Posts tagged ‘Poland’

Friday, May 23, 2014

FYI

This – JR’s China Blog – is now a veteran blog. Thinking about it, I probably agree with FOARP, and I also agree that sometimes, blogs remain an adequate form to write about things at (some) length. Like this post about how it may feel when you come back to China after a break of several years.

Bremen-Hemelingen, May 2014

No matter where you are, there’s something Chinese in every picture: Bremen-Hemelingen, May 2014

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Related

» Once Upon a Time, Dec 25, 2009

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Russia Today: the Failed State of Germany

Russian president Vladimir Putin lives in another world, possibly not in touch with reality, German chancellor Angela Merkel – reportedly – believes.

That may or may not be so. But if Foarp is right, there are people at Russia Today, the newly created propaganda machine into which RIA Novosti and the Voice of Russia have now been blended together by a presidential decree, lives who live in a world where Germany is a failed state.

It’s an old story (occured in 2011), but one that hasn’t ended since. Nice stuff therefore for a debate about Westerners working for mere state propaganda outlets, and what they may find there. If you want to comment, please comment there.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Whale Watching: Foarp is Back

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Winter keeps coming and going here – it’s by no means as cold and lasting as the two previous cold seasons, but whenever you start believing that the roads are safe now, there’s another instalment.

Intermittent showers

Intermittent showers

Still better than freezing rain, though. And the view is beautiful.

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Talking about beautiful views, and before this dear reader starts complaining about a missing picture, here’s another beautiful view:

It don't matter if you're black or white

It don’t matter if you’re black or white

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And there’s some whale watching been going on on the Pacific.

pingping_rules_da_waves

Just wondering if anything like that one was among them.

And Foarp is back with a new post, after four months of silence. I had almost stopped following his blog.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The BoZhu Interviews: Germany’s and Japan’s post-war image -

Tai De about war crimes, popular narratives, foreignness, and soft power

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« Previous Interview: MKL, July 13, 2012

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The following is a spontaneous, unplanned BoZhu interview with Tai De, a civil servant from Verden. It’s actually the second interview with him, after a more general one about his blog, about a year ago.

Tai De studied history. His pattern of thought is that of a historian – but he wants me to write a word of warning in advance: he is no particular “expert” on Japan or on the Far East.

Our interview – originally rather a discussion – came up this afternoon after I listened to the memories of William Shawcross, son of the British chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials, on Radio Australia‘s shortwave service this afternoon.

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Q: When listening to Anglo-American media, I’m getting the impression that we (Germans) get away with a much more positive image despite the Nazi crimes and WW2, than them (the Japanese). What’s your impression?

A: Quite so.

Q: Do you have an explanation for that?

A: I don’t think there’s that one explanation which can say it all.

Q: To start with something: do the Americans or British see Germans as part of the family? Sort of distant relatives? Like: “Yes, they committed heinous crimes, but …”

A: The outset after the war was the same after VE day and VA day, in terms of geostrategic interest – America needed West Germany, and America needed Japan. Britain didn’t mind an anti-Soviet bulwark in central or Europe either. I can’t generalize Anglo-American perceptions of either Germans or Japanese people. But as far as my favourite trash history novelist is concerned, …

Q: … Alexander Kent, …

A: … you can sense his attitude towards the Japanese – I think I can, anyway. I may be wrong, of course.

Q: German gentleman criminals, Japanese low-class criminals?

A: Oh, he definitely doesn’t get trapped in that kind of concept. But there’s that Japanese foreignness. And there’s that incredible Japanese brutality against allied prisoners of war – and the brutality of their warfare.

Q: German crimes were no smaller, were they?

A: No, they weren’t smaller. The German war was a war of extermination.  The industrialized annihilation of millions of people. But when it comes to our international image, a lot of that brutal German energy was directed against Germans, not Americans or British people.  The annihilation of Jews in particular, but other minorities, too. And communists, social democrats, also very blanketly.  As far as Alexander Kent is concerned, you also see a clear division of roles, in Germany’s case. The basically good – and very brave – Wehrmacht or navy officer on the one hand, and the coward, brutal, lower-class Gestapo policeman or SS man on the other. You don’t have that difference when it comes to the depiction of Japan. There’s no “Samurai”, no gentleman warrior. And if there was a “Samurai” depiction, it would have to be the kind of perpetrator who’d behead American or British POW from the platform of a truck, just by holding his sword out while passing rows of POWs on their death march.
Mind you, that’s not necessarily an accurate depiction of a Japanese soldier – but it’s become a picture of symbolic power. There were British and American pilots murdered by Germans, too, but not that systematically. And not that – how can I put this? – the war in Europe didn’t become that personal. Not between unoccupied countries and Germans, anyway.

Q: Were Allied prisoners of war traumatized? Did they face more brutality than what they would have expected from the Japanese?

A: Maybe not before the first atrocities – against non-Asians, I should add – became known. But initially, yes. I can’t tell how familiar they were with the way the Japanese forces treated Asians – but they probably didn’t expect that their service people would be treated similarly – that civilians with their forces would be forced into prostitution, for example.

Q: Japanese brutality spelled foreignness?

A: That’s one side of it, I think. And the other is the decades after the war. I mentioned the Samurai. But there was no such positive Japanese symbol, at least not in the Western narrative. Very different from the way Germany was depicted. And that’s a matter of symbolic gestures. Maybe Japan did make gestures, but not of the kind America, Australia, or Britain would easily understand. Emperor Hirohito looks quite good in some of their narratives, as a man who assumes “responsibility” for Japan’s crimes. But that was immediately after the end of the hostilities. The Japanese were under huge objective pressure then. But later on, after the pressure had eased, they never managed to do something highly symbolic – not in a Western sense, anyway.

Q: Like Willy Brandt dropping to his knees before the Warsaw Ghetto Monument?

A: Exactly. I’m not saying that Willy Brandt changed everything – but he had a huge effect on our national image abroad. For one, he hadn’t been involved – he had actually been underground in Norway during the war. But he was a German. “A symbol for a different Germany”, as they say.
He didn’t do because of his personal record. I don’t know what exactly made him kneel – all I know is that he made an allusion later, when reacting to criticism from the BILD-Zeitung, stuff like “one must only kneel before God”. He only reacted in private, and one of his ministers recalled it in 1992, after Brandt’s death. Brandt said that those journalists had no idea before whom he had kneeled.
But when it comes to Japan…  if there was resistance among the Japanese during the war – and I suppose there was – we may never know about these people.

Talking about Willy Brandt – there was his Neue Ostpolitik, too, for the obvious reason that Germany was divided. The Ostpolitik was a symbol of hope – not only for Germans, by the way, but for all of Europe – and it was really powerful. With really honest intentions – and skills – the social democrats and the liberals in Germany made the best of it. They turned our calamities into moral strength. You write a lot about soft power, don’t you? That was soft power. Brandt was about soft power. Olof Palme, too, in his own way, from Sweden. German partition was a price Germany had to pay – that division of our country. Territorial losses, too. In Asia, it was – and still is – Korea who has to live with partition. Not Japan. That could matter, too.

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Related

» Nanking Massacre, Wikipedia, acc. Dec 14, 2012
» Lev Kopelev: No Easy Solution, April 11, 2009
» All BoZhu Interviews

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

China’s Claim on the Senkakus: Liu Xiaoming’s Daily Telegraph Article in Full (probably)

PRC ambassador to Britain, Liu Xiaoming (刘晓明), wrote an article for the Daily Telegraph, published online by the Telegraph on Wednesday, and by China News Service on Thursday.

The following is no translation in full, but you will find the full Chinese wording – according to China News Service – here.

The Telegraph version is shorter, and the emphasis is at times different, too. China News Service says that their version is the ambassador’s article in full. The following paragraphs are excerpts from the Chinese and the Telegraph versions.

Liu Xiaoming’s article for the Daily Telegraph, as quoted by China News Service online:

My first post as an ambassador was in Egypt. This ancient and beautiful country left many unforgettable memories, among them, the Mena House Hotel at the feet of the Cheops Pyramid, where the Cairo meeting was held. On November 27, 1943, it was here that the heads of China, Britain and America discussed the Japanese war and post-war order and plans, and produced the “Cairo Declaration”.

我首次担任驻外大使是在埃及。这个古老美丽的国度给我留下了许多难忘的记忆,其中包括我多次访问过的金字塔脚下不远的开罗会议故址——米那豪斯饭店。1943年11月27日,就是在这里,中国、英国和美国三国首脑共同商讨对日作战和战后国际秩序重建大计,并发表了举世瞩目的《开罗宣言》。

According to the Daily Telegraph:

My first ambassadorial post was to Egypt. I have many memories of this ancient and beautiful country. One is the Mena House Hotel, which I visited many times. Situated at the foot of the spectacular Cheops Pyramid, the hotel is the venue that produced the famous Cairo Declaration. It was published on 27 November 1943 after discussions between the leaders of China, Britain and the United States, and was the master plan for rebuilding international order following the war with Nazi Germany and Japan.

[...]

China News Service online:

History does not tolerate the reversal of a verdict. The Second World War brought deep suffering to many people, which cannot be forgotten. China and Britain have both suffered from fascism, which has deeply influenced them. Chinese and British forces once were in the battlefield, resisting and attacking Japanese fascism shoulder to shoulder, and made major contributions to the world’s victory over fascism. To acknowledge the results of the victory over fascism, to protect the post-war order, and to defend the “United Nations Charter’s” goals and principles is the common responsibility of Chinese and British society.

历史不容翻案。第二次世界大战给人类带来的深重灾难不容忘记。中英两国都是法西斯主义的受害者,对二战感同深受。中英两国军队曾在战场上并肩抗击日本法西斯,为世界反法西斯正义战争取得胜利做出了重要贡献。肯定反法西斯战争胜利成果,维护战后国际秩序,捍卫《联合国宪章》的宗旨和原则,是中英两国和国际社会的共同责任。

Daily Telegraph:

History shall not be reversed. We must not forget the untold sufferings incurred during World War II. China and Britain are both victims of fascism. We have shared memories and pains. Chinese and British troops fought side by side on the battleground against Japanese military fascism. It is the common responsibility of China and Britain and the entire international community to reaffirm the outcomes of the war against fascism and maintain the post-war international order.

China News Service:

German chancellor Brandt’s courage to kneel in Warsaw and his sincerity won Germany new trust and respect, in contrast to Japan, which lost the war, too, but never abandoned its historical baggage, which didn’t deeply reflect on its war crimes, which didn’t sincerely apologize, but rather tried to reverse history. This not only makes it hard to be trusted by its neighbors, but also keeps it from being forgiven by the world.

德国勃兰特总理“华沙一跪”的勇气与真诚为德国重新赢得信任与尊重,与之形成鲜明对比,同是战败国的日本却死背历史包袱不放,对其战争罪行缺乏深刻反省,没有真诚道歉,反而企图对历史翻案,这不仅难以取信于邻,更得不到世界人民的原谅。

Daily Telegraph:

Nazism was born in Germany. On December 7, 1970, West German Chancellor Willy Brandt travelled to Poland and dropped to his knees before the monument to the Warsaw Ghetto uprising of 1943. Many in the world were deeply moved by this famous gesture of repentance and apology. The extraordinary courage and sincerity of Germany won it trust and respect.

[...]

The last paragraphs of the China News Service version are much more lengthy and angry than the one published by the Daily Telegraph. Other paragraphs may differ from version to version, too – I just translated the ones that caught my eye right away.

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Related

» Hawaii, not Pearl Harbor, Sep 7, 2012

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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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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

How can we keep Franco-German Relations “Natural”?

nannynewsnannynews --

The German chancellor held an unprecedented joint TV interview with the embattled French president, and said it was only “natural” to support a fellow conservative,

the Telegraph quotes Angela Merkel. But if that’s so natural, why did no previous German chancellor get involved in French elections?

Gerhard Schröder probably came closest to that kind of brazen interference in French internal affairs when he

pitched into the French domestic debate in 2005, telling French voters that

We will reproach ourselves later if we let slip this historic opportunity to advance Europe [...]  Our children, our children’s children, will reproach us. France and Germany have a very special responsibility for the success of this process.

That, however, was a European topic – a “constitutional treaty” for Europe, frequently referred to as a “constitution”. And if Schröder didn’t damage then French president Jacques Chirac‘s and their common cause, he didn’t really help it either: on May 29, 2005, a majority of voters rejected the treaty anyway.

If  François Hollande, Mr. Sarkozy’s socialist challenger, will win the presidential elections is a big “if” anyway – especially if the Front National’s frontwoman, Marine Le Pen, shouldn’t manage to gather 500 signatures from elected officials. Most of those who would vote for her otherwise are more likely to vote for Sarkozy, if the only alternatives are further to the left.

But if Hollande should win, Merkel will have to work with a new French president – one whom she will have snubbed only months earlier.

Under these somewhat unfortunate circumstances, JR sees no other choice but to throw himself into French internal affairs, too. My advice would be that Mr. Hollande should be generous, and, if he happens to defeat Mr. Sarkozy, dedicate a few lines of his victory speech to the German chancellor, for loosening up what could otherwise be a somewhat cool beginning. He might say something like:

Thank you – thank you all. I would also like to thank Mrs. Merkel, who didn’t fail to contribute to this wonderful election result. I’m looking forward to our cooperation in the coming months and years, which, I’m sure, will be as fruitful and effective as it has been to date. Nothing is lost for Europe, if we continue to work side by side.

Everything else will develop naturally. Hollande may not be exactly as keen as Sarkozy to strangle Greece’s economy into oblivion (or out of the Eurozone), but Eastern Europeans will probably see to  that.

To date, all French and German leaders have found ways to work together – after 1949, anyway. This isn’t going to change, even if the French people should dare to part the current dream team.

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