Posts tagged ‘Netherlands’

Friday, December 14, 2012

The BoZhu Interviews: Germany’s and Japan’s post-war image –

Tai De about war crimes, popular narratives, foreignness, and soft power

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« Previous Interview: MKL, July 13, 2012

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The following is a spontaneous, unplanned BoZhu interview with Tai De, a civil servant from Verden. It’s actually the second interview with him, after a more general one about his blog, about a year ago.

Tai De studied history. His pattern of thought is that of a historian – but he wants me to write a word of warning in advance: he is no particular “expert” on Japan or on the Far East.

Our interview – originally rather a discussion – came up this afternoon after I listened to the memories of William Shawcross, son of the British chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials, on Radio Australia‘s shortwave service this afternoon.


Q: When listening to Anglo-American media, I’m getting the impression that we (Germans) get away with a much more positive image despite the Nazi crimes and WW2, than them (the Japanese). What’s your impression?

A: Quite so.

Q: Do you have an explanation for that?

A: I don’t think there’s that one explanation which can say it all.

Q: To start with something: do the Americans or British see Germans as part of the family? Sort of distant relatives? Like: “Yes, they committed heinous crimes, but …”

A: The outset after the war was the same after VE day and VA day, in terms of geostrategic interest – America needed West Germany, and America needed Japan. Britain didn’t mind an anti-Soviet bulwark in central or Europe either. I can’t generalize Anglo-American perceptions of either Germans or Japanese people. But as far as my favourite trash history novelist is concerned, …

Q: … Alexander Kent, …

A: … you can sense his attitude towards the Japanese – I think I can, anyway. I may be wrong, of course.

Q: German gentleman criminals, Japanese low-class criminals?

A: Oh, he definitely doesn’t get trapped in that kind of concept. But there’s that Japanese foreignness. And there’s that incredible Japanese brutality against allied prisoners of war – and the brutality of their warfare.

Q: German crimes were no smaller, were they?

A: No, they weren’t smaller. The German war was a war of extermination.  The industrialized annihilation of millions of people. But when it comes to our international image, a lot of that brutal German energy was directed against Germans, not Americans or British people.  The annihilation of Jews in particular, but other minorities, too. And communists, social democrats, also very blanketly.  As far as Alexander Kent is concerned, you also see a clear division of roles, in Germany’s case. The basically good – and very brave – Wehrmacht or navy officer on the one hand, and the coward, brutal, lower-class Gestapo policeman or SS man on the other. You don’t have that difference when it comes to the depiction of Japan. There’s no “Samurai”, no gentleman warrior. And if there was a “Samurai” depiction, it would have to be the kind of perpetrator who’d behead American or British POW from the platform of a truck, just by holding his sword out while passing rows of POWs on their death march.
Mind you, that’s not necessarily an accurate depiction of a Japanese soldier – but it’s become a picture of symbolic power. There were British and American pilots murdered by Germans, too, but not that systematically. And not that – how can I put this? – the war in Europe didn’t become that personal. Not between unoccupied countries and Germans, anyway.

Q: Were Allied prisoners of war traumatized? Did they face more brutality than what they would have expected from the Japanese?

A: Maybe not before the first atrocities – against non-Asians, I should add – became known. But initially, yes. I can’t tell how familiar they were with the way the Japanese forces treated Asians – but they probably didn’t expect that their service people would be treated similarly – that civilians with their forces would be forced into prostitution, for example.

Q: Japanese brutality spelled foreignness?

A: That’s one side of it, I think. And the other is the decades after the war. I mentioned the Samurai. But there was no such positive Japanese symbol, at least not in the Western narrative. Very different from the way Germany was depicted. And that’s a matter of symbolic gestures. Maybe Japan did make gestures, but not of the kind America, Australia, or Britain would easily understand. Emperor Hirohito looks quite good in some of their narratives, as a man who assumes “responsibility” for Japan’s crimes. But that was immediately after the end of the hostilities. The Japanese were under huge objective pressure then. But later on, after the pressure had eased, they never managed to do something highly symbolic – not in a Western sense, anyway.

Q: Like Willy Brandt dropping to his knees before the Warsaw Ghetto Monument?

A: Exactly. I’m not saying that Willy Brandt changed everything – but he had a huge effect on our national image abroad. For one, he hadn’t been involved – he had actually been underground in Norway during the war. But he was a German. “A symbol for a different Germany”, as they say.
He didn’t do because of his personal record. I don’t know what exactly made him kneel – all I know is that he made an allusion later, when reacting to criticism from the BILD-Zeitung, stuff like “one must only kneel before God”. He only reacted in private, and one of his ministers recalled it in 1992, after Brandt’s death. Brandt said that those journalists had no idea before whom he had kneeled.
But when it comes to Japan…  if there was resistance among the Japanese during the war – and I suppose there was – we may never know about these people.

Talking about Willy Brandt – there was his Neue Ostpolitik, too, for the obvious reason that Germany was divided. The Ostpolitik was a symbol of hope – not only for Germans, by the way, but for all of Europe – and it was really powerful. With really honest intentions – and skills – the social democrats and the liberals in Germany made the best of it. They turned our calamities into moral strength. You write a lot about soft power, don’t you? That was soft power. Brandt was about soft power. Olof Palme, too, in his own way, from Sweden. German partition was a price Germany had to pay – that division of our country. Territorial losses, too. In Asia, it was – and still is – Korea who has to live with partition. Not Japan. That could matter, too.

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Related

» Nanking Massacre, Wikipedia, acc. Dec 14, 2012
» Lev Kopelev: No Easy Solution, April 11, 2009
» All BoZhu Interviews

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Friday, September 28, 2012

Zheng Lücheng: Thoroughly into Factories and the Countryside

Much of the following is based on CCP folklore and, and therefore not necessarily accurate. Links within blockquotes added during translation – JR.

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Main Link: 中国人民解放军军歌作曲者郑律成

Zheng Lücheng, famous composer. Born in Korea’s South Jeolla Province, Guangju, Yanglin Village in 1914, into a poverty-stricken family. Original name Zheng Fu’en, later, for his passion for music, changed into Lücheng. His father was a patriot, his three older brothers all gave their lives for the cause of Chinese and Korean revolution. In spring 1933, Zheng Lücheng and a group of Korean patriots came to China, entered the Korean anti-Japan resistance organization[s] in China, and ran the Nanjing “Korean Revolutionary Cadres’ School”. After graduation, he was active in resisting Japan in Nanjing, Shanghai, and other places, and in his spare time, he studied music.

郑律成,著名作曲家。1914年出生在朝鲜全罗南道光州杨林町一个贫苦家庭。原名郑富恩,后因酷爱音乐,改名律成。他的父亲是个爱国者,他的3个哥哥先后为朝鲜和中国的革命事业献出了生命。1933年春,郑律成和一批朝鲜爱国青年来到中国,进入朝鲜在华抗日团体开办的南京“朝鲜革命干部学校”。毕业后,他一边在南京、上海等地从事抗日救亡活动,一边利用业余时间学习音乐。

After the outbreak of the National Anti-Japanese War, Zheng Lücheng whole-heartedly went to Yan’an in October 1937, joined the Shaanbei Public School [for training cadres] and studied at the Lu Xun Academy of Art and Literature. At the beginning of 1938, he became the Anti-Japan-Resistance University of Military Administration’s musical director and vocal-music instructor at the Lu Xun Academy of Art and Literature. In January 1939, he joined the Chinese Communist Party. In May 1942, Zheng Lücheng took part in the Yan’an Arts Work Conference and attentively listened to Chairman Mao Zedong’s teachings. In August 1942, Zheng Lücheng was sent to the headquarters of the Eighth Army at the Taihang Mountains, as education director of the North China “Korean Revolution Military Administration School”. In January 1944, he returned to Yan’an.

全国抗日战争爆发后,郑律成怀着满腔热情,于1937年10月奔赴延安,先后入陕北公学、鲁迅艺术学院音乐系学习。1938年起任中国人民抗日军政大学音乐指导、鲁迅艺术学院声乐教员。1939年1月加入中国共产党。1942年5月,郑律成参加了延安文艺工作座谈会,聆听了毛泽东主席的教导。1942年8月,郑律成被派往太行山八路军总部工作,任华北“朝鲜革命军政学校”教育长。1944年1月回延安。

Zheng Lücheng frequently joined the anti-Japanese front and created a great number of musical works that reflected the soldiers’ battles against the Japanese. In April 1938, he wrote the “Ode to Yan’an” which spread from Yan’an to the whole country right after it came out, and inspired many progressive young people to hurry to Yan’an and to throw themselves into the revolution. In 1993, the “Ode to Yan’an” was included into the twenty Chinese Classics of the 20th Century, to enter the Chinese annals of music forever. In fall 1939, he completed the “Eighth Route Army Choruses” together with Gong Mu, among these, the “March of the Eighth Route Army Song” and “Eighth Route Army Anthem” which became military songs being sung in many places. During the liberation war, the “March of the Eighth Route Army Song” was changed into the “Military Anthem of the People’s Liberation Army”, with some changes to the text.

郑律成经常深入抗日前线,创作了大量反映抗日军民斗争生活的音乐作品。1938年4月间,他创作的歌曲《延安颂》一经问世,就由延安迅速传遍全国,对许多进步青年奔赴延安投身革命起了直接的鼓动作用。1993年,《延安颂》被评为20世纪华人音乐经典,永载中国音乐史册。1939年秋,他同公木合作完成了《八路军大合唱》,其中的《八路军进行曲》和《八路军军歌》成为广为传唱的人民军队战歌。解放战争时期,《八路军进行曲》更名为《中国人民解放军进行曲》,歌词略有改动。

After the victory in the Japanese War, Zheng Lücheng returned to North Korea and served successively as the Korean Workers Party Kangwon Province Committee’s propaganda director, North Korean People’s Army club director, the North Korean People’s Army Orchestra director, the Korean National Music University’s composing department director, etc.. During this time, he wrote songs in praise of Korean people’s struggles and Sino-Korean friendship, “Korean People’s Army March”, “Sino-Korean Friendship” and many other works. In 1950, he returned to China and took Chinese citizenship, settling in Beijing. He worked at the Beijing People’s Theater and Ensemble. He went thoroughly into factories, the countryside, and borderposts, left his footprints in many places, seeking for material for new works, and wrote a great number of musical works for workers, peasants and soldiers.

抗日战争胜利后,郑律成返回朝鲜工作,历任朝鲜劳动党黄海道委宣传部部长、朝鲜人民军俱乐部部长、朝鲜人民军协奏团团长、朝鲜国立音乐大学作曲部部长等职。在此期间,他谱写了歌颂朝鲜人民斗争和中朝友谊的《朝鲜人民军进行曲》《中朝友谊》等许多作品。1950年回到中国,随即加入中国国籍,定居北京,先后在北京人民艺术剧院和中央歌舞团从事音乐工作。他深入工厂、农村、边防,足迹踏遍了中国大地,到处寻找新的创作原料,为工农兵创作,谱写了大量的音乐作品。

Within several decades, Zheng Lücheng wrote more than 360 songs of different forms and genres, which won universal acclaim. Among them, the “Military Anthem of the People’s Liberation Army”, by its simple and succinct language, its sonorous rhythm, solemn and heroic melody, created a deep impression of the People’s troops’ image, the overwhelming way it pressed forward with an indomitable will, advancing fanfare, following the route of the army’s growth and its victory, and became part of the People’s Liberation Army’s combat effectiveness and political work. On July 25, 1988, the Military Central Commission officially made the song the People’s Liberation Army’s military anthem.

数十年间,郑律成谱写了360余首(部)不同形式、体裁的脍炙人口的音乐作品。其中《中国人民解放军进行曲》以淳朴简练的语言、铿锵有力的节奏、庄严豪迈的曲调,深刻地刻画了人民军队的形象,表现了人民军队一往无前的战斗风格和排山倒海的气势,如进军的号角,伴随着人民军队成长壮大和人民战争胜利的历程,成为中国人民解放军战斗力量和政治工作的一个组成部分。1988年7月25日被中共中央军委正式定为中国人民解放军军歌。

Zheng Lücheng passed away in Beijing, on December 7, 1976.

1976年12月7日,郑律成于北京逝世。

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Main Link: 郑律成 (baike.baidu)

Note: Ding Xuesong (丁雪松), born in Sichuan Province in 1918, was a cadre in Yan’an and married Zheng Lücheng there. She was a Chinese citizen; Zheng took Chinese citizenship around 1950.

On the eve of the birth of New China, Ding Xuesong was appointed to build Xinhua’s Pyongyang branch office as the office’s director. In October, one week after the branch office’s establishment, China and Korea announced the establishment of diplomatic relations. On June 25, 1950, the Korean War suddenly broke out. With the tensions on the Korean peninsula and domestic decisions on their mind, it was decided to immediately establish an embassy in Pyongyang. Its main task was to maintain contacts between the two parties and armies, and to get aware of changes on the battlefield without delay. With Ding Xuesong as the Xinhua branch office director and a member of the embassy, Zheng Lücheng’s situation became more difficult, and each of them having separate things of their own to do, their feelings for each other were [still] too deep to part with each other. So the only way was for Zheng Lücheng and Ding Xuesong to return to China. Ding Xuesong, with help by a letter written by the ambassador to Chief State Councillor Zhou Enlai, asked for both her and Zheng’s return to China, plus requesting a renewal of Zheng’s party membership, and Chinese citizenship for Zheng. Even though Zhou Enlai was very busy, he quickly approved the requests, and Mao Zedong obtained Kim Il-sung’s agreement. Kim Il-sung was very generous, saying “Zheng Lücheng wants to return to China? That’s alright. The Chinese Communist Party developed so many cadres for us, and if you want a Zheng Lücheng now, that’s no problem.”

新中国诞生前夕的9月中旬,丁雪松受命筹建新华社平壤分社并任社长。10月,新中国成立后一星期,中朝宣布建立外交关系。1950年6月25日,朝鲜战争突然爆发。考虑到朝鲜半岛的紧张局势,国内决定立即在平壤筹建大使馆。主要任务是保持两党、两军之间的联系,并及时了解战场的变化。丁雪松如留任使馆官员或新华社平壤分社社长,郑律成的处境将更加困难;或者从此分离,各自东西,可是两人感情非常深厚,不能割舍。那么,就只有是郑律成和丁雪松一道返回中国。丁雪松通过使馆给周恩来总理写信,要求回国,同时提出郑律成和她一起回去,转回郑律成的党籍并加入中国国籍的要求。周总理百忙中很快批复,并亲笔致函征得了金日成首相的同意。金日成同志十分大度,说:“调郑律成回国?可以嘛,中国共产党给我们培养了那么多干部,现在你们要一个郑律成,不成问题”。

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He [Zheng] and Ding Xuesong were both persecuted during the Cultural Revolution, and he fell into a deep depression. Tragically, when he heard of the fall of the Gang of Four, which signaled the end of the Cultural Revolution, he suffered a stroke and died.
From 1979 to 1984, Ding Xuesong represented the PRC as ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the Netherlands and later to Denmark.

Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Women, Lily Xiao Hong Lee (ed), New York, 2003, page 145.

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Related

» Wen and Jang: Joint Efforts, Aug 17, 2012
» The People’s Heroic Models, CCTV, Sep 26, 2009

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Update/Related

» Zheng Lvcheng, CRI/Soundcloud, Aug 4, 2012
[Update, Dec 23, 2012: now removed, but if you want the soundfile, contact me by email or comment.]

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Radio Netherlands Worldwide: Activism replaces Nice Cups of Tea

The Dutch government simply decided it didn’t need an international broadcaster anymore.

Andy Sennitt, formerly Radio Netherlands Worldwide, quoted by Shortwave America. Radio Netherlands’ broadcasts in English and Indonesian ended on June 29.

Radio Netherlands 1987 QSL

Prince Claus of the Netherlands pushes the button: inaugurating a new transmitter park (probably for the Flevoland transmitter park), on May 19, 1987. Flevo replaced the Lopik site, Radio Netherlands’ transmission site from 1947 to 1985. (Click picture for info about Lopik in Dutch.)

Once RNW’s English web stream ended on June 29, there would be no more daily reviews of the Dutch papers, coverage of Dutch news stories and listening guides, the Jakarta Post quoted Radio Netherlands’ website in a report on June 24.

According to a statement posted on Radio Netherlands’ website on June 26, RNW will

concern itself solely with making information available in countries where free speech is suppressed or threatened, where “free speech”, according to the vision of chief editor Rik Rensen, should encapsulate Dutch values.

The statement quotes chief editor Rik Rensen as saying that this

[..] means RNW should produce ground-breaking stories about freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to freedom of sexual orientation and women’s rights. Actually, these issues are already under RNW’s spotlight, but they’ll be even more accentuated in the future.

My (personal) view of the “changes”

I believe that to make information available where it’s otherwise suppressed might be  a great idea. However, if that can’t be done in practice – i. e. by exemplary day-to-day journalism -, RNW is running a risk of coming across as increasingly bigoted and divisive. That’s what I expect to happen, not because the values RNW intends to promote wouldn’t be important – it’s because these issues will, according to the chief editor, be even more accentuated than in past broadcasts. To be fair, one should  acknowledge that even if Radio Netherlands had kept a budget that would allowed it to keep operating on shortwave, and on the internet, it would have lost many of its audience – the media world provides readers and listeners with a range of choices which make that almost inevitable.

But the truth is that the programs had become so full of “Dutch values” even more than a decade ago, and so void of the former cheerfulness from programs like the “Happy Station”, that I could smell the influence of politics across the miles. I have rarely listened to RNW for years, and I’m therefore not going to miss their programs.

But many listeners probably will. The political class – not only in the Netherlands, but in Germany, too – seems to be so convinced of particular projects close to their hearts that they are prepared to give away thousands of dedicated listeners or online readers, just to intensify their own message. Bluntly said: if people aren’t aware of “our” values, let’s yell them  into their ears until they start cherishing them. Good luck with that approach.

Even in totalitarian countries, there are propagandists who doubt the effect of campaigns on foreign audiences. No matter if a message tries to sell suppression as “humane”, or if it actually stands for human rights, this assessment of Chinese soft-power explorers, recorded in 2009, is likely to cut both ways:

If the significance of propaganda becomes too strong, it can easily evoke the other side’s suspicions and resentment.

I hope that practice at RNW will prove itself to be better than what the (former) station’s recent announcements seem to suggest.

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Related

Keith Perron runs the revived Happy Station Show. It used to be among Radio Netherlands’ most popular programs, broadcast every Sunday, until it was terminated there in the 1990s. It’s now produced in Taipei, and a special edition on June 29 was a tribute to Radio Netherlands –

» part 1
» part 2

PCJMedia, the producing company, has a website, but without permalinks, it seems. Tom Meyer (Meijer) was a Happy Station host at Radio Netherlands, and he unmistakably has some influence on the choice of music played on Perron’s show, too.

The program on June 29 started with “A Nice Cup of Tea” – a signature tune when Meyer’s predecessor, Edward Startz, hosted the show.

» Free Speech, Dutch Values, June 10, 2011

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Updates / Related

» Canada Signs Off, Garth Mullins, July 6, 2012

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

The “Great Leap Forward”, Frank Dikötter, and a Blogging Break

It’s time for a few days’ break from blogging, unless Jiang Zemin passes away, Yang Rui gets uncovered as a spy for the CIA, or if similarly sensational news should break. I will be back to blogging by this coming Friday.

Less than an hour before midnight (daylight saving time), June 23, 2012

Less than an hour before midnight (daylight saving time), June 23, 2012

This season involves a lot of work, and what remains of the day should be devoted to family, friends, and contemplation of the midnight sun. It’s not quite that in this region, but the northern fringes of the skies never turn completely dark. You may not see the road at certain times of the night, but you’ll see the light between the treetops.

* * * * * * * *

I have some reservations when it comes to the work of sinologists like Frank Dikötter or Thomas Weyrauch. Weyrauch is German, but when I read one of his books (and I’ve read only one by Weyrauch), it seemed to be a sample of how – old-school – Chinese Republicans abroad are ticking these days.

A lot has been made of the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation‘s co-sponsorship of Dikötter’s Mao’s Great Famine project. It wasn’t serious academics who took issue, as far as I can see, but many fenqings and CCP apologists did. After all, only the victorious must author China’s history. That’s tradition. At court, the good historian praises the powers that be, and denounces defeated previous dynasties. (It may be unthinkable for CCP fans that a funding organization may not necessarily determine the outcome of a project.)

Richard (The Peking Duck) embedded a documentary movie about the Great Leap Forward in one of his most recent posts. It seems to base its message basically on the takes of two academics, Yang Jisheng (杨继绳) and Frank Dikötter (and exclusively on Dikötter when it comes to statistics):

It was the Great Leap Forward. But the crazy dream became a nightmare, and dragged 650 million Chinese people into hell. The country sank into economic chaos, which caused an unprecedented famine. The terrible death toll was around 45 million.

People like Dikötter – and Weyrauch – play an important role, as they question a narrative or historiography which is to an unreasonable extent influenced by the CCP, even among foreign sinologists. But they, in turn, need to be questioned, too. A good article or review to that end, it seems to me, is a piece written by Cormac Ó Gráda, in 2011, on Dikötter’s Mao’s Great Famine.

A commenter thread on the Peking Duck‘s post starts here. For the dynamics of such threads as I see them, I would recommend to use such threads as some kind of quarry. Different commenters will gain from different chains of discussion within; and the Peking Duck’s threads are famous for starting with lively debates, and descending into dogged exchanges of more or less argumentative broadsides after the first one, two, or three dozens of comments.

In their own way, they are samples of what an anonymous or semi-anonymous discourse (as the late Mark Anthony Jones might have termed it) between CCP critics, apologists and the critics’ angry critics will usually look like.

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Related

» Mao’s Great Famine, documentary movie synopsis, 2011

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Beijing’s Foreign Affairs: Don’t Mislead your Public Opinion – Cement it

The following is a random choice, mostly from the Chinese foreign ministry’s (FMPRC) website. Emphasis within blockquotes by JR.


1) (Then) FMPRC spokesman Liu Jianchao‘s comments on the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission Annual Report (2007):

Turning a blind eye to China’s political, economic and social progress and achievements in other fields, the Commission clings to its biased position, grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs and vilifies China. Their attempt to mislead public opinion and set obstacles for China-US extensive cooperation will lead nowhere.

2) Foreign minister Yang Jiechi on public diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, February 17, 2011:

Through public diplomacy, the government tries to influence public opinion and public opinion in turn affects government policy-making. The third is its incremental process. Due to constant changes in the domestic and international situation, public diplomacy is a long-term, complex effort.

3) FMPRC reporting State Councillor Liu Yandong‘s  remarks on public opinion in China-Russian relations, October 11, 2011:

On a new historical starting point, China expects to join hands with Russia to further tap the potential of the Committee and its subcommittees, improve cooperation mechanisms, develop cooperation programs, expand cooperation areas and raise cooperation level, promote the bilateral cooperation in the fields of education, culture, health, sports, tourism, media, movie and file and between the young people and consolidate the social and public opinion foundation of China-Russia friendship.

4) FMPRC quoting from Chairman Hu Jintao‘s Three-Point Proposal to Vietnam, November 12/13, 2011:

Third, expand cultural exchanges and cement the basis of public opinion for the China-Vietnam friendship.

5) FMPRC reporting Wu Bangguo‘s  remarks on public opinion in China-Vietnam relations, January 2012:

He called on the two sides to continue to consolidate the foundation of public opinion for the development of China-Vietnam relations, and to inject new vitality into parliamentary exchanges.

6) FMPRC reporting Wu Bangguo’s  remarks on public opinion in China-UAE  relations, March 29, 2012:

Both sides should expand exchanges on education, culture and tourism, cement the public opinion basis of long-term friendship and push China-UAE relations to a new level.

7) FMPRC reporting State Councillor Liu Yandong’s  remarks on public opinion in China-British relations, April 16, 2012:

The two countries should transcend the differences in social systems, historical and cultural traditions, and stages of development, eliminate misunderstanding and enhance mutual trust through people-to-people exchanges so that the friendship between China and the UK has a more solid social and public opinion foundation.

8) Regular Foreign Ministry press conference, April 19, 2012 (spokesman Liu Weimin):

Over the past days, some Philippine senior officials misled public opinion by making repeated remarks that the Philippines has sovereignty over the Huangyan Island, which is in disregard of historical facts and legal evidence.

9) Regular Foreign Ministry press conference, May 3, 2012 (spokesman Liu Weimin, reacting to Hillary Clinton‘s statement on Chen Guangcheng):

What the US side should do now is not to continue confusing public opinion or evading or covering up by all means its responsibility for the incident, nor should it continue its interference in China’s internal affairs.

10) Regular Foreign Ministry press conference, May 14, 2012 (spokesman Hong Lei):

Q: Philippine Foreign Secretary del Rosario reportedly said that the Philippines would never agree on China’s demands on the Huangyan Island and diplomatic dialogues between the two sides would at most reach a “temporary agreement” which could not help solve the issue fundamentally. The Philippines asks for a comprehensive resolution of the Huangyan Island issue from political, legal and diplomatic aspects. What is your comment?

A: China’s principled stance on the Huangyan Island issue has been made clear. China demands the Philippines to earnestly respect China’s territorial sovereignty and do not take measures that will escalate and complicate the situation. In particular, diplomatic negotiations should be adhered to in resolving the current situation, rather than continuing to incite public opinion and send contradictory messages.

11) FMPRC reporting Wu Bangguo’s  remarks on public opinion in Chinese-Dutch relations, May 17, 2012:

Third, both sides should further deepen humanities exchanges, implement a new round of MoUs on cultural, education, scientific and technological cooperation, enhance tourism cooperation and build up understanding and friendship between both peoples through colorful and diverse forms of exchange activities so as to cement the public opinion basis of state relations.

12) China Daily: Regular Foreign-Ministry press conference, June 21, 2012:

BEIJING – A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman on Thursday urged the Philippine side to stop making remarks that will instigate the public opinion.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei made the remarks at a regular press briefing when asked to comment on Philippine President Benigno Aquino’s recent remarks on Huangyan Island.

Aquino said Wednesday that the Philippine Air Force will soon fly over Huangyan Island to check the situation in the area.
[…]

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Related

» Vietnamese Maritime Law Illegal and Invalid, CNTV, June 22, 2012
» Let’s Talk about War, June 21, 2012

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Saturday, June 9, 2012

European Soccer Championship and Radio

Netherlands vs. Denmark: no Radio Nederland shortwave transmission, no transmission on the two Dutch medium waves – but the BBC World Service covers the game in the 13 m band – for Africa, and for JR.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Norwegian-Chinese Relations: a Panda is no Polar Bear

China wants to join the Arctic Council as a permanent observer, or in other words, to quote Scott Stearn‘s Voice of America (VoA) blogpost of June 5, “China wants a bigger say in the Arctic, where thinning ice is opening faster trade routes to Asia in a region that could hold 20 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and natural gas.”

Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States are permanent members of the council, which is a organization for discussion and research, and “not bound by any treaties”.

Other countries – the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Poland, and Spain – are “permanent observers”, and China has applied to become one in 2013.

But there seems to be a problem. “The political dialogue between Norway and China for the last one and a half years has been at a pretty low level”, Stearn quotes Norway’s foreign minister Jonas Gahr Stoere.

If Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Song Tao were quoted correctly, and if nothing important is left out, Beijing apprently wants to get permanent observers without a need to care about its relations with Norway:

Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Song Tao says Beijing hopes to “cooperate with relevant countries like Sweden and Iceland on issues of peace, stability and sustainable development in the Arctic.”

That lacks some context. Song apparently made his comments in connection with a visit by Chinese chief state councillor Wen Jiabao to Iceland and Sweden. Norway wasn’t part of Wen’s tour – and not mentioning Norway would be natural under these circumstances.

That Wen didn’t call on Norway, however,  is probably no coincidence. “Ever since the Norwegian Nobel Peace Prize Committee granted the prize to Chinese dissident Liu Ziaobo [sic – i. e. Liu Xiaobo], China has frozen relations with the country”, Barents Observer wrote in April.

Given that the Arctic Council is a rather informal group, China will have access to other international bodies to push its interests concerning the Arctic. But that doesn’t keep Beijing from trying to become a permanent observer.

China isn’t easy to deal with (or no trifle – 不好惹, bùhǎorě), Taiwan News quotes “foreign media” – and apparently prefers to advance no views of its own. Instead, its article is basically a reflection of Stearn’s VoA blogpost.

But while Norwegian-Chinese relations on the political level may be as dead as rotten salmon, the two countries do keep a tradition of long-term, open and friendly cooperation in the field of science going (在科研和合作方面有着长期开放和友好合作的传统), notes Norway’s embassy in China.Oslo University, Bergen University, the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research (CICERO), plus some other Norwegian institutions, work with the Chinese Academy of Science’s (CASS) Institute of Atmospheric Physics and the (Beijing) State Key Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology, on six projects concerning climate and environmental resarch.

If you can’t hug the panda itself, try to hug its scientific leg instead. The only problem: how can you bring it home to a panda that it is no polar bear, especially when you can’t talk to its face?

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Related Tag: Liu Xiaobo.

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Monday, April 9, 2012

Radio Canada International “Strives”, but is “Effectively Retired”

That’s not how the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) puts it. According to CBC CEO Hubert T. Lacroix,

“From now on RCI will provide multilingual service broadcasting in English, French, Spanish, Arabic, and Mandarin that strives to help audiences discover and especially understand democratic and cultural life and values in Canada”.

In Jonathan Marks‘ (Critical Distance) words,

Radio Canada International, without radio, becomes a branding mistake rather than a serious service.

Marks’ verdict apparently isn’t targeted at other existing or former international shortwave broadcasters, but only at Radio Canada International (RCI). The CBC’s press release suggested that they don’t really know what RCI on the web is supposed to share, writes Marks. He might still see such content when it comes to Radio Netherlands, who continue to make specific programs for audiences abroad, or when it comes to the BBC World Service or Deutsche Welle (Voice of Germany), for that matter.

All those stations either radically reduced or cancelled shortwave broadcasts in certain languages. Radio Netherlands is still on the (shortwave) air in Dutch, but is expected to phase its Dutch language radio broadcasts out some time during this coming summer.

Deutsche Welle terminated their shortwave broadcasts in German in October last year, but maintained some shortwave broadcasts in English and French to Africa, from the Kigali (Rwanda) relay station.

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Related

» The “Firedrake”, March 17, 2012
» DW: End of the Radio Era, January 2, 2012
» “Free Speech, Dutch Values”, June 10, 2011
» “Stuff of the Past”, April 2, 2011

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