May 2014 – In Praise of China

Monthly Archives: May 2014

Education in China

Are the Chinese cheating in PISA or are we cheating ourselves?

– by Andreas Schleicher, Deputy Director for Education and Skills and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the OECD’s Secretary General

Education in China

Whenever an American or European wins an Olympic gold medal, we cheer them as heroes. When a Chinese does, the first reflex seems to be that they must have been doping; or if that’s taking it too far, that it must have been the result of inhumane training.

There seem to be parallels to this in education. Only hours after results from the latest PISA assessment showed Shanghai’s school system leading the field, Time magazine concluded the Chinese must have been cheating. They didn’t bother to read the PISA 2012 Technical Background Annex, which shows there was no cheating, whatsoever, involved. Nor did they speak with the experts who had drawn the samples or with the international auditors who had carefully reviewed and validated the sample for Shanghai and those of other countries.

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China’s Renewables: Good News

China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) has just released some remarkable data on the addition of new electric generating capacity in 2013. China’s electric power system has been growing at a tremendous rate to keep up with the country’s breakneck expansion of its manufacturing industry over the past decade.


china wind power

The remarkable feature is that the share of renewables has leapt in significance. Whereas non-fossil fuel capacity additions totalled 31 million kW in 2012, these renewable and nuclear power stations have totalled 36 million kW so far this year – and could be projected to be 43 or 44 million kW for the whole year. That’s one new non-fossil power station of 1 million kW nearly every week!

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China and Democracy

Why has democracy failed? Why is China’s government the most popular, most trusted national government on earth? What political system is best for China? What about freedom of speech?
Venture capitalist Eric X Li has this to say

China’s Democracy: Still too Soon to Say?



China’s much-loved premier Zhou En-lai was asked in the 1970s about the effects of the French Revolution. With China’s 4,000 years of history behind him, Zhou simply replied, “It’s too soon to say.”

A lot of people think Western-style democracy is a joke — it’s more like a pop idol contest or a beauty pageant,” said Pan Xiaoli, an anchorwoman for International Channel Shanghai, an English-language TV station. “I think the Chinese watch with a sense of inherent superiority, saying, ‘This is not the way for us. LA Times.

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Chinese Censorship vs. England’s

Chinese Censorship vs. England’s

Great Britain, however, will soon take a significant step toward deciding what a private citizen can see on the web even while at home. Before the end of the year, almost all Internet users there will be “opted-in” to a system designed to filter out pornography. By default, the controls will also block access to “violent material,” “extremist and terrorist related content,” “anorexia and eating disorder websites,” and “suicide related websites.” In addition, the new settings will censor sites mentioning alcohol or smoking. The filter will also block “esoteric material,” though a UK-based rights group says the government has yet to make clear what that category will include. Read More…

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Japan, China, and ADIZs

A Little History (and Geography)

Before you read the explanation below, take a look at the map. The blue area is Japan’s ADIZ. Japan enlarged it again in May of this year, taking up more of the sea that China has controlled since the 3rd. century AD…photo

The Japanese seized the Senkakus from China in its defeat of the Chinese military in the first Sino-Japanese war of 1894-5.
The Potsdam Declaration (Declaration Defining Terms for Japanese Surrender) of 1945 set the terms of Japan’s unconditional surrender. It was issued jointly by the Allied powers – the US, Britain, and China (the Nationalist or Kuomintang government); and the Soviet Union later “adhered to” the declaration. The Japanese government explicitly accepted it.

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China’s Reforming Plenum

Party of the Century
How China is Reorganizing for the Future
By Eric X. Li JANUARY 10, 2014

In November 2013 Chinese Communist Party (CCP) held its much-anticipated Third Plenum of its 18th Congress. Third Plenums, which are usually held a year after a party congress, have generally been used to set the policy agenda for a new administration. More than 30 years ago, Deng Xiaoping famously launched his groundbreaking economic reforms at the Third Plenum of the party’s 11th Congress — a meeting that changed the trajectory of China and, thereby, the world. Coming just a year after China’s latest leadership transition, the November Plenum offered the most concrete look at how the country’s top leader, General Secretary Xi Jinping, intends to lead.

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