Wednesday, April 22, 2015

How to talk to Pakistan: Xi Jinping’s Speech in Parliament

Wellness for Pakistan’s International “Face”

Pakistan is both an old and a youg country. This warm soil gave birth to shining old civilizations, and in the modern era, it recorded the glorious poetry of national independence and self-reliance. The people of Pakistan are kind-hearted and gallant, self-respecting and and believing in themselves, and they never give up, staunch and unyielding as their national qualities are. During the past sixty years, the government and people of Pakistan have faced complicated domestic and foreign conditions, calmly reacted to all kinds of serious challenges, and have made remarkable achievements on the road of defending the independence and sovereignty of the country, building the country, and developing its economy. Since the beginning of the new century, Pakistan has been in the first line of the international fight against terrorism, has made huge efforts, has made huge sacrifices, and made outstanding contributions for regional and global peace and stability. The Chinese people deeply respect the people of Pakistan.

巴基斯坦是一个年轻而又古老的伟大国家。这片热土孕育了辉煌灿烂的古代文明,在近代史上书写了争取民族独立、国家自强的壮丽诗篇。巴基斯坦人民善良勇敢、自尊自信,有着百折不挠、坚韧不拔的民族气质。建国60多年来,巴基斯坦政府和人民面对复杂的国内外形势,沉着应对各种严峻挑战,在捍卫国家主权独立和领土完整、建设国家和发展经济的道路上取得了显著成就。进入新世纪以来,巴基斯坦身处国际反恐前沿,付出了巨大努力,承受了巨大牺牲,为地区乃至世界和平稳定作出了突出贡献。中国人民对巴基斯坦人民充满深深的敬意。

Emphasizing “Common Struggles”

As early as 2000 years ago, tbe Silk Road established a friendly bridge between our two old civilizations. China’s Han dynasty’s envoy Zhang Qian, the monk Fa Xian of the Eastern Jin dynasty era, and the monk Xuan Zang all once left their footsteps here. Pakistan believes that “credibility and integrity are of better use than wealth”, and China believes that if someone lacks trustworthiness, you can’t know what he may be good for. The concepts of our two countries’ traditional cultures are in accordance with each other. In the recent past, China and Pakistan have suffered imperialist and colonialist aggression and oppression, sympathized with each other, and supported each other. During the 1930s, the great Pakistani poet Iqbal wrote that “as the sleeping people of China was just awakening, the springs of the Himalya mountain were starting to boil”, speaking highly of the struggle of the Chinese people for national independence, its struggle against foreign aggression, and supporting [the Chinese people’s struggle]. With similar historical experiences and a common history of struggles, the peoples of China and Pakistan can easily relate to each other’s feelings.

早在2000多年前,丝绸之路就在我们两个古老文明之间架起了友谊的桥梁。中国汉代使节张骞、东晋高僧法显、唐代高僧玄奘的足迹都曾经到过这里。巴基斯坦认为“诚信比财富更有用”,中国认为“人而无信,不知其可也”,两国传统文化理念契合相通。在近代,中巴曾经遭受帝国主义、殖民主义的侵略和压迫,彼此同情,相互支持。早在上世纪30年代,巴基斯坦伟大诗人伊克巴尔就写下了“沉睡的中国人民正在觉醒,喜马拉雅山的山泉已经开始沸腾”的诗句,赞扬和声援中国人民争取民族独立、反抗外来侵略的斗争。相似的历史遭遇,共同的斗争历程,使中巴人民心灵相通。

Only the toughest grass can stand high wind, and people show their moral qualities during times of hardship. We will not forget that Pakistan was one of the first countries that recognized New China, and the first Islamic state that established diplomatic relations with New China. At crucial moments, when New China broke the external blockade, retook its legitimate seat at the United Nations, and explored the issues of reform and opening up, Pakistan always stepped forward and gave us selfless and valuable help. When China suffered natural disaster challenges, Pakistan always provided help. During the big Wenchuan earthquake in 2008, Pakistan gave us generous support, mobilized all strategic airfreighters, and took its entire strategic reserves of tents to the disaster area right away. To save space on the flights, medical staff removed the chairs on the planes and set on the floor during the flights. As of today, thousands of Pakistani workers are working with Chinese workers night and day, on projects shouldered by China, from which many touching stories have emerged.

“疾风知劲草,烈火见真金。”我们不会忘记,巴基斯坦是最早承认新中国的国家之一,也是首个同新中国建立外交关系的伊斯兰国家。在新中国打破外部封锁、恢复在联合国合法席位、探索改革开放等关键时刻,巴基斯坦总是挺身而出,给予我们无私而宝贵的帮助。在中国遇到自然灾害和困难挑战的时候,巴基斯坦总是及时伸出援手。2008年中国汶川发生特大地震,巴基斯坦倾囊相助,出动所有的战略运输机,将全部战略储备帐篷第一时间运到了灾区。随行医疗队为节省飞机空间,拆掉了飞机上的座椅,一路上席地而坐。今天,数以千计的巴基斯坦工作人员在各地同中国职工一起夜以继日建设中国承担的项目,涌现出许多感人肺腑的故事。

And when Pakistan was in need, China always gave strong backing, too. China firmly supports Pakistan’s efforts for its sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity. When Pakistan suffered particularly heavy floods in 2010, China in the first place provided help with rescue forces from the air and on the ground, sending the biggest medical force in history, and dispatching, for the first time, convoys and helicopters, thus creating a precedent in China’s foreign rescue support. At the end of 2014, after the terrorist attack incident in Peshawar, China invited injured students from Pakistan, and their family people, to get treatment in China, to let the young minds feel the genuine friendship of the Chinese people.

同样,在巴基斯坦需要的时候,中国始终是巴方的坚强后盾。中国坚定支持巴基斯坦维护主权独立和领土完整的努力。2010年巴基斯坦遭受特大洪灾,中国第一时间伸出援手,陆空全方位施援,派出历史上最大规模的医疗救援队,首次派遣大规模车队和直升机执行救援任务,开创了中国对外援助史上的先河。2014年底,白沙瓦恐怖袭击事件发生后,中方专门邀请巴方受伤学生和家人赴华疗养,让孩子们幼小的心灵感受到中国人民真挚的情谊。

Following remarks about deepening strategic cooperation and the establishment of a Sino-Pakistani “economic corridor” (中巴经济走廊), Xi turns to public diplomacy, or “people-to-people diplomacy”:

Thirdly, China and Pakistan will be of the same mind, and maintain their friendship from generation to generation. The people are the decisive force behind the promotion of national progress and the development of history, and the support of the peoples of the two nations is the driving force behind our weather-proof friendship and comprehensive cooperation. 2015 is the year of Sino-Pakistani friendly exchanges. We want to have exchanges by friendship cities [友城?], cultural centers, platforms provided by the news media, to carry out festive activities rich in content, form, and shape. We want to continue the mutual exchange of young people, encourage the young of both countries to have more contacts with each other, and more exchange. During the coming five years, China will provide 2000 training places, and help Pakistan to train 1000 Chinese teachers. We welcome Pakistan’s active participation in the China South Asia Cultural Exchange Program, to make Sino-Pakistani friendship enter the hearts of the people yet more deeply.

第三,中巴要心心相印,坚持世代友好。人民是推动国家进步和历史发展的决定力量,两国人民支持是中巴全天候友谊和全方位合作的不竭动力。2015年是中巴友好交流年,我们要以友城交流、文化中心、新闻媒体为平台,开展形式多样、内容丰富的庆祝活动。我们要延续互派百人青年团的传统,鼓励两国青年一代多来往、多交流。中国将在未来5年内为巴方提供2000个培训名额,并帮助巴方培训1000名汉语教师。我们欢迎巴方积极参与中国-南亚人文交流计划,让中巴友好更加深入人心。

Disinterring an old Promise

The Chinese nation cherishes peace. For more than two-thousand years, Chinese people have known the truth that “Even if the state is great, if [the commander] loves war, [the state] will certainly be destroyed”. The Chinese people value [the principle of] “What you do not wish yourself,do not do onto others”, and do not identify with the idea that strong countries should be hegemons. To take the road of peaceful development is beneficial for China, for Asia, and for the world, and no power can change China’s belief in peaceful development. China adheres to the principle of non-interference in other countries’ internal political affairs, will not impose its own will on others, and even if more powerful than now, it will never seek hegemony.

中华民族历来爱好和平。中国人在两千多年前就认识到“国虽大,好战必亡”的道理。中国人民崇尚“己所不欲,勿施于人”,中国不认同“国强必霸论”。走和平发展道路,对中国有利,对亚洲有利,对世界也有利,任何力量都不能动摇中国和平发展的信念。中国坚持不干涉别国内政原则,不会把自己的意志强加于人,即使再强大也永远不称霸。

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Related

» An Upbeat Visit, New York Times, Apr 21, 2015
» Widely hailed, Radio Pakistan, Apr 21, 2015
» 中巴关系有多铁, CNS, Apr 21, 2015
» India monitoring, Times of India, Apr 20, 2015
» Economic Corridor, Times of India, Apr 18, 2015
» AIR re-tweets Pakistan Bashing, The Hindu, Febr 16, 2015
» Strongest Supporters, Pew, July 14, 2014
» Few Americans trust Pakistan,Pew, Oct 23, 2013
» Should you ever …, May 24, 2011

» Muhammad Iqbal, Wikipedia, accessed 20150422

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Friday, April 17, 2015

A Chinese concept of Internet Revolution: a Need for Traditional Industries to be Reborn with New Bones

A CCTV op-ed, republished here by Enorth (Tianjin), picks up the official buzzword of “Internet plus”, or “互联网”+ in Chinese. The author is a frequently published commentator beyond CCTV, Qin Chuan (秦川).

Main Link: “互联网+”不是加工具 而是转观念

On March 5 this year, chief state councillor Li Keqiang, in his work report, spelled out the action plan for the formulaton of “Internet plus”. From there, “Internet plus” has become one of the most popular terms. There are people who welcome the age of “Internet plus”, and there are others who believe that this year is “the first year of the traditional industry’s internetization”, but there are also people who keep asking questions about why it should be “Internet plus” rather than “plus the internet”.

今年3月5日,李克强总理在政府工作报告上提出制定“互联网+”行动计划。自此,“互联网+”成为最流行的词语之一。有人欢呼“互联网+”时代来了,还有人认为今年是“传统行业互联网化元年”,不过也有人追问,为什么是“互联网+”,而不是“+互联网”?

The enthused tractor driver

Riding into the incomparable Tomorrow

Internet plus had become a concept, writes, Qin, which had already “become hot”. It had the potential of making the Chinese economy take off. In the first quarter’s seven percent of economic growth and the first quarter’s smooth beginning for the national economy, the role played by “Internet plus” was not clearly quantifiable, but certainly discernible.

“Internet plus” isn’t “plus the internet” because the subjects are different, and because their effects are also different. “Plus the internet” stays at the concept of “traditional industries plus the internet” and sees the internet as a tool, but what “internet plus” signals is actually “internet plus all kinds of traditional industries”. The internet isn’t just a carrier, it’s the main frame, it doesn’t play a supporting role, but the indispensible and leading role.

“互联网+”不是“+互联网”,这是因为主体不同,作用也不同。“+互联网”仍停留于“传统业态+互连网”的观念,把互联网视为工具,而“互联网+”传递的信号则是“互联网+各个传统行业”,互联网不只是载体,而是主体,它不是配角,而是当仁不让的主角,不可或缺。

In the second industrial revolution, electricity had led to great changes in many industries, writes, Qin, but the internet wouldn’t only help raising productivity and efficiency as electricity had one; the internet in itself was industrialization (互联网本身已经产业化). Internet companies which had attained some industrial attributes and inspired industrial upgrades should not be underestimated.

Qin urges a broader perspective. The internet was about merging, sharing, transformation and improvement. It was “not an addend, but a multiplier”. Traditional industries were facing big changes, and even needed to be “reborn with new bones” (脱胎换骨)*): Just as scholars say, new technologies and abilities can completely change traditional industries’ efficiency and abilities, and form new operations and business models.

That’s why we can say that “Internet Plus” may bring a technological revolution of far-reaching significance, which may permeat all aspects, not only topple traditional industries, but also provide traditional industries with new life. The shame is that when it comes to “Internet Plus”, quite many people just can’t see its value, or remain superficial about its significance. Reports say that the most serious bottleneck in China for “Internet Plus” are anachronistic concepts [or viewpoints]. At present, rather serious inflexible points of view exist in our countries’ traditional industries, as can be seen in the phenomenon of copying what is already there, a lack of essential understanding and use of cloud computing and services in big data infrastructure, and there is no broad change towards a consumer-led business pattern either.

从这个意义上说,“互联网+”或将带来一种意义深远的技术革命,它渗透在各个方面,不仅颠覆了传统行业,更赋予了传统行业新的生命。遗憾的是,对“互联网+”,不少人并非意识到它的价值,或者将其意义表面化。据报道,中国“互联网+”存在的一大瓶颈是观念落伍:目前我国的传统产业存在较为严重的观念固化现象,体现在因袭原有的信息化老路,对云计算、大数据等基础设施服务缺乏必要的了解和应用,也没有适应以消费者为主导的商业格局的转变。

We suffered from aphasia during several technological revolutions in the past. In this new technological revolution, we must not be marginalized again. The good thing is that the central authorities have already recognized the great significance of “internet plus”, and promoted it systematically. According to reports, the state has already established new industry venture capital funds at a value of 40 billion Yuan. More capital must be raised and integrated, to assist in beefing up industrial innovation.

我们曾在前几次技术革命中失语,在新的技术革命中绝不能再被边缘化。好在中央早已意识到“互联网+”的重大意义,并从制度安排上推动之。据悉,国家已设立400亿元新兴产业创业投资引导基金,要整合筹措更多资金,为产业创新加油助力。

The article doesn’t suggest that anything would be certain, however. The author is careful enough to suggest that “Internet Plus” could lead to these or those desirable results, and his article ends with a maybe (或许), not with a certainly (肯定):

By changing outdated ideas, by embracing “Internet Plus”, we may have an extraordinary tomorrow, with deep changes from China’s economy to Chinese life.

改变落伍观念,拥抱“互联网+”,或许我们将拥有不同凡响的明天,从中国经济到生活状态,各个方面都将深刻改变。

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Notes

*) 脱胎换骨 could also be translated with the more “civil” term of re-inventing themselves, but to be reborn with new bones is a much older saying in China than the business philosophy reflected in self-reinvention. Self-criticism, sometimes necessary for survival when facing accusations of being a bad or weak revolutionary, for example, included the preparedness to be “reborn with new bones”. To be “reborn” that way is also the demand Haiyun, the wife of Cadre Zhang in Wang Meng‘s novel “Butterfly”, is facing after having praised “wrong” novels as an academic lecturer. And the man making these demands on her is Cadre Zhang himself:

All you can do now is to lower your head and to confess your guilt, to start anew, to flay your face and to wash your heart, to be reborn and to change your bones!
只有低头认罪,重新做人,革面洗心,脱胎换骨!”他的每个字都使海云瑟缩,就像一根一根的针扎在她身上,然后她抬起头,张思远打了一个冷战,他看到她的冰一样的目光。

That’s to say, the choice of words reflects a blend of politics and economics, and, indeed of fear and survival. But when isolated from history, it probably amounts to this quote (Andy S. Grove):

For now, let me just say that a strategic inflection point is a time in the life of business when its fundamentals are about to change. That change can mean an opportunity to rise to new heights. But it may just as likely signal the beginning of the end.”

And yes, Only the Paranoid Survive is the title of the book.

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Further Reading

» The Trickies Part, Slate, Jan 21, 2015
» Address Censorship, SCMP, March 8, 2015
» Deutschland will digital, DW, March 16, 2015
» Work Report, China Daily, Mar 5, 2015
»  Work Report (hours later), Mar 5, 2015
» Angst vor Zusagen, Die Zeit, Aug 19, 2014
» Digital Germany 2015, Nov 10, 2010
» The Digital Germany paper (in German)
» Destruction or Development, Mar 15, 2010

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Presidential Elections 2016: Tsai Ing-wen is back

It’s Tsai Ing-wen again, running as the DPP’s nominee for president in Taiwan, and I think she’s a great choice. If she makes it into the presidential palace, expect no ballyhoo (she’s as lousy an actor and speaker just as the incumbent is)  – but expect social reforms that actually benefit the people.

Next time, we will make that final mile, she said in January 2012. Chances are that she and her supporters will make it indeed.

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Look at the Rumors about China Radio International

There has been some talk about plans among China’s leaders to close down a number of foreign-language services – the German-language department among them -, at China Radio International (CRI), China’s international broadcaster. Keith Perron, a radio producer in Taiwan, claimed inside knowledge and suggested that, according to this quote by Glenn Hauser‘s World of Radio, March 26:

At last month’s meeting of the committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in Beijing, one of the subcommittees, headed by Zhang Dejiang, who is also chairman of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, will form a twelve-member board to look into the effectiveness of shortwave as a [unreadable] platform for China Radio International. Members include leaders from various former ministries, including the [unreadable], culture, propaganda, SARFT, and the central committee.They may be looking at shortwave cuts made in Australia, Canada, Russia, UK, and the US. Last year the Chinese government spent over 600 mega Yuan on the shortwave, that’s about 100 mega dollars US. It includes not only CRI, but China National Radio [aka Chinese People’s Broadcasting Station, CPBS — JR]. They will be looking at staff reductions. CRI currently has a staff of 8,500. They are looking at reducing some 40 percent, closing several of their overseas bureaus, closing CRI Television, some CRI language services. Looked at for axing are: Tagalog, Polish, Greek, Italian, German, Esperanto, Kroatian, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Icelandic, Finnish, Bulgarian, and Danish. But English would be expanded, as would Chinese.

What struck me on December 31 last year – but it wouldn’t lead me to dramatic conclusions, of course – was that party secretary general and state chairman Xi Jinping had dropped CRI from his new-year’s address. The broadcaster was mentioned along with CPBS and CCTV by Xinhua’s introductory text, but not by Xi himself. Both Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin had made it a tradition to mention CRI, CPBS, and CCTV in their new year’s addresses – and CRI was always mentioned first.

To put the rumors about CRI into some perspective, though, Perron had been a critic of “waste” at CRI for some time, and understatment isn’t onw of his greatest hobbies. The Voice of America (VoA), for example, is a terminally ill patient, which might lead to the question who’s more dead – the American or the Chinese foreign broadcaster.

And Bernd Seiser, chairman of the Radio Taiwan International Ottenau Listeners’ Club, said in his April 10 club bulletin he had been told by CRI staff that

I can confirm that CRI will not terminate its German-language programs on shortwave.

However, listeners who wanted information on shortwave frequencies would need to enquire with the German department, rather than receive frequency notifications automatically by email, said Seiser.

So, how much truth is there in the rumors about closing the departments mentioned by Perron? That’s hard to tell.  For one, it appears unlikely to me that CPPCC committee activities would go completely unreported inside China (which appears to be the case – I’ve seen no such report in the Chinese media). However, it wouldn’t appear exactly unlikely that China’s top cadres want CRI to become more effective. Three years ago, CRI German still ran a program dedicated to listeners’ letters and emails, but the feedback, as a rule, appeared to be embarrassingly low. Regular broadcasts of telephone interviews with German listeners weren’t a terribly reviving factor either. By now, feedback from the audience is interspersed into CRI Panorama, a magazine with a variety of topics, rather than featured in a dedicated program. An editorial staff of 31, according to CRI German’s website anyway, might be expected to draw a bigger crowed on the other side of the radio, too. (That said, there’s no information concerning their working hours.)

What seems highly unlikely to me is a closure of the German department. For the time being, Germany is an important “partner” for the Chinese leadership, in technological and partly in political terms. For one, both China and Germany try to defend their inveterately high trade surpluses against a growing international chorus of criticism. Even a small congregation of “early Christians” is probably worth being nurtured, from the CCP’s point of view.

Will shortwave be reduced? Maybe, but not necessarily. If the early Christians want shortwave, maybe their prayers will be heard. And jamming of foreign broadcasters like VoA, BBC, or All India Radio, will remain in place anyway. To avoid making it unnecessarily obvious, domestic CPBS stations at least will continue to be used as informal jammers in future, too, along with the “Firedrake”.

Does CRI make a big difference in Germany? Hardly so. What does make a big difference is Chinese financial and economic engagement in Germany, and Chinese interest in German products: sponsoring professorships, taking a stake in a new (and not yet used-to-capacity) German seaport, buying Volkswagen cars, etc.. China’s money has great leverage in Germany, even in German politics.

China’s public diplomacy remains a seedling here – but that’s probably no reason to dump CRI German.

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Related/Updates

» 杨尚昆, 通过中国国际广播电台, Jan 1, 1993
»
CRI 历史, CRI, undated
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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Argentine Foreign Radio: Online and on Shortwave

In addition, of course, we broadcast on shortwave as we have been doing since 1968, and will keep on doing, because the shortwave is part of RAE’s soul.

Radio Argentina al Exterior (RAE) announcement during The English Connection, the station’s early morning shortwave broadcast on April 9 UTC, after announcing its new website, www.rae.com.ar, which includes a (functioning, actually) livestream.

Radio Argentina al Exterior (RAE) QSL card, 1980s

Radio Argentina al Exterior (RAE) QSL card, 1980s. The station is still active on shortwave in a number of languages – Spanish, Portuguese, English, German, French, Italian, Japanese, and Chinese.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Japan: Recent Decisions Reflected in Japanese and Chinese Media

New textbooks for Japan’s junior high schools will sharply increase references to Japanese territory, reflecting the government’s view of the sovereignty over the Senkaku and Takeshima islands,

reports Radio Japan, adding that revised instruction manuals for the compilation of textbooks require textbooks to clearly affirm that the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea and Takeshima Islands in the Sea of Japan are Japan’s inherent territory. Junior high schools in Japan include 7th, 8th, and 9th graders, i. e., usually, the age group of 13- to 15-year-olds, according to the Tokyo International Communication Committee’s website. The changes are reportedly scheduled to take effect by April 1 next year.  Radio Japan explains:

Japan controls the Senkaku islands. The Japanese government maintains the islands are part of Japan’s territory. China and Taiwan claim them. As for the Takeshima islands, South Korea controls the islands. Japan claims them.

The NHK website also carries the news.

While NHK also mentions new entries in the textbooks referring to the 2011 tsunami disaster in northeastern Japan, China’s Huanqiu Shibao expands the topic further:

Japan’s ministry of education, on April 6, published the results of redesigning middle school textbooks. The redesigned textbooks refer to the Diaoyutai Islands [China’s name for the Senkaku Islands] and Dokdo Islands (named Takeshima Islands by Japan) as “Japan’s inherent territory”, and also changed the description of the Nanjing Massacre. Deputy director of the China Academy of Social Sciences’ Japan Research Institute diplomatic research room, Lü Yaodong, told Huanqiu Shibao journalists that Japan has ignored condemnation within the international public opinion and persisted in wilfully and arbitrarily “invading” the textbooks, and it could be seen that historical revisionism had now turned from an ideological trend into real action.

日本文部省6日公布了日本中学生教科书的审定结果。这次通过审定的教科书将钓鱼岛和独岛(日本称竹岛)都称为是“日本固有领土”,并更改了对南京大屠杀的表述。中国社科院日本研究所外交研究室副主任吕耀东6日对《环球时报》记者表示,日本未听取国际舆论的谴责,一意孤行,这次又在教科书中“去侵略化”,可以看出历史修正主义在日本社会已从思潮变为实际行动。

It had also been reported that some textbooks had also changed the way in which they described the Nanjing Massacre, writes Huanqiu Shibao.

That the Japanese army had “killed numerous captives and residents” was changed into “among the affected [or involved] captives and residents, numerous were killed”.

另据报道,一些教科书还修改了对南京大屠杀的表述方式。把日军“杀害了众多俘虏和居民”修改为“波及俘虏和居民,出现了众多死伤者”。

Before describing the Murayama apology of 1995, [the?] textbooks also added the position of Japan’s government, according to which all compensation issues between the coutnries involved had been resolved. (According to the Japan Times, the note on compensation issues follows the description of Murayama’s statement. The Japan Times article also includes some statistics on textbook content, both of those currently in use and of those planned to come into use next year. According to the statistics, out of 58 textbooks that included descriptions of the 2011 tsunami disaster, 35 textbooks also discussed the nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

In another news item, Radio Japan reports that

senior foreign and defense officials from Japan and South Korea plan to meet in Seoul next week to hold their first security dialogue in more than 5 years,

as agreed by Japanese and South Korean foreign ministers Fumio Kishida and Yun Byung-se during a meeting. This apparently refers to a meeting between the foreign ministers of South Korea, China and Japan, in Seoul, on March 21 this year.

In another article, featuring less prominently than the one about the textbooks, but also a headline within international news, Huanqiu writes that Japan’s self-defense forces required its members to prepare posthumous notes or letters to their families, for the case of their death in missions abroad. There had been complaints from within the ranks, writes Huanqiu, but the higher echeolons had confirmed the need for preparing posthumous letters, stating that these constituted a good preparation for death in action. The article apparently refers to the Japanese cabinet’s collective self-defense decision of July last year.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Monthly Summary: March 2015 – Death of a China Expert

Bremen, East of Central Station, March 26, 2015

Bremen, East of Central Station, March 26, 2015

1. How’s your Weibo going?

Mainland regulators say people will be able to have nicknames – they will just have to register them with website administrators first,

the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported in January.

The rule apparently took effect on March 1, but yours truly, himself running a Sina Weibo profile, hasn’t been contacted yet.(Having said that, it’s a very low profile – I’m reading there, but I’ve never posted anything myself.)

Either way, it’s »not »the »first try by the authorities to control or to intimidate the microbloggers, and time will show how serious they are this time.

Either way, ways appear to have been found to spoil much of the interest in microblogging.

2. Rectifying Political Ideology at Universities

That blog by Fei Chang Dao was posted on February 25, but it’s probably as important in March and in future. Even if you read no other China blog, make sure you read Fei Chang Dao, and China Copyright and Media, for that matter. What they cover matters much more than the not-really-uncertain fate of Zhou Yongkang – if you want to understaaaaand China.

3. Kailash Calling

Travelling Tibet can be an easy affair, or it can be cumbersome. It might depend on who you are, and where you come from. Here’s an account of scuffproof cheerfulness and patience.

4. “Two Meetings”

The annual tale of two meetings has come to its serene conclusion again this year, with China’s new normal. Just to have mentioned that, too.

5. Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)

The Economist suggested in November that

China will use the new bank to expand its influence at the expense of America and Japan, Asia’s established powers. China’s decision to fund a new multilateral bank rather than give more to existing ones reflects its exasperation with the glacial pace of global economic governance reform. The same motivation lies behind the New Development Bank established by the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). Although China is the biggest economy in Asia, the ADB is dominated by Japan; Japan’s voting share is more than twice China’s and the bank’s president has always been Japanese. Reforms to give China a little more say at the International Monetary Fund have been delayed for years, and even if they go through America will still retain far more power. China is, understandably, impatient for change. It is therefore taking matters into its own hands.

The “People’s Daily” suggests that the AIIB is intended to be complementary to top dogs like the World Bank or the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Britain, France, Germany and Italy are European countries that want to be founding members of the AIIB, the British move (which came first in Europe, it seems) angered Washington, a so far reluctant Japanese government may still be persuaded to join the Beijing-led project, and Huanqiu Shibao quotes Russian foreign multimedia platform Sputnik as quoting an analyst as saying that America, too, might still join, so as to hamper China’s influence that way.

6. In Defense of the Constitution: Are you mad?

Taiwan’s president Ma Ying-jeou appeared to question the mental faculties of a Fulbright exchange academic who had asked if the KMT couldn’t drop its claims in the South China Sea.

“Are you mad?”, asked the president – reportedly -, then adding that abandoning those claims would be unconstitutional. He’s also said to have reacted somewhat wooden in another exchange with Fulbright scholars, on the same occasion, March 19.

7. Lee Kuan Yew, 1923 – 2015

Ma’s prayers for Lee Kuan Yew‘s early recovery weren’t terribly successful either; Singapore’s elder statesman died from pneumonia after weeks in hospital. Lee had his admirers both in China and Taiwan, especially for very low levels of corruption in Singapore, and apparently, he had a admirer at the American top, too. Probably no great surprise for John McCain or the tea partisans.

According to “People’s Daily”, Lee was a China expert and a West expert. According to other sources, he appeared to be a democracy expert, too (but he denied that claim).

In an apparently rather terse statement, Benjamin Pwee (方月光), secretary general of the Democratic Progressive Party of Singapore (one of several opposition parties, but neither of them influential in Singapore’s flawed democracy) said that

all great leaders are still people, and inevitably, one can find words of praise and of contempt. But at this time of national grief, let’s remember the contributions he made for the people of Singapore, and affirm his contributions.

“所有伟大的领导人毕竟都是人,难免可褒可贬。但在这个举国哀悼之际,让我们记得他为国人做所的贡献,肯定他的贡献。”

Singapore’s authorities closed the “Speakers Corner” at Hong Lim Park on Monday, for an undefined period. Reportedly, truly “free speech” never really ruled there, anyway.

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Related

想要更多政治空間和言論自由, CNA, March 23, 2015

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Friday, March 13, 2015

“One Country Two Systems” Logic: Elections are Infiltration

Fanny Law (羅范椒芬), Hong Kong Executive Councillor and a delegate to the ” National People’s Congress”, in an interview with a mainland news website, quoted by Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) on Saturday (Friday UTC).

Law certainly has reasons to dislike free elections – her chances to win any would appear rather dim.

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