Posts tagged ‘feelings’

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.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Chinese Press Review: Syria, very clever

At a moment when everything had seemed to be set for a showdown, things changed dramatically, writes People’s Daily. Yesterday night, Syria officially responded to the international community and said it was willing to hand over all its chemical weapons so as to avoid American attack.  (叙利亚危机剑拔弩张的气氛出现戏剧性变化。
昨日晚间,叙利亚正式回复国际社会,叙利亚愿意交出全部化学武器以换取免遭美国打击。)

After a short account of Kerry’s sudden suggestion on a press conference in London that Syria could only avoid U.S. military strikes by handing over its chemical weapons, and Russian foreign minister Lavrov’s and Syrian foreign minister Mouallem’s statements, amounting to a Syrian willingness to do just that, plus Obama’s ABC interview, People’s Daily quotes an old diplomat and professor, Zhou Zunnan (周尊南) of the Chinese Foreign Affairs University, in an interview with the “International Financial Journal”:

Russia is very clever. They have successfully used diplomatic techniques, and the important thing is that in the current situation, with all the different parties’ interveaved interests, this is a “good move” [in a game of chess].  On the one hand, America gets under international pressure by gradually lowering other countries’ support for unilateral American war, and on the other, objectively, Russia showed support for Syria, perhaps implicating that “no matter if you use force or if you don’t, we will stand on Syria’s side.”

“俄罗斯很聪明,他们成功利用了外交技巧,重要的是,在目前各方面利益交织的格局下,这是一步‘好棋’。”老外交官、外交学院教授周尊南对《国际金融报》记者表示,“一方面,美国会陷入国际压力,进一步压低其他国家对美国单方面发动战争的支持度;另一方面,俄罗斯客观上表达了对叙利亚的支持,言外之意可能是‘不管你动不动武,我都会站在叙利亚’这边。”

People’s Daily is hedging its bets, regarding the likelihood of open American military intervention. From the Third Middle-East War (meaning the Six-Day War) to Syria’s occupation of Lebanon in 1976, and to Syria’s “flirting glances” (与伊朗保持“眉来眼去”的关系) with Iran, things had put this Middle-Eastern country’s relations with Western countries “out of sorts”, the paper writes. In the latest stage of the Syrian conflict, America had sought an “pretext” (quotation marks by People’s Daily), which was the chemical weapons.  There were several indications, People’s Daily quotes Zhou Zunnan (周尊南), still from the “International Financial Journal”, that the issue of chemical weapons was just an excuse. It would have looked bad to take military action against Syria before the UN inspectors delivered their findings, and besides, Russia had borrowed the position Kerry stated in London, Syria had cleverly strengthened its alliance with Russia, thus putting America into a difficult position. A third problem was American public opinion, according to Zhou.

And after all, the situation was complicated: Turkey would have to forget about a four-country economy including Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, if the Assad stepped down. And Russia’s only naval base in the Mediterranean was Tartus, in Syria. Syria was at the center of solving or mishandling the big Middle-Eastern issues.

Referring to further sources, People’s Daily suggests that oil prices had to be critical factors in Washington’s deliberations, too – with repercussions for the U.S economy. And still, this could also help America to replace the Middle East as the world’s center of energy sources, with an impact on countries depending on those, such as China and India. Therefore, the possibility of military action could not be ruled out. People’s Daily quotes a Russian political scientist (波利卡诺夫) who was also quoted by Xinhua a day earlier as suggesting that the military strikes were only delayed, but had not been stopped by Moscow’s and Damascus’ decisions.

Even China wasn’t on the sidelines in Syria, writes People’s Daily.  Syria had maintained close oil trade with China, and Chinese state-owned energy companies had business in Syria. A SINOPEC spokesperson is quoted as saying (again from “International Financial Journal”) that his company had temporarily closed their branch company in Syria, with most of the staff returning to Beijing, and some staying in Lebanon. Despite all the emphasis on diversification, about fifty percent of China’s crude oil imports were still coming from the Middle East, an expert from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is quoted.

Economics aside, People’s Daily concludes, there had also been a close Sino-Syrian relationship in other fields. Reports say that when China was treated unfairly in the international arena, it could always count on Syrian support.

This is about as far as official Chinese media go in their support for Damascus. Voicing official or semi-official positions is frequently the job of high-ranking academics, when Zhongnanhai prefers to remain silent or low-key. Zhou Zunnan’s comments in the “International Financial Journal”, which is in fact a branch of People’s Daily itself, probably play this kind of role.

On September 4, another academic, Li Shaoxian (李绍先) of the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, was quoted by Huanqiu Shibao with a rather candid statement (which may or may not mirror the official Chinese position, obviously):

Besides, Li Shaoxian believes that, when Bashar al-Assad said that China and Russia were Syria’s allies, that was the great banner used as a tiger-skin [a way to impress enemies]. China wasn’t Syria’s ally.  “Although China and Russia both insist on a peaceful solution and both oppose foreign military intervention, Russia has major actual interests in Syria to protect, while China’s interests in Syria are small.”

李绍先还认为,叙利亚总统巴沙尔说中国、俄罗斯是其盟友的说法是“拉大旗作虎皮”,中国不是巴沙尔的盟友。
“尽管中俄对坚持和平解决、反对外来军事干预是一致的,但中俄的考虑并不完全一致,俄罗斯在叙利亚有重大的现实利益要保护,而中国在叙利亚的利益很少”。

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Related

» Netzschau (German blog), Sept 10, 2013
» Less than 40 percent, Global Times, Dec 12, 2011

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Saturday, July 13, 2013

What the Heck are “National Conditions”?

From Qianjiang Evening Post (钱江晚报), Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, founded in 1987.  Although named “evening paper”, it is sent to subscribers in the morning. The following signed editorial was apparently published online on Friday.

Links added during translation.

If “national condition” is some kind of dough, National Food Safety Assessment Center deputy Wang Zhutian has put it into a mold.

“国情”是个面团,国家食品安全风险评估中心主任助理王竹天把它捏成了方的。

This official, assigned to watch over the food security of 1.3 billion Chinese people, said in reply to questions concerning the definition of our country’s food security issues that we are a developing country, and that we need to define our standards in accordance to our “national condition”. If we took European air-quality standards, we wouldn’t be up to the standards.

这位身居13亿中国人食品安全站岗放哨要职的官员,在回答我国食品安全标准制定的问题时说,我们是发展中国家,还要按照“国情”来制定我们自己的标准。如果我们都拿欧洲空气做标准,那么我们都不合格。

This national-condition stuff – China Civil Aviation Cadres Institute associate professor Zou Jianjun has shaped it.

“国情”这团面,中国民航干部学院副教授邹建军把它捏成了圆的。

He voiced disdain for a flight data statistic  – he believes that to put Beijing Capital Airport and Shanghai Pudong Airport into a punctuality statistic with an overall of 35 airports worldwide, where they rank last and second-last, won’t perfectly reflect actual punctuality, and emphasizes that currently, our economic development doesn’t match Europe’s or America’s, and to put them all together [in the same statistic] was unreasonable.

这位专家对美国航空数据网站发布的一组数字表示不屑。他认为,北京首都机场、上海浦东机场双双包揽上个月全球35个国际机场准点率排名倒数第一第二名,这个数据不能完全准确反映实际准点率,并强调,目前我国经济发展水平并未与欧美相同,放在一起比较并不合理。

According to Wang Zhutian’s theory, the “national condition” of food safety standards – i. e. an acknowledged “national condition” – China, in its primary stage of socialism, should forget about wild hopes for eating with the same peace of mind as people in developed countries.

按照王竹天主任的理论,食品安全标准的“国情”,就是一个认命的“国情”,社会主义初级阶段的中国,别奢望吃上与发达国家一样放心的食品。

I don’t know how much of a natural connection there is between melamine in milkpowder and the incessant stream of poisonous rice and ginger, and the degree of  a country’s economic development. If there is a relation, is it that not enough tax money is spent on supervision? Or is it that the money spent by consumers on food doesn’t qualify for eating with their minds at ease?

我不知道奶粉中的三聚氰胺、层出不尽的毒大米毒生姜,与一个国家经济发达程度有多少必然的关系。如果有关系,是指纳税人提供给监管的钱不够花?还是消费者现有的食品购买支出,没资格吃上放心的食品?

From the common peoples’ dining tables to the state council’s meetings, the entire country is filled with fear about food safety issues, and this supervision official puts his “national-condition” dough into the mold. If “national conditions” become the food-safety supervision officials excuse for inaction, it will be a crudely-made protective umbrella for the inaction, and “national condition” will be a warning to compatriots to resign themselves to the destiny of accepting cheap standards.

吃的安全问题,从黎民百姓的餐桌上,摆到了国务院常务会议上,全中国都在为食品安全问题提心吊胆,偏偏这监管的官员,把它摆到了“国情”这个任他们拿捏的面团里。如果“国情”可以成为食品监管不作为的借口,可以成为放任食品粗制滥造的保护伞,那么,“国情”就是个告诫国人自认命贱的标准。

To grasp the theory of “national condition”, some of our experts and officials aren’t ahead of the rest of us with their standards, but the skin of their face is thicker than ours. The airports we built [in this country], in the words of our achievers, experts and officials, are of “international standards”.  Our high-speed trains, are testimony that there is “no match for them elsewhere in the world”. But when comparisons are about operation capabilities or quality of service, “national conditions” serve as shields. Our experts and officials don’t feel the least of shame that in many fields, China trails behind internationally.

在把握“国情”的理论上,我们现在的一些专家和官员,已经不是在与别人比水平有多高,而是在与别人比脸皮有多厚。建机场,夸成就,专家和官员嘴里,那是一个“国际一流”。修高铁,说功劳,那是一个“世上无双”。但是,比运营能力、比服务水平,“国情”就被扯出来做挡箭牌了。中国很多事情在国际上“垫底”,我们在这些专家和官员身上,感受不到丁点儿羞耻。

You don’t get on your plane or train? It’s “national condition”. Delays in arrival? “National conditions”. Rising prices? They have nothing to say. When spending money, they have nothing to say. Showing off their (small) achievements? Nothing to say. When earning high salaries and state remuneration from taxpayers’ money, when counting their money, have they ever mentioned “national conditions”?

坐不上飞机火车的时候,他们说“国情”。晚点的时候,他们说“国情”。涨价的时候,他们不说了。花钱的时候,他们不说了。表功的时候,他们不说了。拿着纳税人供奉的高薪与厚禄,在点钱的时候,他们说过一句“国情”了吗?

What kind of condition is a “national condition”? First of all, it should be the people’s conditon, the responsibility entrusted to officials and experts, the willingness to be worthy. Apart from the people’s feelings, it is this inaptness, this demand on compatriots to acknowledge their own worthlessness which is China’s most unfortunate “national condition”.

“国情”是个什么情?它首先应该是民情,是官员与专家寄托在百姓身上负责任、愿担当的感情。抛开民情,站在那个与自己的能力、品行不相匹配的位置上,以“国情”的名义让国人自认命贱,这才是中国最不幸的“国情”。

What’s the “national condition”? Above all, it should be the people’s sentiments, the responsibility for the common people, entrusted to officials and experts, the desire to be worthy.

“国情”是个什么情?它首先应该是民情,是官员与专家寄托在百姓身上负责任、愿担当的感情。

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Related

» One on One, Wang Zhutian, CCTV, May 12, 2013

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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Huanqiu Shibao on Xinjiang: the “Five Not-Afraids”

The following editorial was published by Huanqiu Shibao, on Tuesday morning local Beijing time. It is a reaction to recent coverage on reported violence in Xinjiang which was said to have killed 35 people in June.

My translation of the editorial may contain errors. For example, the regular Chinese word for “terrorist” would be 恐怖分子 (terrorist element) or 恐怖主义者 (terrorist), but in this editorial, it’s 暴恐分子 which seems to read more like sudden-fear element. I translated the term as “terrorist” anyway.

Main Link: Using the five “Not Afraids” to knock the Terrorist Element’s Aggression out (用五个“不怕”打掉暴恐分子嚣张)

Editorial: Using the five “Not Afraids” to knock the Terrorist Element’s Aggression out
社评:用五个“不怕”打掉暴恐分子嚣张

The arrogant aggression of the Xinjiang terrorist elements was fought down right away, but will it raise its head again in the future?  This doesn’t depend so much on the terrorist elements, but more so on our attitude.

新疆暴恐分子的嚣张气焰被迅速打了下去,但它今后还会再次抬头吗?这不取决于暴恐分子,而更多取决于我们的态度。

Why could the terrorist elements be arrogant? Because they believe that the society that surrounds them “fears” the trouble they create. They are only a few people, but believe that today’s society is frail, and that they only need to “put lifes at danger” to impose imbearable shocks on society. Therefore, when society looks at their faces, they [the "elements"] think of themselves as something “very new”.

暴恐分子为什么会嚣张?因为他们认为周围的社会“怕”他们闹事。他们人很少,但觉得如今的社会很脆弱,只要他们敢“玩命”,就能带来社会无法承受的震动。因此社会要看他们的脸色,他们自以为“很牛”。

Now, we have to tell them by practical action that society in Xinjiang and in all of China is not afraid of them at all. We can obtain anything we strive for in terms of stability in Xinjiang, not to mention our nation-wide political design. If the terrorist elements dare to defy the law, we will resolutely eliminate them. Xinjiang and China will continue to advance.

现在我们就是要以实际行动告诉他们,新疆社会和整个中国社会一点都不怕他们。我们没有新疆稳定得不出任何事的追求,在全中国更没有这样的政治设计。暴恐分子敢以身试法,我们就坚决消灭他们。新疆和中国都将继续前进。

The first meaning of “not being afraid” is that we care about real stability in Xinjiang, but we do not care about the image of Xinjiang being “very stable”. The violent forces of terrorism in Xinjiang have not been eradicated, and every once in a while, they may jump forward and create an incident and chime in with foreign anti-China forces. This is an obvious reality. We accept this phenomenon in Xinjiang, and we won’t put make-up on this [phenomenon].

我们“不怕”的第一个内涵是,我们在乎新疆的真实稳定,但我们并不在乎新疆“很稳定”这个形象。新疆的暴力恐怖主义势力并未得到根除,它们隔一段时间就会跳出来制造事端,并同国外反华势力遥相呼应,这些都是明摆着的现实。我们接受新疆的这个形象,并不准备对其进行化妆。

But while many countries and areas worldwide are plagued by terrorism, Xinjiang is different from them. The terrorists’ capabilities there are small. They hardly have access to military weaponry or powerful explosives. Their main tools to commit their crimes are hacking knives. They can’t shake the foundations of Xinjiang’s stability, the overall situation is under control, the normal economic development is real, and the chances for committing crimes successfully generally remain very small. This reality and phenomenon in Xinjiang is “normal” by global standards. Such things happen in a modern and prosperous society.

然 而世界有很多遭恐怖主义困扰的国家和地区,但新疆与它们不一样。新疆暴恐分子的本事并不大,他们几乎得不到制式武器和威力强大的爆炸物,他们的主要作案工 具就是砍刀。他们动摇不了新疆社会稳定的根基,新疆大局可控、经济发展如常进行都是真实的,暴恐分子的作案得逞总体上仍是极低概率事件。新疆的这一现实和 形象在现代世界是“达标的”,它是偶尔出现暴恐事件的现代繁荣社会。

The second meaning of “not being afraid” is that officials in Xinjiang don’t need to be afraid of assuming responsibility. Cadres and police people all over Xinjiang have made great efforts and the policies applied in Xinjiang have been formulated under participation of the national level. As terrorist forces move fast and are contagious, terrorists incidents that happen in whichever place aren’t the sole responsibility of local officials, cadres and police, and Chinese society won’t complain about them. We understand their difficulties.

“不怕”的第二个内涵是,新疆各地的官员不必怕担责。新疆各地干警都尽了他们的最大努力,新疆的各种政策也是在国家参与下制定的。由于暴力恐怖主义有游动性和传染性,某个地方出暴恐事件,的确不全是当地官员和干警的责任,中国社会不会一味抱怨他们,我们理解他们的难处。

The third meaning of “not being afraid” that while everyone will fear individual misfortune, nobody fears that terrorist elements can bring about political threats. They are just a group of criminals, and won’t find [...........] Once they come up with a crime, a powerful nation will easily deal with them in accordance with the law.

“不怕”的第三个内涵是,每个人都会怕自己遭遇不幸,但中国社会决不怕暴恐分子能成为带来某种政治威胁的力量。他们就是一群刑事犯罪分子,是群政治上找不着北的愚昧之徒。只要他们露出头来作案,将他们绳之以法是这个强大国家再容易不过的事情。

The fourth meaning of “not being afraid” is that a resolute struggle against the Xinjiang terrorist elements will not lead to controversy or divisions within Chinese society.   Even if some people disagree about the administration of Xinjiang, there are no doubts that the terrorists must be dealt with toughly. The more resolutely terrorism is fought, the more united Chinese society will be.

“不怕”的第四个内涵是,与新疆暴恐分子坚决斗争不会引发中国社会的争议和分裂,即使一些人对新疆的社会治理有不同看法,对向恐怖分子强硬出手也不存疑义。反恐越坚决,中国社会只会越团结。

The fifth meaning of “not being afraid” is that Western fault-seeking of our fight against terrorism should be like water running off a duck’s back. We will not, for the sake of “good reviews” from the West, be soft-hearted in dealing with terrorist elements. China has become ever firmer and will soberly achieve in this field, too.

“不怕”的第五个内涵是,应当把西方对我们打击暴恐势力的指责当成耳旁风,我们才不会为了西方的“好评价”而对暴恐分子手软。中国正越来越坚定、清醒地做到这一点。

As we are clear about these five “not afraids”, and act clearly, the Xinjiang terrorists will lose all the capital they need to threaten society. They will become more desperate, they will learn that they are extremely lonely, that they are criminals who will get very little echo, that they can’t influence Xinjiang’s and China’s politics, and they will have to ruminate about their own insignificance.

把这五个“不怕”都讲得清清楚楚,做得明明白白,新疆暴恐分子就将失去要挟社会的全部资本。他们将更绝望,他们会发现自己的确就是些非常孤独、甚至彼此难以呼应的刑事犯,他们影响不了新疆以及中国的大政治,他们将重新咀嚼自己的渺小。

We believe that military and police presence will be needed on the streets of Xinjiang for a long time. This isn’t going to damage Xinjiang’s image. It will only maintain the pressure on the terrorist elements, and strengthen the sense of security among all nationalities.

我们认为新疆重点地区的街头应长期保留军警的存在,这不会损害新疆的形象,只会维持对暴恐分子的震慑,增加各族群众的安全感。

The terrorist elements want to achieve their own “super-influence” in an exceptional atmosphere, but seeking truth in the facts will get embedded in every detail in Xinjiang, and the true nature of the terrorist elements will be unmasked. They count for nothing against twenty-three million Xinjiang nationality people and the 1.3 billion people of the entire country. How can they be arrogant? They are losing every spiritual sanctuary.

暴恐分子最想在某种特殊氛围里实现自己的“超值影响力”,只要让实事求是深深嵌入新疆局势的所有细节,暴恐分子的原形就将无遮无掩。他们将被迫以数得过来的人数对付2300万新疆各族人民,对付全国的13亿大众。他们如何嚣张?他们将失去所有精神避难所。

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Railroader’s Dream‏

There’s been a lot of talk about the “Chinese dream” ever since Xi Jinping first coined the term. The following individual dream, published in a dream-collection project on the Enorth internet portal in Tianjin, probably isn’t one of those that might alarm Xi and his collective leadership, as the Economist suggested in May this year. It’s the dream of a man who works for one of China’s most detested organizations – the railroad:

Everyone is talking about the Chinese dream, but we, the railroaders, should talk about the dream of the railroad. The railway ministry is no more, but the railroaders need to continue to live, we must dream our dream, because without dreams, there is no future. I will discuss my dream of the railroad, and hope that everyone will take part and discuss their own dreams.

到处都在谈中国梦,我们路内之人应该谈铁路梦,铁道部没了,铁路人还要生存下去,还要做我们的梦,没有梦想就没有未来,我先来谈我的铁路梦.望大家都来参与各谈各的梦.

1. Wages must catch up with those of civil servants, because I’m reaching retirement age and wish I could buy a flat from what I saved from my wage.

1.工资能够追上公务员,因为我这年龄该退休了,最想用自己的劳动挣到的钱,买到自己的一套房.

2. A sense of honor. I want to dare telling outsiders that I’m a railroader without being looked down upon. When our kids go outside, they should be proud of their fathers being railroaders.

2,个人荣誉感,遇到路外的人敢说我是铁路人而不被人看低.孩子出在外面以父亲是铁路人为荣.

3. Tasks must not be allocated according to red, yellow, and white tickets, relations between cadres and masses should be sorted out, and work become more relaxed. Let me do what I want to do, (and pay me for the worth of it). Let everyone make his contribution for the railway’s cause, according to their hearts.

3,没有红,黄,白票的任务数,理顺干群关系,轻松工作.变让我干为我要干(工资得对得起我的付出).发自内心为铁路事业做出自己的贡献.

4. No more nightshifts. Retirement at the age of 55. A chance to adjust the biological clock. Give retirees an opportunity to enjoy some more years.

4.不再上夜班,55岁退休,能够改变生物钟,退休能享受几年.

5. After retirement, I will always want to come back and to have a look – I care for the railroad in many ways, it gives me a sense of home [or belonging].

5.退休后还总想来铁路看看,多方面关心铁路,铁路给我家的感觉.

6. To be in a position to buy a Xiali car at about thirty-thousand [Yuan RMB].

6.买得起,用得上三万左右的夏利轿车.

7. A free ticket for the whole country, to travel around, to see the motherland’s beautiful and mountains, and to heighten my patriotic enthusiasm.

7.有一张全国免票,每年年休出去转一圈,看看祖国的大好河山,提高爱国热情.

8. No worries about seeing a doctor and about pension.

8,看病养老不发愁.

9. There should be no need to still take the brunt of the work at the age of fifty-plus, as the physical condition and memory are declining, and things take longer. Hopefully, more young people will fill the frontline, to become the main force at work.

9.不要在50多岁的时候还是一线主力,身体状况,记忆都在下降,容易耽误事.盼更多的年轻人充实到一线,成为生产主力军.

10. Cancel the cadres’ lifetime appointments, base advancement on achievement – everything for work, nothing for selfish ideas.

10取消干部终身制,能者上庸者下.一切为了工作而不掺杂私心杂念.

Posted by the original contributor on May 28, as a comment in the thread underneath his dream, on May 28.

Monday, June 3, 2013

June 4, 1989: the Unsinkable Boat of Stone

Tiananmen Square has a meaning to China – not just Beijing – as deep as the Place de la Bastille‘s for Paris, or that of the Alexanderplatz for Berlin. On 400,000 square meters, Tiananmen Square – according to relevant tourist information – provides space for one million people. That’s how the square has been used – for gatherings ordered by the Chinese Communist Party, when Mao Zedong proclaimed the People’s Republic, for Hua Guofeng‘s eulogy on Mao Zedong in 1976, and for military parades celebrating the People’s Republic’s 35th, 50th, and 60th birthday.

In 1997, on Tiananmen Square, a limited number of people celebrated the return of Hong Kong. The limitation had conjecturable reasons – eight years and four weeks earlier, Chinese army and police troops had quashed a student movement – that movement, too, had its public center in Tiananmen Square.

Ever since 1911, Tiananmen Square had been a place for gatherings outside the scripts of the powers that be. The first, probably, was the May-Fourth movement, sparked by the transfer of formerly German possessions in Shandong Province to Japan, rather than to China, in 1919, after World War One. Chinese intellectuals had begun to perceive their country not just as a civilization, but as a nation, interacting with other nations and falling behind internationally. In 1919, there were no celebrations. There were protests.

The May-Fourth movement has since been canonized. CCP historians see the movement as the beginning of progressive processes during the first half of the 20th century, leading to the CCP’s rise to power. But even Hua Guofeng’s eulogy on Mao, in September 1976, had been preceded by expressions of grief months earlier, in April, for the late chief state councillor Zhou Enlai. The more radical followers of Mao Zedong considered that an affront.

Personal impressions from the 1976 “Tian An Men incident” apparently made Wu Renhua, later a dissident, honor Hu Yaobang with a wreath on Tiananmen Square, in April 1989. Hu Yaobang had just passed away, and some points seem to be noteworthy:

When Hu died, he had been removed as the CCP secretary general for more than two years. Apparently, the party leadership had considered him to be too reform-minded. Expressions of grief from the population might be considered an affront by the party leaders, too, and they probably did, even if it took more than six weeks for the party to put an end to the movement of intellectuals and students in  which Wu Renhua had been taking part.

By then, the movement had long gone beyond their original motivation of honoring Hu Yaobang. Through anti-corruption protest, it had turned into a movement for democracy.

Also, Wu Renhua, then an about thirty-three years old lecturer from the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, was part of the movement, but – according to his own account – rather going along with it, than driving it. His actual confrontational attitude towards the CCP  only built after the massacre – an outrage that he had never seemed to expect from his country’s leaders.

And even if the University of Political Science and Law played an important role in the 1989 movement, the Beijing University, the Beida, had the traditional, leading role.

Rivalries among the 1989 dissidents are nothing unusual today. Frequently, they are personal rather than political, accompanied by allegations that X is self-important, that Y is a CCP collaborator, or that Z is remote-controlled by Falun Gong – somehow unpredictable or dangerous.

June 4 has become an unsolved complex in Chinese history. Whoever studied in a major Chinese city in 1989 will know that complex. “Sure”, a Shanghainese told me in the early 1990s, “we were all protesting.” To her, however, the matter was closed with the end of the movement – ostensibly, anyway. Many Chinese people born after 1989 hardly know about the existence of the movement, and among those who do remember it, at least some consider the crackdown a rather lucky outcome: be it because they don’t think that the students were able to handle politics in 1989, be it because they see a foreign conspiracy against China’s stability and China’s rise behind the former movement.

By 2008, a trend had changed. Many Chinese people who used to feel respect for (Western) democracies had changed their mind. Frequently negative coverage by Western media on the Beijing Olympics certainly played a role here – the negative foreign echo was spread selectively, but broadly by Chinese media. Some overseas Chinese in Germany even organized a silent protest against the biased German media who had failed to spread their patriotic message and who had therefore muzzled them. Add how the mighty had fallen in the financial crisis – China’s period of growth still continued, thanks to state stimulus programs that tried to compensate for falling imports by Western economies. Criticism from abroad – that’s how the Chinese public was informed (frequently correctly) – was an expression of foreign envy. The ideas so vigorously discussed in 1989 have given way to the truculent nationalism of new generations, Isabel Hilton noted in 2009.

In 1990, Yang Lian (楊煉), a Chinese poet in exile, published this:

The darker the sky, you say that the boat is old,
the storms it bore are long gone,
it is for us to erase the Self, let the boat of stone rot away.1)

That, of course, is the last thing a boat of stone will do.

What is the role of the 1989 dissidents today? According to C. A. Yeung, an Australian blogger and human rights activist, hardly any role. Dissidents abroad, above all, appear to be out of touch with many activists inside China. This may also be true for Wei Jingsheng, an exiled Chinese who lives in Washington D.C..

Wei wasn’t part of the 1989 movement. At the time, he had been a political prisoner for some ten years. He was only released in 1993, and soon, he was re-arrested. Since 1997, he has been in America.

It requires a strong – and at times probably dogmatic – personality to resist the pressures Wei faced. No confessions, no concessions to the Chinese authorities through all the years of imprisonment. To people like Wei, “foreign interference” in China’s “internal affairs” is no sacrilege, but necessity. Such “interference” may not create space to live for open dissidents in totalitarian countries, but it does, at times, enable dissidents to survive. In that light, it was only logical that Wei attended a hearing of the German federal parliament’s culture and media committee on December 2008, about the alleged proximity of Germany’s foreign broadcaster’s Chinese department (Deutsche Welle, DW)  to the CCP. DW Staff and program should defend human rights and democracy as a matter of principle, Wei demanded.

It turned out that Wei didn’t actually know the DW programs, jeered Xinhua newsagency.  Wei didn’t disagree: “As a matter of fact, I have said from earlier on that I would not listen to the broadcast of the Deutsche Welle’s Chinese service that has been speaking on the CCP’s behalf.”

Such appearances in foreign parliaments may appear fussy, and near-irrelevant. But in 2002, Dutch author and exile observer Ian Buruma had still believed that Chinese dissidents abroad could play a big role:

Let’s say there are suddenly serious splits in the Chinese government. Things start to move rather quickly. All kinds of things are going to happen. And then, it can be that you suddenly need people who know how to operate in Washington, who know which buttons to press and [who] have contacts in Congress, and so on. And this has happened in the case of Taiwan, for example, where you had dissidents in the 60s and 70s who hung around, languished, were considered to be irrelevant until things began to change in Taiwan politically and suddenly, they were important.2)

But maybe, by now, that role has diminuished further – if Buruma’s original observations were correct. Maybe Wei Jingsheng and other dissidents, among them those who had to leave China after June 4, 1989, will play a role similar to the one Wolf Biermann, an East German exile in West Germany, anticipated for himself long before the Berlin Wall came down: at times cheering from the sidelines, providing advice once in a while, but hardly authoritatively. Only on his return to East Germany, Biermann mused, his actual exile would begin, as hardly anyone would recognize him: Dann beginnt erst mein Exil.

The actual historical events of spring 1989 are a different story, however. These days, the CCP neither condemns the events, nor does it condone them. The topic is entirely shunned.

In Hong Kong, people haven’t forgotten. After all, the June-4 crackdown came as a shock for a society that was to return to the motherland eight years and a month later. June 4 is part of tradition there. For many Hong Kong activists who demand more democratic rights for Hong Kongers themselves, solidarity with mainland activists or dissidents is part of their self-image.

The only official evaluation so far: Deng Xiaoping defends his reform policies of economic openness and political repression, June 9, 1989

The only official evaluation so far: Deng Xiaoping defends his reform policies of economic openness and political repression, June 9, 1989 (click picture for video)

In 1995, Deng Xiaoping‘s daughter Deng Rong suggested in an interview with the New York Times  that only later generations could judge the 1989 events. She didn’t know how people thought about it – but my father at least, in his heart, believed that he had no other way.

It may take years before a re-evaluation of the 1989 movements may begin. Or it may only take months. The CCP could initiate one if it feels strong enough, or the citizenry could initiate one if the party gets weaker.

Nobody inside or outside China knows what is being thought about the movement. And many Chinese may only find out what they think once it becomes a topic – when it gets unearthed, gradually or rapidly, in a controlled or spontaneous process.

____________

Notes

1) Yang Lian: Alte Geschichten (I-IV), Der einzige Hafen des Sommers, aus: Masken und Krokodile, Berlin, Weimar 1994, quoted by Joachim Sartorius (Hrsg): Atlas der Neuen Poesie, Reinbek, 1996, S. 67.
天空更加阴暗  你说  这船老了
一生运载的风暴都已走远
该卸下自己了  让石头船舷去腐烂
夏季  是惟一的港口

2) Jatinder Verma: Asian Diasporas, BBC (World Service), Sept 2, 2002

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Monday, May 20, 2013

The Weeks before June 4: Deng Xiaoping’s remarks and the April-26 Editorial

« Previous translation/rendition: Struggling for the Ideological Switch Stands

For all previous instalments, see this table.

Most or all of the party-insider information used by Wu Renhua seems to be based on “Li Peng’s diary”. There seems to be wide-spread agreement that the diary – becoming known in 2010 – was authentic. However, even if it is, one needs to ask if Li’s own account of the run-up to the massacre of June 3/4 1989 is accurate. Probably, these are questions only the party archives could answer – JR

Tuesday, April 25, 1989

Main Link: 1989 年 4 月 24 日 星期日

About 60,000 students at 43 colleges and universities in Beijing continue the strike on lessons. (On April 24, 38 colleges and universities were involved.) At some colleges and universities, wall papers promoting the students’ movement continue to emerge.

At 3 p.m., the Beijing University Preparatory Committee publishes a notice: eight out of the university’s 27 faculties have set up branch committees, and the preparatory committee has conducted re-elections, with Kong Qingdong (孔庆东), Wang Chiying (王池英), Feng Congde (封从德), Wang Dan (王丹), and Shen Tong (沈彤) as new members. “The new preparatory committee will have decision-making authority, and temporarily take the lead of the students union.”

The Beijing University students union has established contact with more than 32 other colleges and universities in Beijing. Chairman Zhou Yongjun says that three demands have been issued to the government:

  • official dialog with the state council, based on delegations (or representation)
  • a public apology for the Xinhua Gate incident and punishment for the perpetrators
  • truthful domestic media coverage about the students movement.

At nine in the morning, at his home, Deng Xiaoping listens to Li Peng’s, Yang Shangkun’s, Qiao Shi’s, Hu Qili’s, Yao Yilin’s, Li Ximing’s, Chen Xitong’s and others’ reports. The meeting ends before 11 a.m.. After the meeting, Yang Shangkun stays with Deng for discussions.

Deng agrees with the politburo standing committee’s and the broader politbureau meetings’ decisions, and requires the central committee and the state council to establish two teams – one to focus on dealing with the unrest, and one to get hold of the routine work. Deng says that before, the talk had been about managing the economic environment, but now, there was a need to manage the political environment.

Deng believes the students movement isn’t a normal agitation (or strike), but a political unrest. Attention needs to be paid to avoiding bloodspills, but it will be hard to avoid it completely. In the end, it could be necessary to arrest a batch of people. The “People’s Daily”, in accordance with the spirit of what Deng said, writes in its editorial on April 261) that “we must oppose the unrest with a clear and distinct stand” (more literally: under a bright banner).

On Li Peng’s proposal, Zeng Jianhui (曾建徽) drafts the editorial, and after authorization by Hu Qili and Li Peng, it is decided that the editorial shall be aired this evening at 7 p.m., by Central People’s Broadcasting Station (CPBS) and on CCTV’s main newscast Xinwen Lianbo.

Delegations from all colleges and universities in Beijing discuss the prospects of the students movement at the Autonomous Federation’s meeting, held at the University of Political Science and Law, at 7 p.m.., and determining a draft for a national people’s program. At the time of the meeting, the April-26 editorial is aired, on which countermeasures are discussed. The editorial leads to a tense atmosphere, and one student leader says that the danger is understood, and that the work to defend the dormitories needs to be strengthened.

At about 18:45, some three- to four thousand students of the People’s University (Renmin University) arrive at the China Youth University for Political Sciences, at Beifang Jiaotong University, at the Academy of Nationalities  (i. e. national minorities, 中央民族学院 – frequently referred to as the Minzu University of China), and the Beijing Foreign Studies University (actually: foreign-languages university, formerly an academy, 北京外语学院, now 北京外国语大学) to support the strikes, and also to strongly oppose the April-26 editorial. 21:40, the protesters leave the China Youth University for Political Sciences, originally planning to go to Beijing Normal University, but they are intercepted by nearly 800 police. At 21:02, more two thousand students from the People’s (Renmin) University, the Minzu University of China, and other universities are protesting around the universities, oppose the April-26 editorial, saying that the editorial confuses right and wrong (颠倒是非) and that “action must continue”. Some students are shouting a slogan: “Oppose repressions against the student movement”.

At 23:00, the Capital Autonomous Federation of University Students (北高联) issues a notice: “On April 27, the entire city will demonstrate unitedly and converge on Tian An Men Square”, to oppose the April-26 editorial.

At 23:00, the Beijing University (Students) Preparatory Committee (北大筹委会 / 北大学生筹委会) holds a press conference at the Beijing University No. 1 Teaching Building (北京大学第一教学楼), and Kong Qingdong, who is hosting the conference, announces that “the Beijing University Preparatory Committee is neither anti-party nor anti-constitutional; it is here to promote the progress of democracy [or democratization].” He also spells out three conditions for the students’ return to the classrooms:

  1. dialog with the government
  2. an accurate explanation of the 4-20 incident [see here, Wang Zhiyong] and
  3. a press law.

In a brief meeting at 15:00, Li Peng convenes a brief meeting of the standing committee of the politbureau and communicates Deng Xiaoping’s remarks. Yang Shangkun attends as a non-voting participant. The standing committee believes that Deng Xiaoping’s remarks are absolutely important and should be communicated to the lower ranks right away. It is decided that first, it shall be passed on  within the “system of the big three” (三大系统) – to the central committee, to the state council, and to all cadres above vice-ministerial level in the Beijing municipal government, including the transcript of Deng’s remarks today, and the standing committee’s records from the meeting in the evening on April 24.

Wen Jiabao’s instructions to the General Office of the CCP  to communicate the standing committee’s records from the meeting in the evening on April 24, and to promptly arrange Deng Xiaoping’s remarks, are the foundation of communications. Toward the evening, Wen gives Li Peng a phonecall asking for instructions if some sensitive issues in Deng Xiaoping’s remarks should be kept out of the communication at first. To reduce possible vulnerabilities and to get as many points to ralley the comrades around, Li Peng agrees.

The quantity of propaganda material explaining “the situation in Beijing” is growing. At Fudan University, Tongji University, Jiaotong University, and many other universities and colleges, wall newspapers, photos or leaflets emerge, mainly about “the real story of the 4-20 incident” and “the whole story about the 4-21 demonstrations” , and “100,000 students’ peaceful petition” etc..

The rate of students who show up for classes is diminuishing in Tianjin’s major universities, and about one third of students are on strike. There are calls for supporting the students in Beijing. Eighty-seven young teachers at Nankai University put up slogans: “Support the Students’ Strike!”

In the afternoon, the “Jilin Declaration” from Jilin University emerges, with the full wording: “The fate of our nation is the responsibility of everyone. Beijing University has arisen, so has Nankai University, all students are pleading in the name of the people – how can the people of Jilin University stand by and watch? Arise, people of Jilin University. Political corruption, maldistribution, economic chaos, outmoded education and the nation in peril, when will be the time!

Wall newspapers in some universities in Xi’an, Changsha and other places also refute the “People’s Daily” editorial, calling it “a pack of lies”, as the students’ actions were not a political struggle, but a demand for democracy. Some Xi’an students distribute mimeographed leaflets, calling for a demonstration on Xincheng Square on Sunday.

At the Central South University of Technology (中南工业大学) in Changsha, Hunan Province, the chairpeople of seven faculties who prepared a meeting at 21:00 to adopt measures and to support the students of Beijing to escalate the situation, are stopped by the university’s related departments.

The traffic regulations that had been in effect since the 4-22 riots at Xincheng Square, the center of the riots, were lifted at 00:00 today. Large numbers of armed police are leaving the square, but some police are guarding the entrances of the provincial government. The authorities have also ordered a batch of helmeted troops from the people’s Liberation Army 49 Army from their base, twenty kilometers outside Xi’an, into the square.

According to a “People’s Daily” report, 98 people were arrested in the riots of Changsha in the evening on April 22, among them 32 workers, peasants who work in Changsha as migrant workers, six six self-employed/small-business owners (getihu), 28 socially idle people2), six students (five of them middle school students and one of them a secondary specialized or technical school student).

____________

Notes

1) In a partial chronology of 20th century China, Tian’anmen Square TV provides a translation of the April-26 editorial.
2) A stronger translation would be riff-raff.

____________

To be continued

Monday, April 29, 2013

Xinjiang 4-23 “Terrorist Attack”: Important Instructions from Beijing, Lack of Compassion from Washington

The incident in Bachu County / Selibuya (Kashgar Prefecture) on April 23 which reportedly led to the deaths of 21 people, including 15 police officers and officials, is closely monitored by the central party and state leadership, according to Chinese state media quoted by the BBC‘s Mandarin website on Friday. A Huanqiu Shibao report, also of Friday, is quoted as saying that the CCP central committee attached great importance to the incident and that secretary-general Xi Jinping had issued important instructions and requirements concerning the handling of the case, its aftermath, and the safeguarding of stability in Xinjiang. Six suspects reportedly died, and eight were arrested.

Foreign journalists were allowed to travel to the region but frequently faced intimidation and harassment when attempting to verify news of ethnic rioting or organised violence against government authorities, the BBC’s Beijing correspondent Celia Hatton wrote in a report published last Wednesday, and a report from the BBC’s China correspondent Damian Grammaticas, published on Friday, seems to confirm that local authorities tend to interfere, as Grammaticas and his team were ordered to leave Selibuya.

Tianshan Net, a website run by the propaganda department of the CCP’s Xinjiang branch, and frequently quoted by official and non-official Chinese media in the 4-23 context, reports today that in the wake of the 4-23 [April 23] serious violent terrorist incidents, a ceremony to honor the meritorious was held at the Science and Culture Square Conference Center in Kashgar at noon local time today. Three advanced collectives (including the Selibuya party committee) and 91 advanced individuals had been commended. (天山网喀什讯(记者李敏摄影报道)4月29日上午12:00,自治区处置“4.23”严重暴力恐怖案件有功人员表彰大会在喀什市科技文化广场喀什噶尔会议厅召开。大会对巴楚县色力布亚镇党委等3个先进集体和阿布拉江•克热木、谢武中等91名先进个人予以表彰。) The fifteen party and government comrades who had sacrificed their lives were posthumously awarded titles as outstanding party members and anti-terrorism warriors during the ceremony, writes Tianshan. (自治区党委、政府追授在处置“4.23”严重暴力恐怖案件中牺牲的15名同志为优秀共产党员、反恐勇士称号。) Nur Bekri and other leading regional officials attended the ceremony.

On Friday, Tianshan Net republished a Huanqiu Shibao report criticizing America for showing no compassion in the wake of the incident, quoting a U.S. state department spokesman’s demands for a transparent investigation. The criticism was based on Beijing’s foreign-ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying‘s statement on Thursday, who had stated dissatisfaction with Washington’s lack of compassion (无同情心).

Sina.com (in English) suggested a moral link between the recent Boston Marathon bombings and the incident in Xinjiang, and also quoted Hua Chunying from her Thursday press conference.

____________

Related

» Due process protections, BBC News, April 25, 2013

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