Oct 14

China’s foreign Minister: Don’t get mad, get even.

Written by guest on Thursday, October 14th, 2010 at 1:45 pm
Filed under:-mini-posts, Analysis, Opinion | Tags:, , , , , , ,
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It has not been a good year for China. From the google censorship issue, Cheonan, Iran, Taiwan issue, Yuan appreciation/export issue, ASEAN, Diaoyu Islands, Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel prize winner, China’s foreign minister is working overtime to convey the message of the Chinese government but may not be getting its message out in a positive way. In this electronic global Media era, getting your message correctly is the key and use all forms tools of channels, whether it is economic, media, or trade is the key. Getting mad at other countries and making outrageous commendations and cutting off ties is not the way to go. Here’s how I rate China’s diplomatic issues so far this year.

Google’s censorship issue in China – Grade B- Let’s face it, China won’t lift a finger to uncensor its information. Google was going to pull out from China anyways kicking and screaming on the way out. I do give them high marks of mostly because they didn’t get mad and asked Google to comply laws in China, but they didn’t give an answer about censorship. Why not justify censorship as a security issue while giving vague details.

Cheonan sinking in South Korea – Grade A- I thought China was very skillful in this issue. The world was waiting for China to point a finger North Korea for the blame and they did not get it because China simply did nothing. However, China overreacted when South Korea and the US have war games near China’s capital. They should’ve said that China was no part of the Cheonan Sinking and ‘Gunship diplomacy’ is not welcome.

Iran – Grade A China had an wait and see/do nothing in this issue. When US and other Western Nations cut their economic ties with Iran, China simply shrugged the issue and gained a valuable trading partner.

Taiwan Issue – Grade A+ Things couldn’t been better for China. China was able to stall the 6.4 billion arms sale. China and Taiwan signed the ECFA while putting the DPP in the backburner. They also scored sided with Taiwan on the Daioyu Islands issue as a bonus.

Yuan appreciation/export issue – Grade C Let’s face it, Timothy Geithner’s repeated calls for China to appreciate the Yuan was ferocious and relentless. So doing nothing and harking Yuan is not the problem simply won’t cut it. Refer the US that when China appreciated its Yuan during 2005-6 by 20% it did not return jobs back to US, in fact trade deficit increased during that time. Also mention that it is hard for Chinese companies to invest in the US which would otherwise create jobs in the USA. And complain about the banned exports to China that is not military related.

ASEAN/Spatry Island issue – Grade B- The writings is on the wall when the US took its eyes off the ball from Southeast Asia during the Bush presidency and China was able to take advantage of that. The Obama presidency stopped all that. China’s general went bonkers to say that the Spatry Islands was a ‘core issue’ to China. As a result, the US was able to court the other ASEAN countries pressed for multilateral interests for ‘securing’ trading routes in the South China sea. China should’ve been more proactive than reactive in this issue.

Diaoyu Island dispute – Grade A- China was instrumental in raising nationalistic sentiments in order to get its citizens saying the detention was ‘illegal.’ They get extra brownie points when they made repeated calls to the Japanese foreign minster to China and while claiming that Daioyu Islands was always part of China. However, Japan claimed that China stopped exporting rare earth metals to them. Perhaps China should do just raise the price of rare earth metals citing environmental cost to clean up while mining for these precious metals.

Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel Prize – Grade F Making threats to the Norwegian government, cutting off ties and making Angry statements is a big no no. Many people thinks that Nobel peace is ‘noble’ and this prize is against China’s progress of ‘democracy and freedom.’ My motto is if you can’t kill the message, kill the messenger. Vilify Liu Xiaobo as a writer to show him about his radical views against China and show that he has no interests in ‘Freedoms’ within China. Don’t forget to mention his extensive rapsheet.

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59 Responses to “China’s foreign Minister: Don’t get mad, get even.”

  1. MutantJedi Says:

    As far as domestic consumption was concerned, the Diaoyu Island dispute could not help but be a win as long as the government sputtered the usual rhetoric. If there is one country we love to hate here in China, it’s Japan.

    But the same sort of thing that made it a win at home made it look no so good abroad. Japan was able to present a calm statesmanlike demeanor while China frothed like a 愤青.

    The other sour note on the Chinese side was the detaining of the four Japanese men for allegedly video taping where they shouldn’t.

    I heartily agree your assessment of the yuan issue as well as the resistance to Chinese investment in the US.

  2. Jed Yoong Says:

    Diaoyu — F-

    Liu Xiaobao — Winning foreign awards like Dalai Lama automatically kills one’s credibility locally. He also didn’t “make peace” but caused havoc.

  3. aa Says:

    It should be Diaoyu Island. Please correct the typo

  4. pug_ster Says:



    I think it plays to Daioyu situation plays to China’s advantage because this is one is one playing card that unites China, Hong Kong and especially Taiwan. There was an incident 2 years ago when Japanese Patrol boat attacked and sank an Taiwanese Fishing boat which left many Taiwanese fuming. This incident even left critics of the Chinese government critics in Hong Kong and Taiwan mostly silent.

  5. Josef Says:

    pug_ster, about Taiwan issue: China tried to do its best, certainly, and also Ma Ying-jeou (as written in your reference) did a good job to make it look good.
    But for the final result you might have to wait for the November election results: will the signing of the ECFA increase or decrease KMT votes, or influence at all the elections?
    In other words: If DPP wins significantly – would you interpret it due that the arm sales were stalled, the ECFA signed and the Daioyu noise?
    And, at this time, it looks like the DPP will win: Then Ma did still a good job by limiting the damage, while China’s policy backfired , or, you argue then that these events did not influence the election?
    I think the relationship China-Taiwan is very important in this election, although they are only regional.

    To my opinion, focusing only on this relation, any “success” on stalling arm sales will not help, the ECFA I would see as more helping, but also limited, while China’s behavior on the Daioyu events did not really help: the nationalistic approach was very limited welcomed.
    One should not forget, that Japan, although long ago ruled Taiwan very stern, is still seen different in Taiwan than in China.,- see also MutantJedi’s comment (愤青).

  6. Jed Yoong Says:

    CCP is mainly ‘creating issue’ over Japanese to distract the Chinese from rising social unrest n inevitably when the economy overheats, crashes + burns…

  7. Jed Yoong Says:

    Where does the CCP derive their Mandate from? It’s definitely not fr Heaven or the People. It seems to me they are basically governing on a Mandate from Russia.

  8. silentchinese Says:

    throw my two cents into the pond here.

    anyone who think chinese gov’t somehow created or has fore-knowledge of these issues were basically bit of paranoid. here is why. both instances they reacted. raising the rehtoric and diplomatic measures short of armed conflict. both instances worked. They do not like nationalism, heck, they do not like anything that would cause disturbance, they wish they can have another 30 years of relative peace so china can grow into the super-judgernaunt. by that time no one on this planet, not even uncle sam can cause much trouble for china.

    This on another hand has the signs of a “trap” all over it.
    Jiang Ji Jiu Ji.

    Get real this will come no matter what china do. Nobel Peace Prize committee is not apolitical, it is chosen from norwegian parliment.

    @Jed Y.
    go easy on your anti-communist/russian connection drink. kmt had too much of it, and they end up holed up in taiwan.

  9. Arsent Says:

    Looks like a lot of passive-aggressive butthurt. Disappointing.

  10. raffiaflower Says:

    An engaging list of the year in diplomatic challenges so far, for China. Bear in mind, tho, that China practically “invented” statecraft and the art of diplomacy; the Communist govt – given whatever left of its professed ideology and occasional lapses into cantankerous language – does follow the unwritten guidebook forged over 5000 years (what else?) of Chinese civilization.
    Qian Qichen’s 10 Lessons in Chinese Diplomacy, eg, gives an example of maneuvering by the party, despite internal opposition, to accede to the Japanese request for representation at the state funeral of the hated and unrepentant war criminal Hirohito.
    1. Japan’s behaviour in the Diaoyutai episode has hardly been calm or statesman-like. China pulled out all stops in diplomatic efforts to uncork the issue; the Japanese have been recalcitrant, especially under the politically ambitious American poodle, Maehara.
    Follow the comments thread on Pei Minxin’s article in The Diplomat, linked on Sun Bin’s blog, for a clearer picture.

    2. What specific threats did the Chinese govt issue against Norway? China obviously does not view the Nobel committee as a supra-national entity, given the political links of all the various parties linked to the decision-making.
    Liu XB is a criminal, convicted according to Chinese law; whether one agrees with that conviction or not, is another matter.
    The Chinese side would have expressed its unhappiness at the award potentially going to Liu; unhappiness is certainly to affect goodwill between two sides. But where are the specific threats?
    Something seems missing in the reportage.
    If, for some bizarre reason, the Ramon Magsaysay foundation (just eg) were to cite Osama for an award, the world’s Muslims will celebrate but one superpower would come down like a ton of bricks on the Philippines, followed by a shrill chorus of disapproval from the coalition of the willing and their mouthpiece media.

  11. S.K. Cheung Says:

    Is Liu now comparable to Bin Laden? Gosh, that has the makings of a CCP essay contest.

  12. slim Says:

    You are working with incorrect, incomplete or misinterpreted facts on the Cheonan (as well as the other maritime disputes) and your grades are therefore inflated. (Of course the PRC itself often seems to operate on incorrect, incomplete or misinterpreted facts, so I can’t really fault you.). To give just one example: the US-South Korean military drills were only “near China’s capital” in the general sense that the Korean peninsula is “near China’s capital.” Obama’s “willful blindness” remark in Toronto better captures how China’s cosseting of North Korea went down.

    If you add up the Cheonan, the Senkakus, the South China Sea, the combined effect was to raise doubts and suspicions about China among its neighbors on all maritime fronts — swiftly undoing any good for China achieved by Peaceful Rise talk and by its fast-growing economy. These PRC blunders effectively made it quite easy for the US to shore up ties with Japan, South Korea and most Southeast Asian states, tipping the regional attitude from embracing China toward hedging against China. The taking of Japanese hostages in Shijiazhuang underscored the poor state of rule of law in China and the brigandish character of the PRC. The rare earth metal embargo again Japan, brief and partial as it may have been, undermined China’s credibility as a trade partner.

    Unless China’s aim was to please the fenqing or instill solidarity by whipping up nationalism at home, in soccer terms, Beijing scored a series of “own goals” with Korea, Japan and its ASEAN neighbors in the space of one month.

  13. wuming Says:


    The main point is that it is possible to deduce from this sequence of events a change of US strategic posture toward China — the shift from engagement to containment. The especially telling event is Hillary’s declaration that South China Sea to be among US national interest.

    Even if you don’t draw this conclusion, the current status quo is already quite unacceptable to China given its economical and political weight in the world. Until one day US can view with equanimity the Chinese participation in naval exercises off Venezuelan (or even worse, Cuban) coast, or US will treat the vaguely “dual-use technologies” as the same way it demanded China treating the unambiguously strategic minerals, parts of your comment sounded hypocritical.

  14. slim Says:

    I don’t see how that would be “the main point”. I’m merely pointing out that in several key areas where pug_ster sees fit to give China excellent grades, the outcome was not only not worthy of such grades, but ended up hurting Chinese interests by fostering mistrust. The US benefited by default from Chinese hamhandedness. (But I allow for the possibility that maybe China’s goals lie elsewhere.)

    To be clear, Clinton said only that freedom of navigation in the South China Sea was a U.S. interest and US officials pointedly and carefully avoid taking sides on the various territorial disputes there.

    There are no serious calls for containing China, not least in the Democratic Obama administration, and no serious observer thinks it would be remotely possible to contain China. Wariness and hedging? Yes. Containing China? Not even a serious option, let alone a goal. But sometimes Chinese actions make engagement a tough sell, politically. Ask the Democratic Party of Japan.

    China’s rare earth policies affect everyone around the globe and therefore are risking China’s commercial reputation for gains that most likely will be short-lived. This is a far different matter than a few dual-use items.

  15. wuming Says:

    While I agree that neither US nor anybody else is able to really contain China, it is certainly capable of making all the roads bumpier. I would very much hope these new postures are merely domestic political jockeying, but I am afraid it reflect a change in Washington’s long term strategy.

    The rare earth were being mined more or less in one country, while many countries have kept their reserves intact and other countries are stockpiling the minerals. Under such circumstance, the market reputation and global economy comes secondary to the national security concerns of China. It would be grossly irresponsible if Chinese government do not re-examine its policy over the matter.

  16. pug_ster Says:


    China’s foreign minister cannot control the situation of how other countries would react or speak, (they can’t tell Obama to refrain from the “willful blindness” remark.) so the best they can do is react. As for the Cheonan, things could’ve been worse, if China’s foreign ministers got angry or reacted differently, I think more people would be suspicious that North Korea was guilty and conflict between the Koreas could’ve escalated to a possible war, which China is trying to avoid.

    I don’t see how that would be “the main point”. I’m merely pointing out that in several key areas where pug_ster sees fit to give China excellent grades, the outcome was not only not worthy of such grades, but ended up hurting Chinese interests by fostering mistrust. The US benefited by default from Chinese hamhandedness. (But I allow for the possibility that maybe China’s goals lie elsewhere.)

    That’s the whole point of “containing” China. Create mistrust between neighboring countries to China. China can’t change the attitudes of China’s Neighbors, but their actions will not upset their base.

    China’s “rare earth” issue is really a non issue because China is the only country which seems to dig up for this stuff, which is extremely environmentally unfriendly. Other countries like Australia, US, Russia, and Mongolia have this stuff too but they didn’t want to do it because they can’t do this cheaply unless it hurts the environment. Since the price of rare earth went up, it will make it economically feasible for other countries to do this.

  17. greg Says:

    My comments on the rare earth minerals on http://www.chinalawblog.com:

    “Sometimes simple explanations are the best explanation.

    For China’s rare earth export restrictions, instead of viewing it as some kind of long term strategic planning to “squeeze” the world, some common sense business and economic policy logic may be all you need to understand.

    First, China’s blocking of shipment of rare earth minerals to Japan a few weeks ago, if true, is not something sudden designed for Japan. As a lot of people have pointed out, indeed CLB also warned a year ago, export restriction either has been in effect for some time now or is coming anyway.

    Second, why China wants to restrict rare earth exports? A couple of facts in China’s view are driving the policy:

    1. China only has 30+% of the world’s reserve, yet has 95% of the world’s prodcution
    2. The market price is too low due to unregulated Chinese production and it is very polluting to mine and produce these minerals
    3. Many of these minerals do not have unlimited reserves in China and will run out in a few decades at the current production rate
    4. There is little value-add in these export; it’s not a lot of export revenue we’re talking about and China is not as desperate for hard currency as it was two decades ago

    In other words, China does not want to pollute itself to produce something of little value-add at a rate disproportionate to its reserves ratio in the world to deplete them quickly and in return to get foreign currencies it already has too much to know how to handle.

    To me, it’s a compelling argument. What do you think?”

    China has done nothing wrong to its economic and national interest in this case. If there is anything that needs to be improved, it’s its PR skill. The international media is dominated by western media, which makes the PR campaign even more important. China is learning, but still has a long way to go.

  18. no99 Says:

    Western media “thinks” it dominates international media. If you all can understand different languages, they do offer some insights quite different from those you hear from the West. Some will be the same or similar, but they have enough differences to be unique. Depends a lot on the nature of the media outlet, like it’s country of origin, company policies, reach of journalists, etc.

    I forgot what items precisely, but there’s actually other non-manufactured products where China is the largest exporter of. Some other important minerals like tin or tungsten as well as garlic and certain fruits, spices and herbs.

    A lot of people focus on the bad stuff like fake imitations or toxic products. Actually, there’s a lot of other things they can make or grow in China which is of decent quality, on par with many other foreign products, in certain aspects. I went to college in the US where they imported and exported a lot of machinery to and from China. Like they are actually “trading”. Some of the locals I’ve interacted with said that it’s not just costs or lack of regulations, but the infrastructure, engineering and manufacturing capabilities are also a big attraction of doing business in China. It’s not smooth, but then again, no business transaction is 100% fool proof or guaranteed and learning how to deal with it is a sign of maturity.

    In a sense, no matter how much bad P.R. or sad news comes out of China in the international media, the people who are doing real work and actually went there are the ones who have the most insight on what the reality is for that particular subject. You all can apply the same logic to any country.

  19. S.K. Cheung Says:

    “That’s the whole point of “containing” China. Create mistrust between neighboring countries to China.”
    —I believe that’s Slim’s point. China’s own actions are the roots of this mistrust that has been created. In other words, China is “containing” herself. China can in fact change the attitudes of her neighbours. Problem is that lately, they’ve changed it in the wrong direction.

  20. raffiaflower Says:

    You missed the disclaimer: “bizarre” reason, and “just for eg”. I could have said Chavez,or Castro.

    But if you insist:
    Osama is a hero to millions of Muslims – even to moderate and well-educated ones who are circumspect about voicing their opinions – for standing up to the West, specifically America.
    LXB is a hero to millions in the West, because anyone whom the desperate anti-China critics can lionize for standing up to the big, bad CCP is cuddly.
    Empirical, my dear.

  21. S.K. Cheung Says:

    Like I said, CCP essay contest. You should enter it. Seems right up your alley.

    One guy writes papers. The other guy organizes people to fly planes into buildings. They sound comparable indeed. Though to be fair, they do say that the pen is mightier than the sword…and as I always say, whatever floats your boat.

  22. raffiaflower Says:

    Damn, why is there an albino fly with sepet eyes buzzing around me?

    Both advocate the overthrow of existing regimes – the means are different, the ends are the same.

    Jed Yoong should be ab le to explain the meaning of the word sepet.

  23. pug_ster Says:


    Japan is going to Vietnam to dig up for rare earths. At least they don’t have to complain to China about it.

  24. S.K. Cheung Says:

    LOL. Flying planes into buildings vs writing a paper = “the means are different”. Nothing like getting a “bizarre” perspective from folks like you. The more things change, the more they stay the same…

    So I suppose the ends justify the means. But then the ends aren’t the same either. Clearly, you have to admit the CCP is not the same as a democratically-elected government. I mean, 90% of people spend 90% of their time here insisting on exactly that (whether it be speaking against it, or wanting nothing to change), so that couldn’t have escaped someone as perceptive as you.

    Perhaps the CCP essay contest needs to be amended. It should be ‘compare and contrast’, rather than just ‘compare’. But the ‘contrast’ bit might make it less appealing as a CCP tool. Either way, at the rate you’re going, you’re a shoo-in. Well done.

  25. Steve Says:

    This is starting to get silly. It’d be as if we were having a discussion of gun control and one side advocated everyone owning bazookas and thermonuclear devices while the other side wanted to outlaw water pistols and make finger pointing into a felony. Can’t we get more realistic here?

    To think any country or government can make decisions or pronouncements that are solely positive or negative is naive. What countries try to do is have consistency in their decision making and limit the number of factional or loose cannon statements that limit its decision making or create negative impressions and unwanted results.

    When Japan decided to arrest the crew of that impounded fishing trawler, it had positive and negative consequences. When China arrested Japanese tourists for spying, it had positive and negative consequences. When China impounded and arrested those Vietnamese fishermen along with their trawler near the Spratly Islands, it had positive and negative consequences. When China declared the South China Sea a ‘core interest’, it had positive and negative consequences. When Hillary Clinton announced that the USA had a national interest in freedom of movement in the South China Sea, it had positive and negative consequences. The list goes on and on. How most feel about each one of these decisions speaks more to their emotional investment in one side or another rather than to the actual justification of the acts or statements themselves. As I’ve said before, people make emotional judgments and decisions and then try to use rational and logical arguments to justify those emotions, with rationality and logic usually taking a back seat to rants and inflexible, illogical and emotional arguments with a veneer of rationality in some cases but rarely with a relatively objective viewpoint or argument.

    In the end, what really matters are consequences. Those consequences may be immediate or they may be realized over a long period of time. Arguing only the positives (or only the negatives) tells more about the writer’s emotional position than the actual consequences of the act itself. So I’ll guess I’ll take a whack at it along with all MY emotional baggage. 😛

    Google censorship issue in China – This was a victory for the propaganda ministry and a loss for the scientific, engineering and academic community. It was a loss for Google and a gain for its competitors in terms of profit. In the end, eliminating a source of information that can be used to build up the society is a negative for China, but limiting information in certain areas is consistent with CCP policy over the last 60 years so no real surprise. In the end, the scientific and academic community will work up a way to get around the censorship to get the information they need and the vast majority of people will not have access to the information that the CCP is trying to restrict. I have no idea how you grade something like this.

    Cheonan sinking in South Korea – The big winner in this one are the Chinese, North Korean, South Korean, Japanese and American military hawks. The civilian leaders in China see North Korea as a big black hole that sucks up resources with no real payback for the Chinese economy. No one is going to invade China from Korea so there’s really no strategic problem with seeing Korea united. In fact, a united Korea wouldn’t need the USA to have troops there since the reason for doing so would disappear. Korea would have its hands full for the next 50 years trying to re-unite in an orderly way and create a balanced economy. But people hate change and a strong response might have brought change to the region. The big losers are the North Korean people, who are stuck in a disaster culture with little hope for improvement. How do you grade this? I guess that depends on who you are, where you live and what side of this issue you favor.

    Iran – For now, China won big for sure. If the Shiite led theocracy ever falls, China loses big. So short term win but potential long-term loss. Again, I have no idea how to grade this since no one can predict when the theocracy will fall, if ever.

    Taiwan Issue – This one is complicated, as with most things related to Taiwan. Three links? Good for China strategically, bad economically. Good for Taiwan economically, good strategically. All in all I’d say it was good for both sides and a much needed treaty. Arms sales? Bad for China in that the sale took place over their threats, objections and diplomacy. If it was good for China, they wouldn’t be screaming bloody murder over it ever after. The resurrection of the DPP? I’d say that was pretty bad for China. Their guy Ma is taking a beating. Tsai Ing-wen has done a hell of a job bringing the DPP back from the dead and buried. The Diaoyu islands issue is a wash. Taiwan claims the Diaoyu, not in the name of the PRC but in the name of the ROC.

    What hasn’t been mentioned much is that with Taiwan able to export computer chips to China by direct transit, there is no longer a need to build new semiconductor fabs in China. The ones that have been built already are not profitable and have been logistical nightmares. This is a gain for Taiwan and a loss for China, which still categorizes these fabs as a strategic interest. The grade? Hell if I know.

    Yuan appreciation/export issue – Big win for China’s export industries, big loss for China’s wage earners, big loss for countries with high end goods and countries in SE Asia. The issue has never been having a rise in the yuan cause more developed countries to take back jobs lost to China. Those jobs would go to other developing countries. The issue has been for China’s people to have more money to spend so they can import higher end goods from abroad to bring the trade balance into equilibrium or closer to equilibrium. The China wage earner is subsidizing the China factory owner by maintaining a lower living standard than what it should be. This issue isn’t a black/white issue in China either, as there are factions that want a stronger currency. SE Asian countries have had to keep their currencies tied to the dollar in order to compete with Chinese products. If the yuan is allowed to rise, their currencies can also rise and their people have greater buying power, thus stimulating their own economies. I haven’t even mentioned inflation, property bubbles and stock market speculation. For some the grade is A and for others it’s an F, and for the rest it’s somewhere in between.

    ASEAN/Spratly Island Issue – This one I’d put under the “loose cannon” category and worse than the “Nuke LA” controversy from the ‘90s since there is no disagreement whether anyone actually said this or what context it was implied. Big winner? The CCP military hawks, who just expanded their ‘protected territory’ to a few miles off the Borneo coast. Biggest loser? The CCP foreign policy department that has tried to cast China’s rise as peaceful and non-threatening. Other big winners? All the military establishments in the SE Asian countries who just received huge increases in their budgets. If you try to paint this as a US State Department victory, you’re dreaming. This just fell into their laps as country after country made a beeline to their local American ambassadors. BTW, one person who NEVER makes loose cannon statements is Hillary Clinton. Every word she utters has been carefully thought out and vetted well before she says it. Joe Biden she ain’t. I’m not sure what grade I’d give this one, but it’d be pretty low. China’s utterances were exactly the opposite of Deng Xiaoping’s advice.

    Diaoyu Island dispute – Again, the grade on this just depends on who you are and who you like. It certainly played well domestically in China so in that regard it’s a win. It certainly played very poorly in Japan so the more positive relations under Hatoyama and the DPJ have been completely reversed and then some. Right now, the Japanese people are not happy with China and see the relationship negatively. It’s probably the most negative the Japanese public has felt in at least the last decade. Since Japan and China are huge trading partners, if that relationship begins to change it would be a loss for both countries. This might be one of those situations where the long term consequences are much greater than the short term ones. And I’m not kidding about feelings in Japan, they’ve changed dramatically in the last month or two.

    The rare earths controversy might be the most damaging of all. International business is all about reliability and trust. If a supplier is seen as being unreliable, business will look for substitutes because nothing is worse for the bottom line than risk. Business hates surprises. China has cut back on rare earths exports but by stopping exports to Japan completely, it sent a message to business interests all over the world that no one was safe from arbitrary edicts. That’s the recipe for risk. Should China protect its rare earths industry? Sure, and it would be seen as a reliable business partner if it did that incrementally. Remember, China has a monopoly on rare earths production because it chose to price it below its world competitors and drove them out of business, so don’t cry that China has a limited supply. That was a business decision they took some years ago, the decision to limit exports was a business decision they’ve taken more recently, but the cutting off of exports without fair warning is an indication of risk and a mistake. I understand that very few of you have actually engaged in international business, the buying and selling of various products so this might seem foreign to you. That’s why I wanted to explain it in more detail.

    Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel Peace Prize – Disclaimer: I have no interest in who wins the Nobel Prize and can’t see any reason for Liu to have won it. He certainly wasn’t a Thomas Paine type writer and I can’t see what he really brought to the table in terms of promoting peace. My guess is that by China pissing off the Nobel committee before they made the decision with their usual blustering and threatening style, they swayed the committee who decided to let them know they couldn’t be bullied. That’s my guess to how it all went down but regardless of why they made the decision, I still don’t see much value in it.

    Having said that, after the prize was awarded China’s behavior has been a public relations disaster. Canceling meetings with Norwegian government officials just made everyone realize that China has no idea how other governments work and just because they influence and control every decision made in their own country, they shouldn’t expect the rest of the world to play by the same rules. I think if they had just kept their mouths shut, most of this would have blown over after a few weeks. Personally, I would have forgotten about it in about five minutes. Instead, they’ve made Liu into an international martyr and seemed to have based most of their argument on a quote the guy made 22 YEARS AGO. Maybe to some of you this is valid but to most people in the world, it’s pretty ridiculous.

    Anyway, those are my opinions, no more or less valid than anyone else. I think some things went well for China and others did not. I saw far more CCP factional disagreement this year than previously and though I’m not sure why, it might be positioning for the coming leadership transition. When politicians are jockeying for position, it’s a great time to make deals and controversial statements that advance your agenda.

  26. HKer Says:


    ” Again, I have no idea how to grade this since no one can predict when the theocracy will fall, if ever. ”

    (1) PBS video – “God in America part six – Of God and Caesar.


    (2) When the Chinese officials living with me during the Reagan years read Kennedy’s great opus, ‘The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rise_and_Fall_of_the_Great_Powers] they figured out very fast…


  27. raffiaflower Says:

    Oh, my, blah, blah, blah. You’ve got your knickers in such a twist!
    Your response reads as tho you are having some kind of high fever (the kind spread by flies) as you attempt to ,eh, craft some response.
    You got yourself caught by not reading disclaimers in the first place.
    Poor thing. I’ll leave you now then, and collect my wu mao, dear. I’ll leave the essay writing to you. You are doing brilliantly. LOL.

  28. no99 Says:

    Eh, the more I was reading into Liu Xiaobo, the more I’m kind of thinking this wasn’t a wise choice. He said quite a lot of things that were just as provocative as that infamous quote. It really did borderline on self-hatred, but I think another commentator mention how during those times, in the appropriate context, it wasn’t as bad as it seem. However, I think most people are thinking the same way; they don’t think too much unless it affects them directly. Most of the non-western world (and general population in western countries to that matter) are kind of silent as they have a lot more things to worry about, and to be honest, a lot of people aren’t that naive. They understand that sometimes these international antics are a game for the elite or another tool for politics.

    In one article I’ve read from an Indian newspaper (they have a lot in English), it mentioned something similar, but it also added that many non-western countries are in the middle and if they really have to, will side with China in this case mainly because they believe in non-interference due partially because of their history of colonialism. It’s not because they don’t like the cause for peace or fear offending China, but they’re aware of the dark nature of some of these international scenarios which affect them in the wrong light.

  29. pug_ster Says:

    @Steve 25,

    I am posting my opinion based on the perspective of China point of view. The issue with rare earth is an economic one although many western countries try to write it as a political one. I do think it was wrong for China to sell this stuff so cheap that it put other countries out of business now other countries are probably trying to scramble its production in their countries. I don’t see what is the point since rare earths is raw materials and not a finished product so there will be little difference where you get it from.

    I don’t know what is the current political status in Taiwan but I am sure that the Chinese government had little choice to cooperate with the KMT and hope that DPP won’t come into power. I am sure that there will be some rollback of China’s policies with Taiwan once DPP comes into power.

  30. Steve Says:

    Hi pug_ster~

    I wasn’t addressing my comments to your post at all but to many of the follow up comments. You stuck your neck out by giving your opinions and though our opinions might differ in some ways, that’s fine since it’s just opinions anyway.

    But I’m not sure how you can say you’re opinion is based on the perspective of the China point of view if you’re an American living in NYC. I’d think WKL and HKer would have a better idea since they live there but all you can give is your own personal opinion, just as I gave mine. That’s all any of us can really give, isn’t it?

    If I had to guess, I would think that even if the DPP takes power in Taiwan, the three links would remain as they are now along with the increased tourism. I’d expect further negotiations would be much more ‘iffy’ between the two but I wouldn’t expect another Chen to take office. He was so anti-China that he lost the independent voter who got tired of his blaming everything on the mainland rather than his own shortcomings. My wife is heading over there in a couple of weeks to visit family so I’ll have a better idea of the mood there when she gets back. Now that I’m living back in the States, I really don’t have a good feel for public opinion over there. I believe Jerry and Josef would be the two guys who’d know the most since they both live there.

    I agree with you about the rare earths and hope that point came through in my remarks. However, economics affect politics so major economic issues easily become political issues. When Japanese keiretsu can’t manufacture high tech products, it becomes a political issue. When Chinese companies depend on exporting their products in order to make profit and some in Japan want to increase the value of the yuan, it becomes a political issue. I’m not sure you can ever separate one from the other.

    Hi HKer~ Nice Frontline link, thanks! Seems they had their fifteen minutes of fame, then enough people figured them out and now they’re back in their own little cubbyhole again. 😉

  31. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To 27:
    that was useful…in your unique sort of way.

  32. Josef Says:

    Taiwan: in one month everyone expects a DPP victory, although it is not granted. That is also, as the people want to balance the power again. But KMT created the loss by itself: the old KMT sins, corruption and nepotism, came back too quickly although Ma was fighting it.
    However, the chances that Ma is not re-elected in two years, I would regard as very small. So on a foreseeable future there is no DPP rule in Taiwan.
    In general China did a good job for their own interest, by keeping low profile (no further high-ranking visits etc.). Exception was the Daioyu island (here I disagree with pug_ster): no one on the island regarded the CCP claim as valid and there was no “common China interest” visible. Currently DPP would pick up the smallest move of China, as it gets them votes, example just today in DPP’s friendly Taipei Times: (about Tokyo Film Festival were the Chinese delegation argued about the naming of the Taiwanese delegation…)
    The biggest boost for China came from the mainland tourists where the benefits outweigh concerns.

  33. greg Says:

    A couple of background readings on China’s rare earth minerals and Japan’s accusations.

    The first one is from the New York Times, which grudgingly gives some new angle on why China restricts rare earth export after weeks of accusing China of wrong-doings of all sorts.

    “After China’s Rare Earth Embargo, a New Calculus”

    Excerpts from the report:

    “Across China, rare earth mines have scarred valleys by stripping topsoil and pumping thousands of gallons of acid into streambeds. The environmental costs are palpable here in Baotou, a smoggy mining and steel city in China’s Inner Mongolia, where the air this week had an acrid, faintly metallic taste.

    Half of the global supply of rare earths comes from a single iron ore mine in the hills north of Baotou. After the iron is removed, the ore is processed at weather-beaten refineries in Baotou’s western outskirts to extract the rare earths minerals.

    The refineries and the iron ore processing mill pump their waste into an artificial lake here. The reservoir, four square miles and surrounded by an earthen embankment four stories high, holds a dark gray, slightly radioactive sludge laced with toxic chemical compounds.

    The deadly lake is not far from the Yellow River watershed that supplies drinking water to much of northern China. The reservoir covers an area 100 times the size of the alumina factory waste pond that collapsed this month in Hungary, inundating villages there and killing at least nine people.

    Even before the Hungary disaster, Baotou authorities had begun a program to reinforce the levee here. Huge bulldozers are adding a thick surface layer of crushed stone to the embankments to protect them from the region’s harsh weather. ”

    ” ‘The damage that has been done in south China is considerable,’ said Judith Chegwidden, a managing director specializing in rare earths at the Roskill Consulting Group in London. ”

    Another article from Asia Time Online with in-depth analysis of Japan’s accusation on China’s so-called rare earth embargo.

    “Japan spins anti-China merry-go-round” (http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/LJ29Ad02.html).

    Here are the opening paragraphs of the article:

    “The current irritant in Sino-Japanese relations is Beijing’s alleged embargo on exports of rare earth oxides.

    However, Japan’s accusation appears to be little more than a cynical repackaging for political gain of its unsuccessful year-long campaign to persuade China to loosen its publicly announced quotas on rare earth exports. ”

    It must be pointed out that Japan has been the most enthusiastic peddler of the “China-threat” theory since the mid-90’s. Since the East China Sea Diaoyu Incident last month, Japan has been acting as if it were very anxious to talk with Chinese leaders to ease the tension, yet some of its cabinet members have been making hawkish statements repeatedly.

    It is understandable that Japan has felt most uncomfortable about China’s rise, particularly given its stagnant economy in the last two decades. I expect there will be on and off tensions between Japan and China for the next decade for any number of reasons, but eventually Japan will accept its place in Asia and settle into its rightful role comfortably.

    The current tension in some Asia hot issues and stirring up by country outside the region are almost inevitable and can be considered as an adjustment process. Asia will return to its historical normal state after 10-20 years.

  34. TonyP4 Says:

    China has the right to reduce rare earth export to its advantage, just like OPEC controlling oil. China has been giving a free ride to the world at the expense of its environment.

    China uses it as a weapon against the dispute with Japan and/or other countries. Despite the mutually beneficial trade, Japan has been brutal to China in the last 250 years. The role in Opium Wars and the criminal acts in WW2 are just some examples. The two A-bombs should be dropped on the imperial palace, not for the innocent folks.

    With the restriction of importing weapons from US, should China do the same in restricting the rare earth that helps US weapons?

    Rare earth is available in many parts of the world. They are not mined due to the cost and the environment damages. It is about time China care about its own environment and charge its minerals as much as the market can bear – it is free market after all.

  35. Chops Says:


    A senior Taiwanese military officer was taken into custody Monday on charges of leaking confidential intelligence to China, according to the Defense Ministry.

    The officer with the ministry’s Military Intelligence Bureau, identified in local media reports as Lo Chi-cheng, is suspected of having forwarded classified information and data to unauthorized personnel in violation of national laws.

    The Military High Court agreed to a request to keep Lo detained pending further investigation by military judicial authorities on the grounds that Lo might impair national security or collude with his accomplices to give false testimony if freed, a ministry news statement said.

  36. MadMadMan Says:

    Yeah, China will get even with US-Japan alliance with her own 4th generation fighter, which is recently revealed in ground tests.


  37. MadMadMan Says:

    Yeah, China will get even with US-Japan alliance with her own 4th generation fighter, which is recently revealed in ground tests.


  38. MadMadMan Says:

    Yeah, China will eventually get even with US-Japan alliance with her own 4th generation fighter, which is recently revealed in ground testing.


  39. Chops Says:

    Governments have been warned that there will be “consequences” if they show support for jailed Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo at the award ceremony.

    Vice-Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai said the prize was highly politicised and “a challenge to China’s judicial system”.

    Diplomats in Oslo said China’s embassy had sent letters implicitly warning them not to attend the prize-giving.


  40. Raj Says:

    Governments have been warned that there will be “consequences” if they show support for jailed Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo at the award ceremony.

    So now that countries like France and other EU members are apparently attending, what will happen to them?

  41. yourfriend Says:

    “—I believe that’s Slim’s point. China’s own actions are the roots of this mistrust that has been created. In other words, China is “containing” herself. China can in fact change the attitudes of her neighbours. Problem is that lately, they’ve changed it in the wrong direction.”

    Because China is the one making outlandish territorial claims? No, China has settled its borders peacefully with rational neighbors. The fact that India believes any part of Sino-Tibetan speaking lands are theres is pure batshittery. On the issue of the Spratlys and Diaoyu Islands, Taiwan is on China’s side.

    They are scoring points with the Taiwanese even if it’s impossible for Taiwan to comment, due to the overbearing presence of US interlopers and resident propagandists.

  42. yourfriend Says:

    ^ theirs*

    “So now that countries like France and other EU members are apparently attending, what will happen to them?”

    Remember what happened to France after their terrorist attacks against the 2008 Torch Relay? They were shut out of billions in sales. Maybe they won’t notice, but considering how much they cry about welfare I don’t think that will be the case.

  43. vmoore55 Says:

    CBC in Canada won’t post anything that was not anti-China this past few days when the NPP and Liu stories were the topics on CBC web site.

    Talking about CCP blocking the air waves in China this past week, what a joke here in Canada.

    And now about getting even, we will see China growing a set of big gigantic balls fast for the next phrase.

    Just came back from China, I was there for SH expo and the Asian games.

    And I can tell you China knew about Liu’s NPP win a cpl of weeks ago, it was on TV news from HK and on the Internet, I saw the news and read it on the net.

    What I mean to say is that China don’t need the west for export that much any more, soon not at all.

    May be just for tourism.

  44. Karma Says:


  45. Whoopee Says:

    This blog should be declared officially dead.

  46. YWX Says:

    “This blog should be declared officially dead.”

    Good riddance.

  47. MadMadMan Says:

    China now reviewed its F22-like stealth fighter


  48. XiaoYaYa Says:

    As a Chinese American I love the rhetoric when it comes to the topic of China and any related issues. Its always divided in to 2 polar extremes. I see alot of that here and most of it is misinformed. Either too many Chinese nationalists that grew up in China being spoon fed national humiliation and racism or westerners looking in from the outside and see a country that defies all logic and reasoning.

    Like vmoore55 your terribly wrong, China will and still does need to West, both as consumers to export to and sources of Intellectual Property. Although China is rising rapidly its development it is extremely uneven. For example in every category a Chinese person would prefer a western brand over a Chinese brand. No doubt China’s domestic consumption will increase but China isnt immune to the free trade and globalization, it isnt a magic country that defies the laws of economics.

    Although many love to talk about the coming dominance of China and the end to the west as someone who grew up in China and the US I can assure it wont happen.

    Deep inside China is a incredibly unstable and insecure country. The CCP has only 1 claim to legitimacy and that is economic growth. Without it the CCP has to resort to force to keep itself in power.

    More than anything people of China want respect but it still doesnt and wont understand that while the west might like China’s cash it wont respect China politically or culturally and China doesnt respect itself or its own people. A nation which is too afraid of free speech where there is only one official version of history, where constructive criticism doesnt exist and the natonal news is on 15 mins long because nothing bad can happen in China, only in America and the west does bad things happen.

    For all of China’s rise to power both me and my relatives in China have college degrees, but yet they cant find jobs and I can. They require their parents connections to get jobs and their rural residency status makes things extremely hard for them.

    I live in a country that has many flaws but we have the audacity to confront them head on, China doesn’t. In China only the local governments can be wrong, corrupt or evil but the CCP is immune from criticism. Any criticism of the CCP is a criticism on the nation of China and all its people and it’s glorious 5,000 (false) history.

    How can the west respect a country that doesnt respect itself? A country thats too immature to discuss things like Taiwan and Tibet. Countless times I’ve read how America is evil and is keeping Taiwan from reunification but not one of those people have met someone from Taiwan. Chinese Americans from Taiwan I’ve met throughout my life insist that there not Chinese and want absolutely nothing to do with China. But yet that doesnt stop China and its victimization mindset that it preaches to its people.

    As a child in China I was taught in school that White people and the West are evil and stupid and racially inferior. That as Chinese our ‘race’ and country is superior to all else and that it is our destiny to conqueror and world and seek redress for what Japan and the West has done to ‘us’.

    China seems like a economic meteor because the CCP needs it to be, it constantly reinforces the message of economic and social “harmony” on the news. When I’m in China and I turn on the tv its all I hear. CHINA IS DOING GREAT! BLAH BLAH BLAH, ______________ BAD THING HAPPENED IN THE WEST. ____________________ IN CHINA EXCEEDS GROWTH PROJECTIONS & MORE GOOD NEWS! …………. COMING UP…………… ONLY GOOD NEWS.

    So while China is getting richer by the minute, it will never conquer the world or dominate the world or even replace the US as many think. The US spent decades building relations in the world. The larger China gets the closer Europe, Japan/SK, and India gravitates towards US influence in the sphere of politics and defense. And plus comparing China to the West isnt correct because simply on a basic level, a Chinese life is worth slightly more than $40,000. The price of the fine for running someone over and killing them in China. So while China needs endless economic growth and ethnic nationalism as the justification of the continuing existence of the CCP as the representation of China itself. The rest of us can actually wake up in the morning and look at ourselves in the mirror and confront all our demons and not cast it as the world to out to oppress us and they hate us for our unstoppable growth.

  49. no99 Says:


    I have heard many different versions of your comments from many different sorts of people, i.e. people who grew up there and moved away, people who grew up there but still live there, people who came from somewhere else but live there now, and people who came from somewhere else and live there for a while or a long time ago.

    In all honesty, anything is possible in the future. If people want to use history as an example, moments before many great empires and civilizations reached their zenith, no one or very few believed or saw it coming. Neither could they see past all the flaws within each powerful society at that time, relatively speaking.

    Onward to the present, there are many factors involved in what makes a place dominating or powerful and it isn’t always 100% clear, pretty or perfect. The most realistic scenario in the near and distant future, is that humanity truly does move past the nation/cultural-state or civilization/region-state mentality and become literally borderless in all their pursuits and purposes. If there are technological breakthroughs in Energy, resource and waste management, etc. its hypothetically possible that every country in the world would be on an even playing field. If more people are educated, in maths, sciences, languages, etc. many networks could be establish throughout the globe and we would be so interconnected that anything contradictory to that environment would be impossible. Overall speaking, human beings are almost the same everywhere and could be united by their common interests more than anything…foodies and culinary adventurers could understand and bond with another, sports enthusiasts could do the same, music lovers, people who are handy with tools or interested in gardenmaking, etc. etc. etc.

    We can guess of what could or could not happen based on today, but there’s no absolute prediction. No such thing as a guarantee 100% prophecy in the making.

  50. tc Says:


    “Chinese Americans from Taiwan I’ve met throughout my life insist that there not Chinese and want absolutely nothing to do with China.”

    Could you tell us how long you have been in America, and how many “Chinese American from Taiwan” you have met? Just curious.

  51. no99 Says:


    To be fair, it is true there are some Taiwan people who say those things, like they’re Taiwanese not Chinese, etc. Wanting absolutely nothing to do with China is also true as well.

    However, things are a bit more complicated than that. It makes sense, if you’re thinking within the Asian geo-political mentality. Outside of that perspective, a lot of these attitudes and terminology gets blurred.

    I won’t go into any more detail, because I’ve realized after reading so many China-related blogs for a long time, I feel a little bit of hostility from people, Chinese nationals, Scholars, expats and others, whenever overseas Chinese affairs come up. I can understand some of their reasoning, but in some cases, you have to talk about it and not ignore them. Among the younger countries, these issues are a bit more loose, but with many older societies, especially in Asia, Europe and Africa, almost everyone has some unique relations with their diaspora and overseas cousins/descendants (whether they admit it or not).

    Yeah, it doesn’t matter most of the time, and I understand the silliness when overseas groups attempt to “represent” on behalf of their ancestral lands. On the other hand, there were and still are a lot of activities and events that have major implications on the world due to these overseas groups.

  52. Rhan Says:

    “Chinese Americans from Taiwan I’ve met throughout my life insist that there not Chinese and want absolutely nothing to do with China.”

    I think nothing here refer purely to political superiority and dominance. They are Chinese or no Chinese will depend on who they speak to and on what topic. For instance, Chinese Malaysian only demonstrate our patriotism while we are at overseas, this has everything to do with how our government conduct of political affair and policy and therefore most of the time, we are a bit ‘cold’ while we are at home.

  53. Rhan Says:


    “I live in a country that has many flaws but we have the audacity to confront them head on, China doesn’t.”
    If confront here mean criticize, I agree. But to do something to change status quo, I think China is doing better than most except voting.

    “5000 (false) history”
    5000 is false or history is false?

    “a Chinese life is worth slightly more than $40,000.”
    I didn’t know this, care to elaborate more?

  54. kui Says:

    “So while China is getting richer by the minute, it will never conquer the world or dominate the world or even replace the US ”

    Agree with that because Chinese people do not want their country to behave like the US and the world does not need another US to start more wars.

    “As a child in China I was taught in school that White people and the West are evil and stupid and racially inferior. That as Chinese our ‘race’ and country is superior to all else and that it is our destiny to conqueror and world and seek redress for what Japan and the West has done to ‘us’.”

    You did not have a good teacher. Are you putting your self as an example of being brainwashed and implying all Chinese are brainwashed in the same way?

    “For example in every category a Chinese person would prefer a western brand over a Chinese brand.”

    If that is true as you claimed then most Chinese do not think they are superior and most Chinese do not think the west are evil and stupid and racially inferior, right?

    You are making some very self conflicting claims here.

    By the way, when you are pointing your finger at the others as “spoon fed” have you realised how many of your own fingers are actually pointing at your self?

  55. kui Says:

    “How can the west respect a country that doesnt respect itself? A country thats too immature to discuss things like Taiwan and Tibet. Countless times I’ve read how America is evil and is keeping Taiwan from reunification but not one of those people have met someone from Taiwan. Chinese Americans from Taiwan I’ve met throughout my life insist that there not Chinese and want absolutely nothing to do with China. But yet that doesnt stop China and its victimization mindset that it preaches to its people.”

    So if China let Taiwan and Tibet become independent then China will earn the “respect” from the west? Do Chinese people agree to earn “respect’ that way? last week I had a quote from a contractor to do some work to my house. I thought the price was too high and I could not bargain a better price from him.I did not go ahead with the contractor. I am sure I did not earn respect and do I care? You are telling Chinese people to give up their interest to earn 子虚乌有”respect”. If you think that is a good deal then that is what you think. I can tell you that Chinese people are not fools and do not think that is a good deal.

    I have met with people from Taiwan too. One Taiwanese friend travel to China more often than I do and says things like 现在中国好了。I have met with Taiwannese Chinese who work and live in China. These people obviously have a lot to do with China and they all say they are Chinese.

  56. Wahaha Says:

    “How can the west respect a country that doesnt respect itself? A country thats too immature to discuss things like Taiwan and Tibet.


    Let me tell what Tibet means to China, and why China cant afford treating Tibet like Hongkong.( I am not talking about if Tibet is part of China or not.

    Tibet is the water resource of China, and most important, Tibet protects China from Northsouth side. If, one day Tibet is under controled DL and his followers (let alone if it is independent from China), and let West or India send some troops in Tibet like a small military base, the whole inland China will be under direct threat from India and West, China will lose the ability of protecting herself.

    Get it ? so it is fine you just hate CCP, but dont talk like a political moron about Tibet issue.

  57. A Taiwanese working in Europe Says:

    So if China let Taiwan and Tibet become independent then China will earn the “respect” from the west?

    Taiwan already is independent. PRC has never governed Taiwan and I hope they never will.

    I have met with Taiwannese Chinese who work and live in China. These people obviously have a lot to do with China and they all say they are Chinese.

    We have to say that, if not we lose our job. Many of our music and movie stars go to China to make money and have to say they’re Chinese, but in Taiwan, they would never say that… we’ll unless they’re very blue, but those are only few. We’re proud to be Taiwanese and we’re happy that there are so many proud Taiwanese in America.

  58. Wahaha Says:

    To A Taiwanese working in Europe,

    Economy determine everything, unless the society is dominated by religion.

    The geographic location of Taiwan determines that Taiwan will be forever under the influence of Mainland, you like it or not. The more people like 陈英文,蔡水扁, the deeper Taiwan is stuck in political circus, the worse for Taiwan’s economy, the more Taiwan’s economy will depend on Mainland.

    Now you still have some chip that you can bargain with CCP, how about in 20 years ?


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