Posts tagged ‘Berlin’

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Sino-German relations: two Countries, irreconcilable Interpretations, common Ground

The following are excerpts from an article published by Guanchazhe on Friday, written by Huang Ying (黄颖), a researcher with Tongji University’s German Studies Center.

By political turmoil or upheaval, her article refers to the botched attempt of the conservative-liberal parties in Thuringia’s parliament to get to power with support from far-right parliamentarians.

CDU chairperson Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer resigned a few days after she had failed to get her Thuringian partisans back to the federal party line which ruled out cooperation both with the Left Party and the far-right AFD. Huang’s article gives a detailed account of these political events, and then addresses the question about if and how they could affect China’s relations with Germany. The translated paragraphs all deal with this question.

Links within blockquotes added during translation.

Related: “Enhancing and deepening”, German foreign office article, Febr 13, 2020 (click picture for text)

Main Link: Will Germany’s political turmoil affect Sino-German relations? (德国政坛动荡,会不会给中德关系带来不确定性?) – page 2

[…]

A lot of people will ask if Germany’s political turmoil could bring uncertainty to Sino-German relations. The author believes that basically, Germany’s China policy won’t be greatly affected. Although Sino-German economic relations are close, China’s strategic significance for Germany – in political terms – comes only after the European Union and the United States. Germany’s domestic political turmoil won’t change its fundamental political system. No matter to which degree the structure of its political parties may be in upheaval, Germany won’t stop denouncing China’s political system and human rights issues. China’s economic and political rise makes it a challenger in the eyes of Germany’s political and academic circles, not only a challenger of its economy, but also a possible challenger for the Western democratic political system. The fundamental and insurmountable conflict between China and Germany concerning the political systems and values, and the two countries’ different interpretations of freedom, democracy, rule of law, human rights etc. remains irreconcilable, no matter which political party is in power.

不少人会问,德国政坛动荡会不会给中德关系带来不确定性。笔者看来,德国对华政策基本上不太会受到影响。虽然中德经济关系日益紧密,但是从政治角度来看,中国对德国的战略重要性次于欧盟和美国,德国内政的动荡不会改变其基本政治制度。无论德国政党格局怎么动荡,德国不会停止对中国制度和人权问题上的诟病。中国经济和政治崛起被德国政界和学界都视为挑战者,不仅挑战其经济制度,还可能挑战西方的民主政治制度。中德之间存在着根本的不可逾越的政治制度和价值观冲突,两国对自由、民主、法治、人权等方面有着不同的解读,无论德国哪个党派执政,这一冲突都不可调和。

However, recent Sino-German relations have become somewhat easier, which can be seen from two things above all. The first is where the German government stands on the issue of allowing Huawei participation in the building of Germany’s 5G network. At the end of January, the British government had made it clear that Huawei would be allowed to participate in the building of non-central components of Britain’s 5G network, but not in the construction of the sensitive sites, such as nuclear power stations or military bases. This matches two demands: it doesn’t endanger national security and won’t damage relations with important allies (America), and it allows Britain to use new technology and to maintain its competitiveness in the markets.

不过,最近的中德关系有所缓和,这主要表现在两件事上。第一件是备受关注的德国政府对是否允许华为参与德国5G网络建设的表态。一月底,英国明确表态:允许华为参与英国5G网络非核心部分的建设,但不能参与核电站和军事基地等重要网络和敏感地点的建设。这一表态实现了两全:一方面不危及国家安全和不破坏与重要盟友(美国)的关系,另一方面又可以使英国使用新技术和保持市场竞争力。

Soon after that, the European Union also suggested that there was no need to keep Huawei out, and member countries should be allowed to use Huawei equipment, provided that these installations were up to mobile net operation standards and that national security was protected, thus avoiding too much dependence on one supplier. After Britain and the EU had made their positions clear, it was no surprise that Germany’s governing coalition reached a consensus on February 12, saying that Huawei shouldn’t be automatically excluded from the 5G network construction, but that Huawei would have to comply with the highest safety standards. This decision still needs to be negotiated and passed with the social democratic coalition partner1). Before, many social democratic members had opposed Huawei’s participation in Germany’s 5G construction. It can basically be safely said that in 5G network construction, Germany won’t exclude Huawei, and this position will also have a positive influence on other EU member states, and will benefit the stable development of Sino-German relations.

随后,欧盟也建议不要一开始就将华为排除在外,允许成员国采用华为的设备,前提是要收紧对移动网络运营商的安全要求,严格实施保护国家安全的设施,避免对一个供应商产生过分依赖。在继英国和欧盟纷纷表态后,果不出意外,德国联盟党议会党团于2月12日便达成一致,表示不应自动将中国的华为排除再5G网络建设之外,但要求华为必须遵守最高的安全要求。这一决定目前还要与执政伙伴社民党协商通过,此前,有不少社民党成员都反对华为参与德国的5G建设。基本上可以确定,在5G网络建设上,德国不会将华为排斥在外,而且德国的表态还会积极影响欧盟其他国家对华为的态度,这将有利于中德两国关系稳定发展。

What also brought about a turn for the better was that when China raised the nationwide strengths to fight the new-type corona virus, Germany gave China essential support and help. In early February, Germany’s foreign minister Heiko Maas expressed admiration for the Chinese government’s public, transparent and cooperative attitude and vigorous and effective measures against the “epidemic”. The plane that took German compatriots back to Germany had also delivered 5.4 tons of aid supplies to China.

另外,给中德关系带来转机的是,在中国举全国之力抗击抗新冠肺炎的时刻,德国给予了中国必要的支持与帮助。2月初,德国外长海科·马斯(Heiko Maas)对中国政府在抗“疫”过程中采取的公开、透明、合作态度以及有力、有效的措施表示钦佩。借撤侨之机,将5.4吨援助物资运抵中国。

When meeting Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi in Berlin on February 13, Merkel said that Germany highly appreciated the firm and vigorous control measures taken by China to resist the epidemic, and would continue to provide China with support and help. […]

2月13日,默克尔在柏林会见王毅外长时表示,德方高度赞赏中国在对抗疫情时采取的果断有力的防控措施,会继续向中方提供支持和帮助。[…]

While Huang Ying argues that there is common ground, the commentariat (or, maybe, just the comments that remain undeleted) are mixed in their views. On the defensive side, demands for esthetic repairs are made:

The title doesn’t fit, it seems to suggest that China is meddling in Germany’s domestic politics. How about changing it into: How does Germany’s multi-party plight affect China,*)

标题不当,好像中国要干涉德国内政
改一下如何:德国的多党困境,对中国有啥影响

or

Just a trade partner. Germany only looks at China’s wallets. Don’t count on anything else.

一个商业伙伴而已。德国只看中了中国的钱包。其他难指望。

Replying to the reader who worries about the title, another commenter suggests that

I think you are too sensitive, elder brother. […] The ambassador to Germany has kept saying that “no Huawei, no Audi”. Isn’t that interference in German domestic politics?

我倒觉得大兄弟你太敏感了 […] 驻德大使直接放话了,不能搞华为,否则就搞奥迪了。这算不算干涉德国内政?

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Note

*) Don’t know if the title has hence been changed.

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Related

德国政治面临何种变局, 澎湃, Dec 7, 2018

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Saturday, December 7, 2019

Shortwave Logs: Science from the South

1. Radio Havana in English: Science from the South

Charles McKelvey, according to the “American Herald Tribune”*), is an emeritus professor at Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina, USA, and member of the Advisory Council of the Honorary Section of Political Science from the South at the Faculty of Philosophy and History of the University of Havana, Havana, Cuba.

One might read his books, or one might happen on “Notes on the Revolution”, a Radio Havana Cuba (RHC) series with 40 columns to date, about “third World socialist revolutions in power”, which would, in his view, include China, Cuba, and Vietnam.

The program, to effects unknown to this blogger, is edited by RHC editor and presenter Ed Newman.

Picadura Valleys Cattle Breeding Project, Radio Habana Cuba QSL, 1988

Picadura Valleys Cattle Breeding Project, Radio Habana Cuba QSL, 1988. The project’s prominent role in the QSL series is no concidence: the project is or was run by Ramón Castro Ruz, » the older brother of the two political leaders. Asked by an American journalist in the late 1970s » what he thought about Cuban-U.S. relations, Castro parried the questions “with a shrug and grin: ‘That’s all politics – I leave that to Fidel. All I know about are cows.'”

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*) not to be confused with the “New York Herald Tribune”

2. Radio Ukraine International: reviving 2017

Arne Lietz (SPD, German social democrats) may not have been aware, but he was on the radio on Saturday – on the German program of Radio Ukraine International (RUI, formerly Radio Kiev), that is. And as Russia had already annexed Crimea at the time, and because the Gerhard-Schröder / Martin-Schulz generation have adopted an unnerving pep-talk style*) decades ago which  dominates social dem speeches to this day, I only realized that something was wrong with the broadcast when Lietz referred to Martin Schulz as the the German Social Democrats’ candidate for chancellor.  That, after all, was more than two years ago.

There was no news broadcast, and, therefore, no way to find out about the mix-up earlier. Besides, Lietz was a member of the European Parliament from 2014 to 2019, but lost his seat in the 2019 EP elections.

Similar mix-ups used to happen with Radio Ukraine International’s English service transmissions by WRMI, an American broadcaster in Florida, some three years ago. At the time, WRMI supposed that mistakes in the audio file names sent by RUI had occasionally led to old news going on air. Radio Ukraine International’s German program is currently aired by a shortwave enthusiasts’ association in Northrhine-Westphalia who are operating a shortwave station in Kall-Krekel.

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*) It’s beginning to dawn on me that while there may be other reasons not to vote for the German social democrats, the way they talk may be one of those reasons. They make you feel as if you were ten years old again, and back in sunday school. (God forbid.)

3. Fed Court: Da Silva and Rousseff no part of criminal org

reports Radio Havana. However, a series of legal proceedings concerning alleged bribery continues.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Program Reductions at China Radio International (CRI)

While China Radio International‘s (CRI) airtime remains undampened, program hours appear to be going down, reports Radio Berlin Brandenburg‘s (RBB) media magazine. RBB points to CRI Portuguese as a striking example: the broadcasts have only contained music and references to CRI’s online pages for some time, and the Portuguese-language online pages contain only single articles, but not the usual program packages. Programs in Polish, Serbian and Albanian still contained short news readings, but only music apart from that, according to random checks.

CRI German, April 1 schedule

CRI German, April 1 schedule

The German program seems to have seen some cuts, too. There used to be news broadcasts at the beginning of every transmission, but I haven’t heard any news or current affairs on Saturdays and Sundays recently, and today’s (Monday) two-hour program didn’t carry any news or current affairs either.

CRI’s most recent schedule was published online on April 1 this year, shortly after the beginning of the summer frequency plan. Apparently, it wasn’t updated when the HFCC’s current B19 transmission schedule went into effect a few weeks ago.

According to the April 1 plan, the two-hours German programs, from Monday through Friday, started with a news and current affairs program of 15 minutes, (“CRI Aktuell” / “CRI Aktuell mit Hintergrund”), 35 minutes of feature programs (“CRI Panorama”), followed by a language course of ten minutes, and an hour of cultural programs (“CRI Kulturcollage”).

On Saturdays and Sundays, a five-minutes news program (“CRI Aktuell”) was followed by 45 minutes of “CRI Panorama”, followed by a ten-minutes language course and 55 minutes of “Kulturcollage”.

Today, just as recently on Saturdays and Sundays, there were 50 minutes of “CRI Panorama” and the usual ten-minutes language course. The second hour was a repetition of exactly the same content.

CRI Chinese and CRI English still carry news and current affairs programs.

Back to Radio Berlin Brandenburg’s media magazine. They wonder why the shortwave frequencies which used to carry CRI Portuguese, Polish, Serbian, or Albanian, are still in use.

The answer may be that co-channelling (a slightly more sophisticated way of jamming undesired broadcasters abroad than applying the “Firedrake”) is easier when you have many shortwave frequencies in use. Abandoned frequencies could otherwise be collected by Taiwan, from where both national broadcaster Radio Taiwan International (RTI) and Chinese opposition broadcasters like “Sound of Hope” (希望之聲) are broadcasting to China on shortwave.

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Related

By any other Name, March 30, 2018
Innovative Guidance of Public Opinion, Nov 17, 2015
Rumors about CRI, April 13, 2015

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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Election Posters and their Hidden Messages

 

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Don’t mess with the Russians

 

 

 

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Taiwan’s Representative to Czech Republic: Relations not affected

The following is a translation of a CNA (Central News Agency) article from Taiwan, with some details of an interview Taiwan’s semi-offical ambassador Wang Chung-I (汪忠一, officially his country’s diplomatic “representative”), gave to a Czech newspaper on Tuesday. Links within blockquotes added during translation.

Main Link (CNA): Dispute around Taiwan’s Representative having to leave his seat won’t affect relations between the two Countries (被迫離席風波 駐捷克代表:不影響兩國關係)

Central News Agency CNA reporter Lin Yuli, Berlin, April 10 – Taiwan’s Representative to the Czech Republic, Wang Chung-I, who took part in a conference hosted by the Czech ministry of trade and industry, and was removed under Chinese pressure. Czech media published interviews with him, and Wang Chung-I believes that this diplomatic dispute will not lead to bad effects on the two countries’ relationship.

(中央社記者林育立柏林10日專電)駐捷克代表汪忠一上月參加捷克貿易工業部主辦的會議,因中國施壓被迫離席。捷克媒體刊登他的專訪,汪忠一相信這起外交風波不至於影響兩國的關係。

The case of the Taiwanese representative having been forced to leave the venue had led to great controversy in Czech political circles. Forty senators across party lines have sent a joint letter to Prime Minister Andrej Babis in recent days, demanding that trade and industry minister Marta Novakova should assume political responsibility, and the House of Deputies‘ foreign  affairs committee also met to discuss this diplomatic dispute.

台灣代表被迫離場事件,最近在捷克政壇引起軒然大波。40名跨黨派的參議員日前聯名致函總理巴比什(Andrej Babis)要求貿易工業部長諾娃科娃(Marta Novakova)負起政治責任,眾議院外交委員會也開會討論這起外交風波。

Major Czech paper “Economic Daily” (Hospodarske Noviny) published an entire page of an interview with Wang Chung-I on April 9. Wang Chung-I said that after the incident, the representative office [i. e. Taiwan’s semi-official embassy in Prague] received support from all walks of life in Czechia, also e-mails of encouragement from members of the general public, which made him feel pleasantly surprised.

捷克大報「經濟日報」(Hospodarske Noviny)9日用一整版的篇幅刊出汪忠一的專訪。汪忠一表示,事件發生後,代表處收到捷克各界的聲援,還有民眾寫電子郵件來鼓勵,讓他感到驚喜。

He pointed out that during the past 19 years, Taiwan had always received invitations from the trade and industry ministry, and had always sent someone to take part in the conferences. He knew that the trade and industry ministry was under great Chinese pressure, and had therefore issued no protest to the ministry, and rather held talks with Czech diplomats to make mutually sure that this incident woudl not affect bilateral relations.

他指出,過去19年台灣每年都收到貿工部的邀請,也都派人出席這場會議。他知道貿工部受到中國的強大壓力,因此事後沒有向貿工部抗議,但與捷克外交官員進行了會談,互相保證這件事不至於影響雙邊關係。

Wang Chung-I emphasized that in the past, similar incidents had occured in Czechia, and usually it was the Chinese ambassador opposing the Taiwanese representative being in the place. If the organizing unit maintained its right to invite whom it wanted to invite, the Chinese ambassador would leave his seat, this was his first time to have to leave the place because of Chinese pressure.

汪忠一強調,捷克過去也曾發生過類似的事件,一般而言是中國大使反對台灣代表在場。如果主辦單位堅持有權決定想邀請的人,中國大使會離席,這是他第一次因中國施壓而被迫離場。

In the interview, Wang Chung-I also quoted former Czech president Vaclav Havel, a man with friendly feelings towards Taiwan, as describing in a book why Czech and Taiwanese people had similar lines of thought.

汪忠一在這篇專訪中,還引述了對台灣友好的捷克前總統哈維爾(Vaclav Havel)的話,他在一本書中曾描述捷克人和台灣人為何有相同的思維方式。

Wang Chung-I pointed out that both Czechia and Taiwan were rather small countries, both with experience in resisting powerful neighboring countries, and common values of respect for human rights, freedom and democracy.

汪忠一指出,捷克與台灣都是比較小的國家,一樣有與超強鄰國對抗的經驗,而且共享尊重人權和自由民主的價值觀。

Czechia is a major tourist destination in Europe, with its capital Prague attracting particularly many Taiwanese tourists. Prague’s mayor Zdenek Hrib mentioned in a meeting with Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen late last month that he hoped to establish direct flights with Taipei.

捷克是歐洲的觀光重鎮,尤其首都布拉格吸引許多台灣觀光客,布拉格市長賀吉普(Zdenek Hrib)上月底訪問台灣會見蔡英文總統時才提到,希望與台北建立直航。

Wang Chung-I said that last year’s number of Taiwanese tourists visiting Czechia reached up to 190,000, an annual rise by ten percent, and for tourism and commercial exchange between the two countries, he hoped that a direct flight connection between Prague and Taipei would soon materialize. (Editor’s name) Number

汪忠一表示,去年台灣旅客造訪捷克的人數高達19萬,年成長率10%,為了兩國的觀光和商務往來,他也期盼布拉格與台北的直航能早日實現。(編輯:高照芬)1080411

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Mayor Carmena, the Scuttling Dalai Lama, and the Inseparably close Sino-Spanish Links

The following is an online article published by Voice of Tibet, a broadcaster from Norway.

Main Link (1):
→ Madrid considers inviting Dalai Lama to take part in Peace Conference – Communist China Overseas United Front Organization: this Hurts the Feelings of the Chinese People

Voice of Tibet, Febr 17, 2017 – The mayor of Madrid has met the American film star and Tibet supporter Richard Gere and mandated him to invite His Holiness the Dalai Lama to attend a peace forum in April. Communist Chinese organization “→ China Council for the Promotion of Peaceful National Reunification”, immediately expressed protest towards the Madrid city government, saying that the Dalai Lama was a “defector”, and demanding that Madrid should not “hurt the dignity of  Chinese people, nor hurt Chinese feelings”.

【西藏之声2017年2月17日报道】西班牙马德里市市长会见美国援藏影星理查•基尔,拜托他邀达赖喇嘛尊者出席4月的一场和平论坛。中共海外统战机构“中国和平统一促进会”立即向马德里市政府表达抗议,称达赖喇嘛是“叛逃者”,并要求马德里市不要“伤害中国人的尊严,伤害中国人的感情”。

A number of Spanish media have concurrently reported that American film star Richard Gere visited Madrid. The website “Think Spain” reported on February 15 that on February 14, Madrid mayor Manuela Carmena had met with Richard Gere.

西班牙多家媒体近日均报道了美国影星理查•基尔到访马德里市的新闻。ThinkSPAIN网站 15日报道说,14日当天,马德里市女市长卡梅娜(Manuela Carmena)与理查•基尔见面。

Carmena mandated Gere to deliver an invitation to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, hoping that His Holiness would take part in the “Forum on Violence and Education for Peace”, to be held in Madrid from April 17 to April 19. It is reported that mayors from various big cities worldwide, political leaders, and social science experts are going to attend.

卡梅娜拜托基尔向达赖喇嘛转达邀请,希望尊者能够参加定于4月17日至19日在马德里举行的“暴力与和平教育论坛”(Forum on Violence and Education for Peace),据悉将有世界各大城市的市长、政治领袖,以及社会科学专家出席。

In an article published on their official website, the CCP-United-Front-led “China Council for the Promotion of Peaceful National Reunification” pointed out that members of the Spanish [secton of the] “China Council for the Promotion of Peaceful National Reunification” had, “for the first time, taken action, and convened leadership meetings for that very night”, and with their efforts during that night, they had drafted “a protest letter, seriously protesting the Tibetan independence ‘separatist Dalai Lama’s participation’ in the ‘Madrid Peace Forum’.”

由中共统战部指挥安排的“中国和平统一促进会”17日于官网刊文,指西班牙中国和平统一促进会成员“第一时间行动起来,连夜召开骨干会议”并且在“连夜努力下”起草了一封“严重抗议‘藏独’分裂者达赖喇嘛出席‘马德里和平论坛’”的抗议信。”

Members of said organisation handed the protest letter to Madrid city government staff, demanding that it should be handed to the mayor. According to their statements, Communist Chinese embassy officials also made representations to the city government.

该组织几名成员将抗议信交给马德里市政府工作人员,要求转交市长。而据他们的新闻声明,中共驻西班牙大使馆的官员也向该市政府就此进行了交涉。

In their protest letter, the Chinese Communist United Front organization “China Council for the Promotion of Peaceful National Reunification” [abreviated by VoT author]  vilified the Dalai Lama as someone who had defected abroad, carrying out activities [intended to] split the motherland … attacking the Tibet policies of the Chinese central government and Tibet’s development and progress … inciting believers to create violent incidents and to damage stability in the Tibetan region …”

在抗议信中,中共海外统战机构“统促会”诋毁达赖喇嘛“叛逃国外,进行分裂祖国的活动……攻击中国中央政府的西藏政策和西藏的发展进步……并煽动信众制造暴力事件,破坏藏区稳定……”

The “China Council for the Promotion of Peaceful National Reunification” [abreviated by VoT author], just as other Chinese Communist organizations “representing” the common Chinese people, said they hoped that the Madrid city government “won’t hurt the dignity of Chinese people, or hurt their feelings.”

统促会并如其他中共机构一般“代表”了中国百姓,称希望马德里政府“不要伤害中国人的尊严,伤害中国人的感情。”

Recently, University of California San Diego branch university’s invitation to the Dalai Lama to attend the graduation ceremony raised protest from its overseas Chinese student groups. The management didn’t change their decision, and the overseas Chinese student groups modified their protests to demanding that it should be ensured that the Dalai Lama’s speech should not touch upon politics.

近日,美国加州大学圣地亚哥分校因计划邀请达赖喇嘛出席毕业典礼,而引起该校中国留学生团体的抗议。校方未改变决定,留学生团体便转为要求确保达赖喇嘛的讲话不牵涉政治。

Columbia University Contemporary Tibetan Studies Institute director Professor Robert Barnett pointed out in an interview with INSIDE HIGHERED that everyone should be aware of this kind of foreign governments’ bullying against academic institutions. He praised the university for not withdrawing from an important position, but also suggested that it should immediately open opportunities for dialogue between the Chinese students and the Dalai Lama, such as arranging a private meeting between them and the Dalai Lama.

哥伦比亚大学现代西藏研究所所长罗伯特•巴内特(Robert Barnett)接受媒体INSIDE Highered采访时指出,各方应该关注此类学术机构被外国政府霸凌的现象。他赞扬校方没有后退是一个重要的立场,但也提议校方立刻打开与中国学生对话的机遇,比如安排他们与达赖喇嘛之间的私下会面。

The VoT article adds a photo apparently first posted by the “reunification council”, taken by the latter as they “ran into” Chinese embassy staff at the Madrid city government premises as they taking their protest letter there.

VoT’s online article apparently refers to → this online posting by the “reunification council”. Here goes:

Main Link (2):
→ Madrid City Mayor invites Dalai Lama participation in “Madrid Peace Forum” – Spanish [section of] the China Council for the Promotion of Peaceful National Reunification hands Letter of Protest to Madrid City Government

On February 15, Madrid city mayor Manuela Carmena met with famous visiting American film star Richard Gere, and expressed her hope that she could invite the Dalai Lama through Gere, to attend the Madrid “Concerning Municipal Violence and Peace-handling Forum of the Educational World”. Richard Gere is a believer in Tibetan Buddhism, and a faithful follower of the Dalai Lama.

2月15日,马德里市长Manuela Carmena会见了到访的美国著名影星Richard Gere,表达了希望能够通过他邀请达赖喇嘛参加马德里城市“关于城市暴力与和平相处教育世界论坛”。Richard Gere是藏传佛教的信徒,也是达赖喇嘛的忠实追随者。

As the news had burst out, it immediately caught the attention of Chinese people travelling Spain. Ever since the Dalai Lama’s defection in 1959, the establishment of a “exile government” and the drafting a bogus constitution, he has carried out actions to split the motherland.

新闻爆出之后,立即引起了旅西华人的关注。达赖喇嘛自从1959年叛国以来,建立“流亡政府”,制定伪宪法,进行分裂祖国的活动。

Once the news was reported, and everyone became aware of the situation, the Spanish [section of] the China Council for the Promotion of Peaceful National Reunification under the leadership of chairman → Xu Songhua, took action for the first time, immediately in the same night, convening a leadership meeting. At the meeting, all unified their ideology, pooled knowledge for everyone’s benefit, and reported to related parties. In the end, a protest letter, bilingual in Chinese and Tibetan, ‘”seriously protesting ‘Tibetan independence’ divider Dalai Lama’s attendence at the ‘Madrid Peace Forum’ was drafted.

新闻一经报道,大家在得知这样的情况后,西班牙中国和平统一促进会在徐松华主席的带领下,第一时间行动起来,立即连夜召开的骨干会议。在会议上大家统一思想、集思广益,并且向有关方面做了汇报。最终起草了一封“严重抗议‘藏独’分裂者达赖喇嘛出席‘马德里和平论坛’”的中西文双语抗议信。

The letter was completed with the efforts of everyone during that night, and early next morning, under the leadership of Chairman Xu Songhua – together with → Fundación Orient chairman of the board and Council for the Promotion of Peaceful National Reunification senior consultant Julia Zhang, deputy chairman Liu Guangxin and Xu Zhenhai – was handed to Madrid city government.

信件在大家连夜的努力之下起草完毕,并且在第二天一早在徐松华主席的带领下,一同诚信基金会董事长、西班牙中国和平统一促进会高级顾问Julia张女士,副主席刘光新和徐振海交于马德里市政府。

When the four arrived at Madrid city government, time was nearing closing time, and in the end, the four handed the letter to city government staff, to have them pass it on to mayor Carmena, and expressed their severe protest. As they were leaving, they ran into Chinese embassy’s [title] Huang Yazhong and spokesman Ji Dengyun. The two had just made serious representations to the Madrid city government on behalf of the embassy in Spain, concerning the matter. Having bumped into each other, the two sides exchanged their views and opinions, expressing anger and strong protest against mayor Carmena’s mistaken practice of hurting the friendship between the peoples of China and Spain.

一行四人抵达马德里市政府已经接近下班时间,最终四人将信件交给市政府的工作人员,让其转交给马德里市长Carmena女士。并表达了严厉的抗议。四人一出市政府门口,迎面碰上驻西大使馆公参黄亚中和新闻发言人吉登云。他俩代表驻西使馆就此事件刚刚也向马德里市政府严重交涉过。在此一碰,双方交换了意见看法,对卡梅拉市长伤害中西人民友谊的错误做法表示愤怒和强烈抗议。

The protest letter’s complete wording:

抗议信件全文如下:

Seriously protesting “Tibetan Independence” Separatist Dalai Lama’s Attendence at “Madrid Peace Forum”

Respected Madrid City Mayor Ms Carmena:

尊敬的马德里市政府市长卡梅拉女士:

[no translation found]

春祺不一。

We thank Madrid mayor and Madrid city government for their participation in the Chinese Spring Festival activities, their support and help. We appreciate it.

感谢市长和马德里市政府在庆祝中国春节活动中的参与,支持与帮助。我们予以积极评价。

Yesterday, at the shocking news that you wanted to invite the Dalai Lama through American film star Richard Gere, from April 19 to 21, at the Madrid “Concerning Municipal Violence and Peace-handling Forum of the Educational World”, we felt shock and disbelief. Therefore, we send you a letter to cancel this mistaken decision.

昨日,惊悉您通过美国影星李察?基尔,欲邀请达赖参加四月十九曰至二十一日,在马德里召开的”关于城市暴力和平相处教育世界论坛”,我们感到震惊,不可思议。所以,致函您取消这一错误決定。

What kind of man is the Dalai Lama? He is one of the → Gelug school‘s Living Buddhas. Ever since he defected abroad in 1959, he established of a “exile government”, drafted a bogus constitution, and has carried out actions to split the motherland. Under a banner of “peace”, “non-violence”, and “human rights”, he scuttles to every place, spreading rumors, building up international public opinion, gaining uninformed peoples’ sympathy, attacking the Tibet policies of the Chinese central government and Tibet’s development and progress. He deceives, bewitches, bribes, utilizes and incites some believers  to create all kinds of disturbances and uses every opportunity to damage stability in the Tibetan region to achieve his delusional ideas of splitting up China.

达赖喇嘛是何许人?他是藏传佛教格鲁派活佛之一。自1959年叛逃国外以来,他建立“流亡政府”,制定伪宪法,进行分裂祖国的活动。打着“和平”,“非暴力”,“人权”旗号四处窜访,散布谣言,制造国际舆论,获取不明真相人们的同情,攻击中国中央政府的西藏政策和西藏的发展进步。欺骗,蛊惑,收买,利用和煽动一些信众制造各种事端和暴力事件,利用一切机会破坏藏区稳定,以实现他分裂中国的痴心妄想。

In recent years, after the real face of the the Dalai had been exposed, meetings between foreign leaders and the Dalai Lama has become less and less frequent, and the international news world’s interest in the Dalai Lama has become ever lower. The Chinese government has invested an enourmous energy in the building and development of Tibet, and Tibet has maintained stable development these years, with ever closer ethnic unity and religious relations. Tibetan development, the support from the entire nation for Tibet, and the implemenation of various projects and policies have continuously improved Tibet’s situation, with the Dalai Lama’s international status going down, and ever fewer places to go to. Ever since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Spain several decades ago, the two sides have continuously strengthened their exchanges in the fields of politics, economics, culture, etc., with ever deepening friendly cooperation. Especially in recent years, the momentum in Sino-Spanish economic and technical cooperation has been good, and Spain has become an important trade partner of China, within the European Union, with Sino-Spanish technological trade continuously improving, bilateral investment continuously expanding, and a big increase in Chinese tourists travelling to Spain. Currently, economic and trade exchange between China and Spain, with China’s “one belt one road” development strategy, have become inseparably close, and have added strong power to the two countries’ economic prosperity. Friendship between the two countries has continuously deepened and developed.

近年来,达赖真面目暴露之后,外国的国家领导人和达赖喇嘛见面的越来越少,国际新闻界对达赖喇嘛的关注度越来越低。中国政府对西藏建设和发展投入了巨大的精力,西藏这些年来持续不断地保持稳定发展,民族团结越来越好,宗教关系越来越好。西藏的发展、全国人民对西藏的支持以及各项政策措施的实施,使西藏的局面越来越好,而“藏独”分裂者达赖喇嘛在国际上的身价越来越低、越来越走不动。中西两国建交几十年來,双方在政治、经济、文化等方面的交流不断加强,友好合作关系不断深化。特别是近年来,中西经济技术合作势头很好,西班牙已成为中国在欧盟的重要贸易伙伴,中西技术贸易不断发展,双边投资合作不断扩大,到西旅游中国旅客大幅增长。当前,中西两国的经贸交流,在中国提出的“一带一路”发展战略上紧密对接,为中西两国的经济繁荣注入了强劲动力,两国之间的友谊在不断深化和发展。

We hope that the Madrid [city] government will uphold the friendly relations between China and Spain, and that it will not harm the dignity and the feelings of the Chinese people.

我们希望马德里政府,维护中西两国的友好关系,不要伤害中国人的尊严,伤害中国人的感情。

As Chinese immigrants living far from their native land, we respect Spanish dignity and traditional culture, abide by Spanish law and regulations, and hold Spanish liberties, democracy, and peace in high esteem. With sincere hopes for long-lasting Sino-Spanish friendship!

作为侨居西班牙的中国移民,我们尊重西班牙的民族尊严和传统文化,遵守西班牙的法律法规,崇尚西班牙的自由、民主与和平。衷心希望中西友谊长存!

[Spanish section of] the China Council for the Promotion of Peaceful National Reunification, Febr 16, 2017

西班牙中国和平统一促进会
2017年2月16日

On February 9, Richard Gere had met with German chancellor Angela Merkel, in his capacity as chairman of the International Campaign for Tibet. Radio Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB) → noted that the meeting, scheduled to take 30 minutes, had lasted for three quarters of an hour. No information about the content of their discussions was given.

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Related

→ Imagen de la Reunión, Febr 14, 2017
→ Rising China, Rotten Diplomacy, Jan 11, 2013

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Friday, April 15, 2016

Monument Policies (1): Poland

As Poland celebrates 1,050 years of Christianity in Poland, the country’s right-wing government is pushing the country’s European heritage as the EU steps up its criticism, writes Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international media platform. The news article seems to reflect the general angle of the German press on Polish current affairs quite well, although  milder than some German-language reports, even at DW itself, where a headline in February read Polen: Muslime unerwünscht (“Muslims unwelcome”, a choice of words that triggers memories of “Jews unwelcome”, a notice on many German doors, especially once the Nazis had come to power. Dirty German history at Poland’s expense, in only two words.

Coverage on Poland

DW: How ugly of you, Poland

Not all is well between Brussels and Warsaw, as an article by DW correspondent Barbara Wesel reflected in December, after the Polish government’s attack on the country’s supreme court, and its state media:

Polen is the biggest net recipient of EU funding in all of Europe. And Warsaw is wrong if only sees the European capital as the main cashier’s window. From there, obligations accrue, too. The number one obligation is to observe the rules of the club. If Jarosław Kaczyński believes he can impudently defy them, he needs to be disabused. Unfortunately, there are barely ways of imposing official financial sanctions, but maybe all sorts of mistakes can be found in future Polish project proposals… Rudeness like that of the Law-and-Justice party chief needs to be answered with rudeness.

Polen ist der größte Netto-Empfänger von EU-Fördermitteln in ganz Europa. Und Warschau irrt, wenn es in der europäischen Hauptstadt nur die Hauptkasse sieht. Daraus erwachsen auch Verpflichtungen. Erste Pflicht ist auf jeden Fall, die Regeln des Clubs einzuhalten. Wenn Jaroslaw Kaczynski glaubt, er könne sich frech darüber hinweg setzen, muss er eines Besseren belehrt werden. Leider gibt es in der EU kaum Möglichkeiten, offiziell finanzielle Sanktionen zu verhängen. Aber vielleicht finden sich ja allerhand Fehler in künftigen polnischen Projektanträgen… Auf einen so groben Klotz wie den polnischen PiS-Parteichef gehört ein grober Keil.

This kind of creative anger – probably indicative of the general mood among the political class in the City of Brussels – is a somewhat unpleasant sight, especially when Germans wield the financial club. Nothing is forgotten in Poland: no pressure, no words, which above all shouldn’t come from German mouths, will dissuade us, German news magazine Der Spiegel quoted Jarosław Kaczyński in January.

Kaczyński’s policies may be facing widespread opposition in Poland by now – but with comments like these, he may be able to reach some of his opponents, too.

Brussels and Berlin seem to understand that. While wide swathes of German press coverage is pulling Polish policies to pieces, German and EU diplomacy remain … well … diplomatic.

And the real dark clouds, from Warsaw’s point of view, are gathering in the West, from the direction of another complicated neighbor. That would be Russia. When it comes to the Katyn massacre, for years, “the blame for the killings was alternately attributed to the Germans and the Russians”, a Radio Poland continuity announcement informed the station’s listeners on Wednesday (7th minute), Poland’s official day of remembrance. The report that followed the announcement was more accurate, stating that the Soviet Union (the Soviet NKVD) had been responsible.

In the same broadcast, German journalist Boris Reitschuster is interviewed (20th minute) about his latest book (to be published on Friday, April 15) about Putin’s Secret Army. (Whatever may be said about the book (in terms of reliability or otherwise), conservative press people appear to be fans, while liberal and leftist publications don’t display nearly as much fascination.)

There was no official mention of the tragedy in Poland during the communist rule nor much was said in the West, which is also guilty of concealing evidence of the Stalinist crime,

Radio Poland said on Wednesday.

Maybe it’s this mood that defines the current mission of Polish remembrance policies: 500 monuments to the Soviet soldiers, who drove the German Wehrmacht out of Poland in 1944/1945, are scheduled to be demolished (CNBC) or removed (Newsweek).

It’s not the first action of this kind, but it is now reportedly the Polish state Institute for National Remembrance (INR) that calls on regional authorities to dismantle the monuments. It could become a comprehensive measure.

And at the same time, Polish media discuss the positive symbols that shall replace those from the communist era. A Radio Poland press review, still on April 13:

Back to Rzeczpospolita now which claims that President Lech Kaczyński, who was killed in the plane crash in Russia six years ago, deserves a dignified memorial in the Polish capital. Having in mind, however, deep divisions in Polish society surrounding the circumstances of the crash, it is not a good idea to erect such a memorial in front of the presidential palace, as is proposed by the Law and Justice Party. The Rzeczpospolita columnist thinks that hospitals, schools and libraries built from public funds and named after the late president would be a better way of remembering President Kaczyński, and of bridging the divides within Polish society.

The presidential palace in Warsaw may have to wait for its copy, but this what the presidential memorial might look like.

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Notes

纪念“卡廷惨案”受害者的橡树, CRI, April 14, 2016
Instructions Importantes, CRI, April 12, 2016
Lech Kaczyński, 1949 – 2010, April 10, 2010

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Sunday, April 3, 2016

Germany: Is “The Ivan” Back?

The Russians are coming was a standard line when I was a child. Sometimes, everyone into the blockhouses would be added. it was meant to be fun, but there was an underlying fear in it.

Another term for Russians in general would be The Ivan*) (probably an echo from “Ivan the Terrible”). At least in West Germany, fear of Russia was part of collective post-war identity – much more so than in Britain or France.

There may be many possible explanations for this, and I tend to believe that it was a combination of several factors (Germany being subject to allied, including Soviet, control being one that lasted particularly long) was one of them. West Germany’s existence and raison d’être as a frontline state was another. And then, there was a widespread inclination among many Germans to see their country as a victim in the first place, rather than as an initiator of Nazism and boundless war.

By 1983, it had become evident, at least in certain quarters, that the USSR had lost most of its expansionary power. In terms of soft power, Moscows message had become about as attractive as athlete’s foot, and in military terms, the “Evil Empire” was grossly overestimated.

But there was a narrative, and as usual (when the narrative is well crafted), it prevailed over facts. On March 31, 1983, US president Ronald Reagan told a Los Angeles World Affairs Council Luncheon that

In the last 15 years or more, the Soviet Union has engaged in a relentless military buildup, overtaking and surpassing the United States in major categories of military power, acquiring what can only be considered an offensive military capability. All the moral values which this country cherishes-freedom, democracy, the right of peoples and nations to determine their own destiny, to speak and write, to live and worship as they choose—all these basic rights are fundamentally challenged by a powerful adversary which does not wish these values to survive.

Der Spiegel, back then a center-left and liberal German newsmagazine, took issue with Reagan. While the USSR was certainly no paper tiger, and while it was true that Soviet military had seen a huge push during two decades under Leonid Brezhnev (with American military budgets being  reduced by some 2.5 percent per year during the Nixon, Ford, and Carter presidencies), the USSR’s military power wasn’t as strong as first reported.

Shortly before a paper was published by US secretary of defense, Caspar Weinberger (also in March 1983, and supportive of Reagan’s March-31 remarks), the CIA had retracted all its US statements concerning Moscow’s military budget:

military expenditures had been overestimated by fifty percent. Rather than by three, four, or more percent, there had been growth by a maximum of two percent since 1976.

Such subtleties, however, didn’t put Ronald Reagan off-message. His story remained the same; the Soviet Union was about to put an end to [a]ll the moral values which this country cherishes.

Fourty-year-old statistics like those debted in the early 1980s are hard to verify (or falsify). But in at least one respect, the Spiegel authors, in 1983, were wrong: contrary to what they believed (quoting “experts”), America proved able to finish the USSR off in a gargantuan arms race, and the factors that lead to the Soviet Union’s demise in 1991 were pretty much the weaknesses that the Spiegel authors themselves had pointed out less than a decade earlier.

The rest, as they say, is history. The world, from Alaska to Siberia (the long way round, of course), and from Pole to Pole, happily awaited huge peace dividends. After all, we had reached the end of history.

But Russia felt squeezed by NATO – understandably, the Baltic nations and Poland had felt rather urgently that they needed a strong reassurance against potential future Russian expansionism. (Not everyone appeared to trust the story about the end of history, and besides, a democratic society doesn’t necessarily live in a peaceful, unaggressive state.

Germans have viewed Russia – and the Soviet Union – differently since the mid-1980s. By 1987, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev had overtaken Ronald Reagan, in terms of popularity here. That didn’t change after the USSR’s demise: while Gorbachev was seen as a failure, or even a “sellout” of sourts, among many Russians, Germans considered him “the” man who had made German unification possible. And Boris Yeltsin‘s Russia, even if not looking terribly respectable at the time, certainly didn’t look like something to fear either.

In an article in Germany’s weekly Die Zeit, a Moscow correspondent stated in May 1994 that once again, a majority of Russians considered the end of the USSR a greater calamity than its beginnings, and that Russian reformers had not been successful in “learning from the West”, as stipulated by Yeltsin two and a half years earlier.

Yeltsin had to accept that the safeguarding of authority, which had for centuries been based on expansion rather than on enlightenment, could not be redesigned with a new constitution alone.

Jelzin hat einsehen müssen, daß Herrschaftssicherung, die seit Jahrhunderten durch Ausdehnung statt durch Aufklärung erfolgte, mit einer neuen Verfassung alleine nicht umgestaltet werden kann.

Only pacts and compromises with conservative forces could save the “autumn” of Yeltsin’s presidency, the correspondent wrote.

In economic terms, a Stratfor paper dating from November 1999 suggested that veterans of perestroika, such as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin or former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, could strip the oligarchs of their wealth and influence, and enact more centrist policies.

To quite an extent, this seems to be what Vladimir Putin‘s presidency has done. In its early years, it continued the ideological consolidation started by Yeltsin himself, and his administration began to implement a policy that the “Zeit” Moscow correspondent described as west-oriented as a matter of principle, but moving away from America in particular. […] In America, however, the “Zeit” article quoted Yeltsin, forces were concentrating that would like to keep Russia in a state of controllable paralysis. That said, Putin  – in the eyes of investors – may have arrived at a point similar to Yeltsin’s, by now. Too little appears to move, economically.

When reading the press these days – certainly the German press -, you might be forgiven if you think that Russian policies had fundamentally changed since the 1990s. But they haven’t. There has been a remarkable Russian continuity – and a tendency in the West to disregard realities in Russia, and in its remaining sphere of influence.

When late German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle told Moscow in December 2013 that it was “not appropriate” for the EU “to ask third parties for permission before inviting the Ukraine to develop into Europe’s direction”, this represented widespread western- and central European illusions.

Russia, too, is a European country – most Russians live on the European continent, and Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and Volgograd not least, are European cities. The discriminatory – and self-centred – approach of equating Europe with the EU has done much to its recent crises, be it on its eastern, be it on its northwestern boundaries.

There is an important difference to make: it would have been unethical if NATO had refused Polish or a Baltic country’s accessions, and it would have been particularly unethical if Germany a main author of Polish partition and loss of the Baltic states’ sovereignty,- had demanded such a refusal.

But in Ukraine, there had been no consensus to join an alliance with the West. In a row, administrations closer to Moscow or closer to the West had been elected, but there had been no continuity. There was Russian intervention, but there had been unwarranted Western interference prior to that. I have no doubt that any Russian leader, be it Putin, Yeltsin, or Gorbachev, would have reacted just the way Putin did. That was no matter of conviction; it was a matter of geopolitics.

Now, Germany’s federal government intends to counter Russian espionage, propaganda, and disinformation in Germany, writes German daily Die Welt. What they mean is, that Russian and pro-Putin publications have blown several issues in the news – issues that have recently troubled many Germans – out of proportions, or given them a slant that favored narratives from the fringes, rather than the much-conjured “center” of German society.

If the German public can be persuaded by domestic propaganda to swing back from a rather “russophile” (since the 1980s) to a rather anti-Russian attitude again (as from the 1940s to the 1970s) remains to be seen. But if the political class have their way, it is going to work that way.

That said, there are surprises, once in a while. In May 2015, Joachim Gauck, not particularly famous for being a friend of the Russian people, gave a speech in the Westphalian town of Schloß Holte-Stukenbrock, a prisoner-of-war campsite during World War 1 and, more notoriously, World War 2. What Gauck said, was this:

We have gathered here today in Schloß Holte-Stukenbrock to recall one of the worst crimes of the war – the deaths of millions of Red Army soldiers in German prisoner-of-war camps. They died in agony without medical care, starved to death or were murdered. Millions of prisoners of war for whose care the German Wehrmacht was responsible under the law of war and international agreements.

Saying that was laudable, especially as most Germans I know aren’t even aware of this chapter in their history. But there is a catch: to say something only once hardly changes anything. Only regular repetition – as anyone with just a faint idea of how propaganda works can tell you – will make sink inconvenient truths like these sink in. Most Germans I know aren’t actually aware of the scale of German warcrimes against Soviet war prisoners. And to make the warprisoner story sink in isn’t deemed desirable: neither by most of Germany’s media, nor by the German population in general, many of whom would like to see a Schlußstrich, a “final stroke” underneath the complete chapter of Nazism.

Some time in the early 1980s – prior to Gorbachev’s tenure as Soviet party secretary -, the West German foreign office published a booklet for use in school classes. Our school was a rather conservative environment, but the booklet made it into our classroom anyway. Titled “Aufrüsten-Abrüsten” (Armament-Disarmament), it was a try to educate us in foreign politics, and I don’t remember much of it. But there was a remarkable line in it which basically said that, no matter to which conclusions we, as school students, might come concerning the Soviet Union’s role in Europe, we should develop some sympathy – even if not necessarily acquiescence – in the light of the past.

I guess that this booklet had much to do with the man at the helm of the foreign office at the time – Hans-Dietrich Genscher, German foreign minister from 1974 to 1992, who died on Thursday. As phobic as West German feelings against the “East” might have been back then, there seemed to be an understanding, at least in some substantial quarters of the political class, that you can’t have peace without trying to understand those who may (or may not) become your foes, and that your own decisions may matter in the process.

This understanding may no longer be here, and I’m wondering how much misery it may take before we will regain some common sense.

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Notes

*) Max Frisch, in his novel “Homo Faber”, raised a modest monument for German anti-Russian sentiment, in the shape of an, as it turns out later, otherwise/actually/mostly quite likeable German philistine:

No German desired re-armament, but the Russian forced America into it, tragically, which I, as a Swissman […], couldn’t judge, because I hadn’t been to the Caucasus, he [the German] had been in the Caucasus, he knew the Ivan, who could only be taught a lesson with weapons. He knew the Ivan! He said that several times. Only possible lesson through weapons!, he said, because nothing else would impress him, the Ivan —

I peeled my apple.

Distinction between Herrenmenschen and Untermenschen, as advocated by the good Hitler, was, of course, nonsense; but Asians remained Asians —

I ate my apple.

Kein  Deutscher  wünsche  Wiederbewaffnung,  aber  der  Russe zwinge  Amerika  dazu,  Tragik,  ich  als  Schweizer   (Schwyzzer, wie  er mit Vorliebe sagte)  könne  alldies  nicht   beurteilen,  weil  nie im Kaukasus gewesen,  er sei  im  Kaukasus gewesen,  er  kenne den Iwan, der nur durch Waffen zu belehren sei. Er kenne den Iwan!
Das  sagte  er mehrmals. Nur durch Waffen zu  belehren!  sagte  er, denn alles andere  mache  ihm keinen Eindruck,  dem  Iwan   –

Ich  schälte meinen Apfel.

Unterscheidung   nach  Herrenmenschen   und   Untermenschen, wie’s  der  gute  Hitler  meinte, sei  natürlich  Unsinn;  aber  Asiaten bleiben Asiaten –
Ich  aß meinen Apfel.

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