Posts tagged ‘Beijing Olympics’

Monday, February 10, 2014

And now for the not-so-pleasant Reform Tasks: the Fat Years are Over, Xi Jinping tells Russian TV

The following is a translation of a Xinhua article, as carried by several Chinese websites. Links within blockquote added during translation into English. the article quotes excerpts from an interview conducted between Xi Jinping and Russian television.

The closing remarks by Xi about the end of the pleasant reforms may be, but don’t have to be an indication that times could get tougher for Chinese citizens in economic terms. It may just as well suggest that the task of governing China is becoming more difficult for the leaders, or simply to understate China’s prospects in front of a Russian audience. This kind of “deep sigh” seems to run through the China-related paragraphs of the interview. Either way, the interview has now been published in Chinese online media, too.

From February 6 to 8, Chinese state chairman Xi Jinping went to the southern Russian coastal city of Sochi to attend the opening ceremony of the twenty-second Olympic Games. While in Russia, Xi Jinping also held a bilateral meeting with Russian president Putin. He also gave an interview to Russian television, answering anchor Buliliaofu’s [Chinese phonetics of a Russian name] questions about the Sochi Winter Olympic Games, Sino-Russian relations, the prospects of China’s comprehensive and deepened reform and development, and other questions.

2月6日至8日,中国 国家主席习近平赴俄罗斯南部海滨城市索契出席第二十二届冬季奥林匹克运动会开幕式。在俄期间,习近平还与俄总统普京举行了双边会晤。习近平还接受了俄罗斯 电视台的专访,就索契冬奥会、中俄关系、中国全面深化改革和发展前景等问题回答了主持人布里廖夫提问。

Q: What’s your impression of Sochi?
您对索契的印象如何?

A: This is my first visit to Sochi, but I have heard about Sochi before. When I was young, I read the novel “How the Steel was Tempered”, which Ostrovsky completed right here in Sochi. Legend has it that Prometheus was exiled to the mountains around Sochi, and Sochi has preserved many Roman and Byzantine empire remains, which should tell that Sochi is a city with a time-honored culture.

Sochi’s geographic position is special, in that it belongs to the northernmost region with subtropical climate. From what I have seen and heard here, this is all true. All four seasons of the year are green, the skies and seas are blue, with very good natural alpine ski areas. The people of Sochi are very friendly and hospitable. Sochi is very vital, charming, and the perfect place for holding the Winter Olympic Games. After the Winter Olympic Games, this place will be even better known, and many people, including Chinese tourists, will come here.

这是我第一次来索契,但我对索契早有所闻。我年轻时多次读过《钢铁是怎样炼成的》这本小说,奥斯特洛夫斯基就是在索契完成了这部著作。传说普罗米修斯曾经被禁锢在索契的群山之中,索契保留着不少罗马帝国、拜占庭帝国的遗迹,这足以说明索契是一个历史悠久的文化名城。

索 契地理位置特殊,是地球最北端唯一属于亚热带气候的地区。这次来索契,所见所闻,果然名不虚传。这里四季常绿,蓝蓝的天,蓝蓝的海,有很好的天然高山雪 场。索契人民热情好客。索契很有活力,很有魅力,举办冬奥会再适合不过了。索契冬奥会之后,这里的名声会更大,更多的人包括中国游客会慕名而来。

Q: What are your hopes for the Chinese delegation’s performance during the Sochi Winter Olympics?
您对中国奥运代表团参加索契冬奥会的表现有何期待?

A: China still lags behind in winter sports, especially when it comes to countries that are strong in these fields. In recent years, we have made rather quick progress in ice-skating, with some strengths in free-style skiing. This morning, I met some athletes and coaches of the Chinese sports delegation. The Chinese athletes have made great training efforts, they will carry forward the Olympic spirit, will overcome their selves, go beyond themselves, and develop to their best levels.

Meantime, the Chinese cities of Beijing and Zhangjiakou  have officially put forward their joint application to the International Olympic Committee to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. We are also here to learn from the Russian people, from the Russian athletes, from the strong Russian sports disciplines, and the successful Russian methodology in holding the Winter Olympic Games.

中国冬季运动项 目特别是滑雪项目竞技水平同冰雪运动强国相比还有较大差距。近些年,我们在滑冰项目上进步较快,在自由式滑雪空中技巧等项目上具备一定实力。今天上午,我 见了中国体育代表团部分运动员、教练员。中国运动员为参加索契冬奥会做了艰苦训练,他们会发扬奥林匹克精神,努力战胜自我、超越自我,发挥自己的最好水 平。

同时,中国北京市联合张家口市已经向国际奥委会正式提出申办2022年冬奥会,我们也是来向俄罗斯人民学习的,向俄罗斯运动员学习,向俄罗斯的体育强项学习,向俄罗斯举办冬奥会的成功做法学习。

Q: You will soon have served as China’s state chairman for a year. How does it feel to be the leader of such a big country?
您担任中国国家主席快一年了,领导中国这么大的国家,您的感受是什么?

A: China is a country with a territory of 9.6 million square kilometers, fifty-six nationalities, 1.3 billion inhabitants, with a level of economic development that isn’t very high so far, with the people’s standard of living also not being very high yet. To govern such a country isn’t easy. One has to have a long-term perspective, but be down-to-earth, too. In the past, I have worked in many different places in China. I know very well that from China’s east to its west, from the local to the central level, the differences are too big. Therefore, to be a Chinese leader, one has to understand the issues clearly, to make overall plans while taking all factors into consideration, to maintain an overlall balance, to highlight the key issues, [to mobilize what is pivotal?] , and sometimes, you have to drop small things to grasp big things, […], or figuratively speaking, it takes ten fingers to play the piano.

中国有960万平方公里国土,56个民族,13亿多人口,经济社会发展水平还不高,人民生活水平也还不高,治理这样一个国家很不容易,必须登高望远,同时 必须脚踏实地。我曾在中国不同地方长期工作,深知中国从东部到西部,从地方到中央,各地各层级方方面面的差异太大了。因此,在中国当领导人,必须在把情况 搞清楚的基础上,统筹兼顾、综合平衡,突出重点、带动全局,有的时候要抓大放小、以大兼小,有的时候又要以小带大、小中见大,形象地说,就是要十个指头弹 钢琴。

Q: Last year, when you had just become state chairman, the first country you visited was Russia. This year, right after New Year, the first country you visit is once again Russia. The Russian people feel heartened by this. What were your considerations when making this decision?
去年您就任国家主席后,出访首选国家就是俄罗斯,今年新年伊始,您出访仍首选俄罗斯,对此俄罗斯人民倍感振奋。请问您作出这样的决定有何考虑?

A: Yesterday, I looked back together with President Putin, during our meeting. I am very satisfied with the development of Sino-Russian relations. This is a time when the development of Sino-Russian relations has the most solid foundations, the highest degree of mutual trust, and the greatest degree of regional and global influence. Visits between friends narrow distance, between relatives bring closeness. Holding the Winter Olympic Games is a happy occasion for Russia, and a great event for the international Olympic movement. China and Russia are good neighbors, good friends, and good partners. I and President Putin are old friends. According to the tradition of Chinese people, when neighbors and friends have a happy occasion at their homes, one obviously wants to congratulate and to participate together with the Russian people.

昨天,我同普京总统会晤时共同作了回顾。我对中俄关系发展取得的成果十分满意。当前中俄关系发展是基础最牢、互信最高、地区和国际影响最大的一个时期。

亲戚越走越亲,朋友越走越近。举办冬奥会是俄罗斯的喜事,也是国际奥林匹克运动的盛事。中俄是好邻居、好朋友、好伙伴,我和普京总统是老朋友了。按照中国人的传统,邻居和朋友家里办喜事,当然要来贺喜,同俄罗斯人民共襄盛举。

Q: The 18th central committee’s third plenary session passed the decision to comprehensively deepen reform and on several other important issues. You are the head of the leading group [or steering group, 领导小组]. What is your governing philosophy?

中共十八届三中全会通过了关于全面深化改革若干重大问题的决定,您本人担任全面深化改革领导小组组长。请问您的执政理念是什么?

A: To focus the abilities to promote reform, we have formed the central leading group for the comprehensive deepening of reform, headed by me. The task is to unify, deploy and to coordinate some important issues. I have called this “one-tenth deployment, nine-tenths implementation”.

In a country like China with 1.3 billion people, it isn’t easy to deepen reform. After 30 years of reform, China has entered the deep water [or blue water], and all the pleasant reforms have been completed. The delicious meat has been eaten, and what is still on the dishes are rather tough bones. This requires our courage, and steady moves. Courage means to push reform even when it is difficult, and to prove worthy, to tackle the hard bones, and to enter dangerous shoals. Steadiness is about keeping to the accurate direction, driving steadily, and, above all, to avoid disruptive mistakes.

To summarize my governing philosophy, it is to serve the people and to assume the responsibilities that are my duties.

为了集中力量推进改革,我们成立了中央全面深化改革领导小组,由我本人担任组长,任务就是统一部署和协调一些重大问题,再把工作任务分解下去逐一落实。我把这叫作“一分部署,九分落实”。

在中国这样一个拥有13亿多人口的国家深化改革,绝非易事。中国改革经过30多年,已进入深水区,可以说,容易的、皆大欢喜的改革已经完成了, 好吃的肉都吃掉了,剩下的都是难啃的硬骨头。这就要求我们胆子要大、步子要稳。胆子要大,就是改革再难也要向前推进,敢于担当,敢于啃硬骨头,敢于涉险 滩。步子要稳,就是方向一定要准,行驶一定要稳,尤其是不能犯颠覆性错误。

我的执政理念,概括起来说就是:为人民服务,担当起该担当的责任。

Saturday, January 21, 2012

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

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

Links within blockquotes added during translation. Main Link: http://theory.people.com.cn/GB/166866/166886/10068388.html

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

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

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

由于中国文化发展的起点太低,尽管当前推进速度比较快,但是吸引力还是极其有限的。

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

在语言方面,中国和西方的交流处于严重逆差状态。2003年,英国当时的财政大臣布朗来中国时说,英国从中国进口的越来越多的家电、服装和其他东西可以用出口的一样东西来平衡,这就是英语。英语教学作为一项出口项目,它的价值在5年里已经从65亿英镑增加到了103亿英镑,大约占英国GDP的1%。可见,对英国来说,中国的语言教学出口甚至根本就不值一提,不仅无法与产品出口相比较,更谈不上与英国的英语出口相竞争。

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

在高等教育方面,中国的大学质量远远地落后于美国,没有一所大学能够入围世界顶尖高校之列。由于教育水平落后于人,甚至清华北大这些中国顶级学府的学生,都每年成百上千地赴美留学;而美国大学每年来中国巡展,场场都是门庭若市。

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

在学术研究方面,时至今日,没有一个中国人在国内获得诺贝尔奖。教育部社会科学司副司长袁振国指出,现在全国每年出版哲学社会科学专著近2万部,发表专业论文20万篇,但是能够被介绍到国外的很少。多年来,我们的版权贸易一直存在着巨大的逆差,每年出口的版权只有进口版权的十分之一,而且出口的版权绝大部分是园林、建筑、饮食、服装、古董这些东西,我们的价值观、文化、哲学社会科学理念、思想观念的东西几乎没有出口。出口的图书也主要是到一些亚洲国家和中国的港澳台地区,面对欧美的逆差则达100:1以上。作为一个拥有5000多年文明史的文化发源地,中国只出口电视机,不出口思想观念,难怪有人说,中国是个“硬件加工厂”。

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

文艺演出也有类似状况。从1999年到2002年,仅俄罗斯就有285个文艺团体到中国演出,同期中国到俄罗斯演出的文艺团体只有30个,相差10倍。而且,中国对外演出长期以来都处于廉价交易的状态。由于很多对外演出都由外国经纪人把持,也由于缺少像样的品牌,中外文化交流开展多年,中国提供的都只是廉价劳动力。与此对比强烈的是,“世界三大男高音”来中国演出的出场费动辄数十万美元,欧美四大音乐剧、世界十大交响乐团等来华演出的最高票价卖到5000元,每次演出都赚了个盆盈钵满。相比之下,中国依靠文化吸引力创造经济价值的能力被严重削弱了。

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

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

2009年3月,温家宝总理强调我们应该有自己的动漫产业:“我有时看我孙子喜欢看动画片,但是动不动就是奥特曼。”

[…]

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

2006年9月,英国外交政策中心发表了一份研究报告,使用了从中国国家“品牌”调查活动中得到的数据。这次调查得出了两个结论:首先,尽管中国受到各国重视,但其品牌很弱,这个国家不为海外所了解;其次,中国人对自己的看法与世界其他民族对他们的看法有很大差别。

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

2006年4月5日,新加坡《联合早报》的一篇题为《中国寻找新的发展理念》的文章中评论指出:
中国在物质力量高速增长的同时,文化吸引力或者说软力量的建设却没有跟上……文化复兴是实现强国梦的必备条件。没有强大的文化力量,就没有强大的综合国力……文化振兴是中国新战略理念的构建的根基。

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

2007年,中评社发表社评文章对中国文化的国际地位做出了比较综合的评价:
中国文化在世界的影响力,绝对不可以说是巨大的。与美国文化相比较,中国文化在世界范畴中许多方面都是不足的。一,没有在国际社会成为一种流行的文化。二,没有形成有相当影响力的文化。三,没有成为推动世界经济发展的一股力量文化。

Lack of Core Values (核心价值观缺失)

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

改革开放30年中,我国一直处于变化最快、发展也最快的社会转型时期,传统价值观的社会基础迅速消失;与此同时,各种外来的文化和观念杂乱纷呈,纷纷进入人们的生活和头脑,人们自觉或不自觉地受到了影响。在这种社会基础与新文化的冲击下,核心价值观缺位的问题就出现了。

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

北京大学教授潘维认为,社会核心价值观缺位是中国现实中最严重的问题之一,中国要崛起,就无法回避重建社会核心价值观。清华大学人文社会科学学院中文系副教授旷新年则指出,上个世纪90年代以来,中国社会价值失落,意义真空,用祝东力先生的话说,处于一种“精神崩溃”的状态。中国社会科学院社会学家、剧作家、《国际社会科学杂志》(中文版)副主编黄纪苏认为,中国社会的两极分化导致了社会震荡和民族道德的崩溃。

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

2007年两会期间,来自各地的人大代表、政协委员十分关注中国人核心价值迷失的问题,“加紧构建社会核心价值体系”的呼声再度高涨,代表委员们纷纷献计献策,希冀尽快形成具有中国特色的、获得国民普遍认同的价值取向,以凝聚起全社会的力量,促进社会和谐与国家建设。胡锦涛总书记在第十七次党代会上提出,要“建设社会主义核心价值体系”,实际上也是在委婉地承认中国社会核心价值观方面的问题。

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

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

文化管理体制的改革是中国由计划经济体制向市场经济体制过渡的一个重要方面。由于改革需要时间,不能一蹴而就,所以虽然目前政府正在努力深化文化管理体制改革并已取得巨大的成就,但是传统的计划体制还在一定程度上和一定范围内存在,文化管理者还不能完全适应新型的文化管理方式,从而使得我国的文化生产力难以充分释放,进一步导致人民群众的文化生活需求得不到充分的满足,以及我国文化的国际竞争力相对薄弱。尤其在文化输出上,政府主导对我国文化的对外吸引力构成双重损害:一方面,制约了我国的文化生产力;另一方面,政府过多的介入引起了国际社会的疑虑、担忧和反感——他们认为,中国的文化输出因为政府的作用而具有了政治目的,要谨慎对待。为此,外交学院院长吴建民表示:

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

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

This is the best and most effective way.

提升中国的软实力,推动中华文化走向世界不能搞运动。因为那样宣传意味太浓,容易引起对方的怀疑和反感。这样做,又恰恰违背软实力的基本特点。推动中华文化走向世界要像杜甫那首题为《春夜喜雨》诗中所说的:“随风潜入夜,润物细无声。”这是最好的办法,也是最有效的办法。

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

因此,为了尽快提高我国的文化生产力,扩大我国文化的国际影响力,我们的文化体制改革必须坚定不移、快速稳妥地向前推进。

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

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

一般而言,对于一个发展中国家来说,制度常常是它的软肋,而且是导致它落后的关键原因。这一点在中国也不例外。虽然三十年来中国的稳定和高速发展,制度创新的贡献不容抹煞,但我们还是要承认,无论是政治方面,还是经济方面,中国要建立完善的制度体系都还有很长的路要走,制度模仿和创新的空间都还相当大。

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

在政治层面上,中国大面积的腐败和经常发生的群体性事件说明了很多问题:权力过度集中,民主集中制常常流于形式,以至出现完全是“一把手”说了算的“一言堂”现象;权力未得到有效制衡,行政权力僭越立法和司法权力,作为国家和地方最高权力机关的人民代表大会发挥不了应有的作用,司法的公正性受到行政权力的戕害;权力缺乏有效的监督,“阳光政府”建设依然任重道远等等。

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

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

因此,保守的非正式制度也只能靠正式制度的创新来引领发展,正式制度的缺位就变成一个尤其严重的问题。

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

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

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

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

无论国际社会怎样理解中国模式,无论他们对这一模式抱有何种态度,中国的发展模式都必须进行调整。尤其是在国际经济危机面前,这一调整更显紧迫。像中国模式公认的、也是让这一模式令西方羡慕的一个特点——强有力的政府主导,就需要适度削弱。这是清醒的政治领导人必须认识到的。实际上,中国领导人确实已经认识到,“中国模式”还处于发展之中。

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

2003年10月召开的中国共产党十六届三中全会提出了科学发展观。作为一种符合时代要求的发展观,如果得到切实执行,它将成为中共政权合法性的新基石。因此,它是中共乃至中国软实力的一种新来源。

The Limits of Diplomacy (外交上的局限)

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

这些年来,中国的外交日渐成熟,并取得了巨大的外交成就,这是任何一个明眼人都无法否认的事实。但是,出于进一步提高我国外交水平,更好地维护国家利益的目的,我们仍然需要对我们的外交做全面、细致、深入的审视,发现其中的不足,以使我们的外交更上一层楼。

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

我国是一个以马克思主义为指导思想的国家,历史唯物主义和辩证唯物主义不仅体现在我们的内部建设上,同样也贯彻在我们的外交实践之中。但是,由于实践远比理论来得复杂,在某些时候或某些场合,实践对理论一定程度的偏离是在所难免的。综观我国的外交实践,人们可以看到,一种重经济而轻文化,重国际地位而轻国际形象,重内在修为而轻外部宣传,重硬实力而轻软实力的倾向在一定程度上存在着。例如,国际关系倚重经济实力。中国社会科学院非洲研究室主任贺文萍曾表示,“当我向非洲朋友们解释中国仍是一个发展中国家时,他们就开始笑。”非洲朋友的这一笑充分说明,在他们看来,中国向非洲的投资和援助已经不是一个发展中国家所能承担得起的了。《魅力攻势———中国的软实力是如何改变世界的?》一书的作者柯兰齐克曾说:“中国的影响力来自它派发不加疑问的慷慨,而且如果中国经历经济低迷,它将大幅度下降”。这种说法虽然非常片面,但是我们的外交对于经济实力的依赖性也需要引起足够的重视。

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

实际上,随着经济实力的迅速发展,中国的国际地位和国际影响力也在迅速提高。同时,国际环境本身也发生了巨大变化。因此,外交的内外部条件都已经今非昔比。在这种情形下,我国有必要重新考虑自己的外交方式,根据内外部环境的变化做适度的调整。另外,由于未来若干年内,我国的国际地位还会继续迅速上升,这就要求我们的领导人为将来更新的外交做好思想上的准备。例如,我们可能需要重新审视我们的外交原则和立场,从根本上改变我们的外交战略。

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

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

我国的国民素质一直是制约我国国家形象的一项软肋。法国巴黎街头“请勿喧哗”的中文标识和美国纽约地铁站“请勿插队”的中文提醒让中国人十分尴尬,不文明的游客现丑的新闻一次次成为报章头条。有专家称“中国与美国的最大差距是国民平均素质的差距”,更有专家称“中国日本国民素质差距有30年”。2007年,著名旅游服务网站Expedia访问了1.5万名欧洲酒店业人士,对各国游客的表现进行了一次调查评比,中国人排名第三差,仅次于法国和印度。北京市前市长王岐山坦言,2008年奥运会,他最担心的就是在世界50亿双眼睛的注视下,市民的文明素质是否经受得起考验。

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

一国的文化是该国外化的文化资本,加上文化产品可能的传统性——正如目前人们所谈论的中国文化更多的是指传统文化,它可能离现实更为遥远。相比之下,国民素质是一国内化的文化资本,它与现实更为切近,对于在博弈中把握该国政府和人民的行为可能更有参考意义,因而更为重要,更加得到关注。从这种意义上讲,对于我国软实力的建设而言,国民素质的提高具有不下于文化传播的重要意义。因此,我国低下的国民素质势必显著影响我国的软实力水平,必须作为国家软实力建设的重要一环来抓。

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

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

从建设软实力的角度看,民间组织——或者说社会组织、NGO——以及拥有强大社会影响力的个人(以下简称民间组织)具有双重作用。

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

一方面,民间组织是帮助政府解决社会问题的重要助手。随着社会的发展,仅仅依靠传统的政府和市场两级还无法解决人类的可持续发展问题,民间组织正为了弥补政府和市场的不足而诞生。民间组织则被认为是政府的“减压阀”和民意的“平衡器”,还有着不可忽视的精神功能。因此,民间组织可以帮助政府解决社会问题,从而消除社会对政府的不满。从这种意义上讲,民间组织显然是提高政府合法性和社会凝聚力的积极因素,因而是提高国内软实力的积极因素。

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

另一方面,相比政府,民间组织具有一种独特的优势:客观中立性。一般而言,政府是国家利益的代表,有时候甚至是自身利益的代表。因此,政府的一言一行总要被人怀疑是出于利益的需要,其立场具有先天的劣势。而真正意义上的民间组织则具有更强的客观中立性——实际上,从一定意义上讲,这也正是某些民间组织得以产生的根据。所以,在面对无论国内还是国际社会时,它们更能获得信任,所提供的信息也就更有说服力。

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

尽管民间组织具有这样重要的社会和政治功能,但众所周知的是,我国的民间组织依然非常缺乏,具体的数据是无须列举的。造成这种情况的根本原因就在于,政府倾向于用一种政治化的眼光来看待民间组织的发展,对民间组织持一种防范心态。

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

为了建设真正的和谐社会,同时也为了进一步扩大我国的国际影响力,我国政府需要转变对民间组织的态度,消除对民间组织的不适当的敏感性,以宽容的政策为民间组织的发展释放空间。

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Notes

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

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Related

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

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Monday, January 16, 2012

The BoZhu Interviews: “The Tibetan Blogosphere is Expanding, but the Risks Remain the Same” –

an Interview with Dechen Pemba


Dechen Pemba is a UK citizen and an ethnic Tibetan. She is an editor of High Peaks, Pure Earth, a blog which translates Tibetan blog posts (in Chinese and Tibetan) into English, and she also runs a personal blog of her own. A short bio of her can be found here.

In July 2008, she was deported from Beijing, only weeks ahead of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. She had come to Beijing because things had gotten to a point where to really get to know Tibet today, you have to know what China is like.

The interview:

Q: You are Tibetan, a British citizen, and you once lived in Germany. When someone asks you to introduce yourself, what do you usually say?

A: I usually say that I am a Tibetan born in the UK – that’s something that people have usually already figured out from my accent! If the conversation goes further then I’ll also say that I have lived in Berlin and Beijing and spend a lot of time in New York.

Q: You have been to China. You worked in Beijing as an English teacher, and in July 2008, you were told to leave the country. You were banned to re-enter China for five years. How long did you stay in China? And have you ever been to Tibet?

A: I moved to Beijing in September 2006 to learn Chinese at the Central University for Nationalities. I lived there until I was deported in July 2008. I had been to Tibet twice before but in this period when I lived in Beijing I travelled to Lhasa once in 2007 and to Amdo several times.

Q: How was this experience? Were you seen as just another foreign-language teacher, or did it matter that you are Tibetan?

A: I was mostly seen as another foreign language teacher, the school I was teaching in only employed US, Canadian and British nationals and they could all tell that I was British, my ethnic background didn’t really come up in my day to day work there.

Q: You run a personal blog – Dechen Pemba’s Blog, and you also run or co-run High Peaks, Pure Earth, a blog which does translations of Woeser’s blogpost, Invisible Tibet. Woeser is Tibetan and lives in Beijing, and her topics are current affairs in and around Tibet. When did you start blogging on High Peaks, Pure Earth? Was blogging there a possible reason for the Chinese authorities to ban you from China?

A: I first started blogging on my return to the UK from China in July 2008, it was more out of necessity at first as I needed a personal online space to post statements for the media, it was the easiest way to get my side of the story out.
High Peaks Pure Earth started in September 2008 as a translations blog, a place where Tibetan blogs would be translated into English. Occasionally there will be original pieces featured on High Peaks Pure Earth but the content is overwhelmingly made up of translations. The work of prominent Tibetan poet, writer and blogger, Woeser, is translated the most.

Q: Why do you run a personal blog, besides High Peaks? Was there a key moment where you felt that you should share your experiences in and your feelings about Tibet which got your blog started? Or is Dechen’s Blog more about your life after having left China? Who are the main readers of Dechen’s Blog?

A: As mentioned before, I consider High Peaks Pure Earth to be more of a translations project whereas Dechen’s Blog is really a place where I can post my own thoughts, publish my articles and write updates about what I’m personally doing. If I feel like writing about Tibetan mastiffs, Tibetan rap videos or Chinese rock magazines, then I can just use my personal blog as a forum for these!

Q: Do you have a policy on trolls? Can you think of a reason to ban a commenter from your threads?

A: There is no official policy. Until now, nobody has been banned and the comments tend to be reasonable.

Q: Which are the three worst online articles or posts you have ever read about Tibet (that you remember)? Please name at least one Chinese, and one Western source. Feel free to name a third source from anywhere, but maybe there is one from this category from a Tibetan source, too?

A: There are too many worst articles to choose from. If I got worked up about all of them, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do so I’m just going to post one link from a Chinese source that I would classify as the most bizarre piece written against the Tibetan Youth Congress, JR, your readers can draw their own conclusions (!):
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-04/12/content_7964785.htm
Sometimes you need some light relief I guess.

Q: But there are differences between the Youth Congress and the Dalai Lama, for example, aren’t there? Concering the middle-way approach advocated by the Dalai Lama, for example? Where do you see your own position, there?

A: Yes that’s right, the Tibetan Youth Congress stands for Tibet’s complete independence whereas the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan exile administration advocate the middle-way approach. Actually, a few days after I was deported from China, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman announced to foreign media at a press conference in Beijing that I was a “core member” of the Tibetan Youth Congress. I don’t know where they were getting their information from as TYC is mainly based in India and I’ve never even been a member, so that was quite funny. I don’t feel that my own position is important for my work as I’m committed to putting the focus on Tibetans in Tibet, supporting and amplifying their voices.

Q: What’s the worst online article or post you have ever read about China (that you remember)?

A: Again, it’s hard to single out a piece right this second. I’m going to skip this question.

Q: Have you seen big changes in  the “China” or “Tibetan blogosphere” in general, since you started blogging yourself?

A: My feeling is that the Tibetan blogosphere is expanding and growing, particularly as more Tibetan join Weibo and mobile devices become more widely used. I think it would be fair to say that this is in keeping with the general trend in the Chinese blogosphere in the three or four years that I’ve been blogging. There are more and more Tibetan sites to monitor and Tibetans to follow on blogs and microblogs.
On a technological level, more and more apps are being developed in Tibetan and more and more netizens are enjoying the easier process these days to render Tibetan fonts and type in Tibetan. These are the biggest and most dramatic changes taking place. However, it must also be noted that the risks remain the same and Tibetan netizens have to remain cautious in what they blog and discuss online.

Q: When it comes to Tibetan online articles, I’m completely lost, because there seems to be no Tibetan translation function on “Google Translate”. Is there an alternative, if someone who doesn’t speak the language wants to get the gist, however roughly, of a Tibetan text online?

A: A Google Translate for Tibetan is a tool that I’d also like to see! For a general gist then this tool from the Tibetan and Himalayan Library is quite good but might be confusing for somebody who doesn’t have any knowledge of Tibetan:http://www.thlib.org/reference/dictionaries/tibetan-dictionary/translate.php

Q: Do you speak Tibetan yourself?

A: Yes, I grew up with Tibetan in my family.

Q: Which is your favorite blog, besides Woeser’s Invisible Tibet?  What’s the most informative online source about China?

One of my favourite Tibetan blogs that I always enjoy reading is called “Mountain Phoenix Over Tibet”. It seems to be written by a Tibetan woman who is based in the USA and every post is thoughtful and well-written, also thought-provoking: http://mountainphoenixovertibet.blogspot.com
I also check in every Wednesday to read The Lhakar Diaries, a blogging project started by a group of young Tibetans outside of Tibet: http://lhakardiaries.com/ What I like about it is that the project takes an initiative that started inside Tibet (Lhakar, meaning White Wednesday, a movement that started inside Tibet to assert Tibetan identity every Wednesday in small ways) and just runs away with the idea and makes it interesting and fun.
For China information I think China Digital Times does a great job aggregating news, if I’m too busy to read anything else, at least I feel like I know what’s going on if I glance over CDT: http://chinadigitaltimes.net/
To feel scholarly I will read the fantastic blog China Beat http://www.thechinabeat.org/ and for Chinese literature news I like to keep up with Paper Republic http://paper-republic.org/ and Bruce Humes http://www.bruce-humes.com/

Q: In your view, has Tibet changed since you started blogging? Has the Tibetan exile community? Has China? Or has the world changed? How so?

A: Gosh, big questions. I think Tibet, the exile community, China and the world have all changed over the last few years! It’s too much really to get into.
I will say though that the self-immolations in Tibet that started in February 2009, continued last year and have intensified over recent months, have been the most disturbing new development in the Tibetan resistance movement since I started blogging. The self-immolations are a desperate plea for the world’s attention and unlike before, it’s possible to receive information about these occurrences relatively quickly, thanks to new technologies. There is even visual documentation of some of the occurrences and whilst this is sad to say, the series of self-immolations have allowed Tibetans outside and inside to process and connect with each other, generating real action worldwide in real time.

Q: When you wrote a translation of Woeser’s post remembering Phuntsog, who died from self-immolation in March last year, a commenter wrote that he had zero respect for the self-immolation. I disagreed with his suggestion that Woeser “ought to be banned from writing even to her own people”, and asked the commenter to respect Phuntsog, no matter if he agreed or disagreed with what he had done. But self-immolation is wrong, isn’t it? Isn’t there a danger that an action which is wrong becomes something celebrated, just to shame those responsible for the plight of Tibet?

A: Yes, I remember that post and also that discussion. Due to their extreme nature, the self-immolations in Tibet have provoked strong reactions from people all over the world, amongst non-Tibetans as well as Tibetans. Read these two reactions from female Tibetan bloggers in USA:
http://mountainphoenixovertibet.blogspot.com/2011/10/please-stop-killing-yourselves.html
http://lhakardiaries.com/2011/10/19/how-about-some-r-e-s-p-e-c-t/
By responding to your previous question in the way that I did, it wasn’t my intention to get into a discussion on whether self-immolation is right or wrong. Rather, when thinking about how things have changed over the last few years for Tibet and Tibetans, I felt I couldn’t possibly not refer to these 17 cases since 2009. These cases constitute a disturbing new development that we all have to try to come to terms with in our own minds, something I felt that Woeser, the other commenter, Mountain Phoenix and NYCyak were all doing out loud.

Q: Have your political views, or your view of the world, changed? If yes, how so?

A: No, I don’t think my views have changed.

Q: Does your interest in China go beyond the role it plays in Tibet, and in Tibetan affairs?

A: Yes I think so, although of course that would be my main interest in China. I studied various aspects of China during my Masters in Chinese Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, focusing on anthropology and literature as well as language. Living in Beijing and travelling in China also gave me a feel for the people and the place that I would never have developed otherwise.

Q: Is blogging your preferred way of discussing matters of public interest, or do other ways of expressing yourself – social networking, youtube, Twitter, etc. – matter just as much to you, or more? Which role does Global Voices play in your online activities?

A: Blogging is my preferred method of discussing Tibet and China, I mostly use social networking sites to share what’s on my blogs. I also publish articles on other blogs and sites such as The Comment Factory or as a guest writer, for example, most recently for WITNESS.
Global Voices has been a good platform through which to reach a wider audience interested in citizen journalism and underreported stories. It helps to put Tibet into a wider perspective in the context of everything else that is happening in the world. I really should write more for them, thanks for the reminder JR!

Q: Is there an unasked question to which you would like to reply anyway?

A: Nope! Thanks for this interview!

Q: And thank you for your answers!

The interview was conducted by an exchange of e-mails.

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Related

All BoZhu Interviews

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Martial Arts, Asian Games 2010

The first East Asian Games medal, not unexpectedly, went to Yuan Xiaochao (袁晓超), from Shanxi Province, at the mens’ Changquan finals on Saturday. Changquan (长拳) emphasizes fully extended kicks and striking techniques, and by appearance would be considered a long-range fighting system. Daisuke Ichikizaki (Japan) and Peyghambari Ehsan (Iran) won the silver and bronze medals.

Xiao had won a gold medal previously at the Asian Games in Doha, in 2006, and another in a Wushu tournament conducted during the Olympic Games 2008. China Radio International (CRI) also cites him as a gold medal winner at the Beijing tournament 2008, but points out that the 2008 tournament was no Olympic event. According to the International Wushu Federation, the Wushu Tournament Beijing 2008 was staged in Beijing from August 21 to 24, 2008, and the IWUF was the organizer in charge.

This video is part of the 2008 tournament coverage – it may take a while to load.

The elementary routine can be found here.

Related
“Most of the local attention was on Wushu”, Associated Press (AP), November 13

Sunday, August 29, 2010

2009 Report: The Lottery Players’ Pride

Point of Acceptance (Archive)

Point of Acceptance

The following are excerpts from an article by Qianjiang Evening News (钱江晚报), a paper in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, published by the Zhejiang Daily Group (浙江日报报业集团). The group’s main paper is the Zhejiang Daily, an official newspaper of the provincial branch of the Communist Party. Qianjiang (钱江) apparently serves as another name for the Yangtze River.

Recently, the Ministry of Finance published its report on the allocation of the 2009 lottery revenues to public welfare, to give the public a quick and full understanding of the lottery’s benefit to the public (让老百姓对于彩票的公益性一目了然) – to buy a lottery ticket is not only fun, but also a loving heart’s tribute (奉献爱心).

3.3 Billion go into Wenchuan Reconstruction

The report states that during the past year, lottery tickets at 132.4 billion were sold nationwide, raising 41.1 billion Yuan for the welfare funds. 56.8 billion Yuan from tickets sold came from sports lottery sales, raising 16.5 billion Yuan for the for the welfare funds. The Super Lotto fund *) drew 35 per cent of these amounts, which makes it the playing method with the highest draws on the publicly beneficial lottery market, and the one that most easily brings lucky draws for the participants.

As the presentation of the beneficial share of the lottery revenues has long been neglected, lottery players may wonder: “why doesn’t my number come in? Where does the money I’m spending for lottery tickets go? How much of it is used for the benefit of the public? The report shows that in 2009, twenty billion Yuan were taken by the central government which allocated 10.5 bn to the national social security fund; 5.2 bn to the special lottery fund; to be approved for use by organizations by the State Council after application by such organizations to the Ministry of Finance and approval by the State Council; 800 million went to the General Administration of Sport of China (国家体育总局) to be used simultaneously for the implementation of the National Fitness Program, the Olympic Glory Plan, and other sports causes.

[…]

From the funds, 4.452 billion Yuan were specifically used for earthquake relief, one billion for medical aid in rural areas, 600 million for medical aid in urban areas, 600 millions in support for students’ education, 18.87 billion for students’ activities outside school, 2.74 million for disabled people, 1.89 billion for the Red Cross, 300 million for culture, 170 million in support of the poor, 46.75 million for the 2008 Olympic Games, mainly for the National Stadium, the National Swimming Center, the National Convention Center and other temporary facility costs, and expenses for the opening and closing ceremonies. 50 million were dedicated to legal aid.

It is worth mentioning that each of the above-mentioned expenditures make important contributions to the public benefit, and that the benefits from the sports lottery can be seen in all kinds of places. This isn’t only the task of the lottery, but also the pride of the lottery players (这不仅是体彩的义务,也是广大彩民的骄傲).

[…]

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Footnotes

*) Super Lotto (超级大乐透) –

Super Lotto is issued by China Sports Lottery Management Center. Tickets cost ¥2.00 per play. You either pick seven numbers from two separate pools of numbers: five different numbers from 1 to 35, and two number from 1 to 12, or let the computer pick your numbers. You win the jackpot by matching all six winning numbers. The jackpot continues to grow until a ticket matches all seven numbers drawn.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tibetan Flag, “under the Foot”

Dalai Lama: Study English and go out

Dalai Lama: Study English and go out

In a Q & A session at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan on Saturday, the Dalai Lama advised young Japanese people to improve their lives by going into the “outside world” where they could make “many contributions”.  “Whether you like it or not, English is the universal language. Study English and go out.”

Tibet’s spiritual leader had arrived in Japan on Thursday to speak at sold-out crowds, but got a cold shoulder from the government, which was trying to improve relations with China, writes AFP. The Japanese authorities, different from previous visits by the Dalai Lama, offered no security. AFP quotes Yukiyasu Osada, a 42-year old writer who has written travel books on Tibet for nearly two decades as saying that “Japanese have little interest in the Tibetan issue. The Dalai Lama, yes. People are attracted to his spirituality. They look for an answer at a time”.

Meantime, New Zealand’s government is also working hard to improve relations with Beijing. Prime Minister John Key apologized to a Chinese delegation lead by vice state chairman Xi Jinping (习近平) after the country’s Green Party’s co-leader Russel Norman had waved a Tibetan flag on the arrival of Xi and his delegation outside Parliament building on Friday. Chinese delegation members reportedly used umbrellas to screen their leader from the troublesome view (or to screen Norman from the delegation). Prime minister Key defended his apology and told the New Zealand Press Association (NZPA) that the issue had nothing to do with freedom of speech. “The apology was in relation to our failure to provide proper security for the vice-president when he entered and exited Parliament”, he said. “I think it’s unacceptable that a dignatory of that level can’t enter the building without their integrity being compromised”.

Norman wrote on his blog on Sunday that Chinese government staff grabbed the Tibetan flag from his hands.

I looked for it on the ground and found it under the foot of one of the Chinese Govt personnel. I lent down to pull the flag out from under the foot of the Chinese Govt security person. As I did so they stood on my hand but I managed to get it out from under their foot and hold it back up again. […]

I understand that the security operation in front of parliament was a NZ Police operation. But they certainly weren’t in control of it, the Chinese Government guards were.

The issue of Chinese security staff overstepping their jurisdiction was also raised during the Olympic Torch ralleye in Europe, in spring 2008. The Daily Mail wrote in April 2008 that then prime minister

Gordon Brown and his Cabinet colleague Tessa Jowell agreed to receive the torch in Downing Street while being shepherded by a phalanx of Chinese attendants wearing blue and white tracksuits.

It later emerged that these goons came from the paramilitary wing of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army – the same force that has played such a brutal role in the suppression of recent protests in Tibet.

The Daily Mail also pointed out that Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd had insisted that Australian rather than Chinese security would take care of the flame when the relay reached Sydney.

The Dalai Lama’s last visit to New Zealand was in December 2009. In March or April 2009, the New Zealand Chinese Association had told the government to “follow the lead of South Africa” which had refused the Dalai Lama a visa in February. Prime minister Key replied that New Zealand was a free and independent nation that can invite whomever it likes, but chose not to meet the visitor himself, Labour Party leader Phil Goff reportedly held talks with the Dalai Lama during the visit in December.

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Related
Tibet: “America’s Consistent Policy”, March 26, 2010
British PM writes to Chinese PM, February 10, 2009

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

“Soft Power: the Art of Persuasion”

The Yellow Emperor will show You the Way

Tomorrow, there will be even more Confucius Institutes

It sounds a bit like a cheap bestselling handbook for very poor diplomats:

This political manipulation is referred to as soft power – achieving what you want by attracting and persuading others to adopt your customs – thriving on control, not force.

Philip Dodd, creative director of China Now, a six month festival devoted to contemporary China taking place in Britain in 2008 and a man of other (similar) functions, wrote a documentary for the BBC and investigates how this cultural rivalry [for soft power] is being formed and what weapons of persuasion are being deployed, from global sporting fixtures to cultural events and educational projects.

The pivotal point of Dodds’s two-part documentary is, of course, America. In the first part of his documentary about soft power, he looked at China, the scope and the limitations of its efforts to project “soft power” (the limitations being that government-controlled cultural power would never be as powerful as a decentralized version of it – which will lead him on to India in the second part.

Not too many surprises in the documentary, in my books, apart from a surprisingly halfhearted Romano Prodi (former EU chief commissioner and former Italian prime minister) whose nightmare is an economically successful, non-democratic model. But then, considering the rotten state of a country that voted Silvio Berlusconi‘s “Forza Italia” (or “People of Freedom”, or whatever name this political zombie may take in the future) to power twice so far, one might understand Prodi’s depressive mood.

For the time being, the program can be downloaded as a podcast here.

Meantime, Taiwan is doing some work to project its bit of soft power. A journalist from Hamburg with the regional Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) is scheduled to live in Taipei with a grant from the country’s government for a three months’ language course, until the end of August.  Most of his blog is written in German, but the latest post is in English.

Correction/Update
please see the first comments

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Related
China-funded: Three Eight Hundreds, April 19, 2009

Friday, April 9, 2010

Letter to H. E. (2008), “Dorks on Duty”

Too favorable a mention in a stupid article doesn’t necessarily need to shame the lauded man. In the case of Volker Bräutigam, it probably depends. Did he really write that letter to then Chinese ambassador Ma Canrong?

[…] To ask the citizens of the People’s Republic of China’s forgiveness looks indispensable for us since it has become clear that Germany, within barely one year, has become the platform for propagandistic, anti-China appearances by the Dalai Lama once again. […]

OK. Yes, he did write that. It’s old news, really, but 人民不会忘记 (rénmín bù huì wàngjì). Nor does the overseas Chinese paper Hua Shang Bao (华商报, Chinesische Handelszeitung, Frankfurt). This is what they wrote in their printed edition eight days ago:

"German left-wing journalist Bräutigam publishes new book"

[…] In Germany, Mr Bräutigam is seen as a pro-China journalist. He once worked in Taiwan, and therefore better understands China. In Germany’s China-related debates  of these years, no matter if it was the Tibet problem or the “Zhang Danhong case”, under distinct colors, Bräutigam stood by the side of China all the way.

[…..] 在德国,Bräutigam 先生被视为是“亲华”的记者,他曾经在台湾工作过,因此比较了解中国。在这些年里德国发生与中国有关的辩论中,不管是西藏问题还是“张丹红事件“,他均旗帜鲜明地站在中国一边。

Distinct indeed.

Anyway, my imagination was going wild for a moment: if a German (overseas or not) paper wrote that Wang Xiansheng was firmly on the side of, say, America or Japan, how would patriotic Chinese students and housewives react if they came across such an article? Wang Xiansheng would probably get some undesired attention – no matter if the ill praise was substantiated or not.

In Germany, the Axis of Good will call you a dork on duty (Depp vom Dienst), but that’s it.

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Related Sorries
British PM writes to Chinese PM, February 10, 2009
Deutsche Welle als Maulkorbflechter, Neue Rheinische Zeitung, September 5, 2008

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