Archive for November, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

“Hawkish Groups in New Delhi Getting above Themselves”

Mulayam Singh Yadav, a former defense minister of the Indian Union and former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, celebrated his 72 birthday on Monday. Mulaam’s Socialist Party (Samajwadi Party), a local political party representing voters from Uttar Pradesh, currently supports the United Progressive Alliance, a coalition of lower-house political parties led by the Indian National Congress.

On November 9, Mulayam Singh told the Lower House of Indian Parliament that he had “specific” inputs that China was preparing to attack India “anytime soon” and was “daily” occupying an inch of the country’s territory. Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu, asked to comment one day later, said that “the situation along the border is peaceful. There is no Chinese threat at the moment and our relations with China have been friendly”.

The Global Times, frequently a more outspoken Chinese publication than its parent publisher China Daily, quotes Indian Ministry of Defence officials as saying on Monday

that two mountain divisions will be deployed in southern Tibet, an area claimed by Beijing, and will be “fully operational” by next year. Chinese experts dismissed the defiant move, saying it is a misstep on New Delhi’s behalf,

adds the Global Times.

“Since a war with China in 1962, the Indian army has set up a total of 10 mountain divisions in the region,” Wang Dehua, an expert on India at the Shanghai International Studies Center, told the Global Times. “Such a move aims to add chips to the upcoming China-India talks on border disputes.”

It seems that “those hawkish groups in New Delhi are getting above themselves after the US voiced support for India’s bid to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council,”

the paper quotes Wang.

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Related
Finetuning Wen Jiabao’s visit to India, Asian Tribune, November 16, 2010
Advice to India: “You will only Harm Yourself”, November 7, 2010
Arunachal Pradesh: Two Divisions Wanting to Die, August 24, 2010
60th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations, MOFA, April 1, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Net Nanny: the Fastest Route

Net Nanny: a harmonious internet, for the benefit of all

Net Nanny: a harmonious internet, for the benefit of all

The so-called “U. S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission”, created in 2000, claims that it monitors the security implication of trade with China. A certain Adam Segal on the so-called Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) blog is making a fuss of its latest report and reminds his readers that the internet isn’t “safe”. Of course not. That’s what I’ve always said.

Anyway, the information from a report by the so-called commission, issued on November 17, that struck the author most was that

in April 2010, for approximately 18 minutes, traffic to 15 percent of the world’s Internet destinations was diverted to China. China Telecom’s routers sent out messages saying that their networks would be the fastest route between any two points.

But “no one knows why it happened”.

The answer is simple.

We are committed to pursuing a win-win strategy of opening-up. China will continue to push forward regional and global development through its own development. We will work to broaden converging interests with other countries and, while pursuing our own development, we will accommodate the legitimate concerns of others, especially those of developing countries. We will continue to engage in international economic cooperation and trade in accordance with the international trading rules. We support the international community in channeling more assistance to developing countries and helping them improve peo ple’s well-being and enhance capacity for self-development. We support efforts to improve the international trade and financial systems and resolve frictions and differences through consultation and collaboration. China will never seek to advance its interests at the expense of others.

In other words: there were free capacities on our networks, and we offered it to the world to benefit from these capacities – for free.

The Chinese internet is open and active.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Modern Dictionary: Property Tycoons (地王)

So-called “property tycoons” [地王, dì wáng], in public discussion, is a term for units which develop properties by spending big amounts of money to bid for the places they are interested in. Currently, the government [or governments, including local ones] are taking an auctioneering approach to transfer residential areas, and competition leads to astronomical prices, and these prices in consequence  add to the housing prices, making them astronomical, too.

This is also because of asymmetries and imbalances between highly  monopolist government departments in a oligarchic sellers’  market, and those in need of land. Therefore, concerning the emergence of some property moguls, society frequently worries that prices may reach a new high.

所谓“地王”,是社会舆论对在房地产开发土地招标活动中以硕大的资金数字拍得自己属意地块的中标单位的谐称。目前,政府采用招标拍卖挂牌方式出让住宅用地,往往竞出天价,而这一天价又必然作为成本带进了房价,也把房价推向天价。这也是由于政府部门高度垄断的土地单寡头供应市场与土地需求者的竞争性市场存在着不对称和不平衡所造成。因此,社会对于一些“地王”的产生,往往会产生对于房价又会重回新高的担忧。

Property Development

On a blank sheet of paper free from any mark, the freshest and most beautiful characters can be written

Baike Baidu defines dìwángs as wealthy people within the social market economy (社会市场经济) who invest in real estate. Although they had no right to own the land, they depend on landuse rights to bid up the prices, to hoard land for speculative purposes, and to exploit  construction workers’ labor value.

People’s University of China (or Renmin University of China) economic researchers are predicting that housing prices will drop by almost twenty per cent during the first half of 2011 – a forecast that is rejected by a Guangzhou Daily (广州日报) editorial. Prices may well drop to some extent, it says, but nobody could exactly tell the time when it would happen – the forecast seemed to suggest that it would be in March or April.

The property tycoons are still here, Guangzhou Daily points out, prices of construction material and labor costs have increased, and the October consumer price index rose by 4.4 per cent year on year. The editorial adds that the only reason as to why the forecast warranted attention was the sight of how economic researchers who enjoyed high positions and who lived in ease and comfort (another translation could be “pampered and dignified” – 养尊处优, yǎng zūn chǔ yōu) were spouting serious nonsense (“认真的扯淡”).

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Related
Properties: no Reverse Auction Model, October 2, 2010
China jails Tibetan Property Tycoon, The Australian, Aug. 13, 2010
“Perhaps the most Hated Property Magnate”, China Economic Review, May 13, 2010
Olympic Evictions, BBC Blogs, July 19, 2008

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Blocked Again

The internet’s ambient noise and this post, plus this one, would suggest that WordPress blogs are blocked again in China.

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Related
Blocked & Unblocked in China, Aug. 17, 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010

South Africa: an Epoch-Changing Story, and no Details

No stranded whales have been reported from South Africa this week. Anyway, it’s not the season.

Whale Watching

Things to do in South Africa: Whale Watching

Nor has Gulliver been found sleeping on the beach. You could have  watched the arrival of Xi Jinping (习近平), China’s vice state chairman, the Central Party School’s (中共中央党校) principal, and the man whose hand visitors to the Great Hall of the People should strive to shake, according to a certain Jonathan Fenby (or the editor who wrote the lead). Xi has also become vice chairman of the Central Military Commissions last month  (there are two – one for the country, and one for the party, but membership of the state organ’s CMC and the […] CMC of the Communist Party of China (CPC) is [usually, I believe – JR] identical). That appointment, combined with his vice-chairmanship of the state, suggests that Xi  will replace the incumbent party and state chairman Hu Jintao in 2012 / 2013.

Anyway, no stranded whales, and no Gulliver. But Xi Jinping, not quite on the beach, but almost, at Cape Town International Airport.

And the South African press doesn’t smell the tea, notes Jeremy Goldkorn, himself a South African journalist, mostly living in China, and disapprovingly lists some sinners of omission: The Independent Online, TimesLive, News24.

That, plus a bit from the African Business Review, I might add, from Mine Web (understandably interested in the visit, but only reprinting stuff from Reuters), the Chinese embassy in Pretoria, and the South African government’s website.

CCTV Coverage, Cape Town, CCTV Xinwen Lianbo, November 18, 2010

They cared, too: CCTV Xinwen Lianbo, November 18, 2010

As if to underscore how little the editors know or care about China, there is no contextualisation of this story with Xi Jinping’s visit to South Africa, or Zuma’s visit with a business delegation in August,

while a major, epoch-changing story develops, writes Goldkorn.

Some of the comments underneath his article seem to suggest that the media in South Africa are not as free to report about the visit as critical coverage would require – but a more convincing answer seems to lie in a more sarcastic comment:

A senior South African editor argued that the story of Mrs Grace Mugabe’s sex life was very insightful and in the public interest […] – Xhanti Payi on Fri, 19 Nov 2010 at 08:56.

Maybe not really in the public interest, but something much of the general public may still be  interested in, just as in tons of other grisly topics, too.

And after all, the state- or publically-run media did cover the visit – Channel Africa, for example, South Africa’s international radio service. Its article may also provide us with a clue as to why the general interest is low. As for a number of agreements, including an energy deal, signed by the 4th China-South Africa bilateral commission which was chaired by South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and Xi, no monetary details were released.

If this is then still worth extensive coverage, please call me Bob Woodward in the future. And it isn’t the South African media’s fault. Channel Africa’s article hails from Reuters. Reuters doesn’t seem to know the details either.

“There are things to be learned but that can only come if one is willing to listen. Around labour policy, there is no translatability of a China or U.S. approach to labour and labour flexibility,”

Channel Africa quotes Martyn Davies, CEO of Frontier Advisory.

Business and government are more likely to be interested in epoch-changing stories of this kind than most other readers or listeners, on the internet or else. And commercial media need to sell their news.

That’s not to say that there should be no coverage on Xi’s visit.

But if the mass media want to maintain or regain relevance, they will have to investigate the footnotes of the agreements their governments and CEOs enter with Beijing, rather than cover the red-carpet events.

And for Chinese endusers, South African media attention doesn’t leave much to be desired, anyway:

South African media actively evaluate the results of Xi Jinping’s visit (南非媒体积极评价习近平访南成果),

Xinhua Net reported on November 19, one day after Goldkorn had chastized his fellow news people.

They believe that this visit will further expand trade relations and strengthen the two countries’ cooperation on trade, investment, mineral products, energy, finance, and other fields.

The Mail & Guardian is quoted, too, with a November 19 article:

[…] The paper also believes that South Africa and China share many interests. This is the foundation for the two countries’ broadening their areas of cooperation. […] (该报还认为,南非和中国有许多共同利益,这是两国在更广阔领域开展合作的基础.)

If the M&G article referred to is this one, its climate change issues still aren’t mentioned in Xinhua’s review of it.

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Related

Xi visits Angola, AFP/Bangkok Post, Nov. 20, 2010
… Against even Bigger Threats, December 6, 2009
Dalai Lama “more than free” to visit, May 15, 2009

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lee Teng-hui: Sovereignty matters in Municipal Elections

While Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairwoman and DPP candidate for mayorship of Sinbei City (新北市) Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) told Taiwan’s Apple Daily edition in September that the municipal elections – to be held on November 27 this year – were about dealing with local issues, former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) pointed out in an interview on Thursday night that the municipal elections, if won by the DPP, could prompt the KMT to review president Ma Ying-jeou‘s nomination for a second presidential election. In short, the municipal elections’ theme, in Lee Teng-hui’s view, are about “abandoning Ma, protecting Taiwan” (棄馬保台, qì Mǎ bǎo Tái).

The report by the Liberty Times also quotes Lee as saying that the 1992 Consensus (九二共識) advanced by Ma didn’t actually exist (根本不存在). Lee reportedly also  alleged that Ma’s concept was “ultimate unification” and that the president had simply referred to himself as “Mr” during a visit by China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chen Yunlin, not daring to adhere to his presidential title (陳雲林來台時馬自稱為「先生」,不敢堅持總統的正式稱謂).

According to Wikipedia as of November 18 (apparently quoting a Liberty Times edition of the time as a source),

the Chen visit was seen as a test for Ma’s commitment to keep Taiwan a sovereign nation, and many critics have reason to believe he [Ma Ying-jeou] failed dismally. First, national flags were ordered to be taken away in all places that Chen set foot on. Footage of an officer violently breaking a flag on a highway overhead was disclosed by the media and shocked the society. Citizens carrying national flags were also brutally treated by the police, while pro-China extremists carrying the Chinese national flag were given upmost protection. Second, Ma allowed Chen to refer to him as “you” or “Mr. Ma,” but with no mention of the term “president,” and did not mention the words “president” or “country.” Third, Ma ordered massive crackdowns on peaceful protestors, including students, senior citizens, and women, leading to the most violent police assault since Taiwan embraced full democracy.

Referring to an apparent refusal by the Ma administration to provide a car for former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe‘s meetings with oppositional DPP’s officials earlier this month, Lee said that when Abe paid him a visit, also earlier this month, Taiwan’s foreign ministry hadn’t provided the former Japanese premier with a car either.

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Related
More posts referring to Chen Yunlin
“Any title but President”, China Post, Nov. 1, 2008

Update / Related
What is the ROC, Frozen Garlic, Aug. 31, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

“Caught in the Screw” – China will Rule the World

“Caught in the screw” – that would be a member of the Japanese coast guard called Honami Sagawa. But don’t jump to conclusions too quickly. While impossible is nothing, and the Japanese government isn’t necessarily a comprehensive source concerning Chinese encroachments on the Senkaku Islands and adjacent waters, the Happiness Realization Party Supporter’s Blog doesn’t look like a terrific alternative source of information. That two Japanese coastguards were killed in the Senkaku Incident of September this year doesn’t seem to be backed by any evidence, other than that t is said among net users.

But then, if a Japan Times article of 2009 quotes him correctly, the Happiness Realization party’s founder Ryuho Okawa is a reincarnation of Buddha, and entered politics after being contacted by the spirits.

It takes only a short logical step further to conclude that some net users are being contacted by the spirits, too.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Senkaku Video Footage “no Secret”

sengoku38, the author of the video leaks on YouTube, is a 43-year old coast guard officer, writes Sheila A. Smith, in a post on the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) blog. The prosecutors seem to agree with the Chinese Foreign Ministry in that the video cannot change [a number of contested] facts. sengoku38 won’t be prosecuted for an offense against the Japanese secrecy laws, because the footage of the “Senkaku incident” hadn’t been identified by the coast guard authorities as secret.

The prosecutors’ decision has implications for the way information obtained while on the job should be handled without affecting the healthy dose of government officials who do talk “off the record”, writes Smith, and adds that beyond Japanese politics, questions may remain as to how Japan and the US can cooperate on security without negative effects from improper handling of what should have been classified data.

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Update/Related
Questions only on Voluntary Basis, Kan “doesn’t understand” decision, Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 17, 2010

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