Jul 25

WSJ: to Indian “kids”: Can Economic Sanctions Drive Democratic Change in China?

Written by dewang on Saturday, July 25th, 2009 at 4:14 am
Filed under:-mini-posts, politics |
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I am sorry to say, WSJ has really gone to the extreme.  On their “China” section, they have an article titled, “Can Economic Sanctions Drive Democratic Change in China?

URL to “China” section on WSJ.com: http://online.wsj.com/public/page/news-china.html

URL to article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124772040277049653.html

This is a “debate” by two Indian college students on the question posed by the title.

1. What do you think of the debate?

2. What do you think WSJ is trying to accomplish?

Guys, please stay away from making disparaging remarks or unsubstantiated comments about India.

I’d highly encourage you to read the comments posted by WSJ readers there.

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28 Responses to “WSJ: to Indian “kids”: Can Economic Sanctions Drive Democratic Change in China?”

  1. JXie Says:

    To me WSJ is hands down the best newspaper in the US, and it’s not even close.

    1. The debate, if you can call that, is laughably childish. The debaters simply don’t possess the necessary knowledge and experience to handle a topic that is way out of their league. The first question they ought to ask themselves is, who is “we”?

    2. The piece isn’t included in the print edition as far as I can tell. Typically the online version is a bit faster and a bit looser given the nature of online media in general (goals: more eyeballs, clicks, impressions). It seems to me an original forum piece (you know the quality of those) that got promoted by a bureau chief. By itself it doesn’t indicate the journalistic standard of WSJ.

  2. raventhorn4000 Says:

    WSJ must be cutting budget, and running out of money to pay real analysts and debaters.

    It does sound like a forum piece.

    Or it should be in the “Letters to the editor” section.

    I rarely read those, because they are often emotional and hyperstretching the arguments.

  3. Allen Says:

    Is there another Chinese or American dude who would like to join me on a debate on whether Economic Sanctions can Drive Democratic Change in Ghana (pick another country if you like)? You take one side. I’ll take the other (doesn’t matter which). Let’s try to drive up traffic to Foolsmountain! 😀

  4. Steve Says:

    Allen, I LOVE Ghana! Pick your side… should be fun.

  5. Allen Says:

    OK Steve, you got it. But first I got to go to Amazon and buy some books on Ghana, since I don’t know too much about it.

    Obama might be reading this thread, and I don’t want to risk him saying that I don’t possess the necessary knowledge and experience to handle a topic that is way out of my league!

  6. Steve Says:

    @ Allen: All you need to know is that they have great food and music over there. Who cares about politics? 😉

    Ghana is probably the strongest democracy in Africa right now, though they didn’t used to be. They are one of the few countries that has had a peaceful transfer of power from one party to another. That’s the main reason Obama picked Ghana over countries such as Nigeria, Kenya or South Africa.

  7. Wukailong Says:

    I stopped reading after this paragraph:

    “China is an authoritarian regime which violently suppresses any and all forms of political dissent. It affords virtually no rights to its citizens, working conditions are considered slave-like in nature and peaceful demands for rights such as the right to religion, movement and the freedom of association or expression result in disappearances, detentions and harassment. The use of torture is widespread and accepted by the Chinese state.”

    I just don’t know where to start with this, so I’ll just let it be…

    @Allen and Steve: Let’s have a debate whether economic sanctions can drive democratic change in North Korea! 😀

  8. Steve Says:

    @ Wukailong #7: I take the “no” side. I win!! 😛

  9. huaren Says:

    Hi JXie, #1,

    I agree with all you said. Yeah, for me, WSJ and NPR are my main U.S. media sources. I am scratching my head – is this an instinct within WSJ to be trashy too at the same time and try to kill over the likes of TIME?

  10. huaren Says:


    I like Allen’s idea. Okay, I think North Korea is more interesting. In general, my gut feeling tells me the whole world is ignorant of them.

    Since JXie, raventhorn, Allen, Steve, and Wukailong have commented so far, I propose the following:

    Can Economic Sanctions Drive Democratic Change in North Korea?

    Yes: (team JXie, raventhorn, Allen)
    No: (team Steve, Wukailong, huaren)

  11. Steve Says:

    @ Huaren: Hey, now Allen doesn’t have to buy all those books from Amazon about Ghana. 😉

    Only problem is, we can’t drive up traffic to FM since almost no one in NK has internet access. And I was hoping to really bring in those Ghanan web surfers!

    I’m fine with the debate. Allen, should we start a new thread for it? huaren, it’s your post so what do you think? We can keep it on this one since it IS about economic sanctions. To be honest, my thoughts were like Wukailong’s when I started reading the stereotypical trash from the first guy, though the second guy was more reasonable as compared to the first guy but neither had much to say so neither did I.

    Since the WSJ was bought out by Murdoch, I worry that it’ll slowly but surely go downhill. It’s still a great paper but little cracks are beginning to appear such as this article. I doubt they can get to the level of TIME which I think is beyond saving. But of course, the best and most objective online news source is The Onion!

    Wukailong & huaren, since we’ll be on the same team, here’s an example of my debating style.

  12. huaren Says:

    Hi Steve, #11,

    Hey, let’s start a new thread. You can go ahead or Allen. I thought about it a bit – that debate in this thread will confuse people.

    Well, I am really hoping we get some South Korean friends to join us. Perhaps once the debate has started a bit, we can try to get the word out. It’d be really interesting to get Japanese friends here as well.

    Haha – the SNL skit is brutal!

    I’ll have to check out The Onion.

  13. real name Says:

    “Economic Sanctions can Drive Democratic Change in Ghana (pick another country if you like)?”
    “Ghana is probably the strongest democracy in Africa right now”
    hm, such Congo is probably not the best choice too
    but they should have parliament building made by china

  14. raventhorn4000 Says:

    I want to be on the NO team on the North Korean debate.

    That country is pretty screwed up. They are stuck in a state of permanent Cultural Revolution, (or the giant military industrial complex.)

    I don’t think anyone knows how to pull North Korea out of its current mess, without significant casualties of innocent lives.

  15. JXie Says:

    If you want eye balls, clicks, impressions, and unique visitors, the topic I recommend is,

    “Does democracy make India fall behind China?”

  16. huaren Says:

    Hi raventhorn4000,

    Ok. You and I swap. I was getting worried with two lawyers on the same side.

    Hi JXie,

    Good idea. How about we do “Does democracy make India fall behind China?” later – or time it with some big Indian news/event.

    Hi FM readers,

    Please feel free to chime in – no one is excluded. A debate can’t happen without people taking sides first, so we have created two arbitrary sides.

  17. Steve Says:

    @ huaren and JXie: A debate including India is a good idea, but I think the phrasing of the question is too open ended. Using “fall behind” has to relate to a specific. Fall behind what? I’m assuming you are talking about economic issues but there is far more involved in economic issues than just the type of government structure. The topic can also involve cultural, military, infrastructure and even personal freedom issues. Phrased that way, it’s one debate I’ll avoid since it’d only become a spitting contest between the two sides.

  18. huaren Says:

    Hi All,

    Thankfully, WSJ has taken down this “debate” from the “China” section. On the “India” page, it has been pushed out by newer content.

    I was actually pretty encouraged by the fact that most WSJ readers chastized how silly the debators views are:

    14 hours ago (July 27, 2009, 11:15PM PST)
    Madhav Sharma wrote:

    Mr Raghubir – you need to be educated well on China, this is one of the most ababnoxiusly wriiten article I have ever read – I think you should go back to school and relearn how to do your reserach well before you start making judgement on other countries and writing so bdaly, I am quite disappointed reading reading such an idiotic article in WSJ.

    My favorite comment comes from a reader, Andrew Laub:

    4 days ago (July 27, 2009, 11:15PM PST)
    Andrew Laub wrote:

    Economic sanctions cannot and will not drive democratic change in China. Period. The PRC will not allow itself to be compelled towards dramatic changes in its political structure by such measures…regardless of whether they are explicit in their intent, or part of a hidden agenda. Not only would sanctions hurt the people, they would further polarize a multilateral trade landscape which is already politically overcharged, and damage both the credibility of transnational organizations and the ability of those organizations to enforce international trade rules and obligations. Overall, economic sanctions would create more harm than good. What nation has political capital to waste on economic sanctions aimed at magically transforming China into a democracy? The United States, for one, does not.

  19. Steve Says:

    @ Huaren: Hey, can I recruit Andrew Laub for our “NO” team? 😉

  20. Wukailong Says:

    Are we still debating North Korea? India seems like a big can of worms to me. 🙂

    Btw, the day before yesterday I actually realized there is a yes argument to the question whether economic sanctions could help democratic development in NK. Of course I won’t divulge this sensitive information, or our group might lose the debate! 😉

  21. miragecity Says:

    What’s the purpose of WSJ to publish such an article? Just another piece to provoke nationalism from both countries and get them hate each other more. Won’t do any good to either side. 鹬蚌相争渔翁得利。If one day China and India goes to war, it’s long planned, by third party.

  22. Allen Says:

    New topic: can carbon tax lead to breakthroughs in cold fusion?


    That’s the point. I want an irrelevant debate on topics in which I am hopelessly clueless about.

    P.S. OK no jokes about me being clueless about China now…

  23. Steve Says:

    Allen, this morning I created cold fusion in my bathtub using the grant I received from our carbon tax. Google now pays me handsomely to power all their servers nationwide. I’d say that’s a good investment.

  24. kui Says:

    Can not agree more, miragecity.

  25. Shane9219 Says:

    I am not surprised to read this sort of sentiment from India’s elitists. After all, Indian elitists seem to get stuck with a circular and blind mindset similar to the one of “Ah Q” penned by well-known Chinese writer Lu Hsun.

    In the article below, “Is China Leading a Global Recovery?”, by Business Week


    CEO of Freeport, RICHARD ADKERSON, was asked by CNBC host, he got a very simple answer

    Q: “What will be the driving force in a global recovery?”

    A: “It’s China”

    JOSEPH MEUSE of BELMONT PARTNERS got more interesting answer on his questions about China.

    “I’m telling you they’re already past the recession. That economy is humming. I see at least 9% GDP growth.”

    Q: Are the Chinese amazed that we’re still stuck in recession?
    A: That’s right. They’re holding all the cards and will continue to do so. There is a feeling here that China is still stuck in some kind of Third World mentality. It’s not. It’s a superpower.

    Then, you can hear typical comments from unsatisfied Indian elitists like this one called “Listen up”

    “India gave the world “ZERO” India right now has the most gold in the world. India has the most scientist and engineers. India just built a nuclear submarine. The West want to humiliate India with all its obsession with poverty. Every country has poverty. India growth is real because its a democracy and very tranparent where as China numebrs a cooked up by the Communist gov’t to trick the population and the world. My friend has been to Shaghai and says its overarrated and the pictures you see of skyscrapper and higways are not reality. Sorry you can’t fool us. China is begging to do business with India. India is banning products from Chian because it is inferior and now China is begging to sell her products to India”

    Naive and laughable! You wonder when Indian elitists can finally grow up.

    One reader’s comment seems to get the situation in good perspective:

    “Great news
    Jul 31, 2009 8:58 PM GMT
    Go China! They do so many things so well yet are rarely given the credit they deserve, like the Olympics. It’s clear that they are now pulling Australia, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Germany and eventually, the US out of this recession. Finally we have some business people who are acknowledging their superpower status.”

  26. Wukailong Says:

    @Shane9219: Somehow that Indian sentiment reminds me of another country, especially the lines “The West want to humiliate India with all its obsession with poverty. Every country has poverty.”

    When I saw these people discussing, my first thought wasn’t “Indian elitists.” You can find similar discourse in the West which is mostly from people who don’t really know much about China. I don’t see elitism in the article this thread was discussing, I only see ignorance.

  27. http://www.davidevans.com.au/clearance.aspx Says:

    Rich Chinese tourists consumption, very assertive, represent a “cash culture”


  1. Can Economic Sanctions Drive Democratic Change in North Korea? | Fool's Mountain: Blogging for China

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