Archive for ‘advice’

Monday, April 18, 2022

Cute Pandas and Lovely Tanks – CRI and CGTN cover Russia’s War in Ukraine

CRI Russian / CGTN Russian war coverage

How is our motherland doing, comrades?
CRI Russian / CGTN Russian war coverage

I don’t speak Russian, but it seems that China Radio International’s (CRI) coverage leaves nothing to be desired when you want to be kept up to date with your country’s war in Ukraine (without too much disturbing news, I suppose). The first 25 minutes of CRI’s Russian program at 17:00 UTC on Sunday were all about Donbas, with a CGTN correspondent reporting from there.

CRI might have dispatched its own correspondents a few years ago, when the station was actually an organization in its own right, and quite a fiefdom at that. CRI’s then director, Wang Gengnian, even delivered his own annual new-year address.

Some adjustments for synergy were called for, and the central committee delivered, early in 2018, by amalgamating CRI, CPBS (domestic radio) and television into a “Central Radio and Television Network” (中央广播电视总台).   Some three years later, many CRI language broadcasts on shortwave were replaced by mere music loops or endless repetitions of always-the-same cultural programs.

Taiwan’s government appeared to have similar plans for Radio Taiwan International (RTI) – not to take them off the airwaves, but to create an tri-medial organization, integrating RTI, Taiwan’s national newsagency CNA, and public television. Instead, RTI got a new director-general, and its Spanish, French and Korean services returned to shortwave from a mere online existence.

Now, questions are occasionally asked which plan for RTI was better – the one devised in 2018 or the one actually implemented in 2019 and onward. In my view, starting an international television channel on the one hand as is done with “Taiwan+” and keeping RTI as a station focused on audiences in different languages looks like a comparatively wise choice.

For one, RTI might provide a pool of foreign-language speakers for television if need be. Also, if I go by my own fondness for radio, “Taiwan+” isn’t for me, and never will be. In fact, it’s nice to be spoken to in my first language by RTI’s German department.

But above all, developments at Radio Japan and CRI aren’t looking really promising. At Radio Japan, English is only broadcast on shortwave three times a day, and as for the news, that’s only a soundtrack from NHK’s global  English-language television channel. (You won’t even know who’s speaking at times, because obviously, you are missing out on the subtitles.) And while I don’t know what they are talking about in Russian on China’s foreign media, I seem to notice that there is a similar problem with the CGTN correspondent’s contributions that are also used by CRI, i. e. by “Central Radio and Television Network” foreign-radio channel. The correspondent, Kirill Volkov, seems to interview a number of people for his video productions, but as a listener, you can only guess who he is talking to.

It is easy to think that CRI’s German service has lost some of its (not too numerous anyway) German listeners after leaving shortwave, along with many other CRI language services. The German editorial department’s current trimedial attempts at agitating their listeners in China’s favor may be good for a laugh every now and then, but contrary to CRI’s radio productions in the past, these days’ online content is useless.


“Some US politicians behave more and more like
dirty swines!” -CRI German’s
“sharp commentary” online, January 2022

In that regard, one has to wonder why RTI has recently been busy with grandstanding of this kind. Reportedly, what really happened is that the same half-hour Russian program in Russian already in existence for Europe has been rebroadcast for an additional 30-minutes time slot on another frequency.

Stunts like the above seem to suggest that RTI’s directors are worried that the government might cut RTI’s budget.

That shouldn’t happen. If Taiwan’s government wants to raise its country’s “international visibility”, it can’t do without RTI, and it can’t do without shortwave. At least, Taipei better wait how “Taiwan+” develops before making cuts to the foreign-radio budget.

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Wang Yi: Minsk II “the only way”

Xinhua MSC coverage, Febr 19

Xinhua MSC coverage, Febr 19

Main link: FMPRC press release, Febr 19

On February 19 in the evening, State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, on invitation, took part in the 58th Munich Security Conference, gave a keynote speech by video link from Beijing. He answered the conference host’s questions concerning China’s approach and position concerning NATO eastward expansion, European security and the situation in Ukraine.


Wang Yi said that the Cold War has long ended. Being a result of the Cold War years, NATO should judge the hour and size up the situation and make necessary adjustments. If NATO blindly expanded eastward, will that be conducive for maintaining long-term peace and stability in Europe? This is a question our European friends should seriously reflect on.


Wang Yi emphasized that all countries’sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity ought to be respected and protected as this was a fundamental standard in international relations, reflecting the United Nations Charter’s objectives. It was also a principled position that had always been upheld by China, and Ukraine was no exception. If anyone doubted China’s position on this issue, that was just a hype with ulterior motives, and a distortion of China’s position.


Wang Yi said that as a permanent Security Council member, China had always decided on its position based on the merit of the issue itself, thus handling international matters. China believed that concerning the Ukraine issue, one should get back to the Minsk II starting point. As this agreement was binding,  agreed upon by all parties after negotiations, and obtained the Security Council’s approval, it was the only way to solve the Ukraine issue. According to our understanding, both Russia and the European Union support Minsk II, and when I had a phone conversation with US Secretary of State Blinken recently, America also expressed support. As that’s the case, why can’t the parties sit down together for a full discussion, produce a roadmap and a timetable towards a workable protocol? What every party needs to do now is to earnestly assume responsibility, make efforts for peace, rather than blindly pushing up raising tensions, creating panic and make war.


As for the prospects of solving the Ukraine issue, Wang Yi said that Ukraine should become a bridge, connecting East and West, rather than a frontline state in the confrontation of powers. As for European security, all sides could raise their own concerns, with Russia’s reasonable security concerns being respected and taken seriously. China expected that all sides should find a solution through dialog and consultation.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Radio Argentina al Exterior: How to listen anyway

[Update, September 8, 2016: may be compromised or attacking – be careful, and don’t enter without reliable virus-detecting software. – see picture below – appears to be alright.]

[Update, July 15, 2016: RAE’s website appears to be back online. The morning shortwave broadcast in English at 03:00 UTC was also quite readable.]

Argentina’s foreign radio, Radio Argentina al Exterior (RAE) broadcasts in Spanish, Portuguese, English, German, French, Italian, Japanese, and Chinese, on 11710,5 kHz during the second half of the night (UTC), and on frequencies from 15343,7 to 15345 kHz during daytime and until midnight.

Unfortunately, modulation on shortwave is currently bad, and much of what is said is hardly understandable.

To add to the trouble, the radio station’s official website is currently under maintenance.

However, the foreign radio livestream can be found on Radio Nacional

A dropdown menu can be found on the website’s top-right, and you can choose RAE from there:

Radio Nacional / Radiodifusión Argentina al Exterior livestream

Provided that RAE is on the air or livestream (which isn’t the case 24 hours a day), the station can be heard, usually in good quality.

Podcasts of the station’s English and German services are available on the Radio 360 website.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Huanqiu Shibao on “Ulterior Motives” in Southern Weekly Conflict

Main Link: Global Times: Lay Off Supporting Southern Weekend, Or Else

There’s a blog – kind of a bridge blog, if you like – which deserves a lot more attention. In November 2011, China Copyright and Media translated the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party’s Decision on Deepening Cultural Structural Reform (I could have saved myself a lot of time if I had come across their translation earlier).

Fortunately, I did save myself the time to translate a Huanqiu Shibao editorial on the Southern Weekly / Southern Weekend standoffs with the local propaganda department. They’ve got a translation or rendition of that, too – been online since January 8 this year – including the original commentary in Chinese.  China Copyright and Media  includes posts about Chinese legislation, as well, but obviously, I can’t judge their quality. It’s not my department.

Not the full picture, but an instructive glimpse.

Soft power: the land where the Bananas bloom

So, if you want translations from the real Chinese press – beyond the English-language mouthpieces from China Daily to the “Global Times” which are stuff from a parallel universe, made by the CCP propaganda department for foreigners -, read JR’s China Blog, for example.

But read there, too. There are updates every few days, and sometimes several times a day.

The translator finds a lot of rotten points in the Huanqiu article. But this may not be what matters to Huanqiu, to the China-Daily Group, or to the propaganda department. They can’t overlook many domestic online comments in their threads which are highly critical of their approach.

Song Luzheng, an overseas Chinese journalist or official in Paris, follows the same line as does Huanqiu Shibao, in many of his articles, particularly about the freedom of the press. Some of the readers he – probably – hopes to reach are Chinese readers who are disillusioned former admirerers of “Western” values. There seems to have been a trend since 2008, the botched “Sacred-torch” ralleye in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics which has changed the atmosphere in favor of Song Luzheng, Huanqiu Shibao, et al.



» Readers’ Reactions: I will Endure, May 3, 2012
» Oh Rule of Law, April 11, 2012


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Quality Assurance: How to Cover China?

When David Barboza, a correspondent for the New York Times in China, reported on the Wen Jiabao clan’s wealth, he did what a good reporter needs to do. Beijing seems to think otherwise.  Now, Chris Buckley, one of Barboza’s NYT colleagues, has visa problems.

According to the Guardian, Buckley has reported from China for twelve years. Those who complain that most media send correspondents without great Chinese language skills to China should think again: does it make sense to send correspondents to China who invested heavily into their China-related skills? It may occasionally make sense, but not as a rule. And once a correspondent with a lot of “China background” gets tricked out of the country by “sensitive” authorities, a paper or broadcaster who wants to make sure that their coverage on China isn’t influenced by the CCP should provide such a correspondent with a follow-up stint in Hong Kong, Singapore, or Taiwan. There’s too little coverage from Taiwan anyway.

A correspondent won’t necessarily allow the CCP to intimidate him or her anyway. But it’s not only for the correspondents to make sure about that – it’s a task for their employers (i. e. the media), too.

In short: the media should do their share to make sure that their correspondents can’t be tacitly or openly blackmailed by the Chinese “authorities”.

Those who can’t put their correspondents into a sufficiently independent position shouldn’t have permanent correspondents in China at all – and they should state this publicly, to their readers. Quality assurance and building trust is the issue here.

It may be a double-edged sword for correspondents to speak out about the conditions under which they report from China. But their employers – and their readers –  should encourage them to be transparent about the forms of harrassment they encounter.



» An Increasing Number, China Law & Policy, July 16, 2012
» Self Censorship, many forms, FEER, April 2007


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cheng Tianquan: Citizen Participation in Foreign Affairs

The following is the second half of an article by Cheng Tianquan (程天权), professor and party secretary at Renmin University (or People’s University). The article was first published by Jiefang Daily, and then by the CCP’s website, on Tuesday.

Cheng was born in Shanghai, on March 28, 1946, according to People’s University’s website, and is a specialist in Chinese legal history. From 1986 to 1991, he was the director of Fudan University’s propaganda department. He became professor in 1995, apparently while at Fudan University, and has been Renmin University’s party secretary and administrative affairs’ (or university council) director since February 2001.


It needs to be pointed out that the building and handling of international relations isn’t only a matter for the national government, but also for the citizens. In this interlinked world, where everyone may widely disseminate news, it becomes important to talk about how citizens can be helped and be guided in their participation in international affairs, and how harmonious “people-to-people” relations can be developed in this global village. Although the government clearly guides public opinion, the so-called “will of the people” has at times kidnapped1) the government’s diplomatic policy-making. It would be promising if influential researchers and think tanks in the field of international issues would make it their task to guide citizens to look at international affairs rationally.


The appropriate road for international strategic research should also be on various levels. First of all, fundamental research, on the historical as well as the philosophical range, should be deepened.This is important work there are specialists who apparently have nothing to do with international relations, but who in fact have a lot to do with it. After all, language, expression and ideological habits may all constitute obstacles in the field of knowledge and assessment in a broader sense. Just as with obvious cultural differences between the West and China, there are also dissimilarities within the oriental cultural system, on various levels.


Secondly, the applicability of international-relations theory research, mainly generally used international-relations theory research, at the same time includes the expansion and innovation of these theories.

As a third point, concerning real-time countermeasures, there needs to be exchange between thinktanks and final appraisals. This can build rich resources and case-study material with a lot of reference value for the handling of international affairs. And finally, thinktanks should be encouraged to participate in people-to-people diplomacy2). International experience tells us that an important way to create smooth conditions for a country in the international community is to use people-to-people diplomacy to actively communicate [within the international community], by individual behavior, trade activities, cultural interaction, thinktank exhanges and other diversified means, to enrich the understanding of ones own country among a foreign public, among foreign organizations and foreign media. In this regard, the role of thinktanks is irreplaceable.




1) Cheng’s “kidnapping” remark won’t refer exclusively to the Chinese government’s “management” of public opinion after the arrest of Chinese fishermen by a Russian FSB patrol boat earlier this month. However, the issue of public anger concerning foreign affairs probably led to the  explicit mention of “policy kidnapping” by the public in Cheng’s article.
2) 民间外交 (minjian waijiao) usually stands for what may be translated as people-to-people diplomacy, while 公共外交 would amount to public diplomacy. Please see footnote 1 under that post.



» Jiang Zemin: Importance of Philosophy, Xinhua, April 28, 2002


Friday, July 13, 2012

China doesn’t object to Hegemonism – America Should

A signed People’s Daily editorial suggested  on Thursday that America should play a more constructive role in Asia, and that America was in no position to grade Asian countries. The editorialist didn’t need to invent his advice to Washington. Evan A. Feigenbaum and Robert A. Manning, a short Council of Foreign Relations overview suggests, apparently offered similar advice to the Obama administration, in 2009:

The Obama administration has an opportunity to help define new roles for the United States in this changing Asia. But to sustain its position in the region, Washington will need to move beyond its traditional “hub and spokes” approach to Asia–with the United States as the hub, bilateral alliances as the spokes, and multilateral institutions largely at the margins of U.S. policy. Otherwise, the United States will pay increasing costs to its interests, credibility, and influence.

US Navy visit Hong Kong (archive)

A lot of purchasing power – U.S. Navy visit Hong Kong (archive)

Apart from advocating multi-lateralism, the report advised that Washington should avoid intractable security issues and focus instead on topics ripe for cooperation. If it is true that there were differences between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in 2010 – that’s what this Los Angeles Times article suggests -, Clinton’s “ideas and worldview” have certainly had an impact on U.S. foreign policy in Asia.

That’s basically a good thing. The Philippines, Singapore, and Vietnam certainly don’t mind a situation where they can pit one hegemon against the other, depending on the situation. In that way, the U.S. helps to ensure exactly the “democracy among nations” Beijing is calling for – Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi (杨洁篪) came back to the topic less than a week ago, on an ostensibly “non-official” World Peace Forum in Beijing, where he deplored an existing “zero-sum mentality”, and pointed out the need for a strengthened democratization of international relations (国际关系民主化有待加强).

But then, democracy needs limits – and the CCP is the only referee to define such limits. That’s a feature Chinese dissidents at home are familiar with. And besides concepts of sovereignty and equality among states, there is an – imagined – concept of “Asianness” at play in Beijing’s worldview, just as well. Within that Asianness, i. e. close to home, the rules of inter-state democracy doesn’t seem to count quite as much as further away from home. Or, as the same Yang Jiechi as the one who waxed poetic about democratic international relations just recently, reportedly told then Singaporean foreign minister George Yeo (杨荣文) in July 2010 in Hanoi, China is a big country and other countries are small countries, and that’s just a fact.

What is rarely looked at is what the small states make of the situation. It is obvious that even Vietnam, a “socialist country”, welcomes a strong U.S. presence near its coastline, despite an extremely brutal American war on the country which only ended four decades ago. So long as the Americans don’t come ashore, things appear to be fine.

Vietnamese Dignitaries visit USS George Washington

Vietnamese Dignitaries visit USS George Washington, summer 2010 – click picture for US Pacific Fleet video.

As for Singapore, the city-state’s mega-elder himself, Lee Kuan Yew (李光耀), urged Washington in 2009 to strike a balanceAmerica risked losing its global leadership if it didn’t stay engaged not just in China, but in the whole of East Asia and India.

If a totalitarian (Vietnam) and an authoritarian state (Singapore) want a strong U.S. role in Asia, this is hardly based on a desire for democracy or human rights. Clinton’s talk to that end isn’t empty – and the role America is currently playing might also help to make these two concepts more attractive in Asia -, but clearly, neither poor human-rights records nor undemocratic political systems are criteria for exclusion, in Washington’s choice of allies.

That’s why U.S. politicians should spell out – to the American people – what they expect to get out of these informal alliances. If this is about freedom of navigation – and it is understandable if people don’t simply want to rely on Beijing’s assurances -, this should be as much in the interest of China’s neighbors, as in the American interest. In other words, Asian countries, too, need to contribute to a sustainable defense of these rights.

The key issue for the U.S. should be to transform the current relationship with Asian countries from a hegemonic one into a real partnership. As far as that is concerned, both the People’s Daily editorial and other proponents of such an approach have a point. The U.S. should also try to include China in such a security partnership, wherever feasible.

But if China keeps criticizing American hegemonism, without abandoning its own hegemonism, chances are that smaller states will appreciate a choice between at least two hegemons.

As long as the U.S. can afford the defense budget a hegemonic role requires, anyway.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

People’s Daily editorial: Human-Rights Advocacy will Marginalize America

America needed to stop playing the role of a democracy preacher, a People’s Daily (人民日报) editorialist named Zhong Sheng (钟声 – this name or pen name also translates tolling of the bells) wrote on Thursday. It would be much more worthwile to think about how America could join the Asian development process in better ways, how it could play a a constructive role in Asian stability and development. However, if Washington wanted to come up with better solutions, it needed to control itself, and put restraint on its impulse to be a “preacher of democracy”.


You can ring my Belle

“Hello Asia – you can ring my Belle.” (Click this picture for five questions to a hegemon).

Zhong’s signed editorial refers to statements by U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton during her Asian tour that “Asian countries needed to expand the scope of human rights”, and “commended” certain countries to obliquely hint at China (还借“表扬”某些国家来影射中国), thus acting as a “human rights preacher” once again.


The Financial Times had referred to Clinton’s speech as part of an increasingly intense geo-political debate about Asia’s future, writes Zhong Sheng. However, this wasn’t only a debate, nor had America set out on which side of the debate it wanted to stand. Essentially, holding the great banners of democracy and human rights high was a major matter in America’s strategy of “returning to Asia”.


Who gave Americans the right to arrogantly assessing the democracy status of Asian countries, asks Zhong Sheng. Americans themselves possibly shunned to answer the question, or believed that there was no need for an answer. Exactly the problem’s deceptiveness could create could lead to a failure of the “return-to-Asia” strategy to reach its standards.


Some of America’s recent measures, from military exercises and increased military deployment, demonstrated how America did its utmost to demonstrate the adequacy of its role in Asia. To hold the banners of “democracy” and “human rights” only served to safeguard its so-called guiding moral status.


However, the more America failed to restrain itself from such policies, the more people would ask themselves what America actually feared to lose. There were two points which Washington didn’t understand: the cause for America’s estrangement with Asia and its need to “return” had been caused by the reduction in its involvement on the one hand, and on the other hand, because of major changes in the Asia region’s political and economic structures, American status was changing as a result.

但是,美国越是迫不及待地这么做,就越是会让人产生美国是在担心会在亚洲失去什么的感觉。有两点华盛顿没有弄明白:美国之所以会感到与亚洲疏远并需要“重 返”,一方面是因为对这一地区的投入相对减少,而另一方面,则是因为这一地区的政治、经济结构已经发生了重大变化,美国的地位将因此而不同。

The editorial cites factors such as a comparatively successful Asian handling of the international financial crisis – it attributes the crisis exclusively to Western countries -, to flourishing regional cooperation, and to mutually beneficial cooperation between Asian countries which had at the same time been exploring successful development paths, in accordance with their national conditions.


The development of Asian countries shows that Asians are able of solving problems on their own, on their path of development, and to find a road different from the West’s in building political systems, in accordance with their national conditions.


America was in no position to grade Asian countries, or countries worldwide, in terms of democracy and human rights. No size fitted all models. Practice had shown that it was exactly some countries that had drawn a tiger with a cat as a model (照猫画虎) and copied American-style democracy which had led to serious “acclimatization problems” leading to development lags, with some even unrevived to date.


America’s actual diplomatic considerations and abusive use of democracy issues had already incurred criticism from all sides. America’s Time magazine had pointed out in an article that America’s Middle-East policy was showing double standards, and that a country’s democratic status didn’t define if America worked with it – American interest did.


As a Pacific nation, America and Asian countries had inextricable links. America hoped to have a share in the fruits of Asian development, which was a matter of course. Nobody wanted to squeeze America out of Asia. However, Asian countries commonly expected that America would become more actively engaged in Asian development and cooperation. But it seemed that Washington had difficulty in looking at regional participants as equal players.


If America turns against the general trend of Asian development and cooperation, and play the role flag-waving preachers, and gesticulate at Asian democracy from commanding positions, and even, by this approach, build “contingents” to check and balance China, America may well end up marginalizing itself.




» Clinton warns on West PHL Sea Dispute, GMA, July 12, 2012
» After 2 million tons of bombs, Telegraph, July 12, 2012
» 人民日报7月12日评论, BBC, July 12, 2012
» Clinton Praises Mongolian System, WSJ, July 9, 2012
» Diplomat in Chief, LA Times, July 8, 2012


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