Archive for June, 2020

Monday, June 29, 2020

Wudongde Dam Hydroelectric Station’s first units go into operation, Xi Jinping issues instructions

The following is a Xinhua news item, published this morning UTC. Links within blockquotes added during translation.

Wudongde first units’ opening ceremony
(click picture for news video)

Xinhua, Beijing, June 29 — Communist Party of China Central Committee Secretary General, State Chairman and Central Military Commission Chairman Xi Jinping has recently issued important instructions for Jinsha River Wudongde Dam Hydroelectric Station’s first units going into operation. On behalf of the Party Central Committee, he cordially congratulated and greeted all builders and cadres and masses that contributed to the project.

新华社北京629日电 中共中央总书记、国家主席、中央军委主席习近平日前对金沙江乌东德水电站首批机组投产发电作出重要指示,代表党中央,对首批机组投产发电表示热烈的祝贺,向全体建设者和为工程建设作出贡献的广大干部群众表示诚挚的问候。

Xi Jinping emphasized that Wudongde Hydroelectric Station implemented the major project of “East-West power transmission”. He hoped that the comrades would continue to make unremitting efforts, persevere with the New Development Concept, bravely climb new technological heights, continue the building tasks at high standards and quality after completion, and diligently create Wudongde Hydroelectric Station as a first-class project. It was important to maintain ecology and green development as a priority, scientifically and orderly advance Jinsha River hydropower resources development, promote Jinsha River Basin’s development in a protective way, protect it during development, to even better benefit the people.

习近平强调,乌东德水电站是实施“西电东送”的国家重大工程。希望同志们再接再厉,坚持新发展理念,勇攀科技新高峰,高标准高质量完成后续工程建设任务,努力把乌东德水电站打造成精品工程。要坚持生态优先、绿色发展,科学有序推进金沙江水能资源开发,推动金沙江流域在保护中发展、在发展中保护,更好造福人民。

Wudongde Hydroelectric Station’s first units’ start of operation ceremony was held by video, with Beijing as the main gathering place and Yunnan and Sichuan and other locations as sub-venues. During the ceremony, Xi Jinping’s important instructions were conveyed.

乌东德水电站首批机组投产发电仪式29日以视频方式举行,在北京设主会场,云南、四川等地设分会场,仪式上传达了习近平重要指示。

Wudongde Hydroelectric Station is located at the common boundary of Hunan Province’s Luquan County (Kunming) and Sichuan Province’s Hudong County (Liangshan Prefecture), with construction comprehensively started by China Three Gorges Corporation in December 2015, and an overall installed capacity of 10.2 million kilowatts, or an average annual generation of 38.91 billion kWh. The hydroelectric station’s complete units are scheduled to become operational in July 2021.

乌东德水电站位于云南省昆明市禄劝县和四川省凉山州会东县交界,由中国长江三峡集团有限公司于201512月全面开工建设,总装机容量1020万千瓦,年均发电量389.1亿千瓦时。水电站全部机组计划于20217月前建成投产。

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Related

Three Gorges Dam issues, Taiwan News, June 22

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Monday, June 22, 2020

FMPRC Press Conference, June 19, Canadian Hostages Q & A

Transcript in English

Transcript in Chinese

The Globe and Mail: We’ve seen charges now filed formally against Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. They were arrested 557 days ago. We have seen charges, but we haven’t seen any evidence against them. Can you please tell us what they are alleged to have done? What secrets did they allegedly steal? What secrets did they allegedly and illegally provide to overseas entities?

加拿大《环球邮报》记者:我们注意到康明凯和迈克尔已被提起公诉。他们已被拘押了557天,但我们只看到了指控,并未看到具体证据。他们被指控为境外刺探、非法提供国家秘密,请问他们具体做了什么,刺探并向境外实体提供了哪些国家秘密?

Zhao Lijian: On Michael Kovrig’s case, after due investigation, the Beijing Municipality People’s Procuratorate Second Branch formally prosecuted Michael Kovrig, who is of Canadian citizenship, in the Beijing Municipality Second Intermediate People’s Court on June 19, 2020, for secretly gathering state secrets and intelligence for overseas forces.

赵立坚:关于康明凯案,经依法审查,2020年6月19日,北京市人民检察院第二分院以为境外刺探国家秘密、情报罪,将加拿大籍被告人康明凯起诉至北京市第二中级人民法院。

The indictment charged the accused Michael Kovrig of secretly gathering state secrets and intelligence for overseas organizations with particularly serious circumstances, which violated Article 111 of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China. The facts are clear and evidence solid and sufficient. The defendant should be held accountable for criminal responsibilities under the above-mentioned charge.

起诉书指控被告人康明凯为境外组织刺探我国家秘密、情报,情节特别严重,其行为触犯了《中华人民共和国刑法》第一百一十一条之规定,犯罪事实清楚,证据确实、充分,应当以为境外刺探国家秘密、情报罪追究其刑事责任。

On Michael Spavor’s case, after due investigation, the People’s Procuratorate in Dandong, Liaoning Province, formally prosecuted Michael Spavor, who is of Canadian citizenship, in the Intermediate People’s Court in Dandong on June 19, 2020, for secretly gathering state secrets and illegally providing them to overseas forces.

关于迈克尔案,经依法审查,6月19日,辽宁省丹东市人民检察院以为境外刺探、非法提供国家秘密罪,将加拿大籍被告人迈克尔·斯帕弗起诉至丹东市中级人民法院。

The indictment charged the accused Michael Spavor of secretly gathering state secrets and illegally providing them to overseas forces during his stay in China with particularly serious circumstances, which violated Article 111 of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China. The facts are clear and evidence solid and sufficient. The defendant should be held accountable for criminal responsibilities under the above-mentioned charge.

起诉书指控被告人迈克尔·斯帕弗在华期间为境外刺探、非法提供我国家秘密,情节特别严重,其行为触犯了《中华人民共和国刑法》第一百一十一条之规定,犯罪事实清楚,证据确实、充分,应当以为境外刺探、非法提供国家秘密罪追究其刑事责任。

[…]

Reuters: I just want to follow up on the question about the Canadians. We understand from the Chinese envoy in Canada last month that access to consular visits has been cut off during the coronavirus. Now these men have been formally charged. Do they have access to consular visits?

路透社记者:关于加拿大公民的追问,上个月,我们从中国驻加拿大大使处得知,新冠肺炎疫情期间无法进行领事探视。现在这两人已被正式起诉,现在他们能否享有接受领事探视的权利?

Zhao Lijian: The Chinese side provides convenience to foreign consular officials in China in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, relevant bilateral agreements, and Chinese laws and regulations. In light of the ongoing pandemic and out of concern for the safety of the detainees, consular visits to detainees have been suspended, and will be resumed when the situation gets better. I refer you to competent authorities for more specifics.

赵立坚:中方有关部门一贯按照《维也纳领事关系公约》、有关中外双边领事条约或协定、中国有关法律法规为外国驻华领事官员履行领事职务提供便利。疫情期间,为保证在押人员安全,中国有关部门暂缓安排对有关在押人员的领事探视,待疫情缓和后再恢复。具体情况可向主管部门了解。

[…]

The Globe and Mail: I just want to ask you to clarify something about the charges against Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. You used the word that the charges were under “particularly serious circumstances.” In China’s Criminal Law, says in one section on state secrets that such charges can be punished with life in prison. In another section it says such serious circumstances can be punished with the death penalty. Could Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor be sentenced to death for these charges?

加拿大《环球邮报》记者:关于迈克尔、康明凯案,你刚才使用了“情节特别严重”的措辞。根据《中华人民共和国刑法》关于国家秘密等章节,此类罪名可判处无期徒刑。另一章节称情节严重者可判处死刑。那么,这两名加拿大公民是否有可能被判死刑?

Zhao Lijian: I don’t answer hypothetical questions. Charges have been filed now which will then be followed by trials.

赵立坚:我不回答假设性问题。目前是提起公诉,后面才进入审判阶段。

The Globe and Mail: Just to clarify. My question was not a hypothetical question. You used very specific language that the charges are particularly serious, and China’s Criminal Law includes two references to charges that are particularly serious. In one instance, it refers to a maximum penalty of life in prison, and in another instance, it refers to a maximum penalty of the death penalty. And I’m asking to which you are referring.

加拿大《环球邮报》记者:[Just to clarify.] 我刚才的问题不是假设性问题。你用了很具体的措辞,说“情节特别严重”。《中华人民共和国刑法》中有两处提到该措辞,一处最高可判无期徒刑,另一处最高可判死刑。我问的是你指的是哪种情况?

Zhao Lijian: I have made myself clear. Charges have been filed now which will then be followed by trials. I suggest some patience.

赵立坚:我刚才已经说得很清楚了,目前的阶段是对这两名加拿大公民提起公诉,然后才进入审判阶段。请你耐心等待。

Reuters: Just one further question on the Canadians. This comes quite soon after developments in Meng Wanzhou’s case and a lot of people have said that they are linked. Does the ministry have any comment on that and how this decision was coming very close to the recent decision to Meng Wanzhou’s case?

路透社记者:还是关于加拿大公民被提起公诉,中方提起公诉的时间正值孟晚舟相关审理结束不久之后。很多人认为二者之间存在联系。中方对此有何评论?

Zhao Lijian: On the cases regarding the two Canadian citizens Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, China has stated its position repeatedly and I just gave you some updates. China is a country with rule of law. Chinese judicial organs handle the cases independently and protect the two Canadians’ lawful rights in accordance with law.

赵立坚:关于加拿大公民康明凯案和迈克尔案,中方已多次表明立场,刚才我也通报了最新进展。中国是法治国家,中国司法机关依法独立办案,同时依法保障有关加公民合法权利。

China’s position on the Meng Wanzhou case is consistent and clear. The US and Canada abused their bilateral extradition treaty and arbitrarily took compulsory measures against a Chinese citizen. This is a serious political incident that grossly violates the legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese citizen. The Chinese government is steadfast in safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens.

关于孟晚舟事件,中方的立场是一贯的、明确的。美加滥用双边引渡条约,对中国公民任意采取强制措施,严重侵犯了中国公民的合法权益。这是一起严重的政治事件。中国政府维护本国公民和企业正当合法权益的决心坚定不移。

The Globe and Mail: Just one last question. I just wonder what is the Chinese government’s position on hostage diplomacy?

加拿大《环球邮报》记者:最后问一句,中方在“人质外交”上的立场是什么?

Zhao Lijian: That is just one loaded question*). I have made our position clear. Maybe you can ask the Canadian side about their take on “hostage diplomacy”

赵立坚:你这是一个充满恶意的问题。我刚才已经把中方立场说得很清楚了。你最好去问问加拿大政府什么是“人质外交”。

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Note

*) Closer translation: “This is an amply malicious question of yours”

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Related

“China Daily” EU bureau chief,
seconding Zhao Lijian

Friday, June 12, 2020

Hua Chunying: “I want to reiterate that China is the biggest victim of disinformation”

Main Links:
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying’s Regular Press Conference on June 12, 2020 (English)
2020年6月12日外交部发言人华春莹主持例行记者会 (Chinese)

AFP: Twitter today said it removed tens of thousands of state-linked accounts used by China to spread disinformation or praise China’s response. As Chinese diplomats are becoming regular users of Twitter, I wonder what’s your comment on that?

法新社记者:推特公司今天表示,移除了数万个中方用来散布虚假信息、赞扬中国疫情应对的账号。中国外交官越来越多通过推特平台表达观点,你对此有何评论?

Hua Chunying: I’m not sure what is the basis of Twitter’s decision, but I would say that to equate plaudits for China’s epidemic response with disinformation is clearly untenable, unless we redefine what “disinformation” is. It is generally understood that disinformation should be false, untrue, or even maliciously fabricated lies and rumors. However, China’s efforts to combat COVID-19 and the results it achieved are real and witnessed by all. Recently, a white paper titled “Fighting COVID-19: China in Action” issued by the Information Office of the State Council unequivocally presents how the Chinese people have fought in unity in this great war against COVID-19 by providing a clear timeline and hard facts.

华春莹:我不清楚推特公司做出这一决定的依据是什么,但我想说,将肯定中国对疫情的应对等同于虚假信息显然是站不住脚的,除非重新定义什么是“虚假信息”。一般人理解,虚假信息应该是假的,不真实的,甚至是恶意捏造的谎言和谣言。而中国为抗击新冠肺炎疫情所做的努力和取得的成效是实实在在、有目共睹的。近日,中国国务院新闻办公室发表了《抗击新冠肺炎疫情的中国行动》白皮书,以清晰的时间线和铁一般的事实,清清楚楚地记录了中国人民团结一心抗击疫情的伟大历程。

At the same time, as you can see, since the outbreak of the pandemic, some people and forces in the international community have been almost crazy and hysterical in slandering and badmouthing China with rumors. You must have known that as exposed by the Politico website, the US National Republican Senatorial Committee has sent campaigns a 57-page memo advising GOP candidates to address the coronavirus crisis by “aggressively attacking China”. A few days ago, the same news website reported that in late March, 2.6 million tweets related to coronavirus were retweeted 25.5 million times within 10 days, and a lot of them spread rumors like “the coronavirus was a bioweapon created in China”. According to the report, an analysis of these Twitter accounts found that many of them are linked to supporters of the GOP and the right wing in the US, and had the hallmarks of “bots”.

与此同时,大家也都看到,疫情发生以来,国际上有一些人、一些势力在近乎疯狂、歇斯底里地针对中国进行造谣、污蔑和抹黑。你肯定知道,美国“政治”新闻网站曾曝光共和党参议院全国委员会向竞选机构发送57页备忘录,鼓动通过“积极攻击中国”应对疫情危机。几天前,也是美国“政治”新闻网站报道,3月下旬推特上有260万条与新冠病毒有关的推文10天内被转发2550万次,其中大量推文造谣称“病毒是中国生产制造的生化武器”。有关报道称通过分析发现其中很多推特账号与美国共和党及右翼势力支持者有关,且很多都是“机器人”账号。

If Twitter believes that those tweets praising China’s anti-epidemic efforts are “disinformation” and the accounts should be shut down, I wonder what they will do with the real disinformation which has undeniably smeared China with malicious intentions? If those who create and spread such disinformation can be allowed to go their own way and do everything in their power, then this is the perfect example of ideological prejudice, bias against China, blatant double standards, and the behavior to confuse right and wrong. What should be shut down is precisely the accounts that attack and smear China in an organized and coordinated manner.

如果推特公司认为肯定中国抗疫努力的是虚假信息并要关闭,不知道他们对于那些对中国恶意造谣抹黑的、真正的虚假信息怎么处理?如果任由他们大行其道、横行霸道、甚嚣尘上,那么什么是意识形态偏见,什么是戴着有色眼镜看中国,什么是赤裸裸的双重标准,什么是是非不分、黑白颠倒,这就是最好的例证。真正应该关掉的,恰恰是那些有组织、有协调来攻击抹黑中国的账号。

Let me reiterate that China is the biggest victim of disinformation. China always opposes the fabrication and dissemination of disinformation. The United Nations and WHO have repeatedly called on all countries to strengthen solidarity and cooperation to combat disinformation. We call on the international community to enhance solidarity and coordination, jointly reject disinformation, so that those political viruses such as rumors and slanders and the perpetrators and manipulators behind the scene will have no place to hide.

我要重申的是,中国是虚假信息的最大受害者。中方一贯反对制造和传播虚假信息。联合国和世卫组织已多次呼吁各国加强团结合作,打击各类虚假信息。我们呼吁国际社会加强团结协作,共同反对和抵制虚假信息,让那些谣言、诽谤等政治病毒及其幕后策划者、操纵者在阳光下无处遁形。

As for the more frequent use of Twitter by Chinese diplomats, I think it’s nothing strange. This is an era of new media. Just as many foreign diplomats and journalists in China use WeChat and Weibo, Chinese diplomats have taken Twitter as a channel and platform to communicate with people in other countries.

至于中国外交官越来越多使用推特,我想这很正常。这是一个新媒体时代,如同很多外国驻华外交官和外国媒体驻华记者在中国使用微信和微博一样,推特是中国外交官入乡随俗、与外国民众进行交流的一种方式和平台。

Meanwhile, some foreign media and social platforms are fraught with lies and rumors against China. In the dark and ugly world of disinformation, it is necessary for some people, including Chinese diplomats, to speak in a truthful, objective and impartial manner, like striking a match in the dark night to make some light. Anyone who is not playing deaf and dumb will be able to see the truth.

同时,现在一些外国媒体及社交平台上充斥着大量针对中国的恶毒谎言、谣言。在黑暗、丑陋的虚假信息世界里,需要一些人、包括中国外交官发出真实、客观、公正的声音,如同在漆黑的夜里擦亮一些火柴,发出一些光亮。只要不是铁了心、闭上眼、假装叫不醒的人,就能看到一些事实和真相。

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Related

A victim of disinformation, May 26, 2020

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Updates / Related

Friday morning  intrusion, June 12, 2020

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Thursday, June 11, 2020

This week in Taiwan’s Airspace: “the Democratic Progressive Party authorities colluded with external powers”

Probably this kind of plane – click photo for source

Xinhua News Agency, Beijing, June 11 — Responding to media coverage concerning a U.S. C-40A transport plane flying over Taiwan on June 9, PRC State Council Office for Taiwan Affairs spokesperson Zhu Fenglian pointed out that American Air Force planes flying over Taiwan harms China’s sovereignty, security and development interests, violates international law and fundamental standards of international relations. It is illegal conduct and a serious provocative incident. We express our strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition against this.

新华社北京6月11日电 针对有媒体报道6月9日1架美军C-40A运输机飞越台湾,国台办发言人朱凤莲11日应询指出,美军机飞越台湾,损害我主权、安全、发展利益,违反国际法和国际关系基本准则,是一起非法行径和严重挑衅事件。我们对此表示强烈不满和坚决反对。

Zhu Fenglian said that the Democratic Progressive Party authorities colluded with external powers to assault Chinese sovereignty and security, break peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait, and bringing calamity to the security and well-being of the people on the island. We express strong condemnation of this. We have the determination, the will, and the ability to resolutely defend national sovereignty, security, and development interests. We solemnly warn the Democratic Progressive Party authorities of misjudging the situation. They must not underestimate the strong will and resolute determination of the entire Chinese people to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and they must immediately stop the above-mentioned conduct.

朱凤莲表示,民进党当局勾结外部势力侵犯中国主权安全,破坏台海和平稳定,祸患岛内民众安全福祉。我们对此表示强烈谴责。我们有决心、有意志、有能力坚决维护国家主权、安全、发展利益。我们严正警告民进党当局不要误判形势,不要低估全体中国人民维护国家主权和领土完整的坚强意志和坚定决心,立即停止上述行径。

Statement by Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense, quoted by Reuters:

the Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF), as Taiwan’s air force is formally known, deployed fighters to repel Chinese Su-30 Flanker fighters. The PLAAF fighters were given verbal warnings to leave Taiwan’s air defense identification zone.

The incident followed a transit of Taiwanese air space, with permission, by a U.S. C-40A Clipper military personnel transport aircraft — a variant of the civilian Boeing 737. […]

The Military News Agency quoted underneath is part of Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense:

Military News Agency reporter Tsai Fang-yun, Taipei, June 9 – The Ministry of Defense said today that in the morning, a number of  Chinese Communist Party Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jet flights were detected as briefly entering Taiwan’s southwesterly airspace in the morning. In addition to radio warnings, our patrolling fighters controlled the entire process and took active measures to dispel them.

國防部今日表示,上午偵獲中共蘇愷30戰機多架次,短暫進入臺灣西南空域,除廣播告警外,我空中偵巡戰機全程掌握並採積極驅離應處。

The Ministry of Defense emphasized that by use of combined intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations, it is in full control of the Taiwan Strait, peripheral waters, and airspace. It takes an active role in firmly protecting homeland security and urges compatriots to be at ease.

國防部強調,國軍運用聯合情監偵作為,對於臺海周邊海、空域狀況,均能充分掌握,並採積極應處作為,確維國土安全,籲請國人放心。

Also, responding to media coverage about “a U.S. C-40A transport plane flying through Taiwanese airspace”, the Ministry of Defense points out that the American plane entered our airspace in accordance with procedures and request, and did not land at any of our airports [during passage]. The military is in full control, and everything is currently normal.

此外,針對媒體報導「美軍C-40A運輸機飛越台灣領空 」,國防部指出,美機進入我空域,係按程序完成申請,期間並未降落我任何機場,國軍都能充分掌握,目前均正常。

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Wednesday, June 10, 2020

“People’s Daily” commentary: “The Greatest Global Humanitarian Relief Operation in the History of New China”

The following is a translation of an excerpt from an editorial by “People’s Daily” of June 7 (Sunday). The statistics used in the article had been given by Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi during a press conference last month. The greatest global humanitarian relief operation in the history of New China wording was his, too.

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi’s
13th NPC 3rd session press
conference, May 24, 2020

Main Link: People’s Daily commentator, Building a humankind hygiene and health community (共同构建人类卫生健康共同体)

Links within blockquotes added during translation.

[…]

At present, humankind is going through the most serious global public health crisis since the end of World War 2. After arduous and extraordinary efforts, after paying a huge price and after bearing major sacrifices, China has effectively brought the new corona pneumonia epidemic under control, and protected the lives, safety and health of the people. China has shown an attitude based on openness, transparency and sense of responsibility all along, by promptly informing the World Health Organization about the epidemic, releasing the virus gene sequence information right away, by sharing prevention, control and treatment experience with all sides and without retaining anything, and has done its best to provide countries in need with support and help. By the last third of May, China has provided nearly 150 countries and four international organizations with emergency aid, dispatched 26 medical expert groups to 26 countries in urgent need, held health experts video conferences with 170 countries and, under the precondition of assured quality, worked as hard as possible to produce scarce medical treatment products and equipment, among them 56.8 billion face masks and 250 million protective garments. This has been the greatest global humanitarian relief operation in the history of New China1), and international figures have pointed out that China’s holding fast to the concept of human destiny community2) is a display of high degree of responsibility, and that it deserves high praise from the international community.

[…]

[…..]

当前,人类正在经历二战结束以来最严重的全球公共卫生危机。经过艰苦卓绝努力,付出巨大代价,承受重大牺牲,中国有力控制住了新冠肺炎疫情,维护了人民生命安全和身体健康。中国始终本着公开、透明、负责任的态度,及时向世卫组织及相关国家通报疫情信息,第一时间发布病毒基因序列等信息,毫无保留同各方分享防控和救治经验,尽己所能为有需要的国家提供支持和帮助。截至5月下旬,中国已向将近150个国家和4个国际组织提供了紧急援助;向24个有紧急需求的国家派遣了26支医疗专家组,为170多个国家举办了卫生专家专题视频会议;还在保证质量的前提下,开足马力生产紧缺的医疗物资和设备,仅口罩和防护服就分别向世界出口了568亿只和2.5亿件。这是新中国历史上规模最大的一次全球紧急人道行动,国际人士指出,中国在这次全球公共卫生危机中秉持人类命运共同体理念,展现出高度的国际责任感,值得国际社会高度赞扬。

[…..]

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Notes

1) “New China”, referring to the “People’s Republic”
2) the usual English-language handle in sinicized English would be community with a shared destiny for mankind, or community of common destiny.

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Related

王毅:新中国历史上最大人道行动, JFDaily, May 24, 2020

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Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Radio or the Internet? It’s both or neither

Why are “social media” so successful? Seems to me that the most obvious reason is that they give you a chance to speak out publicly, to make a difference in political ways. You can compliment the actress of your choice (ahem), you can shout at your region’s members of parliament, at top politicians, or at industrial managers.

(Those who appoint the managers won’t usually do Facebook or Twitter, though. They may not even bother to hire some ghostwriters.)

Then there may be a need to network. When all people relevant for your career are on Facebook or Twitter, you may have to be there, too. There may be a real need to follow them there, if you want to succeed in your job, or in “smashing the system”, or whatever your mission may be.

If both these motivations – making yourself heard and networking – are important, this could help to explain why “social media” haven’t helped to make our societies more democratic. What they have produced is a crude dialectics, though I’m not sure if there’s a never-ending synthesis, or if synthesis is completely out when sloganeering (with some more or less original variations of peoples’ credos) is the only thing that matters.

Bertolt Brecht doesn’t come across as an optimist. He usually saw the potential in new developments, including radio broadcasting – in 1932 and one year before the Nazis seized control of it. Brecht also knew – or learned – that newly-emerging media wouldn’t necessarily help the cause that he held dear.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is a guy who is talking about the Internet, not radio,

writes a headphones guy in California.

Sounds logical, but it isn’t. Just as radio has become a mostly linear medium, so has the internet – at least on its commercial side, i. e. Twitter, Facebook, etc.. Yes, people can voice their opinions there. But I can’t see how they would shape things in a way different from the old days*). No matter if radio or internet, their democratic effectiveness depends on how they are organized, or how people organize themselves while using radio or the internet as their media.

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Note

*) Except for a more intense cultivation of enmity on the internet, maybe.

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Related

My first ten days on Twitter, Jan 30, 2020

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Monday, June 8, 2020

Radio Taiwan International’s Korean Service plans Return to Shortwave

A 2014 photo of Taiwan’s Tamsui transmitters site,
RTI QSL card 2015

After a break of some fifteen years, Radio Taiwan International (RTI) reportedly plans a return to shortwave for its Korean language department. These plans had been raised at an award ceremony for RTI’s Korean department, held by the Korea Shortwave Club in Seoul in November 2019, Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) reported back then. RTI’s board of directors was expected to take a positive decision in January 2020, and RTI’s German service confirmed in a mailbag program on May 29 that the Korean programs would indeed return to shortwave.

This follows the resumption of shortwave transmissions by the foreign broadcaster’s French and Spanish services. According to RTI’s French service’s mailbag program in February, RTI’s management wants the station to use all means of communications available, to raise Taiwan’s profile.

No opening day has apparently been specified, but the switch from the summer to the winter 2020/21 broadcasting season (in late October) doesn’t appear unlikely.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

June 4 Anniversary and Hong Kong: Broke Horses and Resisting Horses

I think there have been two moments when Chinese people of my age basically told me two things.

a) Yes, they had been among the 1989 protesters, be it in Beijing, be it in other places in China.

b) They had come to understand since how wrong they had been back in 1989, and what a calamity they had all been spared by the crackdown.

In both cases, I listened, nodded, and didn’t argue. I didn’t believe them a word. And I felt I was listening to another chapter from a universal story of human weakness, just as Pasternak’s Dr. Zhivago had, again, many decades earlier, and who had said that “it was like listening to a horse describing how it broke itself in.”

I didn’t argue because I felt that I hadn’t been in their place, that I still wasn’t in their place, and because I knew them beyond their (rather pathetic) political point of view. We were friends, or sort of friends. Hadn’t we known each other personally, and had it been an online encounter, we would probably have had a fierce debate.

Work style – CCTV evening news on July 24, 2013.

This comes to my mind when I read triumphant Chinese news articles about how many signatures had been collected by now, in support of the “security law for Hong Kong”. Obviously, I have no way of knowing if the numbers are real – and I don’t know how many bosses have “nudged” their staff to sign, or else.

People have to survive. There seems to be a rule: a majority of people will only be prepared to fight for their freedoms when they see a chance to succeed at it. That hope is waning in Hong Kong. It is, on the other hand, very much there in Taiwan. The rule that bleak situations break morals isn’t universal, as shown by exceptions. But it is often broad enough to work in favor of those who abuse their powers.

I can’t blame anyone. But I’m critical of a certain kind of “self-broke horse”. That’s the horse that denies the pressures and the threats, that argues that it recognized a necessity, acted accordingly, and that those horses that continue to resist the necessity would be obnoxious or dangerous. That’s a likely pattern of argument once the self-broke horse has “seen the light”, because every horse that remains noticeably free – or resisting – challenges, by its mere existence, not only the people in power, but also the broke horse itself.

A society could be more relaxed if broke horses could admit – even if only to themselves or in private – that they simply don’t want to live a – supposedly too difficult or painful – dissident’s life, or that they want to be happy, and that their happiness requires a certain monthly income, i. e. a favorable career. The problems begin to explode when they try to link their rather personal desires to “something greater”, and when freedom and conscience aren’t the “greater things” of choice, it will most probably be “the motherland”.

China’s rulers understood that, and they fostered such tensions. That’s why they pushed “patriotic education” in mainland China in the 1990s – to fill the void left behind by the crushed hopes of 1989, and to cater to nationalist feelings that had been there anyway – among many 1989 protestors, too.

Here in Germany, I have sometimes heard people vent anger about Wolf Biermann, an East German singer and songwriter who was stripped of his citizenship and exiled by the East German authorities in 1976, while he was on a pre-approved tour of  West Germany.

Biermann had been a vocal critic of East Berlin – a dissident. He hasn’t been much of a critic of Western flaws after 1976. In fact, he embraced all the good and bad things the West had to offer – imperialism included.

One should be aware of that. Biermann is no saint. But he has done more than most of us. He opposed a regime. That may not be enough for a lifetime – but it’s more than what most of us would be prepared to do.

So let’s be grateful for the courageous. Not to hate them for their integrity is a good first step into the right direction. To learn from them – within the realms of our abilities – should be a good second step.

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Updates / Related

365 days, Tsai Ing-wen, June 4, 2020
Sacrificed and gained, Sui Muqing, June 2, 2020

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