Parents of children killed in collapsed school buildings in the Sichuan earthquake have been offered cash settlements, relaxing of the birth quota and pensions by the local government. In exchange, they are pressured to sign a contract to give up demand for investigations into official negligence and corruption associated with the collapsed schools. Some parents have relented and signed the contract, while others have refused.
The Doha round of WTO talks in Geneva collapsed on Tuesday. It was the US vs. India and China, without being able to resolve their differences in farm products. In my view, it’s a good thing that the talks collapsed because the real benefits of the proposed deal to developing countries were minimal but risks were very high indeed. India pulled the plug, with China assisting.
A first-person account of a trip to Beijing: I’m pretty amazed by the hospitality in China, especially how it keeps getting better and better. It’s not just the hospitality, it’s all the little things of general people behavior.
Several blogs have summarized two of the key findings from the 2008 Pew Global Attitude Survey in China . 1. The Chinese are overwhelmingly satisfied with the direction of their nation, its economy and its government’s handling of issues critical to their lives (often with consensus in the upper 80 percents). The Chinese satisfaction with the state of the nation has improved significantly since the last time they were surveyed a year ago. 2. Compared to their sanguine and optimistic view of the nation, the Chinese are far less satisfied with at least two critical aspects of their personal/individual lives, i.e., their career/financial situations and family lives. Their perception of their personal lives has not improved since the last time they were surveyed.
How would you explain the disparity between the Chinese attitudes toward their country on the one hand and their individual lives on the other? What do you make of it?
The data suggest that the Chinese personal/individual lives have been decoupled from China ‘s national life to a significant degree. Continue reading »
Mainlanders often feel exasperated by constant Western criticism, as if no matter what China does and no matter how much China accomplishes, it’s never good enough in the eyes of Western nations. The poem “Chinese Grievances” (aka “What do you want from us?”) expresses this feeling well. I think what’s shared below will help us better understand this problem. Continue reading »
With a jet-lagged baby, I thought this morning would be the perfect time to attend one of my favorite events in Beijing: watching the raising of the national flag on Tiananmen square. It is a daily ritual at sunrise, but always thrilling with its simplicity, elegance; I’ve only attended a few times (emphasis: sunrise), and always found it deeply moving.
Here’s a video, from 5/19, when the flag was lowered to half-staff to remember the victims of the Wenchuan earthquake: (Why isn’t it a video of my trip? Explanation below.)
I have enjoyed my few days so far in Beijing, all the feeling of a hexie society. However, that is only the superficial view of one man. According to this Tianya post (连接) from a mainland Chinese also overseas, the under-currents are not always so smooth. Many of those on TIanya, feeling their own discontent with society, applaud this post as being critical but balanced. For part 1, see here. NOTE: This is the translation of a Chinese BBS post, and does not necessarily represent my experience, nor my opinions.
The turbulence in China’s larger social environment, at root, has been caused by imbalanced development in Chinese society.
On the one hand, the laobaixing in China remain the most hard-working and good-natured anywhere. Just as I described before, waiters making 800 RMB can peacefully coexist with senior white-collar workers making tens of thousands of RMB per month. I’ve carefully watched their every action, and you can tell that they truly treasure this work despite its poor pay, and you can imagine how much less they must’ve made in their home villages.
I have enjoyed my few days so far in Beijing, all the feeling of a hexie society. However, that is only the superficial view of one man. According to this Tianya post (连接) from a mainland Chinese also overseas, the under-currents are not always so smooth. Many of those on TIanya, feeling their own discontent with society, applaud this post as being critical but balanced.
Last year, I ran into my ex-girlfriend on MSN Messenger. She was pregnant, and without much meaning I reminded her to be careful with her baby’s health. Just ordinary topics, like a reminder that she should try to breast-feed after birth. I don’t know why, but she suddenly responded sharply: “Don’t think that our life in China is worse than yours. Our classmates are all doing great; if we wanted to go overseas and play, we could. You should just stay in America; there are so many people going overseas these days, even if you came back, you wouldn’t have an advantage.” She continued, in great detail and color, to brag her happy life with her husband. I calmly told her, I never felt I had any sort of advantage over you, and China’s future has plenty of hope.
Quick update… although we don’t use this as our personal blog, this is a good time to mention I’ve just arrived in Beijing. Everyone in my family is fighting upper-respiratory infections (picked up in the US), and at times I wasn’t sure we’d make the flight… but we’re here.
This article is a comprehensive look at a few young Chinese nationalists, both inside and outside of China. I recommend it completely. If the facts and people presented in this article became recognizable in the West, this blog would (almost) have no reason to exist. Thanks to FOARP (I believe) for recommending this in an earlier thread.
Party members and public servants working in the Tibet autonomous region were given an ultimatum on July 14 to call back their children within two months from overseas schools and monasteries run by the “Dalai clique”, the International Herald Leader (IHL), owned by the Xinhua News Agency, said Wednesday.
Under a regulation drawn up by the regional Party and government disciplinary inspection commissions, which was released last week, those who fail to do so will be expelled from the Party and removed from their posts, the IHL report said.
Tickets to remaining Olympic events are going on sale on Friday (July 25th). On Water-Wood BBS (水木社区), people were talking about spending Thursday night in line. But now most are shocked to find that that very long lines have already formed Wednesday night; thousands of Beijing’ers are planning to camp out two nights to purchase what few tickets remain.
Go here for full article. Some notable quotes: “A German television report on the availability of gene doping in China has stunned anti-doping experts shortly before the Beijing Olympics. … In a documentary by ARD television, a Chinese doctor offers stem-cell therapy to a reporter posing as an American swimming coach.” Continue reading »
In the aftermath of the Sichuan earthquake, a “bottleneck lake” (堰塞湖) formed as a river was blocked by a landslide. Collapse of the dam posed a tremendous danger to those down-stream community, and the Chinese government spent huge resources and risked many lives to erase the lake.
Guangdong provincial party secretary Wang Yang started a mini-landslide of his own, when 3 days ago he spoke to a group of Communist Party cadres at a training course (连接):
We must make democracy a value to be pursued. In governing, we must make sure we use democracy, defend democracy, secure democracy, and develop democracy. We must be sufficiently respectful of, and also open up expressions of popular opinion. We absolutely can not block popular opinion, and form a “bottleneck-on-speech lake” (言塞湖). We must use democratic methods to continuously improve and expand democracy within the Party, and push forward social democracy. We must self-consciously nurture democratic habits, learn to listen and tolerate, and use democratic methods to unite people.
Commentators paid by the Chinese government to influence public opinion on-line may have fueled the latest protest against Fox, says an insider at one Blog site. Rumors of Fox News anti-black message traveled quickly across the Internet, and has even garnered attention from celeberities.