Search Results for “"Wu Jianmin"”

Friday, October 7, 2011

South China Sea: an Introduction (by Huanqiu, Wu Jianmin, Long Tao)

Huanqiu: "To Strike or not to Strike"

Huanqiu: To Strike or not to Strike

The following is a translation of an article by Wu Jianmin (吴建民, a former Chinese diplomat – further details at the end of this post), with a prior introduction to a whole set of opinions, by the publishing paper, Huanqiu Shibao. I’ll confine myself to translating the Introduction, and Wu’s opinion.

Wu’s article was the first in the Huanqiu series, dated June 22, and subscribes to the idea that “striking” at China’s neighbors in the South China Sea dispute is no option. This article belongs to the first section and also contains an interview with Wu, of September 13. The China Media Project (CMP), Hong Kong, translated portions of it into English. (They refer to a QQ re-publication of September 14, but it is the same interview.) The third article within that first – comparatively “dovish”  – section is by Sun Peisong (孙培松), an academic from Wu Jianmin’s native Jiangsu Province.

The second section contains two opinions which subscribe to a position where “action” would be an option if the occasion arose, but keeping to the traditional “principles” (坚持原则,伺机行事) otherwise. One of those opinions was written by Long Tao (龙韬, further details at the end of this post), on June 27, as an answer to Wu Jianmin’s opinion.

The third section contains three opinions, and belongs to the category “Now is the best time for striking” (现在是动武的最好时机). Interestingly, it contains another article by Long Tao, of September 27, three months after his previous one.

Huanqiu arranged the topical collection some time after publishing the initial, or all of the opinions.


Huanqiu’s Introduction

Introduction: The South China Sea issue isn’t complicated at all. Before the United Nations announced that the South China Sea was rich with oil, it was calm and tranquil. Bordering countries recognized China’s sovereignty over it. But afterwards, neighboring countries claimed sovereignty in droves. According to a “China Youth Daily” report in July, Vietnam has occupied 29 of the islands and reefs, basically controlling the western Nansha waters; the Philippines occupied ten islands or reefs; Malaysia occupied three, and Indonesia announced that it had “sovereignty” over more than 80,000 square kilometers of traditional Chinese coastal and territorial waters. Only nine are controlled by our country: nine by the mainland, and one by Taiwan.

导语:南海问题并不复杂。早在1968年联合国宣称南海拥有丰富石油资源之前,南海一直“风平浪静”,周边各国承认南 海主权属于中国。但在此之后,南海周边国家纷纷提出对南海岛屿的主权要求。据《中国青年报》7月份报道,从上世纪70年代至今,越南占领了南沙29个岛 礁,基本上控制了南沙西部海域;菲律宾侵占了10个岛礁;马来西亚占领了3个岛礁;印度尼西亚宣布对8万多平方公里的中国传统海疆享有“主权”。而我国目 前实际控制岛礁仅9个:大陆8个,台湾1个。

As for the South China Sea disputes, Deng Xiaoping, in the 1980s, put forward the principle of  “sovereignty being ours, putting disputes aside, common exploitation, and China maintaining its peaceful rise”. But Vietnam, the Philippines and others time and again attacked China’s base line. Especially since this year, Vietnam, the Philippines and other neighboring countries kept taking a mile for being given an inch, India, Japan etc. also huddled into the act, made explorations, military exercises with growing arrogance. The situation is growing ever more serious.


Various voices have emerged in our country, concerning this issue. There are scholars who advocate a continuation of the “peaceful rise”, determined not to strike. But other scholars advocate a resort to armed force, determined to strike back. To strike or not to strike? Let’s see what the scholars say.



Wu Jianmin: Chinese Self-Restraint is a Kind of Self-Confidence


The Chinese government has shown restraint, and some people are dissatisfied with that. They find this too soft, unfulfilled, and believe that a harder stance should be adopted. Some people even think that [military] strikes were in order. In my opinion, the self-restraint the Chinese government has shown is a kind of self-confidence.


This self-confidence stems from the way the world is changing, above all. The changing times have led to a new situation in international relations. The function of force in solving international disputes has declined. The three wars that began this century – in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, America leading the two former two, [are wars in which] America and western countries have absolute military superiority, and the countries they strike are poor and small countries. The result of these strikes is that America and other countries have gotten into predicaments never seen before. The current Libya war will also confirm this. The South China Sea is an issue inherited from history, and to talk war easily is not advisable. China’s leaders have emphasized that our country upholds the banner of peace, development and cooperation in international relations. This is very reasonable.


China’s self-confidence is also based on having held clear policies and guidelines on the South China Sea issue early on. In the 1980s, the guideline Comrade Deng Xiaoping gave us was “putting disputes aside, common exploitation”. The establishment of this guideline took the changing times into account, and was in accordance with the tidal current. It also took into account our fundamental common interests with our bordering neighbors. Despite the difficulties which have emerged in its implementation, history will prove this guideline to be the most sensible one.


Our self-confidence also stems from the bigger picture. There are big and small truths in world affairs, and the small ones need to obey to the big ones. These so-called big truths set out from mankind’s overall interests, and the long-term and fundamental interests of the people in the region. The East Asian region is the world’s fastest-growing and most dynamic one. While the developed countries’ economies see a weak recovery, East Asian economic growth maintains vigorous momentum. This doesn’t only matter to the region, but to the world, as well. Also, even as we have these and those kinds of differences between the East Asian countries, the fact that we have common interests which are far greater than our differences must not be overlooked. Our relations with Vietnam, the Philippines, and other countries are just like that. In 2010, trade between China and Vietnam amounted to 26 billion US dollars, there were more than 600 Chinese direct investment projects in Vietnam, investment amounts agreed to reached more than two billion US dollars, and more than 2.5 million people crossed the border, either way. In 2010, China’s bilateral trade with the Philippines amounted to 27.7 billion US dollars, financial investment from Chinese companies in the Philippines was at 86 million US dollars. Behind these numbers stand the enormous common interests of  both sides, and these interests continue to grow.


With China’s rise, we will see all kinds of problems and challenges arise. This is inevitable and was to be expected. Facing these challenges, we must observe them calmly, and consider them comprehensively. Our feelings must not sway us, or make us act rashly. We must not deal with today’s issues by using the old days’ ideas of war and revolution. By doing so, we would commit an epochal mistake.


China must maintain the momentum of its development; this is what we have accumulated in a struggle of more than one-hundred years. It will take another thirty or fifty years for China to rise to her feet. This is the Chinese people’s greatest interest in the twenty-first century. To maintain the momentum of development requires us to maintain external cooperation.


In short, we must include the momentum of cooperation with neighboring countries. The self-restraint shown by the Chinese government is in line with the fundamental interests of the Chinese people and the people in the region, with the global tidal currents, and absolutely tenable.


(The author is a member of the European Academy of Sciences, the European and Asian Academy of Science, and chairman of the Shanghai Center for International Studies.)


Wu Jianmin also served as China’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva,  and to France. At least one Huanqiu reader remembers the station in his career as the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman: Ma opposes, Wu, too. In September, Huanqiu Shibao published an interview with Wu, which engendered no friendly reception from Huanqiu’s (frequently nationalist) commenters. Portions of the interview were translated into English by the China Media Project (CMP), Hong Kong, as mentioned above.

Wu’s article had been published by Huanqiu on June 22. On June 27, Long Tao (龙韬), a strategist with the China Energy Fund Committee (中华能源基金委员会战略分析师), wrote a reply to the contrary. I’m not going to translate it, but there is an article in English by Long Tao on the Global Times which is to some extent a re-hash of his earlier answer to Wu Jianmin, titled “Time to Teach those around China Sea a Lesson” (September 29).

If someone else translates Long Tao’s reply to Wu Jianmin (or any other of the opinions in the collection), drop me  a line, and I will link to your translations.



» Strategic Partnership with Vietnam (soundfile), All India Radio, September 19, 2011
» In Tune with the Current Era, June 8, 2011
» 35,000 Yuan for an Obedient Wife, January 30, 2010


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Delighting in Rain on a Spring Night: Soft Power Starts at Home

The following are an unofficial paper (本站内容未经许可) by a Soft-Power study group at Beijing University (北京大学软实力课题组), published by Renmin Wang (People’s Daily website) on September 16, 2009).

Links within blockquotes added during translation. Main Link:

Translated off the reel, and posted right away – if you see inconsistencies or mistakes in the following post, let me know, and we can take another look at the original.

Low Cultural Development, Lacking Propagation Abroad (文化发展水平低,对外传播不足)

Owing to the low starting point of China’s cultural development, even though it is currently pushed ahead at a faster pace, its attractiveness is still extremely limited.


When it comes to languages, China shows a deficit in its exchange with the West. In 2003, Gordon Brown, Britain’s chancellor of the exchequer at the time, said that while Britain imported electric household appliances, textiles, and other goods from China, this could be balanced with the English language. The value of English teaching as an export item has risen from 6.5 billion British Pounds to 103  10.3 billion [update: within five years], or about one per cent of Britain’s GDP. As for Britain, it is evident that Chinese language education is hardly worth mentioning. Not only can’t it be compared with its exports of goods, but there is no need to talk about it competing with the Export of British English.


As for higher education, the quality of Chinese universities is far behind America’s. There is no Chinese university which makes it into the top ranks of global higher education. Even students from Tsinghua University as an institution of higher learning go to American universities as overseas students, and when American universities make their annual rounds through China to present themselves, they are swarmed with visitors.


As for academic research, no Chinese national within China has won a Nobel Prize today. As the ministry of education’s social-sciences director Yuan Zhengguo (袁振国) pointed out, every year, nearly 20,000 books on philosophy and social sciences and 200,000 papers are published, but only few of them can be introduced to a foreign readership. For many years, our trade in copyrights has run deficits; and exports in this regard only amount to ten per cent of imports. Besides, the major share of these exports is about copyrights concerning gardening and forestry, architecture (or construction), food, textiles, vintage, etc. Our values, culture, philosophical and social-science ideas, thoughts and concepts are hardly exported at all. Books are mainly exported to some other Asian countries and to the Chinese regions of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, European and American exports outperform China’s by more than 100 to 1. China, the country of origin of a more than 5,000-years-old civilization, only exports television sets, but no thoughts and concepts, and it’s no wonder that people say that China is a “hardware factory”.


When it comes to the performing arts, the situation isn’t too different. From 1999 to 2002, 285 Russian artistic groups came to China to perform here, but only 30 Chinese groups went to Russia to perform – i. e. about one tenth of the Russian number. Moreover, Chinese performances abroad have long been in the low-price segment. As many performances abroad are controlled by foreign managements, and for the lack of presentable brands [on our part], all China has provided over many years is cheap labor. In sharp contrast, the “Three Tenors”, during their performances in China, made sales of hundreds of thousands of US-dollars; European and American four big musicals1) and the world’s ten big orchestras etc. sell top-price tickets at 5,000 Yuan RMB, and earn huge scales of money. By comparison, China, when it depends on its cultural attractiveness to create economic value, is seriously weakened.


The soft-culture working group deplores that in the field of movies, in shaping musical idols, etc., China even lags behind South Korea and Japan, and that hardly anyone could name a famous or prominent Chinese writer.

In March 2009, chief state councillor Wen Jiabao emphasized the need to have an animated-cartoon industry (动漫产业) of our own: “Sometimes, I find that my grandson likes cartoons, but if animated or not, it’s always someting by Altman (奥特曼)2).



In September 2006, the British Foreign Policy Center released a study with numbers collected from a Chinese national “brands” survey. They came to two conclusions: Firstly, despite the attention China got from other countries, its brands were weak, this country wasn’t understood abroad, and secondly, the views Chinese people held of themselves, and of other nations elsewhere in the world respectively, widely differed from each other.


On April 5, 2006, Singapore’s United Morning News (联合早报) wrote in an article titled “China is looking for a new development concept”:
While China grows rapidly in terms of material power, its development of cultural attractiveness or soft power3) hasn’t kept up. (…) A cultural renaissance is an essential condition for turning the dream of a strong country into reality. Without strong cultural power, there will be no great comprehensive national strength. (…) Cultural invigoration is a fundamental [element] in building China’s strategic concept.


In 2007, 中评社4) published an article on the international position of China’s culture, and came to a rather comprehensive assessment:
There is no way to suggest that China’s cultural global influence were great. Compared with America’s culture, China’s, in a global context, is insufficient in many ways. Firstly, it hasn’t become a popular culture within the global society. Secondly, it hasn’t turned into a culture of corresponding influence. And thirdly, it hasn’t turned into a culture that would drive global economic development.


Lack of Core Values (核心价值观缺失)

During thirty years of reform and opening up, China has been in an era of fastest-developing social transformation, in which society’s traditional value foundations disappeared quickly. At the same time, all kinds of cultures and concepts, good or jumbled, emerged and gradually entered peoples’ lives and minds. By them, people were knowingly or unknowingly influenced. In such a clash between social foundations and new cultures, the absence of core values became evident.


Beijing University professor Pan Wei believes that lacking core social values are one of the main problems in China’s reality, and that if China wants to rise, this can’t happen without the rebuilding of core values. Humanities and social science associate professor Kuang Xinnian of Tsinghua University also points out that since the 1990s, Chinese social values were lost, that their significance disappeared, and, to use Dong Li’s words, went into a state of nervous breakdown. Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ sociologist, playwright, and the “International Social Science Journal’s” Chinese edition’s deputy chief-editor Huang Jisu believes that Chinese society’s polarization had led to social upheaval and the collapse of national virtues.


During the annual meetings of the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in 2007, the NPC delegates and CPPCC members paid close attention to the issue as to how the Chinese people had gone astray in terms of core values, and voices calling for “intensifying the establishment of a system of core value system” were once again raised. Delegates and members contributed ideas and exerted efforts, aspiring for building value orientation which would have Chinese characteristics and with which the Chinese people would universally identify, thus make social forces coherent, promote social harmony, and the building of the nation. At the 17th party congress, secretary-general Hu Jintao put forward that the need to build a “socialist core value system” was actually a tactful acknowledgment of China’s social core value issues.


The Cultural Management System’s and Ability’s Backwardness (文化管理体制与能力落后)

In China’s transition from a planned to a market economy, reform of the cultural management system is an important aspect. Given that change takes time, the goals can’t be reached in one step, and therefore, even as the government is working hard on deepening the cultural management system’s reform and even as it is making great achievements, the traditional planning systems do still exist to some extent, and cultural managers can’t fully adapt to the new type of cultural management yet. Therefore, China’s cultural productivity can’t be fully released at once, the needs in the people’s cultural life can’t be fully satisfied, and China’s international cultural competitiveness remains rather weak. Especially when it comes to cultural exports, government guidance constitutes two kinds of harm to China’s cultural attractiveness abroad: on the one hand, it limits China’s cultural productivity, and on the other hand, too much government involvement causes misgivings, concerns and antipathy within the international community. They believe that China’s cultural exports, because of the government being a factor, has political aims, and should therefore be handled with caution. Foreign Affairs University president Wu Jianmin  therefore says:


The enhancement of China’s soft power, and the promotion of Chinese culture heading to the world, must not be a campaign.5) If the significance of propaganda becomes too strong, it can easily evoke the other side’s suspicions and resentment. This would exactly go against the fundamental characteristics of soft power. The promotion of Chinese culture going into the world should resemble the way Du Fu described in his “Delighting in Rain on a Spring Night”:

It drifts in on the wind, steals in by night,
Its fine drops drench, yet make no sound at all.

This is the best and most effective way.


Therefore, to increase our country’s cultural productivity, to broaden our country’s culture’s international influence, reform of our cultural system must be carried forward in a firm, rapid, and dependable manner.


The Political and Economic System is not Perfect (政治与经济制度不够完善)

Usually, when it comes to developing countries, its system is frequently its weak spot, which is a key reason in its lagging behind. China is no exception. Despite its stable and rapid development, and the system’s contribution can’t be ignored, we also have to acknowledge that no matter if we talk about the political or the economic side, the establishment of a perfect system is still a long way off, and there is still much room for modelling and innovation.


On the political level, China’s large-scale corruption and frequent mass incidents illustrate many problems: excessive concentration of power, with democratic centralism often being a mere formality, sometimes to an extent where once the boss has spoken, the decision has been made; power goes without effective checks and balances, administrative power accroaches legislative power, acting as the country’s or region’s highest organ of power, not letting the people’s congresses play their due role; the judiciary’s impartiality is harmed by executive power; power lacks effective supervision, and the building of responsible “sunshine government” still remains a long way to go, etc..


When describing the economic level, the paper re-iterated the transition from a planned to a market economy, and especially the corresponding system’s bureaucratic remnants on the local level. The study group noted that the financial system didn’t meet the needs of China’s economy either, especially when it came to the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME). An appeal to authority was included, too: “It is exactly for this reason that in September 2007, secretary general Hu Jintao explicitly pointed out the need to attach importance to the financial system’s development and perfection.” In their description of the economic aspects, the authors also cited legal uncertainties concerning property, anti-monopoly measures, and, even more than that, administrative monopolies (行政垄断). Neither cultural differences between China and other countries, nor a lack of united ideological understanding were left out as explanation for a less-than-satisfying legal situation, and inadequate leaning on foreign legal experience was also mentioned as an explanation. But the next line seems to chime in with statements made by state chief councillor Wen Jiabao’s statements two years ago:

Therefore, as a conservative informal system can only look forward to the official system’s innovative lead into the direction of development, the absence of such an official system in turn becomes a particularly serious problem.


The “Chinese model” had led to nearly thirty years of rapid economic growth, the study group wrote, but had at the same time created problems:

  • the income gaps (between industries, i. e. particularly farming and industries, but also regionally), and polarization. Of course, the measures taken by the fifth generation of leadership had achieved some success (第五代领导人上台以来,坚定不移的采取缩小收入差距的政策措施,目前已取得一定的成效)
  • environmental pollution and a crisis in terms of resources
  • Inadequate social security [or insurance], with undesirable constraints on the building of a harmonious society
  • protection of the public’s, or the masses’, rights.
  • corruption (with a reference to Tianjin party secretary Zhang Gaoli (张高丽), who had described corruption prevention as a matter of life of death for the party.

It is only here that the paper comes back to international issues, and, concerning economic issues, showing a more defiant attitude than in its previous reference, about soft power and propaganda (including the Du Fu quote):

No matter how the international community understands the Chinese model, and no matter what their attitude towards this model is, China’s development pattern needs to be adjusted. In the face of the international economic crisis, these adjustment become only more urgent. What earned the Chinese model general acknowledgment, and the characteristics which earned it the admiration6): strong government leadership, should be moderately extenuated. This is something clear-headed political leaders must recognize. In fact, China’s leaders have understood that the “Chinese model” is still developing.


In October 2003, the sixteenth central committee’s third plenary session put forward the concept of scientific development. If conscientiously carried out, it will become a cornerstone in the CCP’s lawful political power. Therefore, it will be a new source of the party’s and even China’s soft power.


The Limits of Diplomacy (外交上的局限)

Over the years, Chinese diplomacy has matured and made huge achievements. This is something no clear-sighted person will deny. But to improve the level of our country’s diplomacy further and to safeguard our national interests still better, there will be a continued need to examine our diplomacy comprehensively, carefully, and thoroughly, identify the shortcomings within, and put it to a still higher level.


Our country is guided by Marxist ideology. Historical materialism, and dialectical materialism are not only reflected in our internal development, but also in our diplomatic practice. But given that practice is much more complicated than theory, deviations between practice and theory are hardly avoidable at certain times and in certain situations. When taking a comprehensive look at our diplomatic practice, one will find strong industries but weak culture, the country’s strong international position but also its feeble image, its inherent cultivation but weak external publicity [or propaganda], strong hard power but feeble soft power tendencies which coexist to some extent. For example, international relations depend heavily on economic power. The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Africa Research Office’s director He Wenping once said that “when I tell African friends that China remains a developing country, they just begin to laugh”. Their laughter illustrates that in their view, a developing country couldn’t afford undertake the investment and aid China provides in Africa.” In “Charm Offensive – How China’s Soft Power  is Transforming the World”, Joshua Kurlantzick once wrote: “China’s influence comes from its ability to dispense no-questions-asked largesse, and it would decline sharply if China experienced an economic downturn.” Although this opinion is very one-sided, the dependence of our diplomacy on our economic strength does require sufficient attention.


Following the rapid economic development, China’s international position and influence has actually increased rapidly, too. At the same time, the international environment has undergone great changes. Therefore, diplomacy’s domestic and foreign conditions have changed a lot already. In this kind of situation, our country must rethink its diplomatic methods and make adjustments in accordance with the changes in its domestic and foreign environment. Also, to see a continued rise in our country’s international status during the coming years, updates in our leaders’ thoughts about good diplomatic practice in the future are necessary. For example, we may have to re-examine the principles ad positions of our diplomacy, and to fundamentally change our diplomatic strategies.


Citizen Quality and Poor Image (国民素质和形象较差)

Our country’s citizen quality has been a soft spot, impeding its image. Notices in the streets of Paris in Chinese, like “please don’t bawl7), or notices in Chinese in New York, saying “please don’t jump the queue” are a great embarrassment for Chinese people, and uncivilized behavior of tourists make into the headlines in New York time and again. There are experts who say that “the biggest difference between China and America is in average citizen quality”, and there are other experts who say that “the difference in citizen quality between China and Japan translates into 30 years”. In 2007, the famous travelling website Expedia interviewed 15,000 persons from the European hotel and restaurant industry, and did a rating survey of tourists from different countries. Chinese ranked as the third-worst, after the  French and the Indians. Former Beijing mayor Wang Qishan (王岐山) admitted frankly his greatest fear – that during the 2008 Olympic Games, with five billion people worldwide looking on, Beijing’s citizen’s cultural quality would not pass the test.


A country’s culture is the capital the country can apply abroad (外化), plus, perhaps, the traditional nature of cultural products, just as when people talk about Chinese culture, they frequently refer to traditional culture, which is possibly a greater distance to reality. In contrast, citizen quality is a country’s domestic capital, which is close to reality. Here, having a grasp [or clear idea] of that country’s government’s and people’s behavior, there are more significant [material] you can take into consideration, and which warrants closer attention. In this sense, and in the context of building our country’s soft power, improving citizen quality is no less important than the significance of cultural dissemination. Our country’s tendencies in citizen quality influence the level of our country’s soft power, and an important part of building its soft power.


Lack of Influential NGOs and Individuals (缺少有影响力的民间组织和个人)

From the perspective of building soft power, non-governmental organizations, or social [societal] organizations, NGOs, as well as individuals with strong influence within society (all to be referred to as NGOs hereafter) play a dual role.


On the one hand, NGOs are important as they assist governments in solving social problems. In the wake of social development, issues of humankind’s sustainable development can’t be  solved by merely depending on government and the market, and NGOs are what it takes to make up for government and market insufficiencies. NGOs are also seen as “pressure reduction valves” for a government, and a “balancer” for public opinion, plus a spiritual function which shouldn’t be ignored either. Therefore, NGOs can help governments to solve social problems, thus eliminating society’s dissatisfaction with government. In this sense, NGOs obviously increase governments’ legitimacy and cohesion within society, and are therefore positive factors in increasing domestic soft power.


On the other hand, NGOs have some kind of particular advantage, compared with government: objective neutrality. In general, a government is a representative of a country’s interests, but at times, it is also a representative of self-interest. Words and deeds of a government are therefore always suspected of acting out of interest requirements, which marks an inherent disadvantage. So in a real sense, NGOs have a stronger objective neutrality, and in a certain sense, this is the basis of certain NGOs’ coming into life. Therefore, no matter if you face domestic or international society, NGOs are more likely to earn trust, and information they provide is more persuasive.


Although NGOs have these important social and political roles to play, it is also known to all that our country lacks such organizations, and there is no need to list statistics. The main source for this situation is that the government is inclined to take some kind of politicized view on the development of NGOs, and maintains some kind of vigilant attitude towards them.


To build a truly harmonious society, and to increase our country’s international influence, our country’s government must change its attitude towards NGOs, eliminate inappropriate sensitivities towards NGOs, and create room for their development by adopting tolerant8)  policies on them.




1) I’m not familiar with the big global musicals, but according to Baike.Baidu, Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s “Cats” and “the Phantom of the Opera” would be among the four.
2) Just as with musicals, I don’t know a great deal about cartoons. But Wen’s alleged quote about Altman or 奥特曼 seems to refer to Robert Altman, although I’m not sure if he made animated movies, or rather turned an animated movie into a musical. (Maybe this was part of Wen’s joke.)
3) the Chinese term used here is 软力量 (ruǎn lìliàng), which can be translated as “soft power”. However, it isn’t the term normally used when Chinese academics refer to Joseph Nye‘s soft power concept these days – that would be 软实力 (ruǎn shílì).
4) 中评社 seems to refer to ChinaReviewNews.
5) There may be other translations for 不能搞运动, too, and these paragraphs should be looked at closely to decide if my translation is adequate. It should also be remembered that this, even though published on the People’s Daily’s (Net) theory pages, this is both an “inofficial” document, and, I believe, one that has since been superseded by the CCP central committee’s “cultural document”.
6) or envy – 羡慕, but I seem to understand that this is not necessarily a negative expression in Chinese.
7) “请勿喧哗” – another translation could be “noisy”.
8) another translation for 宽容 would be tolerant.



» The Center Forever, March 13, 2011
» Confucianism and Modernity, May 30, 2009


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Impatience with Diplomacy: Ma opposes, Wu, too

Sheep on a Rainy Day, August 2011

Sheep on a Rainy Day, August 2011

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu (马朝旭) called the U.S. Pentagon’s annual report on China’s military development “an irresponsible act which does no good to enhance China-U.S. strategic trust” (People’s Daily in English), or, as quoted by Huanqiu Shibao, “this sort of  report, gesticulating at China’s reasonable and legitimate and normal national-defense building with no lack of exaggerated content”  (这样的报告对中国正当、正常的国防建设指指点点, 其中不乏夸大内容). This was “no responsible kind of behavior, and without benefit for the promotion of Sino-American mutual strategic trust, and the Chinese side firmly opposed [the report] (这不是一种负责任的行为,无益于增进中美战略互信,中方坚决反对).

A reporter asked: the American defense department issued a Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China report and appraisal. Do you have a comment?

Ma Zhaoxu said that the U.S. Department of Defense issued such a report year after year, gesticulating at China’s reasonable and legitimate and normal national-defense building, with no lack of exaggerations concerning China’s actual military power, spreading “Chinese military threat” content. This was no responsible kind of behavior, and without benefit for the promotion of Sino-American mutual strategic trust, and the Chinese side firmly opposed it.

Ma Zhaoxu pointed out that China would unswervingly take the path of peaceful development, pursues a defensive defense policy and made efforts to protect and promote peace, stability and prosperity  in the Pacific region and even the world. China’s development of limited military power was to protect national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity and posed no threat against any country. No country should have any misgivings about it.

The latest comments in a (probably heavily censored) commenting thread seem to express doubts in the strength of China’s foreign-policy position (or impatience with it), rather than explicit jingoism.

“They only know passive opposition – stupid” (只知道被动的反对,笨), comments one online reader (16:55 local time).

“Wu Jianmin says he firmly opposes” (吴建民说坚决反对), writes another reader with an apparently long memory, at 18:37 local time.

Wu Jianmin served as the foreign ministry’s spokesman from 1991 to 1994.


Update / Related

» PRC steps up Psychological Warfare targeted at Taiwan, Taipei Times, August 26, 2011


Sunday, December 5, 2010

JR’s Sunday Sermon: Scrooge’s Transformation

Scrooge's Transformation: Redressing the Evils of the Past

Scrooge's Transformation: Redressing the Evils of the Past (1978)

During British prime minister David Cameron‘s trip to China in November, John Humphrys, host of the BBC‘s Today program, asked Wu Jianmin (吴建民), former president of the China Foreign Affairs University, a rather simple question about Liu Xiaobo:

What did he do? What did that Nobel Peace Prize winner do ?

Wu Jianmin’s reply:

I’m not a jurist. I don’t know – maybe you can talk to some Chinese who are informed about that. I’m not informed about his case. I didn’t look at his case.

At first glance, Wu looks ill-prepared for the question. If a former China Foreign Affairs University president isn’t informed about a case which creates a lot of international (and not only ‘”Western”) attention, what is he informed about at all? At what of kinds of cases would he look at in his spare time?

But the fact is that Wu didn’t need to look for a better answer to questions like Humprhys’. In cases that involve “national security”, no Chinese jurist needs to look for better answers either, unless he’s a defender. And even if a defender does have better answers, it won’t matter, if the CCP wants to see a defendant in jail.

National security was reportedly cited as a reason to bar Mo Shaoping (莫少平), Liu Xiaobo’s defender before he was reportedly disqualified, from travelling to Britain in November, apparently on the day or one day after Wu Jianmin referred the BBC to more informed Chinese sources than himself. The Telegraph:

The heavy-handed response confirmed the worst fears of diplomats that the prime minister’s trade visit to China would be derailed by concerns over China’s human rights record.
Some delegates [there were 43 business leaders travelling with Cameron, according to the BBC] have privately voiced their fears that the visit, which is the first by a Western leader since Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel prize in October, could end in disaster at a time when the British government is desperately trying to improve trade relations with China.

There was no reason to worry. Business comes first.

The BBC’s interview with Wu centered around business conflicts, and business conflicts only. You’ll need to listen to “communists” these days – outside China – to be provided with a different view.

While South Africa’s governing ANC emphasizes the need for good relations with Beijing, the Congress of South African Trade Unions’ (COSATU) take is that an injury to one is an injury to all.

Scrooge's Transformation: Broiler Industry Efficiency

Scrooge's Transformation: How Breeding Companies Help Improve Broiler Industry Efficiency (2010)

Business is legitimate – but there needs to be the primacy of politics when dealing with other countries which put politics first themselves. If  you want  real win-win situations, don’t rely on business people from your country.

Too many of them only become principled about judicial miscarriages when they affect them, rather than Chinese people.


Business Dispute: Just a little Bit Longer, June 16, 2010
The Primacy of Politics, June 13, 2010
German Presidency: Politician wanted, May 31, 2010
“Reluctant to Face a Stronger China”, July 29, 2009

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