Archive for April, 2013

Friday, April 19, 2013

Press and Blog Review: Perfectly Logical Chains

1. Li Ruihuan: Modest and Scrupulous about every Detail

Main Link: “Just talking won’t do, we need to argue” – Li Ruihuan’s “Views and Statements” / 光讲事儿不行,得讲理儿” ——李瑞环的“看法”与“说法”

Li Ruihuan

In spring 2013, permanent member of the 14th and 15th politburo standing committee and former Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference chairman Li Ruihuan has published his fourth book (four volumes) after retirement, “Views and Statements”, writes an intern at Nanfang Weekly who reviews the book. Renmin University (People’s University) president Chen Yulu is quoted as referring to it as authentic history and an encyclopedia of party and government work. The reviewer at Nanfang finds a perfectly logical chain in the opus, which begins with reform and opening up, and carries on with party construction (or building the party), the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, ethnic religion, propaganda and art, ideological and political work, urban construction, etc. Li had been scrupulous about every detail, he had issued 108 issues to deal with, and all had gone through the editorial team’s discussion. Obviously, the book also contains speeches.

Li Ruihuan’s approach had been democratic, Renmin University Publishing chief editor He Yaomin is quoted as saying – Li Ruihuan liked to let the editors discuss, looking on and listening. “He also spoke his views, but in case that he didn’t convince us, he’d let us return home and think things over again.”

Given the encyclopedic nature of the work, party secretary at the Central Institute of Socialism, Ye Xiaowen, was also part of the team of editors. Not missing are remarks about Li’s modest lifestyle, and his awareness of the importance of self-criticism, so as to be aware of problems early on.


2. Village Teacher: It’s Now or Never

Village Teacher

Main Link: One Explosion after another, and Obama still hasn’t pissed off? / 美国爆炸连连,奥巴马还不滚蛋吗?

A “Farmer Teacher from the Village” (农村老师) also made a statement this week, with a focus on international politics. Chances are that there was no editorial team around to assist him:

These are some of America’s most unlucky days, and this American president is good for nothing. Not only is he black, intelligent and self-confident, but also unable, and all he can do is to show off his eloquence. […] This decade hasn’t been good for America in military, diplomatic and political terms, and the main reason is the election of a black president. Facts have shown that a black sheep cannot get along well with a bunch of bold lions. One could say that America has gradually become the most unsafe country, with one explosion after another, making Americans question Obama’s ability to govern. Indeed, as the Korean peninsula shows, Obama is one of the most incompetent presidents in American history, which is America’s nightmare, but China’s good luck. From the American president’s incompetence, greater benefits can be drawn, and China needs to do this. It needs to dispatch troops to fishing islands [this apparently refers to the Senkaku Islands in the first place], to make sense [of the fact that] American president Obama just relies on tricks. There is no need to fear this kind of president, but if this president is good for nothing, can we think of ourselves as stronger than him? We need no re-play of the Sino-Japanese War [of 1894/1895], I don’t want to see China sign another Shimonoseki Treaty in my lifetime, because that would be painful. Of course, big countries like China and America won’t simply go to war, but America’s decline is inevitable. They chose a useless president and gradually enter their own era of decline. If China doesn’t seize this opportunity to cripple America now, there will hardly be opportunities later. If in future, America becomes strong again, this won’t be good for China. I said early on that that black devil is useless, that his election is China’s opportunity, but there won’t be too many of such opportunities, [… – unable to translate this – JR.]
Therefore, with one explosion after another in America, why doesn’t Obama piss off? If he doesn’t piss off, the damage will only be America’s, and America will be more and more unluky, and China’s opportunities will get ever greater, but if the opportunity isn’t being seized, there will be a rude awakening.

Only one reader cared to comment so far, and offers some cooling analysis: A president can’t change America’s current situation in a moment.



» Make America collapse, Feb 14, 2010
» Stock Taking, Feb 8, 2013


Monday, April 15, 2013

Tibetan Music Videos: “Hold on to the Ancestral Land”

High Peaks Pure Earth runs a series of music videos from Tibet, about one per week. This is the most recent one. Every post comes with some background information.



» Federation of Literary and Art, April 15, 2012


Friday, April 12, 2013

Animated Movies from Shijiazhuang: Soft-Power Tools?

Main Link:
Activeley develop Domestic and Foreign High-End Cartoon Industry, “Going out” in Great Strides (积极开拓国内外高端市场动漫产业大步“走出去”)
Links within quotes and blockquotes added during translation.

China needed to build a sound, modern culture market system, the “Culture Document” (or “cultural decision”), approved by the 6th plenary session of the 17th Central Committee, stipulated in October 2011.

The focus must be on the development of books and other publications, digital audio and video products, performing arts and entertainment, television series, cartoons, animation, and [computer] games, and similar markets, for the further perfection of a comprehensive international Chinese platform on fairs and exhibitions, etc.

According to Shijiazhuang News Net (石家庄新闻网), the local cartoon industry is doing just that:

Since 2006 , under the close attention of the CCP municipal committee and the municipal government, our city’s cartoon industry has developed rapidly, and achieved notable results in satisfying the city’s needs of spiritual civilizsation, in spreading advanced culture, in enriching the masses’ lives, promoting the healthy adolescence of the young, and fostering the growth of a new economy. During the past seven years, no matter if established by locals or by companies who came to Shijiazhuang from elsewhere, they have enjoyed all the benefits of Shijiazhuang’s cartoon-industry policies, environment, and prospects. On this foundation, “cartoons made in Shijiazhuang” have gained the courage to display themselves, to develop markets, and with the advantages in branding, high-end orientation and originality, they have drawn widespread attention from industries at home and abroad.

2006年以来, 在市委、市政府的高度重视下,我市动漫产业迅速发展,在满足市民精神文化需求、传播先进文化、丰富群众生活、促进青少年健康成长、培育新的经济增长点方 面,取得了显著成效。7年来,无论是本土动漫企业还是来石创业的动漫公司,都享受到了石家庄动漫产业政策、环境、前景的利与好。 在此基础上,“石家庄原创动漫”勇于展示自我、敢于开拓市场,以品牌化、高端化、原创化的优势,引起了国内外业界的广泛关注。

By Shijiazhuang Newsnet reporter Wang Xin

As the saying goes, good wine needs no bush*). However, this doesn’t apply in today’s increasingly competitive markets. After several years of development and carefully ripening the wine, its sweet smell attracts many investors and company founders. At the same time, cartoonists from Shijiazhuang also seize the opportunities of actively exploring domestic and foreign markets, to take Shijiazhuang cartoons to bigger arenas.

俗话说,酒香不怕巷子深。然而,在市场竞争日趋激烈的今天,好酒也怕巷子深。经过几年的发展,我市动漫产业如同一坛精心酝酿的老酒,持续散发出馨香的气 息,吸引了众多投资者、创业者前来。与此同时,石家庄动漫人也抓住机遇,积极开拓国内国外市场,把石家庄动漫推向更广阔的舞台。

The Shijiazhuang Animation Institute‘s (石家庄动漫协会), that of the beneficial support of the city government and the conducive industrial environment had all become the envy of companies elsewhere, according to Shijiazhuang Newsnet. “Publicity” (宣传) and promotion had made Shijiazhuang’s cartoon industry better known in China and abroad, making people coming to Shijiazhuang to seek cooperation. A Western Australian Film Office (西澳大利亚州政府电影融资发展局 – I’m not familiar with Australia’s film industry or the industry’s official promotional institutes) was currently seeking a cooperation partner with the Shijiazhuang Animation Institute’s assistance, according to the report. The Australians had been impressed with the originality and production levels of Shijiazhuang’s industry and had since visited four times, Shijiazhuang Newsnet quotes a member of the Shijiazhuang Animation Institute, Zhang Maolan (张茂兰).

DeepCG Animation Science and Technology gets a particular mention in the report. The general manager, Wu Yifeng (武义峰), doesn’t seem to be too specific about his company’s current prospects in Europe, but is quoted as saying that South-East Asia was the most promising market for one of his company’s works, a cartoon movie about late Han dynasty general Zhao Yun, given its richness with Chinese culture.

The cartoon’s title seems to translate Zhao Yun and the Clicking Sound of the Box (赵云与咔哒盒子).

It seems to be based on a theme previously used in a Zhao Yun movie (but not a cartoon) made in Hong Kong, in 2010.

Shijiazhuang News Net is the online platform of Shijiazhuang Daily (石家庄日报), an official CCP paper.

In a review of the 17th Central cultural decision in October 2011, David Bandurski of the China Media Project (Hong Kong) appeared to be skeptical of the impact Chinese media and culture could have under political and ideological controls.

It may be time for a first assessment of how things are going for the “cultural industry” in China – especially when it comes to its record abroad. Personally, I have no clue about cartoons, and not even a taste for them. Stuff like Zhao Yun and the Box (a sample video here) should be judged by bloggers or critics who really are into the genre.



*) This isn’t an exact translation. The actual Chinese quote or proverb would be 酒香不怕巷子深 – something like the smell of wine isn’t afraid of a deep lane (or alley), meaning that good things will sell even without advertising them.



» Soft Power starts at Home, Jan 21, 2012
» A Low-Carbon Industry, Dec 2, 2011
» Shijiazhuang Cartoon School, CRI, Aug 20, 2009
» Go-Out Policy, Wikipedia, acc. 20130412
» Private investors, PD English, Aug 20, 2004

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Five Years of Blogging with WordPress

I won’t get into a regular ritual of marking anniversaries or statistical records (high or low), but this this is the day in history when I started blogging, five years ago.

Something like 1,960 posts since – some of them very short, though.

My personal favorite is probably this one, a few words about history.

And the one forever in the top posts (usually no. 1, but almost certainly among the top five whenever you look, is the one about authoritarianism and totalitarianism.

Many thanks for the comments, discussions, and advice.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Obituary: Margaret Thatcher, 1925 – 2013

It wouldn’t make much sense to write about Margaret Thatcher in English, but here is one in German.

And this video, of course:

Friday, April 5, 2013

Press Review: Tomb-Sweeping Day, and Cemeteries to remember

Recent cases of avian flu are top stories on most of the Chinese press online. Xinhua (via Enorth, Tianjin) reports fourteen cases in mainland China, six of whom had died so far. Four of them died in Shanghai, among them a four-year-old child. A bulletin from Zhejiang Provincial Health Department is quoted as reporting one death today, and a 64-year-old farmer from Huzhou had died previously. Four avian flu cases had been reported from Jiangsu Province, and one from Anhui Province, according to Xinhua. The ministry of agriculture’s information office said late on Thursday that H7N9 viruses had been found during the examination of pigeons sent in by the Shanghai authorities. Much of the article’s emphasis is on prevention and control measures taken by the authorities.

Huanqiu Shibao republishes a photo from Guangzhou, (by China News Service, 中新社), with people bringing rice wine to their deceased relatives’ graves – April 4 was tomb-sweeping day.

In a more detailed article, Huanqiu Shibao mentions the forgotten graveyards and cemeteries, where few people go, be it because the places are too remote and not easy to reach, be it because of past historical taboos (历史“禁忌”).

These cemeteries lie deep in the mountains, near the Chengdu-Kunming railroad, in the mountain laps along the thousand-miles long Sino-Vietnamese border*) a long distance from the Sino-Vietnamese border, on level ground of curved mountains, in a mostly ignored corner of Chongqing’s Shapingba Park, where young members of the railroad forces, young PLA soldiers and young members of the Red Guards are buried…


The places were out of reach for many relatives, and some wouldn’t even know where their loved ones had been buried, writes Huanqiu. Denial of memory played a role, too:

We are really good at talking about successes, but often ignore the suffering behind success. We frequently discuss the wounds suffered in more than a hundred years, but tend to avoid the “stains” on history.


Self-reflection was required to avoid entering past pitfalls once again, writes Huanqiu. Obviously, moments of self-reflection should also assure the visitors to the forgotten cemetaries that the road that has been taken since was the correct path, according to the article, which seems to remain an uneasy one, not only because of the many ellipsis within.

The scenery of Arlington Cemetery in Washington D.C. should make [Chinese] people feel ashamed, writes Huanqiu. China had a tradition of faithful bones lying buried in the green hills [青山处处埋忠骨 – a reference to casualties of military conflicts and battles, apparently], but also one of paying attention to the great deceased.

Every life of a deceased has its proper value. Even when it is about the lives of the ignorant youths who died in the non-military struggles of the 1960s, each of their lives, on the path of this country’s history, left a bloody mark.



Let’s conserve these cemeteries, let us not leave the regrets behind, and when visiting the dead, they can unhurriedly find their way home.




*) See Doppelkopf‘s comment


» Bottom of a Dead Volcano, December 27, 2012
» June 4, 23rd Anniversary, June 4, 2012

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Early April: Spring by Day, Winter by Night

Update/Reading Recommendation:
The Historical Roots of Defensive Fundamentalism in North Korea,
Sino-NK, April 3, 2013

Spring at day, winter at night.

Spring by day, winter by night.

Compare this picture with that one of 2011, and you may find that April 2013 looks like February 2011 in this place. Spring is late, to put it mildly, but it seems to be coming in now.

Sprinkling the cottonwood plants.

Sprinkling the cottonwood plants.

Dry as usual, though, with the exception of occasional snowfall at night – and the wind has dried the brushwood to a degree that the authorities have released fire alerts.

Monday, April 1, 2013

A Punitive Expedition to the Central Party School: Deng Yuwen suspended

Deng Yuwen (邓聿文), deputy editor (associate senior editor of Study Times) of Study Times (学习时报), the journal of the Central Party School of the Communist Party of China, wrote an opinion for the Financial Times on February 27 this year, arguing that China should abandon North Korea. Quoting South Korean Chosun Ilbo, the BBC‘s Mandarin website reports that Deng has been suspended from his function as deputy editor for an indefinite period. In a telephone interview with Chosun Ilbo, Deng reportedly said that the foreign ministry had sent a “punitive expedition” (兴师问罪) to the CCP Party School because of his article. He was still on the payroll, but didn’t know when he would be given another post.

It’s doesn’t read like complete ostracism – and it would spell unequal treatment of academics if it turns out to be a real purge. After all, a fortnight earlier than Deng, on February 13, Shen Dingli (沈丁立), director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University, published a much more strongly-worded article with Foreign Policy, and apparently faces no problems as a result. Then again, even if showing off rightful indignation at Pyongyang, Shen had still hedged his bets:

Let’s face it: China has reached a point where it needs to cut its losses and cut North Korea loose.


China likely handles North Korea with kid gloves because it fears what would happen if the regime collapsed. If things turned bad, tens if not hundreds of thousands of refugees could flee across the border, destabilizing parts of northeastern China. North Korea’s eventual reunification with South Korea might lead to a democratic U.S. ally with the potential for tens of thousands of U.S. and Korean troops […]

You get the picture.

Besides, the Party School may be deemed too close to the center of political power to allow their authors and editors to speak their (individual, maybe) views freely – on sensitive issues, anyway.

When reached by phone on Monday (apparently by the South China Morning Post / SCMP), Deng declined to confirm his suspension.



» Qiao Xinsheng: Not China’s firewall, Sino-NK, Feb 17, 2013
» Oppose the Scarlet Letters, Sep 5, 2010
» 邓聿文简介, Ifeng/Phoenix, date unspec.



» Ohne Fehl und Tadel, dFC, 03.04.13
» Beijing steht zur Brandmauer, dFC, 02.04.13


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