Archive for August, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Important Notice to China Bloggers: Porn Ersatz Activities

True Mental Models

True Mental Models

Awaiting your Anecdotes

Net Nanny: for a More Mental Internet

BeijingTo promote civlized manners and cultural exploration on the internet, and to resist vulgarity and kitsch (抵制庸俗、低俗、媚俗之风), the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) External Propaganda Office (中央外宣办, of the State Council Information Office), the Central Civilization Office (中央文明办), the Supreme People’s Court, the Ministries of Public Security, Industry, Education, the Central Administration of Press and Publication, the Broadcasting Office (广电总局), the Communist Youth League Central Guidance Committee (共青团中央指导), People’s Net, Xinhua Net, Chinese internet television stations, China Net, wenming.cn (中国文明网), qianlong.com, eastday.com, sina.com.cn, qq.com, sohu.com, 163.com – a total of 195 Chinese websites – plus the Self-Discipline Committee of China Internet Industries (中国互联网协会行业工作自律委员会),  solemnly launched a contest on Thursday.

All Chinese netizens are invited to discuss their experiences of populating the internet in a civilized manner (活动邀请广大网民畅谈文明上网体会), relating their relevant anecdotes (故事), actively participate in a knowledge contest, and make their own pure contributions to a mental (心智) and harmonious web, according to the Activity Organization Committee’s Office (活动组委会办公室).

China bloggers shouldn’t be surprised if some regular trolls patriots have stopped commenting today. They will be back on October 29, when the activities are over, and all the trophies have been collected.

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Related
Six Decades of Kitsch and Vulgar Productions, Tai De, August 8, 2010
How can Chinese Academics build a more civilized…, Jan. 10, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

South China Sea: Five Questions to a Hegemon

Over the last decade or so, China had stolen a march on the US in Asia, Geoff Dyer wrote in the Financial Times earlier this month: “The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq proved to be a strategic gift for Beijing”. That would be a gift from the Bush jr presidency which the Obama administration appears to be reclaiming now.

You can ring my Belle

You can ring my Belle

And if the officials in Beijing congratulate themselves for the opportunities they had during the past ten years, while the previous administration was busy in Afghanistan and Iraq, they certainly don’t show their happiness in public. On the contrary, China’s leadership is – ostensibly – dropping its illusions, and vocally so, too. If we can believe that their reaction is genuine, they must have reckoned that America’s absence without leave from East Asia was for good.

It seems noteworthy that it was a “leave” during the previous administration’s tenure. America’s return to the Western Pacific suggests that foreign policies follow rules of their own, regardless of the political colors of those who happen to govern in Washington. George W. Bush began his first term by telling Beijing that he would defend Taiwan, “whatever it takes”. He ended his second term on rather friendly terms with the Chinese leadership. The Obama administration began with similarly harmonious policies, but is now returning to a more robust approach in the Far East.

When listening to commanding officer David Lausman of the USS George Washington, stating to Vietnamese dignitaries that

“This great warship is a testament to our country’s resolve and promise that we will always remain throughout all the international waters in the Pacific Rim, trying to help every country together ensuring that it stays a very stable environment”,

you can’t help but think that a pretty big hegemon is holding court there.

Tony Benn, a British Labour Party veteran, has five questions he would ask dictators:

  • What powers have you got?
  • Where did you get them from?
  • In whose interests do you exercise them?
  • To whom are you accountable?
  • How could we get rid of you?

Try and ask these questions not to a dictator, but to the two – real or perceived – hegemons Vietnam might have to choose from when it comes to South China Sea issues. The first four questions could be interesting enough – feel free to find answers to them by commenting -, but to me, the most striking one when it comes to hegemons would be Question #5.

Vietnam proved decades ago that it can get rid of America – even if at a very bloody price. America can rule the seas, but not Vietnam. On the other hand, and only recently, China reportedly told other Asian countries not to discuss the [South China Sea] issue among themselves. As far as I can see, a Vietnamese choice between China and America as allies can only result in welcoming the American navy.

That said, not only Hanoi, but Washington, too, needs to make choices.

President Barack Obama’s actions to maintain the current Pacific order are a step in the right direction, but he still lacks a strategic “roadmap”,

Thomas Wright, director of studies at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs wrote on August 8.

And maybe the American people themselves should ask in whose interest – see Benn’s question #3 – Washington is going to exercise its power there. After all, hegemony can be cheap for those who benefit from it, and costly to the hegemons themselves.

If the balance struck against China’s claims is meant to be sustainable, the division of labor – in terms of regional security – needs to become one based on partnership, and shared responsibilities.

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Related
U.S., South Korea announce Yellow Sea Exercise, US Forces Press Service, Aug. 18, 2010
Good Ganbu: Be no Chess Piece, July 29, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Germany’s Six Million Jobs Abroad

Heleen Mees, an alien in New York, explains why Germany’s trade surplus, and China’s, shouldn’t be lumped together – after all, Germany was a net exporter of foreign direct investment (FDI).

Germany’s surplus is thus less damaging than China’s, as it is used for investments that foster productivity gains, economic growth, and job creation — and that often include technology transfers that help to develop human capital,

she argues in an opinion for Today’s Zaman.

Indeed, net FDI makes up about one-third of Germany’s capital account. More than half of these investments are within other EU countries, with a further 30 percent going to the US. According to the Bundesbank, German FDI accounts for almost six million jobs abroad. That number does not include the additional jobs resulting from increased economic activity in a region.

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Related
Old Friend, Younger than Ever, July 22, 2010
The Great Trade Surficit, Sept 19, 2009

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Chinese Military Buildup “closely watched”

Taiwan is watching China’s military buildup closely, the BBC quotes the ministry of defense in Taipei. The ministry’s spokesman, Major General Yu Sy-tue (虞思祖), emphasized on Tuesday that China had never renounced the option of attacking Taiwan. However, the ministry had a clear picture of the status of military exercises and military development in China and therefore asked the Taiwanese people to “put their minds at rest” (请国人安心).

America’s defense department issued a report on Monday saying that while cross-strait relations had improved, but the military buildup on the Chinese side had continued.

Also according to the BBC (quoting Sankei Shimbun), the Japanese government has decided to include increased cooperation with the U.S., concerning  surveillance of Chinese submarine capabilities and threats arising from Chinese military presence in the East China Sea, into the existing Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation of 1978 (针对中国在东海的军事威胁,提升日本监视中国潜水艇能力的防卫合作方针).

In 1996, in the Japan-U.S. Joint Statement (日美共同宣言), U.S. president Bill Clinton and  Japanese prime minister Ryutaro Hashimoto stated that since the end of the Cold War, the possibility of global armed conflict had receded, and that it was extremely important for the stability and prosperity of the region that China played a positive and constructive role, and, in this context, stressed the interest of both countries in furthering cooperation with China.

According to the BBC report, Tokyo and Washington consider China’s submarines the strongest obstacles for American aircraft carriers. A specific declaration on cooperation is said to be scheduled for vice-ministerial discussions this fall.

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Related
China targets U.S. Troops with Arms Buildup, Washington Times, Aug 16, 2010
Huanqiu Shibao: The Adequate Adversary, August 13, 2010
Welcome, Trade War, January 9, 2010

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Blocked and Unblocked in China

Just as the statistics for this blog suggested, WordPress is currently available in China, according to Adam Cathcart‘s observations.

With the possible exception of mylaowai.com.

More about the Chinese internet censorship status, (no) Muslims in Beijing, and Heavy Metal »

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Related
Blocked again, June 2, 2009
WordPress apparently unblocked, March 27, 2009

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A World of Pain

511 (five-hundred-and-five) Huanqiu Shibao commenters have expressed their feelings about AMERICA so far – that ugly thing which constitutes the major obstacle on the runway to China’s determined-by-history rise. But rather than translating the comments, as my friend Tai De suggests, I’m dedicating a small link collection to all the people whose life is tough, who are subjugated and humiliated by their bosses, their cadres, their husbands, their wives, theif flight attendants, their passengers, their Americans, and so  on, and who are all the only ones:

A World of Pain

A World of Pain

… to all those who live (or died) in a world of pain.

Fortunately, we have the internet. Most people who are losing it still lose it there.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Huanqiu Shibao: The Adequate Adversary

Headlined “Drop your illusions about America! The biggest obstacle for China’s rise is America”, Huanqiu Shibao carries a commentary today, reacting to Washington’s decision to send an aircraft carrier – the George Washington – into the Yellow Sea, China’s “coastal waters” or “inshore/offshore waters” (近海黄海).

Last year, when American Under Secretary of Defense Michèle Flournoy gave Huanqiu Shibao an interview, she said that “America doesn’t view China as an enemy”. Now, the pentagon has eaten its words. Sending an aircraft carrier into China’s [see the range of possible translations at the end of the previous paragraph – JR] Yellow Sea, America clearly wants to provoke China, and to make China admit defeat. America is thus openly telling the world that China is its major potential enemy (中国是它潜在的重大敌人).

Since the U.S. has ignored the opposition of the Chinese people, insisting on doing so [conducting military exercises in the Yellow Sea with South Korea], painstakingly avoiding the conflict won’t be as good as a direct response. The pentagon wants to shape China as its strategic adversary, and China has no other choice than to be a qualified adversary: we must let America know that a strategic error comes at a heavy price.

The commentary goes on saying that many members of the Chinese elite had had unrealistic expectations about America, having believed that not challenging America’s hegemony-led world order would make America drop its scheme to contain China (只要我们不主动挑战美国霸权主导的世界秩序,美国就会放弃遏制中国的图谋). But certain people in America, including policymakers, hadn’t stopped looking for a post-cold-war adversary. In the 21rst century, China had early been established as a “biggest potential enemy” on the pentagon’s map, against China’s volition. By naval frictions, supporting separatists in China, and by trade provocations, America had tested China’s strategic bottomline, trying to control China in an American-set framework, trying to cut off the road of China’s advancement (尝试堵截中国前进的道路). This, it was believed, had been the pentagon’s consistent strategy against China (一贯的对华战略), and a growing China could no longer tolerate that.

Now it’s time for the Chinese people to drop such illusions. America wants to establish genuine friendship with China? It wants to help China to become a powerful oriental country? Undoubtedly, there are good American people who can be hoped to be such people, but such hopes have never become America’s national policy, and never will.

We must see clearly that no matter how China on its own initiative improves and promotes Sino-American relations, no matter how much it demonstrates its good intentions, America’s selfish national goals and China’s growth by development won’t be compatible, and they won’t be compatible with China’s national unification and rejuvenation.

However, the commentary explains, genuine war with America was not the solution. The world wouldn’t be able to cope with a war between such two big countries. America itself wouldn’t have the courage for such a war either (美国也未必有这个胆子) – but it was China’s task to teach America the painful lesson that it wouldn’t achieve a unilateral complete victory (美国唯一没有取得过完胜的大国博弈的惨痛教训,就来自于中国). America was good at strategic tricks, and there were many traps in contending with that country. In dealing with the stubborn hawks who cherished the memory of the Cold War who were even thinking of a hot war, China needed to maintain constant vigilance, neither allow American hegemony to intimidate it, nor to infuriate it easily.

The way America had fractured the Soviet Union should be a warning, the commentary says, and the way smaller countries had submitted themselves to America was unacceptable for China. As a big country, China needed to resist big pressure. America would surely plot against China with military, political, cultural, and economic tools.

After making sure about a high degree of unity and fortitude at home (在内部高度团结并坚强), we can say: “make our day”,

writes Huanqiu Shibao.

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Related
China Scholars warn of National Arrogance, BBC News, Aug 11, 2010
Hermit and Nightwish: “Make America Collapse”, Febr 14, 2010
Rao Jin: “They want to Balcanize Xinjiang”, July 26, 2009

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hermit: America’s Dirty Helping Hand

Hello Children,

Hermit the Taoist Dragonfly: Pakistan's only friend

Hermit the Taoist Dragonfly: Pakistan's only true friend

of course, it is useful when one nation extends a helping hand to another. But by giving disaster relief to Pakistan, America only wants to improve its tarnished image in Pakistan, and it only wants to counter extremism from Balochistan.

(It doesn’t really matter where Balochistan is, children.)

Therefore, America’s motives are impure.

In fact, Pakistan knows the difference between real and phony friends very well. Pakistan thanked “close friend” of China !

While the American helping hand is dirty, China’s hand is very pure !

To know who your real friend is is very important, children. Never forget who your true friend is.  Never forget Uncle PLA.

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Related
Hermit: How China lends a Helping Hand, Dec 22, 2008

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