Absurdity, Allegory and China

The Kingdom from another angle.

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Of interest: February 10, 2010

February 10th, 2010 · No Comments

Below are links to some of the sites I’ve visited (and revisited) this past week which may be of interest to others.

Never short a country with $2 trillion in reserves?: Michael Pettis, China Financial Markets.

  • “We must be careful how we read history. The fact that the US and Japan had terrible decades following periods during which they had amassed levels of reserves that China has subsequently matched, and under conditions similar to those of China, does not necessarily mean that China too must have a lost decade or two.”

Internet Censorship in China and Human Rights: Stanley Lubman in the WSJ China Real Time Report

  • “The Internet’s entertainment value aside, it plays a considerable and growing role in spreading information and opinions that do not appear in traditional media. In the face of the government’s commitment to censorship and frequent invocation of nationalism, how might the Internet evolve in China? At the moment, it expresses the chaos of competing values that currently marks Chinese society, and no one can predict what China will be like, say, a decade from now.”

Liu Xiaobo: I Have No Enemies: My Final Statement: Liu, one of the drafters of Charter 08, was sentenced to 11 years in prison on Christmas Day in Beijing. This link is to a translation. For the original Chinese version go here.)

  • “Simply for expressing divergent political views and taking part in a peaceful and democratic movement, a teacher loses his podium, a writer loses the right to publish, and a public intellectual loses the chance to speak publicly, which is a sad thing, both for myself as an individual, and for China after three decades of reform and opening up. Thinking about it, my most dramatic experiences after June Fourth [1989] have all linked with courts; the two opportunities I had to speak in public have been provided by trials held in the People’s Intermediate Court in Beijing, one in January 1991 and one now. Although the charges on each occasion were different, they were in essence the same, both being crimes of expression.”

Chinese farms cause more pollution than factories, says official survey: Jonathan Watts, Asia environmental correspondent at the Guardian.

  • “While the high figure for rural pollution is partly explained by the immense size of China’s agricultural sector, it also reflects the country’s massive dependency on artificial farm inputs such as fertilisers.”

Cyber Warriors: James Fallows at the Atlantic.

  • “China has hundreds of millions of Internet users, mostly young. In any culture, this would mean a large hacker population; in China, where tight control and near chaos often coexist, it means an Internet with plenty of potential outlaws and with carefully directed government efforts, too.”

The Triumph of Madame Chiang: Jonathan Spence in the NYRB reviews Hannah Pakula’s The Last Empress: Madame Chiang Kai-shek and the Birth of Modern China

  • “From late 1948 until January 1950 Mme Chiang was in the United States again,and thus was not at Chiang’s side to try to stem the tide of Communist victory, or to help organize the final retreat of the Nationalist forces to Taiwan. When she finally returned to Taiwan, the new order of US priorities was shown by the fact that for the first time she had to pay for her own plane ticket.”

[Help], [Help], [Help] the Police!: Brendan O’Kane’s music rant and review of the NYT”s Hip-hop in China from a year ago, just because it and the comments it generated should still be read. bokane.org

  • “This is horseshit. The angry Chinese rap I’ve heard is generalized teenage angst with no attempt at social commentary. The most “daring” rap I’ve heard is predicated on schoolboy puns about smoking pot. And while I no longer make much of an attempt to follow the music scene here, I am familiar with the bands discussed in the NYT piece.”

Tags: weekly review

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