Sep 16

Censored again – probably by Raj

Written by guest on Wednesday, September 16th, 2009 at 6:25 pm
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rolf Says: September 12th, 2009 at 5:46 pm
rolf, you’ve been warned against thread-jacking and off-topic nonsense before.
Post deleted (probably by Raj)

I think this is quite serious. In a way I am warned that if I mention CIA/NED once more, I will be banned. The person(s) who is doing this wants probably the discussion on Xinjiang to focus on the contradictions between Hans and uighur, which will make Hans the main culprit and harm Chinas unity.

In my opinion it is impossible to have such strong and cruel riots as in Xinjiang and Tibet, without a strong organization and outside backing and training. Ordinary people just don’t kill, invalidize and hurt so many in such a short time. It can only be done by trained killers. The main culprits are Al-Qaeda, some Istanbul based Big-Turkey-organizations and CIA/NED. CIA is the most plausible. If you look at www.ned.org you can see that CIA supports the Xinjiang and Tibet separatists economically. If you listen to or read http://www.voa.gov the link to the American government is strengthened a lot. The same if you read http://www.uyghurcongress.org

It has been very alarming to look at some of the You Tube videos from the riots in Tibet and Xinjiang – where you can see how well-trained and focused some of the rioters are.

I am now not allowed to mention CIA in connection with Xinjiang. I protest this censorship. The person(s) who censor these views are not at all deserving their administrator responsibility.

Fools Mountain is indirectly and unintentionally supporting separatism by suppressing views about imperialism. I felt this at once when I first looked at your site about a year ago. It is a bit sad because you are the only “Western” site on the internet which is positive about China. In a way by your administrator policies you are leading the discussion astray.

Regards Rolf

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36 Responses to “Censored again – probably by Raj”

  1. Raj Says:

    Rolf, you can write just about whatever you like in these letters or on the Open Thread, providing it’s about China and doesn’t break the blog rules. You can write on the CIA and China to your heart’s content.

    However, if you want to post on someone else’s thread you have to show them respect rather than try to interpret the blog rules in the narrowest sense possible. If you’re repeatedly asked by a thread author not to post what he/she considers off-topic material (especially if it’s the same subject that you raise on multiple threads), why are you going to ignore them and carry on regardless? Whether or not it’s intentional, it can be considered thread-jacking. So why don’t you give the thread author some leeway, rather than push him/her to the limit?

    Remember, this is a privately-run website. If you have a problem you need to talk to the admin – it’s his baby. Did you do that?

  2. Wukailong Says:

    @Rolf: These policies were put into effect because the discussion here went awry a couple of times. This blog is a collaborative effort and most people want the discussion to be civil. That being said, if you see a connection between NED and what happened in Xinjiang, and you wrote it in a thread on the same subject, I do not see why your comment should have been deleted. Since I do not know the exact reasons, I will not make any judgement.

    It would be better to collapse comments instead of deleting them. That way everybody else can check if the reasoning is valid.

    Also, separatism and imperialism isn’t necessarily linked. Sometimes separatists are against imperialism, you know.

  3. S.K. Cheung Says:

    “In a way I am warned that if I mention CIA/NED once more, I will be banned.”
    “I am now not allowed to mention CIA in connection with Xinjiang. I protest this censorship.”

    —good god, when will the whining stop. Have people no shame? Besides, if either of those statements were even remotely true, this post would already have been suppressed, and Mr. Rolf will no longer be seen in these parts. Since I’m writing this entry, the post has survived the redacting…so far. And if Mr. Rolf does emerge again, hopefully it will be the less petty form of himself.

  4. Wukailong Says:

    Hmm, I just realized that there is no established link between

    (A) NED finances the world Uyghur congress


    (B) Rioters are well-trained killers.

    Rolf, you’ll need to establish a link between the people training the rioters, otherwise you can only guess. (This is only keeping in line with what you wrote – whether the rest of what you say is right or wrong, I can only guess as well)

  5. pug_ster Says:


    First of all, it is well known that NED, Kadeer, and the World Uyghur Congress are interlinked together.


    Second, take a looking at China’s website about the link between those well trained killers. Of course, you don’t believe it



  6. Wukailong Says:

    @pug_ster: Let’s see, I never said that NED, Kareer and the congress did not have a connection. I just said that there was no link between that and the other thing.

    “Of course, you don’t believe it”

    Your telepathic powers are attuned to the wrong person. Please have a look at what you’re using right now and consider changing it, thanks. If the information you linked to is correct, then you’ve actually established the connection I said was lacking above.

  7. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Pugster:
    “Of course, you don’t believe it”
    —that’s a good one. In 6 words, you’ve crystallized the entire divide that is well-demarcated on this blog (and others, I presume). I, for one, don’t believe CCTV as far as I can throw them. You, on the other hand, are happy to go with them hook/line/sinker. To bridge the divide, people would have to meet somewhere in between. People like you would have to believe them less, and people like me would have to believe them more. That’ll be the day…

  8. Charles Liu Says:

    Rolf, I don’t see why you can’t write that, as it relates to Xinjiang. You are writing about Xinjiang, not the NED.

    I fail to see the reason, other than censorship with ideological bent – I mean UFO landing in China is still about China. If an editor exhibit certain behavior consistently, maybe it’s time for Admin to do something about it.

  9. Raj Says:

    If an editor exhibit certain behavior consistently, maybe it’s time for Admin to do something about it.

    Yes, it would be nice if he stopped rolf spamming my threads.

  10. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Charles,
    tomorrow’s weather forecast in Xinjiang would also relate to Xinjiang. The question isn’t whether something is related to Xinjiang; it’s whether something is related to the theme of the post where it is being offered.

    Yes, a UFO in China is certainly about China, but it wouldn’t be very relevant unless it was mentioned in a post about UFO’s in China.

  11. Allen Says:


    This is an important issue you brought up.

    When I first joined FM, people were free to discuss whatever people want in the comments. I personally let people discuss whatever they want – even if some times I wonder if anyone read my post! 😉

    Since then, we’ve invited many other authors / editors to join us. And I’ve read seen comments edited / collapsed / deleted because they were considered illogical, ad homenim, outside the scope of discussion, etc.

    FM is not Allen’s blog – so here I’m only speaking for myself.

    The funny thing about this type of censoring / paternal guidance is that the time when things are “illogical, ad hominem, outside the scope of discussion” etc. may be precisely the time that truly interesting, meaningful discourse can happen, in my opinion.

    For example, when someone finds someone else “illogical,” it is probably more symptomatic that the two sides are not communicating rather than that something inherently “illogical” really is said. Let’s face it, few people here are truly moronic. I think the IQ of people here are truly amazing. Thus, when something seemingly illogical is said, it’s high time to try to reach out and understand each other – not time to delete and censor. At the very least, we should allow each side to articulate to everyone’s heart’s content and let the readers judge by themselves.

    The same thing can be said when someone feel another is on a topic that is “out of scope.” The moment when something “out of scope” is said is probably more indicative of lack of communication rather than someone not deserving a place in the comment section.

    Even when people accuse people of ad hominem attacks, much can be gained if people can be allowed to continue to debate.

    For example, I’ve had people answer my argument by saying – oh that’s just CCP propaganda – or that’s just the party line. I’ve had people respond to my argument by saying – but Allen you don’t live in China or Taiwan – you can’t appreciate the oppression people face under the CCP or KMT.

    Come to think of it, these are all really just ad hominem attacks. An argument becomes automatically bad because it is consistent with the CCP or the KMT position – because CCP or KMT might have similar views? Nevertheless, I don’t call them out. I let people speak their minds…

    In the end, I am just a commenter here. I don’t claim to stand for the truth nor did I sign up to be a judge here. I’m grateful that I can be passionate about many issues, and that I currently (for now at least) have the opportunity and drive to comment here …

    I personally would limit censoring people to when people attack each others’ integrity, question people’s personal motives, or spam the thread with advertisements, etc. I understand we are all humans – with many views that are imperfect, diverse, contradictory, yet insightful all at the same time. I’d prefer to keep this forum an organic place where all can have some opportunity to discuss, debate, fume, and vent as each sees fit…

    But that’s just my two cents…

  12. Raj Says:

    I personally would limit censoring people to when people attack each others’ integrity, question people’s personal motives, or spam the thread with advertisements, etc.

    So, Allen, you think the conduct rule on staying on topic is optional?

  13. Shane9219 Says:

    @Raj #12

    Raj got remember this: unfairly attack on China as a nation or people is far more insulting than on any individual !

  14. Allen Says:

    @Raj #12,

    When the rules were promulgated and circulated internally for review, I raised the issue that I had problem with these types of restrictions.

    I was overruled…

    The admin wanted all us authors to help run the site since having the admin do that all the time is too great a burden on admin. Since we are going to have various people run the site, we might as well have stated policies.

    I am lax about those policies, while others aren’t. In the mean time, admin has decided to give all of us great leeway on writing / running this site the way we see fit. It’s an on-going experiment…

    My comment in #11 is just a personal comment. It’s as much for rolf as for admin, you, … as well as everyone else on this board – including those who overrode my thoughts last time! 😉

  15. admin Says:

    Just to make it clear, our internal consensus is to not delete off-topic comments but merely collapsing them. With that said, I don’t want to deprive individual authors the leeway to moderate their own threads, although moderators should be aware that damage and distraction caused by deletion are often greater than those deleted comments.

  16. Charles Liu Says:

    Yes, I would support going back to collapsing, instead of deleting. Let the “marketplace” sort itself out instead of this “paternal” stuff some here have accused the CCP of – how ironic.

    SKC @ 10, read rolf’s complaint again, it was a thread about UFO (or Xinjang, where Uyghurs live)

  17. Steve Says:

    I suppose I ought to chime in here since I am the strictest when it comes to enforcing the rules. During the discussion, my position was that I’d enforce whatever rules were agreed to. I can’t see having rules that no one adheres to. The most important aspect would be consistent enforcement. So that’s why I…

    Delete for profanity, though I’ll edit if the commentator is new to the site and let them know it’s inappropriate. I used to edit until I got tired of being a babysitter. People use profanity because they’re too lazy to find a more appropriate word. If you don’t like to be deleted, don’t use profanity. Easy…

    Delete for racist words. There is no excuse for racist words, they serve no purpose and I’m damned if I’ll be gentle with bigots. If you’re a bigot, I’m sure you can find many other websites that would welcome you. This one does not want you or your opinions.

    Delete ad hominum attacks that blatantly insult individuals, races or cultures.

    Collapse normal ad hominum attacks. If someone is doing it on a regular basis, they’ll be warned and if the continue, sent to the moderation queue. Again, I’m not a babysitter.

    Collapse extremely off topic posts though as time goes on after a post has been published, I get far more lenient on this. As Allen said, some of our best discussions have been off topic posts but these usually occur well into the life of a post. It’s rude to the post author to go off topic right away.

    I always prefer to collapse rather than delete.

    I always give reasons why I delete or collapse so if you don’t see a reason, it’s not me. I’m tougher on my own threads than on others, which are more under the control of the post author. I’m very tough on cultural threads, which aren’t political and meant to be a time where everyone can just relax and get along.

    If two people get into a back and forth exchange as SKC and R4K used to do, it just clutters up the post, making it difficult for most of our readers to follow the actual topic. That is being disrespectful to both the topic author and the vast majority of readers. Remember, most people who visit this site are lurkers who don’t comment. Their sensibilities are just as important as yours. The point of rules is to keep the discussions civil.

    If the rules change, then I’ll enforce whatever the new rules are. In the past, we’ve tried to give more leeway but certain individuals kept pushing the boundaries and moving the line. When the line was set, we received a lot of thanks from various readers. Not everyone wants to read profanity, insults, long articles that are irrelevant or without any comment as to why they are relevant, or read conspiracy theories in every thread.

    I also find it ironic that so many who support government political censorship in China do not support any kind of civil etiquette rules on this blog.

  18. Raj Says:

    Shane (13)

    Raj got remember this: unfairly attack on China as a nation or people is far more insulting than on any individual !

    I might agree with you if I was sure what you meant.

    As for deleting versus collapsing, rolf has only himself to blame. If he’d taken heed the first time his posts got collapsed there would have been no need to delete anything. But because he kept posting the same old garbage time after time I had to do something to get his attention.

    Equally if people ignored collapsed comments I wouldn’t need to delete anywhere as often as I do (which isn’t that often anyway). But because someone always decides to pour fuel on the fire sometimes I have to stamp it out – especially because there are always some people who try to uncollapse comments I’ve marked.

    Of course I did suggest that only moderators be able to vote on comments so that collapsed comments stayed collapsed, but the majority were against that. So perhaps they should consider what’s worse – deleting off topic comments or taking away a non-critical feature for visitors to the blog.

    If there was voting, I would prefer a system like they have on the Guardian website where you can only recommend a post (and not “unrecommend” it). Ordinary visitors have no role in moderation, so you don’t get people ganging up on others to censor their posts.

  19. Steve Says:

    @ Raj: You might want to check the Open Thread and admin #113. Your wish has come true.

  20. Charles Liu Says:

    Steve, as you have said one editor’s “threadjacking” is another’s “thread progression/running its course”. To delete stuff one doesn’t like, or stamp out discussion an editor does not want to see, is un-FM IMHO.

  21. Steve Says:

    @ Charles: As editors, we have to make editorial decisions. That’s the purpose of having editors. Having said that, I don’t delete for off topic posts, I just collapse them. The one request I’d make is that when you post a link, tell everyone why you posted it. Too often people post links with no comments that don’t have any relevance to the thread topic as far as others can see. But if you include excerpts and your reasoning, then the relevance can be judged. Not including a reason for linking is just being lazy. This is my method; I can’t speak for the other editors.

  22. Raj Says:

    Steve (19)

    I didn’t hear about that, thanks for letting me know. Hopefully when I collapse posts now they will stay collapsed. 😉

  23. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Charles #16:
    as I said, Rolf may as well have given us the weather report. It was a thread about Xinjiang…that much has already been stipulated. But it wasn’t a thread about the weather in Xinjiang.

  24. Charles Liu Says:

    Not quite, SKC – rolf was talking about who possibly could be underwriting and fomenting unreset in Xinjiang, in a threat about Xinjian. That’s what Steve called “thread progression”. If any editor wants to pull PKD type stuff on reader comment, they should be an editor over at PKD.

  25. Raj Says:

    rolf was talking about who possibly could be underwriting and fomenting unreset in Xinjiang, in a threat about Xinjian

    The thread wasn’t about who is formenting unrest in Xinjiang. You can claim rolf was legitimately “progressing” the thread, but in that case people could post what they like and the off-topic rule would be a joke. If I write a post I have the discretion to decide what’s threadjacking, just as Allen, Steve and the others have the discretion on theirs. That’s a simple fact – complaining won’t change that.

  26. Steve Says:

    @ Charles & Raj: What makes a comment interesting to our readers, including most of the commentators? It’s when it brings something new into the discussion. Unfortunately, the whole CIA/NED thing has been argued “ad nauseum” on this blog in a series of posts, so there’s nothing new when that claim is brought up. And whenever it IS brought up, it’s always on a simplified basis and never has any depth to it. If an author wants to keep out an oft repeated remark that is related to the topic post in only the vaguest way, I don’t have a problem with that so I’d side with Raj here.

    If CIA/NED is that important to Rolf, he can write it up in a Letter that I’m sure will get comments. But if he decides to write it up, he ought to provide a lot more information than has been provided in the past so there’s something new to discuss. If it’s the same ol’ thing, I doubt it’ll generate much interest.

  27. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Steve:
    “If it’s the same ol’ thing, I doubt it’ll generate much interest.”
    —the topic itself certainly won’t (well, with a few notable and routine exceptions) but a discussion about any potential relevance of said topic certainly has.

  28. Charles Liu Says:

    Steve, I disagree – who could possibly fomenting violence in Xinjian in a thread about Xinjiang unrest is on-topic.

  29. Steve Says:

    @ Charles: The unrest in Xinjiang was obviously fomented by the Uyghurs who participated. Unless you can provide new information that shows a link to the UWC rather than an accusation that there is a link, there’s nothing new to add here. It’s been talked about over and over again in a variety of threads. In fact, you brought it up just as the riots were being reported and accusations were made by the CCP that the UWC was involved. At that time it was very relevant.

    Where is the phone recording of the conversation that proves this link? I haven’t seen it. What did Rolf bring to the table that was new information? Like I said before, this topic has been discussed “ad nauseum” in past threads.

    On the other hand, if you or Rolf could bring something new to the party, then I’d say it is entirely relevant. I just haven’t seen that and since it’s Raj’s thread, he has editorial control.

  30. Allen Says:

    @Steve #29, Raj in general,

    This is just food for thought…

    I am guessing that if rolf, Charles, or others had provided some “additional evidence” that the riots were fomented by outside forces, such “evidence” would be considered on-topic…? I am assuming so because I know that if we do know for a fact (verified by me riding my trusty time machine model 9000 here) that the events were truly foreign instigated, such evidence would be highly relevant and “on-topic.”

    If so, I suggest that the issue we have here is not whether rolf or Charle’s references were off-topic or on-topic – but whether it’s novel or not – credible or not – interesting enough or not – etc.

    If we can agree on this, we can then think about how much editorial control we want to exert based on the basis of whether something appears to be novel, credible, interesting, or otherwise…

    I personally think that doing so would be exercising too much control.

    Remember this site is created for people to blog about China. This means accommodating all sorts of perspectives voiced on China. I know for a fact that many people in China (or even abroad) believe the riots were foreign instigated. Yes, perhaps some of these people are deluded by CCP propaganda, but I think that if this is a perspective shared by many, we should allow that perspective to be expressed here.

    Of course, if a moderator truly feels the evidence given is not new, not credible, and just not conducive to the discussion being pursued, the moderator should point it out – and perhaps challenge the commenter for more… (Raj probably did do so in the original thread, I don’t remember; I’m just making this as a general point.)

  31. Raj Says:


    Remember this site is created for people to blog about China. As we discussed informally before, this means accommodating all sorts of perspectives voiced on China.

    Exactly, and at the time I was doing the blogging. If rolf wants to write a letter, he can. Otherwise he should let me blog on a perspective as I see fit – just because he doesn’t like it doesn’t mean he has a right to try to derail the discussion.

  32. Charles Liu Says:

    Allan @ 30, “I personally think that doing so would be exercising too much control.”

    I agree. Commenting about possible foreign involvement, credible or not, is still on-topic. People are free to ask Rolf to back up his claim. To deny general readership this exchange is un-FM.

    Steve @ 29, “since it’s Raj’s thread, he has editorial control.”

    I disagree. Once an article is submitted to FM it belongs to the readership; reader comment, I hope, is not subject to any writer’s notion of “fitness”. Reader conduct, similarily, does not belong to any writer, but the moderation policy.

    Alas, editors should not be allowed to moderate their own post, as suspecion of/appearant conflict-of-interest has surfaced in this example.

  33. Raj Says:

    Charles (32)

    I disagree. Once an article is submitted to FM it belongs to the readership

    Why? I haven’t signed any such agreement, nor been told of such conditions. Steve is right that policy is that people who writes articles have editorial control. If you want to change that, you can try. But that doesn’t change the fact that it is policy.

    suspecion of/appearant conflict-of-interest has surfaced in this example

    Unless an author didn’t want me to act in such a way, I would moderate other’s articles no differently than I have done on my own.

  34. Steve Says:

    Allen brings up a fair point and I want to make sure I am not misunderstood. He is correct to say that if Rolf had brought up some new evidence to show that there was outside involvement in the riots, or proof that the UWC was involved, such as making the recording of Kadeer’s phone call to her brother public, something like that, then regardless of how often it had been mentioned in the past, it would have been relevant and fair to include it. If there was no evidence but no one had talked about outside influences for a long time, then I think it’s also fine to include it.

    But that’s not the case. The charge of UMC involvement, NED financing the UMC, etc. has already been discussed in previous threads, the NED has been brought up endlessly, so in that case I have no problem with Raj drawing the line. There’s nothing in Rolf’s post that hasn’t been said over and over, and mostly by Charles. Charles, I know you have an interest in this particular subject, but why not give it a rest for awhile?

    Raj does have editorial control but only to a point. Any editor can step in and delete or collapse a comment. We just exercise far more restraint when it’s not our post. The key to Raj’s editorial behavior is that he edits in accordance with the blog rules and that all the editors enforce the rules in the same manner, so there is consistent application and everyone knows what is allowed and what is not. If enforcement is inconsistent, we have internal discussions to make sure everyone gets back on track.

    Comments do not belong to the readers if the comments break the blog rules. The final arbiter of this blog is admin. If he feels that rule enforcement needs adjustment, then we’ll adjust per what he says. I have great respect not only for his judgment but for the way he runs this blog.

  35. Charles Liu Says:

    Steve, don’t you think the FM readership, which you are part of, should be able to have the “give it a rest” exchange in the comments, as it progresses? To deny the readership this exchange is un-FM IMHO.

    And now Rolf’s comment is deleted, short circuting any possiblity of discussion. Raj claims comment should be “as I see fit”, how ironic his consistent critique of China is authoritarianism…

  36. Steve Says:

    @ Charles: Fair question. As I said before, personally I would not have deleted Rolf’s comment or any comment of that type. I only delete for profanity, racist comments and really nasty ad hominum attacks. I collapse for everything else so the comments are still available if anyone wants to read them. In the past, threads have been bogged down by back and forth exchanges, usually between two commentators, on exactly this type of thing. We received many comments that readers did not like searching through these, which tend to go on and on. Some just ignored the thread at that point, which does a disservice to the thread author and the readers interested in that subject.

    I’m sure Raj has read your objection along with Rolf’s and will take that into consideration in the future.

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