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Dec 26

China’s Charter 08

Written by Steve on Friday, December 26th, 2008 at 10:45 pm
Filed under:culture, education, General, media, News, politics |
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Recently, over 2000 Chinese citizens signed the document below, released on December 10th, calling for human rights and democracy with an eventual end to one party rule. I’ve used the translation from the New York Review of Books with sections of their Postscript included. This document was signed by Chinese citizens living inside China, not expat dissidents living abroad. The Postscript gives some information concerning the status of a few of the 303 intellectuals who had signed the document. The blog Global Voices  also has an in-depth look at the current status of the more prominent signatories.


What do you think of this document? Should it be discussed or dismissed? Should the signers be arrested and jailed? Is there room in the current China for this type of discussion?

I. FOREWORD

A hundred years have passed since the writing of China’s first constitution. 2008 also marks the sixtieth anniversary of the promulgation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the thirtieth anniversary of the appearance of the Democracy Wall in Beijing, and the tenth of China’s signing of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. We are approaching the twentieth anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen massacre of pro-democracy student protesters. The Chinese people, who have endured human rights disasters and uncountable struggles across these same years, now include many who see clearly that freedom, equality, and human rights are universal values of humankind and that democracy and constitutional government are the fundamental framework for protecting these values.

By departing from these values, the Chinese government’s approach to “modernization” has proven disastrous. It has stripped people of their rights, destroyed their dignity, and corrupted normal human intercourse. So we ask: Where is China headed in the twenty-first century? Will it continue with “modernization” under authoritarian rule, or will it embrace universal human values, join the mainstream of civilized nations, and build a democratic system? There can be no avoiding these questions.

The shock of the Western impact upon China in the nineteenth century laid bare a decadent authoritarian system and marked the beginning of what is often called “the greatest changes in thousands of years” for China. A “self-strengthening movement” followed, but this aimed simply at appropriating the technology to build gunboats and other Western material objects. China’s humiliating naval defeat at the hands of Japan in 1895 only confirmed the obsolescence of China’s system of government. The first attempts at modern political change came with the ill-fated summer of reforms in 1898, but these were cruelly crushed by ultraconservatives at China’s imperial court. With the revolution of 1911, which inaugurated Asia’s first republic, the authoritarian imperial system that had lasted for centuries was finally supposed to have been laid to rest. But social conflict inside our country and external pressures were to prevent it; China fell into a patchwork of warlord fiefdoms and the new republic became a fleeting dream.

The failure of both “self- strengthening” and political renovation caused many of our forebears to reflect deeply on whether a “cultural illness” was afflicting our country. This mood gave rise, during the May Fourth Movement of the late 1910s, to the championing of “science and democracy.” Yet that effort, too, foundered as warlord chaos persisted and the Japanese invasion [beginning in Manchuria in 1931] brought national crisis.

Victory over Japan in 1945 offered one more chance for China to move toward modern government, but the Communist defeat of the Nationalists in the civil war thrust the nation into the abyss of totalitarianism. The “new China” that emerged in 1949 proclaimed that “the people are sovereign” but in fact set up a system in which “the Party is all-powerful.” The Communist Party of China seized control of all organs of the state and all political, economic, and social resources, and, using these, has produced a long trail of human rights disasters, including, among many others, the Anti-Rightist Campaign (1957), the Great Leap Forward (1958–1960), the Cultural Revolution (1966–1969), the June Fourth [Tiananmen Square] Massacre (1989), and the current repression of all unauthorized religions and the suppression of the weiquan rights movement [a movement that aims to defend citizens’ rights promulgated in the Chinese Constitution and to fight for human rights recognized by international conventions that the Chinese government has signed]. During all this, the Chinese people have paid a gargantuan price. Tens of millions have lost their lives, and several generations have seen their freedom, their happiness, and their human dignity cruelly trampled.

During the last two decades of the twentieth century the government policy of “Reform and Opening” gave the Chinese people relief from the pervasive poverty and totalitarianism of the Mao Zedong era, and brought substantial increases in the wealth and living standards of many Chinese as well as a partial restoration of economic freedom and economic rights. Civil society began to grow, and popular calls for more rights and more political freedom have grown apace. As the ruling elite itself moved toward private ownership and the market economy, it began to shift from an outright rejection of “rights” to a partial acknowledgment of them.

In 1998 the Chinese government signed two important international human rights conventions; in 2004 it amended its constitution to include the phrase “respect and protect human rights”; and this year, 2008, it has promised to promote a “national human rights action plan.” Unfortunately most of this political progress has extended no further than the paper on which it is written. The political reality, which is plain for anyone to see, is that China has many laws but no rule of law; it has a constitution but no constitutional government. The ruling elite continues to cling to its authoritarian power and fights off any move toward political change.

The stultifying results are endemic official corruption, an undermining of the rule of law, weak human rights, decay in public ethics, crony capitalism, growing inequality between the wealthy and the poor, pillage of the natural environment as well as of the human and historical environments, and the exacerbation of a long list of social conflicts, especially, in recent times, a sharpening animosity between officials and ordinary people.

As these conflicts and crises grow ever more intense, and as the ruling elite continues with impunity to crush and to strip away the rights of citizens to freedom, to property, and to the pursuit of happiness, we see the powerless in our society—the vulnerable groups, the people who have been suppressed and monitored, who have suffered cruelty and even torture, and who have had no adequate avenues for their protests, no courts to hear their pleas—becoming more militant and raising the possibility of a violent conflict of disastrous proportions. The decline of the current system has reached the point where change is no longer optional.

II. OUR FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES

This is a historic moment for China, and our future hangs in the balance. In reviewing the political modernization process of the past hundred years or more, we reiterate and endorse basic universal values as follows:

Freedom. Freedom is at the core of universal human values. Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of association, freedom in where to live, and the freedoms to strike, to demonstrate, and to protest, among others, are the forms that freedom takes. Without freedom, China will always remain far from civilized ideals.

Human rights. Human rights are not bestowed by a state. Every person is born with inherent rights to dignity and freedom. The government exists for the protection of the human rights of its citizens. The exercise of state power must be authorized by the people. The succession of political disasters in China’s recent history is a direct consequence of the ruling regime’s disregard for human rights.

Equality. The integrity, dignity, and freedom of every person—regardless of social station, occupation, sex, economic condition, ethnicity, skin color, religion, or political belief—are the same as those of any other. Principles of equality before the law and equality of social, economic, cultural, civil, and political rights must be upheld.

Republicanism. Republicanism, which holds that power should be balanced among different branches of government and competing interests should be served, resembles the traditional Chinese political ideal of “fairness in all under heaven.” It allows different interest groups and social assemblies, and people with a variety of cultures and beliefs, to exercise democratic self-government and to deliberate in order to reach peaceful resolution of public questions on a basis of equal access to government and free and fair competition.

Democracy. The most fundamental principles of democracy are that the people are sovereign and the people select their government. Democracy has these characteristics: (1) Political power begins with the people and the legitimacy of a regime derives from the people. (2) Political power is exercised through choices that the people make. (3) The holders of major official posts in government at all levels are determined through periodic competitive elections. (4) While honoring the will of the majority, the fundamental dignity, freedom, and human rights of minorities are protected. In short, democracy is a modern means for achieving government truly “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

Constitutional rule. Constitutional rule is rule through a legal system and legal regulations to implement principles that are spelled out in a constitution. It means protecting the freedom and the rights of citizens, limiting and defining the scope of legitimate government power, and providing the administrative apparatus necessary to serve these ends.

III. WHAT WE ADVOCATE

Authoritarianism is in general decline throughout the world; in China, too, the era of emperors and overlords is on the way out. The time is arriving everywhere for citizens to be masters of states. For China the path that leads out of our current predicament is to divest ourselves of the authoritarian notion of reliance on an “enlightened overlord” or an “honest official” and to turn instead toward a system of liberties, democracy, and the rule of law, and toward fostering the consciousness of modern citizens who see rights as fundamental and participation as a duty. Accordingly, and in a spirit of this duty as responsible and constructive citizens, we offer the following recommendations on national governance, citizens’ rights, and social development:

1. A New Constitution. We should recast our present constitution, rescinding its provisions that contradict the principle that sovereignty resides with the people and turning it into a document that genuinely guarantees human rights, authorizes the exercise of public power, and serves as the legal underpinning of China’s democratization. The constitution must be the highest law in the land, beyond violation by any individual, group, or political party.

2. Separation of Powers. We should construct a modern government in which the separation of legislative, judicial, and executive power is guaranteed. We need an Administrative Law that defines the scope of government responsibility and prevents abuse of administrative power. Government should be responsible to taxpayers. Division of power between provincial governments and the central government should adhere to the principle that central powers are only those specifically granted by the constitution and all other powers belong to the local governments.

3. Legislative Democracy. Members of legislative bodies at all levels should be chosen by direct election, and legislative democracy should observe just and impartial principles.

4. An Independent Judiciary. The rule of law must be above the interests of any particular political party and judges must be independent. We need to establish a constitutional supreme court and institute procedures for constitutional review. As soon as possible, we should abolish all of the Committees on Political and Legal Affairs that now allow Communist Party officials at every level to decide politically sensitive cases in advance and out of court. We should strictly forbid the use of public offices for private purposes.

5. Public Control of Public Servants. The military should be made answerable to the national government, not to a political party, and should be made more professional. Military personnel should swear allegiance to the constitution and remain nonpartisan. Political party organizations must be prohibited in the military. All public officials including police should serve as nonpartisans, and the current practice of favoring one political party in the hiring of public servants must end.

6. Guarantee of Human Rights. There must be strict guarantees of human rights and respect for human dignity. There should be a Human Rights Committee, responsible to the highest legislative body, that will prevent the government from abusing public power in violation of human rights. A democratic and constitutional China especially must guarantee the personal freedom of citizens. No one should suffer illegal arrest, detention, arraignment, interrogation, or punishment. The system of “Reeducation through Labor” must be abolished.

7. Election of Public Officials. There should be a comprehensive system of democratic elections based on “one person, one vote.” The direct election of administrative heads at the levels of county, city, province, and nation should be systematically implemented. The rights to hold periodic free elections and to participate in them as a citizen are inalienable.

8. Rural–Urban Equality. The two-tier household registry system must be abolished. This system favors urban residents and harms rural residents. We should establish instead a system that gives every citizen the same constitutional rights and the same freedom to choose where to live.

9. Freedom to Form Groups. The right of citizens to form groups must be guaranteed. The current system for registering nongovernment groups, which requires a group to be “approved,” should be replaced by a system in which a group simply registers itself. The formation of political parties should be governed by the constitution and the laws, which means that we must abolish the special privilege of one party to monopolize power and must guarantee principles of free and fair competition among political parties.

10. Freedom to Assemble. The constitution provides that peaceful assembly, demonstration, protest, and freedom of expression are fundamental rights of a citizen. The ruling party and the government must not be permitted to subject these to illegal interference or unconstitutional obstruction.

11. Freedom of Expression. We should make freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and academic freedom universal, thereby guaranteeing that citizens can be informed and can exercise their right of political supervision. These freedoms should be upheld by a Press Law that abolishes political restrictions on the press. The provision in the current Criminal Law that refers to “the crime of incitement to subvert state power” must be abolished. We should end the practice of viewing words as crimes.

12. Freedom of Religion. We must guarantee freedom of religion and belief, and institute a separation of religion and state. There must be no governmental interference in peaceful religious activities. We should abolish any laws, regulations, or local rules that limit or suppress the religious freedom of citizens. We should abolish the current system that requires religious groups (and their places of worship) to get official approval in advance and substitute for it a system in which registry is optional and, for those who choose to register, automatic.

13. Civic Education. In our schools we should abolish political curriculums and examinations that are designed to indoctrinate students in state ideology and to instill support for the rule of one party. We should replace them with civic education that advances universal values and citizens’ rights, fosters civic consciousness, and promotes civic virtues that serve society.

14. Protection of Private Property. We should establish and protect the right to private property and promote an economic system of free and fair markets. We should do away with government monopolies in commerce and industry and guarantee the freedom to start new enterprises. We should establish a Committee on State-Owned Property, reporting to the national legislature, that will monitor the transfer of state-owned enterprises to private ownership in a fair, competitive, and orderly manner. We should institute a land reform that promotes private ownership of land, guarantees the right to buy and sell land, and allows the true value of private property to be adequately reflected in the market.

15. Financial and Tax Reform. We should establish a democratically regulated and accountable system of public finance that ensures the protection of taxpayer rights and that operates through legal procedures. We need a system by which public revenues that belong to a certain level of government—central, provincial, county or local—are controlled at that level. We need major tax reform that will abolish any unfair taxes, simplify the tax system, and spread the tax burden fairly. Government officials should not be able to raise taxes, or institute new ones, without public deliberation and the approval of a democratic assembly. We should reform the ownership system in order to encourage competition among a wider variety of market participants.

16. Social Security. We should establish a fair and adequate social security system that covers all citizens and ensures basic access to education, health care, retirement security, and employment.

17. Protection of the Environment. We need to protect the natural environment and to promote development in a way that is sustainable and responsible to our descendants and to the rest of humanity. This means insisting that the state and its officials at all levels not only do what they must do to achieve these goals, but also accept the supervision and participation of nongovernmental organizations.

18. A Federated Republic. A democratic China should seek to act as a responsible major power contributing toward peace and development in the Asian Pacific region by approaching others in a spirit of equality and fairness. In Hong Kong and Macao, we should support the freedoms that already exist. With respect to Taiwan, we should declare our commitment to the principles of freedom and democracy and then, negotiating as equals and ready to compromise, seek a formula for peaceful unification. We should approach disputes in the national-minority areas of China with an open mind, seeking ways to find a workable framework within which all ethnic and religious groups can flourish. We should aim ultimately at a federation of democratic communities of China.

19. Truth in Reconciliation. We should restore the reputations of all people, including their family members, who suffered political stigma in the political campaigns of the past or who have been labeled as criminals because of their thought, speech, or faith. The state should pay reparations to these people. All political prisoners and prisoners of conscience must be released. There should be a Truth Investigation Commission charged with finding the facts about past injustices and atrocities, determining responsibility for them, upholding justice, and, on these bases, seeking social reconciliation.

China, as a major nation of the world, as one of five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, and as a member of the UN Council on Human Rights, should be contributing to peace for humankind and progress toward human rights. Unfortunately, we stand today as the only country among the major nations that remains mired in authoritarian politics. Our political system continues to produce human rights disasters and social crises, thereby not only constricting China’s own development but also limiting the progress of all of human civilization. This must change, truly it must. The democratization of Chinese politics can be put off no longer.

Accordingly, we dare to put civic spirit into practice by announcing Charter 08. We hope that our fellow citizens who feel a similar sense of crisis, responsibility, and mission, whether they are inside the government or not, and regardless of their social status, will set aside small differences to embrace the broad goals of this citizens’ movement. Together we can work for major changes in Chinese society and for the rapid establishment of a free, democratic, and constitutional country. We can bring to reality the goals and ideals that our people have incessantly been seeking for more than a hundred years, and can bring a brilliant new chapter to Chinese civilization.

Translated from the Chinese by Perry Link

POSTSCRIPT

The planning and drafting of Charter 08 began in the late spring of 2008, but Chinese authorities were apparently unaware of it or unconcerned by it until several days before it was announced on December 10. On December 6, Wen Kejian, a writer who signed the charter, was detained in the city of Hangzhou in eastern China and questioned for about an hour. Police told Wen that Charter 08 was “different” from earlier dissident statements, and “a fairly grave matter.” They said there would be a coordinated investigation in all cities and provinces to “root out the organizers,” and they advised Wen to remove his name from the charter. Wen declined, telling the authorities that he saw the charter as a fundamental turning point in history.

Meanwhile, on December 8, in Shenzhen in the far south of China, police called on Zhao Dagong, a writer and signer of the charter, for a “chat.” They told Zhao that the central authorities were concerned about the charter and asked if he was the organizer in the Shenzhen area.

Later on December 8, at 11 PM in Beijing, about twenty police entered the home of Zhang Zuhua, one of the charter’s main drafters. A few of the police took Zhang with them to the local police station while the rest stayed and, as Zhang’s wife watched, searched the home and confiscated books, notebooks, Zhang’s passport, all four of the family’s computers, and all of their cash and credit cards. (Later Zhang learned that his family’s bank accounts, including those of both his and his wife’s parents, had been emptied.) Meanwhile, at the police station, Zhang was detained for twelve hours, where he was questioned in detail about Charter 08 and the group Chinese Human Rights Defenders in which he is active.

It was also late on December 8 that another of the charter’s signers, the literary critic and prominent dissident Liu Xiaobo, was taken away by police. His telephone in Beijing went unanswered, as did e-mail and Skype messages sent to him. As of the present writing, he’s believed to be in police custody, although the details of his detention are not known.

On the morning of December 9, Beijing lawyer Pu Zhiqiang was called in for a police “chat,” and in the evening the physicist and philosopher Jiang Qisheng was called in as well. Both had signed the charter and were friends of the drafters. On December 10—the day the charter was formally announced—the Hangzhou police returned to the home of Wen Kejian, the writer they had questioned four days earlier. This time they were more threatening. They told Wen he would face severe punishment if he wrote about the charter or about Liu Xiaobo’s detention. “Do you want three years in prison?” they asked. “Or four?”

On December 11 the journalist Gao Yu and the writer Liu Di, both well-known in Beijing, were interrogated about their signing of the Charter. The rights lawyer, Teng Biao, was approached by the police but declined, on principle, to meet with them. On December 12 and 13 there were reports of interrogations in many provinces—Shaanxi, Hunan, Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong, and others—of people who had seen the charter on the Internet, found that they agreed with it, and signed. With these people the police focused on two questions: “How did you get involved?” and “What do you know about the drafters and organizers?”

The Chinese authorities seem unaware of the irony of their actions. Their efforts to quash Charter 08 only serve to underscore China’s failure to uphold the very principles that the charter advances. The charter calls for “free expression” but the regime says, by its actions, that it has once again denied such expression. The charter calls for freedom to form groups, but the nationwide police actions that have accompanied the charter’s release have specifically aimed at blocking the formation of a group. The charter says “we should end the practice of viewing words as crimes,” and the regime says (literally, to Wen Kejian) “we can send you to prison for these words.” The charter calls for the rule of law and the regime sends police in the middle of the night to act outside the law; the charter says “police should serve as nonpartisans,” and here the police are plainly partisan.

Charter 08 is signed only by citizens of the People’s Republic of China who are living inside China. But Chinese living outside China are signing a letter of strong support for the charter. The eminent historian Yu Ying-shih, the astrophysicist Fang Lizhi, writers Ha Jin and Zheng Yi, and more than 160 others have so far signed.

Perry Link, December 18, 2008


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407 Responses to “China’s Charter 08”

  1. TonyP4 Says:

    WOW! Another ‘big leap”? Too much and too fast. In my previous posts, the democracy from the west (or demo crazy) is not suitable for today’s China. We’ve too many basic problems to fix now.

    Too many changes at one time would lead to disaster and many young innocent folks will die – still not learning from Tienanmen incidence. I do not think you can overthrow CCP in one small fight. Idealism and practicality seldom co-exist. If it were successful by force to some extend, then Taiwan will be invaded to divert the national focus.

    I wonder who is behind this movement – Falon Gung, KMT, CIA, or some one from the ivory towers.

    The 2,000 or so signed will lose their visas to China.

  2. Steve Says:

    @TonyP4: No visas to lose. All the signees are Chinese citizens living in China. That’s what makes it so different from the usual “China needs to do this or that” papers put out by dissidents living abroad. It seems the people behind this are just a smattering of Chinese from different walks of life, even some in the government. I was as surprised as you are when I first read about it. In fact, it was S.K. Cheung who brought it to my attention on another thread.

  3. Otto Kerner Says:

    Before saying anything about this, I would like to point out that I have fairly unusual political opinions, which, in some respects, are typical of people in Western countries, and, in other respects, are idiosyncratic.

    I think that democracy is overrated. I don’t care whether China starts to have free elections or not. However, “democracy” has the potential to be a useful rallying cry because many people conflate it in their minds with other issues. However, it’s useful only to the extent that people who talk about democracy also talk about things like freedom, human rights, and, most importantly, the independent judiciary. Freedom and human rights come from having an independent judiciary. Point #7 is “election of public officials”, but I wonder how conducive that really is to the other things that they want. There’s a lot of room for problems to be caused by the public electing officials who don’t care about the rest of the list.

    When they say, “In our schools we should abolish political curriculums and examinations that are designed to indoctrinate students in state ideology and to instill support for the rule of one party”, I think we should note that this is a bit of a problem in all countries. They then say that they want to foster civic consciousness and promotes civic virtues that serve society, but, a lot of the time, it’s tricky to tell the difference between that and state ideology. I do think it’s straightforward to say that Chinese students should no longer be required to study Marxism-Leninism, since basically nobody in China believes in that stuff anymore anyway.

    They say, “We should establish instead a system that gives every citizen the same constitutional rights and the same freedom to choose where to live.” I think that’s basically a good policy in a lot of situations and often an important thing. However, I disagree with the commonly-held view that freedom of movement inside a country must be held as a sacrosanct, inherent right. Almost holds the view that the right to move between countries is sacred and inalienable, but apparently in becomes so within state borders. On the contrary, I’m glad that not everyone from everywhere in China that wants to move to Hong Kong gets to move there, for the same reason that I’m glad not everyone from anywhere in the world who wants to move to, say, Paris or Toronto gets to move there.

    Most of “what we advocate” strike me as pretty obvious things that right-thinking people in general will find it easy to root for, either immediately or eventually. Still, the more interesting and difficult question is … how does China get from here to there?

  4. James Says:

    “It has stripped people of their rights, destroyed their dignity, and corrupted normal human intercourse.”

    I’m all for opening China up further, but the tone of this article is ridiculous. While I agree rights of the people in China is more theory than in execution, it’s not as if the Chinese people had a lot of rights before the Communists took power.

    And I don’t care for “legislative democracy.” That sounds like a surefire way to failure. Western China development would fall, Chinese politicians would start supporting short term shortsighted plans just to ensure votes, etc.

    The amount of changes in this “declaration” is ridiculous. I would support direct elections all the way up to city mayor, but past that, China is still too early in a developmental stage with an unwieldy population crisis to have complete direct elections.

    What type of people actually signed this, do any China bloggers know? Like are they supporters of full democracy now, people who wish to completely overthrow the CCP from power etc. To me, it seems as if only the “rights activist” type frequently featured in the western media would support something like this.

    Also, two thousand people in China isn’t really a lot. And so far, none of the people mentioned are names which I recognize and/or respect for writing serious, well thought essays on democratizing China, not the demagogues and panderers to the western media that are usually featured.

    From the postscript I see that most well known and respected signatories were only questioned, not detained. The only people detained seemed to be people who were already on the verge of being contained. This is already such a huge improvement that I’m sure most people who’ve been following China long term would agree with me that allowing China to progress along its current path and speed would be most beneficial in the long run. No one wants to see another disaster like the one that happened in Russia because of a lack of patience, especially since China’s progressing so nicely.

  5. Jerry Says:

    @Steve
    @S.K. Cheung

    I posted the following on the FM Thread: China’s 30-Year Journey of Reform and Opening Up.

    I am still trying to wrap my head around this. Could take a while for me to understand the context. I just don’t know the players and the background.

    —————-

    @S.K. Cheung #107
    @Steve #108

    You never know where life will take you. As Billy Collins says, “Man plans, God laughs!” You can say that again.

    SK, you mentioned Charter 08. I went, “Huh?” So, I googled it. I ended up, after several detours, at a familiar site, the China Media Project, which led to the NY Review of Books, which published the whole manifesto. In the prologue, the author mentions “Charter 77″.

    The mere mention of Charter 77 took me back to my teenage days and “Prague Spring”. I was 17 years old and was astonished at the turn of events in Czechoslovakia. A leader named Dubcek was attempting to reform a Soviet state. Wow, unheard of at that time. I was fascinated. Brezhnev, the Soviet leader, was less than thrilled. By August, the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia and crushed the movement.

    I remember the great book and the movie which recounted those days, “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”. I remember the 1969 World Hockey Championship when the Czechoslovakians beat the Russians twice; the tension in the first game was unimaginable. The ensuing victory celebrations in Prague were great. I remember Havel and Charter 77. That was the first time I became aware of Havel. Then the “Velvet Revolution” in 1989.

    So back to Charter 08. Atimes.com ran an article about this. I don’t know the players from Adam. But, here it is anyway. What will happen, we will just have to see.

    And you are right, SK, pretty big cojones. Steve, I am looking forward to your take on this.

    SK, I wonder if I would have the guts to sign the Charter if I were living in China? Interesting question. Hmmm…

    China kills chickens to frighten monkeys

    Greater China
    Dec 20, 2008

    China kills chickens to frighten monkeys
    By Verna Yu

    BEIJING – The recent arrest of Chinese dissident writer Liu Xiaobo after he took part in a high-profile signature campaign that calls for more freedoms and political reform is a sign that human-rights issues still touch a raw nerve with the Chinese government.

    Liu, a prominent critic of the Chinese government who was imprisoned for 20 months for participating in the 1989 Tiananmen pro-democracy movement, was taken away by police on December 8 – shortly after “Charter 08″ was circulated online to mark International Human Rights Day and the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    A week later, his whereabouts remain unknown and his wife is still denied access to him, even though Chinese law requires police to notify the families of detainees within 24 hours.

    On the same night, another prominent signatory of the declaration, Zhang Zuhua, a constitutional law expert, was detained for 12 hours on suspicion of “inciting the subversion of state sovereignty”.

    As of this week, dozens of others across China who have also signed the declaration have been interrogated by authorities, according to rights activists.

    Charter 08, initially signed by over 300 intellectuals including lawyers, academics, writers and artists, appeals to the Chinese government to launch widespread political reform, such as granting its citizens speech and religious freedoms, respecting human and civil rights and establishing an independent judiciary, as well as ending its one-party rule.

    And thousands of others have added their names to the petition since then, with signatures soaring beyond 5,000 as of this week, according to China Human Rights Defenders, a network of domestic and foreign human rights activists.

    According to his lawyer, Mo Shaoping, Liu was probably detained because authorities considered him a chief organizer of the signature campaign.

    His arrest and the harassment of other signatories have drawn concern from Western governments and international human-rights groups. Last week, the US State Department said it was “deeply concerned” about Liu’s well-being as well as that of other Chinese citizens who have been interrogated for peacefully expressing their desire for greater freedoms.

    A statement from the French European Union presidency this week also expressed “deep concern” at Liu’s arrest and urged China to reveal the reason for Liu’s detention and to respect his rights.

    Gao Yu, a dissident writer, said she believed the authorities were nervous that the appeal might trigger a massive call for democracy that will spill over to next year, the 20th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown, and spark a fresh round of democratic movements.

    “They are using Liu to warn other people against taking action over June 4,” said Gao, who was herself questioned by police over her signing of Charter 08 last week.

    Xu Youyu, a retired professor of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said authorities over-reacted to what was a peaceful expression of opinions.

    “I think this shows that the political atmosphere is very tense,” he said. “I think the authorities’ move is irrational and is hard to understand … it is not a wise move.”

    Xu, a signatory himself, said none of the demands in Charter 08 posed a challenge to the government and warned that the over-reaction would likely prompt more people to get involved.

    Bao Tong, a former aide of ousted reformist leader Zhao Ziyang, who lives under continuous surveillance, said the authorities’ nervous reaction to Charter 08 shows just how badly China needs to make those changes for which the appeal is calling.

    “This itself proves that Charter 08 is very necessary, because there is no rule of law, no citizens’ rights, no democracy in China,” said Bao, who was arrested just before the Tiananmen crackdown and jailed for seven years. “This was just a minor thing and now it’s totally overblown – this is a very foolish move.”

    Nicholas Bequelin, senior researcher at the New York-based Human Rights Watch, said the unprecedented unity shown by such a large number of prominent citizens across the country had alarmed the authorities, who feared their movement might trigger broader demand for political change.

    “My concern is that the authorities want to make an example of Liu Xiubo … I think the statement is that they want to scare the intellectuals,” Bequelin said. “This is the old trick of killing a chicken to frighten the monkeys.”

    Just the reverse, “It might damage the party’s ability to bring these people to their party. It just shows how arbitrary and brutal the party can be,” Bequelin said.

    But if the arrest of Liu is designed to put off others, it has not succeeded so far. Rights activists say more than 1,200 have signed an open letter circulating on the Internet calling for his release and over 5,000 have signed Charter 08, with the number increasing every day.

    Liu, a former literature professor, has long been seen as a thorn in the side of the Chinese authorities for his articles that are openly critical of the government. After Liu’s release from prison in 1991 for his Tiananmen pro-democracy movement involvement, he was closely watched by the authorities and was often put under house arrest around sensitive dates such as the anniversaries of the June 4 Tiananmen crackdown.

    He was detained for three years in a “Re-education through Labor” camp between 1996 and 1999 for criticizing the Chinese government. Prior to the 19th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown this year, he was warned by the authorities against writing commemorative articles and was detained for a couple of hours on that day.

    Cyber dissident Liu Di said the Chinese government had done itself a disservice by arresting Liu Xiaobo. “I think the arrest of Liu Xiaobao is like dropping a stone onto your own feet,” said Liu, who was also questioned by state security agents for calling for Liu Xiaobo’s release. “If they hadn’t done that, the issue wouldn’t have drawn so much attention.”

    Verna Yu is a freelance journalist from Hong Kong.

    There was a piece out at China Media Project, Hu bows to the left in 30th anniversary speech. There was an interesting analysis of word usage by Hu. Here is a snippet. There is a graphic at CMP which compares the use of certain terms (Socialism, Socialism with Chinese characteristics, 4 Basic Principles, and Marx) at the 17 Congress with his usage at the 30th anniversary shindig.

    Hu bows to the left in 30th anniversary speech

    By David Bandurski — When Chinese President Hu Jintao delivered a speech Thursday morning in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People to honor the thirtieth anniversary of economic reforms in the country, his words pointed to a leftward shift in Chinese politics — a possible reaction in part against the recent Charter 08, a manifesto signed by prominent Chinese intellectuals calling for broad political reform.

    According to our preliminary analysis of Hu’s speech, more left-trending keywords like “socialism”, “Marx” and the “Four Basic Principles” were prominent in Thursday’s speech — noticeably more so than in Hu’s 17th Congress address last year. … [Posted by David Bandurski, December 20, 2008, 1:09am HK]

    It is interesting to me, but unfortunately rather meaningless since I don’t understand the context. Steve, SK, HKer, WKL and FOARP, maybe you can help out on this?

  6. Otto Kerner Says:

    Also, I think that a constitutional monarchy, as in Great Britain or Thailand, would be quite suitable for China. Long live the emperor! Maybe Charter 09 will propose that.

  7. FOARP Says:

    I am in favour of this charter being communicated to as many people as possible in China – and criticised by everyone who can formulate even the slightest quibble with it. I am British, and as sure as anything I am not in a position to say anything about he charter except what I think of it (the difference between saying what you think someone else should do and what you think should be done is subtle but big) but I will say that there are parts that I do not agree with. Registration should not be necessary unless it is something the government actually has a business in registering – which should be fairly uncommon in my view. But my view is not import, much more important is that as many citizens of the People’s Republic get to see this as possible. There will be many who call these folk traitors – including, I’m sure, ‘Netizen K’, ‘Facts’, Charles Liu, ‘Perspectivehere’, ‘Pfeffer’, ‘BXBQ’, ‘the Chairman’ and a few others – all I can say to you guys, is that if you think I am wrong, you should come here and prove it! And if you think I am being unfair, I am willing and ready to be disproved! If you think these people are just a bunch of ‘intellectuals’ seeking ‘three years of fame’ (which will apparently be ‘enjoyed’ in a jail cell) – criticise, let the whole world see your reasons for denying the Chinese people the rights that the 2000 signers of Charter 08 want. If you want to try to defend the whole “can’t give them eveything they want yet” argument, you’d better do better than “We don’t want to rock the boat and spoil the CCP’s grip on power”.

    Like I said, I’m British, I will probably never be a Chinese citizen, but I have a great affection for China and wish the Chinese people all the best. I still remember an acquaintance of mine – a colleague who taught at a Nanjing University, and who gave me a dressing down for saying that Weihaiwei “used to be British”, who was a member of a pro-democracy party. I don’t know if it was the one that Guo Quan founded, but it might very possibly be. At any rate, she was about as ordinary as you could get, a middle-aged housewife with a husband, child, and a job, but she seems much more brave, patriotic, and capable, than a good number of those you see trying to deny their countrymen rights because “it’s too soon”.

  8. FOARP Says:

    As for claiming that 19 propositions is ridiculous, it essentially boils down to one – “freedom” – the rest is just small print. Indeed – a list of 21 demands 89 years ago was not seen as “ridiculous”, but terrifying and despicable – my hope is that this “19 demands” will be have an opposite but equal effect!

    Likewise – anyone seeking to mystify China and make as if Chinese do not love freedom as much as any other people on Earth – White, Black, Yellow, Red, Purple or whatever – China is now a country full grasped of modernity. Given the choice, she is as unlikely to want to continue under a dictatorship of any form as she is to to sell herself into foreign servitude.

    民主主义万万岁!

  9. Jerry Says:

    I got a chuckle out of the following excerpts from the manifesto’s foreword.

    … brought substantial increases in the wealth and living standards of many Chinese as well as a partial restoration of economic freedom and economic rights. Civil society began to grow, and popular calls for more rights and more political freedom have grown apace. As the ruling elite itself moved toward private ownership and the market economy, it began to shift from an outright rejection of “rights” to a partial acknowledgment of them.

    … The ruling elite continues to cling to its authoritarian power and fights off any move toward political change.

    It is amazing how money can motivate humans (self-interest), when all the other platitudes fail, e.g. humanity, decency, respect. ::chuckle:: :P In a slightly different manner and degree, this reminds me of the American ruling elite who are now shocked at the behavior of other ruling elites on Wall Street. Why are they shocked at the financial crisis scandal and the Madoff scandal, among others? Because it has seriously wounded their wealth, money and sense of well-being! Now they want reform and protection from the “free-market racketeers”! :D :P ::LMAO::

    And lo and behold, the ruling elites and wealthy aren’t spending as much this Christmas, as Bloomberg and WSJ report. Say it ain’t so, Joe! ::LMAO:: You should see the hideous chart showing how sales have dropped this Christmas. :D Pardon me, my schadenfreude is showing. ;)

    Combined electronics and appliance sales tumbled 27 percent, with purchases over $1,000 suffering the most, according to SpendingPulse (MasterCard) data. Luxury sales, including jewelry, plunged 35 percent, the data showed. (Bloomberg)

    Luxury goods, once considered immune from economic turmoil, were hardest hit, with sales falling 21.2%, compared with a jump of 7.5% a year ago, when the economy had just begun to sputter. Including jewelry sales, the luxury sector plunged by a whopping 34.5%. (WSJ: Retail Sales Plummet)

    Fritjof Capra is still right. We have a major-league “crisis of perception”. ::shaking my head::

  10. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Steve,

    thanks for the translated piece. Nice to finally see it in its entirety. Most staunch China defenders today will point to Deng and 1978 as the impetus for China’s growth in the last 30 years. However, if those same individuals were there in 1978, I wonder how they would’ve viewed their prospects over the next 3 decades, at that time. And the symmetry of the timing is also beautiful…30 years of crap, 30 years of progress and opening up, and I wonder how things will look in 2038? If history goes on to show that this Charter helped to define China’s course from 2008-2038, I think that would be cause for celebration.

    As it stands, what this Charter proposes is hardly earth-shattering; but of course uttering something of this nature gets you house-arrest in China. Though I’d agree with James that, if this Charter saw the light of day in years past, the authors would’ve faced much more dire consequences than mere “questioning”. Having said that, for such a document to provoke even a visit from the authorities speaks of how much further China still has to go.

    As Steve points out, the most encouraging part about this is the fact that the signatories are Chinese living in China. These are people who live the realities, boots on the ground, yet dare to dream. They might be accused of idealism, but they should be immune to critiques of “people don’t understand China” which people like me seem to attract. In fact, I’d suggest that these signatories understand China better than most here. Of course, I should also open up a Vegas book with an over/under on how long it takes before the signatories are accused of being on the CIA payroll.

  11. Allen Says:

    I just had a nice holiday dinner with family … so I’m not in much of a mood to argue or nit-pick.

    But to the extent I am a Chinese intellectual, I will not sign the document.

    When I read it, I got a distinct feeling of vacuousness, of non-conviction, of someone groping with a shallow intellectual understanding of Western political philosophy …

    I am a musician on the side and take music pretty seriously. Recently, one of my friend introduced me to this nifty software that can arrange beats, chord progressions, even melodies when given the bare minimum of “seed” parameters. The resulting mix is usually not that bad … but definitely not very good. It’s usable in some clubs, perhaps as background music – but not as “real music” in real concert halls…

    Anyways – this piece sounds just like such a mix. A computer program, given some Western ideological dictionary, could probably come up with something similar. I personally would treat this document more like a comic strip of political fodder than say the Magna carter, the American Bill of Rights, Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, the Communist Manifesto, or the Federalist Paper! ;-)

    As for Steve’s question whether these guys should be jailed? Nah … I wouldn’t bother. If there is going to be a revolution in Mainland China, it won’t be from this document (or group of people).

  12. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Allen,
    without nit-picking, you couldn’t sign the document, since you’re not a CHinese living in China. That’s the beauty of it. Besides, has the CCP earned their Gettysburg? Even if this CHarter is Rights and Freedoms 101, it’s still a big leap for China…and that’s the pathetic part.

  13. Jerry Says:

    @Allen #11

    Allen, I can see it so clearly now.

    Now most translations sound vacuous to me, but maybe you are talking about the original Chinese charter. And I am no fan of the digitalization of music, sound engineers who are assembling albums and recordings from short bites and programs which write music. Music has a soul, a life of its own. Now, digitalization in its own right is not the problem, it is how we use digital tools. Too often, the recordings are squeezed into MP3 and MP4 formats which are compressed and optimized. Too often, recordings are optimized to perfection. And with digital media, I fear that the harmonics are lost.

    I agree, the wording of the charter sounds pedantic, too academic, and too hollow. The charter is just begging for the right author, a man who understands music, a man with a keen legal mind, a multicultural Renaissance man, a man of Enlightenment, a modern Thomas Jefferson. Allen, you are that man.

    Just don’t start wearing powdered wigs, calling your wife, Martha, or calling your home, Monticello. And please don’t start buying slaves. And please don’t start writing “the pursuit of happiness” as “the purʃuit of happiness”. And you don’t have to move to France.

    ::lmao:: ;) :D

  14. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Jerry,

    sounds like you must be a fan of the vinyl. I agree there’s a certain je ne sais quoi that the old school piezoelelctrics can muster which the digital signal doesn’t quite capture. On the other hand, can’t beat having a kajillion songs in something the size of a fancy lighter (tho, sadly, that something at least for me will never be a Zune. Steve Jobs all the way for that one) :-)

  15. Jerry Says:

    @S.K. Cheung #14

    I am not a purist, by any means. I own 2 iPods. I am a paradox.

    I just think that the guys who write the digitalization code and protocols could do a better job. And mp4 sounds better. But then again, I have Bose and Shure earphones.

    My dad has over 30,000 vinyl recordings. And a great sound system. I think there is a difference. But it may all be in my head.

    I don’t like or trust Zune.

  16. Steve Says:

    I have to admit that I posted this without reading the charter itself. Jerry and SKC had started to talk about it and I just wanted to release it for comment as quickly as possible, so I asked a few neutral questions and threw it out there.

    Now I’ve had a chance to read it. I majored in Political Science, which pretty much consists of two branches. Those are a theoretical and a practical branch. I was always more into theory; how do you set up a government to keep the government officials from screwing things up the least (they will always screw things up; you just try to minimize it). The other side is practical; how to organize, run a campaign, get votes, raise money, poll, etc. Obama is the master for that but it’s not my thing.

    There are really three issues here; the wording of the document itself, the fate of the signers, and whether the Chinese people should have a chance to read and discuss it.

    First we can look at the wording. This document seems to be a “copycat” document. Let’s take a basic political government textbook and start copying out the standard structure of a theoretical democratic government. There is nothing “Chinese” in here and to me the way it is written seems designed to piss off the CCP. The “Foreword” lists just about every disastrous CCP policy over the last 60 years. What kind of reception will you get when you blast the people you are trying to convince? Looking at it pragmatically, they lost before they even started. Mao is dead, Zhou is dead; Deng is dead; Jiang has little power so what is important these days is the governing philosophy of Hu, Wen, key Communist party officials and the most politically influential Chinese generals. China is here and needs to move forward; is it really a good idea to delve so much into the past?

    The freedoms are all fine and good, but to implement those in China would take a minimum of 50 years, and I don’t think they’d survive in this form. You’ve gotta walk before you can run, and China is barely crawling right now in terms of modern political development. As some have pointed out, should China even be a democracy? If so, to what degree? This document assumes a lot in terms of government structure, and I think most of that has yet to be determined. I agree with James #4’s statement: “I would support direct elections all the way up to city mayor, but past that, China is still too early in a developmental stage with an unwieldy population crisis to have complete direct elections.” From what I’ve been told by my Chinese friends, it seems the Chinese people see the corruption as mostly a local thing, and stripping power from local officials who misbehave would have a huge effect on government responsiveness and fairness.

    A lot of these ideas are “pie in the sky” to me; idealistic notions that can’t even be looked at for a few decades. I think a charter that didn’t bring up the past but started by saying “Today we are here, and tomorrow we need to go there. How do we get from here to there?” would be far more effective than this. By bashing the party you are trying to change, you alienate your potential allies. Not a smart move.

    The next question is the fate of the signers. I agree with SK and Jerry in that these people have “cojones grandes”, since the usual fate for doing something like this is jail time. I’m with Allen; I hope they just let them be, but I have a feeling the more prominent ones will do some jail time.

    Should the Chinese people have a chance to read and discuss this? By the way it is worded, the only ones who can really understand it would have to have some educational background, and I have the feeling a large percentage would object to the Foreword and many of the particulars, though they would agree with pieces. I agree with FOARP; let them look it over and discuss it, at least in an edited version with the Foreword expunged. In my mind, the Foreword itself showed me that the writers don’t really understand practical politics very well, which makes me think it was written by Chinese academics rather than realists.

    TonyP4, you wonder who is behind this movement – Falun Gong, KMT, CIA, or some one from the ivory towers? The answer is easy; Allen is behind it. Of course, being a lawyer he’ll…

    Deny Everything
    Admit Nothing
    Demand Proof

    The more he denies, the more we’ll know he’s guilty. :D

  17. vmoore55 Says:

    #16 says what I am thinking for 8 hours.

    In many ways I agree with Steve, but I also think that the document is like a wish list for lawers looking for work. Lawsuites popping up all over the country, people going nuts with new found rights, oh yeah all in the name of human rights and the lawers making money off human misseries.

    This document is from Chinese citizens inside China, that’s funning it sounds more like what white Christian people wanted from thier gov’ts in the west not long ago.

  18. Jerry Says:

    @Steve #16

    Aaah, a ‘Nova PoliSci major. Now I understand you better. You have been educated by the Augustinians. I went the route of the Jesuits. Society of Jesus. Jesus was a Jew. I think you can figure out the rest. :D

    Thanks for all the comments from everyone. I knew I could learn a lot from you, Steve.

    Yes, and I agree. Allen is behind this. You forgot one item on your list: “Keep running up those billable hours”! :D

    You mentioned OB in running a campaign. I also would mention Rahm Emanuel.

    Questions, Steve.

    What is this with this digging up the past? You can’t change history. Well, yeah, there are some discussions in quantum mechanics about the multiverse, moving to other universes, the nature of time, potentiality. But I digress. If you can change history, we Jews sure missed that one. Yahweh knows that we had motivation.

    Is there anything like a Chinese cultural propensity for digging up the past? I don’t know. Is this being used to motivate people?

    You mention “modern political development”. Let’s talk about some underlying foundations. What is the rate of literacy in China? What are the levels of literacy in China? What is the level of education? How sophisticated is education in China? How many people get sophisticated education?

    Is China ready for the Chinese version of Tom Paine? Are the Chinese ready for their own version of “Common Sense”?

    What will motivate or necessitate this kind of proposed change in China? Is economic development pushing these changes?

    Maybe they want to bash the party? Don’t ask me. Maybe they sense something we don’t?

    Is this a subtle “Declaration of Independence”? It is certainly not as direct or eloquent as the DOI. But maybe this is their way to push a “Bill of Rights” before they have drawn up their constitution?

    If this is a non-starter, why does the Chinese government react so?

  19. Leo Says:

    Just a stunt show by the same group of guys as every year.

    BTW, I have a porn version of this charter.

  20. Jerry Says:

    @Leo #19

    Hi Leo. Would you mind helping me out on this? I basically know nothing about this and am trying to learn. You mentioned that this is, “Just a stunt show by the same group of guys as every year.” Would you be so kind as to point me to some links showing that this is an annual stunt. Thanks.

  21. wuming Says:

    I found the Charter almost nostalgic. In my early 20’s in China, I have seen my share of such documents. I would have probably signed it, prerogatives of youth. Unfortunately these people never grow out of their fenqing phase. Now they are thoroughly detached from reality, with their ideas and languages stuck in the late 70s democracy wall period.

    I would like to see a person who was democracy advocate, then stayed out of politics for a while, succeeded in some other areas of endeavor, then finally going back to advocate for democracy again. Until that happens, I still view them as dreamers turned loser. However, it does call the intelligence of CCP into question, why do they react to this at all?

  22. facts Says:

    My 2 cents. I would enjoy this time with my family than wasting it on such farce. I am happy China just had another stellar year despite all the disasters natural and man-made. By the end of 08, China should pass over Germany to be the 3rd largest economy in the world, closing in on Japan. In no more than 3yrs, China should claim the No2 spot. Chinese economy fares better than any other major economy, ’09 will be another year of great progress. So China is on the right track as the majoriy of Chinese people agree. Those activists/dissidents/western lackeys can wail all they want, I am very happy. ZhongGuo JiaYou!!

    Merry Christmas and happy New Year, everyone!

  23. TonyP4 Says:

    As I like to use same argument like a broken record, compare China 30 years ago to China today. We’ve been making progress in all fronts – economic, lifting citizens out of poverty, human right… Why leave the engine of progress progress or what works continues.

    I can tell we have many problems and the system has to be tweaked a lot but NOT another big leap and revolution in Mao’s era. If the government is really bad, we need revolution. Not today. Have we learned anything from history?

    The west has more natural resources per capita (check US and Norway), so their citizens are more educated. It is great for a two-party democracy society. The vote does not weigh the same for a poor farmer in China and an average urbaner. Talks is good for talk but not for practice.

  24. ChinkTalk Says:

    For me, I am for Chinese Democracy if it is without Axel Rose singing it. ie. without foreign influences. This Charter 08 SOUNDS like a script written by white people for the Chinese. It is interesting to note that NONE of the Fundamental Principals proposed are attained by the developed nations today. Yet they are expected to be accomplished “sans fault” by the Chinese government and the Chinese people given the present state of Chinese development.

    It is also very interesting to note that the Charter mentions much of the Chinese defeats but none of its accomplishments; very much like the propaganda provided by the Western media. I can open up any Western newspaper any day and see this type of writings.

    So the Charter is written by Chinese people living in China, and endorsed by some prominent people, an example of institutional jeopardy is the former Japanese prime minister Sato who urges the US to nuke China in the 60’s and is awarded the Noble Peace prize. The prestigeous Noble Prize can be farcically erroneous and notable people can be just as prone.

    The mention of the Czech Republic’ 77 Charter made me think of one day China will be the satellite of the US and allow defence missles to be placed in China pointing at Russia. I have met quite a number of Czech Jews here in Canada and they get unquestioned support from their community, their businesses are given very forgiving supports even they make so many mistakes. If China goes down the drain, the Chinese people worldwide will be dirt. The World of Suzie Wong revisited.

    I think the Charter 08 should be applied to all nations in the world and should not be targeting China when not one nation has attained it. Not knowing China personally, the rise of China has done more for my human rights here in Canada than any of the Canadian politicians’ talk of democracy and human rights.

  25. ChinkTalk Says:

    The following article is written by a Canadian in Taiwan on China:

    http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2008/12/18/f-taiwan.html

    I don’t why white people always take the liberty of medling in Chinese affairs and you never see Chinese people doing it in Canadian affairs. I wonder how the Chinese would be treated in Canada if some Chinese people start to advocate for Quebec independence.

  26. Otto Kerner Says:

    Hey, C-Talk, nice segue into changing the subject there. Mission accomplished!

  27. Steve Says:

    @Jerry #18: Yep, I got stuck with those super conservative Augustinians rather than the ultra liberal Jesuits, the counter-reformation guys. I should have gone to Notre Dame. :D

    Was Jesus a Jew? I don’t think so. When I was in England and saw him on the crucifix, he was definitely English. When I was in Germany, he was definitely German. In southern France, he was this emaciated guy with blood everywhere, but definitely French. He was never Jewish… and don’t confuse me with the facts.

    Funny thing~ they dug up Jews buried around the time of Jesus and then had a specialist who does this sort of thing for police work; recreate the face of a typical Jew of that time. He was about 5’6”, round face, cropped beard, flatter nose, rather stocky; nothing at all like Jesus is portrayed.

    When I was there, no one called us ‘Nova. It was either Vanilllanova or Villanowhere, so I think the ‘Nova tag was a Brent Musberger special created in ’85 during the NCAA national championship run. Rollie Massimino’s first year as coach was my freshman year; he was a little guy, only about 5’5”.

    “Billable hours”… great phrase. The life blood of a lawyer, huh?

    OB seemed to have run the campaign. I guess all those years of being a “community organizer” (actually, party hack for the Chicago political machine) came in handy when running for prez. I personally thing Emanuel will be a very good chief of staff. The best one in my lifetime was James Baker, and Rahm Emanuel reminds me of Baker in many ways. You have to be one tough SOB to handle that job.

    I’ll try to answer your questions as best I can, but remember that these are all just educated guesses. That reminds me of an old Woody Allen joke: “I was thrown out of college for cheating on the metaphysics exam; I looked into the soul of the boy sitting next to me.”

    I don’t think there’s anything in Chinese culture different from any other culture in terms of digging up the past. My guess is that they are trying to justify their charter by comparing their “enlightened” views to the horrors of the past, or maybe wanting to show that there is a progressive evolution from totalitarianism to this form of democracy. To illustrate why I don’t think it’s part of Chinese culture, I can give you a family example.

    My father in law, Fu Tian Long, was the first person in Taiwan to import/export with Japan and had many businesses when Taiwan was poor, back in the 50s through the 70s. Even though he was financially very successful, he was a prime driver of human rights and democracy. Back then, if you went against the KMT, bad things happened; your wife was run over by a car, your kids mysteriously disappeared or you just went to Green Island for a few years. My father in law never went to jail (worst thing was a few hours of questioning). The reason was that instead of condemning the KMT, he did what I recommended and always talked positively; how can we improve our society and make it a better place? Everything was always positive, so the KMT couldn’t go after him since he never said anything bad about them. That created a certain respect that allowed him to have some influence with them.

    When my wife has met major figures in modern Taiwan politics and mentioned her father, they all said he was their hero when young and a major reason they became involved. So you can have a positive influence without dredging up the past. I never met my father in law; he died just before I first met my wife. But this particular aspect of his philosophy made a big impression on me and I incorporated it into my life and my dealings with others. I think it is a very wise way to deal with people.

    I looked up levels of literacy for another post and found that the literacy standard had been lowered in China after the CCP took over. They switched to simple rather than traditional Chinese, they lowered the number of characters needed to be considered literate, and many of the numbers have been fudged by local leaders for political reasons. Having said that, I think the level of education in China is pretty good based on my interaction with the people there. But there are a few caveats.

    Where were you educated? In the major cities, the elementary and middle school education is excellent. It is primarily rote learning but that makes sense when to be literate, you need to memorize characters. Math, reading, writing and science skills are all very good. To get into high school, there is a two tiered system similar to the rest of the Asian countries. If you pass the test and get into a Tier One high school, you can track to the best universities. If you don’t pass the test and are put into a Tier Two high school, your chances in life are severely diminished. You cannot go to a top university and the level of education you’ll receive in high school will be much lower than a Tier One high school.

    University education is very inconsistent. Some universities are very good and some are horrible. The best ones that I heard about were Qinghua and Beijing Universities in Beijing, Fudan and Jiaotong Universities in Shanghai, I believe Nanjing University was very good, and there is also a Jiaotong University in Chengdu that is supposed to be good. I don’t know much about the ones in southern China. Chinese commentators, please step in here to add to or correct anything I said about the highest rated universities. In general, it is extremely difficult to get into the best colleges, but the education you receive there isn’t that good. That’s why most of the top Chinese students want to go to grad school overseas. The rich kids that don’t have great grades and high test scores all go to school overseas.

    For me, Tom Paine was instrumental in showing the colonists that they weren’t British and gave them a sense of being Americans. It was more of a revolutionary tract. I didn’t meet many Chinese who wanted revolution, they just wanted reform. So I’m not sure if a “Tom Paine” style tract is even needed.

    I think economic development is helping the status quo maintain itself. As long as the economy continues to boom, the style of government is safe. What would necessitate a change would be an economic slump, where the middle class feels it is losing ground and doesn’t have a say in bringing the reforms necessary in order to revive the economy. That’s when corruption becomes completely unacceptable. That’s when people really get angry.

    I think people want to bash the party on a local level but not on a national level. They hate their corrupt, arrogant local officials but they like and respect many of the national figures, especially Wen Jiabao.

    I suspect some academics might think this document is a kind of “Declaration of Independence” but I agree with you and the other commenters that it isn’t an effective one. I think they have put the cart before the horse. For me, if they can create a semblance of democracy on the local level while creating a more independent judiciary, increasing pay for both judges and law enforcement while ruthlessly punishing corruption within those entities, people would be far more content than taking the chance on changes as widespread as this charter proposes.

    • If this is a non-starter, why does the Chinese government react so?

    Why? Because not everyone in China is as supportive of their government as many of our commenters. When no one elects you, you have no real legitimacy in your own eyes and see danger everywhere. Local leaders see their autocratic power threatened; in fact, they know they could never win a free and fair election. On the national level, Hu and Wen are secure but there are many politicians hoping to position themselves for future leadership in the government. Changing the form of government negates their entire careers and future prospects. You pay your dues for decades, living in outlying provinces, hoping to get your shot at one of the top positions. You don’t want to see that jeopardized. Politicians of all nations act out of self interest; that’s why checks and balances were created.

    @ Leo #19: Porn version of this charter? Where’s the link?? TonyP4 is our porn critic and can give us a thorough review. :P

    @ facts #22: I sure hope you’re right. I have the feeling no country will do very well economically over the next year or two. I think we’re all in for a rough ride but if we stick together, we can all get through this. Reminds me of something Ben Franklin once said during the Revolution, “We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” Maybe more apropos to this thread was when he said, “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.” Hope you have a great New Year!!

    @ ChinkTalk #24: Hey, I think you’re the first to mention Axl Rose! :)

    I’m sorry, Guns n Roses no longer exists, at least not in China. The CD has been banned, their website is banned, Baidu is censoring any searches for the CD. In fact, here’s an article in The Telegraph with the full scoop. I got a kick out of statements like “unidentified Chinese Internet users had described the album as part of a plot by the West to “grasp and control the world using democracy as a pawn.” The album “turns its spear point on China,” the article said.”

    Imagine, Guns n Roses as a tool of the CIA. That’s hilarious! :D

  28. Jana Says:

    The CCP will fall and those behind the scenes can see that. China has a legal constitution that it does not pay any attention to . The UN has finally nailed them to answer for the forced illegal, imoral organ harvesting and torture of Falun Gong practitioners and many other political prisioners.The good people of the world have woken up including so many Chinese people.
    So be rational about this and ask your self why the Ccp persecutes Falun Gong? Look at Why they have murdered some 80 million of their own people in the last 60 years and the count is still mounting today. The Ccp is yesterdays world and good people in China and all around the world want these henuious crimes to stop.And stop they will and Thats why the Ccp is so afraid of Falun Dafa. NO matter what they do to us we will expose to the world. They cannot stop us. 9 years on and we are stronger and more popular than ever. We embody truth compassion and forbearance and that is something the Ccp will never understand nor implement. This is a battle between Good and evil .Which side for a good future are you on?

  29. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Tony P4:
    I think most would agree that China is better off today than in 1978. But was 1978 the year of the Deng Revolution? I’ve certainly never called it that. What he proposed did require a radical change in CCP thinking, to be sure. And in retrospect, his idea was what China needed at that time, sans revolution. So this Charter calls for some radical thinking today (at least by CCP and CHinese standards). Yet must it be associated with the negative connotation of a revolution? To me, it’s a list of things where the system needs to be tweaked (some are big tweaks, no question, but hey, this is China we’re talking about).
    Talk about rights and freedoms is cheap, no question. I look forward to the day when China can walk the walk.

  30. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To C-Talk #24:
    Gosh, Guns n Roses is so 1990’s; thought you’d have gone with something contemporary and Canadian like NIckelback for your example, at the very least.
    Regardless of how the charter SOUNDS, it was written by Chinese people in China. Often, people complain that calls for freedom etc are meaningless as they arise overseas, and do not represent Chinese sentiment. Then when a bunch of CHinese people put something together, you guys dismiss it as “western-sounding”. SO how does a guy promote any call for rights and freedoms in a manner that would suit you people? Or is it that any such call does not suit you people, no matter its origin or how it’s framed? I’d also like you to show me an example of rights/freedoms-promotion CHinese style, from which the authors could’ve drawn their inspiration, if you so object to western influences.

    “It is interesting to note that NONE of the Fundamental Principals proposed are attained by the developed nations today.” – that seems to be an overly-indulgent statement. I (and apparently you) happen to live in one such nation, though I’m not sure if there are others.

    I have no idea what your 3rd and 4th paragraphs are talking about. And if Paragraph 5 is even remotely true, then you must live in a very deprived and depraved part of our country. For that, I sympathize.

  31. Steve Says:

    @TonyP4: When I wrote about Green Island in #27, it reminded me of the traditional Taiwanese folk song sung here by Vienna Teng, called Green Island Serenade on this You Tube video. Had you heard of her or the song before? My wife and I have seen her live in San Diego. She hails from the Bay Area and her parents were originally from Taiwan. I highly recommend her first CD, called Waking Hour.

    Single guys out there, Chinese women adore her music. They will perceive you as kind, sensitive and worldly. They will then adore you for introducing them to her music. :)

  32. Steve Says:

    @ S.K. Cheung #29: Is 1978 really the key year? Or would you consider 1989 and the Shenzhen FTZ to be more important? Since these events are before my time there, I’d like to hear a more local perspective. Everyone feel free to comment on this…

  33. Father Christmas! Says:

    Chink Talk@ 24

    You say “This Charter 08 SOUNDS like a script written by white people for the Chinese.”

    You SOUND like a racist.

  34. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Steve:
    I chose 1978 because that’s when the move towards a more free market-type economy began, resulting in the oft-referenced years of economic progress.

  35. S.K. Cheung Says:

    TO Santa #33:
    LOL that’s a good one. Don’t you just love the caps….

  36. WillF Says:

    I hate it when people play the “Chinese” card; that is, something isn’t a “Chinese” idea, it’s a Western idea, and therefore China shouldn’t adopt it. Modern democratic government originated in the West. Well, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, etc. are not Western, but none of them are demanding to be ruled by dictators until they think of some unique form of government they can adopt for themselves. Democracy isn’t Western; it exists, flaws and all, on every continent and among multiple cultures. Besides, Marxism is a Western philosophy, too. Should the CCP reject it because of its culture of origin? Of course, China has “socialism with Chinese characteristics.” Well, why not “democracy with Chinese characteristics”? I realize that Charter 08 sounds a lot like the West. But apparently 300 Chinese people think it’s a good idea. Why not let the Chinese public discuss it and publish their own critiques to it?

    I can accept the idea that China needs to change gradually. But I can’t accept the idea that the Chinese are not entitled to read and discuss anything they want, regardless of what it says. Chinese people are not children. They should be allowed to read anything and agree or disagree with it as they please. If the majority of Chinese are as happy with the way things are as some of you indicate, then there shouldn’t be a problem with them reading anything.

    Regardless of whether you agree with them, the signatories of Charter 08 are heroes simply for sticking their necks out and showing how the CCP hasn’t changed along with the times. You can’t change history, but it’s useful to recall that even after 30 years of economic growth, the CCP still behaves like it did during the Hundred Flowers movement in the 1950s. It’s time for the CCP to grow up and learn how to take criticism. It needs to serve the people by refraining from meddling in their intellectual affairs. The Chinese have a long and proud history of public discourse. The CCP should honor that tradition and kindle it, or at least remain indifferent to it. Then, perhaps, Charter 08 will be dismissed by the Chinese public, and a better, more “suitable” Charter will take its place.

  37. pug_ster Says:

    #24 Chinktalk;

    Regardless of the controversial title, its music is still stuck in the 1990’s. That bonehead Axel Rose didn’t bother to do some kind of promotion or publicity work when the Album was released. I heard some of the tracks and they suck anyways. The only thing good about it is that I was able to get a coupon for a free Dr. Pepper:p

    People think multiparty rule is the way to go but it has brought nothing but divisions within the country. Think of the numerous protests by the people and the government tries to satisfy everyone but usually satisfies no one. It reminds me of why the US have such a deficit. The US doesn’t have the balls to tax everyone or ask its citizens to sacrifice our debt so that our children don’t have to deal with the problem. Instead, they do nothing, let the deficit swell and let our children take care of it until one day our country will go bankrupt.

  38. baiyunma Says:

    I have been reading this blog for a while and have enjoyed very much the contributions. Thank you all so very much for your contributions on previous posts. Most posts, even ones I have not disagreed with, have added much to my own thinking. Now I wish to add my own viewpoints on this very important topic.

    This Charter looks like it came right out of Gene Sharp’s Albert Einstein Institution’s velvet revolution chop shop. It has all the markings. For example, the political reforms called for resemble a warmed over US constitution. Someone is preying on the politically naive political consumers in China. Would not be the first time. Lots of foreigners come to China and do the same. Look at the success of that swill called Budweiser.

    But why Sharps’ interest? Is it to bring down or cause trouble to the biggest threat of a US dominated global system? Sharp’s specialty is naïve political consumers. They didn’t do such a good job in Rangoon this year so why not try for one last jab in China before the year’s end. After all it is just a job for them. Who cares if a few folks spend some time in jail? They will be spending that same time living their comfy lives in DC. Anyway, the China work will look good for fundraising in both public and private circles.

    But surprise, surprise! The Chinese have been doing governments for longer than any other living human society. They don’t need to blindly imitate a western political model that has now proven incapable of lifting the world out of poverty. Any development expert worth their salt and not bought by the ruling power in the West will tell you that western liberal democracies do not work in most situations where economic development has not reached a high stage. Too few economic goods being chased by too many political actors (voters). The world is full of illiberal democracies. Perestroika did not work. African democracy in the immediate post-colonial setting flopped big time. The list goes on. This is not made up. Compare then this situation to Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and so forth. The model that China is employing works if these other Asian examples with similar cultural leanings have any lessons to share.

    Anyone who has lived in China for the last 30 years can attest to the progress in all fields. Just yesterday in a rural county suburb of Beijing I witnessed one of the largest mega protestant churches I have seen in China and it was just down the street from the local government building. Of course it is obvious to all but fools there is a long trek going forward. But it is being traversed as you read this by the tireless people of China who are working harder than almost any nation on the globe to improve their lot. They have their eye on the prize and will not give it up without a struggle.

    Where the Russians failed miserably, the Chinese have built on the ruins of that flop to create a successful socialist economic system. Want to match it against the Keynesian model now? I know, you will take a rain check given the current circumstances. That is until the moneyed elite in the West figure out how to get back on track and continue widening the gap between the haves and have-much-less crowd. There will come a time when the haves can not squeeze enough economic blood out of poorer countries to give their workers enough goodies to keep them fat and stupid. And that time may be coming sooner than you think.

    Human societies are living things. And China is the oldest. They were writing books about politics and economics long before most people could even write. They know what they are doing. They are buying time. And they eventually will create a new political and economic system that will be the platform for the next stage in human development. It will contain elements of the liberal western model to be certain. But it will improve on these. And this model will be used by other nations that are suffering greatly under the present world system to lift themselves out of poverty and restore their human dignity. But this all takes time. China must find their way first across the stream by feeling the stones one at a time. You can not rush Mother Nature without paying a price.

    Do not blame the poor folks who signed the Charter. Just like the students on Tiananmen Square who were manipulated by the CIA coached student leaders (who are now living very nice lives in the west-40 pieces of sliver?), these suckers are pawns in just another one of those hit jobs by the likes of Sharp & Co. It will fail. And not because of any government crackdown. But because the Chinese people are too smart to fall for any cheap trick like this. They were not born yesterday as a people and are not kids anymore. They are well aware the stakes are high. Zhang the plumber knows how easy China could slip back into chaos without strong government guidance especially in times of hyper economic development. Political development will come, but when it is supposed to and not a minute sooner. They will choose the hour. And then they will create a system that suits them and jump starts a true New Age of peace and progress for all the world’s citizens. When that time comes, China will have fulfilled its destiny.

  39. wuming Says:

    @WillF

    Regardless of whether you agree with them, the signatories of Charter 08 are heroes simply for sticking their necks out and showing how the CCP hasn’t changed along with the times.

    Whether CCP has changed or not in its governing posture and its rhetoric, its actual policies probably undergone more changes than any ruling party in the world in last 30 years, short of being overthrown by a revolution. Ultimately, do we want to measure the progress by some rigid ideological sticks or by results?

    We are being told that this gradualist reform can’t last because it is not democratic, and the success subject to the whims of few people at the top. This maybe true, it is certainly proven to be true in some democratic countries, where a few people at the top (fewer the the number of people in Poliburo) can drive a country to the abyss without any real check on their power for a looong time.

  40. Father Christmas! Says:

    I’m devastated to hear that Zhang the plumber has seen through this imperialistic western plot to oppress the proud Chinese people.

  41. TonyP4 Says:

    @Steve #31

    Vienna Teng (was she born in Vienna and I know HongKonger was born in Hong Kong, haha) is great, talented and beautiful. I admire her most is how she followed her dream. For most Chinese and other Asians, sing and dance (beside classical music) is ‘not a decent job’. She can make a lot of easy money with her degree from Standford. With her beautiful voice and talents, I hope she will – if money is one measure of success in life. She is our modern pioneer.

    @Cheung. #29.
    Deng is remembered as the father to open up China. It is not revolution and not original (one other country had done so and I forget the name). The original ideas on 4 modernizations was conceived by Chou Enlai. To implement the plan like building the infrastructure in one new city to start is genius. US opening up to Chinese goods while playing against Russia is luck. Plus a lot of hard working.

    Again, it fits my 3 pillars of success: gene (smartness), hard working and luck.

  42. Steve Says:

    @ baiyunma #38: Thanks for the long response. I have to admit I had no idea who Gene Sharp was, so I had to look him up. You banged on him pretty good, but you didn’t substantiate any of your accusations. So if you wouldn’t mind expanding on what you said, could you…
    1) Tell the rest of us who he is.
    2) Let us know what evidence you have that he was involved with this particular Charter.
    3) How was he involved in Rangoon?
    4) Where and how did the CIA train or coach the student leaders who took part in Tiananmen Square?

    A few comments: China IS part of the global system. In fact, without China to carry US debt, the American economy would be in big trouble (if it isn’t already) and the Chinese would lose their most valuable customer. Why would the USA want to destroy a country that it is joined to at the hip?

    I read a lot of references in this blog to the USA trying to subvert China and China’s progress in the world. Every problem China has is caused by the CIA, some American think tank, etc. America is jealous of China and worried China will usurp the USA’s position in the world as sole superpower. This is all nonsense. If you take a course in geopolitics, you’ll figure out pretty quickly that the USA and China are natural allies. China’s threats come from the north and west. China wants to ally itself with the USA against Russia just as much as America wants to ally itself with China against Russia. There has never been much of a threat from India, but China feels it needs to control the ‘roof of the world’ for geopolitical reasons, mostly intense population pressure inside India so it needs that buffer zone.

    It makes sense for both China and the USA to be political and economic allies. The major conflicts tend to be economic details such as currency manipulation and industry protection. Both sides want the Taiwan issue handled peacefully. It’s not the 50s, the CIA isn’t involved with Tibetan independence anymore. Countries adjust their policies according to present day circumstances and are not hidebound to their past if it isn’t in step with their current situation. What happened in the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s is irrelevant to what is happening today. Beyond the political posturing, China and America have a pretty good working relationship.

    China is an old kingdom with a glorious history. But the political system it had for centuries is no longer competitive in today’s world. Their big innovation was a competitive civil service and the ability to run a large land area and population in a time of limited technology. Today the world is different and those old systems aren’t applicable, so history is nice to read about but not much of a factor in today’s world.

    The western political model can’t lift third world countries out of poverty if those countries are run by dictators who don’t educate their people, are corrupt and run an inefficient system. Countries that make education a priority, have a modern system that is relatively uncorrupt and get their best people involved in government have been successful and have risen out of poverty. Foreign aid usually ends up in some government official’s swiss bank account. Western aid and business in Africa didn’t help those countries develop, and neither will China’s aid and business. Until those countries reform their political processes, they are doomed to failure. Numerous studies have shown that famine isn’t caused by drought, it’s caused by bad government. Even Bangladesh has the inherent capacity to feed itself; it just doesn’t have the government to get it done.

    I agree with your observation about a country needing its voters to be educated and somewhat successful before it is ready for democracy. That’s why I thought James’ idea about elections up to the level of mayor made sense.

    “That is until the moneyed elite in the West figure out how to get back on track and continue widening the gap between the haves and have-much-less crowd.”

    This sentence didn’t make much sense to me. China has one of the largest gaps between the haves and the have nots in the world. It’s like the US Gilded Age in the 1870s. Since you live in China, you can surely see that. I used to treat my colleagues to Haagen Daz and Starbucks on a regular basis because I knew that even though they were well paid professionals, it was still a strain on their budgets to go to those stores. The average Chinese simply cannot afford it. When you’re rich in China, you’re really rich since labor is so cheap. Even a person on a modest retirement can go there and live like a king.

    “Political development will come, but when it is supposed to and not a minute sooner. They will choose the hour. And then they will create a system that suits them and jump starts a true New Age of peace and progress for all the world’s citizens.”

    That’s pretty optimistic. I agree that China will eventually have some sort of “democracy with Chinese characteristics” but wouldn’t that mean that other countries, rather than copying China, will have their own systems with their own unique characteristics? Do you really think China will jump start a true New Age of peace and progress for all the world’s citizens? I’m just hoping they jump start peace and progress for their own citizens. I think that would be an incredible accomplishment!

    “When that time comes, China will have fulfilled its destiny.”

    As T.E. Lawrence once said, “Nothing is written.” China’s destiny is whatever she makes of it.

  43. Steve Says:

    @ Father Christmas #40: That’s because Zhang the plumber is worried about his job being taken by Stosh the Polish plumber. (it’s a Euro joke) :)

  44. WillF Says:

    This is a great discussion. I’m glad we don’t have to worry about being thrown in jail because of it. Too bad the Charter 08 folks, who started the debate, weren’t so lucky.

  45. FOARP Says:

    You know there’s a lot of crazy talk on this thread, but this comment by Chinktalk has to take the biscuit:

    “The mention of the Czech Republic’ 77 Charter made me think of one day China will be the satellite of the US and allow defence missles to be placed in China pointing at Russia. I have met quite a number of Czech Jews here in Canada and they get unquestioned support from their community, their businesses are given very forgiving supports even they make so many mistakes. If China goes down the drain, the Chinese people worldwide will be dirt. The World of Suzie Wong revisited.”

    . . . . Okay, I really don’t get the comment about “Czech Jews”, or about business “going down the drain” (if you mean that the Czech economy is not performing well, please go and check the facts).

    Once again there seems to be the idea that the advent of democracy in China would turn it into a US puppet – not once has anybody actually tried to justify this, let alone explain it – there are many democratic countries in the world which do not allow the basing of foreign troops on their soil – Switzerland, Sweden, Finland etc. all being examples, many democratic countries openly oppose US policy – so come on, actually explain this one instead of simply assuming that the advent of democracy in China would automatically make it into a US ally.

    Finally, the whole reference to The World of Suzie Wong, I’m sorry, but I cannot see how Nancy Kwan’s performance in that film was some kind of great defeat for the Chinese people, or even much worse than many present day depictions of Europeans and Americans on Chinese television. Have you actually gone and read the book? Apart from a few scenes, pretty much everything in it can be found in modern-day life in mainland China, so I cannot think it was that inaccurate a depiction of life in 60’s Hong Kong.

    @WillF – Absolutely, how exactly can pro-democracy activists express their opinions without being accused of being western puppets if you seek to define democracy as an explicitly western thing? And just why do people try to define democracy as a ‘western’ form of government? Especially given the number of countries outside of Europe and North America which are ruled by elected governments?

  46. Allen Says:

    Let me add a couple of more thoughts …

    A lot of times, my eyes roll when words like democracy, human rights, freedom, rule of law, separation of power, communism-is-bad, CCP-just-want-to-stay-in-power, etc. roll out of political discourse regarding China.

    My eyes rolls because in many ways – everyone – every people (yes, including the Chinese people) want the same thing. They want a society that allow the common people to be empowered to lead dignified, purposeful lives.

    That goes without saying. And for any political document to have a soul – to have lasting power – it must be written to answer to how those yearnings can satisfied.

    In the West, the rhetorics of freedom of abuse of an overachieving gov’t was developed in the enlightenment in its fight against feudalism. The rhetoric was robust and powerful and was later used also to promote domestic civil rights.

    In the last 75 years or so, the rhetoric has also been transformed into a geopolitical tool in the West’s fight against the Axis in WWII and the Soviet Union in the cold war.

    What about China’s experience?

    For Chinese people who cares about human rights – who yearn for dignity of human life – we must address China’s own experience. Right or wrong, most Chinese today see their suffering of the last 100-150 years as a result of foreign incursion, dilapidated incompetent governance, poverty, and domestic turmoils. Any vision of Chinese human rights must address this. Mere lofty rhetoric of democracy and human rights simply won’t do.

    The CCP – while so very imperfect in so many ways – do address many of these issues. No one can argue that through unifying the country and making the country strong, the CCP has enabled the Chinese people to enjoy a good 30 years of social and economic development.

    Of course, as the Chinese people become more well off and engage in more critical examination of their history, they may one day see that a lot of their suffering is not just due to foreign incursion and poverty, but also due to their own governance structure where a segment of the Chinese nation preys on another.

    If so, the CCP’s political vision of mere strong nationhood and economic development may not be enough. People would demand a “charter” that would address not just poverty and social stability, but also reforms that would help to avoid calamities such as great leap forward, the cultural revolution, and corruption (driven in part by a pervading, overwhelming sense by many government officials that they are not just above the law – but also above most common people), etc.

    Perhaps some version of Western notions of democracy may be relevant when we get to that stage.

    Today though, people must respect (or at least understand) why a lot of Chinese people like me scoff at documents like Charter 08. The document simply does not address the experience, history, fears and needs of the Chinese nation as most Chinese current see their situation.

    Anyways – this is the basis of my intense allergic reactions (don’t worry, I’ve got prescriptions) to these documents! ;-)

  47. Father Christmas! Says:

    Yes Allen, but you also have no problem with the Taiwanese being forced at gunpoint to annex themselves to China, thus losing their sovereignty. You are happy to see democratic freedoms suppressed in ethnic Chinese societies where they currently exist if it serves the goal of recreating the Qing Empire and thus making China ‘strong’. It’s a pretty shallow, narrow and selfish world view.

  48. FOARP Says:

    @Allen – To be quite honest, my experience is that most Chinese people would not agree with you. The majority of Chinese people I have met support democracy – this includes my former co-workers, my classmates, students, teachers, friends and acquaintances. The only people who did not support it were those who were sure that China is already a democracy – these were, in the main, strong supporters of the communist party. I never once heard anyone say that they thought that democracy was a western idea only. In fact, it is only on websites like this, and in the main from expatriate Chinese who feel a stronger attachment to those things they see as Chinese as opposed to western, that I have seen democracy referred to as an exclusively western thing. I think that most of the Chinese people I have met would agree with most of the demands in this charter, but would certainly would also wish to criticise some of the points. However, the majority of Chinese people will never get a chance to read this charter even if they were minded to read it.

    I would also say that much of the adverse reaction amongst a certain section of this website’s readers appears to have been to the listing of calamities that communist rule has brought upon China. My guess is that they are used to seeing such histories written by people who they see as foreign enemies or domestic traitors. I do not know how to counter this view except to say that these people have bought into an unhealthy and incorrect world view.

  49. facts Says:

    @Father Christmas
    There is no sovereignty of Taiwan to start with. Taiwan’s sovereignty belongs to China, Taiwan still is part of China as we speak, no annexation to speak of. Overwhelming majority of Chinese over the world would be happy to see China unite. To make China strong is in the interest of all Chinese. Democracy is just the pie in the sky pipe dream, replace it with utopia or paradise or 72 virgins what have you, democracy is nothing more than the equivalent of Wall St. toxic loans in politics. BTW, KMT was the worst gov. ruled China in the 20th century, with unprecedented destruction to Chinese lives, territory, and psyche, it was the most incompetent and corrupt gov. in recent Chinese history, it brought China nothing but shame, that period was indeed one of the darkest and lowest point in Chinese history. Good riddance it was flushed into the toilet of Chinese history where it rightly belongs. I say Amen. To this day, KMT in Taiwan still does everything it can to split the Chinese nation and work against Chinese interest at every turn. So glad CCP is able to squash KMT and picks up the mass KMT left to again make China a proud nation, it once was.

  50. facts Says:

    @all
    I think the most disheartening thing to the proponents of this farce is not the rejection of “charter 08″. It’s the disinterest of such, with full force of the activist community plunged in, the mainstream Chinese communities in and outside China don’t really give a damn. China is on the right track, Chinese people are concentrated on keeping improving their lives, no one is interested in another great leap forward.

    @steve
    Legitimacy and election have no inherent connection. You are entitled to your view, but you have no right to expect others to agree with you or assume your view should be universally applied everywhere. CCP has more legitimacy than any other government in the world, given the approval rating it gets from the Chinese people. Still please don’t quote Paine or Franklin to prove the rightness of American system. It’s like to quote Koran to prove the rightness of Islam, or quote Bible to prove the rightness of Christianity, rather pointless.

  51. Santa's Little Helper! Says:

    @facts. . .

    Mao’s CCP was easily the worst government China had in the 20th Century. He inflicted more damage on the Chinese people than Japan ever did. And don’t give me the crap about Mao unifying China and defeating the Japanese. Mao inherited a unified China from the KMT, and the Americans defeated the Japanese.

    KMT rule was corrupt and vicious, but no more so than that of Mao. Say what you like about Chiang Kai-shek, but at least he wasn’t a disease ridden bodyguard buggering pedophile like Mao, and I think that counts for something. More importantly, at least China enjoyed a lively cultural and intellectual life under the KMT. Chinese culture thrived, enjoying a golden age that excelled anything seen since.

    Sun Yat-sen was the last honorable Chinese politician. Zhang Ailing was the last great Chinese writer.

    Those, pengyou, are the true facts.

  52. FOARP Says:

    @Facts – Franklin and Paine didn’t invent democracy, they didn’t even create the American version of it, and they criticised democracy as well as advocating it. It is just as valid to quote them as it is to quote any communist theorist in criticising or defending communism, or any catholic scholar in criticising or defending Catholicism. Why don’t you practice what you preach and only quote non-Chinese non-communist sources when trying to defend the Chinese communist government? Or is this because this would be infernally silly?

    Can I please have a straight answer from any of the people who have asserted that democracy in China would make China a ‘slave’ of America as to why they believe this? The examples of Bolivia, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Spain, France, Ireland, Switzerland, Sweden and other countries would seem to disprove this.

  53. Jerry Says:

    @Steve #27
    @S.K. Cheung #30
    @ChinkTalk

    Steve, thanks for your reply. That helps in my understanding of China and its people. China is a huge subject and I keep learning a little bit more every day.

    Well, if you went to ND, you would have had to put up with the Holy Cross priests and snowballs hurled by ND fans at their own team. Then, dealing with the revelation that god was not on your side. Then, being an Italian-American and having to root for the Fighting Irish? Meshuggina! Oy vey. Could have been traumatic. If I were you, I’d be grateful for those Augustinians at Villanova. :D And I certainly remember Rollie.

    Great story about your father-in-law.

    My main reason for the inclusion of Tom Paine (who grew up in England and immigrated to America in 1774, 2 years before he published “Common Sense”) was because he could express complex ideas simply. Quite a talent. Yes, he was definitely a revolutionary figure. And he was zealous, being a newly-minted American. He held King George in bitter contempt. (BTW, he also held Napoleon in extreme contempt.) He just had this way with words. And he was very inspirational.

    You wrote about impending global economic problems, even in China. I agree.

    And that leads me to “If this is a non-starter, why does the Chinese government react so?”

    As you said, “Politicians of all nations act out of self interest; that’s why checks and balances were created.” I agree wholeheartedly; they are generally not very philanthropic. And you make some very good points. But I think there is even more in this equation.

    This has been a hard year in China. I noticed reports about the hard winter earlier this year. I have seen, earlier this year, the spiking global inflation and spike in food prices, which hit China, too. Then there was the Sichuan earthquake. The Olympics was a bright spot for China. But then along came the Wall Street financial meltdown and the global recession. China has lowered their Central Bank overnight rate 5 times. They are putting together (or rehashing) an infrastructure investment program. The credit crunch required China to infuse cash into the banking system for liquidity purposes. With the recession in the West, Chinese exports have dropped dramatically. Many factories are closing. People are losing jobs. GDP growth is dropping.

    Now all of this could induce feelings of panic in the steadiest of leaders. And I believe that it contributes to an overreaction to this charter.

    If you then add the omnipresent, worsening environmental and ecosystem problems which face China and the world, these are queasy times, at best. Add the knowledge that our global economy also has a huge derivatives market, now around $550 trillion. Then look at all those wonderful, complex mathematical models for the many derivative products. And when Mandelbrot and Taleb start having sleepless nights, well, what can I say. They understand the nature of computational complexity, probably better than anyone else.

    These are touchy times. Yes, there are economic and political dynamics at play. There is also a human dynamic at play and a global “crisis of confidence”. These are strange, hard times. It is hard to forecast what is going to happen. One guarantee here: panic will not make the situation better.

    #30

    Good points, SK.

    “It is interesting to note that NONE of the Fundamental Principals proposed are attained by the developed nations today.” – that seems to be an overly-indulgent statement. I (and apparently you) happen to live in one such nation, though I’m not sure if there are others.

    I agree. That is rather cheeky, CT. CT, we all can surely improve on many fronts. But I really think China has a bit further to go regarding the principles, compared to the US, Canada and many Western nations. And god knows I can go on and on about the improvements I would like to see in the US.

    It is just that, here at FM and elsewhere, I see the use of this kind of argument (reminiscent of “tu quoque”) to invalidate any proposed changes in China or criticisms of China. You are more than welcome to criticize my country. As far as I care, you can criticize your own country, too. But I would prefer more specifics, not the “broad brush”, “shotgun” approach. As SK has pointed out, overly indulgent statements don’t advance the discussion. They seem merely an attempt to squelch the discussion.

    That said, I believe that all people, everywhere, should have:

    Freedom. Freedom of worship or non-worship. Freedom of speech. Freedom of assembly. Freedom of the press. Freedom to strike. Freedom of association. Freedom to have a wonderful life. Freedom to be happy and to pursue it with vigor. (I had to throw that in; my grandmother would always say, “Be happy, baby!”)

    Equality.

    Sovereignty. Government should serve the people. It should be of the people, for the people and by the people.

    Access to high quality education. Quality education is a cornerstone of a good life. It also should encourage all to be critical-thinking citizens, who participate in their governance.

    Sustainable living conditions. They should not want for food. They should have decent shelter. They should have decent work, which provides them a sense of fulfillment, a sense of pride and a decent income.

    I have probably missed some things here. How to achieve and define these qualities is up to the people. Yes these qualities are abstract. It is up to people to decide what they want. Not the rulers on high. Not the elite.

    BTW, this applies, not only to people in China and the US, but to people everywhere. Call me an idealist, if you want. But this is my vision.

    At least the people who wrote and signed Charter 08 are willing to stand up for their dreams. I admire them.

    And I will quote Franklin, as Steve did earlier (I have loved these quotes for a long time.). Franklin was espousing some big concepts here, which transcend forms of government.

    “We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

    “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”

    We either stand up for the rights, freedom and sovereignty of all people, or we stand for the rights, freedom and sovereignty of no one.

  54. TonyP4 Says:

    KMT agrees the concept of one China. They claimed at one time to reunite China by force. At one time (I do not know it is still true now) they had a China ‘congress for mainland China’ in Taiwan with ‘governor’ for each province (these old ‘governors’ barely walked and felt asleep during the televised meeting – a kind of circus).

    No one in the right mind in China agrees with the Charter 08 except the 2,000 or so brave souls. Same as today’s sentiment towards Tienanmen incident in China. Most are busy to make money to improve their lives. The west’s ideas are good for them, but not suitable for today’s China.

    US and China should be the best trade partners, one providing high tech and the other cheap labor. Same for countries that have a lot of natural resources that China does not have.

  55. Bodyguard Buggering Dictator! Says:

    But TonyP4, Taiwan is now a democracy. They no longer advocate annexing the PRC. You do realize Taiwan has moved on a bit, right?

    Well, Taiwan is a democracy for a little longer anyway. The PRC’s decades of imperialistic bullying are close to achieving their goal of destroying the Chinese world’s most vibrant democracy.

    It’s quite a sad time for Chinese people.

  56. facts Says:

    @ Santa’s helper
    Say whatever you want. PRC stands today as Chairman Mao the founder of it. Yes, Chairman Mao is the father of the New China, no amount of cuss can change this fact. Chairman Mao for the first time in past 200 yrs gave the Chinese nation a spine, gave China peace for over 60 yrs and still counting, gave China an economy ranked 3rd in the world at end of 08 and still rising. Yes, China once again is a pound nation it was. Once again, Chinese all around the world can feel pound for their motherland. Chairman Mao is the man who stopped the down spiral of China, who put China on the upward path. Generations of Chinese will be grateful for the great Chairman.

    As for KMT, it brought China shame upon shame, it inherited a united China, but it gave away Mongolia, it almost lost Tibet, it wants to secede Taiwan now. Yes, the performance during the Japanese invasion was the verdict of history that forever nailed KMT on the top of most incompetent gov in Chinese history. True, China had to be save from Jap by the allies, what a gift of shame KMT brought on China forever. Yet, with light infantry and pitiable supplies but valiant spirit , PLA was able to draw a tie with the almighty US, who just annihilated Japan 5 yrs before with its overwhelming air/land/sea power (the same Japan that smashed KMT like hammer pounced on a watermelon). For the first time in history, the mighty West had to sign armistice with a third world country, for the first time in past 200 yrs, China stopped invaders before they stepped on Chinese soil. What the US can do the CCP, nothing but to sit down and talk. For the first time in past 200 yrs, the West was not able to dictate terms of the treaty but negotiate. For the first time in past 200 yrs China could stand tall and look the West in the eye. From then onward, China will never be pushed around any more, China has gained a spine. To compared CCP and KMT, is like compare the lion to a rat. Yes, it’s the CCP/PLA and Chairman Mao who brought back the dignity and honor of the Chinese nation. The scums of KMT is the crap that stinks forever in the compost pile of Chinese history.

  57. Bodyguard Buggering Dictator! Says:

    @Facts,

    ‘peace for 60 years’? Didn’t quite a few PLA get shot up while playing at being bully boys in Vietnam?

    The ROC has a far better record at maintaining peace than the belligerent and xenophobic PRC.

  58. facts Says:

    @BBD,
    I bet the West/Japan love ROC but hate PRC, who would not? “The Belligerent and xenophobic PRC”, haha…
    Are you telling me KMT gave the world a compliant and entertaining ROC? What a joke!!
    To the Opium traders, to the Western/Japanese garrisons in China, to the authorities in Western concessions on Chinese soil, to those foreign thugs and sailors, how belligerent and xenophobic China has turned since the days of ROC, huh? The days of killing Chinese like stepping on a bug was forever gone, if you need to be reminded. Yes, China is belligerent and xenophobic by your standard, and guess what… PRC will stay this way for a long time to come, what you are goona do about it? I guess you can either put up or shut up.

  59. Bodyguard Buggering Dictator! Says:

    @facts

    Why the aggro nationalist posturing?

    Is it your way of compensating for those years locked up in Zhongnanhai as a catamite?

  60. TonyP4 Says:

    @BBD

    Taiwan does not say to annex China, as it is NOT possible, esp. without the backing from US.

    Taiwan’s ‘democracy’ is real:
    * I enjoyed watching the female politicians hitting each other. All the frustration can be released in one big blow – cheaper to see a doctor. I advise to send in their better-looking, female assistants.

    * Ask how the presidents pocketed money from its citizens. I bet Sung’s brother is the unpublished richest man in Asia. Ask your former president how he did it before he goes to jail. Nothing to be ashamed of as most Asian ‘democratic’ governments are the same: x-Vietnam, x-Philippine, x-Indonesia, x-Taiwan, x-Taiwan (2 times not a typo)…

    Some money was from US to buy influence, and they ended up in some politicians’ pockets and were used to bail out the reckless spending.

  61. vmoore55 Says:

    Where most world leaders don’t think that democracy is the best form of gov’t, some here wants it for a great country like China. Go figure?

    Too many leaders know that people do not know what they want and what they want is not good for the country, can any people run a country the way the rest of us would love to live in. Not.

    Those old Asian colonial nations of western powers had no choice but to become democracies, if they wanted western aids they had to denounced communism. And the losers of wars and those countries that backed the wrong side are now running dogs of western masters. A word about the western European democracies, if they are not in the G-8 than they are just a whore nation or a welfare state.

  62. facts Says:

    @BBD
    Predictably, you go to your last resort—personally attacks. I am sorry, you have no comebacks. I am just stating facts, sorry it’s too hard for you to handle. I know reality hurts. Now go, wail all you want.

  63. facts Says:

    @FOARP
    I would quote Chinese sources, but the Westerners would then engage in endless squabbling on the validity of sources. Being brainwashed by Western propaganda, Westerners only accept Western sources as valid, I do so to avoid endless distraction and concentrate on the topic at hand.

    I never said anything about democracy being slave of the US. I only said, democracy has lost its meaning, to different people it has different meaning. Many times democracy is like a million dollars, go ask anyone on the street, do you like a million dollars, the answer is always yes, but that doesnt mean anything. Democracy is void of any meaningful definition, but only a vague sense of good life. I could invent another name like Cleeon or something in place of democracy. Once Cleeon has been repeated enough times associated with a good life (the work of an omnipresent propaganda machine), I walk on the street ask people, do you like Cleeon, everyone would say yes. What does this tell you, nothing!

  64. Bodyguard Buggering Dictator! Says:

    @facts

    At least you got to learn a new word.

  65. ChinkTalk Says:

    Jerry #53 – I appreciate your comments.

    “But I would prefer more specifics, not the “broad brush”, “shotgun” approach. As SK has pointed out, overly indulgent statements don’t advance the discussion. They seem merely an attempt to squelch the discussion.”

    What do you think of:

    Santa’s little helper #51 ” but at least he wasn’t a disease ridden bodyguard buggering pedophile like Mao”

    and

    Bodyguard Buggering Dictator! #57

    “The ROC has a far better record at maintaining peace than the belligerent and xenophobic PRC.”

  66. Bodyguard Buggering Dictator! Says:

    @facts

    And can I please have a million dollars?

  67. vmoore55 Says:

    Look at the west and tell me what’s wrong with the democracies there. See in the EU and the UK, most of the new people are not whites nor Christians but East Indians, black Africans, and black Muslims. Even in North America the same, many whites don’t come here as before. Now is mostly East Indians and black Caribbeans, and they are mainly Muslims and Hindi not Christians coming here this days.

    So many see the West, Canada and America dying under democracy gone wrong and unchecked, and having O’bama as a western master ruler is gonna finish the job.

    Some democracies in the West and that of the US has freedoms and human rights that we in Canada don’t want, and lots of what we have here I can not wish it on China. The wrong kind of democracy is bad for China and it will also destroyed what is China.

  68. pug_ster Says:

    @FOARP 49

    Yes many Chinese believed that Democracy in China is good in the long run, they forgot what is the direct cause because they converted to Democracy. Taiwan is complaining about corruption in its government while progress in that country remained stagnant. Korea is in debt while its leaders never got above 50% approval rating. I think most Chinese cares more about economic prosperity in China rather than political issues. I think the situation in China’s CCP control of its government is like how China has to break eggs to make omelet. Many outside observers complained that China breaking eggs while its Chinese citizens are enjoying the omelets.

  69. Jerry Says:

    @ChinkTalk #65

    Thanks for your remarks. I try to refrain from polemics, demagoguery, propaganda, teleology and ad hominem attacks. I tend not to engage with practitioners of such; they are way beyond cheeky. Thus, you will find me intentionally ignoring the conversations between 2 of the parties here.

  70. Charles Liu Says:

    I have a question about the photo – why are the characters not in simplified Chinese?

    Here’s a Baidu search on “08 宪章”:

    http://www.baidu.com/s?wd=08+%CF%DC%D5%C2

    First glance on the discussion opinions about it seem to be varied. This one for example:

    * “居然提到中国联邦制这种话语,连呼上当。不了解中国的人配给中国开这个药方吗?这不是要害死老百姓,断送中国的未来吗?”
    (it contains language about federalism, I feel duped. A prescription from Chinese who doesn’t understand China? Wouldn’t this kill common people and end China’s future?)

  71. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To WillF #36:
    of course, your entire post should be framed and put into a museum.

    But I especially enjoyed this line: “If the majority of Chinese are as happy with the way things are as some of you indicate, then there shouldn’t be a problem with them reading anything.”- this is something I’ve never understood about the CCP. If the CCP is so confident in the Kool-Aid she’s hawking, then she should welcome contrarian voices and Charters critical of her regime, since there would be no doubt that the masses would continue to throw their support behind her. And yet….people get arrested, and i wonder how many PRC Chinese have had the pleasure of reading the thing, as we have.

  72. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To “Facts” #50:
    “the mainstream Chinese communities in and outside China don’t really give a damn. China is on the right track, Chinese people are concentrated on keeping improving their lives, no one is interested in another great leap forward.” – without actually casting aspersions on the tenor and content of your messages, you seem to display a propensity to speak for a whole bushel-ful of Chinese people, when you are but one. Why is that?

  73. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Charles #70:
    “why are the characters not in simplified Chinese?” – that’s a good question. Maybe these “intellectuals” were smart enough to learn the full-on version. :-)

  74. Wu Di Says:

    Steve, thanks for posting this.

    Should this document be discussed or dismissed? Discussed. Should the signers be arrested and jailed? No. Is there room in the current China for this type of discussion? Apparently not, at least not if you ask the leadership. They prefer to silence or arrest people, and manipulate the public into believing that such a document is harmful for China’s ‘harmonious society.’ Why? Because they believe that keeping its citizens ignorant makes for more shopping, more shopping makes for more profits (and less time to think), more profits make for more economic stability, more stability makes for more governmental legitimacy. Are they right? Well, most leaders of other countries are doing the same thing. Seems like they’re getting away with it.

  75. FOARP Says:

    @Charles – Wow, your proof for the foreign origin of this charter is the photo which was chosen by Fool’s Mountain? Perhaps we need to re-introduce you to what happens to Chinese citizens who carry such signs in public on the mainland?

    Likewise, selected comments which, without giving their grounds for thinking so, express the opinion that this charter would “kill common people and end China’s future” are hardly a valid demonstration of anything.

  76. Leo Says:

    Talking about the porn version, it’s here: http://www.ccthere.com/article/1940488

  77. FOARP Says:

    So how does one go about saying what a Chinese origin democracy looks like? Well, obviously you might try going back to those 19th century Chinese theorists and scholars. How about the 1895 declaration of independence by the “Taiwanese Democratic Republic” – according to some Asia’s first republic?

    (from Wikipedia)

    The declaration, in the original Chinese:
    “ 日寇強橫,欲併台灣。台民曾派代表詣闕力爭,未蒙俞允。局勢危急,日寇將至。我如屈從,則家鄉將淪於夷狄;如予抗拒,則實力較弱,恐難持久。業與列國迭次磋商,儉謂台灣必先自立,始可予我援助。台灣同胞,誓不服倭,與其事敵,寧願戰死。爰經大會議決,台灣自立,改建民主國;官吏皆由民選,一切政務秉公處理。但為禦敵及推行新政,必須有一元首,俾便統率,以維持秩序而保安寧。巡撫承宣布政使唐景崧為萬民所敬仰,故由大會公推為台灣民主國總統……。 ”

    which roughly translates as:

    “The Japanese are powerful, and intend to annex Taiwan. The representatives of the residents of Taiwan had pleaded to the (Qing) court, but were turned down. The situation is dire, as the Japanese are approaching. Should we capitulate, our home would fall to enemy hands; should we resist, our strength is weak and could not withstand such aggression. (We) have negotiated with several foreign powers, and concluded that Taiwan must become independent in order for aids to come. The people of Taiwan will never capitulate to Japan; (we) would fight to the death rather than serve the enemy. According to the decision of the assembly, Taiwan shall become independent, and established as a democratic republic. All government officials shall be chosen by the people, and all official affairs shall be carried out impartially. To defend the new state and enforce new policy, there shall be a president to coordinate and manage the resources to maintain order and secure peace. Governor Tang Ching-sung is admired and approved by the people, thus was elected by the assembly as the President of the Republic of Formosa…”

    It would seem that even the Qing officials of 1895 supported a state in which “All government officials shall be chosen by the people” and “all official affairs shall be carried out impartially” – and these were certainly people untouched by “western propaganda”.

  78. BMY Says:

    @FOARP #77

    For sure, these were certainly people untouched by “western propaganda”. But they had their own propaganda of hijacking “democracy” and put themselves still on power during a national crisis.

  79. BMY Says:

    Regarding this “Charter 08″ , there is really nothing new and exciting. Kids in school know all of these. It’s just too easy to write something on paper. The most important thing is the implementation. The biggest challenge is how to implement democracy and freedom in a country like China.

    In the past 100 years,from those warlords to KMT to CCP all claimed of advocating democracy and freedom .

    I will be more interested in seeing those so called intellectuals draw a step by step implementation plan with all risk control.rather than selling old ideas.

    Communism was great on paper but everyone failed on implementing it.

  80. TonyP4 Says:

    I got the following message from my friend and like to share it with you all. It is in traditional Chinese.

    祝你
    一家瑞氣,
    二氣雍和,
    三星拱戶,
    四季平安,
    五星高照,
    六畜興旺,
    七星高照,
    八面春風;
    九運當頭,
    十全十美,
    總之新年快樂,萬事如意!

    正逢新春之際,
    祝您位高權重責任輕,
    錢多事少離家近,
    每天睡到自然醒,
    工資數到手抽筋,
    獎金多到車來運,
    別人加班您加薪!

    辦事處處順,
    生活步步高,
    彩票期期中,
    好運天天交,
    家中出黃金,
    牆上長鈔票!

    棒棒的BODY,
    滿滿的MONEY,
    多多的HAPPY,
    心情天天很SUNNY,
    無憂無慮象個BABY,
    總之,新年你最快樂。

    Happy 2009!
    ‘8′ is not a lucky no to me any more.
    Hope all the problems in 2008 will be gone!

  81. WillF Says:

    We can argue endlessly about whether the KMT or the CCP was more devastating to China in the past. However, let’s compare the following fact patterns showing the development of Taiwan and mainland China over the past 30 years:

    Under KMT rule, Taiwan experienced dramatic economic growth in the 1970s and 1980s, and today is very highly developed. Chiang Ching-kuo also instituted democratic reforms and greater freedom of expression, which were furthered by Lee Teng-hui, and the result has been a vibrant democracy. While corruption exists, as it does in every country, in Taiwan there are direct and orderly consequences for falling out of favor with the people: you lose your job. Despite the corruption, I doubt very seriously that many Taiwanese wish they could go back to the old dictatorship. I also doubt that they want to be ruled by the CCP, for similar reasons (not because they are brainwashed).

    Under CCP rule, mainland China experienced dramatic economic growth starting in the 1980s, and today is far better off than it was in the early days of the People’s Republic. However, the PRC has not instituted democratic reforms. They have made strides in freedom of expression, but as we can see with the Charter 08 situation, they continue to suppress dissent, if not systemically, then at least arbitrarily or strategically. Corruption is rampant among mainland Chinese government officials, and is at least as severe as it is among Taiwanese government officials, and probably more so. Chen Shui-bian was corrupt, but we’ll never know the full extent of Jiang’s or Hu’s corrupt dealings, as those are undoubtedly state secrets. Perhaps the majority of Chinese are OK with the system and don’t want democracy, but we’d never know because they can’t vote or freely express their opinions on the matter.

    Thus, it seems to me that in the last 30 years, the KMT and the CCP have both met the challenge of economic growth. However, the KMT took things one step further, to the benefit of Taiwan. The CCP has yet to take that step. So the question remains: 1. Should the CCP institute political reform, and 2. If not, why not?

    The “why not” is what I want to know. It seems to me that democracy with Chinese characteristics wouldn’t solve all of China’s problems, but I can’t think of any problems that would be made worse as a result. There are plenty of examples of democracies that have skilfully managed economic growth without suppressing free speech, religion, freedom to organize, etc. There are also plenty of examples of dictatorships (Burma, North Korea, etc.) that have failed to produce economic growth and continue to suppress free speech, etc. Further, there are dictatorships that have produced economic growth, and democracies that have failed to do so.

    The point here is that “democracy”, that is, representative government, free speech, etc. on the one hand, and economic growth on the other hand, are mutually exclusive. The CCP likes to promote the idea that China isn’t ready for these things; i.e. at China’s stage of development, you can’t have both. But there’s simply no basis for that. There are plenty of reasons to think that greater freedom of speech and a gradual dissolution of the one-party state in favor of a stable, multiparty system in which the CCP was just one of many parties could produce the same results.

    On the other hand, the benefits of democracy with Chinese characteristics are obvious. Ask any student in China (or anywhere) if she would rather live in a system where she was in danger of being jailed for her political opinions or if she would rather live in s system where she could express herself freely. I think the answer is obvious. Look at the popularity of the Internet in China, and look at the common practice in China of airing local grievances in Beijing. People like expressing themselves. They like to share ideas, and they like to think that there’s someone in the government who is willing to listen. Democracy with Chinese characteristics could, if done correctly, could provide for both of these things. However, if the CCP keeps shooting down things like Charter 08, good ideas can never get started.

    I think we can all agree that radical, immediate change would invite chaos and be damaging to China. A gradual, thoughtful approach would be much better. But the CCP has consistently resisted proposals like this, and their reasons are flimsy. If they were serious about improving China and serving the people, they would let the Chinese people help themselves by discussing the situation among themselves.

  82. Steve Says:

    @ WillF #44: Agree. Would this type of discussion taking place in China really promote instability? Maybe they’d say it would hurt the feelings of the Chinese people, but these ARE the feelings of various Chinese citizens. (actually over 2000; the 300 were the intellectuals) I’ve always felt that if you truly felt secure in your position, you would not have a problem with discussion and criticism of said position. I guess they just don’t feel very secure.

    @ FOARP #45: I didn’t get that Czech Jews part either. And I agree that democracy really has nothing to do with the United States. Its original development was in ancient Greece, and then it made its reappearance in a modern form in England. The United States was a further progression and now it’s practiced all over the world, in one form or another. How citizens vote in China has nothing in common with how they might vote in the USA, England, Bolivia, India or New Zealand. I hate to break it to many of the commenters, but some nations actually WANT US bases on their soil.

    The World of Suzie Wong? Has CT been to China lately? Hookers knock on your hotel room door at midnight, are around the bars and clubs, you get approached walking on the road at night, and just look inside any shop with the barbershop pole spinning. I’d say the more successful China has become, the closer it’s moved to the world of Suzie Wong.

    Something I have noticed about expatriates, and you also mention it here, is that because they don’t actually live in the country to which they are from, their ideas of that country tend to stagnate and they become very conservative in their thinking. Also, their sense of nationalism increases. Rather than all politics being local, their brand of political thinking tends to become almost purely concerned with foreign policy issues.

    @ Allen #46: Allen, one thing I like about you is that you are always consistent in your positions. And I think you brought up a really good point that I’d like to enlarge upon. You wrote, “In the West, the rhetorics of freedom of abuse of an overachieving gov’t was developed in the enlightenment in its fight against feudalism.”

    The change from feudalism to an industrialized society has always brought with it great dislocation, enormous society energy and fervent nationalism. In the case of Europe, wars went from being small, aristocratic affairs to large, internecine conflicts wreaking great destruction. Before, people identified with their clan or village, but afterwards they identified with their country, and felt the need for expansion and conquest.

    When Commodore Perry’s fleet arrived in Edo, Japan in 1853, Japan was a feudal economy. Their subsequent industrialization had the backlash of the Satsuma Rebellion (think Tom Cruise’s “The Last Samurai”), a fervent rise of nationalism and imperialistic conquest under the guise of uniting the Asian countries against the imperialism of the west (Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere) but in reality, expansion of their sphere of influence and the subjugation of their neighbors under the reasoning that they were a superior race and Japan needed to take up the yellow man’s burden, so to speak. This was again accompanied with a tremendous energy caused by the freeing of people from their previous hand-to-mouth existence and a belief that nationalization, military and economic success was their destiny. We all know how that story ended.

    China was predominantly a backwards, feudalistic society when the CCP took over in 1949. There was some progress for the first eight years, but under the GLF and CR, the country slipped even further into a feudalistic setting, with land owned not by landlords but by the party; however with the same effect as European and Japanese feudalism. Starting with Deng’s reforms, China has been coming out of their feudalistic age and into the modern, industrial age. There is a tremendous increase in nationalism. There is huge economic progress. There is military modernization. There is great resentment with Japan for its previous incursion and subjugation. There is animosity for former Western aggression. There is talk of China being a superior race that will soon dominate the world.

    But there are also people in China who read and remember history, and don’t want China to go down that road. I expect there to be conflict between the two groups in the future. I am seeing conflict between the two groups on this blog. As the poet and philosopher George Santayana once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

    How China continues down the road to modernization without slipping into this pattern is what this discussion is really all about. Some believe it can continue to move down the road to success with a totalitarian government, and that democratic government is “messy” and “inefficient”. Some believe that a more western style democracy is the ticket. Others, including me, feel that China will develop her own version of democracy that incorporates the unique features of her society and culture.

    Is your “allergic reaction” to this document caused by the feeling it is too much like a western style democracy? If so, what “Chinese” features would you propose to moderate that influence? What democratic countries which are not western would you use as a model for what China is looking for? Or do you think China’s solution will be totally unique and if so, what unique characteristics would you consider in that form of government?

  83. facts Says:

    @Willf
    I don’t think the situation in China and Taiwan are comparable. China had to devote resources to manage the obstacles of Western hostility. For instance, semiconductor fabrication equipment are not allowed to be exported to China, that is the reason why Taiwan has a more advanced semiconductor fabrication industry, Taiwan imported all chip fabrication machinery from the US, China has to produce its own from scratch. Same happened in machine tooling, without advanced tooling, it’s impossible to produce high grade produce at competitive price. Same situation in the commodities and oil, the amount China needs to secure for its industrial development is entirely different from that of Taiwan. Not to mention the international politics, nuclear weaponry, space programs, fusion research, genetics, etc, stuff Taiwan doesn’t even dream of. The development of a massive continental size country with 1.3 billion population is entirely different to a tiny island province with the comparable population of Shanghai. Taiwan essentially acts like America’s puppy, its leader dies trying to find a chance to kowtou to American master. How many nights its leader spends in the US, and which congressman had a dinner with Taiwan “president” on the stopover to some banana republic is headline news in the island, while US secretary of State comes to China begging help with NK, or Paulson comes to begging for money, that tells you where Taiwan figures in the grand scheme of things.

    So Taiwan experience has very little bearing on things in China. More comparable case would be India, similar size in population and land, only it has a Western style parliamentary democracy, whereas China chose its own course. India gained independence 2yrs prior to the founding of PRC, 60 yrs later. In every conceivable category of human development, industrial capability, trade indicators, research and development, etc.. India is no comparison. Especially, given the fact India has much more wider access to Western technologies due to its democracy status. But the results still overwhelmingly favor China. To put it succinctly, two thumbs down India, period. Let me say it again, China is on the right track, Chinese system is vastly more superior than India. China will progress on its own terms and timing, tossing around a copy of Chinese translation of US constitution is best meaningless if not harmful.

    @skc
    It’s very true, how dare I speak for the Chinese people other than myself? Sorry, I forget it is the exclusive right that belongs only to the Chinese dissidents and Western activists—–the self-anointed spokespersons of the oppressed Chinese people. What a joke!!

    And what more, my statement is backed by the consistent results of PEW research, more than 80% Chinese believe China is on the right track. For those who are so eager to advance the rights of an oppressed people, why don’t you listen to those people themselves for a second? Or is that you know better what the Chinese people want than Chinese people themselves? Give me a break!

  84. Charles Liu Says:

    WillF, I think no one is against reform. Of course, as China, along with US and many other countries, are not perfect.

    But is advocating overthrowing of current realities, and framework of Chinese politics “reform”? I for one find it interesting the word “Constitution” in the article title is not translated into English. It calls for a lot more than reform, as it clearly stated China’s current constitution should be abolished, not amended.

    As the Baidu search in comment 70 shows, this is being discussed inside China already, and the opinion is not all favorable. Take our own example, should we ged rid of GW Bush regime by abolishing our constitution? Change America from capitalism to socialism? Heck no. If not why not? Do the Chinese have right to the same consideration as well?

    So, according to your “CCP has consistently….” opinion, time has run out for them. Let me remind you it took us 100 years between emancipation and inking of basic semblences of civil rights for African Americans. It took another 45 years for it to become reality. Why wasn’t this accomplished thru a “new constitution”?

    If our yet perfect union took 100 years to act on basic human rights, via incremental amendments not outright abolition of existing framework, what right do we have to opin less generousely about others?

  85. Ted Says:

    @ Facts #83 “For those who are so eager to advance the rights of an oppressed people, why don’t you listen to those people themselves for a second?”

    Happy, happy, right? Maybe the Pew survey had better luck than this one.

    http://www.danwei.org/survey/nanjing_standard_answers.php

    http://my1510.cn/article.php?6568a89d082c1d1a

    http://zonaeuropa.com/200812c.brief.htm#025

    Is this more western propaganda, or another isolated incident like the Xintai mental institute?

  86. TonyP4 Says:

    @WillF

    Taiwan’s explosive growth depended on US’s support, a rich country. Taiwan’s size and China’s size is not comparable as some one pointed out. Comparing KMT and CCP is comparing apples to oranges. Without US’s support, India, a democratic country, is still behind China with the same size.

  87. Steve Says:

    @Jerry #53: Ah, you forget that when I would have gone to Notre Dame, they’d won a national championship my freshman year and both Joe Montana and “Rudy” arrived my sophomore year, so God WAS on their side back then. Irish-Americans drink; Italian-Americans drink; I guess the difference is Guinness and Jameson (none of that Protestant Bushmills for the Catholic boys) for the Irish while we Italians went for the Chianti, Grappa, Sambuca, Amaretto, Frangelico, Limoncello… aw hell, we drink everything!

    I was watching a show on the History Channel about the Revolutionary War and it seems Tom Paine’s Common Sense arrived just in time to keep Washington’s army together. The cause was falling apart so it was just the spark they needed at the time. It fit TonyP4’s pillars of success: “smartness, hard working and luck”.

    I agree with your overall synopsis of the economic situation in China these days. I think the key date will be when the Spring Festival is over; when those employees who visited their families come back to their factories in Guangdong to see the doors and gates padlocked and the owners out of the country after absconding with all the money. I hope I’m wrong, but I have an impending sense of doom about it. We’ll all know in a few weeks.

    Futures derivatives always seemed like a shell game to me; rather than buying primary assets, you are essentially gambling on what those assets will do, like a series of mirrors lined up in a funhouse. They can come up with all kinds of technical jargon to describe what they are doing, but to me it’s just playing craps at Vegas.

    When I quoted Franklin, the second one was my subtle joke to you; i.e., I was also referring to the so-called USA Patriot Act, though I see nothing patriotic about it.

    @TonyP4 #54: You are correct; the old National Assembly in Taipei was the congress for mainland China with governors who were all friends of CKS and got their fat paychecks for taking naps while in session. The true congress was the Provincial Assembly in Taichung, where my brother in law served for 18 years and I had to chance to visit while in session back in 1993. These days, that Assembly is no more (abolished in 2005) and the Legislative Yuan in Taipei is the only Congress left.

    Tony, I feel many in China agree with your position on Charter 08 but certainly not all. My experience there was similar to FOARP. We talked about political issues all the time; I mostly asked questions and listened to what they had to say. I worked with the technocrats (same as FOARP) and the majority felt that China had to reform its political process over time, and that reform would be democratic in nature.

    @ BBD #55: I’m not sure if the KMT has officially given up their claims on the mainland, Mongolia, etc. I think it’s still in their party platform, though no one pays attention to it anymore. Allen, do you know if it’s still in there?

    @ TonyP4 #60: Ahh… the good ol’ days! The women fought much better than the men, who were pathetic. Scratching, clawing, throwing shoes… it was great!! People in Taiwan sure get emotional about their politics. :D

    Going over the governments you mentioned, Vietnam isn’t a democracy so they don’t really count but they are corrupt for business; mostly government hong bao. Both parties in the Philippines are University of the Philippines alumni and know each other well; they just take turns being corrupt. However, it’s better than when Marcos ran it as a dictator, and also less corrupt than back then. The corruption isn’t swept under the rug anymore. Indonesia used to be as bad as China and Vietnam under Suharto in terms of corruption but it’s actually gotten a lot better lately, since 2004 when they went… uh… democratic. The corruption in Taiwan under the KMT dictatorship was horrible, but things have improved a lot since 1996 and having an elected president, along with opposition political parties. You can’t begin to compare corruption in Taiwan with that in mainland China; it’s night and day. Anyone who’s done business in both countries is aware of that, including Chinese businessmen. This isn’t any big secret; everyone knows it. The fact that Taiwan politicians have gone to jail for corruption is the surprise. That only happens in mainland China when the politician gets on the wrong side of the current leader, as Chen Liangyu did when he wouldn’t play ball with Hu and Wen.

    The trial hasn’t started yet but Chen Shui-bian sure looks like he’ll have a hard time defending his actions. I think in terms of a wife, he chose poorly…

    @vmoore55 #61: “Where most world leaders don’t think that democracy is the best form of gov’t, some here wants it for a great country like China.” Which world leaders are you referring to? Most world leaders I know of prefer democracy. I’m not doubting you; I just can’t think of any major world leaders outside of China that think this way. Maybe you could list a few?

    Also, I think you are mistaken in terms of recent immigrants to North America. I’d say outside of Mexico, in the USA the majority are from Asia. In Canada, I’d definitely say the majority are from Asia, but I’ve spent most of my Canadian time in Vancouver. Can any of our Canadian commenters confirm or deny this?

    When I was working in Shanghai, we occasionally had training schools in the States and my colleagues had to get visas in order to attend. It was really hard for someone who hadn’t made the trip before to get one. I went to the American embassy to see if I could move the process along and in some cases ended up giving a personal guarantee to get them the visa. When I talked to staff at the embassy about it, they said they had to be careful because over 60% of Chinese citizens with travel or student visas were overstaying said visas. After 911 it became even harder to get that first one. However, once you had made your first trip, subsequent visas were easy to get.

    They looked at three areas on application: age, marital status and savings. If you were young, unmarried and didn’t have much in savings, you were screwed because those people were the ones who tended to stay illegally. Unfortunately, in the semiconductor industry most people are young, unmarried and didn’t have much in savings. :(

    @pug_ster #68: People might complain about their leaders in democratic governments, but they don’t want to get rid of their right to choose them or their right to kick them out of office. China’s leaders get high approval ratings while economic times are good. We’ll see what the numbers look like when times are bad. Every growing economy hits a temporary wall sooner or later, and China won’t be an exception. You can’t grow at 10+% forever, and the more you tie your prospects to the rest of the world, the more world events affect your economy. In Japan, MITI bureaucrats were considered geniuses in the 70s and 80s but are now considered obstructionists. It’s easy to be a genius in a developing economy.

    China has built its success on exports; now those exports are drying up and the domestic economy isn’t picking up the slack. That’s the good and bad of it, unfortunately. This holiday season has been a retail disaster, so I think you’re going to see a lot of cancelled orders to China in the next couple of weeks. By the end of January, things could get really tough with a lot of layoffs everywhere in the world. Those omelets might get a lot smaller.

    @Charles Liu #70: To be honest, I only learned enough characters to drive around Taiwan and never learned any simplified ones. I’m a complete dolt when it comes to written Chinese; I admit it. I took that photo from the Global Voices link I referenced in the initial paragraph; just to give it a little pizzazz. I didn’t mean to offend anyone; I was trying to make this thread as neutral as possible so everyone could contribute based on their feelings and not based on my write up.

    @Wu Di #74: Thanks for answering the actual questions I posed! Seems like so far, Chinese are saving more than spending, except among the rich. But middle class spending is what drives any economy so right now more of the profits are coming from exports. I know the government is trying to increase spending among Chinese citizens themselves, but it doesn’t seem to be working yet.

    @BMY #78: I’m not sure I understand what you mean when you say “But they had their own propaganda of hijacking “democracy” and put themselves still on power during a national crisis.” Could you elaborate on that? How did they hijack democracy?

    I agree with your step by step approach but would they feel that by doing so, their chances of jail time would increase because they were so specific? I’m not so sure Communism was so great on paper, though. It failed to take into account human nature and George Orwell seemed to have the weaknesses pegged back in 1945 when he wrote Animal Farm.

  88. TonyP4 Says:

    Steve, always insightful. Thanks!

    Hongkonger, this is for you. The old Hong Kong http://hk.myblog.yahoo.com/ekwleung/article?mid=2127

  89. Charles Liu Says:

    SK @ 71,”how many PRC Chinese have had the pleasure of reading the thing, as we have”

    Well, quite a few. Check the baidu search link in comment 70. Appearantly there are divergence of opinions about 08 Constution Charter:

    – full on for/against

    – retrospective comparison with 1908 Constution Charter

    – commentary from Zhao Zihyang “western reform faction” countering recent “not changing flag” sociaist reform speech by Hu.

    – conspiracy theory that this is the opening salvo for federalist revolution

  90. Bodyguard Buggering Dictator! Says:

    I don’t get the antipathy to the federalist element of the charter.

    What would be wrong with a Chinese federation? It might create some problems. It might also solve a few. I don’t see why it shouldn’t be workable.

  91. kui Says:

    TonyP4’s little message is a true reflection of what Chinese people want.

  92. WillF Says:

    @facts and TonyP4:

    I totally agree that the two came from quite different circumstances. However, I don’t think it’s completely unfair to compare the two. Both are Chinese societies, and both were guided by authoritarian governments toward economic development. I agree the US helped a lot in Taiwan, but to call it America’s “puppy” is just anti-Taiwanese nationalist garbage. The Taiwanese took advantage of their close relationship with the US to build a sustainable and dynamic economy for themselves.

    Anyway, my main goal in comparing the two was to get past the failures of both the KMT and the CCP in the far past and take a brief look at how each power has ruled its respective territory in the last 30-40 years. I agree that developing a country of 1.3 billion is far more difficult than developing one the size of Taiwan. And I think that given the limitations, the CCP has done a great job of developing China economically. My point was that the KMT, unlike the CCP, took their reforms a step further by developing democratic institutions that are quite popular in Taiwan. This has not resulted in economic collapse for Taiwan, but has resulted in greater public participation in government affairs, a free press, etc. This is a good thing for the Chinese people in Taiwan. The CCP should take similar measures in mainland China, if they want to claim superiority in the “who’s better for China” competition. I think such a competition is pointless, but you started it, Facts, when you claimed that the KMT was “the worst gov. ruled China in the 20th century”.

    As for the India comparison, I think it’s very misleading. First, India and China are two extremely different cultures. They have similar populations, but China is 3 times larger in area than India: China’s territory is ~9.6 million square km, whereas India’s is only ~3.2 million square km.

    But if we must compare the two, as you insist, let’s do so. India’s economic growth was stunted not only (like China) by its large population , but also (like China) by its heavily socialist economic policies, that it maintained until the early 1990s. There’s no question that India’s democratic government failed to develop its country’s economy in the early years. There’s also no question that China’s dictatorial government also failed in this regard. India began opening up its economy in earnest in 1991, whereas China began reforms in the late 1970s. However, judging from 1991, India’s growth rates have been ~6-8% yearly, and last year reached ~9.1%. While this falls short of China’s growth rates, it’s hardly “two thumbs down”. It is actually regarded as remarkable. Indeed, in the US, and I’m sure elsewhere, when people talk about emerging superpowers, they usually mention “China and India” in the same sentence. So even though I don’t think the two can be compared, if you want to do so, you’d only be hurting your own argument that democracy will ruin Chinese economic growth. India is, if anything, a perfect example of how a democratic nation can still adopt sound economic policies and manage rapid growth.

    I should also point out that in addition to enjoying rapid economic growth, India also enjoys a free press and unregulated Internet access, both of which China lacks.

  93. Allen Says:

    @Steve #82,

    I replied to you in the “open thread” a little … but that was in context of FOARP’s comment there.

    Here I just want to note briefly that while I do appreciate you trying to generalize the experience of nationalism – from Europe to Japan (I will neither dispute nor agree) – my understanding of nationalism is that the more you dig into it, the more you realize each nation’s version is different.

    For me, I have long ago given up on trying to study “nationalism” as a human phenomenon but instead to treat “nationalism” as an integral part of studying a nation’s history, culture, and social fabric in the “modern context.” Some times, I do run into Eureka type similarities in my studies of different cultures and peoples. But for the most part, I refrain from trying to understand any one version through the lens of any particular other.

    Just as Chinese history and culture is probably best understood in the context of Chinese history and culture, so is Chinese nationalism, I think….

    In any case, regardless of whether we agree on the proper lens through which to study nationalism, I will disagree with you that charter 08 is behind controlling the development of Chinese nationalism as you seem to suggest with this:

    How China continues down the road to modernization without slipping into this pattern is what this discussion is really all about.

    I understand that in human history, nationalism (like any other type of ideologies, including religion, democracy, liberty, civility, anti-terrorism) has been used (manipulated, distorted, whatever) to make war, and that many people want to do their best to learn from history and try to prevent future atrocities.

    However, I don’t think the answer to world peace is through elimination of nationalism – just as world peace is not to be obtained by getting rid of “religion,” promoting “democracy,” “liberty”, “civility,” or “anti-terrorism.”

    What is the path to world peace? I personally think it’s has to be achieved either through a world government that is truly geared toward working for the benefit of all mankind, not just the people of a few rich countries – or anarchy in a Communist utopian type of way.

    Anyways – since neither is feasible in the immediate future … I’ll leave that topic for another thread in the distant future! ;-)

  94. Wahaha Says:

    @WillF,

    India cant set up SEZ along its coast line (WHY ?), Imagine China had no SEZ.

    BTW, in India, 43% of kids under age 5 are under weight, hardly improved in last 15 years.

    Also, the cornerstone of democracy is that “everyone is born equal”, then why after 60 years of democracy, caste system is still deep-rooted in their society ?

  95. Wahaha Says:

    Steve :

    your view of corruption doesnt hold water.

    I agree the problem of coruption in China is very serious, but the reason is hardly democracy or one party system. the problems of corruption in india is as worse as in China if you compare the scale of infrasture building in two countries.

    Assume you were a government official in a small town of China, do you have chance of being corruptive if government hasnt invested in your town ?

    Thinks of scale of economic development in China in last 20 years, it gives governent officials tons of opportunities to be corruptive. Taiwan ? they have been busy at fighting against each other, not economy, the money were spent for diplomatic casue, government officials hardly have chance to be corruptive. the same for indonesia in last 4 years.

    Also, in democratic countries, they are usually controled by nobles, or riches, why on earth do they need to be corruptive ? like the CEO of GM flied to Washington, like the AIG top executives used taxpayers $$ to go to luxuary resorts, their corruptiions are simply legalized, AS THEY CONTROL THE ECONOMY, so the laws are made for their needs.

  96. Charles Liu Says:

    Wahaha, village/township elected officials can be impeached under the current system. This topic came up during the Taishi thing over at Sunbin:

    http://sun-bin.blogspot.com/2005/10/taishi-and-village-impeachment.html

    (Don’t forget to check out his picture of Paris Hilton 8-)

    And Taiwan officials are not corrupt? Have you been following the Ahbian indictment? He sent his wife’s panty money to FLG via Wang Dan and the Taiwan Lobby in DC forcrissake.

  97. WillF Says:

    @nationalist sentiments in this thread:

    I’ve heard a lot about Western propaganda in this thread. I don’t dispute that there is Western propaganda; I’ve seen it and heard it. But remember, there is also Chinese propaganda. I’ve seen it and heard it, and you probably have too.

    I’m reading a book right now called Senso. It’s a collection of letters from the 1980s written to a Japanese newspaper from Japanese who remembered World War II (the Greater East Asia War). It’s interesting to hear the sentiments expressed in these letters and compare them to some of the sentiments I’m seeing in this thread. Most letters refer to a hypernationalist sentiment at the time that emphasized the greatness of the Japanese and the desire to defeat the evil Americans and British. Most also talk about the lack of freedom of expression or dissent during the buildup to the war. Nearly all of the letters speak bitterly of the war and lament the entire period of Japanese history.

    The main thing I’m drawing from the book is that nationalism is a dangerous thing. It’s natural to feel proud of one’s country. There’s nothing wrong with loving one’s nation; I know I do. But one must always remember that this patriotism can be easily exploited by those in power. The Japanese leaders in the 1930s did so, and it aided them in their delusional quest for domination in Asia. It’s happened in the US too; Bush did it in 2003 in the lead-up to the Iraq War. Ambitious politicians will periodically attempt to exploit people’s emotions, but I believe the best way to prevent them from getting what they want is to control one’s emotions with one’s mind. We must always question whether what our government says is best for the country really IS best for the country. We must always ask ourselves whether we support our governments’ actions because we believe they are reasonable and justified, or simply because we have a gut reaction to rally to our governments’ causes. As Abraham Lincoln said, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” We must always remain vigilant and recognize that there are those who wish to fool all of us all of the time, and we must try to ensure they never fool any of us any time.

    I’m not targeting the Chinese in particular. I understand that this is a blog about China. If it were a blog about the US, there would probably be plenty of nationalist rhetoric tossed around over US domestic and foreign policy. But I want to tell this to as many people from as many nations as possible: propaganda is everyone’s enemy. Think before you drink (the Kool-Aid).

  98. Allen Says:

    @Steve #82,

    In response to your questions (I added the numbering):

    1.) Is your “allergic reaction” to this document caused by the feeling it is too much like a western style democracy? 2.) If so, what “Chinese” features would you propose to moderate that influence? 3.) What democratic countries which are not western would you use as a model for what China is looking for? 4.) Or do you think China’s solution will be totally unique and if so, what unique characteristics would you consider in that form of government?

    1.) My problem is not that it looks too Western. Heck, modern computers were invented in the West, and I have no problem introducing them to China. The problem is not that it looks “too Western;” it also has nothing to do with cultural pride. The problem is that you are taking a solution created for another society without really understanding what the target society needs. The Chinese people deserve better.

    2.) Chinese people need to focus on good governance and creating environments for continued social and economic developments. Start with solutions that solve those problems. Again copying ideological rhetoric from other societies that did not go through the same history or share the same social or economic context and doing so without clearly articulating how such alleged ideals solves real-life problems is silly and not helpful. Simply saying – hey these ideologies are grafted from the successful West is not good enough.

    3.) None. I don’t think there is a prosperous, multi-cultural democracy that I would look up to as China’s role model in today’s world. China would have to create a solution that works and hopefully that could be another of China’s legacy to the world.

    4.) China’s system would be unique. I believe it would be a meritocracy combined with a healthy dose of administrative law. Regulations would be promulgated as laws to promote policy, but not as laws for the preservation of “rights”. There would be checks and balances in gov’t so not every important gov’t action will have to be top-down or centrally driven. There will be rule of law of the type that facilitate more transparencies in governance and in economic transactions – but not necessarily of the type that constrains government policy. In other words, social reform and policy will continued to be cast in the forums of policy making and not in the rhetoric of the law (i.e. Constitution, human rights) as in the West. People will have a voice in the government – though we will not necessarily have elections of top officials or a multi-party system.

    This is a big topic. I might as well stop here for now…

  99. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To TonyP4 #80:
    that’s awesome. I particular like the second stanza. And the full-on Chinese is a nice touch. It’s also probably similarly applicable next month for Chinese New Year. Oh, to be able to get up without the beckon call of the alarm clock…that’s definitely worth sleeping on.

  100. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To WillF #81:
    again, awesome. You’re 2 for 2 in going yard. I also noticed that, while people have quibbles with your KMT/CCP comparisons, no one has even attempted to address your question of “why not”. Shame, really, I was looking for a laugh….

  101. WillF Says:

    @Wahaha 94:

    Again, the two countries can’t be compared. Their cultures are extremely different. But look at China. The cornerstone of the CCP is equality as well. But the 60% of the Chinese population that lives in rural areas is also deeply unequal to the urban Chinese, and has been, virtually by design, since the inception of the PRC (the central planners of the 1950s made a conscious effort to emphasize urban development over rural development). Democracy doesn’t solve inequality, and neither does authoritarianism. Not that I ever alleged that democracy solved inequality. Don’t put words in my mouth.

    Still, are you arguing that India’s problems are a result of its democratic government? Because my point wasn’t that India is better than China, it was that democracy in India isn’t preventing it from growing economically. Again, it was in response to the misleading but oft-repeated argument: “India’s economy is bad, India is a democracy, therefore China shouldn’t be a democracy.” The first premise of that argument is untrue, and therefore that argument fails.

    @ Facts:

    I missed the bit about PEW research. What does “right track” even mean? Over 80% of Americans think the US is on the “wrong track”, but <0.1% of Americans (my estimate, admittedly) think the US should become less democratic, or be more like China in terms of politics. What if PEW asked the central question in this thread, “Should the CCP take steps toward a representative democratic government”? But they couldn’t ask that, because the CCP wouldn’t let them. Again, why not?

  102. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Fiction #83:
    I’d be happy for you to point it out next time I’m speaking for anyone other than myself, as I have you. Good luck with that.

    Hey, since when did you believe in American sources? Oh, I see, it’s only good enough when convenient for you…how nice. Actually, what’d be even nicer is if the same research could be conducted in CHina (by PRC citizens even, if you’d like). Ah, an opinion poll of CHinese people in China, unfettered by the CCP…dream big, I say.

  103. Allen Says:

    @WillF #81,

    I suppose you would argue that the U.S. is democratic and has a gov’t by the people, of the people, and for the people? 8-) 8-) 8-)

  104. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Charles Liu #70:
    yeah, I saw that. Thanks for the link. Nice to see it being discussed where it matters most. Nice to also see that opinions on both sides are being allowed.

  105. WillF Says:

    @Allen 103:

    No, I believe such a government is impossible to achieve anywhere. But I believe that on the whole, our government is closer to that ideal than China’s government, and I believe that our people do at least have a significant voice in how our country is run. We let our politicians get the best of us too often, but we also often make them pay.

    But the beauty of democracy is that democracy is inherently culture-specific. When you’re trying to get votes from Americans, you’re going to operate in an American way. If you want to get votes from Japanese, you want to operate in a Japanese way. If China were to have democracy, it would be Chinese democracy. That’s why I haven’t once advocated a transplant of the US system into China. What I advocate is as follows:

    1. Free speech, a free press and unregulated Internet access in China. This would allow the Chinese to talk amongst themselves about whether they want a new system, and what it should look like.

    2. Allowing the creation of new, independent political parties in China. This would allow Chinese to form their own political parties, if they wish, and realistically have a chance to put their ideas for political change into action, should the majority of Chinese decide they’d like to give it a try. There are, of course, already other political parties in China, but they are minor and are anything but independent.

    3. Gradual separation of the state from the CCP. This would allow the administrative bodies of the state to operate under orders from the National People’s Congress and the President of the PRC, rather than the CCP Politburo. This would, hopefully, give China’s new political parties the ability to actually put their ideas into practice.

    Are these really radical ideas? Are they really that terrifying? They seem feasible to me. There are already executive and legislative institutions in China; they just are under de facto control of the CCP. Let’s see if they can operate independently. Hey, if it really sucks without them, the CCP can always get re-elected to power.

  106. wuming Says:

    @WillF

    First, India and China are two extremely different cultures. They have similar populations, but China is 3 times larger in area than India: China’s territory is ~9.6 million square km, whereas India’s is only ~3.2 million square km.

    —————————————- China —————– India
    Land Mass (square km) —- 9,326,410 ———- 2,973,190
    Percent Arable —————– 14.86% ————– 48.83%
    Arable Land Mass ————- 1,385,905 ———- 1,451,809
    Population ———————– 1,330,044,544 — 1,127,995,904
    Arable per person ———- 0.0010 ————— 0.0013

  107. vmoore55 Says:

    “The relationship between liberalism and democracy may be summed up by Winston Churchill’s famous remark, “…democracy is the WORST form of Government except all those other forms…” Churchill didn’t see a liberal communist Chinese system coming.

    “In short, there is nothing about democracy per se that guarantees freedom rather than a tyranny of the masses.” The writing is on the wall and some ask why not.

  108. Allen Says:

    @WillF #105,

    No – your ideas are not “terrifying,” but I just do not agree with them.

    Regarding to the U.S., I really don’t think we have as much voice as you make out. We have two political parties that are beholden to similar interests (military establishment, corporations, special interests, etc.). We do have a press that is not as regulated by the government as that in China, but our press is nevertheless not “free.” (Our press has been dumbed down to cater to commercial interests, 3 minute stories, with very few genuine discourse that challenges established ideologies) An institution that does not generate true discourse is not “free” – even if there is no explicit laws regulating it.

    In the big picture, if we look to our last election, we’ll see that there are no really new ideas (outside of the rhetoric of change) that came out of this past election. People are really too saddled with burdens of day-to-day living to challenge the established political establishments. Democracy is hard. Is mass participation to way to go to solve a lot of the complex, technocratic problems facing our country? Even if yes, are we choosing between two parties that are really that different? We’ll see….

    AS for China, I have this to add:

    1. Free speech. Yes I like “free speech” for China – except my bar is higher: not just the superficial “no government interference” western type. But a type that support true creation and exchange of ideas. In a China of the future, not only should government not suppress speech, but people should have the education, will, resources, economic means to want to participate in such speech. For today, I believe the gov’t has a role in regulating speech. I don’t like the lines that are drawn (some are too damn sily and politicized), but I do believe the Chinese gov’t has an important role to play in regulating speech in China (at the minimal, to avoid garbage, sensationalized, tabloid, politicized, incendiary type press).

    2. Political parties. I don’t believe this is important or necessary. I do believe the CCP ought to develop a new ideology for China and to welcome and invite the best and brightest Chinese to join the party and government in serving the people. I also believe the CCP should allow, invite, tolerate always more differences within the CCP.

    3. Separation of CCP / state. I am indifferent to this. I don’t see it as a priority today. It hasn’t really done Taiwan (where I was born and grew up) much good. This might be important or might not important for China in the future – we’ll see as situations develop further.

  109. TonyP4 Says:

    Let me add something to the comparison between India and China. India has more farm land and river than China (so land comparison is not apple to apple). However, China produces almost double the farm products than India. China’s governance, farm technology (fertilizers…), utilization of land… are better than India.

    Chinese and Indians are just as smart and hard working as each other. Indians and Chinese have the same level of success in US – Indians are slightly superior due the Indian migrants are from the higher society class in India.

    The governance in China is far superior. There are too many evidences. Indians will barely sponsor the Commonwealth Game. Their assistance to Mumbai incident is just a condole call from the central government. India’s top cities are years behind China’s Tier II cities. And on and on.

    With a democratic society for so many years and English being one of the official languages, India should do better than China, but not. They do not have the support of US and stick with the loser (Russia) for too long. The governance is weak and not efficient. They need to control the population growth to start with and not let religion to govern their life (which modern cities let their holy cows roaming/shitting around?).

    I respect the Indian culture. They’re happy folks, so the wealth of a country is one measure of success, but not the only measure. To learn more about Indian culture, watch the movie “Outsourcer” I rented from Netflix.

    As in my previous post, I hope China will fix their basic problems and move to a more democratic society.

  110. Wahaha Says:

    WillF:

    You gave answers from textbook. No offense, but I dont give a damn about answers from textbook. for examples:

    1) As people can vote, so the elected politicians will work for people. such explanation doesnt mean anything to me, what I see is that the elected politicians in India, Russia and USA cared more for riches than people who voted them in.

    2) Free speech, sounds great. BUT IT DOESNT SOLVE PROBLEMS most of times, more likely creates more problems. (Yes, it may “solve” the problem for several individuals, but create problems for hundreds times more people.)

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/12/29/carnegie.tenant/index.html

    What I want to hear is how a political system solved a REAL WORLD economic problems. Like the one I asked you : why couldnt India set up SEZ along her coastline ? How about you give us an example that the democratic system in India effectively solved a big economic issue ?

    BTW, there is no question that the current system in China has tons of flaws. but if a person has an ugly mark on his butt, will he allow doctors to replace that mark with a piece of skin from his face ?

  111. Jerry Says:

    @Facts #83
    @S.K. Cheung

    Ok, Facts (OR should I use the moniker SK hung on you, “Fiction”. Has a rather eponymous ring to it.) your propagandized, sanitized version of the Pew Research Center’s “The 2008 Pew Global Attitudes Survey in China: THE CHINESE CELEBRATE THEIR ROARING ECONOMY, AS THEY STRUGGLE WITH ITS COSTS — Near Universal Optimism About Beijing Olympics”. Too bad that you pick and choose what to disclose! As I pointed out at FM’s “China Punishes France and the EU” thread, you failed to disclose Pew’s complete data, and their misgivings and cautions about the China survey. And my misgivings about the survey’s sampling techniques and China’s satisfaction result. Here is a recap of the survey with some of the points I mentioned.

    We, the participants at FM, are, for the most part, fairly intelligent. We would like to make our own decisions. Please tell both sides of the story. Let us make our own decisions. This is not a rag like Xinhua.

    ###########

    Originally published out at China Punishes France and the EU

    In that regard, Pew’s 2007 survey showed that the relatively low Chinese personal contentment was in line with the still modest level of per-capita income there – looking across the 47 countries included in that poll, life satisfaction ratings in China fell about where one would predict based on the country’s wealth. (#1) The current poll takes a deeper look into how the Chinese people evaluate their lives and specific conditions in their country, providing further insight into the contrast between the average Chinese’s satisfaction with the state of the country and its economy and relative dissatisfaction with elements of personal life.

    The new data suggest the Chinese people may be struggling with the consequences of economic growth. Notably, concerns about inflation and environmental degradation are widespread. And while most Chinese embrace the free market, there is considerable concern about rising economic inequality in China today.

    These are the latest findings from the 2008 Pew survey of China. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 3,212 adults in China between March 28 and April 19, 2008, a period which followed the March 10 onset of civil unrest on Tibet and preceded the May 12 earthquake in China’s Sichuan Province. The sample, which is disproportionately representative of China’s urban areas, includes eight major cities, as well as medium-sized towns and rural areas in eight Chinese provinces. The area covered by the sample represents approximately 42% of the country’s adult population. (#2)

    Almost universally, the Chinese respondents surveyed complain about rising prices – 96% describe rising prices as a big problem for the country, and 72% say they are a very big problem. And nearly half (48%) of those polled say health care is difficult for their family to afford.

    But the Chinese are almost as concerned about equity in China as they are about inflation. About nine-in-ten (89%) identify the gap between rich and poor as a major problem and 41% cite it as a very big problem. Worries about inequality are common among rich and poor, old and young, and men and women, as well as the college-educated and those with less education. In that regard, despite economic growth, concerns about unemployment and conditions for workers are extensive, with 68% and 56% reporting these as big problems, respectively.

    Complaints about corruption are also widely prevalent, with 78% citing corruption among officials and 61% citing corruption among business leaders. Six-in-ten also rate crime as a big problem. Concerns about both corruption and crime are widespread among all segments of China’s population.

    While corruption is seen as a problem, most Chinese (65%) believe the government is doing a good job on issues that are most important to them. However, poorer Chinese and residents of the western and central provinces covered in the survey give the government somewhat lower grades than do citizens in eastern China.

    Environmental issues also emerge as a top problem and a top priority. Roughly three-in four (74%) cite air pollution as a big problem and 66% so named water pollution. In response, as many as 80% of Chinese think protecting the environment should be made a priority, even if this results in slower growth and a potential loss of jobs

    The Chinese score is over 3 standard deviations from the mean; it is in the outside 11% of the population of scores. Which means it is a statistical outlier, and it bears additional examination and investigation.

    Here is my documentation:

    % satisfied with country direction
    China 86
    Australia 61
    Russia 54
    Spain 50
    Jordan 49
    Poland 42
    India 41
    Egypt 40
    S. Africa 36
    Germany 34
    Tanzania 34
    Brazil 31
    Britain 30
    Indonesia 30
    Mexico 30
    France 29
    Pakistan 25
    Nigeria 24
    Japan 23
    U.S. 23
    Turkey 21
    Argentina 14
    S. Korea 13
    Lebanon 6

    Mean 34.4167
    Median 30.5000
    SD of the population (σ) 16.78520347

    China results
    Standard deviations from mean 3.0731
    Score outside of population %age 89.41%

    You ignored all of the other Pew data about Chinese dissatisfaction. How convenient for you! :D

  112. facts Says:

    @Willf
    I don’t even know where to start. Taiwan province is in no way to compare with mainland China. We are talking entirely different set of limitations and driving forces. You never dressed the issue of technology blockade of West to China. The industries that give Taiwan advantage over mainland are those only Taiwan can build from importing Western technologies, but mainland can’t. It was only because the West needs to build up Taiwan to enclose China, nothing Taiwan did for itself. Taiwan benefited from being West/US tool to encircle China. How can mainland take the same strategy? Actually after the so-called democracy in Taiwan province, Taiwan’s economic growth has slowed down significantly, I don’t think mainland can afford such slow down.

    No other developing countries achieved what PRC has achieved, India, Mexico, Brazil, Russia. Compared to the historic achievements of China in past 200 yrs, PRC has reached the height never would have been dreamed of in the days of ROC. Then compared to what the US achieved at the 60th yr of the founding of USA, PRC again out-did America. All in all PRC is the best thing has happened to the Chinese nation.

    China had a parliamentary democracy system in the 20th century, ROC was the first democratic republic in Asia. What did it brought to China? Civil wars, foreign invasions, starvation. How much Chinese population has changed from the founding of ROC to its doom in 1949? How much Chinese population has changed since the founding of PRC? Given the growth rate that experienced in PRC period, how much Chinese population had lost during the period of ROC? 500 million to 700 million? ROC should be the most murmurous regime the world had ever seen.

    What PRC achieved even in the first 30 yrs of rule would put ROC in infinite shame. Population doubled, nuclear armed, industrial production, life span, food produced, literacy rate, etc… no comparison here. All this just to tell you, Western democracy China had tried already, it never worked, China was dragged through a bloodbath of civil wars and Jap invasions, it brought China shame upon shame, death upon death.

    Asking questions about throwing out the Chinese constitution of cause should not allowed. Would the US allow a survey to ask should US have a nazi government or communist government? I don’t even understand why I am here writing this to you. All the nonsense of democracy is just pie in the sky pipe dream. Russia tried it, and lost more than 10million population in the ’90s, of cause Western media sweeps it under the rug.

    China is doing so well compared to China itself in the past, compared to other developing countries of the world? The countries tried democracy, Russia lost 10s millions of population, economy destroyed, territory taken away, India falling further and further back to China. Why China should give up what’s working to try something proved to fuck a country? Just because Western propaganda promised the pie in the sky? Your listing of propaganda talking points doesn’t make any sense.

  113. facts Says:

    @Jerry
    You don’t need to go through all that mumble jumble, just say you don’t accept the results, and give your own version of it, that would make it a lot easier on yourself. I don’t think you would accept any data that doesn’t fit you expectation. I don’t have anything to say, just read the report, take it or leave it.

    As to what you want to call me, I can care less.

  114. BMY Says:

    @ Comrade Facts,

    I fully understand your love of China (and CCP).

    I am pro China too. But I think your comparison of PRC with pre 1949 ROC is not very fair. Whom are you blaming for the lost of 500 million to 700 million lives by the period of ROC? I understand there were many parties involved.

    the statement like “ROC should be the most murmurous regime the world had ever seen.” went a bit too far. It sounds very familiar with some statements on some paper if we just change a name.

  115. Jerry Says:

    @Facts #113
    @S.K. Cheung

    “You don’t need to go through all that mumble jumble”

    Well, Facts, what you call “mumble jumble”, I call ”stating what the report actually said”. And a “factual” statistical analysis of the Chinese result on overall satisfaction when compared to other countries. And, facts, I love doing this; it is worthwhile. But thanks for your concern, nonetheless. I just don’t want to depend on you making my conclusion for me. Not necessary. I assume that most people here at FM are capable of reading the report, should they want to, and reaching their own conclusions, whatever they may be.

  116. BMY Says:

    @Steve #87

    Sorry about my poor English and didn’t make it clear.

    My understanding of what FOARP quoted on #77 is the Qing governor in Taiwan in 1895 just used the name of democracy as a mean and tried to still seize power during a political vacuum. This is the same with many Qing provincial governors made statements of democracy and republic and and became(claimed to be) elected republic governors in 1911 during the fall of Qing.

  117. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Tony P4 #109:
    I’m as agnostic as the next guy, but I would suggest treading gently with statements such as “not let religion to govern their life”. As far as I’m concerned, to each their own.

    BTW, couldn’t agree more with your last statement.

  118. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Wahaha #110:
    all these months, and you still haven’t ceased to amuse me. “but if a person has an ugly mark on his butt, will he allow doctors to replace that mark with a piece of skin from his face ?”- what’s that got to do with the price of tea in CHina? If ” (the) current system in China (which) has tons of flaws” is the skin on the butt, what is the facial skin analogous to? Besides, if that were the case, I’d just hack off the butt skin (ie ugly CCP flaws), slap a band-aid on it, and be done with it.

  119. Steve Says:

    @ facts: You’ve addressed me a few times so I owe you an answer. I’ll try to take each of your points one at a time.

    “There is no sovereignty of Taiwan to start with. Taiwan’s sovereignty belongs to China, Taiwan still is part of China as we speak, no annexation to speak of.”
    False; The definition of “sovereign” is: (of political bodies) not controlled by outside forces; “an autonomous judiciary”; “a sovereign state”. China does not control Taiwan’s government, military or any of its administration. You might want China to have sovereignty over Taiwan, but it currently does not. What you want is fine and your opinion, but it is not current reality.

    “Overwhelming majority of Chinese over the world would be happy to see China unite.”
    Opinion, not fact; You need to substantiate this in order for it to be a fact.

    Your opinion of the KMT is negative (so is mine) but it is our opinion, not fact. We might think it’s the worst government in recent Chinese history but it only an opinion. The corruption of the CKS KMT is well-documented but so is the corruption of the current CCP government.

    “To this day, KMT in Taiwan still does everything it can to split the Chinese nation and work against Chinese interest at every turn.”
    False; The current KMT in Taiwan’s platform is eventual reunification. The CCP government has had party to party talks with them and supported the KMT in the last election. They hate the DPP, not the KMT.

    “It’s the disinterest of such, with full force of the activist community plunged in, the mainstream Chinese communities in and outside China don’t really give a damn.”
    Opinion, not fact. No substantiation for your comment.

    “Legitimacy and election have no inherent connection.”
    False; Elections are to establish legitimacy and have no other purpose. If you disagree, name the ulterior purpose of having an illegitimate election.

    “You are entitled to your view, but you have no right to expect others to agree with you or assume your view should be universally applied everywhere.”
    I don’t expect others to agree with me. I also did not propose a government system for China except to say they would have to work that out for themselves and it’d need to be unique to China rather than be a copy of a western system. If you read my original post in #16, you’ll find I called it a “copycat” document and wasn’t impressed with how it was written. My OPINION is that most people in China would agree with me that it would need to be unique to China and not a direct copy of another country’s system. What in here do you disagree with?

    “CCP has more legitimacy than any other government in the world, given the approval rating it gets from the Chinese people.”
    Opinion, not fact. I’m guessing you are using the Pew ratings that Jerry posted in their entirety. Approval rating for one aspect of a system does not equal legitimacy.

    “Still please don’t quote Paine or Franklin to prove the rightness of American system.”
    False; I did not quote Paine or Franklin to prove the rightness of American system. I quoted Paine to show that Chinese, Americans and every other country all need to stick together during this upcoming economic recession/depression rather than fight against each other economically, which would be a disaster for all of us. The Franklin quote was for Jerry; it was a criticism of the USA Patriot Act and he understood what I was saying, trust me. (It was anti-Bush)

    “Chairman Mao for the first time in past 200 yrs gave the Chinese nation a spine, gave China peace for over 60 yrs and still counting, gave China an economy ranked 3rd in the world at end of 08 and still rising.”
    False; China has not had peace for over 60 years. There was the Quemoy bombing; the Korean War, various border conflicts, the re-absorption of Tibet; the war with Vietnam. How can you call that peace? Mao died in 1974, when the economy was in a shambles. You can compliment Deng, Jiang and Hu, but not Mao in terms of economic development. He had nothing to do with the improved economy. In fact, the economy was a disaster under his rule.

    “Chairman Mao is the man who stopped the down spiral of China, who put China on the upward path. Generations of Chinese will be grateful for the great Chairman.”
    Opinion, not fact. You may love Mao and what he did; most Chinese I know were far fonder of Zhou Enlai. Those are both opinions but certainly not facts. Most Chinese I know would also say that Deng put China on the upward path. Still an opinion, but one that can be substantiated with more economic data than anything you can produce for Mao.

    “As for KMT, it brought China shame upon shame, it inherited a united China, but it gave away Mongolia, it almost lost Tibet, it wants to secede Taiwan now.”
    False; KMT does not want Taiwan to secede now. It wants eventual reunification. Even the slightest knowledge of Taiwanese politics would make this known. What you also fail to mention is that when it was in China, the KMT never actually ruled the entire country. It was mostly ruled by various warlords with CKS as more of an overlord but he and his government did not exercise direct control over the country. How can it give something away that it never controlled?

    “True, China had to be save from Jap by the allies, what a gift of shame KMT brought on China forever.”
    The first part is fact; the second part is opinion. I somehow doubt the shame will last forever. Allies are supposed to help each other in time of war; that’s what it means to be an ally.

    “Yet, with light infantry and pitiable supplies but valiant spirit , PLA was able to draw a tie with the almighty US, who just annihilated Japan 5 yrs before with its overwhelming air/land/sea power (the same Japan that smashed KMT like hammer pounced on a watermelon). For the first time in history, the mighty West had to sign armistice with a third world country, for the first time in past 200 yrs, China stopped invaders before they stepped on Chinese soil. What the US can do the CCP, nothing but to sit down and talk. For the first time in past 200 yrs, the West was not able to dictate terms of the treaty but negotiate. For the first time in past 200 yrs China could stand tall and look the West in the eye.”
    False; The war was with the United Nations, not the US. The combined force never had any intention of invading China. The armistice was with North Korea, not China. China was an ally of North Korea, just as China was an ally of the United States during the war with Japan. Also, different western countries had negotiated with the Qing dynasty without dictating terms. You might want to read up on your own history.

    “I bet the West/Japan love ROC but hate PRC, who would not? “The Belligerent and xenophobic PRC”, haha…”
    Opinion; most western diplomats consider China far more important than the ROC and have also endorsed the “One China” principle on numerous occasions.

    “To the Opium traders, to the Western/Japanese garrisons in China, to the authorities in Western concessions on Chinese soil, to those foreign thugs and sailors, how belligerent and xenophobic China has turned since the days of ROC, huh? The days of killing Chinese like stepping on a bug was forever gone, if you need to be reminded. Yes, China is belligerent and xenophobic by your standard, and guess what… PRC will stay this way for a long time to come, what you are goona do about it?”
    False; the opium trade took place under the Qing dynasty with the Chinese mandarins getting a BIG cut of the profits. The western garrison in China during the war was to help China fight the Japanese, which I’m sure had the approval of the vast majority of Chinese citizens. Foreign thugs and sailors? If a foreigner killed a Chinese during the Qing dynasty, that foreigner was tried by the Qing court and put to death. There are all kinds of documentation in the historical record. It also sounds like you are saying China is xenophobic. The CCP says that China’s rise is strictly peaceful so you are contradicting your own government. Don’t you sound like an enemy of the Chinese people?

    “I would quote Chinese sources, but the Westerners would then engage in endless squabbling on the validity of sources. Being brainwashed by Western propaganda, Westerners only accept Western sources as valid, I do so to avoid endless distraction and concentrate on the topic at hand.”
    Fallacious argument, called “two wrongs make a right”.
    It is claimed that person B would do X to person A.
    It is acceptable for person A to do X to person B (when A’s doing X to B is not necessary to prevent B from doing X to A).
    Until you quote Chinese sources and “Westerners” question the validity, you cannot logically make this claim.

    “Once Cleeon has been repeated enough times associated with a good life (the work of an omnipresent propaganda machine)”
    Opinion; you have not substantiated any “omnipresent propaganda machine” and examples of such.

    “I don’t think the situation in China and Taiwan are comparable. China had to devote resources to manage the obstacles of Western hostility. For instance, semiconductor fabrication equipment are not allowed to be exported to China, that is the reason why Taiwan has a more advanced semiconductor fabrication industry, Taiwan imported all chip fabrication machinery from the US, China has to produce its own from scratch.”
    False; semiconductor equipment is allowed to be exported to China. I worked in this business for over 20 years and know more about that industry than you can imagine. (I was in China as Business Development Manufacturer for precisely this reason) Also, the most critical equipment (photolithography) comes from Japan, not the USA. The only other source is Philips in Holland. The advanced Chinese fabs don’t use any Chinese tooling; it just isn’t competitive. China’s biggest problem in that industry is poor infrastructure, especially in utilities, and a small pool of qualified engineers. You have no idea what you are talking about.

    “Same happened in machine tooling, without advanced tooling, it’s impossible to produce high grade produce at competitive price.”
    False; virtually all advanced machine tooling comes from Japan. There are no trade restrictions on its purchase. China’s advantage is in low cost manpower, not in capital outlay. I have been to many machine shops in China that had the most advanced CNC equipment you can buy. Again, you have no idea what you are talking about.

    “Same situation in the commodities and oil, the amount China needs to secure for its industrial development is entirely different from that of Taiwan.”
    False; China produces oil internally; Taiwan has zero oil resources. China still needs to import oil and buys it at the world price, same as every other country.

    “Not to mention the international politics, nuclear weaponry, space programs, fusion research, genetics, etc, stuff Taiwan doesn’t even dream of.”
    False; Taiwan is doing genetic research. I have several friends currently working there for that specific reason.

    “Taiwan essentially acts like America’s puppy, its leader dies trying to find a chance to kowtou to American master.”
    Opinion with no substantiation. Incidentally, no one “kowtows” in the western world. That is a Qing dynasty custom. I thought they were a “foreign” dynasty? Why would Chinese practice a foreign custom? Isn’t this just a cheap insult to Taiwanese? I thought they were your compatriots? Have you ever been to Taiwan? Have you done business there? Do you have any idea what Taiwan is like?

    “Especially, given the fact India has much more wider access to Western technologies due to its democracy status.”
    False; India was allied with the Soviet Union for most of postwar history. It has only recently begun to deal with the United States, and that position isn’t popular with many of its people. Today it has the same access to technology as China.

    “It’s very true, how dare I speak for the Chinese people other than myself? Sorry, I forget it is the exclusive right that belongs only to the Chinese dissidents and Western activists—–the self-anointed spokespersons of the oppressed Chinese people. What a joke!!”
    Logical fallacy; this is an ad hominum attack. SKC never said he was a spokesperson for the Chinese people; you made it up and then attacked him for it. You represent your own opinion, SKC represents his own opinion; Chinese dissidents represent their own opinions and western activists represent their own opinions.

    “You never dressed the issue of technology blockade of West to China. The industries that give Taiwan advantage over mainland are those only Taiwan can build from importing Western technologies, but mainland can’t. It was only because the West needs to build up Taiwan to enclose China, nothing Taiwan did for itself. Taiwan benefited from being West/US tool to encircle China. How can mainland take the same strategy?”
    False; again, you just make this stuff up. There was a technology blockade many years ago but that changed over a decade ago. China isn’t competitive because to build semiconductors, you need reasonably clean water, you need consistent utilities, you need excellent transportation systems, you need efficient customs operations, etc. At this time, it’s less expensive to make wafers in Taiwan and ship them overseas than to make them in Shanghai and do the same. Those plants weren’t built for export; they were built to supply China’s internal market. Once China joined the WTO, protective tariffs were lowered and at that point, it became cheaper to ship the chips from Taiwan rather than making them in China. That industry is capital intensive, not labor intensive. Making chips in China has no advantages. Once again, you have no idea what you’re talking about.

    “No other developing countries achieved what PRC has achieved, India, Mexico, Brazil, Russia. Compared to the historic achievements of China in past 200 yrs, PRC has reached the height never would have been dreamed of in the days of ROC. Then compared to what the US achieved at the 60th yr of the founding of USA, PRC again out-did America. All in all PRC is the best thing has happened to the Chinese nation. “
    False; the current GDP per capita is much higher in Taiwan than in China. The mean income for a Taiwan worker is also much higher. China’s growth has been fantastic, but China also started so far behind the rest of the world that it still hasn’t caught up to the ROC. As far as comparing it to the founding of the USA, you’re talking a 200 year difference, so to compare is absurd. Why not compare it to the first 60 years of the Xia dynasty? It makes as little sense.

    “China had a parliamentary democracy system in the 20th century, ROC was the first democratic republic in Asia.”
    False; Japan had a parliamentary democratic system before the ROC. The democratic system in the ROC only started in 1986. Before that, it was a military dictatorship. In fact, the political structure of the ROC and the PRC were originally the same, they were both Leninist systems.

    “What did it brought to China? Civil wars, foreign invasions, starvation.”
    False; civil war was brought by the CCP since at the time, the ROC was the ruling party. The foreign invasion was brought by Japan, and there was far greater starvation under the CCP than under the ROC. The GLF was the worst famine in 20th century China.

    “How much Chinese population has changed from the founding of ROC to its doom in 1949? How much Chinese population has changed since the founding of PRC? Given the growth rate that experienced in PRC period, how much Chinese population had lost by the period of ROC? 500 million to 700 million? ROC should be the most murmurous regime the world had ever seen.”
    If you’re trying to say what I think you’re trying to say (this part is hard to understand), you are trying to equate a lack of population growth with murder. That makes no sense. Are you saying that because France has zero population growth, it is in essence murdering millions each year because one hundred years ago, the population growth was higher? In fact, the population growth strongly encouraged by Mao has not only been a disaster for the country, the CCP has admitted as much and instituted a one child policy to lower the population. Under your reasoning, does this means the current CCP is murdering millions of people every year?

    “What PRC achieved even in the first 30 yrs of rule would put ROC in infinite shame. Population doubled, nuclear armed, industrial production, life span, food produced, literacy rate, etc… no comparison here. All this just to tell you, Western democracy China had tried already, it never worked, China was dragged through a bloodbath of civil wars and Jap invasions, it brought China shame upon shame, death upon death. “
    False; the population increase is considered by the CCP to have been a horrible policy, industrial production in China during the first 30 years was minimal compared to its size (do you really want to count the steel production from “backyard furnaces”?), life span increased for sure, but that usually happens when you are not fighting wars, food produced still produced huge famines, literacy rate was increased. There was no western democracy in China during the ROC years. Do you think the slaughter of CCP leaders in Shanghai was democracy? It was a military dictatorship with a Leninist party organization. China has never tried democracy. Dr. Sun Yat-sen was never able to accomplish that dream. But once the war was over; let’s look at those same issues over in Taiwan. Population in 1949 was 7.39 million, today it is 22.8 million. Pretty large increase. No nuclear arms, but no one is complaining about that, including the CCP. Industrial production in the first thirty years was much higher in Taiwan on a per capita basis. Life span in China today is 71; in Taiwan it is 72. Food production in Taiwan is pretty high but unlike China, Taiwan did not experience famines from 1949 to 1979. The current Taiwan literacy rate in 96.1% while in China it is 90.9%.

    “Asking questions about throwing out the Chinese constitution of cause should not allowed. Would the US allow a survey to ask should US have a nazi government or communist government?”
    The quick answer is yes. In fact, you can do it yourself.

    “Russia tried it, and lost more than 10million population in the ’90s, of cause Western media sweeps it under the rug.”
    False; western media reported it in great detail. Russia had a limited democracy without any democratic structures in place. Their failure was for the same reason that democracy at the time of Tiananmen Square would also have failed. That doesn’t condemn democracy; it condemns the introduction of democracy when the institutions of democracy are not in place. They seem to be doing better lately, if you’ve noticed. They still hold elections.

    “Russia lost 10s millions of population, economy destroyed, territory taken away.”
    False; Russia did not lose territory, the hegemonic imperialist Soviet empire lost territory. Lately, Russia’s economy is booming. Moscow is now the most expensive city in the world.

    “You don’t need to go through all that mumble jumble, just say you don’t accept the results, and give your own version of it, that would make it a lot easier on yourself. I don’t think you would accept any data that doesn’t fit you expectation. I don’t have anything to say, just read the report, take it or leave it.”
    What mumbo jumbo? He supplied the data you referenced (Pew Report) after you had used it as your substantiation. If you thought it was mumbo jumbo, why did you bring it up in the first place? Jerry didn’t give you his own version, he gave you the complete and original report. There was only one version. You referenced the data, not him. Why won’t you accept your own data?

    Facts, I don’t have any problem with your opinions per se, but you make all sorts of false statements, give opinions as facts, back up nothing you say and then launch ad hominum attacks on anyone that calls you on it. The purpose of a blog is to exchange information, ideas and opinions. What system is best for China? That’s an opinion. There is no correct or incorrect answer until that system is tried under the present circumstances. Your opinion is just as valid as everyone else’s. But when you throw around “facts” that are not facts, when you substantiate nothing you say, your opinions have no real validity in terms of adding to the discussion.

    So you have two options; you can write something nasty to me or about me, or you can continue to give your opinions but with some validation and substantiation rather than simply emotional responses. I hope you go with the second option, since I would like to have a better understanding of why you think the way you do. I’m willing to change my opinion, but only if I have a compelling reason to. Why don’t you give me one?

  120. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Fiction #113:
    I think it’s very admirable how you can quote “research” in one post, then call the details of said research “mumble jumble” in 12 hours and 12 minutes. Nothing like displaying such strength of conviction. Better you than me, I always say.

  121. WillF Says:

    @Allen:

    Thanks for staying focused on the topic. I guess “voice” is hard to measure politically. To be sure, there are vested interests, but voting in my opinion adds an important feature to the political process. We could argue endlessly about whether voting makes a difference. I doubt I’ll change your opinion on the matter and I doubt you’ll change mine. But my general feeling boils down to this: if people can vote, they may change things, or may not. If people can’t vote, they won’t change things, period. That is, without some sort of messy political turmoil (i.e. Tiananmen Square, or worse, civil war). Nobody wants that for China.

    So in a democratic society, if the government is doing a bad job, at least in theory there’s a backup system (voting) to throw the government out and put in a better one. It doesn’t always work, but it does sometimes. As for the Chinese system, what if the Chinese government one day decided it didn’t care about economic growth for the average citizen anymore and wanted to line its own pockets at the expense of the people? How could the Chinese people change their government in the event of such a turn? There is no peaceful process of removing the CCP entirely. Thus, while I admit the CCP has done a lot of good, there’s a serious danger that it can’t or won’t keep it up forever. In a democratic system, there’s the possibility of a peaceful transfer of power. In China, there is none.

    As for your critique of free press, I assume you’re thinking of the Fox News/CNN-style media in the US. They do suck, but there is plenty of intelligent journalism out there as well. There are some great thought pieces and op/eds published in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Salon.com, the New Republic, just to name a few of the more liberal ones. The average American may not read these papers, but plenty of people do. And our evening news shows aren’t so bad. And investigative journalism does have some positive impact: it was two young reporters for the Washington Post that revealed Watergate in the 1970s; the Washington Post revealed the Walter Reed hospital scandal in 2007, etc.

    As for your vision of future China, I think it’s wonderful. All nations should strive for a fully educated, participatory population. But the fact of the matter is most people don’t have the drive to get that college degree and engage themselves in the issues of the day. That doesn’t mean you should deprive those that do from freely exchanging ideas without government interference. That being said, I completely agree that education is very important for a free press and democracy in general.

    As it stands now, I’m not sure that the news programming in China is any better than CNN or Fox News in terms of unbiased or significant reports. While my Chinese is still too rudimentary to follow Chinese broadcasts, I know that CCTV9 and the China Daily are terrible. I’m sure the Chinese language media isn’t as bad as the English language stuff, but I honestly don’t know how good it is. How good is it? I do know, though, that the high-brow media in China can’t stick its neck out too far without fear of reprisal.

    If there was a way in which the CCP could encourage a higher level of debate, I think that’d be fantastic. We should adopt it in the US. But that doesn’t mean the CCP should stick with the current model until they come up with it.

    However, I’d like to point out that it seems we’d both like the same thing for China: a more open, just, and free-thinking society. We happen to disagree on how China will best achieve that.

    @Facts:

    I don’t expect mainland China to develop as fast as Taiwan. I merely meant to show that if you look at the past 30 years, both parties have done a lot of good for their respective zones of control. Pointing to the bad old days of the KMT to condemn the present-day KMT is about as good an argument as pointing to the Great Leap Forward or Cultural Revolution-era CCP to condemn the present-day CCP. They are both very different entities.

    I also don’t think you give the KMT enough credit for the development of Taiwan. There are plenty of countries that had access to all the best technology, but they haven’t achieved what Taiwan has achieved. The US has given lots of aid to other countries, and they have squandered it where Taiwan has used it wisely.

    “Would the US allow a survey to ask should US have a nazi government or communist government?”

    Yes, it would. Just today I was interrupted on the street by an advocate for socialist revolution. Most of us don’t think it would be a good idea, but we’re not going to throw him in jail for it. Perhaps most people in China think Charter 08 is a bad idea. We’ll never know, though. Again, what’s the harm in allowing people to exchange ideas, even bad ideas?

    As for the “why allow debate on a system that screwed up China before” argument, it’s been nearly a century since the 1911 Revolution. Times change. The West is no longer itching to take China apart, and Japan is no longer eager to invade. Maybe it’s time to reopen the debate.

  122. Steve Says:

    @ BMY #@116: Is that when all the warlords started appearing in China? Were they mostly former Qing governors that were able to fill the power vacuum?

    Thanks for the additional explanation. I understood and agreed with your second part, but just wasn’t sure about the first part and wanted to clarify it with you. I understand it now and will need to read up on the history of that time. Seems it was an interesting historical period. I’m more up on the 1920s through the 1940s as far as the history is concerned. I’m much weaker in the early post-Qing period.

  123. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Steve #119:
    WOW! To say “well said” doesn’t nearly say it well enough. Noble of you to put in the time, effort, and goodwill to point “Fiction” towards the light. However, I wouldn’t hold your breath wrt your last query.

  124. Steve Says:

    @ S.K. Cheung: 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.” :D

  125. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Steve:
    LOL. I think we’ve certainly witnessed the ol’ college try, at least on your part.

  126. WillF Says:

    @Steve #119:

    Awesome.

  127. BMY Says:

    @Steve #122

    yes, most of the warlords in early ROC era were former Qing officials.

    Don’t worry. You know so much already. It’s all right of not knowing something sometimes.

    I’ve learned a lot from you and others just on this blog and thank you.

  128. Jerry Says:

    @Steve #119
    @S.K. Cheung #120

    Steve, that was a masterpiece. Kudos to you and then some!

    Yes, tragically, it was Patriot I and II which drove that Franklin quote home to me, again. And then the FISA rewrite and Mukasey’s new rules and directions for the FBI. Won’t the ghosts of McCarthy, Nixon and J. Edgar ever die? I just don’t know; so far they have shown amazing persistence in lingering in our wounded national psyche.

    That said, both quotes are still amazing, timeless quotes.

    Steve, I just condensed what I originally said about the Pew Survey to Facts. I did not want to bore you with the whole thing again.

    SK, yes, it is amazing how Facts can change paradigms to suit himself. I noted that quality over at the “China Punishes France” thread a while back. Some things just don’t change.

    Steve, I will soon answer #87. WillF and SK, I have some questions for you, which I will get to. I just am taking detours today.

    SK, Steve et al, thanks for your fact checking (Or should I say “Facts” checking? Or possibly, “Fiction” checking? Whatever!). :D ::LMAO::

  129. Jerry Says:

    @Admin

    Please highlight #119. Thanks, LC.

  130. Allen Says:

    @Steve #119,

    Wow – I commend your effort! Makes for good reading – though I disagree with a lot (A LOT) of what you wrote! :-)

    Facts – keep on articulating what you feel like articulating. I enjoy what you write. Of course what you write are facts interleaved with opinions, going by Steve’s strict definition of “facts,” but under that definition – few of what any of us write or what history record could count as strictly “facts.”

    Politics is about telling a story, selling a vision, and answering people’s calls for a more just, more hopeful, and more equitable society.

    Logic and facts have a role in the discussions – but I don’t think anyone can strictly argue for their point of view purely under the banner of “fact,” “logic,” “truth” or the likes…

    If that’s Steve’s point – then for me I guess the point is well taken.

    But if Steve is claiming he’s got counter arguments based on the real “facts,” have I got more “facts” for everyone!!! 8-)

  131. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Jerry:
    ““China Punishes France” ” – missed that thread. Tho I see it nearly hit 3 bills. But whatever evidence of Fiction’s proclivities I missed there, I think I’ve seen in spades everywhere else. A demain, mon ami.

  132. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Allen:
    “Facts – keep on articulating what you feel like articulating. I enjoy what you write.” – I agree, for he/she should avail him/her-self to those rights afforded by the country where you (and I’m presuming he/she) live. Too bad he/she feels less generous in providing such latitudes towards his/her native countrymen about whom he/she purportedly cares so much. As for “enjoyment”, I also agree, tho my sentiment is derived more along the lines of that which accompanies diversions like Little Britain or Little Britain USA. In that regard, as with numerous others, I believe our sentiments differ.

    As for Steve’s point, I think it’s that if you want to pass off a statement as fact (and not merely as opinion), it’s best to have some substantiation (and not just the kind you disavow within 12 hours). Otherwise you’re just referencing facts not in evidence. As for whether his/her intent is of the former or the latter, only he/she can so inform, but the deluded nature of his/her moniker speaks volumes.

  133. wuming Says:

    @SKC

    Verifiable facts are subject to manipulation to produce effects that can be more misleading than fictions.

    … Too bad he/she feels less generous in providing such latitudes towards his/her native countrymen about whom he/she purportedly cares so much….

    Liu Xiao-po is detained by police is a fact, but the fate of Liu Xiao-po is not awaiting an average Chinese posting cranky political manifestos online. You have to really look for trouble to get in trouble in such cases. CCP will not pay attention to your opinion until of course when it starts to matter.

    It is also a fact that in Guantanamo there were some pretty ugly stuff going on, but the fate Guantanamo detainees is not awaiting for an average anti-Iraq-war activist, not even an Arabic American.

    Spend some time with Chinese blog-sphere you will find it no less vibrant than anywhere else. Chinese may be caged birds, but the cage is getting ever larger. Most of them can no longer sense this cage. But out of the 1.33 billion birds, there are always a few Kamikaze ones who would keep flying until they hit something.

  134. Wukailong Says:

    It’s a good idea to go to the places one likes or dislikes – Westerners should go to China, and we would probably be better off to have a travel agency aimed at the fenqing, where they could buy guided tours to the US, Europe and Taiwan. A lot of the more extreme viewpoints in these discussions simply seem to be due to not knowing much about the place one talks about (as an example, 环球时报 is not a good source on how daily life is like on Taiwan).

  135. Wukailong Says:

    @SKC: “““China Punishes France” ” – missed that thread. Tho I see it nearly hit 3 bills. But whatever evidence of Fiction’s proclivities I missed there, I think I’ve seen in spades everywhere else. A demain, mon ami.”

    I feel guilty for feeding the troll back in that thread – though the answers were quite amusing, if not bemusing.

  136. Wukailong Says:

    And now, finally, I’ve had a look at the charter. It’s a non-starter to say that documents of this type will always seem crude. They are a bit like “extreme programming” or “agile development”-like manifestos, describing abstract principles in a bombastic way. Still, I think it’s good as a counter-vision to those who simple think along the lines of traditions. Even though it would turn out to be non-productive, it’s the beginning to sketch an alternative to CCP’s vision, and in that sense it’s valuable.

    Another thing, of course, is to remember that the CCP’s vision, today as well as back in the Mao era, was grounded in Western thinking. If China wants to do something completely Chinese, they should go back to the imperial system and perhaps make it more diverse by bringing in some alternative thinking, like Mozi. But what do I know?

  137. facts Says:

    @steve
    Your comment on my arguments are almost comical. I will go through some of your points for entertainment purposes, because they are so off the chart, really can’t be taken seriously. For now let me just say, your Western apologist views will get you nowhere in China, and many of your opinions are insults to common Chinese folk. Again I can predict the so-called Charter 08 will go nowhere, it’s just a farce as it is.
    =========================================
    “Chairman Mao for the first time in past 200 yrs gave the Chinese nation a spine, gave China peace for over 60 yrs and still counting, gave China an economy ranked 3rd in the world at end of 08 and still rising.”
    False; China has not had peace for over 60 years. There was the Quemoy bombing; the Korean War, various border conflicts, the re-absorption of Tibet; the war with Vietnam. How can you call that peace? Mao died in 1974, when the economy was in a shambles. You can compliment Deng, Jiang and Hu, but not Mao in terms of economic development. He had nothing to do with the improved economy. In fact, the economy was a disaster under his rule.
    ==============================================
    You have a different concept of peace to most Chinese. Peace to Chinese mean no foreign invasion to Chinese homeland. yes CCP has secured Chinese borders and given peace for the Chinese people for 60 yrs, and counting.

    Comparing the amount of food/grain, industrial output, life expectancy, literacy rate, health care by PRC in 1974 to that during the ROC yrs, if you call China in 1974 was in shambles and disaster, what you call the days of ROC? Hell on earth?

    ========================================================
    “Chairman Mao is the man who stopped the down spiral of China, who put China on the upward path. Generations of Chinese will be grateful for the great Chairman.”
    Opinion, not fact. You may love Mao and what he did; most Chinese I know were far fonder of Zhou Enlai. Those are both opinions but certainly not facts. Most Chinese I know would also say that Deng put China on the upward path. Still an opinion, but one that can be substantiated with more economic data than anything you can produce for Mao.
    =====================================================
    The fact is Chairman Mao was the founding father of PRC, PRC has brought the Chinese nation to what it is today. Yes Chairman Mao stopped the downward spiral of China, and set China on an upward path. Do you have source/data to substantiate your statement on Chinese opinion for Premier Zhou? None I see.

    Why don’t you use your own standard, or you have one standard for me and another one for yourself? And when did I ever say, every single statement I wrote is a fact, and how could you ever make an arugment with facts only? This is just another hit-the-straw-man tactics of yours. Making up some statements call it mine, beating it to death and declare victory.

    Here I specifically pick the examples on Chairman Mao. He is the Man, kicked out the Western overlords, and steered the Chinese nation on a new rising course, setting China free from the shackle of 150yrs of sordid Western domination. The West tried everything, military intervention in NK and Vietnam, (both got beaten off), economic blockade for 30 yrs, but none worked. How the West/Japan and their Chinese lackeys hate him! How much energy is put in producing the dirt to demonize such a towering figure… unsubstantiated rumors about his personal life to graphical details.. Chairman Mao has become one of the most demonized/vilified figures by Western propaganda.

    But Chinese people remember and honor him, many Chinese families hang Chairman Mao’s portrait in their house, Chairman Mao is the most admired hero among the Chinese youth. Every day in Beijing, there is always a long line of people—the simple common folk from all over China with their family (mostly on their first visit to the capital)—waiting patiently outside Chairman Mao memorial, to pay their respect. I have never been to Beijing, but when I go, a visit to Chairman Mao Memorial to pay my respect is definitely the first order of business. As time goes on, the significance of the Chairman in Chinese history will only grow, future generations see more clearly the indisputable contributions he made to the Chinese nation. Chairman Mao–forever the great helmsman of the Chinese people–rest in peace. I don’t expect you understand, and do I and millions of Chinese care what you think of Chairman Mao? I don’t think so. Chairman Mao is our national hero, period.

  138. facts Says:

    @Willf #121
    I don’t think you understand what I have told you. Your thinking is that democracy is just the absolute truth and yardstick to measure any nation. So the question is only why China not adopt it now, why the wait, why not talking about it, when this is going to happen? My question is why we should, why we want to give up something working and waste time on a failed approach?

    When I said China tried it in 1911, it didn’t work, you said the circumstances were different it may work now. See for you democracy is the absolute truth, so it can’t be wrong. Not me. In 1911 Western system of government was proposed s the solution to solve the problems for China. The warlords, the foreign invasions, the economic development, etc. The ROC solved none of the problems, only made the crisis worse, it led China from civil war to civil war, British invasion to Japanese invasion, starvation to starvation. Why all the disasters after 1911 can’t be the direct result of adopting the Western demoncrazy? It’s unthinkable to you, but not to me.

    Now PRC has set China on a new course, things have improved greatly, and you want CHina to go back to 1911 and give Western demoncrazy another try? Are you going to give 1.3 billion Chinese an insurance policy? You think China should give up what is working and going for the pie in the sky one more time? YOu make no sense.

  139. Bodyguard Buggering Dictator! Says:

    I wonder what would happen if you tried to piss on Mao’s corpse?

    [Allen: This is borderline incendiary speech – borderline hate speech in my opinion. Is there really a need to communicate in this fashion?]

  140. TonyP4 Says:

    @#119. Will require repeated reading. Add my opinions here before I forget.

    * Pew report is great but need update on Chinese. I do not thing the satisfactory score is that high now.

    * My hope is Taiwan will reunite with the mainland peacefully like Hong Kong and Macau and maintain their political system for the next 50 years.

    * Mao did a lot of good to China in the first years, but his stupid policy, ‘big leaps (backwards)’, ‘(anti-) cultural revolution’… did a lot of harm to China and a lot of folks died. History will not be nice to him. Bush is mediocre but few die because of him (besides the soldiers sent to Afghan. and Iraq).

    * Yung almost became an emperor after Qing was overthrown.

    * Russia economy depends on oil/gas and commodities (timber…). They were on top of the world when a barrel cost $140 and not now when it is $40 per barrel. When a country depends on resources, they tend to be lazy and drink too much vodka. :) Japan is opposite – hard working as they do not have resources.

    So, are folks in Caribbean. My joke: they sleep under a coconut tree in the day time, and when they’re hungry, they just climb up the tree to get some coconut. The only reason they die is the coconut falls on their heads during their afternoon sleep. :)

    * If you pissed on Mao before his death, you got your head chopped. After his death, you got your dick chopped. :) In either case, your body part (or parts) will be recycled so other human rights will be observed.

  141. sophie Says:

    @ Steve 119
    @ facts

    I think few comments in this blog can pass Steve’s opinion/fact test. Why not relax this requirement a bit?

    “Overwhelming majority of Chinese over the world would be happy to see China unite.”
    Opinion, not fact; You need to substantiate this in order for it to be a fact.
    ——————————————————————————————————
    Chinese are single-minded about being an united country – this is rooted in the culture. Westerners tend to underestimate this culture feature. It’s same difficult for Chinese to understand why the two groups in Belgium are considering to split the country, which is already small. The nation state is a west concept.

    “It’s the disinterest of such, with full force of the activist community plunged in, the mainstream Chinese communities in and outside China don’t really give a damn.”
    Opinion, not fact. No substantiation for your comment.
    ——————————————————————————————————
    I looked at the name list of 303 so-called prominent intellectuals (they are everywhere on internet). Out of 303, about 100 are professional ‘activists’ (yes, that’s what they put down as their profession). I can only recognize about 10. Out of these 10 people, a couple of names are very unpopular in China

    Mao Yushi, who openly advocates China stop protecting its farm lands and rely on food import

    Jiao Guobiao, who is infamous for his radical opinions. For instance, ‘if I were the leader of China, I would sell the country to the US as its 51st state for 1 cent’; China should have surrendered to Japan to avoid killing during WWII

    Among the 10 names I recognized, there is Woser, the supporter of free Tibet. I guess she is there for Clause 18

    Do a search ‘08宪章’ in google, you can see all kinds of anti-china forces jumping out to claim their support. Since I don’t believe these anti-china groups genuinely care about Chinese people’s interest, it’s hard to take the face value of ’08 charter’ without questioning the motivation behind. I don’t say all people signed have other agenda, since there are some Chinese converted to democracy, and genuinely believe America democracy system is the answer for China.

    Regarding how to assess PRC’s first 30 years, there is a new school emerging in China:
    Instead of being completely negative about the 1st 30 years, they think it’s during that period the country set up the key foundations, including gaining peaceful time, for the development of the 2nd 30 years; therefore, China’s recent success should be tracked back further than 30 years.

    In China, among people, also within CCP, there are leftwing and rightwing. In a simple view, rightwing advocates ‘freedom’, leftwing for ‘equality’. But, people in the West usually hear rightwing voice only. If you go to Chinese forums, you can see lots of debates between them, sometimes quite violent.

    Here is an article ‘A Different View Of Charter 08’ written by a leftwing blogger
    http://zonaeuropa.com/200812b.brief.htm#006

  142. Charles Liu Says:

    Sophie @141, if you are looking for anti-China forces, look no further than this blogpost. Has anyone looked into GVO’s association:

    Julian Pain, former head of Reporter Without Border internet freedom desk.

    Ethan Zuckerman was a long time member of Open Society Institute’s Technology board (That’s right George Soro’s OSI – the guy who raped Thai Bhat back in the 90’s and bank rolled Burma’s little uprise last year.)

    – And of course, our Rebecca MacKinnon.

    It’s no wonder Steve didn’t use the 2nd photo in the GVO blogpost – if Oiwan Lam can’t muster a crowd bigger than the semi-regular FLG protest, she doesn’t deserve to be on the paper.

  143. Raj Says:

    Of course the opinions should be considered – and the people who signed it should not be arrested. Are new ideas so scary to the CCP that they have to forcibly control discussion?

    Either they are generally admired/supported by the people such that documents like this do not threaten their position, or if this realistically could undermine their rule it shows public “support” is skin-deep at best and won’t hold up after much informed debate.

  144. Bodyguard Buggering Dictator! Says:

    Sorry Allen, but I find this reverence for a murdering megalomaniac pathetic. It’s a bit like those sad Germans who still revere Hitler.

    Whatever benefits Mao brought to China (and these are greatly exaggerated), his self-serving brand of leadership also brought massive misery (often ignored), making him a critically flawed figure.

    Sun Yat-sen is far more deserving of Chinese people’s respect.

  145. FOARP Says:

    @Charles Liu – “Raped the Thai Baht” – He also ‘raped’ sterling, if you want to put it that way. He’s a currency speculator, what do you expect? As for the rest, all I can say is that your obsession with proving that everyone who is critical of the Chinese government is somehow connected to the US government is deeply unhealthy and, frankly, weird. By your standards, Obama is a card-carrying member of the Weather Underground – well, he was on the same board as the head honcho and received funding from them, didn’t he? By what evidence do you make out Rebecca Mackinnon to be “anti-China”? She teaches at a Hong Kong university – is this your evidence?

    @Sophie – I have heard of some of the people on the list, but not through Chinese politics. I studied astrophysics at university, and worked at Nanhang for a term – that’s how I heard Fang Lizhi.

    @Admin – Why are we highlighting comments that start with the sentence “Your comment on my arguments are almost comical”? (or even “To be quite honest, my experience is that most Chinese people would not agree with you”). If it were up to me, I would do away with all this highlighting, but this is not my blog, however, it does give the impression, when two people are arguing over a point, of agreeing with that person over the other.

  146. FOARP Says:

    @Sophie – Why do you say “America democracy”? Democracy is not the property of the United States, nor is the US the be-all and end-all of democracy, nor does everyone who supports democratic reform in China support the policies of the US government.

  147. Allen Says:

    @FOARP – #145,

    It was I who highlighted #137 – as a response to #119 (which was highlighted).

    I think I agree that we need to improve the highlighting system. As I mentioned in a previous thread – the highlighting is not done in any systematic way. As is currently implemented, it is not meant to indicate a “recommended” post – as in this is good stuff – but only as something to check out – for any number of reasons (from this is a representative post … to this is a great post (whether the editor agrees or not is not relevant) … to this is a post someone need to respond to … to even sometimes this is crazy stuff – hilarious, comical, definitely worth a laugh).

    The highlighted posts are also not exhaustive … there are perhaps others worthy bringing to a casual readers’ attention, but which we editors didn’t quite get to.

    If people have suggestions on what to do with highlighting, please make your ideas known either at the previous thread or the “open thread.”

  148. ChinkTalk Says:

    Sophie #141 – “Since I don’t believe these anti-china groups genuinely care about Chinese people’s interest, it’s hard to take the face value of ’08 charter’ without questioning the motivation behind. I don’t say all people signed have other agenda, since there are some Chinese converted to democracy, and genuinely believe America democracy system is the answer for China.”

    I agree with you 100%.

    In my opinion, Western democracy and human rights proponents lose their credibility with me because throught the results fo their actions I feel that they have agendas other than the Chinese people at heart. If they really care about the Chinese people and China they would want peace between Taiwan and China. They would want peace between Tibet and China. It always makes me laugh when I see in the news that most of the Free Tibet protesters are white people. Why is it that I never see any protests in such a large scale and publicity when it comes to the homeless in Vancouver. When it comes to the abuse and neglect of the Aboriginal communities in Canada. Do they really care about human rights? Where are those human rights people now when the Israelis in its fourth day are bombing Gaza? As of today, I have been trying very hard to find the rationale for these so called “human rights” activists’ actions and non-actions, I cannot find any.

  149. admin Says:

    @FOARP,

    Thanks for continuing giving us feedback on the highlighting feature. This feature is imperfect but some readers think it’s helpful.

    Generally, I defer to post writers and our editors to do the highlighting. As to the particular comments you mentioned, I personally would not highlight either of them. However, as bt argued in another thread, highlighting can be used to facilitate discussion as well as to pinpoint the best comments. So I am OK with a little bit over-highlighting.

    And if anyone feels one comment/POV is slighted by our editors, please let me know and I can make up for it by, well, highlighting it.

  150. Bodyguard Buggering Dictator! Says:

    @Chinktalk

    In the (admittedly small) Tibet protests I have seen the largest single contingent of protesters has appeared to be western Buddhists. I think they are more driven by the freedom of religion angle than some desire to ‘oppose China no matter what’. Really the Chinese government only has itself to blame for the existence of such protests.

    I think the Chinese people deserved a lot better than Mao and Chiang Kai-shek. I think they deserve better than a one party government that reveres a murderer like Mao to shore up its own legitimacy.

    I have protested against Israel on numerous occasions – admittedly not recently, but protesting was something I did a lot more of when I was at university. I have never attended a China targeting protest in my life.

    You seem to think that any westerner who criticizes aspects of China (and particularly Chinese nationalism) buys into some pro-US world view. I can’t speak for everyone, but in my case your assumptions are far from the truth.

  151. Charles Liu Says:

    FOARP, not everyone. Let’s just say I can’t find anyone connected with FM taking money from any of RSF, OSI’s Chinese counter part. Can you? Let’s see some links.

    As far as I can tell, those of us in FM are truely “grassroot”.

    What’s really ironic is while it’s the same old NGO/GO money and agenda under the facade of “new media” like GVO, some of us netters who doesn’t have any connections with the CCP are accused of taking 50 cent RMB (7 cent US) bribes.

  152. FOARP Says:

    @Charles Liu – It’s news to me that you are ‘in’ FM any more than I am, otherwise, congratulations, you are capable of thinking that that those who hold so-called “pro-China” opinions genuinely hold their opinions and are not paid to do so. Now, you know how they think what they think without someone telling them to do so? Right, the people who you label “anti-China” (which, in your view, seems to mean wanting the Chinese people to live under a government of their own choosing) are also perfectly capable of holding their opinions without being paid to do so. I know, it seems so strange that anyone could want to, say, sign a list of fairly basic reforms, without George Soros and the CIA being behind it, but it’s true.

    So George Soros has contributed some money to Global Voices Online? So what? Anti-CNN gets its money from private citizens who support bashing the western media – does this mean that the people who write for it do not actually believe what they are writing? Would it be evidence of sinister dealings if, say, one of the contributors to FM had family relations in the Chinese communist party? Or if they had worked in the state media? And if OSI and RSF (which do not actually seem to be more than incidentally connected) are puppets of the US government, why do they spend so much of their time involved in criticising it?

    Listen, you are buying into an illogical conspiracy theory in which all critics of the Chinese government are puppets of the US government, and in which even the most incidental connection to US government monies is proof of a pay-off. Just like the 9/11 truthers, the JFK nuts, the UFO crazies, the moon-landing denialists, the NWO/ZOG maniacs – go and check out the kind of things these guys write and then come back and read your own writings – you will see a lot of parallels.

  153. Charles Liu Says:

    FOARSE, I never said I’m in FM any more than you. Never the less I can’t find you taking anybody’s money either.

    If you can link any of anti-CNN’s money to any NED or OSI’s Chiensse counter part, let’s see some links. Until then I’ll take your “if” as if you have no proof.

    Do you even have an iota of “incidental connection”?

  154. BMY Says:

    @Facts #137&138

    “You have a different concept of peace to most Chinese. Peace to Chinese mean no foreign invasion to Chinese homeland. yes CCP has secured Chinese borders and given peace for the Chinese people for 60 yrs, and counting”

    There was no foreign invasion after the end of the second war and before 1949 in ROC era . ROC(both KMT and CCP) had two of the most powerful military machines in the world then. And there hasn’t been any foreign invasion after ROC government fleet to Taipei.

    “Comparing the amount of food/grain, industrial output, life expectancy, literacy rate, health care by PRC in 1974 to that during the ROC yrs, if you call China in 1974 was in shambles and disaster, what you call the days of ROC? Hell on earth?”

    It’s pointless to compare 1974 and pre 1949. most of the countries on earth had made progress from the 40s to the 70s. the “Hell on earth” in ROC was partially because a group of people were using wars to try to solve the political difference(there was no much difference between anyway) and established PRC via civil war. I am not here to blame who was responsible for the civil war. I am just saying it is not fair to blame ROC for the wars. Without the chaos of fighting warlords and Japanese in ROC ,there would not be a PRC in 1949.

    “the fact is Chairman Mao was the founding father of PRC, PRC has brought the Chinese nation to what it is today.”

    It is true that Mao was the founding father of PRC. But not him who brought the Chinese nation to what it is today.It was Zhou and Deng and Chinese people who brought China to what it is today. The whole economy was planned and managed by Zhou from the 50s-70s while Mao constantly destroyed the economy and culture.

    “Here I specifically pick the examples on Chairman Mao. He is the Man, kicked out the Western overlords, and steered the Chinese nation on a new rising course, setting China free from the shackle of 150yrs of sordid Western domination. The West tried everything, military intervention in NK and Vietnam, (both got beaten off), economic blockade for 30 yrs, but none worked”

    If there was no Mao.there won’t be tens of thousands of Chinese man and woman lost their lives for countries who are no much friendly to China right now. NK people would have had better life.economic blockade for 30 yrs had worked well and we didn’t have much and didn’t have much contacts with the rest of the world and that’s why we had a open door policy later on.

    “But Chinese people remember and honor him, many Chinese families hang Chairman Mao’s portrait in their house, Chairman Mao is the most admired hero among the Chinese youth”

    Are you able to tell where you get that “most” from? Myself and some I know don’t honor him and some other do honor him. But I don’t know which side has the “most”

    “Why all the disasters after 1911 can’t be the direct result of adopting the Western demoncrazy? It’s unthinkable to you, but not to me.”

    I am one of them who prefer Chinese charactered and gradually progressed democracy and very allergic to hollow “freedom and democracy” slogan and against overnight political change. But to blame western democracy for the chaos after 1911 is not fair at all. If we simply look at history, there were always chaos whenever a dynasty ended because of political vacuum which had nothing to do with democracy or not. That’s why I am sort of person who against any revolution ,republic revolution or communist revolution or democracy revolution .

  155. Charles Liu Says:

    It appears there are more than “incidental connection” between the author of ’08 Charter’, Liu Xiaobo, and guess who – the NED:

    Liu Xiaobo, President of Chinese dissident group ICPC:
    http://www.zoominfo.com/people/Xiaobo_Liu_378792980.aspx

    ICPC received $135,000 from the NED in 2007:
    http://www.ned.org/grants/07programs/grants-asia07.html

    $135,000 from the NED in 2006:
    http://www.ned.org/grants/06programs/grants-asia06.html

    $85,000 from the NED in 2004:
    http://www.ned.org/grants/04programs/grants-asia04.html

    Now, I’m pretty sure it is a violation of the Foreign Agent Registration Aact for someone US resident to take Chinese government’s money, then advocate/incite the overthrow of the US government and abolition of existing US constitution.

    As a patriotic American and loyal tax payer I believe my tax dollars are wasted on GW Bus regime’s BS foreign policy implement such as this.

  156. BMY Says:

    I think I agree with FOARP about the highlighting . I wouldn’t highlight too emotionally charged/personal attacking comments .

    to facilitate discussion via highlighting doesn’t really help if there are quite few highlighted. I would suggest only highlight quality comments. or if there is a way to use different colour of highlighting to facilitate discussion.

  157. BMY Says:

    sorry, #156 should be on the open thread as Admin suggested

  158. Charles Liu Says:

    And ICPC is not the only source of my tax dollar for Liu Xiaobo. He also gets money from Uncle Sam for minzhu zhongguo (Democratic China):

    – $145,000 in 2007:
    http://www.ned.org/grants/07programs/grants-asia07.html

    – $136,000 in 2005:
    http://www.ned.org/grants/05programs/grants-asia05.html

    – $135,000 in 2004:
    http://www.ned.org/grants/04programs/grants-asia04.html

    Pray tell, why would we lament Chinese money corrupting our political process, while sending many folds more to China, to corrupt their political process? Advocating overthrowing of the Chinese government? Abolition of China’s constitution?

    And why can’t FM get this kind of money? Second thought better not, FARA can land you up to 25 years in jail.

  159. ChinkTalk Says:

    Bodyguard Buggering Dictator #150 – “You seem to think that any westerner who criticizes aspects of China (and particularly Chinese nationalism) buys into some pro-US world view. I can’t speak for everyone, but in my case your assumptions are far from the truth.”

    Thanks for your comments.

    Let me state unequivocally that I am pro-American. Maybe surprising to you, I am also very much pro-West. I am just disgusted by the Western media’s lies and anti-Sino propaganda. There is something very un-democratic about the way the Western media’s manipulation of the general populace by using brainwashing techniques. Very much what we accused the Communists of doing. What I find funny about these “human rights and democracy” protestors is that they have so much money to go to China to do protests. Where do they get the money from? How does the Dalai Lama support over 200,000 of his followers living in India. I sure would like transparent financial reports on their income and expenses. Would any of these organizations like Free Tibet would be interested in disclosing their financial statements. What I am saying is that I don’t think a lot of these organizations are really interested in human rights or democracy for the Chinese people, there are hidden agendas. While the Charter 08 is proposed by Chinese people in China, much of the content, I find personally, is nothing new and sounds more like often used mantras in Western newspapers.

  160. Wahaha Says:

    SKC,

    do you know how to live without drinking water and no bathroom ? do you know how it feels that you and your parents living in a small room ? do you know how it feels that you have to work 12 hours a day and 6 days a week ? and even work hard like that you cant afford eating in a decent restaurant ? Do you know the feeling that others look down on you simply cuz your country is poor ?

    That is an ugly mark on your face I was talking about. what is so laughable about that, huh?

    Remember we once argued about what union could “accomplish”? see what UAW did to US auto industry ? see why so many states in US are about to bankrupt ?

    BTW, about Mao: to lot of chinese, he is hero, simply cuz he stood up against West, especially for those who didnt suffer the pain of 1960s. How will he be judged in the future? I dont know. but one case showed that his status in China cant be replaced :

    A portrait of Mao by Andy Warhol was sold for $120,000,000 in Hong kong.

  161. facts Says:

    @BMY #`154
    “There was no foreign invasion after the end of the second war and before 1949 in ROC era . ROC(both KMT and CCP) had two of the most powerful military machines in the world then. And there hasn’t been any foreign invasion after ROC government fleet to Taipei.”

    You statement lacks logic. Why the lack of invasion is not the result of the PRC’s defense build up? India tried to push into Tibet, but was routed by PLA. Soviets tried to push into the Northeast and Northwest, but could not, because China was nuclear armed. After WWII, ROC gave up Mongolia in 1945. Why the most powerful military machine of ROC stood idle by? No foreign invasion of Taipei, because Taiwan was already the satellite state of the US. Taiwan has no independent will, it has to obey the American master. When the US told Taiwan to gave up nuclear program, Taiwan had to obey. But not PRC. Yes, PRC has ensured 60yrs of peace for the Chinese people and counting, a feat ROC never accomplished.

    “It’s pointless to compare 1974 and pre 1949. most of the countries on earth had made progress from the 40s to the 70s. the “Hell on earth” in ROC was partially because a group of people were using wars to try to solve the political difference(there was no much difference between anyway) and established PRC via civil war. I am not here to blame who was responsible for the civil war. I am just saying it is not fair to blame ROC for the wars. Without the chaos of fighting warlords and Japanese in ROC ,there would not be a PRC in 1949″

    Why pointless? Most country made progress from 1911 to 1949 too, what progress ROC made over those years, besides civil wars, Japanese invasion, and starvation? Regarding civil war, it was the direct result of the incompetence of ROC leadership to secure peace inside China. There are always people not willing to settle issue peacefully, a government’s responsibility is to enforce peace and tranquility. ROC failed miserably, ROC never deserve the power it gained, so rightfully it was kicked out.

    “It is true that Mao was the founding father of PRC. But not him who brought the Chinese nation to what it is today.It was Zhou and Deng and Chinese people who brought China to what it is today. The whole economy was planned and managed by Zhou from the 50s-70s while Mao constantly destroyed the economy and culture.”

    There were the same Chinese people in the past 200 yrs, why only during PRC era China has risen to such height? Why Mr. Zhou and Mr. Deng all praised and honored Chairman Mao? To say Chairman Mao destroyed economy and culture is to equivalent to call ROC killed 500million to 700 million Chinese. True Chairman Mao instituted misguided policies, but that was out of the eagerness to speed up China’s development. The establishment of PRC gave the platform for all the wonderful things happened later to China. Why prior to PRC the same Chinese people under all sorts of leadership never able to achieve any where close to the achievements of PRC era? That only points to the absolute necessity of PRC for the achievements to come about. The establishment of PRC is the prerequisite for China to accomplish the feat of today’s China. Chinese people are forever grateful for Chairman Mao’s contribution in the founding of PRC. That’s why so many Chinese common folk all across the vast land of China come to pay respect at Chairman Mao Memorial. You think the Chinese people are fools, no Chinese people how it was like without PRC, the mistake of early yrs of PRC can be corrected as it has been, the fruit of the founding of PRC will keep benefiting the Chinese people for generations to come. And Chinese people know how to honor Chairman Mao—our national hero, the greatest statesman of his time.

    “If there was no Mao.there won’t be tens of thousands of Chinese man and woman lost their lives for countries who are no much friendly to China right now. NK people would have had better life.economic blockade for 30 yrs had worked well and we didn’t have much and didn’t have much contacts with the rest of the world and that’s why we had a open door policy later on.”

    Well, before PRC, how many friendly countries came to China to lives from 1842 to 1949? Did China not having an open door policy from 1911 to 1949? In 1950, China had to deny West access to NK, where Japan launched its invasion of China only 20 yrs before Korean war. What happened afterwards in NK was not Chairman Mao’s business, his first and utmost duty was to ensure peace for China, which ROC failed miserably. Maybe ROC had the welfare of NK in mind when it surrendered Northeast to Japan without a fight in 918 at the cost of 35 million Chinese lives. How thoughtful!

    “Are you able to tell where you get that “most” from? Myself and some I know don’t honor him and some other do honor him. But I don’t know which side has the “most””
    “我心目中的英雄”网络调查 毛泽东排名第一
    http://culture.people.com.cn/GB/22219/5705428.html
    Those Westerners are eager for me to quote Chinese sources, there you go.

    “I am one of them who prefer Chinese charactered and gradually progressed democracy and very allergic to hollow “freedom and democracy” slogan and against overnight political change. But to blame western democracy for the chaos after 1911 is not fair at all. If we simply look at history, there were always chaos whenever a dynasty ended because of political vacuum which had nothing to do with democracy or not. That’s why I am sort of person who against any revolution ,republic revolution or communist revolution or democracy revolution .”

    You believe it’s not fair to blame the chaos after 1911 on ROC, but you believe the difficulties after 1949 should be blamed on Chairman Mao. I believe a government should take responsibility for the state of the affairs of the country, which is called accountability. ROC totally lost control of the country, blame should fall squarely on ROC. Just as the difficulties in early yrs of PRC, Chairman Mao took the blame. Even there was no foreign invasion, population doubled, life expectancy/literacy rate/health care all improved greatly. Compared to PRC, ROC was really a failed state, ROC leadership of cause should take the blame. You need to be at least consistent in applying your own standards.

  162. Jerry Says:

    @Wahaha #110, 160
    @S.K. Cheung #118

    Wahaha, you wrote in #110

    BTW, there is no question that the current system in China has tons of flaws. but if a person has an ugly mark on his butt, will he allow doctors to replace that mark with a piece of skin from his face ?

    SK responded in #118

    If ” (the) current system in China (which) has tons of flaws” is the skin on the butt, what is the facial skin analogous to? Besides, if that were the case, I’d just hack off the butt skin (ie ugly CCP flaws), slap a band-aid on it, and be done with it.

    Wahaha, you responded in #160

    SKC,

    do you know how to live without drinking water and no bathroom ? do you know how it feels that you and your parents living in a small room ? do you know how it feels that you have to work 12 hours a day and 6 days a week ? and even work hard like that you cant afford eating in a decent restaurant ? Do you know the feeling that others look down on you simply cuz your country is poor ?

    That is an ugly mark on your face I was talking about. what is so laughable about that, huh?

    Wahaha, I must be missing something here. You wrote an ambiguous reference to an “ugly mark”. SK, IMHO, was seeking clarification for this analogy, which I did not understand either. He did this in his humorous, sarcastic manner, which, BTW, I appreciate. Then you scold, some might say excoriate, SK for his supposed insensitivity to the plight of poor Chinese people.

    Huh? Wahaha, why would you expect us to know what your reference to “ugly mark” meant? Do you think that you can make a mysterious remark/analogy and reasonably expect us to know what it means? Then, you have the temerity to scold SK for insulting impoverished, poor Chinese people. Again, huh?

    How are we supposed to know that your “ugly mark” is a reference to the suffering of impoverished Chinese people? Osmosis? Omniscience? If that is what you meant, then I would suggest that you be clearer about what you write. Say/write what you mean. Do not hold people accountable for not being able to discern your ambiguities.

    I am pretty sure that SK meant no disrespect to the plight of suffering Chinese people. I mean no disrespect, either.

    All that said, I wonder if your diatribe was instigated by SK’s remark, “all these months, and you still haven’t ceased to amuse me.” ??

  163. Tu Quoque Says:

    ” Just like the 9/11 truthers, the JFK nuts, the UFO crazies, the moon-landing denialists, the NWO/ZOG maniacs – go and check out the kind of things these guys write and then come back and read your own writings – you will see a lot of parallels.”

    Yes, I do see a parallel – that’d be YOU, Mr. FOARP.
    All these be-labelled people by YOU, mr. Paranoid ( Fear -of- a-red -planet)are crazy? Really? Says who? You ? Where are your Proofs, i.e. Disproofing proofs of your claims and accusations?
    What makes you think you can trust your professor, your university, the British education bureau/ministry to whom and which you are submitting yourself – with your time, money and brain cells, and for what? A Master’s Degree? And having read books and papers by necessity and personal preference, you have declared yourself a you-know-it-all, aye? – Well qualified to deem others from good universities, strong academic backgrounds, some with successful investigative careers, government & military whistle blowers, not a few PhDs in applied sciences etc nuts, crazy, derranged, do ya?

    “Until then I’ll take your “if” as if you have no proof. ” Well said Charles Liu.

    Oh, BTW, I don’t subscribe to every conspiracy theory / POV, nor think that the West is always trying to screw the Chinese people, or the Africans or the Indians. A lot of time they are just incompetent and stupid – and having made infinite stupid statements and reports for ages, who can blame the general distrust of the hypocritical west?

  164. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Wuming #133:
    “CCP will not pay attention to your opinion until of course when it starts to matter.”- So since Mr. Lu is now detained, does that mean his charter is starting to matter? Even if it was, why must the attention equal detention?

    “you will find it no less vibrant than anywhere else.” – glad to hear it. HOpe it will become more vibrant every day. Maybe even lose the cage someday…

  165. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Fiction #137:
    your “logic” is illogical.

    “Chairman Mao was the founding father of PRC, PRC has brought the Chinese nation to what it is today”. If A caused B, and B caused C, doesn’t mean that A caused C. By your logic, since Columbus discovered North America, and North America is what it is today, then Columbus is the reason for North America being what it is today. How goofy is that?

    So “millions” of Chinese pray at the altar of Mao, you say? Since there are 1300 million Chinese, how many millions don’t, you figure?

  166. Steve Says:

    @ Wahaha #160: Just to clarify, that Andy Warhol portrait of Mao Zedong was sold to Joesph Lau in Hong Kong for $17.4 million US dollars, which is almost $135 million Hong Kong dollars… even higher than you stated. I just wanted to pass on the link for anyone interested.

  167. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Wahaha #160:
    the amusement continues…

    “ugly mark on his butt” (#110)
    “ugly mark on your face” (#160)

    I mean, I’d love to humour you, but it’s tough with a moving target. Did someone surgically move said ugly mark from the derriere to the face in the span of 50 comments? Those hardships you listed in #160 are indeed deplorable…so are you attributing those to China “(which) has tons of flaws”? Maybe I should allow you to clarify before I respond, lest you fly off the handle once again.

    The above notwithstanding, what does any aspect of your colourful example have to do with Charter 08? I mean, I know you have a thing for flighty examples, but as Jerry notes, I suck at mind-reading. So you’ll have to connect the dots for me.

    As for the shape-shift back to unions, yes, the UAW needs to make concessions, but the big 3 are failing in part because they’re car-makers whose cars no one wants. You can’t hang that aspect of their failure on the UAW. And since you show concern for the little guy, you might observe that the work of the UAW allows its members to not have to know “how it feels that you have to work 12 hours a day and 6 days a week ? and even work hard like that you cant afford eating in a decent restaurant ?” By that metric, you might even consider that China could use a union or two.

  168. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To CTalk #148:
    “When it comes to the abuse and neglect of the Aboriginal communities in Canada. Do they really care about human rights? ” – I agree with your sentiment. However, I would say that certain issues speak more prominently to certain individuals than other issues might. And, for fear of sounding flippant, there are only so many hours in a day. So from a practical standpoint, one has to pick one’s battles.

  169. FOARP Says:

    “having read books and papers by necessity and personal preference, you have declared yourself a you-know-it-all, aye? – Well qualified to deem others from good universities, strong academic backgrounds, some with successful investigative careers, government & military whistle blowers, not a few PhDs in applied sciences etc nuts, crazy, derranged, do ya?”

    Yes.

  170. FOARP Says:

    @Charles Liu – So the fact that Liu Xiaobo was a member of organisations which received grants from the NED (an NGO) makes him the same as people who try to circumvent laws preventing foreign funding of political parties through back door means? Yet again, you seem to be grasping at straws when there really is no ‘there’ there.

    Yes, when I say ‘if’ that means that I am writing hypothetically – and that concludes the English lesson for today.

    My point was that the fact that I can connect people who write for FM to the Chinese communist party does not mean that the people who write for FM are CCP puppets, any more than an incidental link between the US government and Liu Xiaobo or Hao Wu or any of the rest means that they are US puppets.

  171. snow Says:

    BMY #114

    “Whom are you blaming for the lost of 500 million to 700 million lives by the period of ROC? I understand there were many parties involved.”

    Sure, but who’s the ruling party? Isn’t a common knowledge that it is the ruling party that should be most responsible? Obviously here is a double standard when passing judgment on KMD ‘s ROC and CCP’s PRC.

    To those who still blindly deny CCP’s legitimacy, a historical fact which even the politicians like the Nixons found it difficult to deny and had to acknowledge and deal with it, I’d like to say that you conveniently ignored one important thing when it comes to the issue of legitimacy, the people’s will and support. Can any cause be successful or any regime come to and maintain power without support from a majority of people? Whatever your opinion about CCP or PRC, you cannot wish away this fact: at that historical moment (1949), it was the Chinese people who dumped KMD (they’d had enough of it) and chose CCP. Whoever lost people’s support lost legitimacy to rule. That’s why even with billions of money support from the US in the 1940s, KMD lost China to CCP.

    To those who have a tendency to idealize the pre 1949 era, a comment from another forum (which speaks for me) might be enlightening.
    http://fray.slate.com/discuss/forums/thread/1616272.aspx

    “Maybe I should have put it this way — prior to Mao, most of China had a staggering death rate, due to constant malnutrition, periodic famines, civil war, and the epidemics that tend to accompany famine and war. The data I’ve seen suggest that about half of all Chinese were dying before reaching adulthood. Mao pretty much fixed these problems, and, except during the Great Leap Forward, the death rate during his rule was dramatically lower than it had been. China’s population didn’t grow at all from about 1800 to about 1950 (while the rest of the world’s population grew by leaps and bounds) because there simply wasn’t enough food in China to keep more people alive. This all changed under Mao — as you note, China’s population grew tremendously during Mao’s rule. The population growth was because, unlike during the previous 150 years, most Chinese babies born during Mao’s rule survived to maturity and had babies of their own, rather than dying of warfare, disease, or (primarily) starvation. China’s death rate went from being similar to (or worse than) what we see now in the most war-torn, famine stricken African countries to being only slightly higher than Western countries. This accomplishment gives Mao god-like status to many of China’s ordinary people, no matter how serious his flaws and mistakes were…

    Basically, the worst times under Mao weren’t much worse for ordinary Chinese people than the decades prior to when Mao took power, while the rest of the time (the vast majority of Mao’s rule) was much, much better for ordinary Chinese people. However, most Americans know nothing of China prior to Mao, so they don’t realize this.”

    One more thing I’d like to add: it’s very fine if you come from, or get most of your sources from, or speak for, a group of people with this background, people who lost property and prestige, even beloved ones, during the Chinese revolution under CCP, people who then escaped from mainland to Taiwan or Hong Kong or western countries. But it is a bit unfair of you to refuse to see and give due respect to the fact that the majority of Chinese people, then illiterate and poverty stricken, saw the legitimacy of CCP and PRC with the view a world apart from yours, that they had all their reasons and were entitled to do so.

    If you have problem of being objective to this simple historical fact, you may have far more difficulties of being fair-mindedly when seeing or saying about things in China today.

  172. BMY Says:

    @snow,

    I was not arguing CCP’s(or KMT’s) legitimacy as it is pointless to argue. I was just questioning Fact’s blame of everything on ROC which is I think diffrent with the history I read when I grow up in China
    And I am not interested in comparing ROC and PRC. But I do think it is not very fair to blame everything bad on ROC万恶的旧社会

    First of all , KMT was not the ruling party(power) of early years of ROC which capitaled in Beijing .-historical fact

    Secondly, most of the warlords were not created by KMT or ROC . -historical fact

    Thirdly, most of the wars pre the mid 30s between warlords had no much to do with KMT or Beijing government.-historical fact

    Fourthly, Japanese invasion was not ROC government’s fault. For sure ROC was weak , but it inherited a weak country with never stooped civil wars. -historical fact

    Finally, civil wars between KMT and CCP was not only caused by ROC government.-historical fact

    I am not here to argue who’s responsible and just saying many parties involved the chaos of ROC and to blame one is not very fair. To compare life span, birth rate etc between war time and peaceful time is not a very fair comparison. You can’t compare the lost of lives during CR and during a Japanese booming compain or the battle of 四平. lives should not be lost in one and the lost of lives could not be avoided in the other.

    I don’t speak for any group but myself. I am a 根正苗红的红五类 and have no any relationship with the groups you mentioned. I am sort of person who just likes fairness. I blame CCP of CR but I defend CCP when people accuse CCP of culture genicide on certain area which I don’t think it’s fail to say so. .I criticize Dalai Lama ‘s propaganda towards China but I defend Dalai Lama when he is accused of the self system because I don’t think it’s fair to accused him when he was choosed by the system as a baby. I blame KMT’s dictatorship but I defend KMT when KMT is accused for all the lost of lives and Chaos in pre 1949 ROC as my understanding of history doesn’t say so.

    This is why my wife often says me stupid of “左右里外不是人”. But I am who I am .

  173. wuming Says:

    @snow

    Thanks for the link to the slate discussion. I found the views of “freetrader” very close to mine. The main point is this: Deng’s post Mao policy was to reverse almost every one of Mao’s policies. If you agree that most of the Chinese are much, much better off than 30 years ago, you can’t help but thinking what if there wasn’t a Mao … Of course, there is no do-over in history.

    I also agree that it is still not the time for a national discussion to re-evaluate Mao in China. Intense pragmatism of Deng is what got us here, intense pragmatism is the route we Chinese should follow in the foreseeable future.

  174. TonyP4 Says:

    @Wahaha

    Have you asked the families of those millions who died of starvation how they feel about Mao because of Mao’s stupid policies, big leaps (backward), (anti-) cultural revolution… ? I know millions worship him but I do not understand why unless they’ve been brain washed. Wake up!!!

    Mao started out good, but when he wanted to become God, the rest was bad history and suffering to China. He tried to cover the whole sky with one hand, a Chinese saying. Citizens were brain washed as the most ‘powerful’ country on earth even they were starving to death. Can anyone be more stupid than that even today? Yes, Mao thought so as he wanted no one to be educated.

    I was lucky not to live like that poor conditions. Do you think the government and/or former government should be blamed partly for that? I wish every one in US have a day of no food and turn down the heat – same as being blind for one day. Do not think Chinese are dumber and/or lazier than Americans. As in my many posts, Americans are rich due to the ample natural resources per capita. To illustrate, in the 50s, many Texans could just drill oil from their backyard. They did not have to drill miles down as in Canada for example. Another example is the ample farm land per capita. You can say God is not fair, but who tells you life is fair.

    US economy is highly exaggerated – the rest of the world like US to be in the down side as they are jealous and US have been bullying others. It is not that bad. US has recession once a while and we survive and learn our lessons. This one is tougher though. US still is the richest and most influencial after he makes some adjustments.

  175. TonyP4 Says:

    Mao’s portrait is worth millions and so he should be worshiped. Should we worship Mono Lisa by the same logic?

    Wahaha, you always have good points, what happened to this post? You must not be in a good mood or being brain washed by the ghost of Mao or Mao is your relative. :)

    Do you want the government to be rich (and powerful) and not sharing the wealth with the citizens?

  176. wuming Says:

    @tonyP4

    I am not even sure of the “Mao started out good” part. He did his fair share of prosecutions before 1949 and his post 1949 policies (land reform for example) quickly went awry. By 1957, he had not quite consider himself god yet but the large scale destructions already started to occur.

    I consider him as a fenqing who never grew up. Zhou Enlai, Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping were also fenqings in their youth, but eventually grew into pragmatic adults.

  177. ChinkTalk Says:

    S.K. Cheung Says: #168

    December 31st, 2008 at 8:01 am
    To CTalk #148:
    “When it comes to the abuse and neglect of the Aboriginal communities in Canada. Do they really care about human rights? ” – I agree with your sentiment. However, I would say that certain issues speak more prominently to certain individuals than other issues might. And, for fear of sounding flippant, there are only so many hours in a day. So from a practical standpoint, one has to pick one’s battles.

    Sir or Madam, please do not get offended but this is the most irresponsible and oxymoron statement I have ever heard.

    ON ANOTHER MATTER:

    I was too young to witness the Mao-Nixon opening up of China – ping-pong diplomacy. But for as long as I can remember, Mao was this monster that killed millions and millions of Chinese people. It is only recently that I start to question the validity of this accusation which has been hammered into my psyche from newspaper to newspaper from year to year. Of course, I was myopic since my information came strictly from North American sources. It was not until the 1990’s that I met Chinese people from China. I have met people who are dishwashers to aircraft engineers. Not one harbour any hatred towards Mao. At worst, some would suggest that it was the times and he had to do what he had to do. Most show a certain quiet affection perhaps respect.

    Just got this from Xinhua, the photo that striked me the most is the one with Mao shaking hands with the daughter of Gerald Ford. He was completely without pretense, welcoming this young American to have a look at humble China. There is a certain greatness to Mao. Just like Abraham Lincoln, did he kill any Americans?

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-12/30/content_10580451.htm

  178. Wahaha Says:

    Steve,

    the 17.4 million dollar portrait was sold in 2006,

    the 120 million dollar portrait was sold in 2008.

    http://financetrends.blogspot.com/2008/05/art-inflation-120-million-mao.html

    In November 2006, Hong Kong real estate magnate Joseph Lau paid $17.4 million for a smaller Warhol Mao portrait, a record at that time. ……

    _________________________________________________________

    Tony,

    obviously I offended you.

    Please read my post again, I said “especially for those who didnt suffer the pain in 1960s.”

    In the minds of lot of Chinese, Mao is viewed as THE one who ended an era that Chinese feel ashame of. Cuz of that, lot of chinese, “especially for those who didnt suffer the pain in 1960s”, are willing to forgive his wrongdoing in great leap and cultrue revolution.

    http://www.sinovision.net/index.php?module=news&act=details&col_id=8&news_id=65423

    Currently, Mao is just viewed as a symbolic figure for a stand-up China, against West suppression (like against West media) and for equal society ( no gap between rich and poor.) What he did in 60s is of no importance to people who dont care about politics. (did Russia people care Putin was a former KGB when they elected him as their president ? we know how much people under Soviet Unions hated KGB.)

    That the CCP doesnt allow people talking about Mao’s wrongdoing is no difference from that the Japanese government doesnt talk about role of its emperor in WWII. If you think Mao did 30% right and 70% wrong, I have no problem with that; If you bash him for his wrongdoing (or crimes), I dont have problem with that either; but if you say he was a devil to China as Stalin to Soviet Unions, I am sorry, I disagree.

    _________________________________________________________

    SKC,

    Charter 8 will bring poverty to China, and another culture revolution.

  179. TonyP4 Says:

    Wahaha, no offense at all. Just different opinions. It is good to understand each other, so our world will have less conflicts. :)

    Folks still worship Mao in Tienanmen square and that is what I saw. I’m just curious how the young, educated Chinese look at Mao and learn from history. If we never learn, history will just repeat itself. Have a good day.

  180. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To CTalk #177:
    no offense taken. I was afraid my statement might sound flippant, though I’m not sure how it’s irresponsible. And “huge pebble” or “tiny giant” are oxymorons; not sure how my statement qualifies in that domain.

    That being said, perhaps you can enlighten me on how you’ve addressed the problems in your town/district/state/province/country before diverting your energies to a discussion about China.

  181. FOARP Says:

    @Wahaha – I know you are committed to the idea that democracy is a luxury which only rich countries can afford (an opinion I entirely disagree with), but why exactly do you think that Charter 08 would result in “another culture revolution”. Anyone who knows their history knows that the cultural revolution was started by Mao to eliminate competitors within the communist party and to bring China under his total control, there is no suggestion of anything like that in Charter 08. Under a democratic system, China would no longer be dominated by a corrupt elite making up less than 5% of the population, and the instability which comes with an authoritarian system due to there being no proper way of transferring power would be eliminated. As long as the dictatorial system remains in place, upheavals like the CR are more, not less likely.

    It is odd that you mentioned Stalin. In fact, many Russians remember him fondly – perhaps even more now than before the fall of the Soviet Union. When Russian soldiers rolled into Georgia this year, the first place many wanted to go after the cease-fire was Gori, Stalin’s birth place, to have their photos taken with Stalin’s statue. To them he represents the same kind of national strength that the Chinese find in Mao, and they are just as willing to make excuses for his misconduct and brutality.

    Stalin’s accomplishments were, in many ways, greater than Mao’s. Mao half-heartedly fought the Japanese whilst directing the main part of his attention to the KMT, and then fought to a bloody standstill in Korea, and ended up half destroying China’s economy with his hare-brained policies. Stalin, on the other hand, built a strong Soviet economy, if it was overly directed to mass production of weapons, this is at least better than producing massive amounts of useless steel in an attempt to climb the world rankings for steel production! Stalin was also the leader who can claim greatest credit for the destruction of the Nazis, and it was under his directions that the Soviets conquered all of traditional Russian territory, outside of Finland, which became a neutral and un-armed country partly occupied by Soviet troops, there was not one bit of Tsarist territory free of the red flag. Compare this to Mao.

    As much as I dislike both of them, and as much as they were practically identical in character and outlook (indeed, both Khruschev and Brezhnev said as much), Stalin was, by any measure, the ‘greater’ leader. However, the miseries which their respective countries continue to suffer under are very much connected to their times in power. Both these leaders could have freed their peoples, and both decided to keep them enslaved for their own personal benefit. They are both equally deserving of censure.

  182. S.K. Cheung Says:

    I think the legacy of political leaders improves with time. Jimmy Carter was wildly unpopular in 1980, but his image has been rehabilitated somewhat over the last 28 years. Gosh, in 30 years, even GWB’s tenure might not look so bad. No reason why Mao’s image wouldn’t experience the same benefit of the passage of time. Apparently, for some, it already has.

  183. Wahaha Says:

    FOARP,

    BEFORE you have freedom, you must have law. Just like current financial crisis and 1920s stock market bubbles, government let wall street run by themselves without laws restricting their behaviors, the results were disasters.

    Most of Chinese have little sense of laws or dont know how to use laws to protect themselves. You can see this even in America, most chinese are afraid of going to court, and during the current crisis, most chinese buinessmen and homeowner dont know how to use bankruptcy law to protect their properties, and they have been in America for over 10 years. ( I mentioned before that some victims in China kidnapped other people or criminals.)

    In a society without law, freedom will only bring disasters.

    _________________________________________________________

    About Stalin,

    It is about national pride that Yeltsin destroied in 1990s. The same reason that lot of Chinese admire Mao.

    As who did more for his country, I think Mao did more, as he completely destoried the class system of old feudal China and liberated chinese women.

  184. ChinkTalk Says:

    SK Cheung #180 – “irresponsible” -suggesting that it is ok to ignore or delay human rights for Canadian Aboriginals, eg.

    More than 150,000 aboriginal children were required to attend state-funded Christian schools as part of a program to strip them of their native culture and assimilate them into Canadian society. That’s “culture genocide”.

    During the 70’s, a whole community of Innuits was relocated to a barren area in the Baffen Islands in Northern Canada without any life support and left to fend for themselves. 90% of the community decimated.

    1990, Canadian Police dumped 17-year-old aboriginal Neil Stonechild in a remote field in Saskatoon frozen to death.

    2008, Winnipeg police tasered aboriginal Michael Langan, 17, to death.

    “Oxymoron” – “huge pebble, tiny giant” – HUGE/TINY- let’s put the full force of protests, including violence by Tibetan rioters that killed Chinese people, to highlight China’s treatment of Tibetans, etc. PEBBLE/GIANT – it’s ok to put off or ignore the Canadian Aboriginal human rights abuses while they are the victims of genocide.

    SKCheung _”That being said, perhaps you can enlighten me on how you’ve addressed the problems in your town/district/state/province/country before diverting your energies to a discussion about China.”

    I hope there is no prerequisites required before we are allowed to opine on issues on this blog.

  185. Allen Says:

    @SKC #165,

    You wrote:

    If A caused B, and B caused C, doesn’t mean that A caused C. By your logic, since Columbus discovered North America, and North America is what it is today, then Columbus is the reason for North America being what it is today. How goofy is that?

    Actually, in general, I think the proposition you think so absurd is actually true – not only in a scientific way (you can break almost all events where a causes b into finer details where a causes subevent 1 which causes subevent 2 … which causes subevent n which ultimately causes event b; you can also connect many seemingly random events through causation chains where seemingly unimportant effects are actually made important through “chaotic interactions”), but also (more practically) in the courts.

    I’ll give you a very simple example.

    I drink and I drive. I lightly injured someone along the way. The victim is rushed to the hospital. The doctor that treated the victim conducted malpractice and killed the patient. I am fully liable for the patient’s death even though I may think to have caused only the slight injury, not the victim’s death. This is so because in the court’s eye, but for my drinking and driving, the doctor would have never had the chance to conduct malpractice to kill the patient!

    The world is interconnected in strange, frightening, as well as wondrous ways.

    So yes, back to your example about Columbus – to the extent that anyone has a hand in creating modern America of today, Columbus definitely had a hand in causing what America is today. Of course, that doesn’t mean we should ignore the contributions made by the millions of immigrants who had since arrived in America. But I think it’s safe to say had Columbus not discovered America in 1492, world history would have been different. America as we know it today would consequently also be different.

    OK guys – have a safe and happy New Year: AND do not drive if you do drink!

  186. yo Says:

    As for this charter 8, I’ll throw my hat in the ring. First off, I agree with the many commentators who question the importance of this article. Reading the proposals, it doesn’t sound too insightful, nor will it seem to produce any actionable steps imo. There is a lot of fluff in the charter, like ending stuff that needs to be ended, start doing things that need to be done, blah blah blah. It reminds me of politicians who say they will “end ineffective government programs”, jeez, why didn’t i think of that! Or even better, the SNL skit where the economic expert was explaining how to solve the economic crisis, “define the problem, figure out a solution, implement the plan, and FIX IT!”

    But speaking of reform in the CCP, I would like propose this question, who decides change in the CCP? I mean, i feel like when we talk about the ccp, we treat them as some mystic monolithic entity, and forget the ccp is made up of people who have their own opinions and goals. How do reforms get passed?

    @admin
    About the highlighting, just my 2 cents, i think it could be used by casual readers as a fast and easy way to understand the flow of the debate. This article is the perfect example where there are over 170 comments.

  187. Charles Liu Says:

    Foarse @ 170 “So the fact that Liu Xiaobo was a member of organisations which received grants from the NED (an NGO)”

    That is not it – Liu Xiaobo is the President of ICPC and Founder of Minzhu Zhongguo, which received grants from the NED (a quasi-governemnt NGO funded by the US Congress to overtly conduct what the CIA used to do covertly.)

    This is the whole context of the fact. Now, can you qualify anyone associated with FM or anti-CNN to this degree? With citation?

    Let’s see your substantiate your “hypothetical”. I don’t see you disputing the cites I’ve provided.

  188. TonyP4 Says:

    Yes, democratic society is only afforded by richer nations. My arguments:

    * Richer nations tend to be more educated in the entire society. As in my previous post, a vote from the uneducated farmer cannot weigh the same as the average urbaner.

    * As in my previous posts, most ‘democratic’ countries in Asia are corrupt at least at one time. Japan and S. Korea are more educated, so they are less corrupt. Singapore is not corrupt with a one-party, semi democratic society.

    I do not know how to classify China. It is not totally corrupt in the central government, but corrupt as hell in the local governments. Corruption in business is acceptable in their culture – what my US friend running business in China told me.

    * democratic society practices their own human right which is different from China’s. China cannot afford to spend millions to trial OJ Simpson whom we know is 99% guilty. China just ‘kills’ one and ‘warns’ a hundred – or thousands in today’s information society – not a good way in western standard but cost effective.

  189. Charles Liu Says:

    Look, I have a real problem with Liu Xiaobo taking my tax dollar and advicating “a new constitution” for China. US govenrment funding abolition of China’s existing constitution? That seems to be beyond self-serving.

    Has Liu Xiaobo really thought about what would happen if the current Chinese goernment and constitution is suddenly abolished? China and 1.3 billion people would be sunk into a stateless chaos and suffer worse fate than Iraq.

    Why is our US constitution so devoid of any semblence human rights (only white men are human, women and blacks are property) not abolished, but allowed to reform slowly thru rare amendments:

    – Sufferage was ratified in 1920 – 150 years later.

    – African Americans are still not recognized as human per original text’s intention which remain unamended to date. Civil rights thru legislation and supreme court decision failed America in 1875, 1896, 1957, 1960. Not until 1965 was any semblence of rights enforced for African Americans – nearly 200 years later and 100 years after emancipation.

    Wouldn’t a reform turely in the interest of China, 1.3 billion innocent people, and spirit of democracy, be amendments to China’s existing constitution under currnet political realities and existing socialist framework – rather than advocacy of abolition made with undue foreign influence?

    That’s really it isn’t it? Gotta get rid of them communists. And is this really how the Chinese people feel? Or is this our agenda?

  190. Wukailong Says:

    @Allen: I think it’s safe to assume that if A partly causes B, and B causes C, then A is partly responsible – but if we say that there is a necessary causal relationship, we’re wrong. In this particular example, I also see another archetype – the despot that unites a country. Instead of being too long-winded, I’ll use the “national father” of Sweden as an example:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gustav_Vasa

    “Gustav was an enigmatic person who has been referred to as both a liberator of the country and as a tyrannical ruler, which has made him the subject of many books.”

    I think the same could be said about Mao Zedong, and in both cases we can probably say that while the ruler in question united the country, his period of rule itself wasn’t necessarily that great. People attribute all sorts of great things to the leader because they did benefit from his rule, attributions that are often vastly exaggerated.

    @TonyP4: “I do not know how to classify China. It is not totally corrupt in the central government, but corrupt as hell in the local governments. Corruption in business in acceptable in their culture.”

    China is corrupt as hell as a general rule, and I don’t know too much about the level of corruption in the central government because it’s not that transparent. I think corruption diminishes with accumulating wealth in society, though. The idea that the central authorities are so much better than the locals is probably wishful thinking. I guess you can say that out in the countryside, there is no law at all, or simple direct rule by whoever is in charge.

    “democratic society practices their human right. China cannot afford to spend millions to trial OJ Simpson that we know he is 99% guilty.”

    Most other societies don’t need to afford that. The US is, well, quite extreme. ;)

  191. Steve Says:

    @Allen #185

    Wow, a perfect description of the “butterfly effect”! :)

    However, I’d say your example is more of a legal than a scientific one. From what I’ve heard from lawyers overseas, in most other countries, the drunk driver would not be liable for the doctor’s malpractice but only for his/her own actions. Since you’re a lawyer, you’d know this better than me. Isn’t American tort law different than most other countries in terms of responsibility?

    I agree with you on your description of causative effect. It’s kind of a percentage thing. Columbus had an influence on today’s world through his voyages but as a contributing factor, it’d be miniscule when other factors were taken into consideration. Though miniscule, it’d still be a key historical driver, for without Columbus’ voyages, the history of the Americas would undoubtedly be different from what it is today.

    Tonight’s the one night of the year I never leave the house. ;)

  192. Allen Says:

    @Steve #191,

    Yes, you are right: the example was meant to be a legal example only. The scientific explanation was left as a principle explained in parenthesis in my original post.

    As for overseas v. U.S. law, you are also right. I’m sure you can find jurisdictions that would not find full liability for the drunk driver above.

    But this was only one example. In general for torts (in all jurisdictions), to get liability, one has to prove negligence and causation. Causation is always the tricky thing – esp. in mass torts – where for example a pollutant increases risks of cancer by say 1%, and one need to prove whether the pollutant actually caused the cancer.

    Anyways … I’m way off topic!

  193. Charles Liu Says:

    I need to object to Liu Xiaobo’s “Tiananmen massacre of pro-democracy student protesters” statement.

    According to a 1998 TAM retrospective from Columnbia University School of Journalism, no students were killed in the square that night:

    as far as can be determined from the available evidence, no one died that night in Tiananmen Square

    Jay Mathews goes on and says if we are not precise about where it happened and who were its victims, people will never understand what it meant.

    Also, declassified NSA intelligence shows casualty was estimated at 180-500, in-line with the 241 figure released by the Chinese government, mostly from workers battling the troops(whom were initially unarmed according to NSA intel) en-route to TAM.

  194. ChinkTalk Says:

    I forgot to link the source of my information on #184:
    http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2008/12/29/f-rfa-cormier.html

  195. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Allen #185:
    of course I have to defer to you for legal definitions of causation. However, scientifically, it is relatively easy to show association, but much much harder to show causation. So while Mao will forever be associated with China’s circumstances, it becomes increasingly, with each passing day, untenable to claim that he caused it.

    Agree with your last statement. Get a designated driver, or a cab, folks!

  196. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To CTalk #184:
    I didn’t suggest it was ok to ignore the world’s atrocities. I merely suggested that not everyone can put out every fire the world over. The reason why I sought your resume was because, if you’re going to berate me for not fixing all that ails the world, I wanted to see the gargantuan amount of good you’d done prior to frequenting these parts.
    And since you at least agree that there are no prerequisites, I think I’ll take the liberty to continue to opine.

    Huge pebble is an oxymoron. Tiny giant is an oxymoron. Huge and tiny are just opposites. Pebble and giant have no particular relationship. If you want to make those into the analogies you have, be my guest. But let’s just be clear that those analogies have nothing to do with any I wrote in #168, which you somehow likened to an oxymoron. I’m still scratching my head on that one.

    THe 1990 and 2008 incidents are police incidents. You’re likely aware that, even in the last year, there have been many taser-related deaths. And there are public inquiries ongoing, none moreso than that arising from the unfortunate Dziekanski case. I wouldn’t consider those systematic human rights abuse cases, and i’ve certainly not heard them addressed as such.

    As for your more historical examples, the Canadian government in the last 2-3 years has embarked on several land claim treaties as a means of reparation for past wrongs. A little late, to be sure, but not complete inaction.

    And you know, if you want a blog for Canada, you’re more than welcome to fly at’er. And to be sure, Canada has unresolved issues. But I hope your point is not to say that Canadians can’t complain about China unless and until all her problems are fixed. That ship sailed a long long time ago, even on this blog.

  197. Jerry Says:

    @S.K. Cheung #182

    Jimmy Carter has done much to redeem himself after his tepid, at best, presidency. But Carter’s lackluster presidency is not solely Jimmy’s fault. The years following Nixon’s presidency and the Vietnam War were a very difficult time for the US.

    That said, Jimmy’s work with Habitat for Humanity, global election monitoring and the Carter Center is stellar. His courage in standing up for what he believes is right is most commendable. I am amazed at his courage in challenging Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and Arabs; that stand is the “3rd rail” of American and global politics. IMHO, I would rate his post-presidency as the finest post-presidency of any American president, ever.

    Regarding GWB, I don’t want to waste my time on him now. Regarding Mao, you said:

    No reason why Mao’s image wouldn’t experience the same benefit of the passage of time. Apparently, for some, it already has.

    I have no quarrel with historical revisionism, if it is used to obtain a more accurate view of past history. I reject historical revision which attempts to “sweep the dirt under the rug” or put a glittering veneer on a putrid past. As the old saw goes, “Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it!” Granted, Mao probably did some wonderful things for China, as Stalin did for Russia. But on a whole, I consider Mao and Stalin as infamous “black holes” in the Legion of the Damned.

    I admire leaders like Anwar Sadat and Yitzhak Rabin. They were tough leaders who shed lots of blood in their earlier years. In their later years, they redeemed themselves with exceptional leadership, for which both were assassinated. I admire Carter eschewing the easy life for a very rewarding public life.

  198. BMY Says:

    @FOARP #181

    I thought it was Comrade Zhukov who defeated the Nazis. Comrade Stalin excuted most of the Red army generals before the war which helped greatly the Nazis.

  199. BMY Says:

    @Charles Liu #193

    I don’t agree with LiuXiaoBo’s approach but the claims by those link may not be accurate, according to few eyewitness I know.

  200. FOARP Says:

    “Let’s see your substantiate your hypothetical.”

    @Charles – English lesson number 2:

    hy⋅po⋅thet⋅i⋅cal
       /ˌhaɪpəˈθɛtɪkəl/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [hahy-puh-thet-i-kuhl]
    –adjective
    1. assumed by hypothesis; supposed: a hypothetical case.
    2. of, pertaining to, involving, or characterized by hypothesis: hypothetical reasoning.

    Either actually learn the meaning of the word “hypothetical”, or just learn this: the fact that someone receives grants does not make them a paid secret agent, that was the entire point of my saying that even if people associated with FM or Anti-CNN were receiving Chinese state monies, they would probably still write what they write and believe what they believe.

    As for disputing your sources, all I will say is what I have already said: they do not support your hypothesis. You appear to be saying that these people are the secret agents of a foreign power, this cannot be so if it is being done overtly. The entire reason that democracy movements used to be supported covertly is that they were not allowed at all. Now the government can no longer claim that being pro-democracy is illegal per se, they instead use ridiculously Orwellian language like “stirring up unrest against state power” to punish these people. However, these people would believe what they believe and write what they write even if they did not receive money from any western organisation, and the Chinese government would continue to persecute them even if they were not supported by foreign organisations. The case of Guo Quan and his nationalist-orientated pro-democracy party demonstrates this.

    Now please explain to everyone why you posted that article calling for the killing of the drafters of the charter. You cannot say it is representative of general Chinese opinion – a brief search of the internet shows that it is not, in fact, given that only 19% of the Chinese public have internet access, it is entirely dubious whether any internet opinion could be representative. Nor can you say that it was chosen at random, since you then still made the decision to post it on this website. It appears that you are merely quoting other saying what you would like to say yourself, but do not because you wish to avoid censure.

  201. FOARP Says:

    @BMY –

    “I thought it was Comrade Zhukov who defeated the Nazis. Comrade Stalin excuted most of the Red army generals before the war which helped greatly the Nazis.”

    I believe you are correct, but Zhukov is not nearly as celebrated as Stalin is in today’s Russia – perhaps this is something to do with Zhukov’s later political career, I don’t know. It is interesting also to see how, although it was Jefferson Davis who was president of the Confederate States, the figure of Robert E. Lee is by far the more popular in the southern United States. Likewise, when I was a kid in the 80’s, General Montgomery was still largely credited amongst the older generation with many of our victories in the second world war, but his not nearly so popular or well known now. However, despite the many attempts to debunk and expose him, Winston Churchill’s reputation remains firm both in the UK and abroard – although nobody would dream of displaying his picture in their car, or in their house, in the way that many Chinese and Russians still display Stalin or Mao.

    History has a funny way of rescuing the reputation of people who were failures at the time, and of bringing low those who were given the most credit at the time of the events – and these things are cyclical. No doubt a future Russian regime might find Zhukov a more useful example than Stalin and seek to promote his example of relatively loyal service under extreme circumstances, and give him the greatest credit for the Soviet victory in WWII. For that matter, Mao Zedong receives much credit for things (such as the liberation of women, for example) which may well have had little to do with his input, and perhaps a future Chinese government might find the examples of Zhu De and Zhou Enlai more worthy of promotion – not that these people are not already celebrated in China, but they could be celebrated more.

    One final thing, one thing I had expected to see before arriving in China, but did not see even once, were statues of Mao placed in parks and squares. In fact the only place I remember seeing a statue of Mao was in the museum at the foot of the Nanjing bridge. However, the only time I went to northern China was on a brief holiday in Beijing, and I am told that in northern China statues of Mao are more common – is this true? Someone also told me that statues of Mao used to be more common, but they were removed – is there any truth in this? Most surprising was the absence of a statue of Mao in Tiananmen square – at least I did not see one, although I did not visit the mausoleum. I had no desire to stand in line waiting for a glimpse of the embalmed corpse of a dictator.

    In fact, I met about as many people who expressed dislike for Mao as I met who expressed approval. However, I did spend most of my time in China in Jiangsu province and Shenzhen, where much credit is given to Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping respectively.

  202. FOARP Says:

    One more thought – At the time of Stalin’s death (which more than one person has claimed to have been the result of an assassination, convincingly in my opinion) he was 74 years old. Given the increasingly paranoid behaviour of Stalin in the years before his death, it is entirely likely that he might have taken a similar direction to the one Mao (who died aged 82 – and it would seem of natural causes) did post-1965. The governments which came after Stalin did their best to de-Stalinise the Soviet Union in a way that no government did after Mao (even if they criticised his economic policies), yet Stalin, who was not even a native-born Russian, remains celebrated in Russia. Perhaps this just shows that people just don’t know how lucky they are.

  203. To Quoque Says:

    FOARP Says: to Tu Quoque # 163

    # 169

    “you have declared yourself a know-it-all, aye? – Well qualified to deem others …nuts, crazy, derranged, do ya?”

    [FOARP Replies] “Yes.”
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

    18 hours ago, one ‘cdddraftsman’ comments…”GWB [is] the greatest president …….No Question there at all…”

    cdddraftsman (18 hours ago)

    GWB the greatest president since George Washington !

    No Question there at all , he stuck it to the Demofacists tards of this country by ramming a just war up their assholes sidways . We’re all grateful for his efforts !

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezIU6ZxYU3A&feature=related

  204. Ted Says:

    @ Allen 98 & 108

    “An institution that does not generate true discourse is not “free” – even if there is no explicit laws regulating it.”

    and

    “Yes I like “free speech” for China – except my bar is higher: not just the superficial “no government interference” western type. But a type that support true creation and exchange of ideas.”

    As much as I would like to appreciate your aspirations for China, your comments remind me of the Bush Administration’s approach to Environmental policy. When the Democrats set out a proposal the Bush administration shot it down as “insufficient” and “not comprehensive.” In short, they said we should do nothing until we can do everything. Even worse, they set out to discredit existing scientific research and recommended we start all over. These are delay tactics not arguments.

    I don’t think the question here is whether China should “adopt” or “copy” another system. These words are too simplistic and painting the discussion that way unfairly cheapens arguments in support of change. Whatever your objections about the US version of freedom of expression and mainstream media the dialogs you look for do exist and can happen in the open. Do you think the privileged few who travel outside of China should be the only ones who can discuss their own system openly? Do you honestly feel people in China are less capable of having this conversation than anyone here? If China’s academics can’t discuss the future of their system how do you expect to achieve the society you envision? Based on my experiences, I don’t think it is the people who aren’t ready.

  205. FOARP Says:

    @Tu Quoque – Are you trying to imply that I am “cdddraftsman”? I cannot understand the purpose of your comment otherwise. For the record, I am not, in fact I have gone on record many times to say how much I disagree with the Bush government’s policies towards torture. All I can say is that since 2006 I have only ever posted comments using the FOARP handle, and before that, I posted under my real name. Perhaps your IP address should be checked against other those of other commentators so that we may be sure that you are not someone else?

  206. Wukailong Says:

    @Ted (#204): Couldn’t agree more. This argument, “either it should be perfect, or we’ll just stick to what we have now”, seems to be very common. It’s the same when human rights or democracy is discussed by first saying that the concepts are great, then that they do not mean at all what they do in the West, and then finally not defining them so they become empty shells. I wonder how much ink and paper have been wasted in the PRC on such practices.

  207. Wukailong Says:

    “not just the superficial “no government interference” western type”

    It depends on where you look. I’m not sure about the US, but in many other Western countries smaller magazines and organizations can get government grants to promote cultural development. That’s more than “no government interference”, but I’m not sure that’s what Allen has in mind? I’m sure we can think of other improvements as well, unless we are die-hard libertarians and resent all government funding.

  208. Steve Says:

    @facts #137

    Ok, I’ll give this one more try…

    “Your comment on my arguments are almost comical. I will go through some of your points for entertainment purposes, because they are so off the chart, really can’t be taken seriously. For now let me just say, your Western apologist views will get you nowhere in China, and many your opinions are insults to common Chinese folk. Again I can predict the so-called Charter 08 will go nowhere, it’s just a farce as it is.”

    This might pass for humor where you live, but the first thing you tell a foreigner coming to another country to give a training seminar is to “not try to be funny, don’t tell any jokes, stick to the material” because humor tends not to cross cultures very well. What you just offered are ad hominum attacks, which means attacking the person rather than what the person said.

    Many of my comments were not of my own but comments of your fellow countrymen, educated at your best universities, working for some of your most successful corporations. I’m not sure what I said made me a “western apologist” except that it seems if anyone disagrees with any of your unsubstantiated views, they are automatically a “western apologist”. When I lived in China, I “got everywhere” with the people there and had no problem making friends. None of them were insulted; just you. You might find if you lived overseas, the quality and quantity of your foreign friends would be pretty limited with your current attitude. Or would you not want any foreign friends since that might make you actually consider other viewpoints and “contaminate” your opinions, making you less “Chinese”?

    “So-called”? How is it “so-called”? That means it is improperly named, yet its name is “Charter 08”. What’s so improper about its name? Or did you just use the term without thinking what it actually means? Or did you know what it actually meant?

    Predicting the charter will go nowhere is an opinion which I respect and is the purpose of this blog topic. It’s one of the few times you ever worded something as an opinion. I happen to also believe it won’t go anywhere. Since we agree on this, does that also make YOU a “western apologist”?

    “You have a different concept of peace to most Chinese. Peace to Chinese mean no foreign invasion to Chinese homeland. Yes CCP has secured Chinese borders and given peace for the Chinese people for 60 yrs, and counting.”

    facts, peace means not being in a state of war, regardless of whether it is on your homeland or not. The last foreign power that invaded China was Japan. That war ended when China was still ruled by the ROC, which doesn’t fit so well with your theory. Under your definition, the US’s participation in WWI was “peace” since there was no invasion of the USA. The US’s presence in Iraq is also “peace” to you. When Japan invaded China, would you also say Japan had “peace” because there was no fighting on Japanese soil? I doubt you can find many others, Chinese or foreigner, who would agree with your definition.

    “Compared the amount of food/grain, industrial output, life expectancy, literacy rate, health care by PRC in 1974 to that during ROC yrs, if you call China in 1974 was in shambles and disaster, what you call the days of ROC? Hell on earth?”

    You’d be hard pressed to find a bigger critic of CKS than I am. But let’s look at your example. In 1974, China had been run by the CCP for 25 years with as you say, no wars on home soil during that time, and no wars at all for 22 years. When the ROC ran China, it was in a perpetual state of war so impossible to compare those two eras. That’s why I compared it with Taiwan, so we are talking the same situations in the same time periods with a direct comparison of the ROC and CCP’s performance. Taiwan has very few natural resources compared to China, so China’s development should have far surpassed Taiwan’s, shouldn’t it?

    This is from the Ten Worst Famines of the 20th Century The GLF was #1 on the list.

    1. China 1958-62 Between 10 and 30 million people died as a result of Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward. His plan involved modernising agriculture and increasing grain production. Farmers were collectivised into communes of about 25,000 people and had to give the state a large percentage of their crops. Officials often exaggerated the size of harvests, and in many places the entire grain harvest was seized together with livestock, vegetables and cash crops. China’s leaders appeared to have been unaware of the severity of the famine – from 1958 until 1961 China doubled its grain exports and cut imports of food.

    “Yes Chairman Mao stopped the downward spiral of China, and set China on an upward path. Do you have source/data to substantiate your statement on Chinese opinion for Premier Zhou? None I see.”

    Yes, as a matter of fact, I do. When I lived there and based on my job, I spent time with hundreds of Chinese citizens in the industrial sector. We talked about the past all the time. The vast majority of them thought Zhou was better than Mao. In fact, there was even a saying they taught me; “It is China’s curse that the number two man in China is always better than the number one; Zhou better than Mao; Zhu better than Jiang; Wen better than Hu.” I heard that expression several times from different people, and the other Chinese with me always nodded their heads in agreement. They also said they felt that Zhou mitigated many of Mao’s policies during the Cultural Revolution, and that Zhou set up the alliance with the United States that helped lead to China’s modernization. They told me many stories about things Zhou had said and done. When Zhou died, a huge, spontaneous outpouring of Chinese attended his funeral though the government did not encourage it, greater than the numbers for Mao’s funeral which was encouraged. Why was this?

    “Why don’t you use your own standard, or you have one standard for me and another one for yourself? And when did I ever say, every single statement I wrote is a fact, and how could you ever make an argument with facts only? This is just another hit-the-straw-man tactics of yours. Making up some statements call it mine, beating it to death and declare victory.”

    I’ve given you an explanation, but you don’t give any for your opinions. So what are you telling me, that machine tool import is an opinion? That semiconductor equipment import is an opinion? Those are either allowed or they are not allowed. What you said is either true or it isn’t. Why don’t you justify what you said on those two points? Then tell us how the KMT is trying to split the Chinese nation. I’d like to hear your take on that.

    If you read other comments, opinions are usually prefaced with “in my opinion” or “I believe”; something to that effect. Yours are not. You state your opinions as if they were facts, and you don’t give any reasons why you’ve formed the opinions you do. You use the handle “facts” which is fine, but never seem to give any. Facts help to substantiate opinions. Facts are the basis on which we hang opinions. “Facts” is your byline.

    Making up some statements and calling them yours? I didn’t declare victory; I asked you to explain what you meant, point by point. I quoted you word for word. How is that making up statements? You are attributing something to me which I never said or did. Incidentally, that is the meaning of a ‘straw man’ argument.

    I don’t want to make this too long so I’ll stop here. “facts”, it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. You make blanket statements without any backup, then dismiss anyone who questions them. I’ve been watching your replies to other commenters over time and you do the same for everyone who asks you a question or disagrees with anything you say. I threw out two options; you obviously chose the first one. To be honest, you sound pretty young and without much experience.

  209. Steve Says:

    @sophie #141:

    Sophie, I think you misunderstand my point with “facts”. I have no problem with his opinions, but with his presentation of them. Let’s look at what you wrote; it was filled with substantiation of what you believed in. I agree with you on most of it. I actually agreed with “facts” on some of his opinions, but I didn’t like the way he attacked people with opinions that were different from his. You wrote, “Since I don’t believe these anti-china groups genuinely care about Chinese people’s interest…”. When you said “I don’t believe” I knew you were voicing an opinion, and one you backed up with a persuasive argument. Some evidence you gave for your beliefs weren’t exactly facts, but they WERE persuasive arguments, at least to me.

    In A Country’s Hurt Feelings I questioned William Huang about one of his posts. His reply was like yours; well argued, persuasive and fair. He allowed me to get a better understanding of what many Chinese people are thinking and changed my opinion of that particular situation. I appreciated him taking the time to enlighten me about that particular aspect of Chinese thinking.

    That’s all I’m asking; let’s be civil and not so quick to jump down someone’s throat just because they happen to share different opinions. If you’ve read many of my posts, you’ve probably noticed that I’m not “anti-China”. My experiences were very positive when I was there. No one ever attacked me, insulted me or treated me unkindly. Because the debate is so heated and the media rhetoric so biased on both sides, I tend to trust my experiences, what Chinese people actually told me, rather than much of the rubbish that passes for news reports.

    Sophie, nothing irks me more than some reporter or editorialist from a western country taking a two week “fact-finding” trip to China and then acting like he/she knows the country intimately. “Oh look, they eat scorpions on a stick!” “They are destroying all the hutongs.” (many of which have no indoor plumbing, which these same people would never accept in their own countries) “Chinese people have more freedom/less freedom/no freedom/economic but not political freedom (take your pick) than before.” It goes on and on and I can see why you’d roll your eyes after reading such drivel.

    By the way, I thought your post was excellent! :D

  210. Wahaha Says:

    ” ……Do you honestly feel people in China are less capable of having this conversation than anyone here? If China’s academics can’t discuss the future of their system how do you expect to achieve the society you envision? Based on my experiences, I don’t think it is the people who aren’t ready.”

    Steve,

    Obviously you read a lot, studied a lot, have good theory, but frankly speaking, I dont think you have spent enough time studying real world problems.

    Your question is similar to “Do you honestly believe American people not willing to scrafice for other people ?”

    Please have a look of the modernization program of O’Hara airport in Chicago, which will create 195,000 jobs but needs land acquisition from 2,800 people.

    Chinese and Americans are all human beings. Given the same condition, I would expect Chinese will behave the same way as Americans do,………. and because usually they are 10 to 100 times poorer, I believe they would care about money more.

  211. Steve Says:

    @ Wahaha #210:

    Hi Wahaha, Happy New Year~ :)

    The quote you used wasn’t mine, it was from Ted #204. I guess all westerners look alike! :P

    Incidentally, I completely agree with your last paragraph.

  212. Steve Says:

    @ Wahaha #210:

    “Chinese and Americans are all human beings. Given the same condition, I would expect Chinese will behave the same way as Americans do,………. and because usually they are 10 to 100 times poorer, I believe they would care about money more.”

    This reminded me of something my sister-in-law once said. She lives up in the Bay Area and her boyfriend at the time was taking her on vacation to Costa Rica. After she returned, my wife called her to see how it went.

    She said, “It was horrible! Why did he take me to a third world country? It was so poor! It reminded me of Taiwan 40 years ago. Why couldn’t we have gone to Paris, Rome or London?”

    So many times, people from wealthier countries go to third world countries and marvel about how “simply” the people live, like it’s some kind of earthly paradise. What they fail to realize is that those people work HARD and LONG HOURS every single day, just to barely survive. Political theory doesn’t matter so much when you’re trying not to starve. It only matters to the wealthy and the academia in those countries. This particular story has stayed with me while traveling, and “opened my eyes” to the reality of how many people live.

    For me, this is what I personally consider a “real world problem”.

  213. BMY Says:

    @FOARP #201

    Interesting point about how those political figures get celebrated today.

    Regarding your questions about statues of Mao-

    “I am told that in northern China statues of Mao are more common – is this true?”

    Sorry I don’t really know . I lived in northern China for 30 years but I didn’t travel lots of places and I’d never seen one statues of Mao. no surprise you didn’t see any. I remember I’ve only seen one or two big base of statues somewhere in the 80s and I was told Mao’s statues were on the top before.

    “Someone also told me that statues of Mao used to be more common, but they were removed – is there any truth in this?”

    I believe so. I was too little in CR to remember things by myself. But according to my parents and some of old generation I know, there used to be Mao’s statues everywhere in China during CR. I guess there was a instruction from the top and most of the statues got removed after CR. There was one in the uni camps my father attended in the 60s. But I didn’t see it when I visit the place in the late 80s.

  214. Tu Quoque Says:

    FOARP Says:

    @Tu Quoque – Are you trying to imply that I am “cdddraftsman”?

    No, you misunderstood…Oh, I know FOARP is FOARP – who cares, anyway?
    Fact is, I agree with FOARP most of the time – when he sticks to facts and provides proofs. It is your recent show of hubris with regards to Charlie Liu that bugs me – It’s absolutely NOTHING personal, although I am guilty of holding FOARP to higher standards, simply because I know FOARP , though condescending at times, is so much better than someone who resort to spewing unsubstantiated diatribes and branding people in broad strokes as nuts, brainwashed and crazies.
    Back to the comment in question: I was just trying to show no matter what the overwhelming public opinions, established historical and scientific facts, the undeniable aftermath of their draconian administration and policies, say , about GWB, there will always be people like“cdddraftsman”who sing the praises of these tyrants. So, the same loyalty and (blind) faith in political and religious leaders such as Mao, Dalai Lama, GWB, Tony Blair, Castrol, etc – though unpalatable to you or others, does not mean these loyalists are nuts, brainwashed, crazy. It is all a matter of each arguing for their own individual and collective entrenched interests.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezIU6ZxYU3A&feature=related

    cdddraftsman: “GWB the greatest president since George Washington ! No Question there at all , he stuck it to the Demofacists tards of this country by ramming a just war up their assholes sidways . We’re all grateful for his efforts ! “

  215. Ted Says:

    Wahaha 210# Actually that was my comment. I’m not familiar with the current O’Hare project but based on your comments I can imagine the situation. Robert Moses’ heavy handed approach to city planning was constantly discussed in my University urban planning classes and when I see development in China today, it is with the understanding that the US went through similar phases. If you take the time to look, you can find numerous examples in US History where the national interests trump local interests and the common good was valued above the rights of the individual. In my opinion the protests and vigorous discussion that accompanied such decisions not only helped to inform the government but ameliorated the feelings of the people. As for Moses, his planning policies rippled throughout the US and led to our automobile-centric lifestyle today…

    Maybe I was unclear but I’m not asking that China adopt another system, simply whether or not China’s academics and the Chinese people should be able to discuss China’s system of government. Personally, I think it is best that these kinds of discussions start in the academic world precisely because it isn’t the real world.

  216. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Ted #204 and WKL #206:
    well said by both of you. All or nothing seems to be the dichotomous paradigm advocated by those who want to do nothing.

  217. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Steve #208:
    your perseverance is admirable. Alas, I haven’t your Herculean patience, so to me, he’s already Fiction.

  218. TonyP4 Says:

    @All

    * Zhou and Deng should top Mao in our modern Chinese history – they contributed far more.

    Again, why the educated minds worship Mao who told you’re the most ‘powerful’ country in the world while you’re starving? It is beyond me.

    * Yes, the blind man told me that there was no one killed in Tiananmen Square. They just ‘evaporated’. :) I do not know what other country killed so many of their college students.

    * The major theme of communism is every one is the same. How do you motivate their citizens to work hard?

    It is human nature to be lazy and selfish (again exceptions abound). Few want to share most of their wealth.

  219. Charles Liu Says:

    Foarp @ 200, Yes, according to FARA, anyone receiving money from foreign entity means they are an agent of said foreign entity. This is not a hypothetical but a fact demonstrated by US code.

    The word “secret” is buy your own imagination; I’ve never made such claim.

    Now, can you prove your hypothetical about FM or anti-CNN?

  220. vmoore55 Says:

    Freedom of speech, just words to many here. Talk the talk but not walk the walk.

    Some say you are racists if you talk about them that are not like you.

    Some say you can not talk about this and that because it’s rude and not of good taste.

    Some have more freedom to have their say than others here because they are righteous and all knowing.

    For those that talk the talk, shut up if you don’t like what some have to say. They either have the right or no, but it is not only you that have the right.

    If China wants Freedom of speech there should be no limits, all or nothing, save rebellious and treasonous talk. And not like free speech here on this blog.

  221. Charles Liu Says:

    Vmoore55, is Prof. Perry Link free to translate the 08 Charter however he pleases? Including adding the term “Tiananmen massacre”?

    Here is the original text – the forward section does not contain any text remotely matchs Perry Link’s “We are approaching the twentieth anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen massacre of pro-democracy student protesters.” translation.

    Observe the opening paragraph in original text contains “60”, “30”, “10”, but not “20”. The only reference to 6/4 is in end of 2nd paragraph where it’s considered a “human rights catastraphy, where tens of millions lives were lost”, along with Anti-Right, Great Leap Forward, and Cultural Revolution.

    Looks like Prof. Link’s intellectual dishonesty is doing China a disservice. I really wonder what else did he embellish with a tinted/tainted western view.

  222. Charles Liu Says:

    My goodness, I was wrong about Liu Xiaobo advocating overthrowing of China’s government and abolition of constitution:

    – Appearantly the notion of “a new constitution”, is invented by Prof. Link.

    In addition to original text linked in 221, Chinese Wikipedia also confirmed first of the 19 advocacy is not “A new constitution” as Prof. Link has it, but “Amending the constitution” (Sho1Gai3Xian4Fa3).

    – Lead paragraph in “Section III, What We Advocate”, from “Authoritarianism” to “citizens master of state”, to “fundamental duty” all appear to be Prof. LInk’s original work. Only the last sentence pertaining to “responsible, constructive citizenship” can be found in the original text.

    Steve, I’m fairly certain THIS is not what was signed by Chinese citizens living inside China.

  223. Wahaha Says:

    Steve

    Sorry for my mistakes.

    Steve & Ted

    How come most well-educated britishes failed to see the danger by Hilter’s Nazi ?

    How come almost all the people in US failed to see the potential danger of “everyone has his own house”?

    Are they “less capable”?

    Most of us are driven by fear, greediness (for money and power) and envy (and maybe I should include hatred), the accomplishment by human being were also driven by the same factors. Those are the major factors driving people to do what they do; intelligence ? may be the 4th or 5th factor. This, is the real world; this is how stupid and crazy we are, as the so called most intelligent on earth. The only thing that can make difference here is tons of money avaliable (so people dont have to be greedy or jealous.)

  224. Wahaha Says:

    “If you take the time to look, you can find numerous examples in US History where the national interests trump local interests and the common good was valued above the rights of the individual.”

    Ted,

    That was before 1960s, there were people who were forced to take the burden of ALL misery that was supposed to be shared by everyone.

  225. Wukailong Says:

    @vmoore55: Here’s some free speech of your liking:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HW5cyyTGk8Q&feature=related

    Especially after 0.20 there are some great examples of “talking the talk”. Enjoy! (I don’t endorse these viewpoints, but you wanted free speech on FM of this variety, and I’m happy to comply)

  226. Steve Says:

    @ Charles Liu #221 & 222: Thanks for the clarifications. I posted Prof. Link’s work since it was the only translation I could find and seemed like it came from a reputable source. I don’t have the ability to translate from the original and am glad you could. If you find anything else that looks off, please let us know.

    One thing you wrote does confuse me, though. I went to the English Wikipedia and though they don’t have the entire translation, their heading for the first section is titled “A New Constitution” so it seems the Wikipedia versions are different. Can there be more than one way to translate that passage?

  227. Steve Says:

    @ Wahaha #223:

    Hi Wahaha. I’m not sure why you’ve asked me these questions but I’ll do my best to answer them.

    Many Englishmen saw the dangers of Hitler before the war, but the majority of British did not and didn’t elect them to office. The most famous Brit who saw it coming was Winston Churchill who was against German rearmament as far back as 1932. He wasn’t the only one, just the most famous. The Labour government had a different viewpoint and Churchill’s party was out of power, so nothing was done. But that isn’t unusual; most democracies have permanent constituencies that are always against war, no matter what the circumstances. Democracies rarely move swiftly.

    Wahaha, I’m not familiar with the expression “everyone has his own house” so I’m not sure what it refers to or how to answer your question. Maybe Ted has heard of it and can answer you?

    I agree with you; intelligence helps you accomplish your goals, but does not necessarily define them. What drives people are usually emotions. Fear, greed, envy and hatred are all emotional and all can come into play. I can’t say if few, many or most are driven by these, but sometimes it seems that the leaders of nations are certainly driven by the need for power and glory. Money just buys you power, so for me power is more of a driving force.

    There are also good emotions that drive people. Look at Jet Li; he could be making movies, wasting money, being driven by fear, greed, envy and hatred but instead he started the One Foundation to help others. The Ci Ji Foundation run by Master Zhengyan builds schools, hospitals, helps the poor all over the world, and does very noble work. Many individuals, though just common people, aren’t driven by greed at all but lead peaceful lives and are good and kind souls. There are volunteers all over the world whose lives are driven by kindness. Look at the outpouring of kindness to the earthquake victims from all over China and the world.

    After the tsunami in Indonesia, one of my American friends living in Shanghai took as much food (instant noodles) and bottled water as he could transport to the people affected. He just did it to help out. The media talks about large charities, but I’ve always felt that small acts of kindness by millions of people make the biggest difference.

  228. Steve Says:

    @ Charles Liu #222: Ah… I think I have it figured out. I found something on Chinayouren that explains the differences.

    Charter 08: Creative Translation?

    Written by uln on December 23rd, 2008

    On 10th December, a group of Chinese human right activists published a document called Charter 08, requiring political reform in the PRC. This document has had surprisingly little impact in the Western media/blogging scene.

    There is no telling right now how influential this document is going to be looking into potentially conflictive 2009. In any case, it is a must read for anyone interested in the political evolution of this country. I have spent the little free time that I had last week reading the Charter in its original Chinese form. I am preparing a more detailed post about it, but for the moment, I want to share these notes:

    There is a translation by professor Perry Link, published on the New York Review of Books, that has been almost the single source for non-chinese speaking readers worldwide. It is the translation used by Wikipedia (unless they accept my change), and also by the mainstream media, including WSJ and Time. I was shocked to see that the translation is not accurate, including in the preamble some references to the Tiananmen incidents that are not on the Chinese original. Has the original been modified, or did Perry Link publish a creative translation, adding juicy details about his favourite subject? I leave this question open until I find an answer. But needless to say, I think if the translator has consciously altered the content of the document it is a lack of respect for the brave Chinese who risked their freedom to sign it. (my apologies to professor Link if this is not the case)

    I am surprised by the little echo that this significant event has had on the Western media/blogging scene. All those noisy journalists that are self proclaimed defensors of Human Rights in China, but only raise thir voices when there is some spectacular violence to sell newspapers, and not for a “boring” document without pictures that lazy Westerners will never read anyway. Fair enough, it is very possible that the Charter will not fly, but there is no telling what 09 will bring us in China, and the effort and sacrifice of all these Chinese intellectuals in itself deserves more attention.

    The Chinese government has done a good job of controlling the net. At the time of writing it seems impossible to access from the mainland any site carrying the Charter in Chinese. It is sad to see that they have succeeded in silencing also the Western blogs (although as far as I know there has not been a single one blocked for speaking of the Charter). I guess most are simply not interested or else too scared of seeing their blog blocked in PRC. I know that I am risking many hours of efforts if I get my own blog blocked because of this post, but I think it is the least I could do for those 300 odd authors that are risking much more than this.

    Because of point 2 some readers might still not be aware of these events. You can get a summary in the Wikipedia article for Charter 08 or on this article on Global Voices.

    I have also found a more accurate translation of the Charter here.

    UPDATE1: The article on Wikipedia has been changed. See the article’s dicussion page for more details.

    UPDATE2: Thanks to comment below and to some further research on the internet, I have the theory now that Chinese authors introduced some last minute modifications to eliminate some non-essential points and avoid trouble for those already arrested, like Liu Xiaobo. This would make sense, as Liu Xiaobo had been sentenced before for participation in Tiananmen89 activities. Even if this is the case, it is difficult to understand why professor Link didn’t change his translation accordingly, perhaps reflecting some disagreement among the original authors.

    Comment 1 – Prof. Link apparently was working with the authors of the document to get it translated and released concurrently with the release of the Chinese-language original. In a short note to the MCLC mailing list, he attached the text of the document that was the basis of his translation and then said, “there were a few last-minute changes skyped in from Beijing.” So that could be the source of the differences.

    Comment 2 – Thanks for the tip. I imagined Prof. Link had worked with the authors, otherwise he wouldn’t have had the time to come up with a stylish translation in such a short time.

    So perhaps some last minute changes were introduced in the Chinese version (presumably and understandably to avoid further consequences for the PRC authors that were already under arrest before the 10th Dec)

    Whatever the reason, Professor Link’s “massacre” text comes across more agressive than the original. Somebody should correct the article on Wikipedia and elsewhere. As it stands it’s an inaccurate translation.

    *** Charles, thanks again for bringing this to our attention. It seems Prof. Link didn’t embellish the translation but just worked with what he had been given. I’m glad you were able to accurately correct it.

  229. vmoore55 Says:

    “Here’s some free speech of your liking”. You don’t like free speech for all, too bad it’s the law in the US. But I want more, like before.

    Just like westerner’s thinking, this is my free speech and there’s your free speech.

    Not all free speech is equal.

    Funny thing about free speech when you have it, it’s like when I got a free dinner invite to an all you can eat restaurant, not everything is free and the better foods were on the other side and it’s not for you to eat. And if you want the better food, you have to paid for it.

    So much for free speech and whatever that’s free, read the small print.

  230. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Vmoore55 #220:
    “If China wants Freedom of speech there should be no limits, all or nothing, save rebellious and treasonous talk.” – so in other words, there would be limits, wouldn’t there?

    I’m not sure why you seem to have ascribed editorial status to some of us here who aren’t editors. You’re free to say whatever you please, and I’m equally unencumbered. What I might say about word choice is strictly a suggestion; you’re free to do with it as you please. But if you want to interpret it as an order, insofar as it being an attempt by someone like me to curb your speech, that’s your prerogative, and not my problem.

    Having said that, and as you even stipulate, there should be limits to free speech. And I think the editors at FM have done a good job…the only things that get deleted are the expletive-laden tirades. For if you can’t make a point without expletives, you haven’t much of a point to make.

  231. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Steve and Charles Liu:
    thanks for the updates on the translated text. Of course, a translation should have high fidelity to the original. And as we saw with the “hurt feelings” business, the translation should not only be literal, but needs to capture the context and essence of the original.

    However, let’s not miss the forest for the trees. As others have pointed out, the Foreword may have been needlessly inflammatory, but it’s really the superfluous section of the text anyway. Parts 2 and 3 are where it’s at. So let’s not forget about the forward-looking aspects of the document while getting bogged down in how one might characterize the events of T-square. Part 1 isn’t going to change China; but with any luck, Part 2 and 3 might, someday…

  232. vmoore55 Says:

    “you’re free to do with it as you please. But …..”
    Just like some Chinese I wish I didn’t know.

    Ok, no limit on free speech just like in the west.

  233. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Vmoore55:
    huh?

  234. FOARP Says:

    @Charles Liu –

    Just got home from a party, but:

    “Foarp @ 200, Yes, according to FARA, anyone receiving money from foreign entity means they are an agent of said foreign entity. This is not a hypothetical but a fact demonstrated by US code.

    The word “secret” is buy your own imagination; I’ve never made such claim.

    Now, can you prove your hypothetical about FM or anti-CNN?

    FARA says nothing of the kind, FARA addresses those seeking to those seeking to support political parties taking part in the democratic process via the back door. Is Liu Xiaobo taking part in Chinese elections? Didn’t think so.

    As for me ‘substantiating my hypothetical’, all I can say is you really need to get a grip. How can I say this any more simply?

    HYPOTHETICAL SITUATIONS ARE FOR THEORETICAL PURPOSES ONLY, YOU CANNOT ‘SUBSTANTIATE’ A HYPOTHETICAL.

    Do you get it now? Because I am really tired of trying to explain this to you.

    As for your objection to Chinese democracy advocates who receive underhand punishments from state authorities receiving funding from foreign sources, I am still curious – what exactly is it that you are objecting to? They will receive punishment from the communist government whatever they do – the case of Guo Quan proves this. Or are you suggesting that Guo Quan, strident Chinese nationalist, was also receiving money from the NED? The only situation in which it might be reasonable to object was if they were receiving payment to act as secret agents, but since you now say you are no longer claiming even this, what is your objection?

  235. Charles Liu Says:

    Foarse, have I touched a nerve here? I’ve said nothing about Guo Quan or anyone being a “secret” agent. Are you trying to obfusicate the fact Liu Xiaobo is on the take from Uncle Sam?

    Now it is a FACT Liu Xiaobo, is the president of ICPC and founder of Mingzu Zhongguo – two political organizations supported by the NED (proven by none other than NED’s own grant publication), a foreign entity in the eyes of the Chinese government.

    And here’s the relevant stipulation of Foreign Agent Registration Act: “financed, or subsidized in whole or in major part by a foreign principal“. I for one can not find another contributor to Liu’s organizations that has given in excess of US$300,000 per year for the last 5 years.

    These are FACTS!

    And now we come to find out Professor Link was collaborating on “translation” of this document in parallel, and what’s published in Chinese differs from what Link has “translated”. Granted it is plausable that last minute revision/omission were not made in the English translation, but what is true is this document appears to not be as genuinly “Chinese” as once thought, and Link’s translation, as is, is inaccurate.

    My goodness, the English version almost hums the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” background music as you read it… I’m pretty sure this isn’t what the Chinese inside China signed.

    “A new constitution” my a$$ – remember only 19% of China’s population is on-line, and only 300-2000 out of 1.3 BILLION even voted on it. Our own constitution that has condoned slavery for over 200 years was not abolished, as no patriotic American would so easily forsaken what our nation has accomplished.

    Equally, no patriotic Chinese would so easily forsaken what their country has accomplished thus far.

  236. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Charles,
    I don’t think anyone is asking any Chinese to forsake anything. I think the Charter is only suggesting a heretofore different course. I don’t see it asking China to relinquish whatever gains she has made in the last 30 years.

  237. Steve Says:

    @ Charles Liu & S.K. Cheung: The Charter doesn’t seem to me to be a Constitution style document. I’d say it’s more like the Virginia Declaration of Rights in that it is an outline of what the authors believe are inherent rights they possess and in what direction they’d like to see the country move. There’s really nothing to vote on; it’s just a basic framework to be used as a guide for the future, to be discussed and commented upon, or so the authors would hope.

  238. Charles Liu Says:

    And yet we/they are supposed be excited about China getting a new constitution? Thank you Steve, I think you’ve proven my point.

  239. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Charles,
    although I agree precision with language is important in any discussion, you seem disproportionately caught up in the semantics here. As Steve says, the Charter itself is not a “new constitution”. For starters, since Section 3 Point 1 advocates for a new constitution, then certainly the document itself wherein such advocacy occurs can’t be a new constitution in and of itself. Besides, whatever moniker you choose, it seems, as Steve says, that the Charter is a vision statement of sorts. So what you should excite yourself about is that some Chinese people in China had the stones to think outside the CCP box, and provide a vision of the future disparate from the party line. And whatever concerns you may have about the fidelity of the translation, ultimately it is the Chinese version, for the benefit of Chinese consumption, that matters most, and will hopefully one day bear fruit.

  240. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Charles,
    since this is comment #240, I may well have missed it, so I apologize in advance if that is the case.

    However, it seems many of your comments are focused on your concerns about who authored the Charter, to whom these authors may or may not be beholden, how it’s been translated for western consumption, and by whom. But what of the Charter’s content? What is you take on the authors’ vision?

  241. Charles Liu Says:

    SK, I also voiced concern about mischaracterization of TAM in comment 193 (it’s hightlighted), as well as opposing the charter’s position on abolition of China’s existing constitution in comment 189.

    I am also uncomfortable with the revelation that Prof. Perry Link, who refered to the Chinese government as a “50-year-old infected wound”, collaborated on the charter. Such static view of “Red China” is simply out-dated IMHO.

    Would you like to discuss any of these points? I presented the finding that 08 Charter has received mixed reactions in Chinese blogsphere, which you seem to be satisfied. If you like we can revisit this point as well.

  242. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Charles,

    my mistake, missed those. But #193 seems to be about section 1, which is a view of history. #189 addresses one of 19 things being advocated, and you’re clear about your stand there. And even if you find Mr. Link’s previous views distasteful, and even if he had a hand in actively formulating (and not just translating) the current document, doesn’t necessarily mean that his current ideas are without merit. So on the whole (assuming that the “new constitution” point isn’t a deal breaker for you), do you object to the document as a whole, or at least the vision it represents?

  243. Ted Says:

    Wahaha #223 & 224: “everyone has his own house” If you mean the fallacy of thinking one should have everything without having to work for it then I agree it’s a problem, but it isn’t limited to people in the US. “Just give me your money!” was said to me at a market last weekend after I decided not to buy something. There was the taxi driver who, when giving me change, dropped one of two kuai into my hand then waited to see if I would ask for the other. Then there’s the general reaction of my students that the market crash isn’t fair. They were making easy money for the past few years but now it seems that those who quit their jobs to become “traders” will have to work for it again. I’m not sure if this is what you’re talking about, maybe I’m missing your point.

    As for more modern cases dealing with Eminent Domain, the most controversial of late I think was Kelo v. City of New London. Personally, I’m happy these situations are dealt with on a case-by-case basis in the US. I understand that China has tremendous room for growth but economic development is an indiscriminate bulldozer that will eventually be hijacked by those seeking personal benefit at the expense of public good. At what point will the government decide “ok we’ve grown enough, now let’s allow some deliberation.”

  244. Wukailong Says:

    @vmoore55: “You don’t like free speech for all, too bad it’s the law in the US. But I want more, like before.”

    Really? How do you know what I think? Also, honestly, I couldn’t care less about the laws of the US – I’ve been there 3 months of my life, in total. The rest of the time has been spent in China and Europe.

    It sounded to me like you wanted to say racist things, and then began ranting about freedom of speech because somebody opposed you. So I thought – hey, why not take it to an extreme? You’re free to talk about how horrible white people are as much as you like, and I’m free not to like your ideas. Happy?

  245. Charles Liu Says:

    SK @239, correct me if I’m wrong, the “stones” you are refering to are the US$300,000 per year the NED has been giving Liu Xiaobo’s ICPC and Mingzu Zhongguo for the past 5 years?

    The Chinese version, without the subtleties of revolution (the issue of federalism to address Taiwan remains debatable), is it rally that outside of the box? I don’t think the Chinese government ever intended to eliminate freedom in China, or ever proclaimed that diminishing human rights is their goal.

    There must be a balance between reform, progress, and stable, secure sovereignty. We would want it for ourselves, and we should want it for the Chinese as well.

    Wanna risk 1.3 billion lives on NED/Prof. LInk’s idea of “a new constitution”? I wouldn’t if I’m a PRC citizen. Amend China’s constitution slowly, steadily, over time (like how we’ve done it in America) to achieve the goals already stated in the current framework, and work within the current framework to change it without risking the lives of 1.3 billion Chinese? If I’m a PRC citizen I would be all for it.

    Ultimately this is for them to decide, not us. That’s why I find it distasteful that our NED pumps money, and have poeple like Professor Link in there to taint their process. After all I would not want the Chinese do it to me.

  246. ChinkTalk Says:

    Annie Lennox protests Gaza bombing by Israilis:
    http://www.canada.com/topics/news/world/story.html?id=1138640

    Annie Lennox would have credibility with me on her opinions on matters Chinese because she is protesting against human right abuses in the world context and not just targeting China. And by contrast Richard Gere has no credibility with me because he is just grandstanding his anti-Sinoism for his own benefits.

  247. ChinkTalk Says:

    I have many Jewish friends and like Sarah Palin, I also love Israel and believe in Israel’s right to exist and be protected. The bombing and assault on Gaza is overreached. And the humanitarian problems created is not necessary. Where is Mia Farrow when you need her?

    http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20090103/israel_protest_090103/20090103?hub=TopStories

  248. ChinkTalk Says:

    Even Sarko is into the fray and he himself being Jewish – his meeting with the Dalai Lama seems to be more acceptable to me now. The Jews of Asia has something to learn from the Jews.

    http://www.canoe.com/infos/dossiers/archives/2008/12/20081228-145729.html

    Tout en planifiant une intervention terrestre, Israël s’est dit prêt à accepter un cessez-le-feu s’il était placé sous la surveillance d’observateurs internationaux. L’idée a été reprise par le secrétaire général des Nations unies, Ban Ki-moon, et le président américain George W. Bush, tandis que le président français Nicolas Sarkozy était attendu lundi et mardi au Proche-Orient pour promouvoir la trêve humanitaire suggérée par les ministres européens mais déjà rejetée mercredi par Israël.

    This article from Yahoo puts more detail perspective on the embedded hatred in the Proche-Orient, and I certainly can sympathize with the Israelis for their security but they know that they would have the US to guarantee their security so this type of “shock and awe” tactics are not necessary. The policy makers in Isreal are ignoring world wide condemnation and spear heading the invasion, creating a humanitarian crisis. Where are the banner unfurlers when you need them?

    http://qc.news.yahoo.com/s/03012009/3/world-proche-orient-la-crise-s-envenime.html

  249. ChinkTalk Says:

    This comment is by ScottyHam:

    “I’m not an Arab, or Jewish, but I researched this conflict and this is what I found not being said in the media:

    1. If we’re going to use the childish “Hamas did it first!” logic that Israel and the media are using, then that begs the question, “Why did Hamas fire rockets at Israel?” Could it be because Israel was crushing the population, denying them food, water, medical supplies, and ignorning UN and international outrage that they’re keeping Gazans “living like dogs” as one Israeli official said? I found info about this on worldwide humanitarian aid sites, like Oxfam and from an article Tutu (noble peace prize winner) wrote last year about Israel making Gaza the most desolate place on earth.

    I don’t support Hamas’s actions at all, but when you imprison Gazans in what’s described as “the largest prison in the world” and DENY them access to food, water, and aid, then they’re going to retaliate somehow, because they feel they’re being exterminated. So no, I don’t buy Israel’s weak “they did it first!” argument. They can’t expect the people they’re crushing not to try and fight back as they watch their children starve.

    2. Hamas is firing rockets, and that is completely indefensible. There is no way to justify killing civilians, and no one buys Hamas’s awful attempt to justify the rocket attacks. However,if it’s not ok for Hamas to use rockets to kill 4 Israelis, why is everyone trying to justify Israel killing 433 people, and injuring 2000??? Not quite a fair balance. It is even MORE of a terrorist act for Israel to use their incredible military might (4th largest in the entire world, and billions received from the US) to kill 433 people, injure, 2000 civilians, when 4 Israelis have died from rockets from one of the most impoverished areas on the planet. That is straight out saying that an Israeli life is worth more than a Palestinian life, and to do so disgusts me.

    3. Why is everyone making this out like it’s 2 countries, equal in strength, fighting each other? Israel is the military occupier, and Gaza is occupied by Israel, and has been caged in a hole, unable to even cross the border into neighboring countries for aid, for years on end.

    Hamas has absolutely no right to take any life, but neither does Israel. The ignorant “they fired first!” argument doesn’t make sense if you look objectively at history. Gazans live in an impoverished hell, and they stick with Hamas because that’s all they have left.

    Very sad.”

    link:http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2009/01/03/gaza.html#socialcomments

    Israel’s security is guaranteed by the US and Britain. There is no way the Palestinians can match the Israeli military might. The invasion of Gaza is OVERREACHED. The real issue is human rights and humanitarianism. I just heard that there is a group called Free Gaza that is protesting on a boat somewhere, and this is all the information I’ve got, why is it that the Canadian and most Western media play up the Free Tibet movement against the Chinese and not even a mention on the Free Gaza protests.

  250. yo Says:

    @ Charles Liu #245
    “Amend China’s constitution slowly, steadily, over time (like how we’ve done it in America) to achieve the goals already stated in the current framework, and work within the current framework to change it without risking the lives of 1.3 billion Chinese…”

    I think you hit the nail right on the head with reform, but how would this happen? What’s the general framework to enact change within China. For example, in America, there is a general framework that was illustrated in the school house rock episode “I’m just a bill, sitting on top of capital hill…” :-) What’s China’s version, what’s the process?

  251. Steve Says:

    @Charles Liu, yo, S.K. Cheung, Jerry et al:

    Per Charles’ view on amending the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China rather than creating a whole new version, I thought it might be appropriate to post it so everyone could see what it contained and use it as a reference and starting point when comparing Charter 08 to the existing document.

  252. Jerry Says:

    @CT #246-249

    CT, I am Jewish and Semitic. The Palestinians and Arabs are Semites. The situation in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank saddens my soul.

    We Jews have been mistreated for many centuries. To turn around and mistreat our own brothers and sisters (we have a common heritage), is disgraceful.

    Violence is wrong, no matter who commits it. We do violence to the Palestinians by occupying them and imprisoning them in Gaza and the West Bank. They live under inhuman conditions. We allow Israeli settlers to run rough shod over them in their own territories; that is violence. The massive, overwhelming Israeli “defense” response in Gaza is violent, intolerable and inhuman. The Hamas rockets fired against Israelis are violence. Oy vey.

    So much of this current situation in Gaza seems to have been triggered by a political power struggle in the Israeli Government. Ehud Ohlmert resigned last year as PM after the Israeli AG threatened to indict him for fraud (he was indicted in the 90’s). Ohlmert is running a caretaker government until a new one can be formed. Ohlmert is also trying to vindicate himself for the disaster of the Lebanon invasion. Tzipi Livni, leader of the Kadima Party, has tried and failed to form a coalition government with her Kadima Party and right-wing parties. Livni used to work with Mossad and I don’t trust her. Ehud Barack, current defense minister, former PM and head of the Labour Party, is trying to engineer a coalition government so that Labour can take over the government. Barack, who has previously brokered peace agreements with Lebanon, is shamelessly allowing this monstrous attack on Gaza to further his own political ambitions. And somewhere in the background is Shaul Mofaz, former defense minister. He drew up plans in 2001 for an attack on Gaza and the West Bank which look very similar to the current attack on Gaza. Mofaz is jockeying for the leadership of Israel. And how could I forget Bibi Netanyahu, former PM and leader of the Likud Party. Bibi is the master manipulator of Israeli politics. He is the object of the aforementioned politicos’ jockeying. He is the mastermind who prevented Livni from forming a coalition government. He could very well be the next PM. He would be a disaster for any peace process. Oy vey. Not unusual. Innocent Israelis and Palestinians enduring more misery, suffering and death because of political intrigue. Nothing unusual at all here.

    Israel and the US have tried to obliterate Hamas since they won the Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006. Oy vey. And Hamas won the elections democratically, in a surprising victory. Since then, Israel and the US have inflicted pure hell on the supporters of Hamas and innocent Palestinians.

    Israel is not the “Promised Land”, IMHO. Also, IMHO, we are not the “Chosen People of God”. Israel/Palestine is the homeland for Jews and Palestinians alike. We either find a way to live in peace and harmony or choose violence, apartheid and hatred forever. I think I will choose the former. Note to Taiwan and China: this is a cautionary tale which may very well apply to you.

    One can only wonder if this whole situation would be different if Yitzhak Rabin were still around today. He was murdered by Israeli right-wingers in 1995 because he was trying to take Israel down the road to peace. He was a tough cookie, for sure, but he learned from his mistakes. He was a good honorable man who was trusted by many Israelis and Jews throughout the world.

    This current situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories sickens me and makes me feel like crying. It just hurts.

    My daughter is coming today to Taipei, so I will not have much time to respond to any comments today and in the next week or so.

  253. Jerry Says:

    I saw this article, Israel’s Arabs Are the Answer, from Daniel Gavron, a well-known and respected Israeli journalist and author. He is a proponent of “One State” for Israel. He does not believe in the “Two State solution” for Israel. He has some thoughts to ponder.

    MIDEAST

    Israel’s Arabs Are the Answer

    By Daniel Gavron | NEWSWEEK
    Published Jan 3, 2009

    Last week’s massive Israeli reprisals against Hamas in Gaza, which followed the breakdown of a five-month truce, have made peace between Israel and the Palestinians seem more remote than ever. Yet the fighting also dramatized just how important it is to resolve the conflict once and for all. And the opportunity is running out: in a month, Israel will hold an election, and unless the Gaza fighting changes things dramatically, the winner will likely be a right-wing government led by the Likud’s Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu. Such a government will be unwilling to ever make the compromises necessary to achieve a two-state settlement. That means that the prospect of peace will recede still further. The only way to prevent this outcome is to quickly change the rules of Israel’s political game. And the way to do that is by ending the exclusion of Israel’s own Arab population from government.

    Consider: for almost four decades, Israel’s political establishment has been deadlocked over peace with the Palestinians. The country’s Jewish voters are basically split in half on the question. Yet Israel could break this stalemate by fully enfranchising its Arabs, who make up about 14 percent of voters. These citizens have full rights under Israeli law but have long felt like second-class citizens, and their political parties, though allowed in the Knesset, have been barred by tradition from joining coalition governments.

    David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, set the precedent for this exclusion when he declared that his and successive administrations should be formed “without Herut or the communists.” Herut was the right-wing party then led by his conservative rival, Menachem Begin, and that prohibition was abandoned by 1967.

    But the ban on communists has lasted, for one main reason: because most party members also happen to be Arabs. Over the years, other Arab parties have managed to find their way into the Knesset, but they have never been invited to join an Israeli government. Arabs have served in the cabinet, but only if they were members of Zionist (Jewish) parties. On a few occasions, Arab parties have formed temporary blocking coalitions with Zionists, but the Arabs were never allowed close to the center of power.

    Israel’s Declaration of Independence guarantees all citizens equality, regardless of religion or ethnicity. Yet in many fields this principle has never been honored. The 2007 Equality Index published by Sikkuy, an NGO that works for equality between Israel’s Arabs and Jews, shows that the life expectancy of Arabs is four years shorter than that of Jews, and that while the state invests about $130 per person per month for basic welfare for Jewish citizens, the figure is just $85 for Arab citizens. Such discrimination must end and the promise of Israel’s founding document must be fulfilled—if not for moral reasons, then for a practical one. Israel will never find peace otherwise.

    In February the pro-peace, centrist Kadima Party led by Tzipi Livni will face off with, and probably be defeated by, a combination of hawkish and religious parties led by Netanyahu. Should he become prime minister once more, there will be no meaningful negotiations with the Palestinians. Construction of the security fence and the expansion of Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories will continue, as will the extension of a massive infrastructure of roads, water pipes, power lines and military installations that will make the eventual establishment of a Palestinian state physically impossible.

    Bibi’s coalition is likely to win 60 seats in the Knesset, versus Livni’s 50. But Israel’s Arabs could shift the balance decisively. In recent years they’ve tended to avoid national elections out of a sense of impotence. Were they convinced that their votes mattered, however, they could—like young Obama supporters in America—turn out in record numbers and win as many as 17 seats in Parliament, turning the tide for the center-left.

    For that to happen, the Israeli peace camp must declare in advance its willingness to ally with Arab parties. Such an Arab-Jewish coalition would also have a galvanizing effect on Israel’s population and help address years of discrimination. Israeli Arabs are feeling bitter about the Gaza attacks, but one of their own was the second victim of Hamas rocket fire in the first days of the fighting, which should make it easier to emphasize that they are an integral part of Israeli society.

    Some Israelis fear that partnering with Arabs would somehow put the Zionist enterprise at risk. That notion is absurd. The state of Israel is powerful and dynamic. Gaza has reminded everyone how powerful Israel’s military still is. Meanwhile, the economy is solid, thanks to an extraordinary high-tech sector. Israeli society is robust, with an enormously vital religious life and a flourishing arts culture. The state, in other words, is a going concern.

    Yet as Gaza has once more reminded us, we Israeli Jews will not be able to reach peace with our neighbors on our own. We need the help of our fellow Arab citizens. Inviting them into a full and equal partnership would be the ultimate triumph of Zionism. In the age of Obama, the time has come to repudiate our old phobias and prejudices and move forward to a better future for our children and grandchildren.

    Gavron is the author, most recently, of “Holy Land Mosaic.”

  254. Steve Says:

    @ Jerry #252: Your comment reminded me of a dinner I had in Phoenix with a bunch of Palestinians many years ago, back in the late 80s. I knew Sam, an engineer at Motorola and it was my first time at a Palestinian social function. I noticed the men and women ate separately, in two different locations. We were outside and they were in the kitchen. There was no interaction between male and female guests.

    While we were eating, I asked them why the Israelis and Palestinians were always fighting. I used exactly what you pointed out, that they were both Semetic peoples and both believed in the same god, so it seemed strange to me that they didn’t get along. Their answer was interesting. They said that the Jews felt they were the Chosen People and the Palestinians were not, and treated them that way. I wasn’t expecting that answer and thought it was interesting.

    I asked them why they didn’t adopt tactics similar to Gandhi and King. I told them that blowing up high school kids at a disco turned the world against them, and if they used nonviolent means of protest, they would have had their own country already. They said they knew it was true, but that the Palestinian mind was not built like that. It reminded me of something T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) said in his book “The Seven Pillars of Wisdom”. He compared Semites to Irish (he was half Irish). He said if they were your friend, they would do anything for you and you could not have a better friend in this world. But if they were your enemy, they would kill you without hesitation and not feel any guilt about it. They saw the world in black/white. He said he felt the desert had something to do with it. It was a black/white world where one mistake brought death.

    Now forget about this blog and have a great time with your daughter!!! :D

  255. Jerry Says:

    @Steve #254

    For you Steve, a short answer. Bac si Boo arrives at 9 pm tonight, my time (I remember that you liked that alliteration, Vietnamese poetry, if you will).

    Now you know why I have many Palestinian and Arab friends and acquaintances. I get along famously with most Arabs. I treat them as equals. They are equals.

    Now you know why some of my Israeli friends and acquaintances just shake their head at me. I treat Arabs as equals. Too bad for them.

    I have seen some Israelis and Jews who work for MS learn to treat and consider the Arabs at MS as equals. It was a neat transformation to watch.

    When one of my Israeli friends, Ben, retired from MS, he told me that learned from me. He was younger than I, so I thought it was just his way of showing respect for an elder. He told me that I treated him as an equal and treated the Arabs as equals. And he had learned from that. He could not have paid me a bigger compliment.

    Thanks for your good wishes. I will tell Boo. Bye for now. :D

  256. ChinkTalk Says:

    Jerry – I respect your opinions before and now even more because you are a truth seeker and a critical thinker. I respect your views. I think that China can also take notes from the Middle East – I can see the parallels, both are influenced by foreigners. Quebecers fight for the right to be “Maitre chez nous”, I think that peace will be a much more of a possibility if peoples can work out their differences without foreign influences.

    I think the term “Jews of Asia” is gaining significance.

    Have a good time with your daughter and be back soon.

  257. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Charles #245:
    the “stones” to which I refer are the source of one’s courage to stick one’s neck out the way these guys have, regardless of motivation. Even if you gave me $300K to jump off the bridge, and I took your $300K with the explicit understanding of my end of the bargain, it would still take some “stones” to actually take that leap. And that’s not to mention the other 302 folks, plus the Chinese petition signers.

    “I don’t think the Chinese government ever intended to eliminate freedom in China, or ever proclaimed that diminishing human rights is their goal.”- whatever their intent, however admirable, there’s still the bottom line one has to consider. And the bottom line is what China has actually done.

    “There must be a balance between reform, progress, and stable, secure sovereignty.” – I agree. Perhaps you think China is currently achieving such balance, but I would beg to differ.

    “Wanna risk 1.3 billion lives”- well, I don’t think we’re talking Armageddon here. Are they actually risking their survival? That seems a tad melodramatic. And with any evaluation of risk has to be a measure of the reward. I could similarly ask: “wanna dramatically improve the lives of 1.3 billion people?”

    “Ultimately this is for them to decide, not us.” – could not agree with you more. Too bad the CCP doesn’t seem to see it that way.

  258. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Steve #251:
    Thanks for the link. The current constitution sounds nice, but whether it’s actually delivered as advertised is debatable. Article 5 speaks to law and order, and the entire Section 7 describes the structure of the courts. But I think most would agree that the rule of law is not a strong-suit of China’s presently.

    Articles 34 and 35 explicitly guarantee the freedom to vote and the freedom to speech, and yet this blog has spent 8 months in part debating the inadequacies of such freedoms in China today.

    While Article 47 encourages the pursuit of artistic and literary work, the writers of the Charter get detained and interviewed.

    So to me, the Constitution sets forth some lofty goals that have yet to be met. That’s not to mention that phrases like “socialist democracy” are not well defined.

    While some basic principles in this charter, like equality and constitutional rule, are similar to the Constitution, the other principles are unaccounted for. Whereas in the constitution, freedoms and rights are conferred by the state, the charter suggests that they should be unassailable (self-evident, if you will). And of course, the checks-and-balances and democracy concepts would seem to be news for the Constitution.

    As for what’s advocated, again some seem similar to that which is mentioned in the constitution, while others seem brand new. Having said that, they advocate the constitution be “recast”, and not scrapped altogether. It would seem that the Constitution could be amended to account for the new ideas, although such an amendment would be far more challenging than the first four attempts, which seem more concerned with changing a sentence here and a sentence there in the preamble. But at the end of the day, all the amendments in the world would not be worth the paper on which they are written, unless the contents of such amendments are actually put into practice.

  259. Steve Says:

    @ S.K. Cheung #258: Raj’s letter on China Rattled by Sun King Attack contained an article from the Times about Tao Tong and in that article, it said “His essays are the second public challenge to the leadership after the appearance of Charter 08, a manifesto for political change that has been signed by more than 7,000 prominent citizens.” When did it go from 2,000 to 7,000 citizens? Are people adding their names to the Charter online? If so, I wonder if it is picking up momentum in China? I realize 7,000 signatures isn’t that much when compared to China’s population, but as you said before, it took some major “stones” for them to take that risk.

    As to your points, “Article 5 speaks to law and order, and the entire Section 7 describes the structure of the courts. But I think most would agree that the rule of law is not a strong-suit of China’s presently.”

    Right now, aren’t verdicts are predetermined by local or national party officials, depending on the notoriety of the case? It would seem to me that until the constitution is amended to get the party out of the courts, pay judges more money and punish corruption ruthlessly, there can’t be real rule of law. I’ve known many mainland Chinese who have been burned by the courts. I knew one expat who was arrested for a visa violation and left in prison for ten days. They would not allow him to use his contacts so he couldn’t see, and would not let him contact an embassy official as is allowed by China’s own laws. When laws are arbitrary and not enforced equally, there is no true rule of law.

    “Articles 34 and 35 explicitly guarantee the freedom to vote and the freedom to speech, and yet this blog has spent 8 months in part debating the inadequacies of such freedoms in China today.”

    When you can only vote for the party candidate with no alternative and you have no say in determining who that candidate is, then the vote itself is just for show; the appearance of a democracy. There is freedom of speech in China as long as it is not political speech. Everyone I know in China says that things are very different from before and they can talk about pretty much everything; just as long as they don’t criticize the party. That tends to be the argument between the two sides; one says because things are better than before, people should be satisfied with incremental progress. The other side says that without free political speech, there is no free speech. I’m not sure if political speech can be implemented incrementally; I’d think it is either allowed or not allowed. But even if allowed, many would continue to be wary. Wasn’t there a time in the ’50s when the party said “Letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend is the policy for promoting progress in the arts and the sciences and a flourishing socialist culture in our land.” when people were encouraged to criticize the government, then they were jailed and even executed?

    Has Article 10 been amended to allow the private ownership of land? I believe I read that it is allowed these days, especially in the cities. Under this article, isn’t that unconstitutional?

    In Article 34, it says anyone can run for office. I always thought you had to be a member of the CCP to run and the party appointed you as candidate. Am I incorrect in assuming this?

    In the end, isn’t it more of a structural and accountability problem rather than a constitutional problem?

    One aspect of the constitution surprised me; its complexity. Many articles in here should really be legislative law and not constitutional law, in my opinion. The constitution is very long and very specific. This is the first time I’ve ever had a chance to read it.,

  260. Jerry Says:

    @Steve #259

    Actually, Steve, by Dec 20, there were over 5,000 signers.

    I posted Verna Yu’s article in Atimes Online above in #5. Here is a snippet from her article, “China kills chickens to frighten monkeys” on Dec 20:

    And thousands of others have added their names to the petition since then, with signatures soaring beyond 5,000 as of this week, according to China Human Rights Defenders, a network of domestic and foreign human rights activists.

    I have no idea how they are signing. And I have also noticed that Vaclav Havel is getting into the fray, calling for the release of detainees. Havel also had some other interesting comments, as reported in the Sunday Herald on Jan 4:

    Charter 08 challenges Communist rule

    … Some 1200 Chinese activists and intellectuals put their names to a petition calling for Liu’s release. Western rights advocates, lawyers and academics plan to send an open letter urging President Hu Jintao to free Liu.

    Former Czech Republic president Vaclav Havel, who had signed Charter 77 as a dissident writer, also called for Liu’s release on Friday.

    “The Chinese government should learn well the lesson of the Charter 77 movement: that intimidation, propaganda campaigns and repression are no substitute for reasoned dialogue,” Havel wrote in the online edition of the Wall Street Journal.

    Havel called Charter 08 “impressive”, but he said “China in 2008 is not Czechoslovakia in 1977″.

    “In many ways, China today is freer and more open than my own country of 30 years ago,” he wrote. “And yet, the response of the Chinese authorities to Charter 08 in many ways parallels the Czechoslovak government’s response to Charter 77.” …

    You wrote:

    In Article 34, it says anyone can run for office. I always thought you had to be a member of the CCP to run and the party appointed you as candidate. Am I incorrect in assuming this?

    I always go back to US law and think of Constitutional provisions and legislation which are interpreted into administrative rules to allegedly carry out the provisions and laws. Amazing interpretations sometimes. One might call them non sequiturs. I can picture in my mind a pack of bureaucrats in some smoke-filled room discussing how to interpret some point of law, “Well, this is what they really meant.” :D :P ::LOL::

    BTW, Boo arrived safely in Osaka yesterday evening. Then NWA discovered damage to the airplane and cancelled the remaining leg to Taipei. She gets in this afternoon. At least she is ok. Makes her dad feel better.

  261. facts Says:

    @steve 208
    Somewhat impressed by the passion you and your likes have to China’s future. But I have to say you have no clue, not that you have not met enough of Chinese. It’s that you are too full of your Western superior self and the unwillingness to view the world from a Chinese perspective. You judge China with a Western frame work, then prescribe your solutions. You can spend all your life whining about how or what China should be, but China is China, there is no too much you can do about that. As to you complain about me being condecending for not using such phases as “in my opinion,” this is frivalous. Maybe you consider my statement as the dictate from Chinese foreign ministry but any person with normal intelligence would understand, it’s my personal opinion, I never claimed I am a spokesperson of any organization or groupe. Indeed, judging China based your ever rightous universally applicable western framework is what’s condesending and insulting, as many my country men and women have pointed out. To you, of cause, it’s always a misunderstanding from of the Chinese side. Again, like I said with such attitude, you will have no influence whatsoever. So far I have written, you can take it as a statement I made representing the Chinese government or Chinese foreign ministry or Chinese people in general if you want. And then go ahead declare I have no credential to make such statement, and claim yourself rightous again. I have no problem with that.

    Now let me address several points to give you raised. Sorry, I don’t have all day to write on this blog.
    1. My using “so-called”, because the whole thing is a non-issue, a farce as I call it. Charter this or that certainly carries some seriousness to the document, which that piece of writing does not deserve. So there you go.

    2. “You’d be hard pressed to find a bigger critic of CKS than I am. But let’s look at your example. In 1974, China had been run by the CCP for 25 years with as you say, no wars on home soil during that time, and no wars at all for 22 years. When the ROC ran China, it was in a perpetual state of war so impossible to compare those two eras. That’s why I compared it with Taiwan, so we are talking the same situations in the same time periods with a direct comparison of the ROC and CCP’s performance. Taiwan has very few natural resources compared to China, so China’s development should have far surpassed Taiwan’s, shouldn’t it?”

    This is just amazing how you can argue like this. To compared an independent PRC to a US satellite Taiwan. No war in 22 yrs was a great achievement by CCP, up till then China had constant warfare in 100 yrs. It only reveals the incompetancy of ROC for all those yrs that plunged China into enedless wars, development of any sort was any afterthought. Compare mainland and Taiwan economic performance another ridiculous idea, how much resource mainlan had to devote to develop nuclear arms and missle program to defend the treasured independence, as mainland was threatened by Soviet and US at times, Taiwan had to terminate nuclear program on US order, and defended by the US. How do you compare that? Taiwan had wide access to advenced Western technologies that stemed from decades of cutting edege R&D in the West, mainland had to start from mostly scratch, how do you compare that? As to the scales of economy and sizes of population, no comparison from mainland and Taiwan. Whatever conclusion you get is pointless as many others have pointed out.

    3. You list of “Ten worse famines” is right out of the Western propaganda mill, what credential does that list carry, nothing! That’s why I say your statements are comical. May as well using Nazi propaganda to prove Hitler was right. What a joke! BTW, you should have quoted from “The blackbook of communism” or the likes. You are the one asking me for evidence or data all the time, but the audacity to use the propaganda junk providing CCP evil is still quite amazingly shameless. BTW, I’d like to see your data to prove China’s “grain exports doubled”

    4.”Yes, as a matter of fact, I do. When I lived there and based on my job, I spent time with hundreds of Chinese citizens in the industrial sector. We talked about the past all the time. The vast majority of them thought Zhou was better than Mao. In fact, there was even a saying they taught me; “It is China’s curse that the number two man in China is always better than the number one; Zhou better than Mao; Zhu better than Jiang; Wen better than Hu.” I heard that expression several times from different people, and the other Chinese with me always nodded their heads in agreement. They also said they felt that Zhou mitigated many of Mao’s policies during the Cultural Revolution, and that Zhou set up the alliance with the United States that helped lead to China’s modernization. They told me many stories about things Zhou had said and done. When Zhou died, a huge, spontaneous outpouring of Chinese attended his funeral though the government did not encourage it, greater than the numbers for Mao’s funeral which was encouraged. Why was this?”

    NO, as a matter of fact, you don’t. All you have is just hearsay. Asking me for data, while all you can show is he-said-she-said.

    And YOU are the one making up stuff as you go. Like I said whatever your vision for China’s future, it’s a no-go. I appreciate your passion for China spending countless hours on blogs like this, but whine all you can. China marches on at her own pace and timing. The so-called “Charter 08″ belongs to the trash pile of Chinese history. Ten or even two yrs from now, outside the activist community, no one would know what all this hustling bustling is. Just a farce as it truly is.

  262. Jerry Says:

    @Facts #261

    Facts, you are giving actual “facts” a bad name here. You wrote to Steve:

    NO, as a matter of fact, you don’t. All you have is just hearsay. Asking me for data, while all you can show is he-said-she-said.

    Facts, people gave Steve their opinions. He is not omniscient or a “mind reader”. Your data, even if they are polls, conversations, scholarly writings or whatever, is all about opinions, too. People responding to a poll, conversing, writing about Zhou, talking about Zhou or whatever are giving their opinions. Unless of course, you can literally do a “Vulcan mind meld”! Worst part for you, even if you can pull off the mind meld, you are still getting their feelings and opinions.

    You just want to win. You want to be right and you want Steve to be wrong! Well, just imagine that you are right and he is wrong! Imagine that Steve has admitted that you won! Mission accomplished. Imagination should not be difficult for you. IMHO, Facts, your “facts” are already ample proof of your creative imagination.

    Your “facts” are not just imaginative diatribes, they are just plain duplicitous and mendacious.

    And all of this is just my opinion. Pure and simple.

  263. Steve Says:

    @ Jerry #260: Thanks for the clarification. I had missed the “5000” number in your other post. I thought it was interesting that Havel is involved, and even more interesting that he said, ““In many ways, China today is freer and more open than my own country of 30 years ago,” he wrote. “And yet, the response of the Chinese authorities to Charter 08 in many ways parallels the Czechoslovak government’s response to Charter 77.”

    I guess that’s the key here; China has come a long way in terms of freedom but the government response to talking about freedom hasn’t changed.

  264. facts Says:

    @all who want to demonize Chairman Mao
    The other point many have raised is the status of Chairman Mao. The wrongness (to borrow a term from them) of first 30 yrs of PRC. The question is why all development and achievement of any significance only occur following the founding of PRC? Why no statesman like Zhou/Deng/Jiang appeared before PRC, why they only appear amongst the cadets of evil CCP?

    The founding of PRC was the turning point of Chinese history. With PRC’s independent policy making ability for the first time in past 200 yrs, Chinese leadership can for the first time pursue national interest without the bondage of the West/Japan. It’s true there had been unrealistic/misguided policies, China paid heavy price for them. But they can be corrected and revised, and later 30yrs has been able to achieve even more on the basis of the 1st 30yrs. The misguided policies of early yrs of PRC may have adversely affected one or two generations, but the founding of PRC would benefit ten and twenty more generations to come.

    The future generations of Chinese, who are further and further removed from the mistakes of early yrs of PRC, can only appreciate the founding of PRC more and more. The the founding father of PRC will go down history as the great Chairman of the Chinese nation to the dismay of many.

    @Jerry

    Hearsay is still hearsay, from steve doesn’t change this fact. Thanks for your diatribes, shall I say “they are just plain duplicitous and mendacious.”

    And all of this you can take as the statements from Chinese Foreign Ministry or as far as your imangination has led you.

    @steve
    You hope all you can, China is not to follow Czechoslovakia.

  265. ChinkTalk Says:

    I agree with Facts that foreigners (including myself) must try to look at things from the Chinese perspective and understand why the Chinese are acting the way they do. There are many explanations as to why the Israelis must respond to the Hamas’ rockets, and I do sympathize with the Israelis, but do I really know how the Israelis feel. I certainly don’t even if given that I have visited Israel many times and that I have many Jewish friends.

    “In many ways, China today is freer and more open than my own country of 30 years ago,” he wrote. “And yet, the response of the Chinese authorities to Charter 08 in many ways parallels the Czechoslovak government’s response to Charter 77.” – Havel

    Havel is not Chinese and he is intepreting the situation in China by Czech standards and mentality. I doubt it very much that China would take the play book from the Czech government response to Charter 77 and apply it to the present situation. So what is Havel really talking about? I don’t know. Seeing parallels is something to be intepreted.

    I cannot read Chinese so the English version of the Charter 08 to me is still something written with Western inputs – perhaps Dr Link’s inputs? Something that I can read from any Western newspaper, it is not a piece of well thought out proposal. I would love to have someone come up with a Charter that has some chance of being workable.

    It is like PEACE in the Middle East, it is very nice to demand peace between Israelis and Arabs, but to make it workable has not been possible in the past. And that is with all the intelligent inputs and participations from the US, the UK, etc.

    To me peace between the Israelis and Arabs and democracy and human rights – Taiwan; Tibet; etc in China would be much easier to attain without the circumspective foreign intrusions.

  266. facts Says:

    @steve #208
    ON the issue of US restrictions on semiconductor fabrication equipment export to mainland China, you should check with your friends in industry, I am not here to write a dissertation. This is a widely known fact, the US only export technology 2 generations behind what’s in current production. 90nm technology is in the process to be exported to China, 2-3 yrs from now, Dalian will have an Intel plant with 90nm tech. Taiwan is able to import from US 65nm tech now. No time for the rest, it’s common knowledge that the US has put heavy restrictions on technology export to mainland China. You are entilted to your own opinion, I never forced you believe me.

    On the issue of “peace”. Like I said that’s how we Chinese talk about peace that has lasted in China. You don’t have to agree. That’s the way it is, PRC has had 60yrs of peace. I don’t have time to argue something like that, I never forced you to agree with me. I am just stating a fact amongst Chinese people.

  267. ChinkTalk Says:

    Steven Spielberg quit the Beijing Olympics party to protest China’s involvement in Darfur. I am still waiting for him to say something about the humanitarian crisis in the Middle East right now. Where is Richard Gere the human rights champion? Where is Mia Farrow? Where is Sharon Stone? Where are all the Beijing Olympic boycotters?

    To me, many in the West, except you Jerry, see only human rights abuses in China but not anywhere else. Do these people really care about democracy and human rights in China or they are simply anti-Sinos. If they really do care about human rights, I would like see them come out and speak up like they did with their movies about Chinese abuses, demonstrations in Hong Kong, boycots, etc.

  268. Jerry Says:

    @Facts #264

    Thanks for the amusing, albeit predictable response. As they say, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” I am thus duly appreciative of your compliment.

    :D :P ::LMAO::

  269. facts Says:

    @Jerry
    very good, as long as you are happy.

  270. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Steve #259:
    “The constitution is very long and very specific. ” – it sure was, and not the most exhilarating read. And if what’s said in the Constitution is actually what’s practiced by the CCP, we’d be getting somewhere. But as you and I have both pointed out, China’s certainly not walking the walk. As people have said, talk is cheap, and China has certainly left her constitution so rendered.

  271. Wukailong Says:

    “China is not to follow Czechoslovakia.”

    Or the Soviet Union. What a wonderful world it would be if the cold war still went on!

  272. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Fiction:
    “China marches on at her own pace and timing.” – fair enough, but hopefully not at the behest of folks like you.

    You spend a lot of pixels going on and on about how you know Chinese popular opinion. I sure as heck hope that you’re at least a PRC citizen living in China today. The alternative would simply be hysterical.

    As for worshiping at the altar of Mao, I think I’ll pass. Seems you can do my share for me anyhow. I’m happy for the progress CHina has made in the last 30 years, but it’s amusing when people try to rehabilitate the first 30. I presume you will take comfort in that, since you seem adept at amusing people.

  273. Wukailong Says:

    @SKC: “I sure as heck hope that you’re at least a PRC citizen living in China today. The alternative would simply be hysterical.”

    What’s the alternative? ;)

  274. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To WKL:
    the alternative would be if he’s not.

    BTW, funny suggestion on the Sun King thread. His “facts” vs her “facts”…it’d be “he said/she said” – the next generation.

  275. hainan88 Says:

    jerry, sk cheng, steve etc etc. u ridiculous westerners, u just copy your media as it blasts out anti-china teachings. facts is right, china has no right to import good semiconductor technology, check it for yourself, we can only get 2-3 years later and that is often bad quality. in japan car manufacturers send the best cars to themselves, then to western, then to china. why? because they think they can bully us and just earn money… and also, that nonsense about pew report, it’s just western propaganda against it anyway.

    the chinese people have stood up, we have our revolution, now we are free to make our own destiny. u westerners are just afraid! one day when we have the same national power u will not have any idea what to do… then try to play fair but no way! then u will regret your opium wars and colonies!

  276. Jerry Says:

    @Hainan88 #275

    Wow, another meaningful discussion. And, like Facts, you use Pew when it proves you right and dismiss it ignominiously when it inconveniently disagrees with your “facts”. Sweet trick!

    Maybe you and Facts can form a tag team for your “body slamming” routine. You guys are truly amusing. As we used to say of Howard Cosell, we can say of you, “You are truly legends in your own mind!” I just wish I was as smart as you think you are! ::smirk::

    Your rhetoric sounds reminiscent of certain German rhetoric in the late 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s. “Sieg heil, mein herr (or frau/fraulein)!”

    I am proud to be a ridiculous westerner. And I just luvvvvvvvv those opium wars. I would hate to ever start regretting them. ::LMAO::

    BTW, thank you for reminding me why we should never put powerful, new technology in the hands of somebody like you.

  277. TonyP4 Says:

    Not to be offensive. Some folks are influenced (a little brain washed) by China’s propaganda via the media as badly as the western folks by the western media. Or, just dumb nationalism. Let’s be more objective and back up our ideas with facts. Understand and respect others’ opinions that may be different from yours. Abusive language will lead us nowhere.

  278. perspectivehere Says:

    @facts
    @jerry
    @steve
    @skc
    @chinktalk
    @hainan88
    etc.

    I’ve just managed to skim a few of the recent comments, and I’m disappointed to find what had been substantive discussions degenerating into name-calling. It may be a fool’s errand, but I post a comment here in the hopes that the different sides will refocus on common ground where a fruitful discussion might take place.

    I saw a recent Doonesbury strip that might help to illuminate some commonalities to the problem:

    http://www.doonesbury.com/strip/dailydose/index.html?uc_full_date=20090104

    Let me explain how this strip is relevant. Doonesbury is an American political / social commentary comic strip, drawn by Garry B. Trudeau (http://www.doonesbury.com/strip/faqs/cv.html) who writes knowingly about the American political establishment.

    In this particular strip, it shows a member of Obama’s Inauguration team preparing a training session for Obama’s newly picked cabinet and other officials, many of whom were members of Bill Clinton’s government. He tries to explain to these new appointees that they need to have better discipline and unity. On the blackboard behind the instructor are the words “focus, discipline, teamwork”.

    The instructor calls this a “mandatory workshop for Clinton-era appointees”.

    He says: “In the next two weeks, we’ll be trying to help you transition from the old Clinton dysfunction to the new way of Obama.”

    “This won’t be easy for some of you.”

    “It means repudiating a culture of narcissism, in-fighting and unchecked appetites, and replacing it with selfless, disciplined teamwork – a very tall order indeed!”

    The punchline comes with Hillary interrupts the instructor with a question, “Bill’s running late, anyone mind waiting?”

    Ha ha.

    (Doonesbury is very culturally American, relying on subtlety and irony. The punchline assumes that the reader is aware that Bill Clinton (and Hillary) have the reputation of being self-obsessed. Because they are so selfish, they will make other people wait for them. Therefore, they cannot work with other people. The cartoon is subtly raising doubts that Hillary will cooperate with Obama. This is a theme already predicted in the press, that Obama will have trouble controlling the Clintons.)

    For those of us (Americans and otherwise) who have lived through the last eight years watching with increasing horror and disbelief at how badly the Republican leadership has run the U.S. into the ground, and who share in the hopes of millions or billions around the world (including no doubt many in China) for a successful Obama presidency of the U.S., yet there is just that unshakeable anxiety that the Democratic Party could mess it up by succumbing to its inability to act cohesively. So when we hear criticism of Obama’s team being heavy-handed in enforcing discipline or standards (63-page vetting documents, or telling gay right advocates to accept Obama’s pick of Rick Warren for inauguration invocation) I think most of us will think that it’s justifiable for getting anything done.

    It’s a matter of priorities. Of course it would be great to give everyone a chance to express their opinions and views. Of course we want to see the Clinton-era and other appointees (termed the “team of rivals”) be given full rein to express their views, talents and thinking.

    But the fear is that they will let their “narcissism, infighting and unchecked appetites” get in the way of getting anything done, and the Republicans will be ready to pounce on any weakness and disunity.

    Look at the Blogojevich mess. A Chicago Democrat – a local government official – has managed to dominate the news with his corruption, deflect attention from more important and urgent issues, and handed the Republicans a golden opportunity to criticize the Democratic administration even before it has begun. Meanwhile, the country is going through its worst economic crisis since the Depression, and We The People have to watch this slow-motion political train wreck being played out? What the hell are these politicians doing?

    Let’s put it in perspective, though. The U.S. can put up with a lot of bad government leaders and still survive for another day — the accumulated wealth from the hard work of past generations gives this generation of Americans a lot of room to be profligate and imprudent (as well as imposing debts on future generations), so we can afford to mess up a few times without entirely destroying the country.

    That’s why we can read the Doonesbury strip, and say Ha ha.

    Now here’s why I think this Doonesbury strip is relevant to our discussion of the Charter 08 and the Chinese context.

    I think most Chinese believe in Democracy. I have not taken a poll so I have no figures to back me up whatsoever, but I believe that most Chinese in China and otherwise have great reverence for Sun Yat-sen/Zhongshan, and share a belief in his ultimate goals of democracy for China.

    However, the inability of Chinese political leaders to work together throughout the first half of the twentieth century led to the failure of the 1911 democratic revolution. The disunity created weakness which was exploited by competitors for power (like warlords, gangsters and foreign governmental and commercial interests).

    The second half of the 20th century was different. This period is much more controversial, so I won’t hazard an opinion as to whether Mao was good or bad; I think most can agree that Mao was ruthless and totalitarian in enforcing unity, creating order and preventing exploitation by foreign governmental and commercial interests.

    All this unity, order, and freedom from exploitation came at a cost. This cost was heavy in deaths, ruined lives, ruined culture. I don’t need to go into them as they are mentioned in the Charter 08 preamble.

    Was the benefit of unity, order and freedom from exploitation worth the heavy cost? I don’t dare to say. As Obama said in response to a question on abortion, “some answers are above my paygrade”. I don’t think anyone has the perspective or the right to say whether the sacrifices, willing and unwilling, borne by those who suffered and struggled through them are “worth it”. It would be too disrespectful and presumptuous, for anyone to express a judgment. No human being can honestly weigh the vast numbers of people who were affected by these momentous events without reducing it to an amoral utilitarian bean-counting exercise of “how many numbers were killed versus how many were saved”. It really is a question for God, or Heaven (天) to answer.

    For readers of the New Testament, the answer is there in Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

    (Personally, I would prefer to think of that those, “living and dead, who struggled [during the Maoist years], have consecrated [their place in history] far above our poor power to add or detract” (to paraphrase Lincoln at Gettysburg).)

    But looking at where China goes from here, I think most Chinese, and most sensible foreigners, think feeding, clothing, sheltering, and providing jobs and healthcare and economic opportunity for the millions and millions of needy Chinese is the highest priority of all, and there isn’t very much accumulated wealth in China to afford “messing up”.

    I think there are Chinese who are exasperated with the calls for national level elections and the other items demanded in Charter 08 for the same reasons – they fear that narcissism, infighting, selfish impulses and unchecked appetites of some many interest groups in China will lead to a dysfunctional system incapable of meeting the basic needs of the majority of the needy population. This is the “chaos” that they fear if a democracy is put in place prematurely.

    So rather than taking a chance with an untested form of government like western-style democracy (I mean untested in China under the conditions of the early 21st century), they would rather stick with what’s been working. “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t”. (http://www.usingenglish.com/reference/idioms/better+the+devil+you+know.html)

    For many Chinese (and foreigners who have thought of the problems in these terms), the answer seems so obvious, that is, to let the current reforms continue under the current governmental team and structure. Once you have solved some of the urgent pressing problems of scarcity (which are a problem of resource production and allocation), and the people have some surplus resources, that’s when it is much less risky to experimental with a new, looser form of political control. Because this answer seems so obvious, they may criticise any foreign or local advocate of immediate democratization as, at best, foolish, and at worst, malicious.

    Because foreigners (and some Chinese who yearn for a better system, and who may be enamoured of democracy from afar without having experienced or considered the downsides) may be working from a different set of assumptions — that democratic forms of political controls should come first, or should come as soon as possible, in order to move China to the next stage of development — they will keep advocating this as the solution for China. They will think that anyone resisting democratic reforms to be, at best, uninformed, and at worst, shills for the CCP.

    Personally, I think both sets of views are respectable positions, and each have fair points.

    A few years ago, I would have put myself firmly in the “pro-democracy now” camp. But as I thought and understood more about China’s situation as well as thought and read more about U.S. politics and economics, I became less convinced that immediate democratization would be sustainable. I considered the need for the emergence and maturation of strong institutions of law, education and commerce, and other “must-haves” in order for a modern democracy to be functional.

    I suspect that the current Chinese leadership understands this dilemma. Based on my own observations, I can see that these institutions are being built, but it will take time (my guess is at least 2-3 decades) for them to be strong enough to support a nationally elected two-party system like the U.S. I applaud the efforts to experiment with local elections as a way to build a grass-roots democracy.

    Even the U.S. had town-hall style democracy at the town and colony level (developing over a period of 160+ years from the earliest Virginia settlements) before it tried a national level in the 1770’s. The entire U.S. population at the time was only about 2.5 million – less than the current population of Singapore – and only white men with property could vote, which represented only a small percentage of the population – I’ve seen estimates of as low as 10 percent of the total population.

    Would the U.S. have become the strong and unified country it is today (notwithstanding its narcissistic I-want-my-MTV-now ways) if someone suggested a national democracy before they were ready, say, in 1700, to the then colonies? Would the U.S. have had the legal, economic and social (and military) institutions to have made it work? Or once freed from England’s control/protection and left to their own, would they have survived their own disunity? Remember, even the first Articles of Confederation were a failure.

    I end this long post with a few questions which I hope people will answer substantively: Why does 14. Protection of Private Property advocate a sale of state assets? What does this have to do with democratization? I can understand protection of private property, but why is privatization being advocated here? As I’ve posted elsewhere, Singapore Airlines, one of the best run and profitable airlines in the world, is government-owned. http://conversationstarter.hbsp.com/2008/08/singapore_airlines_winning_str.html

    Meanwhile, how are the U.S. airlines doing? http://www.reuters.com/article/AerospaceandDefense07/idUSN3027152520071203

    On No. 4, Independent Judiciary, do people think this is a reasonable request when the quality of judges are low? Many judges are not trained in the law. China has a very immature legal system. Even if judges are independent of the government or of the Party, how do you make sure they are not corrupt? Look at the Philippines and Indonesia. This reminds me of the joke about the economist on the desert island whose only food is a box of canned goods. When asked what he will do to survive, he says, “first, assume a can opener”.

    In this case, the advocates of an independent judiciary, if asked how to make this work, seem to me to be saying, “first, assume a qualified, trust-worthy judiciary”.

    For Item 2, “We need an Administrative Law that defines the scope of government responsibility and prevents abuse of administrative power.” Doesn’t this already exist?

    For Item 2, which limits central government power only to the constitutionally granted powers, doesn’t this remove the long-standing ability of individuals to petition the central government to review unjust treatment by local officials, in cases where the unjust treatment relates to a matter of local concern (like compensation for a local reclamation project)? Does anyone think this is a good thing?

    Also, under the current state of development where it seems that local governments are far more corrupt, inept and oppressive than the national government, is it really wise to advocate a “states rights” policy? This sounds as absurd as states rights advocates during the U.S. civil rights struggles of the 1960’s/70’s — that their segregationist laws were within the scope of the states’ rights and that the national government had no right to interfere. Does anyone think this would be a good thing today?

  279. ChinkTalk Says:

    China cracks down on porn. Here is an interesting experiment on difference between Chinese views and the way Westerners view Chinese views.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090105.wchinaporn0105/BNStory/International/home

    The Chinese governement wants no porn on the internet which I accept at face value. I don’t want my 9 year old son to look at naked women with their legs spread open with a painful expression while a man puts his penis in her. If you read the comments, most intepret it as attempts by the Chinese government to control freedom of expression and curb political dissent.

  280. TonyP4 Says:

    @278

    Thanks God, US has a two-party democratic system. If one party is really screwed up like the current Republican (and the future if Sarah is their Goddess), we can replace it in 4 years (8 years as we the voters really screwed up last time).

    When CCP is screwed up (like corruption…), we cannot replace it. So, a two-party democratic system has its virtue. But, it is not for China today for many reasons.

  281. ChinkTalk Says:

    perspectivehere – brilliant dissertation, I love this blog because of its ability to attract intelligent people like you.

    The American political system is so robust that they can step on it, shred it, burn it and it would still come back intact and perhaps better. This can also be attributed to the smarts of the American people. China by contrast, in my humble opinion, is quite fragile politically and socially and cannot really withstand the same type of roughhousing the US is able to endure. I just cannot imagine the Chinese political milieu and society being able to withstand the shock and awe of Jon Stewart’s political firebombs. Most of the American people are independant thinkers and despite their media propagandas they are not so easily swayed. The Chinese populace by contrast, in my opinion, is much easily mobilized for things they don’t have full comprehension and thus easily manipulated by foreign influences. For example, the Falun Gong and the Free Tibet movements.

    I also believe in a democratic China, like TonyP4 says, it is not for China today.

  282. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To PerspectiveHere:
    once again a fantastic post. Though you say it was long, I only wish it was longer. And I will try to take some of your messages to heart.

    As you point out, China may not be ready for what the Charter suggests, today. But that’s not to say that she won’t be ready someday. And if and when that day comes, should a plan be devised only at that point for moving further forward? I personally think it is preferable to have a vision of where one wants to go, before setting out on the journey. It is true that the CCP probably has such a plan, but I would rather one where the Chinese people were the authors. Perhaps Chinese people would choose differently, and want to follow the CCP way; that is certainly their prerogative. But it still strikes me that they should be afforded the choice.

    If you can stipulate that a vision is important, but the timing is off, then I would ask: if not now, then when? If not (by the current authors of the Charter), then who?

  283. Steve Says:

    @perspectivehere #278:
    I agree with everyone; that was a terrific post!

    I happened to run across an article today in Time online about Asian Democracies which talks about a lot of the issues we’ve been discussing on this thread. It doesn’t talk about China because its topic is present day democracies, but it does discuss the problems other Asian democracies have had and what structural issues caused those problems. I think it echoes some of perspectivehere’s comments as well.

    @facts #266: You’re referring to the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls. However, you changed your statement from countries outside China to the USA. You are correct in that the USA still honors the agreement but since it is possible to buy a complete tool set without any American tools, it is not relevant to your statement. Japan controls the photolithography market with the exception of Philips, which is located in Holland. The rest of the tool set can be purchased from Japanese or European manufacturers who no longer abide by the agreement.

    For a more complete idea of the state of the Chinese semiconductor industry, you can read through this previous thread about Wang Yung-Ching where Eugene Z and I cover Chinese semiconductor manufacturing for most of its history.

    As a side note, very few people in the industry realize that Intel had put together a deal with the Shanghai government to build a fab there in the early to mid 1990s. After all the details were completed, the national government insisted on giving its approval to the agreement. However, unlike the Shanghai government, they would not agree to protect Intel’s intellectual property. Because of this, Intel pulled out of the deal. I heard this from the Intel VP who negotiated the deal (he negotiated all Intel’s new fab arrangements) so I know it’s accurate. Intel had a good working relationship with the Shanghai city government but was pretty disgusted with the last minute interference by the central government. It is the reason they stayed out of China for so long.

    If the government had protected Intel’s intellectual property (which they do now), the industry in China would be years ahead of its current state. I believe it was in the very early years of the Jiang administration.

  284. Netizen K Says:

    Steve,

    I think IP laws are part of trade law which is under the national jurisdiction. Subnational governments have no right to sign own agreement on it with foreign entities. The central government has every right to block any such pacts and Intel should have known it. I doubt the Intel story though.

  285. Steve Says:

    @ Netizen K: I would agree with you that trade laws are under national jurisdiction, but Intel thought that the Shanghai government had already received national government approval. To be honest, I think the Shanghai government also thought they had received national government approval. Sure they could block it, and as a result Intel could pull out of the deal. In the end, it was China’s industry that was hurt.

    Things really started to change with the construction of Motorola’s Tianjin fab (now owned by SMIC) and the SMIC fab in Pudong. Before those, the rest of the fabs were probably 6 generations behind, if not more. They were really primitive; late 70s/early 80s technology.

    I don’t doubt the story at all. I received it face to face with this particular VP. He was the #3 guy in the entire company. It wasn’t hearsay; he was directly in charge of the negotiations. Why would he make it up?

  286. Charles Liu Says:

    Steve @259, “Bao Tong … the second public challenge”

    When I searched in Baidu, there weren’t that much chatter about Charter 08, even less so for Bao Tong.

    Looks like this thing is running out of steam.

  287. perspectivehere Says:

    @Chinktalk
    @SK Cheung
    @Steve

    Thanks for the positive feedback. I appreciate the thoughtful commentary from all of you.

  288. Wahaha Says:

    “I understand that China has tremendous room for growth but economic development is an indiscriminate bulldozer that will eventually be hijacked by those seeking personal benefit at the expense of public good. At what point will the government decide “ok we’ve grown enough, now let’s allow some deliberation.”

    Ted,

    Who doesnt seek personad benefit ? In China, it is economic corruption; in democratic countries, it is political corruption (which leads to personal benefits).

    I said before it is naive to think that the politicians will work for you cuz they are elected by people. At what points will those hijackers think “ok, we have enough..” ? That is very easy, have a look of history of west democracy in last several centuries.

  289. ChinkTalk Says:

    Jerry – here is an article from a person I have lots of respect. He is retired Canadian general Lewis Mackenzie. This gentleman is one of the few Canadian public figures I can fully trust. He is brilliant and a solid straight arrow. In his article he proposed about using the UN to resolve the Israeli-Hamas conflict because the Hamas if hell bent on the extermination of Israel.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090105.wcogaza06/BNStory/specialComment/home

    I cannot help but see the similarities between anti-semitism and anti-sinoism. Mackenzie mentioned that there are anti-semitic elements within the UN that contribute to the insecurity of the Israelis and to myself a rash of flashbacks of antiBeijing Olympics demonstrations in Western countries; the promotion of anti-sino proponents by the Noble Prize organization; smears by the Western media; meeting with the Dalai Lama by Western leaders. In my opinion, under the guise of promotion of democracy and human rights in China, these institutions are in truth promulgating the hidden agenda of anti-sinoism. With the full intention of the the ultimate implosion of China through the support of internal conflict. Why such hatred for the Jews? Why such hatred for the Chinese? Given such parallels I am convinced more than ever that the Chinese are the Jews of Asia.

  290. TonyP4 Says:

    Steve, I missed your posts about China’s semi conductor business. From my other readings, it seems all the fabs have gone to China with Taiwan’s investment and China’s incentives. Should US maintain some basics for strategic purposes?

    Intel was smart to get out of the chip commodity business and concentrated on their CPU business.

  291. Steve Says:

    @ Charles Liu #286: Thanks for letting us know. I don’t follow the Chinese blogs and bulletin boards. Have Charter 08 and Bao Tong’s comments been censored there or it’s just that no one is interested? Right now under these economic conditions, I would think most Chinese are more worried about making a living than about theoretical constitutional changes.

    @ Wahaha #288: I agree with what you said, but isn’t political corruption leading to economic benefits endemic in both China and the western governments? In one you can “throw the bums out” but how do you reduce political corruption in an authoritarian government? Is there a way to create checks to prevent this from happening? I’m talking more about lower level corruption than national, though I’ve run across a few deals with “little princes” whose fathers are major government officials that were pretty shady.

    In western governments, it seems the major economic corruption takes place in the military/industrial complex; deals between military leaders and contractors that financially benefit those military leaders. That one is hard to weed out because those military leaders are not elected.

    @ ChinkTalk #289: That was a good article. Interestingly, I heard almost the exact same solution from a retired American general who had served for a long time in the Middle East on one of the Sunday talk shows. He also said that Israel and the Palestinians could never solve their differences without outside help.

    Honestly, I hadn’t heard the term “anti-sinoism” until recently on this blog. Has this term been around for awhile? I know some media coverage is anti-China and a lot of it isn’t accurate at all, but I’ve also heard a lot of positive coverage. The coverage during the Olympics was trite at times but it didn’t seem to be negative at all. All media knows that negative stories sell better than positive ones, so that’s usually what they prefer. But at least here in the States, normal people I talk to have positive impressions of the Chinese people and the ones that have vacationed in China loved it! That’s why I’m not sure if western attitudes are as bad as you describe. Western governments have been saying for years that a strong, developed China is good for the world. Why would they want China to implode? Geopolitically, that just doesn’t make sense to me.

    My wife who is Hakka always says that Hakka are the “Jews of China” because they are highly educated, hardworking, very disciplined, retained their ancient language and had to stick together in southern China in their tulous while facing discrimination and attack. :)

  292. Wahaha Says:

    Steve,

    In China, government officials get money indirectly (or illegally); in USA, riches buy policy from government and get money directly (or legally as they OWN those company or industry). So compared to the percentage of pie given to people in United states, Chinese people get more percentage of pie.

    It is almost impossible to reduce political corruption in ANY government. Cuz most politicians, in democratic countries or authoritarian countries, seek personal gain by gaining political power, more or less. Like Chen suipian, the former president of Taiwan; like Chicago governor.

    You rarely see US media repoting how companys gain from certain policys, you rarely see how power figures in China live or how much they earn. If media will expose them, they will either buy the media or make it illegal, and in Russia, they even kill journalists.

    You think elliot spitzer’s scandal is just that simple ? I dont believe that. There are so many politicians who have skeleton hid in their closets but only Spitzer was exposed ? I believe he was exposed cuz he offended some tycoons on wall street. The same in China, I believe lot of them are exposed cuz of power struggle.

    What we can expect from government is that let them gain a little more than other people, but make sure they will give huge percentage of pie to people, like Singapore.

    BTW, to make sure that the government will work for you, you must give government power to do what is necessary. but there is huge down side of that government have too much power. so I asked a question before : Is it possible that free media and authoritarian government co-exist ? and I dont know the answer.

  293. ChinkTalk Says:

    Steve – my mother is a Hakka. She is Canadian born so she did not experience any discrimination that you mentioned. My father is Toisanese and my mother says that my paternal grand-parents do not like my mother because of the superstition that Hakka women bring bad luck. Like most Hakkas, my mother has a darker complexion and has sharper facial features like a pointy nose and square eyes, they are generally taller than the average Chinese. My mother is tall and slim. Toisanese are known to have lighter skin than the average Chinese, but they are plum and stocky. (the original railway coolies). I took after my mother so often in the summer time, people always mistaken me for being an East Indian. I grew up on a vegetable farm and Chinese vegetables are very labour intensive. My grand-parents marveled at how resilient my mother was and how she always worked longer and faster than my aunts. She is also a favourite of our customers who are the Chinatown shop keepers. My grand-parents soon became fierce defenders of the Hakka people and always tell people what luck this daughter-in-law had brought to them. They ended up loving and showing more affection for my mother than my aunts.

  294. Charles Liu Says:

    Stevew @391, “anti-sinoism”

    Have you heard of the term Blue Team?

  295. Steve Says:

    @ Charles Liu #294: Actually, I had not heard the term. I followed your link back to the Wiki definition and I wasn’t very impressed with their roster. Seems they haven’t have much influence in any government and will have no influence in an Obama government. There’s a neo-conservative link but these days, neo-conservatives are so discredited that their days might be numbered.

    Thanks for the link; now I understand the term.

  296. Steve Says:

    @ TonyP4 #290:

    “From my other readings, it seems all the fabs have gone to China with Taiwan’s investment and China’s incentives. Should US maintain some basics for strategic purposes?”

    There is still a tremendous amount of semiconductor manufacturing in the United States. IBM, Texas Instruments, Micron, Freescale (spinoff of Motorola), AMD, Intel and a few other manufacturers are here and there are many fabless companies that use foundries to make their chips. IBM is the largest foundry in the USA, but they don’t split that side of their business for public view so no one knows how large it actually is. China only has a few high end fabs. Most of their current fabs are older and manufacture discrete circuits, not MOS chips.

    “Intel was smart to get out of the chip commodity business and concentrated on their CPU business.”

    Actually, Intel was never in the chip commodity business. The only American manufacturer who still makes memory chips is Micron, and they don’t compete directly with the Asians because their claim to fame is the same memory on a smaller chip, so it takes less space, uses less energy and gives off less heat. These features are worth a price premium.

    The rest of the American manufacturers typically make ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuits) which are also very profitable. The margins in any kind of commodity chip are very low, and any downturn in the market can wipe out a company. Right now, Taiwan’s memory chip manufacturers are all in trouble and can only survive with government help. Samsung is currently the biggest memory manufacturer in the world.

    Intel originally manufactured just the microprocessor but when AMD became a larger competitor, Intel’s strategy was to release the next generation processor and get a high margin, then when AMD released their similar version, knock down the price so AMD would not make much money. What was killing Intel was that they’d release the chip, but the other component manufacturers on the motherboard would be late with their products so Intel decided to manufacture the entire motherboard chipsets which they still do. This allowed them to take advantage of the new processor’s speed and/or power saving advantages without having to wait for other suppliers to release their complementary products.

    For the military, the chips need to be hardened for use in extreme environments. These are called RHIC (Radiation Hardened Integrated Circuits) and are manufactured by places like Sandia National Labs in Albuquerque. They can handle high altitudes for missiles and weapons that would short out normal chipsets. Those will always be manufactured “in house”.

  297. Steve Says:

    @ ChinkTalk #293:

    My wife is 100% Hakka from Miaoli, Taiwan, though her family on both sides was originally from Guangdong province (many generations earlier) but I forget the name of the village. She never experienced any discrimination but I know that in the history of Taiwan, the Taiwanese did discriminate in the old days and when the KMT came to Taiwan, they allied themselves with the Hakka people so the big four Hakka cities in Taiwan (Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Miaoli and Pingtung) all tend to support the KMT.

    I never heard that superstition about Hakka women but if they were Toisonese, it makes sense because the southern Chinese historically didn’t like the Hakka. My wife has a darker (but not too dark, the perfect tan) complexion but her sister is very light skinned. My wife took after her dad and her sister after her mom. My wife is average height (5’4″) but more athletic figure than most Taiwanese women, so that might be from her Hakka heritage. She says she has almond eyes and a garlic nose, whatever that means. :D

    Hakka people work HARD! Did you know Hakka women never bound their feet? They thought it was stupid; how can you work with bound feet?

    Both FOARP and I lived for a time in Miaoli, so we’re both nuts about Hakka food. I also get it everyday at home, so I am one lucky guy. Once on my first New Years in Taiwan, her cousin took us to a farming village where his grammar school classmate/very close friend lived. They were the leading family in the village so had everyone over for a huge Hakka feast. I guess because I was American and very few foreigners came to this village, I was treated extra special (which means a lot of toasts, ha ha). I can honestly say it was one of the best meals of my life.

    If you ever get the chance to visit Singapore, try the Hakka food there. It’s spicier than in Taiwan or the mainland, but really good. I like spicy anyway so it fit me. I once had a Hakka style sting ray dish that was incredible!

    Whenever Hakka get together in the States, they’ll constantly switch between Mandarin, English and Hakka.. it’s pretty interesting to hear it. All I know how to say was “on-suh-say” (have no idea how to spell it in pinyin) which is “thank you”. Saying it while living in Miaoli got me a lower price. No one bargains better than Hakka! :P

  298. pug_ster Says:

    @294 Charles Liu

    Since the Lhasa incident, I knew that the US government is always Anti China, but the explanation of the Blue Team kind of explains it.

    @296 Steve

    Actually Micron is losing boatloads of money, lost of $706 million last quarter. My guess is that memory business is mostly cyclical as the memory cartel made tons of money years ago and used the money to build new fabs. By the time the fabs are built and put in production, the supply increased, thus the only way to make money is to keep pumping out memory for a loss. I really don’t know how samsung and possibility hynix is doing as maybe they are losing money also, but is compensating because its other divisions made money.

    AMD is already screwed. Personally I don’t know how they lost that much money but managed to stay in business. At least they got 2nd lease on life after money injection from UAE’s ATIC. For every processor that AMD makes, they have to pay royalties to Intel because intel has IP over the x86 design. In fact, Intel has the right to copy AMD’s innovations without paying AMD anything. To give you an example, Intel incorporated AMD’s phenom on how CPU handles on-chip cache into Intel’s Nehalem’s core processors. The only bright spot is that Microsoft couldn’t make a compelling reason on why people should use Vista and PC gaming is not selling well anyways so people don’t need a compelling reason to buy an expensive Nehalem CPU.

  299. Steve Says:

    @ pug_ster #298: I had just read an article a couple of days ago in one of the Taiwan online newspapers about all of their memory companies needing government cash infusion or they would probably go out of business in the next three months. I think Powerchip is the biggest there but Nanya is another and I believe there were two others. I didn’t bookmark the article so I don’t have the figures handy.

    Memory is definitely cyclical; always has been. The best thing the American companies did was get out of that market. It’s low margin and expensive to build the fabs. It was interesting how it happened; the US companies dominated the market but the Japanese came in, sold below cost in the USA and at higher margins to Japanese electronic companies, forcing the American companies to switch to other products. But just when they completed their monopoly, the Koreans stepped in and there was huge government support to compete with Japan; then the Taiwan companies came in and between all of them, the margins stayed paper thin. So the best thing that ever happened to the American companies was to lose the business to Japan. Meanwhile, they switched to ASIC designs that ended up much more profitable and grew the business again.

    I think Samsung is doing OK because their fabs are ultra modern so their costs are lower than most. They also have a captured market in that Samsung makes so many consumer electronics. That is why China is alluring to the memory market; more and more consumer electronic companies are manufacturing in China, not just foreign but homegrown brands. Right now they have to buy their chips from overseas but they’d prefer to buy them locally if they had a competitive supply. But if China gets into the memory market, then they’d also be held hostage to the market swings. I don’t think Hynix is doing very well; I think the Korean government is keeping them afloat. I hope Micron makes it through this latest crisis; they’re a good company to work with.

    Thanks for the info on AMD and MIcron. I have never liked AMD as a company. For awhile they were keeping up with clock speed and even surpassing Intel occasionally, but they missed the boat on the more recent designs. Intel really got their priorities straight over the last few years. I’ve always preferred selling to Intel; more professional to me. Intel used to be great in design and terrible at manufacturing (we’re talking the early 80s) but over the years, they’ve figured out the manufacturing end and are now very good at it. They almost went belly up around 1982 but IBM saved them by buying 15% of the stock and later selling it back to Intel when they were back on their feet. Most in the industry don’t realize that. IBM didn’t want to be dependent on Motorola microprocessors back then because they were a hardware competitor at the time. Motorola also supplied the CPUs to Apple for many, many years.

    Vista has really been a dog. I’ve had many friends who bought a new computer with Vista and hated it so much they reformatted and put XP back on. I still use XP and it works fine. I’ve been thinking of buying an Apple for my next computer, though. Windows is just too bloated a program.

  300. pug_ster Says:

    http://news.cnet.com/AMD-compatibility-no-problem-for-Intel-chip/2100-1006_3-5159067.html

    Compared to Intel, AMD is probably the unappreciated company because much of the designs of Today’s Intels CPUs are based on AMD’s innovations. I recall several years ago when Intel made their Pentium 4 (netburst) processors they are incredibly slow despite of its higher clock speeds and sucks up alot of power. Despite that, Intel has a bigger market than AMD until AMD comes out with its dual core, 64 bit design. The next year, Intel incorporated AMD’s dual core design on its of core2duo processors and scrapped their netburst processors the year after that. Yes, Intel have superior fabs cranking more processors cheaply and more efficiently, but we will probably be using single core Pentium 4’s in our desktop today if wasn’t for AMD trying to keep Intel honest.

  301. TonyP4 Says:

    @all

    Steve, thanks for the info. As an investor, I played the game of AMD and Intel – their stocks shot up when they showed a better mouse trap. Now, CPU is a commodity (mass produced and low profit margin) and I lose interest in them. The need to upgrade a new PC is not important compared to the old days. Most of my applications work fine with XP. Some of my investment software cannot run on Apple, so it is not for me.

    Korea could be the worse Asian country in this global recession not counting Japan that has been down for a long while.

    Vista needs a lot of memory as some of the Office modules leak memory. My 1G running on Vista requires rebooting once a while. I like old XP for productivity – muscle over a pretty face. Call Bill Gates at 1-800-bad-software to complain.

  302. ChinkTalk Says:

    Steve – it is so cool that you know more about things Chinese than I do. Like Sarah Palin, my extend of foreign knowledge is being able to see Seattle from my house. Matter of fact, I have never even been to Mexico. The furthest South is Disneyland in Florida. Often, people think I am some sort of Chinese spy because I question the unfair treatment of China in the public domain. But I really do not have any association at all with China other than the fact that my genes come from there. I admire my Jewish friends because they never accept the obvious and question everything. And I think I am learning because I don’t think China is as evil as is painted by the West and not as perfect as is painted by the Chinese.

  303. Steve Says:

    @ pug_ster #300: You’re so right, competition keeps the innovation moving along. A few years ago, AMD was definitely taking market share from Intel so it’s been interesting to see how Intel has come back. I didn’t realize that Intel had access to AMD’s patents. I know AMD has a very high end fab in Dresden, Germany and a few in Texas, but not sure how well they can compete with Intel these days. Having one supplier is definitely a bad deal.

    Here in San Diego, I’ve known two ex-VPs from Gateway Computers. They were telling me that even though Gateway can’t compete size wise with HP or Dell, both Microsoft and Intel give them the same pricing as the big guys because they’re worried that if Gateway goes out of business, there won’t be enough competition and HP/Dell will start dictating to Wintel what to charge rather than the other way around. It’s the same sort of deal.

    @ TonyP4 #301: I’ve always felt that software drives hardware and there’s just no reason these days to upgrade computers since there aren’t any real “killer apps” to drive the purchase. I’m with you; XP works fine for me and is reasonably reliable as long as I re-format once a year, which is a good idea anyway. Some of the Office modules leak memory? Someone else told me about that and I find it amazing that it hasn’t been patched yet. Leaking memory is ridiculous. I typically surf with Firefox but haven’t tried Google’s new browser or Apple’s Safari. Has anyone played around with either of those yet?

  304. perspectivehere Says:

    @Steve

    I’m fascinated by the discussions you started on the China semiconductor industry here and elsewhere. Thank you for enlightening us on the intricacies of this industry.

    @SK Cheung #282

    You asked:

    (1) should a plan be devised for moving further forward?

    (2) while the CCP probably has such a plan, but shouldn’t the people be given a choice?

    (3) when and who will provide the vision?

    In response, I ask:-

    (1) Shouldn’t the PRC Constitution be the starting point for any discussion of expansion of rights? Since building respect for the rule of law and the maturity of legal institutions is of paramount importance, isn’t it foolish to engage in a discussion of a “charter” (as though there were nothing already in place) when the unfinished work of the PRC Constitution awaits?

    In the U.S., the advances in human and civil rights that we have observed throughout its 200+ history did not happen by calling for a new Constitution, but rather by taking the words of the existing Constitution seriously. Others have raised this point above, but I want to emphasize it here – the PRC Constitution is the Law of the Land. The fact that there are many instances in which it is not adequately enforced does not invalidate it or delegitimize it. The fact that one might not like or disagrees with the CCP does not invalidate it either. If one cares about progressing the cause of human rights in China, it seems to me the right way is to ask the government to enforce the rights embodied in the Constitution. The Chinese government may drag their feet; they may find reasons to say why they cannot enforce it now; they may silence opponents and seek to jail them. And yet, this is what has happened at various times in the U.S., for those who fought to defend the Constitution. The history of arrests and arbitrary detentions for government critics in the U.S. has a well-worn history, since the time of the Alien & Sedition Acts (which were eventually mostly overturned) in 1798, up through the Jim Crow laws of Reconstruction, to the unlawful detentions represented by Gitmo today. There are hard-fought battles in the courtroom and outside. This is what forms the allegiance to a common rule of law. That the Constitution applies to all.

    Many constitutional scholars in the U.S. have focused on the “aspirational nature” of the U.S. Constitution — that it is a “living document”, one that gets interpreted to meet the needs of the time. I don’t think it’s helpful to say that because its aspirations are not yet met, that it should be rejected in favor of a different or amended document.

    It seems to me that respect for the PRC Constitution is the more fruitful and practical grounds on which to build respect for rights in China. It doesn’t come about by constantly demanding for the Constitution to be changed or revised; constant revision of a Constitution tends to reduce respect for it.

    So I’m not particularly in favor of trying to call attention to a new document when the Constitution itself needs to be better enforced.

    Besides, many of the statements in the Charter 08 regarding voting and civil rights sound similar to clauses already found in the PRC Constitution anyway. These are the idealistic-sounding “mom and apple pie” provisions that no one can take issue with. Why repeat them?

    Charter 08 is also asking for things which are already enshrined in the Constitution. For example, anyone following developments in Chinese law will know that the legal basis for private property has been strengthened over the past few years. In 2004 the PRC Constitution was amended to state that:

    “Citizens’ lawful private property is inviolable” and “The State, in accordance with law, protects the rights of citizens to private property and to its inheritance” and “The State may, in the public interest and in accordance with law, expropriate or requisition private property for its use and shall make compensation for the private property expropriated or requisitioned.”

    The real estate and stock markets are vibrant and have wide participation from many sectors of the population. I don’t see how one can say there is a lack of property rights anymore in China.

    So what is the point of putting together the Charter 08 if much of what it states is already in the PRC Constitution or existing laws and regulations? Why not just say, “enforce the Constitution”? Isn’t that the more direct, lawful, and uncontroversial way to accomplish their objectives? The solution lies in better implementation of what is already there rather than a radical new program.

    But where Charter 08 and the PRC Constitution differ are the interesting parts. For example, I asked in #278 how privatization of state owned companies as well as the “states’ rights” argument are necessarily good things for China. These have enormous economic, legal and strategic implications. How many “democracy rights activists” inside or outside China really care about these items? In the U.S., these positions are associated with classic “right-wing conservative” positions, as represented by such organizations as the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society. Is the Charter 08 a trojan horse for these items?

    It is helpful in this context to recall the widely-reported failures and scandal involving Harvard Institute and Russian privatization. See “Harvard’s “Best and Brightest” Aided Russia’s Economic Ruin” http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1018. Another link is here: http://www.economicprincipals.com/issues/06.01.22.html. And a link to a reposted LA Times article “http://iskran.iip.net/review/september/la1.html, “How the Chubais Clan, Harvard Fed Corruption”. Quoting the latter:

    “The Harvard Institute, together with the Chubais “dream team,” as Summers called it, presided over Russia’s economic “reforms,” many of them U.S.-funded, including privatization. But the reforms were more about wealth confiscation than wealth creation. The first stage of privatization, which had substantial input from U.S.-paid Harvard advisers, fostered the concentration of property in a few Russian hands and opened the door to widespread corruption…..”

    “Besides failing to achieve viable economic reform, the Chubais-Harvard partnership undermined democratic and state institutions. With U.S. support, it operated through executive decree, circumventing the Duma, the democratically elected parliament. The partnership also ran a network of aid-funded “private” organizations, some of which usurped state functions. For example, the Russian Privatization Center negotiated loans with the IMF on behalf of the Russian state, bypassed the Duma and contributed to the Chubais Clan’s political and financial base. It attracted some $4 billion in Western aid, according to its CEO, which the Chamber of Accounts, Russia’s rough equivalent of the GAO, said “was not spent as designated.””

    Someone looking at this cynically might think that the payoff for pushing Charter 08 might accrue disproportionately to those who are tasked with implementation of Article 14. Notice that the “sale of state assets” language is inserted in a section entitled “protection of private property”.

    When drafting contracts, some lawyers will try to bury important but controversial items under innocuous headings, hoping they will be overlooked. It’s called “hiding the ball”. It seems to me that whoever drafted the sentence “We should establish a Committee on State-Owned Property, reporting to the national legislature, that will monitor the transfer of state-owned enterprises to private ownership in a fair, competitive, and orderly manner.” is trying to “hide the ball” of privatization under an innocuous sounding heading.

    Perhaps someone with time on their hands can do a careful comparison of where the Charter 08 differs from either the PRC Constitution or from existing laws on the books already.

    Regarding your other questions, I would suggest taking a look at the John Thornton essay on the state of China’s democratization in Foreign Affairs Jan/Feb ’08, “Long Time Coming: the Prospects for Democracy in China:

    http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20080101faessay87101/john-l-thornton/long-time-coming.html

    There are many good quotes and developments mentioned in that essay, and it strikes me that the CCP is thinking and doing a lot of substantive work on the democratization front, particularly the experiments on local level elections.

    This is typical of how regulation-making works in the PRC: some administrative agency is tasked with the role to explore drafting rules relating to some activity – in this case, village-level elections. They go out and introduce a few experimental programs using “draft provisional regulations”. Then they study how they work, and try to figure out how to make them better. Bureaucratic dynamics in China are such that the final result is never ideal, and sometimes it’s 2-steps-forward-1-step-back. Still, that’s the way they get things done. I can’t fault them for this approach. I’m not sure it’s worse than the paid-lobbyist-influenced style of drafting rules in the U.S.

    In my view, there is more likelihood of getting traction in the next 3-5 years on village-level elections, especially with the current focus on rural development (see, e.g., http://www.china.org.cn/government/central_government/2008-12/29/content_17023174.htm)

    Also see http://www.cartercenter.org/peace/china_elections/index.html and it’s website, which is run jointly by the Carter Center and the Institute of International Comparative Political Economy of Renmin University of China:
    http://en.chinaelections.org/newsinfo.asp?newsid=14717

    Why are these important developments, which are both substantive and widespread, getting so little attention in the the English media? Most articles we see about village elections seem to emphasize conflicts or the scandalous, so we may get the impression that they are all bad. Yet, it is out of these experiments with democratic processes (in over 600,000 villages, mind you) that the real roots of Chinese democratization will occur.

    I don’t see how Charter 08 adds much to this process. The stuff about privatization in Section 14 makes me feel very cynical about this.

  305. admin Says:

    @perspectivehere,

    Thank you for visiting and it is highly enjoyable to read your comments.

    Your two comments were mistakenly caught by the blog’s spam filter. I deleted the first one since it seems the two are largely duplicates. I do have a backup copy and please let me know if there is anything got omitted.

    BTW, if you could send me email, I may be able to help you to avoid such incidents from happening again.

  306. pug_ster Says:

    @TonyP4, Steve,

    Intel makes craploads of money and has high profit margin for their processors they sell. Intel’s Atom processors that is used for netbooks cost them about $6-$8 to make but sells them for about $25-$30. The profit margin for their core2duo products is probably just about the same proportionally. However, AMD sells processors at a lower price, cost them more to make a processor, have to pay off their loans and interest, and pay royalties really screwed them over. So despite Intel’s lower sales forecast for this quarter, they are not going to lose money. However, they are hurting on corporate customers as more of them virtualize and they require to buy less servers to do the same task.

    Microsoft is already hurting innovation by shoving Windows XP to our faces, and it really doesn’t matter if they sell us Windows XP or Vista to the consumers as they make most of their money from corporate licensing Scheme. They can’t tweak their kernel so that you can run Windows OS in smaller devices or Windows in computers other than for x 86 processors.

  307. Steve Says:

    @ ChinkTalk #302:

    Thanks for the compliment, though learning about China is a permanent occupation.

    Don’t worry; you’ll get there one of these days. When I was growing up, I wanted to see the world more than anything else but never had an opportunity to travel. In fact, the first time I was ever in an airplane, I jumped out (well, skydived, ha ha) and that’s when I was 23. Since then, I’ve traveled all over the world so if it’s a priority of yours, you’ll eventually go wherever you dream about going.

    You know far more about China than you think you do, because you pick up all kinds of little things from your parents without realizing it. After I started dating my wife, she not so subtly grilled me on Chinese manners, so I’ve been kicked under the table more times than I can remember. But when we moved to Asia years later, I already knew most of the customs (though I learned many others) so it wasn’t difficult to transition to the new life. You’ll find it the same; your parents implanted details about those customs without you ever realizing it so you’ll fit right in. You’ll also learn new things to round out your education.

    China isn’t evil at all. Of course it is like any country; mostly good people and a few bad ones, but I always felt very safe there. I was in Tianjin on 9/11 and the next day, total strangers came up to me on the street to tell me how sorry they felt about it. I found the level of friendship was much greater than in the west; if you were someone’s “best friend” (and you usually had a few best friends) it was extremely close and you could rely on that person for anything. But my favourite thing about China is the atmosphere; I think they call it “renao”, which is noisy and animated and for me, very, very enjoyable.

    So China isn’t evil and it isn’t perfect, but it IS unique and a place that is changing so rapidly that the China you see today will be gone tomorrow; you are experiencing a slice of history each time you are there. So set it as a goal, keep your mind’s eye on that goal, and before you know it you’ll be living your dream.

  308. Steve Says:

    @ perspectivehere #304:

    Wow, that’s a lot to digest and a great post! I was thinking along the same lines when I first read the Chinese Constitution; how much in there was not being enforced yet was being requested by Charter 08. You just said it much better than I could and in more more detail, along with aspects I hadn’t considered.

    I think China is in a transition regarding property rights. After they nationalized all property during the CR, many families who had owned their residences were given a part of those residences to live. But in the major cities, most of those older buildings have been or are being torn down and those families get little compensation, yet people who have money today and buy houses own that property outright. So there is a certain resentment. I know a few families that were in this situation.

    On the other hand, being able to redevelop without having things tied up in court for years has been a real boon not only to the real estate market, but to the cities in general. Many of those old buildings were pretty decrepit, so I have mixed feelings about redevelopment vs. preservation. Once all the government owned buildings are privately owned, then that part of the economy will function more like other countries and the problems associated with it should minimize.

    The SOC’s are really just dependent on their profitability and amount of people they employ. I know that some of them are not profitable, but those cities or villages would die if the SOE went out of business, so the government keeps them going to provide jobs. Because full employment is the eventual goal, the trade off is probably worth it.

    Village level elections, if clean, are really very exciting. The people can see the direct result of their decision and can punish those politicians that don’t have their best interests in mind. I guess the expression “all politics is local” really applies here. They can use the local elections to tweak the process until it runs smoothly and honestly, without taking the chances they would in a national election where a problem could bring about social chaos.

    Hopefully, time will solve many of these issues. It’ll be a battle of natural progression vs. the personal interest of entrenched politicians, the same as it is everywhere else in this world.

  309. Steve Says:

    @ pug_ster #306: Thanks for that tech info. If only MS had gotten rid of backwards compatibility, the program wouldn’t be so bloated and buggy. Now that Bill Gates has retired (backwards compatibility was one of his golden rules) maybe they could have the new OS only be backwards compatible with XP and after, but continue to support XP for companies that needed to access the older OS.

    When Apple bit the bullet and went to the Unix based OS without backwards compatibility, I think it was the best move they ever made. They have a better OS with way less complexity that takes up very little space.

    pug_ster & TonyP4: Have you ever seen this clip where Apple’s Bertrand Serlet goes after Microsoft’s imitation of the Mac OS? It’s pretty funny!

  310. Ted Says:

    Wahaha #288 & 292: “In China, it is economic corruption; in democratic countries, it is political corruption (which leads to personal benefits).”

    “In China, government officials get money indirectly (or illegally); in USA, riches buy policy from government and get money directly (or legally as they OWN those company or industry).”

    Interesting, I would have said the opposite, especially regarding the first quote. I guess it depends on your perspective. This reminds me of a student who remarked that state-owned companies in China are more transparent than publicly traded companies in the west.

    If you want to say that I am naive that’s fine but as Steve pointed out, if the politicians don’t work for me I can give them the boot and hire someone else who won’t represent me. Therein lies a measure of stability that China can’t buy with economic growth.

    Here’s a parallel to your comment about Spitzer. What do you speculate about this one? http://www.shanghaidaily.com/sp/article/2009/200901/20090101/article_386691.htm

    http://www.shanghaidaily.com/sp/article/2009/200901/20090105/article_386983.htm

    I agree that Spitzer had pissed off a number of people and nobody was content to let him ride off into the sunset. As to whether his down fall was engineered… I think rather he was propped up past his expiration date (a little like Guiliani).

  311. Steve Says:

    @ Ted #310:

    “…if the politicians don’t work for me I can give them the boot and hire someone else who won’t represent me.”

    OK Ted, you got me to literally laugh out loud with that one. It’s the funniest line I’ve heard this month!! :P

  312. Wukailong Says:

    @Steve: “When Apple bit the bullet and went to the Unix based OS without backwards compatibility, I think it was the best move they ever made. They have a better OS with way less complexity that takes up very little space.”

    Absolutely, Unix with a great UI rocks! One shouldn’t forget, though, that the first OS X was quite unstable, and that a lot of applications still ran OS 9 through a sort of interpreter. But no matter what, and even if 2058 becomes the year of the Linux desktop, Apple was the first company to finally bring Unix into the mainstream.

  313. Ted Says:

    @ Steve: Glad it resonated with someone :) It was interesting to read what you and Chinatalk said about the Hakka. I guess you have visited the Tulou in Fujian province? My girlfriend and I traveled around the area for four days; one night in Xiamen, one night at a bed and breakfast in village of Taxiacun, and a night in Chengqi lou ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fujian_Tulou ). My girlfriend and her friends are architects and I studied architectural history so we were drawn in by the buildings. The head of the house in Chengqi lou was also very interesting to talk to. Buildings aside, the culture and surrounding landscape alone were worth the trip. Reminded me how much I enjoy traveling around the countryside in China.

  314. Steve Says:

    @ Ted: No, neither my wife nor I have ever been to the Hakka villages in mainland China, though it’s on our list of things to do. I remember when we first moved to San Diego in 1990, we were in the old Chinese section of town one day and she saw a Hakka American Association club, so we went inside but she said they were all from the mainland and though she could understand them, their accent was different from Taiwanese Hakka and hard to follow. One thing I’ve noticed about Hakka is that as soon as they found out my wife was also Hakka, they treated her like family. It’s like being a USC or Texas A&M grad, they all stick together, no matter where you are from. If ChinkTalk ever gets to those villages, they’ll treat him like a brother.

    How many families lived in each tulou? Were they mostly the same size or different sizes throughout the village? If they were different sizes, was the layout about the same for each of them?

    Where did you stay when you were there? Were there hotels or could you stay in a tulou? How did you get there, by train or bus or rented a car? I’m just curious since I’d like to pick your brain for ideas. Did you get a lot of photos?

    When we go, I’m sure we’ll visit her ancestral village. I doubt many Taiwanese Hakka have made that trip, so it should be interesting, especially since she’ll have her silly laowai husband with her. :D

  315. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To PerspectiveHere #304:
    once again a fabulous post. Very much enjoy your insight.

    I’d like to address your points in reverse order. I must say that if the authors of the Charter were trying the fancy ball-fake wrt property rights and rampant privatization, then I certainly got posterized. But what you said makes sense, and should be cause for scrutiny. However, I’d also submit that the Charter is not a document ready for ratification, nor is it a replacement for the current Constitution. As I’ve said before, i see it more as a vision statement. In that capacity, and in eliciting your thoughtful response, it has already partly achieved its goal, which is to invite discussion and criticism, and to have the topics put forth into the public domain, and not only under the auspices of the back-rooms of the CCP.

    As for whether the Charter merely reiterates the Constitution, I would argue that there are similarities, and some points and topics are obviously mutually shared. But I would also suggest that the Charter goes farther than what the Constitution would expressly allow or condone, some examples of which I mentioned in #258.

    As for your fundamental question: “isn’t it foolish to engage in a discussion of a “charter” (as though there were nothing already in place) when the unfinished work of the PRC Constitution awaits?” – I’m relatively new to discussions about CHina. But I wonder, in the 26 years of the Constitution’s existence, how many calls have there been to “respect” it? And I also wonder, what tangible changes have such calls brought forth? As the saying goes, the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again, and expect different results. So if the results thus far are seen to be wanting, it seems reasonable to approach things from a different angle. “The fact that there are many instances in which it is not adequately enforced does not invalidate it or delegitimize it.” – no, but it does bring into question its usefulness, or at least the potential for better future enforcement. And the Charter doesn’t seek to be a parallel constitution, nor does it call for obliteration of the current one. It asks that it be recast, perhaps to reflect current realities; or one might frame it as a proposed amendment, of which there have already been 4 in 26 years.

    Since I see the Charter as a vision, one benefit is that such vision invites comments and criticisms. If nothing else, this invitation has been answered 314 times to date on this blog, and based on Charles’ links, many more times on other blogs. Hopefully, it has been discussed and dissected even more in many other places. Obviously, my biases are evident, and I’m rooting for an eventual outcome in one direction. Despite that, such discussion is more than what’s occurred on a very open-minded blog such as this one wrt this topic in the 8 months I’ve been around. Although there’s no way to test the theory, my suspicion is that a call to simply “better enforce the (current) constitution” would not have engendered nearly as much thought or participation.

  316. Ted Says:

    @perspectivehere

    I also enjoyed reading your posts and wholeheartedly agree with your comments. Regarding the value of the Charter I agree with SK’s opinion “However, I’d also submit that the Charter is not a document ready for ratification, nor is it a replacement for the current Constitution. As I’ve said before, i see it more as a vision statement. In that capacity, and in eliciting your thoughtful response, it has already partly achieved its goal, which is to invite discussion and criticism, and to have the topics put forth into the public domain, and not only under the auspices of the back-rooms of the CCP.”

    As you and others pointed out, many of the Charter’s aspirations have already been set forth in the Constitution, so it’s not the positions that are extreme, but rather the authors’ approach. It is worth noting that a group of respectable individuals set their careers and possibly a great deal more on the line by endorsing the document. If people want to suggest they are a fringe element I think that’s helpful as well. The conservative voice in China rings out loud and clear, the liberal point of view however is far more difficult to define. Without at least identifying the fringes of a social group, right, left, top, bottom, how else can that group decide on the best direction for the society as a whole.

    Thinking back through the comments here, I don’t believe anyone said that better representation of the people is a bad idea. Most people support stability, growth, and representation but currently the emphasis is on stability and growth. With the release of the Charter, perhaps now we know that a finite percentage of China’s population feels that China has reached a stage where it can consider other elements of the Constitution that are also important for the continued prosperity, and stability of the country. This is a measure of progress that I think should be recognized alongside everything else that China has achieved in the past 30 years.

  317. Ted Says:

    @ Steve:
    It is certainly worth the trip for me and will be more so for you, your wife and Chinatalk. I think you are right about how warmly you all will be welcomed. Mr. Jiang, the head of Chengqi lou claimed that his clan had more than 10,000 people spread across the globe on almost every continent and many come back for regular visits. Each building is unique and the older buildings all have interesting stories. The buildings were designed to be self contained in the event of attack and some served their defensive purpose even through the civil war/revolution. I was also interested to see that many had micro-economies with families competing with each other even in the same building.

    It depends on how adventurous you are, but I would recommend staying away from organized tours out of Xiamen. Most of our trip was arranged along the way by a friend who went to university in Xiamen. He found a driver after our arrival in Taxiacun who took us to the well known sites and was willing to travel anywhere we asked. You can stay in many of the more famous Tulou, several of which are USESCO World Heritage Sites, and we ate each night in the center of a different Tulou. I have loads of photos and will ask admin if I can post one or two in the “Other Comments” thread or maybe I can pull some aside and make them public on my facebook page. The landscape was breathtaking. A memory that will always stay with me was watching families light kongmingdeng on the little bridge in Taxiacun during Mid-Autumn festival. After so long in the city I forgot how much I missed the countryside.

  318. facts Says:

    @ steve
    It seems you have had some knowledge of the semiconductor industry. You have admitted the us does impose restriction on tech-export to China. Yet, you were asking me for evidence to back my claim, does that show some intellectual dishonesty in you? And you still tried to wiggle as to imply that China could import state of the art semiconductor technology from Japan or Europe. This is again false. Restriction of semiconductor technology transfer to China is a consensus among Western establishment. The fact is Taiwan has access to Western semiconductor technology that mainland China does not have. The advancement of certain Taiwan industries is not due to Taiwan’s internal ability, instead it is due to the preferential treatment of Western technology transfer(of cause with the exchange of accepting a US satellite status). Therefore, you proposal that Taiwan’s economy/industry advances over mainland bears inherit advantage of Taiwan’s institutions is false.

    BTW, your allusion that state of art Intel technology didn’t get transferred to Shanghai is due to Chinese national gov. That is best a hearsay ie. unsubstantiated rumors.

    @all
    Coming back to the so-called “Charter 08.” Many of you Westerners or Chinese only by biological linage, still have no idea of what a Chinese experience is. You have no understanding of China, and are close minded to what ordinary Chinese really think, as Jerry’s hysterical reaction toward Opium war, Steve’s assertion of the rightness of western concessions on Chinese soil, etc.. have shown.

    You may have Chinese friends, and they agree with you on some of your opinions, that’s just the politeness of Chinese manners. Many Chinese on this thread have pointed out the absurdity of so-called “Charter 08,” and it’s Chinese supporters are bunch of radical dissidents/Western lackeys, despised by ordinary Chinese. Nonetheless, all you have done is sticking your heads in the sand, and enjoy imposing a vision for China with your self-righteous western framework. Congratulate yourselves all you want, China would not skip a beat in her upward march with or without the noise of so-called charter 08.

  319. pug_ster Says:

    @SK Cheung 315 @Ted 316.

    I think that Perspectivehere is correct that the Chinese constitution is an ever changing to accommodate the laws on its current state. Some people are so brainwashed to believe that the Chinese Government is so flawed that they should get rid of it immediately and all the problems in China are solved. It reminds me of a youtube video of a Obama supporter a few months back said, ‘if obama is elected he will pay my mortgage.’ Guess what, there’s no happily ever after in her story, but having Obama elected is just the next chapter in American History.

    For pragmatists like me, as long as the country was better off than before he left it, that’s good enough. For many of the Western Nations don’t adhere to the principles of this charter 08 100% to the T, and especially the US. In order to implementent every mandate charter 08 requires, there are social, economic and cultural problems that it might cause. Take the example of Freedom of Religion, they allow nutjobs like David Koresh to persist and the government had to step in and stop him. Here in the US we don’t even have universal healthcare and social security is so small that it is a joke. Separation of powers is a joke because sometimes the Executive, legislative and/or judicial branch sleeps on the same bed.

    In short those people who approve of this Charter 08 are just a bunch of Obama’s ‘Hope’ idealists who believes the grass is always greener on the other side.

    Edit: I am just using Obama as a example because he was a symbol of ‘hope.’

  320. Charles Liu Says:

    pug, good point on the feasibility of Charter 08. For example advocacy #5, “public control of public servant” – do people realize party “cadres” also exists in American government? We give it a more polite name, “political appointee”, and they too are placed throughout the buracracies in order to enforce ideology, even for non-partisan department like NASA and USAID.

  321. hainan88 Says:

    steve i get so angry by what u wrote, facts answered u and said that your claim is false but u still continue. example:

    “And you still tried to wiggle as to imply that China could import state of the art semiconductor technology from Japan or Europe. This is again false. Restriction of semiconductor technology transfer to China is a consensus among Western establishment. The fact is Taiwan has access to Western semiconductor technology that mainland China does not have.”

    these are facts not opinions, why u claim to have more knowledge than facts in this matter? u are lying if you are.

    we chinese were bullied by the western for hundreds of years, then we stood up with our leader Maozedong and now we are developing faster than western nation ever did with their “democracy” and “human right”, why u not acknowledge this fact?

    ordinary chinese do not think like u, we support our government not because of brainwash, but because it gives us better life. 1.3 billion chinese all agree with this, u do not know what it is like to be chinese because u have western culture. stop telling us what we want, we know that better than u.

    chinese have never attack or invade other countries. we love peace but are not afraid of war.

    jerry and steve u are too shameless when u defend opium war and colonalism.

  322. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Pugster:
    you seem to be reading things into the Charter that’s not explicitly stated, nor even implied.

    “Chinese Government is so flawed that they should get rid of it immediately” – where does the Charter say that? In section 3 it speaks of constructing a modern government…and I presume it would be a CHinese one. But it doesn’t say to make China a rudderless state. In fact, the CCP is not even mentioned. And for all the talk about democracy, it doesn’t even criticize the one-party system. So i think you’re working with superlatives there.

    “as long as the country was better off than before he left it, that’s good enough. ” – I’m assuming you mean good enough for today. But what about tomorrow, or the day after that. What’s your vision for the future, and how does it differ?

    “In order to implementent every mandate charter 08 requires…” – where does the Charter “mandate” anything?

    If you have a different vision for China, no problem. And if Chinese people have a different vision for China, fine. If you don’t like the vision offered by the Charter, that’s fine too. But criticize what it says, not what it doesn’t.

    “Executive, legislative and/or judicial branch sleeps on the same bed.” – does that mean a threesome with Bush, Pelosi/Reid, and Roberts? Not a happy visual…

  323. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Charles Liu #320:
    “do people realize party “cadres” also exists in American government?”- are you saying that a Chinese democracy must resemble the American iteration? Don’t Chinese people have the potential to do it better? Why are you so down on the Chinese people?

  324. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To hainan88:
    you might do well to undergo some anger management, and perhaps acquire a hobby.

    Why do some “ordinary Chinese” repeatedly feel compelled to speak on behalf of so many of their brethren?

  325. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Fiction:
    “are close minded to what ordinary Chinese really think” – I’d love to know what ordinary Chinese think, but I’m very hopeful that you don’t represent that demographic.

    “China would not skip a beat in her upward march”- towards what, exactly?

  326. pug_ster Says:

    @322 SK Cheung

    When I read this charter 08 it seems that to me that there are no human rights, equality, Republicanism, Democracy, and Constitutional rule in China. That nut who wrote this thinks that the 1.3 billion Chinese lives in a virtual prison. Why does this person want a New constitution instead of just making amendments? It also calls for creating a similar type of western government with an Executive, Judiciary, and legislative branch which is different than the current structure of the Chinese government. So it sounds like an overhaul of the government to me.

    ““as long as the country was better off than before he left it, that’s good enough. ” – I’m assuming you mean good enough for today. But what about tomorrow, or the day after that. What’s your vision for the future, and how does it differ?”

    What do I think? I’m think the Chinese government does a pretty decent job planning for tomorrow. So no, I don’t have an opinion, if it is not broken, don’t fix it. And most of the problems in China are economical and social and as I said, this charter does not address those issues.

    ““Executive, legislative and/or judicial branch sleeps on the same bed.” – does that mean a threesome with Bush, Pelosi/Reid, and Roberts? Not a happy visual…” I’m just saying in a figure of speech, because the US’ Executive legislative and judicial branch seems to be intertwined to me.

  327. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Pugster:
    “Why does this person want a New constitution instead of just making amendments?” – I agree, I think amendments could serve a similar purpose. But if you feel that amendments might be in order, then our perspectives are not all that different.

    “So it sounds like an overhaul of the government to me.” – also agree. What they propose does seem to require a change in governance models.

    “if it is not broken, don’t fix it. ” – fair enough. I guess the difference is whether some feel that at least parts of the current system are broken. Like rule of law, for instance.

    “And most of the problems in China are economical and social and as I said, this charter does not address those issues.” – I agree, it doesn’t propose anything on maintaining current economic growth. I’m not sure anyone has the answer to that question.

    “the US’ Executive legislative and judicial branch seems to be intertwined to me.” – and that is by design, for the American founders wanted a system with checks and balances.

  328. Steve Says:

    @ fax & hainan88:

    I do not have “some knowledge of the semiconductor industry”, I am an expert in the semiconductor industry. Multibillion dollar corporations do not send someone with “some knowledge” to develop an overseas market. My company had been in China since 1989 but my division was new in Asia, so it was my responsibility to develop the market, set up and train the new sales force, and give training seminars for all our potential and existing customers. Outside of Eugene Z, no one else on this blog works in this industry that I know; no one else speaks the lingo; no one else knows the complexity of that industry. We have commenters that are very knowledgeable in software, hardware and computers, but not semiconductor manufacturing.

    I or anyone else in that industry can tell within 30 seconds of speaking to someone whether they know what they are talking about. It’s actually a very small world; I know practically everyone in my area all over the globe. Neither of you speak the language or have any particular technical expertise. You might have read an article or two and maybe taken an engineering course, but you are not industry people and have no discernable knowledge.

    You said I “have admitted the US does impose restrictions on tech-export to China”. Admit it? I brought it up on an earlier thread! I also called it by its correct name. Part of my job was to understand it IN GREAT DETAIL. It was also part of my job to know what other countries were allowed to sell by their governments. My company was actually incorporated in the Netherlands, not the States, so we dealt with no only American tooling but also European and Asian brands. As far back as ten years ago, China could have bought a complete tool set from non-American countries. Neither of you have any idea what you are talking about.

    So why doesn’t China do that? Why don’t they go to smaller line widths on all their new fabs? The reason is they don’t have the in-house capability to do so; their customer requirements don’t need those types of fabs, and if they had them they could not be competitive. They aren’t even competitive right now with slightly larger line width technology, and you expect them to invest a billion and a half US dollars in a state of the art fab? There is a quantitative leap in expertise every time you reduce to a lower line width. You don’t just buy a bunch of tools, hook them together, press a few buttons and have wafers come out the other end. Tuning each one of hundreds of process loops is an art, and requires enormous experience. It’s not something you can learn in a book. I could explain it in greater detail but you wouldn’t be able to understand it.

    Taiwan has very advanced fabs because they are mostly making memory chips (which China doesn’t do) and foundries with advanced ASIC chips. China’s internal market needs discrete circuits and less advanced ASICs. Fabless companies are not going to have China make their advanced products; they’ll stick to IBM, TSMC, UMC and Chartered. Because a foundry has an investment by both the customer and the foundry itself, those fabless companies are not willing to take chances with unproven companies, and China’s foundries do not have good track records thus far. They are used mostly for consumer electronics and household appliances. But as Eugene Z stated, even now they are not being competitive with imports, though they have cost advantages. Cost advantage isn’t much of a factor because the industry isn’t labor intensive, it’s capital and knowledge intensive; it’s not like making clothing or consumer product assembly. Once China joined the WTO and lowered import tariffs, any advantages they had disappeared. Now with three links, Taiwan’s fabs have an even greater advantage because logistics factors are no longer an issue.

    If you go to the advanced fabs in China, almost every equipment or process engineering manager is from Taiwan. The local engineers just don’t have the experience to solve the process and equipment problems. It’s hard to staff all the positions so there are holes in the organizations. Taiwan’s fabs are advanced because they DO have internal ability, developed over many years of manufacturing.

    Every statement you have made concerning China’s industry has been nonsense. Virtually all those Chinese engineering managers on the gas and chemical side (I also did these at universities such as Qinghua) went to one of my seminars/training classes back in 2001-03. And many of them thanked me after the seminar was over, saying they had learned more practical information than any other seminar they had attended in the past. This wasn’t just true in mainland China; I also heard it a lot in Taiwan and Singapore. In fact, outside of this website, it’d be difficult to find even this basic kind of industry history anywhere else.

    As far as Intel negotiating for a plant in Shanghai back in the early 90s, I got my information directly from Intel’s CHIEF NEGOTIATOR! Let’s put that in perspective…

    You go to lunch with Hu Jintao. He tells you all sorts of things about his meeting with Sarkozy, but no one believes you because you weren’t actually present at that meeting. Though you heard it directly from Hu, they say it is hearsay i.e. unsubstantiated rumors.

    Or

    You make a statement about the situation in Tibet concerning the protests, riots, whatever. You are asked, “How do you know this is true?” You say, “I saw it in the papers and on TV; I read about it on the net and in magazines” to which they reply, “Were you in Tibet? Did you actually see the riots? That is at best hearsay i.e. unsubstantiated rumors.”

    Or

    You tell someone about something that happened in the Ming dynasty. They ask you, “How do you know it really happened?” You say, “It’s in my history book. I went to the museum and saw the written records of that time.” They say to you, “Were you there when this took place? How do you know what was written is true? If I read FLG literature which is written, does that mean it’s true? That is at best hearsay i.e. unsubstantiated rumors.”

    Do you see how ridiculous these arguments sound as I stretch them out? It’s not like I heard this from my mother’s uncle’s friend’s cousin’s sister, I heard it directly from Intel’s primary negotiator.

    I met literally thousands of people in China; it was a part of my job to travel and meet everyone in the industry, but I also met a lot of people on my own. It’s quite possible I have known more Chinese that either of you. I have never met anyone possessing your negative attitudes. Maybe it was that they were more educated? Maybe it was that they had more practical experience? I have no idea, but based on my experience, I’d have to say that neither of you represent the Chinese people I came to know. You are not defending your country when you say things like this, you are embarrassing your fellow countrymen. The Chinese people working in the semiconductor industry would cringe if they heard some of this.

    “chinese have never attack or invade other countries. we love peace but are not afraid of war.”

    Wikipedia under Vietnam: In 207 BCE, a Chinese general named Zhao Tuo defeated An Dương Vương and consolidated Âu Lạc into Nanyue. In 111 BCE, the Chinese Han Dynasty consolidated Nanyue into their empire.

    For the next thousand years, Vietnam was mostly under Chinese rule. Early independence movements such as those of the Trưng Sisters and of Lady Triệu were only briefly successful. It was independent as Vạn Xuân under the Anterior Ly Dynasty between 544 and 602. By the early 10th century, Vietnam had gained autonomy, but not independence, under the Khúc family.

    In 938 CE, a Vietnamese lord named Ngô Quyền defeated Chinese forces at the Bạch Đằng River and regained independence after 10 centuries under Chinese control.

    “jerry and steve u are too shameless when u defend opium war and colonalism.”

    When did either of us ever defend the opium war and colonialism?

  329. Charlie P. Living in the P.R of China Says:

    I agree completely with what James from the above has said, this article is completely biased and over-exaggerative on China’s political system and its effect on its citizens. We can see that China’s government is stupendously prosperous and effective by looking at the monstrous growth in China’s industry, development, and economy from the past few years.

    The Chinese government is unique because it is not completely Communist, yet is still a republic of the people (displaying signs of Democracy) with Chinese characteristics. Chinese companies love the Chinese government because of how the Chinese government deliberately finds ways to make Chinese companies prosper from. That is how China earns their money, from their industries. However this is also how Western power’s earn their capital as well, such as the United States, but what they do not do as opposed to the Chinese government is to actually build a foundation in which to support their industries with. So by the way that an ex pat student living in China sees it, China currently possesses of the best political system of a government the world has ever seen.

    -Hope that I have opened a different window of perspective to those of you who who have already begun to think otherwise from this biasing article.

  330. facts Says:

    @steve
    Well, all that boasting is still he-siad-she-said right? Claims were made about your semiconductor expertise, and the number of Chinese you have met. You know what, it doesn’t scare me. To state Mainland China can have access to the state of the art semiconductor technology from the West is flatly false. The West blocks the state of the art semiconductor technology transfer to China, period. boasting won’t help you. Mainland China doesn’t have the access to Western technology Taiwan has, which is still not the state of the art. China is developing home grown 90nm and 65nm process with Chinese made tools. Don’t assume current technology advancement Taiwan enjoys will last too long. Given time, no industry Taiwan can do that the mainland can’t. The depth and width of R&D in Taiwan is no match to mainland. You are entitled to believe other Chinese and I are an embarrassment to China, and thanks for offering your opinion, but guess how much I care? Hehe..

    Anyways, I am not interested in getting into a personal fight with you. like I said, with malice to none and charity for all, I am here to debate ideas not to attack individuals. My language could be colorful at times, but personal attack is not my intention.

  331. Charles Liu Says:

    facts, a lot of these technology is export restricted by the fact they are dual-use. US government has taken advantage of this rule to limit a lot of technology export. From older CAD/CAM systems (where the software is still on 5.25″ floppy) to newer SMP platform (telecom), as long as it qualifies for export control, exemption is difficult to obtain since China as a tier 3 nation.

  332. facts Says:

    @Charles Liu
    Thanks for providing more examples.
    Indeed, I don’t really understand why Steve wants to deny Western restriction on technology transfer to China, right or wrong, that’s common knowledge. Being a marketing rep. or CEO of Intel would not change this.

  333. FOARP Says:

    “. . . . with malice to none and charity for all, I am here to debate ideas not to attack individuals.”

    Wow! It’s the second coming! A little bit late for Christmas aren’t we?

  334. Wukailong Says:

    @Steve: Not that facts have given you the facts (which are even common knowledge), why do you still go on with your nonsensical claims? ;) This also gives a completely new dimension to the concept of “wisdom of the commons.”

    @facts: “You know what, it doesn’t scare me.”

    That’s good. If someone being an expert scares you, you need to do some soul searching. Btw, I know some well-known companies that are hiring. They might need someone with your wide expertise.

  335. FOARP Says:

    To be quite honest, I do not understand all this talk about the difference between amending the current constitution and drafting a new one – the PRC has been through four different constitutions since 1954, with the current one, written in 1982, having been amended at least half-a-dozen times.

    Americans are used to referring to the constitutional amendments as if these alone are the basis of the rights they enjoy under it, in fact much more important than this is the was these amendments have been interpreted by the court and by constitutional scholars. Hence the 2nd amendment:

    “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

    Has been interpreted as preventing laws against the possession of firearms, when in fact it is obvious how another interpretation might have been given to it – that the states should be allowed to maintain militias, had the courts been so minded.

    In the light of this, when you read the PRC constitution can you really say that you know what it means? When Article 1 states:

    “The People’s Republic of China is a socialist state under the people’s democratic dictatorship led by the working class and based on the alliance of workers and peasants.”

    It appears that only the Communist party may define what this means, as it is the ideological arbiter the meaning of ‘socialist’, ‘people’s democratic dictatorship’, ‘alliance of workers and peasants’ – and the communist party’s role in the Chinese state is completely unregulated by the constitution. The constitution thus entrenches the communist party in power but does not restrict the communist party’s freedom of action.

    Anyone who has visited a Chinese government building will see that many offices have two signs – one showing you the position of that office within the government and the other showing you the position of that office within the party structure. Of course, in reality both the party office and the government office are occupied by exactly the same people, but it is through such ‘mirroring’ that the Communist party ensures control of the state without being subject to the constitution. Theoretically the Chinese constitution includes the division of power necessary for a system of checks and balances regulating the use of power within the Chinese state, but since all relevant offices are occupied by communist party members chosen for their position via an extra-constitutional and unregulated mechanism, these offices do in fact form a single, fused centre of power – AKA a dictatorship.

    As such, it is obvious that before a true rule of law can come about, either the Chinese communist party must be brought within the constitution (i.e., the constitution must explicitly set out its role within the governmental structure) or the communist party should be removed from government, and the constitution replaced by one assigning interpretation of the constitution to an independent body or court.

  336. Netizen K Says:

    The US has high-tech export control to China is a fact. Chip and dual-use technologies are part of that control.

    A danger to the US though is that China and other countries are designing out American parts in their products. That means no one use American technologies in their designs and gradually the US will lose out.

  337. admin Says:

    Note: this is posted on behalf of perspectivehere.
    @FOARP #335
    @SK Cheung #315

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments to my post.

    I was reading about the American “Gilded Age” (referring the decades immediately after the American Civil War 1870 up to 1890’s – see http://history.berkeley.edu/faculty/Smith/H124A/schedule.html) and it struck me that the issues facing the United States at that time resonate in China today, including:
    (1) rapid industrialization
    (2) migration of rural population to the crowded cities
    (3) political fissures in creating a peaceful society following a devastatingly destructive civil war
    (4) local economic institutions becoming regional and national in scope and scale (see The Visible Hand http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog/CHAVIS.html for a masterful analysis of this process in America; this link contains a summary: http://history.berkeley.edu/faculty/Smith/H124A/lectures/chandler.pdf )
    (5) pervasive government corruption (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilded_Age#Politics)
    (6) widespread poverty
    (7) issues of minority rights and social and economic justice
    (8) concentration of political power within a small segment of the population, i.e., white male adults in the case of the U.S.
    (9) economic instability

    Despite the problems facing the United States in that era, it manage to evolve into a more stable, equitable and “happier” system over the next century. It seems that if we compare China’s sytem today with the U.S.’s system of today, the comparison will inevitably find China wanting, since they are are much different stages of development. However, if we compare China today to the U.S. of the late 19th century, we find the problems in the two systems have much more in common, and we might expect that China may very well find its own solutions to its problems today.

    And yet, even though there are similarities with that earlier period in US history, still China is a very different place (with different economic, demographic, geographic and resource endowments, and a very different international and technological environment) and so there are limits to such comparisons, so one must not assume that what has worked in the U.S. context will necessarily be effective in China or anywhere else.

    I was formulating a response to your questions and comments, in particular to the importance of “institution-building” with respect to the project to establish the “rule of law”, when I found an essay which states almost exactly what I wanted to say (but far better than I could have stated it):

    “China’s Transition and the Limits of the American Constitutional Perspective” http://www.fljs.org/uploads/documents/Dowdle_pb7%231%23.pdf

    I will try to summarize Dowdle’s arguments in a later posting, but for now I thought I would share this for all to read and consider.

  338. Anon FMer Says:

    Perspective, we changed not because we have to, but we wanted to. If Americans deserve such perogative, why don’t the Chinese. They are under no oblication to learn from our mistakes, or must do so in less time. Simple human rights ideal like slavery took US extra hundred years to be abolished while Europe have already done so.

    And how many Americans during the aformentioned period called for a new constitution? Recast anything constitutional?

  339. TonyP4 Says:

    @Perspectivehere, #377

    Again and as in my other posts, the major difference of US and China is the ample natural resource (farm land, oil, mineral…) per capita of the US. Our ancestors have developed US like infrastructure, government, political system, education system… US so far always comes back stronger from a recession – it has been easy for a rich man to make some adjustments.

    This recession is our first global recession (debatable but to many including myself it is) and definitely for China (even China is not FULLY integrated into the global business and again debatable for some), so we have to see how we survive.

    The migration from farm to urban is a logical step to lift poverty and has been verified. The reverse migration in China indicates China will not develop further this year.

    The ‘developed’ country like US could be defined as one moving the polluted and labor-intensive industry to other ‘developing’ countries like China.

  340. Steve Says:

    @ Netizen K #336:

    “The US has high-tech export control to China is a fact. Chip and dual-use technologies are part of that control.”

    Thank you. I keep saying the exact same thing but certain people don’t seem to be able to understand that part. They can’t seem to differentiate between the US and the rest of the world.

    Outside of semiconductor equiplment, most of the other signees have been consistent with keeping the same export controls in place across the board. The participating countries are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom and United States. As you can see, they are not all western countries.

    The categories are pretty broad so there is room to maneuver within the agreement. The EU has discussed loosening certain weapons restrictions but in the end, has kept everything the way it was.

    Oh sorry, this is all just “he said, she said”, since I wasn’t actually there when the agreement was signed… :P

    @ Charles Liu #331: I believe machine tools were previously asked about. I personally was in a machine shop owned by a Japanese corporation, located in Hangzhou, that had the latest CNC lathes, boring mills, routers, etc., and doing quite well by the way. The computer controls were all the latest technology. Since I was actually there, does that count or is it also “he said, she said”?

    Dont’ worry guys, I’m not going to get technological on you anymore. You can believe anything you want. I was just trying to explain a little about the industry and maybe give you all a leg up on how things work, since I had been inside fabs before some of you were even born. But it seems although none of you have ever worked in it, know nothing about it, have never seen anything personally but already know everything there is to know about it, I’ll just sit back and listen to you explain how it works. I’m all ears! :)

  341. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Steve:
    tough road to hoe sometimes; good of you to keep your nose to the grindstone. Hope your efforts won’t be for naught. I’ve certainly learned more about semiconductors than I ever have…more than I ever care to, actually. How did Charter 08 turn into microchips?

  342. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Steve:
    Chinayouren’s blog has an article by ULN regarding CCP filtering of internet searches for Charter 08. Some have contended that the Charter is losing steam, and that may indeed be the case. However, the reason is not that the Charter is unworthy of discussion, as some would suggest, but that the dissemination of information is being controlled such that many Chinese are completely unaware of it. Tough to discuss something if you don’t know it exists. Now, some have suggested that the Charter is redundant because there’s already a constitution. I wonder how effectively the CCP is following the letter or the spirit of that document based on their current behaviour in this case.

  343. Steve Says:

    @ S.K. Cheung #341:

    How? Mr. fax did it here in #83: “For instance, semiconductor fabrication equipment are not allowed to be exported to China, that is the reason why Taiwan has a more advanced semiconductor fabrication industry, Taiwan imported all chip fabrication machinery from the US, China has to produce its own from scratch. Same happened in machine tooling, without advanced tooling, it’s impossible to produce high grade produce at competitive price.”

    Virtually all semiconductor equipment used in China is imported from other countries. He never bothered to mention which generation of equipment, he only mentions it after he is questioned about it. He likes to change his statements after he makes them. He’s also wrong about Taiwan importing all chip fabrication equipment from the US; I think TEL would have something to say about that. I’m sure he can tell you all about TEL since he’s an expert. The US doesn’t even make photolithography equipment, but it’s hard to cover all his non-facts in one reply because he has so many in each of his posts. I also got a kick when he said China has to produce its own from scratch; all those modern foundries in China use non-Chinese equipment (including the equipment my company sold, all made in the US which was outside of China when last I looked) but for him that’s “he said, she said” since he doesn’t actually believe I was ever inside any of them; in fact, based on his statements I don’t think he believes I’ve ever been in China or that I ever worked in the semiconductor industry since he denies everything I’ve said.

    There are people in every country, including my own, who feel the need to blame outsiders for every problem they encounter, as if it’s not possible for countries to have strengths and weaknesses. For him, every problem China has comes from this amorphous “west” while the brave and noble Chinese leaders manage to overcome all odds and will lift the country to become #1 (whatever that means) in a few years and eventually control the world, except that China is a peaceful country that only wants others not to interfere in her internal affairs, etc. Anyone who disagrees with his view is a “western lackey”. Hitler said the same thing about the Jews; so I guess we’re all fortunately he isn’t Chairman Fax.

    Any time a new issue comes up in a thread, he feels the need to compare it to something that happened in the west or blame the west, one or the other. If he doesn’t like something, it is simply wrong or untrue, but no reasons are ever given except vague generalizations. If asked several questions, he typically only addresses the one he feels he has the best chance of being correct and will refuse to ever admit he isn’t correct no matter what information he’s given since he has to “win” rather than learn.

    SKC, have you ever read Plato’s Allegory of the Cave about the people who only see shadows and never directly, so their reality is based on this “shadow world” which they truly believe? That’s about the closest I can come to describing some of these posts.

    Funny, because I never met anyone like him or hainan88 when I lived there. Well, IF I lived there since that is just “he said, she said”… :D

  344. Steve Says:

    @ S.K. Cheung #342: Tomorrow night my wife and I are going to a Chinese Art Exhibit in Poway and we’re going to meet with her best friend and her husband. They own a good sized factory in Beijing so I’m going to ask him how much he’s heard about Charter 08 while there. I’m curious since he’s very well connected with the Chinese government leaders. I’ll also ask him about the new labor laws since I’m sure he’s been affected.

    I’ll let everyone know what I hear..

  345. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Steve:
    I believe you’ve described a reasonable fascimile of Fiction and related myths :-)

    Sadly, Plato is considerably above my pay-grade. But maybe I’ll give it a whirl later.

    Look forward to your update. I know it’s hearsay, but I’ll take it :-)

  346. facts Says:

    @admin
    I want to call your attention to posts #333 #334 #343 #345.
    I don’t wish to take matters into my own hands, so I hope the behavior of Steve and his cohort S.K. Cheung in particular can be checked. I have been patient to let it go for a while, but it’s running thin. I don’t want this blog turning into a sewage of name-calling. Indeed, the sad truth is that the so called democracy advocates S.K. Cheung in particular seem to have given up on defending their ideas but have specialized in posts of personal insults. I believe that the lack of idea should not be the excuse for such behavior.

    @steve
    I don’t see why you can’t be man enough to address me if you have an issue with me. Did I scare you that much? Is whining to others and name calling the best you can do? That is quite disappointing.

  347. Steve Says:

    @ fax: Grow up…

  348. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Fiction:
    poor baby…did someone hurt your delicate sensibilities? Would you like to cry to mommy? C’mon pal, get a grip.

  349. Charlie P. Living in the P.R of China Says:

    #348 – Grammar fix: “C’mon” –> “Come on”. XD No need to thank me, I love good grammar.

  350. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Charlie P:
    that’s cute. You’re correct, of course. However, when you’re verbalizing it, at least in North America, few would enunciate in the manner you described; rather, most native speakers would do so in the manner I suggested. Given that it’s tough to represent tone and inflection on a keyboard (and let me assure you that my response to Fiction would have been uttered with plenty of tone and inflection), I chose to do so with spelling. But I share your affection for proper grammar, and your point is well-taken.

  351. FOARP Says:

    @Charlie P. in the PRC – 1) That’s not grammar but a question of spelling, 2) “c’mon” is a perfectly acceptable substitute indicating how it would be said.

  352. admin Says:

    @facts,

    Oh, well, how I loved to be dragged into this! :)

    You are new to FM. So first, welcome aboard!

    Steve is an editor here and SKC has been one of the most prolific commentators since the birth of this blog. It is really unfortunate that some recent exchanges got heated and personal, but I can testify that name calling is not their specificity. FM is a place for polite and serious discussions. I hope everyone can keep in mind of this and what Confucius said, “never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself.”

    I heard that the US had a “two generations behind” guideline in regard to exporting semiconductor equipment to China. There were also people got arrested for violating export controls (eg. Gao Zhan). However, what Steve stated clearly was that China could get the needed semiconductor equipment from other countries and actually did so. If you think his statement is incorrect, then please provide relevant information so other readers can form their own opinions.

  353. Charlie P. Living in the P.R of China Says:

    FOARP, 1) I like your screen name. 2) That would have to depend on one’s idea of the difference between “spoken word” form and “typed dialogue” form. On the other hand, anything is what you think it to be. It is all in your head is it not?

    Thus, if everything is all in your head then is this universe not just a figment of your imagination? Then is this spoken understanding of sounds being read just another piece of hoax that has been drawn up by our imagination to lead us to believe that we live and exist in a universe such as ours, where we believe from the study of science and physics that the ‘Big Bang’ was created by generally an empty space of nothing, and if our universe which is a figment of our imagination ‘was’ created by generally nothing at all then would it not be sensible to say that ‘we’, ‘us’, this ‘universe’ IS nothing at all since it came from nothing? But maybe this idea is the true existing being and ‘you’ are just a figment of my imagination. – FOARP, what do you think?

  354. sophie Says:

    With limited understanding on this type of topics, I can only talk from common sense or personal experience. English is not my mother tongue , so I may sound too direct.

    Democracy is a good idea, but it has to fit into China’s reality:
    China has a huge population (which will soon reach 14.5 billion), limited resources and land, low educational level, lack of the rule of law, Chinese had suffered seemingly endless chaos for long period and finally have chance to enjoy the past 30-year peaceful time…
    Often when Chinese say these, the response from westerners is kind of like ‘we know, so?’

    When Chinese say ‘we have huge population’, we heard ‘look at India’; but, Chinese could also say ‘look at India’. For many Chinese, India is not inspiring enough, not a convincing example of democracy. How about Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, Korea, East Europe? Not convincing either.

    I would like to mention some examples I saw in Europe:

    1. For many years, France has been trying very hard to change their social system, which French know it’s not sustainable, but has not succeeded so far. Even a minor change on the law that allows extended trainee contract encountered the big protests. I remember the new prime minister at the time stepped down due to this (?)

    2. The expansion project of the London Heathrow Airport which is about building the 3rd runway and a new terminal (terminal 6) has been discussed and protested for several years (since 2003?) and has still not gone through yet, meanwhile the Heathrow airport is losing its dominance over European air traffic.

    3. Before the financial crisis, the house price in London had increased dramatically, so the government wanted to build new houses in some areas. But, local people protested since they feared the availability of more houses would devalue their own property.

    Seeing these examples makes me wonder: can China afford? It seems a bit luxury for China at the current development stage. I agree with the previous comment in this thread. It’s about efficiency, which is particularly important when considering China is a rapidly aging country. By 2050, projections say that 31 percent of China’s population will be aged 60 and over. That means some 400 million people will be senior citizens then, more than the current U.S. and Canadian populations. So, China will get old before getting rich. I think China should move forward as fast as it can, go as further as it can before it gets old. For this window opportunity, efficiency is key.

    Sometimes westerners don’t understand why Chinese tolerate or even say good thing about the ‘evil’ government. Chinese know the government have many many problems, but so far the government have managed to progress fast enough to meet most people’s expectation, obviously not those pro-democracy idealists’ expectation. Good or bad is relative. An interesting example:

    I saw a post on a popular Chinese chat room. The post is firstly published in 2006. The writer predicted the major trend/events and when these would happen. For instance, when China’s GDP would overtake Germany, Ma Yingjeu would win Taiwan election, Taiwan-mainland relationship would improve, the farmers would receive the same benefits as people living in city, Hukou system would phase out….looking at the comments, I found: in the initial comments when this article was posted in 2006, people generally laughed at the writer for being over optimistic, nobody believed him. With the time being, many events not only happened as the writer had predicted, but even better or earlier than he had predicted. So, you can imagine the later comments became a kind of ‘wow’.

    This post and its comments show that the progress of the country has exceeded some people’s expectation, at least those who laughed at the writer in the initial comments.

  355. Wukailong Says:

    Admin, please highlight sophie’s comment (#354).

  356. TonyP4 Says:

    Hi Sophie,

    I agree with your opinions as in my previous posts. I’m not into social science and English is not my native language either.

    * 14.5 billion. In US, it is 1.45 billion. I always have to convert the figures over 10 thousands when reading Chinese papers. The US definition of 1 billion is better. 1 million = 1,000,000 in US. Notice the place of the ‘comma’ after ‘1’, so is 1 billion and 1 trillion. US’s Date format is not too good . I prefer ‘YY-MM-DD’. Also, I prefer Chinese’s ‘last name first name’. Cultural differences.

    * India’s poor progress is due to 1. sticking with the loser Russia for too long. 2. poor governance (cannot control population)… Not a good example of democracy which needs better education for its citizens.

    * Democratic system does not fit China today, but I wish China is moving a little faster (but not too fast) towards democracy.

    * Market timing (like what and when houses are built) is a guessing game. As long as the government does what is good at the moment, the government is fine. Detroit is always in the wrong side. First SUV and now electric cars when the gas is less than $2 per gallon. I laugh how electric cars can save the big 3 except convincing our stupid politicians to give them bailout money.

    * The west and China have their own problems and situations are different. Do not use our yardstick to judge other. Some big projects cannot be built due to many special interest groups. It is a price democracy has to pay for. Many corrupted and Tofu construction in China can be found a lot. I do not blame China as China’s society is not developed (that allows corruption and lack of construction laws) and China is poorer.

    It seems the west media like to point out what’s wrong with China (in order to sell their paper…), and vice versa. Hence, most of our POVs are influenced (or brained washed) by the local media.

  357. FOARP Says:

    “Seeing these examples makes me wonder: can China afford? It seems a bit luxury for China at the current development stage. ”

    The important thing to ask yourself is – how do you know that the government is doing the right thing? Does London really need another runway at Heathrow? Are more houses really needed in green-belt areas? If there are good reasons for these things not to go ahead, then they must not, we should not just allow the government to do things in the name of economic development which may actually result in harming the economy in the long term. Britain has in the past had extremely large construction project, some (the motorways for example) brought clear benefits, others (the nationalised industries) were clear examples of the government wasting public money to no advantage.

    So my question is – are China’s large-scale government-driven projects actually as beneficial to the economy as granting greater local autonomy so that local government can scale their taxes to suit the local conditions? Might not properly implemented democracy help economically more than allowing a “nanny-knows-best” governmental approach which might actually end up saddling China with large scale projects which carry no benefit. Of course, the biggest example of such a project has to be the Three Gorges Dam, described by more than one expert as a disaster waiting to happen.

    In the past, especially during the eighties, the Chinese government tried to encourage small-scale privately funded projects in the countryside, but in the nineties the government switched to following a ‘cities first’ strategy. The mass migration to heavily polluted cities with creaking infrastructure we see today is the result of this. We should not pretend that the current growth model is the only one, and had people been given a greater voice in things, they might have guided the government towards a better strategy.

  358. Steve Says:

    @ sophie & TonyP4: Those were both great comments! Sophie, don’t worry, I always get mixed up with those 100,000 increments in Chinese and sometimes my wife, who has been in the States for over 30 years, still confuses them when talking about the price of real estate. It’s a hard one to overcome.

    Sophie, I think the difference between those examples you gave concerning Europe and what’s currently happening in China reflect the difference in development between the two areas. Many in France don’t want their social system changed; many in London don’t care if Heathrow is the leading terminal in Europe; many in London don’t want those new houses built. These aren’t good or bad; just differences of opinion. Since France and the UK are already developed countries, they can look at “quality of life” issues because their quality of life is already quite high.

    China is different. The government (and quite a few of the people) want modernization and don’t feel a strong need for preservation. They are not trying to retain a certain quality of life; they are trying to create a better quality of life. But there is still fighting going on. I remember a photo I saw last year, I think it was somewhere near Chongqing, of a huge open pit for redevelopment with a small land bridge and one house sitting in the middle, like a keyhole in a lock. I forget the expression they used, but I think it was something with the word “needle” in it. So there are certainly delays in some of the redevelopment projects in Chinese cities. I also seem to recall that a project in Shanghai to extend the mag-lev train was scuttled when neighborhood opposition organized to protest it. When you’re looking at the “big picture”, redevelopment makes sense but when it’s your house and you have to move out of a neighborhood your family has lived in for generations, it’s a different story. No one is right or wrong; but someone has to lose out.

    Personally, I wish some of these old, historic places could be gutted and rebuilt from the inside to bring modern plumbing, sewage and insulation but preserve the look, at least in certain neighborhoods. I think down the road, people would appreciate being able to see the old style preserved in some way. I’m not sure how most people feel about it, but my guess is that it’s a split opinion. Efficiency is good, but do you want to sacrifice all preservation in the name of efficiency? Should everyone live in a high rise “box”? Maybe so; if I were living in Shanghai today, I’d prefer a high rise “box” to an older apartment, but that’s just me.

    I think many of the Chinese people believe in the myth of all westerners somehow “hating” China or wishing bad things to China or thinking the Chinese government is bad at everything and inherently “evil”. This just isn’t true. Western opinion is split; some think like that (they also take the bible literally, think the world is 6,000 years old, and that everyone in China are “godless Commies”) but most people I meet want good things for China, think the government has done a pretty good job turning the economy around (most would give the majority of the credit to the Chinese people and with some credit going to the government for giving them the opportunity to be successful), want China to continue its upward progress and see nothing particularly “evil”. They see a country with problems as well as opportunities, the same as all countries including their own. Generalizations are usually inaccurate and one-sided.

    Someone earlier mentioned Gordon Chang. He’s a good example of one who takes a negative view of Chinese development and when people read him who have no background, it sounds believable because he’s a reporter and reporters are trained to sound believable. But for every Gordon Chang, there are plenty of other writers who take exactly the opposite tack and praise the improvements in China.

    Sophie, I think the key to all of this is exactly what you pointed out; you can’t have massive change without having a certain amount of social disruption. Whether that means millions moving from the country to the city or forced redevelopment by the government, there has to be some displacement. That’s really why the hukou system failed; people just ignored it and moved regardless of where they were supposed to live.

    TonyP4: I agree with every one of your points. India’s legal system is in shambles; until it gets fixed the country will be difficult to develop in an efficient way. The print and internet media are usually negative news based affairs, but I find that magazines and books, with their greater depth, lend themselves to a more nuanced POV and are far less biased (with the exception of said Mr. Chang and his ilk) than mass media. There are also publications that take an overly optimistic view of China, failing to note factors such as the rapidly aging populace that Sophie pointed out, etc. That’s why it’s best to read many different POV; then an opinion can be nuanced rather than superficial.

  359. sophie Says:

    @TonyP4 #356,

    Thanks for pointing out the obvious mistake☺

    ‘ Democratic system does not fit China today, but I wish China is moving a little faster (but not too fast) towards democracy.’

    I agree with you.

    ‘It seems the west media like to point out what’s wrong with China (in order to sell their paper…), and vice versa. Hence, most of our POVs are influenced (or brained washed) by the local media.’

    This is complex. I will try to explain.

    The examples about UK and France in my previous comment are not from Chinese Media, instead, I picked up from UK and France local media (I lived in France and now live in UK and Beijing for professional reason). About Chinese official media, actually, I just realized that I couldn’t comment much since I mainly get news from Internet, instead of CCTV or official newspaper. This is common in Beijing. Chinese generally are aware of government censorship and take the official news carefully. Some people go as far as only accepting rumours and gossip. It’s sad.

    It’s said the Chinese government is 打左灯,向右转 (indicating left, actually turning right). Deng Xiaoping said the government should ‘防止右,更要防止左’ (I can’t translate it properly, ‘be careful of right-wing, but even more be careful of left-wing). We can see the government’s position here. As well, Chinese recent history has been a process of modernization and westernization. So, I think the official media has to be cautious about how to portray the West. If they make the West look bad, how can they tell people we need to open up and learn from them.

    My personal observation is that Chinese who never live abroad or live for very short period (like 1 year) tend to have a ‘naive’ version of democracy and the West. Can this indirectly reflect the official media’s tone? I am wondering. People who have lived abroad for long time, with working experience, not just studying there, tend to have a more balanced view on this matter since they can see problems in both China and the West. But, this is only my personal observation.

  360. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Sophie #354 and FOARP #357:
    great points and counterpoints. Much food for thought. I would only add that Sophie’s points seem to refer to the problems with eminent domain, or lack thereof. I would submit that that is but a small portion of the concept and functioning of a democracy.

    China’s economy has already been characterized as a free-market style. This has occurred in an environment of “political socialism”. I’m not sure evolution of the political system would have the dire consequences on the economic system that some would suggest.

  361. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Tony P4 and Steve:
    I agree. Took me a while to understand the numerical equivalents in the 2 languages. In English, it goes by increments of the third power (hence thousands, millions, billions, etc). It’s a very logical metric system. In Chinese, it goes by increments of the 4th power (eg. 10,000 = 1 “man” (sorry, Cantonese pronunciation there)). So the next new term is at the 8th power (where 100 million = 1 “yick” (same apology required)). Similarly logical system, but doesn’t translate between the two. Chalk it up as another example of the subtleties between different languages.

  362. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Charlie P #353:
    wow, that’s more existentialism than I’ve contemplated in…well… probably my entire life.

    To minimize future confusion, and if I happen to remember, I’ll put colloquialisms in quotes. But as a native speaker, and already having a solid grasp of the “proper” way, I’ll often phrase things improperly, sometimes for effect, and other times just for kicks. That, unfortunately, is not about to change.

  363. Wukailong Says:

    @SKC, Steve: As for the numbers, it took me quite some while to figure out the Chinese counterparts, but I finally got the hang of it when I learned them by rote. A million is “hundred-ten thousand”, ten millions are “thousand ten-thousand” etc. To think in larger terms of “yi” (yik) requires some more thinking, but I usually don’t have too, unless I encounter the ubiquitous “13 yi Chinese people”.

  364. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To WKL:
    my problem was the opposite, since I learned Chinese first. BTW, what’s a thousand trillion in English? I suppose, by the time you get to the 15th power, one could just say “lots”. Similarly, I don’t know the Chinese term for 10,000 yik, or 1 trillion (although that’s only the 12th power).

  365. Wukailong Says:

    @SKC: To complicate matters further, some languages (Dutch and Swedish, and maybe German) call “a thousand millions” a “miljard” instead of a billion. I always thought of a billion as a “million millions” in my native tongue, but had to learn that it means “a thousand millions” in English. Luckily this doesn’t usually create much of a problem, since how often do you need to refer to greater numbers anyway…

    Then there’s the Chinese 兆. It seems quite convoluted to me:

    http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/兆

  366. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To WKL:
    I’m only bilingual, so compared to me, i guess you’ve got way more problems :-) But I am envious of your multilingual talents.

  367. S.K. Cheung Says:

    Blindness makes one vulnerable because it deprives one of a vital source of information for understanding the surroundings. But with time, one’s other senses become more astute, so as to improve access to other forms of information to augment such understanding. The key, then, is not the source, but the amount of information to which one can avail oneself, in order to achieve this understanding.

    This Charter 08 was unveiled on December 10. Yet it was more than 2 weeks until it made it onto this learned blog. Since then, it has sustained more than 2 weeks of discussion. I am certainly grateful to Steve for unearthing this information.

    Unfortunately, although some discussion of this has taken place in China (where it really matters), I suspect most Chinese are unaware of its existence. In essence, the CCP information control strategy has left many Chinese blind, deaf, and as a result mute, regarding their own political surroundings. The fact that the CCP would willfully render large portions of its subjects in such a state is unbelievably sad, but sadly believable.

  368. Steve Says:

    @ S.K. Cheung #364: A thousand trillion is a quadrillion. Then comes a quintillion, sextillion, septillion and octillion. That’s as far as I can remember from grammar school but I’d assume the next one is nonillion, since that’d follow logically. After that, I ran out of numbers so I looked it up…

    Nine hundred and ninety nine GOOGOL, nine hundred and ninety nine NOVEMVIGINTILLION, nine hundred and ninety nine OCTOVIGINTILLION, nine hundred and ninety nine SEPTENVIGINTILLION, nine hundred and ninety nine QUINVIGINTILLION, nine hundred and ninety nine QUATTUORVIGINTILLION, nine hundred and ninety nine TREVIGINTILLION, nine hundred and ninety nine DUOVIGINTILLION, nine hundred and ninety nine UNVIGINTILLION, nine hundred and ninety nine VIGINTILLION, nine hundred and ninety nine NOVEMDECILLION nine hundred and ninety nine, OCTODECILLION, nine hundred and ninety nine SEPTENDECILLION, nine hundred and ninety nine SEXDECILLION, nine hundred and ninety nine QUINDECILLION, nine hundred and ninety nine QUATTUORDECILLION, nine hundred and ninety nine TREDECILLION, nine hundred and ninety nine DUODECILLION, nine hundred and ninety nine UNDECILLION, nine hundred and ninety nine DECILLION, nine hundred and ninety nine NONILLION, nine hundred and ninety nine OCTILLION, nine hundred and ninety nine SEPTILLION, nine hundred and ninety nine SEXTILLION, nine hundred and ninety nine QUINTILLION, nine hundred and ninety nine
    QUADRILLION, nine hundred and ninety nine TRILLION, nine hundred and ninety nine BILLION, nine hundred and ninety nine MILLION, nine hundred and ninety nine THOUSAND, nine HUNDRED and ninety nine.

    I’m sure that’s more than you or I would ever want to know. ;)

  369. HongKonger Says:

    Holy mackerel! Three hundred and…! Wow, Man, talk about Johnny came too late…How ‘d I missed this very “renao”热闹party ? So, what’s the general concensus after 368 comments on the topic?

    A: It’s a farce caused by a handful of Western controlled halfwits?
    B: It is a farce and another false start, back to the line?
    C; The Constitution is fine as it is for today’s China
    D: No big deal, just the pangs of growth, happens all the time in an developing country
    E: Good for discussion but nobody really cares.
    F: All of the above
    G: ?????

  370. sophie Says:

    @FOARP #357
    @Steve #358

    Thanks for your comments, which provide different view to look at things.

    ‘The important thing to ask yourself …Britain has in the past had extremely large construction project, some (the motorways for example) brought clear benefits, others (the nationalised industries) were clear examples of the government wasting public money to no advantage.’

    Three Gorges Dam is a good example. So, the question is how to set up a system to maintain a right balance between efficiency and containing the government power

    ‘So my question is – are China’s large-scale government-driven projects actually as beneficial to the economy as granting greater local autonomy so that local government can scale their taxes to suit the local conditions?’

    I may not understand your question properly.
    I once heard a radio interview related to this topic: the current situation is that the central government is rich, and local governments are poor, since most of taxes go to the central government. At the beginning of the 30-year reform, the local governments enjoyed greater autonomy because the central government was too poor and had to let the local governments to find their own way to develop. Later, the central government took back the power.
    Seeing the competition between Beijing and Shanghai, I tend to think those large-scale government-driven projects are a way for local governments to get money from the central government. I am guessing here.

    ‘Since France and the UK are already developed countries, they can look at “quality of life” issues because their quality of life is already quite high.
    China is different. The government (and quite a few of the people) want modernization and don’t feel a strong need for preservation. They are not trying to retain a certain quality of life; they are trying to create a better quality of life.’

    Steve, I appreciate your point. Not everybody understands this.

    ‘I think down the road, people would appreciate being able to see the old style preserved in some way. I’m not sure how most people feel about it, but my guess is that it’s a split opinion. Efficiency is good, but do you want to sacrifice all preservation in the name of efficiency?’

    It’s changing. People are starting to appreciate old style now. A well-preserved Si-He-Yuan (四合院 an old style courtyard) in Beijing could be priced over RMB10 million. It’s a pity to see old Beijing disappearing. Interestingly, it’s said that most of buildings in Paris were 200-year old, since French destroyed old houses and rebuilt a ‘modern Paris’ at that time.

    As well preserving a traditional house is very expensive, even more than building a new one. Financial constraint.

    ‘I think many of the Chinese people believe in the myth of all westerners somehow “hating” China or wishing bad things to China or thinking the Chinese government is bad at everything and inherently “evil”. This just isn’t true.’

    No, I don’t think all westerners hate Chinese, but some westerners have bias.
    Most westerners know little about China, for them, China is a country far away, is China town, is food, is cheap products…that’s it. With almost zero knowledge, media can play a key role in forming people’s view on China. Unfortunately, Chinese government’s weak PR skill, lack of media channels in the West, and the ideological difference make their POVs hardly heard; this leaves the West media to play with ‘China’ image and they are sometimes biased.
    A recent example is that Chinese government sent a delegation to tour Europe communicating the Chinese POVs on Tibet with the West media, but I only saw one report on BBC Chinese site so far.

  371. TonyP4 Says:

    Hi all,

    1 billion is not important to individuals except counting blood cells in our bodies. However, when our government spends 1 Billion (not counting Trillion now) of our money, we’ve to be concerned.

    Yesterday US commissioned a carrier with 2 nuclear generators. Guss how much billions were spent to build it and how much billions to maintain it for its useful life. Guess how many lives in a poor country would be saved from starvation with this money. Sad to say, money is misused. Wish the world’s resources are evenly distributed.

    3 Gorges Dam will never be built in a developed country even it is used to stimulate economy in a bad recession like the one today.

  372. FOARP Says:

    @TonyP4 – Like Irwin Stelzer said in yesterday’s Times: “Trillion is the new billion”

  373. wuming Says:

    “Trillion is the new billion”

    How true. So the old saying will go like “A trillion here and a trillion there, soon it will add up to real money” now.

    Even the Moore’s Law on computing speed couldn’t keep pace with this.

  374. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To HKer #369:
    I’d say good for discussion but not enough people know about it where it really matters.

    To FOARP #372:
    I’m busy clinging to the hope that forty is the new thirty.

  375. Steve Says:

    I followed the link to ChinaGeeks and found another link there to a translation from HRIC of Charter 08 so rather than only having Prof. Link’s version to work with, we can also reference this for all the bloggers not able to read it in the original Chinese.

    This is the only other English translation I’ve come across.

  376. admin Says:

    This is a Chinese post translated by Charles Liu. The original Chinese text can be found in our 中文 section. Thanks very much, Charles!

    Regarding 08 Charter

    by Shao Han

    1. The government detained an author of “08 Charter”, Liu Xiaobo, on suspicion of subverting the state’s authority, summoned another key person, Zhang Zhuhua. I feel this is illegal, because it is every citizen’s fundamental right to voice opinion on issues of national importance. Neither the authors nor the singers conspired to overthrow the authority, only to urge the authority to reform. Subversion is in no way implicated.

    2. Therefore, I call on the authority to speedily release of Mr. Liu Xiaobo, return confiscated properties, and take this opportunity to open dialogue, allow people to consult on the affairs of our nation.

    3. “08 Charter” is a historical document with a grand view on China’s political future. It is rational, peaceful, constructive, and important to the future of Chinese government. I would like to offer my highest praise to the authors and signers.

    4. I agree with 08 Charter’s constitutional and democratic theory fully, however under current states, its feasibility is zero.

    5. Regardless if the signers of “08 Charter” see this as a political movement, its acceptance as a political movement by the society should be considered.

    6. It’s reasonable to see, people under [the CCP’s] rule, including myself, would agree with O8 Charter’s ideals and implements in protecting human rights.

    7. However the Charter’s most important mandate is to solve problems on a decisive, meaningful level. That is, how to make the CCP accept its views.

    8. It’s obvsious the Charter did not consider this – in another word it absolutely did not consider if the authority could accept advice like this.

    9. From a historical view, China’s current political transformation is the final push of 1911 Revolution. From Republic of China to communist rule they are unfinished business, or change of course, from the 1911 Revolution. And now we want to change the course back to where it should be headed.

    10. The 1911 Revolution has two founding fathers. One is Sun Yatsen, the other is Yuan Shikai. People have always downplayed Yuan’s role as a founding father of the Republic of China. This is an objective bias based on morality, not an accepted political discussion. Had there not been cooperation and negotiation between Sun and Yuan bringing about success, where would have Republic of China been? Southern Revolution Party’s coffer only had a few dollars, could it have beaten the court troops? Even if it the Revolution Party amassed a large war chest and wins the battle, how many would have died? So, regardless of how one feels, we should thank both Sun and Yuan for their contribution in building a foundation for peaceful constitutional rule. Yuan Shikai wanted to be the emperor and died trying, was after the fact. At least in 1911, he was one of the founding fathers.

    11. China’s political future should be peacefully complete constitutional reform, and the CCP must be a central force, even the most important force. Therefore, the CCP can not be treated as an enemy – in name or in practice. The Charter as is, if implemented, will make the CCP an enemy of all Chinese citizens (although the Charter did not intend for this). Would the CCP agree to the demand to reform by transforming itself into an enemy of the state?

    12. Authoritarian rule’s foundation is it needs enemy, at all times. Right now the Charter’s advice served the purpose of creating an enemy. They see this as not diminishing their authority, but temporarily strengthened their authority – but in the long run of course it diminishes their authority.

    13. China’s future constitutional rule must be without an enemy – benevolent politics without enemy. Politics should be part of public life, inwardly govern to benefit all citizens, outwardly govern to obtain national interest.

    14. This document’s biggest flaw is it neglected to consider what would completion of constitutional rule look like under current system and framework. There’s no free lunch; right now the CCP controls the government, why would they give up the benefit and move towards public governance under the constraint of constitutional rule? By what rationale?

    15. Perhaps these three: 1) If continues, CCP rule will destabilize, create chaos, people will die, sovereignty will weaken; the CCP lives and dies with the people. 2) Only by bringing an end to this mode of governance will China, and the CCP, be saves. 3) The process to bring this to an end requires some fundamental promise to the CCP and its leadership.

    16. Two reasons led to the abdication of Qing Court: one is after the 1911 revolution, Yuan Shikai coerced the Qing Court, second is the republican government granted preferential legislative treatment for the monarchy – the price for peacefully bring about constitutional rule.

    17. After nearly a hundred years, Chinese people’s political acumen should be better than during end of Qing dynasty, not worse. But this 08 Charter’s political competency is lower than Sun Yuan period.

    18. China’s political future, if to choose the path of peaceful transformation, principles based on adversarial relationship need to be abandoned. The CCP should be seen as an ally in reform – even as a leader in reform.

    19. In the lat 60 years the CCP, intentionally or unintentionally, brought the Chinese people countless catastrophes, and today it still holds onto power. If peaceful reform does not provide a formulation with certain amount of forgiveness but demand they end their own lives, is tantamount to the dream of a simpleton.

    20. For the CCP to become an ally, even a leader, in peaceful constitutional reform, there needs to be some “stained founding fathers” – perhaps they have received large ill-gotten gains, but as long as they agree to promote peaceful constitutional reform, besides returning some portions of their family fortune to the national coffer, everything else is forgiven. And they and their clan’s safety are protected, allowing them to become innocent citizens equal under the law. If they are national leaders, after their terms end the book will be closed. Above policy is aimed towards the CCP leadership.

    21. Without the above policy of forgiveness, the CCP and the people will fight to mutual defeat, with end result we can not predict – no matter what, those scenarios will invariably lead to violence and bloodshed. Do we really need and end no one can predict, thru means no one wishes for?

    22. To tred the water with stability, first we must test the water. How to test the water? Have the CCP formulate “transitional constitutional rule legislation”, not limited to these provisions: 1) the CCP continues to govern, with term limits; 2) implement separation of powers with oversight; 3) allow freedom of association, to form political party. With the exception of compete in elections, all legal activity are allowed; 4) protect existing provisions in the Constitution; 5) include and protect additional civil rights; 6) nationalize the military, remove party influence; 7) confirm amnesty and forgiveness for CCP’s past 60 years, ensure this will not be reversed by other political parties in the future; 8) Extend, by conference, the transitional governance period, if multiple party elections are not mature. These policies should be established constitutionally.

    23. These are just my simple thoughts. Society at large should be consulted on policy; at least problems should be publically, peacefully, rationally discussed.

  377. S.K. Cheung Says:

    Wow. Thanks to Charles for translating that. Mr. Shao is like a breath of fresh air. If Charter 08 might serve as a basis for discussion of a vision for China, then I think this could serve as a basis for discussion as the roadmap for realizing such a vision. In some ways, he goes way farther than I would have expected…to be honest, I’m not sure any current/still-living members of the CCP have done anything requiring amnesty and forgiveness. On the other hand, inserting the CCP as the governing organ within this new model of governance assumes that the CCP is capable of adapting into such a new role. Also, once you have term limits, separation of powers, and provision of oversight, there is the possibility that the incumbent will not remain in power over time. Not sure where the roadmap would lead us in such an eventuality.

    Point #22-3 is curious. Perhaps I’m misinterpreting it. But I’m not sure what the point is for having a political party if it can’t compete in elections.

    Point #23 should form the intro and conclusion of everything the CCP ever utters from here onwards.

    At the very least, this essay moves past all the hot air, and acknowledges that Charter 08 is something worth talking about. And if nothing else, that’s a good start…

  378. Steve Says:

    @ S.K. Cheung #377: Agree, great translation, Charles!

    It seems Mr. Shao is very pragmatic, and that’s the most refreshing aspect of his essay. He’s not doing the “ideologically pure” positioning we see so often, but trying to think out of the box to create a more workable basis for discussion and debate.

    I agree with you on Point 22.3, but there may be way around it. Right now there is one CCP, but inside that CCP are what seems to me to be four distinct positions. People are either economic conservatives or liberals, and political conservatives or liberals. So the ideological factions are basically:
    EC/PC
    EL/PC
    EC/PL
    EL/PL
    There are your parties, all within the CCP. Realistically, at least one of these combinations will probably fall by the wayside. My guess is that EC/PL isn’t much of a faction, so the other three can battle it out.

    Anyway, it’s a thought~ 8)

  379. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Steve:
    rats, guess I would’ve backed the wrong horse. EC/PL is where I’m at( at least in the Canadian sense)…but I’ve never had much luck playing the ponies.

  380. Steve Says:

    To S.K. Cheung: Ah yes, but remember that an economic liberal in China is equal to an economic conservative in Canada. And a political liberal in Canada believes in a more socialistic approach and so would be closer to an political conservative in China. Everything is a mirror image. :P

  381. Wukailong Says:

    @Steve (#378): But do these four or three factions really exist? What it seems to be now is the Shanghai group, which I think we could place in the EL/PC position, and the Communist Youth League group, somewhere between EL/PC and EC/PC. There are also some EL/PL people there in between, but it’s not a very vocal group. Xi Jinping seems to be more of a liberal than Li Keqiang, but I won’t bet on very serious political change from him.

    I am quite certain, though, that as soon as Xi becomes the new president, Newsweek and Time will publish articles depicting him as a possible closet liberal, just like they did with Hu Jintao. :)

  382. Steve Says:

    @ Wukailong #381: You bring up a really interesting point. Before Deng died, he basically set the succession pattern for the next two leaders. After Hu, there is no longer that “blessing from above” legitimacy that Deng passed on. So will Xi really become the next leader? What happens if this worldwide economic slowdown discredits Xi before he is able to take over? Does this create an opening for another candidate? Politics might become a little more exciting than in the past. :P

  383. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Steve #380:
    terrific. Then I’m back in the game. $50 EL/PC to win, $100 to place…gotta go call my bookie.:-)

    BTW, whatever happened with your get-together with your friend from China? What’s the word on the street re: Charter 08?

  384. Wukailong Says:

    @Steve (#382): I read somewhere, though I can’t remember where now, that the way the new leaders of China will be picked during the 18th Party Congress are going to say something about the state of intra-Party democracy as a whole. I won’t bet too much on it, but I do believe Xi Jinping has potential to do interesting things, and I hope he’s elected (or handpicked, or whatever way the people in power go about this thing). I agree it’s going to be interesting to see how the first leader not publicly endorsed by a higher-up is going to fare. :)

    According to the book “Gongjian” (Storming the Fortress, the official report on political reform in China), the vision is to “分权、放权” (separate powers and giving up powers). Again, it’s going to be exciting to see what happens with that.

  385. Steve Says:

    @ S.K. Cheung: I saw him and his wife at the Chinese Arts Festival last Sunday but only had a chance to talk for a couple of minutes. I asked him about the new labor law and he told me how they get around it (which I explained on As Trade Slows, China Rethinks It’s Growth Strategy: Comment 30). On that same thread, wuming and Sophie had some really good comments about current labor law.

    We’re going to dinner with him tomorrow night. I’ll get more info and ask specifically about Charter 08. He might have discussed with some in the party since he’s pretty sociable and tends to get a lot of inside info.

    @ Wukailong: When will Hu be leaving office? How long before the fun starts? Don’t answer my questions if it means you are giving away state secrets and might spend the rest of your pitiful days in a prison cell with a FLG’er practicing standing qigong all day, then trying to convince you to join at night. :D

  386. Wukailong Says:

    @Steve: Are you in China right now?

    As for state secrets, I would really like to acquire some, at least know some examples to see what state secrets are really about. :) Once I saw a message to Chinese citizens to be aware of foreign spies who steal state secrets, and in the fictive example given one woman was able to get as much as 10 pages of state secrets in half a year.

    The next party congress is 2012, so that’s when the fun starts. Or perhaps “game time started” to use another figure of speech:

    http://winterson.com/2005/06/episode-iii-backstroke-of-west.html

  387. Steve Says:

    @ Wukailong: Nope, I’m in San Diego. The Chinese Festival is an annual thing here and my friend is visiting from his factory in Beijing. If there’s anything you’d like to know about the situation there from either a business or political POV, let me know and I can ask him. He’s usually pretty up on things.

    State secrets are things like Hu’s birthday, Zhang Ziyi’s latest boyfriend, what kind of memory chip Lenovo uses in its laptops, the actual height of Zhuangshan and Wang Fei’s middle name. :P

  388. Steve Says:

    @ Wukailong: I just checked out your link. That’s hysterical!! :P

  389. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To WKL:
    that link is fabulous. Almost wet myself laughing. How’d they manage to get the f-word in there so many times?

  390. Steve Says:

    @ S.K. Cheung: We had dinner with our friends last night but there were two other business friends there so we didn’t talk about the new labor laws. However, one of the two friends was originally from Hong Kong and covers China for his company. I asked them what they thought about Charter 08. Neither my friend, his wife or this other guy had ever heard of it. Nothing. So its impact among the general population seems to be close to zero.

  391. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Steve:
    thanks for the update. That is truly disappointing. Score another one for the good ol’ CCP…the more things change, the more they stay the same.

  392. KM Thye Says:

    China is on the right track. The greatest human rights is economic well-being of the people. When students and dissidents force democracy, a privilege of the well to do, what they are doing is to create instability without responsibility. Political change will evolve when people get comfortable – from the governed to government. China has never being more available to the ordinary citizens to make a living in its entire history. The rest will come without one forcing an issue.

  393. Molineux Says:

    It has stripped people of their rights, destroyed their dignity, and corrupted normal human intercourse.

    How do you trust people who hold such extreme views, so stingy with truth.

    In the United Kingdom

    It is widely accepted that for a political system to be stable, the holders of power need to be balanced off against each other. One of the reasons widely cited is that it leads to a more just and humane system of government. This need not invariably be the case but, as Lord Acton said: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. By maintaining a balance between political forces, power is prevented from being concentrated in the hands of people who would be tempted to abuse it. But, in fact, we see this separation of powers not only in just and humane societies, but in oppressive ones as well. Its real, practical benefit is the stability it engenders. While a stable system may be oppressive and unpredictable, experience has shown that it is far less likely to exhibit these characteristics than an unstable one.
    Although not famed for his views on constitutional law, Terry Pratchett summed up the driving force behind the separation of powers very succinctly in one of his novels. “People say they want freedom and equality”, one of his characters opines, “but what they really want is for tomorrow to be the same as today”. In other words, what society needs is continuity and predictability in government.
    The concept of separation of powers is not a new one, nor is it confined in its operation to modern democracies. Even the notion that the most effecient separation is into three distinct bodies, rather than some other number, is an ancient one. The Greek philosopher Aristotle wrote that the fairest political system would be one in which power was shared between the monarchy, the aristocracy, and the common people. In the 17th century, John Locke put forward a more modern proposition: that government should be divided between an executive and a legislature. The role of the executive would be to implement law and administer the country, while the legislature would create and manage the law itself. The problem with Locke’s system is that there is nothing to prevent one arm of the government overwhelming the other. Our modern notions of separation of powers are, in fact, mostly derived from the writings of 18th century French political theorist, Charles de Montesquieu. Ironically, his concepts of an ideal political system were drawn, at least in part, from his observations of England. In reality, the separation of powers he describes has never been implemented fully in England or, quite likely, anywhere else. However, at the time of Montesquieu England had just had a civil war, and deposed a despotic monarch in favour of a representative democracy and courts with constituted and well-defined powers. In France, in contrast, Monarchs still enjoyed more or less unlimited power. In his book The Spirit of the Law Montesquieu describes a system where power is balanced between an executive, a legislature, and a judiciary. The balance is a complex one. In Montesquieu’s thinking, the judiciary regulates the way in which the executive applies the law, which is created by the legislature. The judiciary would be limited by the legislature, as only the legislature would be empowered to create new law. The legislature could create law, but had no direct powers to apply it. In the UK, the role of the executive is largely assigned to the ministers of the Government, and perhaps to the civil service and the police. Parliament as a whole forms the legislature, while the role of the judiciary is taken by the courts, and perhaps to a certain extent by tribunals.
    Montesquieu’s theories had a lot of influence, in particular in the nascent USA. His model of separation of powers is still the one against which others are judged. However, although his model was said to be based on the English constitution, closer inspection reveals that there are serious discrepancies between Montesquieu’s theory and political reality in the UK.
    Perhaps the most striking anomaly is the dominance of the legislature by the executive. By long-standing tradition, the Government (executive) is formed by the leader of whichever party in the Commons can command a majority. As a result, the executive is able to exert considerable pressure over the legislature. This situation has been worsened by the rise of the party system in Parliament. While the Government is numerically only a small proportion of the total number of MPs, party loyalties encourage members of the Government’s party to back it, even when their consciences and their constituents prefer otherwise. So, although legislation is the responsibility of Parliament, in reality the legislative programme is driven by the Government of the day. This, in itself, is not objectionable, so long as there is proper scrutiny and control of the Government’s legislative programme by the legislature. When the Government’s party has a large majority in the Commons, as is the case at present, there is almost no opportunity for Parliament to regulate the passage of legislation.
    If the involvement of Parliament in the production of primary legislation has been truncated, it’s involvement in secondary legislation is now almost non-existent. In practice, the exigencies of administration dictate that a certain amount of delegated legislation is required, simply because the time pressure on Parliament is so great. However, some delegated powers are extensive. Of particular concern are the so-called `skeleton Acts’, which contain no substantive law, but merely a set of powers to be exercised by ministers. There are also worrisome `Henry VIII’ clauses in some Acts, that grant powers to ministers to modify primary legislation. While these powers may improve the efficiency of the Parliametary process, they strengthen the executive at the expense of the legislature.
    This situation results from the fact that in the UK, although formally the purpose of general elections is to elect Parliamentary representatives, the party system means that in fact we are electing the Government. In some countries, elections are held separately for the legislature and the executive; in the UK, these roles are essentially fused.
    The situation isn’t entirely hopeless. It is not a forgone conclusion that the Government will be able to introduce the legislation it desires in the form that it wishes. Governments are sometimes defeated by their own back-benchers, or by the House of Lords. However, where the Government really wants to introduce a fundamental piece of legislation, it can make it an issue of confidence. The threat that the Government may have to resign, and thus bring about a dissolution of Parliament, is usually enough to get even the most recalcitrant back-bencher to toe the line.
    There are further problems with the separation of powers between the executive and the judiciary, although these are less troublesome in practice than they have the potential to be. Surprisingly, the appointment of the judiciary is entirely in the hands of the executive. The head of the judiciary, the Lord Chancellor, is a Cabinet minister selected by the Prime Minister. The Lord Chancellor either appoints, or advises on the appointment of, all other judges (notionally the sovereign is responsible for the appointment of judges, but in practice this is a formality). However, senior judges, once appointed, cannot be removed from office at the whim of the executive – unlike the Lord Chancellor himself – so there is a measure of independence after appointment. Nevertheless, the current Lord Chancellor has attracted criticism for what has been seen as an attempt to `politicise’ the judiciary, by inviting senior lawyers (potential candidates for judicial office) to contribute to party fund-raising activities.
    In fact, the office of Lord Chancellor is itself an anomolous one, involving elements of judicial, executive, and legislative responsibility. There have been calls for the Lord Chancellor to remove his office from direct involvement in the selection of judges. Recently an independent appointments commission was set up to scrutinise the selection process, although it does not have any direct influence. The recent creation of a Select Committee on the Lord Chancellor’s Department has opened up the Lord Chancellor’s role to a higher level of Parliamentary scrutiny, and the current Lord Chancellor has let it be known that reform of his role is not entirely ruled out. So we may see changes here in the future.
    The judiciary can, and does, hold the activities of the executive up to scrutiny, often by the process of judicial review. It is now accepted that, where an Act of Parliament gives a minister or other administrator discretion, that discretion must be exercised according to law, rationally, and in accordance with the principles of natural justice. The passage of the Human Rights Act has further strengthened the position of the judiciary. It provides the opportunity to quash an administrative action on human rights grounds, and may have added a test of `proportionality’ to the grounds for judicial review (see, for example, R(Daly) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (2001)). Often the involvement of the courts in the activities of ministers is seen as a hindrance by the Government. Occasionally legislation attempts to oust the jurisdiction of the courts to review the exercise of ministerial discretion. Even where this ousting is strongly worded and uncompromising, the courts have often been ingenious in finding ways to circumvent it (see, for example, Ansiminic v Foreign Compensation Commission (1969)).
    And so we come on to the separation of powers between the judiciary and Parliament. In reality we have more of a sharing of powers than a separation. Montesquieu believed that judges should not be legislators, but there is now little doubt that in our common-law system the judges do have a legislative role. The judges themselves are not keen to acknowledge this, and often go to some lengths to disguise it. However, while there are certain influential judges who openly and firmly refute the idea that judges create law, increasingly the senior judiciary are coming clean about it. The fact that judges may have what is essentially a legislative role is discomforting, since we have grown used to the idea that the legislature is a body of our elected representatives, for all its faults. The judges are not only not elected, coming from a narrow social and political band they are not even representative.
    Despite the overlap between the judiciary and Parliament in legislation, the order of precedence is clear. Since the 17th century the courts have deferred to the authority of Parliament. It is generally accepted that the courts are not empowered to rule on the validity of Acts of Parliament. Interestingly, the balance of power may have shifted somewhat with our increased obligations to Europe. In the Factortame sage (1990-present), we saw that the courts could disapply even primary legislation where it was in conflict with our treaty obligations to Europe as defined by the European Communities Act (1972). Similarly, the Human Rights Act has given courts the power to issue a declaration that primary legislation is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.
    So, we can see that there are tensions between the goals, motives, and procedures of the executive, legislature, and judicial arms of government, and this is all to the good. Separation of powers requires that these bodies remain in a state of dynamic interplay, with no one body being able to dominate the others. At the same time, there are places where the powers that Monstesquieu thought should be separated are, in fact, fused. All three of the the arms of government exercise functions that in a strict separation of powers should really reside elsewhere. The executive exercises legislative powers by dominating Parliament. It exercises judicial responsibilities whenever an administrator exercisises discretion to decide in favour of, say, one planning application rather than another. The judiciary creates law, albeit subtly, and with circumspection. Parliament is able to discipline and hold to account its members, without the involvement of the courts. And so so.
    It should be clear that our system of government is a long way from Montesquieu’s ideal. What is most surprising, however, is that it works as well as it does. Ultimately, I believe, it is the acceptance of constitutional conventions that keeps things ticking over. The Government could, for example, further dominate Parliament by controlling the timetable for the consideration of legislation but, on the whole, it does not. Parliament could legally enact legislation that transfers the power to decide disputes away from the courts and more to administrators, but it does not. Judges could make radical changes to the law rather than incremental ones but, on the whole, they don’t. And so on. We don’t have a codified written constitution that sets out the balance and separation of powers so, ultimately, it is convention that controls these things. And convention works because everyone wants tomorrow to be the same as today.

  394. admin Says:

    Molineux/KM Thye,

    Please don’t pretend you are different people by using multiple handles. You have been warned.

  395. Shane9219 Says:

    It’s a shame this “Charter 08″ guy wanted to learn an old trick from East European, even after seeing how some Balkan countries endured horrible consequence. He got enough trouble already just by openly making the suggestion of ‘republic of Tibet” with Woser. Not many people have sympathy towards these ultra liberals in China.

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