Posts tagged ‘Arabia’

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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Friday, September 20, 2013

China’s low Profile: As Close as They can

Links within the following blockquotes were added during translation / quotation — JR
Kerry Brown, a professor of Chinese politics at the University of Sydney, recently asked in an article for the BBC if China’s “non-interference policy” was sustainable.

Although China’s global influence had grown during the past decades, Brown wrote,

[..] Chinese leaders still stay as close as they can to the principles of peaceful coexistence and non-interference set out by Zhou Enlai. Despite the fact that the world has changed so radically in this time, these principles are useful because they avoid China being dragged into situations that overstretch and challenge it, they avoid it being pushed into a corner where it can be painted as a foe of the US and the rest of the developed world, and they allow it to continue focusing on its own formidable internal development issues.

Indeed, China’s profile remained low in the Syrian conflict, so far, and seemed to follw Russia’s diplomatic wake rather than pursuing a globally visible role of its own (which does not necessarily mean that Beijing sees eye to eye with Moscow on each and every issue).

At the same time, not only foreigners wonder where China is when it comes to the current crisis (or its recent defusing). Domestic Chinese press does describe China’s position at times, not least to keep face-conscious readers happy, probably.

Xinhua newsagency, for example, carried an interview with China’s special Mideast envoy Wu Sike (吴思科) on September 10 this year. Excerpts:

The Syrian “chemical weapons” issue is confusing, and it hasn’t yet been possible to determine who is right and who is wrong, I have once lived in Syria for four years, and my impression of the locality was very good. Before the chaos caused of the war, it was a society of moderate prosperity [or a moderately well-off society], with many historical relics, and very friendly people. But now, according to UNHCR statistics, the number of refugees who fled abroad has surpassed two million, with one million of them children, and six million people are displaced within Syria. These aren’t just numbers; this is the suffering of homeless Syrian people who even lost loved ones. Who wants to be responsible for aggravating their crisis?

虽然叙利亚“化武”问题扑朔迷离,孰是孰非迄今尚无定论。我曾经在叙利亚生活过4年,对该地区印象很好,那里在战乱之前处于小康社会,历史遗迹很多,人民非常友好。
但是目前根据联合国难民署提供的数据,目前逃往国外的叙利亚难民已超过200万,仅儿童难民数量已超过百万,叙利亚境内还有600万人流离失 所。这些不仅仅是一个又一个的数字,而是一个个被迫流离失所甚至失去亲人的叙利亚人民的苦难。有谁能背得起加剧叙人道危机的责任?!

[.....]

Wu Sike describes his role in Mideast diplomacy:

Last year in December, I took part in a conference in Bahrain, and the participating countries all thought that the United Nations should mediate. Now, America tries to be above international situations, which is a really high-handed behavior. But the intriguing thing this time is that America’s allies, such as Italy or Germany aren’t positive [about America's approach]. Therefore, China unequivocally advocates opposition against military methods, and advocates political means to solve the Syrian conflict. War will only complicate the situation further, intensify contradictions and clashes, and is no way to solve the problem. Therefore, political means should be used for a solution.

吴思科:去年12月份我在巴林参加会议,与会的中东各国都认为应该由联合国出面进行斡旋调解,现在美国的做法是企图让一个国家凌驾在国际组织之上,是非常霸道的表现。
但是这次耐人寻味的是,美国的盟国如意大利、德国并不积极,因此中国明确主张反对用军事的方式,应该用政治的方式,去解决叙利亚的争端。战争只会让局势更加复杂,让矛盾冲突更加剧烈,不是解决问题的方法。因此应该用政治手段解决。

[.....]

The Mideast situation is complex. When I visited Cairo, Arab-League general secretary Nabil Elaraby believed that the current problem was that the Syrian government believes that they still have strong troops to overcome its opponents. But the opposition believes that if only they persist for another day, there will be people abroad who will support them. Neither side wanted to abandon military means to protect itself, and there’s an impasse. Under such circumstances, efforts by the international community are required. The UN have now started an investigation of the chemical-weapons incident. To go to arms before the investigation’s findings are published runs counter to the purpose of the “UN Charter”. All parties should wait for and respect the findings of the investigation.

中东地区的形势错综复杂,我在开罗访问的时候,阿盟秘书长阿拉比认为现在的难点是叙利亚政府认为自 己手中还有强大的军队,能够征服他的反对者。而反对派认为只要自己坚持一天,国外就有人会支持,双方都不愿放弃军事手段来保卫自己,这是一个死结。因此, 在这种情况下,需要国际社会的努力。
目前联合国已经开始对叙利亚化武事件展开调查,在联合国调查结果公布前就诉诸武力有悖于《联合国宪章》宗旨,有关各方应期待并尊重联合国的调查结果。

====================

Two years earlier (and this should not suggest that Wu Sike never talked again, prior to September this year), Wu Sike also commented on Mideast affairs. Back then, his Mideast and Syria comments were embedded in a broader picture of Chinese diplomacy.

Public Diplomacy Net was established on May 1, 2011, with former Chinese foreign minister Tang Jiaxuan, former chairman of the foreign aff airs committee of the “Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference” Zhao Qizheng, Commission for Africa member Ji Peiding and Chinese special Mideast envoy Wu Sike as the website’s advisors.

Soon after, in September 2011, Wu Sike was interviewed by the website, or responded to netizens’ questions. The main topic at the time was a white paper on China’s peaceful development, issued earlier that month on September 6, but as Middle-East special envoy, Wu was also asked questions related to the Middle-East peace process and the growing Syria conflict.

One of his answers further down in the following blockquote could count as an answer to the question at the beginning of this post, asked by Professor Brown, as to why China sticks to a low profile. The Chinese wording for “low profile” – or hiding your brightness and biding your time, depending on your translation, is 韬光养晦, is attributed to Deng Xiaoping.

Wu Sike’s answer to the first question of the interview is lengthy, and contains several paragraphs.

Main Link: http://www.pdcec.com/bencandy.php?fid=60&id=7964

Public Diplomacy Net (PDN) / Wu Sike (WSK)

PDN: Special Ambassador Wu, the information office of the state council published the “China’s Peaceful Development” white paper on September 6, please explain the main content of the white paper to our netizen friends.

公共外交网:吴特使,国务院新闻办公室于9月6日发表了《中国的和平发展》白皮书,现在请您向网友们介绍一下白皮书的主要内容。

WSK: The white paper on “China’s Peaceful Development” has received broad attention at home and abroad. It is the declaration of China’s peaceful development, a roadmap, with absolutely important significance. It provides, for the first time, a comprehensive and systematic explanation of China’s path of peaceful development, the strategy and foreign policies of China’s peaceful development. It states Chinese path of peaceful development, the goals of peaceful development, and actively responds to the questions about how China wants to apply its strength and foreign relations and similar issues.

吴思科:国务院新闻办于9月6日发表了《中国的和平发展》白皮书,引起国内外广泛关注。白皮书是中国和平发展的宣言书、路线图,有着十分重要的意义。白皮书首次对中国和平发展道路、和平发展战略和对外大政方针做了全面系统的阐释,表明了中国的发展道路、发展目标,并积极回应力国际社会关切的中国如何运用实力以及与外部世界的关系等问题。

The white paper explains China’s development path, and strategic direction still more comprehensively, systematically and clearly to the world. Peaceful development has become China’s national will. The white paper officially defines the conceptof “core interests“, it points out that China will resolutely protect its core national interests, including the country’s sovereignty, security, territorial integrity, national unity, China’s political system and general social stability as established by the constitution, the basic guarantees for sustained economic and social development.

白皮书向世界更加全面、系统、清晰地阐明中国的发展道路和战略走向。和平发展已经上升为中国的国家意志,白皮书正式界定了“核心利益”的概念,指出中国坚决维护国家核心利益,包括:国家主权,国家安全,领土完整,国家统一,中国宪法确立的国家政治制度和社会大局稳定,经济社会可持续发展的基本保障。

The white paper explains how the big country with its 1.3 billion people develops on the path of socialism, sums up its content and its characteristics, especially emphasizes that peaceful development is socialism with Chinese characteristics’ essential content, raises peaceful development to the rank of national will, turns it into the overall national development plan and fundamental policy, and implements domestic and external practice.

白皮书,阐述了这个有13亿人口的走社会主义道路的大国如何发展,这次把内涵及其特点进行归纳,特别是强调和平发展是中国特色社会主义道路的本质内容,把和平发展上升到国家意志,转化为国家的整体发展规划和大政方针,并且落实到对内和对外的广泛实践中。

China is a responsible big country, the white paper uses the “promote and build a harmonious world, maintain the standing-of-one’s-own-and-peace foreign polciies, advocates the new security concept of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality [of states, apparently] and cooperation, an international concept of active international responsibility, pursuing good-neighborly regional cooperation concepts”, thus summarizing China’s peaceful-development foreign policy.  Among these, Active international responsibility has appeared in a public official document for the first time. Cooperation on environmental issues is discussed as an organic part of a harmonious world.

中国是负责任的大国,白皮书用“推动建设和谐世界,坚持独立自主和平外交政策,倡导互信、互利、平等、协作的新安全观,秉持积极有为的国际责任观,奉行睦邻友好的地区合作观”概括了中国和平发展的外交政策。其中,积极有为的国际责任观是首次出现在政府公开文件中;把环保合作作为和谐世界的有机组成部分进行论述。

Peaceful development is the national will. Therefore, as Chinese citizens, we need the concept of peaceful development to be reflected in our practical work. Also, we need to let the world understand the firm idea of China’s peaceful development.

和平发展是国家意志。因此,作为中国公民需要把和平发展的理念体现在我们的现实工作当中。另外,我们还需要让世界了解中国和平发展的坚定理念。

After studying the white paper, I felt that there needs to be a deepened understanding from two aspects:

研读了白皮书以后,我感觉要从两个方面加深认识:

One is that peaceful development is the call of our times. We can see from the world’s historical development that [a country's?] strength leads to hegemony [or tyranny], and when a great power rose, it always replaced another great power by force, making both of them suffer. History has developed to a new era, and this road should be taken. In these times of globalization and rapid technological development, we should build a harmonious world with the methods of win-win. This is the requirement of global development and a certainty of historical development.

一是和平发展是当今时代的呼唤。从世界历史的发展过程中来看,国强必霸,历史上大国崛起,都是通过武力取代另一个大国,最后总是两败俱伤。历史发展到一个新的时期,这条路不应该走下去了。在当今经济全球化和科技高速发展的时代,应该通过合作实现共赢的方式共建一个和谐世界,这是世界发展的需要,也是历史发展的必然。

The second [aspect] is the fulffillment of “peace” as China’s concept with its great and far-reaching significance, as seen from China’s traditional culture. From ancient times, China’s philosophy has been about the “unity of nature and humanity”, that national characteristics [or identity] “values peace”, that there is diversity in harmony, about exploring inclusiveness, about open-mindedness, good-neighborliness and friendliness – this is the guiding spirit of China’s exchange with the outside world.

二是践行“和”之中国理念意义重大而深远。从中国的传统文化来讲。中国自古以来的哲学就是天人合一,民族特性都是“以和为贵”,和而不同,讲究包容性,有开放的心态,讲求睦邻友善,这是中国对外交流的指导精神。

[This para is an incomplete translation] The Silk Road which opened more than two-thousand years ago, has enriched our culture and development through trade and cultural interaction, agriculture and our species. It has made lives richer.

中国2000多年之前就有通向西域的丝绸之路,通过贸易和文化的互通有无带动中国的对外交流,也促进了我们中华文明的发展,农业发展上来说也丰富了我们的物种,使生活更加丰富。

More than six-hundred years ago, China’s famous navigator Zheng He took his seven voyages to the Western seas, to western Asia, eastern Africa, to thirty countries and regions. It was a big fleet, but they didn’t carry armed force. They carried concepts of friendship and peace. They promoted bilateral exchanges, and bequeathed us a much-told tale. Historically, China maintained an ideology that valued peace.

600多年前,中国著名航海家郑和七下西洋,到了西亚、非洲东部的30个国家和地区。船队阵容强大,但是他们没有带去武力,带去的是友谊、和平的理念,促进双方的交往,留下了历史的佳话。在历史上,中国就是坚持以和为贵的指导思想。

After the establishment of New China, we first issued the five principles of peaceful coexistence. This is both a fundamental policy in Chinese diplomacy and a manifestation of traditional Chinese civilization: mutual respect, no interference into each other’s internal affairs, etc.. After that, through our continuous development and changes, we have continuously enriched the five principles on their [own] foundation. In economic exchange, China maintains equality and mutual benefit and cooperational win-win. In terms of security concepts, mutual trust, hand-in-hand cooperation, it’s facing the traditional and non-traditional global security threats.  Another advocacy is a kind of green development concept, humankind’s common care for the earth, and environment protection.

新中国成立以后,我们最早提出和平共处五项基本原则。这既是中国外交的基本政策,也是中国传统文明的体现,互相尊重、互不干涉内政等。此后,随着我们不断的发展变化,在和平共处五项原则上不断地丰富其内容。在对外经济交往方面中国坚持的是平等互利、合作共赢的方针;在安全观方面,相互信任、携手合作、共同应对世界面临的传统和非传统的安全威胁。另外主张一种绿色发展观,人类共同呵护地球家园,共同保护环境。

PDN: This interview has attracted many netizens’ attention, many have asked questions, and in the following, we would like to ask special envoy Wu Sike for some answers.

公共外交网:本次访谈得到众多网友的关注,网友们提出了一些问题,下面就网友关心的话题请吴特使给予解答。

WSK: Fine.

吴思科:好的。

PDN: A netizen asks, which role is China playing in the Middle-East peace process?

公共外交网:有网友问,您认为中国在中东的和平进程问题中起到了怎样的作用?

WSK: The hot spot of the Middle East is a global concern. China’s regional peace and stability is also closely interrelated with global peace and stability. Therefore, China has always paid attention to the Mid-East situation, and has made unremitting efforts for Mid-Eastern peace.

吴思科:中东的热点问题是举世关注的,中国地区的和平稳定也是与世界的和平稳定密切相关,因此中国始终关注中东地区的形势,为推动中东和平进程作出不懈的努力。

PDN: What is the base line of “peaceful development”?

公共外交网:请问“和平发展”的底线是什么?

WSK: China’s peaceful development is our national policy. We will unservingly take the path of peaceful development, and also, the “white paper” has clearly defined China’s core national interests, which won’t waver in the least, either. Only when there is respect for the other side’s core interests, peace can be effectively protected, and sustainable development be put into place.

吴思科:中国的和平发展是我们的国策,我们会坚定不移地走和平发展之路,同时这个“白皮书”也明确界定了中国国家的核心利益,这也是不容丝毫动摇的,只有相互尊重对方的核心利益才能够有效维护和平,实现可持续发展。

[...]

PDN: What is your understanding of “hide your brightness, bide your time“?

公共外交网:您如何理解中国的“韬光养晦”?

WSK: To keep a low profile and to actively make a difference is an important principle of China’s diplomacy. To keep a low profile is no makeshift measure. China needs to achieve comprehensive rejuvenation, to make efforts for another long period, and in this process, we always need to be modest and prudent, learn others’ strengths, and while developing economically, we need to change the ways of development, achieve scientific development, and even if Chjna has developed strongly, we must maintain peaceful policies. That’s in the fundamental interest of the Chinese people, and in line with the interests of the peoples of the world.

吴 思科:坚持韬光养晦,积极有所作为,这是中国外交的一条重要原则,韬光养晦不是权宜之计,中国要实现全面复兴,还需要经历一个很长时间的努力,在这个过程 中我们始终需要谦虚谨慎,学习别人的长处,在经济发展的同时还需要转变发展方式,实现科学发展,即使中国发展强大了,也必须继续坚持和平的方针。这是中国 人民的根本利益所在,也符合世界人民的共同利益。

PDN: How does China pursue win-win in cooperation?

公共外交网:中国如何寻求合作共赢呢?

WSK: China has always adhered to the policy of cooperational win-win, and has explored this new method of cooperation. Cooperational win-win has created favorable conditions for our country’s economic development, and has also made a contribution to global economic development. As for myself, I have been involved in promoting Chinese cooperation with Arab and African countries, achieving cooperational win-win projects which are too many to enumerate. These projects have been mutually beneficial, this is cooperation needed by both sides, and they have ample prospects.

吴 思科:中国在对外合作方面一直遵循合作共赢的方针,并不断探索扩大这种合作的新的方式,这种合作共赢、共同发展的合作理念为我国的经济发展创造了有利的条 件,同时也为世界经济的发展做出了贡献。我本人就曾经参与推动中国和阿拉伯国家、非洲国家的合作,实现合作共赢的合作项目不胜枚举,这些项目都为双方带来 的共同利益,。这种合作是双方的共同需要,也有着广阔的前景。

PDN: What, in your view, are the main points about the China’s peaceful development “white paper”?

公共外交网:您认为本次发表的《中国的和平发展》白皮书中,最大的亮点是什么?

WSK: I think they are the clear definition of China’s core interests, at the same time explaining the six big characteristics of China’s peaceful development, which are scientific development, development standing on one’s own, opening up development, peaceful development, cooperation development, and common development. You could say that this is a high degree of summarization with strong guiding significance for what fits our national situation in the sixty years since the establishment of New China, and especially for the more than thirty years of reform and opening up.

吴 思科:我认为最大的亮点是明确界定了中国的核心利益;同时阐述了中国和平发展的六大特征,就是科学发展、自主发展、开放发展、和平发展、合作发展、共同发 展。可以说这是对新中国成立60年特别是改革开放30多年来我国探索适合自己国情发展道路实践的高度总结,有很强的指导意义。

PDN: As the Middle-East envoy, how do you see the current situation in the Middle East?

公共外交网:您作为中国中东问题特使,如何看当下的中东局势?

WSK: The Middle East is experiencing the biggest upheaval and change since more than half a century, with far-reaching effects to the region. In a situation of international change, big developments, and major adjustments, people there are seeking change, seeking development, improvement for the peoples’ livelihoods, and these are absolutely reasonable demands. We hope that some countries in the region can achieve peaceful change, find their own ways of development that fit into the new situation, soon achieve stability, with the fulfillment of the peoples’ demands. We also hope that in the Mideast hotspots, issues can be solved through negotiations, and peacefully, which is in the interest of all countries and peoples in the region, and also beneficial for global causes of peace and stability and development.

吴 思科:当前中东正经历近半个世纪以来最大的政治动荡和变革,对该地区正在产生深远的影响。在国际形势大变化、大发展,国际格局大调整的情况下,该地区的人 民求变革、求发展、求改善民生,这是完全合理的诉求。我们希望该地区的一些国家能够实现和平的变革,找到新形势下适合各自发展的方式,早日实现稳定,使人 民的诉求能够得以实现。同时也希望中东地区的热点问题能够通过谈判的方式实现和平解决,这既是该地区各个国家和人民的利益所在,也有利于世界的和平稳定和 发展事业。

[The following two questions and answers discuss the way China is seen from outside, the "China threat talk" (所谓中国威胁论), "cold war mentality", hopes and fears about China's development, etc, and China's role in peacekeeping missions.]

Monday, September 9, 2013

Why America needs to act on Syria

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Related

» Grand old Duke, Max Hastings / Daily Mail, Aug 29, 2013

Friday, August 16, 2013

Song Luzheng on Democracy: “Idle Masses indulging in a Life of Pleasure and Comfort”

Song Luzheng (宋鲁郑) is a journalist and (semi-)official living in France. The following are excerpts from an article published by Guanchazhe, a Shanghai-based website, on Thursday, and republished by the nationalist Huanqiu Shibao (online), also on Thursday. The article also appears on his regular blog.

Quotes made by Song Luzheng within the excerpts and translations underneath are my translations from Chinese to English. The wordings of the actual English-language originals (including book titles) by Niall Ferguson and Thomas Friedman may be different.

Main Link: The Tragedy of the Egyptian Raids confirm, once again, the Predicament of Democracy (埃及清场悲剧再次验证民主困境)

The bloody way in which the Egyptian military cracked down on the Morsi supporters has shocked the world. One after another, European countries condemned the “big terrorist massacre”, but Kerry, the secretary of state in charge of America’s diplomacy, of the world’s most developed democracy, with a surprising smile on his face on a press conference, didn’t condemn the military massacre in the least, and only uttered  that this was “deplorable”, that “violence was no solution and only brought about more instability and economic disaster” (but who used violence? The protesters?). Also, the only “sanction” the Obama administration imposes is “the military exercises with Egypt may be cancelled”. This is completely different from condemning the situation in Syria and taking action. Apparently, public intellectuals under American influence, abroad and at home, are in a hurry to stand on the side of the military which massacres peaceful Egyptian citizens.

埃及军方如此残酷的血腥镇压穆尔西的支持者, 举世震惊。欧洲各国纷纷表态谴责这起“恐怖大屠杀”,而世界上最发达的民主国家美国,其主管外交的国务卿克里竟然笑容满面地出席记者会,对埃及军方主导的 大屠杀毫无谴责,仅仅说了一句“悲惨的”,并不痛不痒地说“暴力不是解决方案,通向暴力的道路只能带来更大的不稳定、经济灾难”(但谁在使用暴力?抗议者 吗?)。与此同时,奥巴马政府的官员提出的唯一“制裁”措施竟然是:“可能取消与埃及的军事演习”。这和美国谴责叙利亚的态度和采取的行动完全不同。看 来,受美国影响,海内外的不少公知们很快也要站在屠杀埃及平民的军方一边了。

Most of today’s developed countries, with the exception of Britain, went through times of destruction, writes Song, and adds:

In fact, China went through a similar experience, only at a higher cost. This was the Republic of China, founded in 1912. Simply-put, the Republic of China didn’t bring China independence, nor did it bring China unity, let alone an era of strength, prosperity and dignity. In its short 37 years, the economy went into bancruptcy, there was warlordism, large-scale civil war, invasions by foreign enemies, territorial disintegration, corruption from the top to the bottom etc., and until it [the ROC] withdraw from the stage of history, China had almost reached the status of a savage nation. Life expectancy was at 35 years, illiteracy up to 80 percent. The only time in several thousands of years that China fell behind India was at that time. Not even the Cultural Revolution managed to do that. China at the end of the Qing dynasty faced three challenges: extreme poverty and weakness and encirclement by big powers, national disintegration, and military split by warlordism, and the Republic of China not only failed to provide solutions, but worsened even further. If one says that the Qing dynasty was a big collapsing building, the Republic of China not only failed to work on the Qing dynasty’s foundations, but even lost that foundation. It was at that time that Outer Mongolia was lost without a war, as the first territory in China’s history.

其实中国自己也曾有过类似的经历,只是代价更为不菲。这就是 1912年建立的中华民国。简言之中华民国是一个既没有带给中国独立、也没有带来统一,更没有带来富强与尊严的时代。在其短短的三十七年间,经济陷入破 产,军阀混战,大规模的内战,外敌入侵,国土分裂,从上到下的完全腐败,等到它退出历史舞台的时候,中国已几乎到了“蛮荒亡国”的地步:人均寿命不足35 岁,文盲高达80%。中国几千年唯一一次落后于印度就在此时,甚至文革都未能做到一点。清末中国面临的三大挑战:极端的贫困和积弱不振、列强环伺的生存危 机、国家的分裂和军队的军阀化,中华民国不但一个都没有解决,反而更加恶化。如果说清朝是倒塌的大厦,中华民国则不但连清理地基的工作都未能做到,而且把 地基都丢掉了。外蒙古也就是这个时期,成为中国历史上首个不是因为战败而丧失的领土。

Although a high price for democratic transition was a historical law [anyway], there were still more special factors at work in Egypt, according to Song: it was particularly poor, it was under the impact of the global economic crisis and of revolution at home, an unemployment rate of 31 percent (only nine percent before the revolution), and adding to that, illiteracy was at 27 percent, with female illiteracy at 69 percent.  A well-performing democracy needed an economic base and universal education. Lacking secularism in the Islamic world is also cited as a factor.

Also, some Muslim societies have long lacked a spirit of compromise and tolerance. This national character displays itself in a firm position and no concessions. This led to a situation where, when a ruler [Muarak] made concessions, prepared to move toward democracy, the country missed out on this top-down transition model which would have come at rather low costs, and even after a democratic success, and used extreme methods to solve conflicts. This happened both in Tunisia and in Egypt. When Muarak announced that he wouldn’t stay in office for another term and that his sons wouldn’t participate in elections, and that after his current term, there would be comprehensive, free and fair elections, the masses rejected this. As a result, power was transferred to the military, thus extending the transition period.  And after one year of rule by Morsi, the first president elected by the people was pushed off the stage by another street revolution, causing nation-wide confrontation and resulting in an unprecedented bloody tragedy. This kind of lack of compromise has already strangled Egypt’s democracy in its cradle. History shows again and again that what is born in a pool of blood is only violent, not democratic.

再者,有些穆斯林社会长期缺乏妥协和宽容精神,这种国民性在革命时可以表现 为立场坚决,绝不退步。却也造成当执政者做出让步,准备走向民主时,国家错过从上而下的、代价较低的转型模式,甚至在民主成功之后,采用极端手段来解决冲 突。这一幕在突尼斯和埃及都反复上演。当穆巴拉克宣布不再连任、自己的儿子也不参选、任期届满之后即进行全面、自由、公正的选举时,却被民众拒绝了。结果 权力被交给军方,大大延长了过渡期。随后又在穆尔西执政一年后,再次以街头革命的方式,将首位民选总统赶下台,造成全国性的对抗,终至演变成空前的血腥悲 剧。实际上,这种不妥协,已经把埃及的民主扼杀在摇篮中。历史已经一而再地证明,在血泊中诞生的只有暴力,而不是民主。

Revolutions like these were most likely to happen in demographically young countries, Song continues. Japanese media had pointed out that therefore, a revolution was unlikely to happen in a country like China, which was older on average, and with only one child per family.

The West itself was equally in trouble, writes Song, enumerating the share of respective national debt as a share of GDP. All of those shares were above the internationally accepted warning line of 60 percent.

The trouble was that democratic systems were based on the expectation that the people were perfect, and wouldn’t allow abuse. Unreasonable public expectations made politicians accept even unreasonable demands:

By using the ballot box in this Western system, people can force politicians to accept unreasonable and even perfectly unreasonable demands. Today’s Western debts come from deficit spending [今天西方国家普遍出现的债台高筑寅吃卯粮], high levels of welfare are hard to sustain and impossible to reform, the masses idly indulge in a life of pleasure and comfort, and falling competitiveness and falling economic growth have their sources here.

西方危机的深层根源就在于它实行的一人一票的民主制度。当今民主制度有一个理论假想:政府是应有 之恶,要进行限权,但对人民却又认为是道德完美、能够做到绝对正确。事实上,人民的全体和个体的人民一样,都有先天性的人性缺憾,比如好逸恶劳贪得无厌、 目光短浅急功近利等等。而任何权力包括民权没有限制都会被滥用。于是在西方这种制度模式下,民众可以通过选票迫使政治人物接受并非理性、甚至完全不合理的 诉求。今天西方国家普遍出现的债台高筑寅吃卯粮、高福利难以为继却无法改革、民众日益懒惰贪图享乐、竞争力下降经济增长乏力的根源就在于此。

When it is said that traditionally socialist countries with absolute public ownership of means of production (and economic equality) has proven a failed utopia, the failure of Western democratic societies as another big Utopia with absolute equality (one man, one vote) is now also being proven.

如果说过去传统社会主义国家生产资料的绝对公有制(即经济上均贫富)是人类已经证明失败的乌托邦,那么西方民主社会另一大乌托邦即政治权力的绝对平等(一人一票)的失败也正在被历史所验证。

Song mentions the role of Wall Street’s five largest investment banks in the 2008 U.S. elections:

While collusion between officialdom and business in China still requires secrecy, it happens in broad daylight in the West.

由于西方的民主制度法必须通过选举,而选举成本堪称天文数字,这又给了资本介入的契机。我们知道2008年华尔街五大投行全军覆灭,但高盛集团的政治献金仍然高达数亿美元(如果说中国官商勾结还需要遮遮掩掩,在西方则是光天化日)。

Apparently based on the bestseller “This Town”, Song details his statement about democracy.

This book’s grim conclusion is this: transactions between power and money has become a thorough procedure. America has become exactly the way of the Roman empire in its late stage, before its collapse: Systematic political corruption, evil action as the usual practice, and legal offense in vogue.

这本书得出的冷酷结论是:权钱交易已经彻底地程序化。美国正如罗马帝国崩溃前的末期:制度化的政治腐败,作恶成了惯例,违法成了时髦。

[...]

In the face of the crisis of Western democracy, more and more scholars are waking up. Niall Ferguson, one of the West’s most renowned and influential historians, called “one of the world’s 100 most influential people” by “Time”, wrote -  after writing “Money and Power” and “Civilizaton” – about “The Western Civilization’s four Black Boxes”. In this book he argues that questions about the decline of the West lies in the degeneration of the institutions. Representational government, free markets, the rule of law, and civil society were once western Europe’s and North America’s four pillars, but are now in decay. The root lies in the irresponsibility to which the voting people have turned, living at the costs of future generations.

面对西方民主的危机,越来越多的学者开始醒悟。当代西方声誉最高、影 响力最大的历史学者,被《时代》周刊称为“影响世界的100人”之一的尼尔·弗格森,在《金钱与权力》、《文明》后,又推出一本新作:《西方文明的4个黑 盒子》,在这本书中,他认为西方衰落的答案就在西方的建制正在退化。代议政体、自由市场、法治、公民社会,曾是西欧、北美社会的四大支柱,但在今天这些建 制已败坏变质。根源则在于作为选民的人民变得不负责任,使一代选民得以在牺牲未来数代人利益下过日子。

This is also why the “New York Times’” columnist Thomas Friedman, in his new book “[The World is] Hot, Flat, and Crowded”, goes as far as titling one chapter “If America could be China for one Day”. He gives an example: “If need be, China’s leaders can change the regulatory system, the standards, infrastructure to safeguard the country’s long-term strategic benefit. If such issues get discussed and implemented in Western countries, I’m afraid it takes years or even decades.” [...]

这也是为什么《纽约时报》专栏作家托马斯·费里德曼新书《世界又热又平又挤》有一章的标题竟然是这样的: 假如美国能做一天中国。他举例道:“如果需要的话,中国领导人可以改变规章制度、标准、基础设施,以维护国家长期战略发展的利益。这些议题若换在西方国家 讨论和执行,恐怕要花几年甚至几十年的时间。” [.....]

This is where Song Luzheng gets back to Egypt, as a painfull lesson for Egypt itself, but a fortune for China (埃及的惨痛教训,对于中国实是极为宝贵的财富).

There are the three major human civilizations: Christian civilization, Islamic civilization, and Confucian cvilization. Only the Western democratic system can keep pace with China’s political civilization. But this kind of Western system has developed to today’s dysfunctionality, increasingly unable to adapt to the challenges of globalization. Apparently, Chinese civilization cannot be refused to play an important role among the world’s civilizations!

目前人类三大主要文明:基督教文明、伊斯兰教文明和儒家文明,真正能和中国政治文明并驾齐驱的只有西方的民主制度。但西方这种制度发展到今天已弊病丛生,日益无法适应全球化的挑战。看来,中华文明将不得不再一次在世界文明中扮演极为重要角色!

We can say that the decline of Western democracy and China’s institutional civilization full of vitality are humankind’s greatest and most influential change. In the old days, China’s  huge contributions to humankind weren’t only reflected in economics, but more importantly in its institutional civilization. These days, as China is becoming strong and prosperous again, it will also, once again, carve out another height of institutional civilization for humankind.

我们可以说,西方民主的衰落与中国制度文明充满生命力的崛起将是二十一世纪人类最伟大、影响最为深远的变革。昔日中国对人类的巨大贡献并不仅仅表现在经济的富庶,更重要的是制度文明。今天的中国,在重新走向富强的同时,也将再一次为人类开拓出更高的制度文明。

____________

Related

» Those Southern Newspaper’s Commentators, Jan 28, 2013
» Refuting Western Rhetoric, china.org.cn, Nov 18, 2012
» JR turns to Science, Dec 17, 2011
» Make America collapse, Feb 14, 2010

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Shortwave Log, Northern Germany, July 2013

1. Radio Habana Cuba (RHC)

If there is an element of soft-power methodology in Cuba’s foreign radio programs – winning friends and influencing people -, it’s probably the music they play.  Some other of the station’s regular topics may come across as rather old-fashioned to listeners, especially – depending on your perception – the World of Stamps and Arnie Córo‘s DXers Unlimited programs.

Radio Habana Cuba (RHC) covered the trails of the Pastors for Peace this month, on their annual trip to revolutionary sites in the free territory in the Americas. Also in the news: lots about Edward Snowden or related events, and Swedish member of parliament Torbjörn Björlund has a short interview with the station as he visits Cuba for the first time.

RHC used to broadcast to Europe, too, partly or completely through relay stations in the USSR, but the main target areas are now the Americas and Africa. The main target area for RHC’s English-language broadcast is North America, and one of the program’s frequencies, 6000 kHz, can usually be received clearly in Europe, too.

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Picadura Valleys Cattle Breeding Project, Radio Habana Cuba QSL, 1988

Picadura Valleys Cattle Breeding Project, Radio Habana Cuba QSL, 1988. The project’s prominent role in the QSL series is no concidence: the project is or was run by Ramón Castro Ruz, » the older brother of the two political leaders. Asked by an American journalist in the late 1970s » what he thought about Cuban-U.S. relations, Castro parried the questions “with a shrug and grin: ‘That’s all politics – I leave that to Fidel. All I know about are cows.’”

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2. Voice of Turkey

TRT Ankara, also known as the “Voice of Turkey”, retains a bastion of Kemalism. Every once in a while when listening, you will stumble across readings from the founder of the Republic’s diary or memories, or contemporaries’ memories about him (I have never given the topic a close listen yet). No Koran recitals in the English, French, German or Spanish programs, as far as I can tell, but both the Arab and the Chinese services carry such programs at the beginning of every broadcast, at least currently. In the Chinese case, the recitals may be meant to benefit Uighur listeners, and other Muslim minorities in China. A listeners’ letter with a number of signatories asked TRT for a Koran copy for each of them in January this year and were told that unfortunately, there are no Korans among our gifts, but you can download them from the internet. There are also Chinese ones.

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3. Recent Logs

International Telecommunication Union letter codes used in the table underneath:
AFS – South Africa; ARS – Saudi Arabia; CUB – Cuba; EGY – Egypt; INS – Indonesia; KRE – North Korea; MRC – Morocco; OMA – Oman; RUS – Russia; THA – Thailand; TUR – Turkey.

Languages (“L.”):
A – Arabic; C – Chinese; E – English; F – French; G – German; S – Spanish.

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kHz

Station

Ctry

L.

Day

Time
GMT

S I O
  6000 RHC
Habana
Cuba
 CUB  E July
6
 04:00 3 5 3
13760 Vo Korea  KRE E July
7
 13:00 3 5 3
15140 Radio
Oman
 OMA E July
7
 14:00 4 5 4
17660 Radio
Riyadh
 ARS F July
8
 14:53 5 5 5
12050 Radio 1)
Cairo
 EGY G July
8
 19:00 4 5 1
15290 Radio 1)
Cairo
 EGY E July
8
 19:00 3 3 1
17660 Radio
Riyadh
 ARS F July
14
 14:00 4 5 4
 5980 Channel
Africa
 AFS E July
15
 03:00 4 5 3
 6000 RHC
Habana
Cuba
 CUB E July
15
 04:00 3 4 3
15240 TRT 2)
Ankara
 TUR C July
16
 11:00 4 4 4
15670 Vo
Russia
 RUS E July
16
 13:00 4 5 3
12050 Radio 1)
Cairo
 EGY G July
16
 19:00 4 5 2
15290 Radio 1)
Cairo
 EGY E July
16
 19:00 3 4 2
 6000 RHC
Habana
Cuba
 CUB E July
17
 03:50 4 5 4
9525.7 RRI
Indonesia
 INS G July
20
 18:07 4 4 4
 6000 RHC
Habana
Cuba
 CUB E July
21
 01:00 3 5 3
 9770 TRT
Ankara
 TUR S July
22
 01:00 4 5 4
 9665 Vo
Russia
 RUS E July
22
 02:00 4 5 4
 9580 Radio
Médi
 MRC A/
F
July
22
 08:48 5 5 5
 9390 Radio
Thailand
 THA E July
22
 19:00 4 5 4
11750 TRT
Ankara
 TUR  A July
24
 11:00 4 5 4
13760 TRT
Ankara
 TUR  G July
24
 11:30 4 5 4

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Notes

1) The usual modulation disaster.
2) Soundtrack here, online for ten days (minimum). Download enabled.

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Related

» Previous Log, June 28, 2013

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Friday, April 26, 2013

Herrschaftswissen: Free or not, but “Engineered”

Wikileaks may have been useful in making some of the (Western or Arab) governments’ inside workings a bit more transparent – but it seems to me that what has been published by them doesn’t outweigh what is published by government themselves, or by their advisers, or by the mainstream press. We could have every government archive at our disposal, and would still face the problem of finding out what matters, and the problems of interpretation.

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

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

In this post, I will try to describe two examples of Herrschaftswissen, and one (rather old) example of methodology. A talk (not an article) on Wikipedia about enlightenment in Western secular tradition translates Herrschaftswissen as knowledge restricted to the rulers. I’m not sure if this should count as an exact translation, or just as a rough one.

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Example 1: David Cameron’s “Muscular Liberalism”

In February 2011, British prime minister David Cameron addressed the Munich Security Conference, an annual conference on international security policy held in Bavaria’s capital. It is an example of how politics and mainstream media work hand in hand – it was founded by a publisher in 1962, and that publisher was succeeded by a former high-ranking government bureaucrat in 1998.

In his speech, Cameron focused on radicalization among Muslims in many European countries. There isn’t much in the speech itself that I would object to, but what I view critically is the context of the speech.

While Cameron was focused on radical Islamists in Europe, the “Arab Spring” was in full swing. Cameron gave his talk on the eve of the outbreak of the Syrian civil war – a war described by the BBC‘s Jim Muir as a proxy struggle between the US-led western world and al-Qaeda international.

The West’s undertaking could also be described as a struggle to discern moderate and radically Islamist forces among the opposition fordes in Syria – a struggle European governments are facing at home, too. But that’s a problem the West could have spared itself. If Western governments (and their Arab and Turkish allies) succeeded in toppling Syria’s Baath regime and install a “moderate” new regime, chances are that the new regimes human rights record would be no better than that of the Baath party. Governments who encourage and support radicalism in mainly Muslim countries are hardly qualified to encourage moderation among Muslims in their own countries.

A few days ago, the European Union’s Counter-terrorism Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove told told the BBC that among the estimated 500 European citizens who were currently fighting in Syria, but most likely many of them will be radicalised there, will be trained.

When you want to undermine Islamist radicalization at home, the West’s strategy on Syria doesn’t look too reasonable. Those who Cameron purportedly wants to win over know very well how ambivalent muscular liberalism is about terrorism, when it is about practise, rather than about talk.

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Example 2. Trust in the CCP’s Central Committee

“Unity” is one of the supreme banners of the Chinese Communist Party. The downfall of Chongqing’s party chief Bo Xilai, only eight months ahead of the 18th National Congress of the CCP, came at a sensitive time. But if the power struggle about Bo Xilai was unpleasant or embarrassing already, the “visit” (or rather the tempoary getaway) of Chongqing’s Public Security Bureau head to the U.S. consulate in Chengdu in February 2012 should count as a PR disaster for the CCP.

The Chinese press had to pick up the pieces in the guidance of public opinion. Huanqiu Shibao, a CCP-owned but rather popularar Chinese paper, applied a mix of natural science (China’s rapid development is like a living body’s development, and there may always be some particulars we haven’t been familiar with) and orthodoxy (In China’s society of numerous and complicated voices, trust in the party’s central committee has become reason for society in its entirety). There was, Huanqiu elaborated, no contradiction between emancipation of mind and trust in the party’s central committee:

It is exactly for the diversity, for having several options, that we truly discover that trusting the party’s central committee, implementing the party’s road map, is more reliable than any other method other people may teach us, and more able to create the conditions that make the country and the individual develop.

This sounds like muscular socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Both Cameron and Chinese propaganda emphasize unity when it comes to fundamentals. The fundamentals are very different from each other, but the tools they are using to justify and legitimize their dominance are quite similar. However, Camaron’s game is easier to play than the CCP’s. When Chinese media openly bash dissidents, they risk getting unusually unharmonious responses from their recipients. When Cameron addresses radical Islamism, he will get his share of criticism, too, but that is nothing uncharacteristic in the British media.

And despite some inevitable criticism, when a European leader singles out radicalization among Muslims, chances are that the mainstream will respond rather favorably.

The problem for European politicians is that the political class is lacking the high degree of legitimacy – in view of the public – that it (reportedly) used to have. Or, as the Economist‘s Bagehot observed, the pomp of Margaret Thatcher‘s funeral met with shallow public interest. Even Mrs Thatcher’s enemies trusted that her motives were sincere, argues the Economist, but now all politicians are distrusted.

Not just among radical or not so radical Muslims. But if you pick a frequently disliked minority as Cameron does, you may still strike a chord with an increasingly resentful majority.

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3. Engineering of Consent

In 1955, an American public-relations counsel, Edward L. Bernays, wrote an article, summarizing what he referred to as the engineering of consent. Bernays didn’t necessarily invent it, but at the time when he wrote about it, he had probably been among the most successful thinkers about and propagandists and practitioners of the concept for decades. The engineering of consent should under no circumstances [...] supersede or displace the functions of the educational system, either formal or informal, Bernays wrote, in bringing about understanding by the people as a basis for their action. Rather, engineering of consent supplemented the educational process.

But in the previous paragraphs, Bernays had also written that

[..] it is sometimes impossible to reach joint decisions based on an understanding of facts by all the people. The average American adult has only six years of schooling behind him. With pressing crises and decisions to be faced, a leader frequently cannot wait for the people to arrive at an even general understanding. In certain cases, democratic leaders must play their part in leading the public through the engineering of consent to socially constructive goals and values. This role imposes upon them the obligation to use the educational processes, as well as other available techniques, to bring about as complete an understanding as possible.

Bernay’s essay leaves it essentially to the adopters how to make use of the toolkit he provided. Given that the tools are highly effective, it is obvious that they aren’t only used when the gap between public understanding and necessity (problem-solving) can’t be bridged in time, but whenever opportunists finds the engineering useful. Or, to put it more catchy: the dumber a policy, the dumber the public needs to be, and all the more, engineering of consent needs to supersede education.

Both democratically-elected and totalitarian politicians appear to be keen adopters, and it would be for the public itself to become more informed, to judge if the actons of politicians are in the public interest, or if they are not.

But the opposite is the case. While many European middlebrows regard the political class and their techniques as ethically rotten or even detest them for the manipulation, they are themselves adopters of spin-doctoring, too. Many blogs,  comments and other expressions of (political) opinion seem to apply the means and methods used by the political class to make their case. There seems to be an ambivalence among the ruled about the desire to belong to the political class, and to refute it.

Not to mention Wikileaks. Wikileaks doesn’t “educate”, either.

In that regard, the average Chinese netizen appears to be more aware of the manipulation he or she is subjected too, than the Western subject to the same PR technology – Chinese awareness states itself in terms like “we’ve been harmonized” [by Chinese authorities or media]. Or, when Huanqiu Shibao wrote in 2012 that opinion poll results published by American Gallup  showed that during the preceding three years, among the five BRIC states’ population, the Brazilians and Chinese had been most satisfied with their living standards, and only the Chinese felt during three successive years that the living standard had continuously improved, a commenter laconically replied that he had been satisfied (in a passive-voice sense) by the Americans. In certain ways, the experience of living under a totalitarian government seems to stimulate clear-sightedness.

Bernays reportedly liked to close his speeches and talks with an invariable summary: And everybody is happy.

There may not be a great future for public happiness. But quite probably, there is one for the engineering of consent.

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Related

» Battle of Opinion, Feb 13, 2013

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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Obituary: Chris Kyle, 1974 – 2013

Chris Kyle was born in Odessa, Texas. His father, originally from Kansas, was a Sunday school teacher. Kyle studied ranch management in the 1990s and joined the US Marine Corps aged 24, after recovering from a rodeo accident.

As a sniper with SEAL Team 3, he earned himself the name of the Devil of Ramadi among the insurgents. He left the US Navy in 2009.

As of January 2012, he was believed to have been the most lethal soldier in American military history. 150 deaths resulting from his career were officially confirmed (or 160, according to the Beijing Morning Post), but Kyle himself believed that the actual number was more than 250, according to Outlook, a BBC documentary series first aired on January 5, 2012. He was mostly known for his role in Iraq during the Second Gulf War, and particularly for his role in the battles of Falluja, Ramadi and Sadr City. Insurgents put a bounty of 80,000-dollar bounty on his head, according to the BBC.

Kyle left for Iraq for the first time one week after the birth of his first child, a son. His wife “put on a strong face” and “made sure that I felt good”, he told the BBC in the Outlook documentary. But after the birth of their second child, a daughter, who was close to death for some time after birth, she told him that he had to make a choice between his family and his job. Divorce rate among SEALs was at 95 percent, according to Kyle, and he chose to save his marriage. Asked if he had regrets about any of the people he had killed, he said that about every person killed “I strongly believe they were bad and when I do go face God, there is going to be lots of things I have to account for, but killing anyone of those people is not one of them”.

After ending his military career, Kyle set up a company that trained troops, police, companies and individuals in the use of firearms. According to the Beijing Morning Post, he opposed tighter gun control legislation.

Chris Kyle and his neighbor Chad Littlefield were fatally shot on a shooting range near Glen Rose in Texas, on Saturday. Reportedly, the perpetrator was a veteran who was struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. Kyle and Littlefield are said to have been trying to help him cope with the disorder.

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Related

» Mind of a Sniper, BBC, January 25, 2012
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Main Category: Obituary

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Sunday, November 4, 2012

BBC: Taking Back their Gift to the World

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For many millions of people around the world the World Service is the voice of Britain overseas. The former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan described the World Service as quite possibly “Britain’s greatest gift to the World in the 20th Century”, and I see as Foreign Secretary the immense contribution it makes to how Britain is perceived internationally.  For 166 million listeners and viewers each week across the globe the World Service is a source of reliable and impartial information that transcends borders, regions and cultures.
[...]
one of our country’s most important sources of soft power, with an unparalleled ability to reach out across the globe.

William Hague, British Foreign Secretary, celebrating the BBC World Service‘s 80th birthday early this year.

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BBC External Services

Goodbye, External Services, …

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By making these changes, we are achieving the savings required whilst crucially, ensuring our audiences continue to receive the best programming.

Peter Horrocks, BBC Global News director, quoted by the BBC in October this year.

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The English short wave service will continue to all regions, but will be reduced from between seven and 19 hours per day, depending on region, to six hours per day across all regions.
[Arab and Middle-East English service cuts]
We estimate that the changes being announced today may result in a loss of up to 2.5 million listeners, an overall loss of 1% of the total Global News audience across all platforms. Any loss of audience is of course regrettable but we are not in a financial position to continue to distribute our services on all frequencies.

Peter Horrocks, in an e-mail to staff on October 25 this year.

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Related

» Stuff of the Past, April 2, 2011
» BBC drops Languages, Jan 28, 2011
» We all now speak English well enough, BBC, March 27, 1999
» Bruno Adler, Wikipedia, acc. 20121104

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