Archive for April, 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

China Global Times…

in English is not the same as China Global Times in Chinese. That’s my initial impression of it, anyway. Rather than exposing Western threats there, the English edition shows how China is closely connected to global affairs, and at the same time presenting the complexity and fascination of China to the world.

JR’s Beautiful Blog has been in this business for more than a year now, and extends a cordial and friendly welcome to those beginners.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Net Nanny: Three-Self Control

Dear Net Nanny,

isn’t it almost impossible to control the population of a country as vast as yours? I can’t imagine how that works!

Singing General.


Singing General,

About Self-Control

Self-Control of the People

I think your question is really about as to how we are doing a better job here in China, than you and your comrades ever did in East Germany. OK, first of all, both our propaganda and our censoring systems are better than yours ever were. Your bedtime stories always made us yawn. Besides, you sided with Russia (the past), not with China (the future).

But of course, there are also some natural factors. Even criminals don’t like criminals here. Sometimes we, the guardians of decency, conventions, and harmony, are just sitting in our offices, having a nice cup of tea and wait until they come and report each other. Its called the three-self (三自) here: rob yourselves, beat yourselves, and turn yourselves in.

And if you are an important personality (and maybe somewhat afraid of the three-self commonality), don’t be confused. Jackie Chan (陳港生), for example, is a great example for self-control, too.

You could have learned a thing or three from us thirty years ago, bloody social-imperialist.

Harmonious greetings

Sunday, April 19, 2009

China-funded: Three Eight Hundreds

MSU [Michigan State University], through its award-winning Confucius Institute, already helps thousands of students learn Chinese language and culture. The new Teacher Institute for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language will complement those efforts and build on MSU’s renowned teacher education programs to support the emerging needs of Chinese language educators around the world.

Chinese Language Council International, or Hanban, will provide more than $1 million to help support the institute for at least five years. MSU leaders celebrated the signing of the agreement during a dinner for Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandong Thursday in Washington, D.C.

Michigan State University’s homepage, April 17

According to China Press USA (侨报, Qiao Bao, quoted by Lianhe Zaobao), Liu Yandong (刘延东) announced a three eighthundreds initiative a few days ago: to establish Confucius Institute scholarships this year, providing eight hundred scholarships for students and local teachers of Chinese; to invite eight hundred American university and high school students to participate in the Chinese Bridge summer camp; and to invite eight hundred primary and secondary school principals and district educational managers to China.

China would also continue to send Chinese teachers and volunteers to the U.S., according to the needs of the Confucius Institutes.


Related: Branding China: Language(s) of a Multi-Polar World, May 18, 2008

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Amnesty International Blog: Signatures for Martin Jahnke?

A number of activists wrote an open letter to the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs (Subcommittee on Human Rights), according to an Amnesty International blog post of February 27. The letter criticizes the prosecution’s allegations against Martin Jahnke, who threw a shoe at China’s prime minister Wen Jiabao at Cambridge University on February 2. Its comparison of the case against Jahnke with that of a man who slapped former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder in the face and got away with four months probation is interesting.

But most interesting to me are the apparent suspicion of the undersigned that  England’s Cambridge Magistrates’ Court might bring a disproportionate verdict, before the trial has even started. This kind of activism is untimely. What the prosecution asks for isn’t necessarily what it will get from the court.

Where does this lack of trust stem from?

One of the signatories is Mrs Wang Rongfen (王蓉芬). An NY Times article of three years ago tells her story.

Such stories should be listened to. But during the past year with the Olympic-Games activism, it dawned on me that the European establishment and many European institutions haven’t had a real policy on interaction with China for decades. That’s why an open letter was able to catch the Voice of Germany flat-footed. For too long, the focus had been on the power that be – the CCP -, and not on dissenting voices from China.

The signatories of the open letter to the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs Committee are right: China’s political system is totalitarian. The CCP has only eased its grip on the country, because modernization helped the stability of its rule. For sure, the CCP also tries to compromise political systems abroad. [1] [2]

But not every statement by the CCP is wrong, and not every statement by the dissidents is correct. To judge where we should heed either side’s advice, and where we should not, we need information, and a position of our own. Without that, we are easy targets for campaigns from all sides.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

June 4 is a sensitive Date in England

Martin Jahnke, researcher at Cambridge University, and a lousy pitcher, will face trial for a public order offense on June 1, i. e. for throwing a shoe at Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao. Jahnke’s trial had been due to be held on June 2, 3, and 4 at Cambridge Magistrate’s Court, according to the BBC.

The court’s legal advisor told the magistrates that June 4 would be a sensitive date. If the trial lasts no longer than three days, it should now end on June 3.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Iraq Proposes Liberation Day

The Iraqi people, in a referendum that ended yesterday, decided to make May 1 the Day of Liberation from feudal rule. The war that ended the rule of Saddam Hussein ended on May 1, 2003. After 80% of the votes have been counted, a majority of at least 65% is emerging. President Talabani and prime minister Malaki haven’t commented yet.

“Until 2003, we were ruled by a irascible poet with an ugly mustache who sacrificed and ate little babies for a long rule,” said an old woman in the street. “Now we are free at last.”

The Cechnyans are currently voting on a similar project.

OK, just kidding…

Tibet proposes

Tibet proposes

Friday, April 17, 2009

Meeting Hu Yaobang and Hu Qiaomu

The following are translation excerpts from Dongxiang magazine’s April edition – according to the forum where I found the text, anyway. A short bio of the author, Wang Juntao (王军涛), is here. (Can’t guarantee that the text in the forum is the same as the original.)

[…..] In 1979, I had a discussion with Hu Yaobang. That year, I and some friends had privately founded Beijing Spring (北京之春). On behalf of then editor-in-chief Lu Pu (吕普), and as his deputy, I called on some open-minded leaders within the CCP, hoping to push them to accept private publications, and to carry out reforms on the political system. When we arrived at Hu Yaobang’s home, he happened to be there, having a rest because of toothache. He hadn’t accepted the meeting with a label of representatives of private publications, but under the theme of Elders meet the younger generation, we had a frank and good conversation.

There were a lot of issues. I set out with some questions, the two most important of which were the need for reforms to be carried out by the Communist Party, and to put an end to the persecution of Wei Jingsheng (魏京生). Hu Yaobang mentioned the Wang Anshi reforms and his own experiences. He said that with China’s reforms, it was necessary to  think about how to make ones own ideas real, but also not to tip things over. He demanded that I shouldn’t talk about reforms in an abstract way, but that I should say how I thought that, after the Third Plenary Session of 11th Central Committee, China could do even better in its reforms. He didn’t answer my second question directly, but took a report on Guizhou province, which told how they first arrested and then released people, concerning the social enlightenment movement (启蒙社)*], concerned about their practise from an ideological and a practical perspective. He said that he approved of such a practise. Finally, he said that young people had ideals, enthusiasm, and knowledge, but lacked experience, sometimes didn’t think comprehensively enough, but hope rested on the young.

The talk touched me deeply. I had met an intelligent political leader with ideals and enthusiasm who pursued justice and dared to look into the matters.

Nine days later, we met with Hu Qiaomu (胡乔木). We argued from the beginning to the end. Hu Qiaomu rejected all anti-corruption proposals. He reminded us that no dynasty had been able to eliminate corruption, and that one shouldn’t be naïve. After that meeting, I was angry and frustrated. […..]


*] term often used in connection with the Democracy Wall.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Concerning the Re-iteration of Strict Identification of Foreign Visitors

With special permission only

With special permission only

[Undated.] Distinguished Guests: According to China Civil Aviation Authority’s provisions, foreign visitors (including visitors from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan) who enter Tibet by plane must be in possession of a valid passport and the original of an approval letter issued by the relevant departments. Travellers not in possession of an approval letter are not permitted to enter Tibet by plane. Foreign visitors (including visitors from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan) are asked to ensure that they have their letter of approval for entering Tibet when buying their tickets. To ensure a smooth entrance, we announce again the departments who are at present entitled to issue “letters of approval  for entering Tibet” (进藏批准函): The United Front Work Department of the Tibet Autonomous Region Party Committee (西藏自治区党委统战部), Taiwan Affairs Office of the Tibet Autonomous Region (西藏自治区台湾事务办公室), Business Office of the Tibet Autonomous Region (西藏自治区商务厅), Tibet Tourism Bureau (西藏自治区旅游局), Foreign Affairs Office of the Tibet Autonomous Region (西藏自治区外事办公室), and the Mountaineering Association of the Tibet Autonomous Region (西藏自治区登山协会).

[Announcement of March 11, according to 民间藏事.]

Possession of a Tibet letter has always been required. Citizens from within China travelling by train also have to get one. Many travel agencies in Chengdu and Lhasa are providing agency services.

[A comment of two days ago, on K. Wu’s blog.]


Old news, related: Taiwanese Tourists, China Daily, 2003

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