Friday, August 12, 2022

The West’s Press, Close-mindedness By Design

On August 9 I happened to tune into ABC’s (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) live telecast of the Chinese ambassador to Australia’s address to the National Press Club. My first reaction was: Why waste time with these people? They are so prejudiced against China that there is no way they are going to change their mind about China.

True enough!


Unlike the previous ambassador, who could hardly string a sentence or two in English, let alone to field questions from these hostile people, the new ambassador Xiao Qian [肖千] was a most affable and confident individual.

He dealt at great length on how China and Australia could work together to complement each other. (China is Australia largest trading partner, and the source of much of the latter’s tourism income and its foreign student intake.) Xiao says he is determined to help rebuild or reset the relationship between the two countries now that Australia has a new government. He emphasised that China had never interfered in Australian politics and reiterated this fact: China does not and will not interfere with any country’s internal affairs. There are some 1.2 million ethnic Chinese in Australia, he noted. But their loyalty is to Australia. But by virtue of their common cultural background with Chinese in mainland China, he thinks that they can help bridge the friendship between the two countries. Nothing more than that.

I must say I was impressed by his address and the way he fielded questions from Australia’s not-friendly-to-China-at-all journalists, despite his tentativeness in elaborating in English at times.

Alas, the local journalists were NOT interested in any of the "reset" or "rebuild" relationship pledges; instead, they just wanted to gun him down on China’s military drills in South China Sea in the aftermath of Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. Most of the questions were raised on that subject.

What rolled out in the local press and TV news in the following days were not unexpected. Without fail, much of the coverage was about the Ambassador’s threat to Australia, which is not true at all. (He did use the term “caution” but in the Q&A corrected himself by saying he meant “reminder”) Nothing was said about his willingness to help “reset” the relationship between the two countries. One reporter even said he “refused” to apologize to the Australian people. All out of their own imagination! The Japanese ambassador's and the German ambassador's reactions to the address were given more coverage than the essence of that Ambassador Xiao's message.  

I have argued before that the West’s Press Corp has seldom shown any interest in trying to inform or explain to their readers or audiences the “cause’ of any issue. They are by and large beholden to their political masters. And these hired hands will do everything to sensationalize. A case in point is the war in Ukraine even many of their scholars and thinkers have provided much evidence too say that the US and the NATO are the instigators. In the case of Taiwan, they simply do not want to hear about the principles upon which the diplomatic relationships were established between their countries with China in the first place – One China, and that’s represented by the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan is a part of China. They just do not want to acknowledge this simple fact: the peoples in both mainland China and Taiwan are CHINESE!  

They do not really understand their concept of “defending Taiwan”. To them Taiwanese need the West to help to be able to practise democracy. And the Communist Party of China is but an evil force that would bring disasters to Taiwanese. It is all rubbish, but the undiscerning lot in the West will swallow it hook, line and sinker. Three things the West’s political leaders simply do not want to see: (a) a strong China, (b) a China governance model that may ultimately unmask the adequacy of Western form of democracy and capitalism, and (c) the possibility of losing access to Taiwan's electronic chips. Do they really love Taiwan and will die for Taiwan? Come on, go and tell this to a child. If China’s success is also anchored on Western democracy today, it will also be subject to Western jealousies, unless it is prepared to be subservient to the hegemony of their Tai-kor (Big Brother) US. Remember Toshiba and Alstrom?

Therefore, what China should simply do is to keep politically and diplomatically very aloof to the West; On events or intentions like that of Pelosi’s, just say this in their face:

 

Remember your commitment to the One-China policy and your acknowledgement that Taiwan is a province of China? The [said] attempt is an outright interference of our internal policy. Stay out. We will do what we think is appropriate. Period.

With the Western press, and also Nikkei, you don’t have to be nice.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Human Rights Compared, the need for a White Paper

Anti-China bashers – Political leaders, journalists, pseudo academics and thinkers, and paid Sabre rattlers from the West, Japan and in the less-informed world – often cite China’s “record” in human rights as a cause of their championship. Of course, political leaders have agenda, even though many of them are stupid, or outright ignorant of the world beyond theirs. But journalists, and academics and thinkers are supposed to look for truths. I suppose many of them, for the former category, are really simply too lazy to learn or check, and for the latter, too intellectually inadequate to discern. After all, they have CNN, BBC, Nikkei, The Economist, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, etc to fall back on if they are questioned about their sources.

Typically, the hypocrisy or disinformation at the moment is about the forced labour and genocide claims in Xinjiang and the protests in Hong Kong, Soon, once these political leaders and pseudo thinkers will also shift their radar to Tibet. New accusations will surely be hurled.

Joe Biden has described Xi Jinping as a thug. He has to ask himself on that basis has he formed that conclusion? From one of the many thinktanks in America? Or from all the prejudices he has built up over the years? Ditto all the wild claims of Nancy Pelosi, and virtually all the leaders in both sides of the US’s political divide. Ditto in Europe and the UK.

I understand about 80% of the people in the regions that I have mentioned view China or Chinese negatively. This is to be expected, given the fake news that they have been fed since the new cold war began. In some respects, I also blamed China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They did play into these detractors’ hands. I also blamed the greediness and pompousness of the Chinese nouveau riche in and outside the country. Their behaviours do create jealousy amongst the locals or in their adopted lands.

There are many talented political analysts in both mainland China and Taiwan who hold very balanced views about the inter-Straits relationship between China and Taiwan, and the political, military, the technological developments in China, and China’s relationship with the outside world. However, their productions are all in Chinese. CGTN does do a few, but CGTN is not well heard by audiences besides ethnic Chinese.

What can or should China do?

First, China must understand that the West and Japanese do not think like them. Their logic and mindsets about values are different. Theirs are more event-specific, not in terms of overall perceptions like we Chinese tend to think. For instance, the British, American and Australian soldiers had also been humiliated by the Japanese forces during World War II. But today, they are largely events to commemorate without much rancour in many cities in these countries. We Chinese are different, we remember the atrocities committed by the Japanese and if they have not genuinely expressed remorse, Japan will one day rise again to commit the same thing. Likewise, the deliberate exterminations of natives in Canada, the US and Australia have largely been forgiven, since they have been “acknowledged.” They were deemed as isolated incidents. Similarly, the misdeeds and cruelties committed by Europeans and Americans during their colonial and slave-master heydays are to them “historical” and do not warrant repeated reminders or even mentions. Chinese, on the other hand, view all these as culturally ingrained, and though their attitude appears benignant at the moment, will certainly turn malignant when opportunities present themselves. (Two school of philosophical thoughts in China: One, humans are born san; and the other, humans are born er.) It is not difficult for Chinese to form the opinion that the West and Japanese belong to the latter category. Chinese believe in slogging hard to earn its place; the West plundered to build their wealth and expand their empires. (The introduction of opium to China is a case in point.) The Japanese think they are genetically and culturally superior to Chinese and Koreans, even though they are basically of the same stock.

Perceptions can be corrected, but it is a long haul. But there is always a first step.

China should document FACTUALY AND OBJECTIVELY the genocides, slavery, cruelties and atrocities committed by the West and Japan over since colonialization began until today – right from the Spanish cruelties in the New World, to Europeans’ plundering of resources in Africa, India and other colonies, and the enslavement of Africans therefrom, to the extermination of natives in America, Canada and Australia by immigrants from Europe, and the forced removal of aboriginal children from their parents in these countries, to the atrocities of the Japanese (many volumes can be compiled on this alone), to America’s carpet bombings of Vietnam and Laos and liquidations of country leaders and massacres like Agent Orange and My Lai, and to the more recent cruelties or murders in Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp, Syria, Iraq, of Iranian leaders. The world should also not forget the white lies that are spewed even by statemen-like Colin Powell.

All the accounts should be expressed in SIMPLE but GOOD English, Spanish, French Arabic, and Indonesian, and disseminated to every part of the world – to serve as a reminder what the West and Japan have done to their people and country.

Second, China should continue to inform the world what they have done to alleviate poverty and to improve the life of people in Xinjiang and Tibet – again all in languages that can be understood by as many as possible in the world.

Third, China should openly invite them to take a first-hand look at situations in Xinjiang and Tibet. There is no need to hide the retention or reeducation camps from them. In these camps, the host should show pictures of what the West have done to contrast. And they MUST not forget to place a giant mirror for them to take a look at themselves before they enter the briefing room. (There is no need to invite the media people from Japan. They know too well what is really the truth in China. Their political leaders and Nikkei just love to polish the West’s apples.)

Do not be DEFENSIVE, that is where the Western journalist are very good at in flooring you.

Birth right to accuse - like what the West have been doing for ages - can be eliminated - if all of us make a concerted effort to expose hypocrisy. 

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Growing Old: Fragilities In Spite of Good Health

I had some tough days during the past couple of weeks. Out of the blue, my heel flap developed inflammation. I felt some discomfort with my two legs during my usual morning and evening walks but did not think much of it. On July 1, I used a mirror to take a look; a small break had already happened near the joint of the grafted skin. It started to grow. A week or so later, I consulted a GP. He did not think it was serious. Another week passed; we decided to see another GP. She also thought it was not serious. My wife was less sure.

But seeing a specialist in Melbourne is usually a long wait. I wrote to Prof Wayne Morrison who did my flap surgery 2019. I knew he had already retired and was counting on him to recommend someone whom I could consult. I did not receive any response until the office of a certain Dr Eldon Mah wrote to say that he had been requested by Prof Morrison to see me. But the earliest appointment he could give me was sometime in August.

My son Shen-Yang was also unhappy with my condition based on what he saw from the picture of the wound I sent over. He wrote to his former mentor and now dear friend Prof Owen White to ask if he could help. Owen was kind enough to arrange for Dr Graeme Southwick of the Melbourne Institute of Plastic Surgery to immediately see him.

By the time Dr Southwick saw me, the wound has already grown to quite an ugly state. He ordered X-ray, ultra-sonar and some other lab tests to be done without delay. The wound was cleaned and dressed in bandage. I was advised not to apply pressure to the wounded part, which meant I could only tiptoe around. A week later, the wound turned even uglier. Dr Southwick had already left for his holiday in Paris; however, he had arranged for his colleague Dr Morris Ritz to attend to me in lieu. Dr Ritz ordered a further need – biopsy – to see if there were other potential causes.

Compounding to my discomfort, and my wife’s anxiety, another incident happened.

Ihad been having issues with my tear ducts for some years. Especially in more humid weathers or conditions, I tended to tear a great deal, giving the impression that I was weeping much of the time! I had already booked to have a surgery done with Melbourne’s Dr Chen Yi some two years ago. But the pandemic put paid to the appointment. When I returned in April, I contacted his clinic and he was happy to operate on me on 29 July.

Despite the condition of my heel flab, my wife and I thought I should keep the tear duct surgery appointment. All went well without drama at first.

In the small hours of that night, I began to feel that fresh blood was dripping down my throat and nostrils. When the flow became alarming, I reluctantly gave Dr Chen a call. He urged me to go to the Eye & Ear Hospital for emergency attention. By the time I reached there, they have already been informed by Dr Chen and a young lady doctor promptly did all the necessary to stem the oozing. My wife and I were comfortably rested in a room. Next morning, a young ENT specialist by the name of Dr Nuwan Dharmawardana followed up on what the earlier doctor had done. He had the burst blood vessel cauterized and I was allowed to go home.

Fortunately, my flap wound started to show signs of healing. I kept the appointments we had with both Dr Ritz and Dr Mah. Both were happy to see the improvement to the condition of the heel flab.

It was indeed a traumatic time for my wife.

At my age, I am more philosophical. Life is a journey, and I have already done and enjoyed much of it. Fear is the last thing I want my loved ones to feel for me.

In the Aftermath of Pelosi’s Visit: A Piece of Advice to China…

I was thoroughly dismayed by the reaction of China on the US Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Visit to Taiwan in early August.

It was all threats of consequences before the visit, but after her plane actually touched down, what China did and is still doing now are a farce – protests, military drills, and exercises around Taiwan, sanctioning of Pelosi, restricting the importation of certain Taiwan produce, and getting some friendly leaders to condemn the visit. Do all these matter to the US?

They do not even create a small ripple in the US, let alone expecting them to change their attitude.

I think China should stop all these inconsequential and embarrassing actions.

The No 1 lesson to be learned is this: Stop trusting the American leaders totally and absolutely.

China has been saying that America is always saying one thing and doing another. Yet, they continue to be nose-led by the US when it comes to meetings between the leaders. Biden would say, Xi, I want TO speak with you, and Xi will certainly oblige. And all the old lines would be repeated in their respective announcements after the meeting.

Henceforth, Yang Jiechi and Wang Yi should stop taking Jake Sullivan and Antony Blinken’s call.

Lesson No 2: Send all the MoF spokespersons to a refresher course on Sun-tze.

    Sun-tze tells us how to win a war without having to fight battles, or win a battle without to sacrifice any soldier. You do not show your cards to your enemy; you keep them guessing. You bid your time and strike only when you are ready. Springing surprises are a sure way of throwing your enemy off balance. All very basic, yet spokespersons like Zhao Lijian seem to forget.

What China must not do…

    One of the immediate measures China did was to stage big military drills and exercises around Taiwan. That is fine. But what I found very embarrassing is the brags their media are now throwing to the world. They look very Mickey-mousy. Who is taking them seriously? Only the Taiwanese fishermen maybe. (The missiles might land on them, some said!) You only give the Western world and Japan an opportunity to ridicule your silliness.

    The other is the immediate ban on some of Taiwan’s agricultural produce – in the name of health concerns. How silly can this be? Go ahead by all means to punish the Taiwanese leaders if you can. But you must not further alienate the Taiwanese masses, 70% of whom do not want to come under China at the moment. (50 years of somewhat benevolent rule by Japan has already Nipponised the natively born Taiwanese.)

What should China do instead?

Stop all the unnecessary and awkward repeats of those “sovereignty, territorial integrity, our internal affairs, and the likes” chest-thumping talks and do the following:

(a) Downgrade diplomatic ties to that of the charge d'affaires Level

(b) Instruct all Chinese officials to adopt aloofness in all levels and spheres of Interactions with America.

And march confidently forward with its Belt-and-Road initiatives, scientific, technological and military capabilities and economic and societal transformations (Xi's way of Kung-tze'ism) but make these pledges to the world…

(i) Total commitment to the One-Country-Two-Systems, regardless of the mode of reunification that will finally eventuate.

(ii) Assurance that no country will be deprived of chips when Taiwan returns to the fold of China.

(iii) Preparedness to share the resources of the South China Sea with its ASEAN neighbours.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

China's Response to Pelosi's Taiwan Visit, Before and After

To those who love China, Nancy Pelosi must be the most hated person in their minds now.

Indeed, rationally speaking, there is no good reason for her to visit Taiwan. Her intention was nothing but to provoke China. She has been an incessant China-basher since the Tiananmen days. Any good to her political career or legacy? I am afraid there is very little. She is almost certain to be out as Speaker of the US’s House of Representative in a couple of months when Americans go to the poll for their mid-term elections. It is unlikely the Democrats can hold on to their majority in the House.

Joe Biden and his Democratic Party leaders have simply run out of ideas about how to turn their fortune around. The economy is a state of disarray; even Yellen and Powell are engaging in self-denials. They seem to believe that provoking China is the only way to turn the tide. But many polls seem to tell us otherwise, despite all their efforts to demonise China. Yes, Americans do not like China, but it is not their primary concern now.

This does not bother me, since this is America’s politics. You reap what you sow.

But China’s response is bothering me, especially its spokespeople and champions, official or semi-official.

When news broke out that this crazy woman (from the mouth of Donald Trump) MIGHT visit Taiwan, all hell began to break loose in Chinese media. Threats sprang up from everywhere. Watch out, we will do everything to whack you if it happens seems to be the standard battle cry. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs icon Zhao Lijian again repeated the same silly lines: (a) We resolutely oppose external forces’ interference with our internal affairs, (b) We will do everything to safeguard our territorial integrity, and (c) The US and the pro-Independence forces in Taiwan must take full responsibility for their actions. My questions are:

(1) Who cares about your opposition? This is not a debate, is it?

(2) What can you do?

(3) Taking full responsibility? What does that mean? And so what?

 

Spokespersons like Zhao Lijian love to do chest-thumping. Such acts do appeal to audiences internally and to ethnic Chinese all over the world. But they are usually received with contempt by the West’s and pro-West journalist provocateurs, who are instrumental in shaping men-in-the-street opinions and perceptions globally – by virtue of the formidable might of their dissemination infrastructure.

When Pelosi’s plane flew in via the eastern waters of the Philippines in the evening of August 2, China did scramble a few jets to do a token show. But they possessed no threat to the plane at all. I suppose she did not even know it happened. When the plane landed on the tarmac, it was clear that China had to eat its humble pie. Strong threats turned into whimpers. Pelosi made her point and earned herself a medal from Tsai Ing-wen!

The sceptics of Chinese rhetoric echo: There I told you; this is China’s NATO – No Action, Talk Only! And to ethnic Chinese all over the world, what China has responded so far is a big let-down. (As a Westerner has suggested, at least China should break its diplomatic ties (or bring it to a chargé d'affaires level) with the US, or seize Jin-men (Kinmen) or Peng-hu islands as a show of resolve. (Shooting down Pelosi’s plane, however, was a harebrain proposition.) Military drills and exercises that are now taking place around Taiwan are not going to serve any purpose; they are just like the temple ceremonies one usually sees in the more traditional pockets of East and Southeast Asia where Chinese are a dominant community – firecrackers and in-trance Daoist priests or mediums dancing to the beat of the loud drums and the cymbals.

I am extremely proud of my heritage, but I am in despair over the way the Chinese officials are behaving now. President Xi has done a great deal for China. I believe he will be remembered as a sage ruler Chinese history sees probably once in three to four hundred years. (The last maybe is the founder of the Ming dynasty – Chu Yen-zhang.)

Militarily China might be able to fight the Americans and their allies if the latter intervene in China’s attempt to rein in Taiwan by force today. But they know this is totally undesirable at the moment. It will stall the progress of China’s economic well-being and aggravate the hatred many Taiwanese have on Mainland China, just like how the Ukrainians are feeling towards Russians now, even though they are of the same stock.

China is home to the military genius of Sun-tze. They know so much about the art of war. Why can’t they practise Sun-tze? Sun-tze shows you ways to prepare for a war, how to win a battle without fighting, etc. Springing surprises is one key ingredient of Sun-tzeism. When you know you are not ready, you must stay aloof or lie low, and keep the enemy guessing. After you have lulled them into complacency or a state when they have run out of ammunitions or substances to provoke, you STRIKE! That moment for China will certainly come – perhaps when its GDP is two or three times that of the US’s. And bringing back Taiwan at that time is just like taking a walk in the park.

As for governing China, the philosophy of Kung-tze, which Xi seems to be following is the right way to sustain a long CPC “dynasty.” (Many Western journalists think that Xi has ordered a tough stance in this incident because he is politically vulnerable domestically. This is rubbish; they simply do not understand China and Chineseness. Chinese believe in Heaven-and-Earth Order. Once a leader is given a mandate, his authority is more or less absolute. Emperors have never been forced to abdicate, unless he has courted the wrath of Heaven (for neglecting the plight of the masses or engaging in non-virtuous activities). Remember Lee Kuan Yew, or even Tsai Ing-wen? Had anyone dared challenge Lee when he was in power? And despite Tsai’s mediocrity (and her somewhat questionable PhD), has she ever been in danger of being brought down? That’s Chineseness.

Mr Wang Yi, do get rid of spokespersons like Zhao Lijian, and enlist professional help to champion or explain China’s cause to the non-Chinese world. 

Sunday, July 17, 2022

A Taste of the Gallbladder

 A Taste of the Gallbladder (吃苦)

We Chinese often hear of the term “吃苦(chī kǔ), which literally mean “eat bitter”. Chinese language, unlike English, is not grammatically rigid. An “activity” term can also be used to describe a “virtue”. I am no expert, but I believe it is one of the virtues that has shaped Chinese DNA for millennia and generations.

Chi ku means the all-out preparedness to slog hard for one’s future – it can be one’s own future, but it can also be one’s next generations’ future, or it can also be the future of the nation.

I really do not know how this term has originated, but having had an interest in Chinese history, I always believe it has to do with an idiom. The origin of this idiom, I suspect, is based on a historical fact that happened during the dying days of the Spring & Autumn period of the Chinese history.

The idiom is: 卧薪尝胆

In 496 BC, near the end of the Spring & Autumn Era of the Chinese history, He Lu [阖闾], the King of the State of Wu[], invaded the State of Yue, but was soundly beaten by the king of Yue Gou Jian [勾践]. Helu was fatally injured and before his death he urged his son Fucha [夫差] to avenge his loss.

After two years of preparation, Fu Cha’s army defeated Gou Jian. Gou Jian contemplated suicide, but a trusted minister Wen Zhong [文种] advised against it and suggested to him to bribe a key, but vulnerable to corruption, minister in the Wu court for him to have an audience with the King of Wu, pledging that Gou Jian’s total subserviency.

Wu’s key minister, Wu Zixu [伍子胥], was totally against the suggestion, saying that Gou Jian would bid his time and make a comeback. But the Wu king thought Yue was already a spent force and agreed to the surrender. Gou Jian brought his wife to serve in Wu and won the trust of Fu Cha.

Three years later, Gou Jian returned to Yue. In his room, he hanged the gallbladder of an animal and every morning, he would bring himself to have a taste of it. He also lived a very simple and exemplary life. After ten years of hard slog, he has rebuilt his army to be sufficiently strong. In the meantime, the king of Wu was going everywhere to exert hegemony. But his people are suffering. It had already started to show decline.  


In 482 BC, Fu Cha was in a campaign to battle for supremacy with the State of Jin [], Gou Jian launched a surprise attack and dealt a big blow to Wu and later sued for peace. Although it was granted, Gou Jian in 473BC launched a second attack and finished Wu. Fu Cha committed suicide.  

I have never tasted any gallbladder myself. But I heard it is ultra-bitter in taste.

Biden should know this is China's invincible weapon!


Wednesday, June 22, 2022

The Most Venomous Snake in the Universe

Jonathan David, who is the editor in chief or Everything Reptiles, gives a list of very venomous snakes and rank them as follows:

01.    The Eastern Brown Snake

02.    Mainland Tigersnake

03.    Inland Taipan

04.    Russell’s Viper

05.    Blue Krait

06.    Boomslang

07.    Mojave Rattlesnake

08.    Stiletto Snake

09.    Saw-Scaled Viper

10.    King Cobra

11.    Coastal Taipan

12.    Banded Krait

13.    Common Death Adder

14.    Beaked Sea Snake

15.    Black Mamba

16.    Chinese Copperhead

17.    South American Bushmaster

18.    Fer-De-Lance

19.    Blecher’s Sea Snake

20.    Blue Malaya Coral Snake

But he might have missed out the most venomous snake in the universe: Nikkei Asia of Japan.

The following screenshots I took from Facebook, which stretched only for a few days, speak volumes of its venom towards China. Regrettably many have been lured into giving the paper a thumbs-up.