Posts tagged ‘shoeing’

Friday, March 4, 2011

Princelings and Sideshows: LSE and “Biased Media”

Sir Howard Davies has resigned as director of the London School of Economics (LSE).

He said the decision to accept £300,000 for research from a foundation run by Col Gaddafi’s son Saif had “backfired”. The LSE council has commissioned an independent inquiry into the university’s relationship with Libya,

reports the BBC.

Shoe Me Quick

Kiss Me Quick

Boo! Hiss!

OK. Cracks aside.

Was Sir Howard really wrong to advise the LSE to accept the donation from the Saif Gaddafi’s Foundation and visiting Libya to advise its regime about financial reforms?

It seems he was only wrong because the Gaddafi regime, of which Saif al-Islam Gaddafi was a natural member, is now most probably on  its way out in Libya. No power, no business.

Others may argue that the brutality with which the Libyan regime – reportedly – clings on to power so far – was something that its business friends couldn’t have foreseen, and that we now have a new picture of that regime. Which would be bullshit.

Sir Howard, I believe, shouldn’t have resigned. Not for this reason, or not for this reason alone. If money from a Gaddafi foundation is reason to resign, countless other directors or deans elsewhere would have to resign along with him, for all kinds of connections with illegitimate regimes. The London School of Economics isn’t the only renowned international school which would teach dictators’ children from all over the world, and cultivate fruitful relations with them. The only difference between Libya’s, and most other regimes: Libya’s regime is stumbling. It’s no longer good for business. And that hypocrisy doesn’t backfire on Sir Howard. It backfires on all those of us who believe that you can “make friends” with systematic violators of human rights.

When a student in Cambridge, Martin Jahnke, acted in a pretty natural way – he threw a sneaker at China’s chief state councillor Wen Jiabao and added some unfriendly remarks, during Wen’s visit to Cambridge University in February 2009 -, Britain’s then prime minister Gordon Brown wrote a letter of apology to Wen.

But in the light of the current LSE “scandal”, we should think again. Jahnke’s manners left a lot to be desired, but he had tagged a legitimate question to his shoe, which would have deserved more attention than did his shoe’s trajectory:

How can the University prostitute itself with this dictator here?

Yeah, how could it? How can they do that, if connections with Saif-al Islam Gaddafi are, all of a sudden, a reason for a director to resign?

Let’s not become distracted. The issue about “the Western media being biased” in their coverage on a “Jasmine Revolution” in China was just a side show, and a successful bit of agenda-setting by CCP proxies. The real issue is elsewhere.

The number of people showing up for “Sunday strolls” in China last month was small – single-digit in Beijing’s Wangfujing shopping district, apparently. But as the Telegraph’s correspondent Peter Foster pointed out,

the ruling Party, far from taking encouragement from last weekend’s dismal showing, appears increasingly nervous and heavy-handed. They must feel they have something to fear.  Since last Friday rights groups say that more than 100 assorted activists and lawyers have been arrested or beaten or put under house arrest and the internet is grinding slow under the censorship apparatus.

There’s much reason to believe that demonstrations in Beijing would become uncontrollable for the ruling party, if demonstrators had a snowball’s chance in hell to even go back home unmolested by the security apparatus, after a demonstration of, say, an hour or so. Understandably, they aren’t out for getting themselves tortured, or killed, with zero chance of political success.

That a “Jasmine Revolution” or whatever other kind of revolution may not happen in China any time soon is no reason to think more highly of the CCP and its princelings, than of Colonel Gaddafi, and his offspring.

No reason except that the princelings have more money to spend, and that they are closely connected to those in power, that is.

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Related:
British PM writes to Chinese PM, February 10, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

“The Patriotic Road for Students Abroad: From Protest to Dialog”

Xinmin Evening NewsHuaren website republished an article from Xinhua’s International Herald (国际先驱导报) today. The author is Qi Fei (漆菲), and the apparently educational article is spread all over the Chinese online publications.

Translated by JR. Corrections are welcome.

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Protest isn’t the only Patriotic Way

From protest to dialog – students studying abroad have become more mature

From the heat of last year’s Olympic Games in August to now, it was a year of ups and downs, many Chinese students studying abroad feel. From defending the Beijing Olympic Torch to the Yuanmingyuan auction in France, the Cambridge University shoe-throwing incident, and the international incidents related to the 7-5 incident, one particular group frequently appeared: Chinese students studying abroad, compelled by their patriotism, went public, their path into foreign relations built up incessantly, and matured increasingly. After one year’s experience their ideas and actions concerning patriotism are also gradually changing.

Using Silence to show Resistance against Rebiya Kadeer

“The more you get to do with Rebiya Kadeer, the higher she will soar.”  Chinese Students Association chairman Xie Qingfeng (谢清风) at the University of Canberra feels some disdain1) for Rebiya Kadeer’s presence at the Melbourne International Film Festival. After learning that Kadeer had obtained an Australian visa, the students agreed to remain collectively inactive.

On the evening of August 8, Kadeer appeared at the site where the documentary “The Ten Conditions of Love” were screened. According to AFP, a few mainly Chinese anti-secessionist overseas students waved banners outside the venue, and one protester clashed with a “Xinjiang independence” element. However, that probably wasn’t the scale of protest Kadeer had hoped for.

Opposing Kadeer’s performance in Australia, Chinese overseas students in Australia generally believe that Kadeer used the mentality of those Australians who don’t understand China […]. Therefore the students agreed to refrain from action and to avoid becoming laughing stock, which would only increase her momentum and bluster.

Patriotism isn’t “A Deal or No Deal”

By comparison, more than a year ago, Xie Qingfeng and the other students were brimming with passion.

Representing a major organization at the protection of the Canberra torch relay of last year, Xie Qingfeng is very proud when the topic arises. The location on the shore of Griffin Lake surrounded by forest, the young and elegant city was full of passion on April 24, 2008. Xie was responsible for the final point of the torch relay. The area wasn’t big, but packed with 25,000 to 30,000 people. “We filled an overland bus of a Canberra bus company, and swept into a McDonald’s at a rest stop”, remembers Xie Qingfeng.

The Sacred Torch Relay incident of April last year to some extent also led Chinese overseas students in France to unprecedented unity. They organized protest demonstrations against the forces and behavior interfering with the torch relay. A student studying for a Communications master degree (传播学) and secretary-general of the April Friends Association, Cai Yintong (蔡印同), remembers clearly that there were some hot-tempered youngsters who couldn’t help but charge “Tibet independence” elements….

“But violent acts are only needed in unusual situations”, analyzes Cai Yintong. “After all, this isn’t the style of Chinese people, and it also plays into the hands of the opposing forces. When thinking about how to show patriotism, Cai Yintong believes that the most important thing is to find ways to influence local people in the long run, rather than holding “deal-or-no-deal” protest marches (‘抗议游行这类短暂的“一锤子买卖’). “We don’t hope to convince others all of a sudden, but through dialog and communication, we want to offer them a perspective, to tell them what the real China looks like”, he says.

Early in 2009, when State Council Premier Wen Jiabao encountered the unpleasant “shoe-throwing event”, governance and international studies researcher and overseas student Chang Feifan (常非凡)  was among the eyewitnesses at Cambridge University. The incident first infuriated him and other Chinese students in England, but after the German student had admitted his fault and apologized, Chinese students withdrew a petition they had originally planned for the days in court. The students’ calmness avoided an escalation of the situation, and those who stayed clear stayed clear, and left the filthy to besmirch themselves (让清者自清,浊者自浊).

Replacing Protest by Dialog

“How can one be nostalgic without being abroad?”, some students interviewed said. After their experiences, patriotic feelings are still surging in their blood. The difference now is the adjustment in their coping strategies.

On an evening in July, in a cafe not far from a bus stop in Montparnasse, a heated discussion is in full swing. The topic is “Xinjiang unrest and China’s policies on national minorities”, organized by Sino-French Youth Exchange Organization (中法民间青年交流组织) and the April Friends Association. French people from all walks of life and media have been invited. Participants believe that the activity is helpful in deepening the understanding of issues related to the incident [this refers to “7-5”], and mutual understanding between Chinese and French people.

The Association’s secretary-general Cai Yintong tells Xinhua International Herald: “People in China or France who really understand the other side are very rare.” In his opinion, conflicts (矛盾, contradictions) between China and France don’t stem from fundamental conflicts of interest, but from a lack of communication and trust. On April 19 last year, when alienation between China and the West was deepest, Li Huan (李洹) delivered his speech “I can’t accept to see my country misrepresented” on the Place de la Concorde in fluent French. Just as now, as chairman of the April Friends Association, he said after the formation of the organization that “constant dripping wears the stone”, i.e. reduces Sino-Western alienation (滴水穿石地消融中西方民间隔阂).

Their actions also attracted attention in France. Cai Yintong and another member got invitations. In their personal capacity, they went to the French National Assembly and provided reports about Chinese foreign relations and Sino-French relations to experts and scholars at the French defense ministry, the Asia Center and other organizations. “I think the French think tanks are glad to hear voices directly from Chinese civil society, and we also hope to be able to influence the influential “opinion leaders”.

Just as Xie Qingfeng and Chang Feifan do similar things in their organizations, several “high-end Cambridge Forums” will be held in the near future, and on the occasion of the 60th national day, related shows and debates will also be held. In Chang Feifan’s view, the process of taking shape and the  instability of the international situation and environment will lead to more inevitable challenges for China. “The times demand that we will always be patriotic overseas students, and do more work to improve communication and understanding between China and the West”, says Chang Feifan.

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1) 不屑 (bu xie) – to feel it beneath one’s dignity to do something

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Related: NPC Tibetan Delegates visit to U.S., March 20, 2009

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Shoe-Thrower cleared of Offence

District Judge Ken Sheraton sitting at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court found Martin Jahnke not guilty after two days.

Related: “a sensitive date”, April 18

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Blocked Again

Blogger and WordPress are blocked and unblocked as if on a switch, writes Ryan McLaughlin (the Humanaught).  This blog hasn’t seen clicks from China for several days (with the possible exception of proxy users).

A sensitive date is nearing. It’s pretty sensitive in England, too. Martin Jahnke, an orientally-inspired shoe-bunger, is standing trial in Cambridge Magistrates’ Court today, and maybe also tomorrow.

But no later. The court’s legal advisor had told the magistrates that June 4 would be a sensitive date. If the trial lasts no longer than three days, it should now end on June 3.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Amnesty International Blog: Signatures for Martin Jahnke?

A number of activists wrote an open letter to the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs (Subcommittee on Human Rights), according to an Amnesty International blog post of February 27. The letter criticizes the prosecution’s allegations against Martin Jahnke, who threw a shoe at China’s prime minister Wen Jiabao at Cambridge University on February 2. Its comparison of the case against Jahnke with that of a man who slapped former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder in the face and got away with four months probation is interesting.

But most interesting to me are the apparent suspicion of the undersigned that  England’s Cambridge Magistrates’ Court might bring a disproportionate verdict, before the trial has even started. This kind of activism is untimely. What the prosecution asks for isn’t necessarily what it will get from the court.

Where does this lack of trust stem from?

One of the signatories is Mrs Wang Rongfen (王蓉芬). An NY Times article of three years ago tells her story.

Such stories should be listened to. But during the past year with the Olympic-Games activism, it dawned on me that the European establishment and many European institutions haven’t had a real policy on interaction with China for decades. That’s why an open letter was able to catch the Voice of Germany flat-footed. For too long, the focus had been on the power that be – the CCP -, and not on dissenting voices from China.

The signatories of the open letter to the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs Committee are right: China’s political system is totalitarian. The CCP has only eased its grip on the country, because modernization helped the stability of its rule. For sure, the CCP also tries to compromise political systems abroad. [1] [2]

But not every statement by the CCP is wrong, and not every statement by the dissidents is correct. To judge where we should heed either side’s advice, and where we should not, we need information, and a position of our own. Without that, we are easy targets for campaigns from all sides.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

June 4 is a sensitive Date in England

Martin Jahnke, researcher at Cambridge University, and a lousy pitcher, will face trial for a public order offense on June 1, i. e. for throwing a shoe at Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao. Jahnke’s trial had been due to be held on June 2, 3, and 4 at Cambridge Magistrate’s Court, according to the BBC.

The court’s legal advisor told the magistrates that June 4 would be a sensitive date. If the trial lasts no longer than three days, it should now end on June 3.

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