Posts tagged ‘Netherlands’

Monday, March 27, 2017

Populism in China (1): The Downfall of Bo Xilai

There is no Weltinnenpolitik yet, but there are cross-civilizational trends.

The City of Red Songs

There would be no second chance. Gerhard Schröder, former chancellor of Germany, was in a hurry in June 2011, on the sidelines of a forum in southwestern China’s metropolis of Chongqing. He was therefore lacking the time to attend one of the red-song nights that were customary there. But he still pleased his interlocutors with a German proverb: Where people sing, you can settle down – wicked people sing no songs.

In full, the red-songs custom advocated by Chongqing’s party chief Bo Xilai was Singing revolutionary songs, Reading classic books, telling stories and spreading mottos. There would be nine more months of that before Bo Xilai was toppled by his CCP comrades.

A Hudong article explained the activity at the time. It was a mass concept, started in Chongqing in 2008, which was greeted with enthusiasm there, and elsewhere in China. The concept wasn’t outdated, because

if a country and a nation have no correct thought and advanced culture, it will lose its backbone. The current deep changes of the economic system, the structure of society, and the profound adjustment of interest patterns must be reflected in the ideological field. There is diversity in peoples’ minds, and although the mainstream is positive and healthy, while some peoples’ material life conditions have improved, spiritual life is somewhat empty. To change that condition, and to ensure a safe passing of the torch in the cause of the party and the country, the red flag must be righteously upheld, the ideology of Marxism must be consolidated in its guiding position within the ideological field, and the attractiveness and the cohesive power of socialist ideology must be strengthened.

一个国家和民族没有正确的思想、先进的文化,就会失掉主心骨。当前,经济体制深刻变革、社会结构深刻变动、利益格局深刻调整,必然反映到意识形态领域。人们的思想日趋多元多变多样,虽然主流积极健康向上,但一些人物质生活改善了,精神生活却有些空虚。为了彻底改变这种状况,保证党和国家的事业薪火相传,必须理直气壮地举红旗,不断巩固马克思主义在意识形态领域的指导地位,增强社会主义意识形态的吸引力和凝聚力。[Links within these lines omitted.]

According to the HuDong article, CCP politbureau member and Chongqing party secretary Bo Xilai (薄熙来) had deplored the phenomenon of young people who sang decadent songs (唱 .. 靡靡之音, chàng mímí zhī yīn), who were reading “fast-food” kinds of literature (读 .. 快餐文化, dú kuàicān wénhuà), told “low and vulgar stories” (讲 .. 低俗故事, jiǎng dīsú gùshì), and “spread pornographic or dull scripts/pieces” (传 .. 黄段子、灰段子, chuán huáng duànzi, huī duànzi).

So, apparently, there were dirty songs, too. Maybe things weren’t as simple as Schröder had believed. At least one  reader and forum commenter of China’s Huanqiu Shibao didn’t trust Schröder’s expertise and wrote:

OK, listen [to the red songs], you won’t comprehend them anyway. It will be as if you were listening to folk songs.

听吧,反正听不懂,就当听民歌了

The “Chongqing Model” was controversial, at least in the perceivable medial public of China. The party elite wasn’t entirely in love with Bo’s pretentious neo-Maoism. A vice president of Law School at China University of Political Science and Law was quoted by the English-language party mouthpiece “Global Times”:

There have been 104,000 “Red Song Concerts” in Chongqing, with 80 million participants. It cost 1,500 yuan ($231) per person for onsite renting and costume expenses, 210 million yuan in total. Adding in the offwork compensation and transportation the final cost is 270 billion [sic – probably means million – JR] yuan. Why don’t they use the money for health insurance?

Bo Xilai’s “Populism”, 2007 – 2012

At the grassroots, however, Bo’s leadership style appears to have worked (maybe it still does). The Chongqing Model wasn’t just about folklore, red or otherwise.

Chongqing (Sichuan province) residents set off firecrackers today, celebrating the execution of the provincial-level city’s former chief justice Wen Qiang (文强), cqnews.net reported in July 2010. The Wall Street Journal explained:

Wen Qiang was put to death following the rejection in May by China’s Supreme Court of an appeal of his conviction on charges including bribery, shielding criminal gangs, rape and inability to account for millions of dollars in cash and assets, according to Xinhua news agency. Xinhua didn’t say how Mr. Wen was executed.

Punching black crime and uprooting vice (拳打黑除恶) was the name of the campaign that cost Wen his life – according to the historical records as Bo would have it, he and his police chief Wang Lijun not only battled against gangs, but infiltrated cadres, too.

The now defunct website Chinageeks published an English translation of Zhang Wen, a former chief editor of the Xinhua magazine Globe:

Bo Xilai and the “northeast tiger” Wang Lijun entered Chongqing and started a war and began a “battling corruption and evil” movement that has gradually begun to spread nationwide and worldwide. This action is in line with the people’s wishes, and at the same time, also in line with what central authorities wish.

At first, the public opinion was very one-sided; no one could find any fault with Bo. The controversy and difference of opinions came with the case of Li Zhuang. Proponents of the democratic rule of law questioned and criticized the legality of Chongqing [court] proceedings, but Bo Xilai’s supporters hold that punishing lawyers who defend “bad people” is appropriate.

Bo Xilai’s wife Gu Kailai is a high-level lawyer who has been working for many years. The two have been together for many years and Bo himself was once the head of the Ministry of Commerce, and thus often negotiated international legal issues with foreign opponents. Because of this, Bo Xilai should have a solid conception and knowledge of the law.

But in the end, in the Li Zhuang case, the organs of justice in Chongqing left a bad impression that they might violate legal procedures. Precisely because of this, some people’s opinions on Bo Xilai changed dramatically. I myself once wrote an essay expressing pity that Bo Xilai hadn’t turned out to be the sort of high-quality modern politician [we had hoped].

Chongqing was a small pond for a big fish – Bo Xilai appeared to have hoped for a permanent seat in the CCP’s central politburo, but landed the job as party secretary of Chongqing instead. Chongqing wasn’t an insignificant city, but it was far from where central Chinese power was. Only an alernate politburo membership linked him to Beijing. From 2008, his Maoist song events raised nationwide attention, and even beyond China – Henry Kissinger apparently leapt at the chance Schröder had missed.

In 2011, Bo Xilai started his second campaign for a permanent seat at the CCP’s top table. While the Economist found Bo’s style refreshing, it noted nervously that

The region’s party chief, Bo Xilai, is campaigning for a place on the Politburo Standing Committee in next year’s leadership shuffle. He looks likely to succeed. Like every other Chinese politician since 1949, he avoids stating his ambitions openly, but his courting of the media and his attempts to woo the public leave no one in any doubt. Mr Bo’s upfront style is a radical departure from the backroom politicking that has long been the hallmark of Communist rule and would seem like a refreshing change, were it not that some  of his supporters see him as the Vladimir Putin of China. Mr Bo is a populist with an iron fist. He has waged the biggest crackdown on mafia-style gangs in his country in recent years. He has also been trying to foster a mini-cult of Mao, perhaps in an effort to appeal to those who are disillusioned with China’s cut-throat capitalism.

Bo didn’t appear to aim for the top job as secretary general, the Economist noted, as that position appeared to have been reserved for Xi Jinping. Indeed, Xi succeeded Hu Jintao as party secretary general in autumn 2012, and as state chairman in March 2013.

Bo Xilai’s plans didn’t work that smoothly. In November 2011, a British citizen, Neil Heywood, died in a hotel in Chongqing. Given that Chinese courts don’t work independently from the party, the circumstances of his death can’t be considered resolved. A Chinese court found Gu Kailai, Bo Xilai’s wife, guilty of killing Heywood, and after only one day in court, she got a suspended death sentence.

The BBC‘s China editor Carrie Gracie tried to shed light on the circumstances of Bo Xilai’s rise and fall, and the role Heywood’s death played in the latter, but didn’t find too many interlocutors. Instead, she presented a Rocky Horror Picture Show of elite power struggles with Chinese characteristics. Bo Xilai as the avenger of the common man, a crashing, media-savvy scourge of organized crime, who addressed the public directly, without party media filtering. That hadn’t happened since Mao’s days – “think Donald Trump”.

With support from local police chief Wang Lijun, who fancied leading roles in martial-arts television, too, Bo had exercised a regime that labeled opponents as mafiosi and not only jailed them, but expropriated them too, in favor of Chongqing’s budgets.

It isn’t contested that Bo Xilai and Wang Lijun prosecuted the real or supposed gangsters’ advocates, too, with questionable means. Gracie quotes one of these advocates, Li Zhuang (see above, Zhang Wen’s criticism of Bo Xilai), as Li describes how he was arrested by Wang Lijun personally:

The scene was so over-the-top, loads of police cars surrounding the plane, riot police in helmets and camouflage, armed with submachine guns. I asked, “Why the big show? Is it Obama’s state visit or are you capturing Osama Bin Laden?”

We were surrounded by a huge scrum of reporters. He wanted to show his authority on camera. He was in a trench coat, hands in his pockets. He said: “Li Zhuang, we meet again.”

There were admirers of Bo and Wang, there were critics and enemies, and there were people who detested the two. But at the grassroots, the fans appeared to be numerous. According to Gracie, there are still many.

Making inconvenient lawyers disappear was no unique feature of Bo Xilai, however. The party leadership with Xi Jinping at the core has been proving for years that to them, the rule of law is a theroretical nicety they may or may not care about.

Gracie reduces the causes of conflict between the noisy polit-soloist Bo Xilai and the basically “collectivist” leadership in Beijing on a personal rivalry between princeling Bo and princeling Xi.

Certainly, top politicians’ egos can hardly be overestimated, and when they are Chinese, ostentatious modesty shouldn’t fool anyone.

But Xi alone wouldn’t have gotten Bo under control. Neither with the sudden Neil-Heywood scandal – that became known as the Wang-Lijun incident in China after the police chief fled into the next US consulate and being passed on to the central authorities from there (but only after having spilled the beans). Nor otherwise.

The question suggests itself if Bo Xilai’s career wasn’t finished in summer 2011 anyway, given wide-spread disapproval among the party elite, of his egotistic leadership style in Chongqing.

“Unity is strength” was one of the “red songs” Bo Xilai had them sing in Chongqing (above: October 8, 2009). But it wasn’t only the Xi faction that saw a lack of just that on Bo’s part. Bo was putting himself forward, and that had been a taboo during all the post-Mao years.

He didn’t denigrate his leading comrades – appearances like that of Donald Trump as a campaigner, cursing fellow members of his political class, would have been inconceivable. But putting himself into the limelight (and casting it away from others) amounted to the same thing, by Chinese standards. Besides, given his anti-corruption renown, sanctimonious as it may have been, could have threatened his “comrades”. A tribun within their ranks – that couldn’t work.

Xi Jinping and his predecessor Hu Jintao are said to be rivals. But within the Hu camp, Bo’s populism didn’t seem to resonate either. On the contrary: Wen Jiabao, chief state councillor (aka “prime minister”) during the Hu Jintao era, had been a tireless, even if unsuccessful, advocate of political reform, way beyond economics or technology.

At a press conference in March 2012, after the closing ceremony of the annual “parliament” plenary sessions, Wen warned that China wasn’t immune against another cultural revolution. That John Garnaut, an Australian correspondent in Beijing, got the opportunity to talk with Hu Dehua, one of Hu Yaobang’s sons, may also count as an indication that the comparatively liberal factions in the party leadership were at least as sick of Bo Xilai’s revolutionary operas, as were the Xi supporters.

Garnaut, two weeks after Wen’s press conference, in an indirect account of his conversation with Hu Dehua*):

Hu Dehua told his father how pessimistic he felt about his country’s future. Hu Yaobang agreed that the methods and ideologies of the 1987 anti-liberalization movement came straight from the Cultural Revolution. But he told his son to gain some historical perspective, and reminded him that Chinese people were not joining in the elite power games as they had 20 years before. He called the anti-liberalization campaign a “medium-sized cultural revolution” and warned that a small cultural revolution would no doubt follow, Hu Dehua told me. As society developed, Hu Yaobang told his son, the middle and little cultural revolutions would gradually fade from history’s stage.

From there, everything went fast. Still in March, Bo was dismissed as Chongqing’s party chief. He also lost his alternate membership in the politburo. In summer 2012, his wife Gu Kailai got her commuted death sentence, and in September 2013, Bo was sentenced to life in prison – based on the usual charges for unrigged politicians: corruption.

Is there a Chongqing Heritage?

At first glance, Bo Xilai’s “populism” or “Maoism” is finished. But Bo counted as a champion of many Chinese from the political left. A comment in German weekly Die Zeit, in September 2013, saw the verdict against Bo as a signal from the top that resistance against economic reform was futile.

To assess Bo Xilai’s political heritage objectively. The CCP may be beyond the era when beaten opponents were airbrushed from all photos and records. But the question about how publicly or privately-owned China’s economy should be might impose itself with any questions about Bo Xilai, and the now seven-member standing committee of the politburo can’t use such questions.

A political scientist of Beijing University, He Weifang (贺卫方), hinted at problems in assessing the Chongqing Model’s performance, from 2007 to 2012:

It is generally believed that the so-called “Chongqing Model” is mainly shaped by three aspects: “red culture” on the political level, “targeted actions against dark and evil forces in Chongqing“, and the reduction of the income gaps between the poor and the rich. The most criticized aspects are the former two, although there is support for the two of them in Chongqing and elsewhere. The third aspect isn’t that controversial. However, all data published concerning the efficiency of the measures taken to narrow the income gap are actually issued by the Chongqing authorities, and therefore lacking neutral assessment. Also, we can see that the whole process is strongly government-led, whose focus isn’t on creating a market logic of equal opportunities. If this approach will or will not lead to mistakes in financial policies, including the rural land policies‘ impartiality, is also questionable. And then there are concerns about life today being lead on future earnings, short-term inputs being made to curry favor with the public, which may come at high future costs.

答:一般认为,所谓的重庆模式主要由三方面内容构成:政治层面上的红色文化,执法层面上的“打黑除恶”以及民生方面的缩小贫富差距。最受诟病的是前两者,虽然在重庆和其他地方,似乎也有一些人人对于“唱红”和“打黑”表达支持。第三方面内容相对较少争议。不过,那些举措究竟对于缩小贫富差距产生了怎样的效果,目前得到的信息都是由重庆当局发布的,缺少中立的评估。另外,我们可以看到整个过程是在政府强势主导下进行的,其重点并非创造机会均等的市场逻辑。这种做法是否会带来财政决策中的失误,包括重庆所推行的农村土地政策的公正性,都是大可怀疑的。还有寅吃卯粮的隐忧,短期内的高投入讨好了民众,但是却需要未来付出巨大的代价。

If Bo Xilai was a populist, one of Donald Trump’s kind, or Putin’s, or Neil Farage’s, or whoever, one has to ask oneself how much influence he has maintained over Chinese politics to this day. After all, populists like Geert Wilders aren’t ineffective, merely because they can’t lay their hands on the imperial regalia.

When looking at European populism – that’s only a snapshot, of course -, one can get the impression that populists may not be elected, but they do leave marks on politics, from Merkel’s Willkommenskultur back to the traditional Christian Democrats’ policies, and Britain’s Brexit, implemented not by its original proponents, but by Theresa May, who had used to be a lukewarm supporter of Britain’s EU membership.

Populism is hardly ever the common peoples’ business, but that of the elites. The battles are fought within the political class, as observed by Hu Yaobang in the late 1980s. That is about as true in Europe. However, these battles within the superstructure may create or intensify certain trends in the public mood – and once policies have moved sufficiently into the “populist” direction, the support for these parties wanes, and the electorate turns back to the long-established parties. After all, Joe Blow doesn’t want to look like an extremist.

When Xi Jinping announced China’s new role as a guardian of free trade at the Davos forum in January, German Handelsblatt China correspondent Stephan Scheuer hailed the party and state leader’s “dressing-down for populists”. In Davos, Xi had become “a pioneer of fair-minded globalization”.

What could be beginning to show in China is a comparatively strong Maoist component in propaganda, as long as this doesn’t come at the cost of China’s privileged, and as long as this doesn’t require substantial reallocation of means or wealth to poor classes of population, or laggard regions. But whenever the name “Bo Xilai” should appear in any token event, the exorcists will be just around the corner.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Huanqiu Editorial on Hague ruling: “The Chinese People will inevitably support the Government”

The following is a translation from an editorial published online by Huanqiu Shibao. It refers to today’s (Tuesday’s) decision by the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

The terms used in this translation may not be accurate legal language, be it because of my limited translation skills, be it because of the nature of the article which may be more about purposeful agitation and reassurance, than about legal issues.

Links within the blockquote were added during translation.

The arbitration court’s result on the South China Sea arbitration case, announced in the afternoon Beijing time, is even more extreme, more shameless, than predicted by many, and may be rated as “the worst version” people could imagine, and we believe that Chinese people in their entirety will resent this illegal ruling, and the peace-loving global public will also be absolutely astonished about the arbitration court’s seriously partial approach which will very likely add to regional tensions.

南海仲裁案仲裁庭北京时间12日下午公布了仲裁结果,它比之前很多人预测的更加极端、无耻,堪称是人们可以想象的“最坏版本”,相信全体中国人都会为这一非法裁定感到愤慨,世界爱好和平的公众也会对仲裁庭这一严重偏袒一方,并且很可能加剧地区局势紧张的做法而十分诧异。

According to an unofficial translation, this arbitration result, by denying the nine-dotted line, acts drastically against China’s sovereignty within [this line], and also denies its historical foundation. It denies that there were any exclusive economic zone around any of the Spratly Islands which amounts to denying the Taiping Island its due status. It also openly claims that the [artificial] extension of the islands were without legal legitimacy, denouncing China for obstructing the Philippines’ economic activities within the nine-dotted line, and denouncing China’s interception of Philippine vessels can only exacerbate maritime tensions.

根据一个非官方的中文翻译版本,这一仲裁结果借助否决南海九段线内中国主张权益来对其做了釜底抽薪,而且否定它的历史依据。它否定南沙群岛中任何一岛有专属经济区,这等于否定了太平岛的应有地位。它还公然宣称中国在南沙扩建岛礁不具有合法性,指责中国拦阻菲律宾在九段线内开展经济活动,指中国拦截菲律宾船只加剧了海上紧张。

If one goes by this ruling, the maximum that would remain for China in the Spratly Islands would be a few isolated spots, no exclusive economic zones, and even some territorial waters linking the islands and reefs could be denied. In large part, the Spratlys would be covered by Philippine and Vietnamese exclusive economic zones.

如果按照这一裁决,中国在南沙群岛最多只剩下一些孤立的点,既无专属经济区,甚至可能连岛礁周围的一些领海都将被剥夺。而南沙海域大部分将被菲律宾和越南的专属经济区覆盖。

It would also mean that Chinese construction on these islands and reefs could not be continued, and if the Philippines and Vietnam had sufficient power, they could carry out “demolitions” of already existing Chinese construction. From here on, all maritime resources would be the Philippines’ and Vietnam’s; China’s economic activities and all other activities would have to withdraw from that area.

它还意味着,中国的岛礁建设无法持续,如果菲越有足够的力量,甚至可以对中国已建的岛礁搞“强拆”。今后那片海域的资源将归菲越所有,中国的经济活动和其他活动都要退出那个区域。

This is a brazen denial of China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime interests. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea doesn’t apply for the standards and adjustments of territorial sovereignty – this should be one of the main principles of international conventions and treaties. Now, by this contentious redefinition [my understanding of the line – may be wrong – JR], this comes full circle by delimiting the dispute with this forcible ruling, this is shameless overstepping of authority and abuse of authority, and cruel trampling on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and for the entire international law system.

这是对中国领土主权和海洋权益的悍然否定。联合国海洋法公约不适用于领土主权的调整和规范,这是该公约缔约时的首要原则之一。现在仲裁庭通过对这些争端的再定义,兜了个圈子对中菲领土和海洋划界争端强行裁决,这是无耻的越权和滥权,是对海洋法公约以及整个国际法体系的粗暴践踏。

Not only China’s government, but the entire Chinese society will never accept this “arbitration result”. We will show an unwavering attitude of non-participation and non-acceptance, and nobody should think that anything would shake us.

不仅中国政府,整个中国社会都决不可能接受这一“仲裁结果”,我们对仲裁“不接受、不参与”的态度坚定不移,谁都休想撼动我们。

The so-called “arbitration result” is wasted paper, but if America, Japan and other countries will use it to exert actual military and political pressure on China, the Chinese people will inevitably support the government as it fights back. We firmly believe that when China’s law enforcement is embattled, China’s military force will not remain silent when their appearance is needed.

所谓“仲裁结果”就是废纸一张,但美日等国如果利用它向中国施加现实军事政治压力,中国人民必将支持政府予以针锋相对的回击。相信中国的执法力量严阵以待,中国的军事力量同样不会在需要他们站出来时沉默。

We hope that China’s reasonable activities of all kinds will not be affected in any way, and we also hope that Chinese society, in the face of all storms and waves, including geopolitical provocations, will maintain their determination, and let the daily affairs of this country continue as normal. We believe that the government is able to meet these challenges and to make us believe in this country’s strength will guarantee the unmoved continuation of our correct path.

我们希望看到,中国在南沙地区的各种正当活动不受任何影响,也希望看到中国社会在各种包括地缘政治挑衅在内的各种风浪面前保持定力,让这个国家的运行节奏一如往常。相信我们的政府有能力应对这些挑战,也让我们相信这个国家的实力能够确保我们岿然不动。

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Related/Updates

» Beijing engineers coverage, BBC, July 12, 2016
» Why we cover our Ears, BBC, July 10, 2016

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Japan, Netherlands: “Shared Concern” about “China’s increasing Maritime Activities”

Japan and the Netherlands have agreed to building a strategic partnership, reports Dutch news website Nu, with ANP material. Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte wound up a two-day visit to Japan on Tuesday. In talks with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, Rutte reportedly expressed support for Japan’s legislative authorization for more military involvement in international conflicts.

Both premiers also emphasized the significance of a “peaceful solution” for the conflict in the East China Sea, where both China and Japan claim possession of the Senkaku Isles. Abe and Rutte “share the concerns that unilateral actions such as display of power and rising tensions could lead to in the region.”*)

Beide premiers benadrukken daanraast het belang van een “vreedzame oplossing” voor het conflict in de Oost-Chinese Zee, waar China en Japan beiden het bezit claimen van de Senkaku-eilanden. Abe en Rutte “delen de zorgen die eenzijdige acties, zoals machtsvertoon, en oplopende spanningen met zich meebrengen in het gebied”.

Rutte also complimented Japan for the progress the country had made in the field of human rights, after the Second World War.

Rutte complimenteerde Japan daarnaast met de vooruitgang die het land sinds de Tweede Wereldoorlog heeft geboekt op het gebied van mensenrechten.

In addition,  the two leaders discussed a number of global issues, such as the war in Syria, the situation in Ukraine, and the nuclear threat in North Korea.

Daarnaast bespraken beide leiders een aantal globale onderwerpen, zoals de oorlog in Syrië, de situatie in Oekraïne en de nucleaire dreiging in Noord-Korea.

Cooperation between the two countries also covers internet security, agriculture and horticulture, the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 2020, and on health- and pension problems with an aging population.

De samenwerking tussen beide landen richt zich ook op internetbeveiliging, land- en tuinbouw, de Olympische en Paralympische Spelen in Tokio in 2020 en op gezondheids- en pensioenproblemen bij een vergrijzende bevolking.

According to Nu, more than 120 companies and research organizations traveled with Rutte’s delegation.

According to a joint statement, published here by Japan’s foreign ministry,

The two leaders share the importance of the rule of law for the international community including the freedom of navigation and overflight over the high seas, and stress the importance to settle disputes peacefully and in accordance with international law. They share concerns caused by any unilateral actions, including the threat or use of force and coercion, that change the status quo and raise tensions in the East and South China Sea. They support the full and effective implementation of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and the rapid conclusion of the negotiations to establish an effective code of conduct in the South China Sea.

The joint statement also demands that all sides in the Ukraine conflict

fully implement their commitment under the Minsk agreements to solve the conflict in eastern Ukraine peacefully, respecting Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. They remain determined never to recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, and will continue to support Ukraine to advance its reforms, aimed at strengthening and modernizing Ukraine for the benefit of its citizens. The two leaders reaffirm that those responsible for the downing of flight MH17 must be held to account and that all States should cooperate fully with efforts to establish accountability, as demanded by Security Council resolution 2166.

The statement also addresses Syrian and North Korean issues.

Radio Japan reported on Tuesday that [t]he leaders of Japan and the Netherlands have expressed their shared concern about China’s increasing maritime activities.

Radio Japan’s reporting is also quoted by Sina Corp, but apparently only on its Taiwanese website, and drawing on Taiwan’s CNA newsagency:

After holding talks, prime minister Shinzo Abe and visiting Dutch prime minister Rutte issued a joint statement. Although its content doesn’t mention mainland China directly, but is targeted at mainland actions in the East China Sea and South China Sea.

(中央社記者楊明珠東京10日專電)日本放送協會(NHK)報導,首相安倍晉三今天與來訪的荷蘭總理呂特舉行會談後,發表聯合聲明。內容雖未直接點名中國大陸,但對陸方在東海、南海的海洋行動具箝制之意。

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Notes

*) For the wording, according to the prime ministers’ joint statement, see para (5) there.

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Look at the Rumors about China Radio International

There has been some talk about plans among China’s leaders to close down a number of foreign-language services – the German-language department among them -, at China Radio International (CRI), China’s international broadcaster. Keith Perron, a radio producer in Taiwan, claimed inside knowledge and suggested that, according to this quote by Glenn Hauser‘s World of Radio, March 26:

At last month’s meeting of the committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in Beijing, one of the subcommittees, headed by Zhang Dejiang, who is also chairman of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, will form a twelve-member board to look into the effectiveness of shortwave as a [unreadable] platform for China Radio International. Members include leaders from various former ministries, including the [unreadable], culture, propaganda, SARFT, and the central committee.They may be looking at shortwave cuts made in Australia, Canada, Russia, UK, and the US. Last year the Chinese government spent over 600 mega Yuan on the shortwave, that’s about 100 mega dollars US. It includes not only CRI, but China National Radio [aka Chinese People’s Broadcasting Station, CPBS — JR]. They will be looking at staff reductions. CRI currently has a staff of 8,500. They are looking at reducing some 40 percent, closing several of their overseas bureaus, closing CRI Television, some CRI language services. Looked at for axing are: Tagalog, Polish, Greek, Italian, German, Esperanto, Kroatian, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Icelandic, Finnish, Bulgarian, and Danish. But English would be expanded, as would Chinese.

What struck me on December 31 last year – but it wouldn’t lead me to dramatic conclusions, of course – was that party secretary general and state chairman Xi Jinping had dropped CRI from his new-year’s address. The broadcaster was mentioned along with CPBS and CCTV by Xinhua’s introductory text, but not by Xi himself. Both Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin had made it a tradition to mention CRI, CPBS, and CCTV in their new year’s addresses – and CRI was always mentioned first.

To put the rumors about CRI into some perspective, though, Perron had been a critic of “waste” at CRI for some time, and understatment isn’t onw of his greatest hobbies. The Voice of America (VoA), for example, is a terminally ill patient, which might lead to the question who’s more dead – the American or the Chinese foreign broadcaster.

And Bernd Seiser, chairman of the Radio Taiwan International Ottenau Listeners’ Club, said in his April 10 club bulletin he had been told by CRI staff that

I can confirm that CRI will not terminate its German-language programs on shortwave.

However, listeners who wanted information on shortwave frequencies would need to enquire with the German department, rather than receive frequency notifications automatically by email, said Seiser.

So, how much truth is there in the rumors about closing the departments mentioned by Perron? That’s hard to tell.  For one, it appears unlikely to me that CPPCC committee activities would go completely unreported inside China (which appears to be the case – I’ve seen no such report in the Chinese media). However, it wouldn’t appear exactly unlikely that China’s top cadres want CRI to become more effective. Three years ago, CRI German still ran a program dedicated to listeners’ letters and emails, but the feedback, as a rule, appeared to be embarrassingly low. Regular broadcasts of telephone interviews with German listeners weren’t a terribly reviving factor either. By now, feedback from the audience is interspersed into CRI Panorama, a magazine with a variety of topics, rather than featured in a dedicated program. An editorial staff of 31, according to CRI German’s website anyway, might be expected to draw a bigger crowed on the other side of the radio, too. (That said, there’s no information concerning their working hours.)

What seems highly unlikely to me is a closure of the German department. For the time being, Germany is an important “partner” for the Chinese leadership, in technological and partly in political terms. For one, both China and Germany try to defend their inveterately high trade surpluses against a growing international chorus of criticism. Even a small congregation of “early Christians” is probably worth being nurtured, from the CCP’s point of view.

Will shortwave be reduced? Maybe, but not necessarily. If the early Christians want shortwave, maybe their prayers will be heard. And jamming of foreign broadcasters like VoA, BBC, or All India Radio, will remain in place anyway. To avoid making it unnecessarily obvious, domestic CPBS stations at least will continue to be used as informal jammers in future, too, along with the “Firedrake”.

Does CRI make a big difference in Germany? Hardly so. What does make a big difference is Chinese financial and economic engagement in Germany, and Chinese interest in German products: sponsoring professorships, taking a stake in a new (and not yet used-to-capacity) German seaport, buying Volkswagen cars, etc.. China’s money has great leverage in Germany, even in German politics.

China’s public diplomacy remains a seedling here – but that’s probably no reason to dump CRI German.

____________

Related/Updates

» 杨尚昆, 通过中国国际广播电台, Jan 1, 1993
»
CRI 历史, CRI, undated
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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Shortwave Newbie: Parents Dead, next Generation

“The next generation of shortwave broadcasting has begun, broadcasting news, culture, and perspective 24 hours a day, on 9395 kHz.”

Thus speaks Global 24 Radio, a commercial station using a transmitter at the WRMI shortwave farm in Okeechobee, Florida. I listened to Global-24 from 03:00 to 04:16 UTC this morning. Part of the program were Feature Story News (news on the hour at 03:00), Radio France International (RFI) news (news on the hour at 04:00), and a Jazz program around the newscasts.

Glenn Hauser‘s audiomagazine World of Radio has been invited to be part of a Radio Night program on Global-24, according to WoR’s October 30 edition (WOR 1745, 27th minute), and that would be on Tuesday nights. My own first impression is that Global-24 aggregates newscasts from different stations or services (the a/m Feature Story News appear to provide quite a number of smaller radio stations with ready-to-use newscasts, but there are also big networks among their customers, according to their reference list). There are other outsourced feature programs on Global-24, too, but according to WoR, they also have a mailbag show, i. e. a program produced by Global-24 itself. Hauser, himself reportedly an agnostic, was told by the broadcaster’s general manager that there would be not .. any  religious programming on schedule.

As for the chances that the new station will be with us for many years to come, Kai Ludwig of Radio Berlin-Brandenburg‘s media magazine didn’t voice an opinion of his own in a report of October 23, some nine days before Global 24 Radio went on the air, but quoted skeptics (without naming them):

The announcement has been met with skepticism on various occasions, as even in the past, when shortwave was much more significant than nowadays, a number of projects of this kind failed economically. This starts with the broadcasting facility of Radio Miami International. [The facilities] date back to former Radio New York Worldwide. The broadcasting equipment was sold to Family Radio after [Radio New York WW’s] closure in 1974.

Der Ankündigung wird verschiedentlich mit Skepsis begegnet, nachdem auch in der Vergangenheit, als der Verbreitungsweg Kurzwelle noch eine ungleich größere Bedeutung als heute hatte, eine Anzahl solcher Projekte wirtschaftlich scheiterte. Dies beginnt schon bei der heutigen Sendeanlage von Radio Miami International. Sie geht auf das einstige Radio New York Worldwide zurück, nach dessen Schließung die Sendetechnik 1974 an Family Radio verkauft wurde.

Family Radio (aka WYFR) themselves haven’t closed down completely, but they sold their transmission site in Okeechobee to WRMI in December 2013. That’s where Global-24’s programs are now aired from, too.

Popular on shortwave, especially in Japan, but no great economic success: KYOI, a hit radio broadcaster from Saipan,  1986 QSL

Popular on shortwave, especially in Japan, but no great economic success: KYOI, a hit radio broadcaster from Saipan, 1986 QSL

More unsuccessful cases in the past would be WRNO and Super Rock KYOI, writes Ludwig,

who broadcasted from New Orleans and Saipan respectively, on shortwave, from 1982. KYOI was sold to the religious community Christian Science after a few years, who used the facilities for their spoken word programs, and then eventually sold them to the International Broadcasting Bureau, in 1998.

Weitere Fälle sind WRNO Worldwide und Superrock KYOI, die ab 1982 von New Orleans bzw. Saipan aus Musikprogramme auf Kurzwelle sendeten. KYOI wurde nach wenigen Jahren an die Religionsgemeinschaft Christian Science verkauft, die ab 1989 die Sendeanlage für ihre Wortprogramme nutzte und sie schließlich 1998 an das International Broadcasting Bureau veräußerte.

WRNO too had switched to spoken word programs in the early 1990s, writes Ludwig, and was sold to a missionary society after the turn of the century.

WRNO had been founded by Joseph Costello (Joe Costello III), born in or around 1941 in Algiers/New Orleans, Louisiana, who appears to have been very successful as a media entrepreneur in general, if this  (source unverified) 1997 obituary in the Times Picayune is something to go by. But he wasn’t terribly successful with WRNO shortwave in particular. In November 1991, he told then Radio Netherlands Media Network‘s Jonathan Marks that

The commercial viability for shortwave radio is just not there. In our country, advertising is sold on the rating-point system, and millions and millons of dollars in every city in the country are based on who has the share of the audience. They do a small sample of six-hundred to a thousand people and then project that out to represent a whole city or a whole metropolitan area, and then millions of dollars are placed on how you score in that sample. And to approach a buyer in New York or in any major advertising capital in the United States is … first off, they don’t understand it. At this point, Jonathan, it is not as economically viable as I thought it might be on the end of its first decade.

Maybe the rating-point system has changed since, or isn’t a problem now. Or, maybe, Global-24 is based on a different business model. While shortwave may have declined in significance, the station is able to reach out to listeners both by shortwave and the internet, and is indeed using either medium. And, of course, leasing airtime from an existing broadcaster may not be as cost-intensive as building your own transmission site. At times, a transmission roomer may have to pay for the full costs, plus a profit margin. At times, maybe, a contribution margin will make the landlord sufficiently happy.

Costello, for one, had seemed to approach his shortwave adventure with a mixture of business sense and hobby, in the early 1980s. There was no standby transmitter, he told Marks, and the only existing one, water-cooled, was at times affected by the water taken from the Mississippi.

All the same, the station received between 1,000 and 1,500 letters a month, according to Costello. What defines the difference between failure and success for Global 24 Radio remains to be seen. For sure, the audience reach of shortwave broadcasters can be measured, if people care enough.

____________

Related

» Shortwave Log, WRNO, Aug 31, 2014
» The KYOI story, Calvin Melen, 2002, 2011

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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Shortwave Log, Northern Germany, January 2014

1. Voice of Tibet (a PBS shortwave station from or near Tibet)

If you still doubt that Tibet is a happy land of liberated serfs, PBS Tibet‘s English program “Holy Tibet” is made for you. Learn about the CCP’s warm care for the roof of the world, and how Han-Chinese party groups and neighborhood committees keep  those kids at the Tibetan leaders school in Beijing happy (starting at 3’40” here).

Apparently, there’s not quite as much care for listeners of the station who write reception reports and hope to get a QSL card as a confirmation. Maybe they remember that sending QSLs from Tibet can get radio people into big trouble. (At least as likely though, letters from abroad may not even get to the station.)

But the English-language broadcasts are, of course, directed to the outside world, as a China Tibet Website (中国西藏网) confirmed in 2010. The following are translation excerpts from the article:

Every day, with the sound of the bell in the wee hours, the strong radiowaves of Tibet People’s Broadcasting Station’s foreign program “Voice of Tibet”, and with satellite signals, too, in future, carry the sound of Tibet to the whole world. Millions of listeners all around the world can learn about the changes in Tibet in realtime, understand the broad and profound Tibetan culture, listen to melodies from the “roof of the world”, get to know Tibet and get nearer to Tibet.

伴随着每一天凌晨的钟声,西藏人民广播电台的对外广播《中国西藏之声》用强劲的电波将来自西藏的声音通过卫星传递到全球。遍布世界各地的百万听 众,可以通过这档节目及时了解西藏正在发生的变化,感悟博大精深的藏族文化、聆听来自“世界屋脊”的旋律,认识西藏并走近西藏。

On April 26 (2010), this reporter visited Tibet People’s Broadcasting Station deputy director Da Qiong. He told him his own story, and the story of broadcasting.

4月26日,记者走访了西藏人民广播电台副台长达穷,给他讲述了自己和广播的故事。

Deputy director Da Qiong told this reporter that since the English-language broadcasts had been started in May 2002*), the programs had received the attention and and appreciation. Every year, hundreds of letters come in from Britain, Germany, Switzerland, America, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Japan, and other foreign listeners, as well as from Tibetan compatriots living in Nepal, India, Bhutan, and other foreign countries. Da Qiong says: “There are listeners in 47 countries and territories on five continents. Actually, the gap between our ideals and the program’s contents is still rather wide, and it inspires us to see how many people at home and abroad pay attention to the program. As for the young group of the “Holy Tibet” program team, every postcard and photo [that comes in] spells cordial friendship and sincere encouragement.

达穷副台长告诉记者,自2002年5月开办英语对外广播节目以来,节目受到了欧美英语国家听众的广泛关注和欢迎,每年都会收到来自英国、德国、瑞士、美国、加拿大、澳大利亚、南非、日本等国外听众,以及旅居尼泊尔、印度、不丹等国外藏胞的来信数百封。达穷说:“与电台保持通信联系的国外听众遍布五大洲47个国家和地区。其实目前栏目的内容与我们理想中的差距还很大,看到这么多的国内外人士关注栏目,使我们备受鼓舞。对于《圣地西藏》节目组的这些年轻人来说,每一张明信片和照片都意味着一份诚挚的友谊和诚恳的鼓励。”

[Dutch listener M.] is a shortwave aficionado who decided, after listening to “Holy Tibet”, to travel to Tibet. In July 2009, he and his friend came to Lhasa and also visited the “Holy Tibet” program team. Coming to the newsroom, M. was very excited, saying “I have heard broadcasts from many places. When travelling in Indonesia last year, I came across your program on the radio dial and have listened ever since. I’m very happy to meet the people behind this familiar voice today. Your program includes news, cultural and muscial programs, and it’s a really good structure. Through them, I can understand the real Tibet. Tibetan music is so beautiful. It’s a trasured sound [or the sound of nature]. Thank you for your hard work.”

荷兰听众戴夫德-马丁是一位短波收听爱好者,经过收听《Holy Tibet》后决定到西藏旅游,2009年7月他和他的朋友来到拉萨并专程拜访了《Holy Tibet》节目组。来到编辑部马丁先生激动不已,他说:“我收听很多地方的广播,去年在印尼旅行时意外搜索到你们的节目,从此一直在收听。今天能见到我熟悉的声音背后的人十分高兴。你们的节目囊括了新闻、文化和音乐节目,结构布局很好。通过它我们能够了解真实的西藏,西藏的音乐太美了,真是天籁之音。谢谢你们的辛勤劳动。”

[Another listener, from Canada, wrote in a letter]: “This is a window widely opened by ancient Tibet to the world. Through this window, listeners around the world can find out about real Tibet, about fast-developing Tibet.”

另一位来自加拿大埃尔波特的听众尼格尔-潘布雷特在来信中说:这是古老的西藏向世界敞开的一扇窗口,遍布世界各地的听众通过这扇窗口了解真实的西藏,快速发展中的西藏。

The deputy director relates s0me domestic merits of the station, too: a Tibetan-language hotline where the common people can ask for help with practical problems, such as electricity blackouts in remote villages. After such a problem had been aired and solved, excited villagers took home-produced fresh milk and yoghourt to the radio station and expressed their thanks (兴奋的村民提着自己制做的鲜牛奶和酸奶找到了电台表示感谢). The deputy director acknowledges that there is competition among different media in “more developed” places, but suggests that his station can still leave a mark even among an international audience.

“Witnessing Tibet [with your own eyes]”, “Eyes on Tibet” [is/are] news feature program[s]. We introduce Tibetan human rights, the heritage of traditional culture and its development, freedom of religious belief, demographics, the ecology and environment, etc.. We determine our topics directly from these reports. We compare with old Tibet, we show how the living conditions of all nationalities and masses of new Tibet prosper under the minority policies, religion policies, and policies of enriching the people, and with the support from old and younger brothers from all provinces and cities of the nation, are improving, and how culture, hygiene, education and other public infrastructure are, day by day, create historical facts. We make interviews on the ground. Through ordinary people from all walks of life in Tibet, through description of peasants’ and herders’ own experience, we report the real Tibet. Indisputible facts show Tibet’s new development, new changes, and new life.

《目击西藏》,《Eyes on the Tibet》:新闻专题节目。对外介绍西藏的人权、传统文化的继承和发展、宗教信仰自由、人口数量的变化、生态环境等。直接针对这些报道确定选题。与旧西藏进行对比,展现新西藏各族群众在党的民族政策、宗教政策、富民政策指引下,在全国兄弟省市的大力支援下,生活条件逐年改善,文化、卫生、教育等公共设施日益健全的历史事实。全部采用现场采访,通过西藏社会各界普通百姓,农牧民亲身经历的讲述报道真实的西藏,用不争的事实展示西藏的新发展、新变化、新生活。

God knows if the Dutch and Canadian listeners quoted in the article exist for real – but if you write to the “Voice of Tibet” for a QSL card, you may want to learn from these foreign models’ example.

____________

*) Update (20140201): In an earlier article [Update/Warning 20150221: the site linked here may be compromised, do not open without decent protection], apparently (originally) published by a China Tibet News Center (中国西藏信息中心) in November 2009,  it is suggested that Tibet PBS started foreign broadcasts in 1964, but with what comes across as a description of limited success. The 2002 broadcasts therefore underwent a rebranding and/or expansion, rather than being the absolute beginning of foreign broadcasts by Tibet PBS.

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

2. Recent Logs

International Telecommunication Union letter codes used in the table underneath:

AFS – South Africa; ARG – Argentina; CHN – China; CUB – Cuba; D – Germany; EQA – Ecuador; IND – India; INS – Indonesia; KRE – North Korea; RRW – Rwanda; TIB – Tibet, TUR – Turkey; USA – USA.

Languages (“L.”):

C – Chinese; E – English; F – French; G – German; R – Russian; S – Spanish.

kHz

Station

Ctry

L.

Day

GMT

S I O
 6170 Vo Korea KRE G Jan
2
19:00 5 5 4
 3985 Radio
Prague
D G Jan
7
20:00 4 4 3
11710 RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG C Jan
10
04:00 3 3 3
11710 RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG C Jan
15
04:00 4 4 3
11755 AWR
Meyerton
AFS F Jan
16
20:00 4 4 3
11710 RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG F Jan
17
03:48 4 4 4
15700 Deutsche
Welle
Kigali
RRW E Jan
19
06:00 4 5 3
17800 Deutsche
Welle
Kigali
RRW E Jan
19
06:20 4 5 4
 6165 Radio
Habana
Cuba
CUB E Jan
20
04:00 4 4 3
15235 Channel
Africa
AFS E Jan
20
17:00 5 5 5
 6170 Vo Korea KRE G Jan
20
18:51 5 5 4
 6170 Vo Korea KRE G Jan
20
19:00 5 4 4
 6155 CRI
Beijing
CHN R Jan
20
20:00 4 3 4
 9800 Deutsche
Welle
Kigali
RRW E Jan
20
21:01 4 5 3
 4905 PBS
Tibet
TIB E Jan
21
16:25 4 3 3
 7205 Vo
Turkey
TUR G Jan
21
18:30 4 3 3
 7550 AIR
Delhi
IND E Jan
21
19:00 5 5 5
 9800 Deutsche
Welle
Kigali
RRW ? Jan
22
03:51
7425 Deutsche
Welle
Kigali
RRW E Jan
22
04:01 4 5 4
 9525 RRI
Jakarta1)
INS G Jan
22
19:00 4 5 4
 7240 PBS
Tibet2)
TIB C Jan
24
01:00 4 4 4
 7240 PBS
Tibet
TIB C Jan
24
02:00 4 4 3
11710 RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG E Jan
24
02:10 0 0 0
11710 RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG F Jan
24
03:40 3 4 3
 7365 Radio
Martí
USA S Jan
24
02:15 4 5 4
 6000 Radio
Habana
Cuba3)
CUB E Jan
24
03:00 3 2 2
 6165 Radio
Habana
Cuba
CUB E Jan
24
03:03 4 3 3
 6050 HCJB
Quito
EQA S/E Jan
24
03:13 4 4 4
 6165 Radio
Habana
Cuba
CUB E Jan
26
05:00 4 4 4
9445 AIR
Delhi4)
IND E Jan
27
21:15 4 5 4
 4905 PBS
Tibet
TIB E Jan
28
16:00 4 4 4
11710 RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG E Jan
29
02:00 5 5 4
 6155 Channel
Africa
AFS E Jan
29
03:00 3 2 2
 4905 PBS
Tibet
TIB E Jan
30
16:00 4 4 4
 4905 PBS
Tibet
TIB E Jan
31
16:40 3 4 3
 5000 WWV USA E Jan
31
06:02 3 3 3

____________

Footnotes

1) in English from 18:00 – 18:59 UTC
2) more fading by 01:30 UTC: 44434
3) interference by Radio Liberty, apparently from 5995 kHz
4) blackouts on 7550 and 11670 kHz from 21:00 – 2115 UTC, hence 9445 kHz (fine)

____________

Related

» Log Dec 2013
» Log Nov (2) 2013
» Log Nov (1) 2013

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Saturday, February 16, 2013

World Radio Day 2013: Authentic Experience, enhanced by Listening Live

If shortwave had been discovered today instead of eight decades ago it would be hailed as an amazing new technology with great potential for the world we live in today.

This is how former BBC World Service managing director John Tusa is quoted on the pages of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Radio Prague QSL, December 1985

Radio Prague QSL, December 1985

February 13 was World Radio Day (yours truly wasn’t aware on Wednesday, either). One of the UNESCO articles,  Shortwave Broadcasting – Challenges and Opportunities -, written by Oldrich Cip,  the High Frequency Coordination Conference (HFCC) chairman, makes quite a case for shortwave radio. Excerpts:

The prospect of rising affluence in many world regions creates an increasing opportunity for this specific delivery platform. Three billion people – or 50 per cent – of world population lives below the poverty line on less than 2.50 USD a day.1 Their first choice of communication devices will be a mobile telephone, a radio or both. For most, listening to a local FM channel, a community station or an international broadcast is still more affordable than a computer, a television or other electronic devices.
[…]
Reduced interest and funding of shortwave broadcasting, including the dismantling of infrastructure, will make shortwave broadcasting during humanitarian disasters more difficult or even impossible.

Cip also advocates Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM): Given the dramatic improvement in sound quality over present analogue AM broadcasting, it is anticipated that DRM will soon become the preferred technology for shortwave radio.

Discussing Shortwave Broadcasting and Internet Applications – Competition or Synergy, Cip comes across as somewhat ambivalent (and in favor of shortwave, in case of a doubt):

The presence of broadcasters across all distribution platforms is important for effective worldwide delivery. Audiences are able to personalize their listening experience.

But:

There is evidence that radio is best for live listening —- especially for news, current affairs and sport programmes. Authentic experience is enhanced by listening live to long-distance shortwave radio stations and their programmes.

And:

Radio has a strong emotional appeal. People listen regularly to one or two radio stations only. This appeal of radio has been even more typical in shortwave broadcasting. Enduring bonds and contacts between listeners to shortwave stations and broadcasters have existed long before the advent of social media.

“New delivery platforms” and social media could do a lot to enrich shortwave broadcasts and help collecting user-generated content, writes Cip – but to him, a world without shortwave appears to be unthinkable.

Maybe the emotional-appeal argument is strongly tinged with nostalgia, but I doubt it. I’m much younger than Cip, and many stations have dropped from my map since they went off air.

In his capacity as Radio Prague‘s frequency manager, when asked in 2006 if he was afraid there could perhaps be a loss of political will to continue with shortwave international broadcasting, Oldrich Cip chose a rather diplomatic reply:

Yes, I think that is a preoccupation not only of myself but of other international broadcasters and of people who work in this field. But at the same time I am confident that some form of international broadcasting will survive, and will continue throughout this millennium.

Whatever “some form of international” broadcasting meant. When Radio Prague went off the air (or shortwave, but heck, where’s the difference?) in 2011, Cip was more explicit:

[…] The delivery methods of international radio have diversified, with the internet and satellites, but shortwave has some specific properties, and it is my very strong belief that there will always be a specific segment of the audience that prefers shortwave broadcasting from terrestrial transmitters to other delivery methods. I am afraid that some of the decision makers in some of the big organisations may cause a domino effect, whereby when they start reducing then the smaller ones follow suit. So I am afraid that the reduction of shortwave broadcasting around the world was made quite hastily and is not a good development.

In 2011, Cip was right. And it seems to me that Radio Prague – different from other European station who has signed off as a radio broadcaster in recent years – was quite explicit in acknowledging that they were going to lose listeners:

[…] To those of you who will be unable to listen online, it has been our great pleasure and privilege to offer you this service. From all of our staff, thank you very much for listening, and goodbye.

____________

Related

» Weltrauschtag, Gustlik/DFC, Febr 13, 2013
» VoR terminates shortwave for Europe, Dec 31, 2012
» BBC: Taking back their Gift, Nov 4, 2012
» DW Chinese: Sad Responsibility, Oct 27, 2012
» Radio Canada International Retired, April 9, 2012
» DW, End of the Radio Era, Jan 2, 2012
» Why limit yourself, Chris Freitas, July 27, 2011
» Radio Netherlands: anticipatory obedience, June 10, 2011

____________

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Huanqiu Shibao on “Ulterior Motives” in Southern Weekly Conflict

Main Link: Global Times: Lay Off Supporting Southern Weekend, Or Else

There’s a blog – kind of a bridge blog, if you like – which deserves a lot more attention. In November 2011, China Copyright and Media translated the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party’s Decision on Deepening Cultural Structural Reform (I could have saved myself a lot of time if I had come across their translation earlier).

Fortunately, I did save myself the time to translate a Huanqiu Shibao editorial on the Southern Weekly / Southern Weekend standoffs with the local propaganda department. They’ve got a translation or rendition of that, too – been online since January 8 this year – including the original commentary in Chinese.  China Copyright and Media  includes posts about Chinese legislation, as well, but obviously, I can’t judge their quality. It’s not my department.

Not the full picture, but an instructive glimpse.

Soft power: the land where the Bananas bloom

So, if you want translations from the real Chinese press – beyond the English-language mouthpieces from China Daily to the “Global Times” which are stuff from a parallel universe, made by the CCP propaganda department for foreigners -, read JR’s China Blog, for example.

But read there, too. There are updates every few days, and sometimes several times a day.

The translator finds a lot of rotten points in the Huanqiu article. But this may not be what matters to Huanqiu, to the China-Daily Group, or to the propaganda department. They can’t overlook many domestic online comments in their threads which are highly critical of their approach.

Song Luzheng, an overseas Chinese journalist or official in Paris, follows the same line as does Huanqiu Shibao, in many of his articles, particularly about the freedom of the press. Some of the readers he – probably – hopes to reach are Chinese readers who are disillusioned former admirerers of “Western” values. There seems to have been a trend since 2008, the botched “Sacred-torch” ralleye in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics which has changed the atmosphere in favor of Song Luzheng, Huanqiu Shibao, et al.

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Related

» Readers’ Reactions: I will Endure, May 3, 2012
» Oh Rule of Law, April 11, 2012

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