Archive for October 30th, 2011

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Daily Dose of Pain: On Vous l’avait Bien Dit

Someone has just read JR‘s latest entry and asked him why he is doing this to himself. The person who asked has a point. I usually enjoy translating, and I admitted that I’m not enjoying it in this case. Besides, while I’m doing this to myself, I see other  interesting articles in Chinese floating by without recovering them.

I haven’t found a full translation or account of the 17th central committee’s cultural reform decision elsewhere on the internet yet, and just as in my first translation installment, I might abstract a number of the original’s paragraphs again when doing part four, and all those following bits, provided that I’m leaving nothing important out.

But  I’m not wasting my time either way.

After all, I’m curious. If even the CCP website, which is usually very proud of all the party’s hard ideological work, doesn’t bother to publish an English version, I’ll need to read the Chinese original. That takes time anyway, so I might as well translate it.

But above all, I believe that this document will have a noticeable effect on China’s future. Many foreigners*), even with a strong interest in China, won’t take note of the “cultural reform” document – they probably won’t take note of party congresses either.

Unless, that is, a party congress seems to prove their point that “they” – the Chinese – become “more like us”. When Deng Xiaoping started advocating “reform and opening”, and when the party adopted economic reform policies known as the Four Modernizations, foreign observers were all ears. When Gustav Amann note in the 1920s that the foreigners saw nothing but what they could attribute to their own influence on the Manchu government, he had made an observation that wasn’t really spectacular, but one which described a lasting pattern of foreign, or certainly European, perception of China. Just as it was back then, most published foreign observation seems to be based on conceit, or wishful thinking. China may be modernizing, but if it is up to the CCP – there is little reason to believe that it will be up to any Dangwais (within or without the United Front) -, there will be no individual human rights.

This has an effect on competition between China’s and Western political systems, too. The CCP’s emphasis on social efficiency points into that direction – there will be no individual human rights on the one hand, but a lot of – possibly very successful – harnessing of “the people’s productive power” on the other.

That won’t mean a lot in terms of “culture”. The CCP might as well scrap everything in its CCP plenary session document which relates to “soft power” – the CCP’s soft power is as attractive as athlete’s foot. But in terms of economic planning, social efficiency can mean a lot.  Advanced democratic societies should take note. It doesn’t take “soft power” to be influential – hard power and a long-term strategy can do the job for the CCP, too.

There is some awareness in Europe that Chinese help in solving the euro zone debt crisis may not come without “strings attached”. But when Jean-Pierre Raffarin, a former French prime minister, suggests that

we cannot go it alone. China has taken over the baton and become banker to the world. That’s the new deal of the 21st century,

it seems to suggest that even the political strings don’t matter to European politicians.

European relations with Taiwan – it’s a rather shabby protocol already – may suffer further. Speaking out on human rights, and be it only for some self-respect? Umm…

Maybe European politicians haven’t taken note of the political side – and quite possibly, their “rescue plan” is built on wishful thinking anyway.

One can only hope that Raffarin is one of the worst examples – but given the matter of course in which European leaders are trying to raise Chinese funding, I’m not exactly sure about that. Anyway:

China has left the dictatorial road,

Raffarin announced in 2008. Sure?

Absolutely! Because, in 2008, too, China was

the world’s banker. The Chinese are financing the American deficit. China has left the road of dictatorship (La Chine est le banquier du monde. Les Chinois financent le déficit américain. La Chine a quitté la route de la dictature).

So, in a way, JR‘s spiteful side is at work here. In the future, you can’t say that he hadn’t warned you.

But I’m not enjoying it. It’s my Europe, too.


*) I’m restricting my speculation / observations to foreign, rather than Chinese observers here. The latter may be objects of speculation /observations on another day, or in the commenter thread.



» Trying to Translate, November 7, 2008


Sunday, October 30, 2011

17th Central Committee 6th Plenary Session “Culture Document” – 3

« Part 1
« Part 2

The CCP’s 17th central committee announced a decision on cultural reform earlier this month; the Chinese media began reporting on the – then still unknown – document soon after, and it was published in full early this week. The following is part 3 of my translation of it; part 1 and 2 can be accessed through the links above. Links within blockquotes  were added during translation.

To achieve these goals, we must abide by the following guidelines.

  • Hold on fast to the guidance of Marxism, promote the sinicisation, modernization, and popularization, use the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics to arm our minds, guide its implementation, promote work, and guarantee that the reform and development of culturekeep advancing  on the correct path.
  • Maintain the progressive direction of advanced socialist culture, adhere to serving the people, to serve socialism, let a hundred flowers bloom, let a hundred schools of thought contend1), adhere to the unity of inheritance and innovation, unfurl [or expand, 弘扬] the theme, promote diversity, arm people with scientific theory, guide the people by a correct public opinion, model the people by a lofty will, use excellent works to inspire the people, form a positive and upward spirit which pursues a healthy and civilized way of life.
  • Maintain a people-oriented, close-to-reality, close-to-life, close-to-the-masses factor with the people playing a central role in building culture, adhere to cultural development for the people, cultural development leaning on the people, the fruits of cultural development for the common use of the people, promotion of comprehensive development, the cultivation of ideals, with citizens of virtue, culture, and discipline.
  • Adhere to putting social efficiency2 first, maintain the organic unity between social and economic efficiency, abide by the law [or regular pattern, 规律] of cultural development, adapt to the socialist market economy’s requirements, strengthen the building of a cultural and legal system, manage to achieve prosperity as well as mastering management, promote the cause of culture and the cultural industry in comprehensive coordination, for sustainable development.
  • Maintain reform and opening, put forth efforts to the promotion of the cultural system’s mechanical innovation, use reforms to promote development, prosperity, incessantly liberate and develop the development of cultural productive power, increase the level of cultural openness, promote Chinese culture’s path toward the world, actively absorb outstanding civilizational achievements from all countries, and cogently defend the safety of national culture.

The first page of China Radio International’s (CRI) online publication ends here; the following link points to the CRI publication’s second page.

3) Promoting the Building of a System of Socialist Core Values, Consolidating the Common Ideological and Moral Foundations of Party and National Unity for the United Battle of all Nationalities


Socialist core values are the spirit [or soul] of the country’s rejuvenation, the essence of advanced socialist culture, and determine the direction of socialism with Chinese characteristics’ development. Guidance of education must be strengthened, consensus within society be furthered, innovative means ways and means, comprehensive protection of the system, and the system of core socialist values be blended into national education, the building of cultural and ideological progress [精神文明, also frequently translated as spiritual civilization – JR], and the complete process of building the party, [it needs to] penetrate every field of reform and opening and socialist modernization, materialize in the spirit and the creation of cultural products, and to spread into every field, [it is necessary to] adhere to the guidance of society’s ideological trends by the system of socialist core values, to form a unified ideology throughout the party and society, common ideals and beliefs, to strengthen the power of consciousness, and the basic moral [or virtuous] norms.


a) Adhere to the guiding position of Marxism. Marxism profoundly revealed the laws of human development,  firmly safeguarded and developed the people’s fundamental interests, it guides people to promote society’s progress, and creates a good life’s scientific theory. We must unswervingly adhere to the fundamental theorems of Marxism, closely link China’s reality with the characteristics of our times, the wishes of the people, and by developing Marxism to guide into a new practice. Unremittingly persevere  in the use of the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics to arm the party, to educate the people, to promote the learning and practice of the scientific develoopment concept to be deepened and broadened, to guide the party members and cadres to to learn and to implement the party’s fundamental theories, fundamental line, principles, experiences, to learn the classical Marxist works, to systematically master the Marxist positions, views, and methods. Scientifically analyze the world situation, the country’s situation, the situation and changes of the party, closely study and solve the new problems of reform and opening and the construction and modernization of socialism, incessantly deepen the understanding of the party’s rule’s regular patterns, the regular patterns of socialist construction, the understanding of human society’s development’s regular patterns, and, at every moment, turn the experience of the party’s guidance in the people’s achievements into theory.  Continuously bestow distinct practice and distinguished features, national characteristics, and characteristics of our times on Chinese Marxism. Adhere to the leading staff’s and leading cadres’ as the key for increasing the capacity for political accomplishments, by building the party as a model for the organization of skills, make all efforts to promote the learning of Marxism to shape the building of the party. Deepen and promote the process of Marxist theoretical research and construction, implement a universal plan for the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, strengthen the building of key scientific systems and teaching systems, promote the introduction of the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics into teaching materials, into the classrooms, minds [or brains, 头脑], strengthen and improve ideological and political education in schools.

(一)坚持马克思主义指导地位。马克思主义深刻揭示了人类社会发展规律,坚定维护和发展最广大人民根本利益,是指引人民推动社会进步、创造美好生活的科学 理论。要毫不动摇地坚持马克思主义基本原理,紧密结合中国实际、时代特征、人民愿望,用发展着的马克思主义指导新的实践。坚持不懈用中国特色社会主义理论 体系武装全党、教育人民,推动学习实践科学发展观向深度和广度拓展,引导党员、干部深入学习贯彻党的基本理论、基本路线、基本纲领、基本经验,学习马克思 主义经典著作,系统掌握马克思主义立场、观点、方法。科学分析世情、国情、党情新变化,深入研究解决改革开放和社会主义现代化建设新课题,不断深化对共产 党执政规律、社会主义建设规律、人类社会发展规律的认识,不断把党带领人民创造的成功经验上升为理论,不断赋予当代中国马克思主义鲜明的实践特色、民族特 色、时代特色。坚持以领导班子和领导干部为重点,以提高思想政治素养为根本,以建设学习型党组织为抓手,大力推进马克思主义学习型政党建设。深入推进马克 思主义理论研究和建设工程,实施中国特色社会主义理论体系普及计划,加强重点学科体系和教材体系建设,推动中国特色社会主义理论体系进教材、进课堂、进头 脑,加强和改进学校思想政治教育。

Continued (Nov 1) –
part 4 »



1) This probably refers to the original poem, rather than to its use during the Mao era, as the way Mao invoked and “practised” the line as a slogan can hardly be considered a success story.

2) Social efficiency could be seen as an optimal allocation of resources, and there have been several initiatives or concepts outside China which advocated or discussed such concepts, but in the context of the CCP central committee decision, this article on Ezine seems to characterize the term quite neatly. However, I’m not implying that this is exactly what the decision wants to prescribe. Just do your own search of this term – 社会效益 – online, and let me know what you find. It is also possible that there is no clear-cut definition at all, as a document like the decision may need to satisfy more than one viewpoint within the politbureau’s standing committee.



» Reinforcing Party’s Guidance, Oct 19, 2011
» Science in Action, Sept 26, 2011
» Patriotic Essays, September 1, 2009


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Mekong Security: all Brothers, Big and Small

Xinhua, October 13, 2011

Vice Foreign Minister Song Tao on Thursday summoned diplomatic envoys from Thailand, Laos and Myanmar and urged the three nations to intensify their investigation of a deadly attack on Chinese ships that occurred on the Mekong River.


Song said China has urged the countries to take effective measures to strengthen the protection of Chinese ships and sailors on the Mekong River and its relevant waters and to avoid similar incidents from happening in the future. / Huanqiu Shibao, October 30, 2011 (中新网), Oct 30. According to the Ministry of Public Security’s website, China will hold a conference with Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand, on cooperation in law enforcement and security on the Mekong River basin on October 31. The conference’s purpose was to thoroughly investigate the shootings of 13 Chinese crewmen, to establish a common system of law enforcement and security cooperation on the Mekong River, effectively safeguard maritime security order on the Mekong, and to guarantee the safety of the four countries’ vessels’ and crews’ lives and property.

中新网10月30日电 据公安部网站消息,中国将于10月31日在北京召开中老缅泰湄公河流域执法安全合作会议。此次会议旨在尽快彻底查清中方13名船员在湄公河水域遭枪杀案件,推动建立中老缅泰湄公河执法安全合作机制,有效维护湄公河流域航运安全秩序,确保四国船舶和人员生命财产安全。

Chinese State Councillor and public security minister Meng Jianzhu, Thailand’s vice prime minister [apparently] Chalerm Ubumrung, Laotian vice prime minister and defense minister [apparently] Chansamone Chanyalath, Myanmar’s interior minister [apparently] Ko Ko, heading a delegation separately, will attend the conference.


The conference will carry out a set of bilateral and multilateral consultations concerning law enforcement and security cooperation in the Mekong River Basin, and a broad consensus on  more joint law-enforcement patrols, jointly addressing emerging security problems, jointly fighting cross-border crime, and common replies to incidents is expected.


Reportedly, the conference participants from Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar, will arrive in Beijing separately arrive in Beijing on October 30.


From Huanqiu Shibao’s commenter thread

Great! These countries have become our little brothers! (太好了 这几个国家 已经成为我们的小弟! – 2011-10-30 14:42)
Myanmar home affairs minister Ge Ge [Ko Ko] – that name suits him nicely. (缅甸内政部部长哥哥 …….. 名字起的真好 -2011-10-30 14:35)*)
Thai militry implemented American intelligence plans!! To destroy China’s and its neighbors’ relations!! (泰国军方实施,美国情报部门策划!!破坏中国和周边国家关系!! – 2011-10-30 14:35)



*) Ge Ge implies racketeering (big brother). According to an Irrawaddy article of October 13, Lieutenant-General Ko Ko was a military commander in the Triangle region in the past.



» 孟建柱会见缅甸内政部部长哥哥, 公安部网站, October 30, 2011
» Hawngleuk militia, “Underground since 2006”, Irrawaddy, Oct 13, 2011


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