Posts tagged ‘West’

Sunday, February 23, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

奇怪的是,加害者可以如此振振有词,如此毫无羞耻感。这只能解释为,在一些人看来,这种加害是某些国家一种政治传统,是由于基督教信仰而获得的神授特权,根本没有必要顾及受害方的利益和感受。历史与现实的不同之处仅仅在于,西方在历史上更多是直截了当使用武力,而现在则首先依靠其在国际上的话语霸权,将他们的私利装扮成“普世价值”。

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

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

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

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

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

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

与此同时,西方领导人以集体抵制北京奥运会开幕式威胁、羞辱中国,压中国政府对达赖集团作出政治上的让步。只是由于西藏局面迅速恢复正常,全中国人民和全球华侨华人群起发声支持中国政府,强烈反对达赖集团和CNN等西方媒体辱华事件,西方才没敢把事情做绝。

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

只有使西方认识到中国的强大是不可避免的,使西藏、新疆脱离中国只是一场“美丽的”梦,而西方的利益在于发展、保护同中国关系而不是相反,才可能促使西方转换一下思路。

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Related

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

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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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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Shortwave Log, Northern Germany, January 2014

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1. Voice of Tibet (a PBS shortwave station from or near Tibet)

If you still doubt that Tibet is a happy land of liberated serfs, PBS Tibet‘s English program “Holy Tibet” is made for you. Learn about the CCP’s warm care for the roof of the world, and how Han-Chinese party groups and neighborhood committees keep  those kids at the Tibetan leaders school in Beijing happy (starting at 3’40” here).

Apparently, there’s not quite as much care for listeners of the station who write reception reports and hope to get a QSL card as a confirmation. Maybe they remember that sending QSLs from Tibet can get radio people into big trouble. (At least as likely though, letters from abroad may not even get to the station.)

But the English-language broadcasts are, of course, directed to the outside world, as a China Tibet Website (中国西藏网) confirmed in 2010. The following are translation excerpts from the article:

Every day, with the sound of the bell in the wee hours, the strong radiowaves of Tibet People’s Broadcasting Station’s foreign program “Voice of Tibet”, and with satellite signals, too, in future, carry the sound of Tibet to the whole world. Millions of listeners all around the world can learn about the changes in Tibet in realtime, understand the broad and profound Tibetan culture, listen to melodies from the “roof of the world”, get to know Tibet and get nearer to Tibet.

伴随着每一天凌晨的钟声,西藏人民广播电台的对外广播《中国西藏之声》用强劲的电波将来自西藏的声音通过卫星传递到全球。遍布世界各地的百万听 众,可以通过这档节目及时了解西藏正在发生的变化,感悟博大精深的藏族文化、聆听来自“世界屋脊”的旋律,认识西藏并走近西藏。

On April 26 (2010), this reporter visited Tibet People’s Broadcasting Station deputy director Da Qiong. He told him his own story, and the story of broadcasting.

4月26日,记者走访了西藏人民广播电台副台长达穷,给他讲述了自己和广播的故事。

Deputy director Da Qiong told this reporter that since the English-language broadcasts had been started in May 2002*), the programs had received the attention and and appreciation. Every year, hundreds of letters come in from Britain, Germany, Switzerland, America, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Japan, and other foreign listeners, as well as from Tibetan compatriots living in Nepal, India, Bhutan, and other foreign countries. Da Qiong says: “There are listeners in 47 countries and territories on five continents. Actually, the gap between our ideals and the program’s contents is still rather wide, and it inspires us to see how many people at home and abroad pay attention to the program. As for the young group of the “Holy Tibet” program team, every postcard and photo [that comes in] spells cordial friendship and sincere encouragement.

达穷副台长告诉记者,自2002年5月开办英语对外广播节目以来,节目受到了欧美英语国家听众的广泛关注和欢迎,每年都会收到来自英国、德国、瑞士、美国、加拿大、澳大利亚、南非、日本等国外听众,以及旅居尼泊尔、印度、不丹等国外藏胞的来信数百封。达穷说:“与电台保持通信联系的国外听众遍布五大洲47个国家和地区。其实目前栏目的内容与我们理想中的差距还很大,看到这么多的国内外人士关注栏目,使我们备受鼓舞。对于《圣地西藏》节目组的这些年轻人来说,每一张明信片和照片都意味着一份诚挚的友谊和诚恳的鼓励。”

[Dutch listener M.] is a shortwave aficionado who decided, after listening to “Holy Tibet”, to travel to Tibet. In July 2009, he and his friend came to Lhasa and also visited the “Holy Tibet” program team. Coming to the newsroom, M. was very excited, saying “I have heard broadcasts from many places. When travelling in Indonesia last year, I came across your program on the radio dial and have listened ever since. I’m very happy to meet the people behind this familiar voice today. Your program includes news, cultural and muscial programs, and it’s a really good structure. Through them, I can understand the real Tibet. Tibetan music is so beautiful. It’s a trasured sound [or the sound of nature]. Thank you for your hard work.”

荷兰听众戴夫德-马丁是一位短波收听爱好者,经过收听《Holy Tibet》后决定到西藏旅游,2009年7月他和他的朋友来到拉萨并专程拜访了《Holy Tibet》节目组。来到编辑部马丁先生激动不已,他说:“我收听很多地方的广播,去年在印尼旅行时意外搜索到你们的节目,从此一直在收听。今天能见到我熟悉的声音背后的人十分高兴。你们的节目囊括了新闻、文化和音乐节目,结构布局很好。通过它我们能够了解真实的西藏,西藏的音乐太美了,真是天籁之音。谢谢你们的辛勤劳动。”

[Another listener, from Canada, wrote in a letter]: “This is a window widely opened by ancient Tibet to the world. Through this window, listeners around the world can find out about real Tibet, about fast-developing Tibet.”

另一位来自加拿大埃尔波特的听众尼格尔-潘布雷特在来信中说:这是古老的西藏向世界敞开的一扇窗口,遍布世界各地的听众通过这扇窗口了解真实的西藏,快速发展中的西藏。

The deputy director relates s0me domestic merits of the station, too: a Tibetan-language hotline where the common people can ask for help with practical problems, such as electricity blackouts in remote villages. After such a problem had been aired and solved, excited villagers took home-produced fresh milk and yoghourt to the radio station and expressed their thanks (兴奋的村民提着自己制做的鲜牛奶和酸奶找到了电台表示感谢). The deputy director acknowledges that there is competition among different media in “more developed” places, but suggests that his station can still leave a mark even among an international audience.

“Witnessing Tibet [with your own eyes]“, “Eyes on Tibet” [is/are] news feature program[s]. We introduce Tibetan human rights, the heritage of traditional culture and its development, freedom of religious belief, demographics, the ecology and environment, etc.. We determine our topics directly from these reports. We compare with old Tibet, we show how the living conditions of all nationalities and masses of new Tibet prosper under the minority policies, religion policies, and policies of enriching the people, and with the support from old and younger brothers from all provinces and cities of the nation, are improving, and how culture, hygiene, education and other public infrastructure are, day by day, create historical facts. We make interviews on the ground. Through ordinary people from all walks of life in Tibet, through description of peasants’ and herders’ own experience, we report the real Tibet. Indisputible facts show Tibet’s new development, new changes, and new life.

《目击西藏》,《Eyes on the Tibet》:新闻专题节目。对外介绍西藏的人权、传统文化的继承和发展、宗教信仰自由、人口数量的变化、生态环境等。直接针对这些报道确定选题。与旧西藏进行对比,展现新西藏各族群众在党的民族政策、宗教政策、富民政策指引下,在全国兄弟省市的大力支援下,生活条件逐年改善,文化、卫生、教育等公共设施日益健全的历史事实。全部采用现场采访,通过西藏社会各界普通百姓,农牧民亲身经历的讲述报道真实的西藏,用不争的事实展示西藏的新发展、新变化、新生活。

God knows if the Dutch and Canadian listeners quoted in the article exist for real – but if you write to the “Voice of Tibet” for a QSL card, you may want to learn from these foreign models’ example.

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*) Update (20140201): In an earlier article, apparently (originally) published by a China Tibet News Center (中国西藏信息中心) in November 2009,  it is suggested that Tibet PBS started foreign broadcasts in 1964, but with what comes across as a description of limited success. The 2002 broadcasts therefore underwent a rebranding and/or expansion, rather than being the absolute beginning of foreign broadcasts by Tibet PBS.

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2. Recent Logs

International Telecommunication Union letter codes used in the table underneath:

AFS – South Africa; ARG – Argentina; CHN – China; CUB – Cuba; D – Germany; EQA – Ecuador; IND – India; INS – Indonesia; KRE – North Korea; RRW – Rwanda; TIB – Tibet, TUR – Turkey; USA – USA.

Languages (“L.”):

C – Chinese; E – English; F – French; G – German; R – Russian; S – Spanish.

kHz

Station

Ctry

L.

Day

GMT

S I O
 6170 Vo Korea KRE G Jan
2
19:00 5 5 4
 3985 Radio
Prague
D G Jan
7
20:00 4 4 3
11710 RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG C Jan
10
04:00 3 3 3
11710 RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG C Jan
15
04:00 4 4 3
11755 AWR
Meyerton
AFS F Jan
16
20:00 4 4 3
11710 RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG F Jan
17
03:48 4 4 4
15700 Deutsche
Welle
Kigali
RRW E Jan
19
06:00 4 5 3
17800 Deutsche
Welle
Kigali
RRW E Jan
19
06:20 4 5 4
 6165 Radio
Habana
Cuba
CUB E Jan
20
04:00 4 4 3
15235 Channel
Africa
AFS E Jan
20
17:00 5 5 5
 6170 Vo Korea KRE G Jan
20
18:51 5 5 4
 6170 Vo Korea KRE G Jan
20
19:00 5 4 4
 6155 CRI
Beijing
CHN R Jan
20
20:00 4 3 4
 9800 Deutsche
Welle
Kigali
RRW E Jan
20
21:01 4 5 3
 4905 PBS
Tibet
TIB E Jan
21
16:25 4 3 3
 7205 Vo
Turkey
TUR G Jan
21
18:30 4 3 3
 7550 AIR
Delhi
IND E Jan
21
19:00 5 5 5
 9800 Deutsche
Welle
Kigali
RRW ? Jan
22
03:51
7425 Deutsche
Welle
Kigali
RRW E Jan
22
04:01 4 5 4
 9525 RRI
Jakarta1)
INS G Jan
22
19:00 4 5 4
 7240 PBS
Tibet2)
TIB C Jan
24
01:00 4 4 4
 7240 PBS
Tibet
TIB C Jan
24
02:00 4 4 3
11710 RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG E Jan
24
02:10 0 0 0
11710 RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG F Jan
24
03:40 3 4 3
 7365 Radio
Martí
USA S Jan
24
02:15 4 5 4
 6000 Radio
Habana
Cuba3)
CUB E Jan
24
03:00 3 2 2
 6165 Radio
Habana
Cuba
CUB E Jan
24
03:03 4 3 3
 6050 HCJB
Quito
EQA S/E Jan
24
03:13 4 4 4
 6165 Radio
Habana
Cuba
CUB E Jan
26
05:00 4 4 4
9445 AIR
Delhi4)
IND E Jan
27
21:15 4 5 4
 4905 PBS
Tibet
TIB E Jan
28
16:00 4 4 4
11710 RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG E Jan
29
02:00 5 5 4
 6155 Channel
Africa
AFS E Jan
29
03:00 3 2 2
 4905 PBS
Tibet
TIB E Jan
30
16:00 4 4 4
 4905 PBS
Tibet
TIB E Jan
31
16:40 3 4 3
 5000 WWV USA E Jan
31
06:02 3 3 3

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Footnotes

1) in English from 18:00 – 18:59 UTC
2) more fading by 01:30 UTC: 44434
3) interference by Radio Liberty, apparently from 5995 kHz
4) blackouts on 7550 and 11670 kHz from 21:00 – 2115 UTC, hence 9445 kHz (fine)

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Related

» Log Dec 2013
» Log Nov (2) 2013
» Log Nov (1) 2013

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Friday, November 8, 2013

Press Review: the “Magic” of Third Plenary Sessions

The Chinese Communist Party’s 18th Central Committee’s third plenary session is scheduled to begin on Saturday, and to close on Tuesday. The Economist is full of joy and great expectations:

When colleagues complain that meetings achieve nothing, silence them with eight leaden words: “third plenary session of the 11th central committee”. This five-day Communist Party gathering in December 1978 utterly changed China.

Why should Xi Jinping be in a position to repeat a similar plenum tomorrow, 35 years after the 1th Central Committee? Because Xi, and chief state councillor Li Keqiang, have assembled an impressive bunch of market-oriented advisers, and because Xi himself appears to have more authority than any leader since Deng. And he had done nothing downplay expecations.

press review

The outland expects nothing short of a (counter) revolution.

The Economist’s editorial mentions two fields on which the central committee – in its view – should focus: state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and the countryside. The magazine has been banging on about the latter issue since March 2006 – if not earlier. In its March 25, 2006 edition, it suggested land reform (“how to make China even richer”), and it saw some of its expectations met in winter 2008, but the third plenum that Xi’s predecessor Hu Jintao chaired in October 2008 proved an anticlimax.

If the next days should not produce spectacular decisions, neither the Economist nor the Financial Times appear to be too worried: bloated phrasing, the FT suggests, has not been an obstacle to far-reaching economic policy changes in China over the past 35 years. The FT also agrees with the Economist’s 2008 finding that

for Hu Jintao, Mr Xi’s predecessor, the 2003 third plenum became a marker of his administration’s shortcomings. Mr Hu vowed at the plenum to tackle China’s unbalanced growth, but a decade later left office with the economy even more reliant on investment.

But contrary to the Economist, the FT doesn’t seem to believe that the input from the market-oriented advisers, assembled by Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang, will translate into results quite as dramatic as the think-tank papers. Incremental change would prevail.

One of the ideas – certainly not shared by all Chinese leaders alike – behind the right to farmers to sell their land is that the money earned from sales would enable them to start new lives in the cities or in urbanized areas. This would, apparently, require loosening or abandoning the household-registration system, even if some more conservative models of trading land-related rights rather seem to encourage rural citizens to stay where they are.

This should make sense – maybe not everywhere, but in many places. After all, Hu Jintao’s and Wen Jiabao’s caution wasn’t unfounded. The history of Chinese agriculture seems to have been about making farmers owners of their land – with concepts of ownership which most probably differ from our days -, even if for different goals. The idea then was to make agriculture work, not to make urbanization work. And time and again, land concentrated, back into the hands of small elites, Erling von Mende, a sinologist, suggested in a contribution for a popular-science illustrated book published by Roger Goepper, in 1988.*)

If a peasant in Gansu province sells his few mu of land – to a local developer, for example – and heads to a big city, one may doubt that his small capital would get him very far. He might return to his home province as a poorer man than ever before. It’s unlikely that the center would loosen all the brakes at once.

The most striking thing to me about recent foreign coverage of the plenary session aren’t the technicalities, however. It is the way China is being looked at as just another kind of political system. The potential of big business seems to have squashed ethical issues.

That’s not soft power, but it is Beijing power. A number of former foreign officials, among them Mexico’s former president Ernesto Zedillo and former British prime minister Gordon Brown, pilgrimaged to the Chinese capital to attend a conference of the 21st Century Council, a global think tank (apparently formed by them). They got an invitation for tea met with Xi Jinping, too, who informed them that China would not fall into the middle-income trap.

There is no reason to believe that elites who worship abusive power abroad will show more respect for human rights at home.

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Note

*) Roger Goepper (Hrsg.): “Das Alte China”, München, Gütersloh, 1988, pp. 164 – 166

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Related

» Is China misunderstood, Oct 24, 2012
» Middle-income trap, Wikipedia, acc. 20131108

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Chinese Press Review: Syria, very clever

At a moment when everything had seemed to be set for a showdown, things changed dramatically, writes People’s Daily. Yesterday night, Syria officially responded to the international community and said it was willing to hand over all its chemical weapons so as to avoid American attack.  (叙利亚危机剑拔弩张的气氛出现戏剧性变化。
昨日晚间,叙利亚正式回复国际社会,叙利亚愿意交出全部化学武器以换取免遭美国打击。)

After a short account of Kerry’s sudden suggestion on a press conference in London that Syria could only avoid U.S. military strikes by handing over its chemical weapons, and Russian foreign minister Lavrov’s and Syrian foreign minister Mouallem’s statements, amounting to a Syrian willingness to do just that, plus Obama’s ABC interview, People’s Daily quotes an old diplomat and professor, Zhou Zunnan (周尊南) of the Chinese Foreign Affairs University, in an interview with the “International Financial Journal”:

Russia is very clever. They have successfully used diplomatic techniques, and the important thing is that in the current situation, with all the different parties’ interveaved interests, this is a “good move” [in a game of chess].  On the one hand, America gets under international pressure by gradually lowering other countries’ support for unilateral American war, and on the other, objectively, Russia showed support for Syria, perhaps implicating that “no matter if you use force or if you don’t, we will stand on Syria’s side.”

“俄罗斯很聪明,他们成功利用了外交技巧,重要的是,在目前各方面利益交织的格局下,这是一步‘好棋’。”老外交官、外交学院教授周尊南对《国际金融报》记者表示,“一方面,美国会陷入国际压力,进一步压低其他国家对美国单方面发动战争的支持度;另一方面,俄罗斯客观上表达了对叙利亚的支持,言外之意可能是‘不管你动不动武,我都会站在叙利亚’这边。”

People’s Daily is hedging its bets, regarding the likelihood of open American military intervention. From the Third Middle-East War (meaning the Six-Day War) to Syria’s occupation of Lebanon in 1976, and to Syria’s “flirting glances” (与伊朗保持“眉来眼去”的关系) with Iran, things had put this Middle-Eastern country’s relations with Western countries “out of sorts”, the paper writes. In the latest stage of the Syrian conflict, America had sought an “pretext” (quotation marks by People’s Daily), which was the chemical weapons.  There were several indications, People’s Daily quotes Zhou Zunnan (周尊南), still from the “International Financial Journal”, that the issue of chemical weapons was just an excuse. It would have looked bad to take military action against Syria before the UN inspectors delivered their findings, and besides, Russia had borrowed the position Kerry stated in London, Syria had cleverly strengthened its alliance with Russia, thus putting America into a difficult position. A third problem was American public opinion, according to Zhou.

And after all, the situation was complicated: Turkey would have to forget about a four-country economy including Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, if the Assad stepped down. And Russia’s only naval base in the Mediterranean was Tartus, in Syria. Syria was at the center of solving or mishandling the big Middle-Eastern issues.

Referring to further sources, People’s Daily suggests that oil prices had to be critical factors in Washington’s deliberations, too – with repercussions for the U.S economy. And still, this could also help America to replace the Middle East as the world’s center of energy sources, with an impact on countries depending on those, such as China and India. Therefore, the possibility of military action could not be ruled out. People’s Daily quotes a Russian political scientist (波利卡诺夫) who was also quoted by Xinhua a day earlier as suggesting that the military strikes were only delayed, but had not been stopped by Moscow’s and Damascus’ decisions.

Even China wasn’t on the sidelines in Syria, writes People’s Daily.  Syria had maintained close oil trade with China, and Chinese state-owned energy companies had business in Syria. A SINOPEC spokesperson is quoted as saying (again from “International Financial Journal”) that his company had temporarily closed their branch company in Syria, with most of the staff returning to Beijing, and some staying in Lebanon. Despite all the emphasis on diversification, about fifty percent of China’s crude oil imports were still coming from the Middle East, an expert from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is quoted.

Economics aside, People’s Daily concludes, there had also been a close Sino-Syrian relationship in other fields. Reports say that when China was treated unfairly in the international arena, it could always count on Syrian support.

This is about as far as official Chinese media go in their support for Damascus. Voicing official or semi-official positions is frequently the job of high-ranking academics, when Zhongnanhai prefers to remain silent or low-key. Zhou Zunnan’s comments in the “International Financial Journal”, which is in fact a branch of People’s Daily itself, probably play this kind of role.

On September 4, another academic, Li Shaoxian (李绍先) of the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, was quoted by Huanqiu Shibao with a rather candid statement (which may or may not mirror the official Chinese position, obviously):

Besides, Li Shaoxian believes that, when Bashar al-Assad said that China and Russia were Syria’s allies, that was the great banner used as a tiger-skin [a way to impress enemies]. China wasn’t Syria’s ally.  “Although China and Russia both insist on a peaceful solution and both oppose foreign military intervention, Russia has major actual interests in Syria to protect, while China’s interests in Syria are small.”

李绍先还认为,叙利亚总统巴沙尔说中国、俄罗斯是其盟友的说法是“拉大旗作虎皮”,中国不是巴沙尔的盟友。
“尽管中俄对坚持和平解决、反对外来军事干预是一致的,但中俄的考虑并不完全一致,俄罗斯在叙利亚有重大的现实利益要保护,而中国在叙利亚的利益很少”。

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Related

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

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Friday, August 16, 2013

Song Luzheng on Democracy: “Idle Masses indulging in a Life of Pleasure and Comfort”

Song Luzheng (宋鲁郑) is a journalist and (semi-)official living in France. The following are excerpts from an article published by Guanchazhe, a Shanghai-based website, on Thursday, and republished by the nationalist Huanqiu Shibao (online), also on Thursday. The article also appears on his regular blog.

Quotes made by Song Luzheng within the excerpts and translations underneath are my translations from Chinese to English. The wordings of the actual English-language originals (including book titles) by Niall Ferguson and Thomas Friedman may be different.

Main Link: The Tragedy of the Egyptian Raids confirm, once again, the Predicament of Democracy (埃及清场悲剧再次验证民主困境)

The bloody way in which the Egyptian military cracked down on the Morsi supporters has shocked the world. One after another, European countries condemned the “big terrorist massacre”, but Kerry, the secretary of state in charge of America’s diplomacy, of the world’s most developed democracy, with a surprising smile on his face on a press conference, didn’t condemn the military massacre in the least, and only uttered  that this was “deplorable”, that “violence was no solution and only brought about more instability and economic disaster” (but who used violence? The protesters?). Also, the only “sanction” the Obama administration imposes is “the military exercises with Egypt may be cancelled”. This is completely different from condemning the situation in Syria and taking action. Apparently, public intellectuals under American influence, abroad and at home, are in a hurry to stand on the side of the military which massacres peaceful Egyptian citizens.

埃及军方如此残酷的血腥镇压穆尔西的支持者, 举世震惊。欧洲各国纷纷表态谴责这起“恐怖大屠杀”,而世界上最发达的民主国家美国,其主管外交的国务卿克里竟然笑容满面地出席记者会,对埃及军方主导的 大屠杀毫无谴责,仅仅说了一句“悲惨的”,并不痛不痒地说“暴力不是解决方案,通向暴力的道路只能带来更大的不稳定、经济灾难”(但谁在使用暴力?抗议者 吗?)。与此同时,奥巴马政府的官员提出的唯一“制裁”措施竟然是:“可能取消与埃及的军事演习”。这和美国谴责叙利亚的态度和采取的行动完全不同。看 来,受美国影响,海内外的不少公知们很快也要站在屠杀埃及平民的军方一边了。

Most of today’s developed countries, with the exception of Britain, went through times of destruction, writes Song, and adds:

In fact, China went through a similar experience, only at a higher cost. This was the Republic of China, founded in 1912. Simply-put, the Republic of China didn’t bring China independence, nor did it bring China unity, let alone an era of strength, prosperity and dignity. In its short 37 years, the economy went into bancruptcy, there was warlordism, large-scale civil war, invasions by foreign enemies, territorial disintegration, corruption from the top to the bottom etc., and until it [the ROC] withdraw from the stage of history, China had almost reached the status of a savage nation. Life expectancy was at 35 years, illiteracy up to 80 percent. The only time in several thousands of years that China fell behind India was at that time. Not even the Cultural Revolution managed to do that. China at the end of the Qing dynasty faced three challenges: extreme poverty and weakness and encirclement by big powers, national disintegration, and military split by warlordism, and the Republic of China not only failed to provide solutions, but worsened even further. If one says that the Qing dynasty was a big collapsing building, the Republic of China not only failed to work on the Qing dynasty’s foundations, but even lost that foundation. It was at that time that Outer Mongolia was lost without a war, as the first territory in China’s history.

其实中国自己也曾有过类似的经历,只是代价更为不菲。这就是 1912年建立的中华民国。简言之中华民国是一个既没有带给中国独立、也没有带来统一,更没有带来富强与尊严的时代。在其短短的三十七年间,经济陷入破 产,军阀混战,大规模的内战,外敌入侵,国土分裂,从上到下的完全腐败,等到它退出历史舞台的时候,中国已几乎到了“蛮荒亡国”的地步:人均寿命不足35 岁,文盲高达80%。中国几千年唯一一次落后于印度就在此时,甚至文革都未能做到一点。清末中国面临的三大挑战:极端的贫困和积弱不振、列强环伺的生存危 机、国家的分裂和军队的军阀化,中华民国不但一个都没有解决,反而更加恶化。如果说清朝是倒塌的大厦,中华民国则不但连清理地基的工作都未能做到,而且把 地基都丢掉了。外蒙古也就是这个时期,成为中国历史上首个不是因为战败而丧失的领土。

Although a high price for democratic transition was a historical law [anyway], there were still more special factors at work in Egypt, according to Song: it was particularly poor, it was under the impact of the global economic crisis and of revolution at home, an unemployment rate of 31 percent (only nine percent before the revolution), and adding to that, illiteracy was at 27 percent, with female illiteracy at 69 percent.  A well-performing democracy needed an economic base and universal education. Lacking secularism in the Islamic world is also cited as a factor.

Also, some Muslim societies have long lacked a spirit of compromise and tolerance. This national character displays itself in a firm position and no concessions. This led to a situation where, when a ruler [Muarak] made concessions, prepared to move toward democracy, the country missed out on this top-down transition model which would have come at rather low costs, and even after a democratic success, and used extreme methods to solve conflicts. This happened both in Tunisia and in Egypt. When Muarak announced that he wouldn’t stay in office for another term and that his sons wouldn’t participate in elections, and that after his current term, there would be comprehensive, free and fair elections, the masses rejected this. As a result, power was transferred to the military, thus extending the transition period.  And after one year of rule by Morsi, the first president elected by the people was pushed off the stage by another street revolution, causing nation-wide confrontation and resulting in an unprecedented bloody tragedy. This kind of lack of compromise has already strangled Egypt’s democracy in its cradle. History shows again and again that what is born in a pool of blood is only violent, not democratic.

再者,有些穆斯林社会长期缺乏妥协和宽容精神,这种国民性在革命时可以表现 为立场坚决,绝不退步。却也造成当执政者做出让步,准备走向民主时,国家错过从上而下的、代价较低的转型模式,甚至在民主成功之后,采用极端手段来解决冲 突。这一幕在突尼斯和埃及都反复上演。当穆巴拉克宣布不再连任、自己的儿子也不参选、任期届满之后即进行全面、自由、公正的选举时,却被民众拒绝了。结果 权力被交给军方,大大延长了过渡期。随后又在穆尔西执政一年后,再次以街头革命的方式,将首位民选总统赶下台,造成全国性的对抗,终至演变成空前的血腥悲 剧。实际上,这种不妥协,已经把埃及的民主扼杀在摇篮中。历史已经一而再地证明,在血泊中诞生的只有暴力,而不是民主。

Revolutions like these were most likely to happen in demographically young countries, Song continues. Japanese media had pointed out that therefore, a revolution was unlikely to happen in a country like China, which was older on average, and with only one child per family.

The West itself was equally in trouble, writes Song, enumerating the share of respective national debt as a share of GDP. All of those shares were above the internationally accepted warning line of 60 percent.

The trouble was that democratic systems were based on the expectation that the people were perfect, and wouldn’t allow abuse. Unreasonable public expectations made politicians accept even unreasonable demands:

By using the ballot box in this Western system, people can force politicians to accept unreasonable and even perfectly unreasonable demands. Today’s Western debts come from deficit spending [今天西方国家普遍出现的债台高筑寅吃卯粮], high levels of welfare are hard to sustain and impossible to reform, the masses idly indulge in a life of pleasure and comfort, and falling competitiveness and falling economic growth have their sources here.

西方危机的深层根源就在于它实行的一人一票的民主制度。当今民主制度有一个理论假想:政府是应有 之恶,要进行限权,但对人民却又认为是道德完美、能够做到绝对正确。事实上,人民的全体和个体的人民一样,都有先天性的人性缺憾,比如好逸恶劳贪得无厌、 目光短浅急功近利等等。而任何权力包括民权没有限制都会被滥用。于是在西方这种制度模式下,民众可以通过选票迫使政治人物接受并非理性、甚至完全不合理的 诉求。今天西方国家普遍出现的债台高筑寅吃卯粮、高福利难以为继却无法改革、民众日益懒惰贪图享乐、竞争力下降经济增长乏力的根源就在于此。

When it is said that traditionally socialist countries with absolute public ownership of means of production (and economic equality) has proven a failed utopia, the failure of Western democratic societies as another big Utopia with absolute equality (one man, one vote) is now also being proven.

如果说过去传统社会主义国家生产资料的绝对公有制(即经济上均贫富)是人类已经证明失败的乌托邦,那么西方民主社会另一大乌托邦即政治权力的绝对平等(一人一票)的失败也正在被历史所验证。

Song mentions the role of Wall Street’s five largest investment banks in the 2008 U.S. elections:

While collusion between officialdom and business in China still requires secrecy, it happens in broad daylight in the West.

由于西方的民主制度法必须通过选举,而选举成本堪称天文数字,这又给了资本介入的契机。我们知道2008年华尔街五大投行全军覆灭,但高盛集团的政治献金仍然高达数亿美元(如果说中国官商勾结还需要遮遮掩掩,在西方则是光天化日)。

Apparently based on the bestseller “This Town”, Song details his statement about democracy.

This book’s grim conclusion is this: transactions between power and money has become a thorough procedure. America has become exactly the way of the Roman empire in its late stage, before its collapse: Systematic political corruption, evil action as the usual practice, and legal offense in vogue.

这本书得出的冷酷结论是:权钱交易已经彻底地程序化。美国正如罗马帝国崩溃前的末期:制度化的政治腐败,作恶成了惯例,违法成了时髦。

[...]

In the face of the crisis of Western democracy, more and more scholars are waking up. Niall Ferguson, one of the West’s most renowned and influential historians, called “one of the world’s 100 most influential people” by “Time”, wrote -  after writing “Money and Power” and “Civilizaton” – about “The Western Civilization’s four Black Boxes”. In this book he argues that questions about the decline of the West lies in the degeneration of the institutions. Representational government, free markets, the rule of law, and civil society were once western Europe’s and North America’s four pillars, but are now in decay. The root lies in the irresponsibility to which the voting people have turned, living at the costs of future generations.

面对西方民主的危机,越来越多的学者开始醒悟。当代西方声誉最高、影 响力最大的历史学者,被《时代》周刊称为“影响世界的100人”之一的尼尔·弗格森,在《金钱与权力》、《文明》后,又推出一本新作:《西方文明的4个黑 盒子》,在这本书中,他认为西方衰落的答案就在西方的建制正在退化。代议政体、自由市场、法治、公民社会,曾是西欧、北美社会的四大支柱,但在今天这些建 制已败坏变质。根源则在于作为选民的人民变得不负责任,使一代选民得以在牺牲未来数代人利益下过日子。

This is also why the “New York Times’” columnist Thomas Friedman, in his new book “[The World is] Hot, Flat, and Crowded”, goes as far as titling one chapter “If America could be China for one Day”. He gives an example: “If need be, China’s leaders can change the regulatory system, the standards, infrastructure to safeguard the country’s long-term strategic benefit. If such issues get discussed and implemented in Western countries, I’m afraid it takes years or even decades.” [...]

这也是为什么《纽约时报》专栏作家托马斯·费里德曼新书《世界又热又平又挤》有一章的标题竟然是这样的: 假如美国能做一天中国。他举例道:“如果需要的话,中国领导人可以改变规章制度、标准、基础设施,以维护国家长期战略发展的利益。这些议题若换在西方国家 讨论和执行,恐怕要花几年甚至几十年的时间。” [.....]

This is where Song Luzheng gets back to Egypt, as a painfull lesson for Egypt itself, but a fortune for China (埃及的惨痛教训,对于中国实是极为宝贵的财富).

There are the three major human civilizations: Christian civilization, Islamic civilization, and Confucian cvilization. Only the Western democratic system can keep pace with China’s political civilization. But this kind of Western system has developed to today’s dysfunctionality, increasingly unable to adapt to the challenges of globalization. Apparently, Chinese civilization cannot be refused to play an important role among the world’s civilizations!

目前人类三大主要文明:基督教文明、伊斯兰教文明和儒家文明,真正能和中国政治文明并驾齐驱的只有西方的民主制度。但西方这种制度发展到今天已弊病丛生,日益无法适应全球化的挑战。看来,中华文明将不得不再一次在世界文明中扮演极为重要角色!

We can say that the decline of Western democracy and China’s institutional civilization full of vitality are humankind’s greatest and most influential change. In the old days, China’s  huge contributions to humankind weren’t only reflected in economics, but more importantly in its institutional civilization. These days, as China is becoming strong and prosperous again, it will also, once again, carve out another height of institutional civilization for humankind.

我们可以说,西方民主的衰落与中国制度文明充满生命力的崛起将是二十一世纪人类最伟大、影响最为深远的变革。昔日中国对人类的巨大贡献并不仅仅表现在经济的富庶,更重要的是制度文明。今天的中国,在重新走向富强的同时,也将再一次为人类开拓出更高的制度文明。

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Related

» Those Southern Newspaper’s Commentators, Jan 28, 2013
» Refuting Western Rhetoric, china.org.cn, Nov 18, 2012
» JR turns to Science, Dec 17, 2011
» Make America collapse, Feb 14, 2010

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Saturday, July 13, 2013

What the Heck are “National Conditions”?

From Qianjiang Evening Post (钱江晚报), Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, founded in 1987.  Although named “evening paper”, it is sent to subscribers in the morning. The following signed editorial was apparently published online on Friday.

Links added during translation.

If “national condition” is some kind of dough, National Food Safety Assessment Center deputy Wang Zhutian has put it into a mold.

“国情”是个面团,国家食品安全风险评估中心主任助理王竹天把它捏成了方的。

This official, assigned to watch over the food security of 1.3 billion Chinese people, said in reply to questions concerning the definition of our country’s food security issues that we are a developing country, and that we need to define our standards in accordance to our “national condition”. If we took European air-quality standards, we wouldn’t be up to the standards.

这位身居13亿中国人食品安全站岗放哨要职的官员,在回答我国食品安全标准制定的问题时说,我们是发展中国家,还要按照“国情”来制定我们自己的标准。如果我们都拿欧洲空气做标准,那么我们都不合格。

This national-condition stuff – China Civil Aviation Cadres Institute associate professor Zou Jianjun has shaped it.

“国情”这团面,中国民航干部学院副教授邹建军把它捏成了圆的。

He voiced disdain for a flight data statistic  – he believes that to put Beijing Capital Airport and Shanghai Pudong Airport into a punctuality statistic with an overall of 35 airports worldwide, where they rank last and second-last, won’t perfectly reflect actual punctuality, and emphasizes that currently, our economic development doesn’t match Europe’s or America’s, and to put them all together [in the same statistic] was unreasonable.

这位专家对美国航空数据网站发布的一组数字表示不屑。他认为,北京首都机场、上海浦东机场双双包揽上个月全球35个国际机场准点率排名倒数第一第二名,这个数据不能完全准确反映实际准点率,并强调,目前我国经济发展水平并未与欧美相同,放在一起比较并不合理。

According to Wang Zhutian’s theory, the “national condition” of food safety standards – i. e. an acknowledged “national condition” – China, in its primary stage of socialism, should forget about wild hopes for eating with the same peace of mind as people in developed countries.

按照王竹天主任的理论,食品安全标准的“国情”,就是一个认命的“国情”,社会主义初级阶段的中国,别奢望吃上与发达国家一样放心的食品。

I don’t know how much of a natural connection there is between melamine in milkpowder and the incessant stream of poisonous rice and ginger, and the degree of  a country’s economic development. If there is a relation, is it that not enough tax money is spent on supervision? Or is it that the money spent by consumers on food doesn’t qualify for eating with their minds at ease?

我不知道奶粉中的三聚氰胺、层出不尽的毒大米毒生姜,与一个国家经济发达程度有多少必然的关系。如果有关系,是指纳税人提供给监管的钱不够花?还是消费者现有的食品购买支出,没资格吃上放心的食品?

From the common peoples’ dining tables to the state council’s meetings, the entire country is filled with fear about food safety issues, and this supervision official puts his “national-condition” dough into the mold. If “national conditions” become the food-safety supervision officials excuse for inaction, it will be a crudely-made protective umbrella for the inaction, and “national condition” will be a warning to compatriots to resign themselves to the destiny of accepting cheap standards.

吃的安全问题,从黎民百姓的餐桌上,摆到了国务院常务会议上,全中国都在为食品安全问题提心吊胆,偏偏这监管的官员,把它摆到了“国情”这个任他们拿捏的面团里。如果“国情”可以成为食品监管不作为的借口,可以成为放任食品粗制滥造的保护伞,那么,“国情”就是个告诫国人自认命贱的标准。

To grasp the theory of “national condition”, some of our experts and officials aren’t ahead of the rest of us with their standards, but the skin of their face is thicker than ours. The airports we built [in this country], in the words of our achievers, experts and officials, are of “international standards”.  Our high-speed trains, are testimony that there is “no match for them elsewhere in the world”. But when comparisons are about operation capabilities or quality of service, “national conditions” serve as shields. Our experts and officials don’t feel the least of shame that in many fields, China trails behind internationally.

在把握“国情”的理论上,我们现在的一些专家和官员,已经不是在与别人比水平有多高,而是在与别人比脸皮有多厚。建机场,夸成就,专家和官员嘴里,那是一个“国际一流”。修高铁,说功劳,那是一个“世上无双”。但是,比运营能力、比服务水平,“国情”就被扯出来做挡箭牌了。中国很多事情在国际上“垫底”,我们在这些专家和官员身上,感受不到丁点儿羞耻。

You don’t get on your plane or train? It’s “national condition”. Delays in arrival? “National conditions”. Rising prices? They have nothing to say. When spending money, they have nothing to say. Showing off their (small) achievements? Nothing to say. When earning high salaries and state remuneration from taxpayers’ money, when counting their money, have they ever mentioned “national conditions”?

坐不上飞机火车的时候,他们说“国情”。晚点的时候,他们说“国情”。涨价的时候,他们不说了。花钱的时候,他们不说了。表功的时候,他们不说了。拿着纳税人供奉的高薪与厚禄,在点钱的时候,他们说过一句“国情”了吗?

What kind of condition is a “national condition”? First of all, it should be the people’s conditon, the responsibility entrusted to officials and experts, the willingness to be worthy. Apart from the people’s feelings, it is this inaptness, this demand on compatriots to acknowledge their own worthlessness which is China’s most unfortunate “national condition”.

“国情”是个什么情?它首先应该是民情,是官员与专家寄托在百姓身上负责任、愿担当的感情。抛开民情,站在那个与自己的能力、品行不相匹配的位置上,以“国情”的名义让国人自认命贱,这才是中国最不幸的“国情”。

What’s the “national condition”? Above all, it should be the people’s sentiments, the responsibility for the common people, entrusted to officials and experts, the desire to be worthy.

“国情”是个什么情?它首先应该是民情,是官员与专家寄托在百姓身上负责任、愿担当的感情。

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Related

» One on One, Wang Zhutian, CCTV, May 12, 2013

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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Huanqiu Shibao on Xinjiang: the “Five Not-Afraids”

The following editorial was published by Huanqiu Shibao, on Tuesday morning local Beijing time. It is a reaction to recent coverage on reported violence in Xinjiang which was said to have killed 35 people in June.

My translation of the editorial may contain errors. For example, the regular Chinese word for “terrorist” would be 恐怖分子 (terrorist element) or 恐怖主义者 (terrorist), but in this editorial, it’s 暴恐分子 which seems to read more like sudden-fear element. I translated the term as “terrorist” anyway.

Main Link: Using the five “Not Afraids” to knock the Terrorist Element’s Aggression out (用五个“不怕”打掉暴恐分子嚣张)

Editorial: Using the five “Not Afraids” to knock the Terrorist Element’s Aggression out
社评:用五个“不怕”打掉暴恐分子嚣张

The arrogant aggression of the Xinjiang terrorist elements was fought down right away, but will it raise its head again in the future?  This doesn’t depend so much on the terrorist elements, but more so on our attitude.

新疆暴恐分子的嚣张气焰被迅速打了下去,但它今后还会再次抬头吗?这不取决于暴恐分子,而更多取决于我们的态度。

Why could the terrorist elements be arrogant? Because they believe that the society that surrounds them “fears” the trouble they create. They are only a few people, but believe that today’s society is frail, and that they only need to “put lifes at danger” to impose imbearable shocks on society. Therefore, when society looks at their faces, they [the "elements"] think of themselves as something “very new”.

暴恐分子为什么会嚣张?因为他们认为周围的社会“怕”他们闹事。他们人很少,但觉得如今的社会很脆弱,只要他们敢“玩命”,就能带来社会无法承受的震动。因此社会要看他们的脸色,他们自以为“很牛”。

Now, we have to tell them by practical action that society in Xinjiang and in all of China is not afraid of them at all. We can obtain anything we strive for in terms of stability in Xinjiang, not to mention our nation-wide political design. If the terrorist elements dare to defy the law, we will resolutely eliminate them. Xinjiang and China will continue to advance.

现在我们就是要以实际行动告诉他们,新疆社会和整个中国社会一点都不怕他们。我们没有新疆稳定得不出任何事的追求,在全中国更没有这样的政治设计。暴恐分子敢以身试法,我们就坚决消灭他们。新疆和中国都将继续前进。

The first meaning of “not being afraid” is that we care about real stability in Xinjiang, but we do not care about the image of Xinjiang being “very stable”. The violent forces of terrorism in Xinjiang have not been eradicated, and every once in a while, they may jump forward and create an incident and chime in with foreign anti-China forces. This is an obvious reality. We accept this phenomenon in Xinjiang, and we won’t put make-up on this [phenomenon].

我们“不怕”的第一个内涵是,我们在乎新疆的真实稳定,但我们并不在乎新疆“很稳定”这个形象。新疆的暴力恐怖主义势力并未得到根除,它们隔一段时间就会跳出来制造事端,并同国外反华势力遥相呼应,这些都是明摆着的现实。我们接受新疆的这个形象,并不准备对其进行化妆。

But while many countries and areas worldwide are plagued by terrorism, Xinjiang is different from them. The terrorists’ capabilities there are small. They hardly have access to military weaponry or powerful explosives. Their main tools to commit their crimes are hacking knives. They can’t shake the foundations of Xinjiang’s stability, the overall situation is under control, the normal economic development is real, and the chances for committing crimes successfully generally remain very small. This reality and phenomenon in Xinjiang is “normal” by global standards. Such things happen in a modern and prosperous society.

然 而世界有很多遭恐怖主义困扰的国家和地区,但新疆与它们不一样。新疆暴恐分子的本事并不大,他们几乎得不到制式武器和威力强大的爆炸物,他们的主要作案工 具就是砍刀。他们动摇不了新疆社会稳定的根基,新疆大局可控、经济发展如常进行都是真实的,暴恐分子的作案得逞总体上仍是极低概率事件。新疆的这一现实和 形象在现代世界是“达标的”,它是偶尔出现暴恐事件的现代繁荣社会。

The second meaning of “not being afraid” is that officials in Xinjiang don’t need to be afraid of assuming responsibility. Cadres and police people all over Xinjiang have made great efforts and the policies applied in Xinjiang have been formulated under participation of the national level. As terrorist forces move fast and are contagious, terrorists incidents that happen in whichever place aren’t the sole responsibility of local officials, cadres and police, and Chinese society won’t complain about them. We understand their difficulties.

“不怕”的第二个内涵是,新疆各地的官员不必怕担责。新疆各地干警都尽了他们的最大努力,新疆的各种政策也是在国家参与下制定的。由于暴力恐怖主义有游动性和传染性,某个地方出暴恐事件,的确不全是当地官员和干警的责任,中国社会不会一味抱怨他们,我们理解他们的难处。

The third meaning of “not being afraid” that while everyone will fear individual misfortune, nobody fears that terrorist elements can bring about political threats. They are just a group of criminals, and won’t find [...........] Once they come up with a crime, a powerful nation will easily deal with them in accordance with the law.

“不怕”的第三个内涵是,每个人都会怕自己遭遇不幸,但中国社会决不怕暴恐分子能成为带来某种政治威胁的力量。他们就是一群刑事犯罪分子,是群政治上找不着北的愚昧之徒。只要他们露出头来作案,将他们绳之以法是这个强大国家再容易不过的事情。

The fourth meaning of “not being afraid” is that a resolute struggle against the Xinjiang terrorist elements will not lead to controversy or divisions within Chinese society.   Even if some people disagree about the administration of Xinjiang, there are no doubts that the terrorists must be dealt with toughly. The more resolutely terrorism is fought, the more united Chinese society will be.

“不怕”的第四个内涵是,与新疆暴恐分子坚决斗争不会引发中国社会的争议和分裂,即使一些人对新疆的社会治理有不同看法,对向恐怖分子强硬出手也不存疑义。反恐越坚决,中国社会只会越团结。

The fifth meaning of “not being afraid” is that Western fault-seeking of our fight against terrorism should be like water running off a duck’s back. We will not, for the sake of “good reviews” from the West, be soft-hearted in dealing with terrorist elements. China has become ever firmer and will soberly achieve in this field, too.

“不怕”的第五个内涵是,应当把西方对我们打击暴恐势力的指责当成耳旁风,我们才不会为了西方的“好评价”而对暴恐分子手软。中国正越来越坚定、清醒地做到这一点。

As we are clear about these five “not afraids”, and act clearly, the Xinjiang terrorists will lose all the capital they need to threaten society. They will become more desperate, they will learn that they are extremely lonely, that they are criminals who will get very little echo, that they can’t influence Xinjiang’s and China’s politics, and they will have to ruminate about their own insignificance.

把这五个“不怕”都讲得清清楚楚,做得明明白白,新疆暴恐分子就将失去要挟社会的全部资本。他们将更绝望,他们会发现自己的确就是些非常孤独、甚至彼此难以呼应的刑事犯,他们影响不了新疆以及中国的大政治,他们将重新咀嚼自己的渺小。

We believe that military and police presence will be needed on the streets of Xinjiang for a long time. This isn’t going to damage Xinjiang’s image. It will only maintain the pressure on the terrorist elements, and strengthen the sense of security among all nationalities.

我们认为新疆重点地区的街头应长期保留军警的存在,这不会损害新疆的形象,只会维持对暴恐分子的震慑,增加各族群众的安全感。

The terrorist elements want to achieve their own “super-influence” in an exceptional atmosphere, but seeking truth in the facts will get embedded in every detail in Xinjiang, and the true nature of the terrorist elements will be unmasked. They count for nothing against twenty-three million Xinjiang nationality people and the 1.3 billion people of the entire country. How can they be arrogant? They are losing every spiritual sanctuary.

暴恐分子最想在某种特殊氛围里实现自己的“超值影响力”,只要让实事求是深深嵌入新疆局势的所有细节,暴恐分子的原形就将无遮无掩。他们将被迫以数得过来的人数对付2300万新疆各族人民,对付全国的13亿大众。他们如何嚣张?他们将失去所有精神避难所。

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