Friday, October 29, 2010

Scholars Warn Collapse May be Sudden and Unforeseeable

Premier Wen has been chanting for political reform in an unusual high intensity. He publicly spoke about the sensitive issue 6 times in 3 months, and used phrases such as, '.. dead end', and '..won't give up until my last breath'. By all means, he sounds not only deadly serious, but also alarmingly urgent.

Finally, the ruling communist party responded with an editorial of the People's Daily. The article titled '..steadily push forward political reform', while the contents basically removed any doubts that such reform could be remotely possible under the Party's rule. It insisted the Party's firm leadership is absolutely essential, and threatened any political reform to be unpatriotic.

Scholars liken the situation to that at the end of the Qing Dynasty. While the people, echoed by some senior officials, demand political reform, the imperial government blandly refused. A couple of years later, Qing collapsed suddenly in 1911. Since 1840, the Qing had survived western invasion and mass rebellion. When it collapsed in 1911, it was enjoying a rather uneventful period.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Diplomatic Issues

1. China and Japan 'normalized' their relationship in 1972. However, "Japan never apologized for the suffering of Chinese (300 million Chinese killed) during the Japanese invasion and occupancy", as complained by many Chinese. Former Japanese Prime Minister Tanaka Takuei (1972-1974) recalled he expressed 'being puzzled "困惑"' by what Japanese did to Chinese when he signed the 'normalization treaty' in Beijing. Tanaka argued the Kanji characters 'being puzzled' has a deeper meaning of 'not agreeing'.

2. Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro (2001-2006) is known for his family roots which are entangled with the past glory of imperial army, and unapologizing attitude on Japanese's aggressions during the WWII. Unsurprisingly he was not popular among Asian neighbors, particularly China and Korea. For a while, China suspended talks with him. During an international meeting, Koizumi suddenly showed great interest in Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's pen, and asked for a look. The two talked briefly, and the incident was considered a breakthrough in Sino-Japan relations.

3. The Sino-Japan relationship was once again frozen after the incident of Japan detaining a Chinese fishing boat captain near the Diaoyu Islands, which is controlled by Japan while claimed by both mainland China and Taiwan. In retaliation, China announced a suspension of bilateral communication of minister level and above. When the senior officials of both countries were attending an international conference, Prime Minister Kan Naoto (2010- ) caught up with Chinese Premier Wen in the hallway, and chatted for 20 minutes. According to reporting of Japanese news media, the incident was 'executed in the manner of' while Wen walked out of the meeting room, Kan walked "in high speed in same direction" and caught up with Wen. It is assumed Wen slowed down. Japanese coverage varied on the account whether Kan walked in big steps or small steps, but agreed on the 'high speed' part.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pedestrian Detained in Wenchuan, Sichuan

Prominent lawyer Zhou Ze revealed via twitter that he was shortly detained in Wenchuan, the site of Sichuan Earthquake.

Zhou was at the site of Yingxiu High School, where hundreds of students died in the quake, when some undercover police handcuffed him and dragged him away from because a Party leader would be visiting the same site. Zhou was released by the same group of police after the Party leader left about 10 minutes later. What's interesting from Zhou's description:

1) The 'leader' was a rather low level local official that according to posted policies does not warrant traffic control.

2) The undercover police's standard equipment includes a hand towel which is used to silence people from calling on the leader's attention.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Chongqing Express: Cracking Down Organized Crimes

A Chongqing Party District Chief's conversation with a real estate developer was recorded and placed on the Internet. The recording, which was made on or about 15:00 on August 5, 2010, officially revealed a known secret of Chongqing's cracking down on organized crimes.

The Party Chief, Wang Yinfeng was heard asking the developer in a threatening tone, 'do you know why Chongqing cracked down on organized crime? Do you know what is organized crime? Anyone not agreeing with the government's decision will be cracked down as a criminal!' The Party Chief of Chongqing, Mr. Bo Xilai, has been making a big scene with his heavy hand approach in cracking down organized crimes in Chongqing. Bo is believed to show his ambition to higher posts, such as the Premier or Deputy Premier.

The developer was summoned to halt works on a site immediately because it interfered with the 'Feng Shui' of the district government's administration building complex. The Party Chief agreed to assign another site for compensation, but the developer was not satisfied because of the location.

The Feng Shui factor is a sensitive issue because the Communists Party does not believe in superstitious beliefs.

Wang Yinfeng was born in Henan Province. Wang received a PhD from Beijing University. Before current post as the Party Chief of the Jiangjin District of Chongqing, Wang held position such as associate staff scientist of the Henan Geography Institute of the Chinese Science Academy.

Bo Xilai is also a Beijing University graduate.

8/5/2010: The said recording was made;
10/8/2010: A news report revealed the Feng Shui factor in the negotiation between the Jiangjin District government and developers.
10/12/2010: The Jiangjin District Government denied the existence of the conversation about Fengshui;
10/13/2010: The Jiangjin District Government held another press conference, and denied the existence of the conversation about Fengshui;
10/13/2010: While denying the conversation, the Party Chief of Jiangjin District challenged the developer to make the recording of the alleged conversation available on the Internet;
10/13/2010: "First Finance", a national news media obtained a copy of the said recording;
10/14/2010: Party Chief of the Jiangjin Government recognized the conversation after the recording was made available on the Internet, but implied the recording could have been edited;

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Premier Wen's Political Reform

Premier Wen Jiabao told CNN when attending conferences in New York City that he would keep pushing for political reform, and weather any stormy resistances till his death.

Although Wen is known of using elegance of Chinese classics, he summarized his goals in four simple phrases: he wants Chinese people could
  1. live in dignity and be happy;
  2. feel safe;
  3. a society fill with justice;
  4. full of confidence to the future;

Among all Communists officials, 80 millions of them, Wen looks to be a lonely advocate to his ideas. Many accused him of not having acted more boldly, but there is so much you can do as one of the 80 millions leadership class. Instead of criticizing wen's inaction, each Chinese should think of how to help out.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Who is Liu Xiaobo and Why Less is More

2010 Nobel Peace Laureate Liu Xiaobo highlighted the Chinese communist government's heavy hand approach on political dissidents. Liu is serving a 17 years jail.

However, it might be a little bit misleading because the favored strategy on political dissidents is, actually, deportation to western countries. The government had come to the conclusion that once a democratic advocate is removed from the country, so will be his influence and reputation. The government will be able to paint the person as coward and clown since they would be afraid to return to the home country that they had claimed they loved.

In addition, the communist government was not worried about those radical democratic campaigns. Its propaganda branch does a shabby job overall, but just good enough to make most people believe China will definitely fall to chaos without the Party's totalitarian leadership.

Liu is different from most other democratic activists in China. He is sometimes seen as really to take comprised deal and happy for tiny steps towards 'freer' society. During the democratic movement in 1989 and right before the Tian'anmen Massacre took place, Liu tried persuading students back off to avoid clash with the People's Liberation Army. Surviving the massacre, Liu did not attempt to flee the country as many other celebrities did, but rather surrendered to the authorities and served long time jailing time. He was put under house arrest after being released, and went to jail another couple of times before sentenced to 17 years last year. On the other hand, Liu never gave up fighting for his country and his people by writing articles, even during his house arrest. Liu is a calm observer and never step out of line. Liu advocate for materialize whatever the communists regime had promised rather than pushing for political changes. This made Liu a most dangerous enemy of the State, because many agree with his thoughts.

The smoking gun which led to Liu's most recent arrest and 17 years jail time was a document entitled 'Charter 2008'. It's something like a petition to the government for recognition of most fundamental elements of human rights. Hundreds of notable scholars co-signed the document/letter, which was drafted by Liu. Again, the document was dangerous, because it formally asks for what had been promised publicly and repeatedly by the regime. Well, it asks for less than 1 percent of what had been promised and asks for a recognition that not even 1 percent of what had been promised were in place. Some overseas Chinese dissidents opposed Liu's award, accusing him of being "too soft". However, Liu's power comes from being soft, and he knew the mighty and took the consequence.

It's a good decision made by the Nobel Peace Committee. We hope the monetary award may help improve Liu's family living condition. His wife has been steadfastly supportive of Liu's sacrifice for the country, and she looks very exhausted.

The reflection in China are bimodal. The online community overwhelmingly hailed the news, while most of off-line population did not know, did not care.

There are two Nobel Laureates were born in the city of Changchun, Jilin Province in the year of 2010. Japanese citizen Ei-ichi Negishi who was born in Chaungchun in 1931 shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with two other collaborators.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Twit Forward

Two recent cases in China showed twitter (actually, it's state sponsored Chinese-clones because twitter is barred by the authority) could be one WMD for responsible Chinese Internet users.

In Jiangxi Province, an official eviction went wrong when three of the residents set themselves on fire in protesting the procedure. Although there are hundreds of police, paramilitary forces and even an ambulance at the scene. The senior communist officials order the demolition went ahead, and policemen blocked relatives and bystanders to rescue the burning individuals until they shrank to black carbons. The deceased had a dispute with the government on the proper amount of compensation for the building. However, it turned out as now we finally know, the eviction was not even lawful. There was no eviction orders from the court nor the local government. Local government jailed relatives to stop them from making a scene, but two were able to fled as far as the women's restroom in a nearby airport on the way to Beijing for a petition. The airport was not operated by the aforementioned local government, so although they summoned an army of public employees to surround the restroom, the two women were able to broadcast their situation online before they were taken away by force. The online broadcasting triggered a mass twitting phenomenon while the messages were followed and forwarded millions of time, which triggered the network monitoring agency's attention of the central government. The agency's evaluation of the incident is that it mounts to the scale of social stability level so that it should be handled carefully. The central government ordered the local government to release jailed relatives and to renegotiate a fair compensation for the demolished building.

Another incident happened in Beijing. An author was arrested by police in Shaanxi Province because he published an investigative report of people's sufferings on a state project. Although the project had been over dozens of years ago, thousands of people are still homeless because their land were taken away for the project and then reassigned to other people. Also thanks to mass twitting and forwarding, the author was granted a bail.

Although you can vote for the government officials or your representatives, but you do can twit, follow and forward. A few clicks might help save some good people's life. There is no excuse for not doing that.