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Moral Sickness in the “free world”

The suffering in Syria is the fault of yet another dictator and the free world could have immensely reduced it. The failure to punish Assad for his crimes against humanity (including the gas attack – so much for Obama’s red line; I wonder what Putin thought of that?) is sickening, and Labour’s stance pathetic, cowardly and shameful. We learn NOTHING from history. Hitler could have been stopped in 1936, possibly saving over 20,000,000 lives. The free world is morally sick as well as stupid.

We also have to watch the grotesque spectacle of the soppy, over-privileged cow Michelle Obama sucking up to a Chinese leadership that SENDS BACK DESPERATE FLEEING REFUGEES to North Korea, where they and their families then face torture and often death.

A) China supplies and supports what is by far the world’s most brutal and inhuman regime.

B) China is our great friend and trading partner. Our leaders and/or their air-head spouses go there to pgrovel to its leadership.

You could not make it up.

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2014 in Core Thought, Morality, Politics

 

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The Human Shame in Northern Kenya

One of my NYRs was to stop reading bad news, but that lasted about 6 hours ….. there is of course so much of it, and so much that is utterly depressing. One of the first of 2014 was an article in “The Independent”:

Elephant Appeal: Few are willing to say just how bad the poaching
crisis is – the elephant population may easily fall into terminal decline

photo

You can get all the details from the article – which is pretty harrowing, with surviving elephants described as being “stricken with grief” as they cluster round their slaughtered brethren – but basically, elephants in the Tsavo East National Park in Northern Kenya are under threat of extinction from poachers from Somalia. This provoked a number of reactions on my part:

DEMAND

  • The price of ivory depends on the demand and supply. The former is very strong and apparently rising, especially in China. For extraordinarily moronic and selfish reasons, ivory is considered artistic and – for example – tiger and rhinoceros parts medicinal and/or possessing aphrodysiac properties.

  • Can China really do NOTHING to stop this cultural abomination? People in the west for the most part stopped acquiring ivory years ago.

  • If China – and other Asia nations – cannot or will not do anything, should the west not apply more pressure? Same applies of course to China’s support of North Korea. YES, sanctions are painful, but nothing NON-painful is likely to work

THE POACHERS

  • They are execrable, of course …… and yet, many may be extremely poor, and indeed ignorant. There is no excuse in the strictest sense, but it may to some extent be understandable if they see a chance to make several years’ norrmal income in a single day. This is no different from City bankers, or indeed the Enron directors and many others: greed is sadly rampant on our planet.

  • But  the poachers are not only ignorant and destitute farmers: terrorists are now apparently turning to the ivory trade, too.

  • There are insufficient funds to patrol the parks properly. Kenya is just one more corrupt African state where politicians earn a fortune while basic needs and services are severely underfunded.

MORALITY

I always wonder what if anything goes through the minds of those who spend these obscene sums on frippery and personal self-glorification. Do they ever think that their money could do immense good elsewhere? Would WE be just the same in their shoes?

Is there any solution to this greed?

See also: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/kenya/9788733/Horror-as-entire-family-of-elephants-slaughtered-for-ivory.html

AND this charity: http://www.bloodyivory.org/

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2014 in Africa, Core Thought, Middle East, Morality

 

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More on Banks, Investment & China

Blogger A): “Anyone who insures Chinese debt now is a frickin moron.”

Blogger B): “…which means all the major banks are morons because they all trade CDS like they were hotcakes..we are going to get whacked again by these dangerous loonies who learnt nowt from 2008.”

C) ME!: They may not be morons, since they must KNOW what is going on, but the point is that they DON’T CARE. A) They are making lots of money NOW and B) if it all goes pear-shaped most are “too big to fail” and C) they will pass on any costs to customers anyway.

Unfotunately, there was no cleaning of the Augean banking stables so filthy that Hercules (was it he – I often get my Gods mixed up?) would have had a fit if asked to clean them up.

“… these dangerous loonies who learnt nowt from 2008”.

By “loonies” I take it you are referring to the banks, but I would prefer your statement to be linked to GOVERNMENTS. After all,  governments are supposed to govern for the PEOPLE – not the banks.

The bottom line is that five years after the biggest crisis since the Great Depression NOTHING substantial of long-term effectiveness seems to have been done and we seem to be facing another crisis in the near future.

I personally have concluded that banks are too much like WOMDs to be private, even though public ownership is usually incompetent.

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2013 in Business & the Economy, Politics

 

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NK Follow-up – Investing in China

After the recent flurry of news and discussion about North Korea, the folowing exchange took place on the Daily Telegraph blog:

Investing in China? Why not?:

ME
A) Nobody knows exactly what is going on in the Chinese financial sector.

B) The country has trememdous pollution, resources and demographic problems.

C) These factors will lead to massive economic problems at some point, and then the CCP will attempt to divert attention to foreign enemies. (that is potentially eveyone else)

D) If I had money I would avoid China like the plague.

As I have llittle money to spare I wish those chancing their arm in and with China the best of luck, but don’t come to ME for a bailout.

Angry Blogger:
Excuse me, but wasn’t it your government who was over here in Beijing last week with cap in hand looking for money? This must be a new definition of “avoiding like the plague”.

There are many of us (Brits) here in China investing wisely and seeing handsome returns. The BIG difference between investing in China and investing in the UK is that if you succeed in China your money isn’t taken away from you by a bunch of socialists like it is in the UK.

ME AGAIN:
Apart from my previous points:

A) China is the best friend and supporter of what is possibly the most brutal, hideous and brutal regime ever to stain the earth. China not only supports this regime with fuel and other goods but sends back to a terrible fate anyone fleeing fromn what is essentially no more than a giant concentration camp.

B) China has no social security to speak of and many of its products are made in sweatshops where workers have very low wages poor conditions and few rights (though this situation has improved a bit).

C) Western capitalist greed and the resultant vast relocation to Asia (and I am not anti-capitalist in principal, but everything can be abused) has led to the loss of tens of thousands of industrial jobs in the developed world and the vast increase in the wealth-gap as the working and middle-classes have been squeezed while the bosses and capitalists have seen their wealth increase exponentially.

None of this seems to bother you to the point where you would not support the regime with your investment as long as you are making money. Wonderful.

However, as I also said, when the whole thing collapses, don’t come begging to me for a bailout.

Concerning Cameron’s grovelling jaunt to Beijing, I found it sickening. Yes, being moral is difficult – who said otherwise – but all in all the western approach is profoundly immoral. The CCP pays lip-service only to any concerns of “human rights”, which do not concern them AT ALL. We should be better.

As for “bunch of socialists”, I agree to a point. There is appalling abuse and waste of our money. However, WE HAVE A CHOICE (unlike the Chinese). It is the public’s fault if it keeps on voting in idiots.

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2013 in Core Thought, Morality, Politics

 

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Politics, Trade and Immorality

cameron-seriousDavid Cameron (the current British Prime Minister!) recently took some flak for endangering Britain’s trade with China, specifically possible inward investment in infrastructure that the Chinnese might make in Britain. Let’s leave aside for the moment the fact that this makes us resemble some quasi-colonised African state and consider some facts. Our Great Leader’s sin was to have met the Dalai Lama, who as we know the Chinese government consider to be an unperson. Three facts spring to mind, all pretty much indisputable I think.

A) North Korea is virtually a gigantic concentration camp, but worse, since the people are brainwashed as well as being subject to oppression and frequent death by famine while the leaders live in luxury.

B) China has supported the country practically and politically for decades. Without China’s help this loathsome family dictatorship – first among equals on the planet – would have collapsed decades ago.

C) China is one of our biggest and most important trading partners.

To make it even clearer, we do a massive amount of business with a country that is accomplice to and facilitator of oppression and mass-murder on a horrendous scale. The vast scale of this business allows the Chinese government to maintain its dictatorship and build up its armed forces, launching periodic bellicose threats towards Taiwan and other sovereign territories in the region.

The Western world seems quite happy with this state of affairs, or if not exactly “happy” then certainly accepting and of course profiting from it.

CONCLUSION: The entire western world is utterly immoral.

Please note that I have tried to be logical, though the last point is obviously a value-judgement.

What is puzzling about all this is that we seemed to adopt a moral high-horse at some cost to ourselves when it came to apartheid in South Africa, but not when it comes to North Korea, where people are in fact treated much worse. This could I suppose be because it was the Europeans who colonised most of Africa and so we felt a special guilt and had a special responsibility to try to put things right. But – being logical once more – “No man is an island.”, it seems bizarre to treat one group of oppressed and suffering humans differently from another. Brutal oppression is the same everywhere, and if globalisation is right for business then why not for the fight against human suffering at the hands of mass-murdering criminal family gangs?

Our Great Leader should tell the Chinese government to stick it. If it comes to a boycott of their goods (fat chance – we are too greedy), THEY would be the ones to suffer. And in the west, our unemployed workers could start making toasters and stuff again. Or a boycott would boost other third-world countries much worse off than China.

Whatever, it all leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.

North Korea – FURTHER READING:

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Europe’s BIG Question

As the Chinese “bail out” Europe, the BIG question is ….

Will the Germans REALLY allow themselves to be shamed and suckered into a ‘fiscal union’ (= Germany pays all the bills)?

The answer is not yet clear, but VAST CHANGES hang on it, and until we know, all the rest is just pussy-footing around waiting …….

The smug self-satisfaction of the gruesome Van Rompo, Juncker, Borroso  mafia and their cronies will be difficult to take if they manage to shame the Germans into signing a blank cheque in this final battle of World War III.

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2011 in European Union

 

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China’s Dilemma ….

Here’s an interesting one.

UN troops in Ivory Coast guard the “President” they recognize while Gbagbo, who claims to have won, orders them out.

Gbagbo has no legitimacy, having effectively staged a coup. If the UN leave, they are skulkingly and shamefully leaving the country’s army to massacre the President and the people the international community recognizes as rightful winners of the election.

If they DON’T leave will Gbagbo end up killing UN troops? And what then?

FOR ONCE, Africa is supporting a rightful winner. Gbagbo HAS to be removed or the message to African dictators is clear – you can get away with it as usual.

But have the UN the balls to do what is right? Having the biggest dictatorship in the world as a permanent member isn’t going to help. China is about to be forced to decide – once again – whether it really deserves to belong to “the world community”. And it has plenty of Africans it needs on its side as it seeks to exploit Africa’s wealth. If it supports Gbagbo, Africa is not going to be impressed.

Whatever they do, their position is of course untenable. If they DO support UN force against Gbagbo, they are OPPOSING a regime that seized power by force and has not been legitimized by the people ….. where does THAT leave them?

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2010 in Politics

 

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North Korea

  • North Korea is basically a vast concentration camp of brainwashed slaves run by a paranoid, murdering senile and dying megalomaniac as Head of a seedy kleptomaniac family gang.
  • The “international community” has collectively allowed North Korea to acquire nuclear weapons and the ability to drop them on cities a considerable distance away and thereby exterminate millions of people at a stroke.
  • The great friend and supporter of this gruesome regime is China, whose military help enabled the country to fight to a ceasefire in the Korean War, after which the South became free, democratic and prosperous while the North went backwards in every conceivable way except in the acquisition of Weapons of Mass Destruction.
  • Since then China has responded to every act of barbarism and lunacy on the part of its protegee with calls for “restraint” from those suffering from this barbarous regime who in recent times have seen their citizens murdered in unprovoked attacks. China has for decades supplied this odious regime with oil and other goods, principally luxuries for the ruling clique.
  • Many of North Korea’s citizens periodically die from starvation and if attempting to flee to China are returned by that country to face a horrible fate at the hands of the regime.
  • China is our greatest trading partner and a permanent member of the Security Council; whose principal role is to further “World Peace”.

It is all so incredibly sad, especially for those generations of North Koreans who were born, lived and died under this regime without ever knowing any kind of freedom. It is also difficult to see any end to this suffering that does not involve catastrophe.

North Korea is the total antithesis of everything that is decent and good and admirable in the Human Spirit.

In the light of all the above it is difficult for me to find some rationale as to why the Human Race deserves to survive, so great is this collective failure of humanity and comonsense.

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2010 in Core Thought, Human Interest, Morality

 

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WE WANT FREEDOM

AMAZING

It is not every day that one can welcome some news with total joy. Today is one of these rare days when we can celebrate TWO things. Firstly of course the resue of the Chilean miners. But secondly the publication of an open letter to the Chinese government.

This was reported HERE in “The Guardian”, but is so wonderful that I am copying it also here. I want to re-read it again and again, so uplifting is it. No, it might not bring change overnight, but the Great Wall of China is built of many bricks …..

China must abandon censorship

As Chinese journalists, academics and publishers, we call on our government to support freedom of speech and of the press

Newspaper stand in Beijing, China ‘We demand that Chinese press censorship be dismantled in favour of a system of legal responsibility.Dear members of the standing committee of the National People’s Congress: 

Article 35 of China‘s constitution as adopted in 1982 clearly states that: “Citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration.” For 28 years this article has stood unrealised, having been negated by detailed rules and regulations for “implementation”. This false democracy of formal avowal and concrete denial has become a scandalous mark on the history of world democracy.

On 26 February 2003, at a meeting of democratic consultation between the standing committee of the political bureau of the central committee of the Chinese Communist party and democratic parties, not long after President Hu Jintao assumed office, he stated clearly: “The removal of restrictions on the press, and the opening up of public opinion positions, is a mainstream view and demand held by society; it is natural, and should be resolved through the legislative process. If the Communist party does not reform itself, if it does not transform, it will lose its vitality and move toward natural and inevitable extinction.”

On 3 October, America’s Cable News Network (CNN) aired an interview with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao by anchor Fareed Zakaria. Responding to the journalist’s questions, Wen said: “Freedom of speech is indispensable for any nation; China’s constitution endows the people with freedom of speech; the demands of the people for democracy cannot be resisted.”

In accord with China’s constitution, and in the spirit of the remarks made by Hu and Wen, we hereupon represent the following concerning the materialisation of the constitutional rights to freedom of speech and of the press.

Concerning the current state of freedom of speech and press in our country

We have for 61 years “served as master” in the name of the citizens of the People’s Republic of China. But the freedom of speech and of the press we now enjoy is inferior even to that of Hong Kong before its return to Chinese sovereignty, to that entrusted to the residents of a colony.

Before the handover, Hong Kong was a British colony, governed by those appointed by the Queen’s government. But the freedom of speech and freedom of the press given to residents of Hong Kong by the British authorities there was not empty, appearing only on paper. It was enacted and realised.

When our country was founded in 1949, our people cried that they had been liberated, that they were not their own masters. Mao Zedong said that “from this moment, the people of China have stood”. But even today, 61 years after the founding of our nation, after 30 years of opening and reform, we have not yet attained freedom of speech and freedom of the press to the degree enjoyed by the people of Hong Kong under colonial rule. Even now, many books discussing political and current affairs must be published in Hong Kong. This is not something that dates from the [territory’s] return, but is merely an old tactic familiar under colonial rule. The “master” status of the people of China’s mainland is so inferior. For our nation to advertise itself as having “socialist democracy” with Chinese characteristics is such an embarrassment.

Not only the average citizen, but even the most senior leaders of the Communist party have no freedom of speech or press. Recently, Li Rui met with the following circumstance. Not long ago, the Collected Works in Memory of Zhou Xiaozhou were published, and it originally included an essay commemorating Zhou that Li had written for the People’s Daily in 1981. Zhou’s wife phoned Li to explain the situation: “Beijing has sent out a notice. Li Rui’s writings cannot be published.” What incredible folly it is that an old piece of writing from a party newspaper cannot be included in a volume of collected works! Li said: “What kind of country is this?! I want to cry it out: the press must be free! Such strangling of the people’s freedom of expression is entirely illegal!”

It’s not even just high-level leaders – even the premier of our country does not have freedom of speech or of the press. On 21 August 2010, Wen gave a speech in Shenzhen called, “Only by pushing ahead with reforms can our nation have bright prospects.” He said: “We must not only push economic reforms, but also promote political reforms. Without the protection afforded by political reforms, the gains we have made from economic reforms will be lost, and our goal of modernisation cannot be realised.” Xinhua news agency’s official news release on 21 August, “Building a beautiful future for the special economic zone”, omitted the content in Wen’s speech dealing with political reform.

On 22 September, Wen held a dialogue in New York with American Chinese media and media from Hong Kong and Macao, and again emphasised the importance of “political system reforms”. Wen said: “Concerning political reforms, I have said previously that if economic reforms are without the protection to be gained by political reforms, then we cannot be entirely successful, and even perhaps the gains of our progress so far will be lost.” Shortly after, Wen addressed the 65th session of the United Nations general assembly, giving a speech called “Recognising a true China”, in which he spoke again about political reform. Late on 23 September, these events were reported on China Central Television’s Xinwen Lianbo and in an official news release from Xinhua news agency. They reported only Wen’s remarks on the circumstances facing overseas Chinese, and on the importance of overseas Chinese media. His mentions of political reform were all removed.

For these matters, if we endeavour to find those responsible, we are utterly incapable of putting our finger on a specific person. This is the work of invisible hands. For their own reasons, they violate our constitution, often ordering by telephone that the works of such and such a person cannot be published, or that such and such an event cannot be reported in the media. The officials who make the call do not leave their names, and the secrecy of the agents is protected, but you must heed their phone instructions. These invisible hands are our central propaganda department. Right now the department is placed above the central committee of the Communist party, and above the state council. We would ask, what right does the central propaganda department have to muzzle the speech of the premier? What right does it have to rob the people of our nation of their right to know what the premier has said?

Our core demand is that the system of censorship be dismantled in favour of a system of legal responsibility.

The rights to freedom of speech and the press guaranteed in article 35 of our constitution are turned into mere adornments for the walls by means of concrete implementation rules such as the “ordinance on publishing control”. These implementation rules are, broadly speaking, a system of censorship and approvals. There are countless numbers of commandments and taboos restricting freedom of speech and freedom of the press. The creation of a press law and the abolishment of the censorship system has already become an urgent task before us.

We recommend that the National People’s Congress work immediately toward the creation of a press law, and that the ordinance on publishing control and local restrictions on news and publishing be annulled. Institutionally speaking, the realisation of freedom of speech and freedom of the press as guaranteed in the constitution means making media independent of the party and government organs that presently control them, thereby transforming “party mouthpieces” into “public instruments.”

Therefore, the foundation of the creation of a press law must be the enacting of a system of [post facto] legal responsibility [determined according to fair laws]. We cannot again strengthen the censorship system in the name of “strengthening the leadership of the party”. The so-called censorship system is the system by which prior to publication one must receive the approval of party organs, allowing for publication only after approval and designating all unapproved published materials as illegal. The so-called system of legal responsibility means that published materials need not pass through approval by party or government organs, but may be published as soon as the editor-in-chief deems fit. If there are unfavourable outcomes or disputes following publication, the government would be able to intervene and determine according to the law whether there are cases of wrongdoing.

In countries around the world, the development of rule of law in news and publishing has followed this path, making a transition from systems of censorship to systems of legal responsibility. There is little doubt that systems of legal responsibility mark progress over systems of censorship, and this is greatly in the favour of the development of the humanities and natural sciences, and in promoting social harmony and historical progress. England did away with censorship in 1695. France abolished its censorship system in 1881, and the publication of newspapers and periodicals thereafter required only a simple declaration, which was signed by the representatives of the publication and mailed to the office of the procurator of the republic. Our present system of censorship leaves news and book publishing in our country 315 years behind England and 129 years behind France.

Our specific demands are as follows:

1. Abolish sponsoring institutions of [Chinese] media, allowing publishing institutions to operate independently; and truly implement a system in which directors and editors-in-chief are responsible for their publication units.

2. Respect journalists and make them strong. Journalists should be the “uncrowned kings”. The reporting of mass incidents and exposing of official corruption are noble missions on behalf of the people, and this work should be protected and supported. Immediately put a stop to the unconstitutional behaviour of various local governments and police in arresting journalists. Look into the circumstances behind the case of writer Xie Chaoping. Liang Fengmin, the party secretary of Weinan city [involved in the Xie Chaoping case] must face party discipline as a warning to others.

3. Abolish restrictions on extra-territorial supervision by public opinion by the media, ensuring the right of journalists to carry out reporting freely throughout the country.

4. The internet is an important discussion platform for information in our society and citizens’ views. Aside from information that truly concerns our national secrets and speech that violates a citizen’s right to privacy, internet regulatory bodies must not arbitrarily delete online posts and online comments. Online spies must be abolished, the “fifty-cent party” must be abolished, and restrictions on anti-censorship technologies must be abolished.

5. There are no more taboos concerning our party’s history. Chinese citizens have a right to know the errors of the ruling party.

6. Southern Weekly and Yanhuang Chunqiu should be permitted to restructure as privately operated pilot programmes in the independent media. The privatisation of newspapers and periodicals is the natural direction of political reforms. History teaches us: when rulers and deliberators are highly unified, when the government and the media are both surnamed “party”, and when the party sings for its own pleasure, it is difficult to connect with the will of the people and attain true leadership. From the time of the great leap forward to the time of the cultural revolution, newspapers, magazines, television and radio in the mainland have never truly reflected the will of the people. Party and government leaders have been insensible to dissenting voices, so they have had difficulty in recognising and correcting wholesale errors. For a ruling party and government to use the tax money of the people to run media that sing their own praises is something not permitted in democratic nations.

7. Permit the free circulation within the mainland of books and periodicals from Hong Kong and Macao. Our country has joined the World Trade Organisation, and economically we have already integrated with the world – attempting to remain closed culturally goes against the course already plotted for opening and reform. Hong Kong and Macao offer advanced culture right at our nation’s door, and the books and periodicals of Hong Kong and Macao are welcomed and trusted by the people.

8. Transform the functions of various propaganda organs, so that they are transformed from agencies setting down so many “taboos” to agencies protecting the accuracy, timeliness and unimpeded flow of information; from agencies that assist corrupt officials in suppressing and controlling stories that reveal the truth to agencies that support the media in monitoring party and government organs; from agencies that close publications, fire editors and arrest journalists to agencies that oppose power and protect media and journalists. Our propaganda organs have a horrid reputation within the party and in society. They must work for good in order to regain their reputations. At the appropriate time, we can consider renaming these propaganda organs to suit global trends.

We represent ourselves, hoping for your utmost attention.

Signed:

Li Rui, former standing vice minister of the organisation department of the CCP central committee, member of the 12th central committee of the CCP

Hu Jiwei, former director of People’s Daily, standing committee member to the 7th National People’s Congress, director of the Federation of Chinese Communication Institutes

Jiang Ping, former head of the China University of Political Science and Law, tenured professor, standing committee member to the 7th National People’s Congress, deputy director of the executive law committee of the NPC

Li Pu, former deputy director of Xinhua news agency

Zhou Shaoming, former deputy director of the political department of the Guangzhou military area command

Zhong Peizhang, former head of the news office of the central propaganda department

Wang Yongcheng, professor at Shanghai Jiaotong University

Zhang Zhongpei, researcher at the Imperial Palace museum, chairman of the China Archaeological Society

Du Guang, former professor at the Central Party School

Guo Daojun, former editor-in-chief of China Legal Science

Xiao Mo, former head of the Architecture Research Centre of the Chinese National Academy of Arts

Zhuang Puming, former deputy director of People’s Press

Hu Fuchen, former director and editor-in-chief at China Worker’s Publishing House

Zhang Ding, former director of the China Social Sciences Press at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

Yu You, former editor-in-chief of China Daily

Ouyang Jin, former editor-in-chief of Hong Kong’s Pacific magazine

Yu Haocheng, former director of Masses Publishing House

Zhang Qing, former director of China Cinema Publishing House

Yu Yueting, former director of Fujian Television, veteran journalist

Sha Yexin, former head of the Shanghai People’s Art and Drama Academy, now an independent writer of the Hui ethnic minority

Sun Xupei, former director of the News Research Institute at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

Xin Ziling, former director of the editorial desk at China National Defence University

Tie Liu, editor-in-chief of Wangshi Weihen magazine (Scars of the Past).

Legal Counsel

Song Yue, Chinese citizen, practicing lawyer in the State of New York, US

This translation was made by the University of Hong Kong’s China Media Project and was first posted here.

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2010 in Core Thought, Politics

 

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Nobel Prizes & Dictatorships

The whole Nobel Prize setup took a big knock last year with Barack Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Was this the first example of this prize being awarded for absolutely zero accomplishments? Well, I for one am not aware of any peace yet brought about by Barack Obama, worthy though he may be in various areas … he clearly won for being simultaneously black and not George Bush, but the connection with peace was pretty damned hard to work out.

Still, last year’s were-they-all-on-percy silliness has been substantially redeemed by the award of the Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo. This is an ordinary man who became extraordinary in his courage in Tiananmen Square and after as a tireless fighter for freedom who – like former winner Nelson Mandela – has really suffered for sticking to his principles.

With wearisome predictability has come the usual Chinese Communist Party hysterical rant about Liu being “a criminal”. Naturally, ANYONE who complains about lack of freedoms is a criminal, since the whole system of power is based on the suppression of freedoms. The cynical truth is of course that the basic freedoms of the kind Liu is fighting for ARE in the Chinese Constitution, but only for show; they don’t actually MEAN anything, since in a dictatorship words only mean what the dictators say they mean.

The really important thing about China of course – or indeed about almost ANY state – is to differentiate between the people and the government, which are – as is quite obvious in the case of China – not always representative of the former. A few years ago I had the good fortune to spend two weeks in China as the guest of a provincial university.  From beginning to end of my visit I was treated like a King, with the utmost courtesy and respect. Nothing was too much trouble for my hosts. And when I went out into the teeming streets and squares, I met friendly, smiling people eager to start up a conversation.

Prior to my visit, my hosts had asked me if there was anything special I would like to see or do. I said that one day I would like to go to Llasa but of course that was too far, and that really whatever I saw in China would be a great thrill for me.

I thought no more of it, but on the first weekend of my teaching visit they took me 120 miles to the city of Xining, near which is a large Tibetan monastery complex of some 25 temples and associated buildings. So I got my taste of Tibet, but more importantly, I realized how carefully they had thought and considered what I had meant to be no more than a passing comment.

So the problem is not “the Chinese” but the Chinese government, which does not respect its own Constitution, its own preservation in power naturally being the fundamental consideration. We’ve seen this before: tortuous rationalisations for oppression: “Without us there would be chaos.” Really? Since the Nobel award, so childishly paranoid has the leadership been that it has been thrashing about like a stranded whale insulting anyone coming within its sights, lashing out about Xiaobo being “a criminal”, putting his wife under house arrest and so on.  This is very sad for China lovers like me.

And all the while on the border the vast concentration camp that is North Korea continues to oppress its people with China’s backing. Now we are to have a pudgy-faced “General” as “leader” of this lunatic, paranoid and psychopathic regime. One wonders what the latest member vomited up by the execrable Kim family did to win his “General” spurs? Hand-to-hand fighting to overrun a machine-gun nest and save his platoon? The extreme surrealism of these events reveals the inhumanity of all dictatorships. Evil, nasty, oppressive, they naturally cluster together and sustain each other. No, China is NOT like NK, but the CPP nevertheless SUPPORTS it. Not to do so, of course, would make all the more clearer the illogicality and illegitimacy of its OWN power. Burma is of course another basket case sustained by China’s insatiable greed for raw materials. I suppose one should count one’s blessings that there are stirrings of democracy and freedom in some of the other countries in China’s backyard. Let us hope these will serve as some sort of example and not be snuffed out by Chinese influence and/or power.

One day, humans will be free everywhere, but it won’t be tomorrow and almost certainly not in my lifetime. Not very uplifting, is it?

STOP PRESS: A dramatic turn of events!! Is this the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end?

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2010 in Core Thought, Politics

 

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