Posts tagged ‘science’

Friday, October 3, 2014

Spanish Foreign Radio abandons Shortwave, and Opportunities

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Radio Exterior de Espana (REE/RTVE) plans to close down its shortwave radio transmission site near Noblejas. This means that Spanish foreign radio would no longer be on shortwave at all. There had been guesses that REE shortwave would close down on September 30. Now, it is suggested that broadcasting may continue until mid-October, according to Glenn Hauser‘s audio magazine World of Radio, October 2 edition (downloads here).

Some places are too slow for online streaming

Some places are too slow for online streaming

One may wonder how many means of communications are abandoned because they aren’t considered cool anymore. And one may also wonder how many things may be kept in use without a great deal of debate because their virtues seem go without saying.

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The World doesn’t revolve around Europe

It depends on where you are. When it comes to shortwave broadcasting, it depends on whether you are in Europe, or whether you are in Asia. Try the cheapest shortwave receiver you can lay your hands on, wherever in this world you may currently be, and you will get tons of signals from China – some from the domestic service for the need to reach remote areas within the country, some for the external service China Radio International (CRI), and some simply to jam “hostile” stations like Falun-Gong operated shortwave transmissions from Taiwan.

Either way, Beijing demonstrates that shortwave matters in China.

India, too, depends on shortwave for reaching remote territories within the country (and in some areas, Naxalite activities, too, may make it advisable to bridge certain distances by AM signals, be it medium- or shortwave). According to Adventist World Radio‘s (AWR) Wavescan program on August 10, quoting statistics from four years earlier, All India Radio (AIR), the country’s main radio network, operated 54 shortwave transmitters, 149 medium-wave transmitters and 172 FM transmitters in about 2010.

Time will show how serious DRM – digital radio mondiale – will get as a technology in India – four years ago, there were discussions to convert some ten percent of the existing shortwave transmitters to DRM capability.

On the 2014  National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters (NASB), an American organization, George Ross, frequency manager at the shortwave broadcasting station KTWR in Guam, told an audience that besides India, the largest group of listeners to the station’s DRM shortwave signals were Japanese. On August 31, AWR broadcasted excerpts of the talk earlier this year in Greenville, N.C., where Ross enthused about India going DRM – and how Japanese shortwave listeners responded to tests actually targeted at India. It was also Japanese listeners, according to Ross, who conducted a survey that eventually justified KTWR DRM broadcasts in Japanese.

If there is an industrialized country where shortwave still matters, it’s Japan. The survey provided from KTWR’s Japanese listeners suggested that there would be 11,000 listeners to Japanese DRM broadcasts from Guam right away, with a lot of growth potential once such broadcasts began. The two most likely locations in Asia where shortwave would be listened to, in Ross’ view, were India and Japan.

The story wouldn’t be complete without mentioning that both Jeff White the producer of Wavescan, and George Ross, are dedicated to shortwave. Jeff White owns WRMI, a shortwave station in Florida, and both he and George Ross take a great interest in DRM as a measure to make signals both more reliable and much more energy-efficient. If Indians will start to use DRM receivers to a large scale any time soon, if a critical number of Indian listeners can afford DRM receivers or if the Indian state would subsidize DRM-ization of the audience side remains to be seen – these are a lot of “ifs”.

But to me, the most thought-provoking issue here isn’t if the future of shortwave will be analog or digital. It is that there seems to be a future for shortwave at all. And what is even more food for thought to me is that India, Japan and China are places where shortwave broadcasting matters and where it continues to matter. Places where – according to conventional wisdom – the future is.

 

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Where’s the Strategy?

Rhein-Main-Radio-Club from Frankfurt, confirming a broadcast via HCJB Weenermoor, a 1.5 kW transmitter in northwestermost Germany.

Rhein-Main-Radio-Club from Frankfurt, confirming a broadcast via HCJB Weenermoor, a 1.5 kW transmitter in northwestermost Germany

When Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, discontinued shortwave both to Europe and to the Far East, at least they had a strategy. It wasn’t a smart one – or, at any rate, to tell the world that old listeners didn’t matter anymore – unless they were opinion formers or opinion leaders in the target areas (guys considered to have regular access to the internet) doesn’t look terribly smart to me. You can be pretty sure that many of those people who are going to make big decisions in China tomorrow do not have access to the internet today.

But REE doesn’t even seem to have a strategy at all. They just want to save – reportedly – 1.2 million euros per year. That’s why they want to close down their shortwave transmission site.

That’s no intelligent decision. And at home, it isn’t helpful either.

After all, shortwave is technology that is easy to grasp, even for absolute beginners. If engineering is an interest Spain wants to encourage among the kids, to throw shortwave away looks like no great idea. To retain existing listeners is much more effective than gaining new ones – although the latter business shouldn’t be neglected either.

In terms of tech, it’s hardly a coincidence that Japan is one of the most avidly shortwave-listening countries. Nor does it look like a coincidence that Germans, people from a comparatively successful economy, on a private basis, keep their country on the shortwave map with a number of small shortwave transmissions (rule of thumb: 1 kW-transmitters).

In the words of Ralph E. Gomory, a mathematician from the U.S.,

[w]e need successful industries and we need to innovate within them to keep them thriving.

Gomory didn’t mean to make a case for shortwave. But if you want to keep an interest in technology awake, among the public in general, and among the young in particular, make sure that there’s applied, easily comprehensible communications technology around.In that light, even during times of economic and political troubles, a transmitting site like Noblejas should be considered an opportunity, not a liability.

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Related

» A new SDR receiver, Oct 2, 2014
» A chat with the International Space Station (German), Merkur Online, June 29, 2014
» HAM Flower, Idealli, June 2008

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Obituary: Julian Anderson, 1962 – 2014

Julian Anderson, an avid shortwave listener in Buenos Aires, Argentina, died on Wednesday, according to Glenn Hauser‘s audio magazine World of Radio as recorded and aired today. Anderson’s name was known to people who were interested in shortwave radio and who were always looking for information and advice, particularly in the days prior to the internet. From January 1988 to August 1992, Anderson published 51 volumes of a news bulletin on Latin American radio, Pampas DXing. With another radio fan, late Gabriel Ivan Barrera from Chile, he also published a number of editions of Latin American Radio World – Home Service Stations, and The Art of Latin American QSLing. Publications like these, often quoted overseas, helped listeners elsewhere in the world to understand what was going on on Latin American frequencies.

This was typical after-hours work of highly dedicated radioaficionados at a time when the easiest (or only) ways to keep people connected and information flowing were the phone, possibly a fax machine, and shortwave radio.

La Galena del Sur, a blog from Uruguay, contains a number of photos from the 1970s and 1980s, featuring a number of  active – and renowned, among shortwave listeners – South American radio fans, including Julian Anderson. The Galena blogger, Horacio A. Nigro, posted the news about Anderson’s passing on Facebook on Wednesday, according to World of Radio.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sino-Venezuelan Relations: Locomoted by Finance and Investment, with Energy Cooperation as the Main Axis‏

China’s party and state leader Xi Jinping, in his capacity as state chairman, had talks in a frank and friendly atmosphere with Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro on July 20, according to People’s Daily online, and reached a broad consensus. They unanimously decided to promote Sino-Venezuelan relations further, to a level of a comprehensive strategic partnership.

Xi Jinping pointed out that China and Venezuela are good friends and double-win partners with trust in each other. We cherish the memory of former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for making important contributions to the development of Sino-Venezuelan relations, and we appreciate how President Nicolas Maduro continues Chavez’ friendly policies towards China. On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between [our] two countries, Sino-Venezuelan relations can take over from the past and carry it forward into the important stage of the [near] future. We unanimously agree to promote the relations of [our] two countries relations to a level of comprehensive strategic partnership, comprehensive cooperation, mutual benefit and common development. Xi Jinping put forward four proposals.

习 近平指出,中委是相互信任的好朋友和互利共赢的好伙伴。我们缅怀委内瑞拉前总统查韦斯为发展中委关系作出的重要贡献,赞赏马杜罗总统继承查韦斯对华友好政 策。在两国建交40周年之际,中委关系处在承前启后、继往开来的重要阶段。我们一致同意,将两国关系提升为全面战略伙伴关系,其内涵为战略互信、全面合 作、互利共赢、共同发展。习近平提出4点建议。

1. Grasp the general situation. The two heads of states should maintain regular contact, strengthen interaction between the two counties’ governments, political parties, legislative bodies, strengthen strategic planning, deepen mutual political trust, and to continue each other concerning issues of each others’ core interests.

第一,把握大局。两国元首要保持经常性接触,两国政府、政党、立法机关加强交往,加强战略规划,深化政治互信,在涉及彼此核心利益的问题上继续相互支持。

2. Lay emphasis on substantial results. Strengthen the top-level design of the two countries’ cooperation, both in terms of forging ahead with determination and pioneering courage, and in terms of pragmatism and efficiency, advancing in an orderly fashion, by maintaining mutual benefit and common progress, deepening the integration of interests, locomoted by finance and investment, with energy-sector cooperation as the main axis, and multiple wheels turning at the same time. Both sides should make good use of financing cooperation systems, advance mineral production, the construction of infrastructure and facilities, cooperation in science and technology, and, at an early date, the construction of agricultural demonstration parks. The Chinese side would like to increase the transfer of satellite technology to Venezuela, and encourages capable Chinese companies to actively participate in the construction of Venezuelan special economic zones.

第二,注重实效。加强两国合作顶层设计,既要锐意进取、勇于开拓,又要务实高效、循序渐进,坚持互利互惠,深化利益融合,以金融和投资为引擎,以能源合作 为主轴,多个轮子一起转。双方要用好融资合作机制,推进矿产、基础设施建设、科技合作,尽早启动农业示范园建设。中方愿加大对委方卫星技术转让,鼓励有实 力的中国企业积极参与委内瑞拉经济特区建设。

3. Expanding exchanges. With the anniversary of 40 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries as an [auspicious] moment, cultural, educational and media cooperation should enhance the Sino-Venezuelan foundations of the friendly popular will.

第三,扩大交流。要以两国建交40周年为契机,促进文化、教育、旅游、媒体合作,夯实中委友好民意基础。

4. Awareness of the overall situation. Sino-Venezuelan relations should be put into the general Sino-Latin-American relations, the united cooperation of developing countries, and the plans of global peaceful development. I appreciate President Maduros participation and important proposals in the BRIC countries’ meeting with the South American Leaders’ Forum and Sino-Latin-American Leaders’ Meeting. China wants to build the Sino-Latin-American Forum and promote comprehensive Sino-Latin-American cooperation together with Venezuela.  The two sides should strengthen and coordinate cooperation concerning global economic governance, energy security, climate change, and other international issues and deliver a stronger voice of developing countries to the international community, promoting more attention of the international order for development into a more just and reasonable direction.

第四,着眼全局。把中委关系放在中拉关系全局、发展中国家团结合作、世界和平发展大局中谋划。我赞赏马杜罗总统出席金砖国家同南美国家领导人对话会和中拉 领导人会晤并提出重要建议。中方愿意同委方一道,建设好中拉论坛,推进中拉整体合作。双方还要就全球经济治理、能源安全、气候变化等国际事务加强协调配 合,向国际社会更多传递发展中国家声音,推动国际秩序朝着更加公正合理方向发展。

Maduro is quoted by People’s Daily online as confirming the trust between Venezuela and China and agreement on many important issues (两国对许多重大问题看法一致). He is also quoted as expressing Venezuelan appreciation of Chinese long history and culture, admiration for the great achievements made by socialism with Chinese characteristics (我们欣赏中国悠久的历史文化,钦佩中国特色社会主义事业取得的伟大成就), and a firm belief that China would play a great role in promoting world peace and development.

We will firmly carry the will of Hugo Chavez forward, and strengthen security cooperation with China from a strategic height. I absolutely appreciate the proposals made by Chairman Xi Jinping, I hope to maintain a close relationship with Chairman Xi Jinping, to promote the cooperation between [our] two countries. Venezuela welcomes expanded investment by Chinese companies and their participation in the development of the petrochemical industry and projects such as special economic zones. During the meeting of Chinese and Latin American leaders a few days ago, Chairman Xi Jinping’s important proposals and motions for the strengthening of cooperation had milestone character. They will vigorously advance the common development of Latin America and China. Venezuela firmly supports the establishment of the Latin-America-China-Forum, and wants to make active contributions to Latin-American-Chinese relations.

我们将坚定继承查韦斯遗愿,从战略高度加强同中国的全面合作。我完全赞赏习近平主席提出的建议,希望同习近平主席保持密切联系,推进两国合作。委方欢迎中 国企业扩大对委内瑞拉投资,参与石化产业和经济特区开发等项目。习近平主席几天前在中拉领导人会晤中就加强拉中整体合作提出的重要主张和举措具有里程碑意 义,将有力促进拉中共同发展。委方坚定支持成立中拉论坛,愿意为推动拉中关系作出积极贡献。

Wang Huning (王沪宁), Li Zhanshu (栗战书), Yang Jiechi (杨洁篪) and others attended the talks.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wu Ping, 1957 – 2014: a Car Crash and its Story in the Press

Wu Ping (吴平), vice president of Zhejiang University, was killed in an automobile accident in the city of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province last Thursday, June 12.  China Radio International (CRI) didn’t give details of the accident in its news report published on the same day, but one day later, China Daily described surveillance footage from the scene of the accident, Hangzhou Western Beltway, according to which, Wu almost missed the exit where he wanted to leave the beltway and head to the university. 

The footage, published on websites like sina.com, suggests that Wu Ping cut into a truck’s safety zone, long after the opportunity to leave the highway in accordance with the traffic regulations had passed.

China Daily quoted a colleague of Wu as saying that lack of sleep could be the cause of the accident – he was a diligent man who often worked very late.

Wu reportedly died at the scene. The truck driver, Wang Guocai (汪国财)  from Anhui Province, was taken to Tongde Hospital (浙江省立同德医院) with injuries. According to reports, he expressed sadness about Wu Ping’s death, in interviews with Xin’an Evening Post (新安晚报) and the official provincial website Anhui Net.

“In 1993, me and my wife, one after another, lost our jobs. In 1995, I obtained my driver’s license and began to drive”, Wang Guocai recalled. This time, Yao, his boss in Shexian County told him to take logs to Hangzhou. On June 12 in the early morning, at about 00:20, he went onto the highway, arrived at Lin’an motorway service station at three in the morning, slept on the truck until about five in the morning, and then continued. At about six in the morning, he was on Hangzhou Western Beltway, approaching northern Sandun Expressway Exit, when he suddenly startled [Update, 20140804: 感到车身一震 - this could mean "to feel an impact on the car/vehicle" - advice welcome], then lost control of the truck, and finally hit the isolation strip. During those seconds, Wang Guocai had felt that “this was it”.

“1993年的时候我和爱人双双下岗,1995年我拿到驾照开始开车。”汪国财回忆说,这次是歙县的姚老板让他送一车原木到杭州去。6月12号凌晨0点20分许,他驶上高速,凌晨3点到达临安服务区,在车上睡到5点左右,发动车子继续出发。清晨6时许,他行驶到杭州绕城高速西线南向北三墩主线出口处,突然感到车身一震,随后车子不受控制,撞上隔离带,那几秒间,汪国财感觉“完了”。

 

Wu Ping was born in March 1957. He spent most of his time as an academic with work in the agricultural field, with several years of experience abroad, at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines, from 1989 to 1994. He had become a CCP member in July 1986.

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Related

» Wu Ping, Zhejiang University

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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Shortwave Log, Northern Germany, April 2014: France Inter / Radio France Internationale

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1. France Inter (long wave) / Radio France Internationale (short wave)

The Eiffel Tower was the first recorded site of wireless telegraphy, conducted there by Eugène Ducretet & associates, in 1898. And a bit more than 23 years later, the Eiffel Tower was also the site of the first regular radio broadcast for the general public, according to this website. As usual in regional broadcasting before the age of FM, Radio Tour Eiffel was a medium-wave broadcaster.

At the time, between the two world wars, there was both state-owned and private broadcasting.1)

Gustave-Auguste Ferrié, an army general since 1919, was a French radio pioneer, at work basically everywhere where a new radio station came out of the eggshell. Deemed essential for the further development of radio, he wasn’t retired when reaching the age limit.

Radio Tour Eiffel inauguration, 1922

Sacha Guitry (a broadcaster and film director), Yvonne Printemps (a singer) and General Ferrié at the inauguration of Radio Tour Eiffel, 1922
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Not only medium wave, but long wave, too, was an option, and it was also in Ferrié’s plans, according to this website by Thierry Vignaud. Rambouillet had originally been the designated transmitter site, but Allouis was then chosen for its location in central France, and for being sufficiently distant from major mountain ranges (or massifs). Allouis was also meant to become the site for shortwave transmissions. Shortwave transmissions started in 1931.

An article published by French magazine La Nature in February 1945, also republished online by Vignaud, suggested that with the Allouis site, France was in possession of the world’s most powerful radio station. That wasn’t exactly true then, as the war had taken its toll on the site. In 1942, the French Resistance damaged the longwave transmitter, and in summer 1944, the Germans blew the complete long wave transmission site up, and destroyed all shortwave installations.

It took Allouis nearly eight years to get back on air, or, more precisely, 164 kHz longwave, a frequency nearly unchanged to this day, broadcasting France Inter programs.2)

In 1950, a shortwave-dedicated transmitter site was built near Issoudun, some 40 km west of Allouis. What had previously been Poste Colonial, Paris Mondial and ORTF Paris became Radio France Internationale (RFI) in 1975. And French radio remained innovative – the ALLISS antenna system’s name is a concatenation of Allouis and Issoudun. ALLISS modules can be found in Issoudun/France (1995), Montsinery/French Guyana (1996), Nauen/Germany (1997), in Oman (2002), China (2003), Kuwait (2009), and possibly Cuba (still speculation).

RFI Montsinery QSL

Radio France Internationale (RFI) QSL, 1988/89, confirming reception of a Montsinery relay broadcast on 9,800 kHz.

An overseas transmitter site was Montsinery, in French Guyana, inaugurated in 1984. France closed the South American facilities in 2013. Issoudun’s shortwave transmitters stay on air.

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2. Recent Logs, May 2014

International Telecommunication Union letter codes used in the table underneath:
AFS – South Africa; ALB – Albania; ARG – Argentina; BIH – Bosnia and Herzegovina; CUB – Cuba; D – Germany; EGY – Egypt; F – France; G – Great Britain; IND – India; IRN – Iran; J – Japan; KRE – North Korea; OMA – Oman; PLW – Palau; ROU – Romania; SVN – Slovenia; THA – Thailand; TIB – Tibet; UKR – Ukraine.

Languages (“L.”):
C – Chinese; E – English; G – German.

kHz

Station

Ctry

L.

Day

GMT

S I O
15140 Radio
Oman
OMA E May
2
14:30 4 5 4
  6130 PBS
Tibet
TIB E May
2
16:00 4 3 3
  5040 RHC
Cuba
CUB E May
3
05:00 4 5 4
    918 Radio
Slovenia
SVN E May
5
20:30 5 5 5
    918 Radio
Slovenia
SVN G May
5
20:33 5 4 4
 9540 Radio
Japan
J C May
7
15:30 5 3 4
11710 RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG E May
8
02:00 5 4 4
 3995 HCJB
Weener-
moor
D G May
10
21:00 5 4 4
13695 AIR
Delhi
IND E  May
11
10:00 2 3 2
 7410 IRIB
Tehran
IRN G  May
11
17:23 5 5 4
12015 Voice of
Korea *)
KRE G May
11
19:00 5 4 4
 9540 Radio
Japan
J C May
12
15:30 4 5 4
15345 RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG G May
13
21:00 3 4 3
15140 Radio
Oman
OMA E May
19
14:27 5 5 4
 9540 Radio
Japan
J C May
19
15:30 5 3 3
15235 Channel
Africa
AFS E May
19
16:00 5 5 5
 6130 PBS
Tibet
TIB E May
19
16:38 4 3 3
 7550 AIR
Delhi
IND E May
19
17:45 5 5 4
15344.3 RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG E May
23
18:00 3 4 3
 9410 Radio
Cairo**)
EGY G May
23
19:00 4 3 2
 6100 Radio
Serbia
International
BIH G May
23
20:00 4 2 3
 9510 IRRS
Milano
ROU E May
24
08:00 5 5 5
11970 Radio
Japan
F E May
25
07:00 4 5 4
 5975 Radio
Japan
G E May
25
07:15 5 5 5
11980.2
(USB)
Radio
Dniprovska
Hvyla ***)
UKR  ? May
25
08:04 3 4 3
 9540 Radio
Japan
J C May
25
15:30 4 4 4
12015 Voice of
Korea
KRE G May
25
18:00 5 5 5
 6100 Radio
Serbia
International
BIH G May
25
20:00 5 3 3
   918 Radio
Slovenia
SVN E May
25
22:35 5 4 4
   918 Radio
Slovenia
SVN May
25
22:39 5 4 4
 3995 HCJB
Weener-
moor
D G May
31
04:30 5 5 4
 9965 Radio
Australia
PLW E May
31
13:20 4 3 3
 9390 Radio
Thailand
THA E May
31
19:00 5 5 4
 7465 Radio
Tirana
ALB May
31
19:30 4 5 4

 

*) Some Radio Nacional de Espana interference, at times I=3
**) Modulation horrible
***) The language sounded like Russian to me. If one of you understands Russian, please let me know, and I’ll upload my recording of the transmission and publish the link. Would like to know if this was Ukranian or indeed Russian.

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Footnotes

1) Towards the end of World War 2, after the liberation of France, all private radio stations were nationalized by decree. It took more than 36 years before the state monopoly on radio broadcasting was terminated – oddly by a socialist president, Francois Mitterand.
2) International frequency planning arranged for a lowering of longwave frequencies by two kHz – Allouis adapted France Inter long wave to 162 kHz in 1986. This applied to all European long wave frequencies. Also in accordance with the wavelength plan, the Droitwich longwave transmitter broadcasting BBC Radio 4 went from 200 kHz to 198 kHz.

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Related

» Journal en francais facile, RFI, cont. updated
» Comparing China and Europe, Jan 1, 2012
» No radio jamming kit, Reuters, Mar 31, 2008

» Previous shortwave logs
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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

China and the Crimean Crisis: official Statements (from New York and Beijing) and semi-official Interviews (on the Ground)

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An early-morning try to catch up with some Chinese coverage of the Crimea crisis. Links within blockquotes added during translation.

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Xinhua published this communiqué on Thursday morning:
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1. Xinhua online, March 20, 2014

Xinhua, United Nations, March 19. China’s permanent envoy to the United Nations, Liu Jieyi, said on March 19 that in China’s view, a political solution needed to be sought for the Crimean issue, under a lawful and orderly framework. All sides needed to maintain restraint and to avoid action that would exacerbate the contradictions.

新华网联合国3月19日电  中国常驻联合国代表刘结一19日说,中方认为,克里米亚问题应在法律和秩序框架下寻求政治解决。各方应保持克制,避免采取激化矛盾的行动。

The Security Council held a public session that day, concerning the situation in Ukraine. Liu Jieyi said in a speech that China had always paid great attention to the developments in Ukraine. The Security Council had discussed the Ukraine issue several times previously, and China had clearly set forth its principled position concerning the relevant issues. Respecting all countries’ independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity had been China’s consistent position.

安理会当天就乌克兰局势举行公开会议。刘结一发言说,中方一直高度关注乌克兰局势发展。安理会已多次讨论乌克兰问题,中方已明确阐述在有关问题上的原则立场。尊重各国的独立、主权和领土完整是中方的一贯立场。

He said that China had always upheld a just [or impartial], objective attitude. We will continue efforts to promote peace talks and to play a constructive role in a political solution of the Ukraine crisis. China has made a proposal: to establish, as soon as possible, an international coordination mechanism, formed by all parties involved, to discuss ways for a political solution to the Ukraine crisis, with no side taking action during that phase that could aggravate the situation, with the International Monetary Fund starting discussions and assisting Ukraine in maintaining economic and financial stability.

他说,中国在乌克兰问题上始终秉持 公正、客观的态度。我们将继续劝和促谈,为政治解决乌克兰危机进一步发挥建设性作用。中方已就政治解决乌 克兰危机提出建议:尽快设立由有关各方组成的国际协调机制,探讨政治解决乌克兰危机的途径;各方在此期间均不采取进一步恶化局势的行动;国际金融机构着手 探讨,并协助乌克兰维护经济和金融稳定。

He also said that the international community should make constructive efforts to mitigate the tense situation. China supports Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s good offices [mediation] in Russia and Ukraine, and [China] hopes that the international community will continue to make constructive efforts to mitigate the tense situation.

他还说,国际社会应为缓和紧张局势作出建设性努力。中国支持潘基文秘书长今日赴有关国家进行斡旋,希望国际社会继续为缓和紧张局势作出建设性努力。

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon left for Russia and Ukraine on the afternoon of March 19, to make diplomatic efforts for a peaceful solution of the current crisis.

联合国秘书长潘基文19日下午已启程前往俄罗斯和乌克兰访问,为和平解决当前危机展开外交努力。

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2. Earlier this month, on March 3 and 4, Qin Gang replied to several Ukraine-related questions:

Q: The Russian Parliament approved the use of force against Ukraine. Does China offer diplomatic support to Russia? Does China recognize the new Ukrainian government?

A: On your first question, please refer to the remarks I made yesterday. With respect to the Ukrainian issue, we uphold China’s long-standing diplomatic principles and basic norms governing international relations, and also take into account the history and complexity of the issue. It is fair to say that our position, which is objective, fair, just and peaceful, follows both principles and facts.

On the second question, judgement needs to be made based on laws of Ukraine.

[...]

Q: Some western leaders believe that what Russia did violates international law. What is China’s comment?

A: Yesterday, I elaborated on China’s view and position on the current situation in Ukraine and you may take a look at that.

I want to point out that we are aware of the historical facts and realistic complexity of the Ukrainian issue. There are reasons for why the situation in Ukraine is what it is today. We hope relevant parties can seek a political resolution of their differences through dialogue and consultation, prevent tensions from growing and jointly maintain regional peace and stability.

Qin Gang, FMPRC spokesman, March 3, 2014

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Q: China says that not to interfere in others’ internal affairs is its long-standing position and it also takes into account the historical facts and the realistic complexity of the Ukrainian issue. What do you mean by historical facts? Does China view Russia’s operation in Crimea as interference in Ukraine’s internal affairs?

A:China has made clear of its position on the Ukrainian issue. As for the historical facts of this issue, please review or refer to the history of Ukraine and this region. I believe that you will understand what we mean after learning about relevant history.

On your second question, please have a complete and comprehensive understanding of China’s position. We uphold the principle of non-interference in others’ internal affairs and respect international law and widely recognized norms governing international relations. Meanwhile we take into account the historical facts and realistic complexity of the Ukrainian issue. You may also analyze why the situation in Ukraine is what it is today based on activities and behaviors of relevant parties in the past months.

[...]

Q: Chinese and Russian Foreign Ministers had a telephone conversation yesterday. The Russian side says that China backs Russia’s position on the Ukrainian issue. What is China’s comment? Please give us more details and China’s position on the Ukrainian issue.

A: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov had a telephone conversation yesterday. Foreign Minister Lavrov talked about Russia’s position and viewpoint on the current situation in Ukraine and the two sides had an in-depth exchange of views on that. Both believe that a proper settlement of the Ukrainian crisis is of vital importance to regional peace and stability.

We have already issued China’s principle and position on the Ukrainian issue.

Qin Gang, FMPRC spokesman, March 4, 2014

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3. Life in Crimea, according to a Chinese press article

“(The turmoil) doesn’t have a great impact on daily life and on Chinese overseas students studying here in Crimea”, Yu Junwei, a second-grade graduate student at  Crimea Comprehensive University’s Faculty of Management tells the “Huanqiu Shibao” reporter[s]. “The most tense two days were those of the stand-off in front of the Crimean parliament building, between pro-Russian forces and anti-Russian factions, when classes were suspended. At all other times, we regularly had classes.” A student from Sichuan who is interviewed together with Yu says: “I’ve been here as a student for five years, and after graduation, I want to stay here to work for some time. After that, I will think about returning home.” She says that Crimea is a good human and natural environment, with a rather high ecducational level, a comfortable pace of work and rather little stress in life which made her “feel at home” [or, possibly meant this way: having such a good time that one forgets to go home]. Yu Junwei has similar feelings: “Apart from studying, I also guide some domestic business delegations and earn some money to reduce my family’s burden, and also gather some social experience.” Yu Junwei says: “After Crimea has joined Russia, it should be easier to come from China to travel here, and adding Chinese peoples’ historic feelings for Yalta in Crimea, its tourism industry should develop faster, which would also somewhat improve my work prospects.”

“从生活角度来说,(动乱)对正在克里米亚求学的中国留学生 影响不大。”正在克里米亚综合大学管理系上研究生二年级的余军伟告诉《环球时报》记者:“局势最紧张的两天,也就是亲俄力量与反俄派在国会大厦对峙的时候 学校停课,其他时候我们都正常上课。”和余军伟一起接受采访的一位四川籍女生表示:“我在这里学生生活5年时间了,毕业后也想继续留在这里工作一段时间, 然后再考虑回国。”她表示,克里米亚良好的自然与人文环境,相对较高的教育水平,闲适的工作节奏和相对较小的生活压力让她“乐不思蜀”。余军伟也有同样的 感受:“学习之余,我也带一些从国内来的商务考察团,赚一些钱来减轻家里的负担,同时也能积累更多的社会经验。”余军伟表示:“克里米亚加入俄罗斯之后, 从中国来这里旅游会更加方便,加上中国人对克里米亚的雅尔塔所抱有的历史感情,该地旅游业未来会有更快的发展,我的工作前景也会更好一些。”

Because of rather high educational levels and comparatively low costs of studying abroad, Crimea has been an important place for many Chinese overseas students. [A local, employee at] Crimea Comprehensive University’s foreign affairs office] tells the “Huanqiu Shibao” reporter[s]: “1995 to 1998 were the years when most Chinese overseas students studied here, more than three hundred every year, a peak time.” Yu Junwei says: “Originally, you paid seventy US dollars a year for a bed. Now the price has risen to 500 dollars. All expenses have risen. A Chinese overseas student spends 50,000 to 60,000 Yuan RMB a year, but to study in America or Europe comes at amounts as high as 300,000 to 400,000 Yuan RMB.” However, given much lowerd thresholds in America and Europe, the numbers of Chinese overseas students in Crimea are going down. In 2014, a total number of 28 Chinese overseas students studied at Crimea Comprehensive University, Crimea Medical University and other schools.

因为当地较高的教育水平和相对低廉的留学费用。克里米亚曾经是中国留学生的重要求学地。曾在克里米亚综合大学外事办工作 的当地人吴成克告诉《环球时报》记者:“1995年至1998年间,克里米亚的中国留学生最多,一年多达300人左右,是一个高峰期。”余军伟说:“这里 原来的学校住宿费是一张床一年70美元,现在涨到500美元。所有费用加起来,一个中国留学生一年的开销也就是5万至6万人民币,而在美欧留学一年开销高 达三四十万人民币。”不过,由于美国与欧洲留学门槛近年来降低了许多,现在在克里米亚求学的中国留学生逐年减少。2014年,克里米亚综合大学、克里米亚 医科大学和其他学校的中国留学生总计28人。

After a paragraph about the technicalities of continuing studies with old or new visas in Crimea, the article turns to Kiev, where a Chinese students is quoted as saying that the most tense areas had been confined to Independence Square [Maidan] and the streets around there. The student also has words of approval for the educaton department at the Chinese embassy in Kiev: “The diplomats are OK, just great.”

[The student] says that there are about ten thousand Chinese overseas students in Ukraine, many of them in Kiev. “Costs of studying are much lower here, than in America and Europe, as well, but the educational level is not low. Therefore, the political unrest doesn’t affect the lessons, and most overseas students will continue and complete their studies here.”

[...] 表示,在乌克兰留学的中国学生有一万人左右,其中不少在基辅:“同样,这里的留学费用相对于美国与欧洲要低很多,而教育水平并不低,所以眼下的政治动荡并不影响学生们的功课,多数的留学生也会继续在乌克兰完成学业。”

Huanqiu Shibao ["Global Times"], March 26, 2014

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Annual Blog Summary: Thousands of Miles to Cover (if you want to)

WordPress offers an annual report for 2013 to each individual blogger, with individual statistics. As the previous summary for 2012, too, the 2013 summary for JR’s China blog is upbeat. And it handsomely ignores an interesting fact: this blog has seen the second traffic decline in two consecutive years. That’s what my actual WP dashboard tells me, and it’s useful information indeed. It helps me to think about what makes me write, and what makes others read.

Reflecting on the statistics, I understand that my entries haven’t necessarily become less interesting. I’ve posted less frequently, of course. But that’s probably not the only reason fort he decline. The decline in stats began in 2012, and it didn’t come with a decline in blogging activity. A rough estimate, based on my drafts on my computer,  suggests that there were 252 new posts in 2011 and 275 new posts in 2012.

There’s a number of factors that, maybe, drove this blog before 2012, and that abated somewhere in the second half of 2011, or the first half of 2012.

One is the general trend. Microblogging has, in many bloggers‘ lives, replaced actual blogging. Facebook may be another alternative to blogging (even if one I’d never consider myself).

My own writing may be a factor, too. To rate the quality of someone’s writing, or the appeal of it to readers, is difficult when it’s actually your own writing. I’m not trying to be my own critic now. But there’s one thing I can easily discern. Before 2012, I wrote about China and human rights, and made fun of the CCP. It was simple argumentative technology, and it was easy reading. From 2012, I turned to a more “researching” or “deliberative” kind of blogging. There’s probably a post to mark the turn: JR turns to science.

It’s never become real science, I guess, but it did become more about translation and analysis. This started in December 2011, the timing of that post basically corresponds with my memory.

The topic that made me change my blogging approach – not completely, but gradually first, and then to quite a degree – was the Zhang Danhong incident in 2008, and the case of four Deutsche Welle employees who were sacked in 2010/2011. My own situation had changed, too. After having lived in China for a number of years, I had returned to Germany – probably for good. I can’t imagine living in China for another number of years. The people and things that matter most to me are now here.

That doesn’t make China less fascinating to me. But my perspective has shifted. It’s where China has an impact on life in Germany, and the other way round, what interests me most.

Many different worlds

Are you covering this?

In a way, that seems to have the potential of a pretty global topic – there are “thousands of miles” where one country, or one civilization, overlaps with another. But these are, seemingly anyway, rather unspectacular seams around the globe. They usually go as unnoticed by the public as does Chinese economic involvement in Africa or Latin America. Jeremy Goldkorn bemoaned the state of the South African media in 2010: even if a foreign country becomes your new number one trading partner, you may not notice it  at all.

The challenge for the press would be to start digging on those sites, along those global borders and seams around the globe – in a way that people want to read. The challenge for a blogger may be pretty much the same.

But to react to this (supposed) demand would require much more of my time, and a willingness to become more „public“ on the internet, as a person. And it would be an experiment which still wouldn’t necessarily lead to a bigger impact.

After all, these reflections are only about what I think people would be interested in. Many bloggers – and many news people and entertainers – believe they know what people actually want to see most. And in most cases, their beliefs are probably wrong.

But if I were a press pro (with a generous boss), I’d probably give it a try. And yes, a bit of curiosity remains: how would it work out?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Central Committee 3rd Plenary Session Communiqué: a State Security Bureaucracy

Main Link: The Fifth Big State Institution – 第五大国家机构, Enorth/CPBS, November 13, 2013

While the 18th central committee’s third plenum’s communiqué doesn’t appear to reveal a lot about future economic or social reforms in general (I haven’t read it myself), a fifth big state institution (第五大国家机构, or party institution for that matter), in addition to  the CCP central committee, the state council, the “National People’s Congress” and the “The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference” may be taking shape – but to suggest that, Chinese media apparently need to quote foreign media or observers. An article by Enorth (Tianjin) is apparently based on China’s domestic radio (Central People’s Broadcasting Station, CPBS, or CNR) in its coverage – possibly because not everyone has the right to quote foreign sources anymore.

The fifth big state institution would be a state security committee. Analysts are quoted as saying that a double role of dealing with basic domestic and external challenges could be discerned.

Plans for a state security committee had been made or demanded since 1997, but were only now taking shape, says the article. And many other countries had similar institutions: America’s national security council (since 1947), France (since 2008), Brazil, Chile, South Africa, Turkey, Thailand, and Malaysia, for example. In Japan, the establishment of a national security council was underway, too.

A security committee needed to be a permanent institution, experts are quoted. And Ruan Zongze, once a secretary in China’s embassy in Britain and now vice director at the China Institute of International Studies, reportedly suggests that building a state security committee was an important and innovative measure, and indicating the growing dynamics of Chinese foreign policy.

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Updates/Related

» Terrorists will be nervous, CRI, Nov 14, 2013

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