Apr 10

Recently there were some news about cancelation of Bob Dylan’s concerts in China. Not surprisingly following the usual Western media narrative the dominate theme was the Chinese government had banned Bob Dylan because of censorship, Tibet, the usual.

However, the Chinese netters have been circulating a different story that appeared February this year (UPDATE: also covered by China Music Update in March). According to a music industry insider, Sun Mengjin, cancelation of Dylan’s China concerts had to do with the steep mark up by original concert rights holder (Brokers Brothers) rendering the concert not financially viable for local promoters, and out-of-control greediness in Chinese concert promotion industry:
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Apr 01

Political Prisoner?

Written by: Wukailong | Filed under:General, human rights, News, politics | Tags:, , ,
196 Comments » newest

This is a follow-up to a post earlier this month, “A political prisoner in Sweden.” I promised to translate the text of the sentence from the original, and have finally finished proofreading and putting in comments.

NOTE: I’ve changed the name of the indicted to his initials (BM). The reason for this is that, despite what he might have done, I don’t want people to find it out just by searching his name. I’m publishing it so that interested people on this forum can use it as a reference.
Mar 26

On 3rd July 1914, as Ivan Chen made his way down the steps of the Summit Hall building in Simla, he must have been aware of mixed feelings rising up inside him.  He had done something which would have far reaching repercussions; and which would for years be remembered by many people on both sides of the Sino-Indian border, albeit in very different ways – He had just left the Simla conference.

After refusing to sign the agreement himself, he was made to sit in a separate room, and behind his back, was signed  one of the most controversial and bizarre treaties in human history – The Simla accord.

For over a century, the intricacies of the border between India and China/Tibet have baffled scholars. In fact, the plot leading to the Simla conference and beyond actually plays just like a thriller movie or book. The sheer complexity of this problem can be judged by the fact that 36 rounds of negotiations have taken place between India and China at different levels since 1981; but they have yet to reach a settlement.

Mar 21

Cultural Differences

Written by: Steve | Filed under:culture, General | Tags:, , ,
40 Comments » newest

One of the more interesting aspects of living in or marrying into another culture is to observe how that culture handles ordinary tasks in an entirely different way from what I had learned growing up in the States. I thought I’d list a few I had seen and see if anyone else can contribute their own. I’d like to hear from every cross cultural combination and from both the Chinese and non-Chinese viewpoints.

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Mar 16

Is the Politiburo smoking weed?

Written by: Maitreya Bhakal | Filed under:General, media | Tags:, , ,
24 Comments » newest

Surprised? No sir, this is not some comment which a random user made at an online forum. This is the question which The Telegraph poses to its readers, in a recently published article entitled – ‘Is China’s Politburo spoiling for a showdown with America?’.

Now, we are all aware of the severe Cold-Waresque bias against China in large parts of the Western media, amounting to literally a childlike obsession, but this article really takes the cake.  The author, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, is in fact the international business editor of the newspaper!

But coming to think of it, in a way it also serves to be a bit of a laugh actually. Nothing beats a taste of good old British comedy. Who knows, we might be witnessing another Mr. Bean or David Brent in the making!

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Mar 10

The two Asian Giants are still not able to figure out the line which divides them – in the longest running border dispute in modern history. This dispute offers interesting lessons on how to, and how not to, handle boundary issues. The analysis of Chinese behavior in the negotiations is doubly important given China’s perception in the west of it ‘flexing its muscles’, and China’s theory of ‘Peaceful Rise’.

About a century ago, Sir Henry McMahon, the then British Foreign Secretary, took a think red pencil and sketched a line between India and Tibet on a map – a line which has resulted in the two most populous nations in the world going to war, costing more than 2000 lives; and which has created enormous mistrust on both sides, especially in India.

Consequently, on 3rd July 1914 was signed one of the most bizarre and controversial agreements ever known to man – The Simla accord, the complexities of which have yet to be unraveled.
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Mar 08

A political prisoner in Sweden

Written by: Nimrod | Filed under:General | 69 Comments » newest

Remember Rebiya Kadeer, the ethnic Uighur woman in China who was alleged to have been in possession of some personal information on local Uighurs and sent those to her husband abroad? Remember how her husband, Sidik Rouzi, at the time was working in Washington, D.C., with the World Uighur Congress, a known separatist organization, and Radio Free Asia, the propaganda arm of the US government started by the CIA and chartered for the sole purpose of destabilizing foreign countries during the Cold War?

Poor Rebiya Kadeer, when she was convicted and sentenced in China for “leaking state secrets”, the indignant people accused China of prosecuting people for political crimes and “suppression”. Now, we learn of yet another poor old Uighur, this time a 62-year-old man named Babur Mehsut, who has been arrested and jailed for “unlawful acquisition and distribution of information relating to individuals for the benefit of a foreign power.”

In Sweden. The arrest was made by Säpo, that country’s secret service.

What was his crime? He passed some information about Uighurs abroad to some Chinese journalists. Right…
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Feb 28

Happy New Year of the Tiger! Continue reading »

Feb 25

Prof. Bi Yantao: Greetings! I am very happy for having this opportunity to ask on issues which are closely followed by the people inside China.

When looking at the Tibet issue, I pay special attention to the term “Greater Tibet”. I have repeatedly read the text of your statement on ‘Greater Tibet’ (including the English version). You said, “Tibet is Tibet. There is no greater or smaller Tibet”. However, the fact of the matter is, during the dialogue process between the Envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Beijing, the issue of one autonomous administration for all the Tibetan people has been raised. Obviously, it seeks to unify Tibetan areas in Sichuan, Yunnan and Qinghai Provinces into the present day Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). Given the size of administration, it is indeed a ‘Greater Tibet’. Therefore, on account of that, the ‘Greater Tibet’ which Beijing asserts is not wrong because the reference was made from the present status of Tibet. You have, on one hand opposed the usage of word ‘Greater’ as in ‘Greater Tibet’, while on the other hand, maintained that ‘size should not matter whether big or small’. Are not these two statements contradictory?
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Feb 20

H/T to Chops for the NYT article where Lanxiang Technical School, a vocational school in Shandong, was outed as a secret base for Chinese government’s cyber war effort. Here are few reactions from Chinese bloggers:

(A place known for its culinary program have such a huge secret)

(Forget learning computers at Tsinghua, Lanxiang is awesome.)

(This school has won the lottery)

(Lanxiang Technical School students have the ability to attack google?)

(an essay titled “Why Lanxiang Vocational Is Better Than Harvard”, satirizing the “X University is better than Harvard” Chinese internet meme)

Feb 13

Going along with my intention to write about things that are lighter during this New Year’s season, I’d like to share with you an article I came across Time magazine today. The article is titled Why France’s National Identity Debate Backfired. Here is a short excerpt. Continue reading »

Feb 08

As the Chinese New Year approaches, I think I should write some lighter posts.  So here is something funny I stumbled across on WSJ’s China Realtime Report: Continue reading »

Jan 25

Google’s recent drama in China has endeared itself to some human rights activists, democracy advocates, even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  Many have applauded Google for taking a “principled stance” against the evil empire of China.  I find such rhetoric comical. Continue reading »

Jan 16

I will start with a big laugh! When a sign in a beautiful museum says, “No cameras and video taping is allowed”, what do you think it meant? And what do you think a Chinese tourist will do?

The ongoing talks about Mainland Chinese’s civic conscience and daily public behavior are mostly negative. But it is not always racially prejudicial nor finger pointing. All we have to do is to look at this guy Haison Jiang and listen to his friends. He defiantly sneaked through Newark’s Liberty Airport and caused a 6 hour delay and pain for several thousand people. Forget about what the US should do or do to that TSA guard who stepped away. They should improve, make changes and the guard should be reprimanded, etc, etc.. But the fingers should all point at Jiang. With people like this, what can we really do? Why he did it? Here is the interesting part:

Jiang’s friend said, “He didn’t mean anything malicious!”. That’s it! These are well educated graduate students. Not poor peasants from some rural villages. That showed how low and distorted their sense of right or wrong has become.   As long as Jiang did not carry a bomb, what’s the big deal if he ignored the signs and rules? How clumsy and inefficient the Americans are.

Who said Jiang was malicious and did it have to be malicious? It all comes down to “pay no attention to the rules”, “pay no mind to other people” and “pay no mind to the signs”. I don’t think Jiang meant anything malicious. So are those who spit in front of you, talk loudly on subway trains, cutting in front of people who are waiting in line, taking pictures and videos where it is clearly prohibited, smoking where they shouldn’t …….  No wonder they said China has more freedom than the US.

My uncle spat on the rug in a restaurant in Guangzhou and said it was okay because the workers would clean the floor every night anyway. He didn’t mean to be malicious.  I don’t even think that those who sold tainted baby milk meant to be malicious. They just wanted to make more money and couldn’t care less about anyone else. These are just characteristics of a people whose values had been distorted first by a brutal and destructive period of time and then by a materially rich but morally poor and intellectually stifling system. A political system that believes that by having control, censorship,  a single voice, a single national ideology and a single life’s aspiration will lead to a safe and harmonious society.

At my age, I am not sad any more. China is still not free.  It is a authoritative state.  The crime is: it sweetens the bitterness by corrupting the mind of its people.  Everyone becomes materialistic.  The most rewarding and safest way to live in China is being materialistic.    I don’t give a damn for the people who choose to ignore this part of China and just go for its wealth and opportunities. I don’t feel any part of this “rising great nation”. But the West is going to learn. It may not be China’s toys, drywall, tires, bogus CDs, or its money and military might that will bother and scare the West. It may well come down to someone who urinate in their streets. The latter is more realistic.

Jan 07

I recently came across an opinion poll from the Global View Survey Research Center concerning present public opinion in Taiwan on a range of subjects. In the past, many of us have commented on the state of affairs in Taiwan, not only in terms of her relationship to China but also involving the political thought within the nation. Rather than draw any conclusions, I thought I’d make this same data available to our blog members and see what you think.

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Dec 19

Apparently, after much drama, intrigue, and sleepless nights, we have some sort of agreement at Copenhagen. We’ll probably get the text of the Copenhagen Agreement soon. But I think the gist of it is as follows: Continue reading »

Dec 14

A theory often taught in foreign policy courses is that heavily interdependent states tend to want peace and stability between them. I was very encourage to read that a massive gas pipeline, 1,833-kilometers in length, has been constructed, linking Turkmenistan through central Uzbekistan, southern Kazakhstan, and into China through northwestern Xinjiang province.
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Dec 08

李白 (Li Bai, 701-762AD) is one of the most beloved Tang Dynasty (618-907AD) poets in Chinese history. This is a rendition of his poem, 静夜思 (“Thoughts on a Still Night”) where he reminisces his home. Below are couple of videos presenting this poem in various ways. Many Chinese children, some, perhaps shortly after they start talking, will be taught this poem (see second video below).
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Nov 30

For the last two centuries, the Chinese psyche has been defined in large part by the humiliations and sufferings brought about by foreigners (see the Opium War, the Second Opium War, and the Nanjing Massacre). After the founding of the current Peoples Republic of China, it was the disastrous policies of the Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward which furthered that wound. The latter were the Chinese inflicting pain onto themselves.
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Nov 26

Shanghai PajamasIt seems the long held social custom of Shanghainese to walk down the street in their pajamas is causing some discomfort to the organizers of the Shanghai World Expo scheduled for next year and a campaign has been started by the municipal government to end the practice.

It’s not that unusual to see middle aged women milling around on the street in their pajamas, or even walking to the subway or local shopping mall. So the slogan “No Pajamas in Public – be Civilized for the Expo” has been coined to end what the government feels is uncivilized behavior in a modern, world class city. As China Daily columnist Raymond Zhou said recently in “In Defense of Pajamas”:

“So, it’s not really about whether we like it, but rather about whether we are liked. Again, it’s the quintessential concept of “face” and “saving face”.

Not many Chinese are shocked to see a street full of pajama-wearing pedestrians, but if international visitors feel squeamish about it we should stop doing it. Or so the implied rationale for the crackdown goes.”

The city’s tactic to stamp out street pajama wearers was to create a team of 500 volunteers to use persuasion at bus stops and other venues to convince pajama wearing Shanghainese residents to change their clothes.

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Nov 26

Officials from both China and the U.S. have lauded Obama’s recent trip to China as a great success.  While some have criticized the trip for producing little in terms of specifics, one should not casually dismiss the achievements actually made (see U.S.-China Joint Statement). In so many ways, the relationship between U.S. and China has never been closer.

Yet despite the goodwill generated by the trip, there is one sharp difference that festers between the two – and that is the value of the Yuan.  Many in America feel that the Yuan is not only undervalued, but has created a huge trade deficit, setting in motion the current global financial crisis and threatening to prolong the current U.S. recession. Continue reading »