October 2014 – In Praise of China
The “United States of China,” 100 Years Later
On September 29, 1910, a young Chinese cook in Berkeley named George Fong bought himself a .38 caliber revolver. The next day he hiked up into the hills behind the fraternity house where he worked at the University of California, found a secluded valley amongst the brown grasses and sprawling nurseries of eucalyptus, and taught himself how to shoot. One week later, he made his way down to the Oakland Ferry Terminal and joined a crowd of onlookers who thronged its railway platform in wait for the arriving train of Prince Zaixun, the uncle of the emperor of China. When the prince stepped off his train to embark on the ferry, George Fong planned to kill him.
At Foreign Affairs ($2.95 for pdf), Eric X. Li argues that China’s future lies with continued one-party rule, and that the Party’s adaptability, meritocracy and non-democratic legitimacy will carry it forward while the West flounders. This, he suggests, will give other developing countries courage to seek out their own alternative systems.[…] There is no doubt that daunting challenges await Xi. But those who suggest that the CCP will not be able to deal with them fundamentally misread China’s politics and the resilience of its governing institutions. Beijing will be able to meet the country’s ills with dynamism and resilience, thanks to the CCP’s adaptability, system of meritocracy, and legitimacy with the Chinese people. In the next decade, China will continue to rise, not fade. The country’s leaders will consolidate the one party model and, in the process, challenge the West’s conventional wisdom about political development and the inevitable march toward electoraldemocracy. In the capital of the Middle Kingdom, the world might witness the birth of a post-democratic future.
China Blazes Trail for ‘Clean’ Nuclear Power from Thorium.
Princeling Jiang Mianheng, son of former leader Jiang Zemin, is spearheading a project for China’s National Academy of Sciences with a start-up budget of $350m.
He has already recruited 140 PhD scientists, working full-time on thorium power at the Shanghai Institute of Nuclear and Applied Physics. He will have 750 staff by 2015.
The aim is to break free of the archaic pressurized-water reactors fueled by uranium — originally designed for US submarines in the 1950s — opting instead for new generation of thorium reactors that produce far less toxic waste and cannot blow their top like Fukushima.
China’s Great Famine
Several people have questioned me about the terrible ‘coverup’ of China’s most recent famine, the one that coincided with the Great Leap Forward, from 1958 to 1961, in which 30 million people died.
I know that this sounds trite, but the ‘coverup’ is just cultural style, not a sinister coverup.
I live in Thailand and have been sensitized to this difference – common to all the Confucian countries – between our treatment of past hurts and disasters and theirs.
Thai women, for example, will certainly try to disembowell you when they catch you cheating on them. But the next day (or when you are released from hospital) they will be as carefree, loving and attentive as ever. Similarly, shameful episodes in Thailand’s history are simply not addressed. They are actively dropped down the memory hole by almost unanimous consent, as far as I can determine. I would never question a Thai about some of the dirty, tragic stuff in Thailand’s past. It would be painful, embarrassing, and would accomplish nothing.
China in Africa, Part 3
African countries welcome growing Chinese presence despite West’s criticism–By Li Nuer, Tichaona Chifamba
HARARE, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) — Despite spells of criticism on the growing presence of the Chinese in Africa from the Western governments and media, African countries make greater efforts to lure more Chinese investment into the continent.
Tendai Moyo, a Harare-based social commentator, said it is undeniable that while China is extending its genuine philanthropic hand to Africa, the West is busy extending their brazen iron fisted imperial hand that continues to foment a myriad of destabilizing activities in the continent.
Goodwill, mutual respect and the accompanying win-win aspect have become hallmarks of China’s partnership with Africa. This introduces a completely new paradigm and a draught of fresh air to African countries that have been grappling with the effrontery big brother tactics from the United States and its European acolytes, the commentator said.
The UK Rejected Democracy in Hong Kong
Benny Tai, whose job is presumably to make an airtight legal case for the action, instead observed that international practices don’t demand popular nomination. In fact, the UK doesn’t have direct nomination, as a HKSAR representative pointed out during the student dialogue. The key stipulation is a matter of principle: Do citizens have real choice? Do the candidates represent different needs and backgrounds? The best he could say was that popular nomination would unequivocally meet international standards, not that it was the only way.
The Magnificent 7 Chinese Leaders
The elected members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee XiJinping (center), Li Keqiang (third from right), Zhang Dejiang (third from left), Yu Zhengsheng (second from right), Liu Yunshan (second from left), Wang Qishan (right), and Zhang Gaoli (left) meet the press on Nov 15 in Beijing. Xie Huanchi / Xinhua
To discern China’s future, one should know China’s leaders, especially Xi Jinping, who was last Thursday elected general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, the nation’s top leader.