Posts tagged ‘Hainan’

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Win-Win Flattery: Guanchazhe welcomes an Austrian “Supernova”

1. A Historical First (“Guanchazhe” review of Austrian papers)

Main Link: Historical First! Austrian President and Chancellor visiting China same Time in April (奥地利总统总理4月将同时访华)
Links within blockquotes added during translation.

Guanchazhe is a Chinese economic magazine from Shanghai, and Austrian president Alexander Van der Bellen‘s visit to China isn’t its main issue, of course. That would be how Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Adam Smith would look upon China’s economic reform if they were still alive.

But Van der Bellen – or more specifically: chancellor Sebastian Kurz – is among the top stories on Saturday, as a correspondent from Germany asks what Austria is looking for in China.

And on March 21, the Austrian double-visit earned itself an exclamation mark:

A historical first! Austrian president and chancellor going to visit China at the same time in April.


Well then – that should tell us how Van der Bellen and Kurz look upon China’s economic reform.

In an article based on several sources (综合报道, i. e. several Austrian newspapers), the article reads as follows (links within blockquotes added during translation):

In what is “the biggest Austrian state visit in history”, according to Wiener Zeitung, Austrian president Van der Bellen and chancellor Kurz are visiting China in April. Several Austrian media report this unparalleled same-time visit to another country under the headline of “historical visit”.

“奥地利历史上最大的国事访问”,据奥地利《维也纳日报》报道,奥地利总统范德贝伦 (Alexander Van der Bellen) 和总理库尔茨(Sebastian Kurz)4月将一同访问中国。总统和总理同时出访同一个国家,在奥地利历史上尚属首次,多家媒体都以“历史性访问”为题进行报道。

The reports said that the Austrian president and chancellor announced on Monday [March 19] that they were to conduct Austria’s largest-scale state visit in Austria’s history, from April 7 to 12.

报道称,奥地利总统和总理周一宣布, 将进行奥地利史上最大规模的国事访问,与总理库尔茨在4月7日至12日访华。

It is reported that no less than four ministers, including foreign minister Karin Kneissl, environment minister Elisabeth Köstinger, infrastructure minister Norbert Hofer and economic and digitalization minister Margarete Schramböck.

据报道,随同两人访华的不少于4名部长,包括外交部长Karin Kneissl、农林环境与水利部长Elisabeth Köstinger、基础设施部长Norbert Hofer和经济及数字化部长Margarete Schramböck等。

The delegation will also include the chairman of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce, about 170 Austrian entrepreneurs, and dozens of Austrian scientists, cultural workers, and others, some 250 members combined.


Austrian vice-chancellor Strache will temporarily take care of the government. Austria’s chancellor Kurz said that the vice-chancellor would stand in for him at the weekly cabinet meeting.

由于总统和总理同时访华, 奥地利副总理斯特拉赫(Heinz-Christian Strache)将临时管理政府。奥地利总理库尔茨表示,副总理将代替自己主持每周的部长理事会例会。

According to Austria’s “Kronen-Zeitung”, Van der Bellen said that “we can sign various agreements between Chinese and Austrian companies”, and “the state visit will help to move further in the development of bilateral relations, especially in the areas of economics, science, culture and the environment.”


Van der Bellen pointed out that in the fields of environmental protection technology and city planning, Austria had exclusive technologies that could be beneficial for China. “China, too, wants to have clean lakes and rivers.” For example, when hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics, Austrian companies could be of help.


According to China’s embassy in Austria, a Chinese ministry of commerce delegation visited Austria in April last year, took part in the Chinese-Austrian Economic Comittee’s 26th conference, attended the 22nd international alpine ski equipment exhibition, and discussed Sino-Austrian winter sports cooperation activities.


Also, “Kronen-Zeitung” reported that Austria hopes to participate in China’s very active research and development, and to have negotiations about economic exchange agreements.


Chancellor Kurz, who is only 32 years old, is Europe’s youngest head of government, and considered to be a “supernova” in the European world of politcs. As for this visit to China, Kurz said that “China is a country with a huge potential”, and several hundred Austrian companies were already operating in China.

年仅32岁的奥地利总理库尔茨,是欧洲最年轻的政府首脑,也被认为是欧洲政坛的“超新星”。对于此次访华,库尔茨表示, “中国是一个潜力巨大的国家”,已有九百多家奥地利企业在中国经营。

Kurz said that to put it simply, China had a veto right at the UN, it was a major participant in reacting to climate change and in the North Korean issue, with a GDP growh target of 6.5 percent this year, and also one of the fastest-growing economies. China’s middle class was growing rapidly, and in economic terms, China was “a newly rising superpower.”


Kurz conceded that apart from mutual win-win, there were also “sensitive issues” between China and Austria. The key was that “the European and Austrian economies must be protected, by defending them against unfair competition and excessive production.”


Kurz said that during his visit to China, Austrian participation in China’s “one belt, one road” project would also be discussed. Austria acknowledges China’s “one belt one road” plan, and its government hopes to reach better coordination. In the preparatory process for this visit to China, all departments were actively involved.


According to “Wiener Zeitung”, apart from taking part in Beijing events, the Austrian president and chancellor would also take part in the Boao Forum held on Hainan, and visit Chengdu, western China’s metropolis.

2. Counterweight Hopeful (Guanchazhe short bio of Kurz)

MainLink: Austria turns East (奥地利正在向东转)
Links within blockquotes added during translation.

The supernova (i. e. the Austrian chancellor) is explained in more detail in today’s Guanchazhe article by the correspondent in Germany:

This youngest chancellor in Austria’s history, 31-year-old Kurz, is certainly known to everyone, for his [young] age and appearance. But many people may not know his nature: aged 29, during his tenure as foreign minister, Kurz showed outstanding boldness, standing up to pressure from all sides. Braving the risk of an early end to his career by shutting the Balkan Route, lived up to the mission, averted Europe’s crisis, which was exactly what made him the victor in the October 2017 parliamentary elections.


The correspondent also expresses esteem for Kurz’ successor in Austria’s foreign ministry, Karin Kneissl: an extremely noteworthy personality (一个极其值得注意的人物), speaking English, Arabic, Hebrew, French, Spanish, Italian and Hungarian, and author of a book about China.

In her book, “The Change in the World Order” [literally: “On the Way into a Chinese World Order”], Kneissl writes that the process of Austria’s turn to the East actually opened the curtain on [the scene of] the world order entering a “Chinese order”. As for Europe not expressing hopes to take part in the one belt one road plan, this had mainly been the case  because Beijing had not answered to their persistent ideological demands (such as government transparency, human rights and minimum social security issues).


The correspondent then takes aim right at the regional hegemon – Germany. It was Germany that was largely to blame for the loss of contractual reliability among European states, she writes. The country had acted unilaterally in the European debt crisis of 2009 (欧债危机), in the 2015 refugee crisis, thus harming other European partners and third countries, China’s interests among them:

Kneissl writes in her book that “not wanting to acknowledge the methodology of China’s rise will be regarded by future history scholars as ‘a dangerous and silly refusal to adopt realistic action'” – which is exactly the approach of the authorities in Brussels (EU).

克莱瑟在书中说: “不愿承认中国的崛起的做法,恐怕会被将来的历史学家归为‘危险而愚蠢的拒绝接受现实的行为’”——而这却正是布鲁塞尔(欧盟)当局现今的做法。

An important factor in Kurz’ election victory of last year, the correspondent notes, was his opposition against German chancellor Angela Merkel’s refugee policy.

It’s a long article, and if someone is interested in how Germany’s image has recently been shaped by Chinese media, he might want to translate all of it. German-Chinese relations are souring, reflected not least by some remarks by Sigmar Gabriel (Germany’s foreign minister until a few weeks ago) in an interview with newsmagazine Der Spiegel in January:

For years, we’ve been constantly hearing about a multi-speed Europe. It would be great if that were the case, because that would at least mean that we were all moving in the same direction, just at different speeds. The truth is that we have long had a multi-track Europe with very different objectives. The traditional differences between the north and the south in fiscal and economic policy are far less problematic than those that exist between Eastern and Western Europe. In the south and east, China is steadily gaining more influence, such that a few EU member states no longer dare to make decisions that run counter to Chinese interests. You see it everywhere: China is the only country in the world that has a real geopolitical strategy.

See also this blog and press review, subheadlines “Central Europe (1)” and “Central Europe (2)“. A global and a regional hegemon – China and Germany – are competing for influence in the region.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Always with You on Shortwave: the “Firedrake”

There are good reasons to believe that in China, international broadcasters are less listened to – and especially less listened to on shortwave – than two decades ago. However, the habit is still very popular, and many posts and websites run by shortwave listening enthusiasts would also suggest that people don’t simply throw (or store) their radio receivers away, only because of the internet being available in their place. The following is a translation of a Chinese blog post, of March 14, 2012.

Sony ICF 2001 D - enemy broadcasters at your fingertips

Sony ICF 2001 D – enemy broadcasters at your fingertips

I’ve added four footnotes, and some further explanations (“further notes”) underneath the footnotes. You will also find a recording there, with a classical case of jamming.

Main Link:

China has a long history of jamming international shortwave broadcasts. I remember how I was frequently puzzled when listening to the radio – why were there those strange noises on some shortwave frequencies? It was different from others. It came through on a given frequency. Come rain or shine, this sound was there. It knew no holiday. I asked my grandmother about this, and she gravely replied: “this is to interfere with enemy broadcasters”. At the time, I didn’t understand what a so-called “enemy broadcaster” is. My grandmother told me that these were stations one must never listen to, that it was bad, and that it was something Uncle Policeman might take you away for1). Although I was too young to understand what this meant, apart from the frightening chance of being “taken away”, it certainly raised my interest in the mystery of “enemy broadcasters”.


Only later I understood that those “enemy broadcasters” were VoA, BBC, NHK, and other countries’ international broadcasting stations. As these countries were fundamentally different from China, in terms of ideology and social systems, their broadcasts carried their own countries’ political colors, and were therefore called “enemy broadcasters” by China. It was sort of an extension from the cold-war years. With the reform and opening, and continuous progress of society, the “enemy broadcasters” weren’t mysteries any more, and an unknown share of Chinese people who listened to the radio would also listen to these [international] stations. Of course, after listening, they weren’t found to be as terrible as legend would have it. They were just ordinary radio stations. From listening to international broadcasters, I learned a lot of things that weren’t to be found in the books, and about other countries’ customs and manners, and most importantly, I learned to look at problems from different perspectives, to think independently, rather than to let the media lead my by the nose. I learned from different surces, and drew my own conclusions. Therefore, I believe that international shortwave broadcasting is very helpful and beneficial.


For various reasons however, China has still not lifted the jamming of the “enemy broadcasters”. It deserves attention that the methods of jamming have become more and more “humanized”. Rather than just producing a big noise, Central People’s Radio interfere with the international stations on the same frequency, and this later evolved into the current “folk music” interference. Obviously, as the cause our country’s modernization moves on, our jamming technology has also improved step by step. It is said that the “folk music” system used is military equipment bought at high costs, from a France. From that you can see that the Chinese authorities in charge of jamming “enemy broadcasters” are willing to make great sacrifices, with unyielding vigor.


If you aren’t familiar with how this works, let me give you a short introduction.


All shortwave radio programs are broadcast from their own countries to the target area. Of course, if the distance is rather long, like from America to China, the signal will certainly lose some strength, and therefore, more distant countries will build relay stations closer to the target area. That’s to say, through their stronger signals, listgeners in the target area country can get a clearer signal.Of course, every broadcasting station has its own frequencies, and depending on atmospheric conditions in summer or winter, these frequencies aren’t always the same. So how does China jam them? That’s quite simple. It only needs to interfere on the same frequency, by noise, or by the current “folk music”. As the interfering stations are definitely domestic, and the international shortwave stations are broadcasting from abroad, the interfering signal is stronger, and this makes it easy to brush the foreign signals out of the door2). (Apart from those, even the signals from Taiwan – the inseparable part of our motherland – can’t escape this calamity.)


According to the International Broadcasting Commission’s3) agreement, no signatory country must interfere with or interfere with other countries’ broadcasts. China also signed this agreement, but has not stopped jamming foreign shortwave frequencies. Therefore, every years, it is met with protests from some countries, but those are of no avail. These years, China spends a lot of money to buy advanced and updated equipment to update its jamming system, which is incomprehensible. However, as this is equipment bought from France, it signed an agreement not to jam Radio France Internationale. Therefore, we can listen to a clear Radio France Internationale signal here in China, without any jamming4).


It should be said that China doesn’t jam all shortwave broadcasts. Stations without strong political messages, for example, aren’t jammed. Australia’s CVC Chinese programs etc. aren’t jammed.





1) Uncle Policeman may not care anymore, but he probably did until 1976. According to a thesis presented to the Faculty of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, by Erping Zhang in 2003, listening to foreign radio stations was considered a capital crime of treason in those days.

2) The challenge isn’t necessarily that small. As Kim Andrew Elliot pointed out in May last year,

Shortwave arguably remains the medium most resistant to interdiction. It is the only medium with a physical resistance to jamming, because radio waves at shortwave frequencies often propagate better over long than short distances.

3) This may refer to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), which would more frequently be translated as 国际电讯联盟, though. One of the three ITU divisions is in charge of allocating frequencies – both terrestial and satellite frequencies.

4) I can’t verify if there is such an agreement.


Further Notes

The French company accused of having sold jamming equipment to China, Thales,  stated that “standard short-wave radio broadcasting equipment” sold to China by a former subsidiary in 2002 had been designed for civil purposes.

I’ve uploaded a jamming sample to Soundcloud. The broadcaster is Sound of Hope (希望之声), recorded in Northern Germany on June 17, 2011, between 13:20 and 13:32 GMT. The topic covered is the Zengcheng incident, and you can hear how the station’s signal is  beginning to drown in the jamming station’s carrier signal, before the “folk music” chimes in.

Soundcloud logo

Click here for recording

Again, this may not be exactly what listeners in China got to hear on that afternoon or evening – the “Voice of Hope” signal may have still been better there, despite the jamming, or worse, because of the jamming, depending on propagation conditions – see footnote 1 2) above.

A Shortwave America blog post contains some interesting links about Chinese jamming, including a CD quality sample of “Firedrake”, i. e. a jamming tune. The jamming station is supposed to be based on Hainan island.



北京业余无线电爱好者的故事 – Ham Radio, Beijing hobbyists’ documentary with English subtitles (June 2008)


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hu Jia: some Time, in an unguarded Moment…

Hu Jia (胡佳), 37, may be released from jail in June next year. Obviously, noone can tell for sure. Even top officials find at times that the judiciary in China frequently lacks “rightful procedures”. When Hu was an environmental activist, but not yet considered guilty by the CCP (and hence by every “legal” mainland Chinese publication) of “libeling the Chinese political and social systems” and “inciting subversion of state power”, a China Youth Daily Freezing Point supplementary journalist named Cai Ping met with him at the newspaper’s venue, and in July 2001, she wrote an article. She was “moved” by Hu Jia’s life, and apparently found much of it disturbing at the same time. The following excerpts of the Freezing Point article quoted here are translations by Black and White Cat.  Cai asked Hu:

“What will you do in the future? You work so hard, how is your health ever going to get better? [Hu had contracted hepatitis several years before he talked with Cai.] How will your girlfriend come back? [*) see “Note” underneath] Do you plan to get married? You can’t depend on your parents your whole life.”
Hu Jia can’t answer this. He sighs deeply and says: “I can’t turn back. I don’t dare think about the future. I know that if I want a family and a career, I need a basic monthly income. […]”

Hu is an exceptional individual in many ways – but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he will be completely indifferent to the way others, including people outside his life, may view him. And even if he still is indifferent – as he apparently was when he was interviewed in 2001 -, he will probably be aware that the state organs who persecute him will use any of his personal problems to make his place in society appear questionable. When he was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail in April 2008, Xinhua newsagency referred to him as an unemployed father aged 34 and [..] holder of a college degree. Xinhua’s characterization of Hu seems to correspond to some extent with Cai Ping’s perception, almost seven years earlier, even if less benevolently than hers. Xinhua’s reference to Hu’s place in society carefully recommended the question, “what’s wrong with that man?”, rather than to address any of the problems Hu had pointed out before he was abducted, placed under house arrest, and finally jailed.

A life in accordance with ones own conscience in a country ruled by a party with unlimited powers against the individual can come at any price such a party wants to exact. Life under such circumstances is frequently referred to as kafkaeque once conflicts occur, and it may be a fitting adjective here. In one of her best-known books – Between Past and Presence, Six Exercises in Political Thought (New York, 1961), Hannah Arendt quotes Franz Kafka‘s parable “He”:

He has two antagonists: the first presses him from behind, from the origin. The second blocks the road ahead. He gives battle to both. To be sure, the first supports him in his fight with the second, for he wants to push him forward, and in the same way the second supports him in his fight with the first, since he drives him back. But this is only theoretically so. For it is not only the two antagonists who are there, but he himself as well, and who really knows his intentions? His dream, though, is that some time in an unguarded moment – and this would require a night darker than any night has ever been yet – he will jump out of the fighting line and be promoted, on account of his experience in fighting, to the position of umpire over his antagonists in their fight with each other.

If Hu Jia would wish to be in an umpire’s position is impossible to know. In any case, Arendt’s way of reading Kafka’s  parable wasn’t that “he” would want to become a power that be which could then rule over his antagonists. Rather, “he” would be an umpire in that he could judge the force of the past (that one pushing him from behind) and the force blocking his road, and pushing from, ahead (and, one might assume, to make corresponding, sound decisions for himself, based on his ability to understand the nature of those forces).

But while Hu Jia’s intentions can’t be assessed  (given that he isn’t free to communicate them),  a parable (no matter what it originally intended to say) is free for all kinds of interpretation, and for everyone’s hunches. The Chinese state likes to see itself not in the role of an antagonist to its own people, but in a benevolent and helpful role. Everything that goes wrong must originate from the individual’s faults, not from the state. This applies to its conformist and non-conformist subjects alike. Dissidents – or people who are on their way to become dissidents – are habitually “invited for tea” – to be asked  questions, because the state organs want to know  the dissident’s or nonconformist’s  positions and intentions in advance, to give him or her specific instructions, or to make unveiled threats (but without ever conceding that these threats come from those who are offering the tea – and rather acting as if any trouble ahead stemmed from some kind of natural law, due to the individual’s “mistakes”). The CCP’s first approach to blocking a possible dissident’s road ahead has become “a cup of tea”. Or, as Ronald Reagan, an American president, suggested in 1982, in a speech to the British House of Commons (referring to the Soviet Union then), democracy’s enemies have refined their instruments of repression.

Given the unlimited role of a totalitarian state (even if it voluntarily takes a more refined approach than before when it appears suitable), such a state – in Kafka’s picture – would be a defining factor in both the force pushing the individual from behind (the past), and in the force pushing the individual back from the road ahead (the future). According to Hu’s wife, Zeng Jinyan (曾金燕) – and confirmed by Cai Ping’s 2001 article -, Hu Jia’s father, of Qinghua University, and his mother, of Nankai University, were both condemned as rightists as students. Hu’s parents may not have condoned the life their only child lead in 2001 – “The people who understand me most are my old girlfriend and my best friend Lin Yi” -, but they wouldn’t let him down. His friends and family, more or less understanding of what he does or who he is, and having been under the party’s rule for most or all of their lifetimes, appear to be forces behind him.

Besides, parents are parents. Cai Ping quoted Hu’s father as saying that “if Hu Jia needs a liver, I’ll give him my own”.


*) Apparently, she wouldn’t come back. Hu Jia and Zeng Jinyan, his wife, became acquainted in 2007.

Kou Yandin: yi qie cong gai bian zi ji kai shi, Hainan Publishing House, 2007


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Zhao Nianyu’s Three Taiwan Commandments

Mernanny: the South China Sea has been an inseparable part of China since ancient times

MerNanny: Abide by the Three Imperial Commandments

Repeated Chinese navy helicopter flights close to Japan’s Self-Defense Force ships in the East China Sea and the Western Pacific in April were neither professional nor responsible, Japan’s daily Asahi Shimbun quoted the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, Admiral Patrick Walsh, on Tuesday. Walsh said that China had recently started referring to the South China Sea as its “core interest”, a term it otherwise uses to explain its positions on Tibet and Taiwan. Several states in the region, including Singapore and Vietnam, were now purchasing submarines “as a way of protecting sovereign rights”.

According to Walsh, China detained 433 Vietnamese fishermen in 2009 alone who were working in waters where the territorial claims of the two countries overlap. Walsh has visited several South China littoral states since assuming his position as US Pacific commander last year, among them Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

“These are countries that are interested in a closer relationship with our navy, and I intend to follow up on it”, Asahi Shimbun quotes Walsh.

Japan itself is concerned about Chinese naval traffic. In April this year, two Japanese naval vessels, the Choukai and Suzunami, unexpectedly encountered several Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) warships, including a pair of submarines and eight destroyers, approximately 140 kilometers west-southwest of Okinawa near the Nansei (Ryukyu) Islands. Reacting to international coverage, Chinese defense ministry spokesman Huang Leiping (黄雪平), also in April, that naval exercises in international waters were common practice, and the countries concerned shouldn’t make arbitrary assumptions (主观臆断) and improper speculations (妄加猜测). To organize exercises in international waters corresponded with international law and was conducted by various other countries, too.

When referring to Chinese core interests on February 26, China’s ambassador to the United States until recently, Zhou Wenzhong (周文重), indeed used the term for describing China’s claim on Taiwan, and US president Barack Obama‘s meeting with the Dalai Lama on February 18. However, the definition has never been quite static. In 2009, Chinese state councillor Dai Bingguo (戴秉国) defined the following three “core interests”, in order of importance:

  • the survival of China’s “fundamental system” and national security,
  • the safeguarding of China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and
  • continued stable economic growth and social development.

China increased its arms spending by 10% to an estimated USD 83.9 billion in 2008 as Beijing commenced building of new range of highly sophisticated nuclear submarines, stealth warships, new generation of fighter planes and weaponry to fight “Informationalized warfare”. In its 2010 yearbook, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) wrote that China accounted for most of the Asian and East Asian military spending increases in 2009, with an increase of 15 per cent, and that Taiwan and Singapore showed the largest real increase *) in military spending were at 19 per cent each. Also from SIPRI data, America spent 661 bn US-dollars (4.3 per cent of 2008 GDP) on defense in 2009, while China spent an estimated 100 bn (estd. 2.0 per cent of its 2008 GDP), with France, the UK, Russia, Japan, and Germany following.

As far as core interests are concerned, Zhao Nianyu (赵念渝), the Shanghai Institute for International Studies’ research management and international exchanges, and Shanghai Taiwan Research Association’s director, followed up on a meeting between US president Barack Obama and CCP and state chairman Hu Jintao on April 12 (a meeting with a Chinese focus on properly handling the Taiwan and Tibet issues), and advocated on April 16 that Washington- if sincere and not hypocritical in its hope that Chinese-American relations and cooperation should continue to develop, needed to follow “three prescriptions” – or commandments -**) concerning Taiwan, one of China’s core interests (核心利益).

The first prescription or “Don’t”: (Don’t) go back on your word or contradict yourselves. Quote:

The author’s [i. e. Zhao Nianyu’s — JR] observation of America’s attitude concerning Taiwan hasn’t lasted for a mere one or for two years only. He has read all the documents issued since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and America, has read America’s Congressional Research Department’s ninety documents about cross-strait relations, he has heard previous American leaders’ speeches on the Taiwan problem and every mainstream American think tank’s speech, article, or report on the Taiwan problem, and to put it in an immodest way, he can sum them up in eight characters: they wield their power rather capriciously [翻手为云,覆手为雨, literally: to produce clouds with one turn of the hand, and rain with another turn]. From one wing of the building, an American leader says “One China”, from the other wing, Congress starts saying that ‘Taiwan is a territory without a master’. This wing just agreed to the Three Communiques, that wing says that according to the so-called ‘Taiwan Relations Act’, there was an ‘obligation’ to safeguard Taiwan’s security. This wing just said it would ‘respect China’s core interests’, the other immediately refers to ‘China’s state of mind’ and says that ‘there is no reason to believe that only China has core interests concerning the Taiwan question’. To put it bluntly, when will America’s core interests reach the gates of China, half-a-globespan away from America? The author believes that contradicting themselves on the Taiwan question is a big American characteristic, and there is no need to use ‘separation of powers’ or ‘freedom of speech’ as an excuse here. A big country, and particularly the world’s unique superpower, can’t use any pretext to interfere with another country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity when ‘going back on its own words’. America’s government’s position on the Taiwan issue must be unequivocal, clear, and consistent. If they can’t abstain from going back on their own words, this will have an absolutely negative effect on America’s credibility as a responsible big country.

Zhao’s second commandment refers to American arms sales to Taiwan (a pledge to phase out the arms sales), his third one to “word games” – alleging that the American power monopoly or hegemony goes as far as to give an additional meaning to originally unequivocal, innocent phrase – a language trap (语言陷阱, yǔyán xiànjǐng) created by America for use on the Taiwan issue. ***)

Valérie Niquet of IFRI, in October 2007, suggested that the security of SLOC (Sea Lanes of Communications) was closely linked to China’s core interest in Taiwan:

For China the security of SLOC regarding oil supply is rather specific.The issue does not concern the risk of terrorist attacks; Chinese analysts tend to speak of the Malacca dilemma in order to express their own preoccupations with the security of sea lanes. According to Chinese strategists, the main threat of disruption comes from the US and its allies, in the Indian Ocean and along the SLOC in South East and East Asia because of a potential war with Taiwan. One of China’s priorities is to reduce at least part of China’s dependency on SLOC for oil and energy supply and develop land routes and pipelines. For the time being, China’s dependency on SLOC for oil is over 90 %. ****)

Ralf Emmers, in a paper for Nanyang University’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) of September 2009, notes a growing asymmetry of naval power to the advantage of China in the South China Sea. Besides the opportunities to extract resources from the waters around the Spratley and Paracel Islands, they are also at the center of strategic considerations. If it “ever succeeds in realizing its territorial claims, China will be able to extend its jurisdiction to the heart of Southeast Asia. And besides, Emmers argues, Beijing was aiming at a strategy of sea denial meant at keeping US forces temporarily out of a limited naval zone from where they could support Taiwan *****).

In a reaction to Emmers’ paper, an article by Wang Nannan (王楠楠), apparently a military affairs reporter, first published by Eastday (东方网, Shanghai) and republished by Xinhua Net on October 27,. 2009, noted that Emmers’ “report” pointed out that obviously, China’s military buildup in the South China Sea wasn’t only to be used for avoiding, or by use of armed force (if necessary) eliminate any violation of any territory of which its sovereignty was disputed, but also China’s security at sea, its economic prosperity, and its energy supplies, which required safeguarding the South East Asian shipping lanes – the Strait of Malacca, the Singapore Strait, the Sunda Strait, and the Lombok Strait. The Eastday article also reproduces Emmers’ argument about a strategy of sea denial to keep US forces away from Taiwan in case of conflict. It attaches particular importance to this paragraph:

The only power capable of countering the Chinese military would be the United States, particularly through its Seventh Fleet. Yet, Washington has repeatedly stated that the Philippine claimed territories were not covered by the Mutual Defence Treaty of 30 August 1951, which ties the Philippines to the United States. (…) Though following closely the developments in the South China Sea, the United States has consistently limited its interest to the preservation of the freedom of navigation and the mobility of its Seventh Fleet. It is therefore unclear how far the United States would go to support either Taiwan or the Philippines should conflict occur in the South China Sea. *******)

Admiral Walsh’s remarks of this week (see above) could mark a shift in Washington’s policies on the South China Sea – but how exactly Walsh is going to follow up on Vietnam’s, Singapore’s, Malaysia’s, Indonesia’s and other South China littoral states’ apparent interest in closer cooperation with the US Navy remains to be seen.


*) Real increase / decrease usually includes a calculation of general decrease in the value of the amount in question — JR

**) “three prescriptions” – or three things not to do – (三戒) may actually allude to the Three Cautionary Fables (三戒) by Liu Zongyuan (柳宗元), describing the sad endings of the deer of Linjiang, the donkey of Guizhou, and the rats of a certain family at Yongzhou, the three of who (or which) count on other peoples’ human potential (倚仗人势) and look outwardly strong but are inwardly weak (色厉内荏).

***) This third paragraph looks interestingly paranoid to me – but it is also the one I find rather difficult to translate. Here is the Chinese text:

****) Niquet quoting E. Downs, “China”, Brookings Foreign policy Studies, “Energy Security Series”, December 2006

*****) Ralf Emmers, “The Changing Power Distribution in the South China Sea: Implications for Conflict Management and Avoidance”, RSIS working paper no. 183, Singapore, September 30, 2009, page 6, based on David Lague, “Dangerous Waters: Playing Cat and Mouse in the South China Sea”, Global Asia, Vol. 4 (2), Summer 2009, p. 59

******) Ralf Emmers, ibid, page 8


Phrasebook: zhū bā jiè dào dǎ yī pá, June 17, 2010
A Division of Labor that can’t Work, Febr 23, 2010
The Stupid Little Mermaid, March 12, 2009

Tempting Russia into Vietnam’s offshore industry, Bangkok Post, June 20, 2010
China’s Growing Transparancy, CFR, June 14, 2010
More Power than Peace, The Age, June 1, 2010

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April 1: This Day in History

Hermit doesn’t want to repeat himself, so…
super snooper
… here is this old story, and the moral to it.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Special Roundup (Brainsaver)

A lot of blogs have weekly roundups of their posts. This one hasn’t. After all, I don’t write more than seven posts a week (rather only half of that or less), and the ten most recent posts can be found to the top right of the main page. So if someone wants a roundup, he or she can click there.

However, I find little time to draw my usual little cartoons lately. What a shame that they are all buried underneath piles of mere text posts!

Judge by yourself:


1. Net Nanny:

With the following posts –

a) Censorship: Yes we can!

b) Don’t be too appledaily

c) Net Nanny speaks out


2. Olympic Opening Ceremony…

Public Deceived?


3. The EP-3 Incident…

picture enlargement »

… and what really happened.


4. Hermit the Taoist Dragonfly’s latest Invention will help…

to win the Olympics!


5. And Senator John McCain…

picture enlargement »

speaks the language of the enemy.


There are some more, but let’s leave it here. Just wanted to make sure that these… umm… masterpieces aren’t missed by anyone. Advice to all bloggers: roundups save you time and mental work.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Scientific: The Hainan EP-3 Incident and what really happened

Hello Children,

Hello Childrenit’s me again. Hermit the Taoist Dragonfly with your daily dose of science. Most of you will be too young to remember this incident in the recent history of the heroic defense of our motherland. It is usually referred to as the Hainan EP-3 incident.

As we all know, on that fateful day on April 1 2001, an aggressive American flying bathing tub full of spying high-tech attacked two of our fighting jets, martyring one of our pilots. However, what is often neglected is a fact of life that has been innate to all the imperialist dogs’ attempts on our beloved motherland’s sovereignty. It was, of cause, all about girls. They try to spot the radars of the daughters of the Yellow Emperor all the time.

So, dear children, and above all, girls: next time you see an American bathing tub violating our sacred airspace, run for cover, pull your mobile phone and call the Hainan Control Tower immediately.

 super snooper

Got to fly now. Stay patriotic.

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