Saturday, September 25, 2010

Chinese Captain to Return Home

Chinese fishing boat captain Zhan Qixiong will be released to go home, announced Japanese prosecutors, citing consideration of the dispute between China and Japan on diplomatic level.

This is a rebuttal of the argument of the Japanese government that the original decision to detain the captain was based on Japan's domestic law with the decision had been made by local prosecutors. Japanese government claimed they could do nothing despite repeatedly protest from Chinese officials. It is an admission of guilt that politics does play the leading role in the ending of the incident. At the same time, it is an admission of guilt that politics could have played an equally important role in the motivation at the beginning.

There might be under the table bargaining and trading that we don't know. From the face value, it's hard to tell which side scores higher in the proactive incident which almost triggered a war which involves not only China and Japan, but also Taiwan and the US. According to the US/Japan Security Treaty, the US is obliged to step in on any land 'administered' by Japan. Putting aside all the disputes with the mainland China, Taiwan's President sent 11 armed coast guard ships to a standoff with Japanese official ships to protest the detaining of Chinese captain. The two sides, although armed with live ammo, exchanged attacks with means of flash lights and loud speakers. Taiwan claimed the Islands belong to Republic of China, the official title of Taiwan. The mainland claimed sovereign of the Islands, while placing it under the Taiwan Province according to traditional boundaries. In this sense, the two China found a common ground to fence off Japan's aggression.

Both China and Japan had hoped to let the issue settle down in time. Japan has the actual control of the island, and hope when time goes by, the rest of the world, including China and Taiwan, will get used to the reality that it is under Japan's actual control. China, on the other end, do not want to challenge Japan's superior military power in the water and air and wish the current dispute could be prolonged to the moment when its influence catch up with the economics growth.

The incident, in a way, broke the wishes from both sides. Both Japan and China will have to take a serious look at Diaoyu Islands and prepare for the next conflict which could happen at any time.

There is no doubt, though, that Japanese authorities provoked the incident. Chinese fishing boats have been fishing in the water for hundreds of years, especially in most recent years, when its near shore resources mostly exhausted by over fishing. It is believed that there was a common understanding between the two sides that China does not publicly challenge Japan's control of the Islands, but Japan allow China's fishing boats to fish in the area. At any given time, it is said around 300 Chinese fishing boats would be found in the area. Why suddenly Japanese government made a big deal of it, by chasing after a small fishing boat?

The current Japanese government started with an agenda to outgrow the US occupancy and strengthen ties with China. That plot didn't work well, and had already cost one Premier's job. The second Premier from the same Party, assumed much of the fame and debt from his predecessor, and was facing a challenge from a competitor in a primary election on September 14. By demonstrating a strong face towards China, the Premier scored a solid win, much in the similar way in the US when politicians always show strong face towards potential threats, but often adopt a more pragmatic approach after taking office. In this sense, Premier Naoto Kan won.

A New York Times article on the Islands:
Look Out for the Diaoyu Islands

Tensions have erupted over some barren rocks in the Pacific that you may never have heard of, but stay tuned – this is a boundary dispute that could get ugly and some day have far-reaching consequences for China, Japan, Taiwan and the United States.

The islands in question are called the Senkaku chain by Japan, the Diaoyu islands by China, and the Diaoyutai by Taiwan. All three claim the islands, which are really just five islets and three barren rocks northeast of Taiwan, 200 miles off the Chinese coast. The latest confrontation occurred when a Chinese fishing boat collided with two Japanese naval vessels trying to intercept it near the islands. The Japanese detained the Chinese captain for questioning and the two countries have been exchanging indignant protests.

The reason to worry is that nationalists in both China and Taiwan see the islands as unquestionably theirs and think that their government has been weak in asserting this authority. So far, wiser heads have generally prevailed on each side, but at some point a weakened Chinese leader might try to gain legitimacy with the public by pushing the issue and recovering the islands. It would be a dangerous game and would have a disastrous impact on China-Japan relations, but if successful it would raise the popularity of the Chinese government and would also be a way of putting pressure on Taiwan.

The other problem is that, technically, the U.S. would be obliged to bail Japan out if there were a fight over the Senkakus. The U.S. doesn’t take a position on who owns the islands, but the Japan-U.S. security treaty specifies that the U.S. will help defend areas that Japan administers. And in 1972, when the U.S. handed Okinawa back to Japan, it agreed that Japan should administer the Senkakus. So we’re in the absurd position of being committed to help Japan fight a war over islands, even though we don’t agree that they are necessarily Japanese.

In reality, of course, there is zero chance that the U.S. will honor its treaty obligation over a few barren rocks. We’re not going to risk a nuclear confrontation with China over some islands that may well be China’s. But if we don’t help, our security relationship with Japan will be stretched to the breaking point.

So which country has a better claim to the islands? My feeling is that it’s China, although the answer isn’t clearcut. Chinese navigational records show the islands as Chinese for many centuries, and a 1783 Japanese map shows them as Chinese as well. Japan purported to “discover” the islands only in 1884 and annexed them only in 1895 when it also grabbed Taiwan. (You can also make a case that they are terra nullis, belonging to no nation.)

The best approach would be for China and Japan to agree to refer the dispute to the International Court of Justice, but realistically that won’t happen. And since some believe that the area is rich with oil and gas reserves, the claims from each side have become more insistent.

As Chinese nationalism grows, as China’s navy and ability to project power in the ocean gains, we could see some military jostling over the islands. You read it here first.

Monday, September 20, 2010

news items

Around 60,000 Chinese died in car accidents in a year. It's not a big number considering the base population and the road conditions. Therefore, a person died from a car accident is not news worthy. What is news worthy though, is the current trend of killing a person through means of repeated crushing, often recorded by video cameras.

In this 2006 incident (video: in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, an old lady was run over 5 times. January 20, 2009, A car ran over a 2 years old girl three times (video: in Ji'nan, Shangdong Province. September 13, 2010, a 3 years old boy was run over 4 times by a BMW driven by a CCP official. September 19, 2010, a man was run over three times (video: by an Audi.

None involved was ever charged murder, including the case when the lady was killed after being run over 5 times. In the recent case when the 3 years old boy was killed after being run over 4 times by a communist official, the police of Jiangsu even refused to press criminal charge, not after a through investigation, but moments after the accident before any investigation.

In many cases, the driver was seen by camera to get down to check the victim. When realizing the victim was not dead, get on the car and then run over the victim for as many times as necessary of a guaranteed kill. Some then drove away, some then calmly stayed for police.

The problem lies deeper than the lack of ethics of communist regime. Many Chinese drivers feel empathy with those who run over repeatedly. Even many media share the same sentiment, but blame the insurance and road traffic law for the drivers confusion. The theory was a driver would risk paying more on a wounded victim then a dead victim. The key issue here is, many people and the media consciously give up a basic moral value, but measure everything with money. 'Cost', instead of 'value' becomes the sole component of social architecture. Killing becomes acceptable when it saves cost.

This is an extension of the communist believe occupied China in the past, when the loyalty to the Party is the No. 1 virtue over everything else including value of life. Only that loyalty to money replaces loyalty to the Party. Not surprisingly, the new communist Party is controlled not by a shared belief of communism, but by a sharing of social resource.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Few Chinese Protested on Anniversary of Japanese Invasion

Few Chinese went on street to protest the anniversary of Japanese invasion of the northeastern China in 1931. Japanese media reported only a dozen or so protesters went on street in Beijing and Shanghai. A lone protester showed up in Guangzhou. The anniversary of this year is especially sensitive because a Chinese fishing boat captain was arrested by Japanese authority when fishing in Chinese water on September 7, 2010. The Captain was sentenced to 10 days by Japanese domestic crime code. The action was seen as a trap by Japan to claim sovereignty of the disputed water around Diaoyu Island.

It's a signal that most Chinese people and in particular the younger generation are either alerted of being used as the communist government's cat paws, or too occupied by the burden of living to be interested on political issues. Or maybe a combination of both.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The End of Beiyang Fleet

Setpember 17, 1984, China's Beiyang Fleet was attacked by Japanese navy. It was the first and only large collide of the two, and ended with the elimination of a viable naval program in China, a situation continues today.

At the time, Beiyang was fitted with two battleships and eight cruisers, considered many as a formidable world power and overwhelming presence in Asia. However, Japan noticed the fact that the Chinese fleet hadn't received any update for more than ten years, and the crew were poorly trained. Although China had larger boats with heavier guns and heavier armor, those boats were slow and guns were slow too. Regardless, it took great courage, determination and luck for the young Japanese to challenge the Beiyang Fleet. Japan won the battle on September 17, 1984, while most of Beiyang's heavy warships were sunk (none of Japanese ships sank). Beiyang later surrendered after being cornered in its home harbor in Weihaiwei in Shandong Province.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Deja Vu

Japanese authority arrested a Chinese fishing boat captain in Diayu Island, a land claimed by China on August 7, 2010. It is significant because Japan applied civil code to prosecute the captain, which is seen as claiming Japan's sovereignty on this disputed area for the first time.

There are many similarities between the Diaoyu Island incident and the 9/18 accident 69 years ago. Both were 'created' by lower level Japanese military officers, and both encountered little resistance from the Chinese part, and both leads to lasting catastrophic consequences.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ji Chaoding

It is no secret that the Communists Party won the civil war against the KMT with help of spies. Several top KMT generals were believed to be Communists agents, and top DoD directors of the ROC drew detailed battle plans to direct KMT troops to CCP's traps.

However, the most successful communist agent during that time was not a general, but a economist, whose name is Ji Chaoding. With Ph.D. and J.D. degrees from Chicago and Columbia, Ji had the eyes of US government, and was escorted back to China to take charge of the national economy strategy planning.

Ji's recipe is simple and appealing to the rulers of the KMT government, that is, to squeeze private with state-own enterprises, and take away private savings with financial policies. On the face, the measures strengthened the power of the central government, but at the same time Ji's plans not only weakened private businesses, but bankrupted the entire middle class of China. Everyone hates the ROC government, and the government collapsed within 3 years after winning the Anti-Japanese War.

Ji passed away in 1963. The memorial service was attended by Premier Chou Enlai, Marshal Chen Yi, among others.

Why the Hell Are You so Soft?

Chinese, Japanese and Koreans and Russians around the world are amazed at the CCP's soft stance against Japan's aggression in Diaoyu Island.

Diaoyu Island is historically an offshore island under Taiwan's jurisdiction. It was took over by Japan, and at the end of WWII was transferred to the US military, and had been used as a targeting proof ground. Although the US had promised to return it to China, which means ROC or Taiwan at the time, they instead transferred jurisdiction of the island to Japan in 1972, without transferring ownership. In the past 40 years or so, both Taiwan and Japan claimed ownership, and it had been handled as a disputed territory by both. Although pro trolling the area with fishery agencies, Japan had refrained itself from actual landing on the island of 6.7 square miles, and prohibited any Japanese private citizen to access the island. The government of Taiwan also avoided confrontation with Japanese officials, but claimed full territorial claim on the island. The current ROC/Taiwan President, Mr. Ma Ying-jeou was an activist of campaign of Keeping Diaoyutai Island. In 2008, when a Taiwan fishery boat was sunk after a coalition with Japanese official ships, he ordered Taiwan official ships to a standoff with Japanese official ships.

The Communism China, on the other hand, had been absent from the scene for a large part of the dispute until recently. Prior to the handover in 1972, the CCP government was afraid US would return the island to Taiwan, its political rival. Therefore, the CCP argued extensively that the island should belong to Japan, a rare sympathizer of the regime at the time. Entering 21 century, with increasing naval and air military strength and growing economics appetite, Beijing quietly joined the choir of claiming sovereignty over the island. Indeed, without the island, China will loose hundreds of thousands square miles of water territory. Equally important, Chinese navy, submarines in particular will loose the only path to the Pacific. Not willing to make a scene, China also restraint itself from alerting the Japanese by actual accessing the island. The Chinese government counts on the dispute could be dragged on to the next millennium and resolved by itself by then with China's ever growing military might.

While all government imposed self constraint, the water around the island had been relative clam in the past, until the climax of last week, when Japanese officials arrested a Chinese fishing boat captain on criminal charges. And this is seen a no-return point. The captain was sentenced to a 10 days jail time, but the significance is that or the first time in history, Japanese government applied civil code and claimed sovereignty in addition to jurisdiction rights.

As expected by the Japan government, CCP backed off.

What many Chinese people around the globe do not understand is that CCP has always placed the interest of the Party on top of everything else, including the sovereignty of the country and welfare being of the people. When the Chinese government (ROC by then) took over the Middle-East Railroad from USSR in 1929, CCP announced its military and political forces would 'defend USSR by force', even though it was USSR who occupied Chinese territory in Northeast. While the Communist Party leader of North Korea begged for a couple of mountains on the Chinese-Korea border for propaganda purpose, the CCP redrew the border to Korea's satisfaction in a matter of days. When KMT troops hided out in a disputed area along China and Burma, CCP disavowed the area so that Burma military could attack the Chinese troops.

For CCP, the Party's interest is the No. 1 priority and the only essential interest. Everything else could be sacrificed for the sake of the survival of the Party. Knowing this helps to understand why the CCP is avoiding any serious conflict internationally at all cost.

In other country, a mishandling of a potentially explosive evident may leads to the crash of a government. In China, it could threaten the ruling of the Party. That's why the CCP has been soft on not only Japan, but also Korea, and Vietnam, Philippine, etc., etc.

For the interest of the Chinese, and of the country, CCP must go, one way or another.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

China Never Short of Talents

Xiong Dazhen, 1913-1939, joined the Communism military to defend motherland against Japan after the war broke out. He was named the Equipment Chief of the Central-North District. Xiong recruited over 100 students and faculty of Qinghua University to design and build weapons and ammunitions. One year later, all of them were charged as spies. Xiong was sentenced to death. To save a bullet, a piece stone was used repeatedly to crack open Xiong's head.

Xiong took an infrared panorama picture (of the city of Beijing) when he was a student at Qinghua University. It was the first infrared picture of China. After graduated in 1935, he stayed at Qinghua University to continue his research in infrared photography. He was awarded a scholarship to pursue graduate degree in Germany in 1937, when Beijing fell to Japanese military. Xiong canceled his trip to Europe to fight the Japs.

The CCP never hesitated in killing talents, regardless talents in science, literature, military, or, Communism.

In contrary, the KMT often put talents above ideology. Many known Communism believers work in the central of KMT regime. Many top KMT officials were later revealed as CCP spies. Most of them were let go (abroad) even after their true identities had been discovered. In the end, KMT lost the mainland, and fled to the Island of Taiwan.

As a side note, almost all Chinese Nobel Laureates were educated under the KMT system; none of them came out of the mainland education system. But does it matter? Mainland is a mighty power in Eastern Asia. Taiwan is only to keep its independent status due to the US's military support.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Why HU is not a great ruler

Hu Jintao is not a terrible ruler. How can he be? Although relatively young for his supreme position, Hu had gone through the most rigorous Party training and raised to the top, on the way passing many veteran communists with seniority rankings. Hu is careful not to make any of the political enemies uncomfortable in the long time, more than 10 years, in the waiting room of absolute power.

However, hu is nothing but a young old time Party member. Under his regime, preluded by promise to build a 'harmonic' society, ordinary Chinese people lost many of the little freedom tolerated or overlooked by the CCP for years. Any 'unharmonious' voice is censored, and the person silences, usually by jailing behind bars. It looks Hu attempted to bring back the country 50 years back to the hight of the communism utopia (as described in official publications), but obviously Hu does not have any political cloud to achieve that, unless Chairman Mao.

Hu is the leader of the gang of Communist Youth League (CYL), a peripheral organization of CCP for youth. Every Chinese knows gangs of Communist Youth League with first hand experience. In universities, only students with bad grades cling to posts of CYL, because that's the only way they can use to bargain for a good job upon graduation. Students with good grades, or strong family background, or social connections all care less about the CYL. In a sense, the CYL produces the exclusive career bureaucratic whose natural instinct is avoid trouble by all cost. That partially explained Hu's expertise in keeping a low profile.