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Aug 27

In Glorious China We Trust?

Written by Allen on Thursday, August 27th, 2009 at 1:19 am
Filed under:-mini-posts, Analysis, General, politics | Tags:,
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We’ve had many discussions here on Chinese Nationalism. Last year, Chinese nationalism was stoked in the aftermath of the West’s response to the riots in Tibet and in the lead up to the Olympics. Many in the West chided China on a host of issues – from domestic human rights abuses to China’s policies in Africa. Many viewed with wary eyes the rise of Chinese nationalism, with some depicting Chinese nationalism as a force for instability in the world – some going as fars as comparing Chinese Nationalism to Hitler’s Naziism. Many painted the notion of Chinese Exceptionism (the vague idea that China occupies a special place in history and has a special role to play in the world) in dark, ominous terms.

My personal belief is of course very different. I believe Chinese nationalism is a force for good – not evil. I believe that the best chance for China to realize her utmost potential – a world in which every citizen, regardless of class, ethnicity, or religion, is liberated from poverty and ignorance, where all individual are empowered to lead meaningful and purposeful lives as members of a peaceful and prosperous society – is by uniting behind a strong nation.

My point here is not necessarily to argue one side or the other in this debate, but to point out that there is a healthy discussion within China on what it means to be nationalistic within China. What does China wants to be as it “grows up”? How will China view its rising strength and status?  What additional burdens and responsibilities – both domestically as well as abroad – should China take on as it becomes more developed? What role does China want to play in International Affairs as it becomes stronger?

Here is one voice (albeit still incomplete) in that discussion – translated courtesy of China News Wrap:

People’s Daily: “China cannot long for the revival of past imperial glory”

The People’s Daily website has a headline opinion piece warning against the perils of aspiring to restore China’s prior imperial glory in the future.

The opinion piece was originally published by “Global Times (”环球时报”).

“The current financial crisis has triggered heated discussion about how the global power structure will be reconstituted. Will the world political strucuture be reformulated? Will power shift from the old colonial nations to newly-emerging powers? Will rapidly-ascending nations like China regain immense influence over the world? All of these questions have triggered a new wave of ethnic nationalism, with hopes that China will find atonement for the century of shame, and that the dream of a thousand years will be realized. This is a longing for empire – the hope that China will again become the centre of the world, and that past imperial glory will be restored. The problem, however, lies in the fact that longing for China’s traditional imperium is accompanied by the ideological model of the power politics of Western international relations theory.”

“Interpreted from the perspective of realpolitik, the development of emerging countries is necessarily in conflict with the current system, triggering a shift and exchange in power, thus bringing an end to great nation politics. Seen from the perspective of international political cooperation, however, the development of emerging countries not only means a change and transfer in power relations, but also means that the international community will to a significant extent change the previous disparity between the North and the South, and make internatioal development more balanced, thus creating an overall development model which is of even greater benefit to the international community, causing the current order to become even more rational, without any replacement in relationships.”

“Additionally, humanity has entered the nuclear age, and attitudes towards warfare, and the concept of warfare in which there are clear victors and losers, has changed. There are no longer winners and losers in warfare, but only loss and destruction on both sides. The concept of pacificism is becoming more and more widespread amongst humanity. This is one of the reasons for overall stability in great nation politics following the two world wars of the 20th century. Additionally, it is now very unlikely that warfare will lead to major shifts or transfers in power.”

“For this reason, new perspectives are needed to deal with changes in the international community. Firstly, the relative nature of power is becoming more and more obvioius. For example, since the conclusion of the Cold War, the overall power of the United States has not declined, but the U.S. has encountered an increase in opposition towards it, and has had no choice but to deal with challenges from all sides. The U.S. uses its advantageous position to deal with these problems, but this leads to a dispersal of its power, and thus a relative weakening. In definite terms, the U.S. has not declined, but the power of other global forces has strengthened. The U.S. has not failed to develop, but the pace at which other countries are ascending is increasing.”

“Secondly, the international system is more stable than it was in the past, and the effect of changes in individual countries upon the international system has diminished. The ability of an individual country to change the international order has declined. Regardless of whether it’s the decline of the U.S. or the ascent of China, their significance is not comparable to similar events in the past. The United States accounted for 27% of global GDP in 1978 and 26.7% in 2008, a fall of only 0.3%. However, its ability to influence the world has declined considerably, Factors which serve to stabilize the international order cannot be overlooked. For example, the contraints of the system itself, the objective constraint of the nuclear balance of terror, the spread of Western social values, as well as the expansion of the internet, all exceed and constrain the spill-over effects of the rise or decline of a single nation.”

“Thirdly, a situation of complete balance and equality cannot bring about genuine stability. For example, the nuclear arms race brought a military balance, but this balance was never a stable one. Because of the profound effects of power politics, people always wish to use force as a means of constraining others, or employ a balance of power as a means of preserving stability. In reality, however, imbalances are not always without benefit, and although balances are sometimes of benefit to stability, they do not always bring benefit to development. In the future, global imbalance will not necessarily be a bad thing.”

“For this reason, we should not consider national ascendance to be a cause of excess elation, and cannot consider the decline of other nations to be the price for ensuring our own rise. In today’s world, there are perhaps some people who in theory accept the concept of a ‘common fate’, but in actuality attempt to flee from this idea. In truth, however, the fact remains that ‘when one wins, we all win, when one is harmed, we are all harmed’ is the reality that humanity confronts, as well as the reality that nations themselves confront.”

“Following the increase in the number of challenges which confront all of humanity, the limitations of individual nation-states are even more apparent. Solely relying upon cooperation between countries will also make it difficult to deal with these problems. Instead, greater emphasis should be placed upon the use of higher-level international organizations. Looking at human society overall, aside from national cohesiveness, it is global cohesiveness which will decide the future fate of humankind. A major measure for determining future trends and changes will be the cohesiveness of humankind, rather than the cohesiveness of individual nation-states alone. National cohesiveness alone will be far from adequate.”

“In future, China will make an even greater contribution to humanity, and will become a great nation with global influence. Yet it cannot tread upon the path of imperialist development again. In today’s world, China is still very backwards – it is not possible for a country which is in a state of nascent modernization to lead or influence post-industrial nation-states. China is far from being able to exert radical influence. Although China is definitely becoming a nation of global influence, its ability and methods for exerting global influence must also be distinct from the great powers of past history. China must create a new model of the great nation, and must engage in greater investigation into this area. There are some people who suffer from a ‘weak nation complex’, yet who in their bones are unable to abandon the idea of imperial ascendence. Humanity, however, has already entered the 21st century, and in actuality the objectives of development for great nations in the future will not be those of the United States, nor those of the China empire for the past several thousand years. They can only be those of a new model of great nation.”

Title of original news story in Chinese: “中国恢复昔日帝国荣光之思要不得”

Do you think a strong and prosperous China is good or bad for the world? If good – what in your view (ideally) should  a strong and prosperous China look like?


There are currently 1 comments highlighted: 46715.

189 Responses to “In Glorious China We Trust?”

  1. AndyR Says:

    “a world in which every citizen, regardless of class, ethnicity, or religion, is liberated from poverty and ignorance, where all individual are empowered to lead meaningful and purposeful lives as members of a peaceful and prosperous society”

    All well and good, but conspicuously absent is the right to self determination. If I read this right, to you “liberation” of the individual is led and DEFINED by the nation-state, not achieved by an individual according to his or her own wants and needs with the SUPPORT of the state. If that is the case, I strongly disagree with this vision…

    People who put too much faith in government or “the nation” are bound to be disappointed, so this whole idea of a “utopia” coming to fruition through the establishment of a “strong China” is a dangerous fantasy-one that unfortunately has been played out in the past in almost every country to disastrous consequences.

    What I’m seeing in China now is the proto-development of the same type of blind conceit and exceptionalism that plagues all “strong nations” (i.e. the US). There have been a few articles recently like the one above that seek to temper this sentiment with a “you’re mortal” sort of mantra being whispered to counter the sudden (and too early) praise for China’s economic recovery efforts. But to pick one article, and exaggerate it as a “healthy public debate” on nationalism is suspect.

    Further, I don’t understand how anyone in their right mind thinks “nationalism” in any form is a good thing. I guess if it’s your country, and your one of the people cheering on the State it feels pretty good. But these same people who laud Chinese nationalism would be the first to point the “angry” finger at the US when we on one of our nationalist streaks (i.e. post-911).

    The only good thing that could come from Chinese nationalism is if it successfully dislodges the historical conflation of party/state/country in China, with the result that this “nationalist” sentiment is re-directed toward the injustices of the current system, rather than wasted on pissing contests with “the West”.

  2. wuming Says:

    Viewing China from outside, I am continuously awed by its extreme dynamism. The moment we think we started to understand something about China, it already moved onto another phase in its relentless quest. The moment we think we have acquired terms to describe what we saw, they are already obsolete.

    The case and point is Global Times, if you read its English website with any regularity, you will be constantly shocked to find articles that, according to campaigners of all sorts, simply shouldn’t be able to see the light of day in China, let alone be published by a branch of People’s Daily. If you don’t believe me, just try to scan the headlines everyday for a week.

    Only thing that consistently depresses me about China is the lack of blue sky. Without exception those supposedly inspiring events (such as the construction of high speed rail network) all occur under the yellowish gray sky.

  3. Shane9219 Says:

    @AndyR #1

    >> “absent is the right to self determination”

    You may wish to know “the right to self determination” is NOT a fundamental right, but can only be decided under specific circumstance on case-by-case basis, otherwise the world will end up a bunch of small nations probably in thousands.

    The circumstance of Hawaii deserved a self-determination. But in 1959, voters there were NOT given such option. The huge influx of white and Japanese settlers then over-run the place as well as destroyed its original culture.

    “Hawaii plans quiet, sobering 50th anniversary”
    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hPLd8byaf64S5KFOGRnxsdTOBEwQD9A485OG0

    On the other hand, some in the West refuse to recognize the historical fact that Tibet region had been under China’s dynastic control for centuries. Moreover, Tibetan people NOW are prosperous while its original culture are also well preserved. Yet, they went out their way to push for so-called “self-determination” for Tibet.

    What a bunch of hypocrite and ideological animals !

  4. Wukailong Says:

    @Allen: Nice piece. I guess I should add that there were also counter forces in the West positive to the Olympic games and more understanding of China in general. I remember a case of a Swedish journalist very negative to China who changed his mind after about a week’s stay in the capital during the games, and I don’t think he’s an isolated case. Though of course this doesn’t change the general assessment that there was a very negative attitude from the US and Europe in general.

    I believe nationalism, or at least patriotism, can be a force either for good or evil. It’s a bit like self-interest – is it enlightened or destructive? I would say some of the nationalism I see here is definitely not healthy. The same sort of neo-conservatism and militarism some Americans espouse also have their representatives here, notably Wang Xiaodong with his idea of “doing business while holding the sword” (持劍經商).

    My answer to the question is that, yes, a strong and prosperous China is good for the world in many ways. Though as the quoted article states, I hope the model of a great nation will be one different from the US. I can understand China wants to study the US in all kinds of ways, but does it really want to behave in the same way when it comes to military matters?

    @AndyR: I too think there is, on the whole, a healthy debate on nationalism in China. The article above is not the only one, and the recent response to the book “Unhappy China” showed that public opinion now is more complex than back in 1996 when “China can say no” went to the shelves. It might have sold well, but I have yet to find one who takes it seriously and thinks it represents a viable alternative to official policy.

  5. Wukailong Says:

    @wuming: “Only thing that consistently depresses me about China is the lack of blue sky. Without exception those supposedly inspiring events (such as the construction of high speed rail network) all occur under the yellowish gray sky.”

    Not any more! 🙂 The sky is blue quite often in Beijing now, and it’s a change that became more and more obvious in 2008. Even back in 2006, I was worried about how much my life would be shortened by living in the smog and wanted to move back to Europe, but all that has changed. I still think it’s moderately unhealthy from time to time, but there has been a remarkable improvement. Of course the sky is still yellow in large parts of the country.

  6. hzzz Says:

    Western nation’s attitude towards China has always been contradictory. In the turn of the last century when Western nations were dividing up China via sphere of influence, the Western nations mocked Chinese culture as inferior and Chinese people as “loose sand” because they cannot be united towards a common cause. Now that Chinese all over the world are becoming more appreciative of their Chinese heritage as China’s status rises, Western nations now fear that Chinese people are becoming too united.

    Patriotism and nationalism are different sides of the same coin, with the former being more progressive and open to changes. Too many people in West are brainwashed into thinking that the average Chinese people are unhappy with the government and thus are quick to point to “nationalism” when they see Chinese people defend China. Looking at the progress which China has made in a mere two decades, the average standards of living, literacy rates, life expectancy, infant mortality rates, etc. it should not be difficult at all to see why so many Chinese people are both proud of they had accomplished and at the same time resist against Western nation’s suggestions as to what China should be.

    Personally I think the concept of Nationalists vs Patriots is a lot like conservative vs liberals. Nationalists are conservatives who are proud of their country but want to keep the way things are. Liberals are people who are proud of their country but want to change. If most of the people in a nation are seeing progress and approve of the direction the country is heading towards, then of course you will get more Nationalists. When China’s economy sours then you will see tons of Patriots criticizing the government.

  7. Shane9219 Says:

    @hzzz #6

    Excellent points. Two-thumb up!

    The western nation’s attitude towards China is partially due to their stereotypes, and partially due to their arrogance.

  8. barny chan Says:

    hzzz: “Now that Chinese all over the world are becoming more appreciative of their Chinese heritage as China’s status rises, Western nations now fear that Chinese people are becoming too united…”

    How are you defining “Chinese all over the world”? What’s the key to being Chinese? Race or culture? Or a combination of the two?

  9. Allen Says:

    @Wukailong #4,

    You wrote:

    I believe nationalism, or at least patriotism, can be a force either for good or evil. It’s a bit like self-interest – is it enlightened or destructive?

    Yes – that’s an interesting point. The reason I argue that nationalism can be a force for good is akin to the concept of divided we fall, united we stand. We know individual people’s standard of life is greatly correlated with what country you live in. If you live in a poor country, the odds are that you are going to have a poor quality of life. If you live in a strong country, the odds are that you are going to have a much more decent quality of life. Since people’s living conditions are so well correlated with the state of the nation they live, I vouch for ideologies that make the country strong.

    Perhaps my thinking is too simplistic. But it under girth my belief that nationalism – properly channeled for nation building – can be a force for good.

  10. Allen Says:

    @hzzz #6,

    You wrote:

    Looking at the progress which China has made in a mere two decades, the average standards of living, literacy rates, life expectancy, infant mortality rates, etc. it should not be difficult at all to see why so many Chinese people are both proud of they had accomplished and at the same time resist against Western nation’s suggestions as to what China should be.

    I don’t know if I love China only because it is prosperous or would love China less if became were to become less prosperous.

    I think I’ve always loved China, but circumstances do dictate how that’s expressed. When China was poor, we in Taiwan believed it was our duty to fight back and retake the Mainland. That was how we expressed our love for China.

    Of course, now things are different, patriot like me express our love for China differently. Instead of being anti CCP, we cheer on the CCP to do well. I think most Chinese nationalists have a loyalty to a China beyond just the CCP or KMT – but some bigger idea…

  11. FOARP Says:

    The creation of a strong, prosperous, peaceful, and free China is in everyone’s interests. This, however, will not be brought about by a nationalism which is opposed to freedom and antagonistic towards other countries, and which will waste China’s strength in conflict and hamstring prosperity through brainwashing and thought-control.

  12. Michael Says:

    Two things I don’t understand. What is this ‘century of shame’? It sounds like ethnic self pity, a common denominator in nationalistic regimes like Yugoslavia. India had more than two centuries as part of the British Raj but modern Indians don’t feel shame.

    Secondly, what exactly does China stand for? America, for all its faults offered the best and worst aspects of freedom, free enterprise and Hollywood. China has lost touch with its own traditional confucian culture and manners, so what does it offer a developing country like Algeria or Trinidad apart from soft loans and cheap labour to build sports stadiums? America opened its doors to millions of students (including many Chinese), many of whom who returned home with skills and a positive attitude to the US. Will a graduate degree from Wuhan have the same effect on students from Nepal or Norway?

    American at the height of its power assumed that everyone else in the world wanted to be part of the American Dream, whether it was Berlin, Santiago or Saigon. Russia flew the flag for the working man. Chinese nationalism is inward looking and based on self pity/self aggrandisement. How does it exert a greater influence on the non-Chinese of the world, other than “money talks”?

  13. pug_ster Says:

    FOARP Says: The creation of a strong, prosperous, peaceful, and free China is in everyone’s interests. This, however, will not be brought about by a nationalism which is opposed to freedom and antagonistic towards other countries, and which will waste China’s strength in conflict and hamstring prosperity through brainwashing and thought-control.

    What you said is orwellian in nature and doesn’t apply in the real world. If nationalists are opposed to freedom and antagonists in nature then why Western patriots are usually in some foreign country to ‘liberate’ others who don’t want to be liberated? In this article, I think Ron Paul says it best “The major obstacle to a sensible foreign policy is the fiction about what patriotism means. Today patriotism has come to mean blind support for the government and its policies. In earlier times patriotism meant having the willingness and courage to challenge government policies regardless of popular perceptions.” This in turn, has degenerated to a form of nationalism.

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul331.html

    Patriotism should have the ‘lead by example’ mentality and not ‘follow my lead.’ Yet many Western Countries are bad examples of patriotism and China’s respect of sovereignty of foreign countries does not have all the ‘follow my lead’ mentality.

  14. Shane9219 Says:

    @Michael #12

    Sorry for your half-baked argument 🙂 Your moral high horse had long fallen down to the death valley below, I wonder why you still wanted to play the role of Don Quixote.

    From one simple aspect, China stands for tolerance and peaceful co-existence, while US and West stand for dominance and exploitation with blood and war, arrogance and deceit with self-centered narrow interest.

    On one side, China nowadays may exhibit a degree of self-confidence and a brand of patriotism of her own (which root deeply in her culture and history). But people can not discount that there is always a warm, calm and rational thinking with long view and resolution on the other.

    Your short-slightness is similar to that of George Bush in 2000, when reporters interviewed him about US relation with China. His reply was “nothing”. Yet 8 years later, he had to send his treasure Sec to China, crying aloud for help.

    We can draw fruit of wisdom from our history long before you came up A-B-C.

  15. pug_ster Says:

    Michael,

    The ‘century of shame’ is considered part of history of China. It was when the Qing Dynasty gotten fat, lazy, and greedy and in turn caused such instability within China. Much like the cultural revolution is written off as something negative from China, I think people who learns Chinese history to not repeat the same mistakes as it has in the past.

    Second, China hasn’t lost touch with its Confucian culture as you did not explain why. Many Chinese students go to US for education for their own benefit, and not because US is a great country blah blah blah.

    When you say “American at the height of its power assumed that everyone else in the world wanted to be part of the American Dream,” sounds more like American Nationalism.

  16. Charles Liu Says:

    One man’s patriotism is another man’s nationalism, well said #6.

  17. Raj Says:

    It is somewhat unfortunate that in defending Chinese nationalism/patriotism, someone always seems to need to wag a finger at foreigners. hzzz, I don’t know if you see the irony in that your vague and overly generalised comment helps support the views of people that say Chinese nationalism is unhealthy. Most non-Chinese would want Chinese people to be happy.

    You talked about people fearing Chinese unity. Are you suggesting that citizens of other countries with Han ethnicity will become unified in a way that will affect their loyalty towards their own countries? Or that non-Chinese would believe that might happen? I don’t think that would happen. As for people enjoying having Chinese heritage, they’ve done that for as long as I can remember by continuing to speak Chinese dialects, reading Chinese literature, building/visiting Chinatowns, etc. It’s not a new thing. No one that I’ve met sees such interest in another culture as bad, and most think it’s great as they get to experience something that otherwise would be too far away for them to experience.

    I think that nationalism is rarely good – patriotism can be healthier, though can be taken to extremes too. When people criticise Chinese nationalism, they’re normally focusing on those individuals who, as FOARP suggested, denounce “foreign” concepts of human rights, freedom, etc, express their support for wars of aggression to resolve territorial disputes and the like. Chinese people celebrating good things about their country or wanting to better their society are at the least fine and at most should be supported. Chinese people wanting to deny rights to others because they’re “foreign” or “dangerous” ideas, because the people that would have them must “submit to the majority”, etc is hardly patrotic yet is a common attribute of the most aggressive form of Chinese nationalism.

  18. huaren Says:

    Hi Allen,

    Good article.

    I think the last few decades our world has been lead by the West. A lot of people bash the U.N., but it has been a tremendous organization to help stabilize this planet and for member nations to air their differences and come together to resolve problems.

    A rising China will bring out new ideas into world institutions to better the world. I agree with the opinion piece that the world will be less susceptible to the whims of any one powerful nation.

  19. huaren Says:

    I should also add – after the Cold War, the U.S. had a huge tendency towards unilateralism and tried its best to undermine the U.N.. That was very undemocratic, wasn’t it?

    So, for all hoping for a strong China, I hope they heed the call of this opinion piece:

    “China must create a new model of the great nation, and must engage in greater investigation into this area.”

  20. Jason Says:

    @Raj: When people criticise Chinese nationalism, they’re normally focusing on those individuals who, as FOARP suggested, denounce “foreign” concepts of human rights, freedom, etc, express their support for wars of aggression to resolve territorial disputes and the like.

    Do you know why this exists?

    This exists because of NED (National Endowment of Democracy).

    Ron Paul (R-TX) explains The National Endowment for Democracy, by meddling in the elections and internal politics of foreign countries, does more harm to the United States than good. It creates resentment and ill-will toward the United States among millions abroad.

    Ron Paul also asked a great question: “How would Americans feel if the Chinese arrived with millions of dollars to support certain candidates deemed friendly to China?”
    http://www.antiwar.com/paul/paul79.html

    When Dalai Lama and many Tibetan organizations, Friends of Falun Gong, World Uyghur Congress, Hu Jia, Mothers of Tiananamen, many Chinese dissidents return the money that NED gave them and the halt of taxpayer’s money to NED, then will talk about the credibility of these people’s real intentions of making China the best there is.

    This is a violation of NED’s Democracy mantra. I always thought their mantra of human rights and Democracy is pathetic. I thought they believe in capitalism…what’s socialism doing there?

  21. Otto Kerner Says:

    Jason,

    China receives over a billion dollars in aid from the U.S. government each. Should the PRC also return these funds in order to prove its good intentions?

  22. Jason Says:

    @Otto Kerner

    Stop comparing apples and oranges.

    The one you are talking about is economically and I’m talking about political aid from other government.

  23. neutrino Says:

    @AndyR #1

    >> “absent is the right to self determination”

    Is the right of self-determination another form of nationalism?

    I find it simplistic to argue nationalism to be just evil or good. It obviously can be both, as shown by countless examples in history.

    In the case of Chinese nationalism, it has served a vital role in the rejuvenation of the country, culture, or economy wise. In the era of “Washington consensus” being obsolete, the Chinese model (and nationalism is an important part of it) can be duplicated in many other underdeveloped countries. And nationalism, by uniting the people and boosting the confidence of the nation, can be a constructive force. The numerous tribal wars, civil wars going on right now on the African continent are clear examples of how the lack of national identity can mire the nation in wars til eternity. My Indian roommate attribute the sense of “Indian identiy” to be the most significant and positive legacy of the British Empire colonization.

    Without a proper dose of nationalism, it is not inconceivable to see China disintegrate and become trapped in civil wars, resulting millions of deaths, and destablizing the whole world.

    The key, of course, is we only need a “PROPER” dose of nationalism. In the age of internet, such dose becomes increasing correlated to how the rest of the world views China. Ironically, those who view Chinese nationalism in mostly negative light would most likely increase the dose, and if they become the dominant voice, then they might just realize a very unpleasant self-fulfilling prophecy. It would also be true the other way around, the extremist in China, even if they are actually in the minority, might just provide more fuel to the critics since they are more willing to make loud noises.

    So, are we in a dilemma? I guess that’s where Fool’s Mountain comes into play: to provide, hopefully, balanced platform where people engage with each other, not shouting names. 🙂

  24. Otto Kerner Says:

    Jason,

    The current Chinese government’s popular is based largely on the country’s economic success. To provide economic aid is to cause a political effect.

  25. Jason Says:

    @Otto Kerner

    Explain.

  26. FOARP Says:

    Guys, this is typical of Fool’s mountain – I don’t think I said anything out of line or actually that controversial, yet my comment gets treated as though I had personally insulted someone.

    @Pugster –

    “If nationalists are opposed to freedom and antagonists in nature then why Western patriots are usually in some foreign country to ‘liberate’ others who don’t want to be liberated?”

    Non-sequitur at all? It seems you are trying to say that Chinese nationalists are not aggressive because their western counter-parts are? If you look at the evidence, you will see that nationalists and ultra-nationalists of all nationalities are aggressive towards other countries – what you say proves my point, not yours.

    @Shane –

    “China stands for tolerance and peaceful co-existence”

    The evidence for this is totally lacking. If you wish to frame your world view so as to ignore and discount all the good that the west does, and all the bad that China does, then you will arrive at the conclusion that the west is bad and that China is good – but by doing so you will have proved nothing.

    @Charles Liu – Most people are patriotic, few are nationalists. To be a nationalist, you have – in the words of Wang Xiaodong – “to make yourself and your country one and the same”.

    I might also ask whether you would call someone who approvingly posts comments labelling the people who drafted Charter 08 ‘traitors’ and calling for their execution a nationalist?

    Whenever this subject comes up I always return to George Orwell’s essay on the topic. It’s a good one, it describes nationalism as a force which can be adopted by even those outside the country in question, those were neither born nor raised in that country – in fact it is easier for them as they are not confronted day-in day-out with evidence contradicting their slavish devotion to what they see as that country’s cause.

    @Allen –

    “When China was poor, we in Taiwan believed it was our duty to fight back and retake the Mainland.

    Or, rather, the incredibly small minority of us who were naive enough to believe this possible did. With the removal of the KMT dictatorship, empty talk of ‘counter-attacking the mainland’ dissolved like the morning mist. The majority of Taiwanese believe that Taiwan’s armed forces exist to defend the island against communist dictatorship, and they are not wrong.

    @neutrino –

    “that’s where Fool’s Mountain comes into play: to provide, hopefully, balanced platform where people engage with each other, not shouting names.”

    This is why Fool’s Mountain was set up, but I’m afraid that it is no longer capable of doing this. Read down this thread for an example of what it has become.

  27. Otto Kerner Says:

    By providing money to the state authorities in China, the U.S. government enhances their political position.

  28. Jason Says:

    @Otto

    Isn’t China giving US money not the other way around so US can avoid inflation to their stimulus recovery act?

    As far as China exports…China receives less money for cheap products as US manufacturers gets more.

  29. Otto Kerner Says:

    Well, I never said that the relationship isn’t mutually beneficial. My point is that everybody takes money when it’s offered.

  30. pug_ster Says:

    @FOARP,

    Non-sequitur at all? It seems you are trying to say that Chinese nationalists are not aggressive because their western counter-parts are? If you look at the evidence, you will see that nationalists and ultra-nationalists of all nationalities are aggressive towards other countries – what you say proves my point, not yours.

    What evidence?

    The founding fathers of the US says that war should be the last resort. All the wars that China was involved for the past 60 years was border related like Korea, India, Vietnam and such. What kind of wars that the UK and the US are involved in? Don’t tell me that Iraq and Afghanistan are their neighbors.

    I don’t think I said anything out of line or actually that controversial, yet my comment gets treated as though I had personally insulted someone.

    What you said is nonsense from the Western Propaganda playbook. If you are going to make some kind of blanket statement, please back up what you say. And no, I’m not insulted at what you said.

  31. Jason Says:

    I don’t understand your point here. You say two country’s economic relationship is similar to one country’s government at expense of taxpayer’s money given to a NGO or an individual residing in another country who is deemed friendly.

    How so?

  32. qwerty Says:

    “is liberated from poverty and ignorance” to be liberated from ignorance, Chinese will need to learn how to climb the wall… the great fire wall of china of course…

  33. qwerty Says:

    Communist ideology was a way keep china united. now that communist ideology is dead (only remain communist state control), thus Chinese gov use nationalism to try to keep people under control.. under the leadership of the party… thus Chinese gov usually put the hate into Japan, or USA, then sometime to france/netherland or else, and often to the bad people who just want to cut chinese in piece… the people who care about the view of the minorities….

  34. FOARP Says:

    @Pugster – Try again. ‘The evidence’ is your statement that nationalists in the west favour aggression – as far as I can see this is as true for China also.

    Look at statements made by nationalists on this very website – People hoping for the return of Mongolia, advocating military action against Taiwan, proposing the splitting up of India, accusing all human rights activists in China of being western stooges, pushing conspiracy theories, advocating the assassination of the Dalai Lama etc. etc.

  35. pug_ster Says:

    #34 FOARP,

    Look at statements made by nationalists on this very website – People hoping for the return of Mongolia, advocating military action against Taiwan, proposing the splitting up of India, accusing all human rights activists in China of being western stooges, pushing conspiracy theories, advocating the assassination of the Dalai Lama etc. etc.

    You seem think that all those ‘nationalists’ have a one track mind thinking all that stuff, do you? Now somewhere in this blog if you can find most of these ‘nationalists’ quoting up what you said above, maybe I would believe it, otherwise, what you said is just a blatant lie.

  36. Charles Liu Says:

    Foarp @ 34 “accusing all human rights activists in China of being western stooges”

    I only need one example to prove your “all” wrong – not all human rights activists mentioned in FM were accused of being western stooge.

    So what else are you wrong?

  37. Allen Says:

    Hmmm … a lot of people here seem to equate Chinese Nationalism with Anti-Westernism. Are you against China simply because it could be anti-Western at times? Because China has an independent political agenda which may require the West to accommodate sometimes? Or because you truly think that China is a force for destabilization for the world – and that the West is a force for stability and prosperity for the world?

  38. hzzz Says:

    Raj, I am not show how you can write “Most non-Chinese would want Chinese people to be happy.”, and then go on to say that I over-generalize. I happen to believe personally that most non-Chinese care about the Chinese people about as much as they care about those living in the lower ranks of the caste system in India as explored by Slumdog Millionaire, which isn’t much beyond lip service. But that’s beyond the point.

    “When people criticise Chinese nationalism, they’re normally focusing on those individuals who, as FOARP suggested, denounce “foreign” concepts of human rights, freedom, etc, express their support for wars of aggression to resolve territorial disputes and the like. Chinese people celebrating good things about their country or wanting to better their society are at the least fine and at most should be supported.”

    I don’t like the term “nationalist” because I think the term itself is a generalization, and is a label used mostly by the ever patronizing Western media towards mostly Asian nations. For one, I really don’t see how are the Chinese “nationalists” any worse than your average xenophobic, war mongering, ACLU hating conservatives in western nations, or the Zionists in Israel, or the militant Hindus in India who regularly kills Muslims and Christians (Raj should be familiar with this one). Compared with other groups, I would say that the Chinese “nationalists” are far more moderated. So why doesn’t the Western media apply the term “nationalist” to other entities?

    Also, the Chinese “nationalists” are hardly one dimensional, and just because they are hawkish on certain foreign policies does not mean they are not progressive on domestic issues. A perfect example of this was the hacker who hacked the Australian movie awards page last month because he thought the event politicized the Uighur movement. When some British paper (Independent or Guardian?) tracked him down and interviewed him he stated that he was against censorship and was afraid the government would go after him for what he did. Now, I would say most non-Chinese would label this guy as a “nationalist” but is he really anti-progress? Given his thoughts on freedom of speech and censorship he is likely to be a lot more progressive than the average citizen. I also think that most of the internet “nationalists” are in fact for freedom of speech, if not for their views on foreign policy western media would surely label them Patriots. To the Western audience however, Chinese nationalists are reserved specifically for those who are against Tibet/Xinjiang independence. This IMO is pure ignorance.

    And this leads up to my last point: the controversies regarding the Chinese territory. This is one single issue which tend to not only rile the domestic Chinese but also the sizable overseas Chinese community. When I wrote about fear of a unified Chinese people, this is what the Western communities fear the most. During the anti-China protests during the Olympics, the Western media is mystified and angered that so many people of Chinese descent, who are born and educated in the Western worlds free of Chinese propaganda, stand up against the breaking up of China. I am mystified that the Western media is mystified. After all, given Western powers’ history of trying to divide up China not that long ago and the consequences it’s only logical that the Chinese are resistant from especially foreign powers trying to force China to behave in a certain way. I find it ironic that while Western nations pride themselves in the concept of “melting pot”, the Western media thinks that segregation is the best way to go for Chinese minorities and that it would be the best to completely kick out one ethnicity in China in order to preserve another.

    One poster here wrote something about victim mentality, that maybe so for many Chinese people but rightfully so. Jews use the Holocaust whenever the issue of Palestine is brought up and IMO rightfully so as well.

  39. hzzz Says:

    “The creation of a strong, prosperous, peaceful, and free China is in everyone’s interests. This, however, will not be brought about by a nationalism which is opposed to freedom and antagonistic towards other countries, and which will waste China’s strength in conflict and hamstring prosperity through brainwashing and thought-control.”

    Hmm no. The first sentence is make belief ideology aimed to fool the naive. While I do believe in synergies, cooperation between nations and all that there are always conflict of interests. To the Chinese people, to have a strong China means for China to develop its military to defend its borders so its people can be protected. To be prosperous for the Chinese people is to continue manipulating its currencies so to keep up with the exports. To be peaceful at a foreign policy level means to avoid conflicts in national interests, which itself is impossible to avoid sometimes between even the closest allies. Are you sure that is what is best for China is what “everyone” wants? And lastly freedom, that’s funny because as a self-proclaimed Brit economist , do you know what England’s reasons were to justify pushing Opium into China during the 1800s? The Brits argued that Qing Dynasty’s banning of Opium was violating Chinese people’s freedom and that it was hindering China’s economic progress towards capitalism and free trade. After losing the Opium Wars, with Treaty of Nanking China granted England 5 additional trading ports, made England “most favored nation” in trade (England was to have any and all type of favorable treatments granted to any other nation), and made a rule where Chinese authorities do not have the right to arrest any Brits who have committed crimes on Chinese soil (kinda like what the US/Brits are doing in Iraq). In a matter of years the Opium trade doubled and China fell into further decline.

    “This, however, will not be brought about by a nationalism which is opposed to freedom and antagonistic towards other countries, and which will waste China’s strength in conflict and hamstring prosperity through brainwashing and thought-control.”

    If foreign nations’ interests in China conflict with those of Chinese living in China, just why shouldn’t the Chinese stand up for themselves? You don’t even need be brainwashed to conclude that Tibet/Xinjiang independence is bad for the Chinese people because the minute that happens you will have foreign military bases built in these regions with no other reason than to threaten China with an invasion. Although that is exactly what so many people in the west wants, just why should any sane Chinese person agree to that? You can call them Nationalists, right wingers, war mongers, or whatever you want but the reality is that when it comes to China, Chinese people knows a lot more about what’s good for them than non-Chinese know about what they think is good for China.

  40. hzzz Says:

    “Hmmm … a lot of people here seem to equate Chinese Nationalism with Anti-Westernism. ”

    Absolutely true. And the odd thing is that given all of this “anti-westernism”, “anti-japanese”, anti-whatever attitudes which so many Chinese people are accused to be, why is that so many of them also wear westernized cloths, give themselves westernized names, dream of driving foreign cars, listen to foreign music, marrying foreign people, watch foreign dramas/movies, etc. Compared to many countries which are said to be “pro-Western”, Chinese people are actually extremely pro-Western by all means.

    Another observation: Why is it that you always get the non-Chinese, European/American Caucasians types who have lived in the expat bubble in China for a few years who are trying to tell native Chinese people what is the best for them? Can you imaging some Chinese folks come to the US and scream at us Americans about how badly blacks and other minorities are being treated here, and suggest that blacks/muslims should be given their own land and country within the US. Not only that, but they then spend millions of dollars supporting groups like the Black Panthers in order liberate the blacks from the US government. That would not only be completely absurd but also insulting.

  41. FOARP Says:

    @Pugster – People on this blog have said all of these things. This blog is now an assertively Chinese nationalist blog, although it did not start out that way. Since these are the opinions that nationalists hold, how are we to judge them?

    @Charles Liu – Since you have previously approvingly re-posted comments calling for the execution of Liu Xiaobo and describing Charter 08 as a ‘plot to kill the ordinary people of China’, perhaps you might try being a bit more circumspect? Once again, having done this, how do you think it makes you look? How does it make other Chinese nationalists look? Oh, and please spare me any talk of not being a Chinese citizen, citizenship is not a requirement of nationalism.

    @Hzz – Since people who have never even been to the west do this on Chinese websites all the time I do not understand your point.

  42. barny chan Says:

    Fool’s Mountain needs to decide whether it seeks to amount to more than a celebration of Chinese ultra-nationalism.

    If it would like to be more than that, the administrators need to make this a slightly less hostile place to those whose views amount to slightly more than: China good, West bad; it also needs to drop absurdly loaded discussion titles like “Why is Western democracy fundamentally wrong?”. In the real world, many of the harshest critics of the regime in China are also deeply and vocally hostile to the recent aggressive imperialist adventures of the USA and the UK, while some of the biggest admirers of China’s state capitalist explosion are the very same neocons who cheered on the invasion of Iraq. Why not acknowledge this complexity?

  43. Wukailong Says:

    @barny chan: I dislike ultranationalism too (and claims that it doesn’t exist), but to be fair, this blog is a collaborative effort. Nothing stops you and others from publishing your own entries here, or responding when people make absurd claims.

    I tend not to bother too much with the “China good, West bad” crowd, but focus on people with whom I might have a decent discussion. Maybe that’s too conflict-avoiding, but it feels better for me at least. 😉

  44. barny chan Says:

    Wukailong, theoretically, nothing stops me responding to absurd claims on an Aryan Nations forum, but the deluge of simplistic and illogical hostility would make it a grim and pointless task. The response here to any criticism of the CCP is a tsunami of accusations along the lines of “How can you attack China while cheering on the West” when you’ve done no such thing. There are a number of the most prolific posters here whose motivation is to stifle rather than open debate.

  45. Raj Says:

    Allen (37)

    Hmmm … a lot of people here seem to equate Chinese Nationalism with Anti-Westernism. Are you against China simply because it could be anti-Western at times?

    Allen, that’s bad form. You’re accusing people here of being anti-Chinese, the usual tactic of rabid Chinese nationalists, without identifying them so that they can defend themselves.

    Xenophobia is one element of Chinese nationalism, but that’s nothing new for nationalism generally. But why does criticising Chinese nationalism make you “against China”? That seems a very authoritarian attitude – “you’re with me or against me”. I would argue that a fair number of Chinese nationalists are “against China” because their positions are not in the country’s best interests.

  46. Raj Says:

    Wukailong, barny and FOARP are right. This blog is not just pro-China, but highly Chinese nationalist and arguably pro-CCP. I am the token “other view”, and I know this because of an e-mail that was sent to me by accident from another contributor here.

    That doesn’t mean that the blog owner doesn’t want any other views, but that’s how it currently stands. Because of that it makes it harder for people like barny to put their views across. If you look at the nonsense article from wahaha that huaren posted on the front page, it gives you an idea of how skewed things are. I can’t promote letters myself, by the way. The “very pro-China” contributors, if you like, have also introduced similarly-minded people to contribute and become admins.

    So barny is right in many ways. It’s not enough to say “contribute if you like” because a lot of people will be turned off by the prevailing attitude, especially the disruptive commenting from various people that target anyone who doesn’t toe the super-pro-China line and divert/sabotage the conversation. The conduct rules should prohibit that, but the admins don’t really bother to enforce it. Indeed I’ve been criticised for doing so on my own threads.

    If the blog really wants to have a diversity of views, it will seek a number of people who think differently and encourage them to contribute. Otherwise it’s always up to someone like me to swim against the tide in the hope others will be encouraged to join.

    Of course I suggest that FOARP, barny and other people e-mail the admin to volunteer to become regular contributors. If we end up with a balanced “profile” of people who write blog entries then we will have a more interesting range of ideas put forward.

  47. barny chan Says:

    [Comment deleted for including personal slander against Allen]

  48. Raj Says:

    barny, I agree, I’m starting to see FM that way. I hope something changes my view, but I’m not banking on it.

  49. BMY Says:

    Is there any difference between one accuse the other as “anti-China” and the other accuse this one as “ultra nationalist” simply because different views?

  50. hzzz Says:

    “Wukailong, barny and FOARP are right. This blog is not just pro-China, but highly Chinese nationalist and arguably pro-CCP. I am the token “other view”, and I know this because of an e-mail that was sent to me by accident from another contributor here.”

    Sheesh, I guess I am one of the elements making this blog “highly Chinese nationalist and arguably pro-CCP”. Don’t forget that there are alot more of us Chinese (citizens or heritage) out in the world than any other group so don’t let the numbers get you down. Cheer up and realize that this is a good place to argue ideas. If everyone here thinks like I do why would I even bother to post.

  51. oiasunset Says:

    Laughable. FORAP recently on his blog named and accused Peking Duck’s Richard being a “stooge” of the Chinese government.

    Is this how he and his friends really think about “diverse opinion”?

    You liberals never cease to amaze me, truly!

  52. Raj Says:

    BMY

    Is there any difference between one accuse the other as “anti-China” and the other accuse this one as “ultra nationalist” simply because different views?

    You’re missing the point. It isn’t that people hold “bad views”, it’s that the blog is skewed one way. That isn’t rocket-science – I’m suprised you don’t get that.

    hzzz

    Cheer up and realize that this is a good place to argue ideas.

    There are sometimes interesting discussions (arguments should not be the default setting, as they’re more controversial) here, but too often one is bombarded with nonsense “you hate China” or “the NED is sponsoring person x – he is evil” posts. It disrupts the conversation and is very boring.

    On the other hand when people like Allen get critical comments they’re more frequently intelligent and provide something worth replying to. On the other hand you can’t do a lot with “CIA is sponsoring unrest in China – everyone would be happy if stinky foreigners kept their noses out of our business”.

  53. oiasunset Says:

    Raj,

    Anti-China is fine and ultra nationalist is also fine, as long as they are opinions not some fabricated or distorted stories (or if their stories are so obviously absurd to anyone with a brain, that should be fine too)

    But what your friend FORAP did was, right before Peking Duck’s Richard was heading back to the US and in need of a job, posting out Richard’s real name and accusing him a stooge of the Chinese tyranny.

    I myself don’t like Richard’s liberal do-gooder, feel-gooder non-sense and I don’t like him deleting almost all my posts on his blog. But what your friend FORAP did to him was simply disgusting.

    Now it seems that he wants to do the same to Fool’s mountain. Are you with him?

  54. Raj Says:

    oiasunset

    Anti-China is fine and ultra nationalist is also fine, as long as they are opinions not some fabricated or distorted stories.

    See my above message to hzzz. Whether it’s distortion, fabrication or something else, there’s plenty of disruption.

    But what your friend FORAP did was…..
    Now it seems that he wants to do the same to Fool’s mountain. Are you with him?

    Please don’t push a “you’re with him/me or against him/me” position. He is neither my friend nor my enemy.

    right before Peking Duck’s Richard was heading back to the US and in need of a job, posted out Richard’s real name

    Richard’s real name has been in the public domain ever since Mark Anthony Jones published it on the Chinadaily BBS. MAJ also refused to delete those details when asked by richard.

    As for any criticism FOARP makes of richard, really that’s between the two of them. I can’t find the comment in question, but I wouldn’t agree that richard is a stooge of Chinese tyranny.

  55. oiasunset Says:

    Too bad for Richard… he didn’t know there are people like FORAP on earth.

  56. Raj Says:

    oiasunset

    To my knowledge FOARP has never exposed someone’s real identity on the internet when it was previously hidden. MAJ certainly has. So unless you have further information about another incident, you can’t compare the two of them in that respect.

  57. oiasunset Says:

    Oh really? Accusing someone with an exposed identity as a stooge of a foreign government?

    How about someone doing the same to you someday?

  58. oiasunset Says:

    Raj,

    On this matter FORAP is undefendable – you should know that. It is sick, period.

    Out of respect for your intellegence and integrity, I don’t want to keep explaining to you why it is sick.

    Regards,

  59. Raj Says:

    Accusing someone with an exposed identity as a stooge of a foreign government?

    Eh, so what? Richard has been accused of being a lot of things since he’s had a blog. He might not like it, but if that’s the case I doubt being called a “liberal do-gooder, feel-gooder” is something he’d enjoy either.

    If you’re implying FOARP’s comment would affect him in the real world, I can’t see how it would unless he’s travelled to the Soviety Union 60 years ago by accident.

    On this matter FORAP is undefendable – you should know that. It is sick, period.

    I’m not defending him – he shouldn’t have made a comment like that if he did. But I find it amusing that someone like yourself that has shown vitriol towards richard would get on his high-horse about a comment another person made.

  60. oiasunset Says:

    Sigh … are you for real? Or just pretending innocent or naive?

    Amazing.

  61. Raj Says:

    oia, I could ask the same about you. Richard said on a comment on the very thread you complained on that his name was already in the public domain. Yet you still complained here that FOARP had mentioned his real name.

    Also I have now found FOARP’s comment. He asks a question – “are Western journalists working for oppressive regimes ‘stooges’?” At no time does he call richard a stooge. What he does say about richard is:

    However, there are those who seem to genuinely believe that they can make a difference through working for what are little better than government mouthpieces. [Richard], long-time China-blogger and, until recently, foreign editor and columnist for the Chinese state-owned Global Times said in a recent interview that…..

    All he says subsequently that the taint of working for state media can be hard to get rid of. That is a valid argument to make, even if you don’t agree with it.

    So it is highly, highly ironic that in post # 53 you condemn fabrication and distortion, because that’s exactly what you’ve done towards FOARP. It is you who are sick.

  62. Jason Says:

    @Raj

    Uh…the quote your provided PROVES that FOARP is accusing Richard of a ‘stooge.’

  63. Raj Says:

    Jason

    Uh, no it DOESN’T. The only time the word “stooge” appears is in the question at the start of the blog entry – a question that was being asked in the general media.

    How does FOARP accuse richard of being a stooge in that quotation? By saying that he thinks he can make a difference through working for what is little more than a government mouthpiece? That’s hardly accusing him of being a stooge.

  64. Jason Says:

    FOARP used Richard as an example of government mouthpieces AKA ‘stooge’

  65. barny chan Says:

    Regarding the deletion of #47, I’m mighty curious as to why the explanation reads “Comment deleted for including personal slander against Allen”. For a statement to be slanderous it has to be incorrect, and, not only was there no slander in the post, there was nothing whatsoever that contravenes the code of conduct. Ironically, the statement “Comment deleted for including personal slander against Allen” is slanderous in itself.

    Good luck Raj if you intend to continue here, but I’m not wasting another moment of my time engaging people who seek nothing more than racial divide.

  66. Allen Says:

    @barny chan #65,

    Raj is welcomed here because he is civil, courteous, and does not make personal attacks by distorting facts – even if he and I may disagree on almost everything on planet earth besides the vision that the sky should be blue, and forests should be green.

    Best of luck to you where you decide to go…

  67. Otto Kerner Says:

    In general, on the subject of Chinese nationalism and whether a strong, prosperous China will be good for the world as a whole, I think it will be entirely dependent on external circumstances in the world. A prosperous China by itself is good for the world, but it’s natural for a prosperous country to want to be strong and influential, and then the question is what a strong China does with its strength. This will depend largely on the situation it finds itself in. It’s like asking, is a strong and prosperous Germany or Japan good for the world? Right now, I would say, yes. Seventy years ago, not so much. The effects of sentiments of patriotism and nationalism will be largely dependent on the practical expediencies presented to Chinese policy makers, at least as far as foreign policy is concerned.

  68. Otto Kerner Says:

    @hzzz,

    “Why is it that you always get the non-Chinese, European/American Caucasians types who have lived in the expat bubble in China for a few years who are trying to tell native Chinese people what is the best for them?”

    I agree that it’s asinine for foreign observers to try to tell you what’s good for you. When I start talking about Tibet, my goal is to advocate on behalf of Tibetans, not to tell you about your interests.

  69. Otto Kerner Says:

    @hzz #38,

    “When I wrote about fear of a unified Chinese people, this is what the Western communities fear the most. During the anti-China protests during the Olympics, the Western media is mystified and angered that so many people of Chinese descent, who are born and educated in the Western worlds free of Chinese propaganda, stand up against the breaking up of China. I am mystified that the Western media is mystified.”

    If you were talking about Chinese people in China being nationalistic and united, then I would agree with you. Anyone who is surprised by that is just being silly. But here you’re specifically talking about people of Chinese descent in Western countries. I would indeed be surprised if most Chinese Americans care that much about Chinese nationalism. It even seems a bit offensive to suggest it. Moreover, if by “unified Chinese people” you mean to include people of Chinese descent outside of China, then it seems very natural and reasonable for Western communities to be uncomfortable with that.

  70. FOARP Says:

    @oiasunset – Absolutely pathetic. I said nothing of the kind about Richard, and the fact that this thread has become a discussion centred on a weird distortion of something I wrote last month rather than, I don’t know, anything to do with the original post, just shows how this blog is being annihilated by conspiracy theorists and thread-jackers.

    Speaking of scary nationalists peddling conspiracy theories:

    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/08/this-is-on-national-television.html

  71. shane9219 Says:

    @FOARP

    >>> “China stands for tolerance and peaceful co-existence”

    >> The evidence for this is totally lacking.

    I couldn’t image how you made up such blinding statement. Everything China did in the past 30-year is a living proof of the true meaning of being an independent sovereign and peaceful large nation.

    On the contrariy, you may count how may fereign invasions US got involved. How many times India engaged armed conflicts with Pakistan.

    >> If you wish to frame your world view so as to ignore and discount all the good that the west does, and all the bad that China does, then you will arrive at the conclusion that the west is bad and that China is good – but by doing so you will have proved nothing.

    For a few China haters here, you guys have long overshot your own ignorance. You have conciencly reached your conclusion long ago that everything China is evil. There is really no need to prove anything to you anyway, since it is your day job to throw dirty at China.

    However, you are now facing your own worst nightmare since China is getting stronger and more prosperous everyday.

  72. BMY Says:

    @Raj #52

    My #49 was just trying to remind people not to name calling each other when this thread was heading to right then.

  73. Wukailong Says:

    @Raj (#46): Honestly, I really don’t like the way this thread has turned out and it seems it’s impossible to discuss Chinese nationalism/patriotism in a civil way unless everyone is like-minded or willing to listen to the views of others. The reason I’m not giving up yet is that:

    * I’ve been able to have good discussions with many of the “rabid” nationalists here, including Wahaha
    * Discussions aren’t necessarily just to exchange criticism, but also to build trust and have others understand your viewpoint, at least to a point

    Actually, there are two things here: the posts and the comments. If posting is indeed skewed I do think it’s possible to change it by having more people of your own kind contribute. Comments are a different thing. There was a time, quite recently, when a certain somebody really did litter the comment section with cynical nonsense that was always of the same “tu quoque” type. Luckily, he’s gone now.

    I really don’t think there is any better way to change things than to persevere if you’re in for something where you believe the odds are heavily tilted against you. If you stop commenting because others are not serious, or all arguments end in the same way, then that’s too bad. I’d rather see that you publish more articles/letters here, like the one you did on democracy (I really liked that).

    One thing we shouldn’t forget is that most people here, even though they don’t agree with you, are not trolls. That means that they seriously believe in their arguments, including things like pointing fingers at the US, seeing the West as united against China etc. If you think those arguments are wrong, then argue against their fundaments.

    Admittedly, I sometimes get tired too. There are times when the nationalist winds are blowing heavily, though I don’t think this is one of the worst periods.

  74. pug_ster Says:

    @Raj, FOARP, Barny Chan

    I think the thing you have to understand is that there are people out there who don’t believe what you believe and trying to convince them is just like bashing your head into the wall. Calling other people ‘brainwashed’ and ‘trolls’ is just childish. Just remember that people have different beliefs than you so maybe you will rest easier by not throwing a tantrum.

    Regurgitating propaganda from the Western Media won’t fly here. We don’t throw around Chinese propaganda slogans and we appreciate if you do the same.

  75. miaka9383 Says:

    @Pug_ster
    I think you are being a little bit unfair. Forgive me, but I can’t help but to chime in. Specifically YOU don’t throw around Chinese propaganda slogans here, but there are plenty of others that come on this site that does. Also it is fair to say both Western Media and Chinese media spews their own forms of propaganda and the truth is in between.
    The impression that I am getting more and more from FM is that people who does not agree with Chinese policies and argue against it are out to set Chinese Government up for failure. More and More I see this evil West vs Good China argument or even vice versa. This is what this thread has degenerated into. Frankly, it is sad that bunch of intelligent adults cannot carry on a civilize political discussion on both sides.
    ——————————————————————————————————————————————-
    Back to topic…
    Here is a question for all of you…
    Don’t you think it is possible to be patriotic but not overly nationalistic all at the same time? I think so, but I believe it needs to be created with proper education.
    On the internet, Chinese Netizens appear to be overly nationalistic, only because they don’t know how to accept other opinions that is different from theirs. They were taught to think in black and white and never taught how to think from a different point of view. Creating a nation full of people like that can be dangerous. A good example is WWII Japan, full of overly nationalistic young Japanese believed in their government and believed that they could be a world power. A famous Japanese Author Saburo Ienaga wrote many books that warned against these types of nationalism. A blind faith in your government and believe that the version of Japanese history created by post wwii Japanese government is correct and denying any wrongful act from the Japanese part is not the correct way to go. (now I am getting this from reading the Pacific War)Believe it or not, Saburo Ienaga’s books were banned. Same thing happened with post 9/11 United States a burst of nationalism that alienated every Muslim American. I think Chinese government should look at past history of the world and learn from it. Not repeating the same mistakes as other countries had. Instead of justifying their actions using past history, they should learn from it and create a different route for themselves. Either it is with governmental structure or just beliefs like nationalism.

  76. pug_ster Says:

    @Miaka9383

    Specifically YOU don’t throw around Chinese propaganda slogans here

    So where do I throw around Chinese propaganda slogans?

    Edit: Yes, that there is Chinese Nationalism, like American nationalism (disguised as patriotism) out there. American Media as well Chinese media does fuel that kind of nationalism/patriotism. But I think that the Chinese government does try to stop it when it gets out of hand. IE, in the olympic protest last year, when there was a growing resentment towards carrefour, the chinese government tries desparately to quell that resentment. Look at here in the US, when there was growing resentment towards Muslim in post 9/11 world, governments in the US and UK did little toward to distinguish mainstream islam and islam fundamentalists.

  77. miaka9383 Says:

    @pug_ster
    I said specifically YOU don’t throw around chinese propaganda. IT WAS AN EMPHASIS JUST LIKE THIS ONE.

  78. Jason Says:

    @ miaka9383

    evil West vs Good China argument is false notion and false accusation of Chinese nationalism.

    The real argument I believe that Chinese nationalist are making is that the Western “main stream media” rarely reports their own problems like breaking human rights and civil rights, using eupheuism like “harsh interrogation techniques” to torment to describe “torture” but when it comes to China, they always use “torture.”

  79. Steve Says:

    I’d like to address the original topic…

    Firstly, I’d prefer not using the world “nationalistic” because it doesn’t have a clear meaning. For the sake of discussion, I’ll use the words “patriotic”, “ultra-nationalistic” and “xenophobic”. I’ve heard versions of all three discussed here. The definitions are my own and not from a dictionary; I’m using them in this way to clarify different positions.

    Patriotism is love of one’s country. I’ve never met a Chinese person living in China who wasn’t patriotic, though I have only met Han Chinese when living over there. I simply don’t know how patriotic Tibetans, Uighurs or other minorities are. I see nothing wrong with patriotism and feel it is a GOOD thing and not a bad thing. I would expect Chinese to be patriotic as I know I am concerning my own country. I love my country and all the Chinese citizens I know also love theirs.

    Ultra-nationalism is the position that one’s government is always correct. It goes far beyond loving one’s country. For instance, when the Bush administration asked “Are you with us or against us?” they were promoting ultra-nationalism. When a writer can find no fault with the CCP, they are ultra-nationalistic. When someone condemns someone else for disagreeing with a government position, that is ultra-nationalism. Ultra-nationalist positions are such that they cannot be discussed with someone with an opposing viewpoint.

    Xenophobic behavior is an unreasonable hatred of all things foreign or strange. This can manifest itself in blaming foreigners for all internal problems. Extreme xenophobia is the hatred not only of foreigners and strangers, but also the hatred of expat countrymen who have been “contaminated” with foreign ideas. At one time, the Japanese were so xenophobic that if you had studied or worked in another country, people in Japan would avoid you as being “contaminated” with foreign influences, though you were as Japanese as they were. Xenophobia is irrational and paranoid.

    A future strong and prosperous China should be good for the world but could be bad, depending on how China handles it. A truly strong and prosperous China should have their trade in balance rather than running large surpluses, should be at peace with its neighbors and should have a series of alliances with other developed nations. Currently, China is still outside the system, relatively speaking, though it is far more engaged than before. If China continues to move into the international system rather than go it alone, peace and prosperity should reign through much of the world. The key aspect of international relations would be a strong alliance between the USA and China where they have no need to point missiles at each other or engage in militaristic rhetoric. A strong and prosperous China would be able to handle differing opinions on how government should be run, would have an independent judiciary and some sort of checks and balances (not necessarily the same as western democracies as long as they are effective) and a relatively egalitarian society with its own unique Chinese features.

  80. Steve Says:

    @ pug_ster #76: Miaka was complimenting you, not insulting you. Please accept it graciously. 😛

  81. Shane9219 Says:

    @Steve #79

    Nice try. Did you realize your efforts of trying to play a fair hand really sounded hollow here after reading your last post.

    >> “A truly strong and prosperous China should have their trade in balance rather than running large surpluses”

    Export-oriented economy was invented by Japan and Germany. Just wonder why people did not make it as a huge issue as it is now towards China. Historically, the West has been quick to complain and take action when they were/are on the losing side of trade craft. People with knowledge of history understood how opium war was started by GB and France.

  82. Shane9219 Says:

    Does the West nations have a strong propaganda program? Of course, they do. They just do it in a more subtle and skillful way, and often with their money and economy prowess.

    History and current world affair would silent those who are quick to jump up, crying foul about perceived Chinese nationalism. Actually, a perceived “strong nationalistic sentiment”, if existed, is West’s own making due to their isolation and containment policy on China in the past.

  83. Steve Says:

    @ Shane9219 #81: Are all your remarks always this condescending, or just on this blog?

    First of all, Germany and Japan didn’t invent export economies. China had an export economy in the early Qing dynasty days, the Roman economy was export oriented and England’s mercantile system was export oriented, just to name a few. In fact, a major reason (though not a moral one) for the Opium war was a lack of trade balance. I had actually written (Japan/Germany model) in the original post but deleted it because I felt it was so obvious. People with a knowledge of history understand this.

    People with a knowledge of history also know that both the USA and Europe made a big deal about Japan’s trade surplus during the ’70s and ’80s. Many European nations have not been happy with Germany’s export surplus either. Just because you don’t know about something doesn’t mean it never happened.

    The reason China’s trade surplus is a bigger problem than those other countries is based on China’s sheer size. Unbalanced trade can disrupt the entire world trading system when countries the size of China and the United States are involved. That is why America’s trade imbalance in the other direction is just as bad. Japan has had a trade surplus since the end of the war yet her economy has been stagnant for the last 20 years. Excessive surpluses in either direction aren’t a good thing, but the effects are multiplied depending on the size of the economy. People with a knowledge of economics already know this.

    Allen asked what attributes would make a strong and prosperous China and I gave my honest opinion. You cherry picked one sentence in there and tried to bash me over it but not very effectively. Then for some unknown reason, you bring up the Opium War though it has no bearing on the topic.

    Nice try. I used your style to write this comment. Now do you realize how it sounds to others?

  84. pug_ster Says:

    @miaka

    My apologies, I misread you. I must be braindead

  85. Shane9219 Says:

    @Steve #83

    >> “Are all your remarks always this condescending?”

    You may wish to label such criticism on your own postings before finger pointing others. 🙂

  86. Steve Says:

    @ Shane: I would if I did so.

  87. Shane9219 Says:

    The West could not gain any real trust from Chinese people if they keep playing two hands at the same time: seeking economical gains from China on one hand, while undermining China’s national interests on many important matters on the other. It is only China who did its best to manage this difficult relationship with the West for such a long time.

    The West nations badly need a game changer in order to maintain a stable relation with China with a long view towards the future. There are many things that western nations could do differently and reasonably to meet Chinese standard.

    For example, on the issue of dealing with political separatist forces of Tibet and Xinjiang, western governments and politicians could voice concern and show their sympathy as much as they wanted on one hand, while encourage these forces to seek conciliation with China and make constructive contribution to Chinese society (as did by some China’s friendly nations). However, they could not cross the red line by funding and providing any meaningful political support to these political forces. By doing so, the West had been walking on a path full of land mines, and things were deemed to blow up once a while. Nations like US, Japan, France and now Australia had all experience that bad taste. Maybe someday, China would simply say “Look, enough is enough!”

    Some in the West were quick to point out, with their political naivete, that China could invite 14th DL to attend 2008 Olympics as a chance for reconciliation with the exile force he represents, even after the fact that 3.14 riot completely undermined the goodwill towards 14th DL by most Chinese.

    After the severe Sichuan earthquake last year, I have not hear anyone in the West who came out to openly encourage 14th DL and exile Tibetans to show sympathy and make donation to Sichuan earthquake victim. On the contrary, I only heard some Hollywood types making open hateful remarks on the earthquake victim. So, 14th DL really lost a good opportunity for reconciliation, while westerns politicians either muted on the side lines or jumped up and down with hateful cheers. Where is that moral high horse they like to ride? One has to wonder …

  88. miaka9383 Says:

    -Please delete for not wanting to engage in a useless off topic debate

  89. huaren Says:

    Hi Shane, Steve,

    I read some of your recent exchanges and hope you won’t mind me barging in.

    1. Steve – on the Opium War – I know you know the history and understand it was not moral. I would simply add that it was despicable. GB could simply have consumed less – which was in GB’s control, rather than forcing your trade partner to take drugs.

    I guess I don’t see trade imbalance as evil on its own. I do see a completely free trade zone for planet earth is a good thing for all. The E.U. model is something many people are trying to replicate. Asia is well underway.

    Anyways, the fact that the U.S. buys more from China than the other way around gives the U.S. more leverage in dealings with China, because China has more to lose if she tries to alienate the U.S.. If the U.S. government’s consumption policy doesn’t change, then the U.S.’s total net import/export with the world would remain the same – even if a lot of the factories in China is moved to some other developing country.

    China has to watch her total import/export too. A lot of the trade imbalance the U.S. suffers to China are passed along to other developing countries China rely on.

    2. Shane9219 – I feel you are very unfair to the U.S..

    a. The U.S. supported China’s entry into WTO, didn’t it?
    b. The U.S. allows Intel, Microsoft and the likes to open plants and R&D centers in China and hire locals there. The locals will gain experience and then form their own companies – and some may even compete against the U.S. corporations.
    c. The U.S. allows something like 300,000 Chinese students a year studying in the U.S. universities.
    d. The U.S. is trying to expand IMF and other world institutions to better accomodate China.

    This list is HUGE. So, I believe at a strategic level, the trend is towards normalization. Understandably, there are segment of the U.S. population who don’t view China with trust. The Cold War wasn’t even that long ago. A lot has been said about NED and such. Compared to the grand scheme of things, I think they won’t ever add up to the list I just started.

    I’d bet too this dichotomy exists in China – many wanting a noramalized relationship with the U.S. and the world and some wanting this to be a zero-sum game. Perhaps China is not that strong yet for this minority to assert their views yet.

    Anyways, you have many interesting thoughts which I often agree with. I guess I plead here for understanding. I hope you will join us in not pay credence to the divisive elements on both sides of the divide.

  90. Steve Says:

    @ huaren #89: I agree with you on the Opium War. In some ways it ought to have been called the “Tea War” since England was going broke paying for Chinese tea. However, no story is ever black and white. What many forget these days is that before the Opium War, the British were engaging in the opium trade with the cooperation of the local mandarins, who demanded heavy bribes for the privilege. So this trade had developed to where it was essential for the British to maintain in order to keep their balance of trade in order. While the illegal trade was going on, the tea trade continued to increase. The mandarins took care of getting the opium to the local dens located in various parts of China.

    It was when the Emperor dispatched an official to stamp out the trade (he was very successful) that the British started the war. It WAS despicable. But without a trade imbalance, it would never have happened.

    Trade imbalances (along with excessive borrowing) create too much money for the investment opportunities. When there is overcapacity, the money ends up in the stock and real estate markets. Those markets create “bubbles” which eventually burst and create all sorts of problems. Just ask Japan. They also play havoc with the money supply. I only brought that up because Allen mentioned “free and prosperous” and to me, having balanced trade helps insure prosperity. Many economists in China have said that the nation needs to create more internal demand and that is why they are creating a basic health care system so people will be more willing to spend money that is currently saved for illness. That internal spending will help balance their trade deficit.

  91. Shane9219 Says:

    @huaren #89

    I have been fair as much as I can to nations and people based on their deed, but not on what they said or saying. This is the typical gap between Chinese way and western way of approaching international politics: Chinese like to look at deed, while people in the West like pretty words.

    >> “The U.S. supported China’s entry into WTO, didn’t it?”

    Yes, after rounds of tough talks. US’s policies on China have been running on a platform of strategic ambiguity for a long time since the founding of PRC.

    1) It wanted to get China’s cooperation as much as possible in return for opportunities to work with the West-bloc nations, so that China does not play as a forceful force to undermine current interest holders, joining WTO as one earlier case, global warming initiative being the lastest etc

    2) It has a clear intention to undermine Chinese political and geo-political interests as much it can by repeatedly testing China’s bottom line, like what US military did during Korea War, now on China’s dispute with Japan and activities around South China Sea etc

    3) It wanted to gain as much as economical fruition as possible on China’s growing economical capacity and opportunities. The huge size of Chinese market potential always kept capitalist west dreaming for centuries, the time has now finally come … so does China’s new integration with the rest of world.

  92. huaren Says:

    Hi Steve, #90,

    Agreed. The local Chinese helping to push opium were just as despicable.
    I also remember reading one of the things during the SED meetings, China announced their shift in policy to encourage domestic consumption.

  93. Otto Kerner Says:

    “After the severe Sichuan earthquake last year, I have not hear anyone in the West who came out to openly encourage 14th DL and exile Tibetans to show sympathy and make donation to Sichuan earthquake victim.”

    I googled for five minutes and found this: http://www.dalailama.com/news.264.htm and this: http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5gAjQjkMuOIB3Bi-FIaDtsR41KkEw.

    “On the contrary, I only heard some Hollywood types making open hateful remarks on the earthquake victim.”

    Who are the “some Hollywood types”? I can’t think of anyone other than Sharon Stone. Also, her comments were not “hateful”. She described the earthquake victims as “people who aren’t nice to you” and said that she would try to help them anyway. That’s a really dumb and insensitive thing to say, because obviously the earthquake victims did not design China’s Tibet policy, but to describe it as “hateful” is hyperbolic.

  94. huaren Says:

    Hi Shane9219, #91,

    I would say your 1), 2), and 3) are very normal for all nations on this planet. 🙂
    They all cooperate and compete.

    The U.S. has like 50,000 troops occupying Japan still. Are Japan and U.S. that great “friends”? Japan has to pay for half of it (or something like that) too.

    If the relationship between China and the U.S. is that like between U.S. and Cuba, then I think it’d be one sided.

    I think they are cooperationing.

  95. Shane9219 Says:

    @Otto Kerner #93

    I was fully aware of 14th DL’s activities during 2008 (a really special year anyway). I don’t think he and exile Tibetans did enough to change their image, and he lost a good opportunity. Many people would agree with him.

  96. Jason Says:

    @Otto

    Why did you leave this comment from her out: “And then this earthquake and all this stuff happened, and then I thought, is that Karma? When you’re not nice then the bad things happen to you?”

    I hope you are fully aware what the comment means and how hateful she is.

  97. FOARP Says:

    “However, you are now facing your own worst nightmare since China is getting stronger and more prosperous everyday.”

    Errrr . . . . Yeah, my own worst nightmare. Every time I rolled into Shanghai and went out to XinTianDi for cocktails I was was literally crying into my G&T. Working at Foxconn in Longhua, Shenzhen, I woke up screaming every night with nightmares that I might get paid more. When I went back to Longhua this summer to visit my friend I howled with anger to hear that they were all doing well, and that the business that a firend of mine had started was flourishing. Or perhaps you don’t really know me all that well.

  98. haha Says:

    I am strongly calling for the cancellation of the cersonship and block on Media and internet and free expression, thought and press. If those were done, everyone could imagine what will happen?
    The so-called nationalism is building on the frail foundation by ways of blocking the information, propagenda and brainwashing. Those chinese are not real nationalist, only doing whatever CCP allows them to do. When CCP sell interests and territory of China’s country to Russia and other coutries and destroy chinese future, they are disapeared and dumb. When CCP voilate chinese basic interest and rights and undermine the consolidation of ethnic group, they keep in silence. They are also blind to CCP’s violation against human rights declaretion and trampling on constitution and national laws as well as everything CCP does to hurt all Chinese, tibetan, mogolian and uighur. They don’t distinct wrong from right and even don’t know what is right or wrong. A real nationalist would sincerely listen to the criticism from west and try to promote the self-improvement of China. Those so-called nationalists are just some adherents of CCP and harm to China, like Red Guard in Cultural Revoltion. it is right and appropriate to compared them with Nazi, so well-matched.

  99. Otto Kerner Says:

    Jason,

    No, I don’t think I left that out. The only part of that that is objectionable is that she describes the earthquake victims as “not nice” and she apparently thinks they have something to do with causing China’s Tibet policy. Both of those are dumb things to say, but describing them as “hateful” is quite hyperbolic. The idea that “When you’re not nice then the bad things happen to you” is the basic idea of karma, which is fundamental to Buddhism and Hinduism — it’s not some kind of bizarre, meanspirited idea that Sharon Stone came up with.

  100. Steve Says:

    I never understood the whole thing about Sharon Stone. She’s a mid level actress (a person who pretends to be someone else) who hasn’t had a major hit in over ten years and was never that big. Why should anyone care what she thinks or says? This might be a cross cultural thing, but I think it befuddles Americans when the Chinese government gets so riled up about such matters. It’s not like she was the Secretary of State or someone who was actually important. For the government of one of the world’s biggest and most powerful countries to get so caught up in the antics of a nobody never made any sense to me. Can someone explain it?

  101. Jason Says:

    @Otto Kerner

    Sharon treats Chinese people as group-members rather than persons, is a necessary condition for racist thinking. It produces the inability to distinguish between members of groups, to recognize individuality:

    If Chinese people (in government) were mean to Tibetans, and you’re Chinese, you must have been mean to the Tibetans too.

    One other note, some Tibetans did die in the earthquake so Tibetans hate Tibetans as well? 😀

  102. Bridge Says:

    I have two friends who were in Sichuan when the earth quake struck last year. The 3-week Sichuan holiday they had planned for a long time turned out to be a desperate escape from hell. They said they were very lucky to be alive. They were on the third of the 10 or so trucks transporting people out of the danger zone. When the trucks were making their escape on a freeway on a mountain, a sudden aftershock opened a huge pit right behind the truck my friends were on. The truck behind them was going too fast and drove right into the pit. They still do not know the fate to those people who were on other trucks blocked by the pit.

    @OK #99, yes the idea of karma is not invented by Sharon Stone, but the way she put it clear hinted that those died in the earthquake deserved it. At least, this is how most people interpreted it. Yes, her comments are dumb, but they are also hurtful and hateful.

    @Steve #100. I don’t think the Chinese government actually cared about Sharon Stone. Had anyone else made such comments at that time, they would’ve been targeted by the Chinese people and government as well. And Sharon Stone was stupid enough to do that.

  103. haha Says:

    You would never know how Chinese government think of and handle everything if you didn’t know the nature of CCP. Their political manipulation and everything they do is just for preseveing their power to rule China. Actually Chinese goverment didn’t care about Sharon Stone at all, right, but unluckily she became a target of CCP into political manipulation, to be used for the relief of CCP’s political crisis by means of displacing of huge social conflicts and discontent under their rule of decades, in particular, aim to divert the attention of ordinary chinese from the criticism on slow response of army force to earthquake, inaction to report of prediction of SIchuan earthquake and many thousands of innocent death of youth due to jerry-built project originating from the collision between officials and businessmen.

  104. Otto Kerner Says:

    Bridge,

    One common view of karma, which apparently is what Sharon Stone was thinking of, is that everything is caused by karma, so you could say that everyone deserves everything that happens to them. I still think it’s offensive to go shooting your mouth off in an ignorant way about why you think someone deserves the fruits of his or her karma.

  105. Allen Says:

    @Otto Kerner #104,

    You wrote:

    One common view of karma, which apparently is what Sharon Stone was thinking of, is that everything is caused by karma, so you could say that everyone deserves everything that happens to them. I still think it’s offensive to go shooting your mouth off in an ignorant way about why you think someone deserves the fruits of his or her karma.

    You show off your own ignorance of Buddhism here. It’s not just offensive to say someone deserves his Karma, it’s wrong.

    Karma is not about justice – it is never used to attribute to anyone (much less a group of people) evidence of guilt. Karma is a concept created for individual use – for one to privately cultivate one’s spiritual growth – to accept one’s condition – and in doing so to work toward a better future.

    Imagine I – in the name of Buddhism – go mouthing off around the world – hey you and you in Africa, India, or China living in poverty – look at how pathetic you are. I guess you deserve it since you obviously don’t have very good Karma. We in the developed world don’t live in poverty – and have an outstanding standard of living. We as a group must have done a lot of good before and be above you in the evolutionary Karma chain – that’s why we DESERVE to live better – perhaps even to conquer you – or enslave you. Accept it. You owe it to us. It’s called Karma.

  106. Otto Kerner Says:

    Well, Allen, you seem to be very confident in your own ability to expound Buddhism for the benefit of sentient beings. All I said is that you could say that people deserve the fruits of their karma; in other words, it sort of depends on how you look at it. Now, apparently you disagree with that rather mild assertion, but you will be relieved to learn that these are my words, not Sharon Stone’s. All she said was “And then all this earthquake and all this stuff happened, and I thought, is that karma? — when you are not nice that bad things happen to you. And then I got a letter, from the Tibetan Foundation that they want to go and be helpful. And that made me cry. And they ask me if I would write a quote about that and I said I would. And it was a big lesson to me, that some times you have to learn to put your head down and be of service even to people who are not nice to you. And that’s a big lesson for me.” So, she considers the possibility that the suffering of the earthquake might have been caused by karma (without coming to a conclusion), and she lumps the earthquake victims in as people who are “not nice” to the Dalai Lama (which is the dumb and offensive part), and then she resolves to try to be helpful to them anyway. The tone of this rambling declamation is obviously quite different from your hypothetical example.

    Also, I think it’s arguably the case that one could use the concept of karma to argue that people who are currently poor in some sense “deserve” their current circumstances, and rich theirs … but it obviously says nothing about whether poor people should continue to be poor in the future, let alone whether they should be enslaved or conquered.

  107. Bridge Says:

    @haha #103
    Well, to be frank, you would never know how any government thinks of and handles everything even if you do know their nature. Every government manipulates their people and everything they do is for preserving their power to rule. So, your point is?

    …in particular, aim to divert the attention of ordinary Chinese from the criticism on
    1 slow response of army force to earthquake – how fast is a fast response?
    2 inaction to report of prediction of Sichuan earthquake – huh? You think they are fortune tellers?
    3 and many thousands of innocent death of youth due to jerry-built project originating from the collision between officials and businessmen. – this is the only partially valid point.

  108. Allen Says:

    @Otto Kerner #106,

    Fair enough. I have no problem with one ruminating about Karma – about one’s own circumstances – even if couching that understanding with the concept of what one “deserves.”

    I still think it’s “dangerous” for people to apply Karma to others – to link Karma with the outward concept of what someone deserves (justice) instead of treating it just as a framework for spiritual development. It’s like misconstruing the concept of Darwinism as an evolutionary biology concept to a social/political framework. When concepts are thus misunderstood and misapplied – they can have grave consequences…

  109. Steve Says:

    @ Allen & Otto: I’ve had several Buddhist speak of Karma as the “law of cause and effect”. Acts in a previous life would determine the current one, if I understood them correctly. I don’t personally believe in reincarnation and I’m not a Buddhist so I never thought too much about it. I always thought the “effect” part happened in the next life, not the current one. Is that accurate?

  110. Allen Says:

    @Steve #109,

    You identified a tricky part. My understanding is that karma explains both your current situation and your future. The tricky part occurs if you believe in the proposition that a lot of our “evil” dispositions and thoughts are mere reactions to the desperate environments we find ourselves. If this is true – and our present environment and circumstances are determined by our past, how much say do we have about changing our future?

  111. Wukailong Says:

    From what I understand, karma is a summary of your actions and state of mind (and possibly other variables) that will later lead to fruition. In the Dhammapadda (法句经), which is one of the earliest Buddhist works, possibly written by the man itself, it says that our present circumstances are a result of what we have thought. It also says that evil deeds follow the evil-doer both “in this world and next”, so I guess it can happen both in this and the next life. The results of karma are called karma-phala, btw.

    Of course, there are many different interpretations. I’m sure many buddhists take it quite literally (and as you might know, DL has said that it might make us more peaceful when we consider that the effects of natural disasters like the tsunami 2004 are results of karma, a statement he was criticized for) but there are of course also the purely “spiritual” interpretations.

  112. hongkonger Says:

    “there are of course also the purely “spiritual” interpretations.”

    As all religion teaches doing good, forgiveness – against judging others, self denial, etc., I think it is always safer and appropriate to relegate all things religious to spiritual interpretations. I think if religions focus more on understanding the “spirit” instead of endlessly bickering over the letter of the law, and view religious doctrines and rituals as means for training ones spiritual skills in attaining peace and tranquility as the goal, then human history would have been a lot less violent. And of course I am actually sleeptyping in my blissful afternoon nap here .

  113. Otto Kerner Says:

    Steve,

    I should preface this by saying that I’ve ruminated on this topic from time to time, but I haven’t put much effort into learning the “official” Buddhist doctrinal position on it. In answer to your question, no, I don’t think that karma is limited to effects on your future lives. I would say that any kind of cause and effect from your volitional actions falls under the rubric of karma (technically, in Buddhist jargon, “karma” is just the action and there’s some other term for the result). So, sometimes the result of your actions is more or less immediate, sometimes it happens a while later but the chain of effect is apparent, in other cases the result happens a while later and the connection between cause and effect is not clear, and then sometimes the effect doesn’t hit you until one or more lifetimes in the future. In the first two cases, we tend to classify that as just “the normal way that life works” (cause and effect: you are rude to someone, and then they are rude back to you; or, you eat a lot of potato chips and then later you get fat) and, in the latter two, we classify it as mystical karmic magic, but fundamentally the only difference is how visible the connection is between action and reaction. In theory, if you could see your life 100% clearly, maybe everything that happens to you would seem as straightforward as Newton’s third law.

    One thing I’ve never heard or thought of a good explanation for is what mechanism causes karmic effects to hit immediately in some situations but not for many years in other situations. I’m sure some philosopher at some point has come up with an explanation for that, which may or may not be very convincing.

  114. Dragan Says:

    @#12

    +3 Michael Says:

    August 27th, 2009 at 12:02 pm
    Two things I don’t understand. What is this ‘century of shame’? It sounds like ethnic self pity, a common denominator in nationalistic regimes like Yugoslavia. India had more than two centuries as part of the British Raj but modern Indians don’t feel shame.

    Secondly, what exactly does China stand for? America, for all its faults offered the best and worst aspects of freedom, free enterprise and Hollywood. China has lost touch with its own traditional confucian culture and manners, so what does it offer a developing country like Algeria or Trinidad apart from soft loans and cheap labour to build sports stadiums? America opened its doors to millions of students (including many Chinese), many of whom who returned home with skills and a positive attitude to the US. Will a graduate degree from Wuhan have the same effect on students from Nepal or Norway?

    American at the height of its power assumed that everyone else in the world wanted to be part of the American Dream, whether it was Berlin, Santiago or Saigon. Russia flew the flag for the working man. Chinese nationalism is inward looking and based on self pity/self aggrandisement. How does it exert a greater influence on the non-Chinese of the world, other than “money talks”?

    Dragan:

    I am from former Yugoslavia and did not notice a century of shame paralel with China. Would you please explain?

    China stands for RESPECT and INDEPENDENCE, exactly those things that west ommits to give and allow in its relations with third world’s countries.

  115. hongkonger Says:

    Steve, WKL, Otto:

    Do we really want to know, then get ready to be more confused…..

    Alan Watts after a lifetime of religioous persue formed a dislike for religious outlooks that he decided were dour, guilt-ridden, or militantly proselytizing — no matter if they were found within Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, or Buddhism.
    As Episcopalian priest (beginning in 1945, aged 30), until an extramarital affair resulted in his young wife having their marriage annulled. It also resulted in Watts leaving the ministry by 1950. He spent the New Year getting to know Joseph Campbell; his wife, Jean Erdman; and John Cage.
    Watts also studied written Chinese and practiced Chinese brush calligraphy with Hasegawa as well as with some of the Chinese students who enrolled at the Academy. While Watts was noted for an interest in Zen Buddhism, with its origins in China, his reading and discussions delved into Vedanta, “the new physics,” cybernetics, semantics, process philosophy, natural history, and the anthropology of sexuality.
    In his writings Watts conveyed his admiration for the practicality in the historical achievements of Chán in the Far East, for it had fostered farmers, architects, builders, folk physicians, artists, and administrators among the monks who had lived in the monasteries of its lineages.
    In his mature work, he presents himself as “Zennist” in spirit as he wrote in his last book, Tao: The Watercourse Way. Child rearing, the arts, cuisine, education, law and freedom, architecture, sexuality, and the uses and abuses of technology were all of great interest to him.

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

    ………………………………………………

    UCLA Professor of Psychology Patricia W. Cheng from Hong Kong is a leading researcher in cognitive psychology who works on human reasoning. She is best known for her psychological work on human understanding of causality. Her “power theory of the probabilistic contrast model,” or power PC (probabilistic contrast) theory, posits that people filter observations of events through a basic belief that causes have the power to generate (or prevent) their effects, thereby inferring specific cause-effect relations.

    http://www.psych.ucla.edu/faculty/faculty_page?id=42&area=3/

    ………………………

    Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Oriental Express:

    Detective Hercule Poirot: ” If all these people are not implicated in the crime, then why have they all told me, under interrogation, stupid and often unnecessary lies? Why? Why? Why? Why? ”

    Dr. Constantine: ” Doubtless, Monsieur Poirot, because they did not expect you to be on the train. They had no time to concert their cover story. ”

    Hercule Poirot: “I was hoping someone other than myself would say that. ”

    Indeed, if it wasn’t for Galilleo and Martin Luther etc., the faith-based West would still believe the world was flat and that the Pope held the key of heaven’s gate….

  116. Wukailong Says:

    @Dragan: Welcome! Just curious, what country are you staying in now?

  117. Dragan Says:

    @ wukailong

    Thanks! been reading for a while though. I am in China.

  118. Steve Says:

    @ Hongkonger #115: Alan Watts was standard reading in my college “Oriental Philosophy” class. Back then, he was what I guess you could call the “gold standard” in terms of comparative theology. Watts and D.T. Suzuki were the two most influential figures in spreading Zen (Chan) Buddhism to the west. What I found most interesting in Japan is that most Japanese are not Zen Buddhists and even in the temples, a large percentage of Zen Buddhist monks are non-Japanese. I believe the largest sect in Japan is Nichiren (Lotus Sutra based).

    I personally believe all religions started out as spiritual, metaphorical and concerned with individual enlightenment. Once they achieved large followings and political power, they all devolved into dogmatic, literal religions concerned with social welfare. Every major religion has had periods where its interference in political affairs has brought misery to the people.

    “Sin” in its purest Christian meaning are acts that hurt the individual. These acts might also hurt others but they always hurt the individual who committed them. This is most obviously shown in the “seven deadly sins”.

    My guess (and this is only a guess) is that karma is in the same vein. A person might commit bad acts and still be rich and powerful, but be miserable spiritually. Back in the mid ’60s, Simon & Garfunkel even wrote a song about it called Richard Cory. I”m not quite sure how reincarnation fits in since that’s not something I can comprehend but under this definition, karma makes a lot of sense to me.

    @ Dragan: Welcome to the blog! Out of curiosity, where in former Yugoslavia? My youngest son was just through that region this summer. I think at one time or another he was in Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia. I’m not sure if he got over to Montenegro but I know he was close.

  119. Hongkonger Says:

    Steve,

    One of things that really pisses me off is how so many -isms which promise release are actually the instrument of oppression and source of disinformation. Take Alan Watts’ book “Nature, Man and Woman,” for example, in which he wrote of the possibility of the Apostolic practices which were known to early Christians and of it being kept secret & made a taboo by the Church -i.e. the religious practice of what Roman Catholics call “coitus reservatus”.

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

  120. haha Says:

    To Bridge
    Actually as you said, all the governments aim to keep their own power, but the difference between dictatorship and democratic countries is whether or to what degree they have to taken civil voice into account or not. In mainland of China, civil society is weak and have few influence on power group. Political elites concern more on their own interest, don’t care about civil society at all, prevent the development of civil society all the time and its consequent is that the interest of earthquake victims deserved were generally overlooked. They always keep showing their achievements and covering their mistakes and inaction in some way.

    You can go though the whole process of earthquake response. they missed the prime time of the first 72-hours rescue of victims after earthquake occurred and initially refused the assistant from international community and allowed international rescue guards in afterwards in response to appeals and pressure from civil society. meanwhile, they restricted the participation of civil society in order to avoid the exposure of uncontroled and unpredictable infromation and expression to international community, like Huang Qi and Tianwang, etc, as well as avoid the expanse of influences of NGO and completely independent organisation from CCP and governments. You can compare it with the response of civil society and press to recent disaster of flood caused by typhoon in Taiwan.

    It is no doubt that no one asked CCP to be fortune teller, including me, which is not responsibility of government. However,exposed facts reveal that before earthquake happened, local and central governments received the report of predict about earthquake from scholars. you could say it is hard to judge it. But governments should be responsible for safty of mass and society to investigate and make sense of it. In this case, no evidence confirm they fulfilled due function. By contrast, what they did is to manage to divert the focus of governments’ responsibility to whether eartherwuake could be predicted precisely or not and to cover up the fact that they got the report. They were into inaction after getting the report, which is dereliction of duty. Citizens have rights to know and to make their own decision, but the governments did nothing to inform the possibility of earthquake. in addtion, governments did nothing about self-protection training and education. before and after earthquake, they do nothing they should be responsible for. However, after earthquake occurred, they strenthened the censorship of press and internet and kept apraising by ways of propagenda of mouthpiece, to shirk their responsibility, which is unacceptable.

  121. haha Says:

    in fact, after earthquake happened, the criticism on one party ruling system and CCP is appropriate and proper as the source of the man-made calamities in earthquake.

  122. haha Says:

    So no wonder did CCP take Sharon Stone as a target of plitical manipulation to get out of political crisis concerning over its rule legitimacy in the face of criticism inside China and abroad on the man-made calamities in earthquake.

  123. Wukailong Says:

    When was Sharon Stone criticized by the Chinese government, exactly? I never heard any official condemnation. I don’t think one was needed, either – people weren’t brainwashed into thinking it was quite a horrible thing to say, they really thought it.

  124. haha Says:

    Actually Chinese government didn’t officially condemn her. But it is impossible that all main Chinese web portals reported her expression at the same time and ordinary chiese discussed that issue freely in main BBS without the connivence and consent of Propaganda Department of the CPC Central Committee during that sensitive period, particularly compared with simultaneous ongoing censorship for complaints of man-made calamities. they played the underground role in this case, the same role with regard to the resistance to carrefour last year and the protest demonstration to Japan earlier.

  125. Dragan Says:

    @Steve

    hi Steve! I am sure he had good fun. I’ve been home in Serbia this summer as well and hanged out for a night with international travellers staying at a hostel where my cousin works. They all loved it! And generally, there are good experiences to be made in that whole area

  126. Steve Says:

    Hi Dragan~

    My son keeps talking about the food there and smiling… must have impressed him. He did the hostel thing and now has friends from just about every part of the world. I’m guessing you had the same experience hanging around your cousin’s hostel.

    Oh, and he did mention something about tall, pretty, slender women. 😉

  127. Dragan Says:

    Steve
    :))) can’t miss them there even if you wanted…great to hear! interesting enough – no Serbian living in Serbia would tell you that smiling is a thing there – usually they talk about people being nervous and intentionally rude – but all the visitors I met were talking exactly the same as your son. might have been one of them.

  128. Steve Says:

    @ Hongkonger #119: Are you familiar with the story of Sùnǚ (素女; ”Plain Girl”), one of the three daughters of Hsi Wang Mu? The legend is that she taught these same techniques to Huang-di (the Yellow Emperor) in great detail. Now the time of Huang-di was well before the early Christian Church, but these stories are believed to have been written down about the same era as the early Christian times. Some have even speculated that Hsi Wang Mu was the Queen of Sheba, though I’d say that is legend. Who knows if these techniques went east or west? My gut feeling is that they are related.

    They have also been traditionally practiced by Taoist monks in China. I even learned them as part of my Xingyiquan (形意拳) training. I guess the world has always been smaller than we think. 😉

  129. hongkonger Says:

    @Steve,

    素女之道…

    pre-religious Taoist practices

    .http://www.bigeye.com/sexeducation/ancientchina.html

    770 BC to 222 BC / Chou Dynasty: During this time, female homosexuality was widespread, but male homosexuality was rare because it was considered a complete loss of yang essence on the part of both men. Meanwhile, since women were said to have an unlimited yin essence, there was no loss of yin in female homosexual relations.
    Not until the Han dynasty did male homosexuality figures reach the same standard as among other societies.

    221 BC to 24 AD The Ch’in Dynasty shifted the Taoist culture to a Confucianist culture, which was completely different.Women were placed in an inferior position to men. All physical contact between men and women was confined to marriage and their bedroom or a couch….

    http://www2.hu-berlin.de/sexology/GESUND/ARCHIV/SEN/CH06.HTM

    American Indians:
    Current researchers reject the older notion that berdaches (male courtesan) and amazons were hermaphrodites, transsexuals, transvestites, or gender-crossers because American Indian cultures allotted more than two gender options.
    The Europeans were amazed to discover that the Indian tribes often respected berdaches as spiritually gifted. Since women had high status in most Native American cultures, and the spirit of women was as highly regarded as the spirit of men, a person who combined the spirits of both was seen as having an extraordinary spirituality. Such sacred people were often honored with special ceremonial roles in religious ceremonies, and they were often known as healers and shamans. They had the advantage of seeing from both the masculine and the feminine perspectives, and so were respected as seers and prophets. Berdaches were known as creative persons who worked hard to help their extended family and their community. They often served as teachers of the young, healers, artists, and performers.
    The community defined berdaches based on their gender role as “men” (i.e., a hunter and/or warrior) rather than on his sexual behavior. …This view changed drastically after the arrival of the Europeans…

    Ancient Hebrews:

    http://kspark.kaist.ac.kr/Old%20Testament/Sex%20Worship%20and%20Idols.htm

  130. hongkonger Says:

    Ancient Hebrews

    http://kspark.kaist.ac.kr/Old%20Testament/Sex%20Worship%20and%20Idols.htm

  131. hongkonger Says:

    @ Steve, I know a little about The 素女 legend and sorta tied it with different history of eros… but apparently tthose comments got arrested …????

  132. hongkonger Says:

    Hmm…there they are ! Thanks Admin….

  133. Steve Says:

    Hi Hongkonger~

    I’ve always harbored suspicion when an ancient culture is written about hundreds or even thousands of years later. I’ve always suspected that what is really being said is more about the time when it was actually written rather than an ancient time, especially in Chinese culture where the older something is, the more respect it engenders. That’s why I’d guess that manuscripts written in Han dynasty times are more reflective of competing Han dynasty values than true historical documents.

    Though there are many positive features of Confucist societies, I believe some aspects actually hold the culture back and keep it from modernizing, especially once the political leaders learned to use it to control the people in the neo-Confucist tradition. They simply ignored certain features of what Confucius said while stressing the part about blind obedience to their leaders.

    I think there are many positive aspects of Taoist society that would be beneficial to bring back, but in some ways Taoism emphasizes a more individualistic society, the antithesis of Imperial and Communist rule. As an American, I never felt comfortable with the paternal aspects of government rule while living over there. I don’t mean that as a value judgment but more as a personal choice. I personally prefer greater individual freedom which makes sense because I was raised that way.

  134. hongkonger Says:

    @Steve,

    ” I’ve always suspected that what is really being said is more about the time when it was actually written rather than an ancient time…. That’s why I’d guess that manuscripts written in Han dynasty times are more reflective of competing Han dynasty values than true historical documents. ”

    That makes the two of us…and this is why a lot of good stuff were either burnt, watered down, whitewashed or re-interpreted to suit the then current administrations which gave birth to short lived ideologies and religions, as opposed to following the perfect natural order of the universe. “For the way that can be named is not it,” right? 🙂

    “I personally prefer greater individual freedom which makes sense because I was raised that way.”

    My parents were born in the 1920s, they were both educated in S E Asia, never lived anywhere else, and they were individualists – definitely not conficianists. I was thus raised, perhaps much like you in America, free to choose my own paths. “Freedom is the only thing that means a damn to me,” was and is the line from Bad Company’s “Ready for love,” that’s been the theme in my life. But then there is the myth of man’s free will….

    Sure, we all make choices based on our understanding, our feelings, our likes and dislikes, and our appetites. In other words, ones will is not free from oneself! Ones choices are determined by ones own basic character. The will is not independent of ones’ nature, but the slave of it. Our choices do not shape our characters, but our characters guide our choices. The will is quite partial to what one knows, feels, loves, and desires. We always choose on the basis of our dispositions, according to the condition of our hearts.
    By saying that our will is free, we certainly do not mean that it determines the course of our lifes. We did not choose the sickness, sorrow, war, and poverty that have spoiled our happiness. The major factors which shape ones life cannot thank ones will. We did not select our social status, color, physical attributes, intelligence, etc. Anyway, I digress.

  135. hongkonger Says:

    @ Steve:

    “especially once the political leaders learned to use it to control the people in the neo-Confucist tradition. They simply ignored certain features of what Confucius said while stressing the part about blind obedience to their leaders.”

    Very true….

    “History, for most parts, is the account of the ruling classes. There was a time when philosophy encompassed almost every subject from history and physics to economics and medical studies. No wonder, lines dividing many a subject appear blurred in the works of the masters, from Plato’s The Republic and Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason to Hippocrates’ theory on medicine and Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations. Their works were welcomed because they didn’t pose a threat to the ruling classes, ”

    Cont/
    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2009-09/04/content_8655096.htm

    Comments:
    Russophile 2009-09-05 16:03
    The article is fine; Americans just can’t face reality.

    The Great Conspiracy can be downloaded from:

    http://www.archive.org/details/greatconspiracyt009196mbp

    Mervo 2009-09-04 22:21
    Op, I suggest you read a lot more history. This really is a poor article.

    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………

    As HK best known standup comedian Dayo Wong 黄子华栋笃笑 : 儿童不宜 in his “Unsuitable for children” show said of entrenched interests : “Once you understand the role of Conspiracy & Conspiracy theories, you will understand the need to constantly argue / debate about every damn thing…”

    http://www.douban.com/review/1506579/

  136. Shane9219 Says:

    Lee Kuan Yew: Treat young Chinese well

    http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2BNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_424799.html

    “As for how China could convince the world it can rise peacefully, MM Lee suggested starting with a bit of branding. ‘I would not use the word ‘peaceful rise’. In Chinese it sounds okay, but in English it sounds like you are rising like a mushroom; you scare people. Why not call it a cultural renaissance?’ ”

    “THE key to the relationship between China and the United States may lie right in the Americans’ backyard, said Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew on Wednesday.”

    “He said: ‘I tell my American friends, I won’t worry about them (China) today. You’ve got tens of thousands of Chinese students. You give them a bad time, they will go home and nurse a grievance. But if you accept them, it’s a different world.'”

  137. Shane9219 Says:

    John Naisbitt: Analyzing China on its Own Terms

    “Most of those who look at China with interest, fear, reprobation, courtesy, hope or simple curiosity, see the future and sustainability of China as adapting to the Western economic and value system. But what is the scenario from a Chinese point of view?

    With an inside out approach, explains what enabled China to change in only 30 years from a nation of poverty and backwardness to become the third largest economy of the world, beat Germany as export champion, and challenge America as the most competitive. China has reinvented itself as if it were a huge enterprise, developing a company culture which fits the demands of the enterprise and its people on the path to modernity and wealth.

    Looking for patterns that form the picture of the new China, John und Doris Naisbitt and the 28 staff members of the Naisbitt China Institute in Tianjin found what was of much greater dimension and importance than the economic rise of China: China is creating an entirely new social and economic system. It is creating a political counter model to Western modern democracy fitting to Chinese history and society just as America created a model fitting to its history, society and values more than 200 years ago.

    Economically and politically China has left the path of imitation, determined to become the innovation country of the world. In the next decades China will not only change the global economy, it will challenge Western democracy with its own model.”

    Book: China’s Megatrends

    http://www.naisbitt.com/chinas-megatrends.html

  138. Rhan Says:

    I don’t worry about them (China) today? So when LKY are going to remove the US naval base? Why not use the term cultural revolution 2? Does LKY really know China and Chinese? Ask him to shut up la, like what he did to anyone that oppose him.

  139. shane9219 Says:

    中西磨合须跨越认知误区

    “西方跌入对华认知误区

      从表面上看,上述解释至少显示,随着中国崛起,中西方摩擦日益增多,西方世界正试图从文化层面寻找应对之道。与此同时,中国近年也越来越多地注重国际公关,试图从文化差异入手,让世界更了解中国。

      客观地看,双方在进入文化层面探索的时候,囿于原有的思维和行为模式,不可避免地带有传统思维定式遗留的认知误区。以澳洲媒体的解读而言,仅注意中国处理冲突时的方式,没有看到中国对核心利益的坚持以及具有深厚历史背景的心理因素。

      因此,这样的解读停留在对表面现象支离破碎的描述;在此基础上制订的对华策略,必然流于肤浅,甚至会引起更多误解和猜疑。

      由于历史和文化的原因,崛起期的中国对核心利益的坚持显示出超乎寻常的执着;这类似于西方对民主、自由、人权的坚持。不同的只是,西方的坚持主要来自过去数百年现代化进程中对经济和个人自由的追求,以及这种追求对现代化的推动作用;而中国的坚持,则主要来自五千年文明进程的大一统价值观,以及过去数百年落伍而导致的历史悲情。两者各有合理性,只不过在中国崛起的背景下相遇,问题就以各种形式显现出来。

      为了获得在华经济利益,西方暂时在意识形态上有所让步,这样的例子屡见不鲜;中国在这方面无论是“以经压政”还是“各个击破”,几乎屡试不爽,但中国仅为面子而做出实质让步,例子少之又少。即便在方式上有所让步,在涉及核心国家利益问题上,中国官方和民间很少有让步的空间。其中原因并非以中西文化差异就能解释;若单纯以微观文化差异马首是瞻,恐怕会跌入更大的认知误区。

    三大因素影响中国心态

      对中国来说,西方世界的不完整乃至错误解读,提供了一个反思自己与西方政治和文化关系的契机。这里的中西政治和文化关系有两层含义:一是指随着中国崛起而出现的中西政治关系、民间心理和文化视角的冲击;二是在上述关系大调整框架下正在发生的中国对西方认知方式和心态的微妙变化。前者属于文化关系大调整的宏观范畴,而后者则属于中西方心理调适的微观范畴。准确把握后者,将有助于驾驭前者。

      关于东西方文化关系大调整,笔者以后将有专文阐述。本文仅集中于正在发生的中国对西方认知方式和心态的微妙变化。就现阶段而言,影响中国心态的因素主要有三个:

      一是传统文化。以儒家为代表的东亚文明以协商文化为主要特征,一定程度上含有“面子文化”的因素。但“面子文化”并非协商文化的全部含义。与西方的法治文化相比,协商文化更多强调人情与协商过程的和谐,但并不必然是人情与和谐高于核心利益。

      二是转型期因素。与中国社会转型同时发生的,是对西方视角和心态的变化。与改革开放早年相比,今天的中国官方和民间已不再仰视西方,相反时常会在不经意间俯视乃至蔑视西方;然而由于各种转型尚未完成,在俯视和蔑视的背后,依然有着对西方的认同。因此,在俯视的背后,依然是一种心理深层的仰视。中西双方的真正心理平视,将有待东西方文化秩序调适的持续推进。

      三是现实政治因素。执政党对执政合法性的追求,是重要的政治因素。但执政党对核心国家利益的坚持,与绝大多数民众因历史悲情而催生的民族情怀一拍即合。一如西方,今天中国执政党在对外关系上同样面临民意压力。这是西方必须面对的现实。准确地描绘和解读这一现实,是西方面临的挑战;而如何准确把握自身的心理变化,更为自信和自如地进入中西方文化大调整的进程,则是中国官方和民间所面临的挑战。 ”

    http://www.zaobao.com/special/forum/pages7/forum_zp090908.shtml

  140. Shane9219 Says:

    First Solar USA — Chinese solar plant expected to be the biggest –

    “The solar field would dwarf anything in operation in the U.S. or Europe. At 2 gigawatts, or 2 billion watts, the solar plant could pump as much energy onto China’s grid as two coal-fired plants, enough to light up three million homes. Like most solar plants, however, it wouldn’t produce electricity at night.

    “The potential is enormous” for projects like this in China, CEO Mike Ahearn told The Associated Press before the announcement. “The Chinese government is further along in its thinking about solar than we’ve imagined.”

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090908/ap_on_bi_ge/us_first_solar_china_2

    “First Solar, the globe’s largest photovoltaic cell manufacturer, will also likely build a factory in China to manufacture thin-film solar panels, according to Mike Ahearn, the company’s chief executive. “It is significant that a non-Chinese company can land something like this in China,” said Mr. Ahearn in an interview.

    “This is nuclear power-size scale,” said Mr. Ahearn added.”

    http://greeninc.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/08/china-signs-deal-with-first-solar/

  141. Shane9219 Says:

    Mockup of C919, first home-made jumbo jet of China displayed in HK

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-09/08/content_12017552.htm

  142. TonyP4 Says:

    @Shane, #141.

    Interesting. They must start the plane project eight days after 911. 🙂

    The planners did not have enough skill to have a feasibility study of the project, or special interest/national ego took over the study.

    It is NOT marketable. The world already has one plane manufacturer too much. Without heavy subsidy, Air Bus is not an economically sound venture.

    No one will buy these planes made in China outside China. If I have a choice, I do not even want to fly with local airlines even on American planes in China, given the knowledge of how they maintain planes. With the bad reputation of the Chinese products, I have a ton of jokes for this plane like ‘the stewardess check all passengers have bought life insurance before taking off’.

    Transfer of technology is standard in most Chinese contracts on foreign products that are high tech but not dual use for weapons. China helps to build some Boeing parts. Some major mechanical parts when shipped to Boeing were routinely stamped as Rejected – I do not know whether it is still true. It is Boeing way to satisfy the contract without making the products unsafe.

    It is just dumb nationalism for us to cheer on the ‘accomplishment’ without realizing China is wasting effort on some products they should not be in – at least for a while.

  143. miaka9383 Says:

    @Tony
    I totally disagree. I think that China is not wasting their time and effort creating their own products. China needs to create their own products and that would teach them accountability since it is their own people using the product. It would definitely enforce quality control.

  144. TonyP4 Says:

    Miaka, you’re right if the products are marketable and this one is not. I bet even the local Chinese will not ride on these planes if they’ve a choice. The investment in building a plane is enormous. It is better to invest in other products that they can make money, or at least not to lose a lot. The electric car is a good product that will be successful and there are many other good examples. Building a plane is too much for China’s current engineering capacity, not to mention its poor reputation of product safety.

    Personally I try to avoid all Chinese food products, Chinese tires… Even I love my country, safety comes first.

  145. pug_ster Says:

    @Tonyp4

    Agreed with Miaka9383. It is not that China is going to start shipping planes tomorrow. They said that they are going to have test flights in 2015 and shipping them in 2016. Even if they did well, I doubt that foreign companies will seriously take a look at their aircraft until 2020. Right now Boeing and Airbus is holding a monopoly on commercial aircraft. It would definitely be a sink or swim for this company to challenge the bigboys.

  146. TonyP4 Says:

    Hi pug_ster, Any investor only invests in investment that works. I do not see it will work for China for a long, long while. Check how much money they are wasting in this project now. Even Air Bus has financial problem with heavy subsidy. China needs to fix product reputation first. Check out their satellite launch business and you can tell the problems they will face with foreign buyers.

  147. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Tony:
    it seems like a chicken/egg problem for CHina when it comes to developing tech-intense heavy industry like airplane manufacturing. She needs such an industry to develop the requisite expertise and experience with QC. But it seems unlikely for China to have a market(well, at least foreign market) for such products because of her perceived poor QC track record. Perhaps short haul planes for domestic sales can be a starting point. Or maybe the CIC will have to go out and buy itself such capability, though obviously it will be many tiers below the Airbus/Boeing scale to start. And even then, there may be regulatory hurdles when it comes to foreign ownership.

    The Chinese electric car seems interesting. Unfortunately, the report I saw was focussed more on the business side, whereas i’d be more interested in the specs. Also unlikely that Car and Driver will be doing a story on it, in contrast with their recent issue on home grown electric cars. The Fisker, btw, looks pretty sexy. But if you’re gonna avoid Chinese tires, then I assume you won’t be an early adopter of Chinese electric cars 🙂

  148. TonyP4 Says:

    Hi S.K, there are many articles on China’s electric car which will be about half the US counterpart, which uses the same technology. The US’s MIT will be the first one to buy one to check whether they violate their patents. My friend’s relative bought a US dealership in Central US, so it will be real.

    If you’re from Hong Kong, do not miss the article about HK in http://blog.foolsmountain.com/2009/09/07/city-of-dreams-or-nightmare/

  149. Shane9219 Says:

    @TonyR4 #142

    Your view on China large plane project is both simplistic and absurd, even carries a sense of typical arrogance by Europeans. It could be tough to enter mature markets like US and EU, but you need to always remember the world as a whole is much larger than smallish US and EU combined.

    What you saw about low cost consumer good manufacturing is one thing, and mostly carried out by private business owners who want to make some quick bucks. You can easily set up a shop if you are in China doing this sort of business. This is a kind of outsourcing manufacturing business first used by Japan, later passed on to Korea, Taiwan etc.

    COMAC is producing a regional jet called ARJ21 with over 200 confirmed and non-confirmed orders, including oversea customers like GE Leasing. On the whole economic side, China has a large enough market by itself to sustain a home-grown large plane program and be profitable. Right now, C919 will be likely powered by GE engines. Eventually, they will be powered by home-grown jet engines as well.

    As a similar case, China’s high-speed rail system, running at world’s fastest speed in operation 350KM/h, uses bullet trains developed by China (with some elements license from Germany). Home grown program like these are strategically important to China’s industrial future, national infrastructure and high income job creation.

    Once these programs become mature and well managed, they will become a very competitive force in world economy. One good example is China’s ship building industry, another one is China’s emerging solar industry (you may end up buying a solar panel produced by companies like SunTech Ltd with China’s home grown technology).

    What you was saying is like China shouldn’t have a commercial satellite launching program or a human space flight program etc.

    BTW: C919 stands for C-China, 9-serial number, 19-capacity

    “China’s Large Commercial Aircraft Corp. officially named the planned passenger airliner as C919. The letter C stands for China, while 9 have the Chinese good fortune meaning for ‘forever’, 19 stands for the maximum seating (all Y) at 190.
    The C919 will be a single aisle, twin engines aircraft, and first flight is expected to be in 2016. Basic version with C/Y classes at 150 seats, and can accept standard LD for underfloor baggage/cargo. Range with maximum payload would be similar to B757 so as to take the C919 up to add another market level.

    China is taking aim at to use the C919 as a direct replacment of the B737NG and A320. China LCA forcast China alone would have a demand of over 1400 passenger aircarfts of C919 similar size aircraft by 2020. The replacment of even half the number of the current and expected B737NGs and A320s within China would make the program a success. China LCA Corp will start to market the C919 world wide within a year.
    As both Boeing and Airbus has no plans currently to replace the B737NG and A320 series, China LCA Corp. took the opportunity and wanted position itself ahead of the competition by 2020. The C919 will be assembled in Shanghai, while various parts will be manufactured by Chengdu Aircraft Corp., Xian Aircraft Corp., Shenyang Aircraft Corp, and Shenxi Aircraft Corp., all of which are under AVIC”

    http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/general_aviation/read.main/4399127

  150. Shane9219 Says:

    Here are some more info about the progress of COMAC C919 project

    “It was disclosed by a responsible person from the airliner project of Chengfei Corp. on June 2, that the company has sent a team to Shanghai to help in the design of the COMAC 919 Airliner nose. The prototype of the airliner nose may be finished as early as the end of this year and will be exhibited to the public in September next year.

    Technology under research

    Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the domestic suppliers of COMAC 919 Airliner airframe. The official contract will be signed at the end of year or the beginning of next year. Chengfei Corp. becomes one of the suppliers and is responsible for the production of the airliner nose.

    According to the responsible person, in May last year, Chengfei Corp. passed capacity evaluation and sent out a team of four to Shanghai to form a cooperation team with COMAC to carry out the research and overall design of the airliner. On May 14, 2009, Chengfei Corp. again sent out a team to form a cooperation team with COMAC to start researching the technology of the airliner nose in detail.

    The prototype

    It is apparent that there is no need to make prototypes for some components of the airliner. A 3D effect is enough for those components. But it’s still necessary to make a metal physical prototype of the same size for the airliner nose.

    Chengfei Corp. will make a 7.9-meter-long nose by the end of this year or the beginning of next year. The prototype of the nose consists of a radar cabin, a pilot’s cockpit, two equipment cabins, a front undercarriage cabin, a front service cabin and part of the passenger cabin.

    It is estimated that the nose weighs about 10 tons. It will be exhibited in Shanghai in September next year after it is finished. However, before that people in Chengdu will be the first to see the airliner nose.

    Cheaper than that of Airbus or Boeing

    Wang Wenbin, general manager of COMAC said that COMAC 919, the home grown airliner with independent intellectual property rights, was planned to be first put in use by the end of 2014 or the beginning of 2015 and officially put into market in 2016.

    It was expressed yesterday that Chengfei Corp. expects to produce 10 airliner noses every year after the initial flight of the homegrown airliner.

    The current project under research is regarding the single-aisle airplane, like the current Boeing 737 and Airbus 320. Chengfei Corp said that the price of the homegrown airliner nose would be cheaper than that of Boeing 737 or Airbus 320.

    An airliner is an aircraft with a weight over 100 tons after take off, including military aircraft, large transport aircraft for civil use and big commercial planes with more than 150 seats.

    The current market for airliners is mainly dominated by Boeing from the US and Airbus from France. China began to develop its own airliners “Yunshi” in the 1970s, only two years after Airbus. Ten years later, “Yunshi” successfully finished its first flight. But then the project for developing homegrown airliners stopped due to several reasons. China restarted the important projects of developing homegrown airliners last year.”

    http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90778/90857/90860/6671090.html

    “Comac, which has one of the largest stands at the show, is speaking with various western suppliers about recruiting them as partners on the programme. Engine makers including CFM International, General Electric, International Aero Engines, Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce have been meeting Comac to discuss the supply of engines for the project.

    Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) Commercial Engines also hopes to supply Chinese-built engines for the C919 but has conceded the first C919s are likely to be powered by western engines.

    US firm Goodrich, meanwhile, is forming a joint-venture with China’s Xian Aircraft in the hope that this new venture can secure C919 work.

    The Chinese joint-venture plans to make landing-gear and engine nacelle components.”

    http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2009/09/07/331917/aa09-comac-unveils-model-of-the-c919-airliner.html

  151. TonyP4 Says:

    Hi Shane, you totally misunderstood my intention. I’m a American Chinese and I love my country I was from and my adopted country. I just doubt the logic of producing a product of this scale.

    You and I are the final customers. Without our votes, no company will buy the plane. Why we do not want to ride on this plane? It is the low reputation of Chinese products that I made large voice all the time. No problem I’ll buy a hammer or similar products as long as it does not make me sick or cause an auto accident to kill me.

    China has a good record in launching satellites and very cost effective. However, they have not launched too many of them for foreign countries except giving them the deals they cannot refuse. If you cannot sell this technology in launching satellites, how can you sell a plane that involve so many lives?

    Without foreign orders, the market is limited even for a country as large as China. Air plane engines involve a lot of high technology and a industry to support it. China cannot build competitive car engines (even Korean lacks behind here), transmission, and emission control today. How can China build a decent air plane engine for jumbo jets? By the time you master one, Boeing and Air Buses have their next and next engines from their vendors.

    Do you think US allow GE to sell engines to China with no questions asked? If you think it is 10% possible that GE will not sell them engines, we’ll in big troubles. There are many examples that US does not approve many technology to be sold to China and some are critical to building air planes. Some have been sneaked in but it will not be too long that US tightens the control of such transfer.

    I believe China has certain air plane technology and products that they should concentrate on. China depends on Russia for the state-of-the-art jet fighters and heavy-duty helicopters that they need for the last earthquakes.

    I wish I were all wrong, but time can tell.

  152. Shane9219 Says:

    @TonyR4 #151

    >> “I wish I were all wrong, but time can tell”

    Unfortunately, you are already wrong because that time is already here. For example, some part of high speed rail project in US (still quite far away from real construction) is looking into using China’s bullet train system.

    Your problem is that you and other similar people have pathetically and habitually underestimate China’s capability, vision and resolution to power up China by our own efforts and talents. So keep your distorted image of China that could only produce stuff like hammers. LoL.

    >> “Without our votes, no company will buy the plane.”
    Vote who? I don’t vote at all. Plus, airlines are capitalistic animal, your vote don’t count there. There are WTO rules that will make Chinese plane competitive. Like 90-seat ARJ21, it locked in some US customers already.

    >> “China has a good record in launching satellites and very cost effective. However, they have not launched too many of them for foreign countries except giving them the deals they cannot refuse.”

    Don’t you know the limitation was politically and militarily motivated. US Congress made it illegal to send satellite
    (with US parts or components) onto Chinese soil. I think Obama administration will be forced to open this up now.

    >> “China depends on Russia for the state-of-the-art jet fighters”

    It is the case right now, and mostly due to urgent defense need to prevent potential US invaders. China has home grown J10 fighter jet that perform quite well in comparison to other 3rd generation fighters. China has its own stealth fighter program in R&D, not depending on Russian unlike India (even Russian tried hard to woo China’s participation).

    >> “heavy-duty helicopters …”

    US in many cases would have to contract Russian for their heavy lifting machines, right? Remember how that “spy pig” was air-left out of China in 90s.

    >> “I’m a American Chinese and I love my country”

    Sorry, you need to figure those confusing stuff out yourself. Why not just say you are American, period! I have seen some ABCs making complaint about being discriminated by whites in US, then again claim discriminated by Chinese when working inside China.

  153. Wukailong Says:

    @Shane9219: “Your view on China large plane project is both simplistic and absurd, even carries a sense of typical arrogance by Europeans. It could be tough to enter mature markets like US and EU, but you need to always remember the world as a whole is much larger than smallish US and EU combined.”

    This wasn’t directed to me, but as a European (and somewhat of an immigrant to China after all these years), I just want to point out that given the economic clout the US and EU combined, they are currently not that small. They will be in the future when China, India and maybe the others (Russia, Brazil, Mexico) have grown significantly, but right now they are anything but tiny.

  154. miaka9383 Says:

    @Shane
    So you can’t American and Chinese all at the same time?

  155. Shane9219 Says:

    @miaka9383 #154

    Good question, it is really a tricky one though because everyone has their own personal and family situation. I have seen some leveraging the best of both with good even great success, but also seen some with deep struggle.

  156. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Shane,
    when it comes to China’s aviation industry, you’re certainly of the glass-half-full perspective. I agree that, based on your descriptions, and to use sports parlance, the industry has great up-side. However, depending on your spectator sport of choice, you might want to review the end result of all the upside potential of folks like Sam Bowie (NBA basketball), Alexandre Daigle (NHL hockey), or Ryan Leaf (NFL football). While Tony does seem pessimistic about China’s investment, it seems premature to assume that the industry will (pardon the pun) be flying high. Especially when the 919 you speak of hasn’t even proved that it can stay aloft yet.

  157. Shane9219 Says:

    @SKC #156

    I don’t know nor do I play American football, so I don’t know a thing about NFL 🙂

    I also don’t Know Sam Bowie at all, but I do follow Yao Ming closely. Last time I checked, he is a top earner of NBA’s last season (after many NBA seasons with All Star level performance) and a foundation of Houston Rockets even with a broken foot. Houston Rockets could lose much of their revenue from broadcasting programs inside China as well as Chinese commercials in both Chinese and US market, so I guess the owner would have to keep Yao on his team no matter what in next season. 🙂

  158. Shane9219 Says:

    美议员提议案谢中国总裁 对中国企业走出去有何启示

    Senior U.S. Senator raised a motion in Congress to thank China Executive for going global

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/fortune/2009-08/20/content_11916352.htm

    “Recently, the U.S. Senior Senator John Kerry in the Senate to raise a motion to thank Mr. Wei Jiafu, the President of China Ocean Shipping Group (COSCO) for COSCO Group’s support of Boston Harbor and the local economy by creating prosperity and employment opportunities.

    For many people, this news sounds quite strange. First, the U.S. Congress had always showed an arrogant attitude toward China, both the Senate and the House of Representatives often issued statements on things critical of China, and how come they suddenly show an appreciation? Second, why they choose to use the name of the US Congress to pay tribute to a president of Chinese enterprises, What medicine they hide in their sleeve?

    It is often very difficult to understand American politics, at lease not able to do so with our own logic. For example the United States Congress is a convergence of ideas, intertwined with various conflicting interests. To understand the United States Congress, we must first understand that it is difficult to keep a cohesive thesis. For example, John Kerry, East Coast Senator of Massachusetts, 2004 Democratic presidential candidate , just got a visit two weeks ago by an old friend, Chinese State Councilor Dai. They had dinner together to renew old friendships. While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, West Coast House of Representatives of California, is an old “gunner” specializing with rhetoric and actions attacking and limiting China, She is also one of 14th Dalai Lama’s big “soulmates”, So far, she still got her hard-line attitude stuff. These two belong to the same party at the highest and most visible level representative of the United States Congress. So how do we know the exact U.S. Congress attitude toward China? Therefore, to understand United States Congress and its political influence, first of all we should put our forcus on “personal” level, which is first inspiration coming out this story .

    From U.S. Congress members, there are both Kerry type “known-China camp,” and Pelosi kind of “suspect-China -on-everything faction” or even “anti-China faction.” However, with Sino-US political and economic relations making rapid changes at the background, it affected the strength of both camps. As a result, two years ago we saw that the U.S. Congress awarded its highest medal to 14th Dalai Lama, but this year we found a Senate bill to thank a Chinese president of a large-scale state-owned enterprises.

    Nevertheless, the Kerry motion to thank marks the beginning of our story is still unfolding. One direct consequence of such senate motion has greatly enhanced the reputation and visibility of COSCO Group in the United States, helps promoting its business in the U.S. What are the reasons for Senator Kerry and other members to thank COSCO Group r?

    As early as in 2002, the city of Boston, the capital of Massachusetts, faced a financial crisis that may result in a closure of its port, China’s COSCO Group lend a helping hand in time to save the local port workers, 9,000 jobs, and in addition, created over 26,000 new jobs. Blue-collar workers have always been the Democratic Party’s big supporters. Local workers and their union showed appreciation towards COSCO President Wei Jiafu. That naturally affect the state’s heavyweight Senator John Kerry’s attitude. In the following years, the union actually issued COSCO President a “Creating Employment Opportunities” Award …” (mostly by Google translator)

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/fortune/2009-08/20/content_11916352.htm

  159. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Shane:
    this article mistakenly conflates so many concepts.
    First, the US Congress has in the past been critical of China for certain specific things. To extrapolate that to assume that the US Congress is anti-China in all aspects is unfounded. So when they voice appreciation when such a sentiment is due seems hardly suspicious, and in fact is the polite thing to do. To me, the fact that they can criticize in some situations, and show appreciation in others, means that their attitude towards China is in response to the circumstances, and not pre-ordained.

    Kerry is no longer running for President. He represents the people of Massachusetts. So when a company does something that benefits his constituents, it seems a pretty natural thing to show some thanks. Now, I suppose he could’ve sent a Hallmark card; but doesn’t a Senate motion give it a little more gravitas?

    Though Kerry and Pelosi are from the same party, that doesn’t mean they have to be in lockstep over everything. Tolerance of a divergence of opinion is something many countries can learn from.

    “As a result, two years ago we saw that the U.S. Congress awarded its highest medal to 14th Dalai Lama, but this year we found a Senate motion to thank a Chinese president of a large-scale state-owned enterprises new bill.”
    —this takes the cake for a single sentence containing two completely unrelated concepts. THose two things deserve separate paragraphs, rather than being separated by a comma.

    When China truly “arrives”, hopefully her national news agency will have matured to the point where they can accept a gesture of thanks in a gracious manner, without the psycho-analysis.

  160. Shane9219 Says:

    ZaoBao: 中国模式能够被围堵吗?
    Does Containment Policy Work on Chinese Model?
    By 郑永年

    http://www.zaobao.com/yl/tx090909_001.shtml

    — “China does not reject all things progressive. The success it experienced is the result of an integration of Western countries experience with its own situation. This gives the Chinese model a special attraction towards developing countries.

    It is precisely because China does not develop behind closed doors but with the open door policy to build the Chinese model that gives this model an universal appeal. From the Asian financial crisis to the current global financial crisis, China’s model of crisis management capabilities and effectiveness, has led to more and more people agree with this pattern. While the West felt anxious about the impact of Chinese model on Western’s capitalistic liberal model, but as long as Chinese model attracts other developing countries, it is difficult to put it under a containment policy.” (with google translator)

    — “Although China itself is de-emphasizing ideology, but the West continued to re-ideologize China, using a variety of tasteful ideological concepts, such as “authoritarian capitalism” and “authoritarian nationalism” to describe and apply makeup to China”

    — “On the of international relations, a zero-sum game mentality is deep among people in the West. Chinese authorities are also aware of West’s concern and unease, and already devising ways to let the West to take it easy on the rise of China. Earlier, China’s focus on the “peaceful rise” and “peaceful development” concept. Now, the authorities also put out its financial resources to engage in a construction of China’s soft power (such as the spreading of the Confucius Institute and the media “go out” strategy, etc.). However, these efforts seem not only fail to eliminate doubts by the West , but they actually enhanced their inner fear of Chinese cultural “expansionism””

    — “Another main reason that any containment policy on the Chinese model may not work is that China has always pursued an open door policy. In the ideological level as well as the level of international relations, China does not hind behind closed doors. China does not like the former Soviet Union to put out effort building of a closed group of their camp. At the international level, China has access and has participated almost all important international organizations, and put tremendous efforts to reform their own inner systems to interconnect with the world community. That is, China put an working system that other countries can interact. At the regional level, China is pursuing an open regionalism. China and other countries have established a common interacting platform. The same on the world platform enables interaction with other countries, including the West, so much so that China and the international community have formed a large variety of common interest communities. Under such circumstances, the Western and other countries will not be able to contain China as they did on former Soviet Union”

    http://www.zaobao.com/yl/tx090909_001.shtml

  161. Shane9219 Says:

    @SKC #159

    Your various posts showed you have no idea of international politics and geo-politcis. Why don’t you just read more until you got your opinions more mature .

    That earlier post was not to help people understand politics in US Congress, but to show things have changed quite a bit even in US Congress.

    So it is also a good idea for those China bashers and haters to educated themselves more, get wiser themselves and not to jump their gun so often.

  162. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Shane:
    a) let’s face it, that xinhua article in #158 was crap. Now, if you thought that article was worth something, it reflects on your judgment (and not in a good way, in case you’re wondering).
    b) the only thing that’s changed in the US Congress was that there was something for which they owed China thanks, and they issued it, as adults should. The next time China does something worth criticizing, they’ll do that too. And let’s face it, that’s more a question of when, not if. I’ll leave the navel-gazing to you.
    c) aww, shucks. You should’ve told me that you’re an expert in international politics (self-proclaimed or otherwise). I would’ve listened to your every word, even when logic suggested that they were worthless.

  163. Shane9219 Says:

    @SKC

    Okay, you’re saying your Canadians really understand US politics?

    I though most white Canadians, like some of my personal friends there, wanted to keep as far away as possible from US politics. They thought it is totally stink 🙂

  164. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Shane:
    Being Canadian has no bearing whatsoever on an individual’s ability to understand US politics. One’s nationality and one’s such understanding are mutually exclusive things.
    The ethnicity of any given Canadian also has no bearing whatsoever on their affinity for US politics.
    I think US politics is fantastic, if for no other reason that it gives seemingly endless fodder for the Daily Show and Colbert Report.

  165. Wukailong Says:

    @Shane9219: As a rule of thumb, arguments carry more weight without constant references to the ignorance or stupidity of your opponents.

  166. Shane9219 Says:

    @WKL #165

    Generally agreed. However, you have to resort to such “shock-and-awe” method to get these people waked up from their habitual bias and arrogance.

  167. TonyP4 Says:

    Hi Shane,

    You’re just a Chinese apologist (see my Letter: Chinese basher and apologist). I used to be a Chinese apologist myself via the love of my country and there is nothing wrong with that.

    However, when we grow up and discuss, we need to stick with facts and be open minded. Your nationalism just takes the better self of you. Just look at my past posts (including Letter: a nation of no losers), I never say I’m almost right and I say good/bad things about China and US as long as I think they’re facts. Sometimes they turn out not to be so. We all learn together and from each other.

    * When one says ‘you’re wrong and I’m right’ or any personal attach, one has no interest to discuss.

    * I like the smaller projects for airplanes built by China, but not the jumbo jet. We have to start small.

    * I had long posts on HSR. It is the best solution for China to move people. It beats air travel within certain distances. SH and BJ could be the longest HSR and S. China is pretty much connected with HSR.

    California’s HSR will never take off for many reasons that I posted in other forum.

    * When you buy an air ticket, you vote. You vote when you select the flight based on which air plane the airline is flying for the same destination. I try to avoid Continental Air when I know the maintenance record.

    * China did not tag into US and its puppets’ launching satellete market for political reason. You know they did not have customers in friendly Asian countries and the rest of the world. I used it to emphasize the potential market problems and the potential boycott of US selling technologies to build a plane. China cheated to get some machines to make machines, but US said ‘no more’.

    * Discrimination is not something we can discuss in a single post. To be fair, discrimination happens in all parts of the world. US has far less than most countries – I posted my personal experience somewhere here. Comparatively, Chinese are more discriminative than the regular white.

    I know many Chinese Americans forbid their children to marry black. With less racial tension in Hong Kong, Hong Kongers have class discrimination. When the rich, old guy marries a poor, young and beautiful girl in HK, they’ve two banquets or same banquet in two separate rooms.

    I discriminate to go to a black ghetto at night when I know bullet flying all the time. I discriminate against Chinese food products and tires. They’re for my safety reason and my life is too precious to waste. 🙂

  168. Shane9219 Says:

    @TonyP4

    Your world view of black-and-white is way too simplistic and pathetic. You should throw those paper caps of your invention out of your window. They don’t work on people, nor make your feel any better. Plus, they are really stink 🙂

  169. miaka9383 Says:

    @Shane
    I hate to burst your bubble…
    But you tend to approach those people who disagree with you with the same attitude by labeling their opinions and them. what is that phrase? oh.. Pot calling the Kettle Black…

  170. TonyP4 Says:

    If many tell you you’re wrong, most likely you’re. I rest my case.

  171. Shane9219 Says:

    High-speed rail system on track for 2012 to run 500Kmph domestically developed trains

    http://www.shanghaidaily.com/article/?id=413382&type=National

    “A HIGH-SPEED rail network covering 13,000 kilometers is scheduled for completion in three years, cutting train journey times considerably.

    A trip between Shanghai and southwest China’s Chongqing, for instance, would take only seven hours compared with up to 43 hours now.

    The network will comprise eight trunk lines, four running north to south and four east to west, and 42 lines overall. It will serve most major cities in China’s east, west and central regions.

    In addition, a domestically developed train capable of reaching speeds up to 500km per hour will roll off the production line around the end of next year, China News Service reported yesterday, quoting Zhang Shuguang, director of the transportation department under the Ministry of Railways and deputy chief designer of the rail network.

    The network will feature 8,000 kilometers of track designed for train speeds of 350km per hour, and the rest will accommodate 250km per hour travel. Zhang estimated that the new system will be able to carry 7 billion passengers a year.

    The four north-south trunks include:

    – A line from Harbin in northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province to Beijing, passing Dalian and Shenyang in Liaoning Province;

    – A line linking Beijing and Shanghai;

    – A line connecting Xiamen in east China’s Fujian Province and Shenzhen in south China’s Guangdong Province;

    – A line running from Beijing to Guangdong’s Guangzhou via Wuhan in central China’s Hubei Province.

    The four east-west trunks:

    – A line between Taiyuan in northwest China’s Shanxi Province to east China’s Jiaodong Peninsula, passing Shijiazhuang in Hebei Province;

    – A line connecting Xi’an in northwest China’s Shaanxi Province with Zhengzhou in Henan Province and Lanzhou in Gansu Province;

    – A line running from Chongqing, the biggest city in southwest China, to Shanghai, passing major cities along the Yangtze River including Wuhan and Hefei;

    – A line between Hangzhou in east China’s Zhejiang Province to Kunming in southwest China’s Yunnan Province, stopping at major cities such as Nanchang, Changsha and Guiyang.

    Running Already

    At almost the same time, regional high-speed railway networks will be finished between cities in the Bohai Bay area, Yangtze River Delta and Pearl River Delta, Zhang said.

    Some of the service is already in operation. On the line between Shanghai and Chongqing, the section connecting Wuhan, Hefei and Nanjing has been running since April. It has cut travel time from Wuhan to Shanghai almost in half to five hours.”

  172. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Shane:
    you are definitely well-endowed in the shock-and-awe department. As for substance, noticeably less so, with the possible exception of providing laundry lists of Chinese capital projects.

  173. Steve Says:

    @ Shane9219: You’ve been asked more than once to refrain from the condescending remarks and ad hominum attacks. I’ve collapsed all comments containing them and will continue to do so until you change your behavior. Enough is enough.

    If you want to link to another article, please provide the link and a short summary. Do not post the entire link. Also give reasons for including the link and summary on the particular thread so we can understand why it’s here. If you want to post entire articles, use the open thread page; that’s why it exists.

  174. shane9219 Says:

    >> Tests bring made-in-China regional jet closer to int’l market

    “SHANGHAI, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) — The third China-made advanced regional jet carried out its maiden flight here on Sunday, bringing the ARJ21 model one step closer to secure airworthiness qualifications from home and abroad”

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-09/13/content_12043001.htm

  175. Jerry Says:

    @shane9219 #174, @S.K. Cheung #172

    Shane, this is getting to sound pretty repetitious. Talk, talk, talk. Talk is cheap. “Show Me the Money, Shane!” And I would say the same to Boeing regarding the Dreamliner, “Show me the results, Boeing!”

    SK, this is no longer “shock and awe”. It is more like “yawn and boredom”. ::rolling on floor snoring:: LOL

  176. TonyP4 Says:

    Jerry, it is typical of large projects world-wide including Big Dig in Boston, most new air planes, Taiwan’s HSR… The planner shows rosy picture on the schedule and return of investment but they never meet the requirements. If they do not show the rosy picture, they may not have the approval of the project. It is common problem for a long, long while.

    On the other hand, China always shows projects delivered on time within budget. A lot of times, just propaganda.

    Dreamliner and the new Air Bus both are delayed. When they mention the change of the schedule, the stock price is affected. With the economic condition, the delay really does not affect anything but the planning if the buyer does not expect the routine delay.

    Air plane orders are a kind of strange. You do not really order a plane but secure a position on the queue. When you’re close to the delivery date, then you have to ‘show me the money’.

  177. wuming Says:

    @Tony,

    Actually the large projects in China have been notoriously on-time or even ahead of the schedule. Which is probably one of the reason why that Tom Friedman has been singing the praises for “One Party Autocracy” and its advantage over the “One Party Democracy”.

  178. TonyP4 Says:

    Agree as I indicated so. This is why the HSR (high speed rail) connecting SF and LA will never be materialized besides economical reason. Too many negotiations, lawsuits… In addition, they need to hire the tough and smaller Chinese folks to build railway under the hot climate. The major connections in US and Canada were done by the Chinese. However, you never see a yellow face when the pictures were taken to honor the success of the ‘workers’ in any milestone.

    However, beside cost and schedule, we need to pay attention to the quality of the project, cost/reward, impact on the environment and citizens…

    I suspect a lot of China’s projects are used to boost up the prestige of CCP and China. I do not know it is good or bad. I prefer the projects are targeted mainly for the benefit of citizens.

  179. shane9219 Says:

    @Jerry #175

    Looks like a banker has lost his patience. LoL 🙂

    ARJ21 has confirmed and non-confirmed order over 200, including 25 from GE Leasing. It has a great start given such short time of this program.

    @TonyP4

    Your understanding of real China has consistently off marks, in miles, perhaps.

  180. wuming Says:

    “Agree as I indicated so. This is why the HSR (high speed rail) connecting SF and LA will never be materialized besides economical reason.”

    I made the same argument about HSR for US northeast corridor, where it makes perfect sense to develop such a system, but won’t. I agree that California is probably worse, since it practices a more democratic (and disfunctional) form of government than the rest of the country.

    “I suspect a lot of China’s projects are used to boost up the prestige of CCP and China. I do not know it is good or bad. I prefer the projects are targeted mainly for the benefit of citizens.”

    You are on the verge of becoming an idealist Tony. It should be taken as a given that many bad projects will be built (the highway system in China, for example), to fret excessively about the goodness/badness of such projects often prevent any from being built. Of course there is a happy medium between decisiveness and excessive fretting, except that nobody ever gets there.

  181. Allen Says:

    @Shane9219,

    I don’t understand why you keep on harping on tonyp4.

    I see two cheerleaders cheering for the Chinese people to do well – but end up fighting each other. It’s like two fans rooting for Liu Xiang and cheering but ending up getting into a fight on the side because they can’t agree what the time Liu will run this time.

    If China does develop many of the industries it has deemed strategic – so much the better. If it takes longer – well, better late than never.

    I don’t see what the “fight” is about…

  182. shane9219 Says:

    @wuming

    >> “It should be taken as a given that many bad projects will be built (the highway system in China, for example), to fret excessively about the goodness/badness of such projects often prevent any from being built”

    Do you think people in China should always walk on dirt roads, and cars too? And it would make you happy to see India’s colonial era transportation.

    Without the new highway system, what would drive so many people in China nowadays to go out and buy a car. China has higher car sale volume than US this year, first time in history, even though China’s economy (in GDP) is still much smaller.

    What the highway system has been good for US economy is also good for China. With current established highway system, logistics and public transportation have made a tremendous gain, leading to a much better regional economical development and integration involving 3rd and 4th tier cities.

  183. wuming Says:

    “What the highway system has been good for US economy is also good for China …”

    I see an under-used highway system that promotes a US-like automobile culture, which in the long run is unsustainable. China (and the world) does not have enough natural resources and land to replicate the US life style for a significant portion of Chinese population. It’s not fair but it is a reality. In my opinion China would be better off to put the emphasis on mass transportation, even more so than Western Europe. I believe they are already doing that. Count me as another one of the cheerleader Allen talked about.

  184. shane9219 Says:

    @wuming #183

    You have a legitimate concern. The good thing is that China nowadays is pursuing a sustainable and balanced development policy. With a highway network, you can also a HSR network and subway systems. China has been closing down old power plants faster than US.

  185. TonyP4 Says:

    Hi wuming #183.

    Yes, China did set the priority wrong in highway and auto instead of concentrating in mass transportation. Many initial highways are planned by HK folks and HK graduates from US colleges. They’re all awed by the US highway system esp. New Jersey Turnpike. On the other hand some highways are the only connections for some rural areas to the outside world. Financially they may never be paid back even tolls are used, but they’re strategically important.

    The rail system (even with the huge numbers) lacks behind the demand. The problem is being fixed by the stimulation package. In the economical good times, some non-essential goods were delayed due to over use of the rail system.

    HSR is cost effective for China due to the dense population. Glad to see the BJ and SH line and the network in S. China/HK. Just curious after n years, what happens to the huge laborers and engineers of the railroad project?

    Airports are over-built. Again, some tourist areas are not accessible without these small, new airports.

    I would be one of the beautiful cheerleaders as Allen said as long as I do not have to show my sexy but hairy legs. 🙂

    ——

    Chinese have the following bad habit that I observe or something I read from the book Ugly Chinese. They like to boost their personal prestige by bringing down the famous folks. 🙂

    Winning an argument here will not make me famous and actually there is no benefit for me. However, if we learn from each other in debate, it will benefit each other. The world will be better if we understand each other’s point of view.

  186. shane9219 Says:

    ifeng.com (凤凰网) is publishing a serial discussion on the development of path of various countries (current and history). It is a good read from a single concentrated source (but in Chinese)

    “人生不过短短百年,任一个人的目光何其深邃,也不过看透几十年的风云变幻,甚或是泯然众人,只能看顾眼前。相对而言,一个国家乃至整个世界的前途和命运的展现,则要远远长过这个时限,甚至需要数百年的时间,才能知晓其间的成败优劣。

    即使我们幸而生为后人,如果仅仅将目光限定在一个时点,也无法看透一个国家的兴衰,甚至如果仅仅将目光限定在一个国家,也不足以理解它是如何走到今天。

    故此,我们在讲述60年来中国道路之前,先奉上其他一些具有代表性的国家道路,以为识者之鉴”

    http://news.ifeng.com/history/special/fazhanmoshi/

  187. Shane9219 Says:

    >> China overtook the U.S. as the world’s second largest consumer market of luxury goods

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/fortune/2009-09/20/content_12082221.htm

  188. haha Says:

    何清涟华府演讲:中国GDP神话如何造出来?
    何清涟所著经济学著作在中国大陆及海外有广泛的读者基础,引证的材料丰富翔实,论述严谨,其中《中国现代化的陷阱》成为学术著作中罕见的畅销书。她曾在一次采访中谈到“学者最重要的素质是要有社会关怀,超越个人利益思考一些社会的重大问题”,这使得她在严厉的共产党体制下敢于大胆直言,揭示中国改革开放20多年中存在的许多严重的社会问题,读者称誉她代表了「中国改革的良心」。

    此次论坛她特别以《官出数位 数位出官》揭示中国统计数字的虚假。以下是根据何女士现场演讲及听众问答整理。

    一、中国GDP高速成长神话

    既然用“神话”二字来形容中国的GDP高速成长,就意味著说它不是事实。中国GDP的增长一直是中国政府在国际社会百般夸耀的成就,1978年中国刚刚改革开放的时候,中国的GDP总值是3,624亿元,25年后即2002年GDP已经达到102,938亿元,已经增长了将近30倍,按照中国政府自己的预测,到2020年,中国的GDP总值将超过35万亿元,这在世界经济发展史上是从来没有过先例的,所以国际媒体经常讨论这个问题。但是在去年的11月12日,发生了一件令人惊讶的事,国务院在开国务会议时作了一个决定:从2004年开始中国要做一次全国的经济普查,从此以后不再以GDP作为衡量中国经济成就的指标。

    中国政府所说的理由是为了保持资料的透明性、可靠性,以及为了和国际社会通用的统计规则接轨,所以中国要改变统计方法。大家都是中国人,了解中国话的特点,从这一“理由”中可以读出几层意思:第一,增加透明度的说法,表明中国政府承认过去的统计资料并不那么透明,也并不那么科学;第二,以往的统计方法它和国际通用的统计规则并不接轨。

    我今天要谈的问题分两个方面:第一个就是中国的GDP神话到底是如何造出来的;第二个就是用GDP衡量中国经济的主要缺陷。我先谈第一点。

    1. 中国的GDP神话到底是如何造出来的?中国的统计资料历来分五级核算,中央、省、地、县、乡(镇).乡里是如何造出来的呢?据我所知,每年到10月份左右要报统计资料的时候,在不少地方,各乡秘书都要请相邻的乡吃饭,互相打听对方要报多少,然后回来再确定自己要报多少。一些明智的乡干部懂得,不能比邻乡高太多,太高了容易引起大家嫉妒,“枪打出头鸟”,私下里给你穿小鞋。但是也不能报得太低,太低了显得在各乡中太落后,所以每年如何报是种政治艺术,秘书打听小道消息的功能特别重要。这方面有个典型就是湖北省一个号称“五毒书记”的县委书记,叫张二江,在出事以后媒体揭露了他是如何假造资料的。一个乡里的理发店只有两个理发师,他居然报出每年的营业额是36万元,那两个理发师后来说:就算我们每天工作24小时,我们理一个头才收两元钱,一年要剃多少头才能挣出这些钱?还有一个村连一个鱼塘都没有,居然报出亩产200多万斤的数量。他那些年的政绩要么是无中生有,要么就是夸大几倍几十倍。这位县委书记如果不出事,这种造假也不可能被揭露出来。这是县一级的。

    再谈省一级,去年审判了安徽省常务副省长王怀忠,我注意到其中一个细节,就是假造GDP的问题。安徽省每年向中央上报的GDP增长是年增长22%。据安徽省计委官员说,这个数字还是他们力争减下来的。王怀忠订的标准是28%,计委干部觉得太高了,让人家觉得不真实,于是反复跟王怀忠讨价还价,才砍了6个百分点。

    省里是这么造出来的,那么中央一级是如何看的呢?中央一级心里很清楚,我借用一句流行歌曲来形容,叫做“GDP神话骗得了别人骗不了自己”。去年2月份,国家计委政策法规司司长曹玉书在接受广东“21世纪经济报导”采访时说:中国统计资料的不真实是大家都知道的,如果中央订的指标是8%,那么省里报的就是9%,到了县里就是10-12%,他们的标准是一律按照省里报的砍掉两个百分点,然后定成8%。至于如何知道水份是2%呢?他没有说。实际上也是拍脑袋想出来的,没有什么科学根据。

    阅读每年的中国统计年鉴,发现一个很有趣的现象:各省加总的GDP和各省分项的统计资料不等于中央公布的统计资料,中央公布统计资料要比各省统计资料分项加总要小得多,读一本中国统计年鉴,读得头昏脑胀。

    哈佛大学的费正清曾经有一句形容中国的名言:“迄今为止,中国仍然是记者的天堂、统计学家的地狱。”他说的“统计学家的地狱”,指是统计资料一塌糊涂,摸不清哪是真哪是假。“记者的天堂”,并不是讲记者在那儿过得很幸福,而是说中国每年要发生许多新闻性极强的事件,对于记者来说有很大的挑战性。当然由于中国政府控制媒体,中国的记者不可能做很多的事。相对来说,外国记者的自由多一些,尽管这些年他们在中国受到很多限制,还受国安部人员监控,但是他们还是想在中国作采访,因为在这个国家做新闻本身极具挑战性。这些外国记者也坚信自己的努力能使中国的人权状况有所改善。

    2.为什么要造假?中国官员为什么要在统计数字上造假?这是因为中国政府的干部选拔机制。中国政府从改革以来,放弃以阶级斗争为纲的政治标准以后,考察干部主要是考察经济业绩,衡量经济业绩的一个简单易行的指标就是经济增长率,所以中国后来形成了一种恶性循环,叫“官出数位、数位出官”。

    “官出数位”是指统计数位都是官员们造出来的,“数字出官”指的是,官员们的统计数字报的好,帐面上显示的经济成长率高,就容易得到升迁。当然升迁背后还要行贿受贿、买官。买官的价格标准,富裕省份和贫穷省份还不太一样。大致说,“买”是台底交易,表面功夫即“政绩”还是要做足,“数字出官,官出数字”就是中国官场目前的游戏规则,GDP神话就是这样造出来的。

    3.用GDP衡量中国经济发展的缺陷用GDP衡量经济发展有缺陷的,80年代中期,国际社会上就已经认识到这一点,那正是“发展经济学”土崩瓦解的时候。“发展经济学”一度被认为是研究发展中国家经济发展的权威学科,但是后来发现它不能解释发展中国家许多社会问题:比如经济发展的同时,伴随著贫富差距的扩大、政府的迅速腐败,生态环境的急剧破坏等等,所以发展经济学后来就慢慢的衰落了。早在90年代中期,已经有人意识到用GDP不能衡量社会发展。我觉得,在中国用GDP作为衡量经济发展的指标,至少带来几方面问题:

    第一:GDP不能衡量中国社会为经济发展付出的生态环境的代价。中国为经济发展支付的生态环境代价到底有多大?这只要阅读国家环保局每年的年度报告就可以知道结果,我在国内时年年都读。这个年度报告不是秘密材料,只是因为一般人不感兴趣。虽然那已经是经过修饰后对外公布的资料,但还是从中可以感受到中国生态环境被严重破坏的程度。

    比如水污染的问题,从南到北,全国以七大河流为主干,这些主干河流和支流系统的一类水已经剩下不到3%了,二类水是30%左右,三类水也是达到30%多,淮河、海河、珠江等主干河流基本上是四类水和五类水,这些水污染非常严重,根本就不能供人畜饮用,连灌溉农田都不能用,(一类水是可以饮用的水,二类水是勉强可以饮用的水,三类水是基本不可以饮用的水,四类水是绝对不可以饮用的水)。中国现在有许多大城市,尤其是华北及以北的地区都是严重缺水的地区,广东原来是水资源比较丰富的,但是现在饮用水的量也大大下降。所以水资源将成为限制中国发展的一个严重约束。

    最近《大纪元》报纸转载了国内《新民周刊》关于血吸虫的报导,谈到中国第一大湖洞庭湖区已经成了血吸虫肆虐之地,湖北省尤其严重。据卫生部的疾病防治司司长说:血吸虫病确实已经威胁到中国一亿人口的生存。这类新闻能够被报导,是由于上海的一个记者利用了地区利益的不一致,因为上海位于长江下游,而湖南、江西居长江中游。上海的《新民周刊》就登了这篇文章,原因很简单,江西、湖南、湖北都是弱地方政府,背景没有上海那么硬,所以它登了后湖南江西也无奈其何,但是在湖南、湖北的本地报纸上,就根本看不到这类“负面消息”。

    刚才我举的生态环境破坏只是其中的两个例子,至于土地沙漠化已经占到国土面积的38%,不少地方已经成了不适合人类居住的地方。有一篇报导谈到甘肃一个地方,10年前还有10多万人口,现在只剩下一、二万了,因为缺水,当地居民都纷纷往别的地方逃生去了,成了生态难民。这样的地方中国还有很多,我就不多举例了,如果大家有兴趣的话,可以去看看郑义写的《中国生态崩溃紧急报告》那本书,他的书要比国家环保局的报告可读性强一些,大家可以看看。

    第二、GDP不能衡量社会的投资效益。中国这十几年GDP的高速增长,实际上在很大程度上是靠政绩工程、形象工程支撑。什么叫政绩工程、形象工程?就是地方政府的官员为了炫耀政绩,为了给自己增添一点政治资本,投资后没有产生效益的工程叫“政绩工程”。这样的工程在中国到处都是,珠海市长梁广大一贯善于做这些事,前几年投资6亿美元修的珠海机场,一年吞吐量还不足相距不到5分钟航程的香港一个月的吞吐量,跟它相邻的还有广州的白云机场、深圳机场,同时香港又有新机场和老机场,珠海机场根本不可能产生什么效益,所以这6亿美元就趴在那里了,但是在珠海特区计算GDP增长率时,这种形象工程是算进去的。这样的工程在全国有很多,刚才张清溪教授谈到的某一条生产线,某一种产品的产能过剩也是其中之一。中国的产能过剩,我在1998年写过一篇文章《中国经济的断裂带》,我专门列举了13个大产业的产能过剩是多少?最高的是百份之六十多,最低的是百份之三十多。

    第三、GDP不能衡量社会分配。中国的贫富差距是非常大的,中国这25年改革,是以权力资本化为起点,用权力创造市场的过程。结果是产生了占总人口1%的富豪,但是同时却生产著70%多的贫困人口。近20多年来,中国城市里产生了大量的贫困人口,我在我的书中第五章“贫富差距的扩大”中,已经将资料更新到2003年,这里就不多谈了。

    农村的情况大家可以从李昌平那本书里读到一些,李昌平所在的乡不是全国的贫困乡,也不是富裕乡,它代表著中国农村一般水平。

    这种日益扩大的贫富差距引起社会强烈不满,导致社会摩擦加剧。中国农民的反抗从90年代后期起就已经很强烈了,也出了不少新型农民领袖。但是只要这些农民领袖一冒头,就被共产党政府抓起来,关到监狱里,少数人不明不白地死在监狱里了。象湖南溆浦县,90年代后期出了5个农民领袖,领导农民抗税。这5个农民领袖后来答应了政府的要求,承诺做农民的思想工作,政府达到目的后,这些农民领袖就被政府抓到牢里。工人领袖的命运也差不多,辽宁前两年就抓了好几位。

    第四、GDP不能衡量社会福利的增长。社会福利以养老金来说,现在全国很多退休工人领不到养老金,全国总工会早在1996年就做过一个调查,除了一般退休工人的生活状态之外,那个调查中还提到一个特殊现象,很多历届的全国劳模退休后的生活都非常困难。这个报告是想说明:这些具有特殊政治地位的全国劳模退休后生活都如此困难,一般工人就更不用说了。

    社会福利的另一项重要内容就是医疗保险,不少中国人现在看不起病,除了所谓的离休老干部的医药费是百分之百报销,很多退休者的医药费不能报销。农村人口的医疗条件就更糟糕了,这都是有数字为证的事实:中国的城市人口只有30%,但是占有85%的医疗资源,农村人口70%,只占有不到15%的医疗资源。

    从1984年开始,中国废除了原有的乡村医疗系统。从1992年开始,每年中央政府财政拨款500万,由各个地方政府总共筹出500万,这就是中国10亿农村人口得到的1000万医疗费用,平均每个农民每年从政府手里拿到1分钱。1分钱意味著什么?现在1分钱扔在中国的大街上,没有人去捡。这些都是根据中国的统计年鉴计算出来的。大家如果不相信,2000年世界卫生组织的报告显示,在191个国家中,中国的卫生系统总体绩效评估,列在第144位,只比非洲一些国家好一些。

    在教育投资方面大家也知道,目前中小学乱收费已经到了什么程度呢?去年中国十大暴利行业,列在第一位的是房地产,列在第二的就是中小学,中小学成了暴利行业,这可能是世界教育史上的“奇迹”。连缅甸那种落后国家都实行中小学义务教育,而在中国中小学教育却成了暴利行业的第二名。去年的乱收费达到了多少?中国政府在相隔20多天的时间里,公布了两个相差很大的资料:今年1月6日,教育部部长周济在新闻发布会上透露:去年不中国共查处教育违规收费8.53亿元。但就在2003年12月16日,国家发展和改革委员会召开新闻发布会公布:2003年全国治理教育乱收费,专项检查共查出12,600多件教育乱收费案件,违规收费金额达21.4亿元。两个部门均为“政府权威部门”,调查的专案均为“2003年教育违规收费”,两则消息发布时间相差仅二十几天,但查处的全国教育违规收费金额却差出近两倍,前者比后者的统计少了12.87亿元。两个部门的统计出现如此之大的误差,真不知该让人们相信谁。

    在发达国家,包括一些发展中国家,教育医疗都是社会福利。中国政府自夸GDP高速增长为世界之最,但是这两项社会福利却没有增长。说起来可笑,中国在教育方面的投入比起非洲穷国乌干达还要低,也低于邻国缅甸,更不用说还低于印度。云南边境小学中很多小学生,中学生已经不能支付自己在本国上学的费用,要每天走很多路去缅甸那边上学,因为缅甸那边收费便宜得多。这就是我们中国自己夸称的经济成就,中国政府总以经济强国自居,但是老百姓却没有得到多少实惠。中国这25年改革确实造就了一批暴富,这些暴富者的富裕程度可以和世界发达国家的一些积累了几百年财富的家族相比。这就是中国特色的社会主义市场经济创造的“奇迹”。

    社会贫富差距太大,酝酿的社会仇恨越来越强烈。去年长沙县委书记李振萼死在高尔夫球场,国内网友一片叫好,竟然说电瓶车是“反腐英雄”,这样的贪官应该多死几个。最近的苏秀文案件反映出来的社会仇恨,表明现在的社会精英和草根阶层之间的仇恨已经到了很难调和的程度。

    以下根据听众与何清涟女士的问答录音整理:听众:中国银行加入WTO以后,会发生什么问题?何清涟:其实中国银行系统的问题中国政府比谁都明白,1997年东南亚金融危机以后,中央政府就从墨西哥请了不少专家开了两轮关于如何化解中国金融危机的讨论会,那个座谈会纪要我都看了。从各项指标来看,中国的银行问题确实严重。按照巴塞尔协议,银行的自有资产应该占到银行总资产的8%,低于8%就表明银行已经破产,中国从1993年开始,银行的自有资产就已经不到3%,低于8%这一标准达5个百分点,所以后来政府一直说要“充足银行自有资本率”,外汇储备很大程度上用来改善金融状况,冲销坏帐,但是没有什么成效。有人形容说,中国银行系统好象得了败血症,输进去的都是鲜红的血,出来就成了黑血。

    近几年整顿了好几轮中国金融系统,但没有什么成效。去年10月,中国人民银行乾脆成立了一个金融稳定局,金融稳定局的任务就是稳定金融,研究稳定金融的措施。至于它能否达到目标,还得看一段再说。最近只听说又要注资450亿美元去清理坏帐。

    现在中国政府在整顿金融方面做的事情,主要是给国有银行赶紧换块牌子,让它们从国有银行变成商业银行。中国4大银行换牌子的工作已经做完了,今后就要到国外,主要是美国上市。前年中国银行本来要在香港上市,但后来广东的中国银行开平分行和恩平分行两家破产,银行领导层集体卷逃了几十亿美元。其中一家银行是7年以来,由前任行长指定继任行长,有计划地卷逃了30多亿。发生了这件事以后,又加上王雪冰出了事,所以在香港的上市才暂时搁置。但是现在正在讨论如何在国际股市上市,那么最可能上市的就是到美国,希望通过圈钱化解风险。

    中国政府宣传和维持中国的良好形象,确实很成功,因为中国媒体都是党的喉舌。海外的很多华文媒体也都是共产党控制的,这种宣传还是很能骗一些人。不过我相信林肯说的一句话:你可以在某一个时间骗所有的人,也可以永远欺骗一部分人,但是你不可能永远欺骗所有的人。

    至于中国银行加入WTO以后,会发生什么问题,这一点,我倒是觉得,大家不必为中国政府操多大心。我记得,当时在签WTO协议的时候,中国国务院就在开内部会议,朱熔基说:签协定归签协定,做不做,什么时候放开哪些项目,主权在我,我们慢慢地做。然后几位经济学家就专门给大家上课,讲如何在遵守条款上作文章,并介绍了几条经验。

    中共一条经验是说法国限制某些商品进口,但是法国绝对不会将这些限制放在嘴上,而他会把船只规定到某一个港口卸货,而那个港口的服务态度是全世界最差的,然后就让那里的海关人员挑毛病,让货物耽误半年或者一年还进不了关。介绍者还说这样的做法全世界各国都有,我们中国应该在这方面努力学习。诸如此类的经验介绍了很多,尽是一些欺诈经验。对于中国政府来说,学习这些经验并没有什么道德负担,我相信他们会学得非常快。以金融业来说,开放某些项目,不开放某些项目都是有讲究的,比如人民币柜台储蓄业务,目前就不会开放给外资银行,如果开放给外资银行,中国的很多存款业务都会跑到外资那边去啦。

    听众:我不是学经济学的,没有研究过经济学,所以说可能提一个外行的问题啊,刚才两位专家都提到一个环境成本的问题,就是说GDP增长的话可能是以对自然环境的毁灭性破坏作为代价的,我想请问两位专家,在国际上有没有另外一种计算方法,计算道德成本。比如说中国为了发展经济,让大家努力去搞经济,地方上甚至为了些税收,他可以鼓励下属的那些乡镇企业做假酒假药,什么有毒的米呀,瓜子之类的,卖出去之后的话能够毒死人,这种东西会对社会造成很大的成本,比如说一个人中毒之后要抢救他可能需要很大的成本。这都是人因为要发财,道德败坏之后给社会附加的成本。在国际上有没有对中国这种改革开放之后的道德成本作过系统性的统计或者计算?

    何清涟:刚才这个先生提了一个很好的问题,其实这个问题在国内已经有很多人都想过了,我记得我自己在「中国改革的得与失」那篇文章开头就说了,大家都在想,这样的改革是否值得?我们到底为改革付出了什么?

    就在一个多星期以前,北京开了一个讨论会,这个讨论会上有两个人,一个是赵紫阳时代,和赵紫阳以前的胡耀邦时代在国务院做农村发展研究中心主任的杜润生,杜老。还有一个就是国家体制改革研究会的会长安志文,就是中共元老安子文的弟弟。他们两个在会上发言就讲了,他说,改革带来这么大问题,早知道是这样,不改革更好。连他们这种体制内的人都这样说,说明不少人都已经在计算“改革成本”了。

    关于GDP,国际社会确实提出了一个“绿色GDP”的概念,专门用来计算经济发展的环境代价。我记得我在98年写过一篇文章,专门谈到,如果要用绿色GDP计算方法,那中国在20多年改革过程中的经济发展可能是负值。因为现在就算是把增长全部所得投入到优化环境中去,也买不回乾净的江河湖海,买不回每年正以一千公里的速度在扩张的沙漠化土地。

    前些日子,我从一个朋友那里得到一张卫星图片,很清楚的看到我们中国版图是黄色的,没有什么绿色覆盖在上面。那一块母鸡形状的土地,正好是我们中国大陆。这张图片说明了中国的生态环境确实是一个问题,已经危及到中国人的生存。这里举一个例子,贵州有个地方,原来山清水秀,人们很穷,但是大家能喝乾净的水,空气也很好。后来当地政府鼓动大家土法炼锌,污染特别厉害,又没有任何排污设备,矿粉四处飘散,锌粉很毒。几年以后,方圆几十平方公里的土地已经寸草不生,树木全都死了。后来这个地方的人们虽然由每年只有两三百元的收入增长到一千多元,乡里的财政也有改善,但是这个地方的人都得了病,骨节肿大,生出来的孩子不少都是畸形,他们不能再喝当地的水,必须从外面买矿泉水,喝水的成本很高。我问当地的乡干部,你们这样“发展”,值不值得?他说,对这里的人来说,首要问题是先生存后发展,活都活不下去了,所以就不讲什么环保了。我说,问题是现在环境生态这么恶劣,人们也活不下去啊。乡干部们不作声。

    面对生态环境保护,在中国每个阶层所持态度有所不同。对于富人来说,他希望有乾净的水、新鲜的空气与好的生态环境,大多数中产阶级也比较关注生态环境。但是对于穷人来说,他们的首要问题是生存,所以环境保护不是他们要关注的问题。对这个问题,富裕省和穷省的态度也不一样,富裕省开始讲环境保护,而穷省则认为发展经济居第一位。从环境生态的整体状况来看,我觉得中国现在就算是引进绿色GDP计算方式,也已经太晚了。不过保护总是比不保护要好得多。

    听众:在中国有很多人,还有包括回中国去看的人,都有一个印象,就是中国现在很富,当然你看到富的地方就很富,穷的地方就是很穷。您刚刚也讲到,GDP不是一个对经济发展很好的衡量方式,那么有没有一个其他的方式可以估算一下中国经济的财富究竟是增长了还是下降了?刚才您也讲到,在很多老百姓看来,他要活不下去了,他的希望实际上还是在发展经济上。那么从政府公开讲也是说我们要保持强硬的发展,就是快速地发展,来保持政府的生存,那么您看这个目的能不能够达到?通过发展是不是能够保证这些生存?

    何清涟:这个问题应该要从最后一个问题开始回答,就是中国政府这样做,到底能不能维持他的统治?其实我想中国共产党政府心里比谁都清楚,中国共产党每年外逃的贪官在增加,资本外逃非常严重,本身就说明了他们对自己统治的信心。资本外逃率是这样计算,比如引进一百亿美元的资本,外流的资本却达到50亿,那么资本外逃率就算是50%。中国的资本外逃率1993年以前是52.3%,以后逐年增加,近年来某些年份的资本外逃率甚至高于100%。这里是一个什么问题呢?说明他们对自己的政府都没有信心。

    国内传说,胡长清被逮捕不是因为他贪污。胡长清把儿子送到美国留学,他的儿子在国内前呼后拥,每天吃香喝辣,到国外留学当然生活要困难很多,尽管有钱,但是买不来国内那种衙内风光,于是老吵著要回去。胡长清经常要说服儿子要留在国外,有一次不耐烦了,在电话里责备儿子:你怎么这样不懂事,共产党要垮台了,我们让你到美国留学,是让你打前站,我们全家最后都要出来。但现在钱还不够,等我再挣几百万就全家都出来。胡讲电话时疏忽了一点,中国的厅局级以上干部的电话都是监控的。共产党容许你贪污腐败,容许你做任何坏事,但是独独不容许对它产生异心,对它没有信心,这就是胡长清出事的原因。 共产党内像胡长清这样想法的人不少,他们自己对未来都没有信心,只是把中国看成一个供他们掠夺财富的地方。既然这样,所以中共官员就产生短期化行为,掠夺性开采对环境生态的破坏只是短期化行为的一种。

    国际社会列了十四项指标衡量社会发展程度,包括各种社会福利,如医疗、养老制度,还有休闲,社会分配是否公正,贫富差距等等,我觉得用这样的指标系统衡量中国,就能更好地反应中国社会的发展程度。

    二十五年改革把中国分裂成富裕阶层与贫困阶层两大部分。但外国观察者总是盯住中国几个“现代化橱窗”上海北京广州深圳看,认为中国已经国力强大。其实他们看到的很有限,因为中国有法规规定,外国人到任何地方采访要申请并获得批准,有些地方根本就不让你去。我对一些外国人说,如果你不了解中国的农村,就等于不了解中国。中国的富人们确实经常搭“波音的”(国内人认为他们乘飞机如同普通人打计程车那么随便),在全世界各地往返,这些人确实相当阔气。我记得一个瑞士人跟我讲过,你们中国人很富,在我们瑞士银行很多存钱的客户都是中国人。我说不对呀,绝大多数中国人并不富,这肯定不是我这样的中国人,也不是比我更差的中国人,而是中国的贪官污吏。

    中国的贪官污吏到底有多富?不久前逃出来的杨秀珠,人还没出来就已经在纽约买了价值一千八百万美元的房子,一般的美国人有几个人手中有一千八百万美元?但如果以为这样的富人代表中国的一般发展水平,肯定错了。衡量一个社会应该看大多数人的生存状态,至少要看80%人的生存状态。

    听众:我还想问张教授一个问题,在西方社会有一个叫「中国梦」或叫「中国热」,很多人都想去中国淘金,都想去那里投资,而且有一种现象,好像稍微有规模的公司,如果你没有一个中国计画(Chinaplan)的话,似乎就是你们公司对自己不负责任,在这样一种现象下,很多人会想是不是让贪官污吏慢慢把国都卖了,反正也就私有化了,是不是中国经济问题也就解决了,那么我想问西方社会有没有这么大的胃口与财力,能够把中国真的给买下来,还有我从你讲话中可以看的出来,你的臆测大概是说中国会走向崩溃,那么如果中国走向崩溃,这些去淘金的人,又是会怎么样?

    张清溪:一家跨国企业到中国去买下一家中国国营企业,跟所有中国国营企业都卖给跨国企业这是两回事情,完全不一样。因为中国的领导者主要是想从这里得到领导权力的稳固,有些人就希望从这里淘金,当他没办法淘金或是威胁到他领导的权力时,他就不干了,所以我觉得如果将所有的国营企业都卖给外国人的话,大概就很难有什么利益,所以我觉得他可能卖掉一些国营企业,但他不可能把国营企业都卖给外国人,在中国的体制之下,我也不认为他买到一个地方之后还可以有经济利益。

    事实上,整个中国的经济利益本身就是一个假像,但是少数的企业可以在那边赚钱,这也是存在的,因为就像中国有少数人非常富有,刚刚何女士谈到中国人在国外有很多存款,我知道在澳洲现在最阔的观光客不是日本观光客,不是台湾观光客,而是大陆观光客,所以国际的旅游业最欢迎的人是中国人,为什么这样呢?因为他有十几亿人,如果有百分之一的富有人,他就有几百万人,所以想要创造出一些出国观光的人也并不困难,要让少数的企业能赚钱也并不困难,在这样的体制下要让多数企业赚钱是不可能的事情,事实上他还是一个共产体制,有一次我在演讲中谈到98年中国已经改革开放,已经放弃共产体制,有一位中国出来的学者就抗议说,他还是共产体制,整个大的企业还是抓在政府手中,所以有一天当跨国企业会威胁到他政治与经济利益的时候,如果政治上可以挡住就挡住了,如果挡不住,我相信他会煽动民族主义来对抗这样的事情,最近很多事情有这样的征兆。

    听众:中国要发展它有一个很大的缓冲体系,就是有一部份人,他是无偿地劳动,比方说去年好像是国家就报告了数值,那个民工的欠款是一千亿人民币,也就是说他可以无偿地劳动,这是一个很大的缓冲体系,那对农村好像就更大了,农村因为那些农民没有医疗保险,也没有任何社会福利的,但是因为土地是国家的,所以他还要缴税,有些地方征税,那些收税人他是收不下去的,非常穷,这样他还要组织一批那种土匪啊,就是地方上的一些流氓呀去收,他们可以下手收,有些农民你去收的时候,你可能会一分钱收不出来,还把你身上的钱都还给他。那些人他就不管这些,你要不交,我把你仅剩的那一点也给你拿走的。所以有这么大一个缓冲体系的话呢,要崩溃的话,给这个缓冲体系到底有多大这个程度上的承受?那第二个问题呢,就是中国要有一句话叫做「稳定压倒一切」。那要稳定压倒一切的话,中国有这么多社会问题,他要豢养一批人来维持所谓的稳定,人力物力呀用很多钱的,如果只是一个小地方的暴乱,一个村的暴乱,他可能派几个人或是几十个人去就解决问题了。那要是一个全国性的镇压的话,这种事情要发生的话,他到底要用多大的国力?这个有限国力能够维持多久?

    何清涟:中央政府其实从农村拿到的钱不多。从一九九五年开始,占中国劳动力总量百分之七十的农业,对国家财政收入的贡献率只占百分之十八。从农民身上刮钱,实际上是为了维持这个乡〔镇〕村基层干部系统。早就有人建议,说是乾脆把七所八办都撤销了,免得为了征税,弄得农民鸡飞狗跳,索性让农村自治,减少矛盾。但是共产党不干,因为农村一旦自治,共产党的统治神经末稍就到达不了农村,共产党担心会危及统治的稳定。

    至于共产党讲的稳定一切,其实不是社会稳定压倒一切,而是共产党的统治稳定压倒一切,这样解释,才算是读出了共产党之所以这样讲的真实含义。共产党为了达到统治的稳定,不惜一切代价,维持稳定的成本也越来越高。这些年,国安局已经渗透到中国的社会系统和公共领域,包括控制网路与监控知识份子等,什么都干。从1998年开始,国安局大换血,男的提前到五十五岁退休,女的是五十岁,全部换成应届大学生,其中很多是学电脑的,所以中国的网警现在特别厉害。至于警力呢,按照原来的每一万人可配备多少警力早就不够了,每个地方都有自己的联防队伍,乡村里有联防队员、城市里有治安公司,这都是属于一种准警力。对于中国这样的专制国家,投入的成本越高,统治稳定的系数也会相应增大。

    中国的农民其实不是不想反抗,一些农民曾经对调查者说过:“不是我们中间没有陈胜、吴广,我们还没蠢到那地步。问题是共产党实在太强大了,现在是斩木不能为兵、揭竿不能为旗,如果还是太平天国那种冷兵器时代,中国早就是遍地烽烟了。”1998年我在北京曾经碰到四川省一个县委书记,谈到他们在县里面专门成立了一个五百人的联防队,配备有重机枪、轻机枪、冲锋枪,一理哪个村里发生抗税与反抗事件,立刻开去镇压。那时社会矛盾还没有现在这么严重,现在就更不用说了。中国现在的舆论控制也非常厉害,中国发生再多的事情,电视报纸只字不提,天天都在讲形势如何大好。中国政府利用媒体颠倒黑白、信口雌黄的事情,我想法轮功信众早就深有体会。

    听众:我们知道中国现在四大银行非常出名,但是它们的出名并不像美国的Chases曼哈顿或其他的银行一样因为实业做得很大出名,它们是以坏帐出名的。中国现在大概有近四万亿的坏帐,居民的储蓄大概是十万亿左右,也就是40%左右是坏帐,我们知道这些银行的钱,是从居民手中来的,那么这些坏帐对居民意味著什么?

    张清溪教授:事实上是他的坏帐是他贷款的百分比,并不是存款的百分比,一般民间的顾问公司大概他是估计40%到50%。放款的比率是他自有资金的多少倍,因为你要晓得银行是靠存款跟放款的利差来赚钱,如果只是靠自有资金去放款的话他绝对是赔钱的,所以他要靠好几倍的放款,是他自有资金的好几倍,事实上是存款的好几倍才够。所以他40%或50%呆帐,其实这叫已经“资不抵债”,就已经破产了!破产就是说如果有一天人民要领钱,事实上是领不到钱。一般人是不会去,除非说是他发生所谓没有信用,就是说所谓挤兑,就是说传说银行要倒闭,就去挤兑。那任何银行如果发生挤兑的话,都会倒闭,因为放款钱都出去,不能马上拿回来,所以事实上挤兑,是没有任何银行可以应付得了,但是一般银行有信用所以不会挤兑。

    中国银行事实上,他已经资不抵债的情况下的话,当然挤兑他应付不了,但是不挤兑他也应付不了,因为他最终是应付不了的。目前的情况是,如果没有国外的银行,进去跟他竞争存款的话,他还可以维持,但是只要一般人对他没有信心,去拿钱出来,他马上就倒,那一般银行要倒,就会有人借钱给他,事实上资产是大过负债的,所以他可以借到钱。中国银行是借不到钱,因为他资不抵债,如果你借钱给他就等于是泡水,所以借不到钱,最终是要倒闭的。我是觉得说中国银行,因为他的坏帐是继续在成长,所以会越来越严重,他最后是一定要倒闭的,当然最后结果可能的情况,是政府就开始印钞票给他,就等于政府借钱给他,那就会造成通货膨胀,所以到最后通货膨胀会是变成一个结果,这是我的判断。

    何清涟:中国银行的贷款,确实有2/3来源于城乡居民存款,如果中国银行像西方银行一样,发生挤兑,确实有不能兑现的问题。但是在中国这种专制国家情况不一样,实际上已经有好多地方银行破产,但是存款者根本就不能提款。我就举一个例子,就是海南城市发展银行破产,破产后由工商银行接了盘,接盘八个月以后容许储户取款,但是不管你存多少,每天只能提取一千块钱,如果你存十万的话,你得排100天的队,每天去取一点。这种国家强制性规定的结果就是不可能发生挤兑。我曾在广州看到过一些人为抗议银行吞没存款的静坐,比如韶关一家银行破产,那里的存户基本上没有钱,可是当地政府不管这个,储户去广州抗议、上访都没用。要理解中国的银行系统,一定要放置到它是国有银行,背后有专制国家的机器在支撑这一点来考虑,不要把它当作一般的金融机构来看。

    另外你刚才谈到的坏帐40%,这只是一个保守的估计,因为真实一点的估计,中国银行系统的坏帐率高达68%,政府自己公布的是12%,近两年上升了几个百分点,这是在报纸上公布的,但是内部统计资料公布的30%多,还有一个更机密一点的是68%。

    听众:现在还有一种情况,就是请外国银行资本来收购中国的坏帐,现在摩根公司大概收购了几亿美元,六千万美元收购了4-5亿,其他的银行都想跟进,这个怎评价。

    何清涟:这个只能理解为他们对中国市场有自己的估计吧!因为每一个公司做去中国投资决策的时候,都会有自己的考虑。最近一位在上海外资企业工作的熟人对我说:美国商人到上海工作,现在也贪污腐败得非常厉害。而且向中国官员行贿时非常愚蠢,有时都找不著合适的物件,净向一些办不了什么事的人送钱。我问,这些外商自己能从中牟利吗?这位熟人告诉我,因为这些行贿款既没有收据又没有凭证,送100万后向母公司说送了300万,这200万就可以自己拿了。现在一些外国商人在上海过的日子是他们在本国无法想像的,可以享受高人一等的人上人待遇,可以享受最廉价的性消费。因为大批中国姑娘想出国,攀上外国人,至少可以做个绿卡梦。这种“人上人”待遇,是他们在本国没有的,所以有些人确实是乐不思蜀,有个人利益考虑嘛。

    很多人希望中国加入WTO以后,国际跨国大公司可以用国际游戏规则改变中国。但实际情况就像我说过的那样,过去20多年的经验证明,不是外国资本改变了中国的游戏规则,而是外国资本顺应了中国贪污腐败的游戏规则。譬如香港、台湾资本就是典型,日本大公司在中国都设有公共关系部,专做与中国政府的“公共关系”。我有一个朋友在深圳的三洋公司工作,他专门研究政策,和政府官员打交道。

    听众:对中国原来统计数字的增长率有七上八下之说,但是今年呢...

    何清涟:“七上八下”这个把戏我在国内听说得太多了。九三年宏观调控以前,中国的经济增长率高达百分之二十点五,最低是百分之十八点几,宏观调控以后,朱熔基认为不要太高,增速保持在百分之八比较合适,从此以后就“七上八下”地波动。九八年大洪水也说要保八。我有一位熟人在国家统计局工作,98年底我到北京,见面时问这位熟人,“你最近在忙什么呢?”他回答说:“忙什么?就在做统计数字嘛!”仅仅是增长率,就做了三遍。第一遍报上去的时候,是百分之八点零一,上边说不对呀,说保八就是八,这样接近不会太假了吗?!于是再重新计算,做到八点四,又觉得不对,今年发生那么大的洪灾,怎么还能达到八点四呢?于是做第三遍,修正到百分之七点八。可以说,中国政府的统计资料,几乎是想要什么样的资料,就能造出什么样的统计资料。

    听众:去年有这个萨斯病以后反而达到了九点一。那么您刚才讲的这个是饭桌上吃出来的,是讨价还价谈出来的,今年有什么特殊原因?

    何清涟:关于统计资料怎么造,中国政府也不会一下改变以前的工作作风,肯定还是拍脑袋想出来的。至于为什么要定个九点一,我也不知道,要去问国家统计局的官员。

    听众:如果让你出一个高招,来解决中国现在银行坏帐的问题,你这个高招是什么?

    何清涟:我没有高招。几年前人家问过我这个问题,我想来想去,告诉他们,解决中国问题确实非常难,因为中国面临的不是一个问题,而是很多问题纠缠在一起。就算是中国民主化,也只是给解决中国问题提供了一个前提条件,而不是必然条件。也就是说,民主化只会是使中国问题多了一个解决的可能性,但是并不表示中国民主化之后,一切就会变得非常好,前途一片光明。所以我认为过分强调宪政民主必然如何如何,可能有点不现实。一位专门研究宪政的学者曾到普林斯顿来看我,我们谈到中国的宪政问题。我当时对他讲,一部《走向共和》,应该能让普通观众看到一个事实,即中国是世界上立宪历史最长的国家。

    1868年日本明治维新开始君主立宪,1945年战败以后又实行和平宪法,终于成为了一个民主国家。而我们中国呢,从1898年开始学,到现在都100多年啦,名义上的宪法有好几部,但还没有实行过真正的宪政。这段历史放到世界制宪史上去看,真成为一个笑话。有时候,我会说一句很丧气的话,说中国这也是问题,那也是问题,那么什么才是真正的问题?也许我们中国人本身就有问题。不看别的,只要看海外华人三大集团(老华侨,大陆留学生,台湾人)中,不少人都被中国领馆的统战工作牵著鼻子跑,在美国批评中国政府的腐败,会被这些人指责成“反华反共”,而反共就是罪行。从这一点,就可以看出中国人本身有问题。在美国这个崇尚言论自由与思想自由的国度里生活,却还要奉行中国共产党那一套控制思想与言论自由的做法,能说没有问题?

    听众:最后一个简单的问题,就是想问何女士国际社会对中国的GDP神话有没有质疑?怎么样才能让国际社会,包括中国的老百姓更加了解中国真实的经济现状?

    何清涟:张清溪教授已经介绍过,2001年冬天到2002年春天,国际社会确实质疑过中国的GDP增长数字,但是这种质疑的声音很小。尤其是美国,目前正是对中国看好的时期,无论谁说中国经济社会形势不好,美国商界的主流都听不进去。而且这些商界人物在国会有很强的游说能力。我经常要和这些人做各种各样的论辩,这种辩论很辛苦,辛苦在哪里呢?就是这些人不看事实,尤其是一些华人学者,总是回避事实,动不动就说,你批评中国政府,是因为你跟中国政府关系不好。

    我最近写过一篇文章谈到一些华人学者用学术外衣包装一些谎言,他们用调查报告的形式宣扬中国政府的政绩,并夸大中国人民对改革的满意程度。但他们回避了一个事实,他们的调查是受中国政府控制的。我最近将中国政府控制调查的几部法规全部下载并公布,对这些以调查报告形式出现的伪学术进行了颠覆。当然一些人会因此非常恨我。

    我认为,国际社会认识中国的真实状况,一般比中国要滞后好几年,况且背后还有利益牵引问题。如果没有利益牵引,国际社会也许能够实事求是一点看中国,有利益关系在,你跟他说什么他都听不进去。我的这本书98年出版的时候,日本一家出版社当时曾经想出版,但是负责审查的一位日方编辑是中国一位副部长的儿子,他留学日本并在那家出版社工作,他的结论是认为这本书不应该出版,这本书就没出版。一直到前年十二月,才有机会在日本出版,听说卖得不错,而且颠覆了整个日本对中国的看法。

    我是这样看待这个问题:1998年日本不愿意出版,是时机未成熟。2002年时机成熟了,很多日本公司在中国投资失败,他们对中国的问题有些自己的看法,同时中日关系也由于张教授刚才提到的那样,中国政府煽动的民族主义情绪导致中日关系发生一些微妙的变化,日本人看到了一些他们不愿意看到的东西,愿意重新评估一下中国的形势。

    很多人虽然不喜欢我这本书,但无法否定一个事实,那就是这本书在中国确实曾经很受欢迎,是中国党、政、军、学、商各界都喜欢的一本书。如果要说这本书说的是谎话,那就无法解释中国读者为什么那么愿意相信一个普通学者编的谎话?这本书因为它在中国拥有的读者基础,使很多人不能否认它是真的,而且这本书资料也非常翔实。出国两年多,我知道现在在国际社会讲中国的真相,目前确实不是时候,不受欢迎,只不过做为一个学者,我还要坚持说,哪怕很多人不欢迎我,还得照说。

    一位台湾听众表示听了演讲和回答问题,感到“毛骨悚然”。他说“因为台湾经济已经和中国没办法分了,世界经济和中国也没办法分了.如果中国经济真的垮掉的话,那对世界真是太大的震动.到目前好像都没有解决的办法,大家都很消极。”他很同意何女士提到的问题根源在于中国人的问题。在供职的单位午休用餐时常和一些中国的访问学者聊天。让他很痛心的是,对方聊不上几句就说要和台湾统一,然后再讲几句就是要打台湾,消灭台湾。他认为作为学者现在应该更多考虑如何用所学之长来为这些社会问题积极需求解决方案,真正搞好中国。

    何清涟:我想这位先生的话不用我回答了吧!中国的留学生到现在已经有4代,改革开放后出来的第四代留学生恰好都是受共产党意识形态影响长大的。共产党意识形态教育的危害性,大家可以从各个方面感觉到。

    不要说道德观,对历史的认识与对国际社会的认知这些深层次的东西,就说使用的语言工具吧,我在自由亚洲电台作一个Calling节目的嘉宾,经常接到听众电话,很多反对共产党的人用的也是共产党的那一套语言。比较中国当代汉语和台湾国语,就会发现中国大陆使用的语言,都是共产党意识形态化的语言,斗争性特别强。语言这一思维形式都受到如此严重的影响,思维的内涵就更不用说了。比如改革以来中共政府奉行典型的国家机会主义,不讲什么原则,唯利是图。受这套机会主义政治教育薰陶长大的学生,也就不讲什么原则,唯利是图。所以中国的留学生到美国来,很多人都曾利用“六四”这一机会拿绿卡,拿到以后又大骂“六四”民主运动。

    很多偷渡的中国人,申请政治庇护的理由是共产党迫害他,但一拿到庇护后,态度立刻变了。只要共产党给他几十块钱,他又举面旗帜参加欢迎中国领导人的队伍。每逢中国领馆组织人对抗西藏、台湾或法轮功团体的时候,这些人也都跳出来帮凶。中国政府的机会主义政治对中国人的影响,可以从这些群体的行为方式看出来。所以人家说,最爱中国共产党,最爱中国政府的人不在中国国内,而是在海外的留学生中间。这一点我们在国内时就知道了。所以国内有人骂他们是“爱国贼”,而不是爱国者.

    一位来自大陆的留学生对台湾的归属问题表达了不同看法,他认为台湾很小,如不统一,必然会依附美国或日本。

    何清涟: 作为一个中国大陆来的中国人,我比较理解这个问题的敏感性。我想其他国家也发生过类似事件,它们的处理方式是否可以做为借鉴?美国历史上,夏威夷曾经独立过。它要独立,美国同意它独立。几年以后,夏威夷又不想独立了,还是要回到美国来,美国又让它加入进来。美国能够这样做,我觉得是因为美国对自己国家的民主制度、国力等有充分的信心。我觉得中国政府也可以这样做,既然中国很强大,很有自信心,又总在说台湾人民盼望统一,那么就给台湾一点时间考虑,也给自己一点时间,慢慢改善中国的政治状况。

    如果中国政治民主化了,日益强大,我相信那时候就是想要台湾独立出去,台湾也未必真想独立。问题在于,中国现在问题重重,矛盾很多,这个时候硬是要谈统一,而且是武力统一,我觉得时机不太合适。台湾方面现在讲独立,可以理解是种选战语言,过了选举期,也会现实地考虑一些问题,不会硬干。我觉得要解决台湾问题,中国政府与台湾双方都要做到几点,第一要宽容,第二要有政治智慧,最重要的是要尊重台湾人民自己的选择。

  189. haha Says:

    秦晖:中国是左派还是右派得势?——在中美欧学者“问题、前景与选择研讨会”上的发言
    作者:秦晖
    来源:博客中国
    来源日期:2006-9-15
    本站发布时间:2006-9-15 9:22:36
    阅读量:14913次

    前年在哈佛,一个美国学者疑惑地问:今天的中国,究竟是左派得势,还是右派得势?

    我对他说:按照你们的标准,中国如今是左派右派都不得势。因为你们的左派要追问统治者的责任;你们的右派要限制统治者的权力;这两种人在中国都被打压。但是,统治者也扶植他们需要的左、右派:他们需要“左派”为其扩张权力,需要“右派”为其推卸责任。所以也可以说,中国如今是“左派”、“右派”都很得势。

    可见今天观察中国,不能用西方语境中的“左右”眼光来先入为主。遗憾的是人们往往如此。

    今天国际学界、尤其是国际经济学界对中国认识千奇百怪,但荦荦大者不外乎三:其一曰中国崩溃论。即认为中国经济的高增长只是浮夸造成的假相,实际则是内部危机与全球化压力日益严重,难免崩溃。其二和其三都相反,认为中国经济创造了增长与繁荣的奇迹,但对此则按西方经济学两大阵营的传统学理形成两种相反的解释:古典自由经济学把“中国奇迹”归功于经济自由化或市场化的成功,而左派经济学或凯恩斯经济学则归功于“社会主义”或政府干预、管控的成功。

    我认为这三大主流认识都有严重偏差:中国经济持续高增长、在全球化中应对自如是事实,“虚假论”、“崩溃论”不对。但这种增长既不像偏左的论者那样可以解释为“政府成功”,也不像偏右论者所言可以解释为“市场成功”,更与所谓“市场政府双重成功”的“北京共识”不相干。除了低工资、低福利的传统优势外,中国更以“低人权”的“优势”人为压低四大要素(人力、土地、资金和非再生资源)价格,以不许讨价还价、限制乃至取消许多交易权利的办法“降低交易成本”,以拒绝民主、压抑参与、漠视思想、鄙视信仰、蔑视公正、刺激物欲来促使人的能量集中于海市蜃楼式的单纯求富冲动,从而显示出无论自由市场国家还是福利国家都罕见的惊人竞争力,也使得无论采用“渐进”的还是“休克疗法”的民主转轨国家都瞠乎其后。

    当然如果不对外开放,这种冲动也不会有多大能耐。但是在全球化时代对外开放后,中国由于在“专制-非福利”体制下免除了“民主分家麻烦大,福利国家包袱多,工会吓跑投资者,农会赶走圈地客”的“拖累”,便出现了空前快速的原始积累。而这种方式造成的危机,则靠外部资源(资本流入、商品输出)的增益来缓解,同时通过全球化把危机向外部稀释:在中国的铁腕强权压住自己的内部矛盾而维持表面“稳定”的同时,“中国因素”却使他国的内部矛盾激化:中国因素导致的资本流和商品流在自由国家打破了原有的力量平衡,加剧了劳资矛盾,在福利国家加剧了移民冲突,而在这两类国家都加剧了就业和公共财政困境。

    于是短短十余年间,中国制造的商品洪流般充满世界,世界各地的资本潮水般涌进中国。全球化中“中国的竞争”势不可挡,它既迫使福利国家降低福利水平,也迫使自由国家重树贸易壁垒,还使得不发达国家在吸纳资金、获得资源等方面面临更大困难。

    然而吊诡的是:由于先验偏好和信息不全,各家都力图对“中国的成功”作出有利于自己的解释:中国经济的非自由色彩令左派欣赏,而它的非福利色彩则令右派欣赏,同时它又以穷国快速发展的形象令第三世界艳羡。于是本来对现代左派和右派、对福利国家和自由国家、对发达国家和发展中国家都构成严重挑战的中国,却同时受到上述各方的称赞。然而称赞归称赞,由于上述“中国优势”不可复制(没有中国式的铁腕强权,任何国家无论左派还是右派执政,实行自由市场政策还是凯恩斯式的乃至社会民主的政策,都不可能这样来搞原始积累),而“中国挑战”又客观存在而且不可回避地日益严重,各方的对华关系从长远看都不乐观。

    而另一方面,中国的这种发展模式也在其内部形成“尺蠖效应”:“左派”得势则自由受损而福利未必增加,“右派”得势则福利丧失而自由未必增进。“左”时政府扩权却不可问责,“右”时政府卸责却不愿限权。左起来就侵犯平民私产而公共财富却未必得到保障,右起来公共资产严重流失而平民私产却未必受保护。一边“新国有化”一边又“权贵私有化”。左时“公权”侵夺个人领域却无心公共服务,右时放弃公共产品却不保护个人权利。政策趋左则压缩个人自由却并不开放公共参与,趋右则抑制民主参与却同时限制自由竞争。“左派”建不起福利国家,“右派”搞不成公平市场。正如孙立平所言:无论向左还是向右,得利的都是同一些强势者,而吃亏的也是同一些弱势者。用老百姓的话说就是“一个萝卜两头切,左右都是他得”。这样就使社会矛盾在一放一收的尺蠖式进程中日益发展和积累,而不能像宪政民主体制中那样,以左派争福利、右派争自由的“天平效应”来维护社会平衡。

    因此,中国的快速发展并没有像有些人设想的那样“把饼做大”就能缓解“分饼不公”的矛盾,而是出现了经济发展与内部外部矛盾同步持续深化的现象。过去在1989年后邓小平把统治合法性建立在经济增长上,他常说东欧垮了而我们没垮,就是因为我们经济搞得好。但是现在,经济高增长和社会不稳定同时发展的现象使人对此说日益怀疑,以至据说一些领导人开始羡慕起经济凋敝而表面上政治却很“稳定”的古巴和北朝鲜来,要学习后者的政治高压。但是这饮鸩止渴的做法最终只能导致更严重的不稳定。胡温政府的另一个趋势是值得肯定的,这就是比过去更强调公平和政府的公共服务责任问题。然而“尺蠖效应”的机制不解决,只怕是权易扩而责难问,现有体制下回复“大政府”只会形成扩权-卸责的又一轮循环。而走出“尺蠖效应”,就需要进行权责对应的宪政改革。

    而像中国这么大的国家,这么多人口,中国经济这么大的量,随着将来作为全球商品供应者和资本吸纳者的作用日益凸显,一旦出问题可能比1929年美国股市崩盘对全球的冲击更大。因此中国平稳顺利地转型不仅是国人之福,也是世界之福。而中国因“尺蠖效应”而发生社会爆炸,或因现行原始积累方式与福利国家和自由国家的双重冲突而导致国际秩序崩溃,则不仅是国人之祸,也是世界之祸。

    在全球化形势下,世界关切中国是必然的。如今发达国家压中国把人民币升值,这实际上就是中国现行原始积累方式与福利国家和自由国家体制冲突的体现。但人民币升值实际上不能解决问题:由于现行铁腕体制下中国内部不存在公平博弈,人民币升值对中国“竞争力”的抑制很容易被强势者向弱势阶层转嫁压力而缓解,因此人民币升值在中国未必能像当年在日本那样改善贸易平衡。而压中国升值反而徒令一般中国人反感。

    事实上,中国制造业工资水平如今不低于印度,但竞争力仍高于印度,显然靠的并非单纯经济性的低工资优势,而是“低人权”的优势。正是这种只要官商勾结就可以任意圈占农地、役使劳工、耗用资源的“优势”,使得中国成为举世罕见的“投资乐园”,连印度的塔塔财团也想躲开工资虽低但工会农会很厉害的本国,而向中国转移资本。何况其他?

    显然,中国的“优势”既不在于其市场更“自由”,也不在于其国家更“福利”,而就在于其更专制。笔者反对专制的态度众所周知,但从来不以“专制妨碍经济增长”为理由。事实上,专制“刺激”经济增长,在非市场条件下有斯大林和纳粹德国的例子,在市场条件下也有近代早期中东欧“二度农奴化”使商品性农业大发展的例子,而美国经济史家福格尔的研究也表明,内战前美国南方奴隶制经济的“效率”不亚于、很可能还“优于”北方自由经济。但是专制仍然应当反对,这不仅由于其不人道,也由于这种“效率”的畸形。别的国家不说,中国今天靠“低人权优势”在全球吸纳资本、输出商品而形成惊人的高额“双顺差”,不仅让别国头疼,中国一般人民又能得益多少?超廉价的劳力、土地、资源付出,形不成有效进口需求,只换来巨额的“绿纸”(帐面美元)。中国人埋怨美国开动印钞机就卷走了咱们的血汗,美国人埋怨中国的廉价货砸了他们的饭碗,而一旦美元狂贬,美国完了,我们的血汗也白搭了。

    所以,改变这种状况,不仅是别人希望的,也是我们中国公民希望的。但是逼中国升值人民币改变不了它。只有帮助中国改善人权,尤其是维护工农的权益,才能改变这种状况。在市场经济全球化之际如果没有人权的全球化,“全球化”确实可能带来弊病乃至灾难。而消除了“低人权优势”后,中国不可能维持如今的原始积累方式,靠官商勾结压制工农吸引投资输出廉价商品来扩大“双顺差”的“竞争力”将大打折扣。对福利国家和自由国家体制的冲击也将减少。

    那么中国经济还能如此高速地增长吗?或许不能了。但是这种畸形的高增长真那么值得维持下去吗?到了不可持续、难以为继时内外危机爆发不更危险吗?印度与民主转轨国家的成就都表明,没有了“低人权优势”,中国作为发展中国家仍然会保持一定程度的低要素成本优势(只是不会被人为压低得那么离谱)。加上体制改善与中国人勤奋而富于创造性的特点,中国经济度过转型期危机而保持合理的增长速度是完全可以预期的。当然可能没有现在“快速”,但增长效益的内部与外部分配都会比如今合理,内外关系会比现在和谐,而给中国与世界人民带来的福利增进更会远胜于如今。

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