Archive for ‘fiction’

Friday, December 7, 2012

Nobel Lecture in Literature: Mo Yan

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Script in English »
Script in Chinese »

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Gangnam Style in Recent History

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Some 40 years ago.


(click picture for video)

The real revolutionary opera is here. It’s become a popular target for all kinds of re-mixes online, even before the gangnam hype.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bo Xilai planned the Third World War

OK, maybe not. But he (or Wang Lijun, or whoever) wiretapped everyone, up to the collective leader Hu Jintao himself, “nearly half a dozen” (i. e. 5.9, I guess?) CCP officials people with party ties claim, as quoted by the New York Times. And the British government is soooo happy that the rule of law applies in China, and that the Heywood case is re-investigated. OK, not quite that, either – he welcomes Neil Heywood death investigation.

My theory is that Bo Xilai shagged Sarah Palin, conspired with the Nazis on the dark side of the moon, and that they will soon abduct him so that he can’t reveal their schemes.

We will never see Bo Xilai again. That’s almost for sure.

Extraordinary rendition: JR Intelligence Unit spotted Bo in Syria.

Update - Update - Update: JR Intelligence Unit spotted Bo in Syria in what appears to be an extraordinary rendition arrangement between Beijing and Damascus.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Cultural Revolutions, Great and Small

March 2012 in China was a month of power struggles – that can be safely said, because one member of the polit bureau, Bo Xilai, fell from power.

Then there was chief state councillor Wen Jiabao‘s press conference, on March 14. His remark that a historic tragedy like the cultural revolution could occur again, and that reform was therefore an urgent task, can be interpreted as anything from a call for far-reaching liberalization, to just a handful of technicalities.

According to Sinostand,

If the economy slows or abruptly halts, then the void will have to be filled somehow. That could be done through political reforms that give direct accountability to the people, or some kind of scapegoat could be used to consolidate angst in a direction away from the government. I suspect Wen Jiabao’s calls for the former are in hopes of avoiding the latter.

John Garnaut listened to Hu Dehua‘s family history. Hu Dehua is the third and youngest son of former party chairman Hu Yaobang, a reformer who was ousted by the party establishment in 1987, and died in 1989.

Garnaut mainly recorded Hu Dehua’s story, apparently. It was published by Foreign Policy, on Thursday. At times, it doesn’t seem easy to tell what is Hu’s account, and where Garnaut may be drawing either on Hu’s story, or on sources he had previously known. But Hu Dehua himself is quoted with a statement which corresponds with Sinostand’s interpretation of Wen Jiabao’s mention the Cultural Revolution.

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

Hu Yaobang also told his son that as society developed, the middle and little cultural revolutions would gradually fade from history’s stage.

If Wen Jiabao’s reference to the Cultural Revolution wasn’t mainly meant to be merely a punch into Bo Xilai’s face – which is quite possible, too -, China’s chief state councillor doesn’t seem to believe that such a degree of societal development which would make middle and little cultural revolutions disappear has yet been reached, and he wouldn’t even rule out another big one.

But while Garnaut’s Foreign-Policy article is definitely a scoop, and while one can be pretty sure that Hu Dehua didn’t simply talk with a foreign correspondent because he felt like it, one shouldn’t think of Hu’s or Garnaut’s account as something carved in stone, either.

Hu Yaobang was largely airbrushed from official history after his purge in 1987. But because he did not publicly challenge the Communist Party, he maintained his legacy and his supporters, including all of the current and likely future party chiefs and premiers: Hu Jintao, Wen Jiabao, Xi Jinping, and Li Keqiang. All four regularly visit the Hu family home during Spring Festival. But only Wen Jiabao has publicly honored his mentor’s legacy.

The picture chosen from the Hu Yaobang family photo collection shows Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao standing next to Hu Yaobang, and it supports the message of the paragraph quoted above. But when a man is the CCP’s chairman and secretary general, where else would aspiring cadres want to stand?

I have no great doubts that the feelings of both Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao towards Hu Yaobang and his family remained friendly indeed. Wen Jiabao or one of his top officials aren’t unlikely authorizers of Hu Dehua’s meeting with  Garnaut. But that doesn’t mean that Hu Jintao or Wen Jiabao would need to see eye to eye with Hu Yaobang or Hu Dehua, on matters of liberalization. Having seen former Nazi and Communist foot soldiers sitting next to each other and having a beer in West Germany’s 1970s, I seem to understand that no matter how deep political and ideological differences may run, human feelings or even friendship may outlast totalitarianism – if those who retain some human feelings, no matter how low life may get, survive the ideologies at work.

Bo Xilai is out. If he will actually be tried – for alleged corruption, or for offense against party discipline, or whatever, will be a different question. It has been suggested that his adversaries, i. e., apparently, most of the top party leaders,  may shy away from bringing him to trial, because this would deepen the public impression that the party leadership may not be united.

But another explanation would be a fear that such a trial, too, could amount to a little or middle cultural revolution, and could even lead to a big one in the end.
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Note

*) Wang Meng (王蒙), a Chinese writer and former politician, describes similar discussions between a cadre and his son, in the late days of the Cultural Revolution, in The Butterfly (1983, partly auto-biographical). The father’s attitude in Wang’s novel is becoming more liberal, but a gulf remains between the ways the cadre and his son see their country, as the son’s lesson drawn from the Cultural Revolution is to distrust the state as a matter of principle.

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Related

» No World Outside, March 28, 2012

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Phrasebook: zhū bā jiè dào dǎ yī pá

猪 八 戒 倒 打 一 耙。

Zhū Bājiè dào dǎ yī pá

猪: pig

八戒: eight buddhist precepts

倒打: to beat / strike back

耙: a rake (here: a Nine-Tooth Spike-Rake (九齒釘耙, Jiǔ chǐ dīngpá)

To shift the blame / ones own guilt or responsibility on to the accusant.
To make a baseless counter-allegation or recrimination.

While Sun Wukong (孫悟空), one of the three disciples to Xuanzang, is an amiable character in The Journey to the West (西遊記), Zhu Bajie (猪八戒), another disciple, is too driven by his basic instincts to be likable. When Zhu Bajie is waving his nine-toothed rake around for a fight (dào dǎ yī pá), his motives may not be as noble as pretended.

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Previous Phrasebook Entry: qián néng bǎipíng yīqiè, May 25, 2010

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cao Nima and the Smurfatar

This story tells how Mr Cao used the Smurfatar machine to enter the real world »

Monday, February 22, 2010

A (fictional) Obituary: Johnny Neihu

Taipei – No quantity of Changshou (long life) cigarettes could stabilize the old man’s feelings anymore. If we can believe the Taipei Times, the paper which hosted his regular splittist columns, Johnny Neihu has left this vale of tears after scaring a Sichuan Province Engineering Safety Division, CCP Cadre Delegation (inspecting a patriotic statue in Taiwan’s capital)  shitless with a bloody auto-mutliation reading “ECFA”, and by blowing himself and the statue up as an ultimate statement. An unspecified number of lives was – reportedly – lost in the process.

His zougou running dog 走狗 anyway, dog, Punkspleen, relates to the cruel event as Mr Neihu’s finest hour. Just as the hero of the splittists used to say, or kind of said:

Don’t ask what your renegade province can do for you – ask what you can do for your renegade province.

We should have been warned. May he rest in peace.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Letters to Net Nanny: Tremendous Improvements

Dear Net Nanny,

China Daily says that Google’s deliberations to leave the Great China is a matter of business, not of censorship or human rights. I think that’s clear enough. I think the CCP is very kind, and has shown a lot of politeness and patience in dealing with Google’s rude declaration of war against China and all the friends of the Chinese people. But everything is political, unless proven non-political, is it not? Would you agree that while Google’s deliberations to leave China are no matter of censorship or human rights, it still is a political matter? And if it  is a contradiction, is it a slight contradiction or one of the fundamental contradictions?

Shun R. Issues

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Net Nanny: The Mission Continues

Net Nanny: The Mission Continues

Dear Shun,

you are a very successful businessman in our country, and you have very important opinion and views the whole world should learn from, and I would like to congratulate you, and thank you for your very thought-provoking questions.

As for the question if the crude Google threats are a slight contradiction or a fundamental contradiction, this question still needs careful assessment. Actually, it is even a strategic question from a broader perspective. I appreciate that. The question deserves in-depth discussion at academic seminars, and I am afraid that it would be difficult for me to answer your question in one or two words on this occasion.

But I can promise you that in the future, too, we will continue our efforts in cracking down on pornographic content on the Internet, which we believe and numerous examples have shown are detrimental to the healthy development of young people. Therefore, we will remain a good and stable place for investment. We will make sure that the Internet environment here in China will continue to improve tremendously in terms of censorship. That, after all, is my sacred duty.

Net Nanny

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Related:
Lots of Tea, September 8, 2009

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