Jun 12

minipost-Take your money and get lost

Written by: real name | Filed under:-mini-posts, economy, politics | 9 Comments » newest 2013-02-20 07:20:05

“Let some people get rich first, lead and help other areas, other people and this way can gradually achieve common prosperity” was one of the slogans of economical reforms.

Many from the richest part of today’s China did not believe in talks about common prosperity and so from Hong Kong in years 1984-1997 (when HK was returned under Chinese control) nearly 1 million people emigrated (about one eight of population).

(Despite different average in Hong Kong is economical inequality even bigger than in rest of China.)

Even more people did not return from study abroad. To be more concrete: in years 1987-2009 it was about 1 160 000 people. But gradually returns more and more, during for world crisis year 2009 it was already 56 percent.

In that time they returned because of problems abroad, many with foreign passport (although sometimes hidden – China does not allow double citizenship), to try find a job at home or to outsource their business to country with lower costs.

But together with growing return of so called “sea turtles” another escape began – this time of the richest Chinese. Continue reading »

Apr 16

minipost-Real threats to China-US relations

Written by: guest | Filed under:-mini-posts | Tags:, ,
11 Comments » newest 2012-03-23 08:20:26

By BI Yantao

allvoices.com, Mar 05, 2011

In the coming decades, the China-US relations will be deteriorating if the US doesn’t adjust its strategic positioning. It seems the Hu-Obama summit held earlier month is unlikely to dramatically ease the tensions between the two countries, let alone change the trajectory. In my eyes, one major threat to the U.S. determination to maintain its global hegemony.

To a great degree, China’s assertiveness is the result of the wishful thinking by some non-Chinese observers. The more determined the US is to maintain its global leadership, the more sensitive it is to China’s growth. It is a new version of a Chinese fable which says one sees a snake when a bow is reflected in a cup full of water. Once you believe China intends to challenge the US global primacy, it is easy to “find” sufficient evidences. In fact, many of the evidences are intentionally or unintentionally fabricated by the observers. A good case in point is that certain American commentators suggest the traditional Chinese culture determines China’s aggressive stance. They cited the example of the implication of “China”, which means “the central kingdom”. This sounds ridiculous to the majority of the Chinese people, because the Chinese people bear in minds the old motto “The moon waxes only to wane, water brims only to overflow”. This partially accounts for Deng Xiaoping’s legacy “Never to be in front”.
Continue reading »

Mar 23

The urban myths around China’s property bubble are as compelling as they are odd. There are tales of office blocks, towering in Shanghai, Beijing and a dozen other provincial cities, behind whose mirrored-glass exteriors is a ghostly silence. There’s the story the cycling professor noting a complete absence of lights in ranks of buildings, during the most recent solar eclipse in Beijing. Of taxi drivers who ply their trade, whilst nailing down million-dollar property deals on the phone. Of couples divorcing, so they can claim an extra share of the property bonanza. Even allegations of 60 million homes mysteriously having no electricity charges for more than 6 months. Continue reading »

Oct 14

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.
Continue reading »

Oct 12

minipost-China and Japan Leaders to (Try to) Improve Ties

Written by: guest | Filed under:-mini-posts | 2 Comments » newest 2010-10-12 15:27:49

It’s a new month since the fiasco of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea and Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and Japanese PM Naoto Kan have met to mend recently frayed diplomatic ties. That a centuries’ old enmity will be healed is unlikely if not unfeasible, but both diplomats have agreed to improve relations, “to resume exploring ties,” said Japanese spokesperson Noriyuki Shikita.
Continue reading »

Oct 08

minipost-Liu Xiaobo

Written by: rolf | Filed under:-chinese-posts, -guest-posts, -mini-posts, General | Tags:, , ,
1 Comment » newest

Liu Xiaobo has received money from the American government for years:

Wikipedia: “Liu Xiaobo … President of the Independent Chinese PEN Center since 2003”, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liu_Xiaobo

Grants to Liu Xiaobo, President of ICPC, “Independent Chinese PEN Centre, Inc.”, from the NED (National Endowment for Democracy), a US government entity:

Independent Chinese PEN Centre, Inc. (2009)
Scroll down to “Independent Chinese PEN Centre, Inc.”

Independent Chinese PEN Centre, Inc. (2007)

Independent Chinese PEN Centre, Inc. (2006)

Total sum from NED for Independent Chinese PEN Centre: US $422 950

Chinese PEN Center is not the only source of money for Liu Xiaobo. He also gets money from NED for Minzhu Zhongguo, “Democratic China, Inc.”, where he is the Founder:

Scroll down to “Democratic China, Inc.”
$195,000 (2009)
$18,000 (Supplement)

Democratic China, Inc.
$145,000 (2007)

Democratic China, Inc.
$136,000 (2005)

Total sum Democratic China, Inc. from NED: $ 494 000

Total support from NED during the three years is US$ 916 950 which is about 7 million yuan – a huge sum of money in China – where salaries are about 20% of the level in Western countries.

NED (National Endowment for Democracy) is funded by the American government, and is subject to congressional oversight – which is a prettier word for “government control”. The purpose is to fund individuals, political parties and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) favourable to US interests.

The payment from NED to US-friendly groups is not a new thing. Eric T. Hale showed in his dissertation (2003) that during the 1990s, China and Russia were awarded the highest number of NED grants with 222 and 221, respectively. Total payment to groups in China during these ten years was astonishing US$ 20.999.229, which equals 140 million Chinese yuan.

In 1991, Allen Weinstein, who helped draft the legislation establishing NED, candidly said: “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.” In effect, the CIA launders money through NED. (Washington Post, Sept.22, 1991)

New York Times wrote on December 4, 1985: “The National Endowment for Democracy is a quasi-governmental foundation created by the Reagan Administration in 1983 to channel millions of Federal dollars into anti-Communist ‘private diplomacy.'”

Republican congressman from the Texas Gulf Coast, Dr. Ron Paul, who is more Libertarian than Republican, writes: “The misnamed National Endowment for Democracy is nothing more than a costly program that takes US taxpayer funds to promote favored politicians and political parties abroad. What the NED does in foreign countries … would be rightly illegal in the United States.”

Former CIA-agent Ralph McGehee writes: “… the current US policy of using (rightly or wrongly) the theme of human rights violations to alter or overthrow non-US-favored governments. In those countries emerging from the once Soviet Bloc that is forming new governmental systems; or where emerging or Third World governments resist US influence or control, the US uses ‘human rights violations,’ as an excuse for political action operations. ‘Human Rights’ replaces ‘Communist Conspiracy’ as the justification for overthrowing governments.”

Patrick French writes “The NED constitutes, so to speak, the CIA’s “civilian arm”.”

In that meaning The Nobel Peace Prize Committee’s decision becomes a political plot, and Liu Xiaobo becomes an American agent.

Sep 20

This week has been contentious week between China and the US. Timothy Geithner came out and blasted at China for undervaluing its currency which hurts American Jobs. Leading the charge, NY times has been the loudspeaker of this Anti-China effort.
Continue reading »

Sep 13

This article has been published through the Independent web media both in USA and Australia few months ago, but has yet to publish in China. As it related to China and the way, Australia media and politicians treated China in a racist and unbelievable non-reasoning manner. I thought the Chinese readers should be make aware of the case.

The article begin here:

After nine months of media allegation, finger pointing based purely on hear-say, speculation surrounding the reasons behind the arrest of the four Rio Tinto’s executives in Shanghai on the 5th July 2009, the truth about the actual background of the arrest has finally out weighted the disinformation relentlessly generated by the mainstream media in Australia.

We now know that:

1) The four Rio Tinto executives admitted taking bribes (The Australian, 23 March 2010)

2) One should note that, it was only after the four Rio Tinto executives admitted taking bribes on the 23 March 2010, we then learn on the following day that, ’Secret Rio Tinto probe cleared company but left Stern Hu in doubt’ (The Australian, 24 March 2010).

3) Stern Hu was sentenced to jail for 10 years (The Australian, 29 March 2010) and Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Sam Walsh sacked all the four convicted executives. Mr Walsh described the bribery findings — admitted by all four men — as “deplorable”, and said that the company had “implemented a number of improvements to our procedures, and we have now ordered a further, far-reaching independent review of our processes and controls”. (The Australian, 31 March 2010).

Is Rio Tinto as a company an innocent party?

On the outset, Rio Tinto as a company seems to be an innocent party . However, according to the Melbourne’s Age (31 March 2010), under the heading ‘Rio Tinto calls in Kissinger to mend fences’, it was disclosed that: “Mr Kissinger’s role came to light as claims emerged that Rio was told months before the arrests of Hu and his three colleagues of potential ”dodgy dealings” within its China operations but resisted internal calls for an investigation.”

The Age further evaluated that: “The Age has been told that a number of Rio employees in Singapore raised concerns with management about the activities of employees in China more than a year ago but the concerns were never formally investigated.”. “A well-placed source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a rapid rise in the iron ore spot price led some to question whether bribes were being offered. ”Some of the guys in Singapore said ‘let’s have an investigation’ but that investigation was quashed by senior company figures,”

The truth is, Rio Tinto is a direct beneficiary to the bribery activities. As a result, “China paid $165m too much for iron ore last year,” (Daily Telegraph, 30 March 2010).

One should note that, all these information only came after the four Rio Tinto executives admitted taking bribes! The interesting questions here are: How did our media and politicians behave between the period after the arrest on 5 July 2009 and the Rio Tinto executives admission of taking bribes on 23 March 2010?

What can we learn from this case about our media culture, our law in practices and our politicians?

In retrospect, when we examine the way our politicians and mainstream media reaction to the arrest of Rio Tinto executives in Shanghai since July 2009 and the subsequent abusive language used, and the on-going and systemic repeating of certain points about the case to the Australian public, we can tell a lot about our media culture and the kind of political leaderships and competency we rely upon to manage our national affair. Can we trust them?

a) Our legal frame work on anti-foreign bribery:

On the 10th August 2009, I wrote an articles with a title: “Australia media and government should respect its own law on Foreign Bribery – Stern Hu’s Case: Problem of corruption is a world issue, not just Chinese”. In this article, I highlighted the content of the Australian government website on the issue of anti-foreign bribery (www.ag.gov.au/foreignbribery), with part of the information as follows:

“Australia recognises that corruption is not just one country’s problem and, in recognition of this, is an active participant in international initiatives, including:

– ratifying the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) on 7 Dec 2005

– ratifying the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime on 27 May 2004.

– ratifying the OECD Convention and Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions on 18 Oct 1999 and participating in the Asian Development Bank OECD Anti-Corruption Initiative for the Asia – Pacific.

– participating in the Asia – Pacific Economic Cooperation Anti-Corruption and Transparency Experts Task Force (APEC ACT)….(etc)

Australia is committed to sharing technical expertise and improving our legal cooperation relationships with other countries to strengthen the fight against corruption, both in Australia and throughout the Asia – Pacific region.”

Note: The Australian government has changed the content of this website and removed many of the statements I reported in my article mentioned above dated 10th Aug 2009. However, I have save a copy of the original content. By the way, you can still find the name of the International Convention ratified by Australia.

I submitted this article to a number of newspapers and magazines in Australia but receive no response from the editors except the New Internationalist Magazine with this message: “Thanks for your message. Our June issue is all about China, so I’m afraid we won’t be looking for any more China-related stories for the time being.”.

As a result, I decided to create my own website and register the domain www.outcastjournalist.com on 19 Oct 2009 to publish my own research against media disinformation.

b) Our Law is only as good as the people who administer it

Despite the series of International Convention we ratified, and our government pledged in their own website to cooperate with countries “throughout the Asia Pacific region” to “fight against corruption”, did our government honour these International convention they ratified? Did we do what we preaches? Let’s look at how our politicians response to the arrest of Rio’s executives on the 5th July 2009:

i) Our Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd not only failed to allow Shanghai’s police the time to sort out the evidence, conduct further investigation and offer assistance to China to facilitate their investigation, he politicised the whole issue with a public statement: “Our Chinese friends”, “China had significant economic interests at stake in it relationship with Australia and other commercial partners around the world.” (Brisbane Time 16 July 2009)

ii) As usual, The Australian Newspaper always knew which politician to pick for negative comment about China. This time, they mentioned Senator Barnaby Joyce twice to assert one point: “the failure of Chinalco to increase its stake in Rio was behind the arrests.” Apparently, the Australian Newspaper has removed the content of this news on their website with the subject heading: ‘Beijing accuses Rio of spying as Australia is shocked at arrest of mining executives’ dated 9 July 2009. Luckily, I have kept a copy of this news from the Australian website as well. You may read my detail analysis in my earlier article on Rio Tinto case to find out how the Australian Newspaper skilfully crafted wording using the techniques of creating, repeating, asserting and confirming an unproven speculation that the arrest was related to the recent failed negotiation over Australian iron ore exports to China . By the way, the Crowdsourced coverage website can proof my claim that the Australian did carry that news heading on their website in July 2009.

c) The rule of law in theory and in practices (China vs. Australia)

China as a developing country is not perfect in many aspects. It was at one stage a totally lawless society 60 years ago with wide spread poverty, low literacy, bad health (average life expectancy was 36 year), without an effective government after century of foreign invasion and colonial exploitation such as the First Opium War; the numerous unequal treaties forced upon China by varies foreign governments such as UK, USA, Japan, Russia, France, Germany, Portugal, Italy, Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Spain and Netherlands – Wikipedia recorded 18 of these unequal treaties; and Nanking Massacre, etc.

However, over the last 60 years of political, legal and economic reform, China enjoy unprecedented prosperity with political stability and high level of citizen satisfaction with the direction of the government. (PEW survey 2008).

China is still far from a perfect country, and the country knew that – in the recent session of the National’s People Congress, the heads of the Supreme People’s Court and Supreme People’s Procurator made a promise for “greater supervision and competence in its judicial system”. (CCTV, 11 Mar 2010).

Like any Western country’s history of building its legal system, it is an on-going process of improvement as a result of discovering new loopholes and inefficiency. However, where there are existing written law to follow, no one have the right to dispute its legitimacy. Rio Tinto’s bribery case was trial in accordance with the existing Chinese law and legal proceeding – the bribery case was trial at an open Court, and the stealing of commercial secret case was trail in a close Court but with 40 witnesses including some of the family members of the defendants. (The Australian, 26 Mar 2010) and we should respect the outcome as the crime was committed in China under their Judiciary system.

If we want other countries to respect our law, we should learn also to respect others.

The irony with the Australian media and government is that,

i) We keep making unfound speculation that Chinese leaderships are personally involved in the case. For example,

After Prime Minister Rudd issue a public warning to China: “The world is watching”, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith and Treasurer Wayne Swan also joined him in saying “the rest of the world was watching China”. Despite Qin Gang, China Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman urging Australia not to “interference in China’s judicial sovereignty”, and claimed that: “The actions of the Rio Tinto staff have caused losses to China and China’s interests,” he said. “I believe Stern Hu and Rio Tinto are fully aware of this.”, like most media throughout the country, the Age also pushing the following point in its report dated 17 July 2009 under the heading: ‘China tells Australia to butt out’:

The Age: “It has been widely speculated that Mr Hu’s detention is linked to Rio’s decision to snub a bid by China’s state-owned Chinalco last month to take a large stake in the company.”

Reader should note that, the effort to link the arrest of Rio Tinto executives in Shanghai to the failed bid by Chinalco to increase it investment in Rio Tinto is wide spread throughout the Australian media industry over the next 8 months since their arrest in July 2009 until the bribery findings — admitted by all four men.

The Sydney Morning Herald (29 July 2009) run an article: “China does not respond positively to humiliation”, implying that, by maintaining a good relationship with Chinese leaderships, Stern Hu stand a better chance for an early released.

Sydney Morning Herald (13 July 2009) under the heading ’Chinese President backed Rio spy probe’ quoting an (unnamed) Chinese Government sources suggesting that “The Chinese President, Hu Jintao, personally endorsed the Ministry of State Security investigation into Rio Tinto that led to the detention of the Australian iron ore executive”. If you Google this news title, you will notice that like most negative news against China, it is an Australia wide coverage.

Again, Sydney Morning Herald (7 Nov 2009) under the heading ‘Exposed: the man controlling Stern Hu’s fate’, speculating without quoting any source that “Wu Zhiming, who is due to decide his (Stern Hu) fate within 10 days”. Follow by an unnamed source: “But some Chinese lawyers say the justice system is more tightly controlled in Shanghai because it has been the stable, long-time power base of Jiang Zemin.”, then another unnamed statement: “Some say Wu has a tighter grip on Shanghai than even the mayor or Communist Party secretary”. Then “The President, Hu Jintao, and a host of lesser players might also vie for influence” (not quoting any source again), then “political analysts (unnamed) say there is a risk that Rio Tinto’s iron ore team will – or might already have – become stuck in the middle of a bitter struggle between President Hu and Jiang.”

How wonderful to be a mainstream media journalist. You can say whatever you like without quoting any sources.

On 11 Feb 2010, The Age made a further speculation under the heading ’China steps up Stern Hu bribe case’, again, using the technique of quoting an (unnamed) observer: “Observers say the decision is likely to have been made at the highest level of Chinese politics,” follow by this statement: “Some had expected President Hu Jintao’s visit last month to Shanghai – the territory of his political rivals and his first visit in two years – would lead to the case being resolved in Mr Hu’s favour.”

The reality is, with the eventual admission of all four Rio Tinto’s executives in the bribery charged on March 2010, all the above rumours and speculations pushed relentlessly by the mainstream media over the last 8 to 9 months have reflected badly in the truthfulness and professionalism of our media industry and , unfortunately the competency of our political leaderships as well.

ii) Political interference in Australia Judiciary system.

Our media and politicians love to make up stories and accuse other culture of political interference in their judiciary system as and when our criminals committed crimes in a non Western country like the Rio Tinto case demonstrated above. However, in practice, did we do what we preaches?

Technically, if Rio Tinto as a company knowing its executives criminal act in China “more then a year ago and resisted internal calls for an investigation” (The Age, 31 March 2010), Rio Tinto has effectively violated a number of Australian laws including the series of our Anti-Foreign Bribery related law and legislations. (Not to mention that Rio has directly benefited from these illegal activities). For a detail listing of our legal framework on Anti-foreign bribery, please read my earlier article dated 10 Aug 2009.

The ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission) is right to indicate that it is “looking at Rio over Stern Hu case” as “Prof Ramsay said that under Australian criminal law, Rio could be potentially liable if a court found the company’s corporate culture either directed, encouraged or tolerated bribery of a foreign public official.” Despite the fact that “Green leader’s Bob Brown called for the Rudd Government to order the regulator to investigate Rio Tinto”, “Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith …. said it was possible that the Hu case involved a breach of Australian law, but he told the ABC …. that he had no reason to refer the matter to ASIC.” (News Limited, 31 Mar 2010). Whether or not the ASIC is serious about “looking at Rio over Stern Hu case”, we can only wait and see for now.

Again, the Rudd government is not interest in upholding the Australian law against foreign bribery. Instead, our “Foreign Minister slams Chinese as Stern Hu gets 10-year jail sentence” (Sydney Morning Herald, 30 March 2010), so as Prime Minister Rudd (The Australian, 9 April 2010). And the media is talking about a prisoner exchange treaties with China (Courier Mail, 8 Apr 2010). So much for the usefulness of the written law in Australia.

However, in another recent incident, when it was reported that a “Chinese coal ship that ran onto the Great Barrier Reef was one of dozens of freighters to have taken a legal short cut between dangerous shoals this year” (Brisbane Time, 7 April 2010). Let’s have a look at how our poll driven Politicians reacted to this incident in an election year:

Usually, incident like this should be handled by the experts to access the damages, and the federal police to investigate the cause of the incident and then refer the case with according to our established legal framework and procedure, and finally a court proceeding and expert (The Australian Maritime Safety Authority) recommendation such as to introduce new rule and regulation (for example, extending the VTS to the entire length of the reef ) to ensure this kind of incident will not happen again. It should be up to the Judicial System to decide on the case.

However, our Prime Minister have to personally involved himself on the case and pledged that: “vessels that threatened the health of the reef would be prosecuted with all the force of the law,” follow by our Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese: “The Australian government will ensure that the full force of the law is brought to bear on those responsible … and we will also ensure … compensation is paid with regard to the cost of cleaning up,.” (Brisbane Time, 12 April 2010).

So, is our Judicial System independent from political interference? You be the Judges!

Economic or Commercial espionage cases outside China

For the benefit of readers, I would like to provide the following links to other commercial espionage cases outside China:

The Economic Espionage Act of 1996 was approved by Congress because theft of U.S. trade secrets is costing U.S. companies many billions of dollars a year in lost sales and costing U.S. workers their jobs. Here are brief summaries of some of the first arrests under this new US law: http://www.wright.edu/rsp/Security/Spystory/Industry.htm.

Other commercial espionage cases across the world:

– A case study in French Espionage: Renaissance Software.

– Case study: USA – UK industrial espionage

– F1 engineers plan appeal in Ferrari espionage case (30 April 2007)

– Telecom Italia espionage scandal deepens (25 January 2007)

– Fender bender crooks swipe $190K in chips (21 December 2006)

– Vodafone fined €76m over Greek wiretap scandal (15 December 2006)

– Foiled computer blaggers jailed for 38 years (3 July 2006)

– Spyware-for-hire couple plead guilty (15 March 2006)

– Eight CCTV cameras bust ‘Mr Stupid’ (28 August 2005)

– Armed raiders steal £840,000 in computer kit (20 January 2003)

Conclusion: Why the West cannot use normal heart to handle other cultures?

I feel sad for Australia—a country I called HOME. The world has changed so much in the 21st century and yet some in our society still unable to put aside the colonial mentality of the past. These people seem to has to see other culture through colour lenses and unable to put in context our own behaviour when facing the similar situation.

Our media reporting news based heavily on hear-say and unfound speculations. Despite numerous newspapers and magazines on our news stand, they all seems to speak in one voice most of the time with the same messages and mistakes. Very often, those people they quoted with a name are in fact – no expert to the case. Those so-called experts are people without a name. The editors seems not too interested in the truth of an event. Apparently, like the latest ANU research, most of our editors only interested in reporting news based on their party line. (I would put it as political line.) They are unable to distinguish the different in responsibility between writing a news piece and opinion piece.

Since the financial crisis, our reserve bank governor has in many occasions accredited China as the main factors that lifted Australia out of this crisis. China is in actual fact our number one trading partner. However, as a result of our bureaucrats and politicians reliance exclusively on our newspapers for information about China. (refer to Brisbane Time on the 15 Oct 2009 under the heading – Rudd policy on China ‘set by BHP’, with the following statement from Mr Joske (an economic adviser to former treasurer Peter Costello in the 1990s): ”There’s no one in Treasury who can tell up from down on China, beyond what they read in the newspapers.”

Should our government consider to reform our media industry to safeguard our national interest as a result of the misleading information we received from our media on a daily basis?

To read this article with links to the sources, visit my personal website:

Sep 06

minipost-Did Chinese medicine make Chinese emperors live longer?

Written by: real name | Filed under:-mini-posts, Analysis, culture | 32 Comments » newest 2011-09-29 10:19:12

In the discussion about Chinese medicine arose the question why in China people do not live longer than elsewhere.

It is clear that except medicine is their life expectancy affected by many other factors.

If we consider the negative impact of today’s polluted environment why the Chinese did not live longer in pre-industrial era?
“Because they were poor and hard working.”

So let have a look at the longevity of those who
– were not poor, can afford the best food, doctors and drugs
– (according to advertisement) they were mad about chi-kung
– (according to the net-shop with no real address) followed feng-shui rules.
Let’s have a look at the longevity of Chinese emperors.
Continue reading »

Sep 05

minipost-The Problem Of Evil And The Eastern Model of God

Written by: whooper | Filed under:-mini-posts, Opinion, religion | 44 Comments » newest 2010-10-11 04:21:40

I am an Englishman brought up as an atheist by my parents, but I attended a Christian primary school. I remember my father catching me at a very early age praying. “What are you doing?” he asked. “Praying to Jesus to help me at School” I replied. “Study”, he said, “it will do much more good!”

In fact my father had been a devout Christian in his youth, and had at one time even considered the priesthood as a career. Later he abandoned Christianity, as so many intellectuals do, because of the problem of evil.

Indeed, the presence of evil, pain and suffering in our world is the most persistent argument raised against Christianity. The argument runs as follows:

1. If God is perfectly loving, He must wish to abolish evil
2. If He is all powerful, He must be able to abolish evil
3. But evil exists. Therefore, an all powerful, loving God does not exist

The conventional Christian response is:

1. God created a world of free will
2. Although God therefore made evil possible, man makes evil actual
3. Eventually God will defeat evil
Continue reading »

Aug 01

Going back to 11/09 when Obama made his historical trip to Shanghai and Beijing, things seems to go pretty well for both countries. Obama said: “The United States does not seek to contain China. On the contrary, the rise of a strong and prosperous China can be a source of strength for the community of nations.” Perhaps Obama spoke too soon.

It looks like 2010 will be the worst diplomatic relations between China and the US since 1989. It started with the censorship issue with google, then trying to isolate China from Iran’s with its nuclear program, the issue with the sinking of the Cheonan resulted in war games between South Korea and US in the Yellow sea. Perhaps these issues will come and pass, but there are more distressing issues in Southeast Asia. Continue reading »

Jul 20

In the recent release of the highly praised iphone 4, many people thinks Apple will dominate the smartphone market for the next few years. For the most part that it true. RIM will cater to the corporate market. Microsoft will probably fall to the wayside with its botched launch of the Kin and its slow deployment of Windows Mobile 7 OS. Yet Apple makes oodles of money selling iphone4’s and ipads at a premium.

Android came out about 2 years ago and steadily rose up from being the niche smartphone to the ‘alternative’ smartphone. Mobile manufacturers like Motorola, HTC, Samsung, and LG clearly are in the game while other companies like Dell, Lenovo, and Acer will have smartphones down the pipeline.

But what does Android and China have do with this? After all, google (which developed Andriod) and China were at odds with the censorship issue earlier this year. Despite this, China has been embracing the Android market with open arms. They are creating Android services with their own email app stores, search engines and maps from google. Continue reading »

Jul 02

Something a bit different – go to the Mercury Brief to read an interesting and personal account of the Chinese education system from Michelle Cui Xiaoxiao.

….In contrast, he argues, Chinese teenagers are never allowed to take risks, which blocks self-understanding and self-reflection. Because Chinese students never confront typical teenage tribulations, they are doomed to live out their teenage years forever.

I am a product of one of these Chinese boarding schools, and a participant in many small acts of teenage rebellion. Yes, we were required to wear uniforms and were not allowed to wear jewelry. But my desk-mate and I had fun sneaking ear studs behind our hair, an act we perceived as extremely defiant. We were not allowed to leave school on weekdays, so we pretended to be sick and obtained special permission from school nurses to leave school for two hours. Then we devoured hamburgers and fries at McDonald’s and came back in time for afternoon classes.

Continue reading »

Jun 15

Old news became news in The New York Times. Just like on the path to the Iraq war, no WMD became WMD and war was promoted in the house organ of the American military-Industral-political establishment. War was sought, war was delivered by the paper of record.

Now the US military is in trouble in Afghanistan and can’t meet President Barack Obama’s timetable for withdrawal. But look at what we got here: a trillion dollars of minerals! Conveniently, according to Pentagon.

But it’s old news. Many have known it for decades. Afghans knew it. Soviets knew it. Even the Chinese have known it and are mining it right now.

If it’s on New York Times, it must be news. The TV networks duely aired the big news.

This is the news though: the US is staying put in Afghanistan. The generals wanted time to finish the job. Now time is what they got, with help from the paper of record. But to what end?

Jun 14

Here is a few points I learned in trying to understand people and places that are different than what I’m used to. I thought it might be nice to share and could be useful when going to different countries. Please, feel absolutely free to critique or add in any advice.

I believe one of the first things to know is to remember that in essence, human beings are the same. All blood runs red, everyone is born from a woman (so far), and we all have the ability to dream. However to really understand and see the humanity of others will depend on how much one knows him/herself. The reasoning is that it takes the same amount of effort and humility when you truly want to comprehend your reflections. Also, everyone is capable of being impartial, thinking rationally and feeling empathy. It takes all three elements to gain such an understanding of oneself and especially others.

To understand the differences, here are three points I learned. We must take into account the environment, the history and personal choices taken by each individual and society. In this case, people really have to know what they’re talking about, at the very least understand the basics.

Understanding the environment is figuring out how everything from the natural ecology to social values and how they influence the individual or community at large. Depending on how much you want to know, you may have to forgo any generalizations you or the people you’re interested in understanding have about themselves. Since there are exceptions to just about anything. This is for the sake of clarity.

Understanding the history is important, but this too will require us to figure out how everything relates to current conditions. So, while remembering important dates or famous figures are pretty neat, you might have to learn a whole bunch of topics, some that might not have to do with history. I say this because if people don’t have a basic understanding of other topics and how they relate to history, most people end up in this unfortunate situation; they end up asking why aren’t they like us or why aren’t we like them.

For example, to understand the economy of another country, you need to know both the history and basics of economics. After a while, one might realize some discrepancies like it does not make sense why there are a lot of jobs in the financial/banking sector for some places or why it costs a lot for certain services, with the currency adjusted to inflation but not based on any physical value except trust. However, the entire modern economy now runs on that type of mentality so we have to work from that. Same thing with understanding the education system of another country. There’s hardly any evidence to support placing young students in classes based on age or if any of those special honorifics and high test scores translate well for their future endeavors. However, it is convenient to do that and we have to deal with such a system and make gradual improvements from there. Same thing in understanding technology, art, sports, language, etc.

For something less serious, if you just want to understand another individual or small group of people, at the very least know where he/she or they are coming from. What ground they’re standing on, the foundation.

The last pointer I want to make is personal choices. This is probably the most important one, since we can change our environment or any influences from it. Depending on what perspective people take, knowing history could either hold you back from taking risks or inspire people to do more. Or both. Sometimes, the first two doesn’t matter whole lot, especially if we’re talking about individuals. Chinese history is impressive, even from a very critical point of view and framing it within the global perspective. However, what use is it when people have financial problems, illnesses or facing other issues that are more immediate. Same thing with the environment. People who grow up around mountains or beaches doesn’t always mean they must know how to ski or swim. Or for a more extreme example, people who grew up in dysfunctional families or trouble lifestyles can either overcome such challenges to empower themselves and others. Or they could call into a cycle of destruction.

My last point should be the most obvious and hardest to figure out in understanding the differences in other people and places. One can see how much time, personal experiences and knowledge it will take towards understanding people and places different than what you’re used to. Overall, it will depend on how much desire in knowing and effort you want to put in. If you stop learning, wherever you are at that point, is as far as you will go.

Jun 09

minipost-Power Grows for Stricking Chinese workers. Good for China?

Written by: guest | Filed under:-mini-posts, Analysis | 15 Comments » newest 2010-07-07 01:40:32

Chinese Workers: “I’m mad as hell and not going take it anymore.”


The Recent suicides at Foxconn seems to be a watershed moment for Chinese workers who are fed up with the long hours, low pay and crappy cafeteria food. Recent strikes at this company, Honda and KFC recently announced substantial pay raises raises alarm bells for the companies and questions if they can still can produce goods affordability in China. China has already facing a of shortage workers in Guangdong/Shenzhen areas as well while the Chinese government is willing to stand aside and allow these strikes to happen.
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May 28

minipost-China: Responsible Stakeholder, Stakeholder, or World Leader?

Written by: Legalist | Filed under:-mini-posts | Tags:,
8 Comments » newest 2013-05-07 03:33:43

Robert Zoellick, former US deputy secretary of state and current World Bank chief, coined a role for China, responsible stakeholder. It was obviously self-serving because the US wanted to retain the right to judge who was responsible and who was not.

China clearly didn’t pick the role up although there are still commentators who say China should do this or that if it is to be a responsible stakeholder.

Furthermore, China doesn’t seem to like the descriptor of stakeholder either. It’s such a neutral term, one doesn’t know what it means anyway.

Instead, China should strive to be a world leader. Like it or not, or exercise it or not, China’s influences on the global economy, energy, environment and security are growing.

China needs to sit at the top table setting rules and enforcing them accordingly for the sake of global prosperity and security. The annual US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue is a good start.

China can’t claim to be a poor or third-world country for inaction anymore. Many in the world are looking to China for leadership.

May 27

minipost-Should China Ensure Order In Its Neighborhood?

Written by: Legalist | Filed under:-mini-posts, News | Tags:, ,
122 Comments » newest 2010-08-06 19:13:49

War talks are in the air on the Korean peninsula. North Korea sank South Korea’s warship Cheonan. South Korea retaliated by imposing various sanctions on the North. The North responded by imposing its own sanctions on the South.

War can easily happen, by accident or design. South Koreans are nervous. Americans are nervous. Japanese are nervous. And others are nervous, too. Everyone is looking to China to bring the North Koreans to their sense.
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May 26

Bi Yantao’s Note: The incident that happened to Tiantian Zhai has caused a stir in China’s media and blogsphere. Frankly, many people here in China are surprised. How on earth does US define the freedom of speech? All comments are warmly welcome, and I will introduce your insights to China.

China Daily
May 25, 2010

XI’AN/WASHINGTON — Zhai Taishan, the father of a Chinese doctoral degree student in New Jersey accused by US police of attempted arson and making threats, flew from Xi’an, Shaanxi province, to Beijing on Monday night, seeking help from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“I will never believe that my son is a terrorist,” Zhai said.
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May 26

minipost-[Translation] Profile Of A Foxconn Suicide Jumper

Written by: Charles Liu | Filed under:-mini-posts, culture, General | Tags:, ,
28 Comments » newest 2013-05-03 02:41:42

According to news articles collected by Chinese netters on Baidu Encyclopedia, the 7th Foxconn suicide jumper, Lu Xin, had exhibited mental imbalance. Despite of intervention by Foxconn, Lu took his own life:


Lu Xin

Lu Xin, 24 yeras old from Hunan, joined Foxconn Group on Aug 1 2009, part of Foxconn’s 2009 management trainee program. After the incident Foxconn gathered relevant employee, and reported to media. Investigation found, Lu Xin exhibited abnormal behavior prior to May 1 holiday, having thoughts of being chased. Foxconn then arranged employees familiar with Lu for councel and conversation, also contacted Lu’s family to provide care. Despite of these efforts, tragidy was not averted.

“He said someone is trying to kill him”
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May 11

minipost-How To Survive in China as a Foreigner

Written by: Steve | Filed under:-mini-posts, culture, education | Tags:, , ,
58 Comments » newest 2011-06-22 05:50:37

I ran across this recent blog entry posted by Chris Biddle, an American student living in China. It’s short, sweet and to the point.

Bring your own deodorant.  Bring your own coffee.  Get used to the smell of urine.  Smile, a lot.  Learn how to say where your from.  Understand that it’s not rude if someone asks how much money you make.  Listen to music.  Read.  Be patient.  Don’t drink tap water. Try everything at least once, especially the stuff that grosses you out, it will make for a better story.  Get out there and do stuff, try not to use the train of thought “Well, I deserve this,” too often.  If you’re a man, carry a pack of cigarettes with you and offer them to any man you meet.  They will most likely not take one, even if they do smoke, but they will appreciate the sentiment.

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