In Praise of China – Page 3 of 50 – Please See Things in the Light of Their development
According to Harvard, Pew Charitable Trusts, the Edelman Corporation and others, 95% of Chinese trust the Government of China. It doesn’t lie to them and it keeps its promises. Everybody has gained in wealth and personal freedom. It’s a very different story in the USA, whose government lies to its people and never keeps its promises. Here’s what the University of Chicago discovered about trust in the US Government:
WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans’ confidence in all three branches of government is at or near record lows, according to a major survey that has measured attitudes on the subject for 40 years.
The 2014 General Social Survey finds only 23 percent of Americans have a great deal of confidence in the Supreme Court, 11 percent in the executive branch and 5 percent in Congress. By contrast, half have a great deal of confidence in the military.
The survey is conducted by the independent research organization NORC at the University of Chicago. Because of its long-running and comprehensive set of questions about the public, it is a highly regarded source of data about social trends. Data from the 2014 survey was released last week, and an analysis of its findings on confidence in institutions was conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the General Social Survey.
Five things to know about Americans’ low confidence in the government and other institutions:
DROP IN SUPPORT FOR PRESIDENCY DRIVEN BY REPUBLICANS
The 11 percent who say they’re confident in the presidency approaches a record low measured by the same survey in 1996, when just 10 percent said they had a great deal of confidence in the executive branch. The 44 percent who now say they have hardly any confidence at all is at a record high.
Historically, and not surprisingly, the survey has found that Democrats have more confidence in the executive branch when the sitting president is a Democrat, and Republicans have more confidence when the president is a Republican. In the 2014 survey, just 3 percent of Republicans say they have a lot of confidence in the presidency, down from a record high 45 percent who said so in 2002, when overall confidence in the presidency was also at the highest point the survey has measured, at 27 percent. Then, President George W. Bush was still riding a crest of support in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
But confidence among Democrats has dropped some in recent years, too, from 25 percent in 2010 to 18 percent in 2014.
Just 1 in 10 independents expressed a lot of confidence in the presidency in 2014.
SUPREME COURT CONFIDENCE FALLING ACROSS PARTY LINES
The 2014 survey finds that confidence in the Supreme Court has fallen among Democrats, Republicans and independents since 2012, driving confidence in the court to a 40-year low overall. The 26 percent of Democrats with a lot of confidence in the court is a record low in the history of the survey, while Republican confidence in the high court, at 22 percent, is also near an all-time low. Independents are the least likely to have a great deal of confidence in the court, at 20 percent.
Overall, 2 in 10 say they have hardly any confidence in the court, a record high, while more than half have only some confidence.___
NOBODY LIKES CONGRESS
If there’s one issue than unites Americans, it’s that hardly anyone has much confidence in Congress, the survey shows. Over half of Americans express hardly any confidence at all, while only 7 percent of Democrats, 5 percent of independents and 3 percent of Republicans have a great deal of confidence in Congress.
Younger Americans — those under 35 — are a bit more likely than older ones to express confidence in Congress, but even among that group only 10 percent say they have a lot of confidence in the legislative branch.
POOR MARKS FOR MEDIA, TOO
Confidence has decreased since the 1970s, when about a quarter of Americans expressed a great deal of confidence in the press. Now, a record low of 7 percent have a lot of confidence, while 44 percent have hardly any confidence at all.
Republicans are the least likely to express a lot of confidence in the press, at only 3 percent, but Democrats aren’t far behind at 10 percent.
Only 1 in 10 has a lot of confidence in television, which is also near a record low.
FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS REBOUND BUT STILL LOW
Americans’ confidence in banks and financial institutions reached an all-time low of 11 percent in 2010, but has rebounded slightly since then, with 15 percent now expressing a great deal of confidence. That’s still far from the survey’s all-time high of 42 percent in 1977.
Just 18 percent have a great deal of confidence in major companies, up a bit from 13 percent who said so in 2010 but down from 31 percent who said so in 1984.
Only 1 in 10 Americans has a lot of confidence in organized labor.
The General Social Survey is administered by NORC at the University of Chicago, with financing from the National Science Foundation, primarily using in-person interviewing. The GSS started in 1972 and completed its 30th round in 2014.
The typical sample size was 1,500 prior to 1994, but increased to 2,700-3,000 until 2008, and decreased to 2,000 for the most recent surveys. Resulting margins of error are between plus or minus 3.1 percentage points for the smaller sample sizes and plus or minus 2.2 percentage points for the larger sample sizes at the 95 percent confidence level. The 2014 survey was conducted March 31-Oct. 11, 2014, among 2,538 American adults. The GSS 1972-2014 Cumulative File was used to produce the statistics presented.
Now you know how Trusting China’s Government compares to trusting ours.
Relocation money not a blessing for everyone in China Skyscrapers under construction behind a condemned building in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, Feb 13. (File photo/CNS) Skyscrapers under construction behind a condemned building in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, Feb 13. (File photo/CNS) China’s push for urbanization has created problems for residents in rural areas, some of whom are unable to cope with the money they are given in the form of compensation for relocation, the Beijing Morning Post reports. The problems have been raised by delegates to the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) currently holding their annual meetings in Beijing, the newspaper said. Many such rural residents are said to end up in poverty once more after they squander the money they receive as compensation for relocation. The delegates the members called for government intervention to ensure a more sustainable lifestyle, according to the newspaper. Under the government relocation scheme, a relocated family usually is often given more than one housing unit and sometimes millions of yuan in compensation, the newspaper said. Wang Juan, an official in Guiyang in the southwestern province of Guizhou who works in the relocation of residents for development purposes, said the first thing that emerges in relocated communities is luxury cars. She added that several relocated residents often do nothing but gamble every day. In March 2014, Guiyang police raided a community and arrested 23 people for gambling. These people can win or lose 100,000 yuan (US$16,000) in a night, according to the paper. Statistics from local authorities show that relocated residents account for a large number of new drug users recorded in recent years, the newspaper added. Not all of the relocated residents have seen a negative impact from their unexpected wealth, the newspaper said. Zhai Yongzhong, who received four housing units and cash compensation for relocation in 2012, still continues working for the Guiyang authorities as a garbage collector with a monthly wage of around 900 yuan (US$145). But nowadays he drives a BMW to work. Among residents in a relocated village in Guiyang, 25% continue working their existing jobs, while 70% live on the compensation money or by renting out their properties, the newspaper said. The story of Chen Qing, who used the housing units his family was given in 2012 to open the largest private care home in the central city of Wuhan, also received great public attention recently. Chen said the 35 housing units his family was given may earn up to 1 million yuan (US$159,000) in rent, but he decided to do something more meaningful. Baolingbao Biology chairman Liu Zhongli, who is also a NPC delegate, said that government-led urbanization will not change the mindset of rural residents if people are just given money so that their land can be used for development. The wealth will not be a blessing for relocated rural residents if the government does not help such people adjust to an urban lifestyle, Liu added. Read more about Relocations in China.
Want to know how China actually leads the world? Here are some fields where they’re ahead or neck and neck:
Our Western media is mute whenever a non-US entity makes progress and the Chinese tend not to blow their own horns. So such references are fleeting. Annoyingly, they also tend to be deleted more quickly (shortage of pixels?), which necessitates the use of the Wayback Machine – and that requires more time than I have. I will keep better track in future. If anyone finds better references than the ones below, please contribute them. This could be an interesting forum..
I did not keep track of the achievements I mentioned above at the time they were published. Here are some starting points I located for Chinese innovation.
China already dominates graphene patents. This means it will also dominate production of the next generation of substrates. This is also a very big deal with widespread strategic implications.
Genomics. China leads the world, according to the National Institutes of Health
Power generation (Duke Energy licenses their thermal power technology from China)
Metamaterials. China is leading the global race in the development of metamaterials, spearheading a new trend that is revolutionizing technology in fields ranging from telecommunications to aerospace, reports the overseas edition of the Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily. Metamaterials are defined as materials engineered to have properties that have not yet been found in nature. They are made from complex assemblies of multiple elements fashioned from conventional materials and derive their properties from their designed structure — such as shape, geometry, size, orientation and arrangement — as opposed to the properties of the base materials.
High Speed Rail: (Global Competitiveness Rail Report). Although China developed a domestically designed high-speed train in 2002 (dubbed the China Star), the country’s leadership preferred bringing in the best tech- nology available worldwide. To that end, Chinese com- panies CNR and CSR have been working since 2004 with international leaders Bombardier, Kawasaki, Siemens, and Alstom. Four train designs—China Rail- way High-speed (CRH) 1, 2, 3, and 5—were intro- duced.83 (See Table 13.) China’s approach offers valuable policy lessons for the United States—in par- ticularly the manner in which China has linked its do- mestic transportation goals to manufacturing policy, and its ability to strike tough deals with foreign sup- pliers, which has allowed it to join the ranks of leading rail producers.
The initial trainsets were produced by the manu- facturers in facilities in their home countries. But China has stiff local-content requirements that stipu- late that 70–90 percent of rail equipment be manu- factured domestically. Technology-transfer agreements have permitted Chinese manufacturers to reproduce the vehicle designs in local factories.84 As an article on The Infrastructurist blog explains, “in many ways, this process is no different than that required for many American transit vehicle acquisitions [under the Buy America Act], in which a majority of parts must be made in the United States to meet federal guidelines. Yet China’s willingness to demand that foreign manu- facturers abandon their patented technology to Chi- nese industrial concerns is taking the situation a full step further.”85
China has used its lucrative market as a lure for se- curing a high degree of technology transfer. Without doubt, foreign companies are attracted by China’s huge market. By 2009, they had won some $10 billion worth of contracts.86 In 2009, Siemens agreed to a deal that left it with only an 18 percent share of a $1 billion order for 100 trains; the bulk of the order will be filled by CNR subsidiary Tangshan. Bombardier’s 2009 con- tract to deliver 80 of its Zefiro vehicles gives the company less than 50 percent of total revenues. Alstom, however, has been more resistant to such deals, refus- ing to give China access to its latest technologies.87 French and Japanese rail industry executives have crit- icized China, accusing it of forced technology transfer and even technology theft, while a senior German manager said his company, Siemens, was “very com- fortable” with China’s requirements.
Jamestown Center: Criteria imposed by the MoR included competitive pricing and that companies awarded contracts be legally registered in the PRC, comprehensively transfer key technology to Chinese enterprises and use a Chinese trademark on the finished product. While foreign partners might provide technical services and training, Chinese companies must ultimately be able to function without the partnership (National Technology and Equipment Network, March 18, 2010). Chinese entities were free to choose foreign partners, but foreign firms were required to pre-bid and sign technology transfer agreements with domestic manufacturers (Xinhua September 4, 2004). The State Council also stipulated that foreign companies must transfer not only existing technology to China, but also subsequent improvements (Xinhua, March 4, 2010).
Alstom (France), Siemens (Germany), Bombardier (Canada) and a Japanese consortium led by Kawasaki Heavy Industries all submitted bids. All had to adapt their HSR train-sets to China’s own common standard and assemble units through local joint ventures, or cooperate with Chinese manufacturers under the direction of the MoR (People’s Daily, September 5, 2008).
Bombardier, through its joint venture with CSR Sifang won an order for 40 train sets based on its Regina design. These were re-named CRH1A and delivered in 2006 (Bombardier). Alstom, with CNR’s Changchun Railway Vehicles, won an order for 60 train-sets designated CRH5, based on the New Pendolino developed by Alstom-Ferroviaria in Italy. Siemens offered the Velaro E to Changchun Railway Vehicles Co., Ltd for a “sky-high” price of 350 million RMB ($56 million) per train-set and demanded €390 million ($530 million) for technology transfers. Additionally, Siemens did not respond to as many as 50 items on the tender (Xinhua, March 4, 2010). According to the People’s Daily, the elimination of Siemens from the first bidding round (allegedly) led to the collapse of the company’s share price and the firing of its negotiating team in China (People’s Daily, September 2, 2008). In 2005, Siemens returned to tender for 350 km/h+ train contracts subject to more severe conditions, agreeing to lower its prices and comprehensively transfer technology (Xinhua, March 4, 2010). In November 2005, Siemens reached an agreement with the MoR, entering into joint ventures with Changchun Railway Vehicles and Tangshan Railway Vehicle Co, (both CNR subsidiaries) and was awarded sixty 300 km/h train orders. It supplied the technology for the CRH3C, based on the ICE3 design, to CNR’s Tangshan.
Initially Japanese participation in bidding was led by a Nippon-Sharyo consortium, but Hitachi and Nippon-Sharyo refused to sell railway technology. China then opened negotiations with Kawasaki, over the objections of other Japanese companies. At the same time, a Chinese web campaign demanded a boycott of Japanese train manufacturers as a protest over wartime atrocities. Nonetheless, the MoR decided that excluding Japanese companies would weaken competition between bidders (Xinhua, March 4, 2010).
In October 2004, Kawasaki and the MoR signed an export and technology transfer agreement with China ordering 60 high-speed train sets from Kawasaki based on its E2 Series Shinkansen for a total of 9.3 billion RMB ($1.5 billion) (Xinhua, March 4, 2010). The contract provisions also stipulated that a certain number of key technologies would be transferred to China. Kawasaki evidently believed that this technology would be used only in the domestic market. Three of the train sets would be completed in Japan and delivered completed, another six would be handed over and assembled by the Chinese party. A further 51 would be manufactured by Qingdao Sifang with transferred technology. The modified Kawasaki E2 series Shinkansen was renamed the CRH2A. In 2008 (two years into the partnership), CSR ended its cooperation with Kawasaki and began independently building CRH2B, CRH2C and CRH2E models at its Sifang plant and designated the technology for export (Financial Times, July 8, 2010).
Kawasaki accused China’s high-speed rail project of patent theft, believing that its agreement with China restricted the export of transferred technology (Japan Daily, April 15, 2013). This claim was denied by the MoR, which countered that re-innovation had made the product distinctively Chinese (China Daily, July 8, 2011). According to CSR president Zhang Chongqing, CSR “made the bold move of forming a systemic development platform for high-speed locomotives and further upgrading its design and manufacturing technology. Later, CSR began to independently develop high-speed CRH trains with a maximum velocity of 350 km/h, which began production in December 2007” (China Pictorial, July 1,2010).
Kawasaki’s complaints have been supported by similar statements from Alstrom that Chinese companies are now competing for export contracts using foreign technology. Alstrom’s Asia-Pacific managing director claims that: “Around 90 percent of the [HSR] technology the Chinese currently are using is derived from their partnerships or equipment developed by foreign companies” (Financial Times, April 6, 2010).
In a 2011 interview with the Financial Times, Alstrom chief executive Patrick Kron accused Siemens of inadvertently allowing key technical know-how to leak out to Chinese companies through a HSR partnership (Financial Times, October 31, 2011). Kron asserted that Alstom, unlike Siemens or Kawasaki, had been careful not to engage in Chinese joint ventures or collaborations that involved giving up key technology. “You should ask Mr. [Peter] Löscher [Siemens chief executive] whether he is satisfied…I have no problem with the general issue of business partnerships in China, but you have to do this in a pragmatic way. In collaborative ventures it is not mandatory to give away technology.”
Not all perceptions of operating in the Chinese market are negative however. Zhang Jianwei, President of Bombardier China, stated that when Bombardier entered the Chinese market (in 1998) it was active in promoting comprehensive, systematic technology transfer: “whatever technology Bombardier has, whatever the China market needs, there is no need to ask. Bombardier transfers advanced and mature technology to China, which we do not treat as an experimental market” (People’s Daily, March 16th 2007).
How China Leads the World: Conclusion
China appears to be practicing a “technology for market access” policy in order to achieve development goals defined by the country’s leadership. This tactic is remarkably similar to the “technology for resources” strategy seemingly pursued by China in relation to rare earth resources which was challenged by the EU, US and Japan at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2012. The complainants charged that China’s restrictive practices were in violation of its protocol of accession to the WTO and other international agreements, an accusation upheld by the judgment of the dispute settlement panel in March 2014 (WTO, March 26).
So…China does lead the world in a number of critical technologies, with more to follow.
South China’s Guangdong province is to raise the minimum wage by an average 19 percent from May to combat a labor shortage and rising living costs.
The pay raises will go into effect in all parts of Guangdong except Shenzhen on May 1, the provincial department of human resources and social security said in a press release on Thursday. Guangdong last raised the minimum salary in May 2013.
The minimum monthly pay for full-time workers in Guangzhou, the provincial capital, will be raised by 22.2 percent to 1,895 yuan ($300), the highest of four levels in the province.
Authorities in Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong, separately announced a raise in the minimum monthly salary for full-time workers of 12.3 percent to 2,030 yuan ($320), the highest nationwide, from next month.
China is facing severe labor shortage due to tough birth control policies over the past three decades. Rising labor costs, coupled with falling orders, have left many manufacturers struggling and driven some to relocate to Southeast Asian countries.
Chinese Workers’ Salaries Rose 9.1% in 2012
Salaries of workers inChina were expected to rise 9.1 percent year on year in 2012 – in line with previous years’ rises.
Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen led the growth in salaries for both the manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors, the report said.
Manufacturing workers’ wages would increase by 10.1 percent, 9.8 percent, 9.8 percent and 8.9 percent, respectively. Non-manufacturing sector wages would rise fastest in Beijing (9.5 percent), followed by Shanghai (9.3 percent), Guangzhou (9.1percent) and Shenzhen (8.9).
The report was based on surveys with more than 4,000 Chinese and foreign enterprises. It covered a dozen important industries, including real estate, finance, pharmaceuticals, high-tech, automobile and retail consumer goods.
Wage differences between coastal and inland cities were expected to narrow, especially for low-skill workers, such as those working on assembly lines, the report said.
This lends credence to many economists’ claims that China is losing its demographic dividend, as the supply of cheap labor, mostly from inland rural areas, has declined in recent years.
Aon Hewitt also found that companies are having a tougher time keeping their workers. Quitting has become more common in many cities, as workers depart for higher pay at other firms.
Inland, in Chongqing, the rate of resignations jumped to 22.3 percent this year from 9.6 percent in 2006. The figure in Nanjing, a city near Shanghai, was 19.4 percent, up from 2006′s 7.3 percent.
Fast rising salaries were not a temporary phenomenon and would continue for years, the report said, meaning businesses would have to improve productivity to remain competitive.
Western views of China Increasingly Positive
A man attending the Hanoverian Industry Expo in Germany visits the China exhibition area on April 24. About 400 Chinese enterprises attended the expo. Xinhua
An increasing number of people in Western countries view China’s influence in a favorable light, according to a BBC World Service poll published on Friday.
The percentage of people in the United Kingdom who view China’s influence as positive grew from 38 percent in 2011 to 57 percent in 2012. Similar increases were reported in Australia (43 to 61 percent), Canada (35 to 53 percent) and Germany (24 to 42 percent).
In the United States, the percentage of people holding negative views of China dropped from 51 percent to 46 percent during the same period, and the number of people holding positive views of the country increased from 42 to 46 percent.
Fifty percent of the people interviewed for the poll regard China as having a positive influence on the world, up 6 percentage points from 2011. The percentage of people who view China’s influence as positive has increased in each of the last three years.
People from Africa, Asia and Latin American countries were more likely to have favorable opinions of China, while people in major Western countries tend to have negative opinions.
The survey was conducted for the BBC World Service by the international polling firm GlobeScan, its research partners across the world and the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland in the United States.
A total of 24,090 people from 22 countries including the US, the UK, China and Egypt were interviewed face-to-face or by telephone between Dec 6, 2011 and Feb 17.
While favorable opinions of China have increased dramatically in Western countries, some of China’s neighbors and emerging countries still hold negative opinions on the country’s influence on the world.
According to the poll, 64 percent of people in South Korea have a negative opinion of China, up 11 percentage points from 2011. One out of every two Japanese have negative views of the country, compared to just one out of 10 in 2011.
The trend is similar in emerging countries such as Brazil, where the percentage of people with favorable opinions of China dropped from 55 to 48 percent, and Russia (52 to 46 percent).
The more favorable image of China among Western countries shows that these countries need China more than ever to solve their economic problems, said Su Hao, an expert on international affairs with China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing.
How the CCP Works
I expect to see the State, which is in a position to calculate the marginal efficiency of capital-goods on long views and on the basis of the general social advantage, taking an ever greater responsibility for directly organizing investment.
– John Maynard Keynes
In the Chinese tradition, an enduring definition of the end of political governance was articulated by Confucius two and a half millenniums ago. He called it Xiao Kang (as differentiated from Da Tong — an unattainable ideal). In contemporary terms it can be described as a society of general peace and prosperity with a just legal order and built upon a righteous moral foundation. Interestingly enough, when Deng Xiaoping launched his reforms in 1979 he declared that the goal of the Chinese nation in the next phase of its development was to build or, perhaps more accurately, rebuild a Xiao Kang society.
The current China model has the following components:
1. Political authority, combined with moral authority, is vested in a single political organization, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which represents the entirety of the Chinese nation. This is in contrast to systems under which multiple parties represent different sectors of a nation state.
2. Meritocracy underlies the effectiveness and survival of the ruling organization. A highly sophisticated, elaborate, and rigorous system of selection and promotion within the CCP is designed to recruit those with capabilities and integrity into the Party and move them up the ranks if they choose government service as their careers.
3. The preeminence of political authority is central to the China model. This ensures no special groups, be it capital or talents, can develop capabilities that enable them to place their interests above the national interests. The market and the so-called civil society are both subservient to political authority.
4. Pragmatism is central and ideologies are peripheral. As economic development is seen as of paramount importance to China at the current stage, the political system is designed and adjusted to maximize its success. As the nation’s needs and conditions change, political adjustments can follow.
The current practice of the Chinese model is far from obtaining the ideal state in each of these components. Widespread corruption and the wealth gap are but two examples.
– Eric X Li
The reason that the People’s Congress does not reject legislation at the conventions is that they have seen many iterations of it by the time it is ready for public presentation. Even at that late date they can and do delay it further–sometimes for years. The Communist Party merely functions as ‘a neutral government shaping national consensus’ in the words of Zhang Weiwei.
THE best translation of the Chinese word for ‘fixer’, “说客”, Is ‘lobbyist’. The job of the 说客 is to vouch for you, his client, to an official who trusts his judgement. Of course there are corrupt officials and corrupting lobbyists in China, as there are here.
China’s best example of success is their own: the 1,800 years prior to our invasion of them when they led the world morally, financially, and artistically.
China’s stated goal at the commencement of the Opening Up, and reiterated by all of Deng’s successors, is a “moderately prosperous country” (小康: a Confucian term describing a society of modest means) for two reasons:
1. The planet’s resource limits cannot afford more than that for an additional 1.3 billion people.
2. Western-style wealth is un-Chinese, vulgar, unnecessary, and un-Communist.
I think you’ll find that the Chinese press gives a more balanced, thoughtful, and comprehensive account of things than our Western corporate media (remember WMD?). Certainly the Chinese people think so. 80-90% of them regularly report trusting it above all other sources (Pew; Edelman). Try reading it.
As to dissenters: Chinese are free to dissent which, if you read even Western accounts of their writings, you can see that they do. What they are not free to do is to organize dissent. That is a law which is fully supported by 90% of Chinese who are painfully aware that, prior to 1980, the longest peaceful period their country had enjoyed since 1780 lasted 7 years. Remember, too, the number of dissenters (Communists, Muslims) who languished–and still languish–in our jails.
In common with our own dissenters, Chinese are not free to be on the payroll of a foreign power while advocating the overthrow of their government unless, of course, they register as agents of that power– a step which both Mr. Ai and Mr. Liu omitted. That’s why they were prosecuted, as the court transcripts make clear.
Living Without a Vote Under Corruption and Censorship
Yet, along with tens of thousands of Aussies and Americans I live in a Southeast Asian country which ranks lower than Swaziland on the world corruption index.
Here the press and its Internet are censored. The government imprisons people who speak negatively about the head of state. I am not permitted any input into the running of the country. I can never hope to be given a vote. And even if I could vote it would likely count for nothing. The ruling class here routinely depose and assassinate democratically elected officials and their supporters.
What’s it like to live in such an oppressive hellhole?
The quality of life here is markedly higher than either of the ‘free’ countries. The people are much happier and their lives much richer. Sure, they’re annoyed that the elite won’t give up power. But they don’t let that get in the way of happiness and fun.
I much prefer living in ‘corrupt’ Thailand.
Am I a masochist? Or is our media directing our attention to irrelevancies?
Is it distracting us from the fact that our own ‘human rights’ offences are just as bad as – or worse than – China’s?