Archive for ‘Beijing Olympics’

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

German Media Prize for Dalai Lama

It’s a hand-shaped, painted pottery piece on a blue Brazilian marmoreal foot. Launched by Media Control in 1992, the German Media Prize went to Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi in 2007, to Spain’s king Juan Carlos I. in 2006, and to U2’s Bono in 2005. The shape and colors of the piece itself change every year. This year, the Dalai Lama receives the prize.

Kelsang Gyaltsen, the Dalai Lama’s representative in Europe, believes that it is too early to assess how the unrests in Tibet of March 2008 have influenced Beijing’s Tibet policy. In an interview with the Voice of Germany, he describes the international participation in the Beijing Olympic Games as a great concession to the Chinese people and the Chinese [people] [correction: government], and said that the same was true for the attendance of many international dignitaries at the opening ceremony. The international community had thus emphasized that it wasn’t hostile towards China, and that China now owed the world more respect for human rights in China, and a contribution to an amicable resolution of the Tibet problem.

On a question about the cancelled EU-China summit in December after a meeting between French president Nicolas Sarkozy and the Dalai Lama, Gyaltsen argued that relations between the United States and China hadn’t been bad during George W. Bush‘s presidency, even though president Bush didn’t only meet the Dalai Lama frequently, but that the Dalai Lama had also been awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

[Translation from German] This didn’t affect the good relations between the U.S. and China. […..] We believe that the Chinese government knows this: If we make a great hullabaloo and exert a sufficient amount of pressure, we can influence the Europeans. That is their calculus. We Tibetans aren’t against good relations between Europe and China. But we believe that one must keep to ones values and principles. Issues like human rights or the Tibet question must not be sacrificed for good relations. That would be mere appeasement.

Gyaltsen also suggested that the EU and Germany could help to bring the Tibetan and Chinese sides together for genuine talks.

Meantime, China’s human rights achievements were highlighted at UN Review (the UN Human Rights Council), says a People’s Daily headline. The highlighter was Li Baodong, China’s ambassador to the UN Office in Geneva.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Dear Fenqings,

yes, this American 2008 review made by “Uncle Jay” is completely biased and anti-Chinese and “forgets” to mention who won your Olympics, but then again…

… Uncle Jay helps little minds to understand big news stories. So it must be for you.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Linguistic Analysis of the “Go China” Recital

The Tuluotuo Blog published a linguistic analysis of the “Go China 2009” (or zhongguo jia you, “2009, 中国加油!”) recital on December 30. While an encounter with the video can be scary, it is also a good piece of work in terms of rhythms and probably better than many so-called “new poems”, says the blogger – and while the content is also very rich, the same might be said about the devil himself. The blogger states his thoughts one by on after reading the recital. The recital video he discusses is here. The following is my translation of the Tuluotuo post.

1. Who wrote it?

There are people who suppose it is the product of brainwashing education. This assumption is probably wrong.

a) Our party has always promoted the position of hiding ones capacity (韬光养晦) *). This recital is too sharp – it attacks “Western values” right at the beginning, ridicules French president Sarkozy, and this is by no means a brainwashing style. The party doesn’t favor this, and the teachers aren’t that daring either.

[Update: Please read C.A.’s suggestion 1 in the comments underneath, concerning the CCP’s position.]

b) The recital’s style is much more colorful than the language those working in the field of brainwashing use. The images the recital uses are quite complex and shows a strong sense of beauty. A talent with this aesthetic ability and creativity is unlikely to be a rural primary or secondary school teacher. Even if someone with these talents worked in the brainwashing industry, they’d lose their characteristics very soon and would hardly have the energy to waste on this piece which is no breadwinner after all.
[Update: Please read C.A.’s suggestion 2 in the comments underneath.]

c) Brainwashers are usually left-leaning, but where this recital leans left, it isn’t serious. The rhymes tossed here breathe nationalism and patriotism, and hardly any collectivist or socialist values. Even chairman Hu’s Three Don’ts – don’t sway back and forth, relax our efforts or get sidetracked (不动摇不懈怠不折腾) – can be interpreted from a nationalistic position. It has no strong linkage with a left-leaning position. The recital even uses the word “celestial” [or “dynasty”]. That doesn’t go down well anymore. It makes people think of a haughty, careless, ivory-tower Qing-Dynasty official. What is really funny is that the recital is using the word exactly as a compliment, just in the way of national pride a century ago. I haven’t heard this wording for a long time. So it seems the backside of Chinese spirit is being recovered to some extent.
[Update: Please read C.A.’s suggestion 3 in the comments underneath.]

d) Based on the video and the above language analysis, I tend to believe that this is a prank played by angry youth (fenqing, 愤怒青年). They cheer China and excoriate France and Japan at the same time. France had caught the attention of China’s media because of the Olympic Games and the Dalai problem, and they have been the villains in the eyes of some young people for many years. Japan, because of history, is viewed as an enemy by many young people with a shallow understanding of the world.

e) The most likely scenario I see is that this video was made by university students who did support work for primary and secondary schools in the countryside.  They don’t care too much about the political left and right – that’s outdated vocabulary from previous generations. What really moves them is nationalism, pride in China’s changes, and anger at impediments by other powers. One can also see this from vocabulary like “jia you / Go China”. We’ve heard them shouting this before, after the torch had passed France, and those who – sometimes tearfully – shouted it were mainly college and university students. This would also suggest that the initiators of the recital were young students who had come to a rural school.

2. Who recited it? (A phonetical analysis)

Their [update: the childrens’] stature isn’t small; I think they should be first- or second-year students. That said, sixth-form can’t be completely ruled out either. Where are they? Their clothes and the classroom suggest that it is a rural school. From where?

Their pronunciation may answer this question. The childrens’ retroflection is very much in place, without the wittiness of the Northeasterners, or the [??] of Tianjin or surrounding Hebei. Every retroflection is simple, robust, and full, with a lot of resilience and tension. This can only come out of “our celestial” capital. Therefore, these children can only come from a school from Beijing’s rural hinterland.

[Update: Please read C.A.’s final suggestion in the comments underneath.]

The blogger then suggests that “human-flesh searchers” should leave the school alone. The schoolkids had only done what they were told to, they’d study when told to study, and farm when being told to farm. They themselves probably had very little contact with the internet. A search could only do them harm.

____________________

*) This phrase can be explained in an idealistic and religious way such as at baidu.com:

This is language from Taoist culture. Tao guang (韬光) means restraining ones own radiance. Yang hui (养晦) means paying attention to the inner self-cultivation and practice.

On the other hand, you an also see a more worldly meaning in it. Globalsecurity.org and  peopledaily.com.cn had differing interpretations.

____________________

Suggestions, corrections and improvements concerning this translation are welcome

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Who’s afraid of the New World Order forecasted by the NIC?

NIC stands for National Intelligence Council, a center for mid-term and long-term strategic thinking and advising the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). It published a document that caught a lot of global attention – sfgate carries a review of press reactions to it on November 20.

Global Trends 2025 – A Transformed World – comes in during interesting times. When reading the reactions to it to date on the internet, it looks to me like if many people read it like some Nostradamus stuff – predictions about inevitable developments. The report itself makes it clear on page four that it isn’t about prophecies:

Among the messages we hope to convey are: ‘If you like where events seem to be headed, you may want to take timely action to preserve their positive trajectory. If you do not like where they appear to be going, you will have to develop and implement policies to change their trajectory.'”

Global Trends 2025 was compiled before the Financial Crises hit with full force (although it has been with us in a less dramatic shape for some twelve to fifteen months). Either way, the European Union seems to present itself in this crisis pretty much the way the report describes it: as

“a hobbled giant distracted by internal bickering and competing national agendas, and less able to translate its economic clout into global influence.”

The Economist of this week gives an overview of the reactions of major economic players to the financial crisis so far:

America is apparently contemplating a fiscal boost worth $500 billion to $700 billion, or 3 to 5% of GDP.

“So far the only other big country to conjure up sums on this scale is China (and its huge stimulus keeps on having to be revised downward as the figures are checked).”

Britain’s chancellor of the exchequer laid out tax cuts worth 1% of GDP, and while the European mission suggested some bold plans, the Euroland member states don’t appear in the least as daring – Germany which has both the heft and the money to loosen budgetary policy” has only passed a boost worth about 0.25% of GDP.

Former German foreign minister Joschka Fischer painted a much more flattering picture of the European Union’s ability to react to the challenge of collapsing markets:

“Europe and its national governments are basking in their new capacity to act – and not without reason. Who would have dared, even a few weeks ago, to predict that in the end it would be the divided Europeans, not the United States, who determined how to contain the global financial crisis?”

It’s true – in the end, America followed Europe’s example and injected capital into its banks, rather than just buying rotten assets.

But even if you’d choose to think that Europeans are acting like prudent bankers (and exercising some more caution than America did in the past is paying off here at the moment), Germany’s fiscal conservatism in particular is hardly an adequate answer to the challenge. If governments here aren’t willing to go several steps further, you can’t expect China to do more than to maintain “the sound and steady development of its own economy”. Its officials will have to keep their economy growing – the stratagy has been to lift China to more high-tech levels, but that won’t ten million migration workers who still move to the cities every year, according to Der Spiegel of December 1 (p. 100).

Germany would certainly be in no good position to criticize China’s guarded position when it comes to reviving the global economy. Many European governments suspect that the Germans are waiting for their stimulus packages, and then to continue exporting to them as the freeloaders of European (or global) cooperation.

Paris is working on [the economic revival plan], Berlin is thinking about it, French president Nicolas Sarkozy jeered after discussions with German chancellor Angela Merkel in November:

“Paris y travaille, Berlin y réfléchit.”

An optimistic prediction for 2025 could be that the challenges of the future will drive Europeans to becomemore enterprising, and more coordinated, while the constraints also painted by the NIC report – Europe’s ageing population and its weak common institutions – could still mean that we won’t change that much after all. If there won’t be massive economic decline (in Germany, trade associations and labor unions have been more innovative and pragmatic than politicians recently, and in some other European countries, politicians do better jobs than here), the world may actually view Europe as a pretty predictable stakeholder.

“Growth projections for Brazil, Russia, India, and China (the BRICs) indicate they will collectively match the original G-7’s share of global GDP by 2040-2050.  China is poised to have more impact on the world over the next 20 years than any other country.  If current trends persist, by 2025 China will have the world’s second largest economy and will be a leading military power”,

says the NIC report.

On the one hand, countries like China and India, with more than one billion inhabitants respectively, are poised to become bigger economies than any Western country, or Japan. On the other, if China in 2025 will be as nationalistic and politically unidirectional as events this year suggest, and if Peking will try to determine our leaders’ appointment diaries (see comment thread there) as it is trying right now, the West will still be led by America, rather than by Europe. I’m not even sure that America will play second fiddle after China then, because I doubt that China, under such circumstances, will look like an attractive model to the rest of the world.

This only started to dawn on me this year, with the Olympic fuss. If I go by the African, Latin-American, and even South-Asian media and people I know, China’s view of itself and the world is rather exceptional. Sure, people and governments all over the world are likely to find a global setting with more than just one superpower more attractive than the current status. When the West, China, and possibly Russia compete for natural resources, developing countries can pit one of them off against the other. But before China becomes a model of social development, China itself will have to make further changes – maybe more fundamental ones than those of the past thirty years.

China probably has a “non-democratic advantage” (political consistency) when promoting its international position, as the Taipei Times has put it. But a multi-polar world offers opportunities of its own. In future global differences, good arguments will probably count much more than in the past, and much more than mere economic and military weight. China without political change will have little else to offer than weight itself.

Former Hong Kong governor Chris Patten, allowedly not a suspect of, umm, cultural relativism, conducted democratic experiments on Chinese soil for five years, and with quite some success. His former post as a UK secretary of state for overseas development in the 1980s probably also makes him a European politician with an unusually broad horizon.

In an interview with RTHK on November 3, he appeared optimistic about democracy’s survival:

“I think that if China offers a challenge to the model of welfare democracy and the combination of rule of law, of capitalism, of elections, of freedom of speech and so on […], I don’t think it’s a model which is going to get huge and sustainable support.”

Hong Kong isn’t democratic yet. But nobody needs to convince Hong Kongers that free speech is important. They are probably more aware than that than people living in established democracies.

The most efficient thing which economically developed democratic countries could do to promote human rights worldwide is to safeguard these rights at home. A second important factor is to be decent trading partners for developing countries. 

“If you like where events seem to be headed, you may want to take timely action to preserve their positive trajectory. If you do not like where they appear to be going, you will have to develop and implement policies to change their trajectory.”

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Scientific Interview with Hermit the Taoist Dragonfly

Hermit the (angry) Taoist Dragonfly

Hermit the (angry) Taoist Dragonfly

JR: Hermit the Taoist Dragonfly is the authoritative expert on issues like Buddhism, Falun Gong, India, imperialism, the righteousness of the Chinese Communist Party, science, Taiwan, Taoism, Tibet, and the calamitous way Western media steer otherwise happy, nice and peaceful people into terrorist madness. Thank you very much for bestowing this opportunity for an interview on us, and let thy gifts to us be blessed.

Hermit: Ahem. Thanks for listening to a voice of reason.

JR: Thank You. It is a great honor to get the chance to listen to you. I think it is very important to steer against the pathological bias in the Western media. That’s our mission, and we are very glad about your patronage.

Hermit (eagerly): Yes, indeed. The evilness and wickedness and envious and destructive motivation of the Western media can’t be pointed out often enough. But I’m confident that some day, all blogs will be as wise as yours and those very few misguided people will know better and repent their callous, creepy and feudal ways from the dustbin of yesterday.

JR: Are you confident that His Holiness the Dalai Lama will repent, too?

Hermit (frowns): His Holiness?!

JR: Oh, umm, sorry. It slipped me. I still have to learn. I’m a neophyte of truth, and I still have a long way to go before I can approach the Altar of Reason and Truth. Umm, anyway, do you think that that ******* jackal in Dharamsala will repent, too?

Hermit: Don’t worry. You learn very fast. You are a very promising and flexible neophyte of reason and truth. I’d almost say that you are a friend of the Chinese people.

JR: Bu gan dang, bu gan dang!

Hermit: No, really! Anyway, who cares what the ******* jackal in Dharamsala will do? It will be dead soon.

JR: But do you think that this will end the conflict around Tibet?

Hermit (frowns): Which conflict?

JR: Oh, umm, I mean, that fuss that a small minority of Tibetans and their foreign lackays around the world are making about Tibet which is in fact a fortunate place that luckily happened to become part of the Chinese territory

Hermit (screams): You are an idiot! Tibet was, is, and always will be Chinese territory!!!

JR (tearful): Oh, please, Sir! Give this humble piece of dirt one last chance to listen to your wisdom!

Hermit: OK. One last chance. Be careful.

JR: I will.

Hermit: OK.

JR: Umm…

Hermit: Shoot!

JR: I’m feeling so humble and awkward in my stupidity…

Hermit: It’s OK. I’m confident you will learn very fast.

JR: Thank you, master.

Hermit: No need to call me master. That is an old, feudal and unreasonable habit. We are all equal under the benevolent collective leadership of the CCP.

JR: Yes. Umm… anyway, why is the wise leadership so angry about the French president’s meeting with the ******* jackal of Dharamsala? I mean, that feudal guy is completely meaningless, isn’t he, umm, it?

(Hermit leaps to his feet and starts dancing and sings Because We Want To.)

Hermit (somewhat out of breath): Is Because We Want To good enough for you?

JR: Oh, umm, yes, of course. It’s very reasonable.

Hermit: You don’t look convinced.

JR: Oh, err, umm…. sorry… hang on (tries hard to give his currently consternated face a convinced and faithful expression).

Hermit: Good.  Now, I can see that you are trying hard to become a better learner of reason and truth and to do away with your old feudal ways. As a reward, I’ll give you some more information.

JR: Oh, thank you!

Hermit: You’re welcome. You know, faith and trust is very important before people can share the truth. The truth is very obvious, but it is also a big secret.

(JR hangs on Hermit’s lips.)

Hermit: The problem with such meetings between the ******* jackal and Western heads of state or government who should be respectable but make themselves unrespectable by the choice of people they surround themselves with is that they instigate the media

JR: Oh, my… umm… Oh shit!

Hermit: Indeed. As we all know, the media – especially the Western media, but even our own media require constant vigilance and control – the Western media are very dangerous and in cooperation with the CIA and other forces hostile to the Chinese people (Chinese includes the Tibetans with a Han majority) they keep instilling terrorism into the brains of a small minority of Tibetans… (Hermit is getting more and more vocal) … they want to split and weaken China!

JR: That’s absolutely disgusting, and also, it brings a lot of misery into the lives of common, innocent Han and Tibetan Chinese who live so happily and harmoniously together, except for a very small, slavish minority!

Hermit (almost ecstatic): Yeah!

JR: But…

(Hermit frowns)

JR: You know… I’ve been thinking about this for a long time…

Hermit: … so what. Thinking for a long time can lead to terrible results. I think you’d better get active for the great course of global harmony…

JR: Yes, indeed. But Confucius says that one has to correct the names to put language into accordance with the truth of things

(Hermit listens with an expression of mild disgust)

JR: … and I’m wondering… is the fuss about an allegedly unfree Tibet the same as the fuss about the Israeli settlements in the West Bank?

Hermit (screams): WTF!!

JR: Umm… forgive me… I just mean, I’m sure I’m wrong, but if all the trouble with the few remaining bits of feudalism in Tibet is triggered by the media time and again, would the fuss about the Jewish settlements in the West Bank collapse if the media stopped reporting it?

Hermit: You are either retarded or stubborn! You have no idea! You’ll never learn! The settlements in the West Bank are created by the CIA! The Han settlers are people who just want to bring those stupid Tibetans the light! Umm… I mean… reason and truth! And commerce! And progress! That’s a very, very big difference! And you have made a very, very serious, serious mistake!

(JR throws himself to the floor with his face to the earth.)

Hermit: Nobody can demand other to do anything, he/she does not want to do; not even HI (His Idiot) Dailai can do that. It is the choice that individual has to make whether to prosper or to wither away.

JR (bashfully mumbles from the molehill he has dug himself into in the meantime): But if the individual makes that choice, how can it be that the media

Hermit: The policy of Western Europe towards minority Muslim and Africans is nothing to be proud of either. At least, the standard of living of Tibetans is improving and lifespan of ordinary Tibetans increases. They can have a choice to be part of economic boom in China or part of the failure of HI DL. There was a Canadian native who had a similar dream. The last time I met him, he was broke, drunk and lying on the street dying.
Look at the changes China has to make in the last 30 years to prosper. I have said enough on this subject. I am signing off. Bye with a lot of luck.

(Hermit kicks into the molehill and strides away.)

___________________________

Thanks to sing666 and doris333 on the Time Blog Commenters’ Thread for making a mountain out of this humble molehill.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hermit and Net Nanny endorse CPGBML

Hermit the (angry) Taoist Dragonfly

Hermit the (angry) Taoist Dragonfly

No unhealthy stuff

No unhealthy stuff

HASTA LA VICTORIA SIEMPRE ! SHIKEZHUNBEIZHE !

Granted, like all laowais, those guys have no clue about China either , and Deng forbid that their rules would ever apply in our SMEWCC (Socialist Market Economy with Chinese Characteristics), also known as CBSCRMCE (China Blood-Sucking, Crisis-Ridden, Monopoly-Capitalist Economy) among the enemies of the Chinese people (EOTCP ). But at least our British Comrades are not doing the wrong thing! The CPGBML launched "Hands off China" to counter western china-bashing propaganda in July 2008 (HOC ). May Marx bless the slightly over-theoretical but scientific workings of the CPGBML (not to be confused with Communist Party of Britain – Marxist-Leninist – or with Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain – Marxist-Leninist . Those bad guys are splittist elements and no Marxists or if one of them is in fact the CPGBML , the other one is). The good people from the CPGBML don’t interfere with our SMEWCC , and we won’t interfere in the workings of these GFOTCP (Great Friends of the Chinese People).

Hands off our needy cadres and their private-enterprise friends (private enterprise is not the same as capitalism, because it is socialist market), as long as they are Chinese private-enterprise people. And hands off our business with Britain’s blood-sucking, crisis ridden, monopoly-capitalists ! NIITBWFFIIR (Non-interference is the best way for friendship in international relations)!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Net Nanny: Thanks, Mr Fallows…

No unhealthy stuff

No unhealthy stuff

… but no, thanks! Thanks for your nice try to understand how we are ticking, but »you are wrooong. You seem to believe that we, the Guardians of the Chinese People against Unhealthy Stuff, would actually like to please you more than we ended up doing during the Olympics. Well, OK, there were some wussies in our ranks who did want to please you by subtle influence of the sort that would have made strategists from Sun Tzu onward proud, as you like to put it. But fortunately, our patriotic officials stood up to your arrogance and told you to obey our rules.

And you really think we are worried about a bad press in the laowai world? Our clueless subjects are, yes! That’s why we have to protect the little sissies with our Firewall! Because otherwise, they would become very, very angry and neglect their studies or get distracted from working 12 hours a day, because they’d be too busy with public protests against you, or they would feel very, very sick if they did nothing! But we, the Guardians of the Chinese people against unhealthy stuff, could care less about what you think.

Example. Do you think that we organised that Take-the-Sacred-Torch-to-Mount-Everest event because we expected it would engender Tibetan or global love and understanding for us? Maybe our subjects did expect that – I have no idea what they’re thinking, and I don’t care. (I only make sure that there are some things they will never even know about – hehe.) We took our sacred torch to that mountain just to show the Tibetans – and big noses like you for that matter – who the Boss is. Most of our subjects are Han Chinese, and although I don’t know all their thoughts yet, I can tell you this: they loved the Everest show! It made them feel like little bosses, too, and to paraphrase Ayatollah Khomeini, “to be a powerless subject to political and economic monopolists within your own country is ugly, but a dominating foreign culture would still be uglier*). It was “Hey, Mr Bush and Mr Fallows and Mr Gyatso & serfs and Mr Sarkozy and Ms Merkel may not like it, but they should like it if they were decent people! And if they don’t understand and accept our greatness, let our great Mother of the Masses teach them a lesson!

That much I do know about the minds of those whom I’m here to protect agains unhealthy drivel from people like you.

You are talking about our self-inflicted damage? Haha, that’s naiiive, Mr Fallows. Let’s get a bit closer to your home, to remove the cultural obstacles in your understanding. Remember how your government announced they’d go after Saddam Hussein to collect his weapons of mass destruction, and **** those whiny opponents to the war? Your president was disappointed later when he learned that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, yes. Hehe. But did your government bother to find some?

You know what I mean, right? Your intelligence folks could have put some smoking guns somewhere in Iraq and call a press conference and let your smart Mr Bremer tell the world something like Ladies and Gentlemen, we’ve got them! But nooooo: your government didn’t bother. You know why? Because Condi and Rummy and Cheney and Wolfie and all them folks could care less about what the world thought of them! They showed the world their contempt by saying “OK, there are no wmd, but we’ve got the bugger instead. Is Saddam good enough for you?” That’s what I’d call tin-eared, but it’s OK! We only criticise your rulers for that in public, because criticising their imperialism strikes a chord with our subjects, and makes them rally behind our imperialism!

For similar reasons, we didn’t play along with that silly plan to grant unfettered internet access in carefully chosen decadent hotels and anywhere we thought big noses would dwell. We could care less about what you think. We are creating our own reality, and more than one bn people already believe in it!

Clear enough? I hope so! And never pass this background information on to any of our subjects, or we will send you Ahmed the Dead Terrorist. This is for your eyes only.

___________________________

*) Supposedly a Khomeini quote: “War is ugly, but to be dominated by aliens is still uglier”

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Lethal Dairy Products

“You were desperate for a negative story of China to appear after the unparallelled success of the Olympic (and Paralympic) Games,” writes a commenter on a BBC correspondent’s blog entry about tainted milk powder.

(If you ever wondered how one can somehow create a link between the Beijing Olympics 2008 and the latest milk scandal, your question has now been answered.)

News is short-lived. But the current scandal isn’t the first of its kind in China.

Old news? Dozens of Chinese babies are said to have died from malnutrition in the past year after being fed fake or inferior-quality baby milk powders. Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said makers of the products would be severely punished, the China Daily paper said.

That was in April 2004. As Hermit the Taoist Dragonfly said before – China’s enemies are very cruel.

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