Loading
Jun 22

Putting the Sichuan Quake into Perspective (Re-Post)

Written by Chan on Monday, June 22nd, 2009 at 5:26 am
Filed under:Environment, General, politics | Tags:, , , ,
Add comments

( Note : This is a re-post of the same article taken from the blogsite : chinablogs.wordpress.com dated May 10, 2009. You are most welcomed to give your feedback using the Comments section here or on my above blogsite. You may also find the comments and my feedback on the above blogsite interesting. It includes an interesting comment from an American with first hand experience of the quake. )

***

Recently a prominent Chinese activist has demanded a name list from the Chinese government of the children killed in the Sichuan earthquake. This demand will presumably be increased to include the names of all 90,000 victims in order to work out exactly how many of the dead were children.

Personally, I don’t think he would be successful. I have never known of any governments in the world that have released name lists of catastrophies that have resulted in deaths of that magnitude. I don’t think China would be any different.

Most likely, this effort, no matter how well the original intention is, would just turn out to be yet another prolonged confrontation destined to stir up further unrests and even more hardship for the parents in the future. Given that is the case, I believe it is worthwhile trying to assess objectively whether this is the best way forward for the victims, their family and everyone else.

To do that, we need to understand the motivation behind the demand, and the facts surrounding the events, in order to correctly assess the situation and address the underlying issues.

The first question we need to ask is why the need to know exactly how many children died from the quake. Why the need to single out one particular attribute of the dead? In other words, why is no-one just as desperate to find out the sex or ethnicity, or any other attribute of the dead. There has to be a reason for such firm determination to know the age.

If you have been following the news, then the answer should be quite obvious. There is this wide spread belief that the school collapses were a result of shoddy workmanship caused by corrupt government officials. Therefore an exact count of the number of children killed is believed by many to provide incriminating “evidence” against the authorities.

The root of the suspicion is the fact that while some buildings did not collapse, most of the schools in the area did. But is that evidence of shoddy workmanship, let alone “evidence” of corruption? In order to find out, we need to explore some facts.

————————————————————–

Facts :

So let’s consider some facts.

1) The power of the Sichuan quake was aprox. 251 times that of the recent Italian L’Aquila earthquake.
2) It rocked for 3 minutes instead of seconds as was in the Italian quake.
3) The energy released was equivalent to almost 560 atom bombs of the grade used in the WW2
4) It is the world’s 19th deadliest earthquake of all time.

The recent L’Aquila quake in Italy flattened or severely damaged most of the buildings in the area. Imagine what would happen if you increase that 251 times while also increasing the duration to 3 minutes. It is hard to imagine any buildings left standing. Perhaps a better question is NOT why so many schools collapsed, but why some schools did not collapse.

Despite the fact that Italy is a wealthy first world European country, there are those who seem to think that it is somehow not good enough to be used as a comparison to tiny remote villages in China. To satisfy those people, let’s have a look at another even more wealthy and powerful country. The economic superpower of the 1980s, Japan.

The 1995 Kobe earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Moment Magnitude Scale completely devastated the city of Kobe. Within 20 seconds, the massive quake collapsed 200,000 buildings, 1 km of the Hanshin Expressway, and 120 of the 150 quays in the port of Kobe.

Yet, the Sichuan quake is almost 45 times the strength of the Kobe quake, and lasted for approximately 9 times the duration. Imagine what would happen to the city of Kobe if you increase the quake 45 times and the duration 9 times.

Wealthy Japan is no stranger to earthquakes. Indeed, it is well known for having plenty of earthquakes on a regular basis. Buildings are built to a very high standard. There is no reason why it cannot be used as a comparison to a remote village in a developing country such as China.

———————————————————-

Conclusions :

It is clear from the comparisons above that the collapse of the scools in remote villages should not be a surprise to anyone. They do not in any way prove poor quality construction. The question instead should be how did some Chinese schools survive the world’s 19th deadliest earthquake of all time.

While I of course don’t object to the idea of finding out if your child survived the quake, I do think it is quite pointless confronting the authorities simply to find out if they know the name of your deceased child. After all, it isn’t like the parents do not know the names of their dead children. And there is no reason why they so desparately need to know the names of someone else’s dead children.

Perhaps there is a need for everyone to calm down. Perhaps there is a need for everyone to reflect on whether this is the best way forward for the victims and their family, and indeed for the nation.

Imagine for a moment that, if the people involved were less ready to blame the government ; that if the internet was not filled with nasty allegations all pointing the same direction ; that if the different interest groups (both within and outside China) did not stir the emotions of the people to fuel this allegation. The situation would surely be much less potentially explosive.

The numbers would then not serve any purpose other than as statistics. In that case, it would be hard to imagine why the authorities would not be willing to share the statistics with you. And everyone can then concentrate their efforts on rehabilitation and improving their livelihoods. There is no reason why this is not achievable. In my opinion, this is the correct way forward.

———————————————————-

Sources :

Sources for the calculations used above are based on information extracted from the following websites:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moment_magnitude_scale

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/learning/faq.php?categoryID=2&faqID=33

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_L%27Aquila_earthquake

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kobe_earthquake#Damage

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Sichuan_earthquake


There are currently no comments highlighted.

89 Responses to “Putting the Sichuan Quake into Perspective (Re-Post)”

  1. Fauna Says:

    Strange. Why compare to Italy or Japan? Compare school building to government building from same area. Both suffer 19th most strong earthquake for same time. That is more accurate. Why do some buildings collapse? Why others do not? The names are not evidence of corruption, that is true, but I do not think people want the names because they are evidence of corruption.

  2. person Says:

    There were foreign and local experts on the spot a few days after the quake. They immediately knew and confirmed that at least some of the schools were shoddy constructions. For example in Dujiangyan.

  3. S.K. Cheung Says:

    I agree that demanding the names seems pointless; whatever point is to be made with names can surely be made with the numbers/statistics alone. And if the concern is that you don’t “trust” the numbers, then being given a list of names from the same source does not make it any more trustworthy.

    I agree with Fauna. Comparing to Kobe or Italy is not the point. I don’t believe the allegations were that Sichuan buildings were so inferior to those in Kobe or Italy. I believe the allegations were that schools collapsed when government buildings didn’t. I don’t know if those allegations are true. But if they are, then it does seem curious why some buildings would collapse while others didn’t, in the midst of the same earthquake. And if one type of building (ie schools) collapsed significantly more frequently than another (ie government buildings), then it does seem reasonable to investigate further as to whether it was simply a statistical anomaly, or if another “explanation” might exist.

  4. Chan Says:

    Thanks for all your comments so far. You have made valid points.

    I am in the midst of finalizing a new page on my blogsite. When I finished that (or pause from that tonight), I will be happy to respond to your comments. Thanks

  5. Charles Liu Says:

    Chan, here are some more facts about the quake for you:

    - Here are some reports of the school construction issue in Chinese media and blogsphere. Questions regarding the school construction is continuing and opinions vary:

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%E5%9C%B0%E9%9C%87+%E5%AD%A6%E6%A0%A1+%E8%B1%86%E8%85%90

    Some experts looking at this have come out and said it’s not as simple as blaming construction problem, as it is unlikely to be the sole factor. These articles were found from above search:

    http://www.028fc.com/newhtml/2008529211435.html

    http://www.tianjindaily.com.cn/hotnews/content/2008-06/04/content_496218.htm

    - As typical, Chengdu’s building code after 1978 required quake resistance to 6.0 mag, and was updated to 7.0 after 2001. The quake struck was 7.8-8.0. Building’s quakeproof depended on the age of the building and code at the time.

    - Shearing effect varied throughout the region depending on soil condition; some area without rocky substrate sustained 10-11 mag. shearing force (think Kobe.)

    - (sorry shameless promotion) After the usual suspect in the expat blogsphere jumped on the Ai Weiwei story in April, I too searched for some answers, and I found the fatality name lists distributed werer decentralized (local paper, hospital, authority, examples in my blogpost) and counts of student victims were published by regional/central government.

  6. TonyP4 Says:

    It is more important to take actions on what we learn from this disaster than blaming. It will not be the last one.

    * The government particularly the leader handled this disaster better than Bush and TongShan earthquake.

    * Chinese is lacking in heavy duty helicopters – it is a weak link in the entire military force. According to my friend Joe, they’ve cooperation with Russia to resolve this problem.

    * The building codes may not save a lot of lives in this magnitude of earthquake. It should save a lot of lives in smaller earthquakes. If the codes are not enforced due to poverty, we just cannot help but wipe. If it is due to corruption, shame on China.

  7. Raj Says:

    Chan

    As a word of advice I would avoid using Wikipedia as a source. You might find useful articles there, but you’re leaving yourself open to people disputing your comments if you just say “wikipedia says so”.

    I think your overall argument misses the point. Asking for names of the dead might be futile, but it is important because it can help ensure that everyone is covered. If the government says “x people died” and in doing so plays the numbers down, whilst cracking down on victims’ families from discussing the matter on a wide scale, it can trick people into thinking that their relatives are included in the death toll if the names are not released. If the names are released, however, people can immediately stand up and say “but person A was not included” – in that case it becomes a lot harder to control the story.

    Furthermore, you talk about evidence and facts throughout your post, yet assume a person wants a list of the dead to “stir up” unrest based on no facts that you mention. If the release of information were to cause unrest, that is the government’s problem and not that of someone seeking the truth. Maybe if it was more honest in its dealings with the public and was like that from the start, it wouldn’t have to get into the situation where telling the truth would cause people to protest.

    Perhaps other countries did not release full lists of the dead, but were they asked to and did they refuse to? Did they also do what we have heard the Chinese authorities have done, which is to threaten parents if they continued to make a stink about this and/or bribe them to be quiet?

    As for country comparisons, they aren’t appropriate as has been indicated. The Kobe earthquake exposed the fact that, despite the fact the country believed at the time it did everything it could to avoid earthquake damage, not all its buildings were up to scratch.

    I also have no idea why you are asking why some schools survived. The obvious answer is that they were built to a sufficient standard. So what is your argument, that people should ignore the schools that fell down and slap the authorities on the back because a number survived? Perhaps one can take from this that some people can be trusted to build schools properly but without investigating fully and openly the reasons why some fell down then it could happen again.

    +++++

    TonyP4

    It is more important to take actions on what we learn from this disaster than blaming.

    Surely you cannot learn from a problem without identifying the cause and assigning blame. If you do not do the former, you really do learn nothing. If you do not do the latter, officials/engineers/et al will be lax in fulfilling their duties and the public will not have confidence in them as a whole.

  8. Shane9219 Says:

    @Fauna, SKC, Raj

    I mentioned in a previous post that most of these school buildings were constructed in a rush during 80s’ when school-age students flooded Chinese education system due to a mandate on compulsory education. The building code of 80s’ was also weak and did not enforced well at country-side.

    Also, it is counter-productive to compare Japan’s situation with China. Japan was a already a developed country before WWII, and underwent a national redevelopment after that.

    Let me ask you: had you ever been in China during 80s’ and knew how poor the situation was then? If not, stop waging your fingers like a policeman. That is just disgusting.

    Of course, lots of lesson are already learned from this tragedy, more than your own thinking. Among the many, the government already promise to build new schools that are good for public shelters.

  9. huaren Says:

    Hi Chan,

    Excellent article. Thank you for compiling these facts and for the comparison. This gives good perspective on relative magnitude of the quakes and the amount of damage at each instances. Facts speak loudest.

    From my perspective, those trying to capitalize on this massive and sad disaster to further discredit the Chinese government or the Chinese society in general are pretty sick and twisted. Very cold and inhumane.

    Its really too bad – some “Western” media are playing that game also.

    It wasn’t talked about much in the “Western” media, but Japan’s current PM after the Sichuan earthquake started spearheading a disaster relief organization for Asia – this allows Asian countries to better coordinate rescue and pooling of regional resources to help each other. Some of you might recall the cyclone disaster in Burma around that same time which were equally disastrous.

    From Charles Liu’s links above, no doubt there’s great deal of open discussion within China about this issue.

    Hi Charles, All,

    I hope Charles or someone good in Chinese translate Chan’s article and post it within the Chinese language blogspheres.

    Chinese people should know these facts.

    Also, importantly, I think they should know information such as what the current Japanese government is trying to do responsibly within the Asia region.

  10. Steve Says:

    Having experienced earthquakes in Chile, Taiwan and my hometown of San Diego, I’d like to clear up what appears to be a misconception.

    Richter Scale (ML) measurements are but one factor when considering the destructive power of an earthquake, albeit a very important one. Charles in #5 mentioned a few factors. All the earthquakes I experienced were the usual bumping and shaking… except one. Back in 2002 in Taipei, I was walking along a pedestrian street in Ximending when an earthquake struck. The ground moved about one meter to the right, then one meter to the left, then back to center. The movement was almost entirely horizontal and I barely kept my balance. Fortunately, the overall damage wasn’t too bad but five people were killed by falling construction material from the Taipei 101 building. The effects of that particular earthquake were very different from the others I experienced. That particular quake registered 6.8 on the Richter Scale, the same strength as the Kobe quake.

    You cannot compare one quake with another. The villages in Italy that were damaged were very old. I’ve been near that part of Italy and a lot of the construction goes back hundreds of years. My maternal grandmother’s village in SE Italy has quite a few buildings that go back to the early Middle Ages.

    The only way to assess the damage to individual buildings would be to compare buildings in the same town or neighborhood. In the case of the Sichuan earthquake, buildings standing next to each other and constructed in similar time frames had drastically different results. The Wenchuan earthquake was 8.0 on the Richter Scale and there is nothing that could have prevented loss of life or massive destruction when a quake hits on that scale, but the avoidance of shoddy construction could have saved lives. Should no one be held accountable?

    This reminded me of the central Taiwan earthquake in 1999, which registered 7.7 on the Richter Scale. There were various instances of buildings collapsing with loss of life while buildings standing on either side held together. Upon investigation, shoddy construction was faulted and many contractors were brought to trial. The blatant damage disparity between adjacent buildings was a strong indicator of faulty building construction, and led to in depth investigations by government agencies to assess the damage.

    I was in that area less than two years later and saw entire forests that were completely collapsed, with the uprooted trees looking like fallen matchsticks. It was an incredible sight.

  11. raventhorn4000 Says:

    Steve,

    I don’t know if one can foresee a 8.0 earthquake in Sichuan. It’s not in an active Volcanic zone.

    The strength of Sichuan’s earthquake is unfortunately the result mechanical shearing forces caused by the Indian Subcontinent plate moving against the Asian tectonic plate.

    Heavy minerals in the area served as strong metal anchors against such forces for a long time, but eventually, the anchors buckle under pressure, and releasing all the potential energy in 1 shot.

    That’s why the 8.0, which is 10X of the force of a 7.0. The San Francisco earthquake was a 6.9, and it toppled modern concrete and steel high ways.

    *
    Some of the buildings that collapsed simply tipped over, because the concrete foundation liquefied in the vibration. (Yes, mountains of rocks turn into mud in a 8.0).

    I honestly don’t know if building codes would have made much difference.

    In an 8.0, maybe the only thing that could help is Fenshui (whether the building was oriented in a good way).

    Schools were flattened, so were many many privately owned houses. Were they also shoddy, if well paid by private parties?

  12. Raj Says:

    Shane

    Let me ask you: had you ever been in China during 80s’ and knew how poor the situation was then? If not, stop waging your fingers like a policeman. That is just disgusting.

    Do you ever think before you make such ridiculous comments? You’re trying to justify children dying in collapsing buildings just because of their supposed age and you call me and other “disgusting”?

    For those buildings that were put up 20+ years ago they should have had structural checks carried out at least once during that period which, if standards really had improved, would surely have noticed what was wrong.

    Moreover some parents pointed that there were schools that were built more recently, and they still collapsed whilst older buildings survived. So age isn’t necessarily the reason.

    Of course, lots of lesson are already learned from this tragedy, more than your own thinking. Among the many, the government already promise to build new schools that are good for public shelters.

    The authorities are good at talking the talk, but so far I can judge them on what has actually happened. That’s the intimidation of grieving parents who wanted to seek justice and forcing them to be quiet, as well as people like Liu Shaokun who were just expressing their own views and taking evidence. Before you start complaining about local government, what is the central government’s job if they are uninterested or unable to do anything about that? It’s not like the subsequent harrassment was a secret. Beijing was complicit, uninterested or incompetant.

  13. Steve Says:

    R4K: Of course I would expect there to be massive destruction in an earthquake that measured 8.0 on the Richter Scale. But what does that have to do with concrete not being reinforced with rebar? What does that have to do with shoddy construction? Are you telling me that no one knew Sichuan was an earthquake zone before 2008? That no one knew there was tectonic plate friction in that area? A quake has a center, in this case Wenchuan, and radiates energy from that center. The power of the quake decreases with distance.

    I would expect severe damage in the center, and less damage as the distance increased. I would expect similar destruction to buildings in the same zone. I would expect reporters would be allowed to cover the destruction, ask questions, and technical teams determine whether collapsed buildings met construction codes that applied at the time they were built. When you say you doubt building codes would have made a difference, you sound like a lawyer and someone with no technical background. Building codes definitely make a difference.

    Building codes require my house to have a rolling slab. Why? Because they work. If the center of a huge earthquake occurs under my house, I’m a goner and so are all the other people in my neighborhood. However, one house won’t collapse while the one next to it stands.

    What does any of this have to do with volcanic zones? I live in an area with frequent earthquakes and no volcanoes.

    China has had major earthquakes in 1907, 1920, 1927, 1932, 1974, 1976 and 2008. They have their fault lines mapped out pretty well. An earthquake in that area was no surprise, but of course no one can ever predict a quake that massive. But why would an investigation determining, for example, the usage of rebar required by code, not be pursued or allowed? Were slabs supported without beams? That was the major cause of damage in the 1985 Mexico City earthquake. These are the types of investigations that should be carried out.

    When a code is updated, that doesn’t mean older buildings are “grandfathered” out. They need to undergo repairs to take advantage of technical improvements. That doesn’t mean they have to meet all the new codes, but it’s common for code to specify necessary structural repairs to older dwellings.

    I promise I won’t make up legal stuff if you don’t make up technical stuff… ;)

  14. Shane9219 Says:

    @Raj

    “Do you ever think before you make such ridiculous comments? You’re trying to justify children dying in collapsing buildings just because of their supposed age and you call me and other “disgusting”?”

    Raj – stop putting words into my mouth. I was suggesting to outside people like you, who don’t know the real situation in China both in her history and current to stop waggering fingers by making inappropriate comments with ignorance.

    Go to read my post again and understand what I mean. Lots of buildings constructed during 80s’ in China’s country-side have safty issue. Go to the open thread on this forum and take a look my recent post on how the school building looks like at one Hope Elementary.

    Even for newer building, school buildings have inherent structure weakness due to the need of much larger open space and few support pillars than typical office buildings. Under a server earthquake like Wenchuan, one major factory building was flatten completely (factory buildings requrie special enforcement and are suppose to endure major extra stress).

    “Beijing was complicit, uninterested or incompetant”

    What a shame from you. Chinese government nowadays is more competent and effective than governments, say UK or India. Take a look at the mass slums around India cities for years and you know what I am talking about.

    @Steve

    I think you try to make a comparison between a “multi-million” dollar suburban home with a building at poor country-side. :-)

  15. huaren Says:

    @Steve,

    I think its a valid comparison. I am sure there were buildings built more than few hundred years ago in or near Wenchuang as well.

    “The only way to assess the damage to individual buildings would be to compare buildings in the same town or neighborhood.”

    That is generally true. My father-in-law visited Sichuan couple of weeks ago and he tells me this has been on the minds of the locals. I think the population is getting wiser about developers.

    “The Wenchuan earthquake was 8.0 on the Richter Scale and there is nothing that could have prevented loss of life or massive destruction when a quake hits on that scale, but the avoidance of shoddy construction could have saved lives. Should no one be held accountable?”

    In general, there is agreement in the Chinese population on this point. Those responsible for shoddy construction should be made accountable. This has to be within the context of an 8.0 quake and local conditions.

    But, those making unsubstantiated accusations and hoping to capitalize on this disaster against the Chinese government – they are fools and hell with that. Their heart is the worst kind. The victims do not need to be further victimized.

    (Having the experience of having your world shaken left and right more than a meter – that’s really something!)

  16. Steve Says:

    @ huaren: Unfortunately, there always seem to be a few that hope to capitalize on disasters. I couldn’t agree with you more.

    After that horizontal shake, I heard this “whoa!!” fill the air and people just streamed out of the buildings on either side of the street. I was walking down the street center so I was in the safest area possible.

  17. Shane9219 Says:

    @Steve

    “When a code is updated, that doesn’t mean older buildings are “grandfathered””

    Excellant point. A central database of school buildings is being established by Chinese government and there is ongoing projects to make needed enforcement. It will take time, since there are hundreds and thousands of such buildings and the funding requirement will be huge.

    “China launches 3-year school building program”
    http://www.china.org.cn/china/news/2009-05/08/content_17747327.htm

  18. raventhorn4000 Says:

    Steve,

    There is such a thing in building as “phasing out” the older buildings.

    Just because new codes are put in, doesn’t mean that every one would start tearing down all the old buildings immediately.

    Here is a really good map of seismic activities in China 1990-2006.

    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/regional/world/china/seismicity.php

    Sichuan is not a known hot spot for earthquakes.

    And frankly, a mineral anchor buckling is not a predictable event. It’s not like a volcano where you can actually observe listen to the lava flow. The energy is stored in the non-moving plates.

    I promise you, I have a Master of Science degree as well as a Juris Doctorate degree. :)

  19. raventhorn4000 Says:

    Steve,

    there is such a thing as “phasing out” buildings. Just because code is updated, doesn’t mean that all non-compliant old buildings are immediately torn down.

    Do you have any idea how many years it took California to update all of its highways and public buildings to new code?

    I mean, hind sight is always great, but doesn’t much explain great disasters that pretty much happen every where. Putting a few heads on the chopping block also doesn’t give one more foresight.

    A lot of scientists have warned that Mount Vesuvius could blow “real soon”, but we still have now millions of people living in the blast zone.

    Why? Ordinary people just don’t think about these kinds of doomsday scenarios. Codes or no codes, they never think it will happen to them.

    *
    and I promise, I have a Master of Science degree as well as a Juris Doctorate degree. :)

  20. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Shane:
    “The building code of 80s’ was also weak and did not enforced well at country-side.”
    —I agree, to a point. I should therefore modify my statement to say that:
    “it [would] seem curious [if] some buildings…collapsed while others [constructed in the same era] didn’t, in the midst of the same earthquake. And if one type of building (ie schools) collapsed significantly more frequently than another (ie government buildings) [of the same vintage], then it does seem reasonable to investigate further as to whether it was simply a statistical anomaly, or if another “explanation” might exist.”
    You’re right that buildings constructed in the 80′s may not be as sturdy as more modern ones, even if they met the codes of the day, simply because those codes have become more rigorous over the years. That being said, seismic upgrades are performed to bring older buildings up to modern standards, though I suppose such upgrades may by happenstance have occurred moreso in government buildings for logistical reasons that are not malicious.

  21. Steve Says:

    @ Shane #14: Multimillion dollar home? Nope, all home construction in California earthquake zones, even in the poorest neighborhoods, must use a rolling slab. It’s in the building code.

    @ Shane #17: Thanks for that information provided in the link. Actually, I have inside information in this subject because a friend of mine who is a civil engineering professor here has done extensive consulting work in China. I last talked to him at a Chinese New Year’s party. In fact, he had just come back from China where he was consulting on the infrastructure projects that are taking place to fight the recession. Though his specialty is more in roads, bridges and airports, he has become friends with many of the engineers who were involved in studying the earthquake and though the protests have been hushed up, the central government is well aware of the faulty construction that took place and is working to correct the problem. It wasn’t just a matter of old buildings and poor codes. Your link is a good example of those changes.

    @ R4K #18: Have you done much business in China? I have. I was with a multinational company dealing with a relatively clean industry as far as China goes (semiconductor manufacturing), yet every major project involved hong bao to the principal buyers who were involved. To think this type of thing doesn’t happen or is rare in China is naive. It doesn’t just happen in China either, but China is one of the worst in Asia, along with Vietnam. Indonesia used to be the worst but they’ve improved a lot over the last decade.

    A friend of mine from Ningbo has an uncle who is a party bigwig. His wife has a company whose purpose is to launder the bribes he accepts. I have another friend whose father owns a big distribution company in Shenzhen. He has to wine, dine and pay off various government officials. When a few of the political bosses were arrested in Shenzhen about a year ago, things cooled off for a few months but were soon back to normal. Another friend of mine owns a factory in Beijing. He’s told me of the various ways he handles the payments involved in doing business to keep his books clean but still get the orders. If you don’t think this type of behavior has an effect on construction standards, then nothing I can tell you will change your mind.

    Sichuan has had quite a few earthquakes over the last century. Where did you get the idea that it isn’t a hot spot for earthquakes? Where I grew up in New Jersey, we never had an earthquake. A quake there would be unexpected, not one in Sichuan. Several of the earthquakes whose years I listed took place in Sichuan.

    And how does your response answer my questions about rebar and beam construction, which were already written into the existing codes before the quake? You said old buildings cannot be torn down immediately. Why would they be torn down? Shane’s link in #17 concerns renovations to those buildings, not their destruction. Those codes have already been updated since the earthquake, so apparently the government has settled on a solution. Do you disagree with their approach?

    If you have a technical background, then how can you say that building codes would not make a difference? Improved building codes have made an enormous difference in preventing earthquake damage in California. China has already changed her building codes. Do you feel this is a waste of her time and that China should not have bothered?

    The Italian government has a plan in place to evacuate what they call the “red zone”, which is the area most directly affected by a potential eruption of Vesuvius, and has even offered cash payments for people to relocate outside that area (with few takers). The only way millions would be affected would be if huge quantities of ash covered Naples. That is possible but not probable. I don’t see what it has to do with Sichuan.

    My degrees are Political Science and M.E. though my professional life has been in Sales on the M.E. side. I’ve also sold a lot to C.E’s but I picked up that technology on the job and not at school. In fact, most everything I know of any importance I picked up on the job. All education does is teach us what we don’t know, how to ask and the ability to understand the answers. Useful knowledge doesn’t come in a book.

  22. Hohhot Says:

    As i see it, this Ai Weiwei who is collecting death list is not so much a serious political activists as a behavior artist who is good at making shocking gestures and stunts. From some privileged family backgrounds, he somehow feel the urge to rebel as many other clueless modern artists in beijing.His political stunts look to me are just like Jack chang’s Kungfu stunt, spectaclar on screen, with the minimum calculated risk while doing it. His protest targets have a wide range without much of a focus, from tiananmen to earthqualk. Probably the only focus is himself, and his audience is media, esp. western media

  23. Shane9219 Says:

    @SKC #20

    I think you are still making a simplistic argument there. School buildings have inherent structure weakness as it got large open space and fewer supporting columns. Some school buildings were not built up in one piece, but built some floors and then add more floors later either due to funding limitation or time requirement to house extra student population. Lots of school construction projects were handed to semi-professional companies from country-side to do the actual work, mostly because of funding limitation. It was a well-known fact that funding for school buildings were never a high priority back then.

    It is really hard to keep coming back to you to explain things since you knew so little about China even now, let alone 30 years ago,

  24. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Shane:
    what on earth are you talking about now?
    “School buildings have inherent structure weakness as its large open source and fewer supporting columns”
    —doesn’t matter if the school buildings were in the shape of flamingos…one way or another, they either meet code, or they don’t. Schools are inherently structurally unsound? You have got to be kidding me.

    “Some school buildings were not built up in one piece, but built some floors and then add more floors either due to funding limitation or time requirement to house extra student population.”
    —if that was the reality in the 80′s, then that was the reality. And who signed off on this reality? And who neglected to provide the required structural reinforcement as time went by? And now do you just say: well, back then, they did what they had to do…and y’know, poop happens.

    “Lots of school construction projects were handed to semi-professional companies from country-side to do the work, mostly because of funding limitation.”
    —and that makes shoddy construction okay? And if school construction was being done by semi-pro companies, who was building the government buildings in those same neighbourhoods. Again, the point is why did some buildings fall and others didn’t, when exposed to the same earthquake, in the same area.

    “It is really hard to keep coming back to you to explain things ”
    —I appreciate the effort. But it would be more useful if your explanations were half-ways relevant, or made sense.

  25. Raj Says:

    Shane (14)

    You accuse others of ignorance yet you did not mention the newly-built schools or the need for structual checks here until I prompted you on it. I suggest that you practice what you preach.

    As for other governments’ actions, yes the “the rest of the world isn’t perfect – why you criticise something in China” argument. Well can you tell me of a recent instance of Britons justly seeking redress for something that happened in the UK in an area the State has responsibility for, the authorities trying to silence them and the UK government (which I don’t like and will criticise if it deserves it) doing nothing about it?

  26. Chan Says:

    Thanks for all your comments on either side of the debate.

    I enjoy debates, and would normally try to tackle all questions/comments. However there are way too many here for me to involve myself in long intensive debates, especially now that I am in the process of phasing out myself from the blogosphere to concentrate on other things. So what I will do instead is I will try to tackle 3 or 4 of the main points raised here that I personally believe may have the most impact, both on your interpretation of my article, and on our perception of the situation.

    Instead of debating here, I will publish a follow-on article to tackle those points. Depending on my schedule, hopefully you will see it either tomorrow or the day after.

  27. Ted Says:

    “Personally, I don’t think he would be successful. I have never known of any governments in the world that have released name lists of catastrophies that have resulted in deaths of that magnitude. I don’t think China would be any different.”

    This comparison may be a stretch for some but how many names are on the Vietnam Memorial? There’s an event far more controversial than a natural disaster and it’s memorialized in our nation’s capital. Why on earth is pulling together a list of names such a big deal?

    One thing that puzzled me while I was there, everyone was scrambling to display their name when making donations. My school tried to require us to list our name and donation amount, something that all the foreign teachers refused to do.

    With everyone clamoring to list their name and say that they helped, why is it so bad to put together a list of names of the people we helped?!

  28. TonyP4 Says:

    Ted, it is just cultural difference.

    My mother-in-law asks how much so-so makes. In the old Chinese custom, it is acceptable, not in the west for sure. There is a Chinese saying, you do not ridicule the rich prostitutes but the poor folks. I know some Chinese in US donate without their names mentioned, but they are the minority.

    We may hurt the emotional feelings of the victims. I know several folks (again, they’re minority) refuse to receive welfare.

  29. Chan Says:

    Ted,

    I will be writing a follow-on article (hopefully) tomorrow to tackle some of the questions raised here. Since I don’t envisage my article would cover your question, let me just quickly answer yours now (or at least the 1st half).

    ——————————————

    To understand and properly evaluate an action (or inaction), we need to understand the motivation behind the action.

    The Vietnam Wall Memorial commemorates fallen soldiers who lost their lives on duty serving their country. It is only normal and decent for their fellow countrymen to do whatever is appropriate to commemorate them. In this case, listing their names on a wall.

    If those names or numbers were instead collected and used as a political weapon against the government, then you willl find that things would be very different. In some Western countries, even the mere showing of coffins of fallen soldiers on TV as they arrive on home soil from battles would be prohibited. You may think those governments are disgusting, but I don’t think so. The reason those images are prohibited is because they would easily be used as a polical weapon against the government.

    The Chinese government and your government isn’t actually that different. As I mentioned in the article, if only we are willing to consider all the facts and look at the numbers purely as statistics, there is no reason whatsoever the authorities would hesitate to release those numbers.

  30. Ted Says:

    @TonyP4: I picked up on the cultural difference, that was one of the more difficult to understand/explain. My students were at times indignant that I wouldn’t tell them how much I contributed.

    @Chan:

    I know my comparison is off the mark, it’s just meant to show that memorials on the scale you are describing do exist. Regarding the display of coffins of soldiers that has been an on-going battle and I think it was recently ruled that limited recordings be allowed. For that matter there were open protests about whether or not to televise the burials in Arlington National Cemetery. Sure, some people are using the images to score political points, but others just want their sacrifice to be recognized. I think it’s a matter that should be left to the families who lost.

    My main point however is the second one. There are lists all over the country of who gave how much to support the victims and recovery effort. I am certain every government official in China can tell you exactly how much they gave to help the victims of Sichuan, did so on a regular basis in the months following the quake, and will continue to do so at every anniversary. To me it’s deplorable that they would use such a tragic event to promote their own name and then turn and suppress the names and voices of the victims.

  31. Shane9219 Says:

    @SKC

    The inherent weakness of old school buildings were well discussed and recognized among civil engineering experts. I don’t think I need to continue drawing a boring “hole” with you on this one. My point is clear that western media and a few people like you have had a lot of wishful thinking and often take things out of context on issues relating to China with certain dark motives.

    @Raj

    Welcome back, Raj, if you happen to travel through London’s new airport. While Beijing’s new international terminal is still the world’s largest. It was completed on schedule and went into full service last year without any major glitch. You know how the one in London went up as a huge mess and an embarrassment to UK government and the Queen. Surely, you may not feel that way, since you got that weird notion of being a “super smart being” above anyone else :-)

  32. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Shane:
    “The inherent weakness of old school buildings were well discussed and recognized among civil engineering experts.”
    —hmmm….so upgrading inherently weak school buildings is wishful thinking….interesting indeed… of course, still doesn’t even begin to explain why government buildings constructed in the same era were made to be inherently stronger, or that they may have received the necessary upgrades more expeditiously….but hey, nothing to see here, no need to look into something as mundane as that…I mean, it’s not like school buildings house anybody of importance.

    Your point may be clear…but the justification, or foundation thereof, if you will (pun intended), much less so.

    To Chan:
    “we are willing to consider all the facts and look at the numbers purely as statistics, there is no reason whatsoever the authorities would hesitate to release those numbers.”
    —I don’t think that’s a realistic metric. I doubt many would study disasters after the fact purely as an academic exercise; the objective is to find out what went wrong, find out what could’ve been done better, learn from those things, then apply those lessons learned moving forward. In the course of deriving such lessons, culpability may be found attributable to people/companies/governments. If a government will only cooperate when it is immune from such potential findings of culpability, then that’s a pretty disappointing state of affairs. And if the potential political fallout from discussion of a government’s mistakes is the reason for not discussing those mistakes, that to me is a pretty lame justification.

  33. huaren Says:

    @Steve

    On corruption:

    Btw, I know quite a few sales guys (in the U.S.) who have taken out customers to strip clubs and other exotic places to “entertain” them at their companies expense. Haha, if you haven’t done it yet, I bet there is chance you might in your future.

    My point is corruption is everywhere – it knows no boundaries.

    However, I generally agree with you it is “rampant” in China. To me, the building of “guangxi” has been part of way of life for Chinese for a very long time. You trade favors and build trust and that’s how things get done. These habbits is entrenched throughout the whole country and takes a long time to change.

    I am not trying to make an excuse – just trying to explain the situation.

    I think key is amount of law, regulation, and a fully functioning enforcement and justice system. On this front, I am fairly encouraged.

    At a macro level, China joining WTO had really helped accelerated the reforms.

  34. Shane9219 Says:

    @huaren

    Good point. It is a well-known notion that market economy is a two-sided sword. On the negative side, it offers the incentive and mechanism for pursuing pure profit any mean possible. Business related corruption is nothing new and still wide-spread world wide. The problem currently in China is that the government is still directing lots of business activities with required involvement of many government officials, and the boundary and relation between business and government functions are still not clear or supervised “under sun”. Chinese government has already made lot of improvement over the years, for example, corruption, though still wide-spread, has been down in comparison to years ago with much improved transparency and clear regulations, much better than the situation in Russian and India as a well recognized fact by western executives doing business in China. However, there is still a long way to go in China, considering the fact of its 30-less years of market economy. Western countries, like US, French and Japan, got their share of similar problems in 70s and 80s on government related contracts.

    Here are a few interesting reports

    “Report Corruption, Collect Commission”

    http://blogs.wsj.com/chinajournal/2009/06/23/report-corruption-collect-commission/

    “Who says crime doesn’t pay? Chinese authorities are encouraging more people to report cases of official malfeasance with a strong incentive: cold, hard cash. Citizens who report corruption will receive up to 10% of the funds recovered by the government”

    China launches anti-corruption hotline

    http://www.futuregov.net/articles/2009/jun/23/china-launches-single-anti-corruption-hotline-nati/

    “China has rolled numerous phone numbers available to informers of corruption cases into a single number: 12309, in an attempt to make it easier and more appealing to the public

    The Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) says that every report made to the 24-hour hotline will be processed and a response will be communicated to the informant. “

  35. Raj Says:

    Shane, your predictably irrelevant point (31) serves to provide the usual amusement.

    One could assume that in your strange head you think that the provision of airport facilities compares to the ability and/or will of government to protect their citizens’ civil rights. However, I will credit you with at least a nominal level of intelligence and take your comment as confirmation that you merely do not have credible responses to my points.

  36. huaren Says:

    @Shane, #34

    Thx and also for the links.

    @Raj, #35

    Hey, I think you need to accept the fact that many people on this planet do not have the same level of urgency you have attached to your definition of civil rights, blah blah blah.

    I think Shane’s example about airports was a good one. The Chinese government can make these projects work right for the benefit of its people. Your government is a mess – to the detriment of you.

  37. raventhorn4000 Says:

    Steve,

    “wining and dining”. I done some of that in US. Seen some $1000 dinner invitations and “consulting fees” too. Price of the dinner is usually proportional to the amount of money involved.

    Perhaps China is more open about it. but that doesn’t say much about all the lobby money in Washington DC, or the relative scale of corruption.

    Honestly, do you really think that all those BILLIONS of lobbyist dollars in DC goes to pamphlets and thank you notes??

    Do you think Halliburton, Dick Cheney, and Kellogg Brown will ever get sued for the “no bid contracts” in Iraq, where their faulty electrical generators electrocuted several US soldiers in the shower??

    Please, I’m not that naive to think that this sort of thing don’t go on. But come on, just because some places like Taiwan decides to sue contractors, doesn’t mean they got rid of their corruption. (Case in point, the current Chen Sui Bian trials.)

    All the investigations and lawsuits just drive corruptions underground. (Even you have seen it, “cools down” in China).

    The money reserved for corruption, is still going to be there, waiting for someone to accept them. Like in Washington DC.

    *
    *

    “Rebar”, I think I did question you in reverse about how long did it take California to upgrade all of its buildings and highways to “new codes”??

    Do you think it’s done in California now? All “up to code”?

    *I lived through an Earth quake in Shanghai too, in early 1980′s.

    Would you suggest that Shanghai is also a “hot spot” for Earth quakes??

    “Quite a few earthquakes” in Sichuan in recent years? I see no data to support this assertion.

  38. Wahaha Says:

    Raj,

    Is it part of civil right that someone ask 200,000 yuan for a house that worth only 20,000 ? Is it part of civil right that some people protest for benefit while his country is deep debt ? Is it part of civil right that people in free world use their children and grandchildren’s money ? Is it civil right some human right scumbags stir the hatred by magnifying any bad things in his country ?

    Again, is it part of civil right that your neigbhor helped you paint your dream house and then embarrassed you in front of you guests, like the scumbag Ai Weiwei did during Olympic ?

  39. Wahaha Says:

    By the way, did you watch the award-winning documentary film “Lakshmi and me ” ? How do you feel when you hear someone decrible herself as ” tired of this human existence ” ?

  40. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Wahaha #38:
    no idea where those questions came from, but:
    a) asking price can be anything you want, even in China, I presume. But selling price will depend on what the market will bear, unless you find a sucker.
    b) what does the act of protest have to do with a country’s debt?
    c) it’s not a civil right. But it is certainly happening.
    d) magnifying flaws makes someone a “scumbag”? Really? So when the governing party in a one-party state tries to sweep bad news under the rug (minimize it, if you will), what flashy moniker would you affix to them?

    And again, why do you feel so easily embarrassed? Time for thicker skin.

  41. real name Says:

    ad 37
    Destructive Earthquakes in China
    http://www.drgeorgepc.com/quake2008ChinaQuakes.jpg
    China’s Seismic Zones
    http://www.drgeorgepc.com/tectZonesChinaEpic.jpg
    from
    http://www.drgeorgepc.com/Earthquake2008ChinaSichuan.html

  42. Chan Says:

    Hi all,

    While I try to find the time to write that “follow-on” article I promised, I thought I just quickly slap on here the “follow-on” article I wrote back in May to answer questions raised then by others. Please look out for it in 5 minutes.

    Some of the info in that article is perhaps slightly outdated. But most of it should still be relevant, and would hopefully answer some of the questions raised here.

    ( PS. I am still committed to write a “follow-on” article more suited to the questions here. Just trying to find the time for it )

  43. Think Ming! Says:

    Why was my previous comment censored?

    Don’t tell me I was criticizing the messenger. . . I was criticizing the fucking message.

    Cunts. . .

  44. Chan Says:

    WordPress treats some messages as spam, and withholds them from publishing. It happens on my own blogsite also.

    Without seeing your comment, I can’t tell you why it was blocked. (I suspect it has something to do with your language). You will have to wait for the site admin to see your comment and decide.

  45. Raj Says:

    huaren (36) and shane

    I have news that you gentlemen might find interesting. First, it was not a new airport (London doesn’t need new airports, it needs expansion of smaller ones) – it was a new terminal building. Second, it’s privately own, not State-run. It’s not the government’s responsibility, even if it was embarrassing.

    I do try to show some respect to the thread creators by not bringing in completely irrelevant comparisons. For example, I doubt most people would see a valid link between State-run schools falling down and children being killed and a privately-run airport having difficulties in opening a new terminal that inconveniences passengers. Certainly they would find the need to investigate the former more important than the latter.

    However, if you do want to make such a comparison, then I will say at least Terminal 5 was brought up to standard and was not gutted by a fire a few months before it was supposed to open. Unlike the Beijing Television Cultural Centre.

  46. Wahaha Says:

    magnifying flaws makes someone a “scumbag”?

    No, SKC,

    a person helped you paint your dream house then embarrassed you in front of your guest, that, is a scumbag.

    ******************************************************************************

    a) asking price can be anything you want, even in China, I presume. But selling price will depend on what the market will bear, unless you find a sucker.

    I see, most of elected under democracy are morons who have no idea how to the finace.

  47. Steve Says:

    @ Wahaha: Do you know the literal definition of the word “scumbag”? I’m just wondering…

  48. Wahaha Says:

    Steve,

    I just checked : it means despicable person

    despicable = so worthless or obnoxious as to rouse moral indignation.

    I think I used right word to describe Ai weiwei.

  49. Wahaha Says:

    Raj,

    What do you think that £100million ‘black hole’ for London Olympic money? Is it state-run ?

    What if the two suspended had been assigned to build school building ?

    BTW, do you know that the national stadium in Malaysia collapsed after only a year ? the system in Malaysia is similar to UK’s, right ?

    Why do people like you always try to china-lize the problems in China >

  50. Wahaha Says:

    Raj,

    How about this ?

    http://www.kanglaonline.com/index.php?template=kshow&kid=1273

    The latest Transparency International survey, that looked at corruption in India’s school education sector, specially focussing on ‘Below Poverty Line’ households in rural areas, has thrown up even more scandalous conclusions than what we witnessed in Parliament. Its June 2008 report says that the survey, which covered 22,728 randomly selected BPL households across 31 States and Union Territories, revealed that a majority of those who paid bribes did so for getting their children admitted to schools or for getting their children promoted from one class to another. Issuing school-leaving certificates was another lucrative business for corrupt school authorities. However, the amount of bribe was the highest when it came for allotment of hostel accommodation.

    *******************************************************************

    How many India children wouldve died if an earthquake of richt 8 had happened in india and last 3 minutes ?

    Why dont you have the gut to admit that you hate China’s getting better, huh ?

    Stop china-lizing the problems in China, and lame attack, OK ?

  51. Steve Says:

    @ Wahaha #48: No, that’s the slang definition. I was wondering if you knew the literal, original definition. ;)

    Are you really comparing Malaysia to the UK? Don’t you think that’s stretching it? Or are we engaging in some playful hyperbole?

  52. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Wahaha:
    “a person helped you paint your dream house then embarrassed you in front of your guest, that, is a scumbag.”
    —that depends. (a) are you too easily embarrassed? (b) was there good reason to be embarrassed, and if so, was that reason of that “person”‘s making, or your own.

    “I see, most of elected under democracy are morons who have no idea how to the finace.”
    —once again…huh?

    “How many India children wouldve died if an earthquake of richt 8 had happened in india and last 3 minutes ?”
    —once again, the point is not whether China’s buildings were better or worse than India’s, or the UK’s, or Malaysia’s. It is that schools allegedly collapsed much more readily than other buildings, such as government buildings. If that was true, then why was that? And isn’t that a question you, or Chinese authorities, would want an answer to? Sure, it might be an uncomfortable question. Sure, the answer might get some people in high places into some hot water. But is the asking of such prickly questions “china-lizing the problems in China” (whatever the heck that means), or an attack? Sometimes folks like you are way too sensitive, and need to grow much thicker skin.

  53. Wahaha Says:

    Steve,

    I am sorry, I only care about how people use that word in their daily lives, I really dont care how shakespeare defined it.

  54. Wahaha Says:

    SKC,

    You bought your dream house, and the neighbor next to your house helped you paint your living room. then you invited your relatives, your friends and all of your neighbor to celebrate. annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd, your neigbhor ridiculed you in front of your guests, talked about the bad color of your living room.

    Not only that, he claimed he did it on behalf of you, What would be your reaction ? please dont tell me you are a psycho and dont mind it.

    ***************************************************************

    btw, “china-lizing the problems in China” (whatever the heck that means),

    ask Raj, English is a rich language, isnt it ? you dont mind me and Raj invent a new word, dont you ? but you have to give Raj most credit, as he did all the work, I just find a new word.

  55. Wahaha Says:

    ” It is that schools allegedly collapsed much more readily than other buildings, such as government buildings. ”

    Give me data to prove that. Yes, there was such a town, but when you looked at the numbers, 6000 students among 90,000 who were killed, That is 1:14 (one child, 14 adults, does that sound wrong to you ?) how do you get the conclusion ? let alone the fact that most students sat in class when earthquake happened, and most classrooms were much wider than offices and other rooms.

  56. Wahaha Says:

    “I see, most of elected under democracy are morons who have no idea how to the finace.”
    —once again…huh?

    SKC,

    You dont get it ? wow.

    How the hell are so many developed countries deep in debt, not mention they have all the advantages of technology and high productivity ?

  57. Steve Says:

    @ Wahaha #53: Shakespeare never heard of it. It means a used condom (that’s why I asked) and back when I was young, you would have gotten the crap kicked out of you if you had used it in public, most likely by your father. I can’t help it; every time you use it, you sound to me like a little kid. :P

  58. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Wahaha:
    “your neigbhor ridiculed you in front of your guests, talked about the bad color of your living room.”
    —recognizing that this is merely one of your long list of “examples”, and also stipulating that I have no idea what the theme of the example has to do with China, or the topic of this thread, I’ll respond literally. If you chose the colour of your living room, and you like it, then how can you be ridiculed? It’s a matter of taste. You like it; your neighbour apparently doesn’t. End of story. Time to move on. Would the opinion of your neighbour and your guests convince you that you no longer like that colour? Are you that easily affected, and so sensitive to the opinions of others?

    “Not only that, he claimed he did it on behalf of you, What would be your reaction ?”
    —simple. I like the colour. It’s my house. End of story. Like I said, seriously high time to grow a thicker skin.

    “I just find a new word.”
    —maybe you can at least define said word, so I know what on earth you’re talking about. Then again, maybe you shouldn’t.

    “Give me data to prove that.”
    —that’s the point. That’s why it’s only an allegation. That’s why there should be a transparent investigation to see if there’s any truth to that allegation. So in fact, you should be supporting the call for such an investigation, rather than deriding those who are trying to find out. Which is one of the many reasons why I don’t understand you folks.

    “How the hell are so many developed countries deep in debt, not mention they have all the advantages of technology and high productivity ?”
    —I have no idea. What does this have to do with the quake?

  59. Wahaha Says:

    Steve,

    That is fine, I am not a native english speaker. when I call someone a scumbag, I mean he is something like @$$hole. That is all,

    Ai weiwei is a scumbag.

    SKC,

    fine, I dont want to explain to psycho.

  60. Steve Says:

    @ Wahaha: I didn’t mark you down, but I don’t blame whoever did. Not to know the meaning of a word is one thing, but to know the meaning and still continue to use it is inexcusable. I know you’re not a native English speaker and that’s why I wanted to let you know, so you wouldn’t be saying something whose meaning you weren’t familiar with.

    There are plenty of other words you can use to get your meaning across. Now that you know but still use it, I’ve lost all respect for you. I’m sure you don’t care at all…

  61. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Wahaha:
    you know what, with the new rules, you’re going to get marked down anyway. So next time, i suggest coming right out and saying it; none of the pussy-footing with the silly symbols. Might be more cathartic for you.

  62. Wahaha Says:

    SKC,

    I really dont care that.

    If a person bought his dream house, his neighbor helped him paint the house, then embarrass him in front of all his guests, and he doesnt mind at all, then I think he is mentally sick. I dont see why I have to waste time explaining anything.

    Steve,

    Let me tell you why I want to talk on internet :

    I think democracy has caused serious damages to US, UK and France, and it is a bad prescription for China. I came here to remind people that democracy is not perfect, point out the flaws to them.

    If I had cared about reputation, if I had come here asking for respect, I wouldnt have come here bashing the unchallengable “democracy” and “freedom”. It is internet, I dont care if I win or lose. I just want to deliver my message, and I think I have succeeded.

    When I use “scumbag”, I mean the meaning used by general public, I think most people know what I mean. Even if the meaning of “scumbag” is what you claimed, I think it fits even better when describing Someone who have absolutely no respect to the hardword effort of millions of people IN HIS COUNTRY, and even shamelessly claimed he did it “on behalf of” people.

    As no doubt you know lot of works, what would you call a person who have no respect of the works by his countrymen ?

  63. Wahaha Says:

    Oh, let me explain “democracy has caused serious damages to US, UK and France.”

    The richness in West was not cuz of the great idea of “Freedom”. Europe built their wealth by exploiting people in other countries like China and Inda; America built their superpower on the misery of Europe and slaves. There was never real freedom in West until late 1960s, it was until then that no1 in West were forced to carry the misery.

    The result ? only 30 years of losing control of oil price, with all the advantages on technology, with all the borrowed money, see what a mess West economy is in ? the power and influence has been seriously damaged.

    Please dont argue with me how democracy has anything to do with that.

  64. raventhorn4000 Says:

    He’s got you there, Steve,

    Afterall, if CCP’s policies were responsible for a famine, there must be a tangible link of current world economic crisis to failed Democratic politicking.

    I wonder how many millions of deaths will be attributed to in the “Black Book of Democracy”.

    :)

  65. barny chan Says:

    Wahaha, the period since the late 60s has seen western (democratic) living standards rise dramatically. I agree that the consumerist bubble has damaged (although not irreparably) western economic foundations, but without that bubble China’s much vaunted “economic miracle” simply wouldn’t have occurred. The economic surge of China was no more than a symptom of overheating western consumerism.

  66. raventhorn4000 Says:

    And previous decline of China was merely a symptom of militant Western Imperialism.

    And Militant Western Imperialism was merely the symptom of China giving gun powder to the world.

    And China giving gun powder to the world was merely a symptom of Chinese Dynastic rule.

    *So really, when we trace it all back, China was really responsible for its current “miracle”.

    :)

  67. barny chan Says:

    r4000, that’s actually the most intelligent post I’ve ever seen from you. We’re all in this together…

  68. raventhorn4000 Says:

    BC,

    No no no, I just want to be the beneficial symptom of someone else’s disease.

    God knows my ancestors never got paid for the IP on gunpowder.

    :)

  69. raventhorn4000 Says:

    Of course,

    Once I and my children all grow rich and fat from someone else’s problems, I can hire my own networks of “free media” to make me feel good about myself while reading the death tolls of someone else’s “bad policies”.

    and then I can also change WTO rules to fit my comfortable realm of fair trade, while imposing restrictions on other people, as the price of trading with me.

    *
    Hey, Love “free trade”.

    If I do it better than 10 other guys, why should it bother me when I get paid more while the other guys are out of their jobs?

    *
    If China was going bankrupt from all this trade in the last 20 years, Western Media would be doing the “I told you so, Communism doesn’t work” media circus.

    *
    On that thought, CCP should start investing money into at least 2 dozen new “NEWS agencies”.

  70. barny chan Says:

    …normal service resumed.

  71. Wukailong Says:

    @Wahaha: “There was never real freedom in West until late 1960s, it was until then that no1 in West were forced to carry the misery.”

    I suppose you’re talking about the US and the civil rights movement here. Fair enough, but other countries in “the West” (if it includes Europe) have very different histories. Also, I have to say that the largest impediment to understanding economic development is assuming that all the developed countries reached their current levels by exploitation. In that case, what other countries are China and India exploiting now to get their wealth? (Hint: mostly, it’s the local workers that are exploited, 古今中外)

    As for the evils of democracy, I have understood your viewpoint, but I have to say that it would be better if you argued in a more level tone. Others can do it. I don’t always want to compare, but Allen (for example, there are others) can argue for similar ideas in a level tone. It might help you get your points across better.

  72. barny chan Says:

    Regarding the concept of “the West”, it really isn’t as homogenous as people like to claim. In a number of fundamental ways there are more similarities between the USA and China than between the USA and Europe: the highly developed sense of patriotism; the mistrust of social welfarism; the hostility to social liberalism. This is why the average American views France with way more revulsion than it does China.

  73. Wahaha Says:

    WKL,

    i believe that ordinary westerners (not politicians) judges things by “right” vs “wrong” (often morally), Chinese judge by results or possible outcome. In realty, doing right things often cause more misery.

    I am not a theorist, and I wrote the worst english or one of the worst english on this board. I know that. Most of my arguments are based on the facts in democratic and developing countries.

    I said before democracy is built on wealth. We have seen how that is true in poor or developing countries. In west society (or developed countries), people will have trouble to understand that, as governments have money or can afford borrowing money. I know I wont be able to convince people from West, But if you try to think of a way to solve LARGE SCALE problems WITHOUT BORROWING MONEY, you will see that there is no difference between developed democratic countries and developing democratic countries.

    Of course, maybe I m wrong, so let us see how West will solve this crisis. If west succeeds, there will be hope for western democracy in China, otherwise, CCP will control China for another 60 years.

  74. Wahaha Says:

    Also,

    In 1950s, British overthrew popular government in Iran.

    In 1968, French government sent in troops to oppress students protest, which is unthinkable in current days.

    So I dont think Europe had real freedom until 1970.

    _________________________________________________

    BC,

    Oil crisis happened in 1973, for 8 to 9 years, West found no way to tackle the problem.

    It was until 1982, West started borrowing money, huge amount of money, PLUS, technology breakthrough (personal computer) that greatly inhanced the productivity; then another huge breakthrough, internet, the two new technology completely changed way we work. the productivity was multipled again and again. It is not cuz of POLITICAL FREEDOM.

  75. Wahaha Says:

    WKL,

    British overthrew popular govenrment in Iran in 1950s, French government sent troops to students protest in 1968, which is unthinkable now.

    So I dont think Europe had real freedom then.

    ______________________________

    BC,

    Oil crisis—- 8 years no solutions.

    Technology breakthrough — personal computer and Internet greatly enhanced productivity.

    Political freedom was not the reaon, political freedom is the reason why so many cities and states in US and Europe are deep in debt. The political freedom has gave the rich too much poor, which the reason for the current crisis.

  76. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Wahaha:
    “I just want to deliver my message, and I think I have succeeded. ”
    — you have indeed. Though the message that’s been received may not be the same as what you thought you had delivered.

    “If a person bought his dream house, his neighbor helped him paint the house, then embarrass him in front of all his guests, and he doesnt mind at all, then I think he is mentally sick.”
    —you are entitled to think whatever you want. To me, a guy whose love for his dream house can be so easily affected would be mentally weak.

    “I came here to remind people that democracy is not perfect, point out the flaws to them.”
    —fair enough.

  77. huaren Says:

    barny chan #72

    “Regarding the concept of “the West”, it really isn’t as homogenous as people like to claim.”

    It is used on both sides to further their arguments when convenient. Just earlier today, I heard on an NPR report on Obama, and I distinctly remember him saying something like, “We the West . . . . “.

    Some people even group Japan and Singapore in “the West.”

    Likewise, “the Asians” are extremely united when need be, but just as different among themselves as “the West” can be!

  78. barny chan Says:

    huaren, Americans have an ugly and persistant tendency to believe they represent the “West” in its entirety.

  79. huaren Says:

    lol, Yes, we are the leader of the West. :)

  80. Wahaha Says:

    SKC,

    Talking about mentally sick ( or you mean weak ?), Let me remind you one thing :

    30 years ago, no west politicians gave a damn about human right problem in China. Why do all of them care now ? what have changed in last 30 years ?

    admin :

    Where is my reply to BC ?

  81. Wahaha Says:

    “— you have indeed. Though the message that’s been received may not be the same as what you thought you had delivered ”

    SKC,

    Let us wait and see how West will solve the current financial crisis IN NEXT 10 YEARS (not just 1 or 2 years). That message will 1 billion times more powerful than anything you or I said.

  82. S.K. Cheung Says:

    “what have changed in last 30 years ?”
    —I dunno, maybe that there’s no more Cold War and Soviets to worry about. Or that China is on the radar a lot more because of economic ties.

    “That message will 1 billion times more powerful than anything you or I said.”
    —once again, fair enough.

  83. barny chan Says:

    Wahaha, I’m going to let you in to a little secret: western politicians don’t care and never have cared about human rights violations in China, Iraq, Guantanamo, or anywhere else. Occasionally, somebody like Hilary Clinton will raise a mild criticism of China but always accompanied with an approving nod and a wink. The only thing that they care about is that exploited developing world workers keep on glueing and screwing Nike trainers and iPods together ensuring obscene profits for western corporations. The westerners who do care about human rights in China are the very same marginalised people who criticise America’s imperialist adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they have absolutely no influence over western politics.

  84. Chan Says:

    Hi all,

    Please note that “follow-on (2)” is now posted.

    ( By the way, since a few here are talking about “Democracy”, I will be posting here an article on that topic tomorrow )

  85. http://www.xfire.com/blog/kaceyroja/4545878/ Says:

    Excellent website. A lot of helpful info here.

    I’m sending it to some pals ans also sharing in delicious. And obviously, thank you in your effort!

Trackbacks

  1. Follow-On Article (1) (for the Sichuan Quake article) | Fool's Mountain: Blogging for China
  2. Follow-On Article (2) (for the Sichuan Quake article) | Fool's Mountain: Blogging for China
  3. Follow-On Article (1) (for the Sichuan Quake article) « Info Kerajaan
  4. Follow-On Article (2) (for the Sichuan Quake article) « Info Kerajaan

Leave a Reply

Powered by sweetCaptcha