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Dec 16

(Guest Post) A country’s hurt feelings

Written by Arctosia on Tuesday, December 16th, 2008 at 8:24 am
Filed under:Analysis, politics | Tags:, ,
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Chinese Foreign Ministry recently described French President Sarkozy’s meeting with the Dalai Lama as an act that would “gravely hurt the feelings of the Chinese people”.

It is the kind of phrase you are looking for in every Chinese official indignation – ok, feelings hurt, this isn’t something good. However, this is the first time I actually didn’t let it just pass, and asked myself: what does this phrase actually mean? Sure some countries have hurt our feelings, so what? You expect an apology or something else from the other side to compensate your “hurt feelings”?

Driven purely by my own interest, I’ve spent few hours to find out how many countries that have hurt the “Feelings of Chinese People” since the founding of the PRC. Here’s the map of all the “culprits” (you probably have already seen it somewhere else).

To be on this map, a country must have been clearly pointed by state media or representatives of the Chinese government to hurt the feelings of the Chinese People. Below is the list, and the exact citation can be seen in my blog.

* Europe (12): Vatican City, UK, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy, Spain, The Czech Republic, Norway, Denmark, Slovenia, Albania
* North America (2): USA, Canada
* Central America (6): Guatemala, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Honduras, Nicaragua
* South America (1): Chile
* Oceania (4): New Zealand, Solomon Islands, Nauru, Marshall Islands
* Africa (9): Chad, Malawi, Burkina Faso, Swaziland, São Tomé and Príncipe, Gambia, Liberia, Senegal, South Africa
* Asia (9): Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, India, Jordan, (disputed: Cambodia, Laos)

It wasn’t just a pointless internet research to kill some time, I got many previously unknown facts to me out of it. The biggest “feeling hurter” of Chinese people’s feelings for the last century, which is Russia in my opinion, is not on the map, despite the fact that it has accommodated the Dalai Lama’s visits before. The phrase was never used on Russia even in the worst times between the two countries.

Instead, it’s the countries like Nauru or St Lucia, which most ordinary Chinese would have great difficulty of finding them on a world map that have hurt the “Chinese people’s feelings”. It was also discovered that meet the Dalai Lama does not necessarily “hurt Chinese People’s feelings”. It is highly circumstantial – Sarkozy suffered a storm of Chinese criticisms for having a conversation with the Dalai Lama; but the Polish president did that too, and hosted the Sarkozy – Dalai Lama meeting on Polish soil, and yet still got away with it.

Compare to that, Iceland and Jordan, hurt Chinese people’s feeling by allowing the visit of former vice president of Republic of China Lien Chan in the late 90s. Needless to say, he later turned out to be an “old and great friend” of Hu’s.

The reflections of my findings I gathered from China-related blogsphere were surprisingly diverse,  I was hoping that my fellow countrymen would form their own opinion on the following four questions:
* Did those countries really hurt their feelings?
* Why more than 1/5 of the world are such “culprits”?
* Is there any country that had genuinely hurt their feelings not on the map?
* Or is there something wrong with that kind of diplomatic expression?

However, as long as my fellow countrymen start to think themselves rather than just follow what’s being said in
the People’s Daily or the Global Times, then I’m happy that my effort is worth something.

Most people seem to agree with me on the fact that the vast majority of the “hurt feelings” incidents happened after 1970s is as the result of China opening up itself to the world  – the famous economic reform(改革开放)started in 1978 by Deng Xiaoping.

However, some attributed that to Mao’s death in 1976, suggesting that his departure left Chinese people’s feelings unprotected and vulnerable to the outside world , and the economic reform has severely undermined the interests of ordinary Chinese people.

Some Chinese netizens were equally surprised as myself to discover that countries like Australia, South Korea or Russia were not the map. Equally, other people were surprised to find countries like Albania (“the only shining beckon of communism in the sea of Soviet revisionism/Capitalist Europe? [I’m not quite sure]”) in the list. What do these facts mean is up to their own interpretation.

It also raised discussions about the phrase “hurt Chinese people’s feelings” itself. I always regarded it as a very absurd and childish thing to say on the diplomatic stage. Countries don’t hurt each other’s feelings – they speak with ‘carrot and stick'(at least for now). You don’t say somebody hurts your feelings when he attacked you with a stick, you either fight back (… well, if you are powerful enough) or just get over with it. Put yourself in a ‘weak’ position and make yourself sounds like the “justified” side does not do anything good but only fuels unhealthy hate and revenge thoughts among the general public as people discover that crying for “hurt feelings” won’t solve anything.

And even worse, repeated use of the phrase diminishes the power of the “real” feelings of the Chinese people. The value of Chinese people’s feelings deflates every time the phrase is being used – it looks less important in the foreign eyes as the feelings can be “hurt” repeatedly with no apparent consequences.

There are people who do feel that their feelings have been genuinely hurt by the countries I listed, and made a good use of my map by keeping it for future “revenge”.

However, for most of the Chinese who remain apolitical for most of the their life, the expression is just something demonstrating the total disconnect between the State’s affairs and real people’s life. What’s the point to care who’s been hurting me lately? I don’t run the country, and I never had a say on anything even regarding of my own feelings.

What do you think? Any different thoughts? I would love to hear it from you.

(Note: As I understand, my original post has resulted a lot of discussions in China-related blogsphere. I was even invited by the admin to be a regular contributor of this great blog – something I don’t think I deserve because of my appalling written English skills.

However, I would love to contribute a guest post discussing the reactions to my original post and try my best to explain them. )


There are currently 10 comments highlighted: 23333, 23421, 23431, 23440, 23489, 23502, 23796, 23810, 23818, 23896.

130 Responses to “(Guest Post) A country’s hurt feelings”

  1. A-gu Says:

    No surprises here, but very well researched. Thank you for taking the time and giving us this information!

  2. Arctosia Says:

    Emmmm … this isn’t what I submitted. The second half of the article is missing. I’m trying to sort it out.

    fixed, cheers.

  3. admin Says:

    The topic of “hurt feelings” was also discussed in another thread ( http://blog.foolsmountain.com/2008/07/20/chinese-exceptionalism-yili-he-renqing/ ), specifically comments 2,10, 13, 14,16, 17,18,28, 32, 37, 45, 54,82,141 ( I highlighted a few of those).

  4. jack Says:

    Clearly you failed to mention Soviet Union.

    Besides this is a threadbare topic.

  5. wuming Says:

    For such a well researched post, it is surprising that it missed the basic meaning of the phrase “hurt feelings” — a sense of betrayal.

    Another thing, where is this mythical phrase book for diplomatic talk?

  6. FOARP Says:

    @Wuming – In all things there is a fear of using the wrong phrase or conveying the wrong meaning. If I had to guess, I would say that this phrase is used to convey the meaning that the Chinese government will act less favourably towards the country in question in the future. To say ‘insult’ might require an insult in return – but perhaps we should go back and see the first instance in which this ridiculous phrase was used to get a better idea of what it is supposed to mean.

    @Admin – To be frank, I found that article by BXBQ totally unreadable, worse than his usual standard. This article can be easily read and comprehended and does not feel the need to put every second word “in speech marks” and to translate (翻译) every concept. A great number of the commenters on that thread do not seem to have read the article either.

  7. John John Says:

    Good article

  8. Netizen K Says:

    Obviously, the foreigners don’t understand Chinese culture. Hurting feeling is just a start, meaning we Chinese don’t interfere in your business, while you interfere in ours. So be it, you hurt my feeling, I’ll punish you. See how Sarko and the France are punished.

  9. John John Says:

    Punished ? How ? Can you develop this point ?

  10. FOARP Says:

    @JohnJohn – He means ‘punished’ by boycotting a meeting designed to promote EU-PRC trade, but who has the most to lose from a break-down in EU-PRC relations? I think you know the answer already, but it does pay to do a run-down of the figures:

    The EU exported € 71.6 billion (US$98 billion, 668 billion Chinese Yuan) in goods in to the PRC in 2007, as well as € 12.4 billion in services in 2006, and received €2.1 billion in direct investment from the PRC in 2006. This means that total EU exports to the PRC plus investment from the PRC were worth more than € 86 billion in 2007, roughly 0.68% of the EU’s 2007 nominal € GDP.

    The PRC exported goods worth €230.8 billion to the EU in 2007, €11.2 billion in services in 2006, and received €6 billion in direct investment from the EU in 2006. This gives a grand total of more than €248 billion received from the EU in payment for goods and services as well as investment last year, or about US$339.9 billion at today’s price, which works out as about 9.94% of the PRC’s 2007 nominal US$ GDP.

    For anyone wondering why I didn’t use the PPP GDP figures, this is because I would then have to convert the investment figures to take account of how much the investment was worth for each economy – and essentially the answer would be roughly the same.

    So EU-PRC trade is worth roughly 12 times more in terms of GDP to the PRC than it is to the EU. I’m sorry, who got punished?

    If you want to get angry at France, burn some baguettes or something, trying to mess with EU-PRC trade is the wrong way to go. In fact, if the Sarko-DL meeting really was the reason for the PRC boycott (something which I do not believe – it just makes no sense) then it really would be a case of ‘hurt feelings’ rather than a logical move, especially given how the DL has met many other leaders (those of India, Australia, Ireland, Poland, Belgium, Jordan, Norway, Guatemala, El Salvador, Peru, Chile, and Cambodia to name a few) without hurting said oh-so-sensitive feelings.

  11. jack Says:

    @FOARP #10

    What you stated about the trade between China and Europe in your post is very true, however you clearly miss the point.

    Obviously there is a whopping trade deficit to China, while postponement or cancellation of the summit will not help solve that. As part the agenda of this summit, European countries would presumably demand concessions from China to narrow the gap between exports and imports. In a sense, President Sarkozy did China a tactical favor by proffering China a subterfuge to postpone the summit and dodge the bullet, for now. If Europe unilaterally initiate a trade war, then both sides will lose badly. EU will have to find another venue to discuss and negotiate those issues with China.

    The reason Europe imports so much from China is because the low price and generally decent quality of commodities made in China. A trade war with China will surely make the already financially distressed European’s life even harder. And of course it will lead to closure of many Chinese factories in import sector.Neither side stands to gain in such a scenario.

    France’s position is especially vulnerable, its exports to China are very concentrated in Nuclear industry,telecommunications,aviation and luxury consumer products. Although the total volume of French exports(several dozens of Airbus planes and a few nuclear plants)are not very large, however they are pivotal to those industries which hold quite some sway in France.

    A slap in the face of France will have no serious implication. Authoritarian the CCP government is, it is by no means stupid or impulsive. You can despise China’s government, it would be quite wrong to underestimate it.

  12. FOARP Says:

    @Jack – I agree with you that the likelihood of trouble at the meeting over the trade imbalance was probably the real cause.

    I keep repeating this, but it is worth saying again – Airbus is not a French-owned company, it is a European conglomerate jointly owned by EADS (a company based in the Netherlands formed from a merger of German/French/Spanish aerospace companies – holding 80%) and BAE (formerly British Aerospace – holding 20%). Lost sales for Airbus effect workers in all the major European economies, the United States and China. If Airbus sales are cut, it’s therefore a lot more likely to do with the economic downturn than anything else.

    The nuclear deal is a bit different, I think we’ve all seen those little flash adverts for Areva showing their plans to power the Shanghai metro (I you haven’t then click here for a trip to nuclear funky-town). Anyone familiar with China knows that power shortages are a huge problem for China’s economic growth – especially for those industries which need to be powered 24/7 (try re-starting an Aluminium furnace that’s been powered-down with a load of molten Al in it). For this reason alone I don’t think the Areva deal is going to suffer – electrical power is priority number one, and I don’t see this changing any time soon.

  13. FOARP Says:

    PS – If you liked the Areva ad, the French media company that made it, H5, also made this funky video for Norwegian group Röyksopp’s 2002 hit “Remind Me”.

  14. FOARP Says:

    PPS – Oh my god! There’s already someone on the internet calling for a boycott of Areva because . . . . . .

    The map of China in the advert doesn’t include Taiwan!

  15. Netizen K Says:

    JohnJohn,

    I won’t trust FOARP’s numbers. The numbers themselves may be fine but the stories behind them are more key.

    First China sells commodity products that are based on price. They satisfy basic needs. The French will need to get them from somewhere. If not China, may be from Vietnam and others. In any given time, supply is likely to be fixed. If French buy from Vietnam, then others cannot and have to go China.

    Second, multinationals produce 60% of China’s exports and they pocket most of the profits. When China loses a big number in exports, it doesn’t mean China will lose much profit because it doesn’t receive much in the first place.

    Third, France export premium products to China. Perfume, wine, clothing, etc are not life’s necessecities. You need people like you in order to buy your products. If the Chinese detest the French, they will not drink French wine. Australian winemakers would be very happy. What’s the difference between French and Australian wine? Zero, besides price, as far as I’m concerned.

    In sum, when you sell commodity products, you don’t care as much what your customers think than if you sell premium products.

    In any case, China should build up competitors of premium products to bring prices down. For me, French wine is out and Australian wine is in.

  16. FOARP Says:

    Care to explain why anyone would switch from the products of one country which had protests during the torch relay and has a president who has met the Dalai Lama and likes to lecture the Chinese on human rights to the products of another country which had protests during the torch relay whose leader has met the Dalai Lama and likes to lecture China on human rights? Or does it really matter so long as you are showing how hurt your feelings are?

    Surely the most patriotic thing to do is only drink Great Wall, or – more patriotic still – stick to traditional Chinese beverages like Kaoliang and Moutai?

    As for multinationals pocketing all the profits – well, I know that the tax breaks they used to enjoy are being phased out (am I right in saying that the Shenzhen government got rid of all the tax-breaks in 2007?) – could we see some clear stats on that? Certainly also, 60% (which I would also like to see a source for) is not ‘all’, and those multinationals that do export rely heavily on local suppliers – it is not like they are merely sending goods to China to be worked on and then re-exporting them.

    The company I used to work for, Foxconn, manufactured for Apple, Motorola, Siemens, Acer as well as many other famous brands. In fact I think I am correct in saying that it is one of China’s top five biggest exporters. Workers there were better paid than the average for mainland China, and most were able to send at least a bit of money home. In exchange they gained experience, money was pumped into the local economy (about half the people who live in Longhua work at the factory – something like 250,000 – 300,000 total), people gained experience that would certainly improve their employment prospects in the future. Our local rivals, Huawei, often engaged in a bit of head-hunting of Foxconn staff. As I’ve said elsewhere, hours were very long and accomodation was not ideal, but people joined the company at a rate of hundreds every day. All in all, despite the fact that Foxconn is a branch of a multinational and does not keep most of the value-added from its products (the figure of 80 USD per iPhone was what I heard – compare this to the retail price) it certainly does bring great benefit to the local economy and to China as a whole.

    As for finding other sources for commodities, I think we are forgetting how much easier it is to make basic household goods compared to luxury items and ones which require high levels of expertise to manufacture.

  17. JL Says:

    Some of the responses seem to have missed what I think is the most interesting point in the original post: Why is the use of the phrase so arbitrary? Why did France get “punished” but not Poland? Why not Russia?

    And no matter how you think it should be translated (i.e. as “betrayed the Chinese people” / “insulted the Chinese people” / “was mean to the Chinese people”), what does all this actually mean to the average non-politically engaged Chinese person? How many people are really hurt by whatever Saint Vincent did?

  18. Netizen K Says:

    Why punish France? Because its president is stupid. Or France had EU presidency. Or China could do it. Or China just picked a random number. It could be anything. China doesn’t have to explain it just like China didn’t ask France to explain anything.

  19. Raj Says:

    I think Russia got away with it because of economic and military ties. Perhaps it goes to show that some of the “outrage” over the Dalai Lama is constructed for public consumption, as if it was something that provoked an automatic response no one would get away with it. Interesting what the situation with Poland was – perhaps the president/PM didn’t meet him?

    More generally I think such reactions are counter-productive. Given the Dalai Lama is seen as a “good guy” and China the “bad guy” in relation to Tibet, Beijing isn’t going to win people in other countries over by complaining every time the DL appears somewhere. Or does this rather indicate that such reactions are purely for domestic consumption?

  20. Allen Says:

    Why does Sarkozy get a differential treatment?

    To me it’s not that hard an answer.

    China is not strong enough today to stop all leaders from meeting Dalai Lama. So China has to pick targets to show its displeasures.

    It is thus not surprising some leaders are singled out while others aren’t.

    Why just Sarkozy? I think it’s because of all the fuss he made in the leadup to the Olympics. To make that fuss, and then to show up at the Olympics, and then to do what he pulled in Poland – well, maybe singling out Sarkozy is not that surprising after all.

  21. Allen Says:

    @FOARP #14,

    I think Areva has it coming.

    To accidentally miss a geographical feature as big as Taiwan is inexcusable and an insult to Taiwanese! :-)

    Oh – you mean they purposely did it?

    Well – that would be even less excusable.

    The ad was obviously targeted toward the Mainland audience. To leave that out … is to ask for it!

    P.S. There is no way there is going to be any actions against Areva. It’s all just for show.

  22. Netizen K Says:

    Another thought….

    China punished France to send a message to EU: take China seriously or China will treat EU as number 3.

    Obviously the US is number 1. If EU is unserious, China will take number 3. Then EU can be number 3.

  23. Netizen K Says:

    China will take number 2.

  24. Arctosia Says:

    Just a few points to add.

    To the best of my knowledge, exact translation of this political jargon was selected by the Chinese side, and I think it fairly reflects the actual meaning in Chinese.

    And for the origin of this jargon, my gut feeling is a communist party leader. Most of you should know one aspect of the Chinese political culture is that government policies are highly sloganised. Lower level of officials tend to make a good use of these slogans to just play the game safe for themselves – or dare you to challenge/alter the words of your wise party leaders?

    Given the fact that most “hurt feelings” happened since 1980s, I would guess Deng Xiaoping or his foreign ministers as the original source.

    @ JL – Glad you have read through the writings of a person with appalling written English skills and thanks to keep the discussion on topic :) Your last point is what me and most of my friends wondered – how did those countries hurt our feelings if we don’t even know where they are? Most of us, especially for the less political engaged ones, we won’t feel “our feelings are hurt” unless the foreign ministry spokesman tells us that somebody has hurt “the feelings of the Chinese people” in a press conference.

    @ Netizen K – interesting thought, reminds me of my high school biology, formation of a social hierarchy.

  25. jack Says:

    @FORAP #12

    Airbus is wholly owned by EADS now since BAE sold its shares in 2006.Although Airbus’ operations sprawl across Europe, it is controlled by France and Germany through EADS with Spain holding a minor stake.Airbus is never only a business, it is often boasted as a testimony of France-Germany cooperation to lead Europe. To nobody’s surprise, EADS, the parent company of Airbus is always tightly intertwined with French politics, which means it holds disproportional sway in France. To penalize France, China does not need to pick a 100% France-owned company, one with France as a major shareholder would do just fine.Actually it is even better, since it is highly possible other shareholders will pin part of the blame on President Sarkozy at the end of the day. By the way, compared to France, the share of profit China gets from Airbus deal is negligible.And always there is Boeing who relishes every opportunity to bludgeon Airbus.

    Areva is the crown jewel of French industries and an emblem of France’s technological prowess. However,in the business of nuclear power plants, the other two major player, Westinghouse of Toshiba and GE Hitachi, are on a par with Areva. As Areva loses out to GE Hitachi in American market, aside from the UK deal, its best hope of growth lies in the emerging markets among which China is its biggest potential client to which Areva hopes to sell a dozen reactors each with a price tag of around €5 billion. However, if relationship between China and France sours, any hope of selling reactors to China will go up in smoke.Unlike technologies and equipments imported by private companies, China government has the final word on any deal with Areva, it can and will switch to GE or Toshiba anytime it wants.As a matter of fact, China has ordered 4 of Westinghouse’s new AP1000 reactors.To make French giant squirm, China does not need to go as far as to cancel or deny contracts, stalling them would suffice.It might well be true electric power is one of the priorities for China, Areva on the other hand is by no means irreplaceable while Chinese market is simply too tempting to resist for Areva.

    As I said, France really does not have much leverage over China. Perhaps it explains why President Sarkozy makes best use of the last 6 months when France holds Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

  26. Steve Says:

    I’ve noticed that the Chinese government uses many slogans in their press releases that are unique to them and not used by others. “Gravely hurt the feelings of the Chinese people” is just one of many. It’s a good question; what is the purpose and what does it actually accomplish?

    I’ve come to the personal conclusion that most Chinese statements are for internal consumption and outside reaction isn’t important. Quite a few expats I know have remarked that the Chinese government understands the feelings of its countrymen very well and is able to affect a response by using slogans like this, but it usually has the opposite reaction with foreigners, who consider such phrases clumsy and childish. I’ve heard foreigners compare China to a big, strong adolescent; great potential but not quite mature and prone to be manipulated by emotional statements, especially ones to do with nationalism.

    “However, for most of the Chinese who remain apolitical for most of their life, the expression is just something demonstrating the total disconnect between the State’s affairs and real people’s life. What’s the point to care who’s been hurting me lately? I don’t run the country, and I never had a say on anything even regarding of my own feelings.”

    When I read this, I thought about when the government whipped up anti-Japanese feeling and suddenly Honda and Toyota cars were being destroyed on the streets of major cities, though those cars were owned by their fellow Chinese, so I think the ‘disconnect’ you mention applies to most but not to everyone. I think youth are more affected by inflammatory government statements.

    Why use it with some governments and not others? My guess would be that the phrase isn’t meant literally but metaphorically, as a catch phrase to focus on another government for a specific purpose. That’s why it is so arbitrary. My guess with Sarkozy is that his presidency of the EU was about to expire and China felt it could deal with the incoming Czech Republic president more easily, so it used this as an excuse to delay the meeting. I’m not sure if we can read much more into this.

    I was curious as to why China would delay the meeting, though. The topic of discussion was this economic meltdown and like everyone else, China is smack dab in the middle of it. Best forecasts these days aren’t very optimistic and have been revising downwards each week. I would think increasing or at least maintaining business between the EU and China would be a top priority for both sides. jack, your reasoning for the delay is a distinct possibility. I can’t see any other reason right now, and I don’t think it has anything to do with the DL or hurt feelings.

    @ jack #11: I agree with all your reasoning. My only comment would be that a trade war would hurt both sides. My question is… does a trade war between China and a member of the EU result in a trade war with the entire EU? Can you break it up into parts? I’m not familiar enough with EU policies to know the answer.

    @FOARP #12: Good point about Airbus. Because the bylines from Airbus announcements are usually “Toulouse” (assembly plant?), I think many just assumed Airbus is French. Since China is trying to build up an aircraft industry, I’m sure they would not jeopardize Airbus subsuppliers located in China. Incidentally, the initial aircraft China is developing would compete with Brasilian and Canadian companies, not Boeing or Airbus. You have to start small and work your way up. By the way, France has several industries that are world leaders and not easy to replace from other countries. I can’t see China boycotting them over a DL visit.

    Hey, nice vid from Röyksopp; hadn’t seen it before but had the CD.

    @NetizenK #15: I agree with your basic premise, but don’t you think the status of drinking a French wine is much greater than drinking an Australian one? When I went through the “wine and dine/karaoke” thing in China on business meetings, it seemed that wine had to be either a Burgundy, Bordeaux or Napa Valley. Australian Shiraz just didn’t have the cache with the business crowd. Sometimes I think luxury goods are the hardest to boycott, because people seem to have a fixation with name brands.

    @FOARP #16: A friend of mine toured China last year and one night, a bunch of them went to dinner and were served Chinese wine. He said it was horrible,and even remembered that it was Great Wall. I’ve had it a couple of times and I gotta admit, it was pretty bad. But for me, nothing better with dinner on a cold winter’s night than some heated, good quality heated Shaoxing wine!

    Your other point was well taken. China is trying to go from cheap commodity items to value added goods. To do this, they need foreign investment and technology, and especially greater experience among their workforce. Those are the most prized jobs in China among the top graduates. Boycotting western products goes directly against their ambition. It’s just not going to happen.

    @Raj #19: That’s my guess, domestic consumption. “When things go wrong, blame the French.” Wait a minute, isn’t that the Bush doctrine? :)

    @Allen #21: That reminded me of the old Lonely Planet China guidebook where they had Taiwan as a different color than China on the cover, so border guards wouldn’t let the guidebook go through. The obvious solution? Rip the cover off the guidebook and no problem!

    @Arctosia #24: This is a well researched post, thanks! What you said about the origin of the slogan makes sense to me, and once started it’s almost like a tradition to keep using it. I don’t think its use has any specific meaning; just a way to draw attention to an outside irritant. China seems to have put Sarkozy in a class just below the DL and Chen Shui-bian as an enemy of the state. It’ll be interesting to see how they treat him over the rest of his term, since once they classify someone, they rarely back off that classification unless it suits them (e.g. Lian Zhan). It’ll also be interesting to see what kind of expressions they use concerning President Obama once he takes over in late January.

    I noticed while working in China that originality is frowned upon. It’s common to pass the decision up the chain of command so it makes sense for an official to use a slogan that has been used in the past and is “officially” acceptable.

    “Most of us, especially for the less political engaged ones, we won’t feel “our feelings are hurt” unless the foreign ministry spokesman tells us that somebody has hurt “the feelings of the Chinese people” in a press conference.”

    Reminds me of the old Will Rogers quotation, “Well, all I know is what I read in the papers.”

  27. Joel Says:

    When this all came out in the news recently, I asked my Chinese teachers what they felt about that phrase “hurt the feelings of the Chinese people,” and I told them it sounded ridiculous to foreigners (assuming, of course, that it isn’t primarily meant for foreign ears).

    One teacher said she totally agrees with the gov. The other teacher strongly resented the gov for making these kinds of plays on the emotions of the public (but at the same time he had very strong negative feelings to toward France regarding the present issue with meeting the DL). Both these teachers are urban, college grads who work daily with lots of foreigners and have lots of foreign friends. And even though one of them explicitly resented the use of that phrase, it still had it’s desired effect on both of them.

  28. John John Says:

    Sorry Netizen but I’m more convinced by Steve “France has several industries that are world leaders and not easy to replace from other countries” (Trains, nuclear plants, planes are not non-essential goods).
    For the wine, italian OK but australian wine ? are you kidding ? and what about champagne, foie gras and perfume (what are the substitutes ?)
    At the end I wonder why there is non mention of the planned meeting of the Dalai Lama with the new zealand prime minister in chinese press.
    Is ther a new boycott planned ?

  29. admin Says:

    There is an interesting discussion over the CNreviews on why the original Chinese phrase should be translated to something closer to “damage relations, trust, friendship” and why bad translations are not corrected.

    http://cnreviews.com/kai_pan/michael_arrington_hurt_feelings_of_european_people_20081215.html

  30. Jerry Says:

    @Steve #26

    Great post, Steve. One question keeps coming to my mind and has been asked here in several different ways. My question, “How does China punish France without hurting/damaging themselves in today’s world of global economics? Wouldn’t punishment entail China “cutting off their nose to spite their face”?” Or is this all just some juvenile strutting and/or “trash talk”? It reminds me of some of the silly statements I made as a kid or statements my own children made while they were much younger.

  31. FOARP Says:

    @Steve:

    “My question is… does a trade war between China and a member of the EU result in a trade war with the entire EU? Can you break it up into parts? I’m not familiar enough with EU policies to know the answer.

    Short answer: No, but yes. Longer answer: Kinda, but no, but perhaps. Even longer answer:

    The EU forms a single market with free movement of goods, capital, and services, and freedom of establishment of business by EU citizens throughout the EU. Under ideal circumstances, therefore, products sold into on EU country can then be moved freely into another EU country, so it is not possible for a non-EU country to not sell goods to a specific EU country whilst continuing to do business with other EU countries. Likewise, if an EU country tries to prevent its goods being sold to a specific country outside the EU, then this can also be avoided.

    However, in a classic trade war countries try to prevent buying of the other country’s goods, and whilst a common tariff is raised on all goods being imported into the EU (this is the EU’s main source of funding – and the reason why the EU’s biggest importers/capita (e.g., the UK) get so annoyed at the disproportionate contribution they make to EU funding), separate trade barriers can be raised by member states against specific countries for specific reasons. If, therefore, the French government decides that Chinese products are ‘dangerous’, their importation into France can be blocked. Likewise, The Chinese government is free to make or break any deals it likes, so if it felt strongly enough about the quality of last year’s French Eurovision entry , and wished to prevent Chinese youth being corrupted through dealings with that country, it could cut off all links if it liked. However, depending on how far things went, it would pretty soon take on an EU dimension given the difficulty of preventing the importation/exportation of goods from one specific EU country when those goods can be sold into another EU country and then bought from there. Sanctions against any unilateral move could also be sought through the WTO.

    I’m sorry if this doesn’t make much sense, but it’s about as close as I can come to an answer. Essentially a short term spat (say, the cancelling of the ‘uneconomic’ Arreva deal on the one hand and a ‘health and safety’ crackdown on goods on the other) probably wouldn’t take on an EU dimension, but an out-in-the-open trade war probably would.

    As for ‘splitting the EU’, when it comes to trade I cannot see this happening, as was noted above, European industries have a high degree of cross-border integration. BAE is not really a British company anymore, nor is Areva really much more than French in spirit – they each rely hugely on their operations outside their home countries, both inside and outside the EU. Whilst we most certainly have our disagreements over foreign policy, European governments have not allowed this to spread to the economic sphere, nor are they likely to.

  32. Charles Liu Says:

    I think every regime does that in their own ways. Like when our own Bush regime says stuff like “American people’s resolve”, or speak on behalf of the American people, I don’t distinctively remember ever being involved.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=American+people+feeling+site%3Astate.gov

    Nor was I ever asked about Freedom Fries, Rumsfeld’s DoD Freedom Concert, Dixie Chicks…

  33. Wukailong Says:

    @Charles Liu: That just proves to me that the governments of big countries are hypersensitive to anyone questioning their moral authority.

    Who ever took Freedom Fries seriously, btw?

  34. Steve Says:

    @Jerry #30: “How does China punish France without hurting/damaging themselves in today’s world of global economics? Wouldn’t punishment entail China “cutting off their nose to spite their face”?” Or is this all just some juvenile strutting and/or “trash talk”?

    My opinion is that you cannot ‘punish’ another country without punishing yourself in some way. If you do it a little, you punish yourself a little. If you do it a lot, you punish yourself a lot. But if these statements are only for internal consumption, then it’s not a big deal, just a lot of sound and fury, as Shakespeare would say. Hmm… maybe bt better put off a trip to China for the foreseeable future… :P

    @FOARP #31: Thanks for the explanation. It made a lot of sense to me.

    @Wukailong #33: Since French fries are originally from Belgium, I could never quite figure that one out. :D

    This might be a good time to talk about overt and subtle trade barriers. Most people think only of tariffs and trade restrictions when dealing with trade, but there are other subtle ways to affect it. I’ll list a couple since you might see these in the future, but there are plenty of other ways to influence trade negotiations without using tariffs.

    • Safety restrictions – One product I used to sell was high purity pressure regulators in the semiconductor industry. We sold them all over the world without any problems. The exception was Japan; for ‘safety reasons’ their Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) declared that any import product would need to be “retested” by Japanese laboratories, knocking the price up by 50-70%. Well, of course this made imports uncompetitive. The company I worked for went through the testing process so they could avoid this requirement. It cost us about $60,000 US and once we achieved it (we were the first non-Japanese company to do so), Japan touted it to other vendors as “working with the Japanese government to insure safety” though it had nothing to do with safety. Manufacturing was still the same, testing was still the same, but now we could file “paperwork” that met their criteria and avoid the inspection. This allowed them to keep using existing vendors (while bringing in new business for the Japanese QC company that approved us) while effectively barring new companies from entering their market.

    • Customs slowdowns – Tariffs are restricted in many ways by WTO treaty, so another method is to have your customs agents thoroughly inspect each and every shipment coming from a country that is not willing to negotiate on trade barriers or is using other methods to protect their industries. By slowing down the process, food spoils, products don’t get on the shelves in time, payments aren’t made for good received, etc. Customs is just “protecting the people and doing their job” so you can’t file a complaint with the WTO. The weakness of this tactic is that the end user in your country is screaming bloody murder since they can’t replenish their stock, so it is normally used on a few specific products.

  35. shel Says:

    Forget all the BS about why we should not protest/boycott people who don;t respect our way of life/belief. Stop using numbers to quantify feeling. In our day to day dealing with people, we stay away from abnoxious people. French is not sensitive to chinese feeling, chinese should just stay away from them. Stop the noises and get back to work.

  36. Tommy Bahamas Says:

    “My opinion is that you cannot ‘punish’ another […] without punishing yourself in some way.”

    This is true.

    Reading your above statement somehow reminds me of an old kenny rogers’ song, which advises staying out of trouble, avoid fights and turning the other cheek. But there are the rare occassions when you gotta fight when you’re a man.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yK543f0_UKc

    It sounds very Cowboy, very Samurai. It is absolutely very Kung Fu.. :-)

    Everyone considered him the coward of the county.
    He never stood one single time to prove the county wrong.
    His mama named him tommy, the folks just called him yellow,
    But something always told me they were reading tommy wrong.

    Now He was only ten years old when his daddy died in prison.
    I looked after tommy cause he was my brothers son.
    I still recall the final words my brother said to tommy:
    Son, my life is over, but yours is just begun.

    Promise me, son, not to do the things I’ve done.
    Walk away from trouble if you can.
    Now it dont mean you’re weak if you turn the other cheek.
    I hope you’re old enough to understand:
    Son, you dont have to fight to be a man.

    There’s someone for evryone and tommy’s love was Becky.
    In her arms he didnt have to prove he was a man.
    One day while he was workin the gatlin boys came callin.
    They took turns at becky…. there were three of them!

    Tommy opened up the door and saw his becky crying.
    The torn dress, the shattered look was more than he could stand.
    He reached above the fireplace and took down his daddys picture.
    As the tears fell on his daddys face, I heard these words again:

    Promise me, son, not to do the things Ive done.
    Walk away from trouble if you can.
    Now it dont mean youre weak if you turn the other cheek.
    I hope youre old enough to understand:
    Son, you dont have to fight to be a man.

    The gatlin boys just laughed at him, when he walked into the barroom.
    One of them got up and met him halfway cross the floor.
    When tommy turned around they said, hey look! ol yellows leavin.
    But you coulda heard a pin drop when tommy stopped and locked the door.

    Twenty years of crawlin was bottled up inside him.
    He wasnt holdin nothin back; he let em have it all.
    When tommy left the barroom not a gatlin boy was standin.
    He said, this ones for Becky, as he watched the last one fall.
    And I heard him say,

    I promised you, dad, not to do the things you’ve done.
    I’ll walk away from trouble when I can.
    Now please dont think Im weak, I didnt turn the other cheek,
    papa, I sure hope you understand:
    Sometimes you gotta fight when youre a man.

    Evryone considered him the coward of the county.

  37. William Huang Says:

    @ Arctosia,

    You said:
    “It was also discovered that meet the Dalai Lama does not necessarily “hurt Chinese People’s feelings”. It is highly circumstantial – Sarkozy suffered a storm of Chinese criticisms for having a conversation with the Dalai Lama; but the Polish president did that too, and hosted the Sarkozy – Dalai Lama meeting on Polish soil, and yet still got away with it.”

    Of course Chinese people’s feelings are hurt. The essence of Dalai Lama and Sarkozy meeting is about China’s national security. There are plenty of Chinese enemies would love to see China being splitting up into smaller pieces. This Tibetan independence is a good opportunity for them to steer the pot. No self-respect Chinese like to see their own country’s security in jeopardy.

    How did you discover that the meeting was circumstantial? I would like to hear your explanation.

    As for letting Polish President getting away, I don’t see why not. Polish government was hosting a celebration of Welsa’s 25th anniversary of Noble Prize. So Dalai Lama is naturally a guest. Being the president of the host country, it’s just a curtsey to have the meeting with the guest. French President is different. He is also a guest and there is no need for him to have another meeting with other guest. Of course, he choose to and that’s the problem.

    You want to know why only France? They need to get their ass kicked, that’s why. If you have a reason why not, I will give you a reason why they should.

    You said:
    “The biggest “feeling hurter” of Chinese people’s feelings for the last century, which is Russia in my opinion, is not on the map, despite the fact that it has accommodated the Dalai Lama’s visits before. The phrase was never used on Russia even in the worst times between the two countries.”

    You are taking the words out of context on China’s statement and bring in unrelated Sino-Russia relation into the discussion. It’s an apple-to-orange comparison. You conveniently ignored the rest of statement made by China and singled out this “feeling” statement. It looks more like that statement hurts your feeling.

    Your map is really a cheap joke.

  38. davesgonechina Says:

    I can’t help thinking of the “hurt feelings” rhetoric being a projection of Confucian etiquette onto the “family of nations”. It’s airing dirty laundry in public and results in the public loss of face. The proper way to resolve a disagreement like this in Confucian terms would be to talk about it privately, not announce it for others to hear. That would make sense in terms of domestic consumption, because the Chinese public will understand it on those terms implicitly, while foreigners will just go “huh”? It’s the equivalent of the foreign employee bluntly criticizing his colleague in front of their Chinese co-workers. The Chinese co-workers might agree with the criticism, but they’ll find the delivery inappropriate and disruptive of the work environment. Throw in the historical Chinese tendency to conflate culture, nation and people as the same thing and this all seems rooted in traditional ideas.

  39. Xhell Says:

    William Huang : your country is a joke

  40. FOARP Says:

    @William Huang –

    Not that I am agreeing with Xhell, but the map is not the joke, the phrase “hurt the feelings of the Chinese people” is, and comedians make hay out of it the world over. Only po-faced CCP officials treat it as if it were something serious.

  41. jack Says:

    @Xhell #39

    I take your comment personally but I will not repeat the crap by China foreign ministry. I prefer to put it simply, Xhell, you are really a disgrace to your race and please stay out of this blog.

  42. William Huang Says:

    @Xhell #39,
    If you don’t mind let me know the name of your country, I will return in kind.

    @FOARP
    I can understand that the map is not a joke to you and I am happy for you. Nonetheless, it’s still a joke to me. I don’t agree with you statement that the comedians make hay out of it the world over. Maybe some comedians on this blog but I won’t really call them “world over”.

    I do agree that the phrase “hurt the feelings of the Chinese people” hurts some westerners feeling pretty bad. Just look at the reaction from this blog, talking about overly sensitive. Won’t you agree?

  43. FOARP Says:

    @William Huang – Dude, they even make jokes out of it in Kyrgyzstan!

  44. William Huang Says:

    @ FOARP #43

    Okay, I believe you, so some people are laughing at Chinese but why are you so pissed off? It’s Chinese are being laughing not you. What really bothers you? Maybe we can switch places. Let me laugh at your country first and then get angry at you. Do you want do that?

  45. FOARP Says:

    @William Hung – You’re free to laugh at the UK, England, and my hometown – but you’ll have to get in line behind the people who live here! The thing is, I find the majority of Chinese people quite self-deprecating. It’s just the government that tries to stir up this kind of nonsense. It is Punch-and-Judy style diplomacy, sheer puppetry and obviously for show – no one can take it seriously, let alone get angry about it.

  46. Tom Says:

    I kinda agree with davesgonechina …

    It is simply the Chinese government talking to the Chinese people, except it is done in public. It is like, “Hey, people, such and so, whom we consider as a family friend is doing such and so things that are harmful to this family / country. So this is why we need to do something about it.”

    For passerbys, visiting guests and enemies with different forms of communication and culture who may find the speech odd is only natural – and however they interpret and then convey what they hear will of course be colored by their own cultural understanding or lack of understanding of someone else’s culture. I once heard a famous British or US commentator – Ican’t remember which, when describing the “British Invasion” of the 60s-70s with regard to Rock N Roll, something to the effect that, “The Brits took American black music -Blues and soul, completely misinterpreted them – just as Elvis did,
    and created the phenomina of the British Rock Empire, which then invaded the founding nation of Rock n Roll in the forms of groups like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple etc.

  47. facts Says:

    Glancing through the posts, the westerners are mostly saying China stupid/ridiculous in using such a phrase, China shooting its own foot starting a trade war. In essence, China should know its place in the world, take whatever is shoveled into its throat. Really, I say laugh at China all you want. I don’t think CCP cares much, China plows ahead anyways. The foreigners enjoy belittling/laughing at China. I admit many times CCP/Chinese gov. is not sophisticated in PR or the glossing side of the business. But even CCP is not perfect, CCP policies domestic and foreign are generally effective, the leadership of CCP is prudent, the rise of China in past 60 yrs is not accidental. This is just another one of those feel-good post for those to savor that Western superiority. Personally I don’t care to explain or to defend China. So laugh all you want, all I care is that China methodically marches upward in the world.

  48. shel Says:

    Those criticizing chinese defending their right to not deal with racist are racist themselve. They could have spent their time better in stoping PONZI scheme that not only con a lot of elder;y in the US, it also add fire to the recesssion caused by over optimism of the western free to con democracy. Chinese should continue to work on their own formula to prosper the world.

  49. Jerry Says:

    Well, just another comment which implies “might is right” and “Eastern is superior to Western”! Quelle surprise. C’est un voyage sans la surprise. “So laugh all you want, all I care is that China methodically marches upward in the world.” What is next? Will it be some Chinese Julius Caesar proclaiming, “Veni. Vidi. Vici.” Pardon me, but this sounds like a Chinese extension of the “Bush Doctrine”! :)

    We have several options here.

    We can elevate this game. We can grow up, mature (on many levels), and cast off these inane attitudes and mindsets. Then we can direct ourselves towards dealing with the unsustainability of life as we now know it, and as we now practice it on this planet. As of 2003, Ecological Footprint currently surpasses the Earth’s Biocapacity by 25%. Ecosystemic deficit spending, if you will. And the overshoot is getting worse by the year. We can also deal with global climate change and the myriad other global problems facing this planet. We can work on what Fritjof Capra sees as the largest issue, “our crisis of perception”.

    OR

    We can keep our inane mindset and watch our ecosystems collapse in the next 20, 30 or 40 years. In the meantime, we can battle each other for the limited, continually dwindling resources left. We can plot murderous dreams of eugenics, the likes of which this planet has never seen. Then, if you like, you can yell, with your last gasping breath, “I was right. We are the victors! We won!” Then you can sputter and die. I am sure your lungs and heart will resent your mindset, set as it is on your last glorious victory, Pyrrhic though it may be. Pretty ugly, if you ask me. C’est une allée sans issue!

    Maybe I need to start looking for that Einsteinian “key” to one of the more advanced, mature universes in the infinite potential of the multiverse. :D ::LOL::

    I often ask myself what I would do with that “key” if I found it. For instance, would I share it with others here? Would I share it with the world? Hmmm… I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe not. It may be too dangerous to trust to a world with such immature mindsets. :D ::big smile::

  50. facts Says:

    It’s fascinating to see some Westerners constantly reading their own biography from events in China or comments from the Chinese. They see White settlers ethnic-cleansing Native Americans in Tibet, they see “Bush Doctrine” at work as China rejects Western dictation on Chinese matters. I believe those Iraqi insurgents are the true adherents of “Bush Doctrine,” who dare to not accept the gift of “freedom and democracy” from the great white father and stubbornly want to hold onto their own ways of life.

    Of cause we have met the self-styled final arbiter on all matters that relate to maturity. lol…

  51. FOARP Says:

    Dude, that has to be the first time I have ever seen the word ‘maturity’ followed by ‘lol’, there has to be some kind of prize for that . . .

  52. S.K. Cheung Says:

    Nice post. Fascinating research of the numbers. I’ve had the same question many times myself, but unlike the author, I’ve never done anything about it. But way to carpe diem, Arctosia.

    I’ve often wondered, are Chinese people (or their government) so thin-skinned and overly-sensitive as to be so easily offended? Or maybe it’s just that Chinese politico-speak doesn’t work when translated literally. Then I wonder if the phrase “hurt feelings” is being issued in Chinese then translated, or if it’s being issued by a Chinese spokesperson in English. And I wonder if Canadian politico-speak might seem equally bizarre when read in Chinese.

    But given the number of times the Chinese people have had their feelings hurt, as documented by Arctosia, you’d think they’d have developed a coping mechanism by now….god knows the Dalai Lama has been received by enough dignitaries over the years to have provided China with ample practice.

  53. William Huang Says:

    @ FOARP #45

    FOARP said:
    “You’re free to laugh at the UK, England, and my hometown – but you’ll have to get in line behind the people who live here!”

    William Huang:
    I am not going to do that and I happen to have great deal of respect for Great Britain and British people. Also, I do appreciate your honesty to reveal yourself unlike some “coward” on this blog hiding their true identity and pretending to be someone else.

    FOARP said:
    “It’s just the government that tries to stir up this kind of nonsense. It is Punch-and-Judy style diplomacy, sheer puppetry and obviously for show – no one can take it seriously, let alone get angry about it.”

    William Huang:
    I submit that Chinese government has lot of improvement to do and thy have their share of the problems and mistakes. Chinese people as whole still have a lot catch up to do. China as a country is still far from being the one of the best let alone at the top.

    That said, I must say that this Sarkozy business is not one of them and the people whom you guys are laughing at, I mean Chinese leaders in government today, are far better than you think.

    This is the same group of people who led China to an unprecedented economic development. Despite obstacle, they have successfully organized 2008 Olympic with no prior experiences. They have dealt well on the big earthquake and they have kept Chinese people safe from outside attack for the past 20 years. They may not have the “style” that today’s western society so craving about but they have substance which is something on great deal of short supply elsewhere.

    You may despise them with your “ideology” superiority and they probably will never be good enough for you. Despite all their shortcomings, they have made their mark on history. Today, you can hardly find any politician or government, democratic, non-democratic with anything to match what they have accomplished for the past 20 years let alone laughing at them.

    To give you a different perspective in case you and some of the people on this blog just don’t get it: What the leaders of your generation have accomplished? I am sure they have styles. Otherwise they will never get elected. Just take a look at Bush administration, the leader of the western world has done in past eight years. To use the word, “disaster” would be an understatement. Is the whole western world are better off now compared with eight years ago?

    If you still don’t get it. I give you the last hint. You guys born with “silver spoon” in your mouth. With all these freedom, democracy, education, wealth, advantages and opportunities, what have you done with it? Your great-grandfathers, grandfathers and fathers have accomplished enormous amount and paved road for your generation to do better. What have you done so far?

    Instead you guys are good at laughing at people, picking words out of context, making maps, collecting Chinese jokes. You and the author of this blog (Arctosia) really did a “good” job. Bravo!

    This is the best you can do? I am sure Winston Churchill will be real “proud” if he is still alive.

    I am laughing at you.

  54. FOARP Says:

    @William Huang – Suit yourself. I’m happier not to take myself so seriously that even the hint of a joke made about the way my government communicates with the world is seen as an affront to my own pride. Plenty of Chinese people I know feel the same way I do, some of them even work or have worked in the government. As for the rest of what you say – well, it assumes a lot, and not just about my own past.

  55. Jerry Says:

    @FOARP #54

    Thanks for the information that you know plenty of Chinese people with a sense of humor and who do not take themselves so seriously. That’s a relief; I was starting to wonder. :D I have never been to da lu. Most of the Chinese I have met in the US seem to have a good sense of humor.

    Just an anecdote. A woman I know here in Taipei, Yi Ting, is in her mid-20s. She tells me that she thinks most people are boring here, with little sense of humor. I don’t know. They seem a little reserved, but definitely not boring to me. People seem to be pretty self-deprecating here. Yi Ting likes me because I am funny? Who knows? :D

    BTW, go ahead and make fun of the US government. God knows that I do. And they provide me with more material than I know how to use or will ever use.

    BTW 2, I have met some EVA flight attendants who are a riot. I find it very easy to be around people like that.

  56. FOARP Says:

    @Jerry – I find it easy to be around the EVA girls as well, but not simply because of their sense of humour. Actually one of my favourite airlines – when I used to fly regularly from HK to TPE I always used to get an upgrade to ‘Premier class’ (is this better than 1st/business class? I have no idea) – I think it must have been because the people I worked for had a deal going with EVA. Anyway, first class service, and a charming bunch. I don’t know why so many people rave about BA – every time I’ve flown with them I found the service appallingly bad – more like British Rail than British Airways.

    Taiwanese boring? I found Taiwan an interesting place, if some folk you meet in TPE are rather too concentrated on hauling in the green and seem to live too much for their jobs, you can find plenty of folk outside the big city who aren’t like that. In the UK we call people like that ‘jobsworths’, but economies are built on them.

    Dude, the way things are going in the UK it’s very likely that I’m going to be headed back east this summer, and all things being equal, Taiwan is my favoured destination. That’s not for nothing.

  57. Jerry Says:

    @FOARP #56

    I like Taipei. I have been here for a year. I like the people. I am not much of a “crowds” people, though.

    I like the EVA girls, too. They seem to like me, too. I have dated one or two. I think the EVA girls give much better service those of any airline in the US. I have never flown BA, so I can’t say. I fly EVA a lot. And I have no plans in changing airlines.

    EVA has “Premium Laurel”, which may be their first class. They have a business class and deluxe economy. I like the A330s and 777s the best. I usually fly Premium Laurel because the seating is better for someone who is about 190 cm with wide shoulders.

    Regarding Taiwan being boring, as I said, I don’t find the people boring here. That may just be Yi Ting’s 20-something view of Taiwan. She is headed for graduate school in Atlanta, in interior design. Her dad has worked a lot in the US as an architect. So maybe it is just time for her to get out and explore.

    We have people in the US who are also very career-oriented and driven. Heck, I come from a Jewish family and have suffered from “overachieverness” myself, but I have always been somewhat self-deprecating. Microsoft has more than their fair share of engineers and managers who take themselves way too seriously. And no personality, either. (One reason I retired. I wanted a life. Also Taiwan has helped me to slow down. I’m learning.) I have met people like that here. After all, this is the land of the bǔ xí bān, as are many E Asian countries. I just don’t understand “cram schools” to save my life.

    I moved to Taiwan because I like it. It fits me and my vegetarian lifestyle. I like it better than Seattle. I find it simpler, slower, more connected and more personal here.

  58. William Huang Says:

    @FOARP #54

    I am not sure your self-assessment is accurate. You claimed to be a person who is not taking himself seriously but you obviously couldn’t stand some Chinese who defended their government on this blog. Where is your sense of humor? You implied that self-deprecating is a virtue (which I agree), but I haven’t seen one self-deprecating statement from you.

    If your sense of humor ends with people who lack a sense of humor, then I must say, like you, my sense of humor ended when I logged on to this blog.

    So I don’t think this being more self-deprecating requirement works for me. On the contrary, I do think you and some people on this blog can use a little.

  59. Steve Says:

    @FOARP & Jerry: I’ve also had good experiences on EVA. One of our Taiwan nieces has her degree in nutrition and works for EVA in Taoyuan, so you can blame her if you don’t like the food, ha ha. EVA has relatively new planes and good service. I also like China Airlines; I just wish their planes wouldn’t crash every couple of years.

    For other Asian airlines, I like Dragonair the best in China, which is managed by Cathay Pacific who has a 49% ownership. My second favourite in China is China Eastern. The airline that always made me laugh was Air China, who would give a gift on each flight. Some were predictable like ties or model airplanes, but the vibrator was really too much!! :)

    I like Asiana better than Korean Airlines and ANA better than Japan Airlines. Because I flew the “golden route’ every six weeks, I spent more time on Cathay Pacific, which I really liked, and felt Singapore was good but no better than most of the other Asian airlines. I haven’t flown Thai or Malaysian Airlines, but heard they are both very good. Jerry, who did you fly to Vietnam? I’m curious…

    @William Huang: I think it safe to say that the vast majority of commenters on this blog have a great respect for China and many friends among the Chinese people. I don’t think anyone “despises” them or feels “ideology superiority” and by your comments, you are saying more about yourself than about the people you criticize. You said yourself, “I submit that Chinese government has lot of improvement to do and thy have their share of the problems and mistakes. Chinese people as whole still have a lot catch up to do.” You say this yet you get very defensive if anyone comments on any of those problems or mistakes. Why? Personally, I am very interested in your observations concerning China and subjects relating to her economic and political rise, but disparaging anyone who doesn’t take the ‘official’ Chinese government position puts the spotlight on you rather than them.

    What in the post by Arctosia wasn’t accurate? You might have explanations for different situations where the Chinese government used the phrase “hurt the feelings of the Chinese people” so give those explanations. Don’t condemn Arctosia for bringing up the subject. I appreciate that Arctosia wrote the piece and stimulated conversation and thinking about this subject. It helps me understand the Chinese position better but unfortunately, it didn’t seem to help you understand how most westerners think about the wording.

    When Coca-Cola used the translation “bite the wax tadpole”, China quite justifiably made fun of their translation. We in the west all thought it was really funny and mocked Coca-Cola for not doing their homework and understanding the culture they were dealing with. When China uses their “hurt the feelings” slogan, it has the same reaction. So if the Chinese government is making statements to western cultures that don’t work within those cultures, I’d say it was the Chinese government’s fault. They should know their audience, just as Coke should have known theirs.

    @FOARP: You use the word “dude” almost as much as my sons. Have you spent time in southern California??? :D

    @Jerry: I think you live in vegetarian paradise now. I was amazed at how many new fruits and vegetables I was able to try in Taiwan. My favourite is kong xin cai (empty heart vegetable). I always felt it tasted best in Taiwan and like it prepared simply; stir fried in garlic and ginger.

    I never found my colleagues boring when in Taiwan or China. We were always kidding about something or other. I like the Chinese style witty humor, which uses a lot of wordplay.

  60. William Huang Says:

    @ facts #47

    I agree with your statement that what they want is “China should know its place in the world”. It is the fact that China stands up to France that bothers them and it has nothing to do with anything else.

    To me, the phrase “hurt Chinese people’s feelings” is clearly a reference to the boycotting French goods during Olympic torch in July. It was a grass-root effort by the mass not by the government. So the question is why Chinese people boycotting French goods? If it is not what they felt about what France did, what then? If Chinese people are apolitical, who are these people on the street?

    This kind of thing happens in many places. When the Dixie Chicks (a US country music band) made negative comments about George Bush on Iraq War in England, they received a huge backlash back at US. Many critics had problem for them saying it on foreign soil. They would not have the problem if it was said in US even though some of them even disagreed with Bush. We can debate about the merit of criticism but we should respect people’s patriotism for their own country. Very few westerners on this blog have demonstrated this kind of courtesy. Their problem with China is clearly beyond just simple semantic.

    The rage expressed by some people on this blog is appalling. They have no problem for people say things like “your country is a joke” or person attack but they pops up the moment someone o the other side spoken up. It’s hypocrisy at its highest form.

    The article of this blog provides nothing for a meaningful discussion. There is not a single thread of intelligence in it. However, I must say it does offer some entertaining value for some losers.

  61. William Huang Says:

    @ Steve #59

    Thanks for reading my post. Let me answer you question point by point in this post and later I will make another post to answer your more generally question in the interest of easy reading.

    Steve said:
    I think it safe to say that the vast majority of commenters on this blog have a great respect for China and many friends among the Chinese people. I don’t think anyone “despises” them or feels “ideology superiority”.

    William Huang:
    You simply either did not read my comment in careful enough or misintererpreted. Before I started use the words “despises” and “ideology superiority”, I specifically stated that I am referring to Chinese leaders in government as I am quoting myself here in my post #53, “people whom you guys are laughing at, I mean Chinese leaders in government today……”. I have always made clear about the distinction of the two, the leaders in Chinese government and Chinese people.

    Steve said:
    …by your comments, you are saying more about yourself than about the people you criticize. You said yourself, “I submit that Chinese government has lot of improvement to do and thy have their share of the problems and mistakes. Chinese people as whole still have a lot catch up to do.” You say this yet you get very defensive if anyone comments on any of those problems or mistakes. Why?

    William Huang:
    I don’t quite understand your point. The whole point of discussion in this thread is about Chinese leader government’s statement that “hurt Chinese people’s feeling”. I have not defended Chinese government on any other issue other than this one. Neither anyone else brought up the other issue. Yes, I am defending Chinese government for their reaction on Sarkozy/Dalai Lama meeting and their expression that this act hurts Chinese people’s feeling. Of course I am “defensive” about this issue otherwise there is little point for me to discuss. So I am not sure why you are saying I am being defensive about Chinese government’s mistakes and problems?

    The only reason I mentioned that Chinese government has problems and mistakes is simply to make a point that I do NOT necessary support every decision Chinese government makes. However, I do support this one.

    You may say no one is accusing you of anything so why even mention it? Well, next two paragraphs are exactly my point.

    Steve said:
    Personally, I am very interested in your observations concerning China and subjects relating to her economic and political rise, but disparaging anyone who doesn’t take the ‘official’ Chinese government position puts the spotlight on you rather than them.

    William Huang:
    I will leave my general view on China to another post. The last part of your sentence is the exactly the reason I need to state that I don’t support Chinese government’s decision. Here, you take my position on the “hurt Chinese people feeling” into a generalization on a disparaging anyone who doesn’t take the ‘official’ Chinese government position.

    I am not sure why you can make this a leap of faith to conclude that my position on this single issue can make you to draw the conclusion that I disparaging anyone on other issues with respect to Chinese government. If you are only referring to this issue, then yes, I disagree with them and I am not happy with the way some people said here. I had to express my view as strong as I can to get point crossed. I hope you don’t blame me for stack up a strong defense.

    Steve said:
    What in the post by Arctosia wasn’t accurate? You might have explanations for different situations where the Chinese government used the phrase “hurt the feelings of the Chinese people” so give those explanations. Don’t condemn Arctosia for bringing up the subject. I appreciate that Arctosia wrote the piece and stimulated conversation and thinking about this subject. It helps me understand the Chinese position better but unfortunately, it didn’t seem to help you understand how most westerners think about the wording.

    William Huang:
    Many of so called “exact citation” by Arctosia have no direct reference. Even some of link he used are not Chinese government statement but someone else. For example, New Zealand citation is a statement made by local Chinese expressed their displeasure on a local politician’s visit to Taiwan. Another example is Italy citation and it is about Fiat company’s apology (on sponsoring commercial relating to Tibet Independent) that apology itself mentioned word “hurt Chinese people feeling”. It’s all written in Chinese and I don’t know the content of original Fiat statement. Regradless it’s not about what Chinese government said. So many of his data are fabrications let alone accurate.

    The English word “offend” or “offense” is often is used for this type of situation and there is no appropriate translation in Chinese. A literal translation into Chinese means “attack” and it can be either physical or verbal. In diplomatic term it usually implies a military strike of some sort. A sentence in Chinese “This hurts Chinese people’s feeling” is equivalent to English sentence, “This offends Chinese people”. If I translate this English sentence back to Chinese literally letter by letter, it means (in English) “This is an attack on Chinese people”. Of course Sarkozy never went that far, so it is hard for Chinese government official to use the other words in Chinese. So here the ridicule started.

    We can debate about culture and language differences and who shares the responsibility of this mess. I also don’t have problem with any point of view provided that it is reasonable and fair. Of course I don’t expect any westerners to be fluent in Chinese language.

    However, this is not case for Arctosia. There is no sincere and fair discussion as what’s appropriate way to communicate. The very starting point of Arctoisa’s view is that since Chinese government talking so silly (his Chinese blog went on to state that Chinese talked like little girl) about feelings, let’s see how this point can drew a ridicules conclusion if we go further. His subsequent conclusions are so ridicules that you would have to think some how Chinese leaders have lost real sense of reality. He build all his argument based on his interpretation of what really these words to himself. To me, his article base point is either 1) he is not proficient in English in which case he shouldn’t talk that much at first place, or 2) he does know English but he did it deliberately in a very bad taste. I choose later.

    It is Arctosia who invited his fellow countrymen for opinion and I responded. As for FOARP, I have no problem for him express his point of view as he did on other discussions. My original point of contention with FOARP was not about his strong reaction on my response to the comments on the article (#40).

    Also, it was FOARP who raised issue of self-deprecating, not taking oneself too seriously, etc. The first reaction for my comment from this blog started out with “You country is a joke” by xhell #39 and this kind of behavior is hardly condemned by westerners. However, enough people troubled by my defense on Chinese government. To me there are obviously two sides and I am not expecting any help from other side but I hope we can leave personal trait out of the discussion. If any one wants to turn the discussion into personality issue, I am not interested.

  62. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To William Huang:
    what are you talking about. THere absolutely is a direct translation for “offend” in Chinese. In Cantonese, it’s “duct jieu”, though I’m not sure if you’re of the Cantonese or Mandarin persuasion. It has nothing to do with “attack”.
    On the other hand, I’m still curious how your personal feelings were so impugned by Sarkozy (or anyone else of import, for that matter) meeting with the Dalai Lama.

  63. perspectivehere Says:

    @Arctosia, William Huang and FOARP,

    With respect, it seems like you are all arguing around the wrong thing. It’s like watching three blind men arguing about a statue of an elephant when a live elephant is walking around beyond their reach.

    I think FOARP captures this when he writes:

    FOARP said:
    “It’s just the government that tries to stir up this kind of nonsense. It is Punch-and-Judy style diplomacy, sheer puppetry and obviously for show – no one can take it seriously, let alone get angry about it.”

    But this is the point of Diplomacy, isn’t it? That there are protocols governing the manner in which States (not individuals) relate to each other, and the symbolism being employed by each act of one State actor sends clear signals to the other of whether they are being respected or insulted.
    That’s the live elephant being missed here.

    These signals are generally incomprehensible to John Q. Public, in part because of the language of diplomacy is obscure except to practitioners. The news media is either unintentionally or willfully ignorant of what the symbolism means, so usually does an awful job explaining what the signals mean.

    I am not educated about diplomatic protocols, so I found this article useful, particularly the sections on “diplomatic insults”:

    http://www.diplomacy.edu/Books/mdiplomacy_book/goldstein/goldstein.htm

    “Some diplomatic practices do not change. The diplomatic insult has existed since the origins of diplomacy…..The diplomatic insult today can be a carefully crafted instrument of statecraft used as a way of communicating extreme displeasure when all other efforts at communication have failed. France in particular is a consummate user of the diplomatic insult. Napoleon “insulted the British ambassador in 1803, the Austrian in 1808 and the Russian in 1811 – a sign that war with each power was imminent.” The French signalled their displeasure with a number of American policies, including their differences over the UN secretary-generalship and the command of the NATO southern command, through just such a gesture. At United States Secretary of State Warren Christopher’s last NATO dinner the secretary-general of NATO (Javier Solana) proposed a toast to Christopher, whereupon the French foreign minister Hervé de Charette abruptly left the room. To make the gesture clear, the French ambassador to NATO (Gérard Errara) took Charette’s place and ostentatiously turned his back on the room while the toast was conducted.”

    Formalized, stylized forms of diplomatic insults may seem risible and an easy target of ridicule and parody for the non-professional diplomat, but they are in fact the way civilized States “communicate extreme displeasure”.

    It seems like China is trying to “communicate extreme displeasure” by missing the meeting and making a statement of “broken intentions”. The translation into “hurt feelings” in English is not helpful. Does anyone know how it is formally rendered into French, and whether the French version is more impactful than the English?

    We have just lived through eight thrilling years of the George W. Bush way to communicate extreme displeasure – “Shock & Awe”. This may be effective in getting people’s attention and showing you are serious, but it doesn’t leave much room for negotiation. So I think I’m willing to tolerate a whole lot of formalized shadow-boxing between countries – even applaud it – if it can keep countries from fighting each other in wars to “avenge insults.”

    As I understand it, the Chinese view on the DL is that he is not a Head of State, but rather a religious leader who claims to be the head of a government in exile. For another Head of State to meet with him (particularly when that Head of State is simultaneously holding the Presidency of the European Union) could be interpreted as an act of legitimating DL’s “government-in-exile” claim. The fact that this kind of meeting is ambiguous (the French would say that the meeting is solely with respect to DL’s role as religious leader) does not mollify the Chinese view that it could be interpreted as a legitimating act. Therefore, it is interpreted as an insult, and must be responded to.

    The rough equivalent from a U.S. historical perspective would be if France had agreed to meet with Jefferson Davis, president of the Secessionist Confederacy. The Union clearly would have seen that as an insult, or worse.

    http://www.americanforeignrelations.com/A-D/Civil-War-Diplomacy-The-slavery-issue-and-the-end-of-confederate-diplomacy.html

    (As it turned out, neither France nor England were willing to support the Confederacy – if they had, the U.S. could possibly have split into two states through foreign interference. The Union had a legitimate interest in survival and preventing a split from happening.)

    So, the live elephant in the room is the formalized language of diplomacy. This doesn’t fit well into the less formal popular culture in which we inhabit, and where I think Arctosia, FOARP and the others are seeking to vest meaning in to the “hurt feelings” phrase.

    I don’t think you will find meaning there. They are two different worlds.

  64. wuming Says:

    @SKC

    I have tried to come up with a Chinese translation of “taking offense” but have so far failed. Can you or anybody help? I have no idea what “duct jieu” is.

  65. perspectivehere Says:

    Not to overuse to analogy to the Southern Confederacy in the United States history, but this 2005 book “Secret History of Confederate Diplomacy Abroad” offers some tantalizing parallels to the diplomatic strategies of the DL’s government-in-exile:

    1. Both the Confederacy and the DL government-in-exile pursue recognition by foreign governments as a highest priority.

    2. Both relied on secret efforts and propaganda to gain the support of foreign countries. The DL’s secret links to the U.S. CIA

    3. The foreign country supporters they are trying to reach frequently don’t know where they are located: Many Europeans thought the Confederate South was located in South America. Does anyone have a link to the news broadcast where SFO Olympic torch protestors could not identify Tibet on a map?

    4. Both Tibet and Confederacy were slave-based economies which tried to win the support of foreign countries by promising to rid themselves of slavery.

    5. The Confederacy’s diplomatic efforts to gain recognition were ultimately doomed.

    See:
    http://www.kansaspress.ku.edu/delsec.html

    “One of the South’s most urgent priorities in the Civil War was obtaining the recognition of foreign governments. Edwin De Leon, a Confederate propagandist charged with wooing Britain and France, opens up this vital dimension of the war in the earliest known account by a Confederate foreign agent.”

    “First published in the New York Citizen in 1867–68, De Leon’s memoir subsequently sank out of sight until its recent rediscovery by William C. Davis, one of the Civil War field’s true luminaries. Both reflective and engaging, it brims with insights and immediacy lacking in other works, covering everything from the diplomatic impact of the Battle of Bull Run to the candid opinions of Lord Palmerston to the progress of secret negotiations at Vichy.”

    “De Leon discusses, among other things, the strong stand against slavery by the French and a frustrating policy of inaction by the British, as well as the troubling perceptions of some Europeans that the Confederacy was located in South America and that most Americans were a cross between Davy Crockett and Sam Slick. With France’s recognition a priority, De Leon published pamphlets and used French journals in a futile attempt to sway popular opinion and pressure the government of Napoleon III. His interpretation of the latter’s meeting with Confederate diplomat John Slidell and the eventual mediation proposal sheds new light on that signal event.”

    “De Leon was a keen observer and a bit of a gossip, and his opinionated details and character portraits help shed light on the dark crevices of the South’s doomed diplomatic efforts and provide our only inside look at the workings of Napoleon’s court and Parliament regarding the Confederate cause. Davis adds an illuminating introduction that places De Leon’s career in historical context, reveals much about his propagandist strategies, and traces the history of the Secret History itself. Together they open up a provocative new window on the Civil War.”

    See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confederate_States_of_America#International_diplomacy

    http://www.americanforeignrelations.com/A-D/Civil-War-Diplomacy-The-slavery-issue-and-the-end-of-confederate-diplomacy.html

    “Jefferson Davis and Judah Benjamin understood that survival depended on European support and that this support would not be forthcoming without altering the Confederate position on slavery. In November 1864, Davis presented to the Confederate Congress a plan to employ forty thousand slaves in noncombatant military service to be followed by their emancipation. While this proposal was being considered, he dispatched Duncan F. Kenner of Louisiana to Europe on a secret mission with instructions to offer European governments a promise of emancipation of the slaves in exchange for recognition. Napoléon, then deeply involved in his Mexican policy, declined the offer and replied that France could not act without British concurrence. When Kenner made the same proposal to the British government, Palmerston rejected it out of hand, informing Kenner that Britain would never recognize the Confederate States of America. Confederate diplomacy in Europe had come to a dead end.”

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    And just to bring these parallels back to the present, the DL g-i-e is clearly putting a lot of effort into building movements (some secret, some grass-roots) to promote de jure and de facto recognition. The DL’s globetrotting a visiting of heads of state is a way to accomplish that. One has to have one’s head in the sand to pretend that is not why he is doing it.

    Out of curiosity, does anyone know how often the Archbishop of Canterbury is received by foreign heads of state around the world?

  66. perspectivehere Says:

    I promise this is my last post on the parallels between Confederate and DL government-in-exile diplomacy.

    Some additional parallels were:

    1. Foreign powers saw support for the Confederacy primarily from standpoint of self-interest, i.e., ability to weaken America.

    For example, this quote describes the dynamic:

    “The Confederates also employed propaganda, particularly in France to try and achieve their means. The French people favored the unity of the United States as a bulwark against the arrogance of maritime Britain and as a symbol of a free society, which they also longed to be. Napoleon himself favored the Confederacy as a way to weaken America, but he dared not intervene and risk war with the U.S.” (See: http://personal.tcu.edu/~SWOODWORTH/Owsley-KCD.htm)

    The use of propaganda by both the Northerners and Confederacy was widespread. This description of the Confederacy’s propaganda methods could be a description of the DL’s:

    http://www.civilwarhome.com/propaganda.htm

    “In their efforts to win popular sympathy and combat Northern propaganda, the Confederates bad established such agencies of publicity as their resources would permit. English writers were employed in the newspaper and magazine field; spokesmen in Parliament were sought; pamphlets and books were published and freely distributed; news agencies were presented with prepared material; and a special newspaper, the Index, was set up by the chief Confederate propaganda agent, Henry Hotze. Through these channels, and through the utterings of Southern diplomats, foreign readers were advised of the unconquerable strength of the Confederate cause. It was pointed out that the Confederacy comprised “13 separate and sovereign States, with 870,610 square miles of territory and twelve millions of population., The historical background of the Southern movement, the confederate nature of the Union, the legal right of secession, were duly elaborated. The vastness of the South, its enormous stretches of arable land, its advantages of soil, rivers, minerals, and climate, were stressed, and its attractiveness as a market for European goods was emphasized. The cardinal importance of cotton was shown by impressive statistics. Confederate military strength was emphasized; Southern victories were featured; Union victories denied or disparaged. The perfidy and hypocrisy of the Lincoln government were exhibited; and incidents such as Butler’s “woman order” (misunderstood in Europe) were represented as typical and as if directed from Washington. The United States in general was stigmatized as “a country, if it deserves to be so called, which is capable of committing the most unscrupulous atrocities . . . ; a country that is a reproach to . . . civilization………” Slavery was given little attention; but the ideals of self-government, resistance to oppression, and independence were presented as the issues at stake. The impossibility of conquering the South was constantly pointed out. The sections were represented as psychologically incompatible. Sometimes the arguments in this field included expressions by Southern leaders as to essential terms to be insisted on in the making of peace and conditions that would follow when independence had been achieved. It was stated that no peace could be accepted without including within the Confederate States the commonwealth-, of Maryland) Kentucky, and Missouri and the territories of New Mexico and Arizona. Again it was brought out that, after independence, the “Northern States . . . must be to us henceforth as though they were without a place upon the earth’s surface. . . . Let the Northern shipowners starve rather than allow them to convey one pound of our staples to Europe. In this manner we shall wield an overpowering and humiliating influence over them.” Mindful of foreign resentment against filibustering in the past, the Southerners were careful to state that, once independence was achieved, there would be no wish for foreign territory; schemes of expansion would disappear; and, moreover, the “balance of power” in North America would be assured.”

    Note that the sentence, “The United States in general was stigmatized as ‘a country, if it deserves to be so called, which is capable of committing the most unscrupulous atrocities . . . ; a country that is a reproach to . . . civilization………’ Slavery was given little attention;….” can be compared to DL government-in-exiles efforts in this regard.

    And apparently, the Confederate propaganda worked, to a degree: “In 1863 (Confederate diplomats) Mason and Slidell continued to try and work with Britain and France to effect recognition. They enlisted the help of a Member of Parliament, John Roebuck, who introduced a motion for Confederate recognition.” (see http://personal.tcu.edu/~SWOODWORTH/Owsley-KCD.htm)

  67. FOARP Says:

    @William Huang – Like I said: suit yourself.

  68. FOARP Says:

    @Perspectivehere – The Chinese government itself has many parallels with the Confederacy – not least because it was a rebel movement which was founded by the secession of part of the country from the whole. Not only this, but according to an interview with Edgar Snow, Mao Ze Dong himself favoured supporting Tibetan, Korean and Taiwanese independence from the Japanese empire as separate entities – you could say that he certainly had a dose of the ‘rebel spirit’. Indeed, it is worth noting that the communists have never extended the hand of reconciliation to the veterans of the nationalist army that the veterans of the US Union army did to that of the Confederacy. However, moves have been made in recent years to correct this, but I do not expect to see Chinese civil war recreationists any time soon!

  69. William Huang Says:

    @ Steve #59

    Steve said,
    “…….Personally, I am very interested in your observations concerning China and subjects relating to her economic and political rise…..”

    William Huang:
    China has changed a lot and in a very positive way both internally and externally. People are genuinely happy and upbeat. Younger generations are very open-minded with a sense of urgency and can-do spirit. These are all very nice and good.

    Economic wise, China has improved a tremendously, however, it is still far behind many countries. The gaps are very broad and deep. For example, in comparison to US, the GDP is still way behind and with 1.3 billion people, the income per capita is 1~2 order of magnitude behind. With the current rate, it may take China another 50 years to catch up.

    Majority of China’s industries are in low tech manufacturing and it comes with low wage and low standard of living. Most importantly, China is way behind in terms of science and technology development. In my view, today’s high technology is firmly in the hands of United States and Japan. No other country is even close. China is not even close to be third. Yes, China has some space program and nuclear technology but it is limited to very special application and has little to do overall industrial base. China has invested heavily in science and technology but it will take few generations to get there.

    By and large, China is a developing country not a developed country. Besides with food to eat and roof on the head, there are other important areas that westerners taking granted but China is barely having its ends meet, medical and dental health, environmental, education, and culture development just to name a few. People are fully aware of all these issues and that’s part of reason, why many people in China still hold very high opinion of countries like US for their industrial and economic might despite recent problems. People with less education and knowledge may not see these critical points but people with decent education and particularly those at high up are mindful of the reality with no illusion about where they are. For all have been achieved so far, the arrogance is one thing yet to be developed.

    However, one very important thing slipped their mind. For China to meet daily consumption like people in US and with this 1.3 billion people to be covered in all, it will have huge complication in the world in terms of natural resources, environment, economy and geopolitics.

    Politically, China is taking a gradual change internally towards more openness. What China lacking is a modern legal and juridical system to establish law and order without iron fist by government. Chinese people as with our culture and tradition have little concept of law and they often confuse the difference between legal and moral. Needless to say, democracy and individuality, and freedom of speech do not come with Chinese DNA. This kind statement may offend some western humanitarians but you have to live there and breath with Chinese to know what was like before. Today, what China needs more than anything is peace so they can continue to improve their lives. The incredible transformation of their material lives happened in their life time. Most of them grew up without proper nutrition and decent meal but now many of them have cars. They couldn’t have imaged in their wildest dreams. For them, to have the right to vote and voice different opinions are secondary let alone overthrowing a government who has delivered result.

    Towards outside, China has little interest to be a big-shot. The permanent position in UN Security Council is pretty much a historical legacy and I have serious doubt China is interested in other countries affair. It does not mean that China won’t play international politics because the need for national security and economic development. But they don’t have the “world police” mentality like US or seeking regional influences as Britain and German. Most Chinese are still busy absorbing western culture and fascinated by the latest development in the west. I don’t mean that China won’t turn ugly someday but there is no sign at all right now. For example, China has very little development in navy fleet, an essential equipment to be imperialistic.

    Above descriptions are all I can offer and I hope it can help you to have a glimpse of what Chinese see themselves. Your criticisms are welcome.

  70. FOARP Says:

    @Perspectivehere – In fact, as offensive to human rights as the policies of the Confederacy undoubtedly were, it is hard to see how a state which proposed to remove from its citizens any right to think, say or even conceive of any opinion different to that of its rulers, and which underwent periods of extreme violence against those who did, is any better.

  71. William Huang Says:

    @ S. K. Cheung

    I am of Mandarin persuasion and I am sorry that I don’t know what word “duct jieu” means. If you can type in Chinese characters on this blog, I can look into it.

    The reason that I am not happy with the Sarkozy /Dalai Lama is stated in my post #37. I just want to add few more comments here.

    Dalai Lama and his Tibetan government in exile (TGIE) have created instability in Tibet and in turn in China. I leave the argument of Tibetan’s right for independence and legitimacy out for the sake of avoiding long post. The degree which Dalai Lama and TGIE want to carry out their pursuit is largely a function of the perception they have on the west support. If western government is support him directly on the independence, he will pursue it but if they only support negotiation, he will seek “meaningful autonomy”.

    On the other hand, there is no Chinese government (democratic or not) will ever let Tibet go independent even if they wanted to. They will be accused of treason and that’s today’s Chinese sentiment. For Dalai Lama, his hope is a “Soviet Union like” democratic movement which leads to the collapse of the whole union and each small part of country becomes independent. China is not ready for democracy without scarifies national unity and Dalai Lama was hoping this would happen. However, the timing is running out. Without Dalai Lama, there is no TGIE and 100K Tibetans in exile will be left out hanging.

    His bargaining chip is foreign government support, more the better. However, western government is not really interested in Tibetan’s independence but a way to snob China. Sarkozy is in particularly having problem with China on this one and he played more than he needs to which in turn hurts my feeling as a Chinese.

    This is not first time French politicians having problem with other people’s successes on economic development. In early 90’s the Prime Minister of France openly calling Japanese, “the yellow ants trying to take over the world”. Japan being a democratic, open society has not helped to escape this insult. On top of that, Japan was facing a worldwide assault from all major western countries and they took an “eat-the-sh*t” kind of attitude but I am not sure China should do the same.

  72. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To William Huang:
    I don’t know how to type Chinese on the computer, but I’m trying to enlist the help of HongKonger, a fellow Cantonese speaker whose Chinese skills I’m sure are far superior to mine.

    Appreciate your explanation in #71. Also re-read your post from # 37. If I understand #37 correctly, Sarkozy would’ve been better off the find a pretext to invite the Dalai Lama to Paris, and if he were to have met him there in the context of a host/guest dynamic, that would be ok?

    I agree it’s better to leave the whole Tibetan independence thing out of this discussion (if for no other reason that it has formed the basis for innumerable discussions already). But assuming you would stipulate that western governments do things for a reason, what benefits do these governments stand to reap by simply crapping on China? Is it your belief that western governments lose sleep at night conjuring up ways to piss off Chinese people, just for the heck of it?

  73. HongKonger Says:

    “duct jieu”- 得罪..???? To offend or be offended

  74. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To HKer,

    yes, that’s exactly it! You rock. Thanks a lot.

  75. Steve Says:

    @William Huang #61 & 69: Great posts! I liked 69 so much (I expect some comments from the peanut gallery for that one) that I highlighted it. I just got back so no time to answer tonight but I’ll work up a reply tomorrow. I really appreciate your taking the time to answer each one so thoroughly. :D

  76. William Huang Says:

    @ FOARP #67

    We may got off at the wrong foot but I want to tell you that I do agree with some of your points in post #10 and #12.

  77. William Huang Says:

    @ S. K. Cheung #72 and #74.

    “duct jieu” 得罪 is not direct translation for offend or take offense in English and cannot be used in this situation. The literally translation of this word into English is “committed sin against…” and it was used in ancient time for one at lower level acknowledge his offense towards one at higher authority.

    Today, this word is slang not a formal expression in serious business let alone diplomatic exchange. I agree that in some (but not even the most) inter-personal relationship circumstances such as office politics and family scruple where the Chinese word “duct jieu” and English “offend” do describe the same thing. Even in that case, this word is only used by the offender or third party observer to describe an offensive act but hardly ever used by the person at the receiving end of offense to reference his displeasure.

    Often times, the English words “I am offended” or “I take offense” are used for a reaction by the person at the receiving end of an act and act is not carried out directly towards that person. It is in large sense about one’s feeling hurt without taking a direct insult. In other words, regardless the style and appropriateness in literally sense, the Chinese word “feeling hurt” is very closly matched to the English word “take offense” in terms of degree of the offense.

    You said:
    If I understand #37 correctly, Sarkozy would’ve been better off the find a pretext to invite the Dalai Lama to Paris, and if he were to have met him there in the context of a host/guest dynamic, that would be ok?

    William Huang,
    It doesn’t matter. For Sarkozy to treat Dalai Lama as a political leader in an official capacity is a suggestion that Tibet is somehow an independent country. This is not something Chinese government should take lightly. Of course, Sarkozy will deny anything being political. Nobody cares if they meet as friend at say, his private apartment. It’s this symbolic gesture sends the message to the world that France is behind Dalai Lama for his cause which is not something Chinese people responded with open arm.

    Yes, Dalai Lama is a religious leader but first and foremost he is a political leader with a government under him. It’s not his fault that he has to wear two hats but it’s a pretty good excuse for western leader to mess with Chinese internal affair. Try to tell Americans that Bin Laden is a religious leader and his view should be respected.

    You said:
    But assuming you would stipulate that western governments do things for a reason, what benefits do these governments stand to reap by simply crapping on China?

    William Huang:
    I am not sure what do you mean by simply crapping on China. I need something more specific. I assume you meant why they want to mess around with China, I can give you few leads. First of all, the western power (US, England, German, and France) ruled the world today. They have close-tie in politics, culture, race and history. Any economical and political rivalry is a competition for them and direct thread on economic benefit, ideology control, and their constituent sentiment. If you can figure out why the former French prime minister calling Japanese “the yellow ants trying to take over the world”, that would be one of my answers.

    You said:
    Is it your belief that western governments lose sleep at night conjuring up ways to piss off Chinese people, just for the heck of it?

    William Huang:
    No. I don’t believe that and I don’t think they care one way or another. They just want to make sure that their own people are not pissed off. However, this doesn’t mean they don’t do things that piss Chinese people off. Every government acts in their own interest not others. Likewise, Chinese government didn’t say “French President hurt Chinese people feeling” just for the heck of it but plenty of people are pissed off.

  78. wuming Says:

    @William Huang

    I think your interpretation of “feeling hurt” as “taking offense” is convincing. Since French is no longer the official diplomatic language, and English is the de facto international language but subject to manipulation in diplomatic context (well, too many examples, Iraqi war alone produced probably a small dictionary of it), why not China injecting some of its own frameworks by insisting on its own peculiar set of phrases? If this hurts somebody’s feelings, so be it.

  79. Bob Says:

    Has anyone read this?

    http://news.wenxuecity.com/messages/200812/news-gb2312-761339.html

    Can you say dumb brits? :)))

  80. FOARP Says:

    @Bob – The Guardian is famous for its misprints, it has to be the only newspaper that has ever misprinted its own name of the front page – it is for this reason that the satirical magazine Private Eye refers to it as “The Grauniad”. However, most newspapers in the the UK most of the time get most things correct – but obviously not in this case!

  81. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To William Huang:
    I can throw down Cantonese colloquialisms as well as the next guy, and I have no idea why you would think “duct jieu” to be a slang. In Cantonese, it is the direct translation for “to offend” in the context we are discussing here. Specifically, as a verb, I am not aware of a more appropriate translation. As a noun, ie to take offense, I agree there is not as good a translation, although if you say “bay duct jieu” (where “bay” is the character for north, with the left hand side reversed on its vertical axis…geez maybe I should learn to type CHinese characters someday…) IMO comes pretty close.
    I have no idea if “duct jieu” is appropriate for diplomatic exchange, but to me it’s certainly no goofier than “hurt feelings”.
    Regardless, my point is not in word choice, be it “take offense” or “hurt feelings”. My point is, why is the CCP so easily offended? It seems they get overly-sensitive with all things Dalai Lama…and come to think of it, since the Cantonese term for sensitive is the same as for allergy, maybe they’re allergic to him. They should find some diplomatic medicine for that.

    I still don’t get the distinction between Sarkozy and the Polish PM. You say the Polish PM meeting the Dalai Lama is ok since he was hosting the Dalai Lama, but uncool for Sarkozy to mingle with a fellow guest (geez I didn’t know mingling was so frowned upon). But even if Sarkozy had hosted the Dalai Lama, much like the Polish PM did, that still would not fly. So really, it has nothing to do with the host/guest dynamic, and it’s something specific with Sarkozy. So what’s your beef with Sarkozy? And if any official government representative meeting with the Dalai Lama somehow enhances his legitimacy politically, then I guess China’s been offended often, and has more of that coming. Which seems to be what Arctosia enumerated here to start with.
    “It’s this symbolic gesture sends the message to the world that France is behind Dalai Lama for his cause” – again, isn’t that just full-on over-sensitivity? Meeting him equals France supporting Tibetan independence or whatever? Maybe Sarkozy should just invite Hu over for a baguette as a balancing gesture of “screw Tibetans”, perhaps that will provide the antidote for the CHinese allergic reaction.

    BTW, the BIn Laden comparison is way off base, since he is in no way a religious leader…unless of course you consider Jihadism to be a religion.

    “what benefits do these governments stand to reap by simply crapping on China?” – this was in reference to your point about western governments simply wanting to “snub China”. As you say, governments do things to promote self interest. How does snubbing China promote any government’s self-interest, especially in these economic times?

  82. perspectivehere Says:

    @FOARP

    Thanks for your reply. I confess I got into a roll with Googling and seeing parallels that I went off on a tangent on the DL and TGIE, which was not my intention with my comments.

    The points I wanted to make were that:

    (1) Arctosia’s post makes some fair points. The notion of “hurting a country’s feelings” seems a bit ridiculous to the ear when one thinks about it.

    (2) However, if one views these statements as part of a repertoire of set diplomatic phrases, one can see their uses. In the context of diplomatic relations, language may seem artificial and stilted, but as long as they accurately convey an intended message, then they do what they are meant to do. It may well be that they are not really intended for public consumption. Students of diplomatic history may in fact have a more nuanced view of the use of such phrasing throughout the PRC’s recent history. I suspect there is an internal understanding within the PRC Foreign Ministry regarding what exactly this phrase means, just as there is a general understanding within the international diplomatic community (and France’s foreign ministry) as to what it means when the PRC states this. Official diplomatic language is highly scripted and measured. It must be so because this is communication between states, and ideally there must be no doubt as to how the message should be interpreted — otherwise the recipient will then be put in a position of not knowing what you are saying – which is the worst possible outcome. So I would believe that the PRC Foreign Ministry knows exactly the message it is sending, and also knows that the French Foreign Ministry will understand its meaning, based on precedent usage. So getting rid of it because it “sounds odd” may be depriving the foreign ministry of a useful phrase in their arsenal of set phrases.

    (3) An analogy can be drawn to any highly stylized, formalistic mode of communication, like Romantic European Opera, or a Japanese tea ceremony. To the uninitiated, this mode of communication can be an indecipherable object of ridicule, but to the practitioners, the art form can convey meanings with precise and subtlety.

    (4) I don’t pretend to know the subtleties and gradations of different formulations of showing displeasure. I’m sure each country has its own set of responses to things they don’t like — it would be interesting for a student of comparative diplomatic history to compare similar phrases used by other countries.

    (5) I think Arctosia’s post started off with an interesting question, but he seems to have not developed it farther than beyond a fairly superficial level, so he winds up sounding snarky and ignorant. That’s okay – the comments have developed the question further. The point that seems to be missing is whether there is a “diplomatic language” angle to this – does anyone reading this blog have experience in the foreign service or have studied diplomatic history, and can give us a more informed analysis of the meaning of the “hurt feelings” formulation?

    (6) I think Arctosia post raises another interesting point, which is that China’s governmental organs have a habit of making public announcements with a wooden ear for how they sound to wider audiences. In this case, the “hurt feelings” formulation may be directed to the French Foreign Ministry, but when the rest of the world hears it, they don’t know what it means, and it may have a counterproductive impact on public relations. There is another post on FM regarding how China is its worse enemy when it comes to making public statements. I don’t disagree that China’s governmental organs need to develop greater sophistication when making public statements.

    (7) Regarding the comparison I made between the Confederacy and the TGIE, the point was not to compare the morality of the Union, Confederacy, the PRC Government or the TGIE. My post does not attempt to say who is right or wrong, or who is morally correct. The point is that Confederacy sought foreign recognition as a high priority for their secessionist agenda; that these diplomatic efforts were secret; that they employed propaganda to gain foreign support (which included accusing their opponents of atrocities); that foreign states had their own agendas in deciding whether to support the secessionist efforts or not; and entry of the foreign states into tacit or active support of secession could have had serious effects on the outcome of the secession effort as well as the potential reaction of the North (which would have regarded it as tantamount to an act of war). I draw these analogies to show that the PRC’s reaction to the TGIE’s attempts to obtain legitimacy and foreign recognition is rational and supported by precedent. Some commenters seem not to understand why it is important from China’s perspective to object when foreign heads of state meet with the DL. I’m trying to show that China’s reactions are rational and sensible in light of the historical precedent of the Confederacy’s diplomatic efforts.

  83. perspectivehere Says:

    @SKC and @William Huang

    It’s interesting to compare the meanings of “dezui” 得罪 (which SKC transliterates as “duct jieu”) (see

    http://www.mdbg.net/chindict/chindict.php?page=chardict&cdcanoce=0&cdqchi=得罪

    which translates this as “to offend somebody/commit a faux pas”),

    on the one hand, and

    “shanghai le tamen de ganqing (伤害了他们的感情)” which translated literally means “getting their feelings hurt” but most speakers of Chinese would understand it as implying a breach of trust implied in a relationship.

    (By the way, I don’t think that this translates well into Cantonese either, which more commonly uses “dezui” in daily life than the more flowery “shanghai ganqing”.)

    My own interpretation is that “Dezui” (as used in colloquial Cantonese) connotes a breach of manners which offends someone, and often it is used by the offender as a kind of apology or keqihua (“polite phrases”) for offending someone. I don’t think it is used as often from the standpoint of the person who has suffered the offense. In fact, to say to the offender, “Ni dezui le wo”, sounds like fighting words. That would be in itself offense to the listener, meaning “you were rude to me and I took offense.” It would seem like a petulent thing to say, and it seems to me to be in itself a breach of manners to accuse the other of a breach of manners – this is probably why it’s rarely used in this way. This hardly conveys what the PRC is trying to convey. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    In addition, the “breach of manners” or “sin” or “crime” being complained of is not appropriate to the situation where a foreign party has entertained the TGIE. The point is not that the foreign party has violated a rule or standard, causing offense. The point is that China has a particular point of view on this, and in the interest of good relations, the foreign party should respect that. If the foreign party decides to ignore it, the foreign party is harming the overall relationship between the parties, which is what is communicated by “ganqing” – MDGB translates this as:

    “feeling / emotion / sensation / likes and dislikes / deep affection for sb or sth / relationship (i.e. love affair)”

    It is clearly the secondary meanings that are meant here: “deep affection for somebody or something, or relationship”.

    It is understood that China and the other countries have a deep relationship, and the action of the other has caused a rupture. However, the fact that China acknowledges that there is a deep relationship indicates that China leaves the door open for reconciliation. As in, “Hey, we’re buddies, but what you’ve done is a real blow to our friendship. You know how I feel about that guy. What am I, chopped liver?”

    The response that is expected is not so much an apology (which is what would be expected if the other side has been accused of “dezui”), but rather actions that repair the relationship.

    Sarko might be expected to respond, “Oui oui, nous sommes bonne amie, but Carla will get mad if I don’t meet with the monk, c’est difficile pour moi, you know? Alors, I’ll make it up to you – how about some nice fighter jets, eh?”

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article4589556.ece

    This is a much more productive formulation. It would be interesting for someone to do a study of “gimmes” that China was able to finagle after each of the “shanghai ganqing” episodes that Arctosia mentioned. That would be a worthwhile study.

    Otherwise, this kind of posting reduces to snarky and ignorant reactions like this one: http://china.blogs.time.com/2008/12/11/hurt-feelings-blame-deng-xiaoping/

    which seems to willfully miss the point in order to ridicule. Sigh….

  84. perspectivehere Says:

    @SK Cheung – you asked William Huang

    “But assuming you would stipulate that western governments do things for a reason, what benefits do these governments stand to reap by simply crapping on China? Is it your belief that western governments lose sleep at night conjuring up ways to piss off Chinese people, just for the heck of it?”

    May I take the liberty of trying to answer that question:

    1. In general, nations pursue their self interest, and international relations and diplomacy should be carried out to achieve these ends. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Realpolitik.

    2. Out of self interest, governments create institutional organizations whose role it is to defend against, as well as to attack, similar organizations within rival, competitor or enemy states. In fact there are multiple organizations within governments that spend much of their time thinking of ways to confound and undermine other states which they view as rivals, competitors, enemies etc. Just because their activities take place outside the public eye does not mean they do not exist. I would be surprised and disappointed as a citizen and taxpayer if my own country were not adequately prepared to meet foreign challenges with strong and clever offenses, which may include covert activities.

    3. Although governments create such organizations out of self-interest in security, these organizations may sometimes do actions which are unwise, poorly planned, inadequately researched, inconsistent with overall policies or plain stupid. The “Bay of Pigs” operation is widely seen as such a failure, as it not only failed in its objective to remove Castro from power, but helped to entrench Castro more deeply. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bay_of_Pigs_Invasion#Invasion_legacy_in_Cuba.

    4. Chalmers Johnson, a highly respected political scientist of Japan relations, in recent years has produced a series of books called the “Nemesis” series, beginning with Blowback in 1999. These examine the failures of U.S. military and covert operations policies to promote U.S. security, and particularly examine how foreign operations result in “blowback” which hurts U.S. long-term interests. There are helpful summaries of his books in these links below, and are very worthwhile to read:

    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20011015/johnson

    http://www.democracynow.org/2007/2/27/chalmers_johnson_nemesis_the_last_days

    http://www.countercurrents.org/us-lendman020307.htm

    http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/160594/chalmers_johnson_nemesis_on_the_imperial_premises

    5. The U.S. policies towards the Tibetan freedom movement from its inception in the 1950’s, in part the covert support given to the freedom fighters (or they can be called terrorists, depending on one’s POV – see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDBriDq4LRI) can be viewed in the broader context of U.S. empire building, which Johnson views as ultimately detrimental to U.S. interests. Chalmers argues that these efforts cost a lot (he estimates the military industrial complex costs over 40 percent of the U.S. annual budget) and if left unchecked will wind up leading to the financial ruin of the U.S.; his books have an eerie prescience in light of the 2008 financial meltdown. In addition, these efforts piss off other countries, and engender a not-undeserved reservoir of hatred which leads to events like 911. Chalmers Johnson argues that the way ahead should be to jettison this approach, to spend national resources more wisely, and stop pissing off the rest of the world.

    6. Despite the wisdom of Chalmers Johnson’s advice, the U.S. has not followed this approach. These policies have a particular institutional momentum which cannot be easily changed. Since Johnson’s first book, the U.S. has now gotten a lot of Iraqi’s and Afghani’s that are pissed off at it. Perhaps the election of Obama will turn the U.S. to a wiser course, but that remains to be seen.

    7. So to get back to your question, it seems to me that, in the pursuit of their own self-interest, in sometimes misguided ways, western governments will often do things that have the effect of pissing off China.

    8. Lest this comment be too negative sounding, the U.S. and China share many areas of common interest, which far outweigh the areas of rivalry, so on balance, there is in fact a strong basis for a good relationship. Which is why it should not do things to needlessly harm the good relationship, and should avoid 伤害-ing他们的感情.

  85. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Perspective Here:

    well said. I wholeheartedly agree with #1-3. #4-5 exceed my intellectual payscale, And I agree with #7. Essentially, that’s what I’m saying. I don’t think the US, France, or anyone for that matter would “snub China” just to pass the time. But if, in their judgment an action (or inaction) best advances their national self-interests, while in so doing China might feel snubbed, then that’s just how the cookie crumbles. This is what I was trying to say to William Huang. I don’t think the goal is to snub CHina; but if pursuit of their interests causes China to feel snubbed, so be it.
    Going back to Sarkozy, I don’t think he met with the Dalai Lama just to piss off CHina. Maybe Sarkozy (and France) just happen to support the Dalai Lama in his religious role (and perhaps even his political one).

  86. Steve Says:

    @ William Huang #61

    Thanks for your long and thoughtful reply. Sorry to have taken so long to reply, but Christmas can get hectic around here. :)

    “Before I started use the words “despises” and “ideology superiority”, I specifically stated that I am referring to Chinese leaders in government as I am quoting myself here in my post #53, “people whom you guys are laughing at, I mean Chinese leaders in government today……”. I have always made clear about the distinction of the two, the leaders in Chinese government and Chinese people.”

    You are correct; my fault. However, I don’t think that many people in the west despise the Chinese government. I’ve read quite a few compliments on the way they’ve handled their economy and especially during the immediate aftermath of the Sichuan earthquake. Personally, I’ve complimented them when I felt it warranted and criticized them for the same reason. Which brings me to your next point…

    “I don’t quite understand your point. The whole point of discussion in this thread is about Chinese leader government’s statement that “hurt Chinese people’s feeling”. I have not defended Chinese government on any other issue other than this one. Neither anyone else brought up the other issue. Yes, I am defending Chinese government for their reaction on Sarkozy/Dalai Lama meeting and their expression that this act hurts Chinese people’s feeling. Of course I am “defensive” about this issue otherwise there is little point for me to discuss. So I am not sure why you are saying I am being defensive about Chinese government’s mistakes and problems. The only reason I mentioned that Chinese government has problems and mistakes is simply to make a point that I do NOT necessary support every decision Chinese government makes. However, I do support this one. You may say no one is accusing you of anything so why even mention it? Well, next two paragraphs are exactly my point. “

    My point was that after reading phrases like this: “You may despise them with your “ideology” superiority and they probably will never be good enough for you”, “let alone laughing at them”, “guys born with “silver spoon” in your mouth”, “guys are good at laughing at people, picking words out of context, making maps, collecting Chinese jokes”, “This is the best you can do?”, “I am laughing at you”, “You want to know why only France? They need to get their ass kicked, that’s why” and “Your map is really a cheap joke”, these are not valid arguments but simply ad hominum attacks on commenters. I have absolutely no problem with your defending the Chinese government. If anyone launched an ad hominum attack on your opinion, I’d go after them, except Jerry would probably beat me to it. In your subsequent posts, you didn’t engage in this and the posts were clear and informative, and also far more effective in driving your point home.

    “…you take my position on the “hurt Chinese people feeling” into a generalization on a disparaging anyone who doesn’t take the ‘official’ Chinese government position. I am not sure why you can make this a leap of faith to conclude that my position on this single issue can make you to draw the conclusion that I disparaging anyone on other issues with respect to Chinese government. If you are only referring to this issue, then yes, I disagree with them and I am not happy with the way some people said here. I had to express my view as strong as I can to get point crossed. I hope you don’t blame me for stack up a strong defense.”

    The preceding paragraph is a strong defense. When you factually put your point across, it’s much more agreeable, even if others might disagree. That’s the fun of discussion.

    “Many of so called “exact citation” by Arctosia have no direct reference. Even some of link he used are not Chinese government statement but someone else. For example, New Zealand citation is a statement made by local Chinese expressed their displeasure on a local politician’s visit to Taiwan. Another example is Italy citation and it is about Fiat company’s apology (on sponsoring commercial relating to Tibet Independent) that apology itself mentioned word “hurt Chinese people feeling”. It’s all written in Chinese and I don’t know the content of original Fiat statement. Regradless it’s not about what Chinese government said. So many of his data are fabrications let alone accurate.”

    This is what I and I believe most others were looking for, examples of why you had a problem with the post. If you had stated these reasons originally, your post would have had a lot more validity. The more examples you can give, the more interested I am in your post.

    “We can debate about culture and language differences and who shares the responsibility of this mess. I also don’t have problem with any point of view provided that it is reasonable and fair. Of course I don’t expect any westerners to be fluent in Chinese language.“

    William, the statement wasn’t in Chinese; it was in English for western consumption. There are plenty of people in China who understand English intimately, so it wasn’t a matter of translation. And this is where I have the problem with the statement. I’m basically pragmatic. Statements are made to achieve specific effects or reactions. When the statement doesn’t get the desired reaction, then it can come off as ineffective or in some cases, childish. This particular statement is like the boy who cried “wolf”, it’s been used so many times for such arcane reasons that when people in the west hear it, it has no effect except to seem like blatant propaganda. You are arguing that the Chinese government should be allowed to criticize France for Sarkozy meeting with the Dalai Lama. Fine, but that wasn’t the point of the discussion. The criticism wasn’t political, it was literary. You also can’t lump everyone in China into a “the Chinese people” context. First of all, I think you’d say that Tibetans are Chinese people. Do you really think most Tibetans have a problem with Sarkozy meeting the DL? Did Taiwanese have a problem with the meeting? If you, and I’d guess you do, feel that Tibet and Taiwan are both inherent parts of China, you actually argue against yourself on those other issues by endorsing the expression the government used. What they were really saying was “the Chinese Government”, not “the Chinese people”. In this context, the statement doesn’t contradict. The only problem is that saying “hurt the feelings of the Chinese government” sounds even sillier to the intended audience.

    When some talked about this expression originating in Deng’s time, I think that was an interesting and valid point. In my experiences in Chinese culture, it always seemed preferable for people to use the ‘tried and true’ rather than something new. You can’t get in trouble for doing that, and avoiding trouble was a priority when I was there. Anything new needed to be approved by consensus.

    “Also, it was FOARP who raised issue of self-deprecating, not taking oneself too seriously, etc. The first reaction for my comment from this blog started out with “You country is a joke” by xhell #39 and this kind of behavior is hardly condemned by westerners. However, enough people troubled by my defense on Chinese government. To me there are obviously two sides and I am not expecting any help from other side but I hope we can leave personal trait out of the discussion. If any one wants to turn the discussion into personality issue, I am not interested.”

    Your initial comment was about the map being a cheap joke. That was inappropriate. Xshell’s comment was even more inappropriate. However, the next two comments by FOARP and jack called him on it and so no one else felt the need to repeat. Believe me, if they had not, many others would have stepped in to defend you, including me.

    I think it safe to say that pretty much any reasonable comment is welcome on this blog as long as you are prepared to defend what you say. Ad hominum attacks tend to be heavily criticized and with good cause, regardless of the validity of the argument.

    This post is pretty long so I’ll reply to your other post separately.

  87. Steve Says:

    @William Huang #69:

    I agree with pretty much everything you wrote. I think your summary of the China of today is excellent. Based on what I’ve seen, read and heard, including this blog, I’d just add a couple of things. I have no criticisms at all.

    Just to let you know, I’ve lived in both mainland China and Taiwan and spent 99% of my time with locals, not western expats. My wife is from Taiwan and over half our friends are either from the mainland or Taiwan. Of the two places, I was more comfortable in mainland China (esp. Shanghai) and had more and better friends there. It just seemed to fit me better, though I also had a great time in Taiwan. I thought the general attitude of mainlanders was more like Americans, more direct; while in Taiwan there was more Japanese influence and less direct. However, my wife is very direct so it just depends on the person and also on the geographic area. The further south I went in Taiwan, the more Japanese influence I felt.

    I think the main worry most of the world has about China is not today’s China but what the future might bring. The system is authoritarian. That can be productive when the leaders are good and dangerous when the leaders are bad. Right now, China isn’t a threat to other countries but within a couple of generations could be. That is when a system such as they have now could be abused by a rogue leader to the detriment of their neighbors.

    China certainly isn’t ready for full democracy right now, even if they wanted to do so. But I believe in order to build the country and reduce corruption, truly competitive elections should be held on a very local level (as someone suggested on another thread, up to and including mayor) and rule of law needs to be established. This isn’t a one year, two year or even five year process. I’d guess it’d take at least 20 years for the bottom up basics to become established, and that would be a pretty optimistic timeframe for doing so. They you’d have “democracy with Chinese characteristics”.

    Currently, where is most of the corruption? It’s on the local level. Where is most of the anger from the people? It’s directed at local officials and local police. Are there any checks and balances on the local level to fight this? Currently, no. So I think the party reformers want to establish a contained level of very direct democracy on that level where the people can control officials they deal with on a daily basis. Doing this in the countryside should be more effective than in cities, since the smaller populations have a better idea of who is doing what.

    If you’ve read my other posts, you might know that I’m pretty optimistic on China’s future. I especially have confidence in the younger “one child” generation, based on my experiences there. Being pragmatic, I’m in no rush to see China copy other cultures. I believe I might be familiar enough with the culture to know that whatever China modifies to create the new system, it’ll be unique to China since China has a unique culture and unique sensibilities. One size doesn’t fit all; and with 1.3 billion people, China can’t afford to make major mistakes.

    Side note: Not only China but the rest of the civilized world appreciates the USA being the “world’s police”, as long as it isn’t abused like it’s been the last eight years. Someone needs to patrol the world’s sea lanes to keep them open and make them safe, such as the Malacca Straits for East Asia’s natural resource imports. Having the USA do it saves other countries a lot of money. China doesn’t want a re-armed Japan on its doorstep; it prefers the United States which geopolitically is a natural ally of China’s and not an enemy. Mao and Nixon understood this. Not everyone understands it these days.

  88. Steve Says:

    @perspectivehere #84: Great post!!

  89. FOARP Says:

    @Folks talking about tranlation – Isn’t the translation into English done by the foreign ministry? Or at least the orignial foreing ministry? I know for sure tha China Daily translates it this way. If “伤害感情” doesn’t mean ‘hurt feelings’, then they ought to change their translation – not so?

  90. HongKonger Says:

    Yes, kudos to perspectivehere’s post #83

    “伤害感情”is sentimental – used in context of the deep trust and faith one invests in a bonding relationship/s such as partnership, marriage, true friendship, and family relations. The offense is perceived as intentional, selfish, inconsiderate.

    @perspectivehere’s post #84 – Right on~!

    The phrase “得罪” is perhaps originally used in formal declaration and correspondence. It was usually used in instances of sinning / doing wrong against heaven/god, emperor, the clan’s patriachs, parents, teachers, bosses, the head of the family (e.g. husband, the first wife etc)- anyone of higher status than the offender. However, it is used colloquially, in these days and age.

    For a long time I had a hard time to come to fully understand the term “Reactionary” (or reactionist) A term which (correct me if I am wrong) originated in the French Revolution, denoting the counter-revolutionaries wishing to restore the previously overthrown regime / government. It also denotes those who are for feudalism and aristocratic privilege, and therefore are against socialism. But before the word “reaction” was a political ideological term it was a word which denotes a reflex action or even denotes over sensitivity, does it not?
    When I hear 伤害感情 on the television, I do not hear fighting words of belligerence but a communicative phrase for reconsiderations and future considerations. That’s just me. Can’t speak for others. However, the usual responses or rather reactions from the West or those who are pro West are invariably peppered with harsh and judgemental tones. Hm, go figure.

  91. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To FOARP #89 and HKer #90:
    “If “伤害感情” doesn’t mean ‘hurt feelings’, then they ought to change their translation – not so?” – I think the difficulty is that the translation is correct in a literal sense. However, in the context, the “literal” translation is not the best one, IMO. To me, “offend” is the better English word, but as HKer and others have pointed out, the direct translation of offend seems to have a more hostile connotation than was intended. Unfortunately, when I hear adults (and countries) bemoaning hurt feelings, my response is usually along the lines of “awww, poor baby, cry me a river….”

    Perhaps what’s needed is someone who is truly fluent in both languages, such that translations are less literal but capture the true essence of the content. I would guess that this problem probably cuts both ways…I wonder if there are examples of western government communiques translated poorly into Chinese.

    If you would like a chuckle, check out engrish.com for more examples of Chinese translated poorly into English.

  92. William Huang Says:

    @ perspectivehere #83 and #84

    I must say, job will done.

  93. William Huang Says:

    @ S.K. Cheung #85

    S.K. Cheung said:
    I don’t think the goal is to snub CHina; but if pursuit of their interests causes China to feel snubbed, so be it.

    William Huang:
    According to you, pursuit of self interest is justification for doing whatever the means one can take to achieve the goal. It is equivalent to say that you shouldn’t complain being rubbed as long as the perpetrator is pursuing his self-interest.

    S.K. Cheung said:
    Going back to Sarkozy, I don’t think he met with the Dalai Lama just to piss off CHina. Maybe Sarkozy (and France) just happen to support the Dalai Lama in his religious role (and perhaps even his political one).

    William Huang:
    Sarkozy meeting with Dalai Lama was to rally international sympathy for Dalai Lama and his government in exile in dealing with China. It can in turn creating instability inside of China and weakens China as a new power and it is against Chinese people’s interest.

    Your speculation on Dalai Lama on the possibility of religious and political role in France is completely baseless. I hope you are not suggesting Sarkozy is planning to turn Tibetan Buddhist into French state religion or arrange a government position for Dalai Lama.

  94. William Huang Says:

    @ Steve #86

    I want to thank you for your thoughtful comments and I agree many of your points. I agree that I have carried away somewhat and I appreciate your point of view.

    However, for the Arctoisa’s original article, my position stands. I have no problem with people criticizing Chinese government at all. To have an honest and intelligent discussion is what I look at blog sometimes. I would have criticized as much as you do if not less when I don’t agree with Chinese government. The problem I have is with some people with hidden agenda combined with selective and falsifying information, and on top of that it comes with high degree of sloppiness, laziness and lack of sincerity for real discussion. This kind of practice does not only make a mockery out of the people who has different view but also those who agreed with its point of view.

    Arctosia’s map is a case in point. If you understand Chinese and go to his so called “exact citation” reference website for the details of the map you will see a combination of sloppiness, ignorance and dishonesty. Let me provide more details. In 43 countries he counted as exact citation and according to his own words, the statements made by; “either government officials or official government media”. Out of that 43 countries:

    6 countries with no references but his comments remarks such as “do I need to say more?” or “It’s hard to write it down”.

    7 countries with no references but stating action as what they did (their support for Taiwan in UN)

    3 countries reference source are not stated by the government officials or controlled media but someone else. Two statements are made by European automobile companies and one by some overseas Chinese residents.

    2 countries with no reference but his notes; “Not sure yet but leave it here for now”.

    An elementary school kid would have done a better job. It doesn’t end here. In the final note, the author asked reader if the map is a joke. Then he went on to say that if the joke made you laugh, it will make you live longer.

    I am not taking some thing the author said in the past to put my word into his mouth. It is this original article provided the link to that site for details. It is not unreasonable for me to consider it as a part of his message. My response to him is that the joke is a cheap one.

    I don’t expect people who don’t speak Chinese to know all this and I agree with you that if I stated more factually, I would have my point crossed better. But it does not change that fact this whole article is done in a very poor taste and he has made a joke on all of us.

  95. William Huang Says:

    @ Steve #87

    I want to thank you for your great post.

  96. William Huang Says:

    @ perspectivehere #83 and #84

    I just realize that I made an typo. What I wanted to say is: job well done.

  97. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To William Huang #93:
    “According to you, pursuit of self interest is justification for doing whatever the means one can take to achieve the goal.” – of course that’s what I mean. How else would you define “pursuit of self interest”? However, the caveat for an individual, and for a nation, is that such interest is not singular. So obviously, a person and a country have to ensure that the means of pursuing one such interest doesn’t undermine the pursuit of another. But as I said, if the sum total is a net positive, and China feels snubbed on the side in passing, so be it. In fact, I would be surprised if China didn’t feel the same way towards the US, or any other nation.

    “It is equivalent to say that you shouldn’t complain being rubbed as long as the perpetrator is pursuing his self-interest. ” – I said no such thing. In fact, whine away to your heart’s content, if you haven’t had your fill already.

    “Sarkozy meeting with Dalai Lama was to rally international sympathy for Dalai Lama and his government in exile in dealing with China.” – you know this how, exactly? Seems you are prone to idle speculation as much as the next guy, and then some.

    “Your speculation on Dalai Lama on the possibility of religious and political role in France is completely baseless” – it would be baseless, which is why I speculated on no such thing. Where do you get this stuff? Certainly not from reading what I wrote. I said Sarkozy (and France) might happen to support the Dalai Lama in his various roles, and was meeting with him to show that support rather than simply to snub China. I never said anything remotely approaching France wanting the Dalai Lama to have a role in France. Jeez Louise.

    “I hope you are not suggesting Sarkozy is planning to turn Tibetan Buddhist into French state religion or arrange a government position for Dalai Lama.” – your wish is granted. I said no such thing. See above.

  98. Steve Says:

    @William Huang #94: Thanks for your explanation about the details of the exact citation. I can understand a certain amount of Chinese but only learned enough characters to find my way around the country per the street signs, road maps, etc. Foreign languages are my Achilles heel, for sure! :(

    Reading your translation, I can easily see your point. I think we both use the same criteria concerning whether a source is valid or not. To be honest, I’m still not crazy about the phrase from a pragmatic point of view, but I agree with your criticisms of adding those 18 countries you referenced.

    I was curious about your reply to S.K. Cheung. I personally have no idea why Sarkozy had his meeting with the DL; I only know Sarkozy via the media and not well enough to guess his intentions. My question is this: What benefit is it to France to rally international sympathy for the DL in his dealings with China? Sure, I can see how it benefits the DL publicity wise, but I don’t see the benefits for France. Wouldn’t creating instability within China threaten France’s interests in China? As far as I know, France has very few if any interests in Tibet (economically speaking) but has many interests in the rest of China, especially its Eastern Seaboard.

    Are there many Tibetan exiles in France? Is the DL there as their spiritual leader? Was that what SKC was implying? I haven’t looked up the specifics and have no idea what the exile numbers look like. From what all the Tibetans have said on this blog, they certainly feel he is their spiritual leader. I know Chinese get pretty riled up when his name is mentioned, but I’ve never been emotional about him one way or the other. I guess it’s very unusual to be both a political and religious leader at the same time. Whenever you make an appearance, no one really knows which business card you are handing out. :)

  99. William Huang Says:

    @ S.K. Cheung #97

    S.K. Cheung said:
    …..However, the caveat for an individual, and for a nation, is that such interest is not singular. So obviously, a person and a country have to ensure that the means of pursuing one such interest doesn’t undermine the pursuit of another. But as I said, if the sum total is a net positive, and China feels snubbed on the side in passing, so be it.

    William Huang:
    What you said here is not what you said in post #85. The “caveat” and “sum total” all came out of nowhere so you have caused problem of your own.

    The total sum is a positive for whom? If it is for France only, it would have violated your caveat. But on the other hand, if it is for China, why would China complaining?

    S.K. Cheung said:
    “Sarkozy meeting with Dalai Lama was to rally international sympathy for Dalai Lama and his government in exile in dealing with China.” – you know this how, exactly? Seems you are prone to idle speculation as much as the next guy, and then some.

    William Huang:
    Sarkozy said himself. In Olympic torch period, he once set up China’s talk with Dalai Lama as a pre-condition for him to attend opening ceremony. He was the only major western leader proposed boycotting the opening ceremony while others did not.

    S.K. Cheung said:
    I said Sarkozy (and France) might happen to support the Dalai Lama in his various roles, and was meeting with him to show that support rather than simply to snub China.

    William Huang:
    Sarkozy’s support for Dalai Lama is the problem for Chinese people as far as I am concerned. Dalai Lama’s role is simple either get Tibet independent or a greater autonomy. There is no net positive for China if China is to meet all Dalai Lama and TGIE demand. So the France’s pursuit of self-interest is undermining the pursuit of Chinese people’s. France obviously violated your principle you have stated above.

  100. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To William Huang:
    What are you talking about? I hate for this to be English class, but man…

    “But if, in their judgment an action (or inaction) best advances their national self-interests, while in so doing China might feel snubbed, then that’s just how the cookie crumbles” – me, in #85
    “However, the caveat for an individual, and for a nation, is that such interest is not singular. So obviously, a person and a country have to ensure that the means of pursuing one such interest doesn’t undermine the pursuit of another. But as I said, if the sum total is a net positive, and China feels snubbed on the side in passing, so be it.” – me, in #97.
    So the problem, it seems, is that you have trouble understanding English. The “sum total”, of course, refers to the nation who is pursuing their interests. So if France is netting positive, and CHina feels snubbed, so be it. How much clearer can I make it for you?

    “as a pre-condition for him to attend opening ceremony.”- how do you go from that to “Sarkozy meeting with Dalai Lama was to rally international sympathy for Dalai Lama”. You’re taking several leaps of faith there….maybe even Great Leaps…

    “Sarkozy’s support for Dalai Lama is the problem for Chinese people as far as I am concerned. ” – and you’re entitled to feel that way. But do you honestly think that Sarkozy only did it to peeve you and CHinese people off? Isn’t that what we’ve been discussing the whole time? Wasn’t my statement that you quoted clear enough?

    “So the France’s pursuit of self-interest is undermining the pursuit of Chinese people’s” – and if I were France, I’d say “deal with it”. That’s what I’ve been trying to say for a long time now…what is the barrier preventing you from getting my point? Here, read this again: “if pursuit of (France’s) interests causes China to feel snubbed, so be it.” (#85) How does that violate any principle?!?

  101. Jerry Says:

    @S.K. Cheung #100

    Now you are starting to see William’s sophistry, SK. You are also seeing why Ted and I quit conversing with William. I will use Steve’s Mark Twain quote. (Thanks, Steve!)

    Mark Twain once said, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it.” :D

    Steve and WKL seem to do better in coping with him. More power to them. I followed Twain’s advice. I bailed. Why fight city hall when there is another city down the road where you are welcome.

    William forgets or never learned that “caveat” is the Latin word for “Let him beware”; the verb is “cavere”. A common use of the word is “caveat emptor”, “let the buyer beware”. It is a warning and caution. You do not violate a caveat, you ignore it or you heed it. “Sum total” and “caveat” are perfectly compatible. The result, the sum total, may be good. But there are caveats on the road to any result, good, bad, or indifferent.

    William said to you, “Sarkozy’s support for Dalai Lama is the problem for Chinese people as far as I am concerned.”

    What percentage of Chinese people? All? Some? None? I can’t make that kind of representation for my own family, let alone 1.3 billion people. Go figure?? But I am working on channeling god. Not bad for an atheist/agnostic or whatever I am. :D

    William said, “There is no net positive for China if China is to meet all Dalai Lama and TGIE demand.”

    SK, congratulations to you and Sarkozy for setting the agenda and the outcome of the negotiations between China and the DL. Swift move! Only question, how did you do this? Does William mean that the CCP is incapable of figuring out a negotiated settlement so that both the CCP and Tibet\DL\TGIE both end up with a net positive. There is a concept.

    SK, you just gotta stop setting principles and then violating them! For your own good! :D ::LMAO:: Or maybe I should say, you gotta stop letting them imagine that you have set principles and then have subsequently violated them. Now, please don’t ask me how you can control other people’s imaginations. I don’t know. I am not as smart as William. ::LOL:: :D

    A demain, mon ami.

  102. William Huang Says:

    @ S.K. Cheung #100

    S.K. Cheung said:
    What are you talking about? I hate for this to be English class, but man…
    “But if, in their judgment an action (or inaction) best advances their national self-interests, while in so doing China might feel snubbed, then that’s just how the cookie crumbles” – me, in #85
    “However, the caveat for an individual, and for a nation, is that such interest is not singular. So obviously, a person and a country have to ensure that the means of pursuing one such interest doesn’t undermine the pursuit of another. But as I said, if the sum total is a net positive, and China feels snubbed on the side in passing, so be it.” – me, in #97.

    William Huang:
    I am not sure your language skill is that good from your post on this blog and also you seem to get your logic out of whack.

    Here you go again dig yourself deeper in the hole. Your statement above simply reconfirms what I said in my post #99. This is what they call it circular logic and it does not work so you may want to check it out before use it.

    S.K. Cheung said:
    “as a pre-condition for him to attend opening ceremony.”- how do you go from that to “Sarkozy meeting with Dalai Lama was to rally international sympathy for Dalai Lama”. You’re taking several leaps of faith there….maybe even Great Leaps…

    William Huang:
    Well, I suggest you read perspectivehere’s post #65, #66, and #84 and you will get my point.

    S.K. Cheung said:
    “Sarkozy’s support for Dalai Lama is the problem for Chinese people as far as I am concerned. ” – and you’re entitled to feel that way. But do you honestly think that Sarkozy only did it to peeve you and CHinese people off? Isn’t that what we’ve been discussing the whole time? Wasn’t my statement that you quoted clear enough?

    William Huang:
    I think I answered your question in my post #71.

    S.K. Cheung said:
    “So the France’s pursuit of self-interest is undermining the pursuit of Chinese people’s” – and if I were France, I’d say “deal with it”. That’s what I’ve been trying to say for a long time now…what is the barrier preventing you from getting my point? Here, read this again: “if pursuit of (France’s) interests causes China to feel snubbed, so be it.” (#85) How does that violate any principle?!?

    William Huang:
    I understand your point from the get-go and it was you who keeps asking the questions and I answered every one of them. What do you expect? I would agree your point of view just because you said so?

    Actually, my feeling is little bit hurt after I have been trying to help you on the proper use of Chinese language and how to express your view logically. Instead, you are not happy with me.

  103. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To William Huang:
    “I am not sure your language skill is that good” – just by that statement alone, I can attest that, my LANGUAGE SKILLS, while imperfect, are far superior to your abilities therein. And the gulf by which they are separated is not only large, but deep, and surely insurmountable in your lifetime. Try chewing on that for a while. Need a dictionary?

    “Your statement above simply reconfirms what I said in my post #99.” – whatever you say, dude. But since I didn’t confirm it the first time, not sure how I could’ve come to REconfrim it. But as I’ve said many a time, whatever floats your boat.

    “I suggest you read perspectivehere’s post #65, #66, and #84 and you will get my point.” – If I read those over, I may very well get his point; your’s, however, I’m not so certain. BTW, do you make a habit of depending on others to make your point for you?

    “But do you honestly think that Sarkozy only did it to peeve you and CHinese people off?”- If you call this (Sarkozy is in particularly having problem with China on this one and he played more than he needs to which in turn hurts my feeling as a Chinese.) the answer to my question, then that’s pretty lame. If that suffices to hurt your gentile sensibilities, then as I said, aww, poor baby, cry me a river.

    “I would agree your point of view just because you said so? ” – Do you honestly think I would give a rat’s caboose whether you agree with me or not? Gimme a break. If answering questions is too taxing for you, please, don’t strain yourself on my account.

    If you call what you sell logic (I was more inclined to liken it to snake oil, but why quibble), then I would rather happily remain illogical. And while you may have clarified something for me in Mandarin, I think I did the same for you in Cantonese. And since I, as a former hker (not to be confused with THE HKer here), am accustomed to the full on version of Chinese, i may yet have a thing or two to teach you even in that arena.

  104. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Jerry,

    I see your point. No worries, it’s but a sporting diversion.

  105. Steve Says:

    @ Jerry: Sorry, it was late at night when I wrote it, my brain was fried and I used the wrong name when quoting. I should have said, “W.C. FIELDS once said, ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it.'”

    Such a great quotation needs to be attributed to the correct person. :D

  106. Jerry Says:

    @Steve #105

    That is ok, Steve. No problem. So WC it is. Not one of my favorite people, but that’s life.

    I can just picture, in my mind’s eye, Samuel Clemens making that statement. Or Will Rogers.

    Well, Clemens supposedly said, “All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure .” Kind of the same point.

    —————-

    On a different tack, sometimes the conversations with certain die-hard Chinese combatants, here at FM, make me think. I always seem to aim a critical eye towards so many things in my life; I can’t understand die-hards of any stripe. Even Chomsky got so carried away one time with the NYT, that he claimed that the horrendous reports of “The Killing Fields” and the tremendous carnage, as reported by the NYT, were gross hyperbole. He later retracted that statement. God knows that I can complain about the US and Israel. So when I see rabid, die-hard statements, I just wonder.

    Sometimes the die-hards at FM seem to be so caricature-like with diatribes that are so ridiculous and so illogical. I feel like I am in a nightmare or flashback being directed by Leni Riefenstahl. Fortunately, there are level-headed people out here, too.

  107. Steve Says:

    @Jerry #106

    Not one of your favourite people? But he’s the World’s Greatest Juggler! :D

    Clemens are Rogers are terrific, but for today I think I’ll stick with a few from Ben Franklin:

    Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.
    A learned blockhead is a greater blockhead than an ignorant one.
    A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle.
    Admiration is the daughter of ignorance.
    All mankind is divided into three classes: those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those that move.
    All wars are follies, very expensive and very mischievous ones.
    And whether you’re an honest man, or whether you’re a thief, depends on whose solicitor has given me my brief.
    At twenty years of age the will reigns; at thirty, the wit; and at forty, the judgment.
    Be slow in choosing a friend, slower in changing.
    Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.
    Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.
    Buy what thou hast no need of and ere long thou shalt sell thy necessities.
    Content makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor.
    Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.
    Even peace may be purchased at too high a price.
    For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged, by better information or fuller consideration, to change opinions, even on important subjects, which I once thought right but found to be otherwise.
    Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.
    Half a truth is often a great lie.
    He does not possess wealth; it possesses him.
    He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.
    He that is of the opinion money will do everything may well be suspected of doing everything for money.
    How few there are who have courage enough to own their faults, or resolution enough to mend them.
    Human felicity is produced not as much by great pieces of good fortune that seldom happen as by little advantages that occur every day.
    If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.
    Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards.
    Life’s Tragedy is that we get old to soon and wise too late.
    Many people die at twenty five and aren’t buried until they are seventy five.
    Marriage is the most natural state of man, and… the state in which you will find solid happiness.
    Most people return small favors, acknowledge medium ones and repay greater ones – with ingratitude.
    No nation was ever ruined by trade.
    Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.
    Savages we call them because their manners differ from ours.
    Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.
    The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.
    The strictest law sometimes becomes the severest injustice.
    The worst wheel of the cart makes the most noise.
    Those disputing, contradicting, and confuting people are generally unfortunate in their affairs. They get victory, sometimes, but they never get good will, which would be of more use to them.
    To Follow by faith alone is to follow blindly.
    Wars are not paid for in wartime, the bill comes later.
    When men and woman die, as poets sung, his heart’s the last part moves, her last, the tongue.
    When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.
    Where there’s marriage without love, there will be love without marriage.
    You can bear your own faults, and why not a fault in your wife?
    Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones.
    Do good to your friends to keep them, to your enemies to win them.

    … and since this is New Year’s Eve…

    Each year one vicious habit discarded, in time might make the worst of us good.

    and

    Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.

    Happy New Year, everyone!! :)

  108. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Steve:
    never seen that before. Them’s wise words from a dead president.

  109. Jerry Says:

    @Steve #107

    Thanks for the many quotes from the lovable, incorrigible scalawag, Ben Franklin.

    I love to read Will Rogers and Samuel Clemens. They make me smile and laugh. They are both inveterate smartasses, a quality which endears them to me. And very witty.

    :D ::LOL:: :P

    Happy New Year to all at FM.

  110. Steve Says:

    @ S.K. Cheung: Nope, Franklin never became president. He was too old anyway. The person everyone wanted for president at that time was George Washington. Many wanted to make him king but he not only refused that, he voluntarily served two terms and left office by his own choice. Europeans were amazed; they could not imagine anyone voluntarily giving up power. George Washington was the key figure in American history; without him the revolution would not have been successful and the new government would most likely have failed. He was the greatest man of his time, and it was pure luck that he happened to be American.

  111. Steve Says:

    @Jerry: Ok, since you are a huge Samuel Clemens fan and it’s New Years Eve, I’ll leave you with this small tidbit~

    Some Thoughts on the Science of Onanism
    by Mark Twain

    [One evening in Paris in 1879, The Stomach Club, a society of American writers and artists, gathered to drink well, to eat a good dinner and hear an address by Mark Twain. He was among friends and, according to the custom of the club, he delivered a humorous talk on a subject hardly ever mentioned in public in that day and age. After the meeting, he preserved the manuscript among his papers. It was finally printed in a pamphlet limited to 50 copies 64 years later.]

    _________________________________________________________________

    My gifted predecessor has warned you against the “social evil–adultery.” In his able paper he exhausted that subject; he left absolutely nothing more to be said on it. But I will continue his good work in the cause of morality by cautioning you against that species of recreation called self-abuse to which I perceive you are much addicted. All great writers on health and morals, both ancient and modern, have struggled with this stately subject; this shows its dignity and importance. Some of these writers have taken one side, some the other.

    Homer, in the second book of the Iliad says with fine enthusiasm, “Give me masturbation or give me death.” Caesar, in his Commentaries, says, “To the lonely it is company; to the forsaken it is a friend; to the aged and to the impotent it is a benefactor. They that are penniless are yet rich, in that they still have this majestic diversion.” In another place this experienced observer has said, “There are times when I prefer it to sodomy.”

    Robinson Crusoe says, “I cannot describe what I owe to this gentle art.” Queen Elizabeth said, “It is the bulwark of virginity.” Cetewayo, the Zulu hero, remarked, “A jerk in the hand is worth two in the bush.” The immortal Franklin has said, “Masturbation is the best policy.”

    Michelangelo and all of the other old masters–“old masters,” I will remark, is an abbreviation, a contraction–have used similar language. Michelangelo said to Pope Julius II, “Self-negation is noble, self-culture beneficent, self-possession is manly, but to the truly great and inspiring soul they are poor and tame compared with self-abuse.” Mr. Brown, here, in one of his latest and most graceful poems, refers to it in an eloquent line which is destined to live to the end of time–“None knows it but to love it; none name it but to praise.”

    Such are the utterances of the most illustrious of the masters of this renowned science, and apologists for it. The name of those who decry it and oppose it is legion; they have made strong arguments and uttered bitter speeches against it–but there is not room to repeat them here in much detail. Brigham Young, an expert of incontestable authority, said, “As compared with the other thing, it is the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” Solomon said, “There is nothing to recommend it but its cheapness.” Galen said, “It is shameful to degrade to such bestial uses that grand limb, that formidable member, which we votaries of Science dub the Major Maxillary–when they dub it at all–which is seldom, It would be better to amputate the os frontis than to put it to such use.”

    The great statistician Smith, in his report to Parliament, says, “In my opinion, more children have been wasted in this way than any other.” It cannot be denied that the high antiquity of this art entitles it to our respect; but at the same time, I think its harmfulness demands our condemnation. Mr. Darwin was grieved to feel obliged to give up his theory that the monkey was the connecting link between man and the lower animals. I think he was too hasty. The monkey is the only animal, except man, that practices this science; hence, he is our brother; there is a bond of sympathy and relationship between us. Give this ingenuous animal an audience of the proper kind and he will straightway put aside his other affairs and take a whet; and you will see by his contortions and his ecstatic expression that he takes an intelligent and human interest in his performance.

    The signs of excessive indulgence in this destructive pastime are easily detectable. They are these: a disposition to eat, to drink, to smoke, to meet together convivially, to laugh, to joke and tell indelicate stories–and mainly, a yearning to paint pictures. The results of the habit are: loss of memory, loss of virility, loss of cheerfulness and loss of progeny.

    Of all the various kinds of sexual intercourse, this has the least to recommend it. As an amusement, it is too fleeting; as an occupation, it is too wearing; as a public exhibition, there is no money in it. It is unsuited to the drawing room, and in the most cultured society it has long been banished from the social board. It has at last, in our day of progress and improvement, been degraded to brotherhood with flatulence. Among the best bred, these two arts are now indulged in only private–though by consent of the whole company, when only males are present, it is still permissible, in good society, to remove the embargo on the fundamental sigh.

    My illustrious predecessor has taught you that all forms of the “social evil” are bad. I would teach you that some of these forms are more to be avoided than others. So, in concluding, I say, “If you must gamble your lives sexually, don’t play a lone hand too much.” When you feel a revolutionary uprising in your system, get your Vendome Column down some other way–don’t jerk it down.

  112. Jerry Says:

    @Steve #111

    Thanks, I had never read that.

    Several thoughts.

    “Sex is the poor man’s opera!”

    “Sex without love is an empty experience, but as empty experiences go, it’s one of the best.”

  113. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Steve #110:
    oops, my mistake. So how did he make it onto US currency? I thought those were all dead presidents.

  114. Steve Says:

    @ S.K. Cheung #113:

    No Franklin, no USA. As our best diplomat, he got the French to come in on our side, their fleet beat off the British fleet outside Chesapeake Bay, Cornwallis had to surrender at Yorktown because the fleet couldn’t rescue him, and we became a country. Back then, he was considered by many to be the most famous man in the world. He created the first volunteer fire department, the first city hospital, spectacles, and knew more about electricity than anyone else. Plus, he invented the lightning rod, of which there are ugly green ones above temples all over Asia.

    True story: When he first invented the lightning rod, many churches refused to use them, saying God would make the decision whether to have lightning strike a church or not. However, after quite a few churches were struck by lightning (since church steeples were the tallest objects in town), these preachers suddenly “saw the light” and put up lightning rods. :)

  115. Jerry Says:

    @Steve #114

    God bless those Frenchmen, Rochambeau, de Grasse and Lafayette, for their indispensable aid during the Revolutionary War.

    To those Chinese who criticize the US and West for their support of Chinese activists, Burmese heroine Aung San Suu Kyi and the DL & his followers, all I can say is god bless the French for their support of the US during the Revolutionary War. Without the French, we would have had a hell of a time beating the Brits, if at all. And god bless Ben Franklin for securing that support.

    As to Franklin and why he was not President. When Washington started his first term as Prez in 1789, Franklin was 83 years old. Washington was 57. Franklin died the next year.

    Steve, I agree with your comments on Washington and Franklin; we owe them a great debt of gratitude. Franklin was a Renaissance man of the first accord. I would also like to note his invention of the Franklin stove and the glass armonica. Washington’s decision to voluntarily step down after 8 years as president is a remarkable decision. Rudy G wanted a 3rd term; he did not get the opportunity. Bloomberg will probably go for a third term. Too bad Mao did not step down after 8 years. None of these three possessed/possess the humility, selflessness and, I would add, the greatness of Washington. What a remarkable man.

    Regarding Franklin, Thomas Jefferson replaced Ben in 1785 as ambassador to France (the term then was American Minister). Vergennes, the French Foreign Minister, asked Jefferson, “It is you who replace Dr. Franklin?” Jefferson replied, “No one can replace him, Sir; I am only his successor.” Well said.

    Steve, a question about Franklin in France? I have heard that he published a rag in France to publicize the American Revolutionary War. Allegedly, he would “manufacture tales out of whole cloth” in order to inspire and encourage the French to support America? Is this legend or truth?

  116. HongKonger Says:

    @ S.K. Cheung: Nope, Franklin never became president.

    SKC, I guess you are not a fan of David McCullough’s usual 600+ pages on historical figures’ biographies. Me neither, but I do like to watch historical mini series. HBO has a new 7-part series out on John Adams. Frankling, Jefferson, Washington, Hamilton etc are all in it. It all started with the Boston tea party….

  117. HongKonger Says:

    Steve # 111

    Thanks Steve, I enjoyed reading that.

    And Jerry, # 112, Haha, Woody Allen’s famous line: “Sex without love is an empty experience, but as empty experiences go, it’s one of the best.”

    I thought Woody Allen wasn’t your cup of tea, Jerry. But on the other hand, sex is, of course :-)

    Don’t knock masturbation, it’s sex with someone I love.
    (Annie Hall)

    I’m such a good lover because I practise a lot on my own.

    Is sex dirty? Only if it’s done right.
    (Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex)

    That [sex] was the most fun I ever had without laughing.
    (Annie Hall)

    Sex between a man and a woman can be absolutely wonderful – provided you get between the right man and the right woman.

    My love life is terrible. The last time I was inside a woman was when I visited the Statue of Liberty.

    Love is the answer – but while you’re waiting for the answer, sex raises some pretty interesting questions.

    My brain – it’s my second favorite organ.
    (Sleeper)

    Q. Have you ever taken a serious political stand on anything?
    A. Yeah. Sure. For twenty-four hours once I refused to eat grapes.
    (Sleeper)

    I was thrown out of college for cheating on the metaphysics exam: I looked into the soul of another boy.
    (Woody Allen: Clown Prince of American Humor)

    I have never been an intellectual but I have this look.

    A fast word about oral contraception. I asked a girl to sleep with me and she said ‘no’.
    (Woody Allen Volume Two)

  118. Jerry Says:

    @Hongkonger #117

    Well, I’ll be hanged. I have heard that statement several times and never knew it belonged to Woody. Oh well, so he got off a really funny line. You got me, HKer! Touché, monsieur!

    HKer, I am going to be in your neck of the woods starting next Tuesday. I will have my daughter in tow. Or should I say, she will have me in tow. We are staying on Nathan Avenue in Kowloon.

    I know that you have mentioned:

    Jerry, have you been to HK with your daughter to check out the authentic indian restaurents inside Chungking Mansion? Don’t let the name ‘mansion,’ mislead you – the whole place is a dive – but it is one of the most interesting tiny, tiny real estate in HK – I had some of the best Indian rice & mutton Kabab I’d tasted there at the busy mezzanine two months ago.

    So where is that place? Wikipedia says, “Chungking Mansions is a building located at 36-44 Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong.” That is pretty close to our hotel. Is this the place in question? Do they have vegetarian fare?

  119. Wukailong Says:

    I never dared to stay at the Chungking Mansions… Though the Mirador Mansions nearby are probably of the same quality (the Lonely Planet guide said CM has developed its own form of ferocious cockroach mutant). I’m happy to hear they have great restaurants, though! Will try it out next time. ;)

  120. HongKonger Says:

    Jerry,

    Yes, try the vegetable curry dishes, vegetarian Samosas, etc…And Yes, Chungking Mansion is a building located at 36-44 Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong. You will see a lot of Africans, Indians, etc hanging out at the open entrance and on the sidewalk. The first thing you see at the entrance are money changers on both sides ( I swear this is not the Temple of Jerusalem).

    Like I said, this place is a dive…It is ‘the’ place for backpackers on shoestring budgets, traders and asylum-seekers (my American buddy has an office and apartment in the building for them).

    Chungking Mansions features a labyrinth of guesthouses, curry restaurants, African bistros, clothing shops, sari stores, and foreign exchange offices. It often acts as a large gathering place for some of the ethnic minorities in Hong Kong, particularly Indians, Middle Eastern people, Nepalese, Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis, Nigerians, Europeans, Americans, Pakistanis, and many other peoples of the world. The building was completed in 1961, at which time Chinese residents predominated. Now, after more than four decades of use, there are nearly 4,000 people living in the Mansions.

    http://www.chinatourdesign.com/Hong_Kong_Attractions/Chungking_Mansions.htm

    There are several authentic Indian restaurants in the upper floors, but there are also a few on the mezzanine. Going into the building is like being instantly teleported into some indoor flea market in Bombay or Calcatta, except you are in fact in the heart of ultra modern Kowloon, just a few minute walk from the Space Museum, The Peninsular hotal, the Sheraton etc…

    Oh, speaking of the Sheraton hotel – I highly recommend the basement “SOMEPLACE ELSE Bar & Grills restaurant.” It is the first American style restaurant like 5 years before Dan Ryan’s Chicago grills, and all the other now very popular high end American restaurants arrived. Go there during Happy Hour – 4:30 – 8 PM, very smooth Guiness and Kilkenny Ale on tab at two for the price of one, with complimentary baskets of Popcorn. SKC will love this place.

  121. Steve Says:

    @ Jerry #115:

    I hadn’t heard anything before about Franklin making up stories for the French, so I looked it up and the only thing I could find was that when times were bleak for Washington’s army, he sold himself to the French to maintain relations and continue to get money and supplies for the army. After Saratoga, he was able to really get things going. In today’s dollars, the French gave us about 13 billion for the war effort, which we never repaid and forced the government of Louis XVI to go bankrupt, leading to the French revolution. But the French always loved Franklin, even the revolutionaries.

    He played the game; acted more French than the French and cultivated many friends there. The English had many spies in Paris and he had to be careful not to be assassinated. They also tried to turn the French against the Americans but Franklin was too clever for them. He understood human nature and could smell out those kind of subterfuges. What the French didn’t realize was that after his humiliation before Parliament before the revolution (which turned him against the crown and caused him to hate the English), everything he did in France, all the flirting and socializing, was done with the intention of freeing the States from the Brits. He was goal driven and formidable, but seemed like a gentle, brilliant old man.

    The other American diplomats in France were all disasters, none more so than John Adams. When Jefferson came to Paris to replace Franklin, he uttered the quotation you used. By this one line, he immediately ingratiated himself with the French and was a very effective ambassador, though not on the level of Franklin. He was really the best diplomat in the world, which was amazing since the English and French have always been excellent diplomats throughout the years, especially the English.

  122. Steve Says:

    @HongKonger #117:

    I’d have to say that Woody Allen has come up with more good quotations than any other modern figure. Thanks for those; they brought back memories since I had seen all of his older movies, Annie Hall and before. Remember the “Orgasmatron” from Sleeper?

    HongKonger, one thing I discovered, at least in Taiwan, was that Friedrich Nietzsche’s aphorisms were very popular. In fact, I didn’t realize until years after I married her that my wife could quote them from memory. Was he also popular in Hong Kong? Nietzsche has a few good ones but nowhere near as many as Franklin, Clemens, Rogers or Allen, at least in my book.

    A friend of mine was traveling on the cheap a few months ago and stayed in Chungking Mansion. His comments were similar to yours; the rooms were very low end but the food and atmosphere around there were really fun.

    Your comment about having a Guinness reminded me of a place in Shanghai we used to go called O’Malley’s. It was the original Irish Bar there and knew how to serve Guinness almost the right way. (they didn’t have a shamrock on the foam like in Ireland) One Sunday afternoon I had stopped in for one beer, met an American guy at the bar whose wife was from Taipei and was a landscape architect, and we proceeded to drink all night long, met a bunch of people, danced with some Canadian girls, talked with a German couple and ended up at a table with a bunch of Shanghainese. I was fine but he was absolutely plastered. I had my camera so I took many incriminating pix, ha ha. We had to virtually pour him into the taxi and I gave the driver a few extra bucks to make sure he got into his place safely.

    I sent him the pix since I had his business card. Months later I saw him quoted in the NY Times. Ends up he was THE landscape architect in China! We got along great that night but he never replied to my emails. I think he was pretty embarrassed. :D

  123. William Huang Says:

    @Steve #98

    Thanks for your understanding. To answer your question is not easy and main issue is the limitation of post. The problem is that if too short, it’s not sufficient to present the argument but if too long, no one have enough attention to read it through. I am trying my best here:

    Self-interest does not have to be limited to economical or financial interest. It can also be ideological, racial, cultural and religious. This is true to both individual and nation. The national sentiment is nothing more than the aggregation of individual sentiment concerning various conflicts and issues. At individual level, the difference in behavior and value can be night and day. At one extreme, someone can risk one’s own life to save the others, while at another extreme; one can kill a fellow human being for no apparent reason at all. Nation is no exception. All you need is the right combination for it to happen and it can go its ugly side. Just look at Holocaust. What Nazi German government has anything to gain in self-interest to terminate million of Jews?

    Even for the pure economic activities where people believe themselves acting at their own best interest, it does not mean their decision is always rational let alone the best one. For example, for many individual investors, often times the action they take is actually harmful to themselves. In international conflict, although not always but often enough, it is a zero-sum game. In order for some nation to gain, some other nations have to lose. Only in a utopia world, everyone can pursue self-interest without any conflict with others. Unfortunately, we are living in a real world with real people.

    Globalization and democratic system will not guarantee anything. It’s all about what’s in people’s head. Globalization existed before WWI until nationalism prevailed. Look what happened to Europe in two World Wars. It can not be explained by rational behaviors.

    What benefit did the US receive from the Iraq War? Majority of people in the world cannot think of any. If this indeed the case, then why US government wanted to do it in first place? Even today, the objective for the Iraq war was never clear. It started out from WMD/Al Qaeda connection, then spreading democracy and now it’s about victory over terrorist. In Bush’s recent interview, after complaining about the bad intelligence on the WMD and asked if the intelligence was reliable to prove no WMD, would he start the war, he is answer is: he doesn’t know.

    We are not here to debate the merit of Iraq War but my point here is that if US government could do something in such important matter with such a large scale without a clear objective and benefit and have taken for so long, why should France to be an exception?

    France has its own national sentiment. French are great and proud people. They deserve their place in the history and world stage. However, they felt humiliated in WWII and resented US’ leadership in Western world. France has been at odds with US for long time. With recent diminish US leadership in the world, French government is actively engaging in bring France into more prominent position in world affair. Sarkozy is inspired to bring France back to its glory days. He has taken radical steps to revitalize France domestically and internationally. Among them, he installed tax incentive to encourage French to work 5 day instead of 4 days to remain economically competitive. He was able to play a key role in cease fire for Russia-Georgia conflict. Naturally, he would like to have something to engage in every corner of the world.

    There is no shortage of French politicians in offending other countries. China is not first one nor will be the last one. In 1991, French Prime Minister Cresson offended US, Britain and German by saying that male homosexuality is largely an Anglo-Saxon problem. British parliament passed a resolution demanded apology. What’s the benefit for France when their political leader was saying such thing? If we stipluatlate that every government says and does things for a reason and only to serve their self-interest, then why should British government be so sensitive about? For a man of being Anglo-Saxon heritage, how should he take it?

    By the end of day, all these discussions have little to do with China. The question is whether China’s response is reasonable or not. If everything is only about Dalai Lama, the man himself but no one else, everything is much simpler. As a matter of fact, Chinese government offered him a symbolical position in Beijing during the May 2008 negotiation but Dalai Lama refused. As Dalai Lama himself stated, it’s all about Tibetan people not himself. I can respect that. The problem is; if this is the case, why should China consider Sarkozy/Dalai Lama’s meeting is about anything but Tibetan people? If Dalai Lama and TGIE is the legitimate representative of Tibetan people, then who is the legitimate government in Tibet?

    Ideology and religious extremists are the primary cause of world instability today. It is not just limited to terrorist. It can happen in democratic country too. Just look at neoconservatives’ influence in the whole Iraq affair. Don’t forget that Hitler was democratically elected to power by a nation rich in culture and intellectual tradition and with highly educated people.

    I don’t know the Tibetan population in France and I doubt if anything significant to have influence on French politics. I actually do believe that Tibetan people have the right for self determination provided that they don’t break away from China. All the Han-Chinese whom I know of have nothing against Tibetan people and there is no legalized discriminations by Chinese government against Tibetan. Now, there is a wedge placed between the Tibetan and Han Chinese people since the March riot and Olympic protest. The meeting like Sarkozy/Dalai Lama will only make it worse and there is little to gain for both sides. Only those who have ill feeling towards China have anything to gain and it is very obvious to me from some of FM posts.

  124. Amorette Says:

    Wasn’t the Sino-Albanian split practically the only other split besides the Sino-Soviet split? If people are surprised that the Soviet Union / Russia is not on the list, it’s puzzling that they would find Albania being on the list surprising…

  125. Jacko Says:

    William Huang: “I actually do believe that Tibetan people have the right for self determination provided that they don’t break away from China.”

    Awesome! You can any color of car you want, as long as its black!”

    Are they allowed to self-determine the right to their own militias as long as they don’t break away too? Or to restrict Han influx settlement? Not that they would necessarily want to….but….?

    “Now, there is a wedge placed between the Tibetan and Han Chinese people since the March riot and Olympic protest. The meeting like Sarkozy/Dalai Lama will only make it worse and there is little to gain for both sides. Only those who have ill feeling towards China have anything to gain and it is very obvious to me from some of FM posts.”

    The problem is, you may be missing the fact that some (or more) of the Tibetan people side already felt that there was a problem. The fact that now the Han do as well is perhaps what they wanted? It is astounding that your final sentence goes right back to the same reason for this post! The idea that anyone who criticizes has ill feelings (ie – they wish to cause hurt and harm) is obviously hard to dislodge…

  126. jpzapatero Says:

    A countries hurt feelings? Fools mountain? The Tibetans are not a minority of China, they are the People of Tibet! Tibetans are not chinese, they have a different language, culture, history, script and physical attributes just to mention a few. The very fact that the word Tibetans and Chinese exists is testimony to this! It is very hard to freely travel around Tibet and talk to the native Tibetans without the presence of fear of the panopticon, so most of us will never know what is going on there and we have to rely on CCTV which is propaganda. Chinese whether Han or not, really have to start to accept that the Tibetans are a different race within a unique demographic situation. We all know China wants Tibet for it riches, something that is never mentioned in all topics, second for its unique placing in the world. But why not let them have autonomy? The Dalai lama is not asking for independence, this is now just a facade that is being played by the CCP, so they can stay in power. They Dalai lama holds a very special political position for the Chinese people because he is their historical spiritual leader, ultimately it will all end with him for most of the chinese population. The Dalai Lama does not want Tibet to be separate from China, but he wants internal equality and freedom. You cannot compare this situation with America and the Indians and sort of make an excuse of an argument for all the killings that are going on in that region, most of them just because someone decided to voice an opinion. We in the west have grown up with the freedom of speech, a right that we don’t even question, but it is not like that in China my friends. Look at all the recent happenings of people going missing and regions of Tibet and Xinjiang, look at the executions and imprisonments. There are so many Chinese that are shocked by comments on the internet when they leave their censored nest, but can you really blame ignorance?
    The best thing China can do is to let the Dalai Lama return to Tibet under the guise of Autonomy, this will only help China’s image and people. As a matter of fact the Tibetans (bless them) after years of genocide and propagandic brainwashing still have love for the Chinese, but not for the CCP which has been trying to eradicate them. This is the time for China to show real change, starting with Tibet and it’s people. Let them live in their own land, how can anyone deprive them of that and then punish them as well. Come on CCP!!! (who is not really communist anymore, more of a capitalist I say!!!)
    post
    Peace.

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