Nov 09

Pacific Rim Shots

Written by: Steve | Filed under:General | Tags:, , , , ,
9 Comments » newest 2013-06-12 03:09:49

I’d like to announce our blog to the Fool’s Mountain audience, an offshoot of this blog written by Wukailong, whose comments and posts you’re probably familiar with, and Steve (that’s me). Rather than write specifically about China, we’ve opened it up to the entire Pacific Rim and have posted articles about many countries, though because our backgrounds are in China and Taiwan, they are the subject of the brunt of our articles.

Unlike most blogs about China and East Asia, we tend to stay away from current political affairs and are more on the cultural side, though we do dabble in politics every once in awhile. We figured the political and current event scene was covered ad nauseum by other blogs out there and didn’t want to be a ‘me too’ site. If you like music, movies, photography, culture, travel and food, you might enjoy checking us out.

We also have a continuing feature, a photo after every 3rd post, from Jesse, who lives in Beijing and has his own blog where he posts one photo per day, everyday. His headlines are as good as his photos!

As the title states, our site is called Pacific Rim Shots. You can find us here: http://pacificrimshots.com/

Hope to see you there!

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 »

Apr 09

Many of us joked about it. People (mostly Chinese) gets paid 50 cents for making pro-China comments in the web. But do you know there are actually people in the US Military (US Centcom) who does the same for the US. Apparently in the height of the Iraq was, a program called Operation Earnest Voice was used as a psychological weapon against al-Qaida’s online presence.



Who knew?

Dec 19


I thought that this article is a sobering reminder that US is no longer the sole superpower and does not have the political capital as it used to. Many policy makers in Washington still thinks like they are in 1989 when the remaining superpower USSR has collapsed and US emerged as the sole superpower.

However, in the recent years US has flaunted and wasted the role as the sole superpower with its invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan while the rest of the world has been thriving without the use of war. From the article, I could not have said it better:

“We’re still struggling with a post-unilateralist hangover,” said David Rothkopf, author of “Running the World: The Inside Story of the National Security Council and the Architects of American Power.”

That hangover, he says, leads Americans to believe “that we’re the sole remaining superpower and the objective of our foreign policy is to get people to go along with that. To fall into step with our worldview. But the reality is, that’s not what the future holds.”

Perhaps US foreign policy makers have to face political reality.

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 »

Aug 06

I wrote this article on 28 June 2010, I decided to publish with Fool’s Mountain now is because I believe that, the research will help some Chinese readers to understand the concept of democracy in theory and in practice. This article ended with a quote using a Chinese leader statement about democracy.

Just a bit of my background, I was born in Singapore, and my father was born in Indonesia, China is not my country and there is no issue of being a patriotic Chinese national. I spent 3 years in Eastern Europe (1991 – 1994)when the Communist collapsed. I witnessed first hand the kind of suffering when a system is overthrown overnight. After 20 years of having democratic government in Eastern Europe, a recent survey by the American based PEW found the following outcome:

End of Communism Cheered but Now with More Reservations: http://pewglobal.org/2009/11/02/end-of-communism-cheered-but-now-with-more-reservations/

I have been living in Australia for almost 20 years now, also witnessing first hand democracy in practice in a developed country. I decided to produce a series of articles on this issue not because I don’t like the concept of democracy but hoping that people from China should objectively assess the merit of a political system and seek to make improvement based on their current foundation. Continue reading »

Aug 03

This month mark the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, USA (29 August 2005), This remind me the 2nd anniversary of the Earthquake in Sichuan, China (12 May 2008) three month ago and the 1st anniversary of the Black Saturday (Bush fire) in Victoria, earlier this year in Australia (7 February 2009).

The similarity of these 3 events is that they are natural disasters with many deaths and many more left homeless. However, for those who lost their home in such a large scale natural disasters, which government do you think do more and care more for their citizens in need? The so-called “autocratic” regime in Beijing, China or the so-called “democratic” and “human right” governments in USA and Australia?
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 28

China’s Destination: Talent

Written by: guest | Filed under:-guest-posts | Tags:, , , ,
2 Comments » newest 2010-10-12 00:50:15

DragonTV imported British reality show, “Got Talent” and now the vetting process of the contestants has been finished. The real competition started on July 25th, 2010 on DragonTV at 9:05. The show will air every Sunday.

The judges is stand-up comedian Zhou Libo, Taiwanese singer-actress Annie Yi and mainland pop composer Gao Xiaosong.

If you missed, you can run by the first 12 video clips from the July 25th show on http://daren2010.smgbb.cn/darenshipin/video/

Who is your favorite or least favorite of the “passed” contestants?

How is the show the same or different than other “Got Talent”‘s like America or Britain?”

What is your overall impression of the show?

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 06

Once per year, Freedom House releases its annual report covering the levels of freedom throughout the world. I’ve included their reports for China, Tibet, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore. They issue two scores, one for Political Rights and one for Civil Liberties, along with a Freedom Status. The lower the number, the higher the rating.

China (2010)

Capital: Beijing

Population: 1,331,398,000

Political Rights Score: 7
Civil Liberties Score: 6
Status: Not Free

Explanatory Note

The numerical ratings and status listed above do not reflect conditions in Hong Kong or Tibet, which are examined in separate reports.
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 26

The ECFA – where next for China and Taiwan?

Written by: Raj | Filed under:economy, General, Opinion, politics | Tags:, , ,
94 Comments » newest 2011-02-07 00:32:51

The ECFA trade agreement between China and Taiwan looks like it will be signed in the near future.

It is hard at this point to be sure of who will benefit the most from it economically. There are concerns in Taiwan that there will be a net loss of jobs as a result of the agreement. Whilst Taiwan will be able to ship goods to China with fewer trade barriers, this does not mean that increased trade will employ more Taiwanese than lose their jobs due to an increase in Chinese imports. After all, some Taiwanese bosses may just pocket increased profit, though others will see increased demand and need to employ more workers. It will be easier to consider the impact of the agreement after it has been in place for a year or two.

But now that the ECFA has been agreed upon, where do Sino-Taiwanese relations go from here? The Wall Street Journal has a suggestion.

Continue reading »

Jun 23

Issues with India/China Relations

Written by: Steve | Filed under:Analysis, General, politics | Tags:, , , , , , ,
87 Comments » newest 2012-10-29 02:25:45

I came across two articles recently, both concerning India/China relations but one written from the Chinese point of view while the other was written from the Indian side. I thought it might be interesting to compare the two viewpoints to see just how far apart they really are.

The first article is from the China Daily while the other is from an Atlantic Council forum. The China Daily article feels there are ‘three gnawing issues’, as they put it. The Indian side looks at it historically, politically and diplomatically. They are both short so I’ll include them in their entirety.

Continue reading »

Jun 09

In the midst of the concrete and steel jungle that is the Shanghai World Expo, stands the Indian Pavilion, the ‘greenest’ of them all, built entirely of environment-friendly materials, showcasing India’s unique brand of Culture, History and Soft Power and offering an unprecedented opportunity to further improve Sino-Indian relations

The Expo has finally come to China. A largely forgotten event in most parts of the world, it has been rejuvenated, on a scale in which no other country could even dream of. A record number of 192 countries and 50 organizations have registered, the highest in the Expo’s history. Most people hadn’t even heard of the expo before it came to China. The verdict is clear – The Expo needed China as much as China needed the Expo.

It has been described by the Chinese government as “a great gathering of world civilizations”,  and is an excellent opportunity to improve ties between two of the oldest – India and China.

Continue reading »

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.
Continue reading »

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.

Continue reading »

May 06

China’s seasonal politics

Written by: Hohhot | Filed under:Opinion, politics | Tags:, ,
17 Comments » newest 2010-05-10 03:23:10

China’s rapid social transformation is reflected in a different order of priority of the country’s various annual festivals and commemorative days. As the communist state continues to seek tight control over what is permissible, yet as official thinking also adapts to and tries to steer the reclamation of “tradition”, the texture of China’s festive calendar is altering. This change increasingly raises problems for a country and a people caught between the “new” China of the post-1949 period (which is also now “old”) and the “old” China of centuries past (parts of which are again becoming “new”).
Continue reading »

May 06

Amidst the accusations of China’s belated response to the devastating earthquake that hit Yushu county in Eastern Tibet in the early hours of April 14, the downplaying in the Chinese media of the key role that Tibetan monks played in the rescue efforts and mourning ceremonies, alongside reports of Chinese rescue workers who seemed more interested in posing for cameras than in saving lives, there is a small story that transcends it all.

There are few outside of China and Tibet who have heard of Tsering Dhondup, a ten-year-old Tibetan boy who saw his home and the homes of all his neighbors completely flattened in the 6.9 quake. Since then, he’s been living with his family in a temporary shelter in the local stadium in Jyekundo, the town most affected by the disaster, where 85% of the mud-brick houses like Tsering’s were destroyed.

Tsering volunteered to work as a translator for a Chinese medical team that was treating Tibetan survivors. The state-controlled national news channel CCTV, Chinese Central Television, aired a report about him that on April 17, three days after the earthquake….

Read full article and watch the Youtube video here: