Perish the thought. The people can NEVER know more than their would-be masters.
As for China, it's telling that the Post omitted any defense of the wisdom of the Chinese Communist Party's Nazi-like policy of exterminating religious minorities for the purpose of organ harvesting. (But how splendid though, that the Butchers of Beijing make the cattle cars to their ghoulish death camps run on time.)
Lastly, we come to South Korea, which represents a full third of the author's defense of autocracy:
South Korea is another case in point...The free economic zones promulgated by the government have won support from the public majority, and are en route to attracting more foreign investment.
That would be an admirable achievement for autocracy...if indeed it was an autocracy that had conceived and implemented it!
Welcome back from your operation, Joe Hung. It's good to see the quality of your columns has not suffered despite your convalescence: rest assured, they are as error-riddled and badly-argued when their author ingests mind-altering pain medication as when he does not.
One of the most popular questions [posed to British Prime Minister David Cameron on the Chinese Twitter copycat-site] was posted by a prominent Chinese think-tank, the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, which is headed by former vice-premier Zeng Peiyan and includes many top government officials and leading economists among its members.
"When will Britain return the illegally plundered artefacts?" the organisation asked, referring to 23,000 items in the British Museum which it says were looted by the British army.
Interesting question. While the Foreigner is not necessarily opposed to returning plundered artifacts, he does wonder when China will volunteer to return all the tribute it illegally plundered from foreign countries during its Imperial period.
Slaves from tributary countries were sent to Tang China by various groups: the Cambodians sent albinos, the Uyghurs sent Turkic Karluks, the Japanese sent Ainu, and Turkish and Tibetan girls were also sent to China.
Anyone care to monetize the value of all those slaves in 2013 dollars?
Mr. Winkler defended his decision [not to publish an investigative report about Chinese Communist Party corruption], comparing it to the self-censorship by foreign news bureaus trying to preserve their ability to report inside Nazi-era Germany, according to Bloomberg employees familiar with the discussion.
In the long haul, however, I think Deng Xiaoping would stand head and shoulder (sic) above the rest of the few in spite of his physical stature. In five years, that's 2018 to be exact, China could overtake America as the world's largest economy, according to the Economist. The world is bound to undergo some profound changes because of the new pecking order brought about by Deng's epoch-making reforms 35 years ago. (emphasis added)
This observer is inclined to agree. Surely neither Thatcher nor Reagan can boast of the magnificent achievement of imprisoning and murdering 700,000 of their own citizens!
Odd that Tingles forgot to recount that. Must've slipped his mind...
But given the recent blood-curdling threats issuing forth from a certain North Korean nuclear madman, it's more than a little surprising David Kan Ting couldn't recall that it was Deng Xiaoping himself who was the North Koreans' primary enabler in their drive for nuclear weapons.
It was Deng Xiaoping who looked the other way. Deng Xiaoping who ran interference. Deng Xiaoping who propped them up economically.
It must therefore be Deng Xiaoping and the Chinese Communist party that accepts a good part of the "credit" for the spectre of nuclear armageddon currently stalking Northeast Asia.
To this list, I shall not add the Tiananmen Massacre, of which Deng was the chief architect. Nor shall I mention the 3,000 souls mercilessly exterminated by Deng "we must prepare to spill some blood" Xiaoping.
The [refusal by Deng Xiaoping to allow Britain to keep Hong Kong] made Mrs. Thatcher apoplectic, and she fell on the steps of the Great Hall of the People — a lasting and telling image in the final episode of a 160-year historical drama of China's decline that began with the ignominious Opium War in 1860.
Ohhh, I get it: The fall of the mighty British Empire, and all that. Although I would suggest that the relatively unremarkable occurrance of a middle-aged woman in heels stumbling on stairs is far less "lasting and telling" than the revealing spectacle of Chinese ultranationalists like David Kan Ting crowing about it.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but schadenfreude, by definition, is something one should be ashamed of.
On a bitterly cold day, the Chinese had put on a magnificent parade to welcome Mrs Thatcher. It included hundreds of shivering children in the flimsiest of clothes. She took one look, called for the commander of the parade and ordered him: Take these children off the street or give them warm coats to wear.
So on the basis of this, I'd have to say, no, David Kan Ting of Taiwan's China Post DOES NOT take pleasure in innocent Chinese being mowed down by automatic machine gun fire.
But not so fast. You see, Soong May-ling is long dead-and-gone. And now, David Kan Ting has a new female hero. (A she-ro, if you will.) His latest idol de jour is Peng Liyuan, first lady ogress of China.
(Peng Liyuan, entertaining PLA troops after the Tiananmen Massacre. Unlike Elvis, she don't look "all shook up". Thousands of Chinese murdered? Time to par-tay!
Image from the International Business Times)
So we come once more back to the original question: Does David Kan Ting of Taiwan's China Post take pleasure in innocent Chinese being mowed down by automatic machine gun fire?
Given Dave's rather eclectic choice of heroes, the best that can be said is that the answer is...inconclusive.
A photo of China's new first lady Peng Liyuan in younger days, singing to martial-law troops following the 1989 bloody military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, flickered across Chinese cyberspace this week.
It was swiftly scrubbed from China's Internet before it could generate discussion online. But the image — seen and shared by outside observers — revived a memory the leadership prefers to suppress and shows one of the challenges in presenting Peng on the world stage as the softer side of China.
China's new first lady was as graceful and glamorous as a supermodel when she emerged from Air China's 747 jetliner... --David Kan Ting, The China Post, Wed Mar 27, 2013
Peng Liyuan captivated millions of fans the moment she stepped into the international limelight. Wearing a smile and dressed in a simple black peacoat, she waved... --David Kan Ting, The China Post, Wed Mar 27, 2013
She is the United Nations ambassador for health, working to stamp out the scourge of AIDS. It seems that she possesses every quality necessary for accomplishing the daunting mission before her. --David Kan Ting, The China Post, Wed Mar 27, 2013 [Evidently, soullessness is now a UN job prerequisite. -- The Foreigner]
The star of Peng Liyuan is rising, to the ecstasy of her people at home who have never felt so proud in their lives. Some bloggers described her as “elegant and magnificent,” while others gushed over her “talents and beauty.” --David Kan Ting, The China Post, Wed Mar 27, 2013 [Tell us, Dave, for we really must know: Is she more elegant than magnificent...or more magnificent than she is elegant? Only a dedicated truth-seeker such as yourself can ever hope to be impartial enough to solve this baffling mystery. --The Foreigner]
It seems that the fever about Peng Liyuan is not going to recede any time soon, and rightly so. --David Kan Ting, The China Post, Wed Mar 27, 2013 [Ting's got a fever, and the only prescription...is more Chinese corpses. --The Foreigner]
Now with the godsend [represented by Peng Liyuan's very existence], it's worth the long wait. --David Kan Ting, The China Post, Wed Mar 27, 2013
Whoa, Dave, take a saltpeter or something. Not to run you down or anything, but I haven't seen analysis this objective since last week's hard-hitting expose on Justin Bieber.
David Ting began his slobbery fanboi column by humming an old Taiwanese tune from the '80s titled, "The Drizzle Comes Just In Time." (Drizzle being a good thing, Ting informs us, especially after a period of a long drought.)
Well, it might come as a surprise, but I, too, cannot help humming a tune from the '80s when I now think of Peng Liyuan. Granted, it's not nearly as famous as Ting's -- just some obscure song by a little-known band that never went anywhere. Maybe you've heard of it though.
It's called, Another One Bites The Dust.
Given that China's new first lady, Peng Liyuan, publicly supported the massacre of thousands of her own countrymen, it seems entirely appropriate. (And as an added bonus, it's even got lyrics about machine guns, bullets and dead men dropping like flies as well.)
Postscript: Other '80s songs which could serve as lietmotifs for China's bloodthirsty first lady ogress:
Hit Me With Your Best Shot -- Pat Benetar
Cold-Hearted Snake -- Paula Abdul
I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight -- Cutting Crew
It's A Sin -- Pet Shop Boys
Wipeout -- Fat Boys & Beachboys
What Have You Done For Me Lately? -- Janet Jackson
Don't Forget Me When I'm Gone -- Glass Tiger
Everybody Wants To Rule The World -- Tears for Fears
A View To A Kill -- Duran Duran
Eyes Without A Face -- Billy Idol
An Innocent Man -- Billy Joel
Do You Really Want To Hurt Me? -- Culture Club
Der Kommissar -- After the Fire
Back On The Chain Gang -- The Pretenders
Overkill -- Men at Work
Hard To Say I'm Sorry -- Chicago
Hurts So Good -- John Cougar Mellencamp
Stop Draggin' My Heart Around -- Stevie Nicks
Guilty -- Barbara Streisand & Barry Gibb
[Don't!] Do That To Me One More Time -- Captain & Tennille
Cruel Summer -- Bananarama
UPDATE: One wonders what '80s song Fang Zheng recalls when thinking about Peng Liyuan?
Having been "liberated" from his legs by the tank treads of an "elegant" and "magnificent" PLA panzer, Fang no doubt bitterly remembers the Pet Shop Boys' What Have I Done To Deserve This?
No word yet from David Ting on whether Fang Zheng wore a pair of absolutelyFABULOUS designer prosthetics to the inauguration of Peng Liyuan's husband. They must've been simply to-die-for though, right Dave?
UPDATE #2: All copies of Vogue's infamous "A Rose In The Desert" article have apparently been scrubbed from the internet, save for this one on a Bashar al-Assad fan-site run by an employee of the (ahem!) Syrian State News Agency living in Rome. As for the profile's author, Joan Juliet Buck, she regrets ever writing it.
Reckon they're worried the little bunny-wunny-wunnies might hurt 'em:
A GRISLY cartoon that marks the upcoming Year of the Rabbit by portraying a bunny revolt against brutal tiger overlords has proven an online hit, with its thinly veiled stab at China's communist rulers.
And in related news, the Chinese Politburo has also declared a news blackout on the popular revolution against Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. Not just on the uprising, but on the entire country. That is to say, the merest mention of the word "Egypt" in China is now a crime-against-the-state. (At least as far as China's micro-blogging sites go.)
Nope, guess not. Where once were glowing paeans for Beijing's '08 Olympics, are now only crickets for the frontrunner poised to become China's FIRST-EVER winner of the award. Chinese nationalists, indeed.
UPDATE: An Irish gambling company which allows people to wager on who will win the prize is apparently so confident that Liu Xiaobo will come out on top that they've stopped taking bets and started paying-off bettors 48 hours before the actual announcement.
Parting with their money before they absolutely have to suggests that they're completely nuts. Or that they know something the rest of us don't...
UPDATE #2: Beijing threatens to bring Norway its knees by withholding vital supplies of heavy metal-laced cigarettes. Which will be difficult for the Norwegians to substitute, since China controls at least 92% of all the world's rare earths cadmium-flavored tobacco products.
One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. For example, some argue that one-party autocracies might not always do stuff Thomas Friedman agrees with. But this risk can easily be avoided if the one party is a reasonably enlightened group of people, such as China, and/or Thomas Friedman. Only through this one party system can we impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward into a thousand-year empire of benevolent, iron fisted enlightenment.
Come to think of it, Iowahawk sounds like Sino-Imperialist Bev Chu over on Lew Rockwell's site.
(Only difference being Iowahawk has tongue planted firmly in cheek, while Bev is dead serious.)
I'm not going to heap scorn upon this China Posteditorial. Because there are days when I, too, think things might work out for the best in the Middle Kingdom:
Today's communist leaders in China are pragmatists, who believes in Deng Xiaoping's "cat theory" of getting results rather than Mao Zedong's egalitarianism of glorifying poverty on an equal footing. The merit of the law should be judged by the answer to a single question: Do the people want it?
But the mainland people may want more-free elections, free press and independent courts, for example. Clearly, the National People's Congress is in no hurry to work on these political reforms, which are lagging far behind. These are the reforms that can best safeguard against the abuse of power by corrupt officials. So, after property reform, political reform must be on the agenda.
Already, grassroots pressure for such reform is mounting. The rising middle class and increasingly well-educated people will demand political reforms that are now put on the back burner. If the past is an indication, we have reasons to be optimistic that such reforms will be carried out in another decade or two, if not sooner.
China's communists may be more pragmatic than they once were, but is that pragmatism directed at doing what's good for their country, or merely doing whatever allows them to hold their positions of power and privilege? A selfless utilitarian might, out of a sense of pragmatism, be willing to allow himself to be voted out of office in order to better serve the needs of society. But communist oligarchs obsessed with clinging to power may be much less inclined to do so.
Furthermore, while I agree that the well-educated will demand political reforms, it is not at all inevitable that they will succeed in getting these demands met. Tienanmen Square happened once, and it can happen again. And again and again. Heinlein once depicted a society whose subjects were completely co-opted by a fascist state; they were perfectly free to make all the money they wanted, and as long they tended to their own gardens, the State was content to leave them alone. The Federation was unapologetically brutal to those who dared meddle in politics, however.
"Starship Troopers" may have been fiction, but a few societies HAVE paralleled it in real-life. Could China take that path as well? I wonder...
There ARE indeed hopeful developments in China, but there are others the sober observer cannot ignore. The creation of the "Great Firewall", continuing persecution against certain religious minorities, a blithely amoral foreign policy - these are all things that suggest China might be moving in a darker direction.
To this list, I might add China's treatment of the free and democratic state of Taiwan. A few years ago, a Taiwanese industrialist doing business there was threatened, with tax audits and overzealous safety inspections, into signing a document declaring his "opposition" to Taiwanese independence. It was only last year that Chinese arm-twisting caused an airplane carrying Taiwan's president to be forbidden from flying over Mexican airspace. And let it not be forgotten that China currently aims a thousand missiles at Taiwan, in an effort to terrorize the population into submission.
Taiwan is the canary in the coal mine, and how China treats it should be of interest to everyone. Today, it's Taiwanese industrialists who are being bullied into taking political stances; tomorrow, it may be businessmen from YOUR country. Today, China prevents Taiwan's president from freely traveling; tomorrow, it may prevent the president of some other democratic country it's displeased with from doing so.
And the missiles? Well, TODAY they, and other weapons, are targeted upon Taiwan. And tomorrow? Well, by now I hope you've gotten the picture.
Over at The Corner, John Derbyshire comments on a purported speech given by one Chi Haotian, in which this apparently well-respected Chinese Communist party member (and former Secretary of Defense) stated his convictions that Hitler was too soft, a future China will need lebensraum, and to that end, the U.S.A. ought to be depopulated with biological weapons.
I think Derb gets it about right:
The authenticity of the piece needs addressing. The Epoch Times is a Falun Gong publication and its journalistic standards have been questioned. I take the speech to be authentic just on general grounds. I.e. that is how old Party warhorses—like my father-in-law—tend to talk. [Emphasis added]
To what degree Chi's sentiments can be said to represent Chinese govt. policy is highly debatable. Certainly these sentiments are widespread in China, particularly among young males. There is a strong vein of amoral fascism in modern Chinese political thinking, along with the ancient conviction of racial superiority.
The value of documents like this is to show us a ruthless and amoral strain that is not uncommon in modern Chinese thinking, but which is inchoate and, in my opinion, not likely driving any current policy.
Just a little something to keep in mind next time Taiwan's China Post airily dismisses the merest possibility that China could someday pose a danger to world peace.
...food and fuel supplies sent to North Korea [from China] have been halted, not to force North Korea to stop missile tests or participate in peace talks, but to return the Chinese trains the aid was carried in on. In the last few weeks, the North Koreans have just kept the trains, sending the Chinese crews back across the border. North Korea just ignores Chinese demands that the trains be returned, and insists that the trains are part of the aid program. It's no secret that North Korean railroad stock is falling apart, after decades of poor maintenance and not much new equipment.
The Chinese have tried to talk the North Koreans out of [their unworkable economic policies], and for their trouble they have their trains stolen. [Emphasis added]
Over at StrategyPage, there's a short column regarding what the Chinese leadership really thinks. Now, I'm no mind-reader, so I don't claim any special insight into whether the Chinese communists view India as a future threat or not. There's probably many schools of thought in Beijing. But this line struck me as being authentic:
...they don't seem to think we're “bogged down” in Iraq so much as that we're gaining valuable combat experience (maybe a million “seasoned” troops by the time it’s over) as well as learning all sorts of new tricks in how to fight insurgencies, and how to use new military technologies*.
* I was talking to a Taiwanese aquaintance way back when, and he casually stated his belief that the real reason that America attacked Afghanistan was to test out its new weapons systems. 9-11? That was merely the excuse!
Now, normally I would dismiss this as the conjecturing of some kind of moonbat. Except that the individual in question was an otherwise bright young man who was in fact an ROC officer (or officer-in-training). So it doesn't surprise me to hear that similar opinions hold sway among the political class on the other side of the Taiwan Strait.
AsiaPundit favorably reviewed my previous post, but had a small quibble with my referring to Taiwan's adversaries on the other side of the Strait as "communists". In truth, I'm not entirely happy with this description myself. AsiaPundit is right to point out that they ceased to be real communists the day they abandoned the economic model calling for state ownership of the means of production. One could refer simply to "Beijing" or "the Chinese leadership", but that glosses over the moral nature of the regime. So what word then, better designates their beliefs and policies?
"Fascist" seems too harsh, because the government in Beijing is not interested in the rigid state control over the economy that the fascists were enamored with. On the other hand, "authoritarian" is too mild, because the Chinese authorities work very hard to suppress the organizations of civil society (ie: religions) that many authoritarians are content to leave unmolested *.
What's left? Demi-fascists? Para-authoritarians? Neo-communists? Maybe the poli-sci folks have a word for them in their arsenal, but it's bound to be complicated and inelegant.
Which is why I've decided to stick to calling the rulers of China "communists". First of all, it's what they call themselves, which counts for something **. Secondly, they still maintain some of the old dogmas, and worship the same gods (ie: Mao), so it's not entirely inaccurate. Third, since the mainstream press still uses the term, it's less confusing for the average reader when I proceed to follow suit.
Finally, it should be recognized that Chinese communism is not alone in being a political ideology that has evolved over time without shedding its original name. Conservative parties in Europe no longer champion the cause of the nobility, but are still called "conservative". Liberalism, at least in America, morphed into its current form from what we now call libertarianism, yet no one objects when Thomas Jefferson and Ted Kennedy are both referred to as "liberals".
* Content to leave unmolested, provided that the organizations in question do not challenge the authority of the political leadership.
** Blacks have not been called "negroes" for a long time, precisely because blacks now prefer "black" or "African-American". Still, this line of argument can be taken too far, and few would indulge the Butchers of Beijing if they began calling themselves "democrats".