting had been an informal contact (非正式接触). Radio Japan’s English podcast, posted at the same time as the Chinese one, at 21:01 on Sunday, also contained information about the ministerial meeting but did not mention Wang Yi’s note that the meeting had been informal.

Radio Japan is also informally jammed by China. Domestic Chinese broadcaster CPBS (or CNR) has occupied the afternoon (UTC) frequency of 9540 kHz since July. All the same, there seem to be listeners in China, be it by radio or by podcast. In a tieba forum (The Syria Situation Bar Room), a member posted a transcript of the newscast.

While in Myanmar, Fumio Kishida also met North Korean foreign minister Ri Su Yong and South Korean foreign minister Yun Byung-se. The only thing Kishida and his South Korean counterpart apparently agreed about was the need to improve relations:

South Korea’s KBS World reports that

In the meeting, which is their first in eleven months, [the South Korean foreignminister] said that if Japan shows sincerity on historical issues and Japan’s wartime atrocities, the two nations could find a breakthrough in improving ties.
The minister also asked Japanese politicians to use wisdom in order to find a way out of the strained ties, mentioning Japanese leaders’ visits to the Yasukuni Shrine and Japan’s recent review of the Kono Statement, a landmark 1993 apology for its wartime use of sexual slavery.
In response, Kishida said that there exist difficult issues between the two nations, but improved ties would provide mutual benefits for both sides.

Maybe unwittingly, maybe intentionally, a picture of the Korean politician and his Chinese, rather than his Japanese counterpart, adorns the KBS news article.

____________

Related

» Two Men and a Pet, Huolong, June 1, 2014
» Making Patriotism useful, Sept 17, 2012

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Saturday, August 9, 2014

But what if Russia invades (Eastern) Ukraine?

Every epic fail has its turning points. In many cases, historians, years after the events in question, identify turning points different from those presented by the media during the days of war itself.

In the view of many observers, a Russian intervention in Eastern Ukraine – yes, you might call that an invasion, but it seems to me that much of our media prefers the term intervention, unless if it is a Russian intervention – would be such a turning point. If it happens, and if it’s too big to be ignored, it would be one.

But maybe, even if such a Russian intervention, with or without a Western reaction, would happen, historians would identify another turning point: the day when Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko ended the ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine on June 30 and vowed that Ukrainian government forces would “attack and liberate” the land. What else should a president of a sovereign country do? And, more interestingly, did he do that in accordance with wishes from EU capitals and Washington DC, or did he do so because he is, after all, Ukraine‘s president, and not the EU’s?

The West has helped you hitherto, Ukraine – but not necessarily by its surpassing favor. Obviously, Russia has its – yet to be determined – share in Ukraine’s agony, but so has the West, and not least Western media.

When a German veteran correspondent, Gabriele Krone-Schmalz, told German television on April 16 that she shared the unease of many German news watchers about an anti-Russian bias, it felt to me as if a general gag order on my country’s media had been lifted. Of course, I was wrong. First of all, there hadn’t been a gag order on reporting flaws or dishonest intentions in Western Ukraine policies. There had only been influences – from political parties who populate much of the boards of German broadcasters, for example. And my sense of relief wasn’t justified either because that interview wasn’t run at primetime, but on a Wednesday night, at 23:20 central European time.

Which is quite characteristic – that’s how media channels can claim that they are pluralistic. Broadcast this kind of stuff when most ordinary people have gone to  sleep. (I only got aware of the video on the internet.)

The media had described the situation as if the EU had only ideals rather than interests, Krone-Schmalz said. Even proposals from Moscow that would have been worth a debate had been labeled as “propaganda”. Rather than taking their positon as observers as neutrally as possible, many journalists had, for example, almost completely missed out on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement’s security aspects, particularly its article 7.

Indeed, I remember noone in the mainstream press taking issue at all.

It is understandable that Western governments want to have options now if Russia invades Ukraine – umm, starts an intervention, umm, sends a convoy with Russian humanitarian assistance to enable humanitarian aid in Donetsk or Luhansk. But to massage public opinion so as to ensure its support for whatever kind of option is wrong. It leads to further bad choices, just as past manipulations have led to the current standoff.

____________

Related

» Poland seeks Compensation, BBC, Aug 1, 2014
» Nobody dares to (German), Junge Welt, Aug 9, 2014
» Advocacy Journalism, Jan 26, 2012

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Obituary: Julian Anderson, 1962 – 2014

Julian Anderson, an avid shortwave listener in Buenos Aires, Argentina, died on Wednesday, according to Glenn Hauser‘s audio magazine World of Radio as recorded and aired today. Anderson’s name was known to people who were interested in shortwave radio and who were always looking for information and advice, particularly in the days prior to the internet. From January 1988 to August 1992, Anderson published 51 volumes of a news bulletin on Latin American radio, Pampas DXing. With another radio fan, late Gabriel Ivan Barrera from Chile, he also published a number of editions of Latin American Radio World – Home Service Stations, and The Art of Latin American QSLing. Publications like these, often quoted overseas, helped listeners elsewhere in the world to understand what was going on on Latin American frequencies.

This was typical after-hours work of highly dedicated radioaficionados at a time when the easiest (or only) ways to keep people connected and information flowing were the phone, possibly a fax machine, and shortwave radio.

La Galena del Sur, a blog from Uruguay, contains a number of photos from the 1970s and 1980s, featuring a number of  active – and renowned, among shortwave listeners – South American radio fans, including Julian Anderson. The Galena blogger, Horacio A. Nigro, posted the news about Anderson’s passing on Facebook on Wednesday, according to World of Radio.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Shortwave Log, Northern Germany, July 2014: Radio Polonia terminates Broadcasts in German

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1. Radio Polonia’s German Service

Possibly along with Radio Budapest, and contrary to Radio Prague and Radio Berlin International (East Germany), Radio Polonia , Poland’s external radio station, was a rather liberal voice from the Warsaw Treaty bloc  through the 1970s and 1980s.

A Radio Polonia QSL card, confirming a report on the station's broadcast on February 9, 1986 at 16:00 UTC on 6095 kHz.

A Radio Polonia QSL card, confirming a report on the station’s broadcast on February 9, 1986 at 16:00 UTC on 6095 kHz.

The German department, started in 1950, wasn’t afraid of controversy, at least not in the 1980s. Even angry letters from West Germans who had once lived in the former eastern territories occasionally made it on the air (probably, the German department didn’t get too many letters of this kind anyway). The station never became one of my absolute favorites on shortwave, but many West Germans listened regularly.

2014 won’t mark the death of Radio Polonia, but the station’s German department has become history on June 30. Also in June this year, the Polish-abroad programs were terminated, and the Hebrew programs, Kol Polin, only established in 2007, apparently ended earlier this year.

Radio Polonia continues to broadcast in English, Russian, and Ukrainian – on the internet, through partnerships, and via satellite. The German audience still had the opportunity to listen on shortwave – a small shortwave transmitter operated by Radio 700 in Kall, North Rhine Westphalia, relayed Radio Polonia’s German programs. Last time I listend was in February this year, unaware that it would be the last time ever.

===============
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2. Recent Logs, July 2014

International Telecommunication Union letter codes used in the table underneath:
AFS – South Africa; AIA – Anguilla; ARG – Argentina; BLR – Belarus; CHN – China; CUB - Cuba; D – Germany; EGY – Egypt; G – Great Britain; GRC – Greece; IND – India; J – Japan; MDG – Madagascar; SVN – Slovenia; SWZ – Swaziland; TIB – Tibet; UKR – Ukraine; USA – USA.

Languages (“L.”):
A – Arabic; BR – Belorussian; C – Chinese; E – English; F – French; G – German; Gr – Greek; H – Hindi; Sl – Slovenian; Sp – Spanish.

The table underneath will appear messy unless you click the headline of this particular post. The table is broader than the two columns of the overall blog frontpage. However, it is more convenient to find with a search engine this way.

kHz

Station

Ctry

L.

Day

GMT

S I O
15235 Channel Africa  AFS E July 2 17:00 5 5 5
   918 Radio Slovenia  SVN E July 2 20:30 4 4 4
   918 Radio Slovenia  SVN G July 2 20:34 4 4 4
   918 Radio Slovenia  SVN Sl July 2 20:38 4 4 4
 9540 Radio Japan  J C July 3 15:30 3 2 2
 3775.6 DARC/DL0DL  D G July 3 17:30 4 4 4
 9420 Voice of Greece  GRC Gr July 4 18:55 4 3 3
 6185 RTI Taipei  G G July 4 19:27 5 5 5
15120 AIR Delhi  IND H July 5 04:07 4 2 2
15120 CRI Beijing  CHN E July 5 04:07 3 2 2
 3995 HCJB Weenermoor  D G July 5 06:42 5 5 5
 7365 HCJB Weenermoor  D G July 5 09:30 3 4 3
 3995 HCJB Weenermoor  D G July 5 15:03 4 3 3
   918 Radio Slovenia  SVN G July 5 20:33 5 5 5
15345 RAE Buenos Aires  ARG G July 7 21:02 2 5 2
15345 RAE Buenos Aires  ARG G July 7 21:05 5 5 4
11710.4 RAE Buenos Aires  ARG E July 16 02:28 4 3 3
 6000 RHC Havana Cuba  CUB E July 16 03:00 5 4 4
 3774 DARC/DL0DL  D G July 17 17:30 5 4 4
 3995 HCJB Weenermoor  D G July 19 04:30 4 3 4
21480 Bible Voice BCN  MDG E July 19 11:21 3 3 3
 9965 Radio Cairo 1)  EGY A July 20 00:46 4 5 4
 9315 Radio Cairo 2)  EGY Sp July 20 01:00 3 5 2
 5850 RMI / Homecoming
Radio
 USA E July 20 01:06 4 4 4
 6090 Carribean Beacon  AIA E July 20 01:54 4 4 4
 9315 Radio Cairo 3)  EGY E July 20 02:01 4 4 2
 7505 Radio WRNO  USA E July 20 02:36 4 5 4
 3200 TWR Swaziland  SWZ E July 20 03:00 2 3 2
 6000 RHC Havana Cuba  CUB E July 20 04:00 4 5 4
15120 Voice of Nigeria 4)  NIG E July 20 08:17 4 3 3
11980.1 Radio Dniprovska
Hvylya 5)
 UKR ? July 20 08:00 3 4 3
11730 Radio Belarus  BLR BR July 20 11:34 4 5 3
15344.3 RAE Buenos Aires  ARG E July 23 18:26 5 4 4
 7550 AIR Delhi 6)  IND F July 25 20:15 5 5 4
 7550 AIR Delhi  IND H July 25 20:34 5 5 4
 7550 AIR Delhi  IND E July 25 20:45 5 5 4
 3995 HCJB Weenermoor  D G July 26 04:30 5 5 4
 6130 PBS Tibet 7)  TIB E July 26 16:30 4 3 3
11710 RAE Buenos Aires  ARG E July 30 02:06 4 5 3

____

Footnotes

1) A splendid signal and – by the standards of Egyptian foreign radio anyway – splendid modulation, too. But that was only the Arabic program.
2) As far as the Spanish program, a bit later and 650 kHz further down, was concerned, modulation sucked as it does with all foreign-language programs from Cairo.
3) Of course, the English program’s modulation was no exception. It sucked, too. What a waste of energy.
4) Strong interference from China Radio International (CRI), by now the most undesirable shortwave station worldwide, in my view. Chinese shortwave radio appears to be everywhere, especially on frequencies where they can block sensitive or offending broadcasts, such as from Radio Japan. However, a primitive rotatable dipole antenna with a reasonably good directional effect worked wonders to push CRI (northeastern beam) aside and to get a clearer signal from Africa. Hence, at times, O=3.
5) I probably can’t tell Russian from Ukrainian. Therefore, I left the language column open here, with a question mark.
6) It was a surprise to find an All India Radio program in French on 7550 kHz at the time – it ought to be a Hindi program. I did enjoy the French program very much, because their approach is somewhat different to the English overseas service. It was a music program, and the French speakers actually explained the music.
7) Frequencies less than 10,000 kHz usually work best at nighttime or during winter. When tuning in to PBS Tibet on 6130 kHz at 16:00 UTC here in Northern Germany this summer, the signal isn’t better than O=2. By 16:30 UTC, it will usually improve to O=3, which is reasonably easy to listen to. Not necessarily true for reception in other places, obviously.

____

Related

» Polish-German relations, Free Republic/Radio Polonia, 2006/2007

____

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sino-Venezuelan Relations: Locomoted by Finance and Investment, with Energy Cooperation as the Main Axis‏

China’s party and state leader Xi Jinping, in his capacity as state chairman, had talks in a frank and friendly atmosphere with Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro on July 20, according to People’s Daily online, and reached a broad consensus. They unanimously decided to promote Sino-Venezuelan relations further, to a level of a comprehensive strategic partnership.

Xi Jinping pointed out that China and Venezuela are good friends and double-win partners with trust in each other. We cherish the memory of former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for making important contributions to the development of Sino-Venezuelan relations, and we appreciate how President Nicolas Maduro continues Chavez’ friendly policies towards China. On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between [our] two countries, Sino-Venezuelan relations can take over from the past and carry it forward into the important stage of the [near] future. We unanimously agree to promote the relations of [our] two countries relations to a level of comprehensive strategic partnership, comprehensive cooperation, mutual benefit and common development. Xi Jinping put forward four proposals.

习 近平指出,中委是相互信任的好朋友和互利共赢的好伙伴。我们缅怀委内瑞拉前总统查韦斯为发展中委关系作出的重要贡献,赞赏马杜罗总统继承查韦斯对华友好政 策。在两国建交40周年之际,中委关系处在承前启后、继往开来的重要阶段。我们一致同意,将两国关系提升为全面战略伙伴关系,其内涵为战略互信、全面合 作、互利共赢、共同发展。习近平提出4点建议。

1. Grasp the general situation. The two heads of states should maintain regular contact, strengthen interaction between the two counties’ governments, political parties, legislative bodies, strengthen strategic planning, deepen mutual political trust, and to continue each other concerning issues of each others’ core interests.

第一,把握大局。两国元首要保持经常性接触,两国政府、政党、立法机关加强交往,加强战略规划,深化政治互信,在涉及彼此核心利益的问题上继续相互支持。

2. Lay emphasis on substantial results. Strengthen the top-level design of the two countries’ cooperation, both in terms of forging ahead with determination and pioneering courage, and in terms of pragmatism and efficiency, advancing in an orderly fashion, by maintaining mutual benefit and common progress, deepening the integration of interests, locomoted by finance and investment, with energy-sector cooperation as the main axis, and multiple wheels turning at the same time. Both sides should make good use of financing cooperation systems, advance mineral production, the construction of infrastructure and facilities, cooperation in science and technology, and, at an early date, the construction of agricultural demonstration parks. The Chinese side would like to increase the transfer of satellite technology to Venezuela, and encourages capable Chinese companies to actively participate in the construction of Venezuelan special economic zones.

第二,注重实效。加强两国合作顶层设计,既要锐意进取、勇于开拓,又要务实高效、循序渐进,坚持互利互惠,深化利益融合,以金融和投资为引擎,以能源合作 为主轴,多个轮子一起转。双方要用好融资合作机制,推进矿产、基础设施建设、科技合作,尽早启动农业示范园建设。中方愿加大对委方卫星技术转让,鼓励有实 力的中国企业积极参与委内瑞拉经济特区建设。

3. Expanding exchanges. With the anniversary of 40 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries as an [auspicious] moment, cultural, educational and media cooperation should enhance the Sino-Venezuelan foundations of the friendly popular will.

第三,扩大交流。要以两国建交40周年为契机,促进文化、教育、旅游、媒体合作,夯实中委友好民意基础。

4. Awareness of the overall situation. Sino-Venezuelan relations should be put into the general Sino-Latin-American relations, the united cooperation of developing countries, and the plans of global peaceful development. I appreciate President Maduros participation and important proposals in the BRIC countries’ meeting with the South American Leaders’ Forum and Sino-Latin-American Leaders’ Meeting. China wants to build the Sino-Latin-American Forum and promote comprehensive Sino-Latin-American cooperation together with Venezuela.  The two sides should strengthen and coordinate cooperation concerning global economic governance, energy security, climate change, and other international issues and deliver a stronger voice of developing countries to the international community, promoting more attention of the international order for development into a more just and reasonable direction.

第四,着眼全局。把中委关系放在中拉关系全局、发展中国家团结合作、世界和平发展大局中谋划。我赞赏马杜罗总统出席金砖国家同南美国家领导人对话会和中拉 领导人会晤并提出重要建议。中方愿意同委方一道,建设好中拉论坛,推进中拉整体合作。双方还要就全球经济治理、能源安全、气候变化等国际事务加强协调配 合,向国际社会更多传递发展中国家声音,推动国际秩序朝着更加公正合理方向发展。

Maduro is quoted by People’s Daily online as confirming the trust between Venezuela and China and agreement on many important issues (两国对许多重大问题看法一致). He is also quoted as expressing Venezuelan appreciation of Chinese long history and culture, admiration for the great achievements made by socialism with Chinese characteristics (我们欣赏中国悠久的历史文化,钦佩中国特色社会主义事业取得的伟大成就), and a firm belief that China would play a great role in promoting world peace and development.

We will firmly carry the will of Hugo Chavez forward, and strengthen security cooperation with China from a strategic height. I absolutely appreciate the proposals made by Chairman Xi Jinping, I hope to maintain a close relationship with Chairman Xi Jinping, to promote the cooperation between [our] two countries. Venezuela welcomes expanded investment by Chinese companies and their participation in the development of the petrochemical industry and projects such as special economic zones. During the meeting of Chinese and Latin American leaders a few days ago, Chairman Xi Jinping’s important proposals and motions for the strengthening of cooperation had milestone character. They will vigorously advance the common development of Latin America and China. Venezuela firmly supports the establishment of the Latin-America-China-Forum, and wants to make active contributions to Latin-American-Chinese relations.

我们将坚定继承查韦斯遗愿,从战略高度加强同中国的全面合作。我完全赞赏习近平主席提出的建议,希望同习近平主席保持密切联系,推进两国合作。委方欢迎中 国企业扩大对委内瑞拉投资,参与石化产业和经济特区开发等项目。习近平主席几天前在中拉领导人会晤中就加强拉中整体合作提出的重要主张和举措具有里程碑意 义,将有力促进拉中共同发展。委方坚定支持成立中拉论坛,愿意为推动拉中关系作出积极贡献。

Wang Huning (王沪宁), Li Zhanshu (栗战书), Yang Jiechi (杨洁篪) and others attended the talks.

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