Posts tagged ‘conscience’

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Forgetful Fury

There’s a lot of talk about China feeling uneasy about Russia these days – which may be so.

But don’t expect China to support any measures that could topple Russia’s regime. For one, they need Russia on their side if they try to invade Taiwan: politically for sure, and militarily (in terms of arms supplies or other kinds of technical support), probably. Also, it is generally useful to have a permanent backer at the UN Security Council (if the Chinese ambassador there forgets his smelling salts, for example, and passes out at a critical moment for feeling uneasy, next to Russia).

If you know China’s North Korea policy, you’ll know it’s Russia policy even better. North Korea is a disaster zone with missiles, and Russia is a gas station with missiles, working warheads, and veto power. And with tanks, obviously, but that doesn’t matter to China.

If China did anything that toppled Russia’s regime, it would be inadvertently.

But there’s another reason for China’s reservations, too. China’s regime is much worse than Russia’s. It’s fascinating how easily the hell named Xinjiang has been forgotten on the international scene. Do those who ask China to condemn the invasion of Ukraine really know who they are talking to? Do they want to prove the obvious, because they know the answer? Or do they hope for a moderating effect of Beijing’s unease, on Moscow’s killing spree?

The last point would be the likeliest. But it doesn’t look like a gamechanger either.

Be mad at Moscow, if you have to, but don’t be forgetful.
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Related

We cannot even die for a cause like them, Uyghur Times, March 2, 2022
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Sunday, December 12, 2021

Xi Jinping’s Heroes (2): Martyrs, Wave upon Wave

The following is my second instalment of an article gathering notable Xi quotes concerning heroes; part one is there. No excerpts in this second part; every Xi word within the following paragraphs has been faithfully translated. All errors are my own; corrections or suggestions are welcome.

a_word_every_day

For the particularly pious, there’s “A Daily Word from Xi”,
a regular morning meditation on
China People’s Broadcasting Station (CPBS)

Links within blockquotes added during translation.

Main Link: “The Secretary General has talked about Heroes like these”, by Wen Hongyan and Song Jingsi, published on Sept 29

For the beloved motherland of their ideals, countless revolutionary martyrs held high the torch of faith, with an honor that doesn’t look back, they entered the powerful historical torrent of the people’s independence and the people’s liberation. Facing danger without fear and advancing dauntlessly in wave upon wave, they fought a brave, blood-soaked fight despite all setbacks.

为了理想中“可爱的中国”,无数革命先烈高擎信仰的火炬,义无反顾地踏入为了民族独立、人民解放的历史洪流中。他们临危不惧、前赴后继,他们浴血奋战、百折不挠。

On July 24, 2020, secretary general Xi Jinping, ending inspection work in Jilin province, pointed out:

2020年7月24日,习近平总书记在吉林考察工作结束时的重要讲话中指出:

“During the war of resistance against Japan, under extremely vile conditions, General Yang Jingyu led armed forces braved temperatures of minus 40 degrees fighting blood-soaked battles with enemies several times stronger in numbers while having nothing but dry grass, tree bark and cotton wadding in their stomachs. Their achievements were shaking popular feelings.”

“抗日战争时期,在极其恶劣的条件下,杨靖宇将军领导抗日武装冒着零下四十摄氏度的严寒,同数倍于己的敌人浴血奋战,牺牲时胃里全是枯草、树皮、棉絮,没有一粒粮食,其事迹震撼人心。”

On September 18, 1931, Japanese imperialism manufactured the Mukden Incident and began the large-scale invasion and occupation of northeastern China. In 1932, Yang Jingyu was commissioned by the party central committee to organize the Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army, and led the Northeast military-civilians in a bloody battle at the White Mountain and Black Water . Facing the Japanese army’s frantic pressure, Yang Jingyu was brimming with fighting spirit: “A Revolution is like fire. The snow may be sealing the mountains and hiding the birds’ and animals’ traces, but as long as we carry the spark, we can chase away the bitter winter and bring light and warmth.”

1931年9月18日,日本帝国主义制造九一八事变,开始大举侵占中国东北。1932年,杨靖宇受党中央委托到东北组织抗日联军,率领东北军民与日寇血战于白山黑水之间。面对日军疯狂镇压,杨靖宇充满斗志:“革命就像火一样,任凭大雪封山,鸟兽藏迹,只要我们有火种,就能驱赶严寒,带来光明和温暖。”

In February 1940, Yang Jingyu, in a world of ice and snow and out of ammunition and food, fought a lone fight against a great number of Japanese invaders, and heroically sacrificed his life after fighting for five days and nights, in Mengjiang County (now Jingyu County in Jilin Province).

1940年2月,杨靖宇在冰天雪地、弹尽粮绝的情况下,孤身一人与大量日寇周旋,战斗五昼夜后,在濛江县(今吉林省靖宇县)壮烈牺牲。

In times of difficulty, circumstances create heroes. In this great struggle in the war of resistance against Japan, the sons and daughters of China independently and freely casted their lives, sprinkled warm blood, mothers sent their sons to fight the Japanese invaders, wives sent their young husbands to the battleground, men and women, old and young equally mobilized.

天下艰难际,时势造英雄。在抗日战争这场救亡图存的伟大斗争中,中华儿女为中华民族独立和自由不惜抛头颅、洒热血,母亲送儿打日寇,妻子送郎上战场,男女老少齐动员。

It was Jiawu 2014. In a commemorative ceremony for the whole nation’s war of resistance that had started 77 years earlier, Secretary Xi Jinping, with deep emotion, told a heroic story: a mother from Miyun County in Beijing named Deng Yufen sent her husband and five children to the front, and they all died in battle.

2014年,岁逢甲午。在纪念全民族抗战爆发七十七周年仪式上,习近平总书记深情讲述了一位英雄母亲的抗战故事:“北京密云县一位名叫邓玉芬的母亲,把丈夫和5个孩子送上前线,他们全部战死沙场。”

Deng Yufen clenched her teeth and stood firm under these blows, smiling less than before but becoming more active in the anti-japanese war and closer to the younger generations of soldiers.

面对沉重的打击,邓玉芬硬是咬牙挺住了。她脸上的笑容少了,但对抗日工作更积极了,对子弟兵更亲了。

In August 1945, the Chinese people finally defeated the Japanese aggressor. Deng Yufen had tears in her eyes, comforting her husband and her sons under the nine springs: we are victorious! Before her death in February 1970, Deng Yufen told her fellow villagers, “bury me next to the roadside, I want to see the children return”.

1945年8月,中国人民终于打败日本侵略者,邓玉芬眼噙泪花,告慰九泉之下的丈夫和儿子们:咱们胜利了!1970年2月临终前,邓玉芬对乡亲们说:“把我埋在大路边,我要看着孩子们回来。”

In the extraordinarily difficult years of the anti-Japanese war, the Chinese people fought against powerful enemies, built a great wall out of blood and flesh, with always another one stepping into the breach to replace the fallen, and wrote a majestic epos, for a shaken world to read and to make even supernatural beings cry2), thus winning the fist war by Chinese against foreign aggressors in modern times3).

在艰苦卓绝的抗日战争中,中国人民以铮铮铁骨战强敌、以血肉之躯筑长城、以前仆后继赴国难,谱写了惊天地、泣鬼神的雄壮史诗,赢得了近代以来中国抗击外敌入侵的第一次完全胜利。

Secretary-general Xi Jinping pointed out on a symposium commemorating the 69th anniversary of the Chinese people’s anti-Japanese war of resistance’s victory and the world’s war against fascism’s victory: “High-ranking officers like Yang Jingyu, Zhao Shangzhi, Zuo Quan, Peng Xuefeng, Tong Linge, Zhao Dengyu, Zhang Zizhong, Dai Anlan and others from numerous heroic entities such as the Eight-Route Army’s ‘Five Heroes on Langya Mountain’, the New Fourth Army’s ‘Liulaozhuang company’, the Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army’s eight female warriors, the KMT Army’s ‘eight heroes’, are outstanding representatives of the Chinese people undefiant,self-sacrificing stance.”

习近平总书记在纪念中国人民抗日战争暨世界反法西斯战争胜利69周年座谈会上指出:“杨靖宇、赵尚志、左权、彭雪枫、佟麟阁、赵登禹、张自忠、戴安澜等一批抗日将领,八路军‘狼牙山五壮士’、新四军‘刘老庄连’、东北抗联八位女战士、国民党军‘八百壮士’等众多英雄群体,就是中国人民不畏强暴、以身殉国的杰出代表。”

While fighting the liberation war, the Communist Party of China relied closely on the masses, obtained a power that toppled the mountains and overturned the seas, and ended the KMT’s reactionary rule, establishing a brandnew People’s Republic.

解放战争中,中国共产党紧紧依靠人民群众,获得了排山倒海的力量,结束了国民党的反动统治,建立了崭新的人民共和国。

“With no care for their heads, their warm blood irrigated the country.” To win national independence and the people’s liberation, countless revolutionary martyrs marched forward bravely, building the great wall of steel that rescued the nation in peril and defended the nation’s dignity. According to incomplete statistics, there were 3.7 million martyrs among revolutionary the troops led by the party from 1921 until 1949.

“未惜头颅新故国,甘将热血沃中华。”为争取民族独立和人民解放,无数革命先烈勇往直前以赴之,筑起拯救民族危亡、捍卫民族尊严的钢铁长城。据不完全统计,从1921年到1949年,党领导的革命队伍中,有名可查的烈士就达370多万人。

Secretary-general Xi Jinping emphasized: “The republic is red, and can’t weaken this color.4) The blood of countless martyrs gave our flag its color. There is no way that we would not build the republic well that they hoped, fought and sacrificed for.”
“We absolutely must engrave the martyrs’ final wishes and never forget the great ideals they sacrificed their blood for.”

习近平总书记强调:“共和国是红色的,不能淡化这个颜色。无数的先烈鲜血染红了我们的旗帜,我们不建设好他们所盼望向往、为之奋斗、为之牺牲的共和国,是绝对不行的。”“我们一定要铭记烈士们的遗愿,永志不忘他们为之流血牺牲的伟大理想。”

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Notes

1) White Mountain + Heilongjiang = Dongbei
2) Xi Jinping appears to have a particularly strong liking for warm blood “irrigating” the motherland, but also for borrowing from the world on the other side of the cupboard: supernatural beings have played a role in his commemorative speech about the Korean war, too, and – if a verbatim quote of what Xi said back then – in his September 2015 speech.
3) Among Chinese – not among Americans or Taiwanese – “近代” usually seems to refer to the times from around 1912 to 1949. The term is discussed by a Wikipedia article, too.
4) xCompare commemorative speech about the Korean war in October with the same phrase: 共和国是红色的,不能淡化这个颜色. Another translation for “weaken” could be “dilute” or “trivialize” its color.
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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Xi Jinping’s Heroes (1): the Blood of countless Martyrs

Every once in a while, a topic or text looks too big (or too much of a tasteless nuisance) to me to be processed in a blog, although I still want to translate it. When it’s too much in one go, I might opt for a serial.

Update, Dec 12, 2020: Part 2 is there.

This blog is meant to be more than just a public waste book, but it certainly fulfills a waste book’s tasks, too, and helps to tidy up my mind.

The following are excerpts from an article published by “People’s Daily” (the CPC’s central party organ), and republished, probably among many others, by “The Paper” (澎湃新闻), Shanghai.

Note the frequent references to movies – Xi Jinping (or his advisors, or both) appear to have been impressed by Ronald Reagan’s use of cinema, or cinema-worty, propaganda during the 1980s.1)

Main Link: “The Secretary General has talked about Heroes like these”, by Wen Hongyan and Song Jingsi, published on Sept 29
Links within blockquotes added during translation.

0916_blessing

Jiangxi inspection tour 2019, background left:
Red Army Long March Starting Point Monument,
Yudu County

“A nation with hope cannot be without heroes, a country cannot be without pioneers.”
“一个有希望的民族不能没有英雄,一个有前途的国家不能没有先锋。”

Ever since the 18th National Congress, Secretary General Xi Jinping has attached great importance to praising heroic models, carrying forward the heroic spirit, looking for heroes, commemorated the heroes’ footprints north and south of the Yangtse River, told moving stories about heroes on many occasions, expressed his veneration for heroes, called on the whole party and the whole country to hold the heroes in high esteem, to defend them, to learn about them, and to show concern and care for them. The Secretary General emphasized: only high esteem for heroes can bring about heroes, and only the strife to become heroes can make heroes come forth in large numbers.
党的十八大以来,习近平总书记高度重视褒奖英雄模范、弘扬英雄精神,踏寻英雄、缅怀英烈的足迹遍布大江南北,在多个场合讲述英雄感人故事,表达对英雄的崇敬之情,号召全党全国崇尚英雄、捍卫英雄、学习英雄、关爱英雄。总书记强调:“崇尚英雄才会产生英雄,争做英雄才能英雄辈出。”

[…..]

Never to be forgotten
永志不忘——

“The republic is red, and can’t weaken this color. The blood of countless martyrs gave our flag its color. There is no way that we would not build the republic well that they hoped, fought and sacrificed for.”
“共和国是红色的,不能淡化这个颜色。无数的先烈鲜血染红了我们的旗帜,我们不建设好他们所盼望向往、为之奋斗、为之牺牲的共和国,是绝对不行的。”

On the median of Tian An Men Square, the Monument to the People’s Heroes stands tall and towering.
On November 29, 2012, not long after the party’s 18th national congress, Secretary General Xi Jinping entered the National Museum east of the Monument to the People’s Heroes, visiting the “Road to National Rejuvenation” exhibit. The Secretary General pointed out: “During modernity2), the scale to which the Chinese nation has suffered and made sacrifices is something rarely seen in the history of the world.
天安门广场的南北中轴线上,人民英雄纪念碑巍然耸立。
2012年11月29日,党的十八大闭幕不久,习近平总书记走进人民英雄纪念碑东侧的国家博物馆,参观《复兴之路》展览。总书记指出:“近代以后,中华民族遭受的苦难之重、付出的牺牲之大,在世界历史上都是罕见的。”

The October revolution’s momentous events gave China Marxism-Leninism. Marxism-Leninism’s dissemination in China advanced the great awakening of the Chinese people, drove the birth of the Communist Party of China, and ignited the light of the Chinese nation’s rejuvenation.
十月革命一声炮响,给中国送来了马克思列宁主义。马克思列宁主义在中国的传播,促进了中国人民的伟大觉醒,催生了中国共产党,点亮了中华民族的复兴之光。

“China surely has an admirably bright future.” During that grim era, Fang Zhimin and countless other people all had lofty ideals, with their hearts full of hope and expectations.
“中国一定有个可赞美的光明前途。”在那个风雨如晦的年代,方志敏等无数仁人志士都如此满心期待、满怀憧憬。

[…..]

On May 22, 2019, Secretary General Xi Jinping, while ending an inspection tour in Jiangxi, pointed out: “‘The enemy can only chop off our heads, but he can’t shake our faith’ – this was Comrade Fang Zhimin’s resounding promise before sacrificing his life.”
2019年5月22日,习近平总书记在江西考察工作结束时的重要讲话中指出:“‘敌人只能砍下我们的头颅,决不能动摇我们的信仰’,这是方志敏同志牺牲前留下的铮铮誓言。”

“The light of ideals can’t be extinguished, and the light of faith can’t be extinguished.” Secretary General Xi Jinping told many moving stories about the revolutionary martyrs’ selfless pursuit of the light of ideals, and how they gave their lives to protect the revolutionary faith.
“理想之光不灭,信念之光不灭。”习近平总书记曾在不同场合讲述许多革命先烈忘我追寻理想之光、舍身保护信仰火种的感人故事。

“Before martyr Liu Renkan was killed for the righteous cause, the enemy mercilessly cut off his tongue. Still, he used his foot and his spilling blood to write ‘Long live the revolution’.”
“刘仁堪烈士在就义前,敌人残忍地割下了他的舌头,他仍然用脚蘸着流下的鲜血写下‘革命成功万岁’。”

“Martyr Jiang Shanzhong left a letter behind, written with his own blood, ‘Death to the underworld will not turn back water, and protect the Communist Party for thousands of years’.”3)
“江善忠烈士留下血书,‘死到阴间不反水,保护共产党万万年’。”

Xia Minghan went to prison, faithful and unchanging. In a letter to his wife, he sent the heroic oath of ‘persist in our aspirations, vow to spread the truth to the earthly world’.”
“夏明翰身陷牢狱坚贞不屈,在给妻子的家书中发出‘坚持革命继吾志,誓将真理传人寰’的豪迈誓言。”

“In the Battle of Xiangjiang River, martyr Chen Shuxiang‘s feats, ‘heartbreakingly showing his sincere convictions’, touch people, it really is ‘a thousand drops of blood from the Red Army on every inch of the ground, and an honorable hero’s body on every step’.”
“在湘江战役中,陈树湘烈士‘断肠明志’的事迹十分感人,真是‘寸土千滴红军血,一步一尊英雄躯’。”

Continued there.
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Notes

Stuff like this:

1) 1/11/84 Lars‑Erik Nelson suggests another source for the Medal of Honor story: an apocryphal item in the April 1944 issue of Reader’s Digest, a magazine known to be a life‑long Reagan favorite.
“The bomber had been almost ripped apart by German cannon,” it read. “The ball turret gunner was badly wounded and stuck in the blister on the underside of the fuselage. Crewmen worked frantically to extricate the youngster, but there was nothing they could do. They began to jump. The terror‑stricken lad screamed in fear as he saw what was happening. The last man to jump heard the remaining crewman, a gunner, say, ‘Take it easy, kid. We’ll take this ride together.’”
2) Seems this could be translated as after modernity, but that wouldn’t make sense to me because 近代 – among Chinese, and not among Americans or Taiwanese – usually refers to the times from around 1912 and 1949. Among the latter, it would be from the late Ming dynasty to 1912 (according to Wikipedia as of Oct 20).
3) Not necessarily a correct translation; found online, on a site full of commercials and reroutings

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Sunday, September 5, 2021

Ethnic Work, enthusiastic Reactions (1)

As reported by China Central Television’s (CCTV) main evening news on August 29, CPC secretary-general Xi Jinping’s speech on ethnic work at the Central Ethnic Work Conference in late August has met with an enthusiastic echo from the masses and cadres of all national ethnicities. The following are translations of some of that enthusiastic echo. Every quote is linked to the news program’s online video.


Link 1, 03′ 28”, Wang Yanzhong (王延中), head of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology:

Secretary General’s important speech is a concentrated and innovative, summarized and purified expression of our ethnic work in the new era. Even more so, we continue to promote the construction of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era. It is especially the promotion of new strategic deployment in the building of ethnic affairs management systems and management abilities.
中国社科院民族学与人类学研究所所长王延中:
总书记的重要讲话是我们新时代民族工作在实践中创新,总结,提炼的一个集中表达,更是我们继续推进新时代中国特色社会主义现代化建设。尤其是在民族工作领域推进民族事务治理体系和治理能力建设的新的战略部署。



Link 2, 03′ 50”, Zhang Mou (张谋), head of the National Affairs Commission’s research department:

We will thoroughly study Xi Jinping’s thoughts concerning the strengthening and improvement of ethnic work, profoundly grasp the work rules shown in the “twelve musts”, firmly seize the distinct central theme of a sense of community among China’s ethnicities, and promote the new era party’s high-quality development of ethnic work.
我们将深入学习总书记关于加强和改进民族工作的重要思想,深刻领会「十二个必须」所揭示的工作规律,牢牢把握铸牢中华民族共同体意识这条鲜明主线,推动新时代党的民族工作高质量发展。



Link 3, 04′ 10”, Maulati Yibulayin [phonetic spelling], a vice director of Xinjiang Uighur “autonomous region’s” Ethnic Affairs Commission:

As ethnic workers, we must profoundly understand the spirit of the Secretary-General’s important speech, and, with the forging of a sense of community among China’s ethnicities as the central theme, guide the continuous improvement of the ethnicities’ recognition of the great motherland, the great Chinese nation, Chinese culture, the Communist Party of China and socialism with Chinese characteristics.
新疆维吾尔自治区民族事务委员会副主任地力毛拉提‧依布拉音
作为民族工作者,我们要深刻领会总书记的重要讲话精神,以铸牢中华民族共同体意识为主线引导各族群众不断增强,对伟大祖国,中华民族,中华文化,中国共产党,中国特色社会主义的认同。

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Part 2 is there.
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Monday, July 6, 2020

CCTV News Anchor on “national security” legislation: “The Red Line must be inscribed in the Hearts”

Hai Xia, CCTV “Xinwen Lianbo” news anchor, July 5

Transcript

These two days our CCTV series “China emotionally touched”, with “Filled with Emotions like a Fragrant River”, led to passionate debates among netizens.

这两天央视播出的《感动中国》特别节目《情满香江》引发网友热议,

The film included a description of many motherland-loving, Hong Kong-loving people straightened their backs and defended Hong Kong‘s story.

片子里讲述了很多爱国爱港人士挺身而出守护香港的故事。

Among them, and that impressed us most deeply, there was a Hong Kong citizen at a plaza facing the “black violence” threat,

其中让我印象很深的是,有一位香港市民在商场里面对“黑暴”威胁,

responding by bringing his child and singing the national anthem aloud. His only a few year-old daughter said that someone who doesn‘t love his own country is useless.

他回应的方式是带着自己的孩子高唱国歌。他年仅几岁的女儿还说,一个人不爱自己的国家就没用了。

This little friend really must be praised. So young, she knows good from bad. Of course, this has to do with her father educating her,

真要为这位小朋友点赞,小小年纪就能明是非。这当然与父母的教育有关,

and we have also seen news today which says that Hong Kong‘s libraries have removed some “HK independence” books from the shelves which is beautifully done, but it is not enough.

今天也看到一个消息说,香港有图书馆已经将一些“港独”书籍下架,干得漂亮,但这还不够。

Many people know that some basic educational material in HK comes with “poison”, and this “poison” must be cleaned away to clean the source.

很多人都知道香港的一些教材、基础教育领域都带有“毒”,把这里的“毒”排排干净,才是真正的正本清源。

With HK security law in force, the law must genuinely take effect. Besides seriously applying the law, universal law knowledge must be taught well.

香港国安法已经落地生效,法律要真正发挥效用,除了严格执法之外,普法教育工作也一定要做好。

The red line is not only a legal red line, but must be inscribed in the hearts.

红线不仅是划在执法一线,也是划在心里。

The poison must vanish from the source, and only from there can the pernicious influence that brings calamity to HK be blocked at the roots.

源头消了毒,祸港的流毒也才能从根上堵住。

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Related

One country, our system, July 6, 2020
Unshrinking Police, July 3, 2020

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Thursday, June 4, 2020

June 4 Anniversary and Hong Kong: Broke Horses and Resisting Horses

I think there have been two moments when Chinese people of my age basically told me two things.

a) Yes, they had been among the 1989 protesters, be it in Beijing, be it in other places in China.

b) They had come to understand since how wrong they had been back in 1989, and what a calamity they had all been spared by the crackdown.

In both cases, I listened, nodded, and didn’t argue. I didn’t believe them a word. And I felt I was listening to another chapter from a universal story of human weakness, just as Pasternak’s Dr. Zhivago had, again, many decades earlier, and who had said that “it was like listening to a horse describing how it broke itself in.”

I didn’t argue because I felt that I hadn’t been in their place, that I still wasn’t in their place, and because I knew them beyond their (rather pathetic) political point of view. We were friends, or sort of friends. Hadn’t we known each other personally, and had it been an online encounter, we would probably have had a fierce debate.

Work style – CCTV evening news on July 24, 2013.

This comes to my mind when I read triumphant Chinese news articles about how many signatures had been collected by now, in support of the “security law for Hong Kong”. Obviously, I have no way of knowing if the numbers are real – and I don’t know how many bosses have “nudged” their staff to sign, or else.

People have to survive. There seems to be a rule: a majority of people will only be prepared to fight for their freedoms when they see a chance to succeed at it. That hope is waning in Hong Kong. It is, on the other hand, very much there in Taiwan. The rule that bleak situations break morals isn’t universal, as shown by exceptions. But it is often broad enough to work in favor of those who abuse their powers.

I can’t blame anyone. But I’m critical of a certain kind of “self-broke horse”. That’s the horse that denies the pressures and the threats, that argues that it recognized a necessity, acted accordingly, and that those horses that continue to resist the necessity would be obnoxious or dangerous. That’s a likely pattern of argument once the self-broke horse has “seen the light”, because every horse that remains noticeably free – or resisting – challenges, by its mere existence, not only the people in power, but also the broke horse itself.

A society could be more relaxed if broke horses could admit – even if only to themselves or in private – that they simply don’t want to live a – supposedly too difficult or painful – dissident’s life, or that they want to be happy, and that their happiness requires a certain monthly income, i. e. a favorable career. The problems begin to explode when they try to link their rather personal desires to “something greater”, and when freedom and conscience aren’t the “greater things” of choice, it will most probably be “the motherland”.

China’s rulers understood that, and they fostered such tensions. That’s why they pushed “patriotic education” in mainland China in the 1990s – to fill the void left behind by the crushed hopes of 1989, and to cater to nationalist feelings that had been there anyway – among many 1989 protestors, too.

Here in Germany, I have sometimes heard people vent anger about Wolf Biermann, an East German singer and songwriter who was stripped of his citizenship and exiled by the East German authorities in 1976, while he was on a pre-approved tour of  West Germany.

Biermann had been a vocal critic of East Berlin – a dissident. He hasn’t been much of a critic of Western flaws after 1976. In fact, he embraced all the good and bad things the West had to offer – imperialism included.

One should be aware of that. Biermann is no saint. But he has done more than most of us. He opposed a regime. That may not be enough for a lifetime – but it’s more than what most of us would be prepared to do.

So let’s be grateful for the courageous. Not to hate them for their integrity is a good first step into the right direction. To learn from them – within the realms of our abilities – should be a good second step.

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Updates / Related

365 days, Tsai Ing-wen, June 4, 2020
Sacrificed and gained, Sui Muqing, June 2, 2020

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Monday, April 13, 2020

Have a Guess why WHO Director-General Tedros thinks he’s right

First off, I want you to know that I have signed this petition, and that I would like to encourage you to sign it, too. My main reason to ask for Dr. Tedros’ resignation is that he supports a policy of locking more than 20 million Taiwanese people out of the World Health Organization (WHO). That scandal didn’t start with his tenure, and has been WHO policy for a long time, but it is now exacting a price in terms of global health. Taiwan could share its eperience in a so far successful fight against COVID-19. Taiwan could also contribute financially. Taiwan seems to have warned the WHO on December 31, in an email query to the organization. And the WHO leadership appears to be unwilling to take this into account and make a wiser decision than in the past.

I don’t feel a personal dislike for Tedros, and I think that many “social media” remarks about him are inappropriate, and actually false assertions.

But every public official must be accountable to the people he serves, or claims to serve. That’s why I believe that the WHO’s director general should clear the way for a successor with a more inclusive policy than his.

It doesn’t help when people insult each other. Above all, character assassination blinds for the more likely facts and factors in political processes. Both sides are wrong when accusing each other of “politicizing” issues. WHO is inevitably about politics, because it depends on the funding of governments with very different interests, and different economic capabilities to contribute to the WHO’s work. The demands of the world’s poorest, as elementary and obvious as they may be, are also political. And China’s cover-up approach is political, too. Everything is politics – that’s no suitable swearword to use for either WHO officials, or their critics.

It is true however that when you look at the mere numbers – in million US-$ -, China’s influence on the WHO doesn’t seem to make sense:

member state fees1) voluntary2)   total
USA 57.9 401.1 459.0
China 28.7 16.9 45.6
Japan 20.5 46.7 67.2
Germany 14.6 89.9 104.5
United Kingdom 10.9 163.7 174.6

Then why the WHO’s understatement when China covered up their SARS-2 cases, why the blind eyes to Taiwan’s warning query in December 31 (not to mention the WHO’s discrimination of Taiwan in general), and why the WHO director-general’s generally meek interaction with Beijing?

  • Trump is toying with the idea of reducing America’s contributions. Any WHO director general has to plan ahead, especially when the organizations main stakeholder becomes unreliable.
  • Tedros is probably convinced that he is doing the right thing by chumming up to China. Losing people to disease is unacceptable for him, and that much is credible. There is no way that WHO can enforce transparency on the ground – be it in China, be it in any other countries, though smaller countries may be more susceptible to pressure. And conceited leaders (like China’s) are more susceptible to flattery. (That, of course, doesn’t make it right to help them downplay a crisis, neither knowingly nor unknowingly. But it may become a more understandable approach, when you keep in mind that understanding something isn’t the same thing as condoning it.)
  • Then there is a – supposed – trend. While Taiwan would probably contribute as much today as does China, it could be different in future. That’s what most in the global political class expect to happen. They may have to think again – China is regularly overestimated. While questionable statistics have often help its image among foreigners, forgery will backfire when it does damage to the faithful foreigners’ home countries. (Never mind a million “extremist” inmates in Chinese internment camps – that’s far, far away.)

It makes no sense to demonize Tedros. He isn’t much different from most national or business leaders when it comes to dealing with China. The difference of course is that national leaders are usually held accountable, sometimes more, sometimes less, but more so than heads of international institutions. That’s why African politicians do criticize China for the way Africans have been treated in Guangzhou, while Tedros, who had shortly before tried to mobilize African public opinion in his favor and against “Taiwanese racism” remains oddly silent now.

But of course, it makes no sense to defend Tedros’ policies, either.

I would still prefer some civility in the effort to make him go. One doesn’t need to hate or disdain a man who oppose him. Rather, you can oppose him more effectively when you try to understand him and his supporters.
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Notes

1) Source for obligatory contributions
2) Source for voluntary contributions
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Friday, February 7, 2020

Obituary: Li Wenliang, 1986 – 2020

One would like to deny it, but even the crudest of propaganda will leave tireless traces on the hard disks of generations. This defines the way Li Wenliang (李文亮), an eye doctor at Wuhan Central Hospital at his lifetime, will be collectively remembered – as a hero who served the people, not as a serious professional.

His death is a calamity, and so is the way he is going to live on in the people’s memory. The authorities didn’t see him in a position to do his job, unhampered by politics. The CCP can’t deal with professional attitudes – to the leadership and its fat cats at the grassroots, ordinary Chinese people are always children, and daddy (or stepdaddy) always knows better. And of course, only daddy must ever excel at his job – be it running the economy, be it running “vocational schools” for alleged “extremists” in Xinjiang, or be it handing down “instructions on how to handle the epidemic”.

Now, Li’s death is becoming a didactic play that flies into the face of the geniuses in Zhongnanhai. Not everything was wrong with the system. A month after Li had been reprimanded for going public (i. e. on the internet) with his medical findings, the Supreme People’s Court reportedly said that “[i]t might have been a fortunate thing if the public had believed the ‘rumors’ then and started to wear masks and carry out sanitization measures, and avoid the wild animal market.”

The unfortunate thing is that the People’s Court’s utterances come across as a try to defuse a dangerous idol – some kind of uncontrollable modernized Lei Feng, conceived and created outside the CPC’s laboratories. He isn’t a marginal idol – even CCTV is sobbing (supposedly, not only outside the Great Firewall of China).

Still, Zhongnanhai may continue to sleep well behind its firewalls. Not even “Sound of Hope”, a Falun-Gong affiliated radio station, appears to find much criticism of the central leadership online, be it because the usual screenplay – idiots at the grassroots, wise leaders at the top – is still effective, be it because the censors are doing a great job.

Li is reportedly survived by his pregnant wife and one child.

Li Wenliang, born in Liaoning Province on October 12, 1986, died in Hubei Province on February 6 or 7, 2020.

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