Posts tagged ‘Beijing Olympics’

Monday, January 24, 2022

Circuses and Security: Putin-Xi Video Meeting on Dec 15, 2021

The following is an excerpt from an FMPRC statement on a video meeting between Chinese party and state leader Xi Jinping and Russian president Vladimir Putin, conducted on December 15.


Xinhua/FMPRC, Dec 15, 2021

According to Wan Qingsong, a Russia researcher of Shanghai’s East China Normal University, one of Putin’s topics in his video meeting with Xi in December was the issue of Russia’s drafts on “security guarantees” from NATO. While the FMPRC statement of December 15 makes no mention of these drafts or a discussion of  them, Wan quoted Russia’s TASS newsagency as saying that Xi had expressed support for the “security guarantees'” initiative (俄罗斯官方通讯社塔斯社便在报道中写道,中俄领导人会晤时,中国表达支持俄罗斯提出的“安全保障”倡议).

This could be based on a TASS communiqué that quotes Yury Ushakov, one of President Putin’s foreign-policy advisors:

The Chinese chairman pointed out that he understood Russia’s concerns and fully supported our initiative on the development of security guarantees for Russia, Ushakov added. “The parties agreed to maintain contact on the matter. We will inform our Chinese colleagues about how talks and contacts with our American and NATO partners are going,” he pointed out.

Another TASS communiqué, dated Dec 16, mostly focuses on intended CSTO-China contacts.

From the FMPRC statement:

In a bit more than a month you will visit China to take part in the Beijing Olympic Winter Games’ opening ceremony, thus showing your support for the Chinese organization of the Games through practical action. Beijing will be the first city to have hosted both the Summer and the Winter Olympics. Currently, we are making all-out efforts in accordance with the priniciples of “simple, safe and splendid, and all work has basically been done. We will achieve mutual Olympic visits, and in the following two years, China and Russia will also organize the China-Russia Year of Sports Exchange. This should also be considered an opportunity to let sports exchanges be a bridge and a bond to strengthen our two countries’ and peoples’ mutual understanding and friendship. Your visit will also be our first offline meeting in two years. When the time has come, I hope to have thorough exchanges with you on bilateral relations and major international and regional issues, and I believe that we will reach still more significant consensus. I am really looking forward to our “Winter Olympics appointment” and would like to join hands with you to “advance into the future together”, to open a new, post-Covid chapter of Chinese-Russian relations.




“Spezifische Vorschlage”, JR’s Ostblog, Jan 22, 2022
“Based on Putin-Xi consensus”, TASS, Dec 17, 2021

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Xi Jinping in the Evening News

If you wonder why a discussion of a book about Xi Jinping in Germany was cancelled by the relevant Confucius Institutes, here’s the most likely answer: the book simply didn’t mention Xi frequently enough.
Learn from Chinese televion. The following are the first seven headlines (out of a total of 18) from Tuesday’s main evening news in China.

Already full of confidence: CCTV News anchor Kang Hui

Already full of confidence:
CCTV News anchor Kang Hui

Main Link: CCTV Network News – “Xi Jinping visits National “13th-Five-Year-Plan” Technical Innovation Achievements Exhibition, emphasizes …”

习近平在参观国家“十三五”科技创新成就展时强调 坚定创新自信紧抓创新机遇 加快实现高水平科技自立自强 Xi Jinping visits National “13th-Five-Year-Plan” Technical Innovation Achievements Exhibition, emphasizes need to staunchly innovate and confidently grasp innovation opportunities, and to accelerate the implementation of self reliance in high-level science and technology
习近平对全军装备工作会议作出重要指示强调 全面开创武器装备建设新局面 为实现建军一百年奋斗目标作出积极贡献 Xi Jinping gives the all-army equipment conference important instructions, emphasizing the need for active contributions in the new situation to a comprehensive start into the building of weapons and equipment, to reach the [second]*) two-centenary goal
习近平致信祝贺人民出版社成立100周年强调 赓续红色血脉为推动社会主义文化繁荣发展 建设社会主义文化强国作出新的更大的贡献 Xi Jinping sends a letter to People’s Publishing House at its 100th founding anniversary, emphasizing that continuation of the red blood will drive the development of socialist culture and prosperity, and make new and still greater contributions to the building of a socialist and culturally strong country.
习近平致电祝贺米尔济约耶夫当选乌兹别克斯坦总统 Xi Jinping sends telegram to Shavkat Mirziyoyev to congratulate him on his election as president
习近平同巴基斯坦总理通电话 Xi Jinping has a telephone conversation with Pakistan’s president
习近平同巴布亚新几内亚总理通电话 Xi Jinping has a telephone conversation with Papua New Guinea’s prime minister
携手实现世界永续和平发展——习近平主席在中华人民共和国恢复联合国合法席位50周年纪念会议上的重要讲话引发与会中外人士热烈反响 Joining hands to achieve global sustainable peaceful development – Chairman Xi Jinping’s important speech on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the restoration of China’s legitimate seat at the United Nations meets with enthusiastic reactions among Chinese and foreign public figures

If this interests you, maybe that (24 hours later) interets you, too – CCTV News Network, Wed, Oct 27:

Xi Jinping has telephone conversation with French president / Xi Jinping has telephone conversation with Uzbek president / Xi Jinping has telephone call with president of Equatorial Guinea / Xi Jinping’s keynote speech, “Staying Connected with the World and Abreast with the Times And Making Big Strides on the Path of Sustainable Development”, held at the opening ceremony of the Second United Nations Global Sustainable Transport Conference, now published as a single-volume edition / Under “Xi Jinping’s ideological guidance of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era”, organize the Winter Olympics well, ignite enthusiasm for winter sports, promote participation of three-hundred million people in winter sports / Secetary-general Xi Jinping’s congratulatory letter to China Media Group on the launch of the CCTV Olympic Channel and the start of its digital platform meets with enthusiastic response.
(Only the first five, out of a total of 21 items.)


*) I think that this must be the second “centenary goal”, because according to Xi, the first one has already been achieved.


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?

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.


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?

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。


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?

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?

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.



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?


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.


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。


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:

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.


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.


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.


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”.


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.


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).



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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:


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.


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.


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.


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..


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.




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.



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


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 (!):
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:

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:
I also check in every Wednesday to read The Lhakar Diaries, a blogging project started by a group of young Tibetans outside of Tibet: 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:
To feel scholarly I will read the fantastic blog China Beat and for Chinese literature news I like to keep up with Paper Republic and Bruce Humes

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:
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.



All BoZhu Interviews


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.

“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).




*) 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.


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

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