Posts tagged ‘Taiwan’

Thursday, September 25, 2014

He never said it: Deutsche Welle corrects its Ma Ying-jeou quote

In an online article about Taiwan’s president Ma Ying-jeou published on Tuesday, Deutsche Welle‘s Chinese department initially wrote that the president “wants to learn from [the way] the two German [states] handled their bilateral relations, achieving unification in the end” (他愿意学习两德处理双边关系、最终实现统一的经验). The station later corrected the line, writing that it should read the president wants to learn from [the way] the two German [states] handled their bilateral relations. Period.

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Updates / Related

» A meeting, not an interview, Taipei Times, Sept 26, 2014
» President rebuts DW report, Focus Taiwan, Sept 25, 2014

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Sunday/Monday Links: Taiwan’s foreign Trade, Scotland’s Referendum, Ilham Tohti on trial, and Taiwan’s President losing it

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Off into another week (a week actually starts on a Sunday)

Off into another week (a week actually starts on a Sunday)

1. Taiwan

William T. Wilson, a researcher with the Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center, and a regular advocate of “free trade”, warns that bilateral or multilateral international trade agreements tend to lock Taiwan out, and increase Taiwan’s economic dependence on China. Wilson recommends that America should launch formal discussions of a bilateral investment agreement (BIA) with Taiwan as soon as possible.

Obviously, Wilson has his eyes firmly set on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a project often described as an impeccable motor of future global economic growth, but also frequently criticised for levering out democratic principles, not least as TPP prescribes a right for foreign companies in member countries to sue national governments under international law (which would make domestic legislation count very little).

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2. The usual Suspects

Chinese internet administration has shut nearly 1.8 million user accounts in what is called a pornography crackdown, reports Reuters.

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3. Scottish Referendum

Foarp breathes a sigh of relief as the United Kingdom stays united, after days of unease.

The Financial Times had celebrated the referendum as a very civilized struggle (in English on September 12) or as a civilized struggle between unity and independence (in Chinese on September 16). The author was Mure Dickie. That was too much for Beijing – the referendum was, of course, deemed an internal UK matter by official China, but Dickie got a (semi-official – my take of it) reply from Zhi Zhenfeng (支振锋) of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).

Yes, it was surprising that the UK was willing to let eight percent of the population and about a third of the territory go peacefully, and the consultative, democratic and peaceful procedure deserved praise. In 19th-century America, a referendum had been replied to by war, and the Crimea referendum in March had been carried out under very different circumstances. All that made the British tolerance displayed in the referendum a precious thing.

However, that didn’t make the referendum a great example for the rest of the world. It did reflect particular Western values, which had brought Europe huge technological and economic progress (besides religious wars and separatist chaos), but even in Europe, the referendum was a contested approach, and even within the West, not every referendum and its results had been accepted peacefully. All too often, people in the West had been unable to foresee the long-term effects of their purportedly rational choices.

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4. Ilham Tohti on Trial

Ilham Tohti, an Uighur economics professor, is reportedly on trial now, according to China Change, who published excerpts of an account written by Tsering Woeser, a Tibetan writer and a friend of Ilham Tohti. Tohti had been arrested in Beijing in January this year, and his whereabouts had been unknown afterwards.

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5. Ma Ying-jeou’s 19th-Plenary-Session speech on September 14

And as this collection of links starts with Taiwan, let’s take a look at what Taiwan Explorer, usually not a terribly “political” blog, has to say about Ma Ying-jeou, Taiwan’s president who has moved into the third year of his second term in office this year.

Ma is president on the KMT ticket, and his party, if his comments during the KMT’s 19th Plenary Session are anything to go by, is quite afraid of the oppositional DPP. But electoral behavior in Taiwan looks somewhat mysterious, at least to me as an outsider. Only four months after having voted Ma into office for a second term, the president’s support and satisfaction rates dropped to numbers between 15 to 22 per cent, and it seems they never really recovered since. Indeed, Ma appears to be completely unable to understand his country’s public.

Nanfang Shuo (aka Wang Hsing-ching / 王杏慶), predicted in summer 2011 that word-games were no solution for the problems that lying ahead if Ma would win a second term as president. Ma’s speech a week ago seems to suggest that he won’t abandon the word games during his remaining time in office – but by now, they appear to have become offensive.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Heaven or Hell: the Story of Su Yutong’s Dismissal as told by VoA

The following is a translation from a Voice of America (VoA) article published on August 21 and apparently updated early today. Some English terms used in this translation may not match the labor-law meaning accurately.

Corrections are welcome.

Links and footnotes within blockquotes added during translation.

Washington – The sudden dismissal of Deutsche Welle Chinese department reporter Su Yutong (pen name Wu Yu) on August 19 is attracting much attention. According to reports, the prolific journalist was dismissed is related to criticism of a column that whitewashed the 6-4 massacre [i. e. the Tian-An-Men massacre]. There are also reports believing that changes in Deutsche Welle’s guidelines on covering China le d to the dismissal of Su Yutong who was originally a dissident. Deutsche Welle denied such questions posed by reports and on social media.

华盛顿—德国之声电台中文部女记者苏雨桐(笔名吴雨)8月19日突然遭解雇的事件引起多方关注。有报道称,该多产记者遭辞退与德国之声一篇被批评粉饰六四屠杀的专栏文章有关。也有报道认为,德国之声的中国报道政策的变化是导致原为异议人士的苏雨桐离职的原因。德国之声否认有关报道和社交媒体上出现的质疑
Su Yutong’s sudden dismissal had first been disclosed on Twitter by internet commentator Bei Feng (actual name Wen Yunchao) on 19th of August.
苏雨桐被突然解雇的消息是现在美国的网络评论人士北风(本名温云超)8月19日首先在社交网站推特上披露的。。

One day before, Wu’er Kaixi, a former leader oft he Beijing student movement [of 1989] came to Deutsche Welle headquarters in Bonn to protest against the article published on June 4 which was seen as beautifying the CCP’s opening fire to suppress the citizens and students of Beijing. This article, titled “From Tian An Men to Leipzig”, diluted the 6-4 incident to “a momentary mistake in the history of New China”1).

此前一天,来自台湾的前北京学运领袖吾尔开希到位于波恩的德国之声总部,抗议该媒体今年六四期间发表的一篇被认为美化中共开枪镇压北京市民和学生的文章。这篇题为“从天安门到莱比锡”的文章把六四事件淡化为“新中国历史上一时的失足。”

This article, written by Deutsche Welle commenator Frank Sieren in Beijing, led to strong rebounds from the organization “Tian An Men Mothers“ and from 89 participants in [the 1989] movement.

这篇文章由德国之声新雇用的驻北京特约评论员泽林(Frank Sieren) 撰写,引起了六四难属团体“天安门母亲”和众多89民运参与者的强烈反弹。

Frank Sieren, who says that he has lived in Beijing for twenty years, allegedly owns a media company. Some critics who started joint protests demand that Deutsche Welle drop Sieren’s controversial article. Su Yutong and another contributing Deutsche Welle commentator, former “Southern Weekend” news department director Chang Ping, took part in the joint protests. Chang Ping also published articles on Deutsche Welle’s website, in a debate with Sieren.

自称在北京居住了20年的泽林被指在中国拥有一家媒体公司。一些批评者曾发起联署抗议行动,要求德国之声撤下泽林这篇有争议文章。苏雨桐和德国之声另一位特约评论员、原《南方周末》新闻部主任长平参与了联署抗议。长平曾在德国之声网站刊文,与泽林展开争论。

Deutsche Welle spokesman Johannes Hoffmann issued a statement2) confirming that the freelance working contract with Su Yutong had been terminated, because of inappropriate behavior.

德国之声发言人霍夫曼(Johannes Hoffmann)21日发表声明确认,已经终止它与中国自由撰稿人苏雨桐的工作关系,原因是员工的不当行为。

[Hoffmann‘s] statement said Deutsche Welle objects to talk on social media about political motivations for the termination of Su Yutong’s contract, or about the termination being related to limits to freedom of expression at Deutsche Welle’s Chinese department . The statement emphasized that diversity of opinion was respected, and that the immediate measure [of dismissing Su Yutong] had been made because of breach of trust between Deutsche Welle and Su Yutong.

声明表示,德国之声反对社交媒体上关于苏雨桐被终止工作关系有政治动机或者是由于德国之声中文部的表达自由受到限制等说法。德国之声的这份声明强调尊重意见多元化,并称决定采取解雇立即生效的步骤是由于德国之声与苏雨桐之间的信任遭到破坏。

The statement accuses Su of not heeding repeated admonishments and kept tweeting internal and confidential information about Deutsche Welle and the organization’s editorial staff, thus opposing staff hired by the organization and the organization’s management in her actions.

声明指责苏雨桐不听德国之声当局的一再劝告,在推特上散布有关德国之声及其编辑人员的内部信息和机密,从而在行动上对抗雇用单位及其管理层和工作人员。

The statement said that terminating Su Yutong’s employment is the result of inappropriate behavior, not a restriction on freedom of expression. The statement said that no employer would accept her behavior.

声明表示,决定结束与苏雨桐的雇佣关系是个人不当行为的结果,而非限制表达自由。声明称,没有雇主会接受她的这种行为。

Su Yutong told VoA in an interview Deutsche Welle executives had emphasized that the station could not become “Voice of the Dissidents”, but that she had only published, on her own behalf, published information concerning the debate about Sieren’s article and its publication.

苏雨桐在接受美国之音采访时指出,德国之声高层在曾强调该电台不能成为“异议之声”,而她只是以个人名义在推特上参与有关泽林文章的争论和发布有关消息。

Su Yutong says that she can calmly accept [the allegation] that she acted against internal Deutsche Welle regulations, but continued to believe that the debate about Sieren’s article had been a public matter and that it was necessary for the truth of the matter to be handled publicly, rather than to be processed in a dark room.

苏雨桐表示,说她违反了德国之声的内部规定,她可以平静地接受,但她仍然认为,有关泽林文章的争论是个公共事件,公开相关事实真相是有必要的,不应该在内部暗箱操作。

“When it comes to this kind of internal meeting at Deutsche Welle, I can accept that from that perspective. But from where to judge this incident with Sieren’s article, that being processed as an internal Deutsche Welle issue, is something that needs to be taken to the public. I stand by this opinion. I believe that this is a public matter. “

她说:“这样德国之声的一个内部会议。那我从这个角度来说,我是接受的。但是从如何判断泽林这个事件是德国之声内部暗箱操作呢,还是拿到公共平台上,我还是坚持我的看法,我认为,它是个公共事件。”

Su Yutong told VoA that when Deutsche Welle executives and the Deutsche Welle Asia department director informed her about her dismissal without knowledge of the circumstances, they also mentioned another reason, saying that it was related to new Deutsche Welle director Peter Limbourg’s demand that the Chinese department “should not criticize Beijing all the time “. Limbourg is going to take part in a Sino-German media forum organized by official Chinese media in early September.

苏雨桐对美国之音表示,德国之声高层在她和亚洲部主任毫不知情的情况下突然对她宣布辞退决定的时候还提到另一个理由,这和德国之声新台长林伯格(Peter Limbourg)提出的中文部“不要总是批评北京”的要求有关。林伯格将于9月初到北京参加中国官媒主办的中德媒体论坛。

Su Yutong says: “She (the program director) said that Deutsche Welle’s Chinese department needed a new direction. I believe that you don’t fit into this new direction. This is the reason she gave me for my dismissal. So I asked her, very curiously. I said that I have worked for Deutsche Welle for four years, and all my reports, no matter what, were always rated best by our evaluation system. I said that I had always acted in accordance with Deutsche Welle’s rules of journalistic professionalism when reporting. Now you are saying that I don’t meet these standards, but I that what I have embodied in the reports is just this professional quality. As for values, I think that in my reporting, some can be seen. My position has also been constant. If you say that my your direction and mine are not the same, doesn’t that amount to a direction oppsite to mine? She also refused to answer this question.”

苏雨桐说:“她(节目总监)说德国之声中文部要有一个新的方向,这个新的方向我认为你不符合。这是她给我的被辞的理由。那我就也是很好奇的问了她。我说,我在德国之声工作了四年,我所有的报道无论从我们的评估体系来说,我一直是第一。我说,我一直在秉承德国之声记者的这样一个职业操守、规则,在作这样的报道。那现在你说我不符合这个规范,我想我在报道当中体现的就是这个记者的专业素质。至于价值观,我想,通过我的报道,也可以看出一些。我的立场也是恒定的。如果你们说方向和我的不同,那是不是意味着和我相反的方向?她也是拒绝回答这个问题。”

In an email reply to VoA on August 21, Deutsche Welle’s international relations department attached the statement by the spokesman quoted above, but there was no reply to the questions as to how Su Yutong’s coninuous performance at Deutsche Welle was assessed.

德国之声国际关系部21日给美国之音记者电邮的回复中附上了该媒体发言人的上述声明,但是没有回答如何评价苏雨桐在德国之声的一贯工作表现等问题。

In recent days, the grudges and disputes between Deutsche Welle and Su Yutong have been reported by Germany’s “Spiegel Online” and other German media, as well as detailed coverage by some overseas media in Chinese. Huanqiu Shibao, a paper under the auspices of the Chinese Communist Party, also published a commentary about the storm around Su Yutong’s dismissal. This incident brought the 2008 incident back into focus when then deputy Chinese department director Zhang Danhong had been criticized for beautifying Beijing’s policies, which had resulted in her removal.

几天来,德国之声和苏雨桐之间的恩怨纠纷得到了德国明镜在线等多家德国媒体和一些海外中文媒体的详细报道。中共党报人民日报旗下的环球时报也刊登评论员文章,谈苏雨桐被辞退风波。这一事件致使德国之声在2008年该电台中文部副主任张丹红因其报道被指过于美化北京政策遭撤职之后又一次成为新闻焦点。

Su Yutong revealed that in July, the former Chinese department director, who had always supported her work, was transferred to another department, and that a new director had been parachuted into the Chinese department from Berlin.

苏雨桐披露,7月间,充分支持她工作的原中文部主任被调到该电台其他部门,柏林方面给德国之声中文部空降了一位新主任。

The dismissed reporter said that she had been paid on a daily basis [unsure about my translation of the payment description here - JR], that the contract ends with the end of the year, and that she will then face the issue that she cannot continue to live in Germany legally. She also said that she was asked to close the office computer on the spot, to hand over the swipe card and to leave immediately. She didn’t get the respect former employees should get, and there hadn’t even been time to say Goodbye to some colleagues. She pledged to take up with Deutsche Welle by legal means.

这位被解雇的女记者还表示,她本是德国之声按日计酬的合同制雇员,本期合同年底到期,届时将面临无法继续在德国合法居留的问题。她还表示,自己被要求当场关闭办公电脑,交出门卡,“立即走人”,没有获得离职员工应有的尊重,连跟一些同事道别的时间都没有。她誓言将以法律途径跟德国之声交涉。

Su Yutong left China in the late 1980s. She had been in charge of an NGO in Beijing, active in human-rights activities, and therefore harrassed and pursued by state security. In 2010, after arriving in Bonn, she was hired by those in charge at Deutsche Welle at the time.

80后的苏雨桐离开中国前是北京一个非政府组织的负责人,积极从事维权活动,因而遭到国保骚扰和追捕。2010年,她到达波恩后获得当时的德国之声电台负责人聘用。

A comment in the article’s comenting section warns VoA’s Chinese department:

The CCP-leaning, pro-Zhang-Danhong forces are launching a counteroffensive! VoA’s Chinese department should take some lessons from this, and must not allow pro-CCP forces to spread successfully there! I remind the Chinese department at VoA that it should have a plan ready to check up the moles and to take preventive measures!

《德国之声》内部亲共的张丹红势力开始反扑了!美国之音应当从中借鉴一些教训吧,绝不能让亲中共势力在美国之音中文部得逞蔓延!提醒《美国之音中文部》应有计划地清理“内鬼”,防患于未然!

There are more comments of the same tenor, but also comments angry at “anti-China” forces:

Come and work for VoA. In any case, these are the anti-China headquarters, the paradise for anti-China people.

可以来VOA上班的嘛,反正这里是反华的大本营,这里是反华人士的天堂

That said, paradise today might be hell tomorrow.

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Footnotes

1) the German version of Sieren’s article refers to “a one-off in new Chinese history – “ein Ausrutscher in der neuen chinesischen Geschichte “. “New China” isn’t mentioned.
2) The Deutsche Welle statement in full, of August 21.

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Related

» Those Southern newspaper commentators, Jan 28, 2013

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Friday, May 16, 2014

South China Sea Conflicts: Friendship among Nations and inescapable Responsibilities

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China says its oil rig will continue drilling in contested waters in the South China Sea, despite deadly anti-Beijing riots in Vietnam, reports the BBC.

Three news items of Thursday and Friday from the Chinese press this week, closely or loosely interrelated.

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1. FMPRC Regular Press Conference, Spokesperson Hua Chunying, May 15, 2014

Q: In recent days, there are several violent incidents against foreign enterprises and workers in Vietnam. What is Chin’s comment on that?

问:近日在越南发生了针对外资企业和人员的严重暴力事件,中方对此有何评价?

A: We are shocked at and seriously concerned about relevant incidents. Now Chinese officials from the embassy in Vietnam are racing against the time to reach the scene which is located in very remote areas and verify relevant reports. Leading officials of the Chinese Foreign Ministry have summoned the Vietnamese ambassador to China to lodge solemn representations and demanded the Vietnamese side to take all necessary and effective measures possible to protect the safety of Chinese citizens and the property of Chinese enterprises and organizations in Vietnam.

答:我们对有关事件感到震惊,并表示严重关切。中国驻越南使馆人员正日夜兼程赶赴地处偏僻地区的现场了解核实有关情况。中国外交部负责人已紧急约见越南驻华大使提出严正交涉,要求越方采取一切必要有效措施确保中国在越人员的人身安全及企业和机构的财产安全。

It is worth pointing out that the Vietnamese side has an inescapable responsibility for the beating, smashing, looting and burning targeted at China and other countries.

必须指出的是,越南近日发生针对中方及其他方企业和人员的打、砸、抢、烧行为,越方负有不可推卸的责任。我们敦促越南政府切实负起责任,严肃彻底调查,严惩肇事者。

We have learned that enterprises from Hong Kong SAR, Taiwan China, Singapore and ROK have also sustained damages and threats to various degrees. That also points to the graveness of the current situation. Again, we urge the Vietnamese side to immediately take all necessary and effective measures possible to protect the safety of foreign citizens and enterprises in Vietnam, including those from China, and provide a decent working environment for foreign enterprises doing normal business there.

我们注意到,包括中国台湾和香港地区以及新加坡、韩国等一些企业也受到了不同程度的威胁和冲击破坏。这更加说明了当前事态的严重性。我们再次敦促越方重视 中方和其他方交涉,立即采取一切必要和有效措施,确保包括中国同胞在内的外国人员和企业在越南的安全,同时为外资企业在越正常经营提供起码的工作环境。

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2. Xinhua Net, via Enorth (Tianjin): Chinese Companies in Vietnam newsarticle, May 16

In recent days, foreign investors and companies have faced seriously violent cases of vandalization and looting. Some Chinese companies, including companies and employees from Taiwan and Hong Kong region, and Singaporean, South Korean, and other companies suffered attacks of various degrees, causing losses of property and life. According to initial confirmation, one Chinese citizen has died, and hundreds have been injured.

近日,在越南发生了针对外国投资者和企业的打砸抢烧严重暴力事件,包括台湾和香港地区在内的一些中国企业和人员以及新加坡、韩国等企业遭到不同程度的冲击,造成生命和财产损失。据初步核实,已有1名中国公民死亡,上百人受伤。

Concerning this, on the evening of May 15, foreign minister Wang Yi had an emergency telephone talk with Vietnamese deputy prime minister Pham Binh Minh. For the Chinese government, he expressed strong condemnation and put forward a solemn and just protest.

对此,15日晚,外交部长王毅同越南副总理兼外长范平明紧急通电话,代表中国政府向越方表示强烈谴责,提出严正抗议。

Wang Yi said that the Vietnamese side bore an inescapable responsibility for lawless elements who violently attacked companies and employees of the Chinese side. The Chinese side solemnly demands that the Vietnamese side immediately take resolute measures, stop all violent behavior, guarantee the safety of life and property of all Chinese companies and employees in Vietnam, immediately make proper arrangements for those who were attacked and to make every effort to help the injured, to start investigations of the violent incidents immediately, to punish all criminal elements in accordance with the law, and to compensate the Chinese companies and individuals for all losses.

王毅表示,越方对不法分子暴力 袭击中方企业和人员负有不可推卸的责任。中方郑重要求越方立即采取坚决有效措施,制止一切暴力行为,确保所有在越中国企业和人员的生命和财产安全;立即妥 善安置受到袭击的中方企业和人员并全力救助伤员;立即对有关暴力事件展开调查,依法严惩所有犯罪分子,赔偿中国企业和个人的一切损失。

Pham Binh Minh said that the Vietnamese side was paying close attention the current situation, more than one thousand suspects had been arrested, and criminal elements would be severely punished in accordance with the law. Vietnam would take all measures and protect the safety of lives and property of Chinese employees and institutions in Vietnam. Currently, the situation was stabilizing.

范平明说,越方对当前事态高度重视,已抓捕1000多名嫌犯,并将依法严惩犯罪分子。越方将采取一切措施,保护在越中国人员和机构的生命和财产安全。目前事态已趋于稳定。

In the afternoon [of May 15], deputy foreign minister Liu Zhenmin was tasked to summon Vietnamese ambassador to China, Nguyen Van Tho, made solemn representations, demanding that the Vietnamese side immediately take practical and effective measures, resolutely stop and severely punish illegal and criminal behavior, and ensure the safety and the rights of Chinese citizens in Vietnam.

当天下午,外交部副部长刘振民奉命紧急召见越南驻华大使阮文诗,提出严正交涉,要求越方立即采取切实有力措施,坚决制止并严惩违法犯罪行为,确保在越中国公民的安全和权利。

On the same day, the Chinese government exigently dispatched an inter-departmental working group headed by assistant foreign minister Liu Jianchao to Vietnam.

(Original headline: China puts forward solemn and just protest against seriously violent attacks suffered by Chinese companies in Vietnam.)

(原标题:中方就中国在越企业遭受严重暴力袭击提出严正抗议)

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3. Xi Jinping Speech to Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, May 15

On Thursday, Chinese media also covered a speech by Xi Jinping on the 60th anniversary of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. The occasion was probably long-planned, and Xi’s speech didn’t necessarily undergo changes to adapt to the troubles south of the border. Xi apparently spoke in his capacity as state chairman only, as the report doesn’t mention his role as secretary general of the CCP. A number of foreign guests reportedly attended, Richard Nixon’s grandson Christopher Nixon Cox among them.

Source: CCTV Online (央视网), via Enorth (Tianjin)

State Chairman Xi Jinping chaired a conference at the Great Hall of the People on May 15, marking the 60th anniversary of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), and gave an important speech. He emphasized that friendship between peoples was a fundamental force in promoting global peace and development. The Chinese people wish to live together in peace with all peoples of the world, to develop harmoniously, and together with them promote the lofty cause of peace and development of humankind.  People-to-people diplomacy would innovate the development of friendly exchange in multiple areas, through many channels, and on many levels.

国 家主席习近平15日在人民大会堂出席中国国际友好大会暨中国人民对外友好协会成立60周年纪念活动并发表重要讲话,强调人民友好是促进世界和平与发展的基 础力量,中国人民愿意同世界各国人民和睦相处、和谐发展,共同促进人类和平与发展的崇高事业。民间外交要开拓创新,多领域、多渠道、多层次开展对外友好交 流。

[...]

Xi Jinping emphasized that friendship between peoples was a fundamental force in promoting global peace and development, and a prerequisite for achieving win-win cooperation. Facing a complicated and volatile international situation and severe and protruding global problems, peoples of all countries needed to strengthen friendly exchange, work together, and help each other. In the process of bringing about the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, China would, together with all countries of the world, promote the achievement of all countries’ peoples of their own dreams. China would continue to comprehensively open up to the outside world, promote mutually beneficial cooperation with all countries of the world, promote the construction of an economic Silk Road belt and a maritime Silk Road of the 21rst Century, bring about opportunities for all countries to develop, to create together and to share together. China would make great efforts to develop international cultural exchange, and to make contributions to the progress of human civilization.

习近平指出,人民友好是促进世界和平与发展的基础力量,是实现合作共赢的基本前提。面对复杂多变的国际形势和 严峻突出的全球性问题,各国人民需要加强友好交流,携手合作,同舟共济。中国将在实现中华民族伟大复兴的过程中,同世界各国一道,推动各国人民更好实现自 己的梦想。中国将继续全面对外开放,推进同世界各国的互利合作,推动建设丝绸之路经济带和21世纪海上丝绸之路,实现各国在发展机遇上的共创共享。中国将 大力开展中外文化交流,为推动人类文明进步作出贡献。

Xi Jinping empasized that the Chinese nation had always been a peace-loving nation, had always sought and passed on the firm concepts of peace, concord, and harmony. To invade others, seeking world hegemony was not in the nature of the Chinese nation, and the Chinese people did not accept the logic of “national strength must dominate”*), but wanted to live in peace with the peoples of all countries of the world, to develop harmoniously, seek peace together, protect the peace together, and enjoy peace together. China would adhere to the path of peaceful development, and also promote the persistence of all countries in peaceful development.

习近平强调,中华民族历 来是爱好和平的民族,一直追求和传承和平、和睦、和谐的坚定理念。中华民族的血液中没有侵略他人,称霸世界的基因,中国人民不接受“国强必霸”的逻辑,愿 意同世界各国人民和睦相处、和谐发展,共谋和平、共护和平、共享和平。中国将坚持走和平发展道路,同时也将推动各国共同坚持和平发展。

[...]

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Updates/Corrections:

*) “national strength must dominate” might be replaced by “national strength must lead to domination (of others)” – that would seem to reflect the meaning of “国强必霸” better.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

“Optimizing Something”: Russia centralizes Propaganda, scraps Shortwave Broadcaster and other traditional Institutions

As the end of March drew nearer, central Europeans could still hear the station from afar, a muted signal behind some gentle, steady noise. The “Voice of Russia” targeted Australia and New Zealand with an English-language program of four hours daily, from the transmission site of Angarsk, near Irkutsk. Those appear to have been the last programs in English. Chances are that some programs in Japanese were also still aired at the time. A shortwave listener in Taipei kept listening to VoR’s Chinese programs on shortwave, right to the end on March 31 (his post contains some recordings).

Listeners who wrote inquiries to VoR got a reaction. But overall, very little, if anything, was mentioned in the programs on shortwave, about the nearing end of the service. For sure, no words of respect were lost about the medium’s use during some eighty-five years of Russian external broadcasting. Maybe they hadn’t been of much use after all, as the message never seemed to sink in in the target areas? In that case, you could hardly blame shortwave.

On April 1, all of VoR’s shortwave transmissions had become history.

APN-Verlag, via Radio Moscow

The old-fashioned way: propaganda booklet by mail, Ria Novosti via Radio Moscow, March 31, 1987.

The “Voice of Russia” (VoR), formerly known as Radio Moscow or Radio Moscow World Service, only exists as a brand now, within the media empire of Russia Today, which also swallowed Ria Novosti. “We will use the old brand for the time being, but leading international specialists are already working on the new brands and they will be ready soon, the “Voice of Russia” and/or Interfax quoted Russia Today’s editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan. A renewed English newswire would be launched on April 1, and it would be available round-the-clock on June 1.

No additional funding would be needed, the editor-in-chief was quoted as saying: “We are not asking additional money for all that, which means we will have to optimize something to get resources for the creation of something more modern. We will stop using obsolete radio broadcasting models, when the signal is transmitted without any control and when it is impossible to calculate who listens to it and where.”

Indeed, this had been the message of Vladimir Putin‘s presidential decree in December, on certain measures to raise the operational effectiveness of state-owned mass media.

Radio Moscow QSL, apparently featuring the Lenin Mausoleum, 1980s.

Radio Moscow QSL, Lenin Mausoleum, 1980s.

On the same day, December 9, Ria Novosti offered a comparatively candid interpretation of the decree: The move is the latest in a series of shifts in Russia’s news landscape that appear to point toward a tightening of state control in the already heavily regulated media sector,

Ria Novosti wrote, and added that

In a separate decree published Monday, the Kremlin appointed Dmitry Kiselyov, a prominent Russian television presenter and media manager recently embroiled in a scandal over anti-gay remarks, to head Rossiya Segodnya.

Russia Today is the English translation for the actual Russian name, Rossiya Segodnya. Rossiya Segodnya, however, is apparently not related to the English-language television channel whose name had also been “Russia Today”, Ria Novosti wrote.

Ria Novosti then added some more information, beyond its own dissolution:

RIA Novosti was set up in 1941, two days after Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union, as the Soviet Information Bureau, and now has reporters in over 45 countries providing news in 14 languages.

Last month Gazprom-Media, which is closely linked to state-run gas giant Gazprom, bought control of Russian media company Profmedia from Russian billionaire Vladimir Potanin. In October, Mikhail Lesin, a former Kremlin advisor, was appointed to head Gazprom-Media.

Reuters also reported the Gazprom-Media story, in November last year.

Radio Moscow, the “Voice of Russia’s” predecessor as the Russian (or Soviet) foreign broadcasting service, was a superpower on the air, during the 1980s. 2094 program hours per week are said to have been produced in that decade,  compared with 1901 hours per week by their American competitors at the Voice of America (VoA).

The discrepancy was even greater when it came to transmitters and kilowatts,according to German newsmagazine Der Spiegel at the time: while Radio Moscow had threehundred transmission sites at their disposal, it was only 110 on the American side – and VoA only had one-twentieth the budget of Radio Moscow.

That was to change, at least in relative terms: the Reagan administration had convinced Congress to provide considerable funding. But as the Cold War came to an end, government interest on all sides in foreign broadcasting faded.

As far as Russia’s external broadcasters, now named “The Voice of Russia”, was concerned, not only the financial or technical equipment weakened, but so, apparently, did their self-image. Religious and esoteric organizations populated many last quarters of the Voice’s – still numerous – broadcasting hours in German, and at least among German-language broadcasters, there seemed to be different concepts of what would be successful or professional coverage of Russian affairs, a feature by German broadcaster DLF suggested.

The broadcasting house certainly no longer came across as the elites’ jumping board, as a place where Egon Erwin Kisch or Bertolt Brecht once worked.

The Kremlin, apparently, saw neither glory and soft power, nor a sufficient degree of checkability in VoR and put an end to the station. It’s hardly conceivable that it could still be revived as a mere “brand”, without actual radio whose signals would reach beyond a few square miles.

But “daily Russian life” – something Russia Today is supposed to cover – may still look different from the ideas of the “new generation” of media planners. On ham radio bands with wide reaches, Russian operators are active above average. And even if Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of Russia’s new propaganda mega-medium, may be unaware of ham radio or finds it uncool, her boss, Dmitry Kiselyov, should still like it: a ham radio contest commemorating Yuri Gagarin’s 80th birthday.

After all, the internet is a rather non-traditional form of propaganda.

Will Putin’s message sink in, where Stalin’s, Khrushchev’s, or Brezhnev’s mostly failed? If not, don’t blame shortwave – and don’t blame the internet, for that matter.

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Saturday, February 15, 2014

World Radio Day, and how did Li Wai-ling get Fired?

February 13 (Thursday) was World Radio Day. That was an adequate day for the Hong Kong Journalists Association to bring Li Wai-ling (or Li Wei-ling, 李慧玲) and the press together. But let’s go through the issues one by one.

The Genius leads the spectators: engineering of consent in its early stages in applauding his works.

If everyone is happy, who needs a free press?

China’s growing economic weight is allowing it to extend its influence over the media in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, writes Reporters without Borders, in their 2014 report, published earlier this week. The BBC added a palpable story on Friday, about the sacking of Li Wei-ling, a radio talk show host at a commercial station in Hong Kong who has been sacked and who, on a press conference on Thursday, accused the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of having put pressure on her employer.

Organizations like Reporters without Borders have their merits. This may be even more true for the Hong Kong Journalists Association who organized Ms Li Wei-ling’s press conference. Reporters, talk show hosts and all the people who are critical and daring in the face of power deserve solidarity.

But this goes for reporters and journalists in Western countries, too. The problem with stories like the BBC’s, served to an American or European audience, seems to be that they blind people for problems at home. Here, too, broadcasters need to apply for frequencies. Here, too, they need to rely on political decisions when they are public broadcasters. On licence fees, or on public budgets. Advertisers, too, may exert influence.

My window on press freedom is small. The case I really looked at rather closely during the last years was that of the Chinese department at Deutsche Welle. I’m looking at these issues as a listener to and reader of the media.

This post might serve as the short version, and here is a longer one. They are about German politics, and the media.

The freedom of the press isn’t necessarily the freedom of a journalist to speak or write his mind, or to publicly highlight whatever scandal he or she may discover. This depends on a reporter’s or journalist’s employer, and frequently, reporters and editors-in-chief in the free world are very aware of when to better censor themselves, so as to keep their jobs.

This tends to be particularly true when a journalist’s contract is non-permanent. You don’t need state authorities to censor journalists when journalists’ employment is as precarious as is frequently the case in Western countries.

There is no point in pitting Chinese journalists against Western journalists, or the other way round. But there is a point in looking at every situation without ideological blinkers. Suppression of freedom from commercial organizations (and, sometimes, public-private networks) may still allow media that offer valid criticism of suppression in totalitarian countries – after all, that’s “them”, not “us”. Media in totalitarian countries can also, at times, provide valid criticism of media in freer countries. It is useful to read and listen to as many different outlets from as many different political systems as you can.

But there is no need or justification to blindly trust either of them. Without a broad global audience that develops criteria to judge press reports, freedom will get under the wheels of authoritarianism, even in – so far – free societies. The internet has become a place where journalists and their listeners and readers should meet, and be as honest with each other as they can. Its also the place where the struggle for freedom on the airwaves has to begin, time and again, whenever powers of whichever color try to weigh in on them.

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Related

» Radio Sparsam, Jan 26, 2014
» Authentic, Feb 16, 2013

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Radio Taiwan International Shortwave Issues: maybe not as China-Influenced as first reported

The high-level official meeting in Nanjing is in the international headlines, and once that happens, there’s probably nothing to add to what you couldn’t find elsehwere, too.

But a comment has reminded me that it’s time to keep track again of something else – Radio Taiwan International‘s (RTI) shortwave broadcasts. Sound of Hope (SoH), a Falun-Gong-affiliated broadcaster who rented airtime from RTI had said in summer 2013 that they had been asked to cut their airtime by half after the return of the KMT to power in the 2008 elections, and other allegations – as quoted by Radio Free Asia (RFA).

Chiang Kai-shek statement of resistance, apparently through a CBS microphone

Chiang Kai-shek’s statement of resistance on July 17, 1937, apparently speaking through a CBS microphone – click picture for info

This is what I wrote on June 8 2013. And this is a collection of links posted by Kim Elliott on July 12 2013. His links seem to suggest that shortwave airtime would hardly, if at all, be reduced once the relocations from Huwei and Tainan are completed.

A statement by Taiwan’s de-facto embassy to the U.S. published in a statement in Chinese on July 2 2013 (i. e. more than half a year ago and shortly after the Sound of Hope accusations), saying that plans for relocation had been  made as early as in 1997. The Executive Yuan had, at the time, told the Central Broadcasting System (CBS) to finalize the planning by 2004. The Taiwan embassy statement also reflected domestic Taiwanese politics in saying that DPP legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃), who herself represented a Tainan constituency, had on many occasions pushed for early removal of the towers to facilitate the city’s development.

Sound of Hope had been given assurances that the relocations would not affect the number of hours it can broadcast through RTI facilities and the services it received. It was regrettable that Sound of Hope had run reports without verification.

The official Taiwanese remarks seem to have gone mostly unnoticed or ignored. It’s obviously reasonable to follow stories over some time anyway, but especially when as contested, shit-stormed and “psy-oped” as they frequently are in cross-strait relations. The official Taiwanese reaction on the Sound of Hope and RFA allegations, in turn, was called into question by the Epoch Times, apparently Falun-Gong-affiliated as is Sound of Hope. This recent comment was very helpful in bringing me back to this story.

The proof of the pudding is the eating, of course. If any readers among you have information about how much airtime Sound of Hope currently gets from RTI, or if there have been changes in the airtime contract, or any other information on this matter, please let me know, by comment or e-mail.

Maybe even American and European RTI listeners will get the chance to listen to shortwave broadcasts directly from Taiwan again, sooner or later.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Shinzo Abe’s visit to the Yasakuni Shrine

Listening to Radio Taiwan International and KBS Seoul‘s foreign service, the unease about Shinzo Abe‘s visit to the Yasakuni Shrine is palpable. I don’t know how Japanese people feel about their prime minister’s visit, or about utterances by Japanese politicians who trivialize their country’s past warcrimes. My guess is that there are many different feelings among the Japanese – but that a majority elects politicians with these kinds of attitudes anyway.

I’m not familiar with the Yasakuni Shrine. There may be reasons to visit ancestors, no matter their past. But when a politician tries to play crimes down, or if he denies them, there is something wrong with him.

If politicians from my country were careless or disrespectful about the sufferings of victims abroad, I wouldn’t believe for a moment that such politicians could care any more about injustices that hit people at home. I wouldn’t believe that he might be able to respect my dignity, or the dignity of his and my compatriots. A politician with a flawed sense of justice wouldn’t get my vote.

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