Posts tagged ‘Obama’

Sunday, February 23, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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


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。

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.”


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.”




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


Monday, September 9, 2013

Why America needs to act on Syria



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

Monday, July 1, 2013

Journalism under Attack


Glenn Greenwald talking to the Socialism Conference in Chicago on June 29.



Transcript there.

From the introduction (not part of Greenwald’s talk):

There are people in our society who have remained consistent under Democrats and Republicans, who put principle over partisanship, who have committed to being the same people that they are, whether a Democrat is in office, or a Republican is in office.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Snowden Press Review – VoA Chinese: a Super-Charged Stink Bomb / “Global Times”: no Face-Losing Outcome for China

Several hundred Hong Kongers held demonstrations during the weekend, demanding that Edward Snowden should not be extradited, and that the SAR government should protect him, Xinhua reports. (The South China Morning Post, SCMP, reported on Saturday that members of the League of Social Democrats marched from the HSBC headquarters to the U.S. consulate on Friday, and Xinhua’s report may refer to this demonstration.) According to opinion polls quoted by Xinhua (via SCMP), half of Hong Kongers opposed the idea of repatriating (遣返) Snowden, and only 17.6 percent supported the idea. A Ming Pao editorial of June 16 is quoted as calling on America to account to Hong Kong.

The Ming Pao article is behind a paywall, but the teaser refers to Snowden’s interview where he had said that the University of Hong Kong, officials, business people and even students had been targeted. Given that Hong Kong was not considered an enemy of the United States, and that it was no base area for sheltering terrorist elements, the SAR government had good reasons to lodge a protest with the American government and to make solemn representations. The American government must account to Hong Kong’s relevant parties, concerning the intrusions into Hong Kong computers.

Xinhua quotes the Voice of America (VoA) as saying that Snwoden had exploded a super-charged stink bomb (爆炸力超强的臭气弹), tainting Western companies, governments and officials with with a foul smell that would be hard to remove.

The main damage, the actual VoA online article (published on Friday) says, is political – so far, the NSA director, president Barack Obama, and congressional supporters of the existing laws and regulatons from both political parties hadn’t found a convincing response to the critics.

According to Xinhua, sympathy for Snowdon in the American media is declining rapidly – he was being criticized there for harming the national interest, and for having no professional integrity (批评其危害国家利益、没有职业道德的声音激增).

It’s a different story in Hong Kong, writes Xinhua, quoting “a page-spanning” SCMP headline  on Sunday, saying that according to opinion polls, Hong Kongers don’t want to hand Snowden over to America (民调显示,香港人不愿把斯诺登交给美方). 49.9 percent of those polled opposed or strongly opposed the idea. The survey had also found that 33 percent of the polled found that Snowden was a hero. This seems to be an accurate rendition of the actual SCMP article.

Xinhua’s press review is much longer than these excerpts, but at least in its first paragraphs, there seems to be no twist in its account.

The English-language “Global Times”, owned by the China-Daily Group, writes that extraditing Snowden would be a face-losing outcome for both the Hong Kong SAR government and the Chinese Central government. It would also be a disappointment for expectations around the world. The image of Hong Kong would be forever tarnished.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

CCTV’s Xinwen Lianbo: Edward Snowden coverage

Edward Snowden‘s statement that NSA spied on computers and networks in Hong Kong and mainland China is among the headlines mentioned at the beginning of CCTV‘s main daily newscast, Xinwen Lianbo, and gets an almost two-minutes’ slot towards the end of the program. CCTV quotes from a one-hour interview conducted by the South China Morning Post (SCMP).

Edward Snowden - is she surprised? Xinwen Lianbo co-anchor Li Ruiying

Is this presenter surprised? Xinwen Lianbo co-anchor Li Ruiying.

The headlines’ ranking lists usually depend on how high in Chinese protocol people “making” the news are – starting with party and state chairman Xi Jinping, even if the actual weight of his event is rather small. That’s why news like Snowden’s descriptions of NSA activity wouldn’t appear further up in the program.

Snowden’s comments may be a sweet-sour surprise for Beijing – sweet for supporting China’s claim that China, too, is a victim of hacking activities (which has been Beijing’s reply to U.S. criticism of alleged Chinese hacking attacks in the past), and sour, as Snowden’s stay in Hong Kong may strain relations with Washington – a relationship which are meant to become a new type of relations between big powers.

One outcome would appear hardly conceivable to me, though: that Snowden would be extradited – unless a court in Hong Kong makes such a decision. I’m not sure if the central government has a say in this (given its role in Hong Kong when it comes to diplomacy and defense issues), or if this will be for the Hong Kong courts alone to decide.

But if the decision is a homework for Beijing, extraditing Snowden would be hard to sell to the Chinese audience.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Essence of Big-Power Relations: the Chinese Definition in short

The BBC‘s monitoring service has a Chinese press review on the summit between U.S. president Barack Obama and Chinese party and state chairman Xi Jinping.

The Xinhua review linked by the BBC review actually goes somewhat further than the BBC’s account of it: the summit had designed (or drafted) a roadmap for a new era of Sino-American relations (为新时期中美关系的发展规划了蓝图). That said, two sentences further down, the Xinhua review kind of counterbalances this with a much more vague notion that a consensus between the two leaders on making joint efforts to build a new type of relations between big powers, to show mutual respect, and to cooperate in a mutually beneficial way, thus benefitting the people of their two countries and the people of the world. China and America, facing rapid economic globalization and the objective requirements of countries being in the same boat, should be able to take a road different from the history of great powers – a new road without clashes and antagonism. The Xinhua review the notion that China is the biggest developing country, and America is the biggest developed country. Facts had shown that cooperaton was mutually beneficial. Even if the political systems and development patterns were different, countries could set a good example of  peaceful coexistence and harmonious relations. All the same,

it cannot be denied that differences in terms of societal system, development stage, history, culture and tradition do exist between China and America, which make the relationship between the two countries exceptionally complex. This is exactly why chairman Xi Jinping says that the establishment of a a new type of relations between big powers is unprecedented and for generations to come [this should be the correct translation if 后起来者 is meant - I'm not sure about the actually used term 后启来者].


The talk about unprecedented (tasks) preceded the summit – Chinese ambassador Cui Tiankai was quoted with quite the same wording ahead of the summit.

The People’s Daily editorials or commentaries linked by the BBC can’t be loaded at the moment. However, there seem to bee different opinions among People’s Daily’s editorialists – one suggesting that this was the beginning of a new era, and one (in the overseas edition) suggesting that building a normal relationship among major powers wouldn’t be easy, and one without distrust would be impossible (unless the U.S. changed their ways, that is).

Chinese coverage – before and after the summit – seems to suggest that the summit was a stage in a Chinese initiative to win America over to a constructive role in building a more harmonious world. Obviously, this would mean that a “failed” summit would be a loss of face for Xi Jinping – although there would have been ways to sell this to the Chinese public reasonably successfully, as a failure of the usual American suspects.

What seems to support the perception of the summit as the result of Chinese efforts is that the Chinese side came with a “vision” – Obama came with issues, such as cyber attacks. Chinese core interests (such as Taiwan or the South China Sea) don’t feature prominently. But there would be no American-Chinese summit without such issues – that they aren’t in the headlines for the sake of “atmosphere” does not mean that they were absent in the talks. But at least to the public, they were communicated rather low-key on this occasion.

Hong Kong’s Phoenix/Ifeng television and media company quotes the Beijing News (新京报) as saying that Xi addressed the Senkaku Islands (Diaoyutai) and the South China Sea issues as well as the “Taiwan issue”, cyber security and the Korean nuclear issue. There are excerpts from a press conference (or briefing, 吹风会), too, held by former Chinese foreign minister (until March this year) and current secretary of the Foreign Affairs Leading Small Group of the Communist Party of China Yang Jiechi (Yang apparently made his statements the Hyatt Hotel, where the Chinese side stayed during the summit):

Q: What’s at the core of the new type of big-power relations between China and America?


A: Yang Jiechi said that the two leaders agree to making joint efforts to build big-power relations of a new type between China and America, with mutual respect and mutually beneficial cooperation. This is an important consensus reached by both sides, with their minds set on the international situation and the future development of Sino-American relations. This represents [the fact that] the two countries don’t take the road of history, with clashes and antagonism, but initiate a new model of big-power relatoins, a historic undertaking of  political wisdom.


Yang Jiechi said that as chairman Xi pointed out, China and America are the world’s most influential countries, and should therefore set an example of how to handle big-power relations. President Obama said that America welcomes China as a great power that continues peaceful development, and that a peaceful, stable and prosperous China isn’t only beneficial for China, but also for America, and for the world. America hopes to maintain strong cooperational relations with China, in an equal partnership.


Yang Jiechi said that three lines by chairman Xi during the summit provided an incisive summary:


1. No clashes, no confrontation. Treat each other’s strategic intentions objectively and reasonably, maintain partnership, not rivalry, handle contradictions and differences by dialog and cooperation, and not by clashes and confrontation.


2. Mutual respect. That’s to respect each other’s chosen societal system and development path, each other’s core interests and major concerns, to seek common ground while reserving differences, show tolerance and learn from each other, and make progress together.


3. Mutually beneficial cooperation. That’s to abandon zero-sum concepts, take the other’s benefit into account while seeking your own benefit, advance common development while pursuing your own development, and keep deepening the beneficial integrational pattern.


Yang Jiechi said that concerning the implementation of the spirit of the new type of big-power relations, chairman Xi had advanced a four-point proposal:


1. To raise the level of dialog and mutual trust, multilateral forums such as the G-20 meetings and APEC and all the other more than ninety inter-governmental forums should be used skillfully.


2. New fields of cooperation should be initiated. America should take active measures to ease restrictions on high-tech exports to China, to promote the structures of trade and investment between the two countries into a more balanced direction of development.


3. To establish a new methodology of interaction between big powers, the two sides should maintain close coordination and cooperation on issues like the situation on the Korean peninsula, Afghanistan and other international and regional hotspot issues, and strengthen cooperation in combating sea piracy, transnational crime, peacekeeping, disaster relief and prevention, cybersecurity, climate change, space security and other fields of cooperaton.


4. Explore new ways of managing and controlling differences, and actively build a new military relationship that corresponds with the new type of big-power relations. President Obama responded positively and said that America attaches great importance to American-Chinese relations, and that America wants to build a new pattern of cooperation between countries on the foundation of mutual benefit and mutual respect, and to jointly respond to global challenges.


Yang Jiechi said that in short, China hopes that China and America will make joint efforts to firmly and unwervingly advance the building of a new type of big-power relations, along the lines designated by the two countries’ leaders.


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Unharmonious First Lady?

Michelle Obama‘s absence from the American-Chinese summit in California was a diplomatic misstep, Daniel W. Drezner, a professor of international politics at  the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, argued on Foreign Policy  (behind a registration wall, possibly). Her absence was an own-goal, Drezner believes, because this was one of the rather few occasions where she could really have  mattered in the world of politics. Too many Chinese might be disappointed that America’s first lady didn’t meet up with China’s first lady, Peng Liyuan.

Reportedly, Mrs Obama wanted to stay in Washington, to celebrate the birthday of one of her daughters.

Isaac Stone Fish disagreed with Drezner’s criticism. He referred to the songs Peng used to sing in full PLA gear, and especially this song, where she pretended to be Tibetan, lauding the PLA for “liberating” Tibet.



» Domestic Responsibilities, SMH, June 7, 2013
» The only Disharmony, May 27, 2013


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