Posts tagged ‘award’

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Norway: “appeasing China seems to take precedence”

Norway’s prime minister and foreign minister are not going to meet the Dalai Lama when he visits next month, as part of an effort to ease tensions with the world’s second-largest economy, Bloomberg reported on April 23. Views and News from Norway wrote on April 9 that Parliamentary President and a long-time supporter of Tibet, Olemic Thommessen, said he would not be meeting with the exiled spiritual leader because it was more important to repair relations with China. Relations between Oslo and Beijing had been frigid ever since Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, reports the Norwegian English-language website. It was Norway’s – now ruling – Conservative Party, including now prime minister Erna Solberg, who spoke up for human rights issues and Tibet in 2008. The Dalai Lama himself is a Nobel  laureate and visits on the 25th anniversary of being awarded the peace prize.

According to the Views and News report,

Olav Gunnar Ballo, another former leader of the Tibet committee, said it’s a shame Norway’s leading politicians haven’t come out in support of the Dalai Lama, and it’s cowardly that appeasing China now seems to take precedence over human rights issues that were so actively brandished in the past.

According to the Voice of Tibet, a Norway-based broadcaster and website operator, demonstrators protested, on Wednesday, against high-ranking politicians’ decisions not to meet with the Dalai Lama. Among the demonstrators – about 400 according to News and Views -, were Liberal Party leader Trine Skei Grande, MP Rasmus Hansson of the Green Paerty, and rock musician Lars Lillo-Stenberg. Norway should not cave in to force and threats, one of the organizers reportedly told Norway’s public broadcaster NRK. According to Views and News, Liberal Party leader Grande said that

the Dalai Lama would not be received “in the basement” [...] but would be brought to parliament to meet “as many politicians as we can manage to scrape together. We will show that people are concerned about the cowardice shown.”

These are strong words of criticism – and as they come from Norwegians, these words are laudable. But before Europeans elsewhere join the condemnations easily, they should pause and think what they or their countries were doing while Norwegian business was kept in the cold by Beijing. In fact, Oslo resisted the pressures for a remarkably long time.

But it is also true that the Nobel Peace Prize committee in Oslo – independent from government in formal terms, but not when it comes to membership and influence – has made a joke of itself in recent years. Awarding Liu Xiaobo was a brave choice, but the award that had preceded it a year earlier – to Barack Obama -, and the one that followed in 2012,  to the European Union, were silly (to put it mildly).

Are the current (small-scale, but still bigger than elsewhere) protests only the last echoes from Norway’s better days? Or are they an indication that civil society is picking up important issues where the elites are failing? The Dalai Lama himself has turned more to people-to-people diplomacy in recent years, at least formally.

That’s where the future is.

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Related

» press conference, FMPRC (English), April 28, 2014
» press conference, FMPR (Chinese), April 28, 2014
» Dalai Lama in Oslo, schedule May 7-9
» Out of the Flames, Woeser/High Peaks, April 15, 2014

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Message to “People with Different Political Views”, part 2

Human Rights Watch (HRW) announced the Helman/Hammet awards for 2012 on Thursday. I wasn’t aware that this prize  existed, but learned about it from the Chinese press.

Some context: a People’s Daily editorial (on a different issue, the International Communications Union conference in Dubai) was published on a number of popular Chinese websites on Thursday, without direct mention of this specific award. Huanqiu Shibao, a nationalist newspaper (and nominally, not necessarily by content, a sister paper to the English-language “Global Times”) addresses the prize issue head-on, in a way that may be tailor-made for its (angry, by trend) readership.

Links within blockquotes added during translation.

On the American “Human Rights Watch” list of the 2012 Hellman/Hammett Award winners, 12 out of 41 are Chinese, and there are seven people from China’s Uighur, Mongolian, Tibetan etc. national minorities among them. Nearly all of them have been in prison or are currently in prison. When looking at the organization’s name, and looking at which people are the prize winners, and what this prize is used for, one can expect that the Chinese people can make their guess, too.

美国“人权观察”组织近日宣布2012年“赫尔曼·哈米特奖”获奖者名单,一共41人,竟有12名是中国人,并有7人是中国的维、蒙、藏等少数民族,他们几乎都坐过牢或目前正在狱中。看看发奖的组织名称,再看看获奖者都是哪些人,这个奖是用来干什么的,大概不说中国人也能猜个八九不离十。

During these two years, there have been more and more extreme Chinese dissidents who won “human rights prizes” in the West, and [those dissident's] reputation is going lower and lower. What once bewildered Chinese society has become routine. We all know that there are a few people in this country who oppose the political system and that the West supports them. This has become an established pattern in the game between China and the West.

这两年中国在西方获各种“人权奖”的极端异见人士越来越多,获奖者的名气则不断走低。中国社会如今早已见怪不怪,我们都知道这个国家有一些对抗政治制度的人,西方支持他们,这已经是中西之间博弈的定式之一。

With China’s great scale of development, interaction between Chinese and Western people has also reached an amazing dimension, and the share of these Sino-Western frictions within the interaction is shrinking, and so is the influence of extreme dissidents in China. Frequently, they don’t get as much attention as lawful [or rightful] criticism on the internet does.

由于中国发展的总量很大,中国同西方交往的主体内容也有了惊人规模,中西这种摩擦在双方关系中的占比相对萎缩,极端异见人士在中国的影响萎缩得更快。他们往往还不如互联网上的合法批判者更受关注。

In exact words, extreme dissidents in China have become completely marginalized, and the way the West continues to use them to provoke China is lacking innovation. In fact, the voice of the entire Western discourse has become ever smaller in China, as they are losing to the excitement of the Chinese microblogs.

确切说,极端异见人士在中国已完全边缘化了,西方继续利用他们刺激中国是缺少创新的表现。事实上整个西方舆论的声音也在中国越来越小,它们在输给中国微博上的热闹。

The highest individual amount of prize money of the Hermann Hammett Awards doesn’t reach 10,000 US dollars, and one of its purposes is said to be giving “politically prosecuted” people in different countries some “living allowance”. But maybe they don’t know that this bit of money is pitifully small, [unsafe translation: for lawful critics in China]. China has become “tall and hefty”, and that bit of money and the hopes from the West are just a drop in the bucket.

“赫尔曼·哈米特奖”的最高个人奖金额不到1万美元,它的宗旨之一据说是要给受到各国政府“迫害”的人一些“生活补贴”。但他们或许不知道,这点钱对今天中国的合法批判者们是小得可怜的数目。中国已是“大块头”,西方花的那点钱和他们的愿望相比实在是杯水车薪。

What China and the West are struggling about concerning human rights is not clear. The two sides don’t understand each others words at all. Which is alright. Inside China, you have as many human rights critics in China as you want already, and although they are at times extreme, they are also comparatively specific. Society can thoroughly make sense of their context. Human rights prizes awarded by the West often come with abrupt choices, choosing strange people, and we don’t need to spend too much thought on that.

中国同西方在人权问题上争不清楚,双方相互根本听不懂对方说的话。那就算了。中国国内的人权批评如今已经要多少有多少,它们虽有时偏激,但都比较具体,社会能搞明白来龙去脉。西方发人权奖往往找了突兀的缘由,选了奇怪的人,我们对此不必费太大心思琢磨。

Of course, Western criticism of China’s human rights isn’t completely meaningless. They did move things in Chinese society. Sometimes,confrontation is also a means of interaction. However, objectively speaking, much of Western criticism goes beyond China’s realities, thus causing suspicions among Chinese people about intentions behind Western methods. All this has seriously harmed strategic mutual trust between China and the West, and its negative impact on the 21rst century gretly exceeds its benefits.

西方批评中国人权当然不是毫无正面意义,它们毕竟对中国社会带来过触动。有时对抗也是相互影响的一种方式。然而客观地说,西方的很多批评都超越了中国现实,从而引发了中国人对西方这样做背后用心的高度怀疑。这一切严重破坏了中西之间的战略互信,它带给21世纪的负面损害远远高于正面收益。

Extreme dissidents played an offbeat role of their own in China’s reform and opening, but when their role will be assessed from the distant future, they will definitely not be seen as a mainstream force in advancing China’s progress. If the focus of these Western awards isn’t a prank, it must be caused by a failed analysis of China’s power.

极端异见人士在中国改革开放中扮演了很另类的角色,但即使很久以后回过头再做评价,他们也决不会被看成推动中国前进的主流力量。西方给这些人如此集中地发奖,如果不是西方的恶作剧,就是他们对中国的力量分析发生了本末倒置的偏差。

Pluralization in Chinese society has subtly built changes in the way the country progressed. When the government issued a call in the past, society responded in its multitude. Now it leads to a debate. It has become unlikely that the country makes another grave mistake [This and the previous line seem to allude to the excesses of Maoism], but at the same time, societal efficiency is also declining. China is in the process of finding a new point of balance in these changes. If extreme dissidents who break through the legal system of these social changes and explorations, they create destructive mishap, and will be investigated in accordance with the law.

中国社会的多元化造成了国家前进方式的微妙改变。过去政府发出号召,社会一呼百应。现在争论发生了。国家再犯重大错误的几率小了,但同时社会的运行效率也在降低。中国正在这些变化中寻找新的平衡点。极端异见人士突破了社会变化和探索的合法系统,他们制造出破坏性,对他们的依法追究决非这个时代的意外。

Western support for Chinese extreme dissidents seems to become ever closer, but times when this kind of thing found its way into the limelight are gone. They have become as tasteless as chicken ribs, but the West seems to be reluctant to throw them away. Nowadays, Western organizations doing these things look more like astute public-relations industries. Assuming an air of importance. To make themselves look good, they are seeking gimmicks close to China’s rise.

西方对中国极端异见人士的支持看似越来越密,但这种事最出风头的高潮实际已经过去,它对西方渐成食之无味、弃之可惜的鸡肋。如今做这些事的西方组织更像搞商业公关,它们装腔作势,傍着中国崛起找噱头炒作自己。那些所谓的“人权奖”都是绞尽脑汁吸引公众关注的游戏。

Much of the commenting underneath seems to be about unrelated everyday issues (Maybe there are relations which I can’t see, though). One of them which would seem to show some of the desired effects, and also one of the more extensive ones suggests that

Patriotic people don’t need to listen to American and other Western countries’ forces’ anti-China rumors, or be furious about them. Westerners people nowadays lose in the political and economic field and know perfectly well that their own institutions have problems, but won’t change, believing it’s the mother of all systems. Therefore, they will blame anyone except themselves, [...] this is the common fault of Western people, seeing in exasperation how China becomes stronger by the day, moving heaven and earth and racking their wits about how to obstruct China’s development, but to no avail. Instead, China develops even faster. Now they only have the human-rights and democracy card left [...]

爱国之人不要听美国等西方反华势力的谣言,而恼怒,西方人如今政治经济完全失败,明知自己的体制出现问题,可是就是不改,认为自己是体制的老大,而怨天尤人,[气人有笑人无,] 这是西方人的通病,看着中国日益强大而气急败坏,想方设法,绞尽脑汁的妨碍中国的发展,但是都无济于事,反倒使中国发展更快。现在就只有民主这张牌 [...]

It is also one of the comments – if not the comment – in the thread which got the most “support” votes – 267 by 11:00 UTC. The average “support” among the latest thirty-three comments got twenty “support votes” or less.

The People’s Daily editorial – published two days before Huanqiu Shibao’s, and in a different context (the International Telecommunications Union resolution) – could be summed down as follows:

  • Those who oppose censorship are a minority (if not outsiders, which is deemed an unfortunate position in a Chinese context)
  • America and other (barely mentioned) countries that didn’t agree to the International Telecommunications Union resolution are in a minority
  • A free internet is war on vulnerable nations
  • China is at the center of the family of nations
  • dissidents are isolated.

The message People’s Daily’s and Huanqiu Shibao’s editorials  have in common is that the country grows stronger, and that “Western” standards would be an exception, rather than the norm. In some ways, Huanqiu Shibao’s approach is more subtle than People’s Daily, though. Even “radical minorities” played a certain role, according to its description – and it suggests that there were “lawful” ways to bring about change.  When it comes to banging the drums of nationalism however, there is no room for subtlety in Huanqiu’s case. While People’s Daily merely uses ITU voting results to point out China’s strong position, Huanqiu counts the prize money from Human Rights Watch and provides an assessment (“pitiful”).

The biggest commonality between the two editorials seems to be the message to (“extreme”) dissidents: you are marginalized.

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Related

» Ambassadors Abroad, May 25, 2012
» A Trivial Matter for the Country, Jan 23, 2012
» Party Media Control Capability “Weakening”, Aug 12, 2011
» The “Internet Information Office”, May 6, 2011

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Friday, December 7, 2012

Nobel Lecture in Literature: Mo Yan

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Script in English »
Script in Chinese »

Friday, October 12, 2012

Mo Yan Speaks

There are people who are outspoken when they are young, and mute their voice as they are getting older. There are others who mute their voice when they are young, and become more outspoken as they are growing older.

Mo Yan ( 莫言), it seems, is a man of the second kind.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Mo Yan wins Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

I don’t know a great deal about Mo Yan (莫言) and his works. But I do know that Xu Pei is no likely congratulator.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

I’m almost a Model Worker, but I’ve been Misunderstood

China Smack won Danwei‘s Model Worker of the Year Award 2012 in the blogs and websites category. That happened in June, and one of the runners-ups – in the current affairs and commentary category – is this blog. I had noticed the link to my blog back then, but never reacted, because I somehow thought that it was only the initial step in the process of choosing blogs.

I’m very grateful for the inclusion of this blog, but have to take issue with the description of its probable cause:

Reportage of insider riffs within the Party, recently peppered with an increasing number of translations. This German blogger describes his attitude towards the CCP as “cold-warlike”.

That’s how misunderstandings happen. What I wrote under “About” is this:

When it comes to politics, this mission statement may help to describe my blogging approach. By semi-official Chinese standards, my attitude towards the Chinese Communist Party would be cold-warlike.

That’s different, isn’t it? I mean, since when are semi-official Chinese standards JR‘s standards? Am I Hu Xijin?

Either way, it’s great to get a mention like this, even if some bloggers still don’t quite understand JR.

Please have a look at the blogs and sources listed there. Three likely choices I’d make myself would be Rectified Name (without commenter sections, unfortunately), Beijing Cream, and Seeing Red in China.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Liao Yiwu wins German Booksellers Association Peace Prize

The German Publishers and Booksellers Association is awarding its 2012 Peace Prize to Liao Yiwu. [...] In his prose and poetry, Liao Yiwu erects an evocative literary monument to those people living on the margins of Chinese society. The author, who has experienced first-hand the effects of prison, torture and repression, is an unwavering chronicler and observer who bears witness on behalf of the outcasts of modern China.

The Board of Trustees statement, June 21, 2012

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[Liu Xiaobo and I] both wish for freedom in China. But apart from that, we are very different. Liu Xiaobo is an intellectual, and people like Havel and Mandela are his role models. He sees himself as the leader of an intellectual elite. I see myself as an unpolitical author, as a recording device of the times. [...]

Liao Yiwu (廖亦武), in an interview with Börsenblatt (republished by Friedenspreis website), June 21, 2012

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Were you one of those kids that does graffiti? That’s a bad habit. I just don’t understand it.

Grandpa Zhou, The Public Toilet Manager, Paris Review, Summer 2005

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Norwegian-Chinese Relations: a Panda is no Polar Bear

China wants to join the Arctic Council as a permanent observer, or in other words, to quote Scott Stearn‘s Voice of America (VoA) blogpost of June 5, “China wants a bigger say in the Arctic, where thinning ice is opening faster trade routes to Asia in a region that could hold 20 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and natural gas.”

Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States are permanent members of the council, which is a organization for discussion and research, and “not bound by any treaties”.

Other countries – the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Poland, and Spain – are “permanent observers”, and China has applied to become one in 2013.

But there seems to be a problem. “The political dialogue between Norway and China for the last one and a half years has been at a pretty low level”, Stearn quotes Norway’s foreign minister Jonas Gahr Stoere.

If Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Song Tao were quoted correctly, and if nothing important is left out, Beijing apprently wants to get permanent observers without a need to care about its relations with Norway:

Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Song Tao says Beijing hopes to “cooperate with relevant countries like Sweden and Iceland on issues of peace, stability and sustainable development in the Arctic.”

That lacks some context. Song apparently made his comments in connection with a visit by Chinese chief state councillor Wen Jiabao to Iceland and Sweden. Norway wasn’t part of Wen’s tour – and not mentioning Norway would be natural under these circumstances.

That Wen didn’t call on Norway, however,  is probably no coincidence. “Ever since the Norwegian Nobel Peace Prize Committee granted the prize to Chinese dissident Liu Ziaobo [sic - i. e. Liu Xiaobo], China has frozen relations with the country”, Barents Observer wrote in April.

Given that the Arctic Council is a rather informal group, China will have access to other international bodies to push its interests concerning the Arctic. But that doesn’t keep Beijing from trying to become a permanent observer.

China isn’t easy to deal with (or no trifle – 不好惹, bùhǎorě), Taiwan News quotes “foreign media” – and apparently prefers to advance no views of its own. Instead, its article is basically a reflection of Stearn’s VoA blogpost.

But while Norwegian-Chinese relations on the political level may be as dead as rotten salmon, the two countries do keep a tradition of long-term, open and friendly cooperation in the field of science going (在科研和合作方面有着长期开放和友好合作的传统), notes Norway’s embassy in China.Oslo University, Bergen University, the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research (CICERO), plus some other Norwegian institutions, work with the Chinese Academy of Science’s (CASS) Institute of Atmospheric Physics and the (Beijing) State Key Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology, on six projects concerning climate and environmental resarch.

If you can’t hug the panda itself, try to hug its scientific leg instead. The only problem: how can you bring it home to a panda that it is no polar bear, especially when you can’t talk to its face?

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Related Tag: Liu Xiaobo.

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