Archive for October, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hannelore Schmidt, 1919 – 2010

Hannelore (Loki) Schmidt died on October 21, 2010, aged 91.

Her name lives on.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Responsibility to Humankind: Feng Chongyi reviews Charter 08

Chairman Hu Jintao meeting politicians without CCP membership ahead of Spring Festival

What are you currently reading, Mr Chairman? - Hu Jintao meets non-CCP politicians ahead of Spring Festival, CCTV xinwen lianbo, Febr 10, 2010

The concepts, standpoints and recommendations elaborated in Charter 08 represent a remarkable progress in sophistication of liberal and democratic ideas in China since the 1989 democracy movement symbolised by the hunger strike at Tiananmen Square and demonstrations on the streets of Beijing and other major cities, Feng Chongyi (冯崇义), associate professor in China Studies and deputy director of the China Research Centre at University of Technology in Sydney, writes in a review of the Charter 08 and preceding recent and more distant events that would make it part of recent Chinese history.

Part four is a short “conclusion” about China’s responsibility to humankind, appealing to all Chinese citizens to participate in the democratic movement and echoing the call in the preamble that human rights and democracy are vital for China as a major country of the world, as one of five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, and as a member of the UN Council on Human Rights. Charter 08 categorically sets constitutional democracy as the goal for Chinese political development and peaceful reform as the means to achieve that goal.

Feng also addresses the issue of Chinese liberalism:

The second achievement is to address the issues of social justice from a liberal perspective based on an “overlapping consensus” between liberalism and social democracy. The Chinese new left has labelled Chinese liberals “neo-liberals”, resulting in grave confusion and misunderstanding. (..) Even some China scholars in the West assume as a matter of course that the Chinese new left champions the cause of social justice, which is neglected by Chinese liberals. However, in the context of the contemporary West, neo-liberals are widely regarded as a right wing political and intellectual force prioritising efficiency over equality and promoting market mechanisms at the expense of the welfare state. Contemporary Chinese liberals differ fundamentally from “neo-liberals” in the West. They understand liberalism in the classical sense as a political philosophy that considers individual liberty as the most important political goal and upholds liberal principles such as legal protection of individual rights, the rule of law and limitations on state power. They not only strive for individual freedoms and seek to replace the despotism of the Leninist party-state with liberal democracy, but many also fight in the forefront against social inequality and seek to champion the cause of the working class quest for equality and a better life.

And he provides an overview of who these Liberals, both in the sense of the Charter and others, actually are.

Feng originally published his article in January 2010, and republished it with a new introduction on October 11, following the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo.

Hat tip to Adam Cathcart.

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Related
Back in Prison – Liu Xiaobo short bio, December 25, 2009
Seminar on 6-4 Movement held in Beijing, May 24, 2009
Charter 08 and Greater China, December 13, 2008
China’s Challenge, December 11, 2008 (includes link to charter in full)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Turkey – Germany’s special Relationship

Bremen Hemelingen 1

Bremen-Hemelingen, September 2010

In at least one respect, Christian Wulff, a lower-Saxonian fugitive who escaped to Berlin to become our republic’s  empty shirt & tie there, seems to become a true federal president, in the tradition of most of his predecessors: he is above party politics. While the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party, the CSU, are trying to spiffy up their profile as conservative and christian parties, Wulff made a landmark speech on October 3, Germany’s national holiday:

Because the future, I firmly believe, belongs to the nations which are open for cultural diversity, for new ideas, and for genuine involvement with foreigners and with what is foreign. Germany, with its connections all over the world, must be open for those who come here from places all over the world. Germany needs them. Competing for bright heads, we must attract the best of them and remain attractive, so that they will stay here. […]

“Christianity doubtless belongs in Germany. Judaism belongs doubtless in Germany. That is our Judeo-Christian history. But by now, Islam also belongs in Germany.”

Answering a question on German President Wulff’s statement that “Islam also belongs in Germany”, Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on October 18 that “we hope that German people and authorities will adopt the vision of German President”.

When Wulff spoke to the Turkish parliament on Tuesday, his speech was similar to the one he made on October 3 – but this time, his message was that “christianity belongs to Turkey”. Maybe that’s why, Der Spiegel guessed, barely half of the members of Turkey’s national assembly attended the session as Wulff spoke there as the first president from Germany. Turkish politicians had apparently liked his October 3 speech better.

If there is a common trait to the average German and the average Turk, it’s probably that both of them are easily in a huff. I rarely read comments underneath articles as Der Spiegel’s – what I get from the initial lines is enough for me, and I don’t want to get an overdose of compatriotic mortifications. That foreigners “only come for our jobs” or “our welfare state” is a standard argument in this country.

In a discussion between Thilo Sarrazin, the occidental primadonnas’ latest grand mufti, and two of his critics in Munich, sterling  bourgeoisie – no lower class, an organizer told the Süddeutsche Zeitung -, “misbehaved teribly”: every statement that contradicted Sarrazin was booed at, hissed at, and well-dressed greyheads wouldn’t only get excited (sich ereifern), they slobbered with anger (geifern).

That the German Social Democrats (SPD) – their chairman for sure – want to kick Sarrazin out of the party is a shame, and unworthy of a great democratic party with a distinguished historical record. But that the German president puts himself not only above his party, but also above the mob, is commendable, and doesn’t go without saying. His predecessor, Horst Köhler, had been of a different stamp – rather than reconciling the public with politics, he had entered a pact with them, acting as a bullhorn for those who were fed up with politics, Markus Feldenkirchen wrote in a critical evaluation of Köhler’s first term in office, in May 2009. Obviously, Köhler wouldn’t have sided with Sarrazin and his admirers – but I doubt he would have found a reply as effective as Wulff did.

Or, as Roman Herzog, president from 1994 to 1999, said in a speech lauding Annemarie Schimmel, a late German orientalist in 1995,

if [pluralism and tolerance] are to function, they need to be realistic and honest, that’s to say, one needs to know and understand the other’s position, and one needs a position of one’s own to actually tolerate the other’s. Ethical relativism  leads to an absence of positions, not to tolerance.

It’s true – Turkey is unlikely to reciprocate for Germany’s comparatively good record as an immigration, or multi-cultural, country, any time soon. It is also true that there are muslims here and there who  interpret Wulff’s speech as a document of weakness (just as many ethnic Germans do). But Germany’s decent record, which would be unthinkable without a functioning rule of law, doesn’t always mean that a Turkish-born German citizen, or a Turkish resident here, is shown as friendly a face as someone whose appearance suggests that his family has been at home here for countless generations. Just a few good words can mean a lot of change for the better, provided that the legal and practical foundations exist. I realized that when I saw how two Turkish friends of mine reacted to Wulff’s speech. Germany must not shape its policies by looking at Turkey and taking offense. Our issues need to count here, not Erdogan‘s.

Sarrazin’s racy theories shouldn’t have hurt my friends’ feelings, reasonably, but then, they still did. You can’t change that – it’s probably human nature. All of us can be hurt by other peoples’ words, as unreasonable (and powerless, in the last resort) some of those may be. Wulff seems to have found a good answer. Neither he nor Sarrazin can change things the way they want. But as Annemarie Schimmel once said, quoting from the Koran’s 14th sura, “a good word is like a good tree” (ein gutes Wort ist wie ein guter Baum).

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

“Consensus” – but that would only be France and Germany

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on Monday their consensus on the necessity to impose sanctions against eurozone members that violate the European safe standard of budget deficit,

writes People’s Daily Online, and adds, three paragraphs on:

The European Council “should take brief and efficient procedures” and “should play a central role in making the sanctions in place rapidly,” said the joint declaration.

That’s exactly the problem. This consensus between Merkel (who originally advocated a much more effective approach) and Sarkozy means that there will be no quasi-automatic sanctions against persistent [fiscal] transgressions of EU member states. The European Council which will have to “take brief and efficient pr0cedures” has never agreed to sanctions in the past, according to a Tagesschau correspondent last night, and a commenter on the BBC’s website on June 8 this year.

What Sarkozy and Merkel came up with on Monday may be a consensus, but at Sarkozy’s terms. Sure – French-German cooperation is worth some compromise – but this bilateral agreement goes against the interests of all member states which act in a fiscally responsible way – and against the interests of all who share the Euro as a currency.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Deauville: “West could use Russian Boost”

Deauville is a nice small town in Normandy, with pleasures for all seasons – even if you are Nicolas Sarkozy, French president, doing battle against strikes and corruption allegations. This is where Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, German chancellor Angela Merkel, and Nicolas Sarkozy are currently in a “brainstorming session”. No concrete decision will be made in fear of allies discontent, writes Xinhua Net, adding an anonymous senior American official’s question as reportedly quoted by New York Times: “Since when, I wonder, is European security no longer an issue of American concern, but something for Europe and Russia to resolve?”

The Voice of Russia points out how essential an alliance with Russia would be for the Old World, i. e. European leaders, if the latter want to maintain some relevance in tomorrow’s world politics:

Even the most pro-European minded members of the Obama Administration are now saying that the only reason behind America’s continued interest in Europe is that it can promote American interests outside Europe.

The idea of a common economic, human, and security field is dear to Sarkozy, writes Le Monde. “Russia seems to rediscover the advantages of a cooperative attitude with western countries”, the paper quotes one of Sarkozy’s advisers. “This will be an opportunity to consolidate this positive development.” Merkel is quoted as saying that it was necessary to evaluate how to improve cooperation between Russia and NATO.

The Voice of Russia appears to be skeptical, especially about Merkel’s goals, quoting an expert:

At the same time, the idea of making NATO’S existing security system work also for Russia looks a bit unrealistic, says Dmitry Suslov, an expert with the Foreign and Defense Policy Council in Moscow In France they keep saying they would like to see a greater deal of rapprochement between Russia and Europe, but not necessarily between Russia and NATO.

Deauville may be a nice break for Sarkozy, and a chance to play the statesman, as BBC correspondent Hugh Schofield puts it – but German business will wish him luck and success with the trilateral talks – especially as far as the economic field is concerned.

“While western companies are thwarted in China by protectionism, Chinese state companies are succeeding in Eastern European infrastructure bids, even up to the EU”, the Handelsblatt quotes Klaus Mangold, parting chairman of Germany’s Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations (Ostausschuss der Deutschen Wirtschaft). The same applied for China’s strategy of securing itself important resources in Central Asia and Russia. Something had to happen, and political support for this was essential.

Mangold made his statement on Wednesday last week.

Stefan Ulrich, the Süddeutsche Zeitung‘s correspondent in Paris, looks at China, too:

The world is once again changing. China, which ignores values such as human rights, is rising rapidly. The EU could find itself on the sidelines, and the USA are losing their paramount position already. Therefore, the West could use a boost from Russia. At the moment, security and business are the issues. [But] in the long run, an alliance with Russia will only work if Russia shares these western values. This, too, needs to be discussed in the fresh air of Deauville.

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Related
“This isn’t 1968”, August 16, 2010

Update/Related
美媒:俄罗斯亲近欧洲应对崛起的中国, caixun.com, Oct. 19, 2010

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Arnulf Kolstad confirms Interview with Xinhua

In a telephone interview with the Voice of Germany‘s (Deutsche Welle, DW) Chinese service, Arnulf Kolstad, a Norwegian professor for psychology, confirmed that he had given an interview to Xinhua, and that the views he voiced in the interview were nothing special. He also said that he had not issued a statement accusing Xinhua of fabrication afterwards, and was not aware of news about such a statement.

为了澄清事实,德国之声本周日(10月17日)通过电话对科尔斯塔进行了采访。科尔斯塔表示,自己确实接受过中国记者的采访,他也看了新华网的相关英语报道,其中引述的他的观点并没有什么特别之处。此外,他并没有发表声明指责新华社造谣,对此他一无所知。

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Related
Let’s talk about the Weather, October 16, 2010 (see update there, and the commenter thread underneath)
Made-up quotes and censoring the premier, Joyceyland, October 16, 2010

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Let’s Talk about the Weather…

October 2010

Almost an Indian Summer, October 15, 2010

… here in Bremen, but only briefly. It’s getting colder, temperatures between five and – very occasionally – still fifteen degrees, and weather keeps switching between sunny, calm autumn days and windy and rainy ones.

Some links to other peoples’ translating endeavors – anyway, most people who read JR‘s stuff only do so in the office from Monday through Friday, according to statistics…

The Nobel Peace Prize for Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波) has become a reality in China’s press, even if not a huge headline. Two new articles illustrate the Party’s line of attack: discredit both the recipient and the prize, and cast the award as an attempt by Western forces to control China, writes Julian Smisek in a post on Danwei, and provides some translation from the articles he mentions, plus information as to how Baidu helps to spread the correct view on the dissident’s award.

[Update, Oct 16, 2010 –>]
(2010-10-16) [CMP summary] ― According to Radio France International (RFI), Arnulf Kolstad, a professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology quoted in an October 15 story from China’s official Xinhua News Agency as saying that the decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo was “a big mistake,” has issued a statement saying the Xinhua story was “pure fabrication.”
(Non-permanent-link summary on China Media Project, HK, referring to a Radio France Internationale (RFI) story.
[<– End of Update]

But not everyone in China is taking the correct view. More than 100 scholars, activists, lawyers, and others in China have written an open letter supporting Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel Peace Prize and calling for his release, writes Sophie Beach of the China Digital Times and links to some resources in Chinese and English.

And Der Spiegel‘s correspondent in France can’t drive. Not in Paris, anyway. Certainly not by bike. Cars are stronger than bikes. But then, gas stations in France are closing their doors, one after another, at the moment. The strikes are interrupting the gasoline supplies.

Un bon week-end à tous. Essayez aller par bicyclette.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Zhang Zhaozhong: “Asian NATO” looming

 

reception report

Reception Report: China National Radio, October 14/15, 2010

 

This post’s first paragraph refers to a radio broadcast and therefore contains no link to the source.

Zhang Zhaozhong (张召忠 / Zhāng Zhàozhōng), a professor with the National Defense University (国防大学), said on China National Radio (CNR, 中国之声) this morning (03:00 h China local time) that while there was resentment among the South Korean common people against Japan’s participation in joint naval exercises, a feeling that there could be a common threat against both South Korea and Japan – be it from North Korea, be it from China -, could lead both countries to cooperate under American leadership nevertheless. Asked how it would influence China if naval exercises in China’s vicinity became some kind of routine in the future, Zhang replied that countries such as South Korea, Japan, and the U.S. could become some kind of Asian-Pacific NATO.

The interview was part of CNR’s coverage on naval drills near Busan, with a total of fourteen (South Korea Herald) or fifteen countries participating, either with military troops or through observers.

On October 5, Zhang told CCTV-4 that a small East Asian NATO had objectively come into existence between America, Japan, and South Korea.

Zhang Zhaozhong was more explicit about South Korean feelings in an interview on October 12, quoted from or conducted by Heilongjiang News Net (黑龙江新闻网):

For historical reasons, South Koreans hate Japan in particular, therefore, even though there are [bilateral] US-South Korean and US-Japanese alliances, there is no military alliance of all these three countries.
由于历史原因,韩国人原来特别恨日本,因而,尽管美日、美韩都是军事同盟,但美日韩三国之间没有军事同盟.

But in July this year, Japan had sent four officers to participate*) in US-South Korean military exercises (日本派了4名军官参加美韩军事演习), which constituted the first military exercise of all the three countries. Zhang Zhaozhong interpreted this as a signal, and as one that hadn’t met with other countries’ strong opposition, or with South Korean opposition.

The world had seen two spates of pacifism (和平主义), Zhang wrote earlier this year, on January 11: from 1918 to 1939, between the two world wars, and from the end of the cold war up to around 1991, when the Kosovo war broke out. People had cherished the time of peace after 1918, and neglected defense in favor of economic development, despite warnings to the contrary.

On March 24, 1993, given that there was no opposing alliance any more, such as the former USSR-led Warsaw Treaty, US-led NATO had brazenly sent troops into Yugoslavia. Only then the world understood that America hadn’t had any intention of putting down the butchers knife and to become a saint (经过那场战争,世界各国才突然明白过来,原来美国把拳头收回来的主要目的,并不是放下屠刀,立地成佛,而是为了更加有力地打出去。), and what had first appeared to be a demobilization [Bill Clinton‘s bottom-up review of 1993 – JR] had only increased America’s military capabilities.

Zhang’s conclusion in January:

Will Obama’s current wave of peace intermittences to a war with Iran? Imperialism just means war, and as long as America and NATO are there, war won’t disappear. Time will confirm it all, let’s wait and see.
奥巴马总统目前发动的新一波次和平间歇是否会导致伊朗战争呢?帝国主义就意味着战争,只要美国、北约存在,战争就不会消失。时间会证明一切,我们拭目以待。

____________

Note
*) The Japanese participants were apparently observers

Related
Yellow Sea Updates: No War, no Stimulus, August 7, 2010

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