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Jan 31

China-US relations at all time low?

Written by guest on Sunday, January 31st, 2010 at 1:29 pm
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About 5 months ago, Jon huntsman was interviewed by Wall Street Journal and seems positive to bring China-US relations to the ‘next level’ as mentioned in my piece here.

http://blog.foolsmountain.com/2009/09/03/jon-huntsman-challenges-in-china/

January was a bad month between China-US relations. First there was the google incident. Then the US announced the $6.4 billion in arms to Taiwan. Now China wants the beloved panda Tai-Shan back (I’m kidding about the Tai-Shan part.) Though the arms sales seems to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. If you go to Chinadaily’s website, there is no less than 10 articles and opinions about this spat.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2010-01/31/content_9403246.htm

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2010-01/30/content_9403150.htm

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2010-01/31/content_9403410.htm

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2010-01/31/content_9403263.htm

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2010-01/30/content_9402488.htm

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2010-01/30/content_9403154.htm

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2010-01/30/content_9403095.htm

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2010-01/30/content_9402570.htm

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2010-01/29/content_9400604.htm

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2010-01/29/content_9398008.htm

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2010-01/29/content_9400580.htm

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2010-01/29/content_9395670.htm

It is strange that most European countries seems to be non-involved in this issue between the 2 countries, but I can safely say that Huntsman career as a diplomat in China is largely a waste.


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142 Responses to “China-US relations at all time low?”

  1. pug_ster Says:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35167044/ns/world_news-washington_post/

    Noticed a post here in about this. This has gotten Washington worried.

  2. jxie Says:

    Even if only start counting from the establishment of the formal diplomatic relationship (nothing can be lower than the Korean war era), now isn’t close to be as low as:

    #1. post 6/4
    #2. the 1996 standoff during the ROC/Taiwan election

    On a related note, Paulson’s upcoming memoir could be an interesting read. Based on the preview, he indicated that,

    * Russia invited China to dump Fannie/Freddie bonds, which likely would create even scarier panic in the market, and China refused.
    * He blamed the Lehman collapse on the UK authorities.

  3. pug_ster Says:

    You’re right. I guess I should re-iterate that perhaps that it could be the low point within the last 10 years. Interesting thing about Russia urging China to sell its bonds…

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=afbSjYv3v814

  4. Dragan Pavlicevic Says:

    Why would EU countries be involved? They do not sell weapons to China and do not have security interests in the region (and anyway they are absorbed in their own internal negotiations for most of the time) that they view the relation with China mostly in economic terms; politically only where it is closer to home (for instance critique of China’s role in Africa and subsequent proposal for triangular cooperation there).

    As Washington post article you linked notes, when EU tends to get political – on issues like Tibet or human rights – there are retaliatory moves from Chinese side so that everything falls back to normal very quickly.

    EU suffers from the lack of the strategic engagement strategy toward China, and so does China toward Eu. Basically, there are not too many areas of common interest and that could serve as the basis for a strong and active relationship. Even when EU and China are brought together on global stage their interests mostly diverge, as demonstrated in Copenhagen or more broadly, on the issue of human rights etc. So only economy stays that links the two – and two parties have been very successful in keeping it separated from / giving them advantage to other, political issues.

  5. Dragan Says:

    Looks like my previous comment got lost along the way…hopefully, only in spam box

    other thing about the Washington post article is how conveniently it places the arms deal story into “china threat” narrative. Hey hold on…It is actually US that sold weapons to Taiwan. While I am not sure how significant reinforcement the new equipment is for the Taiwanese army, but still, it is an obvious departure from the “sino-us joint communique” from 1982. And, after all, it is US that is far from its shores and that encircled China, not the other way around.

  6. FOARP Says:

    Yawn, this saga repeats itself every year. Taiwan needs to defend itself, the US is willing to sell the weapons it needs, and that’s it.

  7. wuming Says:

    Then how big is the yawn if China would sell missiles to Cuba?

  8. dewang Says:

    Hi Dragan, #4, #5,

    Well said. That’s the thing I admire about the E.U.. They seem much more level-headed on many issues.

    Hi FOARP, #6, wuming, #7,

    Rather, if China sell missiles to the IRA. This is obviously a reminder that you never let someone else decide what’s important to or “right” for you.

  9. S.K. Cheung Says:

    “This is obviously a reminder that you never let someone else decide what’s important to or “right” for you.” — which is exactly what Taiwan is doing. The US isn’t creating a new American military installation on Taiwan; she’s selling weapons, which Taiwan is willfully buying.

    You’re not comparing Taiwan to the IRA, are you?

    The Cuba question might be more comparable, assuming it’s not nuclear ICBM’s a la Krushchev.

  10. Charles Liu Says:

    To casual observer, it wouldn’t be a yawn if China sold a billion dolloar weapons package to Iraq or Afghanistan.

    Technically PRC and ROC never concluded China’s civil war with peace treaty.

  11. dewang Says:

    Hi S.K. Cheung, #9,

    Haha, like I said:

    This is obviously a reminder that you never let someone else decide what’s important to or “right” for you.

    Btw, I’d agree with you – Taiwan willfully buying the weapons is just that. Ma’s government must know the ramifications of that with respect to the relationship between Mainland, Taiwan, and the U.S.. China opposes this weapons sales is China’s decision. I am not surprised there are some who’d prefer to “yawn” over issues like that.

    Should I then ask you what you think China’s position ought to be on this issue? How should the Chinese people think about this issue if you are granted godly power to decide for them? Try hard to avoid condescension, higher moral grounds, and all that nonsense if you can – but I’d bet you probably can’t. :)

  12. Steve Says:

    Let’s get off the emotional stuff and review the history:

    1) Taiwan’s request for defensive weapons from the US has been unchanged for decades.
    2) The US policy towards selling defensive weapons to Taiwan has been unchanged for decades.
    3) China’s response to the US policy of selling defensive weapons to Taiwan has also been unchanged for decades.

    There’s nothing new here. China is responding in what is in her best interests, Taiwan is responding in what is in her best interests and the US is responding in what is in her best interests. All three go through this dance every few years. There are no “godly” powers at work here, just politics that have remained unchanged for a very long time. What we can expect in the future is that:

    1) China will continue to produce more sophisticated offensive weaponry and insist it is only for peaceful purposes.
    2) Taiwan will continue to request defensive weapons from the US in response to the change in status quo.
    3) The US will continue to sell defensive weapons to Taiwan.
    4) China will continue to protest those weapon sales as interference in an internal matter.
    5) The media on all sides will act like it’s the worst dispute since.. well, since they last dispute they labeled as such.
    6) Time will pass and things will calm down until Taiwan’s next request when the cycle will repeat itself.

    This will continue until China and Taiwan come to some sort of an accommodation, either peacefully or militarily.

  13. dewang Says:

    Hi Steve, #12,

    You have simply pronounced the U.S. position on this issue as of late, and that’s all.

    But if you want to review history, how about going back just a little bit more, and don’t forget Charles #10 comment that it was a civil war which the U.S. interfered in. And I thought relations between Taiwan and the Mainland have vastly improved as of late. Now that the relationship has improved – let’s ratchet up fear and sell lots of weapons! Is this how things suppose to work?

    It is lot more difficult for U.S. to get cooperation from China and Russia or even the French and Germans on issues of weapons proliferation around the world. To me, U.S.’s leadership position continues to weaken because it says one thing and does another. That’s how I think the world sees it.

  14. Allen Says:

    There are obviously many ways to look at the issue. I think the Ma government is really caught in a catch 22. The request for military equipments were initially formulated under Chen’s administration. If Ma doesn’t follow up – he’d be criticized for coddling up to Beijing. If Ma does, he is going to antagonize Beijing.

    The way I like to look at things is that while we all want an amicable end to the impasse between Taiwan and the Mainland, the latest chapter in this saga only proves that there continues to be a legitimate conflict here. Despite the warming of cross strait relations, there is officially still a war between the two sides.

    If either side is not careful, force will be used to settle the conflict. The issue here is not democracy, or human rights, or U.S. interests. It has to do with Chinese sovereignty.

    So – yes I am with FOARP and Steve’s call for calm. But I also call for all to understand the seriousness of the conflict. Playing one side against the other – even in the name of “defensive” needs of one side, using language that suggest that Mainland China is being expansionist in resorting to force to settle the Taiwan conflict, in the name of “democracy” or “freedom” or calling Taiwan a “country” – these are inaccurate notions that the U.S. should think twice about using.

    As things stand – the ROC has a legitimate right to purchase weapons from anyone to defend against the PRC. (Whether the U.S. should or not make the sale is another issue.) Of course, by the same token, the PRC also has a legitimate right to attack Taiwan at any time should things get “out of hand” – as viewed from the PRC’s perspective.

  15. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To 11:
    “China opposes this weapons sales is China’s decision.” — agreed.

    “Should I then ask you what you think China’s position ought to be on this issue?” — it should be whatever she wants it to be.

    “How should the Chinese people think about this issue if you are granted godly power to decide for them?” — who said I was deciding for them? Taiwanese decided they want to buy them; Americans decided they want to sell them. Chinese people can (and should) think whatever they like, but they’re not involved in the decision, much less me.

    “Try hard to avoid condescension, higher moral grounds” — you know, I’ve noticed it for quite some time. Every so often, you guys accuse me of taking the moral high ground. All I know is that I would never accuse you guys of the same thing. If you even perceive that someone else might have the moral high ground on any given issue (never mind if they actually do or not), I wonder what that says about your comfort with your own position. Anyhow, food for thought.

    To Allen:
    “the ROC has a legitimate right to purchase weapons from anyone to defend against the PRC. (Whether the U.S. should or not make the sale is another issue.) Of course, by the same token, the PRC also has a legitimate right to attack Taiwan at any time should things get “out of hand” – as viewed from the PRC’s perspective.”
    —exactly. Which then justifies Taiwan buying more weapons, and then we can just insert this whole merry-go-around into what Steve said in #12. There may come a time when the US no longer has an appetite for such sales…and we’ll see if anyone else is interested. It’s also chicken/egg as to which came first…China threatening force or the US selling weapons.

  16. Charles Liu Says:

    Allen @ 14, from America’s perspective I know we do not have their best interest in mind, only our own perceived self-interest. Sell or withhold weapons is no different.

    Before 9/11 GW Bush was ready to use Taiwan against China – remember Donald Rumsfeld’s “Pacific Theater” readiness policy? What’s seldom mentioned is at the time Pentagon secretly sent envoy to Taiwan to promote independence (very much like how GHW Bush instigated the 1st Gulf War with April Glaspie.)

  17. Allen Says:

    @SKC #15,

    You wrote in response to #14 that “then justifies Taiwan buying more weapons, and then we can just insert this whole merry-go-around into what Steve said in #12.”

    I disagree.

    All I noted was that both sides need to be careful. I would not advise the ROC, my home country (and I say that here as a proud CHINESE PATRIOT), to go into an arms race with the PRC. Nor do I advise the U.S. (the country in which I currently live) to help ROC engage in such an arms race. It will be destabilizing for the region, will breed bad will with China, and in the long term (just like the U.S. going using its military to bang everyone’s nose) will decrease rather than strengthen the security interests of the U.S.

    I also would bring up one side point. If people in the U.S. really believe that Chinese spies are everywhere ready to steal American secrets, I’ll just say that those secrets will be that much easier to steal when they are in Taiwan. So the U.S. is also caught in a catch 22. Sell junk to Taiwan – and get little appreciation from those in Taiwan and anger from the Mainland. Or sell advanced weaponry to Taiwan – and increase the risk secrets about those weapons will fall into the hand of Beijing.

  18. Allen Says:

    http://www.thenation.com/blogs/dreyfuss/524652/insulting_china

  19. Charles Liu Says:

    Allen, our leaders thought about that already, when unification under 1C2S or 1C3S happens, all those arms fall into PLA’s hands, there will not be stuff like advanced AEGIS, only junk that wouldn’t offset our own military balance in the end.

    6 billion for what? According to some US analysts Taiwan can spend 2 billion and achieve the same defense goals.

  20. Allen Says:

    Charles, if you have to push for an itemized copy of receipt, you may get:

    political favors – $4 billion
    weapons – $2 billion

  21. dewang Says:

    Hi Allen, #14,

    Well said, and I think that’s the best way to look at the situation.


    I’ve just dug up some numbers:

    1991 trade between Mainland and Taiwan: $8billion
    2008 trade between Mainland and Taiwan: $130billion

    I think pretty soon, trade volume between Mainland and Taiwan could be 1/2 that between Mainland and U.S..

    Taiwan’s investment on the Mainland is hovering around $150billion now.

    What’s the point? Relationship between the two sides are obviously towards “normalizing” with the recently resolve direct links – and as they ponder a complete free trade agreement.

    I think it’s simple: the U.S. desperately wants jobs for Americans, and so, wanting a piece of that $150billion pie using this weapons sale is a way to do it. This, trumps all other considerations. Job creation legitimatizes Obama’s rule for the next 3 years, and there is no thinking beyond that. Classic American governance.

  22. Rhan Says:

    I think “yawn” is a pretty insightful term if both the newly elected presidents of Taiwan and America that are suppose to bring some “changes” to the world is actually get struck in the rut.

    ZZZZzzzzz…….think again, not both, is in fact three.

  23. Josef Says:

    Allen #16. It certainly is also my tax which Taiwan will spend for this weapons, and I think that the majority in Taiwan, like me, will not regard that as wasted. And this is, because I don’t share your point that it destabilize the region, but rather the opposite: Taiwan will remain difficult to be blackmailed with military force. This arms race is not a chicken/egg problem, as one side is clearly aggressive and the other is defensive.

    I am shocked by your statement #14:
    “Of course, by the same token, the PRC also has a legitimate right to attack Taiwan at any time should things get “out of hand” – as viewed from the PRC’s perspective.”
    even if you quote it as PRC perspective. I am not convinced that the man on the street in China will agree to an attack if things “get out of hand” (whatever that means).

  24. Chops Says:

    If China can expedite a peace treaty with Taiwan, then perhaps Taiwan would be less willing to buy those US arms.

  25. wuming Says:

    @Joseph
    I am not convinced that the man on the street in China will agree to an attack if things “get out of hand” (whatever that means).

    That I am pretty sure, compared to the “man on the street”, the Chinese government is actually much more restrained (and constrained) when it comes to Taiwan. I think there are two long term realistic alternatives for Taiwan: first, Taiwan decides to go for it and ends up in a war; second, a very loose and evolving federation.

  26. Dragan Says:

    #24, #25 Joseph and Wuming

    Historically, the legitimacy of Chinese communist partly goes back to her victory over “corrupted” and “self-indulged” regime of Chiang Kai Shek. That on October 1st, 1949 Mao proclaimed that China stood up tells us that the second pillar of CPC rule is its achievement of liberating China from Japan’s occupation and foreign colonization and influence that preceded 1949. Currently, CPC’s right to rule also rests on party’s ability to promote fallen China into a great power again. Letting Taiwan go or act as an independent country would therefore imply that CPC has not won the civil war, that it has lost a part of China to foreign ( read US) backed regime and that it is not a great power at all. So, whatever man on the street thinks, there is no way that Beijing will compromise on Taiwan issue.

    Interestingly enough, anecdotal evidence I have says that Chinese people will support Chinese government in an unlikely case of a war over Taiwan.

    Wuming

    I assume an evolving federation based on the precedent of HK and Macau is the best shot for all the parties. China would maintain her territorial integrity and sovereignty. Taiwan would solve its security problems while at the same time maintain a genuine independence for a period of 50 or 100 years. US would not give a democracy away to a communist regime and would have a chance to retreat militarily with dignity. The overall security picture in Asia and the Sino-US relationship would both be significantly improved.

  27. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Allen:
    “I would not advise the ROC, my home country… to go into an arms race with the PRC. Nor do I advise the U.S. … to help ROC engage in such an arms race.”
    — I would agree, except that it’s hardly an “arms race”. Or, if it is an “arms race”, it’s not much of a race, cuz we already have a winner. And whereas the previous “arms race” was a mutual-deterrence measure where nobody actually wanted to employ those arms, this one would be quite different, for as you say, if push came to shove, one side just might open up a can of whup-ass on the other. I can’t imagine Taiwan ever reaching a level where it would actually deter China (and I doubt such a level even exists).

    As for this (“It will be destabilizing for the region”), it’s interesting to note that the Americans are saying this sale actually improves stability and security across the strait. So I guess, as with many things, it depends on your POV, and who you choose to believe.

  28. Dragan Says:

    #8 Dewang

    I noticed today a very interesting contrast in the way that US and China deal with EU, which is even more surprising since US-EU relationship has both economic and political dimension, and is based on closeness and shared history on both fronts, while Sino-EU relationship is only based on exchange in economic sphere and characterized by suppressed but existent political and “ideological’ differences.

    Yet, if you just read these two articles you’d never know:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/feb/03/snub-eu-barack-obama-summit

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2010-01/08/content_9285582.htm

    I have no idea what happened with Obama’s engagement strategy??????

  29. FOARP Says:

    @Dragan – Libya supplied weapons to the IRA throughout most of the 80’s, but that’s only because people in the US stopped supplying them. We never attacked the US for what their citizens did, and the action we took against Libya happened only after the Lockerbie bombing and the murder of WPC Yvonne Fletcher. Maybe you should learn some history?

    @Dewang – “Don’t forget Charles #10 comment that it was a civil war which the U.S. interfered in”

    Yup, because nobody can possibly think of any examples of other countries which have done so on a pretty regular basis. Look, a civil war is an armed conflict, not an election, there is no rational reason why foreign intervention in such a conflict should be illegitimate – and given the high standard of living and democratic freedoms enjoyed by the people of Taiwan as compared to their mainland counterparts, there is no way that you can argue that the United States did not do the Taiwanese people a good turn by intervening. Try asking any Taiwanese person and they will tell you how glad they are that the US did intervene.

    @Charlie – ” . . when unification under 1C2S or 1C3S happens . . ”

    You’ve been reading too much Michael Turton. Voluntary unification will not happen in the next 20 years, at least not without the CCP falling first, nor will 1C2S or any other variant of Deng Xiao Ping’s ideas on the matter be on the table now or in the future – the CCP has abandoned one country two systems, as is clearly demonstrated by their repeated putting off of full suffrage in Hong Kong – the contradictions that would arise from allowing actual democracy in one part of the country but not in the rest render it unworkable from the CCP’s perspective.

    Whilst we’re at it, Libya, Cuba, pre-1991 Iraq and modern-day Iran all source/sourced most of their weapons purchases from two countries – Russia, and, yup, you guessed it, China.

    @Allen – “I would not advise the ROC, my home country (and I say that here as a proud CHINESE PATRIOT), to go into an arms race with the PRC.”

    As has been noted by others, there already was an arms race, China won. The balance of arms is now such that there is no way that any future Chiang Kai-Shek could hope to ‘counter-attack the mainland’ – all that remains is that Taiwan seeks the same level of armament as Finland had in comparison to the Soviet Union, Belgium had in respect to Wilhelmine Germany, and Norway had in respect to the Nazis. Taiwan seeks the armaments necessary to slow up an invasion long enough to allow help to arrive, and to make a victory by the more powerful side costly enough to give them pause. These weapons will not be offensively, but defensively, not least because is it is in the interests of only one side of the straits to attack – China’s.

  30. Allen Says:

    @Joseph #23,

    You wrote: ” This arms race is not a chicken/egg problem, as one side is clearly aggressive and the other is defensive.”

    @FOARP #29,

    You pointed to a bunch of historical analogies that points to the same: mainland being over bearing, aggressive, powerful – Taiwan being weak, Pacifist.

    In either case, you may have captured one dimension to the conflict, but it doesn’t capture the essence of the conflict. The two sides have been engaged in a brutal civil war – i.e. military conflict – that has been prolonged due to the “intervention” (ok “assistance,” since I am from Taiwan) from the U.S. But the two sides are separated today because of that Civil War, which technically and formally continues today.

    If we must use moral-laden language and historical allegories, I point to the American Civil War. I guess the South was the pacifist side in only wanting to be left along. But the over-bearing North – wanting to unify the country – is the power hungry, over-bearing aggressor.

    If we want to go outside the contexts of civil wars (as FOARP has), perhaps the Talibans and Al-Quaeda are the peace loving parties who want to be left along – but are left with no choice but to carry on suicide attacks in the face of transgressions from the West. Perhaps it is the West – being power hungry, militaristic and aggressive that needs to be checked.

  31. pug_ster Says:

    I agree with Steve’s assessment that if US sold Taiwan ‘Defensive’ arms like the Patriot missiles and Blackhawk helicopters, it might not be so bad. However, Taiwan pointing fingers at China to stop pointing missiles is unfair also because many Taiwan’s military programs or weapons are probably not disclosed to the public. I’m sure that Taiwan has land to land cruise missiles that is pointing to China also like the Hsuing Feng cruise missiles, either that or they are buying it from the US in secret.

    Hong Kong and Macau doesn’t haven’t got much of a military program to begin with so China don’t view them as a threat but Taiwan is is another story. I do agree that Taiwan and China should have talks about military de-escalation but I guess nobody is talking.

    Edit: I should’ve said that HK and Macau doesn’t have much of a military program before re-unification.

  32. Allen Says:

    @Joseph #23,

    Reflecting further on what you wrote:

    I am shocked by your statement #14:
    “Of course, by the same token, the PRC also has a legitimate right to attack Taiwan at any time should things get “out of hand” – as viewed from the PRC’s perspective.”
    even if you quote it as PRC perspective. I am not convinced that the man on the street in China will agree to an attack if things “get out of hand” (whatever that means).

    Does the shock come from my acquiescence to the right of Mainland China to Invade Taiwan?

    One of the problems I think with people who want the “status quo” is that they (at least my green friends) have this vision that “status quo” equates to indefinite “status quo” which equates to “status quo” forever which equates to de facto independence which equates to de jure independence.

    This is not true. The “status quo” is actually quite a dangerous situation. The “status quo” is leaving unresolved a brutal civil war. The “status quo” requires leaders on both sides to understand the situation for what it is – to act wisely – to come to an amicable resolution some time soon (which in my mind has to be re-unification; how that’s done is any body’s guess).

    The benefit of the “status quo” is that many of the difficult tasks for political resolution is postponed. The downside of the “status quo” is that many of the difficult tasks for political resolution is postponed. (no typos).

    One of the fruits of postponing is to delay the difficult decisions. But one of the poisons of postponing is to continue the volatile situation. I don’t think what I am saying should be shocking at all. I thought I have merely been articulating reality.

  33. barny chan Says:

    pug_ster Says: “Hong Kong and Macau doesn’t haven’t got much of a military program to begin with so China don’t view them as a threat…”

    Bizarre. It’s true that HK and Macau don’t have much of a military program, but it seems to have passed you by that what military there is is none other than the People’s Liberation Army…

  34. pug_ster Says:

    Barney,

    I should’ve said that HK and Macau doesn’t have much of a military program before re-unification in 1997 and 1999 respectively.

    Allen 32,

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Secession_Law_of_the_People%27s_Republic_of_China

    Agreed, the status quo, is simply maintaining the current status between the 2 countries unless China feels:

    * if events occur leading to the separation of Taiwan from China in any name, or
    * if a major event occurs which would lead to Taiwan’s separation from China, or
    * if all possibility of peaceful unification is lost.

    Perhaps the CCP is paranoid and thinks that Taiwan buying some weapons from the US would violate one of the clauses above.

  35. dewang Says:

    Hi Allen, #30, FOARP, #29,

    Excellent points, Allen.

  36. FOARP Says:

    @Pugster – The UK certainly used military force in the defence of Hong Kong, both from the Japanese and the communists, and even threatened the use of nuclear weapons should the territory be attacked. Hong Kong was the subject of a communist campaign of assassinations and terrorism during the 60’s whilst Macao was over-run by Red Guards for an extended period during the 70’s. Perhaps this is not as good as an analogy as you think it is.

    @Allen – But, even according to the Anti-Secession law, the civil war is over. Taiwan now does not represent a threat to the rule of the CCP within the territory which it conquered in the 1945-50 period except in as much as any democratically-ruled society represents a threat to their rule as it shows that there is an alternative to dictatorship. However, were we to apply the logic of civil war, then the Taiwanese still have the right to defend themselves if attacked, and the right to obtain the weapons necessary to do so.

    You see, the CCP stance is essentially contradictory – either the civil war is over, in which case we have to ask why it threatens Taiwan, or the civil war is still under way, in which case why is something like the Anti-Secesh Law necessary? Hell this contradiction is even contained within the Anti-Secesh Law (something we often see trotted out on these pages as mandating military action against Taiwan when in fact it is so vaguely worded as to do no such thing), which firstly describes the stand-off as being an issue ‘left over from the civil war’ but then describes the matter of ‘bringing an end to the civil war’. Either it is over or it isn’t, but the CCP cannot make its mind up because in neither case would its actions make sense – only in the case where Taiwan and the mainland both are and are not at war in some kind of politico-military equivalent of Schroedinger’s Cat does its position make sense.

    Furthermore, whilst the current situation in the Taiwan straits is clearly dangerous, where does this danger come from? Certainly not from Taiwan, which could not possibly threaten Mainland China. If China were to adopt the position that Argentina and Spain have taken towards the Falklands and Gibraltar (that is, no unification through force) the possibility of an agreement leading to unification in the future would still be maintained without the need for violence – but this is not the path that the CCP, whose interests are served by maintaining the stand-off and who are unlikely to ever achieve their unification goals without making concessions to democracy in mainland China which they are unwilling to grant.

  37. Allen Says:

    @FOARP #36,

    You wrote: “But, even according to the Anti-Secession law, the civil war is over.”

    Is that really based on an informed reading? Should you selectively read some passage while ignoring others?

    Here is a link to the English version of the Anti-Secession law.

    http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200503/14/eng20050314_176746.html

    I suppose by end of “civil war” you mean Article 3, which reads:

    Article 3 The Taiwan question is one that is left over from China’s civil war of the late 1940s.

    Solving the Taiwan question and achieving national reunification is China’s internal affair, which subjects to no interference by any outside forces.

    Does “left over from China’s civil war of the late 1940s” mean “end of civil war” – which under international law I suppose – would result in the de jure establishment of two equal sovereign state?

    Well – to answer that, read the second sentence of the same article above.

    I wonder what “internal affair” means… Continue reading:

    Article 4 Accomplishing the great task of reunifying the motherland is the sacred duty of all Chinese people, the Taiwan compatriots included.

    Article 5 Upholding the principle of one China is the basis of peaceful reunification of the country.

    To reunify the country through peaceful means best serves the fundamental interests of the compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Straits. The state shall do its utmost with maximum sincerity to achieve a peaceful reunification.

    After the country is reunified peacefully, Taiwan may practice systems different from those on the mainland and enjoy a high degree of autonomy.

    Article 7 The state stands for the achievement of peaceful reunification through consultations and negotiations on an equal footing between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits. These consultations and negotiations may be conducted in steps and phases and with flexible and varied modalities.

    The two sides of the Taiwan Straits may consult and negotiate on the following matters:

    • officially ending the state of hostility between the two sides;
    • mapping out the development of cross-Straits relations;
    • steps and arrangements for peaceful national reunification;
    • the political status of the Taiwan authorities;
    • the Taiwan region’s room of international operation that iscompatible with its status; and
    • other matters concerning the achievement of peaceful national reunification.

    Just because CCP is a enlightened peaceful entity, it doesn’t follow the civil war – potential for hot military conflict – is over. Just in case that point has not sunk in, continue further reading:

    Article 8 In the event that the “Taiwan independence” secessionist forces should act under any name or by any means to cause the fact of Taiwan’s secession from China, or that major incidents entailing Taiwan’s secession from China should occur, orthat possibilities for a peaceful reunification should be completely exhausted, the state shall employ non-peaceful means and other necessary measures to protect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

    The State Council and the Central Military Commission shall decide on and execute the non-peaceful means and other necessary measures as provided for in the preceding paragraph and shall promptly report to the Standing Committee of the National People’sCongress.

    Article 9 In the event of employing and executing non-peaceful means and other necessary measures as provided for in this Law, the state shall exert its utmost to protect the lives, property and other legitimate rights and interests of Taiwan civilians and foreign nationals in Taiwan, and to minimize losses. At the same time, the state shall protect the rights and interests of the Taiwan compatriots in other parts of China in accordance with law.

  38. Josef Says:

    @Allen 30: You just referred to the PRC reading of history. Taiwan’s assignment to China after WWII, as you know, was made to CKS, never to Mao. And also the time, Taiwan was part of China is actually a small period. Recently the Japanese (ex)-“ambassador” called the situation unsolved which gave an outcry in the media. But I think he was correct and the historical background is by far not that clear and defined. But to my opinion it is not even really so relevant.
    Do you say that any country, which occupied certain regions in the past, has the right to “attack” this regions, if they are split away? (this was what shocked me).
    To more relevant points: If CKS would have accepted the “Taiwan” seat in the U.N., Taiwan would be a free and independent, from China recognized, country. So that is not so “unthinkable”. I think there is a very dangerous path back to this point: if the western countries recognize Taiwan, there might be a deep freeze between China and the rest of the world, but no war. And probably after another 50 years China would recognize the reality (like the U.S. at the beginning, which was not recognized also over decades).
    I don’t think unification is unthinkable either, but at the moment at a very low point. That has to do with very basic motives: The blue collar worker in Taiwan also fears his competitor in Mainland China (like everywhere else in the world), furthermore the brand “made in China” currently has a horrible reputation. You might have missed that “Made in Taiwan” nowadays means top quality, and in certain branches it means “Made from the top leader”. Example: I am here in Taiwan for technology transfer, but we do not transfer products nowadays to be cheaper, but rather to be better. If China continues to become excellent, I would expect unification for Taiwanese to become more attractive. You could compare with the European community: If the leading countries (France, Germany) have something admirable (reputation, performance, influence etc.), the public opinion in smaller countries to join a kind of federation is enhanced…
    Finally the “status quo” is not satisfactory, I agree, but not dangerous. To my opinion this historic arguments are not really relevant and as long as the island can defend itself (tiny Switzerland could defend itself against Hitler Europe!) there is no danger in waiting for China to change: either becoming excellent or the borders becoming irrelevant.

  39. Chops Says:

    Here’s a POV from Mayor Ma before he was elected President.
    http://www.asianews.it/view4print.php?l=en&art=5379

    “if reunification is to be an option, Beijing must develop a democratic political system, like ours”.

    “… we prefer to maintain the status quo and not to consider a timetable for unification, which in any case would have to be submitted to popular vote,” added Ma.

  40. S.K. Cheung Says:

    [Deleted by Allen]

  41. Chops Says:

    Alledged double agents in Taiwan’s intelligence office: “Two retired officers of Bureau of Military Intelligence (BMI) are allegedly recruited by China to gather confidential information, causing a severe crisis for Taiwan’s mechanism of confidentiality protection, a local report said. The reported suspects are still detained by Taiwan High Prosecutor Office”

    http://www.etaiwannews.com/etn/news_content.php?id=1171842&lang=eng_news

    Taiwanese defensive capability would be seriously undermined if there are spies and double-agents among the senior military ranks.

  42. FOARP Says:

    Can’t understand why SKC’s comment was collapsed, he was addressing Allen’s point.

  43. FOARP Says:

    @Allen – My point was not that the civil war was over, my point was that the civil war is, in the opinion of the CCP, seemingly both over and not over. Either the cross-strait issue is one left over from the war (in which case, why do they still need to make peace?), or the war is still in progress (in which case, why does the CCP need to make a ‘law’ to authorise force?). It also casts various historical events in a rather curious light – if the CCP needed to pass a law to give itself the authority to attack Taiwan, what then of the previous attacks on Kinmen? Were these illegitimate? You appear to be trying to argue that the law necessitates the use of force – but of course there is no actual section which makes any such statement. The law merely refers to ‘non-peaceful means’ without specifying what they are – they could be anything, especially given how the CCP is prone to describing even mild criticism as an ‘attack’ or an ‘assault’. The law does not even ensure that China will not attack in absence of a declaration of independence, since it is worded so vaguely as to allow CCP attack at any time.

    By the way, since I have made exactly the same point here that SKC made, if this comment is not collapsed that will be another unexplained contradiction.

  44. jxie Says:

    @Josef #38

    Taiwan’s assignment to China after WWII, as you know, was made to CKS, never to Mao. And also the time, Taiwan was part of China is actually a small period. Recently the Japanese (ex)-”ambassador” called the situation unsolved which gave an outcry in the media. But I think he was correct and the historical background is by far not that clear and defined. But to my opinion it is not even really so relevant.
    Do you say that any country, which occupied certain regions in the past, has the right to “attack” this regions, if they are split away? (this was what shocked me).

    Technically the Cario Declaration and the Potsdam Proclamation gave Taiwan to Republic of China, not CKS personally. A technical angle is that if ROC is turning into ROT, then as the sole survivor of any Chinese states, PRC can fully assume to role of ROC. A historical what-if is what if in 1949 a new PRC wasn’t founded, and Mao only declared the new government in Beijing was the only lawful government of ROC. Well it’s all technicalities.

    It depends on what “small period” is. Prior to 1600, there wasn’t much recorded history of Taiwan other than it was an island used by pirates and outlaws. In the often quoted 400 years (more like 380+ years) history of Taiwan, it has been controlled by Chinese states for 277 years. Bear in mind none of the countries in the newer continents (Americas plus Oceania) have existed for that long.

    The biggest issue about Taiwan isn’t the island per se but rather what is between China and Japan. China lost the first Sino-Japanese war and Taiwan; China won the second Sino-Japanese war and regained Taiwan. China isn’t about to lose it, without a war.

  45. Rhan Says:

    “Do you say that any country, which occupied certain regions in the past, has the right to “attack” this regions, if they are split away?”

    I think the shock is comprehensible, however, the one that occupied Taiwan is horde of Chinese that speak the similar language, write the same Han Zi and read the same Lun Yu as any other Chinese from the mainland. In my view, the ideal and morally accepted way out shouldn’t be preserving the “status quo”, instead this horde of Chinese should move themselves out of this island to any dreamland like America and return the island back to the original owner, the native. If that is the case, then I believe the mainlander shall be glad enough to appreciate the independent of Taiwan.

    “By the way, since I have made exactly the same point here that SKC made, if this comment is not collapsed that will be another unexplained contradiction”

    Double standard and stereotyping is not the prerogative of the West. Btw, past action is one good indicator of present and future behavior, I think we shall regret SKC might suffered the same fate as CCP, though he is trying hard to comment rationally.

  46. Allen Says:

    @FOARP #43

    Based on my reading of your previous comment, the premise of your pronouncing the CCP position to be inconsistent was your false pronouncement that the CCP has stipulated that the civil war was over.

    I have no problem with you turning over in your head trying to understand the the complexities of cross-strait relations, but not with your pronouncing CCP’s position to be inconsistent – starting with a false premise. Hence my effort to quote the entire statute for everyone to see…

    If your problem is with the complexity of the cross-strait issue fine. As Einstein has been quoted to say, we should strive to “make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

    If your problem is with the CCP reading of history (as Joseph has also alluded) – that’s fine too. We have discussed those and will continue to discuss those in the future.

    But calling out one another (rudely I think) as inconsistent or moronistic (as others have) does not help.

  47. FOARP Says:

    @Allen – ‘left over from the civil war of the late 1940’s’ clearly states that the war is over, this is not my opinion, but that of Taiwanese legal scholars (admittedly writing in the Taipei Times). Even if it is interpreted as meaning that the war is still in progress, then you have the further contradiction of the passing of a law mandating what the PRC can already do anyway, since it is still in a state of war. You also have the contradiction offered by the one China policy, since the CCP (i.e., the party which started the ‘two Chinas’ era with the founding of the Jiangxi Soviet) insists that the ROC has been dissolved and that the PRC is the successor state – but how can the PRC be the successor state if the ROC is still in existence and is still in a state of civil war? Strangely enough, the Anti-Secesh ‘law’ seems to at least partially recognise this contradiction in its failure to define ‘China’ as the PRC.

    At any rate, the same goals could be achieved through different means – it is not Beijing’s military pressure that prevents a declaration of independence, but the diplomatic pressure from Beijing which would render any such declaration meaningless – so all Beijing needs to do to prevent independence is to maintain its diplomatic pressure. The military force is only useful if Beijing wishes to destroy the democratic society of the island by force.

    Complex, simple, simpler – these are all things that can be accepted by any reasonable person, but contradictory, inconsistent, unfair, self-serving – this is what the current position of the CCP appears to be. The far more reasonable positions of Spain and Argentina in their respective claims to Gibraltar and the Falklands are a good example for the PRC, and contrasts well with the previous positions of those countries’ governments, whose attempts at conquest through invasion and blockade failed utterly. It is also noted that the Republic of Ireland has come far closer to a unification of the Emerald Isle since it gave up its claim to Ulster than it did in 75 years of intransigence.

    Finally, I was unaware that you yourself are now a member of the Chinese government and that all comments pointing out inconsistencies in the Chinese government’s position can now be interpreted as an attack on you yourself as ‘inconsistent or moronistic’. I offer my congratulations on your elevation to this exalted position and look forward to the Chinese government taking a more logical and reasonable approach to its affairs in future under your wise guidance.

  48. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To FOARP:
    it seems that my comment #40 was first collapsed, then magically un-collapsed. Perhaps there is a glitch in somebody’s system. But thanks for noticing.

    Loved your #47. Really loved those last 3 paragraphs.

    To Rhan #45:
    interesting question you pose in paragraph 2. I wonder if the PRC is more interested in the real estate, or the people who currently occupy it. In fact, I’d have the same question regarding any of the “restive” regions in China that are primarily inhabited by “minorities”. If memory serves, it’s a question I’ve asked before.

    “past action is one good indicator of present and future behavior” — you’re not kidding there. Downright prophetic, in fact.

    “though he is trying hard to comment rationally.” — I’m glad you think so. As for the rest, I’ll leave for some of the others.

  49. dewang Says:

    Hi FOARP, #47, S.K. Cheung, #48,

    Why is a law authorizing force in the midst of a civil war a contradiction? I recommend having another read at Allen #30.

    Hi Allen

    FOARP said: “Complex, simple, simpler – these are all things that can be accepted by any reasonable person, but contradictory, inconsistent, unfair, self-serving – this is what the current position of the CCP appears to be.”

    I think we all have a long list of people to replace the “CCP” with in this quote. :)

    This conversation has ended and I am not following anymore. I’ve learned a lot from your comments, and thx!

  50. Allen Says:

    @FOARP,

    Congratulations. I have collapsed #47.

    I remind everyone – if your purpose is to be sarcastic, to bicker, instead of to communicate and articulate, you really ought to find something more productive with your life.

    I probably should delete #48. If your hobby is cheerleading, go try out for a cheerleading squad or something instead of wasting our time.

    Thanks.

    Allen

  51. Josef Says:

    to jxie#44: a good work around description:”controlled by Chinese states for 277 years”. You know too that even this 277 years were not so clear assigned (i.e. Dutch ruling but also Ming Dynasty and nearly independent rulings while mainland had already Qing). But my statement was that all this is not really important, as I cannot accept some “right to attack” or “right to rule” out of it.
    Counter example: Czech was ruled over 400 years by Austria-Hungary.
    But thanks for your comment.
    Rhan, every Taiwanese calls himself Chinese etc. we all know that. But it is ridiculous to claim out of that, that they have to be in the same Nation. Luckily they can decided by themselves. Again: Austria and Germany, and believe me: they are closer in language and culture than overall Chinese to Taiwanese.
    Also, take again Hungary: a large fraction of the Hungarian speaking population lives in the neighboring countries (chopped away after WWI). Do they have a right to bully or attack i.e. Slovenia, Romania, Serbia? Does Germany have a right to attack Poland again? (parts of it were Germany [ruled, language, culture] for 1000 years) etc.

    But this is becoming off-topic. Recent events shows even more an all-time low for Chinese-US relations. I wonder if there is a snow ball effect or if it is orchestrated?

  52. pug_ster Says:

    http://amchamchina.org/article/5579

    A podcast with Jon Huntsman. His demeanor and tone certainly sound different than when he had the an interview a few months ago when he got the job as ambassador. I thought he was different, but after listening to this podcast, he is just the same as Clinton.

  53. Allen Says:

    @Josef #51,

    You brought up some good points. Not long ago, I believed too the essence of Chineseness was a cultural concept. It is a general concept that can be expanded even to encompass a East Asian Culture of influence. So I have no quarrel with you if you believe in that concept – except to say we do differ politically.

    As for the European examples you brought up, they are also interesting. You can probably add in America vs. Britain – just because they used to be one doesn’t mean Britain has a right to colonize America now.

    But China is a different case as we all have pointed out before. My perspective on Taiwan is not rooted in history per se – it’s based on a political narrative. The narrative includes culture, language, history, and politics (of course). I rarely argue with anyone on which narrative is correct because it’s a lost cause. I only articulate the narrative I believe in and defend it where necessary. I never say I am the truth, the truth, and nothing but the truth. I always am open to hearing others’ narrative (including those from Tibetan exiles), but I will defend mine if attacked.

    The interesting question about Taiwan I think is really this. You have mentioned that but for historical accident, Taiwan could easily still have a seat in the U.N. and have de jure independence. You may be right. Perhaps PRC and ROC would have officially recognized each other and if the two are to reunite, they would have to go the route of East and West Germany. Or perhaps, ROC would have kept a seat but PRC and ROC would still not have recognized each other, and we would still have unresolved political issues today. Of course, we cannot also disregard the fact of the U.S. meddling in Chinese affairs…

    Besides the U.N. issue, there is also the time issue. 60 years is a long time for a civil war to drag one. Surely by now, there must be some norm that says the two sides ought to recognize each other.

    Well – there is no international law consensus on this one. We can argue to death about “norms” on this one, especially if we want to bring in the idea that Taiwan is “open” and “democratic” while Mainland China is authoritarian.

    For me, the important thing is that the narrative I believe in is supported by the Constitution of both ROC and PRC, and the foreign policy of the most nations in this world. If people really disagree, I am not blind to the fact also that it is the type of issue that people have gone to war over.

  54. Allen Says:

    Here is an interesting article from BBC on the tumultuous U.S.-China relation.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8499658.stm

    The most salient part is the last couple of paragraphs:

    Experts are watching carefully for any sign indicating that the ground is shifting. The clearest sign of all would be if China moved away from simply trying to water down or delay sanctions on Iran to actively blocking or vetoing a UN resolution.

    That would signal that while Washington has continued to respect China’s red lines on Tibet and Taiwan, China has not reciprocated, failing to see how central the Iran issue is for Washington and its allies in the Middle East.

    China defines its core interest as its territorial integrity. U.S. (West) defines it as control over keys areas around the world – here the Middle East.

  55. S.K.Cheung Says:

    I wonder how long #47 will remain collapsed. I also wonder which blog rule it contravened, and further wonder if a new “standard” is being applied to determine what does and does not get collapsed.

    “Why is a law authorizing force in the midst of a civil war a contradiction?” — that part isn’t by itself a contradiction…though you might argue that it’s redundant. If you’ve already authorized participation in a war, do you need separate authorization for the use of force in said war? But if you’re in a war, and thus not united, there’s not much to secede from. I think FOARP #36 paragraph 2, then again in #43, quite clearly describe the apparent contradiction.

    It seems now that, to challenge a certain POV is to bicker, whereas the reverse is simply good ol’ fashioned communication and articulation. I also didn’t realize that agreeing with a certain POV is “cheerleading”, whereas agreeing with another POV (as in the last sentence of #49) is just “agreeing”. I further didn’t realize that agreeing with a certain POV also contravened blog rules. Perhaps I simply didn’t realize that the blog rules have changed…or have they? And if they have changed, have they changed for everyone, or just for a select few?

    “Surely by now, there must be some norm that says the two sides ought to recognize each other” — do such norms allow for something other than “unification”?

  56. Allen Says:

    SKC #55,

    Consider this a warning. Read the rules. If you have any issues, write us an email and do not be a troll wasting comment space questioning editorial decisions. If you feel this forum (this blog, not just this thread) is too constraining for you, you are welcome to leave.

  57. S.K. Cheung Says:

    [Deleted by Allen]

  58. Allen Says:

    @SKC,

    Deal with it. Stop complaining. Get a life.

  59. jxie Says:

    @Josef, #51

    good work around description:”controlled by Chinese states for 277 years”. You know too that even this 277 years were not so clear assigned (i.e. Dutch ruling but also Ming Dynasty and nearly independent rulings while mainland had already Qing). But my statement was that all this is not really important, as I cannot accept some “right to attack” or “right to rule” out of it.
    Counter example: Czech was ruled over 400 years by Austria-Hungary.

    277 years include ONLY the Qing and ROC eras, not even the decades ruled by Konxinga. The Dutch era is a part of the “400-year” Taiwan history. Unlike Qing, Ming had no administrative and military presents in Taiwan, hence it wasn’t counted. Is it clear enough? What “work around”?

    Austria-Hungary lost the WW1 and also the rule over Czechoslovakia. Granted there are more than just one way to lose a part of your territory.

    Honestly not a huge fan of the word “right” in phases such as “right to attack” or “right to rule”. The word, and the phenomenon that the word has been overly used nowadays, to me are rather a historical curiosity. We are all in a way the accidental products of the history during which people attacked others without the proper “right to attack”, ruled others without the proper “right to rule” — per today’s definition of “right”. Heck, if not for a group of people attacked the others without the proper “right to attack”, the very nation where this server that facilitates our cyber-conversation is located, wouldn’t have existed.

    Personally, I think it’s not PRC’s best interest to attack ROC/Taiwan in the foreseeable future, so long as the latter remains officially as ROC.

  60. Rhan Says:

    Josef,
    I know very little of Europe history and as far as I know, East and West Germany is divided on ideology difference which the same happen to Asia country like Vietnam and Korea. Most citizens from this country look forward unification if the dividing factor (ideology and so-called superpower) is diminish or disappear. Vietnam and Germany are the best case for reference. Don’t you think this should apply to China and Taiwan as well?

    When you claim “luckily they can decide for themselves”, may I know under what principles they can do this as not everyone subscribe to the same political system and same set of law.

  61. Josef Says:

    Rhan, East and West Germany: both wanted unification. And certainly if Taiwanese and Mainland Chinese both wants the unification then no one would stand in their way.
    “Decide for themselves” is referring to the fact that currently Taiwanese still have it in their power to decide upon their future.

  62. justkeeper Says:

    Haha, how interesting that despite the topic of this article being “China-US relations at all time low”, when the cross-strait issue is brought up, nobody is going to be interested in the Google affair anymore. Actually I used to be quite interested in this issue too but now my interest is elsewhere. The reason is that I believe the Taiwan issue is a no-brainer, as many of the ethnic conflicts in the world: it’s about governments hijacked by people deseparately clinging to some nostalagic objects. In what way would the glory and interest of the Great China be damaged if Taiwanese people is left to decide their fates, besides blowing off our dream of all Chinese in a warm family and let our government”losing face”? And our Green friends in Taiwan, what more benefits you will gain if Taiwan is de jure independent rather than in the “status quo”? If they want to be back, warm welcome with open hands, but please don’t call me out with discriminating dirty words. And if they want to go the other way, 天要下雨,娘要嫁人。Does that make the world a better place?

  63. pug_ster Says:

    I think the google affair and ‘internet freedom’ issue has largely blown over because of news of NSA and google working together and news today of FBI mandating ISP’s to keep a log of your internet activities.

    It is easy to say to let Taiwanese people to decide their fates, but China and Taiwan has ties with each other culturally, economically, socially, yet they point missiles at each other. Taiwanese thinks their democracy is so great but politics seems to be like a circus because the blue and green team are fighting each other.

  64. Dragan Says:

    it is really disappointing to see how discussion deviates into irrelevant trolling and platform for mutual attacks as is the case with much of above conversation :(

    #54 allen

    cannot see how anyone could serious entertain the idea of equaling the Taiwan issue for China with Iran for USA. First one is of national unity, sovereignty, territorial integrity and basic security while another one is of geopolitical dominance.

    @Google story

    while I have regarded these speculation as a pure conspiracy theory at the beggining of “google affair” it now to me very possible that the US government had a role to play in timing correctly Google’s announcement. It helped a lot to remind world of negative sides of CPC’s rule and create a generally unfavorable view of anything related to China. Advancing US interests by selling arms to Taiwan, meeting Dalai lama, criticizing yuan and pressuring China over Iran, among others (e.g. creating positive self-image domestically), is so much easier when there is image of China looming big and dangerous on the horizon.

  65. TonyP4 Says:

    Selling arms to a country that will slow down unification or cause more to die. Seeing Dali Lama which is not the popular figure for CCP. US cannot solve their internal problems and find some one to blame for its ills. The media (some exceptions like WSJ) always treat China as evil empire.

    US should make friends, not enemy. What happens if China pulls out all the treasure bills? It will hurt US, the world, and China itself. A stable and peaceful China is good for US and the world. Less confrontation is good. Do not use our yardstick to measure others.

  66. Raj Says:

    TonyP4, if it is true that selling arms to Taiwan will slow or block unification with China and Taiwanese don’t want to be annexed by China, then selling arms can only be a good thing. The only people who would die from those arms would be Chinese military personnel engaging in an illegal invasion of Taiwan, which would be China’s responsibility as it would have started it.

    Compare that to the Taiwanese people (military and civilian) who would die from Chinese bombs. I don’t see Chinese people calling on China to stop arming itself with short-ranged missiles and other weapons designed to bully and potentially attack Taiwan, despite the tens of thousands of people that might be killed by them.

    If some Chinese nationalists cannot contemplate the idea of Taiwanese making their own minds up about their future and want Chinese and/or US policy that forces something on them against their will, I would suggest they book a couple of sessions with a good psychiatrist and get over their oppressive impulses.

    As for the Dalai Lama, he is popular outside of China. China is not the world, and Obama has a right to do as he sees fit. He doesn’t take orders from Beijing.

  67. tanjin Says:

    Taiwan and Tibet issues to most Chinese people and Chinese government is an issue of sovereignty, a core national interest with long historical linkage (or baggage if you will). So there is really no wiggle room from Chinese side. As China grows stronger, the attitude and position on Taiwan and Tibet will also be firmer.

    On the other side, US keeps its old policy of meddling on these core Chinese interests, using a load of excuses, while saying “we respect your sovereignty”.

    This is the root cause of all friction between the two countries. People can expect that the wiggle room for US will become smaller and smaller as China toughs up …

    LA Times: Back and forth with Beijing
    What keeps Sino-U.S. relations moving forward? Both countries need each other.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-ed-china7-2010feb07,0,7375612.story?track=rss

  68. Raj Says:

    On the other side, US keeps its old policy of meddling on these core Chinese interests, using a load of excuses, while saying “we respect your sovereignty”.

    The US does respect China’s sovereignty – it just doesn’t believe that Taiwan is under the PRC’s authority. Tibet is slightly different because the US is calling for China to do what’s in its best interests, settle the problem through dialogue rather than oppression.

  69. Rhan Says:

    “As for the Dalai Lama, he is popular outside of China.”
    I think he is, thanks to the magical Western media, don’t Taliban and Saddam Hussein used to enjoy the same popularity?

    “China is not the world, and Obama has a right to do as he sees fit. He doesn’t take orders from Beijing.”
    Though Chinese never want to be the world, they still have no rights to do anything they see fit. The only rights they have are to overthrow the CCP regime, all other rights is merely animal rights. Seem like the Chinese have to take order from Washington, or else they might not even able to preserve their animal rights.

  70. Raj Says:

    Hi Rhan

    I think he is, thanks to the magical Western media, don’t Taliban and Saddam Hussein used to enjoy the same popularity?

    No they didn’t. You’re thinking of the Mujahadeen, who split into various groups after the Russians left Afghanistan. The Taliban, a grouping with a core of religious extremists, sprang up in the power vacuum after the withdrawal. A simple mistake to make if you’re not well versed in Afghani history.

    As for Saddam Hussein, I don’t believe he was universally popular. Some people supported him when he was at war with Iran, but others didn’t. Any warm thoughts were very temporary.

    Though Chinese never want to be the world, they still have no rights to do anything they see fit. The only rights they have are to overthrow the CCP regime, all other rights is merely animal rights. Seem like the Chinese have to take order from Washington, or else they might not even able to preserve their animal rights.

    That’s an ironic statement as Chinese nationalists will commonly say that the only right Chinese people have politically is to obey the CCP, otherwise they are a “traitor” – especially if they feel sympathy for Taiwanese, Tibetans, political dissidents, etc.

    I believe that Chinese citizens can back or oppose their government, agree/disagree with foreign criticism of China, etc. But that doesn’t mean they have a right to bully or oppress whoever they like because they’re “Chinese”.

    And increasingly I do think many Chinese nationalists expect that they have a right to be the world and that other countries should do as they say. That is why relations with the US are increasingly tense, as there’s a feeling China’s objections must be heeded.

  71. tanjin Says:

    #68

    LoL. If US’s position is really like what you say so, the two countries will be inevitable heading towards another war. That is a native though of being an Indian … unfortunately, India nowadays is popular with people of this kind of childish wishful and under-understanding of how the world works.

    Both Taiwan and Tibet are under China’s control longer than US history and those foreign dynasties of India, so give people a break … US right now simply wanted to use their existing leverage to put pressure on China.

  72. Raj Says:

    tanjin

    If US’s position is really like what you say so, the two countries will be inevitable heading towards another war.

    Why? The US isn’t planning on attacking China. If China wants to attack the US because Washington disagrees with all of China’s territorial claims, well that’s China’s fault.

    That is a native though of being an Indian … unfortunately, India nowadays is popular with people of this kind of childish wishful and under-understanding of how the world works.

    I’m not Indian, and I have always said that. Though I also find it a useful way of exposing racism from Chinese people. Your comments are very similar to the usual hate expressed. Of course it’s a shame to see that another racist has come to Fools Mountain.

    Both Taiwan and Tibet are under China’s control longer than US history

    So? Neither Taiwanese nor Tibetans are slaves to be haggled over by China saying “I owned them longer than anyone else did – they’re mine, so I have a right to beat them if I choose”.

  73. tanjin Says:

    #72

    Raj = boring person

    LoL

  74. Otto Kerner Says:

    Raj,

    In tanjin’s defense, nothing he’s said so far seems to contradict your conclusion that, “If China wants to attack the US because Washington disagrees with all of China’s territorial claims, well that’s China’s fault”. If you look at his post #67, he says almost in so many words that the Chinese government and public will refuse to consider any alternative solutions to the Tibet and Taiwan issues due to their fixation on historical baggage. The fact that the resulting conflicts are China’s fault was implicit all along.

    So? Neither Taiwanese nor Tibetans are slaves to be haggled over by China saying “I owned them longer than anyone else did – they’re mine, so I have a right to beat them if I choose”.

    The Taiwanese aren’t, but sadly the Tibetans find themselves in exactly that position. Perhaps someday in the future the serfs of Tibet will be emancipated.

  75. tanjin Says:

    “The good news is that a Chinese global order would display greater respect for national sovereignty and more tolerance for national diversity. There would be greater acceptance of experimentation with different social, political and economic models.”

    When China rules the world
    Most Westerners think China will be more like us as it grows richer, but don’t count on it, warns Harvard professor DANI RODRIK

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10038/1033819-109.stm

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10038/1033819-109.stm

  76. Rhan Says:

    Hi Raj
    “No they didn’t. ……..As for Saddam Hussein, I don’t believe he was universally popular. Some people supported him when he was at war with Iran, but others didn’t. Any warm thoughts were very temporary.”

    I have to borrow SKC usual “trick” (Haha), we need to have a clear definition of popular and universally popular. To me, DL is popular among some celebrities, US hawk, some rightist and Buddhist. If you will to ask most overseas Chinese including those in South East Asia, DL is a traitor. I doubt we were brainwash by CCP. I think Taliban and SH is popular among the Muslim world.

    “I believe that Chinese citizens can back or oppose their government, agree/disagree with foreign criticism of China, etc. But that doesn’t mean they have a right to bully or oppress whoever they like because they’re “Chinese”.”

    Bully or oppress are a too heavy terms. I personally look at China and CCP in relative to history and our culture, the Chinese culture. Though I am not a China citizen, my grasp toward Chinese culture may not less than most Chinese. Universal values may occasionally sound strange to some of us. Like I said, the only human rights the Chinese have pertaining to “universal” values in the eyes of the “West” is to oppose and disagree with CCP, which I perceive as narrow.

  77. Otto Kerner Says:

    You think the Dalai Lama is more popular with rightists than with progressives?

  78. Rhan Says:

    Not sure. In fact, CCP believe they are progressives.

  79. Raj Says:

    Rhan

    I think Taliban and SH is popular among the Muslim world.

    You were talking about the “magical Western media”. Please don’t shift the discussion elsewhere.

    Like I said, the only human rights the Chinese have pertaining to “universal” values in the eyes of the “West” is to oppose and disagree with CCP, which I perceive as narrow.

    As I said, they can SUPPORT the CCP if they like. Please show me someone saying Chinese people must oppose the CCP and cannot be allow to back it.

  80. Rhan Says:

    Raj,
    “You were talking about the “magical Western media”. Please don’t shift the discussion elsewhere.”

    I paste here what a Muslim wrote:
    “If I were to write an article that the Jews are the cause of the Middle East crisis and it is because of their Zionist policy and their illegal occupation of Arab land that there is so much strife and killing I would be whacked to kingdom come. If I were to write that the so-called Holocaust did not happen and there is no evidence it did happen they would probably send a hit squad to bump me off. Running down the Jews is a no-no and no white-skin journalist would allow you to do this.
    If I were to whack Islamic countries or Asian dictators, I would be viewed as a great person. And if I who whacks Islamic countries or Asian dictators am a Muslim on top of that, then I would be hailed as a great liberal Muslim or Asian. Westerners just love Muslims or Asians who whack their own kind. This sort of gives them the feeling that they are certainly right if the Muslims or Asians agree with what they have to say.
    Sure, most Asian, African, Latin American and African countries are failed states. Not all failed states are Muslim countries of course but all Muslim countries are certainly failed states. And these countries deserve getting whacked. But who is the cause of this? These Western journalists who whack countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, etc., seem to overlook one thing. Many of these countries would not even exist if not for the Western powers. The Western powers created many of these countries after the two ‘great’ wars. And many of these failed states and dictatorships would have fallen a long time ago if not for the fact that the Western powers propped them up for their own self-interest.
    Iran, for example, is not a failed state because it is non-white or because it is an Islamic country. It is a failed state because the West propped it up and closed its eyes to the human rights abuses under the Shah. Iran served the interest of the West so the West ignored the rampant and blatant human rights abuses and pretended it did not exist. Iraq was the same case. Whatever Saddam Hussein did was not something he did when he was opposed to the West but long before that while he still served the interest of the West. But the West closed its eyes to all this and pretended nothing was happening because Iraq was useful to Western interests.”

    You may disagree with me, my point is similar to the context of this article. Is Taliban and SH not treated as hero for a certain period of time?

    “As I said, they can SUPPORT the CCP if they like. Please show me someone saying Chinese people must oppose the CCP and cannot be allow to back it.”

    Can they? I thought the moment they do it, they either become a nationalist or have to book a couple of sessions with a good psychiatrist?

  81. Raj Says:

    Rhan

    You’re still dodging. In response to a point that the Dalai Lama is viewed well outside of China you made what you thought was a clever remark about the Taliban being seen/reported positively in the non-Chinese (“western”) media at one time. As I pointed out there was never such a general view of them so your point was irrelevant.

    The fact remains the Chinese government is isolated in its hatred for the Dalai Lama. If it can’t stand him getting international recognition, too bad.

    I thought the moment they do it, they either become a nationalist or have to book a couple of sessions with a good psychiatrist?

    So you’re saying that Chinese people are only able to oppose the Chinese government or back it 100% on all policies in an authoritarian, beligerant and generally oppressive way? There is nothing in between, no ability to decide which policies are good and bad, no ability to support a policy but only to a degree?

    Those nationalists that need professional medical help are a minority, but they still exist.

  82. pug_ster Says:

    Raj,

    Why are you ‘demanding’ people to answer your questions? Nobody is going to answer your self-convicting questions anyways. And when others ask you questions (self-convicting or not) you dodge them also, by saying that it is not relevant to the discussion.

  83. Flags of the Republic Says:

    Otto Kerner,

    I think I have told you before. The DL is quite popular with the smug and uninformed. Whether you call them rightist or progressive, I really don’t give a flying rat’s behind.

    The thing that I find most odious is that these “enlighten” individuals gobbles up everything that proceeds out of DL’s mouth without examination. And that, my friend, makes them easy pickings for the unscrupulous.

    You can replace “DL” with the names of few choice politicians, and statement will still applies when it comes to almost all things related to China.

    So, even if I am sympathetic, this endemic flaw of the “enlightened” makes me wonder whether or not their “causes” are manufactured or exploited by the unscrupulous for another end.

    May be when you hold your idols to the light, you will gain more traction with the Chinese — at least this one.

  84. Rhan Says:

    Raj,
    “You’re still dodging”
    – Hence my point is valid as soon as I replace Taliban with Mujahideen right? I have no problem doing that.

    “getting international recognition”
    – One own wishful thinking.

    “So you’re saying that Chinese people are only able to oppose the Chinese government or back it 100% on all policies in an authoritarian, beligerant and generally oppressive way? There is nothing in between, no ability to decide which policies are good and bad, no ability to support a policy but only to a degree?”
    – My reply was merely a tongue-in-cheek, if you insist, I would says culturally, Chinese is obedient and lean towards patriarchy. And changes may take few more generation.

  85. Otto Kerner Says:

    FotR,

    I don’t remember how we got off on this tangent about the Dalai Lama’s popularity, since popularity doesn’t really seem that important to me. Since we’re on the topic, I seem to recall seeing the results of an international poll a while back that showed the Dalai Lama to be the most popular political figure in the world. He is unpopular primarily with an unknown but large number of Chinese people, including the government. Are you telling me that everyone but Chinese people is “smug and uninformed”?

  86. Allen Says:

    @Otto Kerner #85,

    I was in Peru and Argentina a few years back – no one I talked to knew who was DL. I was in South East Asia a few years ago – same thing. My colleagues at work (causians) knew of his face but thought he was a silly dude. The ten or so Free Tibet people I spoke with on the streets of San Francisco during the torch relay could not point out to me where Tibet was on the map.

    We have seen lots of DL-friendly propaganda in the Western press. He may or may not be popular – who knows?

    As for your last sentence whether a lot non-Chinese are “smug and uninformed”? Sure. That’s entirely possible. And that’s a small part of the reason why this blog exists!

  87. justkeeper Says:

    @Otto Kerner: Do the staff of the said poll travel to every country in this world to work out their result? That’s going to require a lot of funding. In fact, the only kind of world-scale statistics I have ever seen is either based upon the aggregation of data reported by each country’s government individually or carried out in cooperation with local government, but anyway I would be very interested to read this poll if it exists.

  88. Raj Says:

    Rhan

    Hence my point is valid as soon as I replace Taliban with Mujahideen right? I have no problem doing that.

    I don’t know what your point is. So what if the Mujadhadeen were sometimes seen positively in the international media? They weren’t seen nearly as negatively as the Taliban were (rightly).

    “getting international recognition”
    – One own wishful thinking.

    I’d say meeting leaders like the President of the United States is international recognition.

    My reply was merely a tongue-in-cheek

    I know, but it was ridiculous.

  89. Flags of the Republic Says:

    Otto Kerner, #85

    “Are you telling me that everyone but Chinese people is “smug and uninformed”?”

    Them are your words. I never suggested anything remotely close to that.

    By the way, here’s a list of logical fallacies that you might want to take a gander at. Can you spot which of these sins you have committed in #85?

    http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/

    Anyhow, I am sure the list of adjectives for you and your compatriots are well deserved, but I don’t think you would want “stupid” to be among them.

    Have fun reading!

  90. Otto Kerner Says:

    FotR,

    I think the poll I was thinking of was the World Leaders poll “conducted by Harris Interactive for the International Herald Tribune and the all-news channel France 24” per http://www.phayul.com/news/article.aspx?id=23301&article=Dalai+Lama+is+the+World%E2%80%99s+Most+Respected+Leader%3A+Poll . This turns out not to be a poll of “the world” so much as a poll of the United States and some Western European countries, i.e. a poll of the West. I believe the Dalai Lama has since fallen below Mr. Obama even there.

    I suppose logically it follows that anyone who is popular is popular among the smug and uninformed, since those are the sorts of people most likely to have opinions about things. I inferred, perhaps incorrectly, from your post that you were contrasting with the well-informed and non-smug Chinese, who are sometimes assumed to have a better supply of quality info about the Dalai Lama, which would be a silly thing to say if that’s what you were saying.

    Allen,

    Unfortunately, this blog creates the impression that Chinese people tend to have alarmingly ultra-nationalistic and anti-liberal worldviews, which doesn’t seem like a very salutary way to counter the rest of the world’s smugness and lack of information. I have often wondered to what extent this impression reflects the reality of Chinese people in general …

  91. Rhan Says:

    “I have often wondered to what extent this impression reflects the reality of Chinese people in general …”

    I think we need to have some basic understanding of the Chinese dilemma especially the progressive class. On the one hand, they must see the whole picture, and on the other they must also answer the “imperialist” and so-called superpower attacks and propaganda. We may call this a Chinese intellectual baggage. They have to walk the thin balancing line that tells us whether to speak out at bigotry/oppressive, or keep quiet without expressing their outrage, all because they want to “see the larger picture.”?

    My personal feel is that the Chinese people in general are awfully more ultra-nationalistic and anti-liberal worldviews than most of the folks here.

  92. Rhan Says:

    “I’d say meeting leaders like the President of the United States is international recognition.”

    See? US is international and international is US! I salute your worldview.

  93. TonyP4 Says:

    The current trade war: US has high tariff for Chinese tires and Chinese do the same on US Chicken feet.

    As many times before, they will save faces and continue the trades. Both sides know it is a lose-lose situation. Obama started it first, so I have to blame Obama’s stupid advisers.

    Free trade is buying goods from any country who produces cheaper. Chinese tires are cheap (I do not buy them for safety reason). Chicken feet are not fit for the animals here, but a delicacy in China.

  94. Raj Says:

    See? US is international and international is US! I salute your worldview.

    Wrong. Note my use of the world like. World leaders like the President of the United States – i.e. the important ones. So the President of France, UK Prime Minister, etc.

  95. Flags of the Republic Says:

    Otto Kerner, #90

    Dang! Your logic is getting worse and worse. You do realize the whole line of your argument in # 90 is one big slippery slope, right? I guess I might have to add “stupid” to the list after all.

    Since I might just be wasting my time trying to get you to use proper logic, so I will just say this. I am neither ultra-nationalistic nor anti-liberal, just plain anti-idiocy.

    I have already told you that I don’t give a flying heck whether Tibet is part of China or not. I am just sick and tired of the way that DL had been going at it — making it a Han vs Tibetan issue. There is a high likelihood that this strategy will end in a zero sum or worse negative sum outcome. If it is heading that way, the solution is simple. You yourself have articulated it —“The next time China is weak…”. Well, it’s patently obvious what Chinkyland sure do then. I guess I don’t need to spell it out even for the likes of you.

  96. Otto Kerner Says:

    Rhan,

    Good point — it makes sense that now would be a very difficult time to be a Chinese intellectual, since China finds itself in such a unique historical position. When someone takes a nuanced view of things in public discussion, a lot of the audience — the international audience, in particular — could tend to miss the nuance and think that person is just acquiescing to anti-Chinese attitudes. However, I would’ve hoped we could get past that sort of thing on a forum like this, where we can address each other directly as individuals instead of addressing the public at large.

    As for your assessment of the politics of “Chinese people in general”, it sounds very plausible, although I have no firsthand knowledge since I successfully avoided talking to Chinese people (and all people, for the most part) I’ve met about politics. Fortunately, the general public usually has a pretty modest effect on the way things turn out.

  97. jxie Says:

    @Josef, #38

    Taiwan was part of China is actually a small period.

    On second thought, it came to me where you got that from. There is a view of the history promoted by many who advocate Taiwan Independence that includes the followings:

    * Manchus were not and are not Chinese. Chinese are Hans only.

    * Qing was a foreign-occupied empire. During Qing, China didn’t exist as an independent country.

    * There are some even considering ROC after 1949 not a Chinese state.

    So if you go by that theory, Taiwan had been a part of China for possibly less than 5 years. Of course that goes against the Chinese narrative that Qing was a part of the long Chinese history. As for now, a few ground realities,

    * The Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Proclamation called for “return” of Taiwan to ROC — implicitly it endorsed ROC as the rightful successor of Qing, otherwise it would be a new acquisition, not a return.

    * The UK negotiated with PRC the status of Hong Kong based on the leases it signed with Qing — again, implicitly PRC was considered as a successor if not the successor of Qing.

    * The border demarcation between Russia, a host of Central Asian nations and PRC based on the treaties signed by Tsarist Russia and Qing — implicitly endorsed PRC as a successor if not the successor of Qing.

    I tend to believe no narrative is intrinsically wrong per se, but rather how strong the force behind it, and more importantly whether or not the force can alter the ground realities. Heck if a Jewish state could be established 2 millennia later, I think if somebody powerful enough wants in the future (e.g. China becomes the superpower and led by some fenqings-turn-statesman), you can even unscramble the eggs of Anglo-Saxon invasion. It will be very hairy but doable.

  98. Josef Says:

    No, I meant with “short” 277 years, (which you exactly calculated), as my example, the Czech, were occupied over 400 years without implication to be part forever. Ireland was occupied for 300 years or so from England, similar argument. There are even forces, who wants Scotland to become independent again (same language and similar culture).

  99. justkeeper Says:

    @jxie: And Britain after Norman invasion could only be considered a foreign-occupied empire according to this theory :)

  100. Otto Kerner Says:

    Norman England is an interesting analogy to Qing China. In the beginning of the Norman period, England was obviously a foreign-occupied empire. An elite from another country that spoke a different language came and displaced the local elites. The new elite was then gradually Anglicised. We’re still stuck to this day with the ****ed-up orthography they invented (Old English had a much more rational system).

  101. tanjin Says:

    “Watkins: Can the U.S. and China get along?

    I collect kaleidoscopes as a way to remind myself to view the world in different ways. I find that life, like looking through a kaleidoscope, can sometimes be full of constant and unpredictable change.

    And make no mistake – change has come to Michigan and America. I view the contrast of this change through the lens of my travel through China these past 20 years and discover we are living through tumultuous, tough, and transformational times.

    What we once had, if not entirely gone, is fading. There was a time when America stood head and shoulders above the rest of the world. Michigan, once the ‘arsenal of democracy,’ was the region that put the world on wheels and provided the muscle behind the U.S. economy. That was then – this is now.

    How much the world has changed was driven home by the reactions of both China and the U.S. to our latest weapons sale to Taiwan – $6.4 billion to be exact. Why do U.S. officials seemed shocked when China reacts negatively to our actions? China contends that Taiwan is a renegade province that must re-unite with the mainland. They view our actions as interference in their internal affairs. How would the U.S. react if China provided Cuba with billions of dollars worth of weapons? This international snub seems exacerbated by President Obama’s scheduled visit with Tibet’s Dalai Lama in mid-February. There’s no doubt this meeting, while reinforcing our human rights values, will further stoke China’s indignation and nationalistic fever.

    So what, you may ask. As a weaker country in the past, China had fewer cards to play to express their displeasure with America’s might. Today they hold many.

    As a kid in the 60’s my mother would implore me, “Eat your peas — kids are starving in China.” Today, with a booming economy and hundreds of billions of our currency, they are eating our lunch.

    How has our world relationship changed? Consider this:

    Old Paradigm

    * U.S. was the sole economic and military superpower– we could thump our chest and the world jumped

    * U.S. used threats, economic sanctions/investments and military action to control our interests in weaker states

    * China was nationalistic, closed off to the world

    * Millions of Chinese died in the ideological insanity of its Cultural Revolution and ‘Great Leap Forward.’

    New Paradigm

    * China moves from the back to the front seat of world power

    * China boasts the world’s fastest growing, most dynamic economy likely to surpass Japan this year as the world’s second largest economy

    * China exerts its economic and soft power around the globe

    * China is nationalistic and strong

    * China throws open its doors to the world and exports globally

    * China becomes the U.S. banker, underwriting our debt to the tune of $1 Trillion dollars surpassing Japan as the largest overseas holder of our debt.

    * China seeks new international rules, breaking the once dominant U.S. status quo to accommodate their rise.

    I recall thinking and arguing after standing in Tiananmen Square with the students over 20 years ago that engaging with the Chinese scientifically, educationally, economically and culturally was the best way to promote freedom and democracy in China. Eamonn Fingleton in his book, In The Jaws of the Dragon: America’s Fate In The Coming Era Of Chinese Hegemony states, ” It could be argued that rather than America changing China, China has changed America.”

    A Middle Kingdom Perspective

    Along with kaleidoscopes, I collect maps of the world. From the western perspective, maps show North America in the center. But historically, China, referred to itself as the ‘Middle Kingdom,’ occupied the center of the world. It’s all perspective. An Asian map places China — dead center.

    China has experienced 30 years of phenomenal economic growth, lifting hundreds of millions from abject poverty to the middle class. And with an economic bounce coming out of the world recession, China grew at 10.7 percent in the last quarter of 2009. Yet with 1.4 billion people, one-fifth of all humanity, it remains a developing nation.

    We are witnessing a global economic sea-saw in China. The Chinese economy is on steroids and pushing towards the heavens, while the world economy has stalled and in many cases is sinking.

    Even with its new-found prosperity, hundreds of millions of Chinese are still scraping by, living on the equivalent of a few dollars a day. As inequity grows and global information flows, maintaining social and ideological control over the masses is proving no easy task for China’s President Hu Jintao. Will China’s Communist party continue to stifle open communication and stymie innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity, taking their country backwards?

    The U.S. economy and our system of governance, has lost … ”

    http://ourmidland.com/articles/2010/02/14/opinion/editorials/2416919.txt

  102. Otto Kerner Says:

    “* China was nationalistic, closed off to the world”

    “* China is nationalistic and strong”

    Well, at least one thing never changes …

  103. tanjin Says:

    #102

    That is nature. China is still a relative young country with an ancient and tumultuous history.

  104. tanjin Says:

    “The China miscalculation

    It would be a tragedy if these two superpowers began regarding each other as adversaries. But that’s the drift. Heirs to a 2,000-year cultural tradition — and citizens of the world’s largest country — the Chinese have an innate sense of superiority, Jacques writes. Americans, too, have a sense of superiority, thinking that our values — the belief in freedom, individualism and democracy — reflect universal aspirations.

    Greater conflicts and a collision of national egos seem inevitable. No longer should we sit passively while China’s trade and currency policies jeopardize jobs here and elsewhere. Political differences between the countries are increasingly hard to ignore. But given China’s growing power — and the world economy’s fragile state — a showdown may do no one any good. Miscalculation is leading us down dark alleys.”

    http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2010/02/the_china_miscalculation.html

  105. tanjin Says:

    “What lies ahead should be familiar to China watchers: After the huffing and puffing is over, Beijing and Washington will start repairing the damage. As for the rest of the world, it had better get used to frequent, but controlled, rows between China and the United States.”

    NYT opinion: The Tension Is Overstated

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/17/opinion/17iht-edpei.html

  106. Raj Says:

    tanjin @ 103

    That is nature. China is still a relative young country with an ancient and tumultuous history.

    How can China be a young country with an ancient history? What you say is interesting because it reminds me of what I’ve heard from Chinese people over the years – but I’m not including you in this.

    A comment I hear a lot from Chinese people is that China has 5,000 years of history. Often it’s an innocent comment, but other times people are indicating that China was civilised long before the developed world was, that China should be given more respect/acknowledgment for its contributions to global culture, etc.

    Yet I also hear (sometimes from the same people) that China is a young country, like a teenager, etc as an excuse for why certain things are wrong with it.

    Really I think it would be better to stick with one position and not try to have it both ways. If China is a country with an ancient history and was civilised very early on it’s not so unreasonable to expect it to be capable of political change at something faster than a snail’s pace.

    If China is a young country then what went before it is mostly irrelevant unless one is having a purely historical discussion.

  107. tanjin Says:

    #106

    China is a young nation as a nation state at modern time, a simple fact everyone can see easily.

  108. pug_ster Says:

    @Raj,

    I think that China should learn from history in order to adopt or wither away. Until the 18th century, China has the largest GDP out there and considered an advanced nation then. However, China’s xenophobic and arrogant behavior toward foreign ideas has ultimately doomed them because they refused to adopt to foreign ideas. Mao was credited for uniting the country. When the SOE’s were failing, China allowed them to fail so that they allow private enterprises to flourish. China’s authoritarian system sounds harsh, but it allows them adjust quickly.

  109. Raj Says:

    pug_ster

    I think that China should learn from history in order to adopt or wither away.
    China’s authoritarian system sounds harsh, but it allows them adjust quickly.

    The system allows China to adapt if the system itself wants to. But it’s not a dictatorship, so there are a lot of opinions that need to reach consensus.

    If China is to learn from history it should look at why the imperial regime fell. There was xenophobia, as you mention, and arrogance, too much self-confidence, a lack of new ideas, etc. Does an autocratic regime bring new ideas to the fore? Many would say it doesn’t help do that, as it prefers stability and predictability to change.

    Also I think developed world politics is sometimes frowned upon in China because of xenophobia and the belief they’re not compatible with Chinese culture – very similar to the opposition to foreign technology in the past. China would do well not to fall into the same trap it did a few centuries ago about outside ideas.

  110. jxie Says:

    However, China’s xenophobic and arrogant behavior toward foreign ideas has ultimately doomed them because they refused to adopt to foreign ideas. Mao was credited for uniting the country.

    Don’t mistake Qing as China. For example, Tang/Song, especially Song was wide open to the outside world. There were a lot of immigrants settled in China then. Some recent research credits Jewish immigrants who settled in Kaifeng helped create paper money in Song, and after Kaifeng lost to Jin, in Jin. A funny story: the son of a Jewish immigrant, to the chagrin of his father, fell into love with Chinese poems and became a fan of Liu Yong (柳永, author of 今宵酒醒何处,杨柳岸,晓风残月), and wrote the following:

    《沁园春·迦南势》:系人心处,新月地带,希望之乡。河对岸人,摩西气概;对月临风,挥斥方遒。朝朝暮暮,好梦随絮,愁云恨雨两牵萦。

    Heck, just go to any major museums with decent Chinese selections, and observe the characters of various Tang/Song era bronze and porcelain collections.

    After Song, Yuan would be a long story but overall it was open to the outside world.

    Other than in the middle part during which the famous Zheng He set his sails, Ming banned seagoing merchandise trades — not by the state though. Ming even imported cannons and other weapons from Netherlands & Portugal.

    Only in Qing, China became totally close to the outside world, presumably to protect Manchu’s control over the vast population. That directly had caused the hopeless backwardness of China.

  111. tanjin Says:

    #109

    China right now is doing what a strong power supposed to do. It did not pay lip services to the west yesteryear, not yesterday, so why would today … US and China are entering a much testier period on their relation and both sides now are trying to find a balance point.

  112. Rhan Says:

    “Don’t mistake Qing as China.”
    Is Qing policy and belief system that far off from Ming? I personally think Qing is merely a continuity of Ming, the only distinction or valid excuse is Manchu are not Chinese (before 1911?).

  113. tanjin Says:

    “Qing is merely a continuity of Ming …”

    No, Qing is almost a reversal of Ming on culture and technology development. The rulers of Qing ensured China to stay in an ancient form and stale the continuing development on culture and technology.

  114. Rhan Says:

    tanjin,
    Neo-Confucianism, imperial examination system and agriculture base society, which one is being reversed? Zheng He voyages happen during emperor Yongle and anyone familiar with Ming history should know 燕王 is not an ordinary ruler. I think a more parallel comparison is late Ming. I could be wrong but many history writing use to tell Qing emperor is more “Han” than “Han”, and many scholar love to tell the Han Chinese actually assimilate Manchu.

    Just curious, any conclusion made if Yuan and Qing become core of China history? Or merely a period rule by foreigner?

  115. jxie Says:

    @Rhan #112

    Is Qing policy and belief system that far off from Ming? I personally think Qing is merely a continuity of Ming, the only distinction or valid excuse is Manchu are not Chinese (before 1911?).

    A few meaningful differences on top of my head:

    * Manchus forced Hans to change their clothing and hair style.
    * Not until at the very end, Hans couldn’t rise to the top of the government. Manchus dominated the higher echelon of the government posts. Some of them were downright incompetent even at Qing’s peak.
    * To maintain its control, Qing had 文字狱 for 100+ years, compared to only at the beginning in Ming. There was far more intellectual freedom in Ming than Qing.
    * Ming imported weaponry such as cannons and guns, and started making those domestically. Qing by its luck with the help of the Little Age, took control over China. The cannons and guns it buried after Ming fell, were more advanced than the ones they used when British invaded in the 1st Opium War.

    Don’t get me wrong, Ming is far from my favorite dynasty, though I admire its military potency and determination, even through the time when its emperor was captured in a battle. Most historians agree that for per capita GDP, Song >> Ming > Qing.

    Living standard-wise, Ming peaked in the mid- to late 1500s, and Qing probably did between the end of 1700s to early 1800s. You can tell from the travelogs of Europeans how much Chinese were better off in Ming’s peak than in Qing’s peak.

  116. Chops Says:

    Nearly three-quarters of all Americans think Tibet should be an independent country, according to a new national poll.

    However, the survey also indicates that most Americans think it is more important to maintain good relations with China than to take a stand on Tibet.

    The poll’s release came as President Obama was to meet with the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader in exile, at the White House.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/asiapcf/02/18/tibet.poll/

  117. tanjin Says:

    Not to mention a few crucial inventions that later became the foundation of modern civilization. Up until Ming, China was fairly advanced in geometry, algebra, hydraulics, astronomy, transportation and national infrastructure. Even though efforts on basic mathematics and physics were not extended into systemic frameworks of its own, scientists in Ming already started a friendly collaboration with Western missionaries and learning western methods. Should this trend continued in Qing, the East-West relation would be much less confrontational and painful as we experienced in modern history. We also knew Science and Technology in West made fundamental and decisive development after the Enlightenment … while China pretty much got lost to all those crucial development.

    http://www.gap-system.org/~history/HistTopics/Chinese_overview.html#s43

  118. flags of the republic Says:

    Hey Chops, #116

    Don’t be reiterating them kind of numbers. Them going make the Free ToadBeder all kind of moist. What with the dew around their lily pads and what not, they going to march down to the Chinese Embassy and demand some Free Onions and Fries too. Heck, if everything is going to be free, I will have two — you know, before all the ToadBeds are gone.

  119. Allen Says:

    @flags #118,

    Actually I thought the poll was very interesting. In fact, I’ve been searching for a poll in Chile on whether Insurance Reform in the U.S. should or should not include the public option. It’s very relevant what the Chileans think you know. It’s a matter of human rights, social justice, and Chileans’s views count, you know…

  120. flags of the republic Says:

    Allen, #119

    I think most Chileans favor a public option — 69%, in fact. Yeah, Obama should duely take note of it. I totally agree with you that Chilean points of view are very important.

  121. Jason Says:

    How did Dalai Lama get NED Democracy Award?

    The award should be called NED Marxist/Theocracy award. Nothing in his political background is Democracy.

  122. Otto Kerner Says:

    You’re so right. Let’s check the poll results from Tibet … wha, whuzzah? I can’t find any …

  123. tanjin Says:

    14th Dalai Lama admitted many time in open that he is a firm closet Marxist. So why Republicans, Democrats and NED alike want to mingle with Dalai Lama? Because Dalai Lama gave US a potential chance to destabilize China.

  124. Charles Liu Says:

    Oooo, why don’t we measure ourselves with the same bar…. have we given the Native Americans or First People the kind of vote to get their stolen land back, like how we are demanding for the Tibetans?

    wha, whuzzah? Broken treaties still in the books?

  125. pug_ster Says:

    Makes me wonder where are the real altruists who truly fight for their cause like Ghandi and MLK, not self opportunists like Rebiya Kadeer and the Dalai Lama.

  126. Jason Says:

    @pug_ster

    I think everyone would agree that Ghandi didn’t win the Nobel Peace Prize because British Empire had lobbied against it so they can continue their imperialism in India.

    Nobel Peace Prize is a Western imperialism award that is simply a joke and the most easiest thing to get.

    Even murderers like Kissinger, Arafat, and now Obama has gotten this award for “peace.” All I can say is BS.

  127. Otto Kerner Says:

    Charles,

    Your witty rejoinder does not make sense. All I was talking about was a poll. There are no restrictions on polling indigenous North Americans.

  128. Josef Says:

    I think results about an American poll about a Chinese topic is a constructive add if the topic is “China US Relations”. Especially as U.S. polls influence U.S. policy. I assume if the topic would be “Chile-US Relations” a poll in Chile might have some information value too.
    Like Otto Kerner I did not find any Tibetan Poll either…. But if it is only human rights, social justice etc., some people, as they enjoy them, generously rejects them for others …

  129. Rhan Says:

    117 @ tanjin,
    I read the same from Muslim and Indian. Therefore the question is what went wrong?

    115 @ jxie
    * Manchus forced Hans to change their clothing and hair style”
    — Almost every dynasty did this, though I don’t understand why Qing was fascinated with such hair style.

    * Not until at the very end, Hans couldn’t rise to the top of the government. Manchus dominated the higher echelon of the government posts. Some of them were downright incompetent even at Qing’s peak.
    — Merely a change from relationship base to race base.

    * To maintain its control, Qing had 文字狱 for 100+ years, compared to only at the beginning in Ming. There was far more intellectual freedom in Ming than Qing.
    — 文字狱 is an excuse for political weed out, nothing much to do with intellectual freedom.

    * Ming imported weaponry such as cannons and guns, and started making those domestically. Qing by its luck with the help of the Little Age, took control over China. The cannons and guns it buried after Ming fell, were more advanced than the ones they used when British invaded in the 1st Opium War.
    — The fact is, Ming was defected by Qing.

    I think reasons could be one of below or all of below:
    1. “宁赠友邦,不予家奴”?
    2. Chinese culture and philosophy have no imperialist will?
    3. China political system lack feature to establish polity based on people rights and capitalism?

    My belief is that there is no difference even if Ming continue to rule China except the No 1.

  130. jxie Says:

    @Rhan,

    First, don’t get me wrong. Manchus as of today are certainly Chinese. The eggs were scrambled and mixed, and the Manchu rulers in Qing left their unmistakable print on what today is constituted as Chinese. It’s pointless to argue what might’ve been. Ming’s time was up — it would’ve been unlikely to last to the time when the British invaded anyway.

    Ming was defeated by peasant rebellions and in essence the Little Ice Age. The Little Ice Age caused agricultural yields to drop and started mass starvation. Ming armies were defeated by the rebellion army and Beijing was sacked before Qing went inside of the Great Wall.

    One of the hallmarks of Confucianism is its social mobility and meritocracy. Sure “connection” is important — but don’t you think a well-connected individual is rather just an individual with high EQ? To be successful in any societies, you will need to be well-connected, or if I may phrase it differently, aligning your interests with the others’ and making your ascendence a good thing to many others. Anyway, if you build a society with a ceiling for the vast majority of the people in your society, I don’t see how that can be anything but very bad.

    文字狱 is a mental prison for the mass. It retards your people. It turns your people, with the forced adoption of new clothing/hairstyle and all, into slaves, not creative beings who gave us the splendid culture and inventions. A poignant question is, what the heck did Chinese invent in Qing?

    The differences between Ming and Qing are probably larger than the differences between Mao and Deng. Heck, just look at the TV footage of the players and the crowd in sporting events, in Mao’s era and today. Can you see the differences?

    Sir John Barrow visited China during the Qinglong era, which was quite likely the peak of Qing. His book Travels in China gave some very unflattering images of Qinglong’s China. He even speculated that the wonderful images of China depicted by other Europeans up to 2 centuries ago were mostly mirages. I had a hard time to believe those Europeans, such as Alvaro Semedo, who spent much longer times and went deeper into the society, would collectively portrayed some untruthful images of China. A far more plausible explanation is that Barrow saw a different China than what Semedo et al. saw.

    It’s not that difficult actually. There are plenty of historical records on the prices of the daily life necessities such as rice, meat, cloth, and how much unskilled and skilled labors made. Like I said, Song >> Ming > Qing. An imperfect comparison would be: Qing was like the Mao era, Ming was like the post-Deng era, and Song was like the modern day USA.

    Imperialist will is way overrated. If you can’t figure out what to do with your newly gained territory and subjects, what’s the point of wasting tons of money and manpower? In a way, hat tips to the European colonialists who figured out ways to do with the new colonies that were beneficial to the core empires back home. Ming’s continuous northern military advances, and modern day China’s hold on Tibet, are more or less strategic decisions for the existential sakes. Both of them, not unlike the US’ Iraqi war, actually cost you more than any tangible gains. On the other hand, historically the core Chinese territory kept expanding southward, simply because the southern land suited the way of life of the Chinese people. Had the Mongolian plateau or modern day Xinjiang fitted for farming, chances are the history would’ve been rewritten.

    Not gonna touch the “right” issues. But as to capitalism. In Song and Ming, some factories employed hundreds to thousands of people, and some mines employed even 10k+ people. What else do you need? A stock market? We might’ve needed some Dutch immigrants for that…

  131. Rhan Says:

    jxie, thanks for the viewpoint from another perspective.

    Though I still don’t get what Ray Huang (黄仁宇) mean by “mathematically manageable” but his view on capitalism and centralisation of state power in regarding to China especially Ming seem valid to me.

    I personally think Chinese understanding of “right” is actually very different from the “West”. At least we don’t impose our values to others.

    As for Dutch immigrants, it is actually a good idea.

  132. Josef Says:

    Taipei Times published an article today from Chris Patten, called “Good old Deng’s still relevant today”
    http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2010/02/23/2003466403
    where he summarizes again recent events concerning China-US relations.

    He answered also why European countries don’t play a significant role in the big view and suggested finally:

    Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平), the architect of China’s economic rise, advised his colleagues to move stealthily in dealing with the rest of the world.

    “Hide your brightness, bide your time,” he counseled.

    As someone who believes that China’s rise should be good for the world, I hope that Deng’s wise advice will be heeded by those Chinese officials who seem to think that this is a good moment to start stamping their feet.

    I am tempted to share his opinion.

  133. Dragan Says:

    @#132

    that is totally wrong assessment.

    First, these three reasons Patten gave would actually be supporting arguments for G2 and would facilitate the becoming of G2 ( if they were most important) as they ( these issues) would best be solved through consultative mechanisms between these 2 sides that G2 framework would offer.

    Second, but following the first point: The starting points for G2 are not specific issues but actually it is about developing the strategic cooperative framework and institutionalizing the means for coordination and cooperation between US and China. Of course, should G2 really come in existence as the result of increased trust between the two countries, all these issues Patten mentioned would have better chances to be solved.

    Third, As G3 would go beyond bilateral issues, it would also tackle security problems in the world. this is if not the major, then one of the major obstacles to G2, as both US and China have a lot of suspicion toward each others intentions in the security field and global politics. Just look at recent Taiwan arms deal story.

    Forth, G2 has been already offered to China in such a way that even Premier Wen felt obliged to publicly address the issue. He turned it down on the grounds of China’s goal of multipolar world and out of respect for other members of global community such as EU, Third World etc. that would be left out from decision process. If I remember right, the second line of thinking was of China having full hands internally that it couldn’t afford to engage fully on global stage.

    Fifth, most prominent academics in China by large saw G2 as a proposal that would facilitate US’s keeping China’s rise in check. We could easily conclude that was the prevailing opinion among government ranks too.

    So clearly, Mr. Patten has no idea what he is talking about.

    The part about shouting at Obama is especially ridiculous.

    re Deng’s quote, in full it goes like this:”Hide our capacities and bide our time; be good at maintaining a low profile; and never claim leadership” – somewhere referred to as 24 characters Plan. It was valid for the times when China was very week in all aspects – economic, military etc. What China needed then was a peaceful environment. The quote means exactly that: do not engage in disputes but keep the head low and work on strengthening China, and it does not mean: deal with others stealthily . Chinese reaction after Belgrade bombing embassy, is one instance of Beijing’s behavior in line with that thinking…

    Now China is stronger and more confident – it is reasonable to expect that China is adjusting its posture and that she would be more assertive about what she feels is right for her.

    And, of course, historically, it is always very hypocritical of a UK government official like Patten to remind others of “stamping their feet” and nice behavior.

  134. tanjin Says:

    Contemplating China: Ignorance Breeds Fear [by Eric C. Anderson]

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-c-anderson/contemplating-china-ignor_b_478400.html

    It’s good to hear an alternative voice from US, which can speak with straight truth rather than fear and ignorance on China

  135. jxie Says:

    @Josef & Dragan,

    The good old 彭定康 (Chris Patten)… I actually have his “East and West” in hardcover. Bet he didn’t see how things have unfolded.

    Deng’s policy quoted by Dragan was first said in 1989, when the whole world was a much different place. Another version, which could be just Deng’s own revision of his earlier policy in a more accommodating world, is 韬光养晦, 有所作为. The later 4 letters can be loosely translated as, “accomplish something.”

    Overall, China is still more hiding brightness than accomplishing something. At this very moment, China’s industrial production and manufacturing value-added are likely neck-to-neck with the US. If China was as combative as Russia, especially in the aftermath of the worldwide financial meltdown, given China’s overall gain in its real and perceived strengths, we might be talking about China exporting subs, fighter jets and missiles to Argentina and its Latin American allies. There could be 60 billion barrels of oil in play there.

  136. r v Says:

    Ignorance breeds fear.

    And that is why fundamentally Democracies do not work.

    When a nation grows large enough, big enough, greedy enough, inevitably, the communication and trust between some people break down.

    We then have the Tea Party in US today.

    Ignorance? Maybe.

    Will education help? Will talking about the issues help? Perhaps.

    But not everyone wants to learn and understand other people.

    It’s human nature to be paranoid and suspicious.

  137. jxie Says:

    @Rhan,

    A few quick points about Ray Huang.

    * His life is very interesting to me personally. His first half was like my grandfather, a KMT officer who fought both Japanese and CCP, and ended up being a historian. The 2nd half was quite identifiable to me given my own experience. Every time I read his works, I always wonder if he was 40 today, if he would revise his views.

    * At its core, there is no “original sin” in Confucianism. People are believed to be born good, i.e. 性善. From there, the social structure of the East is different from the West. Huang tended to start all his views from a 性恶论 angle.

    * Huang viewed modernity as some sort of deterministic, which i don’t agree. A similar set of questions is, if evolution is replayed again, or the Earth faces another likely inevitable mass extinction, 1. will intelligence re-emerge? 2. will the top of intelligence have to be human-like? My answers are yes, no.

  138. S.K.Cheung Says:

    To Tanjin,
    interesting article. I find it noteworthy that you agree with it.

    I agree with Mr. Anderson’s general thrust. But when he concludes that Americans think this will be the Chinese century AND that Americans think that would be a bad thing, he is assuming that the 43% of respondents in the poll who harboured the former sentiment are the same 43% who harbour the latter. That may or may not be a correct assumption.

  139. Otto Kerner Says:

    @tanjin #75,

    I thought you might interested in these discussions of When China Rules the World from the China Beat:

    http://www.thechinabeat.org/?p=1408

    and

    http://www.thechinabeat.org/?p=1539

    The reviews they link to appear to be quite negative overall.

  140. pug_ster Says:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/02/25/60minutes/main6242498.shtml?tag=contentMain;cbsCarousel

    Just saw an interesting article about the Chinese trying to bribe someone in divulging information of the 6.4 bill sale to Taiwan. It makes me wonder, if 2 people got jailed for this incident, makes you wonder if the only thing that was sold to Taiwan was only Blackhawk Helicopters and Patriot missiles…

  141. WebDesigner Says:

    I agree with Steve’s assessment that if US sold Taiwan ‘Defensive’ arms like the Patriot missiles and Blackhawk helicopters, it might not be so bad.

  142. Work From Home Says:

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