Greetings to the Saker community and readers.
I am a rather frequent traveller to China, having family there. My journeys so far have took me to the provinces of Shanghai, Beijing, Sichuan, Zhejiang, Guangdong, Fujian, Macau and Jiangsu.
This article is a collection of loosely organized personal observations about the country and its people and of comments from people I have met during my various stays in China. The people come from all walks of life and cover a wide age range, from 10 year old children to 70+ year old pensioners.
It does not touch a specific area or subject, and some of the information might be outdated or (as is the case with people opinions) in the area of “mostly true but!”. And of course, in a country of over 1 billion people you can find all sorts of characters. Corrections and clarifications are more than welcome.
China is organized into a 5-tier hierarchy system: Village -> Small Town -> Town -> City -> Province. State encompasses all. The main criterion to belong to a tier is population size; for example cities are entities of 1M+ people. Extremely large metropolitan areas, like Shanghai and Beijing are classified as provinces.
A province is like a state in the US that has its own police and regulations but with a major difference: they do not act independently from the central government. While they can impose stricter laws or special regulations they never deviate from the official policies.
Now for demographics: China is consisting of 56 different ethnic groups with Han being the biggest of all (comprising about 90% of the total population) all the way down to Jing (approximately 30K people). All are recognized as people of China, and all minorities – essentially everyone but Han – get special privileges like guaranteed university seats, exemption from the one child policy etc. As far as I know, China is probably the only country in the world which officially recognizes a group of people that represent such a miniscule percentage of the population as a minority. The Chinese government has created in Beijing the China Ethnic Culture Park, a park which replicates the landscape, traditional housing, clothing and customs for every single one of the 56 ethnic groups. Be sure to visit if you are in Beijing.
In every country of the world the people accept their government either through fear or because of an agreed social contract. For example, in the US this social contract is (or rather was) called “The American Dream”. As long as the people believe in it, the country has stability.
I was talking once with a retired elementary school teacher, Mrs Yu. Born in 1950, she lived throughout the birth pangs of the PRC and the difficult times of the Cultural Revolution. Therefore, when the opportunity came I asked her if she ever considered their form of governance to be at fault and if she ever contemplated a Democratic system. The answer was quite astonishing:
“I survived the big famine of China. By the time I was 15, I was hired as an elementary school teacher. I did not have a teaching degree; and one was not necessary. At the time, the target was to combat illiteracy. I passed the test so I became a teacher, and stayed one for 35 years. The government told us that if we supported their form of governance (mind you, not much difference from Imperial times) they will end the famine and poverty; no homeless people etc. It took them a while but they kept and still keep their end of the bargain. So I keep mine. We do have a saying in these parts: you cannot eat Democracy”.
She then took me to a local museum to demonstrate her point. When the big earthquake struck Sichuan in 2008 her city was lucky; being on the other site of the mountain they only lost 6 people and a handful of buildings. But villages and towns on the other side were levelled, to the point where not even a helicopter could approach. In the museum there were images of an airborne division of the PLA jumping with parachutes into the affected area, each soldier carrying either tools or food on his back.
“Look at this picture” Mrs Yu told me. “The first one out of the plane was the unit’s leader – he was around 56 at the time if memory serves. My sister-in-law lived in that town and she told me that not a single soldier was armed; there was no need for it. The soldiers worked really long hours trying to move debris by hand and their rations were less than that of the people of the town.” She then showed me another picture where the then Premier was in the disaster area poring over a map along with army and rescue commanders. I asked if it mattered to the people that the Premier and not the President, had come to visit; if they considered it a snub by the authorities. “Not really, after all the then Premier is a trained geologist. He came to do his job”.
I mentioned that these were special circumstances. “Here it is normal for the army to help the people in their daily lives. For example, if a heavy cold front comes in the winter it is not uncommon for the PLA to deploy thousands of troops to help farmers salvage as much of their production. By doing so we ensure that there is enough food for everybody”.
The PLA is quick to help the people, and sometimes it does provide training opportunities as well:
Education and Religion
Although officially the Chinese state does not have a religion, the people are more or less free to practice whatever they like. I have seen Orthodox and Catholic churches as well as Buddhist temples and Muslim mosques. The policies remain the same since the imperial times: no religion extremism allowed – no interference with the state. If any religion attempts to intervene with the workings of the state, the hammer comes down – hard. The last time the Uyghur had a mini uprising the trigger was the refusal by the central government to allow for madrassas to be established in Xinjiang.
Chinese really emphasize on education. It is not uncommon for schools, especially private ones to have their own dorms (even for elementary school children). A relative, who happens to be the vice-principal of a private elementary school in a semi-rural area explained this to the fact that due to the distances involved, parents prefer to leave their children in the dormitory rather than losing a couple of hours per day in commute. The teachers take shifts to check the children during night time “All part of the job” as she likes to say. I did visit her school one – I happened to be in their town and she invited me to chat with the pupils. “We are not a tourist area so not many foreigners around here. It will be good for them to see other people and practice their English a bit”. After my meeting with the pupils she took me to the teachers’ lounge; there someone brought a world map, put it on the table and asked me to show them where Cyprus is. What followed was a one hour course on Cyprus 101.
Another time I actually lived in a public elementary school for a week. Every morning the pupils would clean up the school grounds, each class in turn. “Is this not the job of the janitor?” “Well, the janitor is for maintaining the facilities. The children should learn to function in their community; therefore they are responsible for keeping the school grounds clean”. As this school was in the city, it did not have dorms for the pupils (I was staying at the teacher’s accommodation). However, it did keep the students until their parents got off work. On an almost daily basis the local officials of the Ministry of Education would come to the school after classes ended and stayed there until dismissal time (a couple of hours later). Various events were organised, for example a volley ball match between the teachers and the officials. The idea was to encourage interaction between all parties involved in the school: pupils, teachers, officials, parents. Pupils were encouraged to talk to the officials and present their suggestions on how to improve the school.
Finally, very basic military training is mandatory for all university students in their first semester; usually it lasts about a month. While the extent and scope of the training differ between universities, the common theme is that instructors from the PLA come every day to train students in basic formations, marching etc. In some cases the students actually fire pistols while once I witnessed a class having a night march. This is not your basic training at an infantry school; it is designed to familiarise students with simple military concepts.
Media in China are mostly run by the state. There are lots of TV and radio stations aimed at province level, with the state TV (CCTV) broadcasting on a national level. A friend once told me that “if you want to know what is going well in China, watch the CCTV1 main news. If you want to know the grey areas, watch the late night talk shows on CCTV. That is when the serious issues are being discussed”.
As for internet, yes, there is censorship. It is not a blanket censorship like western media presents it though; for example while BBC and Google are blocked, CNN and Yahoo are not. In general, I do not see the Chinese government having a stricter internet access policy than any major corporation around the planet; they are actually quite honest that they block website X because they do not like them. In contrast where I work RT.com is blocked as a “malicious website”.
Overall, the Chinese do not tolerate one thing: reporters in foreign media trying to dictate to them how to behave and lying through their teeth in order to create problems for China. Once you do that, you are thrown out of the country. I was at the airport once watching the English speaking edition of the news. There was a story of some supermarket chains in a city distributing through social media that the local government was going to substantially increase the taxes on basic goods. Panic ensued, shoppers run to the stores to stock up supplies and the central government had to intervene as this was something the supermarkets conjured to increase their sales; no such increase was decided. An official admitted on TV that they indeed banned this topic from social media as to stop the panic; once the supermarkets issued their retracting statements (and were dealt with) the ban was lifted.
By the time my flight arrived home, BBC had a story on the front page that “Chinese government censored the media in city X because they criticised the raise in taxes, according to NGOs”.
Foreign policy and the military
Successive Chinese governments have promoted bilateral trade as the main method of resolving disputes – if the people are busy making money, they will have little time and a lot to loose from war; hence there will be a drive to actively avoid it. However, knowing full well how volatile the world is, the PLA is building up to counter external threats, and is increasingly used as a foreign policy tool. The peace time, non-combat role of the PLA has been presented in the Social Contract section of this article; this part will attempt an analysis of the role of the PLA in the foreign policy of China.
The recent release of the White Paper on Military Strategy by the Chinese MOD sheds for the first time a lot of light on the issues troubling China at the moment. A close look on the report reveals some interesting points:
- The list of hegemonism as a new global threat
- The clear accusation of “anti-China forces” attempting to instigate a colour-revolution in the PRC
- The clear naming of USA and Japan as two players that destabilise the Pacific Rim precisely because of the global rebalance of economic and strategic power
The strategic tasks and principles of the Chinese Military include some very interesting items:
- To resolutely safeguard the unification of the motherland
- To safeguard China’s security interests in new domains
- To safeguard the security of China’s overseas interests
- To actively expand military and security cooperation, deepen military relations with major powers, neighbouring countries and other developing countries, and promote the establishment of a regional framework for security and cooperation.
These items spell one thing: that the Chinese are ready and willing to get involved in events outside their borders. To this effect there are numerous examples in the last couple of years:
- The participation of Chinese tank crews using their own Chinese-made tank in the annual tank crew biathlon in Russia
- The participation of the PLA Navy in the Syria chemical weapons destruction program
- The evacuation by the PLA Navy of foreign citizens from Yemen, including US citizens
- The participation of the PLA Navy in the anti-piracy operation off the Somali coast.
US – Russia
Generally speaking, the military setup of China revolves around one country: the US of A, and the troubles caused by them both internally and in the region. This is clearly evident from the wording in the White Paper on Military Strategy wherein it is stated in no disputed words that the aim of the PLA is to establish a rock solid alliance with Russia. Moreover, the PLA is undertaking a massive modernisation programme in all three branches of the military (army, air force, navy) with the most notable beneficiary so far being the PLA Navy. As an example, the first ship of the Type 056 / Type 056A corvette class was launched in May 2012. Since then, 22 corvettes are active, 3 are in the fitting stage and 4-6 more have been delivered to export clients. 30 corvettes in 36 months is an impressive production rate during peace time. And this is not the only class of ships under construction. Similarly, the training has shifted to amphibious operations and denial of access to other navies.
Taiwan – Regional Disputes
The issue of Taiwan is strange in the sense that both Taiwan and China see themselves as the same thing: that they are the legitimate Chinese government. In a very simplistic explanation, Taiwan was the refuge of the losers of the Chinese civil war; namely the KMT and specifically Chiang Kai-Shek. Note that in China the co-founder of the KMT, Dr Sun Yat-sen is considered the father of the Chinese revolution; his house is Zhu Hai is preserved and turned in to a KMT history museum. Actually, in China they split the KMT into the Sun Yat-sen period and the Chiang Kai-Shek period.
Back in 1949 you had on one hand Mao claiming he is the ruler of China which happens to miss one province – Taiwan – and on the other hand Chiang Kai-Shek claiming he was the rightful ruler, just so happens he lost all of China bar one province. This is something to remember as despite the rhetoric between the two countries, trade relations and travel between Taiwan and China has been on the rise in recent years. I believe that the government and – especially – the people of Taiwan are waiting to see what China will do after the 50-year window of “do not touch the existing system” has passed in Hong Kong and Macau, before considering any unification plan under a similar deal. However, the moment Taiwan declares independence will be the moment the PLA crosses the straight; that has always been a Chinese red line.
A case of times changing is the Diaoyu islands dispute. Both China and Taiwan claim the islands using more or less the same argument: the islands are Chinese. For China, the idea of the Diaoyu ending up under Taiwanese control is considered as a viable option, as Taiwan will eventually be part of China again as it should hence the Diaoyu will return as well. A month before Japan “purchased” three of the Diaoyu islands; Taiwanese Navy Rear Admiral Chang Feng-chiang took his fleet that was participating in a scheduled drill and sailed towards the Japanese island of Yonaguni, raising alarm in Japan. Taiwan officially described this as “a case that simply involves drill discipline”. A couple of weeks later, activists from Hong Kong and Taiwan went to the Diaoyu and – in a move that raised quite a stir in Japan and the US – raised both the Taiwanese and Chinese flags:
In dealing with the smaller players in the region like the Philippines, almost all of the people I have spoken to believe their country is more restrained than it should. “We are the main economic force for a various countries in the region. If we stop buying their products, they are done. They should respect us a bit more” is a common theme in discussions. Many also criticise the central government for not pushing a bit harder.
Nevertheless, the PLA Navy has been busy in South China Sea constructing forward bases on a number of atolls and islands. The US Navy has recently released an interesting video showing the flurry of activity at Fiery Cross Reef. Note in about 1:58 in the video the entry in the communications log of the plane; the message was not the usual diplomatic one used when an aircraft violates restricted airspace. The Chinese simply told them “go away quickly!”
DPRK / ROK
Perhaps the most complicated issue China is facing at the moment is the DPRK / ROK duet. On one hand, the economic interests dictate close cooperation with ROK. On the other hand, China cannot forget the hundreds of thousands that were the casualties of the Korean war, “a war against US aggression” as it is called. Therefore the Chinese government is forced into a delicate balancing act between the two Koreas.
I did ask more than once why China tolerates a regime like North Korea. It is one thing to have a despot running a neighbouring country, quite another when your own citizens are caught in the turmoil. On a number of occasions, North Korean coast guard commanders kidnapped Chinese fishermen and demanded ransom; therefore I wanted to know how come something like this is tolerated. “Well, we also consider the way the North Korea is set up to be unworkable and true, them having nuclear weapons is a big headache. But is also the lesser of two evils.” What is worse than an unstable regime with nukes at the borders I wondered? “Having the same border with the US army”.
Thanks, another very good post.
The world will be so much better off with more people like the Saker, Jeff Brown, and Kakaouskia!
Kakaouskia and Saker,
Thanks for the tourist-eye view of China and the most relevant issues the PRC face, and the insight into Chinese characteristics.
This report is extremely useful to those who are beginning their understanding of China and its policies.
The importance of China in the next six months cannot be overestimated. Big changes are coming to the global alignment of nations, to the battle against Islamist terror wars, to the color revolutions and destabilizations fostered by the Hegemon, and to the world economic and finance systems and currencies. It all will be running through Beijing and Moscow.
Nice travel documentary.
The attempt to explain the pyramidal political structure of the Chinese government is unfortunate. The Chinese people are treated as weak frightened individuals.
On the Social Contract:
“but they kept and still keep their end of the bargain. So I keep mine. We do have a saying in these parts: you cannot eat Democracy”.”
That is a terrible, and often printed excuse for tyranny – through the ages. You cannot eat Democracy. But, can you truly live without it? We at the AC will not trade one god for another. Marx and his followers, and the Fascists and theirs, are far from gods.
The essay by Kakaouskia sounds like the old: (all they want is their bowl of rice, or, in America, their junk food and TV). Implied, is that; the people do not want to choose their leaders, or in any other political way interfere with the rule of the ONE. The ONE infallible leader, the ONE infallible political source, the ONE thought, the ONE supreme political Party, above all, the ONE, and only ONE.
“Overall, the Chinese do not tolerate one thing: reporters in foreign media trying to dictate to them how to behave and lying through their teeth in order to create problems for China”.
This statement by Kakaouskia begs the question; which “Chinese do not tolerate…” dictation? The magically chosen (by God?), leaders, or the voiceless masses?
And if the method of empowering these magical Chinese leaders, who emerge from hidden caususes; is agonizingly similar to the American political process-which produced Hollywood Obomber from off the wall, and will follow with ‘Prince/ss Hilary Clinton – The Anointed One,’ coming to a theater outlet near you in 2016?
Of course there is one difference between China and the United States. China is a nation that has been a victem of imperialist aggression, and the United States is not. China is the victim, and the United States, and its British and Zionist masters, the colonial exploiters.
However, that difference must not shut off discussion of China’s weak political culture. A pyrimid is a decent design for a monument, but not of the political culture of a free people. What will happen if China’s ‘Chosen Infallible Leaders’ make poor decisions in the defense of their people and the world against the imperialist Oligarchs? What will happen if they fail to properly design their economy? What options will the Chinese people have to make corrections? Where will revolutionary forces be born in the chaos of a Chinese political meltdown? The sad history of Russia’s meltdown in 1990 should be remembered. A generation later, Russia is still recovering. Has anyone noticed the war in Europe?
The ONE does not rule me. The ONE may oppress me; but it is not me.
Let’s get off our knees, and here, in the belly of the beast, expose the upcoming political Circus of 2016, while we still can.
For the Democratic Republics! Here and There!
“That is a terrible, and often printed excuse for tyranny – through the ages. You cannot eat Democracy. But, can you truly live without it? We at the AC will not trade one god for another. Marx and his followers, and the Fascists and theirs, are far from gods. ”
yo, barring the Greeks, Democracy has only been around for the past few hundred years, and during this short period, it has morphed into “corporations take all” system that make vast majority of people living under it zombie-consumers, debt-slaves, or tax-donkeys.
the Chinese are living wihtout it real fine, thank you. I suggest you stop your nonsensical “I know what is best for everyone” type view of the world and leave others to their own devices. It’s not you to decide what is good for other peoples and countries, if you do, you are same as the whole neo-con gang.
About your stance on Democracy, “the Chinese are living wihtout it real fine,” implies that you do not support Democracy. Why dont you stop telling the rest of us what to do?
Just kidding. If you don’t like Democracy in the Ukraine, Nazi Germany, or the US since November 22, 1963, dog bless! Just say it loud and clear. Don’t hold back.
As an active and contentious American Citizen, I will continue to advocate and organize to support the Restauration of our American Republic!
I have run for political office (and won a contested primary), supported Ralph Nader, and run a write in for America’s finest Congressman, Ron Paul. I have entered both sides of New York’s 100 Center Street building (someone here may be able to tell you what that means).
Have seen the inside of prisons in 2 countries, & hope to make it at least 3, before I croak.
As an Anarchist, I tell nobody what to do. I know what is best for me. I advocate; therefore I am. (Sarte?).
Democratic Republics for me! There I go, losing more friends. Wait! I don’t even know this Alan “yo” guy.
Yo, Peter, it seems you don’t understand English well, even though you are “American”.
“About your stance on Democracy, “the Chinese are living wihtout it real fine,” implies that you do not support Democracy. Why dont you stop telling the world what to do…”
1. You are behaving EXACTLY like the current US leaders and MSM, when I say to you you must not tell the world what to do, you say I am telling to world what not to do, go figure..
2. It seems you think that if you support Democracy, you must spread it to all other countries, even by force if necessary, if so, you have learnt NOTHING from Iraq, Afganistan, Vietnam War, etc etc etc.
You said you support Ron Paul, if so, Ron Paul would PUKE in your notion of such kind of support. Go ask him yourself.
You display a complete lack of a sense of humor. That is a totalitarian trait.
I will correct you for the last time.
I ran a write-campaign in my state-for Ron Paul during the last Presidential election. Have been in Senator Rand Paul’s office – recently. And no one has puked on, or at me.
You are attempting to tell the world (& me) what to do. And you accuse others of the same.
What is your story? Who are you? What do you do? What have been your political efforts/struggles?
identify yourself -> sounds like NSA to me…
Before discussing about “democrady” it is important to first spell the definition of that term for you.
From my definition of democracy for example, I can tell you that not a single NATO country has it. Not a single one!
Because for me democracy implies the ability for people to have the possbility to influence the policies of their governments. On Western block people can, at best, choose the name of their rules, but can’t influence the policies at all. Actually, polls show that official policies on the West go contrary to the majority will.
In that sense, China is MORE democratic than the West; as the official chinese policies are more respectfull of the will of the majority of its citizens.
Peter J. Antonsen:
clearly u haven’t travelled to China yet or if there haven’t really spoken to the avg joe there!
as per Kokaouskia’s ex:
ppl hoarding food and other necessities due to increase in tax 4 a supermarket in China, the gov’t stopped it right away, while the bbc said the gov’t stamped out a protest to high taxes
basically, u can’t trust what the media say as there’s an in-built bias towards their reporting. like u, u feel the same way w in the us of a. so if u would like to listen to mr. Kokaouskia, who actually spoke to the avg joe of what they think, mayb u can get a feel of what every1 in China feel!!
@ the same time, u said or implied that u rather have a a democracy vs a full stomach since u can think and decide 4 urself. well, it’s nice to have now as we’re sitting in our nicely furnished homes w a/c, but what of those that don’t have what we have? what’s their goal?
simply put, the teacher’s ex by Kokaouskia says it perfectly. having been thro famine and starvation, and b’ing a teacher at the age of 15(!!!), the main objective is to have a full stomach. u also forget, that China is still a “developing” world, despite having such high reserves and stories of the spectacular growth and huge cities!! hence the majority, if not a sizable amount of the population (mayb in the 40’s%??) r still living below the avg gdp of China as reported by the world bank/imf.
so going back to ur ideal of wanting democracy over a full stomach, i doubt u’ll get much support from the majority of the population of China. they want the same things we have here in the developed world, but if the immediate thing is to have a full stomach and deal w life, then that comes 1st b4 any ideology…
In the Western MSM ALL stories about China are negative and have been for decades. You would believe that China is a Hell-hole where every human decency and rationality had long been extinguished, if you relied on the hate-mongering presstitutes. Recently here in Australia and elsewhere, such as in The Guardian ‘liberal’ sewer, the raw nature of the race hatred has been notable, no doubt to prepare the Western publics for the war that is definitely coming as the US Reich ramps up its insane aggression and belligerence in East Asia. Nothing gets Rightwing psychopaths into proper genocidal mood than constant appeals to race hatred and fear.
Here in Sydney, they are blaming foreign investors for pushing up house prices, especially for established homes. Real story is the usual big boys blowing up a housing bubble, coupled with such a lack of roads and transport to the new suburbs that it takes people 4 hours a day travelling. So they’d rather pat a bit more closer to the city and have some life left.
Anyway it turned out, through fault of the Government, hundreds of foreigners were collecting the “first home buyer’s subsidy”. A very few turned out to be Hong Kong multi-millionaires buying first properties for each of their children. So the MSM TV stations whipped up some hatred for “the Chinese investors putting our kids onto the street”.
Now scurrilous disgusting racist leaflets are showing up in letter boxes in areas where any kinds of Asians live, and they’re holding screaming protests outside the Chinese embassy.
Meanwhile our Government is under pressure to join USA in anti-China naval exercises, with the “land grab” of islands emotionally echoing the “housing grab” to try scuttling the free trade agreement signed last November but yet to be ratified.
USA would really rather Australia went into to TPP which like its European counterpart TTIP is half secret and mostly evil. So it is hate China time again, although Australia has had very good relations with China for a long time.
The ABC’s Breakfast program this morning, with John Howard’s favourite Sapphist Fran Kelly in charge, interviewed Gordon Chang. Anyone at all familiar with the sewer of US Rightwing hate propaganda knows that Chang is the most vicious Sinophobe anywhere, which is saying a lot, so is the ideal guest for the ABC, which, hysterically, is constantly vilified by the local Murdoch cancer as ‘Leftwing’. Chang, of course, was deranged in his hatred of China, in his lies and hypocrisies, and Kelly egged him on all the way. Even for a MSM that peddles nothing but fear and hatred of China this was vile stuff, so, naturally, the ABC repeated it in toto two hours later at the end of the program. I’ve known that war against China was inevitable for years, given the nature of the ruling circles in the West, particularly after forty years of absolute hard Right, Zionist, control, particularly in the Anglosphere, and I reckon that the Evil Hour is at hand.
You talk a good fight, but Chinese culture is thousand years old. It’s a little smug of you to push a greek concept refined by North Americans in a 200 plus year old society to tell them how to do their thang. If the chinese want to do representative democrazy, I’m sure they’ll IMAGINE how do it their way. I hate to IMAGINE another country being bombed to follow democrazy like Libya and Irak. No thanks.
@Fernando, Yip, Could not put it any better myself!!!!
Whether a culture is a thousand years old, or ten minutes old, doesn’t make it either legitimate, moral, or valid. One needs an external, dispassionate moral system, to establish a culture, and only Biblical Christianity can fill that void. Your disparaging of a ‘Greek idea’ is in favor of what… A Jewish idea (Bolshevism/Marxism), instead ??? And would not that be just as ‘invasive’ to a ‘thousand year old culture,’ except for the fact that it’s chic to see the Chinese as ‘successes at Marxism’ when it failed so miserably in the former Soviet satellites? What, then, is your ‘god’- a Jewish ideology that has given the world 100,000,000 dead? Meh.
Now, having said that, I am no fan of ‘democracy’. The Demos (Mob) can’t be trusted to change their socks, let alone vote in a noble leader. But the point that seems missing in this article is one that transcends either political ideology. Chinese are NOT Caucasian. They have (as the old book of Townsend’s title pointed out) “Ways that are Dark.” Being Sinoid, the Chinese are not US.
Townsend’s book precedes WWII, Mao, the [sic] “People’s Republic” and shoddy mass-produced mountains of drecch now suffocating the West. “The Truth About China” (Townsend’s subtitle) cannot be spoken as long as we think fallaciously with mantras such as ‘we are all one race- the human race’… which is, in itself, also a product of the Internationalist Marxist Propaganda.
so, what does “the Chinese are not Caucasian” have to do with anything? are u suggesting they are of lower life forms than Causasian? Are Africans Caucasian? are Native Americans Caucasian ? are South Americans Caucasians? do they all have “Ways that are Dark”? if so, does it give Caucasians to right to trample on these non-Caucasians?
Do you even believe in your own racist BS?
Fr. John, your vile and deranged race and cultural hatred is absolutely typical of what we get day after day in the local MSM. Have you thought about contacting Rupert Murdoch to see if there is a job vacancy somewhere in his media sewer?
“The Demos (Mob) can’t be trusted to change their socks, let alone vote in a noble leader.”
I suggest you to get acquainted with differences between words: “dimos” and “óchlos”. It seems that you have no idea what you’re saying.
This pyramidal social structure is the same in every country. In China it has persisted for 5,000 years, so the Chinese are quite used to it. In China there is a party of political power which any may join and rise according to one’s talents and ambitions. A similar party rules in the West, and is known as ‘the rich’, and entrance is mostly hereditary and not open to the 99%. The average Chinese has at least as much freedom in his or her everyday life as any Westerner, save to work to overthrow the political order or spread social strife. Moreover, as wages are rapidly rising in China, while those in the West are stagnating (and have done so for decades in the USA)the Chinese are enjoying more and more freedom from want. Furthermore the Chinese plan to do much more to empower people at the only levels where ‘democracy’ can have any meaning, the local, neighbourhood and workplace levels
As for people being able to ‘choose their leadership’, that is simply bunk at national levels. Just look at the UK. On the basis of 24% of the vote of the electorate, the lying psychopath David Cameron has an absolute majority with which to pursue his policies of geo-political aggression, and vicious social sadism at home, targeting the power and downtrodden, and funneling money to his caste, the rich.
Interesting implication that they’d send a Poseidon to overfly the Islands. With all the satellite coverage there’d be absolutely no need to send a surveillance aircraft over the islands. Since the Poseidon carries anti-submarine and anti-ship weapons the conclusion is that this is all about message.
Posturing. Sabre-rattling and muscle in other words.
I think the authors observations dovetail well with an article I once wrote.
You put a lot of work into that article, and it has some excellent material in it. Great illustrations of your points, too. Do you realise that publication does not have a good reputation? some contributors exaggerate and invent things (and boast about it). Just look at what we’ve said up-page about it re alleged nuclear explosions. These ruin the credibility of the whole site: I think you’d do well to consider moving somewhere with less invented content. (I bet a heap of people never looked your lovely article because of the site it’s on).
Thanks for boosting this link, it is indeed a great article, very readable and easy to get absorbed in. I had to back out and bookmark for later.
Thanks for the feedback!
I no longer write for VT for exactly the reasons you mentioned.
Thank you very much for this post about China. I’d like to offer a few personal comments.
-There is a tendency in English-language discourse, possibly deliberate, to conflate the terms “Han” and “Chinese”, as part of a more general tendency in the West to suppress the fact of China’s diversity. People of minority ethnicities, although not Han, are seen as Chinese, or Zhongguoren–in the sense of being citizens of the PRC, and of culturally and politically identifying with China.
-“Ethnicity” is one of the fields on a person’s national identification card, and in many cases, it is the only thing connecting the person to the given ethnic group. In the case when parents are of two different ethnicities, they can choose to register their child as either ethnicity. There is some discontent against the “affirmative action” in favor of ethnic minorities (though this affirmative action is by no means uniformly applied), partly because of the above.
-By the way, the Jing ethnicity, mentioned by the author, is actually by no means the smallest recognized ethnic minority in terms of population in China. In fact, “Russian” is also one of the 56 recognized ethnic minorities, with a population between ten and twenty thousand. The smallest recognized minority in China, in terms of population, is actually Tatar, with a population of a few thousand.
-Interestingly, there is a view among some Chinese that the fundamentals of China’s ethnic policies are modelled after that of the Soviet Union. Some feel that it has the negative effect of reinforcing instead of erasing ethnic divisions, and that the dissolution of the Soviet Union should serve as a warning against such policies.
Very interesting report. Provided a lot of insight into Chinese policy, actions and thinking. Thanks.
-I think the views of the retired teacher, quoted by the author, are by no means untypical. However, there is some danger of using a single person’s view as authoritative of “how Chinese people think”. (Of course, the same applies to my own comments here.)
-My own view is that to discuss the “social contract” between the people and the government in China, one cannot just compare it to other countries like the U. S., but needs to take a more historical view. The Chinese state has existed, at least in concept, since about 200 BC, through a succession of dynasties. The current government needs to be seen in context of this succession. Historically, periods of division have generally also been times of civil war, unrest, and often precipitous population decline, and the way you end them is to destroy all the other regional powers and unify China once more. Therefore, if there is one general political article of faith among the Chinese, it is that China absolutely must be a single strong unified state, and “decentralization” or “federalization” is viewed with a lot of suspicion. Something like for example the “Velvet Divorce” which occurred in Europe would be incomprehensible to most Chinese.
-The point about the PLA is a good one. And I would say this is something which is very much “ahistorical”, different from the long succession of past Chinese dynasties. The great deal made of the PLA being “sons and brothers of the people”, the notion that the soldier should be politically aware, and participate in disaster relief and other work to aid civilians–This is very much a communist/Maoist/PRC invention.
I agree w ur pt on the PLA. they r created more of helping the ppl (think of Mao’s days in the province of Shan’xi, otherwise known as the “Shan’xi Way), but also used as a blunt force 2 fight internal and external enemies. their training and work in the disaster relief w in China, is equivalent to the us’ national guards, which in my view is what the majority of the PLA is made of and what China needs to create. whether it’ll give the PLA more room to look at defence more or not, can b debated at another forum…
Chinese American, the Atlanticist ambition for China is the same as that they hold for Russia. Dissolution of the State into an archipelago of powerless statelets, ruled by compradores loyal to the Chosen People in Washington-Tel Aviv. The same policy inflicted on the USSR and Yugoslavia, Sudan, Congo and in train in Iraq, Libya and Syria. Hence the USA’s decades long financing and training of separatist subversives from Xinjiang, Tibet and, recently, Inner Mongolia.
Fascinating! Thank you everyone.
My reply is for Peter J. Antonsen.
The West isn’t as ‘democractic’ as you think it is Peter. Yeah you get a choice of 2 parties and two leaders to choose from. But what they pedal is essential the same thing.
Is that democracy?
political parties are a very clever way of allowing a small group to get and keep control of a population.
Interestingly that meme can be undone by only voting for independent political actors and changing them often.
That keeps the small group in control busy continuously attempting to bribe, blackmail and otherwise corrupt the elected representatives.
You are correctly on point re “changing them often”. I truly believe this is where the West went wrong, just look at the US Congress and Senate, it’s the same sociopath year after year, leading to no change regardless of who is POTUS. And once new POTUS is elected, he gets “trained” by CIA/NSA/Pentagon/Military-Industrial complex to continue same policies as before….
There is a saying in the conspiracy community that “Democracy is the greatest con of the Illuminati.” OK, that is not for everyone, but what democracy? Britain and the US have almost zero citizen input, just a PR spin to make it appear that way.
Many basic things in the West, such as wars and giving trillions to banksters are done with poor public support. Why is that system worth emulating? Maybe democracy is like a religion for some.
I agree with you, I think Democracy has been turned into a new God and Religion, to be spread by force to all by the Western Powers.
While I don’t particularly admire Karl Marx, his following quote does ring true for many “democracies”:
“The oppressed are allowed once every few years
to decide which particular representatives of the
oppressing class are to represent and repress them.”
I did send an answer – requesting NONE read my previous missives, specially our IMAGINE flier, where I/we document that most of my and the AC work is to restore the American Republic, which was overthrown on November 22, 1963.
In no way do I think America is a democracy. Former President Jummy Carter has said that it is not, Jesse Ventura, Ron Paul, even Dennis Kucinich. Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and so many others make the same point.
It wasn’t placed.
Did NONE read NONE of my previous missives?
See, that’s the problem I have with these so called ” true Democracy” arguments. When a clearly “Democratic” country start doing awful things, they claim : No, it’s not a Democracy. To me it sounds exactly the same as all those who makes similar argument when a clan or organization of religion commits a crime. For example, you will frequently here arguments like thus
say if some Christian clan start spewing racist ideology, then there will be arguments by some to say that “oh, they are not *real* Christians”, even though the clan members themselves professed to be Christians. The same could be said of other religions or ideology of course. Now, I am only using this as an example of arguments(excuses) I hear, I do NOT claim Christians to be like this, just as I do not claim all Christians or whatever religion to be good or bad people!
Thus you frequently hear stuff like “Ah, but the US is not a true Democracy”, or in another example, when they screwed up the world’s financial system :”Oh, they are not practicing *real* capitalism, it’s not capitalism’s fault”, etc etc
Now, let’s just admit it, How many people in the world will agree to that statement that “the USA is NOT a Democacy”? obviously not a lot! The fact that the USA then has the gall to spread “Democracy” elsewhere by force, and is supported by perhaps a large number of its’ citizens (even if it may not be a majority) only shows that such arguments like “US is not a Democracy” is, at best, arguments of fools.
it’s called the ‘no true scotsman’-fallacy, named after my celtic ancestors, the ‘scotti’ (actually meaning: the foreigner, the stranger, the ‘weirdos’ ;) ) the proud scotsmen and clans, who – after being forced into submission by the trickstery british empire – used to react very indignant, lest anybody spread ‘negative pr/propaganda’ about any of their clansmen.
classically, they would protest the story, and then always recourse to the argument: ‘in that case he can’t be a clansman. NO TRUE SCOTSMAN would do that!’
i think this is very, very human, as we idealize both our past/ancestry as our prospect/future and the accompanying ideologies ‘du jour’. it’s tribal thinking, and also has some very positive effects on the social fabric or ‘contrat social’ (see the ‘indignados’/podemos in spain.) we all need our myths!
still one should try not to point out the splinter in the eye of the other without checking one’s own sight/gaze. every system is somewhat flawed, it’s human nature, nobody’s perfect! :)
two important points imho are:
1.) are (most of) the people happy with the system/’contrat’? are minorities catered to (as in: not persecuted)? is there some sort of ‘free’ or ‘open’ discussion (before things might turn awry/violent)?
2) is self-governing a nation/country/region/tribe the primary focus of government, or does one try to impose one’s own ‘moral values’/ideology on others, even worse: by force?
i have alot of sympathy for the ‘dream’ of the us founding fathers, though i’m ferociously postcolonial in my thinking and believe tragedy was destined from day one, after slavery and indigenous genocide.
but at the moment, the us ‘democracy’ (police state ruled by plutocracy) is rapidly deteriorating and following the footsteps of empires like rome, imho. meaning: a very small ‘elite’ does not only make for the misery of most citizens and operate through ‘divide et impera’ like caligula & co., it also stifles free thought of alternatives and open debate on pro’s and con’s of other system. this with a savage imperial project can only spell disaster.
so, long story short: i sympathize with the political activism and anarchism of above us-citizen alot. but one should be very, very careful to go around stirring up potentially inflammatory judgements on the ‘regimes’ of nation’s who primarily are suffering from the empire’s hybris, and not from their self-chosen form of government and leadership – otherwise we’ll keep on running in circles instead of moving to a multilateral world, which imho would be a giant step forward, into a brighter future.
best to all of you, and thx, saker and contributors for your many thoughtful and informative articles (i usually only lurk, but have closely followed your blog for many years ;) )
cheers from an albeit imperfect direct-democrat ‘paradize’ built on blood, gold & bankers [switzerland]
-Chinese culture is for the most part, essentially secular. You can say this was reinforced by communism, but on a fundamentally level, it was not rooted in communism, but came much, much earlier. And secular state authority has always held precedence over religious ones.
-Many people view monotheistic religions with some suspicion, and that does include Christianity. And perhaps that’s something to be kept in mind in communications between Russians and Chinese. If the Saker, for instance, tries to explain to a Chinese person regarding “Orthodox Christian civilization” and its conflict with say Catholicism, he would probably turn his listener off. Just saying.
-Just because most traditional mass media are state-run doesn’t mean they aren’t strongly permeated with people who hold more or less “pro-Western” views (for lack of a better word).
-Internet media/trends/memes have a strong influence, especially when it comes to various kinds of scandals, and the government does respond to them. However, they are also full of all sorts of lies and other kinds of craziness, as perhaps only to be expected. And in this sphere, too, the U. S. has certainly made its investments.
There is one characteristic of Chinese people that I believe is not well known, or even thought to be the opposite, and that is Chinese people are easily excitable and may proceed to do stuff that they later regret!
Crowds can be easily stirred up, whether it is buying stocks, rushing to stores based on rumors of prices increases or short of supply, or being invaded by foreigners (one example of this was the Boxer Rebellion), scare-mongering caused by false rumors, etc…. that is why the government keep a very close tab on social networks!
Ah you seen to think game theory only works on the Chinese yet were implemented by the western world. The Chinese guy only had a minor role in the matter.. From what I saw recently I believe even Putin relies a lot on it. But on such a higher level that he can use his intuition to achieve better results. IE such theories are used in the markets of high frequency trading to make a quick buck or changing the political landscape like with cuba and iran. The US used short term variations to affect outcomes they desired on the playing field. The problem with this is, once it fails, it is often discarded as the US never wastes time. On the other hand the Chinese patiently plan and execute projects requiring decades. The Japanese also do this but with the Chinese those results might not show up as a change in this life time. Putin seems to be doing something in between where immediate tangible benefits can be seen but not received. Although in time those will pay off. See how fast the US has discarded Ukraine when they found out they wont get the benefits they had planned for, for a decade. On the other hand Putin does the same thing expecting the end result to be something expected. Is far more flexible in how that is achieved. To do that you need to see things like in chess and not checkers. US effects are drastic and immediate causing mayhem and turmoil. I doubt people even notice what china does, until well after the fact and then suddenly realizing how things are. Who noticed the Chinese incursion into Africa. We already noticed the US incursions and its mayhem and the Russian incursions into south America but without much results. Very hard to follow the Chinese and you need a belief that holding gold will pay off in the end rather than dumping it and buying oil. The quick fix is hard to ignore due to mass media programming us to having it now.
@The Saker, to understand the political system in China, you need to at least understand the views of those that support it, and here is a good talk in support of it.
imo, the last thing we need is more people who are convinced that Democracy// is what is needed for the world and to apply it by force to every country that does not fit! No country has a right to impose it’s own system onto other countries…
The West has been, and is still saying, “oh yeah, Democracy is good, because a democratic country will NEVER invade other countries” – yeah, right => Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, etc etc
Here’s my favorite quote when it comes to the Chinese, I don’t know who it came from:
“The Romans looked out at the world and saw barbarians that could be Romanized. The British
looked out and saw a world that could be Anglicized. Americans see a world that can be
Americanized. China just sees a world full of barbarians that can never be Chinese.”
I wonder if that explains that, relative to other great powers, China, even when it was much
more powerful in centuries past, never set out to conquer the world, or even Asia.
alan, there never has been ‘democracy’ in the West. For a start democracy is impossible in a capitalist state where real power, economic power, is distributed in neo-feudal fashion. The rest flows from that basic antithesis. Political parties are totally controlled by the money power. The MSM brainwashing and propaganda machine is totally controlled by the money power. The law is designed to protect property before all else. Judicial elites are drawn from the rich classes. Elections are utter shams, anywhere from 52% (in preferential, compulsory, voting systems) to 76% as in the last UK sham, of eligible voters not being represented in the Government, campaigns being orgies of lies, fear and hate-mongering, bribes and character assassination and more and more often Governments being rendered impotent by ‘Free Trade Agreements’ that establish extra-judicial and extra-territorial rule by multinational, particularly US, corporations. Democracy is a great big shiny LIE.
An interesting article in the BRICS post. Security advisors from all BRICS countries met in Moscow.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday stressed that BRICS cooperation has moved beyond economics and that security issues are an important part of the group’s agenda.
Putin met the top security officials from the five BRICS countries in Moscow on Tuesday, stating that the meeting was an “important stage of preparation for the BRICS summit in Ufa in July 2015″.
“Obviously, for our organization, for BRICS, it’s an important sphere of activity, considering the challenges the entire international community and our countries have to face at present. It’s obvious that the fight against organized crime, terrorism, financial crime is certainly on the agenda of the international community,” Putin said.
“It is also clear that our countries are facing considerable threats in connection with violation of international law norms, in connection with violation of sovereignty of different states, their activity spheres,” the Russian President added.
Russian National Security Adviser and Secretary of Russia’s Security Council Nikolai Patrushev hosted the delegates from the five BRICS countries.
“With our countries’ enormous resources and development prospects in mind, we have every reason to believe that the BRICS member-states are in a special risk zone. The developments of the past few years indicate that misinformation, artificial exacerbation of ethnic, religious and cultural differences, rather than military means, will be used to check our progress,” Patrushev said during Tuesday’s meet.
The Chinese, Indian and South African delegations are headed by State Councilor Yang Jiechi, Indian NSA Ajit Doval and South African Minister of State Security David Mahlobo.
BRICS NSAs discussed “common approaches to international security” said a Russian Security Council statement at the end of the two-day meet on Tuesday.
“The parties also shared experiences of cooperation to counter unilateral sanctions and attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of sovereign countries,” the Russian Security Council said.
The five national security advisors, on Tuesday, also discussed the rising threat of the Islamic State militants.
“We know what is happening in the Middle East, North Africa, we know the problems associated with a terrorist organization that has arrogated to itself the right to call itself Islamic State. But in the countries where it is blossoming today there was no terrorism before absolutely unacceptable outside interference had occurred, especially without UN Security Council sanctions,” Putin said at the meet.
-There’s a bit of love-hate relationship in the Chinese view of Russia. The general stereotype of Russians is some kind of “warrior race”: passionate, emotional, artistic, honest, at times brilliant, but also seen as somewhat barbaric, prone to violence, not always reliable, and, well, lazy. (As I said, these are stereotypes.) Also, remember that are historical grievances, and that may be something which will need to be discussed by Russia somehow or the other.
-It is a big, big point of offence to talk about the PRC and the ROC (Taiwan) as “two countries”. In fact, one of the absolute fundamentals of Chinese policy there is only one China, and at the very most, one can maybe “agree to disagree” about who is the legitimate representative of it.
-I am not so sure that the government and people are waiting to see what happens after the 50 years with Hong Kong, and then deciding on the issue reunification. In any case, the KMT will probably lose to the DPP in the next election.
-If I recall correctly, North Korea is the only country with which China has a formal alliance, in the sense of a mutual defense treaty. As the author points out, China knows all the problems, but we can’t have American missiles on our borders.
One more thing…
-There is absolutely no such thing as a “China expert”. Take everything you read about China (especially in any language other than Chinese) with a huge grain of salt, because no matter what it says, it will be an one-sided oversimplification. That means everything, on all sides.
Second your last point about “experts”. Having an interest in China means a scratch of the surface of such an enormous subject. I am so happy we now have Chinese, Chinese-Americans, Chinese speakers, maybe even a few modest scholars with specialties in the topics we touch.
I’ve spent 14 years studying some of the topics related to China and feel I know nothing but the most superficial about the nation, its government and people.
However, despite the density and breadth of the subject matter of China, everyone should begin their own study and appreciation of a great country.
Regarding South China Sea issues, here is a link that enlightens somewhat how Vietnam began island building first, and Philippines acted before China reacted in the Spratly Island group.
Normally, I warn folks about the Diplomat. But recently they have some articles that seem to backpedal their normal China bashing.
The smell of real war might be frightening some of the Hegemon’s cheerleaders.
And aside from all the politics and geopolitics, get familiar with Chinese artists and all the media they express the beauty and spirit of humanity. Painting, sculpting and designing, carving, illustrating—they are exceptional.
Explore the Chinese culture in all the ways it speaks to us. You will be amazed.
Let me try and be creative… (with multiple contributions).
These are my first impressions, Kakaouskia: this piece of yours is very lively, yet it deals with fundamental socio-cultural issues… and your sense of humour is delightful.
I’ll add to this after reading the whole thing…
Having spent a couple of years in China I thought that this article was pretty much spot on.
Re democracy v authoritarianism it’s my considered opinion that in more ways than you can count the Chinese are effectively freer than the people of the West. It seems to me that in China you can do anything you like: whether it’s setting up a shoe repair business on the footpath or opening a noodle restaurant in your ground floor apartment. It’s a variety of laissez-faire that’s long gone in the West.
Certainly there is corruption but I would say that it’s of a de facto variety rather than the West’s de jure version. It’s the difference between treating the local party member to a meal and the US’s jaw-dropping asset confiscation program. At least with the meal you get to eat half.
A singularly telling event for me was watching the TV there during massive floods that were breaking dams and sweeping away villages. This was about the same time that Katrina happened in the US. In China you could see endless footage of troops putting their lives on the line to save people and hold levies and dams – arms linked in surging waters whilst others threw logs and sandbags in behind them. Truly extraordinary and heroic stuff. Meanwhile what happened in the US for Katrina? Best I could make out the government abandoned the people entirely and the sole purpose of the troops was to shoot anyone who attempted to flee or find food.
Frankly there are two Chinas – the scary and fear-filled ‘other’ one sees on Western television and the real China which is easily as free and as happy as any place I’ve ever lived in.
Confirmation re: Katrina — I’ll never forget that black man seen on tv, barely floating in muck with his dog, yet shouting at the rescuers: “Leave me alone, I only trust my dog!”.
Great article by Christof Lehmann, NSNBC, on North Korea:
Korea Crisis and Sanctions Designed to Sabotage Transformation of DPRK Economy in 2013
Explains interests of USA, Russia and China wrt DPRK.
I spent 7 years in China and have a degree in Chinese language and Culture. Shanghai, Beijing and Chongqing aren’t provinces, they’re independent municipalities. There are 56 official minorities, because when they copied the USSR’s nationality policy, they had 56 seats in the National People’s congress to fill. Pressure to sinicize is fierce on all of them, while at the same time parading them around in nylon ‘traditional’ outfits to dance monkey dance and prove that China’s tollerant. Thank your lucky stars that you’re not Tibetan or Uighur.
All religions and social organizations of any kind are under direct state control. The Catholic church in China is under the CPC, not the Pope. They are not free to practice whatever they like or organize anyway they like. never heard of Falun Gong?
Education is deplorable in China, totally wrote learning to the college entrance exam, totally stifling critical and creative thought. Students have no concept of the world outside China or the CPC narrative of China.
Wow, commentary on Chinese foreign policy and military from a guy who’s ‘been to China a few times’.
Sun Yatsen is from Zhongshan, not Zhu Hai. He has a lot of houses that have been turned into museums across China and SE Asia. Both the CPC and KMT were organized with Soviet help along Leninist lines. Chiang Jingguo, Kai-shek’s son, was trained in the USSR and is the most popular leader in Taiwanese history. “trade relations have been on the rise in recent years.” for at least 15 years PRC and ROC economies have been deeply intertwined and mutually dependent, forming a crucial segment of the global high-tech supply chain. Almost everything Apple, Sony or whatever is made by taiwanese companies in mainland China.
Sometime after the Xinhai revolution (referred to as ‘the chinese revolution’ by this guy) an official scribbled the nine dash line on a napkin map of the south china sea. Both PRC and ROC claim this.
The DPRK is back to relevance for the new cold war, never mind memories of the dead who fought. Besides, the end of the DPRK terrifies the PRC in terms of waves of refugees.
I want multipolarity and the USA to be crushed, but China is really messed up. First they have no security in energy, water or cultivatable land. If their economy slows too much we can expect an epic unemployment crisis. Their aging population structure and lack of social welfare is another crisis waiting to happen. Their banking system is so insolvent and full of bad, crony debts that only constant gov’t cash injections have kept it afloat. the Pollution and food safety is insanely bad, i.e. the scales on instruments for measuring pollution don’t go high enough. Human rights are not great. They are very patriotic, but also quick to becoming self-serving. Exporters I met had to hire someone to go to the port, open the shipping containers and check to make sure that products were really what was ordered. You *cannot* trust them. They’ve been chatting about the need to stimulate domestic consumerism for at least 7 years but there hasn’t been much progress. post GPCR soullessness is a major problem. children get hit by trucks and no one stops to help. people hit someone in their car then stab the victim to death so they won’t be stuck with the hospital bills. gangs kill young women to sell the bodies to parents of dead young men so they can have ‘ghost brides’ in the afterlife. One of my students wasn’t bribed before awarded her degree because the bureaucrat knew she was poor and had no connections to protect her. Over seven years I heard stories like that every week until I was just numb.
Yes China has lots of problems, just like India, Russia, Ukraine, EU, USA, etc etc
But I leave it up to the Chinese to solve their own problems, just like I think it’s up to US citizens to solve USA’s problems, and Indians to solve India’s problems. The only time when other countries should get in the way of another is when one country is stirring up troubles for other countries, like the Ukraine situation.
It seems your “seven years” occurred in the past. When was that? A lot of things have changed over the last 25 yrs and are still changing.
Most of your pejorative statements don’t coincide with my experience, but much does. Once one ventures out of happy-land, one finds the world is very different than what one may have imagined.
Above was me.
Believe what you want, I was there 2002-2009 and also more recently. I was in ‘secondary cities’ for the most part, exasperated by commentary from ‘experts’ who flew into Shanghai/Beijing for two weeks and said everything was great. I stated facts, not just my subjective experience. @alan, I wish them luck solving their own problems, but I doubt they are solvable. @anon, did my post indicate that I live in ‘happyland?’
I wonder if you noticed the expanse of open water between your statement “Over seven years I heard stories like that every week until I was just numb.” and your claim that “I stated facts, not just my subjective experience”
“…did my post indicate that I live in ‘happyland?’”
Well, yes. If not “happy” certainly naive and provincial.
China’s issues have diminished fantastically over the last 25 yrs to the point where the ones you talk about have not only become relatively manageable, they have become irrelevant to the development of multi-polarity. Unless, of course, “multipolarity” means a few Western/American poles running the world instead of just one.
No one is disputing China has alot of problems internally. Hard to fix them when resource gets diverted into defensive measures due to external influences.
About China-Taiwan situation, I think when the 2 countries have similar standard of living, thats when they will ‘merge’ back into 1 country. Don’t think they will fully integrate though, Taiwan would end up like an autonomous region.
Ok, Iets go pint by point:
“Thank your lucky stars that you’re not Tibetan or Uighur.” Show me what are you talking about, What did Chinese government do to them that they are less lucky than rest of Chinese?
“All religions and social organizations of any kind are under direct state control.” Rightly so. It is Chinese tradition have religion not to interfer with politics, Falun Gong did. they deserve to be locked up. Do you even now how average Chinese view Falun Gong? A crazy Cult.
“Education is deplorable in China, totally wrote learning to the college entrance exam,” The youth went through the system pulled China out of is extreme place within 30 years. The product of this education system fill 30% US university, and take top high paying job in US and the world. In contrast, US really has a very “deplorable” math and science education. It took 2 years to teach times table. The text books for small kids weight like a brick, not one even reads….
You are last paragraph about China want to Crush US. I doubt that is Chinese intention. Chinese only want to safe guard her trades and interests. She will care less what other’s does in their live.
“have no security in energy, water or cultivatable land.”, I wonder how did they survive before the opened up?
“If their economy slows too much we can expect an epic unemployment crisis”, Don’t we all?
“Their aging population structure and lack of social welfare is another crisis waiting to happen.” Chinese made conscious decision to control population, as you already stated, the resource are at max strain to support such big population. It is calculated risk that Chinese willing to take. There still quite some population need to be urbanized, I can see government have this problem under control, and Chinese are will to take the risk for next 30-40 years. After the big bulge of population born in 50-60s pass away, China will be much better demo graphic wise.
If you was in China for 7 years at the time your was in, You did not notice their Social Security and Medicare system? I was visit my brother in 2006, He show me the receipt of medical expense for my father, paid by the government. Grant back then, the system was new. have you read they are cover rural farmers as well now?
“Their banking system is so insolvent and full of bad, crony debts that only constant gov’t cash injections have kept it afloat.” OK, You know so well about Chinese banking system, then maybe shot it will make you load of money.
“the Pollution and food safety is insanely bad, i.e. the scales on instruments for measuring pollution don’t go high enough.” Have you read about Western industrial revolution? When was first in US, houses on the bank of Chicago was facing away from the river. The fish from great lake still not suitable for eaten even now. South side of Chicago small like a big un flushed toilet.
” Human rights are not great.” Lets talk about American’s record:
About those social ill tales, I heard them too. I am not going to deny or confirm it, because all those are what I heard, not experienced. I have no doubt there are many problems in China like many other country..
But I can tell you my experience: once when I hit a jeep in a congest high way drive about 5 mph out side of Chicago. The healthy middle age man got out of car, and rub his back, said “my back hurts”. I said to him he got to be kidding. I barely tap you at less then 5 mile per hour. There were all cars surrounding us, it was not like I can drive fast in a pocket to hit hard. And he has a higher car than mine any way. My hood was a little bended, the jeep was without a scratch . Have you hear all those tales in US about insurance fraud, or sue people excessively? Granted, Chinese is a the level bellow US right now. rest assured, if Chinese government do not put a lid on it, Chinese will graduate to US level.
“What is worse than an unstable regime with nukes at the border?” “Having the same border with the
Is the United States considered a stable regime? A world war empire against all human rights ie humans, is considered stable?
Since 9/11 and the Bush 11’s use if the Civil War era law, the US Presidential Midnight Signing Papers allowed him to sign laws into power with out the necessary numbers of the House and the Senate to debate them first. Checks and balances removed. He signed in to immediate law 147 new laws as he had removed all normal United States law when he declared the US was at global war.
There was an attempt to impeach Bush11 for criminal misuse of his powers but the result was seen by the courts that since the US was at International global war, nothing could be changed. The Constitution was suspended and with it all other law but for the 147 criminal laws made into normal law to replace them.
President Obama, threatened on the election trail by both the Clintons, subsequently made these 147 new laws permanent making the erasure of normal law permanent simultaniously.He understood what would happen to him and his family should he not. They were then living in the White House.Never mentioned by the press, either global or national!
Permanent. The shattering of country after country in the war to own the world unilaterally, force it by any means into submission, began after years of careful planning. The use of Germany and Europe to legalise this drive was immediately put to action with ‘revolutions’ to remove dissenting governments and replace their ruling elite with US NATO memberships. Ten years ago the most sensitive time for the US plans involved getting Frau Merkel to agree to be the obedient linchpin of US power legitimizing it. It is now clear she agreed.
“Is the United States considered a stable regime? A world war empire against all human rights ie humans, is considered stable?”
You seem to have misread the original quote. The meaning I get is that China prefers having N. Korea on the border to having the US Army there instead. IOW, N. Korea is a buffer state between China and US occupied S. Korea.
Thank you for a very interesting article – I enjoyed reading it very much.
north Korea should be encouraged by china and Russia to have more nukes and missiles ability to go all the way to hit usa and england the main evil nations of the world. russia,china need allies who can support them in real war. it is stupidity of russia and china to curb the power of her potential allies.
I am also a foreigner living in China with my PRC wife. I can attest that China is not how western and pro-US media has painted her. The common people are pretty much left alone to live their lives as citizens.
There is almost no govt control over freedom of religions. The minorities are recognised and allowed their own autonomous regions to administer. Of course, that’s conditional to not disrupting social stability.
There is very little govt heavy presence on the ground level, unlike what you see in US cities. Many citizens engage in small businesses for a living, and many also prosper to riches.
In Chinese dominated country like Singapore and in Hong Kong, the people also believe that one cannot eat on Democracy and rejected that as just so much rhetoric to fool the masses.
If you want to know China, tune in to CCVT1. Many social issues are openly discussed on that channel. Foreigners living in China love the peacefulness and personal safety that we experienced.
Come here, live here and you will see through all the lies of US and their puppets.
“Come here, live here and you will see through all the lies of US and their puppets.”
On a day-to-day, going-about-your-business level, the freedoms enjoyed by the Chinese were forgotten in the West by the time I reached adulthood. There’s plenty of regulations, ordinances etc, but police generally take a “No harm, no foul” approach to enforcement.
The Chinese do not tolerate abuses by their police. Americans seem quite resigned to having police kill 2 citizens a day for no good reason. The Chinese police, know any abuse can result in a mass gathering that often sends a few officers to their maker as a warning to the others.
The complaint about religious freedom is misplaced. Judging by the number of pamphlet dispersing, psalm singing Baptists and whatnot in the park across the street, the Chinese govt couldn’t care less about religion. That is, they are left alone until they cross the red line of getting political. A true separation of Church & State.
As for “political freedom”, in the first place the CPC is misnamed. It isn’t a political party in any normal sense of the word. In practice, it is the government from the backwoods rural village to the Politburo.
Political dissent occurs, and occurs often, but it is tolerated (actually encouraged) only within the CPC system. Debates are furious until a consensus gels, then either the dissenters agree or are left behind. To call for a “multi-party democracy” is literally to call for a revolution, or a coup d’etat. The CPC will defend itself as if it was the State, because it effectively is the State.
Unlike Mao’s time, membership in the CPC is now based on technical and educational qualifications. To advance in the civil service is to advance through the CPC system, and the system is all about “getting it done”. Get it done as mayor of your village, you’ll get a town to upgrade. Do well there, maybe you’ll go on to a bigger town, and so on. To be sure, abuses abound but overall it works. The mayor of my former neighborhood “town” (equivalent to municipality / borough) was replaced after people complained that it lagged behind its neighbours’ quality of services. The mayor was summarily replaced, and the new guy got to work immediately fixing roads, sewers, power lines, etc. He’ll probably go on to get a bigger town as the next step in his career.
China’s economic development would simply not have occurred under a Western style democratic system. In China, that would have resulted in 1,000 parties squabbling and jockeying for position in 100 ever-changing coalitions. The chances of one ever achieving the critical mass to move the country from starvation level poverty to #1 economy in less than two generations are just about nil. For that, you need a comprehensive plan and the time and will to execute it. You also need a pool of dedicated, motivated, patriotic talent.
A monolithic governing structure guided by “wisemen” is the best way to provide that. So said Plato, and so says the CPC. The results are manifest.
The fears of the world being “ruled by China” are laughable. Chinese culture, language, and traditions are even less exportable than the “Russian World” and both the Chinese and the Russians have no need of ruling anyone beyond their current borders. Historically, Chinese governments have always recognized that, and the CPC follows that tradition. What China wants is respect, and above all the freedom that peace and stability bring to trade. Its ancient empires were the only major empires in history where the net flow of wealth went from the center outwards to the periphery. The Silk Road projects are the 21st century’s version of this historical Chinese Imperial phenomena. Its a simple philosophy: Rich neighbours make for good business, poor ones are troublesome. Let’s make them rich, and we’ll get even richer.
thank you for putting this up
Thankyou, this is such an interesting insight. I’ve been to China only twice – Beijing and Hong Kong – so not that familiar with the country at all. The idea of a social contract has been totally lost in Western societies. Lost or suppressed. When in a Beijing tourist gift shop, I bought a mug with a picture of Che Guevara on it and a slogan of his. The young girl serving me looked at it, read the slogan and then smiled at me and gave me the thumbs up. I remembered that because in the West we are always being told the Chinese are oppressed and want nothing more to be like us. They then illustrate this through the examples of dissidents or unidentified people filmed in silhouette and extrapolate their comments to cover the entire population. So the young girl in the shop is my counter to this – like the mainstream media I will extrapolate and claim that all Chinese like Che and his philosophies… why not?