Posts tagged ‘history’

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Xi Jinping’s Sentimental Tour: How Yellow was my Hometown

1. Li Keqiang, visiting the Poor

The days before Spring Festival are times to be nice: to visit old cadres and to show how much their past work is still cherished, to harmonize human existence with the surrounding environment, to transfer some bad elements to the other side of the cupboard, and to show care for the poor.

The latter two points are particularly important if you are a cadre, or a politician in a wider sense.

Hence, CCP politburo permanent member and Chief State Councillor Li Keqiang (李克强, also referred to as “premier”), reportedly headed to Liping County in Guizhou province on Friday, to visit Pudong (蒲洞村), a village with a share of 43 percent poor people, with an annual net income of 2,160 Yuan RMB, and many housewalls open to the wind from all four directions. Obviously, he didn’t come empty-handed, but handing over salted fish and other goods to a Dong family as new-year gifts – stuff he had bought in a supermarket in the morning, according to Xinhua. The high-ranking visitor tested the quality of drinking water in the village (mindful of his working report in 2014 that had promised to solve the drinking water safety issues of 60 million citizens, visited what might best be translated as the village’s hygiene room (basic medical services), enquired if public subsidies for the village medical services had actually been applied right there, discussed employment opportunities and repayment problems with students who returned to their native village after completing their studies, and worked his way through other ostensibly spontaneous items of inspection.

Xinhua article there, related pictures there, there, there, and there.

2. Xi Jinping’s Fond Memories of the 1960s

However, the task of being folksy has not completely moved from CCP secretary general Xi Jinping to Li Keqiang, who is generally considered ranking second among the members of the politburo’s standing committee. While Li travelled Guizhou, Xi visited Liangjiahe village in Shaanxi province, also on Friday.


Sina coverage: Xi Jinping and Peng Liyuan visiting the Yan’an brigade’s old base

At noon, the tranquil village of Liangjiahe suddenly began to simmer with excitement.

Xi Jinping has returned!

The secretary-general has come!

中午时分,安静的梁家河村一下子沸腾了。

“近平回来了!”

“总书记来了!”

You get the picture.

According to biography, Xi Jinping had spent about seven years there, leading a tough, simple life as a teenage worker.

The Xinhua article goes across a number of webpages and describes Xi Jinping’s bittersweet – but above all sweet, in case of a doubt – memories. How he became a real man during those years in Shaanxi. The title chosen by Xinhua: The Son of the Yellow Soil is coming Home.

All that had been part of the Down-to-the-Countryside movement and the “Cultural Revolution”. Xi Jinping’s father, Xi Zhongxun, was in jail at the time.

3. 102nd Anniversary of Tibetan Declaration of Independence commemorated

On Friday, Tibetan exiles in North America and Europe commemorate the 13th Dalai Lama’s declaration of Tibetan independence, 102 years ago, reports Voice of Tibet (VoT), a Norway-based website and shortwave radio station. More than sixty exiles and supporters held a demonstration in front of the Chinese embassy in Paris, according to the report. Demonstrations reportedly also took place on Times Square, New York, and in Toronto. The station also reported commemorative activities in Dharamsala, and in New Delhi.

Radio Free Asia (RFA) also covered the activities, and suggests that the 13th Dalai Lama’s declaration initiated a period of almost four decades of self-rule that ended when Chinese troops marched into the Himalayan region in 1949. RFA also mentions the current (and 14th) Dalai Lama’s “middle-way” policy which accepts Tibet’s present status as a part of China while regularly urging greater cultural, religious, and political freedoms for the Tibetan people.

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Friday, February 13, 2015

On the Summits of Science: Legal Construction and Recent History

“I want to be damned if I know now what I meant when I wrote that” – that’s how a German author, Arno Schmidt, once quoted an imaginary writer, confronted with his productions of several decades ago.

I’m only translating an article – but I want to be damned if I know now what this is actually about. Anyway – I feel that someone has to do this translation.

Here goes.

A Xinhua commentary earlier thims month looked back to the 18th CCP Central Committee’s plenary session – the one that focused on rule of law under CCP leadership -, and repeats an old leitmotif: the unity of theory and practice. The Xinhua commentator/editor, Ding Feng (丁峰), puts it this way:

Just as a nation must stand on the summits of science, it must never, not even for a moment, be separated from theoretical thought. To succeed in a great cause, it must never, not even for a moment, be separated from the guidance by scientific theory. Theory comes from practice, and on the other hand, it guides practice. In the circles of practice, knowledge, more practice and knowledge again, practice deepens continously, theory improves with each passing day, and the promotion of the cause develops steadily.

正如“一个民族要想站在科学的高峰,就一刻也不能离开理论思维”,成就一项伟大事业,一刻也不能离开科学理论指导。理论来自实践,反过来又指导实践。在实践、认识、再实践、再认识的循环往复中,实践不断深入,理论日臻完善,推动事业不断发展。

As an important part of the great  cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics, legal construction is part of the foundations of institution building. The party’s 18th central committee’s fourth plenum issued a comprehensive strategic policy [or decision] on the promotion of government by law (依法治国), the general goal of which is to build a legal system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, to build a socialist country ruled by law. The goal decided that socialism with Chinese characteristics rule of law is Chinese rule of law, and its significant function is to provide a powerful guarantee for the cause of of socialism with Chinese characteristics. The fundamental task of rule by law stipulates that legal theory must closely center around this core of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and ponder and answer to the major theories and practical questions of legal construction, so as to comprehensively provide a compass of thought and theoretical guidance for the comprehensive promotion of rule by law. Secretary-general Xi Jinping emphasized that “the theory of socialism-with-Chinese-characteristics rule by law is essentially the theoretical result of the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics”, deeply promulgating the source of Chinese theory of rule by law and political attributes. It specifies the direction in which to promote the development of our country’s theory of rule by law.

作为中国特色社会主义事业的重要组成,法治建设居于制度建设的基础性地位。党的十八届四中全会作出全面推进依法治国战略决策,总目标就是建设中国特色社会 主义法治体系,建设社会主义法治国家。目标决定了中国的法治是中国特色社会主义法治,其全部意义和作用在于为中国特色社会主义事业提供有力法治保障。法治 根本任务规定了法治理论必须紧紧围绕“中国特色社会主义”这个核心来思考回答法治建设的重大理论、实践问题,为全面推进依法治国提供思想指南和理论指导。 习近平总书记强调“我们要发展的中国特色社会主义法治理论,本质上是中国特色社会主义理论体系在法治问题上的理论成果”,深刻揭示出中国法治理论的思想渊 源和政治属性,为推动我国法治理论发展指明了方向。

Problems are the voice of the times, and theory is the answer to the “voice of the times”. The theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics was formed by opening and reform. [This theoretical system] is the theoretical summary made by the party leaders and the people, in the practice of socialist modernization. It is the current CCP members’ theoretical innovation, combining Marxism with our country’s initial stage of socialism. It is the latest theoretical fruit of the sinicization of Marxism. Under the correct guidance of this theoretical system, reform and opening achieved brilliant successes that attracted worldwide attention, highlighting the great power of this theory, and established our high degree of theoretical confidence.

问题是时代的声音,理论则是对“时代之声”的思考回应。中国特色社会主义理论体系形成于改革开放,是党领导人民进行社会主义现代化实践的理论总结,是当代 中国共产党人把马克思主义原理同社会主义初级阶段基本国情相结合的理论创新,是马克思主义中国化的最新理论成果。在这一理论体系的正确指导下,改革开放取 得举世瞩目的辉煌成就,凸显出这个理论的强大威力,树立起我们高度的理论自信。

Ever since [the policies of] reform and opening, from the third plenum of the 11th central committee‘s promulgation of building comprehensive socialist democracy and the strengthening of a socialist legal system, to the 15th national party congress‘ establishment of a basic plan for a country ruled by law, and the 16th national party congress‘ proposal for socialist-democracy politics most fundamental organic unity of maintaining the leadership of the party, the people’s self-determination (当家作主), the 17th national party congress‘ proposal to accelerate the strategic plan of a socialist country ruled by law, the 18th national party congress‘ clearly pointing out that rule by law is the fundamental way of governing the country, the 18th central committee’s fourth plenum issuing the decision and plan for the comprehensive promotion of government by law, our party has continuously deepened humankind’s knowledge of theoretical thought on government by law, practical exploration and the major successes achieved, reflecting, from an important aspect, the milestone to which socialism with Chinese characteristics theory has developed so far, marking the continuous deepening of our party’s knowledge about the party’s pattern of holding power, about the pattern of building socialism, and about the pattern of human development. […]

改革开放以来,从党的十一届三中全会提出健全社会主义民主和加强社会主义法制的目标,到党的十五大确立依法治国基本方略,十六大提出发展社会主义民主政治 最根本的是要把坚持党的领导、人民当家作主和依法治国有机统一起来,十七大作出加快建设社会主义法治国家新的战略部署,十八大明确提出法治是治国理政的基 本方式,十八届四中全会作出全面推进依法治国决策部署,我们党对依法治国的理论思考、实践探索以及所取得的重大成就,从一个重要方面反映出中国特色社会主 义理论从形成到发展的历程,标志着我们党对党的执政规律、社会主义建设规律、人类社会发展规律的认识不断深化。[…..]

[…..]

China Copyright and Media, on January 24, provided background to the CCP’s current endeavors to rectify higher education. The Copyright and Media post also summarizes a speech by Xi Jinping on a study session of the politburo, in the afternoon of January 23. An academic, Professor Sun Zhengyu (孙正聿) from the Center for Fundamentals of Philosophy at Jilin University, reportedly also spoke at the study session.

Meantime, the English-language “Global Times” quotes a report by Liaoning Daily from November last year: it

said that many college teachers mocked Marxism, praised Western values and questioned the central government’s major policies. The report said that 80 percent of college students have encountered such teachers. The report which asked teachers to “treat China in a nicer way” has become a hit on the Internet.

____________

Related

» Re-ideologizing, ChinaChange, Feb 10, 2015
» Neither law nor order, Apr 24, 2011

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Norddeutscher Rundfunk Christmas Program on Shortwave

Just as in previous years, Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) broadcasts a program for ship’s crews at sea and their relatives and friends at home on shortwave, from 19:00 to 23:00 UTC (20:00 to 24:00 central European time).

Rotatable directional antenna at Moosbrunn transmitter site, Austria. Wikimedia Commons, click picture for source description)

A rotatable directional antenna at Moosbrunn transmitter site, Austria. Wikimedia Commons, click picture for source description)

From 19:00 to 21:00 UTC

6125 kHz, target area northern Atlantic, transmitter in Nauen
9685 kHz, target area Indian Ocean (west), transmitter in Nauen
9925 kHz, target area Atlantic/South Africa/Indian Ocean, transmitter Issoudun
11650 kHz, target area Atlantic (south), transmitter Issoudun
11800 kHz, target area Indian Ocean (east), transmitter Moosbrunn

From 21:05 to 23:00 UTC

6040 kHz, target area northern Atlantic, transmitter in Nauen
9515 kHz, target area Indian Ocean (west), transmitter in Nauen
9765 kHz, target area Indian Ocean (east), transmitter Moosbrunn
9880 kHz, target area Atlantic (south), transmitter Moosbrunn
9925 kHz, target area Atlantic/South Africa/Indian Ocean, transmitter Issoudun

For listeners in Germany or not too far from there, medium wave may also be an option:
702 kHz (Flensburg), 792 kHz (Lingen), 828 kHz (Hanover), and 972 kHz (Hamburg).

Probably the last chance to listen to the program on medium wave, as according to plans, January 13, 2015, will mark the end of medium wave broadcasts by NDR.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Nanjing Massacre MemorialDay: an Enorth account of a War Veteran’s Memories

The following is a translation of an article published by Enorth, an official online news portal for Tianjin municipality. Explanatory notes put into [square brackets]. Links within blockquotes inserted during translation. Mistakes during translation likely.

Main Link: National Memorial Day: Tianjin’s only Chinese Expeditionary Force Veteran tells Story of Japanese War

Enorth — He was fifteen at the time of the Nanjing massacre, and witnessed the panic and helplessness of the refugees who had escaped from there, and the bloody images of Japanese soldiers hunting the common people of Nanjing. He gave up the pen for the sword, and as a member of the Whampoa / Huangpu Branch Seventeen, joined the Chinese Expeditionary Force and fought in the battle of Taungoo, the fiercest in the defense war of Myanmar, he’s the only Tianjiner still living and in good health who was part of the Chinese Expeditionary Force – the War of resistance against Japan veteran Yang Cenfeng. On December 13, 2014, the first day of commemoration [of the Nanjing massacre] held in China, 93-year-old Yang Cenfeng told us this dark period in history 77 years ago, which no Chinese people can ever forget.

天津北方网讯:南京大屠杀发生之时,他15岁,目睹了南京城逃出难民的惊恐无助,目睹了日本军人追杀南京百姓的血腥画面。他投笔从戎,以黄埔十七期的身份,加入了中国远征军,参加了缅甸防御战最惨烈的同古战役,他就是天津现今唯一健在的中国远征军军官、抗日老兵杨岑峰。在2014年12月13日,中国首个国家公祭日之时,93岁的杨岑峰向我们讲述了77年前,那段黑暗、但每个中国人绝不能忘却的历史。

Nanjing falls, Blood colors the Yangtze River

南京失守 血染长江

Seventy-seven years ago, Yang Cenfeng was in senior high school and living in a family of seven, in Wuhu, next to the Yangtze River. This was a gateway to Nanjing, with only some ninety kilometers between there and Nanjing. After the Japanese had occupied Nanjing, the burning, killing and looting started, and some lucky Nanjingers fled in panic to Wuhu, which, although peaceful, saw the Japanese soldiers coming nearer with each passing day.

77年前,杨岑峰正在读高三,一家7口住在长江边的芜湖,那里是南京的门户,距离南京仅有90多公里,日本人占领南京后,烧杀抢掠,有些幸存的南京人惊恐地向芜湖逃难,而芜湖也非太平之所,日渐被日本兵逼近。

At the time, everyone had heard about the disaster of Nanjing, and hated and feared the Japanese. And in fear, the people of Wuhu spent the Spring Festival days of 1938.

那个时候,人们都听说了南京城的惨剧,对日本人又恨又怕。而在恐惧中,芜湖迎来了1938年的春节。

“I remember the day of Spring Festival, we were just having a somewhat gloomy family reunion dinner. Just when the meal came onto the table, the air-raid sirens went off, and Japanese airplanes passed through, dropping bombs. At the time, the planes flew at particularly low heights, and I could clearly see the Japanese flag underneath the wings. They bombed unscrupulously, strafing here and there, and whereever they went, they left ruins, and seas of fire”, Yang Cenfeng said.

“我记得春节那天,马马虎虎地吃着团圆饭。刚把饭端上桌的时间,放空警报响了,日本的飞机过来轰炸了。当时飞机飞得特别低,我可以清楚地看见机翼之下的日本国旗。他们素无忌惮地投炸弹、扫射,所到之处一片废墟、一片火海。”杨岑峰说。

When the Japanese army approached Wuhu, many common people of Wuhu also fled into all directions, placing their hopes on the New Fourth Army on the northern side of the Yangtze River.

随着日军逼近芜湖,大批的芜湖百姓也是四散逃窜,在他们的心里,江北的新四军是希望所在。因此,大批的百姓都聚集在长江边,等着轮渡,过江逃命。

Yang Cenfeng’s recollections continue with a description of how people fleeing Wuhu and waiting for the ferry to the northern banks of the Yangtze – the place densely crowded – were bombed by Japanese warplanes, with countless numbers of people dying on the riverside, or dying in the river. How many people actually died, Yang Cenfeng doesn’t know, but he remembers how the water of the river turned red from the blood, from people who had come there to seek survival.

Yang Cenfeng’s family leapt from death back into life, finding survival in a small village in Jiangbei [here, geographically and literally: north of the Yangze River] under the protection of the New Fourth Army. At the time, a political instructor named Huang left an unforgettable impression on Yang Cenfeng.

死里逃生的杨岑峰一家来到了江北新四军保护下的一个小村子避难。当时,一位姓黄的指导员,给杨岑峰留下了难忘的印象。

“He put us into groups of, say, forty to fifty students, he told us that ‘young students should protect and defend China’, put us into a few groups so that we would stand guard, and taught us many songs to boost our morale.

“他把我们青年学生召集在一起,大约四五十人吧,告诉我们‘青年学生应该保家卫国’,把我们分成几组,站岗放哨,还教了我们很多歌,鼓舞我们的士气。”

Instructor Huang’s lessons turned Yang Cenfeng to the idea of giving up the pen for the sword, and after a stay of four or five months in the village, he enrolled at the Huangpu Military Academy’s Southern Anhui [皖南 stands for Anhui-south]. Together with fourteen classmates, all eye witnesses of the Japanese invaders’ atrocities, walked more than 150 kilometers in four days, and reached the administrative office in Tunxi in southern Anhui, and joined the army to join the resistance against Japan.

黄指导的教诲,让杨岑峰萌生了投笔从戎的念头,在小村子呆了四五个月之后,黄埔军校在皖南招生。目睹了日本侵略者暴行的杨岑峰和14个同学步行4天150多公里路,来到了当时皖南行署所在屯溪市,投笔从戎,参加抗日。

“My family wouldn’t let me go, so I secretly took three silver dollars from home and went to Tunxi with my classmates.”

“当时家里人也担心不让去,我就偷偷地拿了家里的3块大洋,和同学们走到了屯溪。”

But an application for [entrance] exams required graduation from senior high school. Lacking qualification, Yang Cenfeng and his classmates, with their own determination and willpower to resist Japan, impressed the school and were finally admitted to the exams. Going through layers of selection with subjects of literature, math, English, politics etc., Yang Cenfeng and ten of the classmates who had traveled with him entered Huangpu Military Academy.

但是,按照报考要求高中毕业,杨岑峰和同学们不够资格,他们就用自己抗日的决心和毅力打动着校方,最后终于感动了校方参加了考试。在经历了文学、数学、英语、政治等五六门功课的层层选拔,杨岑峰和其他同来的10位同学,加入了黄埔军校。

Having become a student of the Huangpu Branch Seventeen, and because of the Japanese closing in, southern Anhui became into imminent danger, and to protect the young seed of resistance against Japan and national salvation, the Branch Seventeen had to be transferred to Chengdu in Sichuan. After a four-months walk, Yang Cenfeng and his classmates arrived in Chengdu, and began their life of learning there.

成为了黄埔17期学员之后,由于日本人的步步紧逼,皖南岌岌可危,为了保住这些抗日救国的种子,黄埔17期学员需要转移到四川成都,杨岑峰和同学们步行4个多月,来到了成都,在那里开始了黄埔军校的学习生活。

The article / its rendition of Yang Cenfeng’s memories describes the year of 1941 as the peak of the Japanese war, with Academy students becoming replaces for soldiers who lost their lives or their fitness to fight. After two years at the academy, Huang joined the 96th Division of the Fifth Army of the Chinese Expeditionary Force as a platoon leader and a second lieutenant (少尉排长).
The Chinese Expeditionary Force is described as a model of China cooperating directly with military allies, and also claims that this had been the first time ever that Chinese troops had left the country to fight in a war (这是中国与盟国直接进行军事合作的典范,也是甲午战争以来中国军队首次出国作战 …). In the three years and three months of Chinese involvement in the China Burma India Theater, China deployed some 400,000 soldiers, 200,000 of who became casualties, the article says, and describes the battles in which Yang Cenfeng took part as the fiercest in the defense of Burma / Myanmar. The battle of Taungoo is described as Yang Cenfeng’s most agonizing and most deeply-felt experience of Japanese troops’ brutality (他一生中最惨痛的经历,也是最深刻感受到日本军队残忍的一幕).

Withdrawal to Savage Mountain, Supporting the Flying Tigers

撤退野人山 支援飞虎队

But because of a Japanese breakthrough at the British flank, the 200th and 96th divisions of the Chinese Expeditionary Force were surrounded, and after defending to the last for eight days and eight nights, Tonggu could still not be held. In the end, after breaking through the encirclement into the endless virgin forests of Savage Mountain, the 96th Division went through Putao in northernmost Myanmar and entered Yunnan province, returning home.

然而,由于英军侧翼被突破,中国远征军200师和96师被包围,在死守了8天8夜之后,同古最终还是没有守住。最终,96师从茫茫的原始森林野人山突围后,从缅甸北端的葡萄进入云南福贡回国。

Looking back at the breakthrough at Savage Mountain, Yang Cenfeng says that rather than a way out, it was another dead end. Behind them, the enemy forces pursuing them, in front of them, the virgin forests as a no man’s land with all kinds of venomous serpents, wild animals, and disease awaiting them.

回忆起野人山突围,杨岑峰说,那与其说是生路,其实也是另一条死路。后面有敌军追,前面原始森林无人区又有各种毒蛇猛兽、瘟疫疾病等着他们。

“You won’t believe it, but there were ants as long as your fingers,” Yang Cenfeng says. “Diseases claimed many lives, and it was even worse for the few women soldiers. They became unable to walk and had to lie on the naked ground to wait for death to come.”

“说起来你们不信,蚂蚁都有手指那么长。”杨岑峰说,“瘟疫疾病夺走了很多人的生命,那些女兵们更惨,走不动了,最后只能在原地等死。”

There are people who have recorded this kind of miserable story: 1,500 wounded and ill soldiers were unable to go with the troops’ withdrawal, but didn’t want to be captured and humiliated. They set themselves on fire and became martyrs …..

曾经有人记录过这样一个极为悲惨的故事:1500名伤病员无法跟随部队徒步撤退,又不愿意被俘受辱,最后点火自焚,壮烈殉国……

In the end, with astonishing willpower, the 96th Division completed its roundabout route in 35 days, through the northern Myanmar Savage Mountain, across more than 300 kilometers, with less than half of them making their way home.

最终96师以惊人的毅力,用了35天,跨越了整个缅北野人山,绕道300多公里,人员损失大半终于撤回了国内。

After returning to Kunming, Yang Cenfeng’s troops were deployed to protect Kunming airport, working with the famous “Flying Tigers”. Finally, after completing the northern Burma counter attack, thus reopening the international traffic line, safeguarding a stream of international support into China and driving the Japanese army out of southwestern China, after clamping down on and inflicting heavy losses on the Japanese troops in northern Myanmar and Yunnan province, creating favorable conditions for the allied forces, to open the battleground for the counter-attack on Japan.

撤回昆明之后,杨岑峰所在的部队被安排守卫昆明机场,配合大名鼎鼎的“飞虎队”作战。最终,完成了缅北反攻,重新打通了国际交通线,保障了国际援华物资源源不断地运入中国,并把日军赶出了中国西南大门,钳制和重创了缅北、滇西日军,为盟军收复全缅甸创造了有利条件,揭开了正面战场对日反攻的序幕。

In remarks at the end of the article, the Enorth reporter describes Yang Cenfeng as looking younger than his age (92 or 93), as saying that the party and the state were showing great concern and care for him, and that he was very satisfied. His hobbies are also mentioned, as shown in the pictures within the article. But he would never forget his painful war experiences, the brothers in arms he lost, and he would always utterly detest the atrocities committed by the Japanese invaders.

He says that his survival was luck. He therefore cherishes the era of peace, and he can’t forgive people who distort history.

他说,自己能侥幸活下来,是幸运的,因此,他也更珍惜和平年代的生活,对于歪曲历史的人绝对不能原谅。

As a veteran of the war of resistance against Japan, he feels encouraged by the establishment of a national day of commemoration and warns coming generations that history must not be forgotten, to be vigilant about the stirring between the dry bones of Japanese militarism, to use history as a guide, to strengthen our motherland, and to achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

作为抗日老兵,他很欣慰国家从今年开始设立了公祭日,他告诫后人们,绝对不能忘记历史,警惕日本军国主义死灰复燃,以史为鉴、强大我们的祖国,实现中华民族的伟大复兴。

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Related

» Wartime childhood, Sept 7, 2009

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

German Television Interview with Deutsche Welle director: Aha, the Russians do Propaganda

After facing many inconvenient questions about the editorial independence of his multimedia broadcaster during the past months, from the media, from politics, and from Reporters without Borders, Deutsche Welle (DW) director Peter Limbourg got airtime this month with much nicer questions. On November 16, Berlin Direkt, a primetime political magazine on Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF), one of Germany’s two national – domestic – television channels, interviewed Limbourg.

Q:   Russia currently upgrades its foreign television, and other [media] – internet, radio – incredibly, and also invests a lot of money into these. Is the restructuring of Deutsche Welle an answer to that offensive?
A:   I think that it [DW restructuring] has to do with that, because we simply noticed that very many broadcasters, internationally, spend a lot of money for their purposes, and that we obviously have to see to it that the German perspective and German values for which we stand, i. e. democracy, freedom of the press, freedom of opinion, that these are heard in the world. Therefore we have, of course to enter this competition to a degree, even if that is quite expensive.
Q:   And even if this will immediately lead to the accusation that aha, the Russians do propaganda, but Deutsche Welle spends more money, too, so Deutsche Welle, too, does propaganda?
A:   No, I think that in our place, that’s nothing to do with propaganda or counter-propaganda, but we want to score with enlightenment, and this means that we won’t explicitly try to work against someone, but we work for our values, and I think that it explains itself, that  when you stand for democracy, freedom of the press, and pluralism, that precisely therefore, we have nothing to do with propaganda, but on the contrary: we try to represent plurality of opinion. That means, too, of course, that we listen to other opinions such as opinions of the Russians, and work with these.
Q:  How is Deutsche Welle positioned in Russia, and how are you received there?
A:  We have a correspondent bureau in Russia and we have, of course, a very strong and, during the past months, yet strengthened, Russian and Ukrainian service which are in very, very high demand. The numbers of users have tripled or quadrupled. But we wouldn’t be able to launch a broadcaster in Russian in Russia; you don’t get a licence from the government for that.

I didn’t watch Berlin Direkt on television. On the ZDF internet pages, you can access both the interview and a report that provides some background information about Deutsche Welle’s Russian competitors – ZDF certainly portray Russia Today television, Radio Sputnik, and Russia’s umbrella organization for foreign media, Rossiya Segodnya, as competitors for Deutsche Welle. The Berlin Direkt report starts right from the first minute here, and there may not be a great deal of information about Russia’s foreign propaganda around at German television. “Recently, German is spoken, too”, the ZDF anchor suggests in his lead-in.

In fact, the first program by Radio Moscow that ever targeted a foreign audience was in German. That was in 1929. The German programs continued through the years of the 2nd World War, and when Radio Moscow was reorganized as the “Voice of Russia” in December 1993, the German-language tradition – many hours a day, seven days a week – continued. It still does.

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Update/Related

Putin’s side of the story, …

… in an interview with the other main German tv channel, ARD, Nov 17.

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Main tag: Deutsche Welle

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

China’s Legal Reform Projects: Slowly, very slowly

The fourth plenary session of the 18th CCP central committee took place from October 20 to October 23. Less than a month before the opening of the plenum, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) quoted a politburo statement of September 29 as saying that the plenary session’s focus would be on improving the administration of law. At the center of that, according to the SCMP, would be a battle against corruption.

In July, Stanley Lubman, a lawyer and longtime observer of legal issues in China, wrote in the Wall Street Journal‘s (WSJ) China blog (China Realtime) that the CCP’s central leading group for judicial reform of the party and the “Supreme People’s Court” were signalling a serious intention to implement measures that could lead to a shift of power over finances and personnel in basic courts, from local governments and local “people’s congresses” to provincial governments. Pilot projects were planned in Shanghai, Guangdong, Jilin, Hubei, Hainan and Qinghai. If successful, these reforms could boost citizens’ chances to challenge local cadres over issues such as illegal land seizures or concealment of violations of product safety and environmental laws. However, this didn’t mean that courts would be insulated from pressures from those higher-level officials on their decision-making. Importantly, nothing in these reforms is aimed at diminishing Communist Party control over outcomes in the courts.

Lubman also links to a creative-commons translation cooperative, China Law Translate, which describes the pilot projects on the provincial and municipal (Shanghai) level in more detail.

Ultimate CCP control reservation apart, Lubman’s article came across as sort of optimistic. Less so an article by Russell Leigh Moses, dean of academics and faculty at the Beijing Center for Chinese Studies, published on October 24. If the communique issued after the plenary session was something to go by, this was a plenum that wasn’t interested in engineering far-reaching changes to China’s legal system. China would move slowly, very slowly, suggests the headline.

That said, the term under the party’s leadership (党的领导 / 党的领导下), quoted from the communiqué by Moses as a reminder that the conception and implementation of law belongs only to the Communist Party, can’t have surprised any observer.

According to the Economist, the CCP’s new enthusiasm for the rule of law springs from the campaign against corruption – see first paragraph of this post, too (SCMP quote). The battle is old (Xi Jinping’s predecessor as party and state chairman, Hu Jintao, warned in November 2012 that corruption, if not tackled by politics, could prove fatal to the party.

The battle is even older than old. Shen Zewei, China reporter for the Singaporean daily Lianhe Zaobao (United Morning News), quoted a Taiwanese researcher, Lee Yeau-tarn, in 2009 that Chiang Kai-shek had been able to implement land reform in Taiwan, but not in the mainland, because the KMT had been intricately connected with the despotic gentry.

This suggests that even Moses’ forecast could prove overly optimistic for China.

The Economist’s November 1 edition, however, sees the glass half-full – or even more positively. After all, one of the weekly’s editorials argues, the constitution, emphasized by the CCP leadership,

enshrines property rights. Of the many thousands of “mass incidents” of unrest each year in rural China, 65% relate to disputes over the (often illegal) seizure of land by officials. Mr Xi wants to make it clear that their behaviour is not just illegal but also unconstitutional. That sounds scarier.

Farmland reform, which was at the focus of the 17h Chinese Communist Party Central Committee’s Third Plenary Session in 2008, back then under the Hu Jintao/Wen Jiabao leadership -, is also moving slowly, very slowly. And the fourth plenary session of this 18th central committee might be considered another push into the direction of a more just, and more efficient, use of land – six years later.

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Related

» Dead Cats, rotten Fish, Nov 7, 2011
» Rural Land Certificates, July 10, 2011
» Wen Jiabao’s Endgame, April 21, 2011
» Tossing the Mountain around, Nov 8, 2010
» Farmland Reform, Oct 8, 2008

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Quick Review: Princess Cheng, the Dalai Lama, and the Motherpapers

Stay away from blogging for a fortnight, and you will miss out on a lot of news. Here are some that caught my attention during the past two weeks, without time to blog about them, let alone making a real translation of it.

1. This Land is my Land: Princess Wencheng, from Tang China to Tibet

Wang Lixiong, a Chinese tibetologist, described his take on the Tang Dynasty’s motives to get Princess Wencheng married to then Tibetan King King Songtsän Gampo.

Wang’s take is that the mere fact that you marry one of your princesses to the ruler of a distant land still doesn’t make that ruler’s land your land. If and how far his view may differ from the narratives Chinese propaganda has spread abroad successfully, would take a good translation of the entire blogpost, as published by Tsering Woeser, on October 23.

2. That Land is China’s Land: no Entry into South Africa for Dalai Lama

I’m wondering if the Dalai Lama expects to see the country of South Africa in his lifetime. Chinafile collected some links and reactions to this most recent – apparent – refusal from Pretoria to grant Tibet’s spiritual leader a visa.

Pretoria reportedly also blocked a Dalai Lama visit in March 2009. Less than two month later, then South African minister for International Relations Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said that the Dalai Lama could now visit South Africa any time he wanted.

Anyway. So far, it hasn’t happened.

one_hundred_fake_euros

3. What shall we do with the Motherpapers?

Nothing, says China Media Project (CMP), Hong Kong, a website observing the mainland Chinese media scene.

Not if it is about People’s Daily, the mother of all motherpapers, anyway. Motherpapers, writes CMP, usually get their budgets right from the Chinese Communist Party, and may also be supported by their child papers (which are more commercial, carry more advertising, and may have more interested readers). Because you can’t discuss the real challenges in China.

Personal note: I’m sometimes criticized by Chinese people for reading People’s Daily or other orthodox stuff, and for watching Xinwen Lianbo, the main CCTV news broadcast. There are so many more interesting media, they say.

Which is true. But as the CCP never invites me to their schooling sessions, not even on village level, motherpapers and CCTV is all I can get for my better information about how the party is ticking.

There’s still more stuff I (just as superficially) read during the second half of October, but I might still get round to them in some more detail.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Shortwave Log, Northern Germany, August 2014: WRNO – “a Piece of the USA”

-

1. WRNO Worldwide

WRNO Worldwide, New Orleans, was a North American shortwave radio station. It was on the air from 1982 to the early 1990s, with rock music and program slots by a number of organizations, such as Pete Bergeron‘s La Voix de la Louisiane program, featuring Cajun music, or Glenn Hauser‘s World of Radio. During the 1980s, with programs really worth listening to, WRNO might have become a heavy competitor to the Voice of America (VoA), if its signal reach had been greater.

QSL, veri-signed by Costello

QSL: the operators and their ham callsigns, 1987

The owner, Joseph Costello (Joe Costello III), born in or around 1941 in Algiers/New Orleans, Louisiana, became a millionaire in the media business, according to this  (source unverified) 1997 obituary in the Times Picayune. The history of the shortwave station doesn’t seem to suggest that WRNO ‘s shortwave station added greatly to his wealth, although according to this (unverified) account, it became profitable within months, . From the original rock format, the station went on to leasing airtime to religious and political broadcasters, and Costello’s heirs put the shortwave station up for sale, according to the October 1998 edition of NASB Newsletter. The sales notice also provides hints as to why WRNO would never reach an audience as sizable as VoA did – at least as of 1998, there was only one transmitter site, and a log periodic antenna oriented towards the eastern half of North America.

But Costello’s ambitions hadn’t been small. While he apparently acknowledged that the last thing they [i. e. listeners abroad] need is another station playing their local music, Costello was a fan of shortwave radio, according to this account by one of his former (unverified) employees, who also quotes him as saying that people outside America admire us and want to come here; I’m giving them a piece of the USA – a piece of the USA complementary to, rather than a competitor of, VoA, according to the same account.

WRNO is now a religious broadcaster. The DX Listening Digest of April 5, 2001 reported that

WRNO Worldwide shortwave is sold to a non-profit religious group, whose directors include a citizen of Zimbabwe and a citizen of Australia. The New Orleans operation was one of the very few attempts to create a viable commercial shortwave operation (doing CHR). It was an offshoot of WRNO-FM, and has recently been in the hands of executor and New Orleans communications attorney Ashton Hardy. Looks like the Ft. Worth-based Good News World Outreach will run WRNO Worldwide as a non-commercial proposition (Mstreet Daily Apr 5 via Lawrence rec.radio.shortwave via Lamb, Cumbre DX via DXLD)

(Most recently tuned to on July 20, 2014, 02:36 UTC, 7505 kHz.)

===============

-

2. Recent Logs, August 2014

International Telecommunication Union letter codes used in the table underneath:

AFS – South Africa; ARG – Argentina; AUT – Austria; B – Brazil; CHN – China; CLN – Sri Lanka; CUB - Cuba; D – Germany; E – Spain; F – France; GRC – Greece; INDHOL – the Netherlands; IND – India; J – Japan; KOR – South Korea; KRE – North Korea; LTU – Lithuania; NIG – Nigeria; ROU – Romania; RRW – Rwanda; S – Sweden; SVN – Slovenia; THA – Thailand; TJK – Tajikistan; UGA – Uganda; USA – USA.

Languages (“L.”):

Am – Amharic; C – Chinese; Ca – Cantonese; E – English; F – French; G – German; Gr – Greek; Hu – Hungarian; Pan – Panaji; Pe – Persian; Po – Portuguese; R – Russian; Sp – Spanish; Sw – Swedish; T – Thai.

Many logs this time, thanks to the summer vacation.

kHz

Station

Ctry

L.

Day

GMT

S I O
 11510 Radyoya Denge Kurdistane  F Ku

Aug

1

17:25 5 5 4
 11540 Radio Farda  CLN Pe

Aug

1

17:30 5 5 5
  6165 RHC Cuba  CUB  E

Aug

1

04:00 5 5 4
  3995 HCJB Weenermoor  D  G

Aug

2

04:30 5 5 4
 17860 Voice of Khmer M’Chas Srok  1)  

Aug

3

11:30 5 5 4
  7550 AIR Delhi (All India Radio)2)  IND  E

Aug

4

18:21 4 5 4
 12020 VoA Deewa Radio  CLN Pa

Aug

7

01:00 5 5 5
 15344 RAE Buenos Aires3)  ARG  F

Aug

7

20:00 3 4 3
 15344 RAE Buenos Aires  ARG  G

Aug

7

21:00 4 4 4
  3905 (Dutch pirate radio)  HOL  E

Aug

9

20:15 5 5 5
 13760 Voice of Korea  KRE  E

Aug

9

21:01 5 5 4
  9540 IRIB Tehran  IRN  J

Aug

9

21:34 2 4 2
  9570 Radio Exterior de Espana4)  E  S

Aug

9

22:00 4 3 3
  6000 RHC Cuba  CUB  E

Aug

11

03:59 3 4 3
  6165 RHC Cuba  CUB  E

Aug

11

04:00 4 5 4
  7550 AIR Delhi (All India Radio)  IND  E

Aug

11

18:20      
  9540 Radio Japan5)  J  C

Aug

12

15:30 2 2 2
 15235 Channel Africa  AFS E

Aug

12

17:00 5 5 4
  7550 AIR Delhi (All India Radio)  IND  E

Aug

12

17:45 5 5 4
 15650 Voice of Greece6)  GRC Gr

Aug

12

19:00 5 5 4
  6165 Radio Japan  LTU  R

Aug

13

04:30 5 4 4
 17770 Radio Thailand  THA  T

Aug

13

10:35 3 5 3
 15160 KBS Seoul  KOR Ko

Aug

14

09:00 4 4 4
 15160 KBS Seoul  KOR Ko

Aug

14

09:35 4 4 3
 15000 WWV (NIST), Colorado  USA  E

Aug

16

12:46 2 3 2
 15000 WWVH (NIST), Hawaii7)  USA  E

Aug

16

12:46 2 3 2
  3995 HCJB Weenermoor  D  G

Aug

16

18:00 4 4 3
 15220 China Radio International (CRI)  CHN Hu

Aug

17

10:03 3 5 4
 15440 China Radio International (CRI)  CHN Ca

Aug

17

10:07 2 4 2
  7550 AIR Delhi (All India Radio)  IND  E

Aug

17

17:40 5 5 5
  4765 Radio Progreso  CUB  S

Aug

18

02:17 4 4 3
  5015

Radio Miami International

(RMI) / RG Stair

 USA  E

Aug

18

02:22 4 4 4
  5980 Channel Africa  AFS  E

Aug

18

03:06 5 5 5
  5040 RHC Cuba  CUB  E

Aug

18

05:00 5 5 4
  7550 AIR Delhi (All India Radio)  IND  E

Aug

18

18:15 5 5 5
 11711 RAE Buenos Aires8)  ARG  E

Aug

19

02:00 4 4 4
  9540 Radio Japan5)  J  C

Aug

19

15:38 2 2 2
 11711 RAE Buenos Aires  ARG  E

Aug

21

02:00 5 5 4
  5025 Radio Rebelde  CUB  S

Aug

21

03:00 4 3 3
  4976 Radio Uganda  UGA  E

Aug

21

03:12 3 2 2
  5040 RHC Cuba  CUB  S

Aug

21

03:45 5 4 4
  9800 Deutsche Welle Kigali  RRW  E

Aug

21

04:30 5 4 3
 15160 KBS Seoul  KOR Ko

Aug

21

09:00 4 4 3
 3775.1 DARC / DLØDL Deutschlandrundspruch  D  G

Aug

21

17:30 3 4 4
 15120 Voice of Nigeria  NIG  E

Aug

22

08:03 3 4 3
 15120 Voice of Nigeria9)  NIG  E

Aug

22

15:20 3 4 2
 15175 AIR Delhi (All India Radio)  IND Pan

Aug

22

15:30 3 4 3
  4976 Radio Uganda  UGA  E

Aug

22

20:15 3 2 2
  3995 HCJB Weenermoor  D  G

Aug

23

04:30 5 5 4
  6065 Radio Nord Revival10)  S

E/

Sw

Aug

1

05:20      
   918 Radio Slovenia  SVN  E

Aug

26

20:30 3 3 2
 15345 RAE Buenos Aires3)  ARG  G

Aug

26

21:01 4 4 4
 11711 RAE Buenos Aires3)  ARG  E

Aug

28

02:00 5 5 5
 10000 Observatório Nacional  B Po

Aug

28

06:04 2 2 2
 15120 Voice of Nigeria  NIG  E

Aug

28

09:00 3 5 3
 15275 Deutsche Welle Kigali  RRW Am

Aug

28

16:40 5 4 4
 15275 Deutsche Welle Kigali  RRW  F

Aug

28

17:00 4 4 3
  3770 DARC / DLØDL Deutschlandrundspruch  D  G

Aug

28

17:30 5 5 5
 15435 RRI Bucharest  ROU  C

Aug

29

13:05 5 5 5
 15542 Voice of Tibet (Norway/Tajikistan)  TJK  C

Aug

29

13:15 4 3 3
  3995 HCJB Weenermoor  D  G

Aug

30

18:00 5 5 4
  9800 Deutsche Welle Kigali  D  E

Aug

31

04:00 5 5 4
  6155  Adventist World Radio (AWR)  AUT  F

Aug

31

04:50 5 4 4
 6155 Radio Austria International (German)  AUT  G

Aug

31

05:00 5 4 4

____

Footnotes

1) The transmitter site is said to be Dushanbe-Yangiyul, Tajikistan, but that’s unconfirmed by the “clandestine” station itself. The organization behind it also runs a website which seems to suggest that they are don’t like Vietnamese Cambodians, or anything Vietnamese for that matter.

2) Receivers used were a Sony ICF2001D with a number of outdoor antennas, a Silver XF-900 with a built-in telescopic antenna or connected to outdoor antennas, and a Grundig Satellit 300 with a bit of wire instead of a long-gone telescopic antenna. Currently, AIR would usually come with S=5, unless your receiver is very  simple.

3) Radio Argentina al Exterior (RAE) has rarely kept exactly to its scheduled frequencies (11710 and 15345 kHz) recently; deviation seems to remain within +/- 1 kHz.

4) Radio Exterior de Espana has been a constant companion of many shortwave listeners for many decades – here in northern Germany, Spanish and English programs could be easily picked up at daytime and nighttime. For a while, they even ran a German service. New bosses (taking office on September 1) reportedly intends to scrap shortwave. REE English service hosts Alison Hughes and Justin Coe informed their listeners about a slew of rumors, from the 23rd minute of this recording. (Found via DX Aktuell.) There’s also information on changes at REE in Glenn Hauser’s World of Radio audio magazine 1733 of August 7, 2014, from the 26th minute – you can currently pick the 1733 edition from there.

5) Jammed by China People’s Broadcasting Station (CPBS, aka CNR), as described in this post.

6) The Voice of Greece may not be on air regularly.

7) This may look confusing, but the two transmitters, with the same frequency, coexist reasonably well.

8) See also FN 3)), for deviations from scheduled frequency. Not only the frequencies, but the choice of music, too, has shifted somewhat – from classical Tango to more modern songs, including some Argentine rock music. Worthwile listening, especially with reception conditions as good as currently.

9) Fair signal, but modulation issues, as frequently the case with Voice of Nigeria. However, the program is also easily audible at times, as in the morning (previous line).

10) Many things are not as dead as first reported, and this is true for Swedish shortwave broadcasting. Radio Sweden International (RSI) abandoned shortwave years ago, but once a year, Radio Nord Revival is on the air from several locations in Sweden. On August 23, there was a live broadcast, but before and after that, test broadcasts were made, on a number of frequencies as stated here. Radio Nord was an offshore commercial station in the Baltic Sea, in operation from 1961 to 1962, with an interesting (mostly American) background story. The Radio Nord Revival is apparently organized by old fans of the former offshore broadcaster.

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Related

» WRNO WW recording, E. Feaser/Youtube, of December 14 (UTC), 1983

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Related tag:

» shortwave radio

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