Posts tagged ‘sovereignty’

Sunday, October 11, 2015

This Week (2): If you are Chinese today, can you become Taiwan’s President?

Probably not. But then, especially in Taiwanese politics, everything depends on definitions. If you think – and publicly state – that there is one China with different interpretations (一中各表), and if you add that this means that China is in fact the Republic of China (RoC), and that the constitution doesn’t permit a concept of two Chinas, that might work for a president, or for a presidential candidate, especially when your opponents are in disarray. That was the case with the (governing) DPP when Ma Ying-jeou himself was elected RoC president, in 2008. Back then, and in an article that didn’t necessarily describe Taiwan’s legal status accurately, the Washington Post referred to the president-elect as a smooth Harvard law graduate.

There’s a problem with Chineseness in Taiwan however when your opponents are well-organized and pretty much in tune with the majority of the country. And there’s a problem when you, as a candidate, are anything but smooth. Her Hong Hsiu-chu‘s political career was, but apparently, she owed that to herself, friends, and her wider family, rather than to her party, the KMT. And she is said to be very outspoken – that makes for a difficult relationship with a party that is hardly known for non-conformism.

There’s also a problem with Chineseness in Taiwan when you create the impression that you can’t wait for Taiwan’s “reunification with the mainland”, with mottos like one China, one interpretation (一中同表). Yes, you can afford some non-starters when there is no real opponent, as was the case for Ma Ying-jeou from about 2005 to 2010. All the same, telling an international audience via CNN that Taiwan would never ask the American to fight for Taiwan was too smooth to become acceptable.

Tsai Ing-wen, the oppositional Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) nominee, has managed to convince much of the centrist political spectrum in Taiwan that she is not, like former president Chen Shui-bian, a “troublemaker”. In 2011, during her first candidacy for presidency, then against incumbent Ma Ying-jeou, she acknowledged the Republic of China’s significance for Taiwan, even if Taiwan had its own history. That was on October 10, Taiwan’s national day. This year, she agreed to an invitation by legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng to attend the official “double-ten” celebrations.

In this context, Hung Hsiu-hong became the actual “radical” in the election campaigns, and her apparent closeness to China only helped Tsai.

Just how much the KMT is in disarray can be seen from this well-meant, but delirious advice as from the KMT-leaning China Post in summer this year:

The Taiwanization faction is wrong. Hung’s China policy can be a weapon with which she can fight Tsai Ing-wen, chairwoman of the DPP who bears its standard. Tsai is far outdistancing Hung, according to polls conducted by pro-Taiwan independence think tanks. Instead of attempting to copy the DPP’s pro-Taiwanization stance, Hung can try to narrow Tsai’s lead by telling eligible voters that her policy is to build a roadmap to eventual Chinese unification. She has to only explain it is a Chinese version of the Commonwealth that is an evolutionary outgrowth of the British Empire and that relations between the Republic of China in Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China would be like those between the United Kingdom and Canada or Australia or New Zealand.

This read as if Kang Youwei had been at work again.

To cut a long, miserable story short: yes, you can (become Taiwan’s President if you are Chinese today). But not if you are too Chinese.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Xi Jinping: Commemorating the War, Expanding the Picture

The following is a translation of a People’s Daily article, republished on Enorth (Tianjin) on Saturday morning local time. The article appears to be a combination of an event, and more or less verbatim quotes from a speech by Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People on the occasion. There is no clear distinction between what Xi Jinping said, and what is added by the (unnamed) commentator or commentators (人民日報評論員, as stated by another republishing website).

According to Guanchazhe, a magazine and website from Shanghai, the ceremony described underneath took place on Wednesday, with Xi Jinping awarding commemorative medals to Chinese and foreign war veterans or veterans’ family people, and delivering an important speech (发表重要讲话, a conventional term to express appreciation and attention for the words of top leaders). Li Keqiang, Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli reportedly attended the event.

Main link: Carry forward the Spirit

Links within blockquotes added during translation — JR

A heroic spirit between Heaven and Earth, inspiring the Ages with Awe


At the solemn moment of commemorating the 70th anniversary of China’s war of resistance against Japan and the world’s victory over fascism, the motorcade with the veterans of the war of resistance, the martyrs’ sons and daughters,  the former frontline exemplary persons, escorted by guards on motorcycles, first received the reverence of the motherland and the people, on Tian An Men Square. At the Great Hall of the People, State Chairman Xi Jinping awarded veterans, comrades and high-ranking veterans of the war of resistance with the People’s Republic of China’s War-of-Resistance 70-years Commemorative Medal. The whole nation, from the leadership to the masses, cherished the memory of the martyrs in the war of resistance who fought bloody battles, sung the praise of the great war-of-resistance spirit, standing together and expanding towards the great power of the nation’s rejuvenation.


“A nation that is hopeful cannot be without heroes, and a promising country cannot be without pioneers.” Secretary-general Xi Jinping looked back at the hard and bitter war of resistance against Japan, the unremitting and continuous struggle of the Chinese people ever since the opium wars, and how the Chinese nation moved from the darkness into the light, from humiliation to a position of prosperity and strength, inspiring a people of hundreds of millions to move forward along a road marked with the heroes’ footprints, with the confidence to achieve the Chinese dream.


The people uphold their own heroes, the motherland needs her own heroes. Stilling the hunger only by eating tree bark and cotton batting, Yang Jingyu, as he was told to surrender, sternly replied: “no need to say more, just open fire.” Zhang Zhizhong fought to the last moment, “determined to die for the country and the people, just as the sea isn’t clear and stone won’t rot, there won’t be the slightest change.” The eight-hundred heroes of the Sihang Warehouse, “without instructions or command, rather died than retreated”, The 82 Liu Lao Zhuang Lian soldiers fought to the end, all heroically sacrificing themselves for the country … At the Chinese nation’s most dangerous hour, thousands upon thousands of heroes at the war of resistance casted themselves into death, spilled their blood, in a heroic spirit that conquered mountains and rivers, they lifted the hearts of millions of people to awaken the nation to the resistance against foreign aggression. The deeds of their heros will forever remain in history, and their awe-inspiring righteousness will illuminate the centuries.


The heroes come from the people, and the people nurture the heroes. How many mothers, in the fourteen years of the war of resistance, gave their sons to the battlefield, how many common people gave all they had for the country to resist the enemy. This is the ocean of the people’s war which trapped and destroyed the enemy, these are thousands after thousands of heroic sons and daughters who, with their flesh and blood, saved the nation, a Great Wall of defense for the nation’s dignity, and wrote, for a shaken world to read, chapters and pieces of patriotism. “No matter if they directly partipated in the war or if they assisted from the back area, all Chinese people who threw themselves into the war of resistance against Japan are war heroes, they are all national heroes.”


To engrave history in our hearts and to cherish the memory of the martyrs is to inherit the great spirit shown by the heroes. In those years, countless heroes in the war of resistance saw the fall and rise of the world, with a sense of duty from patriotic feelings, faced death without fear, with national integry that would rather die than surrender, [the heroes] defied brutal depression, they fought to the end with sublime heroism, they unyieldingly, firmly and indomitably kept their confidence in victory, casting the great spirit of the war of resistance. Today, we advocate the heroes, learn from the heroes, so that we will advance and enrich that spirit, so that we will defend peace on a new historic journey, so that we will unlock the future, and fulfill our countless heroes’ unfinished hopes to revitalize the Chinese nation.


Great times summon great spirit, a sublime cause requires ambitious minds. To recall how the Eighth Army smashed the Japanese army in the Huangtuling battles, when the writer Wei Wei wrote that “on the battlefield, it was clear to see that two different kinds of spirits measured their strengths against each other. One was the Japanese ‘warrior’s way’ spirit; the other was the Red Army’s revolutionary purpose, finding out whose determination was greater, and who of the two would prevail.” In a blood-and-fire, life-and-death struggle with the aggressor, the spirit of resistance against Japan was hardened into steel, and encouraged the Chinese people to win the first complete victory over foreign invaders in modern times. Today, as we carry out a new great struggle with many historical characteristics, we also need heroes, and a heroic spirit for the new era.


To engrave in our hearts all the things the heroes did for the Chinese nation and the Chinese people, to advocate the heroes, to defend the heroes, to learn from the heroes, to care for the heroes, to advocate the great spirit of patriotism, to advocate the great spirit of the war of resistance against Japan, we can certainly lay the cornerstone of confidence, revive the ability to struggle, to be united with one mind in the struggle for national rejuvenation, to create the Chinese nation’s new splendor.


Original title: Carry Forward the Spirit cast by the Heroes of the War of Resistance




» Open the Skies for the Young, May 5, 2013
» PRC stands Towering, Mar 18, 2013


Friday, September 4, 2015

Old Friends: No you Can’t, Yes we Can

1. You can’t invite that (alleged) War Criminal, can you?

Granted, there were a number of good reasons to stay away from the CCP’s military parade, and the falsification of history that marched among the ranks – after all, it was the Republic of the two Chinas that won the war -, was one of them. But then, Japan, too, cooks history books, and that would deserve more attention, too – I haven’t heard of any Western leader recently who’d cancel a meeting with Japanese prime ministers because of such issues. Maybe it is because history as a science isn’t considered to push economic growth, and therefore deemed useless. But then, history probably wasn’t a main driver of disharmony anyway.

Rather, what seems to have bugged a number of world leaders was Beijing’s guest list, which included Omar Hassan al-Bashir, Sudan’s president. A scandal?

Not if you ask Hua Chunying (华春莹), spokeswoman at China’s foreign ministry. Some Q&A from the ministry’s regular press conference on Tuesday:

Q: Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir will attend the September 3 activities. President Xi Jinping will also meet with him. Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes. Is there a contradiction that China invites him to attend activities marking the victory of World War II?


A: African people, including Sudanese people, made important contributions to the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War. It is reasonable and justified for China to invite President Bashir to attend the commemorative activities. China will accord him with due treatment during his stay in China.


Being not a signatory to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, China will deal with relevant issue on the basis of the basic principles of international law.


Now, one might ask why China is no signatory to the Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court. That would go to the heart of the matter, while the spokesperson’s statement remains at the surface. The underlying answer may well be that to Beijing, Omar al-Bashir is primarily the president of Sudan, and only secondly, Beijing’s son of a bitch old friend. That al-Bashir’s immunity is, to Beijing, a matter of state sovereignty, not of personal responsibility or guilt. That aside, the attitude is best compatible with China’s interests in Africa – and maybe, there’s still a bit of a fear among China’s elites that they could, in a worst-case scenario, become targets of the ICC.

In a case like al-Bashir’s, Beijing’s critics are wrong, and Beijing is near-absolutely right. There can be no justice if leaders of small countries can be taken to court, and leaders of great powers remain immune. Peace may be “a journey” and “a never-ending process”, because dialogue is a voluntary choice. But when it comes to justice, tougher standards need to be applied. Unequal justice is an oxymoron.

Hua Chunying’s reference to the Rome Statute is also an elegant swipe against U.S. critics in particular: Washington has signed the Statute, but never ratified it.

2. You can’t Invite Shen Lyushun, can you?

Yes, we can, says Washington D.C., and so it happened on Wednesday. Taiwan’s English-language paper,  The China Post:

In a highly symbolic move, Taiwan’s representative to the United States attended an event in Washington D.C. Wednesday to commemorate the Allied Forces victory in the Pacific and the end of World War II.

Shen Lyushun’s (沈呂巡) attendance was the first time Taiwan’s top diplomat had been invited to attend similar events in the United States.

Now, guess what – Beijing reportedly didn’t like the guest list:

China’s ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai did not attend the event even though he had been invited. Chinese officials have protested the inclusion of Taiwan’s presence at the event.

Which is fine. Dialogue remains a voluntary choice.



» Failure to Arrest, The Guardian, June 24, 2015
» CIA & Hundesöhne, Tagesanzeiger, Feb 7, 2013
» Not a party to treaty, John Bolton, May 6, 2002


Sunday, July 5, 2015

Refined Propaganda: China’s “National Security Law”, and PLA Exercise in Hong Kong

CCTV coverage, July 4

See what happens? – Xinwen Lianbo, CCTV, July 4.
The exercise didn’t feature
prominently in the broadcast,
and was only shown among a
collection of short news
owards the end of the program.



“People’s Liberation Army” (PLA) troops stationed in Hong Kong conducted a military exercise at Castle Peak (青山, Green Hill) on Saturday morning, China News Service (CNS, 中国新闻网) reported on the same day. More than 500 Hong Kongers “from all walks of life” were invited as guests, according to the report. An imaginary enemy was occupying twelve successive mountain hills there, according to the screenplay, looking for opportunities to infiltrate the city area and to do damage there (训练场内,依次相连的12个山头被一股假想敌占据。指挥所、迫击炮阵地、地堡工事,假想敌在高地构筑阵地,企图伺机对香港市区实施渗透破坏).  It was the PLA’s task to “annihilate them on the spot”, before they could enter the city (在他们尚未进入市区之前,解放军需要将其就地歼灭).

If the CNS report (whose audience will be mainly mainlanders) reflects what the invited Hong Kongers felt, it was as much a revolutionary opera as an exercise:

In the morning at 10:50, three signal lights rose into the air, and the long-awaited PLA-simulated naval gunfire was opened. At command, the enemy targets were shrouded in smoke.


The turns of firepower attacks didn’t stop. Armed helicopters had just taken off, when mortar bombs arrived at high speed. As the flight speed was too fast, and as the sunlight hampered the eye, the trajectories weren’t clearly visible, but explosions, one to another, could be seen on the opposite hilltop. Six rounds of ten mortars firing, and the enemy targets had suffered heavy destruction.


You can probably imagine the rest.

Either the SCMP reporter, the CNS correspondent or this blogger’s translation has got some details wrong though. According to the SCMP, it wasn’t six mortars, but six military helicopters that were mobilised fired on targets set up on the mountain from distances of about 1km.

Either way, the SCMP quotes former Hong Kong security chief Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee (叶刘淑仪) as saying that

I don’t think we need to read too much into the timing. I think the garrison has a duty to assure us that they are well-prepared and ready to defend Hong Kong if there is any threat to our security

Her comments referred to a possible link between the exercise, and a sweeping and controversial national security law, passed by China’s “National People’s Congress” three days earlier.

Apparently, the guests did the propaganda work within Hong Kong, telling the SCMP reporter that the timing of the exercise was unimportant, and that the PLA was merely trying to show Hong Kong that it had the power to protect the city.

Radio Free Asia (RFA), a US broadcaster supervised by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), points out that the exercise on Saturday had been the first time that the PLA troops stationed in Hong Kong had invited media and guests. Two of these, Regina Ip, Ma Dingsheng (马鼎盛, apparently a Fenghuang/Phoenix-affiliated miltary commentator from Hong Kong), are quoted both by the SCMP, and RFA.

The Economist points out that state security is a job for the top, conveying

the remarkable range of Mr Xi’s worries, with potential threats seen to be emanating from sources as diverse as the internet, culture, education and outer space.

While the vagueness of the “national security law passed in Beijing could be followed by detailed regulations later, it was unlikely that its key terms will ever be defined more precisely. To Mr Xi, vagueness is a useful weapon.

There could be a little relief in Hong Kong, however, the Economist adds, given that the bill would not be applied in the territory.

That said, the bill isn’t lacking ambition outside mainland China. Ît obliges not only Hong Kong or Macau, but Taiwan, too, to defend China’s sovereignty, notes the SCMP. Huanqiu Shibao (环球时报, in an article rendered here by Sina), notes that the passing of the “National Security Law” had ccaused shock in Hong Kong and Taiwan (全国人大常委会高票通过新的国家安全法,在香港和台湾引发震撼).

The Huanqiu article suggests – without becoming to specific about this question – that worries in Hong Kong that people seen as daring oppositionals like Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) could be arrested when visiting mainland China were unfounded, as the bill was not applied in Hong Kong for the time being (即使法律暂时不在香港执行).

There were, of course, many people in Hong Kong who welcomed the new state security law, Huanqiu adds. But the article also quotes BBC coverage according to which the government and the public in Taiwan (literally: the court and the commonality, 台湾朝野一致反对大陆新国安法) unanimously opposed the bill.

The propaganda approach is pretty global, and China appears to have learned a lot from the Western political class, in terms of more refined propaganda. Pretty much the way most of Germany’s mainstream media make people believe that Greece’s political class and activists are pampered (and costly, for Germans) idiots, Huanqiu fosters a climate in which mainlanders will no longer ask why the liberties customary in Hong Kong shouldn’t be applied in mainland China, but rather, why there should be “special treatment” for anyone within “Greater China”.



» One Movement, two Pictures, Nov 27, 2014


Monday, May 18, 2015

Eurasian Challenges (1): Belittling Taiwan to Please China

Following his attendance in Moscow at the commemoration of the 70th VE Day anniversary, Chinese party and state leader Xi Jinping paid a three-day state visit to Belarus. Tokyo-based online magazine The Diplomat published a summary of Xi’s visit on May 12, quoting Belorussian president Alexander Lukashenko – as, in turn, quoted by Xinhua newsagency -, as saying that

I adopted China’s step-by-step economic reform style in Bearus and believe that the most important prerequisite for economic development and economic reforms is social stability.

The Diplomat article also quoted Xi Jinping, again via Xinhua, as saying that the “Chinese president” wanted to turn a joint Belarus-Sino industrial park into a pearl on the Silk Road Economic Belt.

The article points out that public attitudes in Eastern Europe were generally more open toward China than in Western Europe, and describes how Beijing tunes its policies and institutions on these two regions, depening on the degrees of openness.

Both Lukashenko and Xi noted that Belarus, thanks to its geographical placement as the gateway between Eurasia and Europe, has a major role to play in bringing the Silk Road Economic Belt to Europe, according to The Diplomat.

As on May 8 in a ceremony in Moscow, Xi also presented medals to World War 2 veterans in Belarus. In both ceremonies, the veterans had reportedly fought in the Japanese War.

Belarussian English-language media – there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of them – appear to remain silent on a joint statement published by the two heads of state, which includes a regular Belarussian political tribute: belittling Taiwan to please China, as Taiwan News put it on Tuesday.

According to the Chinese version of the joint statement,

Belarus reiterated that it it adhered to the one-China policy, acknowledged that the People’s Republic of China represents the entirety of China as its only legal government, that Taiwan is an inseparable part of China’s territory, that [Belarus] opposes any kind of “Taiwan independence”, promises not to establish official relations with Taiwan or to officially interact with Taiwan, that it opposes the accession of Taiwan to any international or regional organizations [where participation is limited to] sovereign states, that it will not sell arms to Taiwan, that it will support peaceful development across the Taiwan Strait and all the Chinese government’s efforts to achieve national reunification.


According to the Taipei Times on May 13, Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Anna Kao (高安) said the ministry “deeply regrets” that Minsk reiterated the position it had long held for the sake of “ingratiating itself with mainland China”.

Radio Taiwan International (RTI) also reports the reaction from Taiwan’s foreign ministry:

Concerning the content of mainland China’s and Belarussia’s joint joint communiqué, the Republic of China’s [Taiwan] foreign ministry said yesterday evening (May 12) that when mainland Chinese chief state councillor Wen Jiabao visited Belarus in 2007, and when the Belarussian president visited mainland China in 2013, all joint communiqués signed by the two sides mentioned “opposition against Taiwan joining any international and regional organizations [with participation limited to] sovereign states”. This time’s repetition of the old tune shows Belarus’ [is prepared to] curry favor with mainland China by issuing this statement which is ignorant of international realities and which inappropriately affects our country’s legal interests, on which the foreign ministry expressed regret.


The foreign ministry reiterated that the Republic of China [Taiwan] is a free, democratic sovereign state with the right to apply, in accordance with the people’s wishes, for membership in international organizations in accordance with its legal interests. This decision and approach is unaffected by any individual country’s talk.


The foreign ministry said that after the Soviet Union’s disintegration, the Republic of Taiwan [Taiwan] had established a representative office in Belarus, but because of the low volume of business, decided to close it down in 2005. Business was taken care of by the representative office in Russia. Had there ever been arms trade between Taiwan and Belarus? Chiang Su-yih, former representative to Belarus, said that this was “absurd. That has never happened.”


In an editorial on May 14, the Taipei Times cited the Belorussian-Chinese joint statement as an example of how President Ma Ying-jeou‘s concept of a “1992 consensus” had failed:

In view of Beijing’s continued denigration of Taiwan’s status, it is obvious that such a cross-strait consensus does not exist.

The Taipei Times’ Chinese-language sister paper, the Liberty Times, questions that a meeting between Eric Chu, chairman of president Ma Ying-jeou’s KMT, and Xi Jinping, in China earlier this month, was showing any positive effects, and quotes KMT legislator Johnny Chiang‘s (江啟臣) interpretation of the joint statement:

[Chiang said] Xi Jinping wanted to turn the cross-Strait- bottomline into an international bottomline, as a foretaste for Taiwan’s general elections next year, as a “warning” for Taiwan. The [oppositional] Democratic Progressive Party’s China Department director and [the party’s] legislator Chao Tien-lin believes that dignified and meaningful participation in international organizations was the common position of the Taiwanese people and should not be affected by unreasonable suppression and restrictions. Beijing should respect the Taiwanese peoples’ will and expectations, and “should not deepen Taiwanese society’s negative impression of Beijing”.

對於上述聲明,國民黨立委江啟臣認為,習近平把兩岸關係的底線,放在 國際上變成底線,有針對台灣明年大選情勢的味道,這是對台灣的「示警」。兼任民進黨中國事務部主任的立委趙天麟則認為,有尊嚴、有意義參與國際組織,這是 台灣人民的共同主張,不應遭受不合理的打壓與限制,北京應尊重台灣人民的意志與期望,「不要讓台灣社會加深對北京的負面觀感」。

Now, if you wonder how Beijing likes Taiwanese coverage of Chinese policies, Xinhua provides the answer. They aren’t happy at all.

Whenever that happens, and when criticism right from the CCP’s mouthpieces themselves would appear unbelievable even to a, by now, pretty conditioned Chinese public, one should look out abroad for a voice sympathetic to ones’ own position. Xinhua has found that Taiwan’s Want Daily (旺报) – apparently, according to Xinhua’s excerpts, anyway – commiserates with China, an innocent victim of Taiwanese media aggression.


An editorial published [by Want Daily] on May 14 points out that Taiwanese media, when reporting or commenting on mainland or cross-strait news, are often full of bias and errors, having misguided Taiwanese peoples’ knowledge of mainland China and of mainland Chinese policies towards Taiwan. When influential Taiwanese media always report mainland Chinese and cross-strait news based on wrong understanding and with a partial attitude, how can the two sides of the Taiwan Strait ever open exchanges further up, and deepen goodwill and understanding, and how can the two sides of the Strait move from confrontation to reconciliation and blend with each other?

14日发表社论指出,台湾媒体报道或评论大陆与两岸新闻时经常充斥偏见与错误,长期误导台湾人对中国大陆及大陆对台政策的认知。如果有影响力的大众媒体总 是以错误的理解与偏颇的态度报道大陆与两岸新闻,两岸怎么可能借着交流的开放与深化增进善意与理解,两岸又怎么可能从对抗走向和解与融一?

Coverage on the joint statement with Belarus is among the list of media sins:

[…] The third is about the joint statement issued by the mainland and Belarus on May 10. A television station’s horse race was that “Belarus opposes Taiwanese participation in sovereign states’ organizations”.

[…..] 三是大陆与白俄罗斯于10日发表联合声明,一家电视台的跑马是“白俄罗斯反对台湾参加以主权国家参加的国际组织”。

But even in the eyes of somewhat critical Chinese readers, the way the Taiwanese paper – allegedly – defends the joint statement might come across as pointless:

As for Belarus’ and Beijing’s joint statement’s wording, it was used as early as in the two sides’ 2007 and 2013 communiqùés, and to keep playing the same tune is without much significance. The expanded interpretations by the media is only needed for internal political struggles.



» Quoting Ma Ying-jeou, May 20, 2011


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Occupy Central: one Movement, two Pictures

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



» A Chorus of Condemnation, Oct 7, 2014


Monday, August 18, 2014

Dempsey Visit: China People’s Broadcasting Station explains US-Vietnamese Partnership

Huanqiu Shibao had a rendition on a China People’s Broadcasting Station (CPBS, aka China National Radio) on Sunday. The following is a translation of the rendition.

Main Link:

China People’s Broadcasting Station Net (CPBS Net), Beijing, August 17 – According to the Voice of China’s “CPBS News”, the war that lasted for twenty years, from 1955 to 1975, gave both America lasting pain. After the end of the war, the two countries started opposing each other for twenty years, until the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1995.

央广网北京8月17日消息 据中国之声《央广新闻》报道,1955年到1975年,历经20年的越战给美越两国人民造成了永久的伤痛。越战后,美越两国开始了长达20年的对抗,直到1995年,两国才正式建立外交关系。

But after a family feud of half a century, and during the nineteen years of U.S.-Vietnamese relations that followed, tremendous changes have taken place. Just this month, on August 13, and for the first time after 43 years, an American Chief of Staff, Martin Dempsey, visited Vietnam, the highest-level military visiting Vietnam. Also, America will remove some parts of the arms embargo that had been in place for thirty years. Some Analysts believe that the warming up [in the two countries’ relations] is food for thought. [Voice of China’s] “Global Mandarin Broadcasting Network” America observer Yu Hao explains:

然 而,这长达半个多世纪的“家仇国恨”,在随后的十几年美越交往中发生着翻天覆地的变化。就在本月13号,时隔43周年后,美军参谋长联席会议主席登普西访 问越南,成为越战后首访越南的美国最高军事长官;而历经30年后,美国也将解除对越南部分武器禁运。有分析称,美越此时的“暧昧”关系值得深思。《全球华 语广播网》美国观察员余浩介绍:

What is the reason for the U.S. to lift the arms embargo against Vietnam right now? Most American media are looking at this with the background of rebalancing American forces towards Asia-Pacific, and Dempsey also emphasized in Vietnam that America didn’t want Vietnam to choose between the two big countries of America and China.*) In recent years, both America and Vietnam have become wary about China and have strengthened military cooperation. One by one, American secretary of defense and secretary of state visited Vietnam, even exploring the possibility of American warships calling at Cam Ranh Bay, and this time, Dempsey hinted that the arms embargo against Vietnam could be lifted, and one could say that this was boosting U.S.-Vietnamese military cooperation. The ultimate success depends on U.S. Congress approval. However, during this year, many members of Congress have visited Vietnam, like Senate heavyweight John McCain who visited only a few days ago and said that at the earlierst, a partial removal of the arms embargo could be achieved by September this year.

余 浩:为何美国在这个时候要解除对越南的武器禁运呢?美国的媒体大多是将其放在美国亚太再平衡和南海主权争端中越关系紧张的大背景下来观察,登普西在越南也 强调,美国并没有让越南在美中两个大国之间进行选择。近年来美国和越南这两个对中国同样有戒心的国家强化军事合作关系,美国国防部长、国务卿相继访问越 南,甚至探讨美军军舰在金兰湾停靠的可能性,登普西此次放风解除对越南武器禁运,可谓是给美越军事合作加油打气,最后能否成功还取决于美国国会是否批准, 不过今年以来美国议员密集访问越南,重量级参议院麦凯恩前几天刚刚访问过越南,并且称解除对越武器禁运,最快有可能于9月份部分实现。

While America and Vietnam established diplomatic relations, military exchange between the two sides has only been superficial, but when it comes to trade cooperation, it is almost comprehensively in full bloom, having reached leapfrogging style.


In 1994, one year before the establishment of diplomatic relations, U.S. president Clinton lifted the economic embargo against Vietnam, and the two countries’ trade grew quickly. On December 10, 2001, the U.S.-Vietnamese bilateral trade agreement came into effect, and since then, trade relations have boomed. From January to July this year, Vietnam has exported goods to the U.S. totalling 16 billion U.S. dollars, a year-on-year increase of 24 percent. A forecast by the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam says that bilateral trade relations will reach 336 billion Dollars in 2014. Currently, Vietnam’s exports to America are the third-largest among ASEAN states, second ony to Malaysia’s and Thailand’s.

1994年暨美越建交前一年,美国总统克林顿宣布取消对越南经济的禁运政 策,当年两国的双边贸易便实现了快速增长,2001年12月10日,美越双边贸易协定生效,自此,美越经贸关系发展迅猛,今年1到7月,越南对美国货物出 口额为160亿美元,同比增长24%,越南美国商会预测,2014年越美双边贸易额将达到336亿美元,目前越南对美出口额在东盟国家中位居第三,仅次于 马来西亚和泰国。

Looking back at the Vietnam war, and exactly because of that war, America implemented a comprehensive arms embargo against Vietnam as early as in 1984. PLA National Defense University professor Li Li explains:


In 1984, America officially passed this kind of law, banning all further supplies of military equipment. This included two levels, one about military high-tech, the supply of which wasn’t only prohibited for American companies, but also the entire European Union, countries the EU had relations with, had to join the ranks. This included some important advanced material technology, some electronic devices, or high-precision lathes the supply of which wasn’t allowed either. Adding to this, the definition of combat-class equipment is really broad, including missile equipment, these things are untouchable. It was a comprehensive limitation, and done very thoroughly.

李莉: 1984年美国是正式通过这样一个法律,禁止以后再继续向越南民主主义人民共和国出售所有相关军事装备的物品,包括两个层面,一个就是军事高技术,他不仅 自己不允许向越南提供,此外要求整个欧盟,包括所有和他有关系的国家,都参与到这个行列当中,包括新的一些重要的材料技术,包括一些信息技术、一些电子仪 器、精密的车床加工的这些技术都不允许提供。 此外,就是战斗类的装备是非常宽泛的,涉及陆海空,包括导弹类的装备,这些东西更是碰都不允许碰的,是全面的一个限制,做的是非常彻底。

By following two previous U.S. secretaries of defense and visiting Vietnam, too, joint chief Dempsey almost stirred a “Vietnam-mania”. According to one point of view, American intervention in the South China Sea is no longer just a posture, but some kind of real action. When secretary of state Kerry had just left Vietnam, Dempsey entered, so how come that currently, high American officials, one after another, visit Vietnam, especially a high-level military official? Xu Liping, director of the Chinese Academy of Social Studies’ China Network for the Asia-Pacific Research analyzes:

继此前两任美国防长访问越南,参谋长联席会议主席登普西也前往河内,美 国军方似乎掀起了“越南热”。有观点认为:美国对南海的干预,不再仅仅是一种姿态,而是一种实际的行动。美国国务卿克里前脚刚离开越南,登普西就紧随其 后,那么美国高官为什么会选择此时陆续访越,尤其是美军方高层?中国社科院亚太研究所文华研究室主任许利平分析:

I think that one should say that Dempsey’s visit to Vietnam is an important part of a close U.S.-Vietnamese relationship. Because we know that last year, Vietnam’s state chairman Truong Tan Sang visited the U.S., and Vietnamese-U.S. relations were raised to a level of comprehensive partnership. This is a very important point of view, because as we know, America’s relations with south-east Asian nations like Indonesia have also been raised to the level of comprehensive partnership. One could say that this is a new form of American relations with Asian countries. To strengthen economic relations with them is also an important part of the American rebalancing strategy towards Asia-Pacific, so I believe that Dempsey’s visit is another aspect of this component.

许利平:我想登 普西访问越南的话应该来说是越南和美国密切关系的一个重要组成部分,因为我们知道,去年越南国家主席张晋创也访问了美国,把越南和美国的关系提升为全面伙 伴关系,是一个非常重要的转折点,因为我们知道美国和东南亚的国家比如说印度尼西亚也提升为全面伙伴关系,应该来说也是美国和亚洲国家一个新型的伙伴关 系,强化这些亚洲国家在经济上面的联系,也是美国亚太再平衡战略的一个重要的组成部分,所以我觉得登普西访问也是这种组成部分的一个方面。

The highlight of Dempsey’s Vietnam visit is the strengthening of the two countries’ military cooperation, and a focus on maritime security. Some experts believe that this could put pressure on China.


Xu Liping: One should say that this is a breakthrough in U.S.-Vietnamese relations. America hopes that lifting the arms embargo will increase American arms exports which is, in fact, important for the U.S. economy. From a Vietnamese perspective, all arms imported by Vietnam have come from Russia, and that makes it a rather single market, and if America lifts the arms embargo, I guess this would increase Vietnam’s defense capabilities. Both sides can thus take what they need. Thirdly, and personally, I believe that of course, America’s strengthening of relations with Vietnam also includes considerations about the South China Sea. In fact, America wants to turn Vietnam into a chess piece for disputes with China, but their cooperation with Vietnam on the South China Sea issue is limited because on the one hand, Vietnam still has many misgivings about the U.S., and on the other hand, America, domestically, isn’t too relaxed about Vietnam either. So I think the cooperation between the two will be of a rather limited kind.

徐利 平:这应该来说是美越关系的一个突破,美国希望解除武器禁令扩大美国的武器出口,实际上也是对美国经济的吃紧,对越南方面来讲,由于历史上的原因越南一直 的进口武器都是来自于俄罗斯,应该来说市场是比较单一的,如果美国武器的禁运的解禁我估计会提高越南的这种国防能力,双方是一种各取所需,第三,我个人认 为美国强化和越南的这种关系,当然也有南海方面的考虑,实际上美国也希望把越南作为中国在南海争端方面的一个棋子,但是实际上美国在南海问题上跟越南的合 作我觉得他是有限度的,因为一方面的话越南对美国还是有很多的疑虑的,第二个美国国内也并不是对越南很放心,所以双方之间我觉得是一种有限度的合作吧。

We have noted that year-on-year, Vietnam’s exports to the U.S. have risen by 24 percent from January to July. In these contacts with a superpower, and in political or economic terms, Vietnam hardly incurs any disadvantages. What do you believe is Vietnam’s mentality in this commitment to contacts with America – what are the values they are choosing?


The fact that America and Vietnam establish this kind of comprehensive partnership, that they strengthen economic cooperation and that both sides take what they need is part of a Vietnamese objective to implement a rebalancing strategy in its foreign relations, in its diplomacy. Vietnam’s actual overall goal is to establish this kind of strategic partnersip with all great powers. In fact, Vietnam’s foreign ministry has said that it wants to establish strategic partnerships with all five permanent members of the UN Security Council, but America remains as a scond choice, and to establish this kind of comprehensive partnership and rebalancing is something Vietnam hopes to use to increase its regional influence. Actually, Vietnam doesn’t want to side with just one great power, and I believe that this, too, is an important part of Vietnam’s strategy of balancing great powers.

许利平:美国和越南建立这种全面伙伴关 系,加强经济的这种合作,各取所需,实际上越南的对外外交的一个思路是要实现一种对外的这种平衡的战略,实际上他的总体战略是要和所有的大国建立这种伙伴 关系,越南的外交部其实已经提出了要和五大常任理事国都要建立这种战略伙伴关系,但是和美国只是退而求其次,建立了这种全面的伙伴的关系,实际上越南是希 望通过这种大国的平衡的战略来突出越南在这个地区的影响力,实际上越南也不可能想要任何的大国一边倒,我觉得这也是越南的这个大国平衡战略的一个重要的组 成部分。

An hour and twenty minutes after publication, 44 Huanqiu readers had expressed anger at the article (or what it describes), four readers are delighted, one is bored, and 22 feel that what they’ve read is ridiculous.

Huanqiu, a paper and website with a rather nationalist readership, also reported on Martin Demsey’s visit during the past days, all in a rather noncommittal mode – something also frequently practised by Chinese media during the 1980s/1990s when covering (controversial) foreign issues, but quite different from the often stirring ways Huanqiu articles were written around 2008/2012.



*) “to choose between being a friend of the United States and a friend of China”, AFP, Aug 16, 2014

Similar statement:

“The Cold War is over. It ended. Russia’s not our enemy. The people of the Czech Republic don’t have to choose between being a friend of the United States or a friend with Russia, you can be both. We don’t believe in a zero sum world,” President Bush said today in Prague

Wall Street Journal, June 5, 2007



» Help to counter China, USA Today, Aug 18, 2014
» US urged to lift ban, VoV, Aug 14,2014
» 首次访问越南, Huanqiu, Aug 14, 2014
» Australia-US ties, BBC News, Aug 13, 2014
» 王毅晤越南副总理, Huanqiu, Aug 9, 2014
» Low-class nationalism, May 19, 2014
» Vo Nguyen Giap, October 4, 2013
» Giving away the Store, US News, July 23, 2013
» Syria & South China Sea, Aug 5, 2012
» Nothing to deploy, July 30, 2012
» Don’t get burned, June 21, 2012
» Communiqué, Oct 16, 2011
» Five Questions to a Hegemon, Aug 18, 2010
» Threat of an Invasion, April 29, 2009

Saturday, August 9, 2014

But what if Russia invades (Eastern) Ukraine?

Every epic fail has its turning points. In many cases, historians, years after the events in question, identify turning points different from those presented by the media during the days of war itself.

In the view of many observers, a Russian intervention in Eastern Ukraine – yes, you might call that an invasion, but it seems to me that much of our media prefers the term intervention, unless if it is a Russian intervention – would be such a turning point. If it happens, and if it’s too big to be ignored, it would be one.

But maybe, even if such a Russian intervention, with or without a Western reaction, would happen, historians would identify another turning point: the day when Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko ended the ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine on June 30 and vowed that Ukrainian government forces would “attack and liberate” the land. What else should a president of a sovereign country do? And, more interestingly, did he do that in accordance with wishes from EU capitals and Washington DC, or did he do so because he is, after all, Ukraine‘s president, and not the EU’s?

The West has helped you hitherto, Ukraine – but not necessarily by its surpassing favor. Obviously, Russia has its – yet to be determined – share in Ukraine’s agony, but so has the West, and not least Western media.

When a German veteran correspondent, Gabriele Krone-Schmalz, told German television on April 16 that she shared the unease of many German news watchers about an anti-Russian bias, it felt to me as if a general gag order on my country’s media had been lifted. Of course, I was wrong. First of all, there hadn’t been a gag order on reporting flaws or dishonest intentions in Western Ukraine policies. There had only been influences – from political parties who populate much of the boards of German broadcasters, for example. And my sense of relief wasn’t justified either because that interview wasn’t run at primetime, but on a Wednesday night, at 23:20 central European time.

Which is quite characteristic – that’s how media channels can claim that they are pluralistic. Broadcast this kind of stuff when most ordinary people have gone to  sleep. (I only got aware of the video on the internet.)

The media had described the situation as if the EU had only ideals rather than interests, Krone-Schmalz said. Even proposals from Moscow that would have been worth a debate had been labeled as “propaganda”. Rather than taking their positon as observers as neutrally as possible, many journalists had, for example, almost completely missed out on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement’s security aspects, particularly its article 7.

Indeed, I remember noone in the mainstream press taking issue at all.

It is understandable that Western governments want to have options now if Russia invades Ukraine – umm, starts an intervention, umm, sends a convoy with Russian humanitarian assistance to enable humanitarian aid in Donetsk or Luhansk. But to massage public opinion so as to ensure its support for whatever kind of option is wrong. It leads to further bad choices, just as past manipulations have led to the current standoff.



» Poland seeks Compensation, BBC, Aug 1, 2014
» Nobody dares to (German), Junge Welt, Aug 9, 2014
» Advocacy Journalism, Jan 26, 2012



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