Chinese Tycoon Wang Jianlin Blames ‘Western Schooling’ for Son’s Comments About Wanting a Girlfriend With Big BoobsPosted: February 25, 2015
Wang Jianlin blames Western education for his son’s controversial remark that potential girlfriends needed to be “buxom”
Wang, one of the richest men in China, used an interview on state television on Tuesday evening to publicly defend his son, whose remark caused a furore on social media and led to condemnation by a state news agency. He also said he preferred to stay away from politics and said businessmen should “refrain from bribes”.
Wang said his son, Wang Sicong , had spent years studying overseas and had got into the habit of speaking whatever was on his mind.
The younger Wang was lambasted after making the remark on Valentine’s Day, with the state-run news agency Xinhua publishing a 1,287-word commentary condemning his remarks.
His father, who runs a property and cinema empire, said he was always ready to “take a hint” from others and not “speak carelessly”, but his son was more direct and had not learnt Chinese subtlety.
“He is smart. He went overseas to study at grade one and he has a Western-style of thinking,” said Wang.
“Maybe after spending five or eight years in China, he will truly become Chinese.”
Wang Sicong, a board member of his father’s Wanda Group and the chairman of the private investment firm Prometheus Capital, is well-known for his outspoken comments on social media.
He made his latest eyebrow-raising remark after helping to raise more than 500,000 yuan (HK$630,000) for charity by auctioning the chance for a member of the public to watch a film with him.
The senior Wang said he wanted his son to succeed in his own right in business, but would give him only two opportunities. “The third time he fails, he comes to work at Wanda,” he said.
The tycoon’s comments appeared to question Western customs and values, echoing remarks by government officials in recent months.
Driven by the Spring Festival period, one of the golden times for Chinese productions, China’s domestic movies are gaining more momentum
The Chinese New Year is approaching an end, but the country’s movie industry boom seems to have just begun, thanks to record high box-office sales during the New Year holiday.
Statistics show that across the country there were over nine million Chinese going to the movies during that period. On the first day of the Spring Festival, there was a record high intake of 356 million yuan or about $57 million at the box office. That’s about 44 percent up on the same day last year.
Even on New Year’s Eve, a time traditionally devoted to family reunions, home banquets and the grand CCTV gala, Chinese moviegoers still spent 21 million yuan ($3.5 mln) in the country’s cinemas.
By Sunday, box offices for the Spring Festival holiday reached 924 million yuan ($154 mln), a 42.15% increase from last year. Industry experts say that China’s movie market is expected to gross nearly 2 billion yuan ($300 mln) during the period.
There were 7 new movies released on the first day of the Chinese New Year, which could be one reason for the high sales.
The costume action movie “Dragon Blade” starring Chinese Kungfu star Jackie Chan leads the box office charts, creating about one third of the total income. It’s followed by Chow Yun-Fat’s family comedy “The Man from Macao II” and fantasy adventure “Zhongkui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal”.
Rao Shuguang, the secretary-general of the China Film Association, says the recorded growth is also partly to do with the increased number of screens across the country, now at over 24,900.
Driven by the Spring Festival period, one of the golden times for Chinese productions, China’s domestic movies are gaining more momentum. Last year, Chinese domestic box-office revenue hit $4.7 billion, ranking the second largest in the world. Made-in-China movies accounted for 55 percent of the total. Read the rest of this entry »
‘Like a beam of incorruptible sunlight, touching our hearts’
Josh Chin and Chun Han Wong report: When China is truly proud of something, it writes a song. During the Cultural Revolution, the oil workers who helped turn China into a crude exporter got their own song. More recently, China’s aircraft carrier and the relationship between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife have been lauded with jingles.
This week, China’s Internet censors got their own musical tribute — or, rather, they wrote one for themselves.
According to a report posted Thursday to the website of the state-run China Youth Daily, the Cyberspace Administration of China choral group this week unveiled a new song, “Cyberspace Spirit,” glorifying the cleanliness and clarity of China’s uniquely managed Internet.
The song, an orchestral march built around a chorus that proclaims China’s ambition to become an “Internet power,” opens with lyrics describing celestial bodies keeping careful watch over the sky. From there, the lyrics conjure more vivid imagery, comparing the Internet to “a beam of incorruptible sunlight” that unites “the powers of life from all creation.”
The Cyberspace Administration of China is the government agency in charge of managing the country’s Internet, including the complex filtering system known as the Great Firewall.
Recently, the government has grown bolder in advocating China’s brand of Internet management. In November, it hosted a World Internet Conference in the eastern canal town of Wuzhen, where Lu Wei, the minister in charge of CAC, promoted the need for rules on the Internet. A few months later, another official surprised some by openly praising China’s censorship system for helping foster Chinese tech companies….(read more)
Below is China Real Time’s rough translation of the lyrics:
在这片天空日月忠诚的守望 Keeping faithful watch under this sky, the Sun and the Moon
为日出东方使命担当 Undertaking this mission for the break of dawn [in the East]
创新每个日子拥抱着清朗 Creating, embracing everyday clarity and brightness
像一束廉洁阳光感动在心上 Like a beam of incorruptible sunlight, touching our hearts
团结万物生长的力量 Uniting the powers of life from all creation
奉献地球村成为最美的风光 Offerings to the global village become the most beautiful of scenery
网络强国 网在哪光荣梦想在哪 Internet Power! The Web is where glorious dreams are
网络强国 从遥远的宇宙到思念的家 Internet Power! From the distant cosmos to the home we long for
网络强国 告诉世界中国梦在崛起大中华 Internet Power! Tell the world that the China Dream is lifting Greater China to prominence
网络强国 一个我在世界代表着国家 Internet Power! One self represents the nation to the world
在这个世界百川忠诚寻归海洋 In this world, all rivers loyally seek to return to the sea
担当中华文明的丈量 Bearing the measure of Chinese civilization
五千年沉淀点亮创新思想 5,000 years settle and give light to creative new thinking
廉洁就是一个民族清澈荡漾 Incorruptibility is the clear rippling of a nation
我们团结在天地中央 We unite at the center of Heaven and Earth Read the rest of this entry »
Smile and give them a pen
kamenoblog shares this language insight:
Last night my Cantonese professor taught my class how to politely refuse someone.
Instead of directly saying no, Cantonese speakers can give a subtle hint by giving an unwanted suitor a pen.
The words for “pen” and “no” sound similar in Cantonese. However, both words use different traditional Chinese characters:
筆 means “pen”
不是 (“bat si”/”m hai”) means “no”
Source: Milk Tea & Pudding
Samuel Moyn writes: A generation ago the political philosopher Larry Siedentop published an essay called “Two Liberal Traditions,” its title a nod to his teacher Isaiah Berlin’s celebrated lecture “Two Concepts of Liberty.” An American, Siedentop had traveled to the University of Oxford in the 1950s to study under the great Cold War liberal, and later he taught there for decades.
“How, against its original purposes, was the Gospel’s message brought down to earth?”
In his still mandatory essay, Siedentop persuasively argues that Anglo-American liberalism has never been the sole version of the tradition. There is also, Siedentop contends, a characteristically French approach, more historicist and sociological than conceptual and normative in making the case for modern liberty. Great nineteenth-century French thinkers such as Benjamin Constant, François Guizot, and Alexis de Tocqueville generally cast liberal values such as individual freedom as complex social achievements won over long periods, to be treasured and fostered precisely because they reflect collective advancement, not merely moral truth.
“There was a time before the individual, and Siedentop spends his first few chapters dwelling on it: the ancient world, in which individuals were wholly subordinated to family structures. No matter that admirers from the Renaissance and Enlightenment appealed to the classical past in order to attack Christian oppression, Siedentop says: they ignored the fact that no ancient society embraced the value of individual freedom.”
This line of thought suggests that history and experience are central to the making of liberal values and not simply the storehouses of wisdom for conservatives, better known for appealing to the past. Unlike their Anglo-American counterparts from Thomas Hobbes to John Rawls, Frenchmen did not rely on the thought experiment of the social contract to motivate allegiance to liberal norms. Thus their approach, as Siedentop describes it, is an indispensable counterpart to the usual focus in our own liberal tradition, which prizes normative justification rather than a story about how we came to defend liberal values, through what institutions and practices.
[Check out Larry Siedentop’s book “Inventing the Individual: The Origins of Western Liberalism” at Amazon]
Of course, a lot turns on how believable the narrative is. In his new book Inventing the Individual: The Origins of Western Liberalism, Siedentop tries his own hand at telling how modern freedom came about. Channeling the project of the French tradition, he leans heavily on the almost-forgotten Guizot, the political theorist and government minister whose History of Civilization in Europe (1828) Siedentop in effect revives and updates. (If readers have any recollection of Guizot, it is probably because in the opening lines of The Communist Manifesto Karl Marx denounces him as a leading statesman of a conservative entente that had brought stability but not justice to post-Napoleonic Europe.)
There are a few powerful components to Siedentop’s rehabilitation of the French tradition. The most important follows that tradition’s most promising move, which is to treat modern individualism as a historical product rather than a natural fact. There was a time before the individual, and Siedentop spends his first few chapters dwelling on it: the ancient world, in which individuals were wholly subordinated to family structures. No matter that admirers from the Renaissance and Enlightenment appealed to the classical past in order to attack Christian oppression, Siedentop says: they ignored the fact that no ancient society embraced the value of individual freedom. “They failed to notice,” Siedentop comments mordantly, “that the ancient family began as a veritable church.”
This history may be news to Anglo-Americans liberals, who routinely take the individual as a natural given. In the social contract, individuals are a premise, not a product. In economics, the satisfaction of individual preferences is the self-evident goal, but this is never explained or justified, even though it is an astonishingly rare commitment across the sweep of time. Siedentop wants to treat such first principles as the result of a history that made liberalism conceivable in the first place. Read the rest of this entry »
— China Digital Times (@CDTimes) February 9, 2015
According to legend, the greatest pirate ever to have lived may have been a woman by the name of Zheng Shi
According to legend, the greatest pirate ever to have lived was a woman known by several names, including Zheng Yi Sao, Zheng Shi, Cheng Shih, Madame Ching, and more.
It all started with a fateful meeting with a pirate by the name of Zheng Yi. In the 1800s, he and his crew were busy ravaging the region now known as Guangdong when they happened to capture a brothel girl that caught Zheng Yi’s attention. Although she agreed to marry him, she did so under the condition that he would share his treasure and power with her. He agreed. Through diplomacy and business deals with Zheng Yi’s rivals, his wife Zheng Shi (as she would come to be known, meaning the widow Zheng), managed to help put together a fleet of around 1500 ships, a force to be reckoned with. In addition, she made several strategic offers of protection to villages in exchange for tribute.
Although Zheng Yi died in 1807, Zheng Shi would not fade into the historical background. In fact, upon Zheng Yi’s death, Zheng Shi, was quick to put Zheng Yi’s first mate to work (presumably to stave off doubts that might come from a woman running the show). After taking over, Zheng Shi’s power and influence only continued to grow. Zheng Shi’s navy, The Red Flag Fleet, was said to have over 1800 ships and 60,000 men at it’s height (about 30 times more than all of the different factions of Caribbean pirates put together) (the global dispatch).
Although she achieved great wealth and power, Zheng Shi’s reign over Southern China and the South China Sea was not entirely a reign of terror. There was a strict and somewhat ruthless code of conduct that all of the crew were forced to abide by:
- If you disobey an order, you get your head chopped off and body thrown in the ocean.
- If you steal anything from the common plunder before it has been divvied up, you get your head chopped off and body thrown in the ocean.
- If you rape anyone without permission from the leader of your squadron, you get your head chopped off and your body thrown in the ocean.
- If you have consensual sex with anyone while on duty, you get your head chopped off and your body thrown in the ocean and the woman involved would get something heavy strapped to her and also tossed in the ocean.
- If you loot a town or ship of anything at all or otherwise harass them when they have paid tribute, you get your head chopped off and your body thrown into the ocean.
- If you take shore-leave without permission, you get your head chopped off and body thrown into the ocean.
- If you try to leave the organization, you get your head… ha, just kidding, in this case you get your ears chopped off.
- Captured ugly women were to be set free unharmed. Captured pretty women could be divvied up or purchased by members of the Red Flag Fleet. However, if a pirate was awarded or purchased a pretty woman, he was then considered married to her and was expected to treat her accordingly. If he didn’t, he gets his head cut off and body thrown in the ocean.
Te-Ping Chen reports: Chinese teachers should be on their guard against the infiltration of Western ideas, the country’s education minister says. Also, while they’re at it, they should stop complaining and venting their grievances in front of students as well.
“Mr. Yuan declared that the government ‘absolutely could not allow teachers to whine while teaching, air their resentments or spread negative spirits to their students.’ The report didn’t elaborate on the nature of grumbling that the government was opposed to.”
The minister, Yuan Guiren, made the comments at a conference Thursday at which representatives from some of China’s best universities were assembled. According to Mr. Yuan, as cited by state news agency Xinhua, universities should avoid use of teaching materials that “disseminate Western values.”
As well, Xinhua said, Mr. Yuan declared that the government “absolutely could not allow teachers to whine while teaching, air their resentments or spread negative spirits to their students.” The report didn’t elaborate on the nature of grumbling that the government was opposed to.
“Since assuming office, Chinese President Xi Jinping has actively pushed the study of traditional Chinese culture. Such a push has also come in tandem with a backlash against certain Western traditions, notably Christmas.”
Mr. Yuan’s comments come amid a growing scrutiny of ideology on China’s campuses. Earlier this month, the State Council General Office released an opinion on the need to “further strengthen and improve propaganda and ideology work.” It declared that higher education is a key “battlefield” in the struggle for ideology. Read the rest of this entry »
A journalist’s plight demonstrates the depth of China’s present illness
Xiao Shu writes: Chinese journalist Yang Zili first appeared in international headlines in 2001 after being arrested in Beijing and charged with “subverting state authority.” His crime was starting the “New Youth Society,” a salon with the stated mission of “seeking a road for social reform.” Mr. Yang eventually served eight years in prison for his involvement.
“We had no idea how quickly the tide would turn. Mr. Yang is now in hiding.”
Once released from prison, Mr. Yang joined the Transition Institute. Unlike many other nongovernmental organizations in China, the Transition Institute isn’t engaged in direct social action but rather focuses on research work as a think tank. While there, Mr. Yang studied Chinese social issues and proved to be a prolific writer. Much of his work was on equal access to education and migrant-worker rights. His friends applauded his return to the public sphere within a profession that still allowed him to promote social change.
“Mr. Yang is now in hiding. Chinese authorities last year detained three leaders of the Transition Institute and six people indirectly involved, including the lawyer Xia Lin. The organization remains paralyzed.”
We had no idea how quickly the tide would turn. Mr. Yang is now in hiding. Chinese authorities last year detained three leaders of the Transition Institute and six people indirectly involved, including the lawyer Xia Lin. The organization remains paralyzed. It suffered this fate despite having a far more nuanced understanding of political struggle than did the New Youth Society in 2001.
“The decisive factor in the case against Mr. Yang was a set of written instructions from Jiang Zemin , China’s president at the time. ‘Because instructions had come down from heaven,’ Mr. Yang recalled years later, ‘every material fact was forcibly crushed.’ And so was the process of justice.”
The similarities and differences between these two cases reflect the deep uncertainty that all Chinese citizens face when confronted with contemporary “socialist rule of law.”
The New Youth Society focused on hot-button social issues like government corruption, unemployment among workers from state-owned enterprises, and rural development. Members were at first split over what to do with their activities. Either they could operate in secret, attempting to disguise their group from the authorities, or they could be entirely open, affirming their discussions in hopes of avoiding the impression they were being covert. Mr. Yang and others compromised: They didn’t actively promote their ideas, nor did they conceal them. Read the rest of this entry »
Josh Chin, with Yang Jie: Chinese human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang has never been one to hold his tongue. A document from a law firm that began circulating online Tuesday night shows how police are trying to use that outspokenness to send him to prison.
“Pu Zhiqiang has already he was responsible for posting most of these messages. The question is whether writing and posting them falls within the realm of free expression or constitutes a crime.”
Mr. Pu, a hard-charging attorney and Tiananmen Square veteran known for defending high-profile dissidents such as artist Ai Weiwei, was detained in May. The following month, he was formally arrested on suspicion of illegally obtaining personal information and picking quarrels, and in November prosecutors added charges of inciting ethnic hatred and inciting separatism. The last three charges are related to messages posted online by Mr. Pu and detailed in the document.
Mr. Pu’s lawyer, Shang Baojun, confirmed the authenticity of the document to China Real Time on Wednesday, saying it was a copy of posts compiled by his law firm from a list of evidence provided by prosecutors.
Police resubmitted Mr. Pu’s case to prosecutors earlier this month after their initial investigation was rejected for insufficient evidence, Mr. Shang said. Police and prosecutors have repeatedly ignored or declined to respond to requests for comment on Mr. Pu’s case.
The document lists 28 messages posted on the Weibo microblogging site between 2011 and 2014 from 12 different accounts belonging to Mr. Pu. (Dissidents in China often post from multiple accounts in order to evade censors.) The posts cover a range of topics, from China’s dispute with Japan over contested islands in the East China Sea to terrorist attacks attributed to Xinjiang separatists to Communist Party icon of do-goodery Lei Feng. Many of the posts, including those that deal with the issue of terrorism, appear to come in response to Weibo posts from other users or news organizations.
“Pu Zhiqiang has already he was responsible for posting most of these messages. The question is whether writing and posting them falls within the realm of free expression or constitutes a crime,” Mr. Shang said. “On this, we understand things differently (than the authorities).”
Mr. Shang said he hadn’t seen any evidence beyond the posts relating to the three charges. If indicted and found guilty of all four charges, Mr. Pu could face up to 20 years in prison, he said.
Below are rough China Real Time translations of seven of the posts as they appeared in the document.
2) June 8, 2013: One of the biggest lies of the last 60 years is Lei Feng. He hoodwinked me for two decades, actively pandering to his promoters, his diaries a collective creation. A monthly allowance of seven or eight yuan and he’s making 100-yuan donations – either that’s fiction or there’s corruption involved. Back then 30 million died from starvation, people my age might have taken a single photograph, and yet when he’s up late at night studying Mao with a flashlight, there are people taking pictures! He left thousands of photos behind! Beijing police, if you want to arrest hidden forces, go arrest the hidden forces behind Lei Feng. Read the rest of this entry »
Beijing Officials Pressure International Media
Daniel Wiser writes: China pressured international media outlets to censor their news coverage last year in addition to cracking down on domestic journalists, according to a new report.
“Chinese embassy officials in Paris, Berlin, and London lodged direct complaints with senior editors, in an apparent effort to pressure them into restraining their reporters in Beijing. The Tokyo headquarters of Japanese media have received similar visits.”
Conditions for both domestic journalists and foreign correspondents in China have worsened considerably under President Xi . Journalists surveyed last year said they were increasingly subjected to harassment by authorities, sometimes violent in nature, as well as to visa delays and cyber attacks. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), which released its annual report on press freedoms in China on Monday, said intimidation from officials in Beijing has now extended to foreign outlets.
Chinese embassy officials in Paris, Berlin, London, and Tokyo all reportedly pressured editors at publications based in those cities to alter their coverage and exert more control over their reporters in Beijing.
’For activists, the internet is like dancing in shackles’
– Su Yutong
One Chinese blogger, Su Yutong, was fired from the German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle last August after she alleged that directors at the outlet met with the Chinese ambassador and then told their Chinese-language staff to tone down its coverage. A Deutsche Welle spokesman said at the time that Su was terminated because “she tweeted about internal issues” in a manner that “no company in the world would tolerate.”
Deutsche Welle gave more prominence last year to columnists such as Frank Sieren, a Beijing-based media consultant who has business interests in the country and is known to be sympathetic to its leadership. The broadcaster has been criticized in the past for coverage that was overly supportive of the Chinese Communist Party.
IFJ specifically named three other overseas news services that were targeted by the Chinese government.
“At least three media companies—namely France 24, ARD TV (Germany), and the Financial Times—came under unusual Chinese government pressure after publishing news reports that angered the Chinese authorities,” the report said. “Chinese embassy officials in Paris, Berlin, and London lodged direct complaints with senior editors, in an apparent effort to pressure them into restraining their reporters in Beijing. The Tokyo headquarters of Japanese media have received similar visits.”
IFJ also condemned the repression of journalists covering Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests last fall. At least 39 reporters were harassed, detained, or assaulted by the city’s police or by demonstrators opposed to the pro-democracy movement…(read more)
The following is a blog post written by a Chinese journalist Su Yutong about her experience and feeling of being an activist calling for social change in China. Although to be an activist even on the Internet is like “dancing in shackles” in China, clearly people will not stop, just as what we have seen in the most recent days. Many people have been actively posting, forwarding and translating related information, raising more international awareness of Guangcheng’s case. Su said in her writing, “To the Chinese people, danger comes not from action, but from silence and submission. Rights activists such as Hu Jia and Chen Guangcheng have demonstrated this to us with their courage and action, and I would like to learn from them.”
When I was in China, I was a journalist. But, after four years, I decided to resign as the Chinese authorities did not allow us to report the truth. I then started to work in an NGO, doing research on social issues.
My concerns included the situation of victims of contaminated water sources, people who contracted HIV/AIDS through blood transfusion, as well as assisting vulnerable groups in defending their rights.
I was one of the more active internet activists, giving my views on public affairs, disseminating information and organizing activities.
From 2005, I was “invited for tea”, and for “chats”, kept under surveillance and periodically placed under house arrest in China.
In 2010, I distributed “Li Peng’s Diary”, a book forbidden by the authorities, and had my home raided and property confiscated by the police. With the help of international NGOs and friends, I managed to go into exile and now live in Germany.
For many bloggers in China, the most common and typical situation you face on a daily basis is all your content is suddenly deleted. In worse situations, sites will block opinions that are deemed to be “sensitive”.
I was an early internet activist. I organized a protest against the Vice Minister Wu Hao of the Yunnan Provincial Propaganda Department, in solidarity with human rights lawyer Ni Yulan; commemorative activities in relation to the Tiananmen crackdown and actions of solidarity with other activists. Read the rest of this entry »
Bill Gertz reports: Recent satellite photos of an island off the coast of China confirm Beijing’s buildup of military forces within attack range of Japan’s Senkaku islands.
“If you want to rate the level of tension, this is the PLA reaching for its holster. When forces start deploying to Nanji Island, that means the hammer is cocked.”
– Rick Fisher, a senior fellow with the International Assessment and Strategy Center
Construction of a helicopter base on Nanji Island was observed by a commercial spy satellite in October. The island is off the coast of Zhejiang province—some 186 miles northwest of the Senkakus, a group of resource-rich islets China calls the Diaoyu Islands.
The imagery, obtained from the Airbus Defense and Space-owned Pleaides satellite, reveals China is constructing an airfield with 10 landing pads for helicopters on Nanji Island.
Military analysts said the new military base appears to be preparation by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army for an attack or seizure of the Senkakus.
“China’s new heli-base on Nanji Island demonstrates that the PLA is preparing for an offensive military operation against the Senkaku/Daiyoutai Islands,” said Rick Fisher, a senior fellow with the International Assessment and Strategy Center.
“If you want to rate the level of tension, this is the PLA reaching for its holster. When forces start deploying to Nanji Island, that means the hammer is cocked.”
The military buildup on Nanji was first disclosed by Japan’s Kyodo News Service last month. Kyodo, quoting Chinese sources, said a landing strip was being built.
However, the satellite photos, reported last week by IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, a trade publication, did not indicate construction of an airstrip, only helicopter landing pads. The helicopter pads are an indication that China plans to use the base for transporting troops and forces by helicopter and not for longer-range air transports or fighter jets.
China has been engaged in a tense confrontation with Japan over the Senkakus since 2012, when Tokyo, in a bid to clarify the status of the uninhabited islands, purchased three of the islands from private owners in a bid to prevent Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara from buying them.
Since then, Chinese ships and warplanes, as well as unmanned surveillance drones, have been flying close to the islands, prompting numerous Japanese maritime and aerial intercepts.
Jane’s reported the helicopter base construction is new. The construction is not visible in photos taken earlier than October 2013.
Wind turbines also are visible additions to the island that are located on a ridge on the southeast part of the island. Radar and communications equipment also is visible.
China’s Defense Ministry did not dispute the military buildup on Nanji. Read the rest of this entry »
Edited from an interview with William Kazer
Julia Leung has spent two decades engaged in financial policy work for the Hong Kong government. During her time as an official, she’s seen the city’s economy whiplashed by the 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis and again by the global crisis a decade later. She has also witnessed the territory’s increasing economic links to mainland China.
In her new book The Tides of Capital, Ms. Leung examines the origins and response to financial crises of the 1990s and 2008 that shook economies across Asia and the world. The former Hong Kong Monetary Authority official and ex-undersecretary for financial services and the treasury (who also had a decade-long stint with the Asian Wall Street Journal) contends that emerging economies need a greater voice in global financial governance. China Real Time caught up with the reporter-turned-policy maker to talk about the financial challenges facing emerging nations, as well as China’s own financial and economic reforms.
In your book you conclude that the IMF and the U.S. offered up the wrong prescriptions in the Asian crisis of 1997-1998. Where do you see policy leadership headed in the future?
Twenty years ago, the world was divided between the core and the outlying periphery….Financial crises only happened in the periphery, and the core dished out advice. In 2007, financial crisis erupted at the core and rippled to the periphery. Between 2008 and 2013, the size of China ’s economy doubled in dollar terms. The U.S. grew 14% during the same period, while Europe including the U.K. still falls short of the peak reached before the crisis. Combined GDP of emerging markets now make up more than 50% of global GDP, compared to one-third in 1990.
There will have to be considerable give-and-take between the country that is still the world’s leading economy and the other important players, especially China, that are assuming a progressively more important role. In view of the economic stagnation and political infighting besetting Europe, that continent will not be playing a full part in developing and policing a series of better standards for world economic and financial governance. The world will rely ever more on a U.S.-Asian tandem for policy leadership.
You say the U.S. Congress is standing in the way of reforming International Monetary Fund quotas that would give more say to emerging markets. What will happen if there’s no reform?
The IMF is ideally positioned to provide policy leadership, particularly at times of crisis, but its effectiveness is undermined by its shareholding and governance structure, which has not kept pace with the shift in economic power to emerging markets. It is not surprising that developing countries have shown considerable frustration and exasperation with this imbalance, leading to new regional financing facilities, such as the Asian Infrastructure Bank and the New Development Bank.
When the core of the old world order continues to write rules that don’t take developing countries’ interests into account, the “peripheral” nations will use their own vast resources to start a new core…and write their own rules.
You say Asia needs to speak with a more coordinated voice. How much progress do you see here and what steps are still needed?
Even if Asia has a coordinated voice, it’s hard for it to be heard in the councils of the world power when the governance of these councils is slow to reflect shifting power. Read the rest of this entry »
BEIJING—Acknowledging that its current programs are insufficient to meet the needs of a fast-paced, 21st-century population, the Chinese Ministry of Justice held a press conference Friday affirming its commitment to fixing the nation’s crumbling reeducation system.
“We are falling well short of the reeducation needs of this country and failing a whole generation of dissidents. We need better reeducators who know how to use modern teaching and disciplinary technologies if we want to inspire our people to become fully subservient pawns of the state.”
According to government officials, the steady decline in the quality of reeducation is evidenced by the system’s serious overcrowding, dilapidated correctional facilities, and outdated propaganda materials, which have left a large percentage of China’s political prisoners unprepared for life as obedient citizens.
“For China to remain competitive, it is of the utmost importance that we hire administrators who have the passion and know-how to promote the inability to think independently.”
“We are falling well short of the reeducation needs of this country and failing a whole generation of dissidents,” said justice minister Wu Aiying, lamenting that many institutions currently rely on standardized reprogramming curriculums that haven’t been updated since the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s. “We need better reeducators who know how to use modern teaching and disciplinary technologies if we want to inspire our people to become fully subservient pawns of the state.”
“The last thing we want is for state prisoners to fall behind and end up getting stuck in the system for several extra years. If we get them out there, we know they can thrive as pliant mouthpieces for the Communist Party.”
“It is crucial that we find ways to attract the best instructors to our facilities, the devoted ones who aren’t just in it for the paycheck,” Wu added. “For China to remain competitive, it is of the utmost importance that we hire administrators who have the passion and know-how to promote the inability to think independently.”
Speaking candidly with reporters, several top Justice Ministry officials admitted that the majority of reeducators do not actively engage with China’s largest generation of prisoners to date, noting that most instructors lack passion and enthusiasm for their daily thought-suppression and punishment sessions. Read the rest of this entry »
Doing calligraphy, along with playing badminton, is a one of the few hobbies government officials in China admit to having
“The problem today, according to the editorial, comes when officials promote their squiggles as valuable works of art.”
“Officials should put down their calligraphy brushes and stick to governing.”
Wang Qishan, the Politburo Standing Committee member who heads the party’s anti-graft commission, hit out at the traditional craft during a plenary meeting of the organization last week in Beijing, and the message was backed up by an editorial from the agency posted on Tuesday to its website.
Officials shouldn’t “grab meat from the plates of artists,” the editorial said.
Doing calligraphy, along with playing badminton, is a one of the few hobbies government officials in China tend to admit to having. State leaders often pen well-wishes in calligraphy when they drop into companies around the country, creating valuable mementos that tend to get displayed in prominent spots in the companies.
“As you have promised to make contribution to the party and to the country, why are you greedy for an unnecessary title for unjustified interests?”
Officials can be forgiven for thinking it’s OK to strive for recognition in calligraphy, an art form associated with erudition and wisdom. Chinese leaders from Qing dynasty emperor Qianlong to Mao Zedong have been celebrated for their ability to put brush to paper, though there is some debate as to whether the latter’s distinctive style deserved the praise the Communist Party has lavished upon it ever since.
The problem today, according to the editorial, comes when officials promote their squiggles as valuable works of art. Read the rest of this entry »
A large number of historical artifacts, including the head of a 2,000-year-old Hermes statue, have been seized during an operation by the Sivas Police Department Directorate of Anti-smuggling and Organized Crime Branch.
Following three months of preparation, the police department simultaneously raided various addresses in villages and districts of the Central Anatolian province of Sivas, as well as in Nevşehir, Adıyaman and Kayseri on Jan. 13, and discovered historical artifacts. Read the rest of this entry »