Posts tagged ‘education’

Sunday, December 9, 2018

National Leading Group on Science and Technology first plenary session held

Main Link: Li Keqiang presides over national science and technology leading group’s first session ( 李克强主持召开国家科技领导小组第一次会议)

Links within blockquotes added during translation — JR

On December 6, CCP central committee standing committee member, chief state councillor and head of the national leading group on science and technology Li Keqiang presided over the national leading group on science and technology first plenary session. Photo by Xinhua reporter Liu Wei Bing

12月6日,中共中央政治局常委、国务院总理、国家科技领导小组组长李克强在北京主持召开国家科技领导小组第一次全体会议。 新华社记者刘卫兵摄

Li Keqiang presided over national leadcing group on science and technology’s first plenary session

李克强主持召开国家科技领导小组第一次会议强调

Deepening reform will further expand arousal of society’s ingenuity

深化改革更大激发社会创造力

Even better bring technological innovation’s supporting and leading role for economic development into play

更好发挥科技创新对发展的支撑引领作用

Han Zheng attended

韩正出席

Xinhua newsagency, Beijing, December 6, CCP central committee standing committee member, chief state councillor and head of the national leading group on science and technology Li Keqiang presided over the national leading group on science and technology first plenary session, explored the strategic plan of technological development, promotion of open cooperation in innovation, to push and implement policies of giving technological organizations and employees greater leeway in decision-making.

新华社北京12月6日电 12月6日,中共中央政治局常委、国务院总理、国家科技领导小组组长李克强主持召开国家科技领导小组第一次全体会议,研究国家科技发展战略规划、促进创新开放合作,推动落实赋予科研机构和人员更大自主权政策。

Han Zheng, member of the standing committee of the CCP central committee’s politbureau and vice premier of the state council, attended.

中共中央政治局常委、国务院副总理韩正出席。

Li Keqiang pointed out that innovation concerns the country’s future destiny. Ever since the party’s eighth national congress, under the the party center’s strong leadership with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, the entire nation had implemented a new concept of development, thoroughly carried out the strategy of driving innovation, with technological development achieving major breakthroughs in many fields, society’s innovative vitality bursting forth enormously and technological progress, and old and new kinetic energy conversion constituting a huge promotional force for economic development. The current new round of global technologcial revolution and industrial transformation are pressing issues, our country finds itself at a key moment of upgrading economic transformation, facing opportunities, difficulties and challenges, and [our country] must stand on the strengthening of economic innovation power and competitive power, bringing into play our country’s abundance of manpower and human resources, domestically, the market’s huge advantages etc. must be used, technological innovation and competitiveness be established with greater vigor, and high-quality development be promoted.

李克强指出,创新事关国家前途命运。党的十八大以来,在以习近平同志为核心的党中央坚强领导下,全国上下贯彻新发展理念,深入实施创新驱动发展战略,科技发展在多个领域取得重大突破,社会创新创造活力极大迸发,科技进步和新旧动能转换对经济发展形成了巨大推动力。当前世界新一轮科技革命和产业变革形势逼人,我国正处于经济转型升级的关键时期,面对机遇、困难和挑战,要立足增强经济创新力和竞争力,发挥我国人力人才资源丰富、国内应用市场巨大等优势,更大力度推进科技创新,推动高质量发展。

Li Keqiang said, technological innovation strategies needed to integrate better into the national development’s general situation, orient towards construction of modernity, focus on key core technology, foster and strengthen new kinetic energy, and promote deepened harmonization of technology with the economy. Fundamental research is the source of scientific systems and must provide increased support for the long-term stability of fundamental research, guide companies and society towards more investment, project “hard technology” research, and make efforts to achieve more innovation. Innovation mechanisms needed to be perfected, companies’ main bodies and markets to be upheld, joint innovation in production, education and research be encouraged, leading enterprises leading role in major technological projects be supported, international channels of innovation be expanded, and breakthroughs in scientific and technological innovation as well as result transformation be promoted. A level playing field of technological-development resources for common use, and new types of research and development organisations and other innovative platforms as well as industrial internet platforms need to be developed, big, medium-sized and small companies, online and offline circulation, in-depth promotion of mass entrepreneurship and mass innovation must be supported, and a level based on “double innovation” as well as an industry rising to the medium and high-end be promoted.

李克强说,科技创新战略布局要更好融入国家发展大局,面向现代化建设,聚焦突破关键核心技术、培育壮大新动能,推动科技与经济深度融合。基础研究是科学体系的源头,要对基础研究加大长期稳定支持,引导企业和社会增加投入,突出“硬科技”研究,努力取得更多原创成果。完善创新机制,坚持企业主体、市场主导,鼓励产学研用联合创新,支持龙头企业牵头重大科技项目,拓展国际创新合作渠道,促进科技创新突破和成果转化。发展科技资源共享平台、新型研发机构等创新平台和工业互联网平台,支持大中小企业、线上线下融通创新,深入推进大众创业、万众创新,促进“双创”上水平,推动产业向中高端跃升。

Li Keqiang said that reform of technological structures needes to be deepened, intellectual property rights more strongly protected, and a good innovation ecology be built. The law and scientific staff needed to be respected, and the productive forces be further emancipated. Technological organizations and policies giving scientific staff greater leeway in decision-making, [policies of] assessing scientific research projects, and giving incentives to research staff needed to be implemented. As for policies concerning project management, technology route and decision-making, budget adjustments, the allocation of result transformation benefits etc. that have already emerged, the relevant departments need to further sort things out, define responsibilities, and ensure comprehensive redemption.

李克强说,要深化科技体制改革,更大力度保护知识产权,营造良好创新生态。尊重规律,尊重科研人员,进一步解放生产力。要切实抓好赋予科研机构和人员更大自主权、科研项目评价、科研人员激励等政策落实。对项目管理、技术路线决策、预算调剂、成果转化收益分配等方面已出台的政策,有关部门要逐一梳理,明确责任,确保全面兑现。

Li Keqiang said that the scientists minds needed to be vigorously enhanced, that full concentration of scientists and researchers needed to be encouraged, more opportunities for young people to grow and to make something of themselves needed to be created, and help had to be provided to them to solve lingering worries from the past*). More efforts to build sincere science and research, to avoid fickleness and impatience, serious investigations of improper behavior in violation of scientific ethics, and the building of an academic atmosphere of pursuing excellence and a practice of rigorously striving for realistic results were needed.

李克强强调,要大力弘扬科学家精神,鼓励科研人员潜心钻研,多为青年人成长成才创造机会,帮助解决后顾之忧。加强科研诚信建设,避免浮躁,严肃查处违背科研道德和伦理的不端行为,营造追求卓越、严谨求实的学术风气。

Li Keqiang demanded that all member units of the national leading group on science and technology should take Xi Jinping’s new-era socialism with Chinese charachteristics as guidance, implement the party’s 19th national congress’ spirit, conscientiously plan the project of reforming and developing science and technology, strengthen and overall planning, focus on policy implementation and the advancement of major missions, to mobilize science and technology circles and relatede forces to spare no effort in building an innovative country.

李克强要求,国家科技领导小组各成员单位要以习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想为指导,贯彻党的十九大精神,认真谋划科技事业改革发展,加强统筹协调,狠抓政策落实和重大任务推进,调动科技界和相关各方面力量,为建设创新型国家不懈努力。

Sun Chunlan, Liu He, Bagatur and He Lifeng attended the meeting.

孙春兰、刘鹤、巴特尔、何立峰出席会议。

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Notes

*) This could refer to former students’ employment opportunities and student loans repayment problems, issues Li has discussed before.
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Related

Economic transformation, SCMP, Dec 7, 2018
Israel-China Innovation Coop, Embassy, Oct 30, 2018
十三五规划, Wikipedia as of June 10, 2018
孔子说过, State Council, Dec 30, 2016

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Saturday, September 29, 2018

Internet Governance: “the party’s standpoints as a timely rain in a spring breeze, silently moistening all things”

If you are looking for a platform that assumes the ungrateful – but important – task of translating party documents, there it is. It comes with a national interest (not necessarily China’s), but it takes the CCP’s paperwork seriously (which we all should).

The latest there is a translation of a commentary by Zhuang Rongwen (庄荣文), newly appointed head of the “Cyberspace Administration of China” (CAC).

Here’s a bit of the spiritual nourishment in Chinese, and in English:

善于站在网民视角谋划网上正面宣传,推进网上宣传理念、内容、形式、方法、手段等创新,深耕信息内容,注重用户体验,力戒“虚”、务求“实”,使广大网民愿听愿看、爱听爱看,使党的主张春风化雨、润物无声。

Be adept at seeing things from the point of view of netizens in planning positive online propaganda; enhance innovation in online propaganda ideas, content, forms, methods, techniques, etc.; deeply cultivate information content; pay attention to user experience; guard against the “fake” and strive for the “real”; ensure that the majority of Internet users are willing to listen and willing to see, and love to see and love to listen; let the Party’s standpoints be as a timely rain in a spring breeze, silently moistening all things.

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Related

人类灵魂的工程师, 人民日报, Sept 15, 2018
Lu Wei’s visit to Germany, July 17, 2015
“Unobtrusive influence”, Jan 7, 2012
Delighting in Rain, 2012 / 2009

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Saturday, September 15, 2018

Plans for English as an Official Taiwanese Language

Duties and a receptive mode (online and offline) are keeping me from blogging at the moment.

by-products

If I had blogged this month, one topic might have been about Taiwan’s (sensible, I believe) plans to make English their second official language. To survive under Chinese pressure, international perceptibility – i. e. communication – is a key issue for Taiwan.

There had been plans to make English official for some time, but they appear to have been taking shape this summer. Pan-blue leaning United Daily News (UDN) published an online article in March this year, quoting both people in favor and against the idea, including criticism by a Chengchi University professor:

Chengchi University professor Her One-Soon says that this, in ideological terms, is about surrender to Western power. “Currently, most of the countries of the world that have made English an official language have been colonized by Britain and America”, but has Taiwan? If [English] is really to become an official language, it only represents Taiwan’s inferiority complex towards its own language and culture.

政大語言所教授何萬順則說,這樣在意識形態上是向西方強權屈膝,「目前世界大多國家以英文做為官方語言,都是被英美殖民過」,但台灣有嗎?若是真的定為官方語言,只是代表台灣對自身語言文化的自卑。

If statistics of six years ago are something to go by, there may be more practical issues that would need to be solved. In November 2012, the English-language Taipei Times quoted a foreign education company’s study which said that proficiency in English was low.

Currently, Taiwan is ranked as a country with rather low proficiency by “Education First” (which emphasizes the importance of perceptibility by listing Taiwan as “Taiwan, China”).

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Heilongjiang Daily: Li Min, 1924 – 2018

The following is a translation of an article from Heilongjiang Daily (黑龙江日报). Links within blockquotes added during translation.

There are (or were) at least two prominent women named Li Min. Second from left is deceased Li Min; second from right is Mao Zedong’s daughter Li Min. Photo: Kremlin.ru, President Medvedev’s 2010 visit to China, CC BY 4.0

Main Link: Farewell Ceremony for late Comrade Li Min’s Remains held in Harbin

This papers news of July 29 (Guo Minghua and Sun Jiawei reporting) — Quiet funeral music filled the air, grief knew no limits, and people from all walks of life were in incomparable sorrow, saying their last farewell to Comrade Li Min who was lying peacefully among fresh flowers and incense cedar. The farewell ceremony for Li Min, former vice chairperson of the China People’s Political Consultative Conference’s Heilongjiang Provincial Committee, and warrior of the Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army, was held at Harbin Tianheyuan Funeral Parlor. Nearly one-thousand cadres and members of the masses had rushed there to deeply mourn this outstanding member of the Chinese Communist Party, this time-tested, loyal warrior of Communism.

本报29日讯(记者郭铭华孙佳薇)哀乐低回、哀思无限,各界人士怀着无比沉痛的心情,向安卧在鲜花翠柏中的李敏同志作最后告别。29日上午,中国人民政治协商会议黑龙江省委员会原副主席、东北抗联老战士李敏同志遗体告别仪式在哈尔滨天河园殡仪馆举行,近千名干部、群众赶来,深切悼念这位中国共产党优秀党员、久经考验的忠诚的共产主义战士。

Comrade Li Min died in Harbin, on July 21, at 03:39 hours, from illness, aged 951).

李敏同志因病于7月21日3时39分在哈尔滨逝世,享年95岁。

Provincial leaders Zhang Qingwei, Wang Wentao, Huang Jiansheng, Chen Haibo, Wang Changsong, Li Haitao, Gan Rongkun, Wang Aiwen, Zhang Yupu, Wang Zhaoli, Jia Yumei and Du Heping attended the farewell ceremony.

省领导张庆伟、王文涛、黄建盛、陈海波、王常松、李海涛、甘荣坤、王爱文、张雨浦、王兆力、贾玉梅、杜和平出席告别仪式。

Du Yuxin, Song Fatang, Zhang Zuoji and others also attended the farewell ceremony.

杜宇新、宋法棠、张左己等也出席了告别仪式。

At 08:30 hours, the farewell ceremony began. Tianheyuan Funeral Parlor had been decorated in a dignified and solemn manner, with Comrade Li Min’s portrait at the center. Li Min’s body was covered with the CCP’s flag, and with the sound of the funeral music, everyone stood solemnly, with people tearfully observing a moment of silence.

8时30分,遗体告别仪式开始。天河园殡仪馆观天厅布置得庄严肃穆,正中悬挂着李敏同志的遗像。李敏同志的遗体上覆盖着中国共产党党旗,在哀乐声中,全场肃立,人们含泪默哀,深情缅怀李敏同志的光辉业绩和崇高风范。

Comrade Li Min was born in Heilongjiang Province, Tangyuan County, Wutonghe Village, on November 5, 1924. In 1936, she joined the Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army, and she joined the CCP in January 1939. She was sent to the USSR for studies in 1940, and after instruction travels within the Anti-Japanese United Army, she became a political instructor at the communications operations, and deputy party branch secretary in 1942, and received the military merit medal. In August 1945, after entering the Northeast with the Soviet Red Army, she took part in Suihua Prefecture‘s government building, army building, women masses, and other work. From November 1982 to 1993 she served as vice chairperson of the China People’s Political Consultative Conference’s Heilongjiang Provincial Committee.

李敏同志1924年11月5日出生于黑龙江省汤原县梧桐河村,1936年参加东北抗日联军,1939年1月加入中国共产党。1940年被派往苏联学习,1942年抗联部队编为教导旅后,在通讯营任政治教员、党支部副书记等职,被授予战斗功勋奖章。1945年8月随苏联红军进入东北后,参加绥化建政、建军、妇女群众等工作。1982年11月至1993年任黑龙江省政协副主席。

As a Northeastern Anti-Japanese United Army veteran, Li Min vigorously propagandized the Northeastern Anti-Japanese United Army history, promoted the Northeastern Anti-Japanese United Army spirit, propagandized and promoted the spirit of patriotism. She received the Order of Stalin medal, the Soviet War of National Defense Victory order, the remembrance medals of the 60th and 70th anniversaries of the Chinese People’s Victory in the Anti-Japanese War, as well as the Red Army Long March Victory’s 80th Anniversary commemorative medal – more than thirty medals in total. Comrade Li Min put forward that fourteen, instead of eight years of the Chinese People’s Glorious Anti-Japanese War should be included in China’s nation-wide primary and middle school textbooks, a proposal which was adopted2). Comrade Li Min whole life was a revolutionary life, a glorious life, and a huge life.

作为东北抗联老战士,李敏同志大力宣传东北抗联历史,弘扬东北抗联精神,宣传弘扬爱国主义精神,她生前曾荣获斯大林勋章、苏联卫国战争胜利勋章,中国人民抗日战争胜利60周年、70周年纪念章,以及红军长征胜利80周年纪念章等三十余枚奖章。李敏同志提出了关于将中国人民抗日战争光辉历史由八年改为十四年并纳入全国中小学教科书的建议被采纳。李敏同志的一生是革命的一生,光荣的一生,也是伟大的一生。

Leaders and comrades of the Provincial People’s Congress standing committee, the Provincial government, the Provincial Political Consultative Conference’s and military region, garrisoned troops, military police, from Harbin, and other provincial-level comrades, lifetime friends of Li Min, relatives and others also took part in the farewell ceremony.

省人大常委会、省政府、省政协和省军区、驻军、武警及哈尔滨市领导同志,其他副省级老同志,李敏同志生前友好、亲属等也参加了告别仪式。

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Notes

1) Depending on how you count birthdays. As Li Min was born in November 1924, she was 93 years old when she died.

2) [Update, Aug 10] The textbook revision ascribed to Li Min was reported by the Guardian in January 2017, but without a mention of any particular activism leading to this step. Chinese media reported in 2010 that in a local or regional northeastern event, a “Longjiang Internet Media Conference”, Li Min had advocated a revision of this kind, arguing that Chairman Mao fully recognized the Northeastern Anti-Japanese United Army’s role and achievements in the entire Anti-Japanese War, and [he also] pointed out that the war of resistance against Japan began in 1931.

However, no mention of Li was made in a Xinhua report in January 2017.

The revision, Xinhua wrote, had been made after serious expert studies, organized by the ministry of education. In fact, in recent years, historians and educationalists have made active efforts to guide the young generations to a more real, more comprehensive understanding of the War of Resistance. The revision also crushed some foreign forces’ distortions of the organic links between the eight and the fourteen years of war of resistance, and removed the arbitrary blotting of the Chinese Communist Party’s role as the Chinese nation’s tower of strength.

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Related

李敏 (黑龙江省政协副主席),Wikipedia, acc 20180808

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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Obituary: Yu Guanzhong, 1928 – 2017

Taiwanese poet and university teacher Yu Guangzhong (余光中) has died in Kaohsiung  on Thursday. According to Radio Taiwan International (RTI), quoting  a statement by aohsiung Medical University hospital,  Yu had been hospitalized late in November, after a stroke. His condition deteriorated due to heart failure and lung condition pneumonia, according to the statement.

Wikipedia has entries about Yu, in Chinese and in English.  He was born in Nanjing, in 1928.

One of his poems, as published by Singtao Ribao‘s Canadian edition, on Thursday (Wednesday Vancouver local time):

小时候,乡愁是一枚小小的邮票,我在这头,母亲在那头。
During childhood, homesickness was a small postage stamp, with me here and my mother there.

长大后,乡愁是一张窄窄的船票,我在这头,新娘在那头。
After growing up, homesickness was a worn sea passage ticket, with me here and my bride there.

后来啊,乡愁是一方矮矮的坟墓,我在外头,母亲在里头。
Later on, homesickness was a small grave, with me outside and my mother inside.

而现在,乡愁是一湾浅浅的海峡,我在这头,大陆在那头。
But now, homesickness is a strait of shallow waters, with me here and the mainland there.

A book published in 2008 offers  an interpretation.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Cybercrime Report: “Major targets”

The following is a translation of an article by Xinhua newsagency. The cybercrime report reproduced by Xinhua on November 13 was apparently published nearly two weeks earlier, on November 1, with the keywords online fraud (网络诈骗), pretended moonlighting (虚假兼职), false shopping items (虚假购物), red envelopes (红包), finance (理财), cash returns (现返), and false identities (身份冒充).

While the reporting units are located in Beijing, the statistics refer to cases from all over China. According to the report, Guangdong, Shandong, Sichuan, Jiangsu, Henan, and Zhejiang provinces topped the list with 13.4%, 6.4%, 5.6%, 5.5%, 5.0%, and another 5.0% respectively.

Main Link: Men most easily fooled online, young users as fraudsters’ major targets

Xinhua Tianjin, Nov 13 2017 (Zhou Runjian reporting) — Online fraud reporting website Liewang’s1) “2017 third-quarter report on online fraud research” points out that there are more men than women among the victims of online fraud, especially men born from 1990 to 19992).

新华社天津11月13日电(记者周润健)国内网络诈骗信息举报平台——猎网平台最新发布的《2017年第三季度网络诈骗趋势研究报告》指出,在网络诈骗中,男性受害者占比大大高于女性,90后受害者最多。

The report says that among the accounts that reported cases, 67.4 percent were men, and 32.6 percent were women. However, men reported an average loss of 13.404 Yuan RMB, while women reported an average losso f 17.522 Yuan RMB.

报告指出,从报案用户的性别差异来看,男性受害者占比大大高于女性,分别占67.4%和32.6%;但从人均损失来看,男性为13404元,女性为17522元。

The report’s analysis says that in cyberlife, chances that women would be fooled are much smaller than with men, but that once women do trust a fraudster, they will frequently pay much more.

报告分析说,在网络生活中,女性的上当几率其实要比男性低得多,但女性一旦相信了骗子,往往会比男性付出更大的代价。

The report also points out that there are also significant differences between the occasions on which men and women are cheated. Those cheated in online gaming transactions, gambling, lotteries and establishing contacts, nearly 80 percent of those cheated are men, while most women become victims of refunding fraud and schemes that seem to offer moonlighting opportunities.

报告进一步指出,男性和女性在不同类型的网络诈骗中被骗几率也有明显不同。其中,在网游交易、赌博博彩、交友诈骗中,被骗的几乎80%都是男性,而退款诈骗、虚假兼职类诈骗是女性被骗比例最高的诈骗类型。

It is worth noting that there are also big differences in the ways men and women are cheated. Faked concurrent-job offers are the ones that most women are cheated with (28.3 percent), while the most frequent fraud reported by men is financial fraud (19.4 percent).

值得注意的是,男性和女性在被骗类型方面也有很大的区别。虚假兼职是女性被骗最多的类型,占比28.3%,男性被骗举报数量排名第一的是金融诈骗,占比为19.4%。

The report also says that 42.0 percent of online fraud victims are 1990ers, 29.7 percent are the second largest group with 29.7 percent, and 11.8 percent of the overall number are 1970ers with 11.8 percent. The specific age group focused on by online fraud are those aged between from 18 and to 31.

报告还指出,从被骗网民的年龄上看,90后的网络诈骗受害者占所有受害者总数的42.0%,其次是80后占比为29.7%,再次是70后占比为11.8%;从具体年龄上来看,18岁至31岁的人群是网络诈骗受害者最为集中的年龄段。

The report believes that young people with particular internet skills and extensive online time who, at the same time, lack sufficient social experience, are major targets and victims of online fraud.

报告认为,即具有一定的上网能力,上网时间较长,同时又缺乏足够社会经验的年轻人是网络诈骗的主要对象和主要受害人群。

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Notes

1) “Liewang” (“internet hunt”) is a cybercrime reporting website run by the “Beijing Alliance for Online Security and against Cybercrime”, which in turn is co-run by the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau (PBS) and Qihoo 360, an (apparently privately-owned) online security company.

2) 90后 (1990ers) refers to people born between January 1, 1990 and December 31, 1999

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Saturday, May 27, 2017

International Press Review: Huanqiu Shibao “quotes” German newspaper on Social Credit System

Main Link / Headline – German media: “Social Credit System” plan will change Chinese Peoples’ Sincerity for the Better

The following is a translation from Huanqiu Shibao‘s international press reviews. Links within blockquotes added during translation.

Germany’s “Süddeutsche Zeitung” in an article on May 23, titled digital plan will change Chinese for the better. China is trying some new things. One of these is social credit digitalization. In the coming three years, China will carry out the “social credit system” plan. Social credit rating will change Chinese peoples’ sincerity for the better.

德国《南德意志报》5月23日文章,原题:数字计划让中国人变得更好  中国正尝试一些全新的事物。社会信用数字化就是其中之一。在未来3年里,中国将实施“社会信用体系”计划。信用评价将让中国人的诚信变得更好。

This means that in the future, there will be a “social credit office” and a sincerity app, assessing if a citizen is honest. Based on the social credit data it will be decided if a citizen can board a plane. Those who always cross the street on a crosswalk and pay their bills in time will be rewarded. For others, who cheat in the higher education exams, or download bootleg movies, their bad social credit will lead to serious consequences.

这意味着未来将有“信用办公室”和诚信App,来评估一个公民是否诚实。而信用电子数据将决定一个公民是否可以登机。那些总走斑马线、及时支付所有账单的人,将得到奖励。而另一些人,如果他们在高考上作弊,或下载盗版电影,其不良的信用将造成严重的后果。

Reportedly, the coastal city of Rongcheng will serve as a testing ground for the “social credit system”. This city hasn’t only established a social credit management structure, but has also defined a social credit standards system, from triple-A to D. If citizens in Rongcheng allow their dog to defecate on public lawns, or if they spread “rumors” on social networks, they will receive punishment by downgrading.

据悉,中国海滨城市荣成市是“社会信用体系”的试点城市。这个城市不仅建立了信用管理机构,还制定了社会信用评价标准体系,等级从“AAA”到“D”不等。在荣成市,如果市民让宠物狗在公共草坪上拉屎,或者在社交网络传播“谣言”,都将受到信用降级惩罚。

According to Chinese plans, the “social credit system” will be implemented nation-wide in 2020. It’s goal, according to the government’s wish: Trustworthy people shall fly freely in the sky, and people with shortcomings in trustworthiness will be “unable to move”.

按照中国的计划,“社会信用体系”将在2020年首次在全国实施。其目标,按照政府的意思:讲信用的人应该自由地在天空下翱翔,而信用缺失的人将“寸步难行”。

Imagine this – in an omniscient, all-perceptive world, a digital system may know you even better than you know yourself.  By means of algorithms, it can help you to do better, and to become more honest. This system will also help you to get loans at lower interest rates, and to get a job at government departments. Isn’t this an honest and harmonious world? (Author: Kai Strittmatter)

想象一下,在一个无所不知、无所不见的世界里,数字机制将比你自己还要了解你。它会通过算法,帮助你做得更好,让你变得更加诚信。这一系统,也助你得到低息贷款,并获得政府部门的工作。难道这不是一个公平、和谐的世界?(作者凯·施特里特马特尔,青木译)

The account by Huanqiu Shibao is no precise reproduction of what Strittmatter wrote – if based on this German-language original. Strittmatter himself based much of his short article on statements by a professor Zhang from Beijing -the  “Imagine-this”-sentence, for example, is originally a quote from the professor, who isn’t mentioned by Huanqiu.

And what is completely left out of the Huanqiu translation is Strittmatters rather succinct roundup: “A dictatorship that reinvents itself, digitally.”

One could think that the translator simply missed the scoff in the original  – but hardly so once the most critical remark is   left out altogether. There must be another plan for even more perfect sincerity at work. Something like this:

If the international press doesn’t work in line with the people’s wishes, the Chinese nation will build itself a more sincere international press review, in line with China’s national conditions.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Is the Truth losing in Today’s World? (And if Yes: How so?)

That’s what Richard Stengel, currently undersecretary for public diplomacy at the State Department, believes, according to a Washington Post article:

“We like to think that truth has to battle itself out in the marketplace of ideas. Well, it may be losing in that marketplace today,” Stengel warned in an interview. “Simply having fact-based messaging is not sufficient to win the information war.”

And, adds the author of the WaPo article, David Ignatius:

How do we protect the essential resource of democracy — the truth — from the toxin of lies that surrounds it? It’s like a virus or food poisoning. It needs to be controlled. But how?

Fascinating stuff – fascinating, because it feels like a déjà vu to me (and I’m wondering for how many others who have a memory of some decades).

The Genius leads the spectators: engineering of consent in its early stages in applauding his works.

The Genius leads the spectators: engineering of consent in its early stages.

When I studied and worked in a fairly rural place in China, I had a number of encounters with – probably mainstream – Chinese worldviews. That was around the turn of the century, and these were probably the most antagonistic, and exciting, debates I ever had, as the only foreigner among some Chinese friends. Discussions sometimes ended with the two, three or four of us angrily staring at each other, switching to a less controversial topic, and bidding each other a frosty good-bye.

But there was a mutual interest in other peoples’ weird ideas. That’s why our discussions continued for a number of weekends. At at least one point, I felt that I had argued with overwhelming logic, but my Chinese interlocutor was unimpressed. I blamed Chinese propaganda for his insusceptibility, but apparently, propaganda was exactly his point: “If propaganda helps to keep my country safe, I have nothing against propaganda,” he replied.

I found that gross. The idea that propaganda should just be another tool, something you might volunteer to use and to believe in, so as to keep your country and society stable, was more alien to me than any Chinese custom I had gotten to know.

The idea that truth is, or that facts are, the essential resource of a (working, successful) democracy looks correct to me. Democracy can’t work without an informed public. But when it comes to German mainstream media, I have come to the conclusion that they aren’t trustworthy.

I agree with the WaPo article / Richard Stengel that the US government can’t be a verifier of last resort. No government can play this kind of role. The Chinese party and state have usurped that role, but China is known to be a low-trust society – that doesn’t suggest that they have played a successful role as official verifiers. While many Chinese people do apparently think of their government as the ultimate guardian of national sovereignty and individual safety from imperialist encroachment, they don’t seem to trust these domestic public security powers as their immediate neighbors.

And the ability of any Western government to be a verifier ends as soon as an issue involves state interests, government interests, or governing parties’ interests.

The US government as a verifier of last resort concerning the Syria war? That idea isn’t even funny.

The German government as a verifier of last resort when it comes to foreign-trade issues (within the European Union, or beyond)? Bullshit.

But what about the American media? I don’t have a very clear picture of how they work, but it would seem to me that US television stations usually address the issues that earn them most of the public’s attention. If that is so, it should be no wonder that Donald Trump profited more from media attention, than Hillary Clinton.

But if tweets, rather than platforms, become the really big issues, the media must have abandoned the role that has traditionally been ascribed to them.

German (frequently public-law) media are strongly influenced by political parties, and apparently by business-driven foundations, too.

I don’t know if something similar can be said about American media, but even if only for their attention-seeking coverage, they can’t count as well-performing media either.

What about “social” media? According to Stengel, as quoted by the Washington Post, they give everyone the opportunity to construct their own narrative of reality.

Stengel mentions Islamic State (in 2014) and Russian propaganda campaigns as examples. In the latter’s case, he points to the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and other political organizations during the elections in particular.

I believe that Stengel / Ignatius may have half a point. Russia – provided that they were indeed behind the leaks – only targeted Clinton’s campaign, not Donald Trump’s.

But then, wouldn’t it have been the task of the US media to unearth either campaign’s dirty secrets? Russian propaganda performed, even if only selectively, where US media had failed. It exposed practice in the Democratic Party leadership that was hostile to democracy, but acting under the guise of defending it.

How should citizens who want a fact-based world combat this assault on truth, Ignatius finally asks, and quotes Stengel once again, and addressing the role of “social media”:

The best hope may be the global companies that have created the social-media platforms. “They see this information war as an existential threat,” says Stengel. The tech companies have made a start: He says Twitter has removed more than 400,000 accounts, and YouTube daily deletes extremist videos.

Now, I’m no advocate of free broadcasts for ISIS videos. But if the best hope is the removal of accounts and videos by the commercial providers, it would seem that there isn’t much hope in human power of judgment, after all – and in that case, there wouldn’t be much hope for democracy as a model of government.

Ignatius:

The real challenge for global tech giants is to restore the currency of truth. Perhaps “machine learning” can identify falsehoods and expose every argument that uses them. Perhaps someday, a human-machine process will create what Stengel describes as a “global ombudsman for information.”

Wtf? Human-machine processes? Has the “Global Times” hacked the WaPo?

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Related

Why Wikileaks can’t work, Dec 1, 2010

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