Populism in China (1): The Downfall of Bo Xilai

There is no Weltinnenpolitik yet, but there are cross-civilizational trends.

The City of Red Songs

There would be no second chance. Gerhard Schröder, former chancellor of Germany, was in a hurry in June 2011, on the sidelines of a forum in southwestern China’s metropolis of Chongqing. He was therefore lacking the time to attend one of the red-song nights that were customary there. But he still pleased his interlocutors with a German proverb: Where people sing, you can settle down – wicked people sing no songs.

In full, the red-songs custom advocated by Chongqing’s party chief Bo Xilai was Singing revolutionary songs, Reading classic books, telling stories and spreading mottos. There would be nine more months of that before Bo Xilai was toppled by his CCP comrades.

A Hudong article explained the activity at the time. It was a mass concept, started in Chongqing in 2008, which was greeted with enthusiasm there, and elsewhere in China. The concept wasn’t outdated, because

if a country and a nation have no correct thought and advanced culture, it will lose its backbone. The current deep changes of the economic system, the structure of society, and the profound adjustment of interest patterns must be reflected in the ideological field. There is diversity in peoples’ minds, and although the mainstream is positive and healthy, while some peoples’ material life conditions have improved, spiritual life is somewhat empty. To change that condition, and to ensure a safe passing of the torch in the cause of the party and the country, the red flag must be righteously upheld, the ideology of Marxism must be consolidated in its guiding position within the ideological field, and the attractiveness and the cohesive power of socialist ideology must be strengthened.

一个国家和民族没有正确的思想、先进的文化,就会失掉主心骨。当前,经济体制深刻变革、社会结构深刻变动、利益格局深刻调整,必然反映到意识形态领域。人们的思想日趋多元多变多样,虽然主流积极健康向上,但一些人物质生活改善了,精神生活却有些空虚。为了彻底改变这种状况,保证党和国家的事业薪火相传,必须理直气壮地举红旗,不断巩固马克思主义在意识形态领域的指导地位,增强社会主义意识形态的吸引力和凝聚力。[Links within these lines omitted.]

According to the HuDong article, CCP politbureau member and Chongqing party secretary Bo Xilai (薄熙来) had deplored the phenomenon of young people who sang decadent songs (唱 .. 靡靡之音, chàng mímí zhī yīn), who were reading “fast-food” kinds of literature (读 .. 快餐文化, dú kuàicān wénhuà), told “low and vulgar stories” (讲 .. 低俗故事, jiǎng dīsú gùshì), and “spread pornographic or dull scripts/pieces” (传 .. 黄段子、灰段子, chuán huáng duànzi, huī duànzi).

So, apparently, there were dirty songs, too. Maybe things weren’t as simple as Schröder had believed. At least one  reader and forum commenter of China’s Huanqiu Shibao didn’t trust Schröder’s expertise and wrote:

OK, listen [to the red songs], you won’t comprehend them anyway. It will be as if you were listening to folk songs.

听吧,反正听不懂,就当听民歌了

The “Chongqing Model” was controversial, at least in the perceivable medial public of China. The party elite wasn’t entirely in love with Bo’s pretentious neo-Maoism. A vice president of Law School at China University of Political Science and Law was quoted by the English-language party mouthpiece “Global Times”:

There have been 104,000 “Red Song Concerts” in Chongqing, with 80 million participants. It cost 1,500 yuan ($231) per person for onsite renting and costume expenses, 210 million yuan in total. Adding in the offwork compensation and transportation the final cost is 270 billion [sic – probably means million – JR] yuan. Why don’t they use the money for health insurance?

Bo Xilai’s “Populism”, 2007 – 2012

At the grassroots, however, Bo’s leadership style appears to have worked (maybe it still does). The Chongqing Model wasn’t just about folklore, red or otherwise.

Chongqing (Sichuan province) residents set off firecrackers today, celebrating the execution of the provincial-level city’s former chief justice Wen Qiang (文强), cqnews.net reported in July 2010. The Wall Street Journal explained:

Wen Qiang was put to death following the rejection in May by China’s Supreme Court of an appeal of his conviction on charges including bribery, shielding criminal gangs, rape and inability to account for millions of dollars in cash and assets, according to Xinhua news agency. Xinhua didn’t say how Mr. Wen was executed.

Punching black crime and uprooting vice (拳打黑除恶) was the name of the campaign that cost Wen his life – according to the historical records as Bo would have it, he and his police chief Wang Lijun not only battled against gangs, but infiltrated cadres, too.

The now defunct website Chinageeks published an English translation of Zhang Wen, a former chief editor of the Xinhua magazine Globe:

Bo Xilai and the “northeast tiger” Wang Lijun entered Chongqing and started a war and began a “battling corruption and evil” movement that has gradually begun to spread nationwide and worldwide. This action is in line with the people’s wishes, and at the same time, also in line with what central authorities wish.

At first, the public opinion was very one-sided; no one could find any fault with Bo. The controversy and difference of opinions came with the case of Li Zhuang. Proponents of the democratic rule of law questioned and criticized the legality of Chongqing [court] proceedings, but Bo Xilai’s supporters hold that punishing lawyers who defend “bad people” is appropriate.

Bo Xilai’s wife Gu Kailai is a high-level lawyer who has been working for many years. The two have been together for many years and Bo himself was once the head of the Ministry of Commerce, and thus often negotiated international legal issues with foreign opponents. Because of this, Bo Xilai should have a solid conception and knowledge of the law.

But in the end, in the Li Zhuang case, the organs of justice in Chongqing left a bad impression that they might violate legal procedures. Precisely because of this, some people’s opinions on Bo Xilai changed dramatically. I myself once wrote an essay expressing pity that Bo Xilai hadn’t turned out to be the sort of high-quality modern politician [we had hoped].

Chongqing was a small pond for a big fish – Bo Xilai appeared to have hoped for a permanent seat in the CCP’s central politburo, but landed the job as party secretary of Chongqing instead. Chongqing wasn’t an insignificant city, but it was far from where central Chinese power was. Only an alernate politburo membership linked him to Beijing. From 2008, his Maoist song events raised nationwide attention, and even beyond China – Henry Kissinger apparently leapt at the chance Schröder had missed.

In 2011, Bo Xilai started his second campaign for a permanent seat at the CCP’s top table. While the Economist found Bo’s style refreshing, it noted nervously that

The region’s party chief, Bo Xilai, is campaigning for a place on the Politburo Standing Committee in next year’s leadership shuffle. He looks likely to succeed. Like every other Chinese politician since 1949, he avoids stating his ambitions openly, but his courting of the media and his attempts to woo the public leave no one in any doubt. Mr Bo’s upfront style is a radical departure from the backroom politicking that has long been the hallmark of Communist rule and would seem like a refreshing change, were it not that some  of his supporters see him as the Vladimir Putin of China. Mr Bo is a populist with an iron fist. He has waged the biggest crackdown on mafia-style gangs in his country in recent years. He has also been trying to foster a mini-cult of Mao, perhaps in an effort to appeal to those who are disillusioned with China’s cut-throat capitalism.

Bo didn’t appear to aim for the top job as secretary general, the Economist noted, as that position appeared to have been reserved for Xi Jinping. Indeed, Xi succeeded Hu Jintao as party secretary general in autumn 2012, and as state chairman in March 2013.

Bo Xilai’s plans didn’t work that smoothly. In November 2011, a British citizen, Neil Heywood, died in a hotel in Chongqing. Given that Chinese courts don’t work independently from the party, the circumstances of his death can’t be considered resolved. A Chinese court found Gu Kailai, Bo Xilai’s wife, guilty of killing Heywood, and after only one day in court, she got a suspended death sentence.

The BBC‘s China editor Carrie Gracie tried to shed light on the circumstances of Bo Xilai’s rise and fall, and the role Heywood’s death played in the latter, but didn’t find too many interlocutors. Instead, she presented a Rocky Horror Picture Show of elite power struggles with Chinese characteristics. Bo Xilai as the avenger of the common man, a crashing, media-savvy scourge of organized crime, who addressed the public directly, without party media filtering. That hadn’t happened since Mao’s days – “think Donald Trump”.

With support from local police chief Wang Lijun, who fancied leading roles in martial-arts television, too, Bo had exercised a regime that labeled opponents as mafiosi and not only jailed them, but expropriated them too, in favor of Chongqing’s budgets.

It isn’t contested that Bo Xilai and Wang Lijun prosecuted the real or supposed gangsters’ advocates, too, with questionable means. Gracie quotes one of these advocates, Li Zhuang (see above, Zhang Wen’s criticism of Bo Xilai), as Li describes how he was arrested by Wang Lijun personally:

The scene was so over-the-top, loads of police cars surrounding the plane, riot police in helmets and camouflage, armed with submachine guns. I asked, “Why the big show? Is it Obama’s state visit or are you capturing Osama Bin Laden?”

We were surrounded by a huge scrum of reporters. He wanted to show his authority on camera. He was in a trench coat, hands in his pockets. He said: “Li Zhuang, we meet again.”

There were admirers of Bo and Wang, there were critics and enemies, and there were people who detested the two. But at the grassroots, the fans appeared to be numerous. According to Gracie, there are still many.

Making inconvenient lawyers disappear was no unique feature of Bo Xilai, however. The party leadership with Xi Jinping at the core has been proving for years that to them, the rule of law is a theroretical nicety they may or may not care about.

Gracie reduces the causes of conflict between the noisy polit-soloist Bo Xilai and the basically “collectivist” leadership in Beijing on a personal rivalry between princeling Bo and princeling Xi.

Certainly, top politicians’ egos can hardly be overestimated, and when they are Chinese, ostentatious modesty shouldn’t fool anyone.

But Xi alone wouldn’t have gotten Bo under control. Neither with the sudden Neil-Heywood scandal – that became known as the Wang-Lijun incident in China after the police chief fled into the next US consulate and being passed on to the central authorities from there (but only after having spilled the beans). Nor otherwise.

The question suggests itself if Bo Xilai’s career wasn’t finished in summer 2011 anyway, given wide-spread disapproval among the party elite, of his egotistic leadership style in Chongqing.

“Unity is strength” was one of the “red songs” Bo Xilai had them sing in Chongqing (above: October 8, 2009). But it wasn’t only the Xi faction that saw a lack of just that on Bo’s part. Bo was putting himself forward, and that had been a taboo during all the post-Mao years.

He didn’t denigrate his leading comrades – appearances like that of Donald Trump as a campaigner, cursing fellow members of his political class, would have been inconceivable. But putting himself into the limelight (and casting it away from others) amounted to the same thing, by Chinese standards. Besides, given his anti-corruption renown, sanctimonious as it may have been, could have threatened his “comrades”. A tribun within their ranks – that couldn’t work.

Xi Jinping and his predecessor Hu Jintao are said to be rivals. But within the Hu camp, Bo’s populism didn’t seem to resonate either. On the contrary: Wen Jiabao, chief state councillor (aka “prime minister”) during the Hu Jintao era, had been a tireless, even if unsuccessful, advocate of political reform, way beyond economics or technology.

At a press conference in March 2012, after the closing ceremony of the annual “parliament” plenary sessions, Wen warned that China wasn’t immune against another cultural revolution. That John Garnaut, an Australian correspondent in Beijing, got the opportunity to talk with Hu Dehua, one of Hu Yaobang’s sons, may also count as an indication that the comparatively liberal factions in the party leadership were at least as sick of Bo Xilai’s revolutionary operas, as were the Xi supporters.

Garnaut, two weeks after Wen’s press conference, in an indirect account of his conversation with Hu Dehua*):

Hu Dehua told his father how pessimistic he felt about his country’s future. Hu Yaobang agreed that the methods and ideologies of the 1987 anti-liberalization movement came straight from the Cultural Revolution. But he told his son to gain some historical perspective, and reminded him that Chinese people were not joining in the elite power games as they had 20 years before. He called the anti-liberalization campaign a “medium-sized cultural revolution” and warned that a small cultural revolution would no doubt follow, Hu Dehua told me. As society developed, Hu Yaobang told his son, the middle and little cultural revolutions would gradually fade from history’s stage.

From there, everything went fast. Still in March, Bo was dismissed as Chongqing’s party chief. He also lost his alternate membership in the politburo. In summer 2012, his wife Gu Kailai got her commuted death sentence, and in September 2013, Bo was sentenced to life in prison – based on the usual charges for unrigged politicians: corruption.

Is there a Chongqing Heritage?

At first glance, Bo Xilai’s “populism” or “Maoism” is finished. But Bo counted as a champion of many Chinese from the political left. A comment in German weekly Die Zeit, in September 2013, saw the verdict against Bo as a signal from the top that resistance against economic reform was futile.

To assess Bo Xilai’s political heritage objectively. The CCP may be beyond the era when beaten opponents were airbrushed from all photos and records. But the question about how publicly or privately-owned China’s economy should be might impose itself with any questions about Bo Xilai, and the now seven-member standing committee of the politburo can’t use such questions.

A political scientist of Beijing University, He Weifang (贺卫方), hinted at problems in assessing the Chongqing Model’s performance, from 2007 to 2012:

It is generally believed that the so-called “Chongqing Model” is mainly shaped by three aspects: “red culture” on the political level, “targeted actions against dark and evil forces in Chongqing“, and the reduction of the income gaps between the poor and the rich. The most criticized aspects are the former two, although there is support for the two of them in Chongqing and elsewhere. The third aspect isn’t that controversial. However, all data published concerning the efficiency of the measures taken to narrow the income gap are actually issued by the Chongqing authorities, and therefore lacking neutral assessment. Also, we can see that the whole process is strongly government-led, whose focus isn’t on creating a market logic of equal opportunities. If this approach will or will not lead to mistakes in financial policies, including the rural land policies‘ impartiality, is also questionable. And then there are concerns about life today being lead on future earnings, short-term inputs being made to curry favor with the public, which may come at high future costs.

答:一般认为,所谓的重庆模式主要由三方面内容构成:政治层面上的红色文化,执法层面上的“打黑除恶”以及民生方面的缩小贫富差距。最受诟病的是前两者,虽然在重庆和其他地方,似乎也有一些人人对于“唱红”和“打黑”表达支持。第三方面内容相对较少争议。不过,那些举措究竟对于缩小贫富差距产生了怎样的效果,目前得到的信息都是由重庆当局发布的,缺少中立的评估。另外,我们可以看到整个过程是在政府强势主导下进行的,其重点并非创造机会均等的市场逻辑。这种做法是否会带来财政决策中的失误,包括重庆所推行的农村土地政策的公正性,都是大可怀疑的。还有寅吃卯粮的隐忧,短期内的高投入讨好了民众,但是却需要未来付出巨大的代价。

If Bo Xilai was a populist, one of Donald Trump’s kind, or Putin’s, or Neil Farage’s, or whoever, one has to ask oneself how much influence he has maintained over Chinese politics to this day. After all, populists like Geert Wilders aren’t ineffective, merely because they can’t lay their hands on the imperial regalia.

When looking at European populism – that’s only a snapshot, of course -, one can get the impression that populists may not be elected, but they do leave marks on politics, from Merkel’s Willkommenskultur back to the traditional Christian Democrats’ policies, and Britain’s Brexit, implemented not by its original proponents, but by Theresa May, who had used to be a lukewarm supporter of Britain’s EU membership.

Populism is hardly ever the common peoples’ business, but that of the elites. The battles are fought within the political class, as observed by Hu Yaobang in the late 1980s. That is about as true in Europe. However, these battles within the superstructure may create or intensify certain trends in the public mood – and once policies have moved sufficiently into the “populist” direction, the support for these parties wanes, and the electorate turns back to the long-established parties. After all, Joe Blow doesn’t want to look like an extremist.

When Xi Jinping announced China’s new role as a guardian of free trade at the Davos forum in January, German Handelsblatt China correspondent Stephan Scheuer hailed the party and state leader’s “dressing-down for populists”. In Davos, Xi had become “a pioneer of fair-minded globalization”.

What could be beginning to show in China is a comparatively strong Maoist component in propaganda, as long as this doesn’t come at the cost of China’s privileged, and as long as this doesn’t require substantial reallocation of means or wealth to poor classes of population, or laggard regions. But whenever the name “Bo Xilai” should appear in any token event, the exorcists will be just around the corner.

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59 Comments to “Populism in China (1): The Downfall of Bo Xilai”

  1. I actually plowed through your long and thoughtful post.

    For your information, Hu Yaobang is also known as Hu Luanbang 胡乱邦 in China. He is blamed for sowing the seeds of ethnic chaos in Tibet and Xinjiang by releasing “reactionary” Tibetan and Uygur elites from prison and placing them in high government offices and for setting a rule of “Two Fews and One Leniency” (few arrests and few deaths of criminals of minority ethnic groups; and lenient treatment of them). These two of his legacies are still making China suffer.

    As for CCP’s propaganda machine, it sucks. As a saying goes in China, 天下无人不通共,唯有中宣是汉奸. It means that “the entire world collaborates with the CCP and the only traitor is the Propaganda Department of the Central Committee of the CCP”. First, it fails to tell the world China’s success story or to show the world how China has achieved its success unseen in the entire human history. In other words, China has achieved much more over the past decades under the leadership of CCP than its propaganda machine has been able to tell the Chinese people and the world about it. China is the only major country that has experienced overall development and prosperity that benefit its population so much. Second, it is losing the ideological war at home. 新京报 in Beijing, 澎湃新闻 in Shanghai and 南方系媒体 in Guangdong, which are “controled by CCP” in name, are actually working relentlessly against it. They all churn out reports on a daily basis that discredit and smear China, its Governemnt, and CCP. Additionally, all the most popular news apps are privately owned and represent the interests of capital, instead of the People. They are not bought by the capitalists, they ARE the capitalists.

    The above should serve as another useful perspective when you try to understand China and what is happening here.

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  2. The idea that any media organizations in Mainland China could “work relentlessly against the CCP” is incredible nonsense. Every media organ in China has to abide by the orders sent it from the ministry about what to publish and not to, and undergo direct censorship as well as self-censorship.

    As long as people continue seeing any news that doesn’t quite align with their views as a “smear”, China will never be able to improve.

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  3. Jixiang, are you kidding, saying that “Every media organ in China has to abide by the orders sent it from the ministry about what to publish and not to, and undergo direct censorship as well as self-censorship.”? Do you happen to know anything about the fake news churned out on a daily basis by 新京报 in Beijing, 澎湃新闻 in Shanghai and 南方系媒体 in Guangdong?

    Most of Chinese media organizations are now either in the hands of people who want to topple the CCP and the public ownership of giant SOEs or are controlled by corrupt officials or are operated by downright incompetent fools. If there is only one bad thing about the CCP, it is that its propopganda departments are staffed with wicked people and halfwits. They should have been able to tell a very good China story to the world. They work independently of the Central Government and the CCP and have their own interests. They set their own agendas and they grab any chances to make the Government, the CCP and the Establishment look stupid by resorting to churning a lot of half truths and distorted reports. I strongly share Trump’s criticism and contempt of so-called mainstream media, though in my case it is the Chinese media.

    Anyone who think that there is effective censorship and self-censorship in China are quite mistaken. Smears are not about views. They are about facts.

    China has been outpacing and outperforming all the other major countries for the past few decades. China is the only successful third world country in the sense it has earned its position as an equal when dealing with the Western powers. If you take a look at history, you will see that China is the only new member in the Club of World Powers. Everyone else remains the same as it was one or two centuries ago. So, it is not about how China should improve, it is about how other countries can work out ways to benefit from China’s development and prosperity. The Philiphines, Australia, and New Zealand are among those who know which side their bread is buttered on. A large proportion of the Chinese people are living better lives than their counterparts in southern Europe, traditionally known as “developed countries”. And we have achieved all this without wars, colonization or aggressions. Unlike people in Spain, Portugal, Greece, all the other PIGGS countries, and the United States, who have seen their income and living standards getting worse for the past two or three decades, the Chinese people are optimistic about the future and expect even greater prosperity.

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  4. Hi Chang Guohua, hi Jixiang, great to read your comments.

    @Chang Guohua: I think there’s no way we would get to see eye to eye on Tibet or Xinjiang, so I’ll leave these two topics out, unless they have a role to play in our discussion.

    I can imagine that media like Xinjingbao won’t necessarily reflect the concerns of common people, or the middle class. But how can a paper that is operated by the CCP’s Beijing municipal commission work against the party? Wouldn’t that be infighting, rather than conflict between forces within and without? Of what kind are the articles that harm the party’s image? Can they be found online, too, or are they mostly paper editions, or behind a paywall?

    @jixiang: Chang Guohua isn’t from the Hidden Harmonies front. I can’t see his point either, at least not yet, but he isn’t doing propaganda or publicity.

    Just writing this to avoid misunderstandings.

    Update [20170426] @jixiang: I’m eating my words.

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  5. Thank you for your foresight.

    You are right. It is infighting. But it is more complex than it first seems. The CCP now stands in the way of both some powerful Party members who want to legalize their ill-gotten wealth obtained through corruption and external forces which want to grab political and economic power from the CCP. For these forces both within and without the CCP, a dead CCP is the best choice. Corruption in its various forms including those are perfectly legal in the United States, for example, are illegal and criminal in China. Corruption is not specific to any one country, system, or people. It is part of human nature. But the difference between China under the CCP and the Western countries, the Uniteds States, for example, is that: in China, political power is not bought (at least legally), but earned. That is why both internal and external forces are trying to topple the CCP: Because they want to buy political power that in turn brings economic benefits and the CCP is their biggest obstacle. What happened in the Soviet Union and what is happening in Russia serve as good examples.

    You asked how a newspaper “operated” by the CPC’s Beijing municipla committee can work against the CCP. Now you should get my points here: it does this by corruption and ideological challenges. Corruption means that things are being out of control and that orders are not being obeyed and that disciplines are being breached. That is the logic of Xi Jiping’s anti-corruption campaign. He and his senior colleagues want to make sure that their orders are obeyed throughout the country. Both the CCP and China are giant systems and extremely complex. It would be naive and simple-minded to think that everything is under some Central Control without any glitches in China and everything is manipulated by the CCP. Everyone who try to understand China should always remember that Chinese provinces are the size of “large” European countries. What Europeans consider “national” are only of provincial significance in China. As for Australia, Canada, or New Zealand, they are merely municipal.

    Corruption is one of the reasons why I increasingly find “rule of law” suspicious as a way of governing over the past few years. The CCP’s disciplines are far more strict than the laws and regulations promulgated by the Government for the average citizens. But this does not stop its members from being engaged in all kinds of corruption. As a matter of fact, any systems of law are made and implemented by man. The key to achieving an ideal way of governing a country is that both its rules and the people who implement these rules are good. So, the scenario is bleak: it is only a matter of luck whether or not you can have a responsible Central Authority (if any). The Chinese people are lucky because the current CCP and its Government are responsible for its people and their track records are unrivaled by any standards worldwide. What I hope is that the CCP can reduce as much as possible any forms of corruption instead of living with it just like the United States and other Western countries which have failed to cope with it and simply chosen to legalize it.

    Open rebellion by some media organizations is out of the question, of course, considering that the CCP still holds the central power and that the support it has from the general public is strong. But this doesn’t mean they don’t have ways to openly discredit and paint black the things they don’t like. For example, the police force, the state owned companies, the courts, the judicial systems, the governments at various levels, and even history.

    As I’ve mentioned above, any systems of rules are implemented by man. China is one of the safest countries around the world. Here in China, generally speaking, you can get out for a walk or anything in late night and you don’t need to worry about getting robbed or anything. So the police is one of their targets. In their reports, the law enforcement is always described in negative tones and police officers as bullies. But the truth is, the Chinese police officers are among the most overworked around the world and their work is extremely admirable for the safety and security they provide to the people. In the reports of those media organizations, anything related to state owned enterprises are wrong: if they make money, it is because of their monolopy over resources; if they lose money, it is because of low efficiency inherent in publicly owned companies. But the truth is China’s giant state-owned companies are the backbone of the country’s economy and that their missions are both economic and “political”. The SOEs take huge amount of social responsiblities and provide universal services to the citizens. Why are they painting the SOEs black? They just want to privatize them. Just guess who pay them to write those negative reports. It works very well. Let me give you some of the most recent examples, salt and water are under government monopoly in the past. Now both are open to private capital. According to the media, competition instead of monopoly is good for service and prices. But the results are more expensive salt and water services and poor qualities: more fake salts and dirtier water.

    China’s rail system is also one of their major targets. They are saying that private capital is good in it. So, a line connecting Guangzhou and Shenzhen is privatized. The results? Higher prices and poorer services. Complaints? They don’t accept them, saying that we are a commercial and profit driven institution, if you don’t like us, you can choose other forms of transport. Shamefully, the company operating the line is one of the top earning companies that are traded on the Chinese stock market.

    The judicial system is another target. Some ambitious lawyers and law experts want an independent judicial system. So, in the media reports, the system is described as being manipulated. But, indepedence or manipulation is not good or bad itself. It is good as long as the judicial system is manipulated by them, under their own control, and indepedent of external influence. The CCP also wants an independent judicial system, but not of its own power, but of its other government organizations. 贺卫方 is one of their loudest voices.

    In the media reports (too many of them), all the bad things are attributed to the government, as if the government has all the things under its control. If anything bad happens involve citizens and government, the government is the automatically wrong side, even though the citizens are violating the law and disrupting public order. 方方, a well known writer, has recently published a novel 软埋 criticizing the land reforms of the CCP during the early revolutionay years. And the novel gets promoted in the media.

    You want to know why alll these go unnoticed and unpunished? The answer is simple: Those who have the delegated powers to oversee all these think the reports and even the people are perfectly okay in doing all these. You can find lots of them in the government offices, university classrooms, and even Party schools who preach against the CCP. All these are weird but they are happening.

    Finally, China is more complex than it first seems to foreign people, espeicially those who don’t live here, don’t know the language, don’t look at the country as a whole, or try to fit China into their own stereotypes and biases.

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  6. I just found two examples showing how the media can manipuate their reports and smear the CCP and the Government. You must be able to read Chinese well enough to understand them all.

    1. 重庆公安局2016年发布了一个执法裁量说明,标题是《重庆市公安局关于印发《重庆市公安机关网络安全管理行政处罚裁量基准》的通知》,内容是汇集已有的法律法规,规定违法行为的处罚标准。其中有一部分内容是关于“擅自连接国际互联网”的,也就是连接国际互联网必须要走规定的线路,个人和组织不得自己假设线路。这原本是很正常的,就好比公路、高速路不能谁想建就建一条。这是很正常的执法行为。
    但是就这个很正常的东西,到了有些媒体的嘴里,你知道变成什么了吗?

    Google 搜索的结果:https://www.google.com.hk/#safe=strict&q=%E9%87%8D%E5%BA%86%E5%B8%82%E5%85%AC%E5%AE%89%E6%9C%BA%E5%85%B3%E7%BD%91%E7%BB%9C%E7%9B%91%E7%AE%A1&*
    新浪:重庆将针对擅自“翻墙”上境外网站进行处罚 http://news.sina.com.cn/c/nd/2017-03-28/doc-ifycspxp0068263.shtml
    两个外国媒体的中文网站的报道是:
    德国之声:重庆新规:你翻墙?断你网!
    美国之音:中国新规定:互联网“翻墙”有罪

    Here, Sina’s report is clearly in line with both VOA and Deutsche Welle and you call Sina a Chinese media and says it is under censorship or self-censorship or controled by the CCP. The contrary is true. Its title says “Chongqing will punish unauthorized access to foreign websites”. But it is fake news. What the Chongqing’s authorities says in their announcement is that those individuals or organizations which set up communications channels that bypass the ones provided by the government or those which provide such channels will be punished. Any natural persons or ordinary organizations who use VPN or things like that are of course not violating any laws or rules because they are all communicating through the official lines only that some of VPN traffic fails to be blocked by the authorities. But Sina simply says “Chongqing WILL punish unauthorized access to foreign websites”. Relevant reports are now going viral on the Chinese online and social media. But Chongqing’s police authorities are just issuing an updated version of their law enforcement standards and are nothing new. Sina reports it as though it was news with a future tense marker 将/WILL. This is what I called their own agendas. Yes, they are setting their own agendas when reporting. In its report Sina is blaming the police for their everyday job with distorted reports and half truths.

    These media organizations are churning out fake news every day.

    Another example. This time from Shandong.

    2. #济南新闻#【南水北调再“吃人”,济南一新婚小伙丢命丢车!】3月28日上午10时30分,济南市高新区南水北调干渠桃园生产桥段平静的河面,被一场事故打破。一辆面包车在自北向南行驶过程中,突然冲破护栏,落入水中。经过近8个小时的营救,驾驶人员已溺亡。 °南水北调再“吃人”,济南一新婚小伙丢命丢车! ​​​​
    Source: http://weibo.com/2011075080/EBZCsASIP?from=page_1002062011075080_profile&wvr=6&mod=weibotime

    The report simply says in its body that a man drives his truck into a river and gets drowned. The river is part of the government project of 南水北调. This was distorted as “south-to-north water transfer eats another man, a bride-to-be lost his car and got killed!”南水北调再“吃人”,济南一新婚小伙丢命丢车!

    This is outrageous.

    Again, I share Trump’s contempt of the so-called mainstream media.

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  7. Sorry for my yet another very long response.

    —–

    In another post, Ji Xiang said he did not understand why the Chinese people are mostly optimistic about their next one and two decades. This is understandable. He or she is from Italy, a southern European country, one of PIIGGS countries, known for the Mediterranean laziness and dsitain from its northern neighbors, and a place where jobless rates are so high espeically among young people. The future to people there are less than rosy. He wont’be able to understand the Chinese mentality.

    In China, the people have been enjoying increasingly better lives for a period spanning over six decades. Even before the start of the Reform and Opening-up in the late 1970s, China maintained a 4-5% annual growth from 1949 for three decades. As a piece of evidence for comparison, China’s average life expectancy surpassed India in the 1960s and never looked back since then. Now, the United States is only ahead of China with a two or three years advantage over China in this regard. The gap will soon be closed. And the average life expectancy in Beijing and Shanghai are both four or five years longer than New York. Please remember that China is a country with a population four times that of the United States. The income levels and living standards in the United States have basically remained stagnant for the past two decades. That is a generation of people and it can changes mentality. My guess is that the U.S. is not alone in the West. Take the most recent example, life became worse for the American people since Obama took his first presidential office. Within the same period, China’s economic output almost doubled and replaced the U.S. as the largest XXX of almost everything: China now has the second largest GDP (momentums ), has the largest manufacturing industry (bigger than the U.S. and Japan put together), and is the largest trader. So, in a sense, the worse life in the West and perhaps in other parts of the world is the price the world pays for China’s rise. Of course, this price is only theoretical and does not exist in reality.

    China manufactures everything from the low end to high end products. For third world countries, they have little chance in competing with China in labor-intensive products; for the advanced economies, they find China an increasingly stronger competitor in high-end products: communications equipment, integrated circuits, railroad equipment, oil and chemical equipment, LCD screens, new energy, and nuclear power plants. Why are the people in the West living worse and worse life? This perspective is perhaps inspiring: because it has moved its manufacturing industries to Asia including China and those premium industries still at home are not enough in supporting good lives; and because China, one of the largest markets, simply manufactures almost everything it needs and don’t need to buy from Western companies. The next two industries in the West that will suffer are the semi-conductors and plane making industries: Boeing in the U.S. and Air Bus in the E.U. China has long been fed up with having to buy them at so high a premium from the West. China’s big plane – C919 – is now in the test phase and almost 600 such planes have already be sold to, of course, large Chinese airlines, even before it is available on the market. China’s plane making industry grows at the expense of Boeing and Airbus – the contracts could have been awarded to the two companies. That is what I mean by “theoretical price” the world is paying for the rise of China. The other is the semiconductors and China has invested a huge amount, equal to half the annual world semiconductor sales, in developing its own semiconductors. A lot of Western companies or industries just drop down dead like this by the wayside. So, when China succeeds in both industries, just expect layoffs and revenue shrinking at Boeing and Airbus and QualCom. America is stupid because it gave up its manufacturing. Germany is the opposite example, which seesm to keep a tight grip on its manufacturing.

    The above is the economic logic of the Chinese optimism.

    Finally and perhaps most importantly, in one way China is unique. Unlike Japan, Germany, South Korea, France, Britain, Italy, and so on, China is an independent country, politically, economically, militarily, and culturally. We have the future in our own hands and we are optimistic about it.

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  8. Some of the usual backend information entered with the responses looks unfamiliar to me. I’ve therefore removed the name above the comments in question, and won’t put it back unless I get a credible confirmation.

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  9. You mean my identity? I was not sure what happened. When I tried to post a comment here, I was prompted to log in using FB credentials, but I didn’t have them at the moment. So I entered my email address short of the letter a. This is defenitely me.

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  10. Thanks for the ID information.

    It strikes me as odd that you identify the motives of the press / propaganda operators as necessarily directed against the country’s / the people’s interests, while you seem to take it for granted that the right things in the national interest would happen if Xi Jinping’s and his senior colleagues’ orders were obeyed throughout the country.

    How does it become evident that further privatisation steps would be against the intentions of the central leadership, and how would privatisation in itself be illegitimate? (My question isn’t about my personal views – they would be basically SOE-leaning, be it in China, be it in Germany -, but about why a public debate that reflects more than one position should be considered corrupted.)

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  11. It is not odd. Much of the mass media is not in the hands of the CCP. All the most popular mass media portals in China are run by private businesses. They even have stakeholdings from foreign investors. As I said above, their criticism of everything about government, and public, SOE is subtle, going unnoticed and unpunished. The CCP leadership is a responsible and capable one and its decisions and orders represent the country’s and the people’s interest.The CCP’s decisions and orders are mostly made within its 80 million strong member organization. This is democratic, by all the current standards. The support the CCP has from the people is strong and deep. Most of them are just silent and are not given the chance by the media to voice their opinions. As I said above, this is merely a piece of good luck for the Chinese people. Also as I claimed above, there is no such a thing as rule of law, laws are made and implemented by man. An ideal country is governed by good people according to good laws. This is basically what is happening in China.

    As for privatisation, let’s be frank. If the CCP did not have enough economic power to support its grip on political power, the CCP would be dead very soon.A political party without economic power will soon lose politcal power as well.And this is what is happening at lower levels of the CCP’s hierarcy. In local big or small regions where SOEs or other government-controlled economy are weak and all the taxes are paid by private companies, the capitalists have long ago bought politcal power in the government and install their representives in all the branches of the government. The CCP leadership knows this too well. Liaoning is a very good example. Capitalists and some Party members bribed voters to get them elected to local parliament and government. Luckily, they have been removed. (This is what is happening in the United States and in the West every election. What the West considers normal working of democracy is consider corruption and illegal in China. That is why the CCP is hated by the wealthy people). The West-style democracy is not new to us and we are using it too. We know how it works. At the lowest and grassroots level, the local governments in villages are all elected. Who get elected? The powerful local families and gangs. How do they do it? By bribes, coercion, clans, corruption, and so on. Things can only be corrected with interference from the CCP higher up. All this means that the CCP is still holing on an ideoligical ideal – power for the people and I trust it, like so many others in China. You would ask what if the CCP made mistakes, or worse, lost its power? Well, that would be no worse than what is happening in the West.

    Privatisation is not good or bad per se. What matters is whether or not it serves the overall interests of China. The CCP leadership know this too well. The CCP will keep all the strategic industries under its monopolistic control and open the rest for free, equal,and fair market competition. The CCP has recently warned against some potentially ambitious powerful business owners: do not try to gain political power or influency with your wealth.

    China is one of the few countries where the wealthy can’t buy political power, at least legally. This is why I love the CCP, like so many others in China.

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  12. It is considered corrupted because the propaganda machine is not doing its job and it allows the media to discredit SOEs, governments, and so on. Why is it not doing its job? One of the reasons is corruption which makes it impossible to implement ideological rules in managing the media. Their discrediting is subtle and not always open or blatant. They always label publicly owned institutions and hold the public label for ridicule and criticism. And they keep silent about the wrongs private business are doing and almost never use the label of “private”. For them, criticizing the CCP, government, and SOEs is a politically correct thing to do and they don’t care about facts. Doing otherwise constitutes a betrayal of their values.

    What the CCP has achieved ever since 1921 when it came into being constantly defies any theory and refuses to be fit into any system of interpretation. But this does not mean the CCP or what it does is wrong, it means the theories or systems are wrong. However, it is very obvious that the theorists in the West think that the CCP is wrong simply because it does not fit any of their theories or systems. Anyone who can work all these out can win Nobel prizes for economics.

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  13. According to one of IMF’s latest predictions, by the year of 2012, only 2% of the world population live in countries whose per capita GDP is higher than that of China. If the current momentum continues for the next one or two or three decade (for all the good reasons I have mentioned one way or the other above, it will. We can re-visit this page in due time if I can live long enough to do this.), China as a single entity will have an economic, technological and political power that is stronger than all the Western countries combined. China’s system is better. So far there are no countries, or to be safer, no major countries (with a population over 100 million), which use the Western systems have succeeded in making the lives of their peoples as good as that of China, except for a few Western colonies in Asia. On the contrary, they are all in chaos and poverty. The Western systems are not sustainable because they are based on exploiting less advanced countries. When you can no longer benefit from the unfair world order, you will not be able to get economic resources to support your people. That’s what is happening in the US now. The people there have been leading a life that is getting worse for the past two decades. Only when this idea gets sunk in your mind will you be able to re-visit your constant accusation that the CCP only has economic development as the only legitimate reason to keep the support from the people. That is true, to China and to the West. Without being able to have enough economic resources to provide for your peoples, your systems should go and consider some other alternatives.

    Sorry for my rambling.

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  14. …by the year of 2021…

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  15. Let me continue with my rambling.

    …a public debate that reflects more than one position…

    Let’s be frank and candid. Public debates are agenda set by someone. Who set agendas? Who set tones? All the media organizations have biases, as Trump has found out. The CCP has never been shy about what it wants: it wants to set agendas and tones though it now constantly fails to do it because as I said the most popular mass media outlets are not in its hands and it has to use them to get its voices heard and often simply get it lost.

    Let me just imagine.

    CNN/BBC sets topics for debates: Why China’s system is better than the West’s? Why the West’s system is flawed and is not sustainable? Why we should learn from China about how to govern a country in a way that benefits the people? Why the West’s system sucks? Why Communism might suit the West? Why the wealthy should stay out of politics? Why the West’s politics are being poisoned by money? Why the people are ignored in the political decision making?

    Do you think the bosses of CNN or BBC will set up such topics? Don’t tell me the editorial team has automony. It does not. One of China’s large SOEs is negotiating the purchase of majority shares of Forbes. And I don’t think the regulators will give the green light.

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  16. JR, do you use WeChat? Find me: changgua.

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  17. Sorry, chats are time-eaters. I haven’t stayed away from Facebook and Twitter to join a chat! But thanks for the invitation.

    I still can’t see what makes you believe that the party doesn’t want the papers to criticize SOEs, or put them in an unfavorable light. It is one thing to say that the center doesn’t always have its way. But I can’t see what should be the big deal about Jixiang’s allegation that they control everything, if you suggest that you know precisely what they want / don’t want to see in the media.

    The Western systems are not sustainable because they are based on exploiting less advanced countries.

    How would you describe the differences between the West’s and China’s Africa policies?

    That is true, to China and to the West.

    That’s what you believe, Guohua. What I see is different, and I am, after all, in one of the places you are referring to. When I was young, boys in their late teens were looking forward to their first car. Obviously, that has never been true for every part of the country, and for every social class. It wasn’t true for mine, either. My first car came much later. But it was the rule, rather than the exception.

    Among boys, interest in cars was universal. These days, only a minority cares about cars. And the kids of the people who bought themselves a car from their first wages (and a little bit of help from their parents and grandparents), can be satisfied with a smartphone now. That’s quite a decrease, when judging the value they got then / get now in mere economic terms.

    Obviously, there would be red lines, be it when their naked life is at stake, be it when they feel that they aren’t respected, or if their lives lack a sense of achievement. But peoples’ demands here are much more modest than what you seem to believe. All that while this country is providing refuge to millions of people.

    Obviously, propaganda helps here, too, in all its forms (marketing not least, when it comes to what people want to be able to afford).

    I’m not suggesting that Chinese people would be more materialistic than Germans, as a rule. Maybe they are, maybe not. The two countries and people are hard to compare, both statistically and given the degree of economic progress to date, traditions, and the very different political systems.

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  18. That’s okay! That’s good for you!

    Criticism comes in different forms. What the CCP doesn’t like is the destructive and it welcomes constructive criticism.SOEs are the economic reason for its existence.

    The CCP doesn’t control everything. One is that it doesn’t want to and don’t need to. The other is that when it needs somestimes it cannot.

    China’s African policies are welcomed by Africans I think. China works with them and brings development to them, as what it is happening in Ethiopia.

    What I said is of human nature, I would think. People want better lives. What you said, I think, still presupposed a good enough level of living standards. What I meant was inaduquate food, housing, etc or downright poverty. Just the Muslin refugees flooding into Europe or those Americans who are “food insecure”.

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  19. Perhaps Germany is different. But America is a case in point. Trump got elected because the poorer part of the population wants a change. Or perhaps I’m just oversimplifying it, but dissatisfaction is definitely in there.

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  20. There was a Frenchman last century who described what propaganda is used for, and what it does with people. His work is available online.

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  21. Let’s be frank. Propaganda comes in a continuum ranging from the weakest to the strongest versions. And it comes in different names.

    “What could be beginning to show in China is a comparatively strong Maoist component in propaganda, as long as this doesn’t come at the cost of China’s privileged, and as long as this doesn’t require substantial reallocation of means or wealth to poor classes of population, or laggard regions.”

    The above statement applies to America and the West at large, not to China. This is the difference of mentality between 1% and 6% economic growth rate. Yours is loser’s mentality while China’s is for the winners. China accounts for 30% of the world’s economic growth each year. This is more than enough to go around among different social strata and geographical regions in China, in addition to a redistribution of the existing cake. China’s strategy is to bring the benefit of economic development to every corner of the country.

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  22. This is the difference of mentality between 1% and 6% economic growth rate. Yours is loser’s mentality while China’s is for the winners.

    Guohua, you aren’t frank, you are pissed off, and you have lost your manners. But thanks for the discussion.

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  23. Oh, my goodness! I’m not pissed off; and I’ve not lost my manners, at least that’s not my intention. I was just saying what I have in mind about the topics.

    The West is the loser in the sense that it now begins to fear competition from China. There is a strong opposition to globalization and a rise of protectionism in the West, as shown by the conservative movements throughout the West, particularly the election of Trump. Both America and Europe have refused its commitments to honor the promise more than a decade ago to recognize China as a market economy and levies heavy taxes on Chinese imports. Isn’t all this a mentality of the loser?

    People’s thoughts are conditioned by economic situations. The big difference in economic growth rates make a huge difference in how the world is perceived. In China, at least for the past three decades and in the most general sense, the development of one social group or geographical had not occurred at the expense of another group or region because the entire country is growing on a massive scale. I still remember that a German old man proudly told us in Beijing over a decade ago at a dinner that Germany had a population of only a few tens of millions of people, but have an economic output as large as that of China. Today, that of Germany is only a fractionof China’s economic output and China now has a manufacturing industry much bigger than that of the entire Europe. Chinese SOEs even inves. heavily in Europe and has bought a lot of German technology companies. In the next decade, China will surpass America in total GDP in nominal terms and the top 4- 6 hundred million Chinese or more people will live a life as good as or even better thatof the West in real terms at least. This is what I meant by mentality.

    Under this post, I perhaps said too much in my comments by making bold claims and too boringly by citing comparisons and facts. But I meant no offense. I’m sorry that you felt that way.

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  24. The West is the loser in the sense that it now begins to fear competition from China. There is a strong opposition to globalization and a rise of protectionism in the West, as shown by the conservative movements throughout the West, particularly the election of Trump.

    Go through photos of European events and demonstrations against globalization, Guohua, and count the instances where trade with China was or is opposed. You will find lots of opposition against TTIP (the transatlantic draft), but you won’t find a great deal of signs that demand limits on trade with China. You may, however, see signs of protests against Germany’s role in the Eurozone.

    And the European grassroots – and unionised – opposition against trade with the US is – mostly – neither against trade with America per se, nor against competition. One thing that the protesters – this includes me – oppose, is that international courts of arbitration, rather than actual courts, should decide conflicts. And another issue is biotechnology, a field where the US are often (rightly or wrongly) suspected to be reckless, premature adopters.

    I’m aware of how some Chinese people think of working people in the West – and it doesn’t surprise me that thoughts like these go down well in China, or in many quarters there. There are self-flattering fools in every place, and in China not least.

    As for Trump, I’m not claiming to know the ultimate reason for his success. However, I think it is noteworthy that he didn’t win the popular vote, and that he hardly got a quarter of the votes from the eligible population – many who might have voted Democrat as a rule, just stayed at home. (Personally, if I was American, I would have voted for Jill Stein – a “thrown-away” vote from the Clinton perspective.) If fear of Chinese competition was as high as you suggest, Trump should have won easily.

    Chinese SOEs even inves. heavily in Europe and has bought a lot of German technology companies.

    Indeed – and all that, while you suggest that the CCP politburo would keep their strategic silver plate carefully in Chinese hands. And you complain that have refused its commitments to honor the promise more than a decade ago to recognize China as a market economy, Guohua? Sure, you can try to have a mix of market economy abroad and an ideologically motivated policy at home – you might even get it, as far as the West is concerned, given the short-sightedness of many Western policies. But that doesn’t validate China’s demands.

    People’s thoughts are conditioned by economic situations.

    Yes, you keep saying that, and I’m sure you really believe that, just as the Pope believes in the Virgin Mary. But neither you, nor a proud old German boasting his and my country’s productivity, makes that kind of pride a universal feature.

    Under this post, I perhaps said too much in my comments by making bold claims and too boringly by citing comparisons and facts. But I meant no offense.

    And no offense taken. I just misinterpreted your motives to make such claims – and obviously, I have no idea which of your statements in this thread you think of as bold claims, and which you consider to be perfectly reasonable.

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  25. Competition and globalization per se are neither good nor bad. The issue is for whom. I said that the West now fears China in terms of competition and globalization in the sense that China, unlike all the other “developing” countries, has emerged as a strong competitor the West has never seen in centuries. China is now well poised to make competition and globalization work for it. Because of the very nature of competition and globalization, they don’t benefit everyone in the West and in the world. There are two revealing examples. TPP is Obama’s effort to ostracize China and tried in vain to build a trading system without Chinese participation. The U.S. and the E.U. refused to recognize China as a market economy and levy taxes on Chinese imports. The West calculates the taxes by using the manufacturing costs of other countries rather than the real costs in China. This is a breach of the agreement and a promise the West made to China under the framework of WTO.

    Only a small proportion of the American population benefits from globalization and the vast majority is seriously hurt, as shown by the American income levels and living standards over the past decades. That is why at least half of them feel disgusted by Hillary Clinton-type politicians and want a change in their government. It just means that the U.S. is losing the competition with China as the new competitor. When competition and globalization hurt, Americans change their attitudes towards them. This goes for the entire West as well.

    Chinese SOEs are buying not only tech companies in Germany, but also strategic assets in the rest of the world, Africa, Asia, and South America, for example. The problem is not just that China is buying. It is also that the world is selling. Isn’t this a way of doing business the West advocates in the first place and building its prosperity and power? The West’s assumption and enthusiasm about such competition and globalization is that no non-West countries will make them work against the West. China is doing this and the West fears it. Sure, the West is not a single entity. Some of its members, notably Britain, are more than pleased to join a new world order and system in the making that has been set in motion by China: the Belt and Road initiative and AIIB. The order and system are new in the sense that they are created by a non-West country and that they don’t work in the traditional Western way. The situation now is China vs. the West in terms of population and economic output. The difference between the two is that China is under competent and effective central authority and acts as one while the West is a group of countries with a now unwilling leader and disgruntled followers. The Western politicians are short-sighted for good reasons – they want a piece of the cake for themselves or their countries when dealing with China.

    My belief that people’s thoughts and even behaviors are conditioned by economic situations is not religious. It is an everyday reality. All the key issues in life are ultimately attributed to economic factors, with the word “economic” being used in its broadest sense. For example, many young Chinese people, as you have rightly observed in your other posts, are inclined to be nationalistic, or in my more positive tone, patriotic, because they know that they are living in a country that is better in many ways than West countries. Tens of millions of Chinese people traveled abroad to the West and stayed there for some time and then returned home. Economic factors change mentality and views on the world. All propaganda pales when facing economic factors.

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  26. The problem is not just that China is buying. It is also that the world is selling.

    See my previous comment, Guohua – I called that a short-sighted policy. Write as much as you want – but if you don’t read what I say, I’ll leave this thread to you.

    This is a breach of the agreement and a promise the West made to China under the framework of WTO.

    Can you go into some detail, Guohua? I think it doesn’t make sense that I should go and look things up when it is, after all, your case.

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  27. For Analogue Country System, please go to http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2016-11/22/content_27449129.htm

    Just see there how the West now fear market competition from China.

    I had read your comment. I was not referring to the logic issue you seemed to have found out: China keeps its strategic industries under watch and protects them from being bought by the West, as it is doing in the rest of the world, South America, for example while China demands the West to fulfill its promise under the WTO.

    This comment thread has already become sort of my monologue anyway, because you have only responded to a very few points of my comments. Perhaps you have already known the facts I mentioned above, those things about China vs. West, China vs. world, nature of media organizations, power of economics, TPP, AIIB, the advantage of the Chinese system over its Western counterpart, etc.

    But I am not sure if you’ve seen what I mean since you didn’t respond to all of them. But I do think the politicians in the West can understand all this only too well because it a universal language accessible to everyone: money, though it takes the forms and is under the names of investment, trade, profit, contracts, market shares, imports, exports, jobs, etc.

    Obviously, the businessman-turned American President Trump spkeas my language. This can be seen in how he treated Merkel on her American visit and how he treated President Xi on his. He said he had great chemistry with Xi. He has installed her daughter and son in-law in White House. He even has real-estate business in China. He clearly knows which side of the bread is buttered on. So do other seasoned politicians and businesspeople in the West. They are not at all short-sighted. They have no other choices. Money speaks.

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  28. Revision:

    I had read your comment. I was referring to the logic issue you seemed to have found out in my comments: China keeps its strategic industries under watch and protects them from being bought by the West while China demands the West to fulfill its promise under the WTO and treats China as a market economy. It is no contradiction. It is a matter of agreement, contract, promise or pact. China has already brought the issue to the WTO. Let’s see how it will decide.
    ….

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  29. But I am not sure if you’ve seen what I mean since you didn’t respond to all of them.

    Suggestion, Guohua: list the five issues that matter most in your opinion, and I’ll respond to them.

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  30. How about this post from January? It could be part of my response to your comments here, if I’m guessing your position correctly.

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  31. There should be some interesting points in my comments. Just pick one or two that seems interesting.

    ….

    Well, there is no nation Earth called Taiwan. There is only the Province of Taiwan (20 m+ people), China. Just consult your government or any respectable book to find out more about this. Taiwan is just one of many Chinese provinces and by no means one of the best. People in Beijing (20m+ people), Shanghai (another 20m+ people), and Shenzheng (yet another 20m+ people) earn more than the island inhabitants do and live better lives and have greater future. Almost nothing about the island people over here find admirable.

    ….

    The current confusing status of Taiwan is a result of the Chinese civil war (1945-1949). Technically, the war has not ended yet. China is one of the few countries which are able to exclude foreign influence from playing any meaningful role in their decisions about the fate of one of their territories. All of your calls for assistance to the province are futile and a waste of time, I’m afraid.

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  32. Regarding the missiles, I should correct you there in another post. Our missiles are not directed at Taiwan or its people. They are directed at America and Japan which might miscalculate the situations.

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  33. There should be some interesting points in my comments. Just pick one or two that seems interesting.

    When something catches my eye, I’ll come back to it. Re Taiwan:

    imperialism doesn’t like to walk around naked, and prefers moral or legal titles to make its claim – that’s understandable. But for a number of reasons, to put a legal coat around your aggression isn’t as easy as you’d like it to be. The KMT’s administration of Taiwan took over from Japanese colonial rule, and Japan hadn’t ceded Taiwan to China.

    This Wikipedia article might be of interest to you.

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  34. China is a unitary state, which means that political power comes top down, not the other way around and that no portion of it has the power to cede or self-determine or anything on its own.

    The People’s Republic of China inherits its territory from the Republic of China which in turn inherited its territory from the Qing Dynasty. I will stop here and have no need to go back any earlier than that. The current Chinese territory is as the PRC inherits from the ROC which had the South China Sea, Taiwan, Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang as parts of its territory. We don’t need Japan to “cede” Taiwan, a Chinese province,back to us to make the island remain a Chinese province. We have our own logic, legal or moral, and that is enough. However, these legal things are meaningless unless they are supported by power that make them meaningful. China has the power and our One China policy is something even Mr. Trump representing America does not disagree. All the other smaller guys can go and find something to do that will not waste their time.

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  35. We have our own logic, legal or moral, and that is enough.

    Who is “we”? Some details would be useful. It could also help if you explain in which other fields, beyond the Taiwan issue, your “we” applies.

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  36. I mean China. In my comments, we = China.

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  37. Including Liu Xiaobo and Jiang Tianyong, for example?

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  38. What do these two men have to do with the issue of Taiwan?

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  39. Can you speak for them?

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  40. I cannot and they don’t need me to. I was talking about China and its people as a whole, not about their private citizens. Do you honestly believe what I was talking about is not how China as represented by its Government thinks about the issue and the opinions of individuals like the two gentlemen can in any way make any difference?

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  41. Do you honestly believe what I was talking about is not how China as represented by its Government thinks about the issue …

    Your question is a jumble of two different issues – government and people. From our discussion, I seem to understand what you want people in China to think – but there’s no way for you to know what they do actually think.

    … and the opinions of individuals like the two gentlemen can in any way make any difference?

    If the two men in question (and others of your victims) made no difference, why would you lock them away?

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  42. You made the jumble first. I was talking about China’s position on Taiwan and you introduced the two gentlemen for no obvious reasons. I don’t need to be an official or authorized representative of China or in whatever capacity to speak for China or its people. Both in their entirety, China’s and its people’s position on the issue is crystal clear.

    I of course know what the Chinese people actually think about Taiwan: the island is a Chinese province and no one, whoever they are, Chinese or foreign, can take it away from China.

    As for Liu Xiaobo and Jiang Tianyong, they are convicted criminals. What is the issue with locking them up?

    I don’t understand why you and other Westerners are so obsessed with people like Liu Xiaobo and Jiang Tianyong and use them as examples to criticize China’s “human rights”. I don’t understand what the fuss is about. The Chinese government and the CCP have been doing a great job ever since 1949 when the PRC was founded. By all standards, China is the best performer in the last centuries in terms of almost everything. In the 1950s, China’s manufacturing accounted for 3% of the world’s total. Now, it’s more than 25%, bigger than Japan and America put together. We have competent government and effective governance. Our manufacturing system is the largest and the most independent. We are manufacturing the largest number of categories of industrial products in the world. This manufacturing-based economic growth and development benefit our people, of course. Of all the people who have been lifted out of poverty over the past decades, the overwhelming majority are in China. In the next decade, China will eliminate poverty altogether within its borders. If China is factored out, the world’s people in poverty has only increased in number. China is outperforming all the other developing countries. As for the Chinese people in eastern provinces, particularly those in the major cities, we are enjoying a level of real-terms living standards close to or even better that in typical Western countries, America for example. We have housing, cars, air conditioners, utilities, cellphones, computers, fridges, safe streets, cost-effective healthcare, good education for children, etc. etc. And, most important of all, we are optimistic about the future.

    I think one of your serious problems when doing China-commenting is that you are far away from China and have lost grip on the Chinese reality. All your ideas about China seem to be shaped by the media. No one in China really care about Liu Xiaobo or Jiang Tianyong. They exist in a faraway place from the fringe of the fringe of the Chinese life. Come back to China to refresh your ideas about this country and be prepared for things that have happend and are happening in your absence. One year in China equals five years or more in Europe in terms of changes. If you left China 10 years ago, you are now 50 years behind the Chinese reality.

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  43. The following is from one of my recent blog posts: http://changguohua.com/archives/how-we-should-understand-and-write-an-example-from-economist-20170107.html

    And I think it contributes to the discussion.

    My ideas about worldl economy:

    大势:了解一些世界经济情况

    从更广阔的世界经济图景来看,中美两国以及中西方在经济上总体是互补的关系,但在中高端也存在着非常激烈的竞争。苹果公司及其产品体现的是这种皆大欢喜的“合作”关系,而钢铁公司则体现了你死我活的“竞争”关系。

    美国从里根任总统的 20 世纪 80 年代初到现在的三四十年,一直在“改善产业结构”,主要做“来钱容易”的高端制造业、服务业和金融业,通过“去工业化”,把赚辛苦钱的劳动密集型产业转移到国外。美国以及西方人民不流汗、赚大钱又不污染环境,中国人民以及广大发展中国家人民则流大汗、赚小钱又污染环境,这种模式就是西方崇尚并维护的“世界经济秩序”。

    不过,什么事情都有两面,便宜不可能一方都占了去。“去工业化”得利的是大企业和少数劳动者,美国国内的制造业不足以让所有美国劳动者过上好日子,这就是为什么过去 20 多年美国贫富差距越来越大,有人赚得盆满钵满,但更多的人收入增加十分缓慢、甚至倒退的一个原因。“穷则思变”,于是美国人民选出了跟以往完全不同的特朗普总统。美国这些年一直想做但没做成的“再工业化”前景不妙,已经转移到中国等国家的中低端制造业美国已经“弃之如敝履”,在高端制造业跟美国竞争的除了欧盟与日韩,还有谁都不看好的中国(从 1949 年到现在一直不被看好)。但中国现在有“发达国家粉碎机”的“美誉”,也就是我们通过科技与产业突破,制造出的价美物廉的产品迅速占领国内外市场,让原本可以用这些“高科技”过舒服日子的西方公司举步维艰甚至破产倒闭,比如通信设备、集成电路、轨道交通设备、石油化工设备、液晶面板、新能源等等。一个最新的例子是半导体产业。目前中国每年都花费巨资从国外进口半导体产品,但现在中国政府已经投入大量资源大力发展自己的半导体产业。为此,美国官员 2016 年曾批评中国政府,说“中国政府的投资规模相当于去年全球半导体销售额的一半,如此规模的投资造成的市场扭曲,将与钢铁、制铝和绿色科技行业面对的扭曲雷同,结果是全球市场供应过剩,人为压低价格,导致美国和世界各地就业机会损失,对全球的半导体行业造成显著破坏……这个前所未有的国家推动的干预行动会扭曲市场和压抑半导体生态系统的创新能力。”是的,中国已经让西方的钢铁、制铝和环保科技公司破产倒闭不少了,我们现在的目标是“搞垮”他们的半导体产业。此外,中国已经研制出且正在试飞的“大飞机”中国商飞 C919 大型客机,还没上市就已经卖出去了 570 架,它的使命就是替代波音和空客客机,占领国内外市场。一旦最终成功,靠半导体与大飞机制造行业大赚特赚的西方公司承受的压力可想而知。

    很明显,中国人流自己的汗,吃自己的饭,绝不接受西方国家安排给中国的“发达国家低端产业转移目的地”的“世界经济秩序”。我们甚至可以说,世界其他国家的经济出现问题,进而政治也出现问题,这些国家在制造业领域承受来自中国的巨大竞争压力是其中一个重要的间接原因。中国实行的是“通吃”高中低端产业的产业政策,这既可以保证人民就业,也可以保证中国可以占据世界科技制高点,在国际贸易中“不吃亏”。

    在中高端,西方发达国家相互之间竞争已经十分激烈,现在还要承受来自中国竞争的强大压力。中国还雄踞全球工业产业链中端和低端,中国物美价廉的产品让那些“发展中国家”几乎没机会培育国内的产业。于是,独联体国家、南亚、东南亚、中东、拉丁美洲、非洲的国家连跟中国竞争的机会可能都没有,中国物美价廉的商品把他们的国内产业杀得几乎是“片甲不留”。比如,中国产手机占据了印度 40% 的市场份额,印度产手机的份额越来越小。

    从目前的世界经济格局来看,其它发展中国家已经错过了最后一次实现工业化的“末班车”,只能沦为中国等工业强国的原材料来源地和产品倾销地。这听起来很残酷,但这其实就是马克思笔下被垄断资本主义剥削的“悲惨世界”。时间过去了几百年,但世界其实还是那个世界,“你大爷永远是你大爷”,“孙子永远是孙子”,一两个世纪之前的列强现在还是列强,殖民地、半殖民地还是殖民地、半殖民地,只不过换了个“马甲”而已。而我们所生活的中国是其中的“异类”,我们用自己勤劳的双手创造了属于自己的幸福生活。不过,对于世界来说,好消息是,中国不打算走西方列强的老路,而是要与全世界共享繁荣,欢迎其它国家来“搭”中国发展的“便车”、“顺风车”,我们的“一带一路”倡议已经开始实施。我们希望这一倡议尽早变成现实,希望世界越来越好。

    My idea about how we should read contents from the media:

    独立思考:阅读英文原版财经刊物时需要注意的一个问题

    最后,我们还要知道的一点是,《经济学人》这类英文原版财经刊物的文章拿来阅读、练习我们的英语是可以的,但里面说的话不能都当真,必须有自己的独立判断。国外这类财经类媒体过去几十年以来一次都没有预测准过中国的经济。根据它们所秉持的“新自由主义”经济学和“华盛顿共识”,中国经济好几十年前就已经崩溃了,而中国经济之所以还没还有崩溃,是因为中国经济“有问题”,它们的“理论”没问题。虽然这门经济学坑了无数的国家,但它们显然不知道在中国尽人皆知的“理论联系实际”、“实践是检验真理的唯一标准”等等的马克思主义哲学原理,想不到可能不是“实际”(中国经济)有错,而是“理论”(“新自由主义”经济学和“华盛顿共识”)有错。

    不过,西方对“新自由主义”经济学和“华盛顿共识”的反思似乎已经开始。2016 年 5 月底,国际货币基金组织发布了一份报告,认为新自由主义吹牛有些过度了(oversell)。不过,6 月初它又否认放弃了新自由主义,认为 5 月份的报告受到了“误读”,该组织的经济理念仍然是新自由主义。与国际货币基金组织“嘴硬”不同,刚刚上任的美国总统特朗普似乎要开始实施“孤立主义”政策,对贸易开始保护,反倒是西方眼中的“非市场国家”中国现在要扛起全球化的“红旗”了。

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  44. I took lots of photos around my area (北京大兴黄村) this morning: http://t.cn/RXC1aaj

    Hope you enjoy them and see what a small town in China is like.

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  45. I took a night stroll outside and took some more photos: http://t.cn/RXpvspf

    … and three short videos: a street stroll (https://v.qq.com/x/page/f03967q3vvf.html), a plaza view (https://v.qq.com/x/page/r0396qc3dgy.html), and a stroll along another street (https://v.qq.com/x/page/t0396cpk5io.html).

    And another video shot this morning of a sports meet for staff members from a hospital. The event took place at a primary school playground: https://v.qq.com/x/page/s0396fzyi79.html

    This is my Saturday and I recorded it using my cellphone. I’m uploading them for you to take a look at what the everyday Chinese life looks like in an urban area. There are numerous towns like mine in China and by no means the best.

    I wanted to show you that the development of China is benefitting the Chinese people:

    We have a strong and competent Government that manages a prosperous society of 1.4 billion people, more than all the Western countries combined;
    The CCP is the biggest success story in human history, by any standards;
    We are enjoying themselves: beautiful homes, serene schools, safe and clean streets, bountiful marketplaces, a vibrant publishing industry, public transportation, energetic people, enjoyable entertainment & recreation times, etc. all on a level close to, equal or even better (safe streets at night, for example) than in the West.

    The Governemnt and the CCP has been doing a great job, though of course there is still great room for improvement (corruption, for example), just like in any other country. Why should the Chinese people trust people like Liu Xiaobo or Jiang Tianyong? Even if the Chinese Governemnt and the CCP are two devils, they are the most familiar ones to us. We don’t want strange ones. And we are praising the Chinese Governemnt and the CCP for their achievements unseen in human history until now.

    So, I have a few questions for you:

    What do you think makes you or other Westerners think they are in a position to lecture the Chinese people what we should do with our human rights? Our human rights are on their highest levels in Chinese history and better than all the other developing countries and many of us are living First World life and enjoying themselves immensely.

    Why are you so interested in and so obsessed with selling your ideals to us? Is it meant to be joke?

    Like

  46. My idea is that, instead of trying to sell something to the Chinese, start worrying about how the Western companies should compete with their Chinese counterparts. For example, check this link out: https://zhuanlan.zhihu.com/p/26507003

    Like

  47. The latest updated: China’s manufacturing=America+Japan+Germany

    Think abou it.

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  48. Focus on the three areas: cars, semiconductors, and large planes. China will grow its own carmaking, semiconductor-making, and large plane-making industries that will grab market shares from Western companies. The prosperity of the Western society is based on its manufacturing. Without a good manufacturing, the service industry has no one to serve.

    Like

  49. Check out Chinese metropolises:

    Beijing: bird’s eye view: https://720yun.com/t/a7629qO8c1f?pano_id=898521 Aerial vidoe: https://v.qq.com/x/page/h0316hei6rf.html

    Shanghai: bird’s eye view: https://720yun.com/t/6042fjsvue6?pano_id=621091 Aerial vidoe: https://v.qq.com/x/page/z0382ts27b0.html

    Guangzhou: bird’s eye view: https://720yun.com/t/77ajOdek5O8?pano_id=1950745 Aerial vidoe: http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMTczMjY0NTk2MA==.html?from=s1.8-1-1.2&spm=a2h0k.8191407.0.0

    Shenzhen: bird’s eye view: https://720yun.com/t/1d125wbOjer?pano_id=85700 Aerial vidoe: https://v.qq.com/x/page/a01775cux24.html

    These Chinese cities are giant. For example, the city of Shenzhen has a bigger economic output than the Philiphines or Viet Nam.

    For other smaller Chinese cities (large cities by Western standards), check out this link: https://www.zhihu.com/question/52127140/answer/149417492

    For example, Zhuhai in Guangdong, bird’s eye view: https://720yun.com/t/ca228qfdmbg?pano_id=774097

    Harbin in Heilongjiang, bird’s eye view: https://720yun.com/t/f8024wafyur?pano_id=17243

    Enjoy!

    Like

  50. You seem to wonder why young Chinese people all of sudden appear so nationalistic or patriotic. Brainwashing by the Chinese Government and the CCP? No. For one thing, in China’s mobile Internet age, the flow of information is unhindered the tempo of the world is only at fingertips. For another, the propabanda machines simply suck.

    Here is my answer that I think at least partly helps you figure it out. Though you don’t believe this, they are being economically conditioned to be so. Again, the word economic is used in its broadest sense. Every trip to foreign countries, developing or Western, for travel or study, all they think about is to get back home to China as soon as possible. The sense of being a Chinese only comes into being or grows in intensity only after they are able to compare their life in China and in other countries. Adoration of Western countries and life styles is now increasingly outdated in China. Because of economic factors. In this case, any criticism of China perceived as unreasonable will be met with nationalistic or patriotic responses. As I said above, they don’t think you are in any position to lecture them about what China should do because China is doing no less well than you are. Just save your breath.

    Like

  51. For Chinese people today, going abroad, except perhaps for sightseeing, is something we have to put up with or hardships we must endure before being able to come back home to China to work, live and enjoy ourselves.

    Like

  52. I again took lots of photos again and shot severa videos.

    Photos (a trip to a local children’s learning center): http://t.cn/RXOwlGG
    Videos: bus ride 1 (https://v.qq.com/x/page/l0396b3vgqi.html), bus ride 2 (https://v.qq.com/x/page/t03968ski8i.html), a playground (https://v.qq.com/x/page/a03968y4iza.html)

    So this is my weekend. How does it compare with your local life in Germany in terms of developing vs. developed countries?

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  53. As part of its giant manufacturing industry, China sent one week ago from its new launch center in Hainan its first cargo spaceship Tianzhou 1 to dock with China’s space station Tiangong (https://www.chinaspaceflight.com/cargo-spacecraft/Tianzhou1-launch.html) which will be completed by around 2022 (by then the International Space Station might have been decommissioned) and today launched its first domestically built aircraft carrier (http://mil.news.sina.com.cn/china/2017-04-26/doc-ifyepsec1214756.shtml) which will be mainly staffed with soldiers born in the new century when it is ready for battle.

    So, this is the Chinese life on lahnd, at sea and in space.

    Have you been a little too busy recently or are you still recoiling from the revelation of China you have been commenting? I’m saying too much and you too little.

    Like

  54. A short video for the launch: http://t.cn/RXQfhEn

    Like

  55. A short history about Chinese aircraft carriers: http://t.cn/RXQtJLe

    Like

  56. We just successfully test-piloted C919: http://t.cn/Ra2n8e0

    This is China in air.

    Like

  57. Hi Guohua – that was the last comment of yours that I’ll leave undeleted.
    Greetings
    JR

    Like

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