Posts tagged ‘Netherlands’

Saturday, June 9, 2012

European Soccer Championship and Radio

Netherlands vs. Denmark: no Radio Nederland shortwave transmission, no transmission on the two Dutch medium waves – but the BBC World Service covers the game in the 13 m band – for Africa, and for JR.

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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Monday, April 9, 2012

Radio Canada International “Strives”, but is “Effectively Retired”

That’s not how the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) puts it. According to CBC CEO Hubert T. Lacroix,

“From now on RCI will provide multilingual service broadcasting in English, French, Spanish, Arabic, and Mandarin that strives to help audiences discover and especially understand democratic and cultural life and values in Canada”.

In Jonathan Marks‘ (Critical Distance) words,

Radio Canada International, without radio, becomes a branding mistake rather than a serious service.

Marks’ verdict apparently isn’t targeted at other existing or former international shortwave broadcasters, but only at Radio Canada International (RCI). The CBC’s press release suggested that they don’t really know what RCI on the web is supposed to share, writes Marks. He might still see such content when it comes to Radio Netherlands, who continue to make specific programs for audiences abroad, or when it comes to the BBC World Service or Deutsche Welle (Voice of Germany), for that matter.

All those stations either radically reduced or cancelled shortwave broadcasts in certain languages. Radio Netherlands is still on the (shortwave) air in Dutch, but is expected to phase its Dutch language radio broadcasts out some time during this coming summer.

Deutsche Welle terminated their shortwave broadcasts in German in October last year, but maintained some shortwave broadcasts in English and French to Africa, from the Kigali (Rwanda) relay station.

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Related

» The “Firedrake”, March 17, 2012
» DW: End of the Radio Era, January 2, 2012
» “Free Speech, Dutch Values”, June 10, 2011
» “Stuff of the Past”, April 2, 2011

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Friday, February 3, 2012

Deutsche Welle – JR’s Chronological Link Collection

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This blog’s main topic is China – and if I had thought of sub-topics, it would probably have been the economy, or translations from the Chinese press. Deutsche Welle‘s (or the Voice of Germany‘s) Chinese department only appeared on my radar screen about a month after the first open letter to German federal parliament had started to make (small) waves in the German press.

But no story has kept me as curious since – and given that Deutsche Welle is no mainstream topic, it might be just the right topic for a small blog. My interest in China goes far beyond the Welle, but as long as there is no comprehensive debate about the station’s or website’s Chinese department – one that would include the Welle itself, as a participant -, this blog will try to provide a makeshift substitute for such a debate. It would be nice if I could run this topic in German and Chinese, as well, but that would go beyond what I can do. English may be a compromise.

I’ve found out that the best use for it is as a sort of log book of what I thought about something in particular at a particular time, Foarp said in a BoZhu interview in November. But that requires a somewhat systematic approach – one that goes beyond tagging and categorizing. So here it is: JR’s chronological link collection. They are all links to my own posts, but the key words are taking care of the listed posts’ external links, too. Making a link collection about external sources will be a task for another day.

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Chinese dissidents’ complaints about Deutsche Welle’s Chinese department November 2008 »
Key words: Zhang Danhong, Zhou Derong, Epoch Times, Huanqiu Shibao, Lutz Rathenow, Frank Sieren
German China scientists, publicists and politicians defend Zhang Danhong) in an open letter; in another open letter,  authors, legislators (from Hong Kong) and researchers criticize the defenders. November 2008 »
Key words: Hans-Peter Bartels, Georg Blume, Chiao Wei, Herta Däubler-Gmelin, Johnny Erling, Helwig Schmidt-Glintzer, Günter Grass, Thomas Heberer, Sebastian Heilmann, Hanjo Kesting;
Albert Ho, Emily Lau, Tsering Woeser, Harry Wu
Zeng Jinyan wins Deutsche Welle blog award November 2008 »
Key words: Zeng Jinyan
Chinese departments translations from German reports are re-translated, Zhang Danhong has an interview with herself, and department head Matthias von Hein is moved to the central editorial department January 2009 »
Key words: Erik Bettermann, Matthias von Hein, Ulrich Wickert, Zhang Danhong
German Media Prize for Dalai Lama, and a DW interview with Kelsang Gyaltsen, the Dalai Lama’s representative in Europe. February 2009 »
Key words: coverage, Dalai Lama, Kelsang Gyaltsen, Tibet, Li Baodong
DW turns from German to foreign listeners; DW director general demands more funding. February 2009 »
Key words: Erik Bettermann, Global Media Forum
Zhang Danhong remains in the (Chinese) news March 2009 »
Key words: Chinese press, Günter Grass, Zhang Danhong
Probe still in progress? DW’s quality test March 2009 »
Key words: Matthias von Hein, Hu Xingdou, Zhang Danhong
DW Chinese department acquitted March 2009 »
Key words: Erik Bettermann, Georg Blume, Freimut Duve, Hans Leyendecker, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Ulrich Wickert
Dissenting voices, lack of trust (signatures for Martin Jahnke?) April 2009 »
Key words: Wang Rongfen
Foreign broadcasters and their critics: “One shouldn’t simply imply that the broadcaster wants to sit the problem out.” May 2009 »
Key words: BBC, JR quotes, Barry Sautman, procedures
Kofi Owusu attends Voice of Germany‘s 2nd Global Media Forum in Bonn June 2009 »
Key words: Global Media Forum
New head for Chinese service July 2009 »
Key words: Adrienne Woltersdorf
Urumqi party secretary sacked September 2009 »
Key words: coverage
Perception and Reality – Frankfurt Book Fair September 2009 »
Key words: coverage
Global local sticks tv, and external expertise October 2009 »
Key words: Roland Berger
Too correct to be turned back February 2010 »
Key words: coverage, Feng Zhenghu
Dorks on Duty April 2010 »
Key words: Volker Bräutigam, Henryk M. Broder, Ma Canrong, Neue Rheinische Zeitung
Xu Pei and the Dirty Old Men May 2010 »
Key words: Wolf Biermann, Günter Grass, Xu Pei, Mo Yan, Zhang Danhong,
All highly quotable May 2010 »
Key words: Georg Blume
Kadeer: Taiwan is a free country July 2010 »
Key words: coverage, Rebiya Kadeer, Taiwan, Raela Tosh
Kosovo status July 2010 »
Key words: coverage
Arnulf Kolstad confirms Xinhua interview October 2010 »
Key words: coverage
Li Keqiang’s Germany visit January 2011 »
Key words: coverage
Just another German review of the Chinese press January 2011 »
Key words: coverage
DW reshuffles – freelancer at Chinese department loses contract April 2011 »
Key words: industrial relations
The too-friendly maikefeng April 2011 »
Key words: Ai Weiwei, Wolfgang Kubin, censorship, Neru Kaneah
DW cuts shortwave, targets “opinion leaders” May 2011 »
Key words: opinion leaders (mind the footnote)
JR’s searchword service May 2011 »
Key words: Chinese press
Huanqiu wades into the details May 2011 »
Key words: Chinese press
Come on, let’s twist again May 2011 »
Key words: Chinese press, Wei Jingsheng, Neru Kaneah, Jörg Rudolph, Taiwan
Dutch Values: another broadcaster bites the dust June 2011 »
Key words: Erik Bettermann, Jan Hoek
Foreign office “Africa Concept”: universal values, competing interests July 2011 »
Key words: business, diplomacy, soft power
Changes at DW Chinese department – JR turns to science December 2011 »
Key words: Chinese press, Song Luzheng, Wang Fengbo
But aren’t you an ally of the government? December 2011 »
Key words: Liu Xiaobo, Tilman Spengler
Deutsche Welle: negotiations with politics December 2011 »
Key words: Manfred Kops, Christian Michalek
“Soft power”: comparing China and Europe (a benign Chinese look on DW) January 2012 »
Key words: He Zengke, soft power
End of the radio era at DW January 2012 »
Key words: Valentin Schmidt
Yiwu court hearing: no way to treat a diplomat January 2012 »
Key words: coverage
Hu Jia questioned, Yu Jie leaves China January 2012 »
Key words: coverage
DW on Yu Jie: Sudden flight January 2012 »
Key words: coverage
Advocacy journalism is not the problem (interview) January 2012 »
Key words: Wang Fengbo, Matthias von Hein, soft power, Adrienne Woltersdorf, Neue Rheinische Zeitung, Jörg M. RudolphZhang Danhong
He who pays the piper January 2012 »
Key words: see comments

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Updates / Related

» Werte und Interessen, Deutsche Welle, Febr 3, 2012
» Redesigned Website, Deutsche Welle, Febr 2, 2012

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

UDN / CNA: “Su Jia-chyuan Reminds us of Chen Shui-bian”

DPP’s vice presidential nominee Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) is accused of having declared a mansion a farmhouse, so as to use agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes.

United Daily News (聯合新聞網, UDN) and the China Times (中時電子報),  both KMT-leaning, carried the story on Thursday. Excerpts from the UDN article are available in English, on the official Central News Agency‘s (CNA) website. UDN comes across as more vocal than the China Times – “Su Jia-chyuan reminds us of Chen Shui-bian”, says UDN. This appears to be over-egged when considering that many of the charges against former DPP president Chen Shui-bian after his presidency were criminal charges, while those against Su Jia-chyuan may just amount to a regulatory offense, or maybe not even that. But then, only Su’s pattern of defending himself “reminds us”, i. e. UDN, of Chen Shui-bian, anyway.

The China Times, on the other hand, compares Su with Chen Shui-bian’s predecessor, Lee Teng-hui (李登輝, KMT chairman during his presidency, and a KMT member until some time after his last term as president). Lee is praised by the China Times for his steadfastness in defending farmland against legislators who wanted restrictions on land sales to be relaxed, back in 1998. Lee had backed government offices which opposed the motion, even if with limited or without success, the China Times seems to suggest.

“Limited farmland sales” became legal “under certain conditions”, in September 1998.

Defending the liberalization measures at the time, president Lee, himself an agricultural economist and former cabinet minister without portfolio, responsible for agriculture, called for reserving the remaining arable land for agricultural development which should follow the example of the Netherlands.

Land ownership, landuse rights and land seizures have remained a controversial issues in Taiwan. Only in July this year,

Hundreds of angry Taiwanese farmers staged a protest in Taipei overnight, demanding the government abandon proposals that would make it easier for their land to be forcibly turned over to developers,

reported AFP.

In that light, the allegations  against Su Jia-chyuan must be welcome news for the KMT headquarters. If they are going to evaporate or if they will pose a threat to his popularity remains to be seen. The China Times’ headline, too, is pregnant with election campaign issues – “Su Jia-chyuan doesn’t live up to Lee Teng-hui” (苏嘉全对不起李登辉), it reads.

Lee, no longer a KMT member, but now leader of a rather pan-green (i. e. opposition) party, was charged with embezzlement in summer this year, and his trial is scheduled to begin on Oct. 21.

Meantime, Tsai Ing-wen, DPP chairwoman and her party’s presidential candidate, has returned from a visit to Japan where she was “slighted” by Taiwan’s representative in Tokyo, John Feng (馮寄台), who picked up his wife at the airport instead – reportedly thirty minutes before Tsai’s arrival there.

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Related

» If King Ma Loses…, October 4, 2011

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

European Debt Crisis: How Germany can “Lead”

If in the future, Germany were asked to guarantee amounts beyond the current 211 billion Euros for the EFSF,  nothing would happen without the Bundestag’s (lower house of German parliament) approval, federal finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble told the Bundestag today. The members of parliament endorsed Germany’s current contribution to the EFSF, with most of the votes both from the governing coalition parties, and the opposition.

Many anglo-saxonian papers, such as the Economist, have told Germany’s government to “lead”, to restore creditors’ and investors’ trust in the Euro. The truth is that Germany can’t simply “lead” Europe. Our country is trusted to a surprising and encouraging degree, given the past century’s history, but the two world wars aren’t forgotten. Many comments, especially from Greek commenters on this thread on a Die Welt blog, may serve as indicators.

But what can the German government do?

Even if the governments of Greece, Italy, and Spain did everything it takes to restore trust in their Euroland share, politicians there could hardly resist to point out that it was “Germany” (as if there were no other European  states taking positions similar to Germany’s) which “imposed” the hardships. But without such commitment from the countries in crisis, contributions to the EFSF will not only be meaningless, but will become Finland’s, Germany’s, or the Netherlands’ burden, and wreck their public finances, too. Besides, Greece, Italy, and Spain will not only need to restore their financial status, but they will also need to rebuild their economies, i. e. their competitiveness. That, in fact, is a prerequisite for sound public finances.

It is obvious that not only the “southerners”, but Germans, too, will need to prepare for tougher times. Germany hasn’t yet balanced its own budget (let alone its pension systems). That’s an immediate task, and be it only to put  certain amounts of the saved money aside –  for a transfer union (because the countries in crisis won’t be able to rebuild their economies all alone), and to put aside further amounts should the countries in crisis – and many of their creditors – go bust.

To believe that there will be a European watchdog that will make sure that the southern states will live up to their commitments (if there should be commitments at all) is an illusion. Germany, along with other contributing countries, should provide funding for a transfer union for a limited period, just as the Taiwanese state provided its fledgling industries with a limited period of protectionism, decades ago. After a given period, the funding should stop – mercilessly – just as Taiwan removed protective barriers around its industries after a given period. Meantime, the southern countries should take the steps they – not a European agency or a contributing European country – believe to be useful.

If they succeed or not: time would be bought, the contributing countries could prepare for a time after a break-up of Euroland (if the Eurozone should prove to be unsustainable), so could the creditors, and noone could seriously accuse the contributing countries (especially Germany, the whipping kid of many southerners’ choice) of accroaching a hegemonic role over other sovereign states.

For many reasons, we should see ourselves in the same boat as Greece, Italy, or Spain. As long as our trade with the three, and many other trade-deficit countries didn’t appear to pose obvious problems, people here in Germany didn’t ask too many questions, either. If we want to be true Europeans, we can be just that, and leave it to our fellow Europeans if they want to be “EU-Europeans”, too, and do their share of the work.

These steps wouldn’t only help to restore trust within the financial markets. They would also provide some peace of mind among those EU member states which aren’t yet members of the Eurozone. They could stay on the sidelines and wait if the day to join will ever come.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Prince Claus Fund honors Woeser

The Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development (Amsterdam) has named Chimurenga, a pan-African magazine library, this year’s principal prize winner. Among the other ten winners is Tsering Woeser, a quarter-Han, three-quarter Tibetan poet who was born in Lhasa and who lives in Beijing.

Woeser is honoured for her courage in speaking for those who are silenced and oppressed, for her compelling combination of literary quality and political reportage, for recording, articulating and supporting Tibetan culture, and for her active commitment to self-determination, freedom and development in Tibet,

writes the fund.

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Related

» Zap zap jé, October 16, 2009
» Zhang Jun: Lobbying against the Dalai Lama, May 7, 2009
» Prince Claus of the Netherlands, Wikipedia

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

America, China, and the “Sanya Initiative”: too Together

There have been natural tendencies within the executive branch of America’s government to write Taiwan off, according to an article published at Taiwan Link which explores the reasons for the Obama administration’s apparent reluctance to clear pending arms sales to Taiwan. The Sanya Initiative is mentioned as a forum where Beijing had successfully influenced retired military officials, including Joseph Prueher, an admiral and U.S. ambassador to China from 1999 to 2001. In an op-ed for the New York Times in October 2009, the Sanya Initiative was described by Mark Brzezinski and  Mark Fung as an important program that brings together retired service chiefs from each of the armed forces of the U.S. and China.

The Taiwan Link article does not seem to take the possibility into account that the U.S. administration may currently try to avoid an open arms race with China in the Western Pacific, at least for now. But then, the F-16 fighter jets requested by Taipei would be bought and paid for by Taiwan, not by America. The same would apply when it comes to supplies of diesel electric submarines. Those, however, may not be available without Dutch and German cooperation, and Beijing seems to count on a European reluctance to take part in such cooperation.

This “division of labor” – America confronting China if need be, and other democracies or opponents of Chinese hegemony just standing by, keeping  their fingers crossed but doing business as usual with China themselves is not sustainable. America needed to remain engaged in Asia to balance China’s military and economic might, Singapore’s elder statesman and minister mentor Lee Kuan Yew suggested in November 2009. Which is actually happening, when it comes to Japan’s, Vietnam’s, and maybe South Korea’s opposition to Chinese hegemony. But each of these countries, plus Singapore, would need to contribute to make such an engagement sustainable. The European Parliament, more friendly towards Taiwan than most European national governments or the EU commission, could promote more active relations with Taiwan as a first step to help beefing up its defense by arms supplies.

For now, U.S. Congress may be able to help secure the immediate arms supplies to Taiwan currently discussed, as the Taiwan Link article points out. But other democratic countries, too, need to remember that there is something fundamental which they have in common with Taiwan, and which separates them from China. It’s important that America remembers that, too – but just America alone may not be able to maintain a pro-Taiwan policy in the long run.

Taiwan doesn’t threaten China. But China, a totalitarian country, threatens Taiwan. It may be convenient for ASEAN, East Asia, or Europe, to ignore the problem, but that wouldn’t be a far-sighted policy.

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