Saturday, March 1, 2014

Tibetan New Year, and The Role of the Exiles

I’ve known many of you for a long time and now we’re all showing signs of age. I was 24 years old when our exile began and I’m nearly 79 now. Meanwhile the spirit of our people in Tibet is still strong; they have a strength that has been passed down generation to generation. Wherever we are, we shouldn’t forget that we are Tibetans. Those of us in exile number about 150,000, but what is most important is that the spirit of those in Tibet remains alive, they are the bosses. And it’s because of the hope they have placed in us that we have to keep our cause alive.

The Dalai Lama, addressing Tibetans in Los Angeles on Thursday. He is scheduled to celebrate Tibetan New Year on March 2, with the Tibetan American Foundation of Minnesota.

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Related

» Zhu Weiqun: keep calm, Feb 23, 2013

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Friday, February 28, 2014

Shortwave Log, Northern Germany, February 2014: Bremen loses its Voice

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1. Radio Bremen – some history

Radio Bremen‘s medium wave transmitter near Oberneuland, northeast of Bremen, has been torn down. The about six hectares of the former transmission site will be recultivated, but won’t be turned into building ground, Bremen’s daily Weser Kurier wrote on January 30. The site is surrounded by a natural preserve area. A citizens association reportedly expressed “great joy” about the removal of the 45-meters tall radio tower and the surrounding equipment as it had been a disfigurement of the landscape (“eine Verschandelung der Landschaft”).

Medium wave transmitter Oberneuland

Medium wave transmitter, Oberneuland, summer 2010

The Oberneuland site was built in 1998/1999. It replaced a previous transmitter site in Horn-Lehe, also located northeast of Bremen, but somewhat closer to the city than Oberneuland.

The Oberneuland transmitter was switched off in March 2010, which led to some listener protests just less than  200, according to Radio Bremen four years ago.

The Caller, Radio Bremen / studio Bremen, HInter der Mauer. Sculpture by Gerhard Marcks. Inscription: "The Caller empathises with the Stentor character who, with a magnanimous and brazen voice, shouted as loud as fifty men."

“The Caller”, Radio Bremen / studio Bremen, HInter der Mauer. Sculpture by Gerhard Marcks. Inscription: “The Caller empathises with the Stentor character who, with a magnanimous and brazen voice, shouted as loud as fifty men.” Created in 1967, commissioned by Radio Bremen.
At the time, Radio Bremen could be heard on VHF/FM, on medium wave, and on shortwave.

The Oberneuland site had been unable to provide supraregional reception of the medium-wave programs in a satisfactory quality, Radio Bremen wrote in a soothing press release of February 9, 2014. Also, the rather small number of less than 200 responses to the transmitter’s switch-off on March 10, 2010 had suggested that most people who tuned in to medium wave were actually rather radio hobbyists than real listeners. The Weser Kurier on January 30 quoted a Radio Bremen speaker as saying that hopes for medium wave as a carrier for digital radio had remined unfulfilled.

Certainly, Oberneuland’s medium wave was no match for its predecessor in Horn-Lehe. Almost fifteen years prior to this small one-tower site in Oberneuland, on January 31, 1999, the VHF/FM radio tower (211 meters high) and the medium-wave radio tower (110 meters high, probably plus a smaller reserve tower) in Horn-Lehe had been demolished. Hundreds of people had their savage amusement that day, looking on from a pedestrian bridge across the highway Autobahn A27.

Until seventeen years ago, Radio Bremen even ran a shortwave transmitter, also on the site in Horn-Lehe, in cooperation with Sender Freies Berlin (SFB, “Free Berlin”). The shortwave broadcasts from Horn-Lehe came from a horizontal rhombic antenna, carried by four radio towers of 25 meters height each. The shortwave broadcasts started in 1961, on 6195 kHz,  and ended on October 1, 1996, on 6190 kHz. The shortwave transmitter was then sold to south-western Germany, to Madascar from there, and may now still be in operation from east of Africa, German shortwave listeners magazine Radio-Kurier wrote in 2012.

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2. Radio Riyadh

BSKSA Saudi Arabia, also known as Radio Riyadh or, in French, as Radio Saoudienne Internationale, has dropped English as a broadcasting language on shortwave, along with a number of French transmissions, reports the British DX Club, in its February 2014 Shortwave Guide for the Middle East. One of the station’s French broadcasts on shortwave continues, however, daily from 14:00 to 15:55 hours UTC on 17660 kHz.

Saudi Arabia shortwave radio, February 26 2014, 09:00 UTC, 21670 kHz. Please let me know if you can identify the language.

Saudi Arabia shortwave radio, February 4 2014, in French. Click symbol for soundfile.
May be removed ten days after posting.

The target area for the only remaining shortwave broadcast in French are Senegal, Mali, and Cameroun, according to the station’s announcement. While this broadcast still included news during the summer months of last year, at 15:30 UTC, this program item, too, seems to have been dropped now. The focus is on religion, and sometimes on culture, in programs like “the Saudi woman” (La Femme Saoudienne).

According to the British DX Club’s Shortwave Guide for the Middle East, shortwave broadcasts in Arabic to North Africa, to Europe and the Mediterranean, the Middle East, to a number of Asian regions are continued. The transmissions also include Swahili, Indonesian, Urdu, Bengali, Persian, Turkmen, Uzbek, Tajik, and Turkish. For details and frequencies, please go there.

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3. Recent Logs

If you want to try reception, try now.  Some or many of the frequencies may change on March 29/30, with the usual, twice-a-year, adaptation to winter/summer propagation conditions.

International Telecommunication Union letter codes used in the table underneath:

AFS – South Africa; ARG – Argentina; ARS – Saudi Arabia; BOT – Botswana; CAN – Canada; CHN – China; CUB – Cuba; D – Germany; DJI – Djibouti; EGY – Egypt; G – Great Britain; IND – India; IRL – Ireland; KRE – North Korea; PHL – Philippines;  RRW – Rwanda; SWZ – Swaziland; TIB – Tibet, TUR – Turkey; USA – USA.

Languages (“L.”):

? – unknown; A – Arabic; C – Chinese; E – English; F – French; G – German; J – Japanese; R – Russian; S – Spanish; T – Tagalog.

kHz

Station

Ctry

L.

Day

GMT

S I O
 4905 PBS
Tibet
TIB E Feb
2
 16:06 3 4 3
 9615 CRI
Beijing
CHN G Feb
2
 18:00 3 4 3
 9525 Radio
Pilipinas
PHL T/
E
Feb
3
 17:30 4 4 4
11890 Radio
Pilipinas
PHL T/
E
Feb
3
 17:30 2 3 2
15190 Radio
Pilipinas
PHL T/
E
Feb
3
 17:30 1 3 1
 7850 CHU
Ottawa
CAN E/
F
Feb
4
 04:42 3 4 3
17660 BSKSA
Riyadh
ARS F Feb
4
 14:01 4 4 4
 4905 PBS
Tibet
TIB E Feb
4
 16:16 3 4 3
11710 RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG E Feb
6
 02:00 2 4 2
 3995 HCJB
Weener-
moor
 D R Feb
6
04:00 4 5 4
 7550 AIR
Delhi
IND E Feb
8
 17:55 4 5 4
 3995 HCJB
Weener-
moor
 D G Feb
8
 19:14 4 5 4
 4905 PBS
Tibet
TIB E Feb
9
 16:00 4 4 4
 4920 PBS
Tibet
TIB E Feb
9
 16:00 3 4 3
 4905 PBS
Tibet
TIB E Feb
10
 16:00 4 4 3
15235 Channel
Africa
AFS E Feb
10
 17:02 4 5 4
 7550 AIR1)
Delhi
IND E Feb
10
 18:15 5 5 5
11710 RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG E Feb
13
 02:01 2 4 2
11710 RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG E Feb
13
 02:15 3 4 3
 9410 R. Cairo EGY G Feb
15
 19:00 4 5 12)
 5060 PBS
Xinjiang
CHN C Feb
16
 02:49 2 3 2
 4930 VoA
Botswana
BOT E Feb
16
 03:00 4 5 3
 4780 Radio
Djibouti
DJI A Feb
16
 03:30 3 4 3
 7425 Deutsche
Welle
Kigali
RRW E Feb
16
 04:00 3 5 3
 5040 Radio
Habana
Cuba
CUB E Feb
16
 06:00 4 5 4
 4905 PBS
Tibet
TIB E Feb
16
 16:00 3 2 23)
 3985 R. Prague  D G Feb
16
 16:30 4 5 4
 3985 R. Poland  D G Feb
16
 17:00 4 4 4
 9720 R. Cairo EGY ? Feb
17
 01:57 4 5 1
 9720 R. Cairo EGY ? Feb
17
 02:00 4 5 1
 6155 Channel
Africa
AFS E Feb
17
 03:00 3 3 3
11710 RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG E Feb
21
 02:40 4 5 4
15235 Channel
Africa
AFS E Feb
21
 17:00 4 5 4
 7550 AIR
Delhi
IND E Feb
21
 17:40 5 5 5
 7550 AIR1)
Delhi
IND E Feb
21
 18:30 4 5 4
11710 RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG J Feb
22
 01:00 4 5 4
11710 RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG E Feb
22
 02:00 4 5 4
 3215 WWCR USA E Feb
22
 03:30 3 4 3
 3240 TWR
Swazi-
land
SWZ ? Feb
22
 03:34 3 4 3
 3413
(USB)
Shannon
Volmet
IRL E Feb
22
 03:42 4 4 4
 2872
(USB)
Shan-
wick
 G/
IRL
E Feb
22
 03:53 4 4 4
 3995 HCJB
Weener-
moor
 D R Feb
22
 04:10 4 4 3
 4765 Radio
Progreso
CUB S Feb
22
 04:16 3 4 3
 4905 PBS
Tibet
TIB E Feb
22
 16:03 3 4 3
 4500 PBS
Xinjiang
CHN ? Feb
23
 17:30 4 4 4
17660 BSKSA
Riyadh
ARS F Feb
24
 14:00 4 5 4
15235 Channel
Africa
AFS E Feb
24
 17:00 5 5 4
17540 Radio
Impala
?4) E Feb
24
 17:30 5 5 4
 3950 PBS
Xinjiang
CHN C Feb
24
 23:10 4 5 4
 3950 PBS
Xinjiang
CHN C Feb
25
 00:00 4 5 4
15205 BSKSA
Riyadh
ARS A Feb
25
 16:42 5 5 5
 6170 Stimme
Koreas
KRE G Feb
25
 19:00 4 5 4
15190  Radio
Pilipinas
PHL T/
E
Feb
26
 19:04 4 4 3
15345 RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG G Feb
26
 21:00 3 2 2
11710
5)
RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG E Feb
27
02:00 4 3 3
11710
5)
RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG E Feb
27
 02:40 4 4 4
 4775 TWR
Swazi-
land
SWZ ? Feb
28
03:42 3 4 3

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Footnotes

1) received with a Silver XF 900 and its built-in telescopic antenna (SIO 555). All India Radio had occasional blackouts early in February (usually for around or less than a minute), but the signal rarely leaves anything to be desired otherwise. All other broadcasts received with a Sony ICF 2001D shortwave receiver and a simple wire antenna (12 meters length) or a dipole (east-west) respectively.
2) great signal, but modulation remains the usual disaster, hence O=1.
3) strong interference from upper-side band.
1) either from Uganda (which seems to appear unlikely when you looking at their program which is critical of the Ugandan government, but but Uganda is their location according to their website), or from Madagascar.
5) Possibly around 11710.7 kHz. However, it may also have been tries to escape interfering signals that made RAE appear to be more than 0.5 kHz above nominal frequency.

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Related

» Logs January 2014
» Logs December 2013
» Führungskrise, Frankfurter Rundschau, Dec 5, 2008
» Teilprivatisierung und Tarife, verdi, June 30, 2006

Main Tag: » shortwave radio

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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Zhu Weiqun: Keep calm in Tibet and Xinjiang and carry on

Main link:   » Why the West keeps meddling with Tibet and Xinjiang and finding fault with China / 西方为何在涉藏涉疆问题上与中国过不去

The article was officially first published by “China Tibet Online” (中国西藏网), and republished by Xinhua online, by People’s Daily‘s CCP webpages, by Guangming Daily online (China’s offical dangwai publication), and by Phoenix (Fenghuang, Hong Kong).

The author is Zhu Weiqun (朱维群), chairman of the ethnic and religious affairs committee of the CPPC. His article suggests that the “splittist” concepts of Tibetan independence and East Turkestan islamic state hadn’t emerged on Chinese soil, but had entered China from abroad, in the wake of imperialism’s aggressions against China. Chinese-speaking readers are provided with details about British policies on Tibet from 1888 to 1914, i. e. aggressions during which false ideas of suzerainty and a Tibetan right to independence were entered into the heads of a minority upper class. In competition with Tsarist Russia, Britain had also tried to get the territories south of the Tianshan Mountains into its sphere of control, writes Zhu.

After World War 2, it had been America which encouraged Tibetan independence and supplied Tibetan forces with arms, and to this day, America was the main financer of the “Dalai clique”, constantly creating cracks and driving wedges on Chinese territory. In Xinjiang, too, it had been upper-class minorities who had been influenced in a “counter-CCP” way (not “counter-revolutionary”, interestingly), including a war by Ospan Batyr against the “People’s Liberation Army”.  After the 9-11 attacks (2001), America had entered Central Asia under the name of counter-terrorism, and American support for “splittist forces” in Xinjiang had moved from behind the curtain to the fore. A John-Hopkins University project started in 2003 – apparently described by project members themselves here – denied that Xinjiang had “since ancient times been an inseparable part of China”, “violently attacked the benefits that China’s government had brought to all nationalities in Xinjiang”, and even though America understood the links between East Turkestan and al-Kaida, Taliban and the threats they constituted for America, America also still saw forces in them that could be used to put pressure on China.

After a description of the World Uyghur Congress and Rebiya Kadeer as Western (and Japanese) tools, Zhu draws a – preliminary – conclusion: China doesn’t harm the West, but the West shamelessly harms China.

The strange thing is, the perpetrators can make eloquent assertions without any feelings of shame. This  can only be explained with some peoples’ view that this kind of perpetration is some kind of political tradition in some countries, a divine right earned from their Christian faith, without a need to care about the interests or feelings of the aggrieved party. The only difference between history and reality is that in history, the West applied armed force right away. These days, [the West] rather relies on its discourse hegemony, dressing its selfish interests up as “universal values”.

奇怪的是,加害者可以如此振振有词,如此毫无羞耻感。这只能解释为,在一些人看来,这种加害是某些国家一种政治传统,是由于基督教信仰而获得的神授特权,根本没有必要顾及受害方的利益和感受。历史与现实的不同之处仅仅在于,西方在历史上更多是直截了当使用武力,而现在则首先依靠其在国际上的话语霸权,将他们的私利装扮成“普世价值”。

[The last sentence is emphasized by Zhu or by the editor.]

In a short account of the U.S.-Chinese recent history of relations, Zhu then writes that during the 1970s, America significantly reduced its support for the “Dalai clique”, so as to win China over against the USSR. The “Dalai clique” had basically turned into pariahs. The “Dalai” was well aware that America wasn’t there to help Tibet, but for the tactical necessities of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, Zhu says, allegedly claiming the Dalai Lama himself.

Likewise, Zhu argues, the March-5 riots in Lhasa in March 1989, and then the “June-4 incident” were a time when the U.S. felt strongly that the “Dalai” was of great value in containing socialist China.

So, in October 1989, as a measure to punish China, the laurel of the Nobel Peace Prize fell on the Dalai’s head, and in 1991, U.S. president Bush senior met with the Dalai, setting the bad precedent of Western heads of state meeting the Dalai. Strongly encouraged, the “Dalai” suggested at the time that Tibet should become an independent state within three years, and made remarks about a collapsing China, according to Zhu.

The article then moves into the present tense, i. e. into the new century: the Beijing Olympics 2008, the 3-14 Lhasa riots, and violent interceptions of the Olympic torch relays.

At the same time, Western leaders collectively threatened to boycott the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, humiliated China, put pressure on the Chinese government to make concessions to the Dalai clique. Only because the situation in Tibet quickly returned to normal, and because Chinese people and overseas Chinese people all over the world raised their voices in support of the Chinese government, strongly opposing the Dalai’s and CNN’s and other Western media incidents to humiliate China, the West no longer dared to move things around.

与此同时,西方领导人以集体抵制北京奥运会开幕式威胁、羞辱中国,压中国政府对达赖集团作出政治上的让步。只是由于西藏局面迅速恢复正常,全中国人民和全球华侨华人群起发声支持中国政府,强烈反对达赖集团和CNN等西方媒体辱华事件,西方才没敢把事情做绝。

It’s a long list of Chinese humiliations, Western aggression, Western pragmatism, Western fears (of China changing the global rules) etc., and, of course, of Chinese victories, with the corresponding ups and downs for the “Dalai clique”. Zhu’s article continues with – no specific – accusation that Western countries had seen contradictions within their societies which they suppressed, not least because of economic crisis, and contrasts this with the way the 3-14 Tibet riots (2008) or 7-5 Urumqi incident (2009) were portrayed by Western media (unfavorably for the Chinese government). Tibetan self-immolations, too, get a mention by Zhu.

The Western refusal to address Tibetan pre-CCP history as a history of exploitation and serfdom (27 manors and more than 6000 farmer-slaves owned by the “Dalais”), and a constant “brainwash” of the Western public (Zhu himself puts the brainwash into quotation marks), made it impossible for common Westerners to “correctly understand the justified nature and the necessity of the Chinese government’s struggle against the Dalai clique” (当然也就不能正确了解中国政府对达赖集团斗争的正义性和必要性).

Sooner or later, however, America would understand that double standards like these impaired their own national interests, such as links between their Xinjiang allies and al-Kaida, or extremist elements within the “Arab Spring”.

Zhu also tries to explain European inabilities to “understand China” with European history and the trend to nation-states there during the past one or two centuries. Too much national self-determination, however, would bring instability to Europe, too, he writes, citing Bosnia and the partitions of India (but not that of Czechoslovakia or, possibly, the United Kingdom and Scotland, apparently). In China, this way of ruling was simply not feasible. In short, Zhu describes economic, political, cultural and blood relationships as too intricate to apply self-determination in China. It is here where his article may become clearly more complex than this traanslation – or that’s how I see it -, but he definitely wouldn’t admit that the CCP has kept creating the situation where “self-determination can’t work”.

In many ways, the article is a comprehensive rehash of the propaganda that dominated the Chinese press and “public opinion” in 2008 and after. Nazi Germany, too, is invoked as a co-author of an unrealistic Western picture of Tibet:

Even Nazi Germany tried to find the secret power here [in Tibet] to rule the world, and a Nazi element named Heinrich Harrer was commissioned to go to Tibet and to establish relations with the upper class there. From 1946, this man was the 14th Dalai’s political adviser and English teacher, and he only fled Tibet in 1951. In his book “Seven Years in Tibet” and in related interviews, he describes feudalistic and farmer-slave-system Tibet as “the last piece of pure earth on the globe” – “you can find there, on the roof of the world, what we have lost in the West.” The 1997 Hollywood adaptation of the book not only concealed the author’s Nazi identity, but also, by fabrications, suggested that Tibet wasn’t a historic part of China, distorting peaceful liberation into a “Chinese invasion of Tibet”, thus deliberately misleading the Western public.

甚至纳粹德国也试图从这里找到可以统 治世界的“神秘力量”,一个叫海因里希·哈勒的纳粹分子受命前往西藏与上层建立联系,此人从1946年起给十四世达赖充当政治顾问和英文教师,直到 1951年才逃离西藏。在其《西藏七年》一书和相关采访中,把封建农奴制统治下的西藏描述为“地球上的最后一片净土”、“我们西方人在现实生活中遗失的东 西在这个世界屋脊的城市里都可以找到”。1997年好莱坞把这本书改编为电影,不仅掩盖了作者的纳粹身份,而且捏造情节否认西藏历史上就是中国一部分,把 和平解放歪曲为“中国入侵西藏”,蓄意误导西方公众。

In short: ugly things were made looking beautiful, and things got farcial enough to make a Spanish judge indict Chinese leaders to curry favor with the public (乃至发生西班牙法官借起诉中国领导人讨好“民意”的丑剧), writes Zhu. But with China’s growing global role, those Western countries couldn’t carry on like that, unless they wanted to harm themselves.

While it was important to inform the Western public about Tibet and Xinjiang, the Western elites wouldn’t settle with anything less than a Chinese acknowledgement that the two territories did not belong to China, writes Zhu. Therefore, illusions needed to be abandoned, and Chinese control be safeguarded:

Only when the West sees the inevitability of a strong China, and that separating Tibet and Xinjiang from China is just a “beautiful dream”, that it is in the Western interest to develop and safeguard relations with China rather than the contrary, it may lead the West to change its thinking.

只有使西方认识到中国的强大是不可避免的,使西藏、新疆脱离中国只是一场“美丽的”梦,而西方的利益在于发展、保护同中国关系而不是相反,才可能促使西方转换一下思路。

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Related

» China angry, U.S. shouldn’t worry, Washington Post blogs, Feb 21, 2014

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Annual Blog Summary: Thousands of Miles to Cover (if you want to)

WordPress offers an annual report for 2013 to each individual blogger, with individual statistics. As the previous summary for 2012, too, the 2013 summary for JR’s China blog is upbeat. And it handsomely ignores an interesting fact: this blog has seen the second traffic decline in two consecutive years. That’s what my actual WP dashboard tells me, and it’s useful information indeed. It helps me to think about what makes me write, and what makes others read.

Reflecting on the statistics, I understand that my entries haven’t necessarily become less interesting. I’ve posted less frequently, of course. But that’s probably not the only reason fort he decline. The decline in stats began in 2012, and it didn’t come with a decline in blogging activity. A rough estimate, based on my drafts on my computer,  suggests that there were 252 new posts in 2011 and 275 new posts in 2012.

There’s a number of factors that, maybe, drove this blog before 2012, and that abated somewhere in the second half of 2011, or the first half of 2012.

One is the general trend. Microblogging has, in many bloggers‘ lives, replaced actual blogging. Facebook may be another alternative to blogging (even if one I’d never consider myself).

My own writing may be a factor, too. To rate the quality of someone’s writing, or the appeal of it to readers, is difficult when it’s actually your own writing. I’m not trying to be my own critic now. But there’s one thing I can easily discern. Before 2012, I wrote about China and human rights, and made fun of the CCP. It was simple argumentative technology, and it was easy reading. From 2012, I turned to a more “researching” or “deliberative” kind of blogging. There’s probably a post to mark the turn: JR turns to science.

It’s never become real science, I guess, but it did become more about translation and analysis. This started in December 2011, the timing of that post basically corresponds with my memory.

The topic that made me change my blogging approach – not completely, but gradually first, and then to quite a degree – was the Zhang Danhong incident in 2008, and the case of four Deutsche Welle employees who were sacked in 2010/2011. My own situation had changed, too. After having lived in China for a number of years, I had returned to Germany – probably for good. I can’t imagine living in China for another number of years. The people and things that matter most to me are now here.

That doesn’t make China less fascinating to me. But my perspective has shifted. It’s where China has an impact on life in Germany, and the other way round, what interests me most.

Many different worlds

Are you covering this?

In a way, that seems to have the potential of a pretty global topic – there are “thousands of miles” where one country, or one civilization, overlaps with another. But these are, seemingly anyway, rather unspectacular seams around the globe. They usually go as unnoticed by the public as does Chinese economic involvement in Africa or Latin America. Jeremy Goldkorn bemoaned the state of the South African media in 2010: even if a foreign country becomes your new number one trading partner, you may not notice it  at all.

The challenge for the press would be to start digging on those sites, along those global borders and seams around the globe – in a way that people want to read. The challenge for a blogger may be pretty much the same.

But to react to this (supposed) demand would require much more of my time, and a willingness to become more „public“ on the internet, as a person. And it would be an experiment which still wouldn’t necessarily lead to a bigger impact.

After all, these reflections are only about what I think people would be interested in. Many bloggers – and many news people and entertainers – believe they know what people actually want to see most. And in most cases, their beliefs are probably wrong.

But if I were a press pro (with a generous boss), I’d probably give it a try. And yes, a bit of curiosity remains: how would it work out?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Japan and South Korean Press: some Sex and Radiation

Conventional wisdom has it that there’s a lot of distrust between China and Japan. There’s also a lot of distrust between Japan and Korea (North and South). And there are Chinese-Korean relations (North and South) which aren’t that easy to characterize.

For ordinary people, there seem to be two worlds. There’s the real world, where you meet people – when travelling for work, and when travelling for fun.

And there’s the internet world.

The difference between these two worlds: the internet is highly politicized. That has been true for the printed press, too, but it never seemed to influence people as much as does the online world. Maybe the internet gives people the feeling that they play a role of their own in shaping it. This may actually be true. But the internet is shaping them in turn. When experienced, skilled propagandists and agenda sellers appear on the scene, frequently unrecognized and unrecognizable, chances are that they will manufacture consent or dissent, according to their goals, commercial or political.

Newspaper articles have always angered people, even in pre-digital times. Once in a while, someone would actually put pen or typewriter to paper and write a letter to the editor – in the evening, or whenever he or she found the time. But more frequently, the anger would evaporate within minutes or hours. There would be no visible reader’s reaction.

The internet is quite different. Once people have joined a discussion (which is easy to do), they will stay involved for quite a while, at least mentally.

A dumb headline is enough to create a shitstorm. Try How to date Japanese women who haven’t been exposed to radiation, published by the South Korean publication „Maxim“. According to this report by the Global Post, Korean readers were quick to point [that headline] out as inappropriate given the sensitive nature of Japan’s continuing recovery after the 2011 tsunami and Fukushima disaster. But obviously, once someone is offended, this isn’t good enough, and the offended themselves need to speak out, too.

In no uncertain terms

I thought I’d better depict a Caucasian.

But there were messages from the real world, too:

I’m amazed that the mass media is able to link any article to anti-Japanese sentiment, regardless of what the incident is.

What a spoilsport.

Some statistics: the Maxim editor-in-chief reportedly apologized twice. The first apology was – reportedly – widely read as another attack on Japanese dignity, rather than a real apology.

Therefore, a second apology from the editor-in-chief was needed. It still didn’t seem to read like a sincere apology. Hence, it caught more than 130 Japanese comments in one day.

Is that a lot, or is it marginal? The Japanese who wrote those over 130 comments didn’t need to speak or write Korean. Their debate was hosted by the electronic version and the Japanese-language version of the JoonAng Ilbo, one of South Korea’s top three influential newspapers, Japan Today reported on Wednesday.

Was this a worthwhile story? And how many of the Japanese who commented there were actually Japanese women?

Thanks for your time, dear reader.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

World Radio Day, and how did Li Wai-ling get Fired?

February 13 (Thursday) was World Radio Day. That was an adequate day for the Hong Kong Journalists Association to bring Li Wai-ling (or Li Wei-ling, 李慧玲) and the press together. But let’s go through the issues one by one.

The Genius leads the spectators: engineering of consent in its early stages in applauding his works.

If everyone is happy, who needs a free press?

China’s growing economic weight is allowing it to extend its influence over the media in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, writes Reporters without Borders, in their 2014 report, published earlier this week. The BBC added a palpable story on Friday, about the sacking of Li Wei-ling, a radio talk show host at a commercial station in Hong Kong who has been sacked and who, on a press conference on Thursday, accused the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of having put pressure on her employer.

Organizations like Reporters without Borders have their merits. This may be even more true for the Hong Kong Journalists Association who organized Ms Li Wei-ling’s press conference. Reporters, talk show hosts and all the people who are critical and daring in the face of power deserve solidarity.

But this goes for reporters and journalists in Western countries, too. The problem with stories like the BBC’s, served to an American or European audience, seems to be that they blind people for problems at home. Here, too, broadcasters need to apply for frequencies. Here, too, they need to rely on political decisions when they are public broadcasters. On licence fees, or on public budgets. Advertisers, too, may exert influence.

My window on press freedom is small. The case I really looked at rather closely during the last years was that of the Chinese department at Deutsche Welle. I’m looking at these issues as a listener to and reader of the media.

This post might serve as the short version, and here is a longer one. They are about German politics, and the media.

The freedom of the press isn’t necessarily the freedom of a journalist to speak or write his mind, or to publicly highlight whatever scandal he or she may discover. This depends on a reporter’s or journalist’s employer, and frequently, reporters and editors-in-chief in the free world are very aware of when to better censor themselves, so as to keep their jobs.

This tends to be particularly true when a journalist’s contract is non-permanent. You don’t need state authorities to censor journalists when journalists’ employment is as precarious as is frequently the case in Western countries.

There is no point in pitting Chinese journalists against Western journalists, or the other way round. But there is a point in looking at every situation without ideological blinkers. Suppression of freedom from commercial organizations (and, sometimes, public-private networks) may still allow media that offer valid criticism of suppression in totalitarian countries – after all, that’s “them”, not “us”. Media in totalitarian countries can also, at times, provide valid criticism of media in freer countries. It is useful to read and listen to as many different outlets from as many different political systems as you can.

But there is no need or justification to blindly trust either of them. Without a broad global audience that develops criteria to judge press reports, freedom will get under the wheels of authoritarianism, even in – so far – free societies. The internet has become a place where journalists and their listeners and readers should meet, and be as honest with each other as they can. Its also the place where the struggle for freedom on the airwaves has to begin, time and again, whenever powers of whichever color try to weigh in on them.

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Related

» Radio Sparsam, Jan 26, 2014
» Authentic, Feb 16, 2013

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Petition for the Release of Ilham Tohti

Ilham Tohti, an ethnic-Uyghur Chinese economist based in Beijing, was taken from his Beijing home by several police officers on January 15, under suspicion of breaking the law. His whereabouts appear to be unknown.

Tohti had been arrested before, in 2009, reportedly for having written critically about government policies toward the Uighurs. He was apparently released in August the same year.

Tsering Woeser has posted » a petition, drafted by her husband Wang Lixiong. According to the post, 1,801 signatures from 42 countries were collected by 20:00 hours Beijing time on Tuesday. The post includes an English translation of the petition.

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Related

» About Nur Bekri, March 2009

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Radio Taiwan International Shortwave Issues: maybe not as China-Influenced as first reported

The high-level official meeting in Nanjing is in the international headlines, and once that happens, there’s probably nothing to add to what you couldn’t find elsehwere, too.

But a comment has reminded me that it’s time to keep track again of something else – Radio Taiwan International‘s (RTI) shortwave broadcasts. Sound of Hope (SoH), a Falun-Gong-affiliated broadcaster who rented airtime from RTI had said in summer 2013 that they had been asked to cut their airtime by half after the return of the KMT to power in the 2008 elections, and other allegations – as quoted by Radio Free Asia (RFA).

Chiang Kai-shek statement of resistance, apparently through a CBS microphone

Chiang Kai-shek’s statement of resistance on July 17, 1937, apparently speaking through a CBS microphone – click picture for info

This is what I wrote on June 8 2013. And this is a collection of links posted by Kim Elliott on July 12 2013. His links seem to suggest that shortwave airtime would hardly, if at all, be reduced once the relocations from Huwei and Tainan are completed.

A statement by Taiwan’s de-facto embassy to the U.S. published in a statement in Chinese on July 2 2013 (i. e. more than half a year ago and shortly after the Sound of Hope accusations), saying that plans for relocation had been  made as early as in 1997. The Executive Yuan had, at the time, told the Central Broadcasting System (CBS) to finalize the planning by 2004. The Taiwan embassy statement also reflected domestic Taiwanese politics in saying that DPP legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃), who herself represented a Tainan constituency, had on many occasions pushed for early removal of the towers to facilitate the city’s development.

Sound of Hope had been given assurances that the relocations would not affect the number of hours it can broadcast through RTI facilities and the services it received. It was regrettable that Sound of Hope had run reports without verification.

The official Taiwanese remarks seem to have gone mostly unnoticed or ignored. It’s obviously reasonable to follow stories over some time anyway, but especially when as contested, shit-stormed and “psy-oped” as they frequently are in cross-strait relations. The official Taiwanese reaction on the Sound of Hope and RFA allegations, in turn, was called into question by the Epoch Times, apparently Falun-Gong-affiliated as is Sound of Hope. This recent comment was very helpful in bringing me back to this story.

The proof of the pudding is the eating, of course. If any readers among you have information about how much airtime Sound of Hope currently gets from RTI, or if there have been changes in the airtime contract, or any other information on this matter, please let me know, by comment or e-mail.

Maybe even American and European RTI listeners will get the chance to listen to shortwave broadcasts directly from Taiwan again, sooner or later.

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