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Why why oh why?

December 9, 2008

I am hardly a full on tree hugging hippy but I do like to think that we live in a world filled with incredible natural beauty and have some duty to look after it.

This just makes me very very sad indeed and whilst I realise that China is not the only offender in the world when it comes to things like this, China is hardly leading the way either.

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One great advantage of the Chinese government is that they have tremendous power and great momentum when they wish to get things done so I am posting this in the hope others will pick up on it.

With a bit of luck the Chinese government will institute enormous fines and punishments for anyone killing wild birds and stop the practice.

Come on- we’ve all heard of ‘killing the rooster to scare the monkeys’* but this is one step too far.

*杀鸡给猴看 shaji gei houkan is an old Chinese proverb usually meaning to meet out an exemplary punishment literally killing a rooster to scare the monkeys. Anyone considering committing a crime in China would be very wise to get familiar with this concept first.

** Image from Daily Telegraph http://www.telegraph.co.uk

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3 comments

  1. Hello,

    I am a Chinese American living in the States visiting your blog. I’m not a supporter of the Chinese Communist Party, but at the same time, I’m not exactly a big fan of America or any other Western liberal country either. I guess you could call me a more “traditional” Chinese nationalist who believes in the principles of corporatism, national syndicalism, and non-interventionism that’s just short of isolationism.

    When it comes down to it, I view you and your blog the same way you view China, with a mixture of both respect and open hostility/dislike. On one hand, you’re quite knowledgable about Chinese culture, language, business, and politics, in addition to actually having travelled over there, unlike the majority of people who bash China. But on the other hand, you are quite condescending towards Chinese people, marking them as “crybabies” along with a few other choice words. While I can’t say that I like or agree with your views much(from what I’ve seen you write), I also have a certain degree of respect for you as well. And since the pendulum swings both ways, it is my hope that through this message, we can get past the ambivalence and understand each other a bit better. Some things I’ll agree with you on and others, not so much.

    First of all, Chinese people being “crybabies” over perceived insults is something you mentioned. While it is true the Chinese populace has gotten up in arms, there are a few things you need to take into consideration. In non-democratic countries, it’s often easier for governments to stir the flames of nationalism and hostility rather than want to sit down and have discussions. Heck, I’ll admit that I don’t completely consider this to be a bad thing, since such government influence can be good in certain cases. China is not a liberal democracy like in the US where people peacefully take to the streets and debate in an open forum. China doesn’t work that way so in this case, you can’t completely blame it on the Chinese people as simply being “crybabies.” The CCP, in part, is what’s influencing them to act this way. It’s really no different than any other country stirring up patriotic or national sentiment against what they perceive to be a common enemy.

    However, I will concede that China did overreact a lot of Axl Rose’s new album. He’s a washed up rock star and there really was no need to get worked up over some crappy album that was over a decade late in production. Still, there was a reason behind China overreacting. With all the heat China’s been taking lately over the Olympics, the melanin, etc., it’s likely to get a little heated over these things, especially when the heat’s coming from Western governments whom China also views through ambivalent lens of admiration and distrust.

    Call me a conspiracy theorist(which I’m not), but I believe the majority of China-bashing has to do with power and how the West views China’s rise as a threat to its own economic and political influence. America and the EU can attack China all it wants about human rights, but in the end, the whole concept of human rights is a relative and a new concept that only began in the late 1940s after Allied countries felt guilty over not stopping the Jews from being gassed. Since then, the West has tried to expand its sphere of influence through the use of “human rights” and “spreading freedom” as a way to gain more political control over their former colonies. China’s lasted over thousands of years without any form of “human rights” and it did just fine. Now, this is not to say that I think killing people for random or minor offenses is a great thing. But in the end, every culture and every civilization has its own standards of morality and order. And China should only implement laws based on their own cultural norms, not on faulty UN doctrines that never get enforced anyways(just look at Sudan, Kosovo, etc.).

    As for the Tibet thing, that’s also an issue that gets popped up from time to time. But I can tell you that even if China does become a democracy, there’s still not going to be any chance of Tibet going free. England and France are both democracies but do you see England granting freedom to the Welsh or the French giving independence to the Basques? Or better yet, the Americans giving independence to any Native Americans? I’ll admit that Tibet wasn’t always part of China, but frankly, it is now and there’s no changing that. The truth of the matter is that China’s conquest of Tibet is a modern day example of tribal conquest where one larger tribe conquers a smaller, bordering tribe with people of a similar racial and cultural stock. The Incans and Aztecs both did it when building their empires but today, do you see any Western activists demanding that the Incans and Aztecs apologize for the people they conquered? Nope. And look at the Cherokees. They became one of the most dominant tribes in the Southeast and it wasn’t because they were a peace-loving people who sat around the campfire singing hippie songs. They were an aggressive tribe of people who subjugated, warred against, and conquered/assimilated other tribes into their own just as China’s down with its own minorities. The only thing China’s guilty of is bad timing when it retook Tibet in the 20th Century during the age of information when armed conquest was becoming increasingly unpopular. Russia’s conquered many different tribes in the 1800s when it expanded eastward, destroying many different Turkic and Tungid peoples but today, we hardly hear about them because nobody knows who they are(and because they don’t have as charismatic of a leader as the Dalai Lama). All I have to say in conclusion is that conquered ethnic/indigenous/tribal people exist in every country, not just China. It’s absurd that China receives all the attention over Tibet when every other country’s done roughly the same to indigenous people before.

    The picture you have up there is an interesting one for sure. I consider myself to be an environmentalist as well, but at the same time, I realize different cultures have different ways of viewing animals and the environment. What I want is for China to adapt sustainable development that helps both the people and the environment. Trying to shame China into changing never works in the long run. It only inflames people in the long run when the real solution is to have meaningful discussions that lead to change for the long-run. I’m sure you’ve seen all the “Stop China from killing cats and dogs!” activist groups out there labelling us as uncivilized barbarians. Yeah, that’s a really good way to get China to reform.

    But that’s all I can really think of to say for now. I hope what I said has come across clearly to you. You’re obviously an intelligent guy who knows his way around China and it’s clear that you have the business and cultural experience to back it up, though I can’t say I agree with everything you post about China or my people. But for what it’s worth, I hope that I’ve at least found some degree of common ground with you and that we understand each other a bit better now.

    All the best,
    Menin


  2. Menin, thank you for your comment.

    I think what you say makes a lot of sense. I would hope that overwhelmingly my blog paints a positive view of China. I personally hold a very positive view of China myself.

    Sometimes I may highlight a negative event but I see this as a business and current affairs blog and I see the killing of wild birds by uneducated people a shame but is certainly not a criticism of ‘China’ as a whole.

    Some ‘Chinese netizens’ are cry babies in my opinion but my view of netizens in any country is that they are mostly illiterate and mob-motivated people who should get out a lot more. Just read the comments on You-Tube and you will see what I mean. That is not a race or nationality thing.

    I have pointed out that many Chinese take criticism badly but as a business blog I feel that this is important to do so that western visitors may actually moderate their behaviour and be polite to their hosts or business partners. Upsetting people never helped anyone make money or friends.

    I do not ever plan to make comments about politics or internal affairs in this blog. This is not the place. I have studied Chinese history in some depth and I know enough to know that I do not wish to hold a strong opinion any way.

    I am not a sell out or a shill, but i do have respect for China and genuinely have no wish to comment on internal affairs.

    I will moderate or delete any comment with overtly anti-China sentiment regarding politics or the usual forbidden subjects. This is not the place for it and there are plenty of blogs out there where people can vent if they so wish.

    I certainly do not think that anywhere in this blog do I display open hostility or dislike of China. You are of course, entitled to an opinion though and I will take that on board.

    90% of all posts will be business related- even the post of Guns N Roses contains what I believe is useful advice for people contemplating investing in China.

    Whether you agree with it or not the Chinese government has decided that western investment is a good thing and I believe that I have a duty to promote investment into China as well as act as a responsible corporate citizen of China. That may sometimes involve giving advice on how to deal with the challenging aspects of dealing with China. But I really mean no disrespect in doing so.


  3. I think you make quite a good point there. Like I said before, I’m a strict non-interventionist and I agree with most American non-interventionist free market libertarians that if goods and services don’t flow across the border, armies will. I won’t ever claim to be an expert on economics or business but I generally recognize that trade and investments are a good thing that benefit everyone. Though, how much trade or business should really take place is up in the air for me. Should China freely trade with everyone at the expense of their own traditions and culture? Or should they have limit some business to preserve their culture and traditions in the long run? When goods and services flow across the border, ideas also sometimes follow up. I understand the point of your blog is not to be a political one, but in other cases, Western liberal ideas could flow into China, which is not something I’d like to see happen(of course, the CCP is probably already taking care of that). What I fear is China eventually becoming so overbloated, materialistic, and decadent from suddenly amassing so many riches that the citizens stop caring about continuing their culture and lose their sense of identity and pride. I agree with you that business and investments can be a good thing, but as to how much it should take place, I’m more on the fence with that issue. It’s just a case where I’ll have to wait and see. Though, this is not at all to lambast the business you do in China because I genuinely believe you’re doing a good thing with your investments.

    And don’t worry. Even though I’m a Chinese nationalist, I’m not willing to adopt a more extreme nationalist philosophy like national socialism. Frankly, an ideology that aggressive, racialist, expansionistic, and overly militant would probably destroy Chinese society in less than 20 years just like it did Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany. I’ve studied quite a bit of history and how civilizations rise and fall so in that area, I can certainly make the claim that I know what’s best for China.

    Sincere regards,
    Menin



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