Posts tagged ‘negotiations’

Thursday, July 16, 2015

China’s One-Belt-one-Road Initiative: Your Sea is our Sea but My Sea is my Sea

Visiting Xuanzang's library in Xi'an - Xinwen Lianbo, click picture for video

Visiting Xuanzang’s library in Xi’an – Xinwen Lianbo, click picture for video

Former Chinese consul general to Kolkata, Mao Siwei (毛四维 毛四维) was optimistic about China-India relations in a India Today Global Roundtable event in Beijing in May 2015, suggesting that there was an expectation in China that Modi would usher in a new model of relations: “India-China 2.0″, according to the Daily Mail. While conceding that border issues, including China’s claim on Arunachal Pradesh, and Chinese investment in the Kashmiri regions controlled by Pakistan “challenged” the relationship, he expressed hope that during Indian prime minister Narendra Modi‘s visit to China would usher in the second stage where the focus will be on Chinese investment and making in India, thus succeeding the “first stage model” of 1988, which had been about “not letting the border issue getting in the way of overall relations”.

While the Roundtable apparently kept things nice, not everyone in Beijing agreed with Mao.

China’s state paper and website “Global Times” wrote on May 11 that

Modi has been busy strengthening India’s ties with neighboring countries to compete with China, while trying to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities for economic development created by China, as Beijing is actively carrying forward the “One Belt and One Road” initiative.

And:

Due to the Indian elites’ blind arrogance and confidence in their democracy, and the inferiority of its ordinary people, very few Indians are able to treat Sino-Indian relations accurately, objectively and rationally. Worse, some Indian media have been irresponsibly exaggerating the conflicts between the two sides, adding fuel to the hostility among the public.

Modi visited contested areas under Indian control to boost his prestige at home, the “Global Times” wrote, and Delhi was reluctant to admit that a widening trade deficit with China – its biggest trading partner – was its own fault.

The paper’s advice:

The Indian government should loosen up on the limits of cross-border trade with China, reduce the trade deficit, improve the efficiency of government administrations, and relax the visa restrictions, in order to attract more Chinese companies to invest in India.

On June 17, on his personal blog, Mao Siwei wrote about China’s One Belt, One Road initiative. India’s geographical position was a motivation for the initiative and needes a response from India, Mao wrote, and tried to answer the question why India was not taking part in the initiative.

Mao looked at what he sees as at least four views among India’s elites, concerning One Belt, One Road, and he cites four Indian commentators as examples for these views. However, he does not link to their articles in question, even though they are all available online, and of course, he leaves out much of the more controversial content there.

While Mao cites Sino-Indian relations expert Raja Mohan as showing the most constructive opinions of all  (quoting an Indian Express article of May 10 this year to prove this point), he writes that there are  also a very negative positions, as taken by Brahma Chellaney (in the context of Chellaney, Mao mentions a China-US Focus article of May 11, 2015).

Indeed, Mohan had warned in March that [as] Prime Minister Narendra Modi prepares for his China visit in May, New Delhi can no longer delay the articulation of a coherent strategy to restore the subcontinent’s historic connectivity,

and rejected Indian anxieties as stemming from the error of viewing China’s Silk Road initiative through the narrow prism of geopolitics.

Mohans conclusions:

That India needs greater connectivity with its neighbours is not in doubt. All recent governments in Delhi have identified it as a major national objective. If China has economic compulsions of its own in putting money in regional connectivity, it makes eminent sense for Delhi to work with Beijing.

There was no either-or when it came to working with Beijing or – or rather and – with Tokyo and Washington.

Chellaney on the other hand sees colonialism looming from the North:

One example of how China has sought to “purchase” friendships was the major contracts it signed with Sri Lanka’s now-ousted president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, to turn that strategically located Indian Ocean country into a major stop on China’s nautical “road.” The new president, Maithripala Sirisena, said on the election-campaign trail that the Chinese projects were ensnaring Sri Lanka in a “debt trap.”

In his election manifesto, without naming China, Sirisena warned: “The land that the White Man took over by means of military strength is now being obtained by foreigners by paying ransom to a handful of persons. This robbery is taking place before everybody in broad daylight… If this trend continues for another six years, our country would become a colony and we would become slaves.”

Besides, Chellaney accuses Beijing of operating a double standard:

China is also seeking to tap the Indian Ocean’s rich mineral wealth, and is inviting India to join hands with it in deep seabed mining there. Yet it opposes any Indian-Vietnamese collaboration in the South China Sea. “Your sea is our sea but my sea is my sea” seems to be the new Chinese saying.

 

Shyam Saran, a former foreign secretary, is cited by Mao Siwei as an example for a moderately positive stance. While Saran sees China and India as competitors in a very complex relationship, and one where China’s navy has not-so-friendly ideas (and ones that correspond with the “One-Belt-One-Road” initiative), Chinese surplus capital was still good for India’s infrastructure, Saran argues. The initiative could also help India to offset the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. At the same time, India should strengthen its security links with America, Japan, ASEAN and Australia, without signing on to a containment strategy against China.
Another rather critical commentator cited by Mao is Jabin T. Jacob, Assistant Director and Fellow at the Delhi Institute of Chinese Studies. Putting aside disputes as advocated by China was easier to practice for larger, than for smaller countries – indeed, the approach constituted a form of hegemony. Besides, China’s focus on initiatives like these was both exceptional among Asian countries, and also failed to acknowledge other maritime traditions and powers.
Jacob doesn’t mention the worn and corny Zheng He narrative, to which even the most benevolent listeners to the CCP tales might feel overexposed, and he doesn’t use the term arrogance either, but then, he hardly needs to. Anyone familiar with the subject can – probably – relate to what he writes.
In short, Jacob sees a new version

of the ancient Chinese political governing philosophy of tianxia. While the concept has been variously defined over history, at its most basic, it represented the rule over peoples with different cultures and from varied geographical areas by a single ruler.

Practically none of these points are mentioned by Mao; he just writes that Jacob doubts China’s ability or preparedness to understand India’s position in the historical Silk Road, and its practical implications, as well as as India’s interests and sensitivities on the Asian mainland and its waters.

It is obvious, writes Mao, that India does not want to respond to Xi Jinping‘s One-Belt-one-Road call, but it is just as obvious, that India is interesting in doing business with China. It could even become the second-largest shareholder in the Asian International Infrastructure Bank (AIIB). India also promoted Sino-Indian railway and port construction (Mao mentions Mundra Port in particular).
However, Mao writes, there is a lack of political and strategic consensus with China (在政治上和战略上与中方缺乏共识). China was focused on economic cooperation, India was focused on border disputes. Regional rivalries – not necessarily recognized by Mao as such – and America’s Asia-Pacific Rebalance (亚洲再平衡) and Narendra Modis Act East policy (向东行动) were connecting to each other on a global level.
And China’s economic involvement in the Pakistan-controlled Kashmir regions – the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor – constituted a flagship of China’s One-Belt-one-Road initiative. Nothing to please India.
In short, India’s non-participation in the One-Belt-one-Road initiative just reflects the objective fact of a “new bottleneck” in current Sino-Indian relations. The author [i. e. Mao Silwei] believes that as long as the two sides can gradually broaden a consensus concerning the handling of border issues, and pay attention to communication concerning maritime security, there should be hope for finding links between the two countries’ development strategies.
总之,印度不参加“一带一路”只是一种表象,它折射出当前中印关系正处于一个“新瓶颈”的客观现实。在笔者看来,只要双方在处理边界问题方面能逐渐增加共识,并在海上安全领域重视沟通、开展合作,中印两国的发展战略相互对接应该是有希望的。

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Updates / Related

» Small Country Diplomacy, Sino-NK, June 22, 2015
» Staying Alive in Tibet, March 31, 2012
» Two Divisions Wanting to Die, Aug 24, 2010

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Twenty Years ago: Island Democracy seeks Recognition

1. A Democracy introduces itself

It had been a long and challenging journey, the president said. But there he was, at the lectern at Cornell University, his alma mater, delivering his Olin lecture.

He represented a country with a per-capita income of USD 12,000, its international trade totalling US$180 billion in 1994, and foreign exchange reserves of over US$99 billion, more than those of any other nation in the world except Japan.

His country had developed from a developing country to an industrialized country, and, in a peaceful transition, into a democracy.

Almost every president of the world may tell this kind of story. But this one, told on June 9, 1995, at Cornell University, was a true story. And the president who told it wasn’t welcomed by his colleague Bill Clinton, but shunned instead.

There were no official diplomatic relations between the visiting president’s country, Taiwan, and the United States. Washington recognized the Chinese government in Beijing, which claimed to represent both China and Taiwan.

That the Taiwanese president in 1995, Lee Teng-hui, had been allowed to visit the US didn’t go without saying. He wasn’t a state guest, but the university’s guest.

But his concern wasn’t that of agricultural economist or an academic – it was a politician’s concern:

I deem this invitation to attend the reunion at Cornell not only a personal honor, but, more significantly, an honor for the 21 million people of the Republic of China on Taiwan. In fact, this invitation constitutes recognition of their remarkable achievements in developing their nation over the past several decades. And it is the people of my nation that I most want to talk about on this occasion.

He only fulfilled this promise by half, if at all. Much of his talk was about himself: how he had listened in America and in Taiwan, and how he had learned. That he spoke on behalf of his people. That he heard the yearning of his people to contribute to the international community, with the Taiwan experience, development and democracy.

2. Lee Teng-hui

Even back then, twenty years ago, Lee was seen as the “father” of Taiwanese democracy, even if the ultimate goal or final success of democratization hadn’t yet been reached.

Like all Taiwanese of his generation (and the generation before), Lee grew up as a subject of the Japanese Emperor. From 1895 to 1945, Taiwan had been a Japanese colony. As a colony, Taiwan’s experience with Japan was less bad than China’s in the Japanese war from 1937 to 1945. And parts of Taiwanese population – especially the elites, and not only those of the upper classes – were co-opted by the Japanese elites. Lee Teng-hui’s family was probably co-opted, too. Lee’s brother, Lee Teng-chin, was killed in the Second World War, as a member of the Japanese military. His name is registered in the internationally controversial Yasukuni Shrine, which also contains the name of 14 A-class war criminals.

Reportedly, Lee also tried Communism, out of hatred against the KMT, Chiang Kai-shek‘s Nationalist Party, that had fled to Taiwan to “recover the Chinese mainland” from there.

After Communism, Lee tried the Christian religion, apparently with lasting success. And finally, he had himself co-opted by the (more or less) hated KMT: in 1971, he joined the one-party dictatorship, became minister of agriculture shortly afterwards, then Taipei mayor in 1978, and vice-president in 1984. Chiang Ching-kuo, son of Chiang Kai-shek and his father’s successor as a Republic-of-China president on Taiwan, supported the careers of “indigenous” Taiwanese like Lee, at the cost of the faction of traditional KMT officials who had fled Taiwan along with the Chiangs.

Chiang Ching-kuo died in 1988. The KMT’s central committee elected Lee Teng-hui as party chairman and made him president of the Republic of China on Taiwan.

Lee had tried a lot of things, and he had achieved a lot. And he had no small plans for his country.

3. The Will of the People, the Chicken, and the Egg

What a people wants, and if it “can want” anything, is up for arguments.

When a man follows the leader, he actually follows the mass, the majority group that the leader so perfectly represents,

Jacques Ellul wrote in the 1960s, and added:

The leader loses all power when he is separated from his group; no propaganda can emanate from a solitary leader.

Basically, it seems that political leaders in democratic mass societies opportunites to shape their countries are limited. But Lee had become president in extraordinary times. Opposition groups, and “illegally” founded political parties among them, had demanded the lifting of the decades-old martial law for a long time. And when Lee began his second term as president in 1990, after the two remaining years of what had originally been Chiang Ching-kuo’s term, students occupied what is now Taipei’s Liberty Square. Once Lee had been sworn in again, he received a fifty-students delegation and promised Taiwan’s democratization, less than a year after the Tian An Men massacre in China.

Democratization was hardly only on the minds of the opposition, or on Lee’s mind. Chiang Ching-kuo might have had similar plans, even if less ambitious, and American influence probably continued to matter, too, even after Washington had switched diplomatic recognition to Beijing, in 1979. But with Chiang Kai-shek in office, a bloodbath in reaction to the 1990 events would have been much more likely than democratic reform.

4. Full Speed, 1995

Lee Teng-hui’s Cornell speech was part of the first presidential election campaign ever since the KMT had seized power in Taiwan. The mass media, still quite under KMT control, made sure that Lee’s visit to the US wouldn’t go unnoticed at home. On June 6, 1995, Taiwan’s domestic media had started coverage, and that culminated on June 10 (local time in Taiwan), with the Olin lecture.

Back then, when Lee approached a convincing election victory in March 1996, there were misgivings within the KMT about Lee’s loyalty to the KMT goal of “unification” of China and Taiwan. In summer 1999, toward the end of his first democratically legitimized presidential term (and his last term), Lee defined Taiwan’s relations with China as state-to-state relations, or at least special state-to-state relations. Not for the first time, Beijing reacted angrily to the “splittist” in Taipei’s presidential palace.

5. The “New Central Plains”

A lot seems to suggest that in 2000, when his presidency ended, Lee helped to bring about a victory of the oppositional Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and their presidential candidate Chen Shui-bian. That spelled completion of the Taiwanese democratization project, but at the cost of Lee’s KMT.

After that, Lee continued his search for ways and visions for Taiwan. In “Taiwan’s Position”, a book published in 1999, Lee focused on his country’s Chinese heritage, but without making clear if he referred to China or Taiwan.

My active advocacy for  the “reform of heart and soul” in recent years is based on my hope to make society leave the old framework, applying new thought, face a new era, stir new vigor, from a transformation of peoples’ hearts. This goes deeper than political reform, and it is a more difficult transformation project, but we are confident that we will, based on the existing foundations of freedom and openness, achieve the building of a new Central Plain.

近年来,我积极倡导“心灵改革”,就是希望从人心的改造做起,让我们的社会走出旧有的框架,用新的思维,面对新的时代,并激发出新的活力。这是一个比政治 改革更加深入、也更为艰巨的改造工程,但是我们有信心,可以在社会自由开放的既有基础上,完成建立“文化新中原”的目标。

Lee had first used the term of “new central plains” in 1996. Scholars kept arguing about what he actually meant with the term. But these were hardly Chiang Kai-shek’s central plains, and, no less likely, Beijing’s.

But obviously, without the KMT, who had expulsed him for his “Taiwanization” business in 2001, and without public office, Lee wasn’t nearly as influential as before. Or, as propaganda expert Jacques Ellul put it in the 1960s, Moses (isolated from the masses) is dead on the propaganda level.

Incumbent Ma Ying-jeou, again a KMT president with rather “Chinese” manners, led a technocratically efficient government, but has been lacking success in terms of propaganda – and in terms of policies that would benefit all classes of society. Now, another “Taiwanese” politician is trying her luck. Tsai Ing-wen concludes her visit to the US today. In March 2016, Taiwan will elect another president. It could be her.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Taiwan Newsarticle: European and American Universities refusing Cooperation with Confucius Institutes

The following is a translation of an article published online by Radio Taiwan International (RTI), on January 13 this year. RTI based their article on coverage by United Daily News (聯合報), the Liberty Times (自由時報, sister to the English-language Taipei Times), and Associated Press (AP).

I haven’t checked upon mainland coverage of these issues yet (RTI mentions Huanqiu Shibao, for example), but might do so next week.

As for Astrid Soderbergh Widding, the Stockholm University vice-chancellor quoted by RTI, the South China Morning Post quoted her in January as saying that “establishing institutes that are funded by another nation, within the framework of a university, is rather a questionable practice”.

Links within blockquotes added during translation.

Main Link:
Academic Freedom Threatened, European and American Universities refuse Cooperation with Confucius Institutes

Related Tag:
Confucius Institute

Mainland China’s Huanqiu Shibao reported on January 12 that Stockholm University has announced the termination, by the end of June, of its cooperation with the Confucius Institute in Stockholm – the first Confucius Institute founded in Europe, in 2005. The reason was that given the expansion of bilateral cooperation, this form of co0peration was no longer in step with the times. Before that, two American universities also said that they would not renew their contracts with the Confucius Institutes. These decisions reflect the concerns that the role of Confucius Institutes in the respective countries have caused.

大陸環球時報12日報導,瑞典斯德哥爾摩大學宣布,將在今年6月底關閉於2005年開辦的歐洲地區第一所孔子學院,理由是,隨著雙邊關係的拓展,這項合作已不符合時宜。在此之前,美國也有2所大學表示不再與孔子學院續約。歐美學府的這些決定反映出孔子學院的角色已在相關國家引發關切。

To alleviate doubts, Beijing promotes soft power

◎消除疑慮 北京推軟實力

Supported by its economic power, mainland China’s international political status has risen, Beijing’s rise received high global attention, and it also led to some doubts: to highlight China’s rise as a peaceful one, and to strengthen mainland China’s international influence, Beijing set out from the cultural level to actively promote soft power, and the establishment of Confucius Institutes abroad was what caught most attention among the promotional measures.

在經濟實力的支撐下,中國大陸的國際政治地位水漲船高,北京的崛起受到國際高度重視,也引發了一些疑慮;為了凸顯中國大陸是和平崛起,並強化大陸的國際影響力,北京從文化層面著手,積極推展軟實力,其中最受矚目的就是在境外設立孔子學院。

In November 2004, the first Confucius Institute put up its name plate in Seoul, and since, Confucius Institutes have also been established in countries in Asia, America, Europe, and Africa.

2004年11月,第一座孔子學院在南韓首都首爾掛牌;後來,亞洲、美洲、歐洲、非洲等許多國家也分別設立孔子學院。

By September 2014, 123 countries worldwide cooperated with mainland China, having set up 465 Confucius Institutes and 173 Confucius Classrooms. In America alone, 100 universities took part in such programs.

截至2014年9月,全球已有123個國家與大陸合作,開辦了465所孔子學院和713個孔子課堂,單單美國就有100所大學參與相關計畫。

Confucius Institutes lead in funding

◎主導經費教材 孔子學院惹爭議

The Confucius Institutes are usually set up right within the foreign universities that sign contracts with Beijing, but the [central] government in Beijing provides funding, chooses the staff that teaches abroad, and specifies the teaching material. This has caused quite some controversy.

這些孔子學院通常是直接設立在與北京簽約的外國學府裡,但卻由北京政府提供經費、選派教師並指定教材。此舉引發相當大的爭議。

It is [sometimes] said that Confucius Institutes operating within universities have some influence on the curricula of those schools and could endanger the schools’ integrity. These commentators believe that Confucius Institutes pose a threat to academic freedom.

有評論表示,孔子學院在大學內運作,對這些學校的課程具有一定的影響力,可能危及該校的完整性。批評者認為,孔子學院對學術自由構成威脅。

Stockholm University vice-chancellor Astrid Söderbergh Widding says that when institutions within universities are funded by governments of other countries, the approach does indeed pose problems.

斯德哥爾摩大學副校長維丁(Astrid Soderbergh Widding)就表示,大學內設立的機構是由另一個國家政府提供經費,這種作法的確有問題。

The ways Confucius Institutes operate have also attracted the attention of foreign governments. Indian and Japanese officials have questioned that Confucius Institutes only teach the Chinese language – [suggesting that] they also spread ideological attitued, and deliberately influence countries’ assessments of mainland China.

孔子學院的運作模式也受到外國政府的關注。印度和日本的官員曾經質疑,孔子學院不僅教授中文,也傳輸意識形態,意圖影響各國對中國大陸的評價。

A report published in October 2013 by American think tank “Project 2049 Research Institute” pointed out that while teaching Chinese, Confucius Institutes also inculcate ideological attitudes, thus influencing foreign circles’ judgment of Beijing.

美國華盛頓智庫「2049計畫研究所」就曾於2013年10月公布一份報告指出,孔子學院在教授中文的同時,也在灌輸意識形態,藉此影響外界對北京的評斷。

To promote academic independence, American scholars demand end to cooperation

◎維護學術獨立 美學者促停止合作

Nevertheless, Beijing’s strategy of promoting soft power by the establishment of Confucius Institues in numerous countries worldwide has seen growing resistance in recent years. Besides Stockholm University, universities and schools in America and Canada have terminated or suspended cooperation with Confucius Institutes.

不過,北京在世界許多國家設立孔子學院推廣軟實力的策略近年來遭遇越來越多的阻力。除了近日的斯德哥爾摩大學外,美國和加拿大去年都有大學院校終止或暫緩與孔子學院合作。

When the University of Chicago established a Confucius Institute in 2009, 174 professors of the university jointly opposed. Last year in April, 108 University of Chicago professors jointly demanded that after the cooperation term expire, cooperation with Beijing should be terminated, and the Confucius Institute no longer be allowed on the campus. They believed that the lecturers employed by Beijing had received special training to avoid or neglect politically sensitive topics such as “June 4″ or Taiwan. They believed that with Beijing’s control of the lecturers employment and training would earn the University of Chicago’s academic program political  mainland official management and control of political speech and influence on freedom of religion.

芝加哥大學於2009年設立孔子學院時,該校就曾有174位教授聯名反對。去年4月,108位芝加哥大學教授聯名要求校方於合約到期後,終止與北京的合作,不再讓孔子學院進駐校園。他們認為,北京方面聘用的講師都受過特別培訓,在課堂上會規避或忽略例如「六四」及台灣等政治敏感議題;這些教授認為,由北京控制教師的聘用和培訓,將導致芝加哥大學的學術計畫受到大陸官方管控的政治言論及信仰自由所左右。

On September 25 last year, the University of Chicago announced that the five years of cooperation with the Confucius Institute would not be renewed after September 29.

去年9月25日,芝加哥大學宣布,與孔子學院的5年合約於該月29日到期後,不再續約。

Shortly afterwards, on October 1 2014, the Pennsylvania State University announced that they would terminate their five years of cooperation with the Confucius Institute.

緊接著,美國賓夕法尼亞州立大學也於去年10月1日宣布,終止與孔子學院的5年合作關係。

Beijing’s method of transmitting ideology needs to be corrected

◎傳輸意識形態 北京作法待修正

American paper Wall Street Journal wrote that the professors’ dissatisfaction with the Confucius Institutes came from lacking teaching skills and a refusal to accept some negative chapters in Chinese history*).

美國華爾街日報曾說,這些大學對孔子學院的不滿來自於「無法教授技能和拒絕接受一些中國歷史負面內容的篇章」。

In June last year, the American Association of University Professors called for 100 U.S. universities cancel or renegotiate their contracts with the Confucius Institutes, because the Confucius Institutes were propaganda branches of mainland Chinese, particularly dissimenating the mainland authorities ideological attitudes, in violation of academic freedom.

去年6月,美國大學教授協會呼籲美國的100所大學,取消或重啟與北京的孔子學院談判協議,因認為孔子學院是大陸當局的宣傳分支,主要在傳播大陸當局的意識形態,此舉違反學術自由。

Even earlier, in June 2013, the Canadian Association of University Teachers called on Canada’s universities and schools to terminate relations with the Confucius Institute, because allowing governments of totalitarian states to guide curricula content, teaching material and the topics in classroom dialogue would harm the integrity of all universities.

加拿大大學教師協會則早在2013年6月即已呼籲加拿大的大學院校與孔子學院斷絕關係,理由是如果允許極權國家的政府機構主導課程內容、教材及課堂上的討論話題,將損及各大學的誠信。

The University of Manitoba, and the Toronto District School Board refused or suspended the establishment of Confucius Institutes last year, their main concern being that Confucius Institutes could interfere with academic freedom at the schools.

加拿大曼尼托巴大學(University of Manitoba)和多倫多教育局已於去年先後拒絕或暫停設立孔子學院,主要的顧慮就是孔子學院會干涉學校的學術自由。

But is the gradual termination of cooperation with Confucius Institutes by European and American countries purely based on concern about academic freedom, or does it represent an outbreak of fear of mainland China? Future developments will be worth continued observation.

然而,歐美國家紛紛停止與孔子學院的合作,純粹只是對學術自由發展感到憂慮,還是代表歐美國家對大陸的另一種恐中發作?後續發展還值得繼續觀察。

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Note

*) If RTI referred to this WSJ blogpost, hiring practice rather than lacking skills were the source of dissatisfaction: the institutes’ hiring practices and refusal to acknowledge unflattering chapters of Chinese history.

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Related

» Unobtrusive and Imperceptible Moral Influence, Jan 7, 2012

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Saturday, February 7, 2015

CCP Influence on Education in Free Societies is a Problem – but it’s not the Main Challenge

Shoe Me Quick

Kiss Me Quick (while we still have this feeling)

Yaxue Cao of ChinaChange.org links to questions asked by U.S. Congressman Chris Smith:

Is American education for sale? And, if so, are U.S. colleges and universities undermining the principle of academic freedom and, in the process, their own credibility in exchange for China’s education dollars?

These are important questions, asked in New York University’s (NYU) cooperation with the East China Normal University (ECNU) in Shanghai. And Chris Smith, writes Cao, did not know the answer when he delivered his statement on Thursday.

There are people who think they do know the answer. Jörg-Meinhard Rudolph, a sinologist from south-western Germany, for example. In an interview with German national radio Deutschlandradio he said in the context of German universities cooperating with Confucius Institutes that

The [censoring] scissors are at work in the heads of these people. They know exactly that, if they are sinologists, for example, having cooperations or research, field research in China, they can’t do it the way Chinese, for example, can do it here. They have to cooperate with Chinese bodies. In many cases, these, too, are sub-departments of the central committee. And everyone knows what happens if you attend a talk by the Dalai Lama, for example. There are university boards who don’t go there, and they will tell you why: because they fear that their cooperations will suffer. That, in my view, is not in order. This is where you have to safeguard your independence. After all, that’s how universities came into being in Europe, during the 12th century – as independent institutions.

Every country seems to have its share of sinologists who believe – or believed in the past, anyway -, that free trade
with China would be the catalyst for political liberalism. They don’t seem to say that anymore, or maybe nobody quotes them anymore. But that doesn’t change the attitude of those who seem to believe, for whatever reason, that engagement is always better than maintaining a distance.

Cao also tends to believe that she knows the answer. She draws some conclusions that sound logical to me, and besides, she quotes Chinese stakeholders, whose statements suggest that the CCP carried the day at every stage at the ECNU negotiations with the NYU.

In fact, nobody should ever accuse the CCP of making a secret of their intentions. They discuss these intentions and drafts very openly, in the Chinese press. The problem, and here again it is time to quote Rudolph,

[…] is that the big China bestsellers in this country have all been written by people who can’t even read a Chinese newspaper.

The problem with maintaining standards – and I’m all for defining and defending some – is that political corrections come and go in waves. Campaigns, not reflection, shape the debates when it comes to how much cooperation with totalitarianism a free society can stand. When it is about the CCP infringing on freedoms, complaints usually get some media attention, because this fits into the general propaganda. When Chinese or ethnic Chinese people in Germany get censored, they get hardly any attention – it is as if the process were taking place in an anechoic chamber.

Rudolph, the sinologist quoted above, isn’t only a writer, but also a doer. He was the first president of the German Chamber of Commerce in Beijing, in 1997. And he was a “program observer” at the Chinese department of German foreign broadcaster Deutsche Welle, probably from the end of 2009 until 2014, appointed and paid by Deutsche Welle. That practice was never a matter of public debate in Germany, and no transparency either – only one news service cared to write a telling report, which only appeared in a media trade journal. At least four Chinese or Chinese-German journalists lost their contracts, apparently in conflicts over what was deemed “too CCP-friendly”. Rudolph doesn’t look like a champion of free speech to me.

The CCP is indeed unscrupulous. Its power abolishes freedom in China, and its influence endangers freedom where societies are supposed to be “autonomous”. A few weeks after Beijing and its puppet administration in Hong Kong had finished off legitimate democratic demands for universal suffrage from the Hong Kong public, Huanqiu Shibao (“Global Times”), one of the flagships of Chinese state media, warns that opposition against a mainland student running for university office at the University of Hong Kong reflected a dangerous “McCarthyite trend” in the former British colony. On a sidenote. if this conflict occured in Germany, Huanqiu might have tried allegations of Nazism instead.*)

But the CCP isn’t the core problem when it comes to its influence on academic institutions and people. When private enterprise becomes an important source of income for universities, that, too, endangers academic independence. There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

If there were clear standards, procedures and constant verification of their practice in general, and beyond this particular “communist problem”, nobody would have to fear the CCP anyway.

In that way, Beijing actually helps to demonstrate what is wrong with us. If we don’t get this fixed as free societies, don’t blame China. Don’t even blame the CCP.

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Note

*) Recent years have seen a resurgence of Nazi Skinheads in some places in Germany. Attacks on foreigners occur from time to time. The unhealthy trend of racism is also the background to a series of anti-China moves of some German mediaXinhua, in 2008, reacting to the suspension of then DW-Chinese deputy department manager Zhang Danhong.

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Related

» 不该让“麦卡锡”进校门, Huanqiu, Feb 6, 2015
» Hearing transcript, Committee on Foreign Affairs, Febr 4, 2015
» Princelings & Sideshows, March 4, 2011

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Friday, January 9, 2015

Chinese Press Review: “a Principled Stance against Terrorism”

Huanqiu Shibao has an editorial about the attack on the Charlie Hebdo editorial staff:

The bloody terrorist attack in Paris has been condemned by many countries’ governments. However, in some non-Western societies, notably in Islamic ones, real popular reactions may be much more complex. But although values are diverse, we believe that under conditions like these, the condemnation of terrorism should be unconditional. In the face of a major issue of right and wrong, any other choice would be out of line with the common interest of humankind.

巴黎《查理周刊》编辑部遭血腥恐怖袭击,多国政府予以一致谴责。然而在一些非西方社会、尤其是伊斯兰社会里,民间的真实反应却可能复杂得多。尽管价值观是多元的,我们认为,在这种时候谴责恐怖袭击应是无条件的。在这一大是大非面前的任何其他选择,都不符合人类的共同利益。

When terrorist attacks occurred in China in the past, the position of Western public opinion was often not firm enough. After official findings in China, Western mainstream media put the descriptions of bloody terrorism in Xinjiang between quotation marks, saying that China claimed it to be “terrorist” incidents. This made Chinese people very angry.

以往在中国出现恐怖袭击时,西方舆论的立场经常不够坚定。西方主流媒体会在中国官方已做出定性后,给发生在新疆那些血腥袭击的恐怖主义描述打上引号,说那是中国声称的“恐怖主义”事件。它们那样做往往让中国人很生气。

The article suggests that Chinese society should do does better and reject double-standards.

We strongly hope that the China’s, Russia’s and other countries’ attitude will ultimately influence the West, and won’t be “adapted” to [its] geopolitical considerations.*)

消除恐怖主义有赖于国际社会的高度团结。这些年西方社会突发恐怖袭击,世界的公开表态总是一致的。中俄等国发生恐怖袭击,西方舆论往往闪烁其词。我们强烈希望中俄等国的坚定态度能最终影响西方,而不是西方对恐怖袭击的地缘政治考虑把我们“改变”。

[…]

Of course, one can debate about strategies to combat terrorism. We notice that the leaders and mainstream media of many Western countries, when commenting on the “Charlie Hebdo” incident, all purposely expressed “support for freedom of information”. We find this debatable.

当然,反对和打击恐怖主义是可以讲策略的。我们注意到,西方多国领导人和主流媒体在评论《查理周刊》事件时,都刻意突出了“对新闻自由的支持”。我们认为这是值得商榷的。

Western freedom of information is part of its political system and social shape, and also one of the core values of Western society. But in the era of globalization, if related Western practice and the core values of other societies collide, there should be a Western will to ease conflicts, as it is not suitable to put ones own values into the center and to increase frictions with a zero-sum attitude.

西方的新闻自由是其政治体制和社会形态的一部分,也是西方社会的核心价值之一。但在全球化时代,当西方有关做法同其他社会的核心价值发生冲突时,西方应当有缓解冲突的意愿,而不宜以自己的价值为中心,以零和态度推动摩擦升级。

An English-language article, much of it identical with or similar to the Chinese version, is also available online, but there are some differences, too. The paragraph with the line I can’t translate properly is entirely missing in the English version.

The idea of enemies of China feasting on calamities within the country is a recurring theme in domestic Huanqiu Shibao articles, from the Dalai Lama‘s alleged indifference and his cliques’ cold and detached gloating after the Wenchuan earthquake 2008 to complaints from the Xinjiang CCP branch about a lack of compassion from Washington after the Bachu County incident in April 2013. In the English edition – which differs greatly from the Chinese one in terms of content anyway -, there’s a tendency to drawing a more positive and self-confident image of China.

While Huanqiu, a paper focused on international affairs, carries at least two Charlie-Hebdo-related stories on its main page online, and the above editorial topping the page, Tianjin’s official news portal Enorth published a list of the twelve victims in a less prominent article today, one that had previously been published by China News Service (中国新闻网, CNS).

In another Enorth article, also originally from CNS, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei is quoted as saying that China had made its position clear on the attack, stating shock and condemnation and expressing condolences to the victims and their relatives:

China is opposed to all forms of terrorism and supports French efforts to safeguard state security.

中方坚决反对一切形式的恐怖主义,支持法方为维护国家安全所做努力。

Hong Lei said that China’s foreign minister had sent a message to French foreign minister Fabius expressing condolences, and emphasizing China’s principled stance against all forms of terrorism.

洪磊说,中国外交部长已经向法国外长法比尤斯致慰问电,向遇难者表示哀悼,并强调了中方反对一切形式恐怖主义的原则立场。

Also today, Enorth republished an article by the Beijing Times (京华时报), with a detailed account of the attack and its victims.

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Footnotes

*) This may also point to active use of terrorism by the West to “alter China”, but I’m not sure if that would be an accurate translation.

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Related

» ‘Made to eat’ at Ramadan, BBC Blog, July 11, 2014
» Chinese Press Review: Kunming Attack, March 3, 2014

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Occupy Central: one Movement, two Pictures

Much of recent weeks’ coverage on Occupy Central has been rather gloomy, as this article by Zachary Keck in The Diplomat on October 15. Keck also mentioned a meeting between Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Hong Kong director Zhang Xiaoming (张晓明) and pro-establishment Hong Kong lawmakers on October 14. And a Reuters report stated the obvious, quoting sources: Beijing’s “bottom line” wouldn’t change, and making use of the army to suppress the movement would be a “last resort” – that would be if there was widespread chaos – killing, arson and looting. During the first week in October, the new National Security Commission chaired by President Xi Jinping had reached a position which left Hong Kong’s chief executive Leung Chun-ying with little leeway in dealing with the students.

A China News Service (CNS) article, written by an author named Guo Ping, quoted Zhang Xiaoming in indirect speech, but apparently extensively – it’s at times hard to see where Guo Ping quotes Zhang, and where he uses words of his own.

Since Hong Kong’s return [in 1997], the article says (or quotes), the core of the political dispute had been if or if not the principle of “one country, two systems” were respected, if or if not the governance rights (管治权) of the central authorities in Beijing over Hong Kong were respected, if or if not the constitutional status of Hong Kong’s basic law was respected, all of which concerned the direction of how the principle of “one country, two systems” was put into practice (香港回归以来围绕政制发展问题的争议,核心是要不要尊重“一国”的原则,要不要尊重中央对香港的管治权,要不要尊重基本法的宪制地位,这些是关系到“一 国两制”实践发展方向的大是大非问题。三个“要不要”直接抓住了当前问题的焦点所在).

As is well known, “one country, two systems” is the fundamental policy by which our country achieves peaceful reunification. “One country” points to [the fact that] this happens inside the country, that Hong Kong is an unseparable part of the country, directly belonging to the central government’s local administrative areas. “Two systems” means within “inside one country”, with the principal part carrying out a socialist system, and with Hong Kong and a few other regions carrying out a capitalist system. It can be said that “one country, two systems” isn’t only the great pioneering undertaking of the Chinese people to resolve the issue of national unity, but also a model and a sample for other countries to reference when having to solve similar problems.

In general, either Zhang’s or Guo Ping’s (the author’s) utterances appear to be a (for now) verbal “day of reckoning”, shovelling all “opponents” into one bag and threshing it: Hong Kongers who had opposed the introduction of “national education” (国民教育) and calling it “brainwashing education” (恐吓), Hong Kongers who “threatened and intimidated mainland tourists”, and “clamoring for Hong Kong independence”. All these plus (or including) Occupy Central.

Zhang’s speech to the Hong Kong legislators could be regarded as a speech to all Hong Kongers, Guo Ping concludes

Legislator Kenneth Leung probably wasn’t among Zhang’s audience in October. In a “Letter to Hong Kong” on RTHK on Sunday, he drew a very different picture of the movement’s effects on Central:

Central has become a cleaner, more pleasant and connectable business district for city dwellers. The sharp decrease in local traffic results in the reduction in road side pollution, making the air more breathable and the temperature more bearable. Walking becomes such a pleasant experience that people enjoy strolling during lunch time and evening, stopping occasionally to have a chat or a cigarette. Studies conducted in the States revealed that “walkability” of a community has a direct correlation with the local population’s life quality and health. Also, a recent study conducted by George Washington University on 30 metropolis in the States indicates that a city’s domestic productivity is higher when office and retail space is located in “walkable” communities

With the hindsight of these studies and the recent experience, it is high time for the Government to rethink about re-routing local traffic flow and re-designate most part of Central to become a pedestrian zone.

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Related

» A Chorus of Condemnation, Oct 7, 2014

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Friday, October 31, 2014

Huanqiu Shibao on Occupy Central: “This Country has Ways and Means”

An article published by Huanqiu Shibao on October 22 went through much of the usual reflections on how Occupy Central was – supposedly – harmful for Hong Kong, but then offers a question that may as well be considered an ultimatum:

Those who, with Western forces at their center, continue to applaud the “Occupy Central” participants, and those exiles who ran away during the early years, may look at “Occupy Central” as a hopeful indication that the fortunes would be turning in their favor. A formation that opposes China’s rise is taking shape. Their goal is to severely wound China, as a prelude to bringing down China. May we ask if this is the intention of the young students who are taking part in “Occupy Central”?

以西方为中心的外部势力会继续为香港“占中”者喝彩,那些早年跑出去的流亡者们会视“占中”为他们时来运转的希望。一个针对崛起中国的阵形眼看着一天天成型。它的目标是要重伤中国,作为“扳倒”中国的序曲。请问这是香港参与“占中”年轻学生们的初衷吗?

If not, we ask these students to leave early. For the very small minority of those who look at China as a mortal enemy this country has ways and means to deal with them.

如果不是,请那些学生早早离开。至于极少数视社会主义中国为死敌的人,这个国家自会有对付他们的办法。

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Related

» Chorus of Condemnation, Oct 7, 2014
» OC coverage links, Oct 3, 2014

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Updates/Rlated

» Anti-China scheming, “Global Times”, Oct 22, 2014

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

China News Service: “Hong Kong Citizens rise in a Chorus of Condemnation of Occupy Central”

Main link: “Rising Wave of Voices opposing Occupy Central”, CNS/Enorth, Oct 10

Enorth (Tianjin), Sohu (nationwide), Hua Shang Net (from Xi’An, main focus on trade and apparently ), and possibly some more websites with readers who are less interested in politics than People’s Daily or Huanqiu Shibao readers carried an article from China News Service (CNS, 中国新闻) on Monday, describing the “Occupy Central” movement as seriously damaging the territory’s  social order and as damaging the good international image of Hong Kong.

CNS is China’s second-largest newsagency, after Xinhua.

No warranty that the CNS comprehensive report quotes the papers from Hong Kong accurately and in a balanced way. Some of the CNS article comes across as manipulative or wrong, but the anger of Hong Kongers whose incomes are affected (maybe not the tram drivers as said in the CNS article, but certainly many cab drivers, shop owners etc.) appears likely to put Occupy Central at odds with many.

The Alliance for the Protection of Universal Suffrage and against Occupy Central and their ballot (which topped Occupy Hong Kong’s) got some coverage in European media in summer, but appears to have been mostly forgotten since.

Not only reports from a totalitarian country like China can be misleading – self-deception is a universal weakness.

Links within blockquotes added during translation. Corrctions, and advice on how to fill the gaps I couldn’t translate (see last paragraph), will be welcome.

Wave of Voices from all Walks of Life in Hong Kong opposing “Occupy Central” keeps rising

香港各界反对“占中”声浪日益高涨

Comprehensive report — A few people who started a so-called “Occupy Central”, an illegal gathering, in the early hours of September 28, has kept going on for eight days so far. They have caused traffic jams, created conflicts, hampered all professions, seriously damaged Hong Kong’s social order, affected the peaceful lives and safety of the masses, and also damaged Hong Kong’s good international image, thus arousing strong dissatisfaction and a continuously rising wave of opposing voices against “Occupy Central”.

综合报道,香港少数人自9月28日凌晨起发动所谓“占领中环”的非法集会,至今已经8天了,他们堵塞交通、制造冲突、妨碍百业,严重破坏香港社会秩序,影响民众生活安宁和安全,也破坏香港良好的国际形象,引起香港各界和民众的强烈不满,反“占中”声浪日益高涨。

42 members of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council published a joint statement on October 3, expressing concern about the endless illegal occupation, calling for reasonable dialog among the citizens, urging the “occupiers” to stop and to reflect and to end their behavior that was destructive for society as possible, to let society get back to normal.

香港42名立法会议员3日发表联署声明,对无休止的违法占领行动表示忧虑,呼吁市民理性对话,要求“占中”者“停一停,想一想”,尽快停止破坏社会行为,让社会恢复正常。

36 Hong Kong SAR delegates to the National People’s Congress have also published a joint statement supportive of the police’s legal maintenance of social stability, calling on the “occupiers” to stop harming the general public’s development interests. The delegates called for cherishing and protecting Hong Kong’s long-term stability and prosperity, for mutual respect, and for not harming the general public’s devlopment interest.

香港特别行政区的36名全国人大代表也发出联合声明,支持警方依法维护社会稳定,呼吁“占中”者不要继续损害广大市民的发展利益。代表们呼吁,珍惜和维护香港的长期稳定繁荣,相互尊重,不应损害广大市民的发展利益。

Hong Kong Civil Servants General Union also called on the “Occupy Central” demonstrators not to hamper public servants on their way to their workplaces, because civil servants were serving the city, and if their access to work was blocked, citizens would be the ultimate victims.

香港公务员总工会亦呼吁“占中”行动的示威人士,不要阻碍公务员上班,因为公务员都是为市民服务,如果上班受阻,最终受害的是市民。

Hong Kong’s tourism industry was a “disaster zone” affected by “Occupy Central”. On a press conference on October 3, Hong Kong tourism trade union(s) expressed dissatisfaction about how “Occupy Central” affected many touristical, consumption and business districts, even leading to travel warnings in some countries by which tourism was taking a serious hit.

香港旅游业是被“占中”殃及的“重灾区”。香港旅游联业工会联会3日召开记者会,表达不满“占中”影响多个旅游、消费及商业区,导致有国家对香港发出旅游警示,重创旅游业。

Hong Kong railworker union(s) also published a statement, strongly condemning “Occupy Central” as a collective and as individuals. The statement points out that traffic on the streets of Central were affected, leading to a sharply increasing workload for the railworkers, excessive work and physical wear and tear. Also, tram drivers, because of the suspension of some road sections, had been compelled to take unpaid days off. Incomes were declining every day.

香港铁路工会联合会也发声明,对“占中”的团体和个人予以严厉谴责。声明指出,占中令路面交通受影响,而铁路运输从业员工作剧增,连日超负荷工作,体力损耗极大。另一方面,电车司机因部分路段停驶而被迫放无薪假,收入每天都在减少。

As the harm done to the economy by “Occupy Central” intensifies, Hong Kong citizens rise in a chorus of condemnation. On October 2, many private associations held activities opposing “Occupy Central” actions. Mr. So, a citizen, said that “demonstrators have blocked all kinds of traffic and important roads, bringing chaos into our lives”.

“占领中环”非法集会对经济社会造成的危害愈演愈烈,香港市民齐声谴责。10月2日,香港多个民间团体举行活动,启动反对“占领中环”行动。市民苏先生表示, “示威人士堵塞了多处交通要道,把我们的生活全搞乱了。”

On October 3 and 4, citizens opposing “Occupy Central” came to “Occupy Central” strongholds in Causeway Bay and in Mong Kok, asking police to restore social order as soon as possible. Some of the citizens who had spontaneously come to the scene chided the “occupiers” for keeping others from “making a living”and demanded the “occupiers” to open the roads for the citizens’ use.

10月3日和4日,有反“占中”市民到铜锣湾及旺角等“占中”据点,要求警方尽早清场并恢复社会秩序。部分自发到场的市民斥责“占中”者“阻人揾食”(阻碍别人谋生计),要求“占中”者让出道路供市民使用。

The jamming of many roads by “Occupy Central’s” illegal activities has caused the trade of taxi drivers in Hong Kong great losses. On October 5, the cab drivers at Central Piers strongly condemned “Occupy Central’s” activities, demanding an immediate end to “Occupy Central’s” illegal forcible occupation of roads, supporting police law enforcement, and announcing collective civil claims against “Occupy Central’s” initiators.

Ever since the beginning of “Occupy Central’s” illegal gatherings, Hong Kong media have called on the “occupiers” to immediately abandon the occupation activities and to restore social order, as well as Hong Kong’s peaceful life and harmony.

“占领中环”非法集会发生后,香港媒体连日来呼吁,“占中”者应立即放弃占领行动,恢复社会秩序,还香港安宁和谐。

A “Ta Kung Pao” editorial pointed out that if an offense is allowed to succeed once, “Occupy Central” could defeat society and put it in opposition to the central government [Beijing], creating areas of anarchy – would this still justify the pride of seven million citizens in their international center of finance and “One Country, two Systems”? The editorial called on the “occupiers” to immediately clear the roads. An article by Hong Kong’s “Wen Wei Po” titled “The initiators of ‘Occupy Central’ have a responsibility to end it” said that “Occupy Central” had paralysed traffic, damaged social order, and displayed signs of getting out of control. “It is the responsibility of the initiators to immediately put the occupation activities to a halt. The paper, on October 4, wrote that “Occupy Hong Kong” had caught widespread indignation and discontent, that public opinion was rebounding, citizens were beginning to oppose “Occupy Central”, not only demanding harmony and stability, but wanting to live and work in Hong Kong in accordance with their own wishes. “Occupy Central” was not reaching the hearts of the citizens. “Ming Pao’s” editorial points out that looking at the general situation, “Occupy Hong Kong” should end its activities if they wished Hong Kong well. [Didn’t get the meaning of the following sentence: 如果“占中”的始作俑者戴耀廷等人发出呼吁,叫停“占中”,将是对历史负责的一步.] “Oriental Daily’s” editorial [title: 独有英雄驱虎豹,更无豪杰怕熊罴] believes that “Occupy Central” is simply a political fraud, and from head to tail unable to separate from the shadows of foreign forces wanting to bring chaos to Hong Kong and aiming for subversion in mainland China.

《大公报》社评指出,一个违法就能得逞、“占领”就能胜出的社会,一个公然与中央对抗、制造“无政府状态”的地方,还是值得七百万市民引以为豪的国际金融中心和“一国两制”的香港吗?评论呼吁参与“占中”者立即离开马路。香港《文汇报》文章《“占中”发起人有责任叫停占领行动》称,“占中”瘫痪交通、破坏社会秩序,已呈现失控状态。“占中”发起人有责任马上叫停占领行动。该报4日社评认为,“占中”天怒人怨,民意终于大反弹,市民群起反对“占中”,不仅说明要求和谐稳定、希望安居乐业才是香港社会的最大民意,也说明“占中”不得人心。《明报》社评提出,盱衡整体情势,权衡利害得失,若为香港好,“占中”应当停。如果“占中”的始作俑者戴耀廷等人发出呼吁,叫停“占中”,将是对历史负责的一步。《东方日报》社评《独有英雄驱虎豹,更无豪杰怕熊罴》认为,“占中”根本就是一个政治骗局,从头到尾都离不开外部势力的影子,都以搞乱香港、颠覆内地为政治目的。

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Related

» Bao Tong: Take a Break, Sinosphere, Oct 5, 2014

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