Archive for ‘international’

Monday, April 5, 2021

Comprehensive Strategic Cooperation Agreement with Iran, “thanks to a Friendly Attitude and Unique Wisdom”

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi and Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif signed an agreement on a strategic partnership for the duration of 25 years, a deal that, the BBC believes, could give Iran more leverage with the US. While Iran is an important trading partner with even more potential for China, Zarif’s bow to Wang Yi (which apparently isn’t reciprocated) might indicate who needs who more urgently.

Washington reportedly evaluates if a $400 billion investment deal also signed by the two sides “will trigger sanctions under American law”. A day after the signing ceremony, Iran’s foreign radio reported that “major American papers and news outlets have warned about decline in the United States’ power and sphere of influence”.

The following is a translation of a commentary by a People’s University scholar in the Beijing Daily (北京日报), published on April 2 local time and UTC. Links within blockquotes added during translation.

SETV (Fujian) coverage – click photo for details

Main Link:
With the Sino-Iranian 25-years comprehensive cooperation agreement, the “road of Mideast diplomacy with Chinese characteristics” is becoming ever broader (中伊25年全面合作协议,“中国特色中东外交之路”越走越宽)

In the past few days, a Sino-Iranian comprehensive strategic cooperation agreement for the duration of 25 years has been officially signed. This is the first time that Iran has signed a comprehensive strategic cooperation agreement with any foreign country, and an important milestone in Sino-Iranian relations.

近日,为期25年的中伊全面合作协议正式签署。这是伊朗首次与外国签署全面战略合作协议,也是中伊关系的重要里程碑。

In 2016, China and Iran established a comprehensive strategic partnership. At the time they also jointly confirmed their intention of achieving this kind of comprehensive cooperation agreement. For five years, there have been high-level exchanges of opinion, a strengthening consensus, and finally the achievements as mentioned above. In the author’s view, the two countries’ movement into the same direction is also a microcosm of China’s Mideast diplomacy. Thanks to a friendly attitude and unique wisdom, we have opened a “road of Mideast diplomacy with Chinese characteristics” within the complicated international relations.

2016年,中伊建立全面战略伙伴关系,当时便共同确认了达成这项全面合作协议的意向。五年间,两国高层多次交换意见、强化共识,最终促成了上述硕果。在笔者看来,中伊两国长期的相向而行,也是中国中东外交的一个缩影。凭借友好态度与独特智慧,我们在中东纷繁复杂的国际关系中开辟了一条“中国特色中东外交之路”。

China has always upheld the spirit of the “Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence”, which has won it the wide-spread recognition of Mideast countries. When China recovered its legitimate seat at the United Nations in 1971, the overwhelming majority of Mideast countries firmly supported China’s legitimate claim. After the “One Belt one Road” initiative had been proposed, the Middle Eastern countries responded positively. During this period, China established comprehensive strategic partnership relations with Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, as well as strategic partnerships with Qatar and Jordan, and an innovative comprehensive strategic partnership with Israel. It can be said that China’s Mideastern “friendship circle” keeps widening.

中国在外交中一直秉持“和平共处五项原则”精神,赢得了中东国家的广泛认可。1971年中国恢复联合国合法席位时,绝大多数中东国家都坚定支持了中国的合法诉求。“一带一路”倡议提出后,中东国家更是积极响应。在此期间,中国与伊朗、沙特阿拉伯、埃及、阿拉伯联合酋长国建立了全面战略伙伴关系,与卡塔尔、约旦建立了战略伙伴关系,与以色列建立了创新全面伙伴关系。可以说,中国的中东“朋友圈”越来越大。

As everyone knows, the Middle East region is located centrally within the Eurasian continent, with numerous countries, complex situations, thickets of contradictions, and traditional interference by foreign powers. Big-power games and internal clashes have kept the Mideast region in war and chaos for a long time, with the economy developing only slowly. Therefore, Mideast countries have a skeptical attitude towards many foreign powers. Why does China have such a good reputation? In its diplomacy, China advocates tolerance and setting mutual example rather than civilizational concepts of bipolar antagonism. China and Mideastern countries, including Iran, have different civilizational backgrounds and political and economic environments, but we have never looked at this as something “other”, but looked at them as those who once established splendid civilizations, and which went through thick and thin with New China, who kept watch and defended one another as good partners. This concept of “goodwill, sincerity and tolerance” as well as China’s diplomatic practice of “non-aligned partnership” has led the politically and geographically troubled Mideastern countries to relax precautions and to develop still deeper and closer development with China.

众所周知,中东地区位于亚欧大陆中心位置,国家众多,形势复杂,矛盾丛生,长期以来频频遭受域外大国的干预。大国博弈和内部冲突让中东地区长期战乱,经济发展缓慢。因此,中东国家对很多域外大国都带有怀疑态度。为什么中国能够做到有口皆碑?正在于我们在外交中倡导包容互鉴而非二元对立的文明观念。中国与包括伊朗在内的中东国家有着不同的文化背景和政治经济环境,但我们从未将其视为“异类”,而是看作曾创立过辉煌文明,又与新中国甘苦与共、守望相助的好伙伴。这种“亲诚惠容”的理念,以及中国“结伴不结盟”的外交实践,让深陷政治地理困境的中东国家可以放下戒备,与中国开展更加深入密切的合作。

The official signing of the agreement is only a beginning, and the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Iran continues to grow stronger. From a wider perspective, China’s Mideast diplomacy also merits expectations: The “One Belt one Road” initiative is advancing steadily, China’s talks on free-trade agreements with the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council and with Israel are unfolding, Notable achievements have been made in China’s vaccine cooperation with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Iran and other countries, China plays a growing role in the Syria issue, the Palestine-Israel issue and other Mideast hot spots … We have reason to believe that the “road of Mideast diplomacy with Chinese characteristics” is becoming ever broader.

合作协议正式签署只是一个开始,中伊两国全面战略伙伴关系还在不断加强。以更大视野来看,中国的中东外交也值得期待:“一带一路”倡议稳步推进,中国与海合会六国、以色列的自由贸易协定谈判正在开展,中国与阿联酋、巴林、伊朗等国的疫苗合作取得显著成就,中国正在叙利亚问题、巴以问题等中东热点问题中发挥越来越大的作用……我们有理由相信,“中国特色中东外交之路”将越走越宽。

(The author, Li Kunze, is a doctor at the People’s University’s1) School of International Studies.)

(作者李坤泽系中国人民大学国际关系学院博士)

____________

Notes

1) aka Renmin University
____________

Related

Promising profits, Febr 19, 2018
The Persian paradox, Foarp, Jan 27, 2012
Trusted brothers, Nov 8 2009
Wu Sike corrects biased views, Aug 17, 2009

____________

Monday, March 22, 2021

Europe’s Voice on Shortwave: Radio Romania International

Floriilor Cave, South Carpathians 45.212 N and 23.132 E,
Radio Romania International QSL, 2015
Click picture for more info

The following translation is an excerpt from Radio Romania International’s mailbag show in Chinese. The letter read out there last week was from a long-time listener who hadn’t written before.

[…] By now, Radio Romania International is the only European radio station that has maintained shortwave broadcasting. I cherish your station’s broadcasts all the more!

[…..] 如今,罗马尼亚国际广播电台,是欧洲唯一一家保留对华中文短波广播的电台,我对贵台的广播更是格外珍惜!

Although it isn’t too easy to receive your broadcasts in our area, there are sometimes indications of your signal, obscured by noise. But half of the time, I can hear Radio Romania International clearly, even if it weakens intermittently, but thanks to the hosts’ fluent Chinese, I can still get the general meaning clearly. I cherish every time you broadcast.

虽然,在我的地区,接收贵台并不是一件太容易的事,有时候依稀能够听到播音迹象,却淹没在短波噪音中,但是,另一半的时间里,我还是能够清晰收听罗广的,虽也有信号衰减迹象,断断续续,但得益于主持人们字正腔圆的中文,我还是能听清楚大概意思的,每一次您们播音,我都格外珍惜!我害怕失去你们!作为欧洲唯一保留中文短波的国家,我真的害怕失去你们!作为第一次联系罗广的老听友,我诚恳的建议您们,绝不能依赖网络!

The aforementioned European stations, including yours, although keeping broadcasting online, may not know that in our country, it isn’t convenient to listen to foreign stations online. The network may not be very responsive, it’s operation speed be limited, freeze after a few seconds of good listening, may take time to load again. That’s disappointing, these factors have has made internet radio devoid of value. It can’t be compared with the reliability and smoothness of shortwave radio. I hope your station can hear an ordinary listener’s voice and accompany us on shortwave forever!

前面提到的欧洲国家,包括贵台在内,虽然保留了对中国的网络广播,但是他们或许不知道,在我国,接收外国的网络广播是很不舒服的,网络卡顿,运营商限速,听的好好的,卡顿好几秒,继续播音,甚至加载的时候都得等好久,非常非常的扫兴,这些因素,都导致他们的网络广播收听价值荡然无存………与收听短波广播的可靠流畅是无法比拟的!希望贵台能够听到我一个普通听众的声音,能够在收音机里永远陪伴我们!

____________

Related

Some Radio Romania International history, Jan 25, 2018
DW Chinese informs listeners, Oct 27, 2012
“Opinion leaders”, May 20, 2011

____________

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Earthly Miracles and Stable Expectations

Just a look at a few headlines, mostly “NPC”-session-related, more or less.

“On its own” – former East German SED paper “Junge Welt”
marvels at socialism with Chinese characteristics

1. Creating and overcoming poverty

Xi Jinping declared victory in the fight against poverty on December 4 last year, writes David Bandurski of the China Media Project (CMP), but also quotes voices that consider Xi’s declaration premature, based on previous “poverty creation”, and the “victory” itself to be possibly unsustainable.

It’s all about the Xi himself, CMP concludes, citing an example from China’s English-language propaganda, and the earthly miracles (人间奇迹) he is doing.

2. State Council’s economic policies

China’s authorities will stick to the “six stabilities” and “six guarantees”, and “put employment first”, chief state councillor Li Keqiang told an international press conference on Thursday afternoon local time. China’s “premiers” traditionally do Q &A with the press once a year, in the wake of the annual “National People’s Congress” sessions.

The “six stabilities” (六稳) include stable employment (稳就业), stable finance (稳金融), stable foreign trade (稳外贸), stable foreign investment (稳外资), stable investment (稳投资 – that would be domestic, it seems), and stable expectations (稳预期).

The “six guarantees” (六保) are about ensuring employment among residents (保居民就业), the people’s basic livelihood (保基本民生), the market as the main part (保市场主体), food and energy security (保粮食能源安全), supply chain stability (保产业链供应链稳定) and grassroots operations  (保基层运转, meaning authorities and measures taken at or near the grassroots level).

While the “six stabilities” state domestic and foreign investment all in a row, Li confirmed the main role for the “domestic cycle as the main body” (国内大循环为主体) of a “dual circulation” system as he answered a question from Singapore’s “Lianhe Zaobao” correspondent. Rather than committing China’s leadership, Li quoted an unspecified entrepreneur as saying that to grasp the domestic cycle meant to develop the domestic market further, and that to grasp the “dual circulation” meant to develop the international markets further, and both markets could still open access.

我在代表团讨论的时候,一位企业家说,抓住内循环就是要开拓国内市场,抓住双循环就是要开拓国际市场,两个市场还可以打通。他说得很朴实,但言简意赅。

3. Quote of the Month

Radio has no memory.

Except yours and mine. Just like Jonathan Marks, I taped many radio broadcasts, and occasionally, I’m digitalizing bits of it. Systematically, but very slowly. It’s going to take years.

____________

Friday, February 26, 2021

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation: Navel-gazing Rogue in the Broadcasting Room

Why, sure …

 

Canada’s parliament declares China’s persecution of Uighurs a “genocide”? Cool, but who in China cares when Canada doesn’t speak to the world, including China, and explains the declaration?

If the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s (CBC) critics state their case correctly, that’s the state of Canada’s foreign broadcasting. Not only will CBC, reportedly, violate the Broadcasting Act by cutting Radio Canada International (RCI) down further. It would also be sort of privatizing it, by shifting its focus to domestic minority broadcasting, thus competing with private ethnic radio operators – and, according to the “RCI Action Committee” – to newcomers to our country”, “engaging with its target audience, particularly newcomers to Canada”, and making this new content “freely available to interested ethnic community media”.

The idea that publicly-funded foreign broadcasters (or media platforms) should shift their attention to migrant communities at home, at least to some extent, is nothing new. Germany’s Deutsche Welle has been doing this for a number of years now, and so has (it seems to me) Radio Sweden.

But that’s not RCI’s mandate, writes the Action Committee.

CBC’s supervisors appear to be fast asleep, while there is “a rogue elephant in the broadcasting room”, according to Peter Menzies, a former Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) vice chair.

According to the “RCI Action Committee’s” blog on December 4 last year, RCI, after what CBC calls its “modernization”, won’t run its own website any more, and the Spanish, Arabic and Chinese services will be basically closed – cut from three editors each to only one editor per language remaining, to translate content from the CBC and Radio-Canada websites. And the English and French programs, it seems, will cease to exist completely.

Menzies, a signatory to a letter calling on senior government officials to get CBC executives to put their latest plans on hold and give RCI employees a few weeks to come up with an alternative restructuring plan, also gives a short account of Radio Canada International’s history, from the final days of world war 2 to 2012, when RCI’s budget was cut into by 80 percent, two-thirds of staff laid off and RCI ceased shortwave and satellite transmission, becoming internet only.

Will CBC listen to its critics? Not if its supervisors remain silent. In fact, RCI staff has often put up resistance and creativity against budget and program slashes, but never successfully, at least not in the long run.

Radio Canada International has been a shadow of itself since early this century, and it had seen cuts in the late 1980s and early 1990s, too.

Radio Canada International once ran a German service. It was one of the most popular shortwave programs among German listeners both in East and West Germany until it was closed in late 1989 or early 1990. At the time, new language services such as Arabic or Chinese were said to be the reason for terminating the daily half-hour German programs.

Gunter Michelson, one of the Radio Canada International German service’s editors who had left or retired before the department was closed, said in a telephone interview at the time that

This is a strange issue. The German programs’ termination is explained by the launch of broadcasts in Chinese. The idea of a Chinese service in itself is up-to-date and very good. China will, after all, be one of the world’s greatest markets. But the same logic demands that Canada broadcasts in German, to the European-Community, which is going to be the world’s biggest trading block in the foreseeable future, with 340 million consumers and 60 million people within the EC and 80 million in central Europe speak German. You can’t simply ignore them.[…]*)

Sure thing: you can, just as you can ignore a potential billion-and-a-half Chinese audience. OK – many of them were lost when the shortwave broadcasts from Canada ended, anyway.

Thirty years later, the budget slashes are coming full circle – it’s the Chinese service’s turn to be (nearly) eliminated. To whom is Canada talking when its parliament passes a resolution concerning China?

Probably to itself. Be a human-rights advocate and feel good about it.

____________

Note

*) Michelson, August 27, 1989: Das ist eine außerordentlich befremdliche Sache. Begründet wird die Einstellung des deutschsprachigen Programms mit der Aufnahme von Sendungen in Chinesisch. An sich ist die Idee eines chinesischen Dienstes aktuell und sehr gut. China wird ja eines Tages einer der größten Absatzmärkte der Welt sein. Aber die gleiche Logik erfordert auch, dass Kanada auf Deutsch ins EG-Gebiet sendet, das ja in zwei oder drei Jahren mit 340 Millionen Verbrauchern den in absehbarer Zeit größten Wirtschaftsblock der Welt darstellen wird. Und über 60 Millionen Personen im EG-Gebiet, um 80 Millionen in Mitteleuropa, sprechen ja Deutsch. Die kann man nicht einfach ignorieren. […]

____________

Related

RCI “effectively retired”, April 9, 2012
Advocacy journalism not the problem, Jan 26, 2012
Opinion leaders, May 20, 2011

____________

Monday, January 18, 2021

Zang Tiewei: “The Masses’ Opinions, reflected in National Legislation” since 1954

The following are excerpts from a long China News Service (CNS) interview with “National People’s Congress'” Standing Committee spokesman Zang Tiewei (臧铁伟).

Links within blockquotes added during translation.

“Authoritative answers” (权威回应)

Main link: How does the voice of the people enter national legislation?

[…]

Q: The 13th National People’s Congress’ fourth session will be held in March this year. It will review the outline draft for the 14th five-year plan. We have noticed that in the previous outline draft’s “pooling wisdom” section, the masses’ suggestions were directly absorbed into the draft. We believe there are many such cases. Are there any that impressed you deeply?

中新社记者:十三届全国人大四次会议将于今年3月举行,审议“十四五”规划纲要草案。我们注意到,在此前纲要草案的“开门问策”中,有普通民众的建议,直接被吸收到了草案当中。相信在我们立法过程中,这样的事例也有很多,有没有让您印象深刻的案例?

A: Of course there are. In my legislative work which I have been doing for almost 30 years, there are some cases that impressed me very deeply. The masses’ opinions concerning legislation are reflected in legislative organs’ channels without any impediment. The masses’ opinions are accepted and absorbed into the legislative drafts. That happens frequently. It’s something very normal.

臧铁伟:当然有。我从事立法工作将近30年,有几个事例让我印象非常深刻。普通民众对于立法的意见,反映到立法工作机关的渠道是非常畅通的;普通民众的意见被采纳和吸收到法律草案中,也是经常发生、非常正常的一个事情。

There are mainly two channels to which the masses reflect their opinions. The first one is that drafts are publicly addressed to society to seek input. The first legislation the public’s input was sought was for the constitutional draft in 1954. At that time, the scale of that request for society’s input was very big, and it managed to really orderly let everyone from the peasants in rural areas to the workers in the factories and workshops hear the legislative draft. Since then, the seeking of the entire society’s input has gone through a process of sixty years. It should be said that this is an important way for the masses to participate in legislation.

民众向立法机关反映意见,主要有两个渠道。第一个渠道,法律草案公开向社会征求意见。中国最早一部公开向社会征求意见的法律是1954年的宪法草案,当时向社会征求意见的规模非常大,真真正正做到了从田间地头的农民到工厂车间的工人都能听到这部法律草案。从那时起到现在,法律草案征求全社会意见已经经历了60多年的历程。应当说这是人民群众参与立法的一个重要途径。

For example, as for the civil code which is just being put into practice, in the process of its compilation, has sought opinions from the entire society ten times, with more than one million articles, all of which have been sorted out and studied by the legislative organs’ staff.

比如说刚刚施行的民法典,它在编纂的过程中,先后十次向全社会公开征求意见,有100多万条,每一条意见立法机关的工作人员都进行了梳理和研究。

The second main way goes through the legislative working committee’s contact point. In 2015 and 2020, the legislative working committee has thoroughly implemented the spirit of secretary general Xi Jinping’s instructions and the spirit of the central committee’s fourth plenary session, has established ten legislative contact points nationwide twice, nine of which were grassroot legislative contact points, and one of which was for universities. This truly extends the “eyes” and “ears” of legislative work directly to the rural areas and the factories and workshops, schools, communities [neighborhoods], so that we can directly listen to and gather opinions from the grassroot levels’ front line units and the cadres’ and masses’ opinions about the legislative draft.

第二个主要的途径,是通过法工委的立法联系点。法工委在2015年和2020年,贯彻落实习近平总书记指示精神和党的十八届四中全会精神,先后两次在全国范围内建立了十个立法联系点,九个是基层立法联系点、一个是高校。它确实可以让立法工作机构的“眼睛”和“耳朵”直接延伸到田间地头、工厂车间、学校、社区,能直接听取基层一线的单位和干部群众对法律草案的意见。

Over the past five years to date, we have received more than 4,000 opinions concerning more than 80 legislative drafts and legislative plans, by seeking opinions through the grassroots legislative contact points. Among these, many have been adopted into legislative drafts. It should be said that this has been very helpful to improve the quality of legislation.

迄今5年多来,我们先后就80多部法律草案和立法计划,向基层立法联系点征求意见,收到了4000多条意见,其中很多都在法律草案中予以采纳。应当说对于提高立法的质量非常有帮助。

When the Law on the Protection of Minors (revision draft) was given to the legislative contact points to seek opinions, a group of students from a middle school belonging to the East China University of Political Science and Law put forward many amendment proposals to the Law on the Protection of Minors (revision draft) to Hongqiao legislative contact point, including the issue of extracurricular tuition classes, the issue of teachers authority to discipline, how to prevent minors to get deeply addicted to the internet, and the issue of domestic violence.

在2020年未成年人保护法(修订)向立法联系点征求意见的时候,上海华东政法大学附属中学的一群中学生,向虹桥立法联系点提出了许多对未成年人保护法(修订)草案的修改意见,包括课外补习班的问题、教师惩戒权的问题、如何预防青少年沉迷网络的问题、家庭暴力的问题。

After the opinions put forward by these students had been reflected to the Hongqiao legislative contact point working organs, we researched the articles one by one and adopted some into the final legislative drafts. With regards to this, the legislative working committee especially sent a thank-you letter to the East China University of Political Science and Law’s middle school, thanking them for their participation and support in the legislative work.

这些学生提出的意见经过虹桥立法联系点反馈到立法工作机构之后,我们逐条进行了研究,有一些采纳到了最终通过的法律案中。为此,法制工作委员会还特意给华东附中去了一封感谢信,感谢他们对立法工作的参与和支持。

Apart from these two major channels, there are still many other ways. Citizens may write letters, faxes, make a phonecall, and some expert scholars even give their opinions right at the legislative organs. All these channels can be used without impediment.

除了这两种主要的途径之外,还有许多的途径,公民可以通过比如写信、来传真、打电话,甚至有些专家学者当面到立法机关反映意见,这些渠道都是畅通的。

I can give you another example here. A letter without characters on it. There was one concerning the property law draft without any characters. When this letter was opened by our staff, there were no characters, only numerous densely packed dots. Afterwards, everyone guessed that this was probably a letter using Braille. So they took the letter without characters to the China Disabled Persons’ Federation to ask their help. The China Disabled Persons’ Federation also supported us very much, organizing several Braille experts to translate it on the same day, and it was indeed a Braille letter with an opinion concerning the legislative draft. We also carried out research of this opinion. Later, we heard that this had been someone who suffered from impaired vision in Shandong who wrote this letter in Braille.

这里我还可以再举一个例子——一封没有字的信。群众关于法律草案(物权法草案)提出的意见是一封没有字的信。这封信到了立法机关之后,我们的工作人员拆开一看,没有一个字,只有密密麻麻的针眼。后来大家猜测说这很有可能是一封用盲文写成的信,我们的同事就专门拿着这封没有一个字的信到中国残联求助。中国残联也对我们非常支持,组织了几位盲文专家当天就翻译出来了,确实是用盲文对法律草案提出的意见。我们对每条意见又进行了研究和梳理。后来了解到是山东的一位视力障碍患者,用盲文给立法工作机构写的这封信。

Our students and our patients can all freely express their opinion concerning legislative work and legislative drafts, and every article of their opinion must be conscientiously researched and sorted out by our staff. It can be clearly seen that ordinary masses’ rights to participate in legislative work is fully guaranteed.

我们的学生、我们的患者都可以自由表达他们对立法工作、对法律草案的意见,而且每一条意见我们工作人员必定是认真地研究和梳理过的。可见,普通民众参与立法工作的权利是得到充分保障的。

[…]

Q: We have noticed that in recent years, the US Senate and House of Representatives have often insisted on launching so-called legislative drafts despite the Chinese side’s warnings, cruelly interfering in China’s internal affairs. You and the National People’s Congress foreign affairs committee spokesperson have published statements many times concerning these matters, expressing strong opposition. May I ask, will our legislative organs also take reciprocal and efficient measures to this, to contain this kind of behavior?

中新社记者:我们注意到,近些年,美国国会参众两院经常不顾中方警告,执意出台所谓法案,从法律的角度粗暴干涉中国内政,您和全国人大外事委员会发言人也多次就此发表谈话,表示强烈反对。请问未来,我们的立法机关是否也会有对等的有效措施,对此类行为进行反制?

A: In recent years, the two American chambers, the US Senate and Congress, have launched many anti-China motions, cruelly interfering in China’s internal affairs, especially on last year’s December 8, when US Congress, because of its opposition against the National People’s Congress’ Standing Commission’s adoption of the Hong Kong national security law and its decision on Hong Kong SAR Legislative Council qualifications issue, surprisingly adopted so-called sanctions against the leaders of China’s National People’s Congress. This is an undisguised and despicable behavior, to use the Hong Kong issue to interfere with China’s internal affairs. The National People’s Congress Standing Commission spokesperson also issued a statement on December 9, strongly condemning this, and expressing firm opposition.

臧铁伟:近年来美国参众两院出台了多项反华议案,粗暴干涉中国内政,尤其是去年的12月8日,美国国会因为反对中国全国人大及其常委会通过的香港国安法和关于香港特别行政区立法会议员资格问题的决定,竟然针对中国全国人大常委会领导作出所谓的制裁,这是公然借香港问题干涉中国内政的卑劣行径。全国人大常委会发言人也于12月9日发表了谈话,对此予以强烈谴责,表示坚决反对。

We have been consistent in opposing foreign and off-borders forces interfering with China’s internal affairs by whatever means, and we will, just as we have in the past, resolutely fulfill our rightful duties, protect national security, sovereignty, and development interests. Of course, we will also watch the situation and take reciprocal countermeasures. As has been seen, given that the American side has used Hong Kong’s affairs to cruelly interfere with China’s internal affairs and to harm China’s core interests, we have decided to take reciprocal countermeasures against US State Department officials, members of Congress and related NGO people who have shown bad behavior on the Hong Kong issue, and on their closest relatives. We have also cancelled visa-free treatment for visits by holders of American holders of special diplomatic passports.

我们一贯反对外国和境外的势力以任何方式干涉中国内政,我们将一如既往地坚定履行我们的法定职责,维护国家安全、主权和发展利益。当然,我们也会视情况采取对等的反制措施。正如大家已经关注到,鉴于美方借香港事务粗暴干涉中国内政、损害中国核心利益,我们决定对在香港问题上表现恶劣、负有主要责任的美国国务院官员、议会人员和有关非政府组织人员及其他们的直系亲属采取对等反制措施,并且取消美国持外交护照人员临时访问香港和澳门的免签待遇。

[…]

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Before you define your next China policy, learn from Lu Xun

Chinese nationalism has had its share of wishful thinking. But in recent decades, the West has fallen into similar traps, although its humiliations – the 2008 financial crisis and the flat-footed reaction of most Western countries to the Covid-19 pandemic – have been comparatively minor humiliations.

True story

But humiliations they have been, and nothing shows this more clearly than the way some of the West’s governments have reacted to China’s handling of the pandemic. To quote one of the more civil criticisms  – by Iain Duncan Smith, a former leader of the United Kingdom’s Conservative Party -, “the world would have had more time to prepare for the pandemic if Chinese leaders had been more forthcoming”. No worries, though, he switched into another gear right away:

For too long, nations have lamely kowtowed to China in the desperate hope of winning trade deals. Once we get clear of this terrible pandemic it is imperative that we all rethink that relationship,” he said.

Politics, that much is true, must never let a crisis go waste, and there are reasons to “rethink” the West’s, and possibly the world’s, relationship with China.

But China only bears a limited share of responsibility for this global crisis. If people in the West don’t understand that, they don’t understand their own political class.

We don’t need to reconsider our relationship with China because its role in the pandemic was questionable.

We must reconsider our relationship with China because we must not tolerate the way Chinese authorities treat Chinese citizens. Human rights violations often hit “national minorities” like Tibetans or Uyghurs hardest, but the political malpractice doesn’t stop there.

We must reconsider our relationship with China because in Hong Kong, Beijing has shown complete disregard for the rule of law, within Hong Kong’s autonomy (that’s nothing new, China has never understood the concept of autonomy anyway), and complete disregard of international law.

We must reconsider our relationship with China because in the South China Sea and other international waters, China has adopted a policy of annexation.

And we must reconsider our relationship with China, because with his “Resist America, Aid Korea” speech in October, Chinese CPC secretary general and state chairman Xi Jinping has made China’s disregard for international law official, by suggesting that Maoist China’s war against the United Nations had been a “war against imperialism”.

There may be some reason to believe that many within the CPC believe that the speech has been a non-starter, because they haven’t dwelled too much on it in the media since, and because the faces of many of the leaders during Xi’s speech appeared to speak volumes. But there is no reason to believe that Xi’s speech wasn’t an honest attempt at rewriting history, at the expense of truth. This attempt must be taken seriously.

All that said, when reconsidering our relationship with China, we must not walk into the Ah-Q trap. This is something we might learn from China indeed: the way Chinese intellectuals used to be self-critical was part of China’s more recent successes, just as China’s more recent pompousness and triumphalism may earn it serious setbacks.

The same is true for us, and especially for those who consider themselves our “elites”. For decades, China has been described as an opportunity too big to miss, and to justify throwing valuable Western-made technology at it. To make this foreign-trade salad more palatable to the general public (and arguably also to the propagandists themselves), China-trade advocates added that trade and engagement with China would lead to improvements in the country’s human rights practice, or its economic and social system.

“The party is over,” a long-forgotten “expert” crowed in the 1990s, in a huge, long-forgotten book. Others suggested that the CPC might become a “social-democratic” party. But nobody seemed to ask the CPC people if they had any such intentions, at least not seriously. And if they did, they only heard the answers they wanted to hear.

There was never a doubt that China’s political system is a dictatorship. And when that dictatorship began to succeed economically and technogically, quite a number of Western intellectuals, and especially business people, began to admire that dictatorship:

I have fantasized–don’t get me wrong–but that what if we could just be China for a day? I mean, just, just, just one day. You know, I mean, where we could actually, you know, authorize the right solutions, and I do think there is a sense of that, on, on everything from the economy to environment. I don’t want to be China for a second, OK, I want my democracy to work with the same authority, focus and stick-to-itiveness. But right now we have a system that can only produce suboptimal solutions.

Don’t get me wrong either. I don’t think Thomas Friedman argued in favor of the introduction of authoritarianism, let alone totalitarianism. But he didn’t apply any logic – and he’s no exception among Western intellectuals. He’s full of ideas and without a plan when it comes to these issues.

Because if we could be China for one day, we could be China every day. And then we would be the kind of society that we now want to reconsider our relationship with. (OK, maybe not Friedman.)

But the worst thing is to think of ourselves as Santa. The guys who only want the best for China, etc.. I’m pretty sure that half of my fellow Germans, in as far as they have misgivings about China, don’t worry about China’s human rights record. They worry about its economic clout, and the preparedness of a lot of Chinese people to work harder, for less income, then we would.

That’s legitimate self-interest, but nobody should confuse this interest with something like international solidarity. To do that, to suggest that “we are nice, we are generous, we’ve done everything for them, and they are bloody ingrats” is typical Ah-Q thought.

No, guys. Our bosses threw our technology at China, technology developed with support of public institutions we paid our taxes for. That’s what our bosses usually do. Sometimes at the Chinese, sometimes at other promising markets. But as our bosses’ greed for profits from China knew no limits, they fooled themselves, too. Occasionally, they complained once it went wrong. But this wasn’t “Chinese” greed – they only picked up what was thrown at them. And even if they never told us that they would make good use of it, with or against the law, daily practice could have shown us in a year that this transactional model wouldn’t work – at least not for the West.

China – not just the CPC, but most of the Chinese people – have always told us that their rightful global place was at the pole position.

They have always told us that they would “re-take” Taiwan, once they had the power to do so.

Every bloke in the street told us that Hong Kong was no stuff to negotiate about – it had been taken by the imperialists, and had to be retaken by China. Besides, those Hong Kongers shouldn’t think of themselves as “special”. Yadayada.

We played along, one year after another. We still do. I’m afraid we’ll continue to do so. Our governments, for example, keep participating in the diplomatic charade to this day that, for some incomprehensible reasons (depending on what individual Western nation’s memoranda with Beijing have made up out of thin air), Taiwan wouldn’t be quite a sovereign country.

In short: it was hard to get China wrong, but we managed anyway. And if we don’t stop suggesting that our intentions in this relationship had always been honest, we won’t get our next China policy right either.

To reshape our relationship with China, let’s learn from Lu Xun first.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Huanqiu Shibao: “Strike the iron while it is hot, Reinforce China’s political self-confidence”

The following are translated excerpts from an unsigned editorial by Huanqiu Shibao. The article was published online on Sunday. Links within blockquotes added during translation.

Main link:
To take a turn for the better, 2021 will require hard work (2021,好转需经艰苦努力才会发生)

[…]

This year, China has ample capital to continue [the process of] becoming the most outstanding country with its successes in fighting the epidemic and in transforming these achievements into fruits of economic development. To accelerate the expansion of domestic markets, to promote the formation of the dual-circulation pattern and its consolidation is crucial, because the trade wars of the past few years have told us that relying on the international markets alone is highly problematic and the political risks of it are growing. Domestic markets that balance and mutually support each other have become the road to follow.

今年中国有充足资本继续成为抗疫成就最突出的国家,并且将这一成就朝着经济发展的成果转化。加快扩大国内市场、促进双循环格局的形成和巩固至关重要,因为过去几年的贸易战已经告诉我们,仅靠扩大国际市场既困难重重,而且其政治风险也越来越高,国内和国际市场的平衡及相互促进已是必由之路。

Even if the global economy shows some recovery in the new year, it will be weak, and if China’s share in this year’s international recovery is disproportionally high, it will cause more jealousy, and this is something we have to be aware of.

全球经济在新的一年里即使有所恢复,也会是微弱的,如果中国今年的经济增长占据过大国际经济恢复的份额,将会引来更多妒忌,这方面的意识我们切不可缺失。

China’s leadership in controlling the epidemic has provided us with a huge comparative advantage over other major countries, and this summary rather belongs to history. As far as China’s society itself is concerned, especially as far as many individuals are concerned, the impact and challenges the coronavirus epidemic has brought about are more real, and China’s policies of this year must address these practical problems, and they must not lower their problem-solving qualities because of the epidemic.

中国率先控制住疫情,这提供了我们相对其他主要国家的巨大比较优势,但这是一笔国家的宏观账,这份总结更多属于历史。就中国社会自身来说,尤其是对很多个人来说,新冠疫情带来的冲击和困难更为真实,今年中国的各项政策仍需针对这些实际问题,不因疫情降低解决它们的质量。

One of the biggest earnings for China’s society in 2020 is the increase in political self-confidence. The epidemic has provided the Chinese people with a rare glimpse on the efficiency of China’s political system and its people-centered objective. America’s idolistic effect has basically collapsed. But one year is too short. Chinese society’s political self-confidence must be reinforced by striking the iron while it is hot. This year is a critical period during which the Chinese people’s self-acknowledgment of last year must go on.

2020年中国社会最大的收获之一是增加了政治自信,国人通过这场疫情提供的罕见可比性看到了中国政治体制的效率,读懂了它以人民为中心的宗旨,美国的长期偶像效应基本垮掉了。然而一年的时间太短了,中国社会的政治自信需要趁热打铁地加固,今年是延续中国人去年自我认知的关键时期。

[…]

It won’t be easy to make China take another step forward while giving the masses another experience of improvement at the same time, but it deserves China’s efforts. Objectively speaking, the number of Chinese people who have suffered losses in 2020 hasn’t been small, and 2021 must allow this great number of people to “turn losses into gains”, and turn China’s victory into a common triumphal hymn for all the people.

要让国家往前再迈一步与人民群众的收获体验再获改善同时发生,这非常不易,但却是值得中国2021年跳跳脚争取摸到的。客观说,2020年受了损失的中国人还是不少的,2021年要让那些绝大多数个人也都“扭亏为盈”,让中国的胜利成为真正全体国民的共同凯歌。

____________

Related

A test for our Governance System, Jan 24, 2020
Frugal new year, Febr 10, 2018

________

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Happy New Year

railway vision (archive)

 

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: