Let us Understand the Chinese - II

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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby member_19686 » 10 Dec 2013 21:44

Charles Horner, Rising China and Its Postmodern Fate: Memories of Empire in a New Global Context
Victoria Tin-bor Hui

Charles Horner, Rising China and Its Postmodern Fate: Memories of Empire in a New Global Context, Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2009, 224 pp.

2Charles Horner’s Rising China and Its Postmodern Fate addresses the hot topic of China’s claim to “peaceful rise.” Unlike other similarly titled books, it is more interested in analysing what China’s rise means for Chinese than what it means for Western militaries and economies. Horner examines how “China is seeking to assemble a set of lessons from the country’s past that can serve as a guide… for China’s return to prominence… in the world” (p. 10). He critically assesses lessons that are learned and lessons that are not learned.

3Chinese leaders have recently advocated “the revival of Chinese civilisation” as “the profound substance of China’s peaceful development” (p. 168). Such a call for return to tradition may seem ordinary in the postmodernist world. But the new official line in fact represents a dramatic turnaround from the earlier understanding of Chinese civilisation as the source of all ills among Chinese elites, from the May Fourth era to the Maoist era.

4In Horner’s analysis, the most un-Chinese period of Chinese history is the People’s Republic. Marxist-Leninist-Maoism was so Western and “so radical a departure from everything that had come before” (p. 3) that “China and the PRC are not the same thing” (p. 197). The abandonment of Maoist radicalism along with the doctrine of People’s War makes the path of peaceful rise a “possibility” (p. 137). But such a future does not naturally follow from Chinese history.

5It is difficult to predict the future based on the past partly because the past itself has been moulded and remoulded to serve the present and the future. “China once interpreted its own past in the light of yesterday’s failures, but now it is coming to a new appreciation of its past in the light of today’s successes” (p. 100). To better understand rising China’s place in the world, Chinese are looking back to the heydays of the Yuan and Ming dynasties. The Yuan dynasty, once treated as an era of “failed sinification” (p. 24), is now praised for its integration into a world system. The Ming dynasty, once viewed as an era of “isolation” (pp. 11, 38), is now praised for its budding commercial revolution and even deeper integration with the global economy. The Zheng He fleets, in particular, are glorified as the symbol of China’s peaceful rise.

6Horner argues that there are uncomfortable history lessons that should not be glossed over. During the “Pax Mongolica,” China was “part of someone else’s empire” (p. 185). At the same time, “the Rising China of the Great Khan provides… an intriguing example of the potential for imperial aggrandizement of a China-based regime” (p. 32). During “Ming-era Rising China,” the Zheng He fleets engaged in “gunboat diplomacy” (p. 50) very much “like any other imperialist power” (p. 53), even though they made no territorial conquests.

7Horner highlights that Qing history is even more “subversive” (p. 59) and “downright dangerous to the men who run China today” (p. 78). The Qing dynasty is still denounced for bringing “humiliation” to China (p. 12). Yet, during the “Pax Manjurica” in the eighteenth century, Manchu emperors “added close to a million square miles to the China proper that the Ming dynasty had ruled” (p. 56). Not unlike Mongol conquests, Manchu conquests were “understood not… as the enlargement of China as such, but rather as the accretion of ever more and diverse holdings in the Manchus’ imperial portfolio” (p. 58). The New Qing History also shows that the Manchu court did not engage in systematic sinicisation; rather, it maintained a unique Manchu identity. In ruling a vast multiethnic empire, the Qing provides “a model of success that presupposes a cosmopolitan, not a nationalist, outlook, a view that is tolerant, ecumenical, pluralist, and decentralized, not one that is overbearing, racialist, and chauvinistic” (p. 58).

8Even the Late Qing is not as hopelessly irredeemable as it is depicted in the nationalist narrative. Horner observes that reformers then “saw wealth and power deriving not only from economic development but also from people participating in local government and assuming political responsibility” (p. 78). The author thus wonders “if Sun Yat-sen had not carried out his revolution, the late Qing rulers might have… naturally developed a democratic system without the chaos and bloodshed brought by revolution” (p. 59).

9While the Qing, Republican, and Communist regimes failed one after another at bringing modernity to China, Deng Xiaoping’s reforms have finally delivered the Chinese dream of catching up with the West.

10But what happens after success? Horner believes that China cannot escape the same spectre of postmodernism that has haunted the Soviet Union and that will surely haunt the United States—or the same interaction between yin and yang that has characterised Chinese history. Thus, the very success at generating power and wealth has also “planted inside the country the seeds of its possible undoing” (p. 194). Rapid economic growth has corroded unity and brought about a de facto scenario of “one country, many systems” (p. 175). In wealthy cities, there is “a dangerously fine line” between the modern and the decadent (p. 142). Even the countryside is “in great disarray” (p. 120).

11Does this mean that China observers will soon discuss the rise and decline of China? Citing Douglas North, Horner advises Beijing to allow “open-access political markets” as well as “open-access commercial markets” (p. 165). Such a formula is as Western as it is Chinese, for the Late Qing left behind “a set of blueprints for the recovery of… grandeur in the twenty-first century,” that is, the creation of “an active citizenry” by “a system legitimized by the vote of the people” (p. 79). As this proposal calls on the current leadership “to accelerate its own subversion today in the service of China’s national greatness tomorrow” (p. 165), it is difficult to predict how China’s postmodern fate will turn out.

12Rising China and Its Postmodern Fate brings together updated and pertinent secondary historical works to offer a sweeping analysis of China’s rise in historical perspective. It is written in highly accessible language and should appeal to general readers as well as college students.

http://chinaperspectives.revues.org/5319

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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby member_19686 » 22 Mar 2014 21:19

Chinese propaganda posters:

http://chineseposters.net/

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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby Bharath.Subramanyam » 23 Mar 2014 06:12

Recently my friend, who designs parts & does material strength analysis for a very small farm equipment company had an interesting story to tell. My friend is in US Midwest. The US company sources things from India & China. He felt India is costly and doesn't provide quality material. They say something but deliver something else (chalta hai attitude).

The US company is slowly moving to China manufacturers. The manufacturer from China came to US for discussion. But a govt official from China also came along. Very strange. The govt official sat at all business meetings.


Has any body else seen this behavior (govt officials as part of Chinese business delegations) ?

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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby TSJones » 23 Mar 2014 07:11

^^^^^^^^^^^A lot of chinese businesses get support from the government......everything from strict labor control of wages to land lease and building leases and incremental tax deductions and loans.....remember, it's totalitarian capitalism......everything is top down hierarchy driven in china......especially for targeted industries they are particulary interested in.

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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby gashish » 23 Mar 2014 08:04

^
One example (based on my experience) is the chinese automotive sector.Govt has paid special attention to developing of auto market.

The auto sector is booming here and has been so for years. In terms of volume, it is much bigger than India (~20million cars sold per year versus India's 2-3million) and, probably, now as big as the US (in terms of volume).

The sector has huge government presence thru JVs with foreign brands (Shanghai VW, Shanghai GM, Dongfeng Nissan etc), who have made huge profits here over a decade. However, most of the JVs tend to be controlled by Chinese management. So lot of profits are also made by the "middle-men" whose only value-add in the value chain is "Guanxi"- right connections in the network (read govt.) At the end of the day, average consumer partially pays for the inefficiencies in the chain, while the rest by 1st/2nd tier suppliers who get shafted.

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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby member_19686 » 25 Mar 2014 18:38

The Chairman and the Emperor: Historiography of Qin Shi Huang in the late Cultural Revolution Period: 1971-1976


“[A] great, demonic, prescient overwhelming personality,” were the words used by the American National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger in describing Mao Zedong.
1
Kissinger then reached into Chinese history to compare the omnipotent Chairman to QinShi Huang
2
, the first emperor of China. Indeed, the similarities are obvious even for a person with cursory knowledge of Chinese history. After many years of chaos, a hero emerges to unite all of China, and, once in power, that leader uses state violence and intimidation to implement his radical polices. Indeed, Qin Shi Huang [259-210 BCE],the first emperor who unified China in 221 BCE, and Mao Zedong [1893-1976 CE], the founder of the contemporary People’s Republic of China, have been compared almost from the outset of Mao’s rule...

http://www.academia.edu/1075006/The_Cha ... _1971-1976


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticize_ ... _Confucius

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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby member_19686 » 29 Mar 2014 17:12

People always condemn Emperor Qin Shihuang for burning books and burying alive Confucian scholars, and list these as his greatest crimes. However, I think he killed too few Confucians. That is why his successor Emperor Qin The Second lost the rule of the world. Those Confucian scholars were indeed counterrevolutionaries.

- Mao, 1969

Please, Sir, don't you slander Emperor Qin Shihuang
The event of burning books should be reevaluated.
The Ancestral dragon though dead his spirit lives on.
Confucius though renowned was really garbage.
Qin's political institutions were implemented for hundreds of generations. . . .

- Mao, 1966

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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby member_19686 » 11 May 2014 22:35

From Frontier Policy to Foreign Policy: The Question of India and the Transformation of Geopolitics in Qing China

Matthew Mosca
Stanford University Press, Feb 20, 2013 - History - 408 pages

Between the mid-eighteenth and mid-nineteenth centuries, Qing rulers, officials, and scholars fused diverse, fragmented perceptions of foreign territory into one integrated worldview. In the same period, a single "foreign" policy emerged as an alternative to the many localized "frontier" policies hitherto pursued on the coast, in Xinjiang, and in Tibet. By unraveling Chinese, Manchu, and British sources to reveal the information networks used by the Qing empire to gather intelligence about its emerging rival, British India, this book explores China's altered understanding of its place in a global context. Far from being hobbled by a Sinocentric worldview, Qing China's officials and scholars paid close attention to foreign affairs. To meet the growing British threat, they adapted institutional practices and geopolitical assumptions to coordinate a response across their maritime and inland borderlands. In time, the new and more active response to Western imperialism built on this foundation reshaped not only China's diplomacy but also the internal relationship between Beijing and its frontiers.

http://books.google.ca/books?id=Zvmix_k ... navlinks_s

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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby member_19686 » 11 May 2014 23:00

Matthew W. Mosca. From Frontier Policy to Foreign Policy: The
Question of India and the Transformation of Geopolitics in Qing
China. Stanford Stanford University Press, 2013. 408 pp. $60.00
(cloth), ISBN 978-0-8047-8224-1.

Reviewed by Richard J. Smith (Rice University)
Published on H-Diplo (July, 2013)
Commissioned by Seth Offenbach

Matthew W. Mosca has made a graceful and substantial contribution to
our understanding not only of late imperial China (the expansive and
multicultural Qing Empire in particular) but also of Inner Asian
politics, the growth of "British" India, and the nature of global
interactions during the period from 1750 to 1860. His basic interest
is in the way that China's rulers, officials, and scholars
interpreted the rising power of the British in India, and how their
understanding of the unfolding geopolitical situation on China's
remote southwestern borders influenced Qing policymaking.
In the
process, he traces, as the title of his book suggests, the
transformation of China's "frontier policy"--one based on "regionally
specific" political and military strategies--into a genuine "foreign
policy," predicated on the idea of "a single hierarchy of imperial
interests framed in reference to a unified outside world" (pp. 2-3).

Ultimately, the author argues that "this shift in outlook led to a
revolution in how Qing rulers and subjects perceived their position:
no longer unique, the Qing empire became one among several large
entities locked in [international] competition" (p. 3). One may
question, however, how truly "revolutionary" this transformation
was--especially since the author's chronological framework ends at a
point where China's engagement with "modern" Western diplomacy had
just begun. From that time onward, it seems to me, there remained
significant vestiges of a "frontier" mentality on the part of many
Qing officials and even some "progressive" scholars. Perhaps the
subtitle of Mosca's conclusion--"Between Frontier Policy and Foreign
Policy"--would be a more apt description of the period covered by his
book than the actual title. Still, there can be no question that
significant changes took place during the time under discussion, and
these changes had important implications for China's foreign
relations throughout the remainder of the Qing period.

Mosca's introduction lays out with admirable clarity the
historiographical and interpretive issues that frame his study. He
addresses, for example, the debate surrounding the idea of a Chinese
"tributary system," as well as the question of the degree to which
the vast Qing Empire was truly integrated. Mosca's approach to these
issues, based on a careful analysis of Chinese policy toward British
India from the mid-eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth century, involves
judicious compromises between contending poles of scholarship.

With respect to the tributary system, for instance, he shows that in
most spheres of Qing policy toward India the formalized features and
ritual procedures associated with tribute giving had little to do
with either the decisions that were made or the actions that were
taken. But he also recognizes that tributary relationships were not
entirely irrelevant to the conduct of Qing foreign relations. His
discussion of the Anglo-Nepal War of 1814-16 sheds important light on
the way the tributary system often worked in practice, with each
party attempting to use the formalized relationship to its own
advantage.

At this particular time, the Gurkhas, as rulers of Nepal and
tributaries of the Qing, were threatened not only by the British but
also by a tribal group known as the Pileng people. The Gurkhas,
viewing their relationship to the Qing in terms of a strategic
alliance, sought assistance from the Jiaqing emperor against both
adversaries. The Qing government, however, did not credit the claims
of the Gurkhas and refused to help. In fact, the Jiaqing emperor
rebuked the Gurkhas for their narrow self-interest and their apparent
deceit, informing them that failure to deliver their tributary
products on time would be considered "treason" (_beipan_). In short,
from the Qing government's standpoint, tribute was exclusively
bilateral. As long as it was submitted on schedule, "the Qing
[rulers] would neither constrain their agreements with other states
nor [necessarily] support them in their quarrels" (p. 179). To be
sure, there were occasions when the Chinese state gave substantial
military assistance to its tributaries (notably to Korea in the late
sixteenth century), but it did so almost exclusively in defense of
its own strategic interests.

As to the issue of the degree to which the Qing Empire was
"integrated," Mosca argues that "before 1800, the Qing realm was an
amalgamation of diverse conquered peoples united by common
subordination to the same ruling house. Although the emperor and a
small cohort of high advisers had a panoramic view over the entire
domain, on the ground the administration of different regions relied
heavily on indigenous power holders following their local political
traditions" (p. 3). But around 1800, as the capabilities of the
imperial court began to diminish, networks of Han Chinese literati
(as opposed to Qing bureaucrats) eventually produced a relatively
coherent vision of the threat posed by European imperialism. They
also devised a more or less coordinated strategy for dealing with it.


Mosco's first chapter 1 ("A Wealth of Indias: India in Qing
Geographic Practice") demonstrates vividly that information about the
world beyond China's borders was abundant but extremely varied in
quality.
It is not quite correct to assert (as the author does,
probably for rhetorical effect) that in the early Qing, "Chinese
geographers had too much information about the outside world" (p.
26). It is perhaps more accurate to say that they had too much _bad_
information about the outside world, and they lacked mechanisms by
which to sort it out effectively. This produced what Mosca calls
"geographic agnosticism"--the idea that "some claims [about the
outside world] might be preferred and others doubted, but none could
be absolutely endorsed or eliminated" (p. 26).

The author goes on to recount some of the problems and confusions
that this situation produced for Qing policymakers. One of the main
difficulties was a lack of consistency in the transliteration of
foreign names. In the absence of any clear conventions, and
complicated by the problem of several different dialects (for an
example in Western transliteration, compare Beijing [Mandarin
pronunciation] and Peking [Cantonese pronunciation]), there might be
any number of names for the same place. "India," variously rendered
as Tianzhu, Shendu, Yindu, Xindu, Xindusi, Yingdiya, etc., is a case
in point.
Traditional Chinese mapmaking produced similar problems.
Although Chinese cartographers were capable of making mathematically
precise renderings of space, a great number of different types of
maps circulated in Qing times, many produced for reasons that had
little to do with calibrating precise distances or conveying accurate
proportions.

Chapter 2 ("The Conquest of Xinjiang and the Emergence of
'Hindustan,' 1756-1790") does a splendid job of recounting and
explaining Qing political and military policy in Central Asia at a
time that coincided, more or less, with the decline of the Mughal
Empire (conventional dates: 1526-1857). Mosca's discussion is
extraordinarily nuanced and, as with several other sections of the
book, it is not designed for people who describe themselves as "not
good with names." In addition to detailing military operations and
diplomatic negotiations, Mosca explains--both in this chapter and the
next ("Mapping India: Geographic Agnosticism in a Cartographic
Context")--why it was that, despite the Qianlong emperor's earnest
efforts to acquire and "synthesize" knowledge of India during the
course of his campaigns in Xinjiang (the "New Territory"), the Qing
court failed to achieve a meaningful degree of data coordination. As
Mosca puts it: "the centrifugal force of an influx of new terminology
and information overpowered even the centripetal pull of the court's
ordering efforts" (p. 70).


The great achievement of chapter 3 is its cogent analysis of the vast
surveying projects undertaken by the Qing court under the Kangxi,
Yongzheng, and Qianlong emperors. This discussion, which emphasizes
the understudied mapping projects of the Yongzheng reign, nicely
complements the cartographically oriented work of scholars such as
Laura Hostetler (_Qing Colonial Enterprise, Ethnography and
Cartography in Early Modern China_ [2001]). It also indicates with
new research both the achievements and the limitations of the Jesuit
missionaries who were employed as technicians by the Qing court. A
point of particular interest in this chapter is the way that certain
inherited assumptions about the shape of the Chinese Empire--Tibet in
particular--influenced maps of India.
Mosca asks and answers: "would
the imperially approved image of Tibet, made by trusted Qing
surveyors, yield to the latest European data? It would not" (p. 115).

Chapter 4 ("Discovering the 'Pileng': British India Seen from Tibet,
1790-1800") describes the place of Tibet in Chinese strategic
calculations at a time (the 1760s) when the British "began to eye the
Himalayas as a potential route of trade with China" (p. 129). Here we
see how the Qing government's decisive conquest of the Junghars (aka
Dzungars), which took place from 1755 to 1759, lured the Manchus into
a false sense of security. As Mosca indicates in his introduction,
"Qing policy diverged from that of its neighbors, ultimately at great
cost to its security." Why? Because after this resounding victory,
the Manchus "had a completely different perception of prevailing
geopolitical dynamics and the extent of foreign threats" (p. 9). One
of the most interesting sections in chapter 4 is Mosca's analysis of
the possible influence of the Gurkha Wars (1788-93) on the outcome of
the famous mission of Lord George Macartney to China in 1793-94.

Although the evidence is both ambiguous and contradictory, it is
possible that Lord Macartney was at least partially correct in
surmising that the negative Qing reaction to his embassy "was
conditioned by the court's knowledge of British power in India" (p.
150).

Although virtually every page of Mosca's book brings new information
to light, and in many of these pages we find sharp and valuable
insights, chapters 5 ("British India and Qing Strategic Thought in
the Early Nineteenth Century") and 6 ("The Discovery of British India
on the Chinese Coast, 1800-1838") seem particularly fresh and
illuminating. In them, Mosca examines the dramatic rise of British
power in Asia from three perspectives: the eastern seacoast, Tibet,
and Xinjiang. In the case of the China coast, Great Britain's
presence in the early nineteenth century was not only economic (as is
well known), but also military (for example, the British made two
attempts to occupy the Portuguese port of Macao). And yet, as Mosca
points out, officials in south China, including the strategically
important area of Guangzhou (aka Canton), had little interest in
learning about British India.

Meanwhile, on the Tibetan frontier, as discussed earlier, the Qing
government evinced no real concern with the British role in the
Anglo-Nepal War, and felt "no moral or strategic need to defend the
Gurkha regime by force," despite its tributary status (p. 184). The
same was true for Central Asia (Xinjiang), despite British efforts to
extend their influence into the area (for example, the so-called
Moorcroft Expedition). Mosca concludes: "Seen in Eurasian
perspective, the most striking feature of official Qing strategic
thought between 1790 and the 1830s is that it remained unaltered by
the rise of British power in Asia" (p. 191). The author ascribes this
situation less to inadequate intelligence gathering than to a lack of
centralization in the process.


Chapter 6, which more or less parallels chapter 5 chronologically,
shifts the focus of inquiry from official policies and procedures to
the new role assumed by Han literati after 1800. Here we see evidence
of the emerging "private" study of India on the maritime frontier.

Many of the names are familiar to students of nineteenth-century
Chinese history--Ruan Yuan, Chen Lunjiong, Li Zhaoluo, Li Mingche,
and Bao Shichen--but many are not, including figures such as Yan
Ruyi, Xie Qinggao, Yi Kezhong, and Xiao Lingyu. In any event, Mosca
sheds new light on their ideas and influence. Taken together the
writings of these scholars "began to corrode the three major pillars
of the frontier policy"--the uncritical accumulation of local data,
the loose link between geographic research and strategic policy
proposals, and the tendency to focus on individual cases or "units of
responsibility" rather than a broader perspective (pp. 232, 233).

Chapter 7 ("The Opium War and the British Empire, 1839-1842"), like
chapter 6, covers familiar territory, but again presents new
perspectives. Here, Commissioner Lin Zexu naturally looms large, but
the emphasis, to a much greater extent than in previous
Western-language studies of the man, is on the remarkable and
previously underappreciated mechanisms of intelligence gathering
during the first Opium War. Of particular interest in this chapter is
the author's description of Commissioner Lin's efforts to acquire
information from China's southern and western frontiers. "By 1842,"
Mosca writes, "lines of intelligence gathering using multiple sources
in different places had underscored India's key role in British
power" (p. 269). And yet within the Qing bureaucracy, the empire's
strategic position was still seen through the prism of frontier
policy.


Chapter 8 ("The Emergence of a Foreign Policy: Wei Yuan and the
Reinterpretation of India in Qing Strategic Thought, 1842-1860")
revisits the much-studied career of Wei Yuan (1794-1856) and his
famous book, _Haiguo tuzhi_ (Illustrated treatise on the maritime
kingdoms (1844). Here, too, Mosca makes a valuable contribution by
focusing in particular on Wei's analysis of British India, and the
problems he faced in deciphering and correlating vast amounts of
geographical and other data for his book. Mosca also sheds useful
light on such individuals as Wei's collaborator and fellow
researcher, Yao Ying, who assisted in intelligence gathering in
Tibet.


In placing Wei in broader perspective, Mosca points out that "a cause
and consequence of Wei's geographic achievement [the _Haiguo tuzhi_]
was a growing rapprochement between text and map" (pp. 279-280).
Indeed, his work marked a "watershed" in the history of Qing
geographic research on the "outside world" because it "succeeded in
bringing into dialogue elements from virtually all geographic
traditions within the Qing empire" (p. 285). And on the basis of his
careful research, Wei devised a foreign policy that "put him on
common ground with at least some Russian, Nepali and British
geo-strategists" (p. 301). This policy, as Mosca convincingly
demonstrates, did not involve any of the traditional "ideological
ties binding tributary states to the Qing emperor" (p. 302).


As indicated above, I believe that Mosca has somewhat overstated the
degree to which, by the mid-nineteenth century, "multiple sources of
intelligence, once virtually incommensurable, were now coordinated
and interpreted with relative ease even if certain details remained
problematic" (pp. 308-309). It is true, of course, that the conduct
of Qing foreign relations became increasingly coordinated after 1860,
"buttressed by new institutions" (such as the Zongli Yamen, a
proto-foreign office created in 1861 as a subcommittee of the Grand
Council) (p. 309). We should remember, however, that the Zongli Yamen
was an ad hoc institution essentially forced upon the Qing government
by the Conventions of Beijing (1860), which mandated official
diplomatic representation at the Chinese capital. Moreover, the
presence in Beijing of foreign diplomats (such as Frederick Bruce)
and foreign advisers (such as Robert Hart) during the remainder of
the Qing period did much to shape official Chinese perceptions of the
world.


Mosca ends his book with a number of useful research suggestions, one
of which is a plea for further investigations into "the way
information circulation had a differential impact on various groups
within the Qing empire between 1860 and 1911 as they interpreted how
external trends impinged upon the continued viability of its internal
political order" (p. 310). This sort of research, if carried out as
carefully and creatively as Mosca has done, would be most welcome
indeed.

http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse. ... DYStbkGkCA

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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby member_19686 » 23 May 2014 23:35

Rajiv Malhotra
‏@RajivMessage
Chinese journalism apprecates the strategic significance of my book BEING DIFFERENT more than Indian MSM has. Read: http://m.scmp.com/comment/article/15185 ... creativity

https://twitter.com/RajivMessage/status ... 7695639554

In East-West debate, opposing ideas are necessary for creativity
Andrew Sheng says the East-West debate on a global political order can't ignore holistic thinking

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 May, 2014, 8:04pm

In the early 1990s, a fierce East-West debate arose about whether the economic success of Asia was due to Asian values of hard work, fealty and paternalistic government, largely attributable to Confucianism, Islam, Hinduism and other Asian cultures. The debate faded when the Asian financial crisis cut back the hubris on both sides, and especially since the triumphalism of the West was shattered by the recession of 2007-2009.

There was a subtle shift in 2011 when Francis Fukuyama published a new book, The Origins of Political Order, in which he looked more carefully into whether the Western liberal democratic model was necessarily the default model of future global social evolution.

As Asian economies powered ahead after 2007, a new strand of voices began to be heard. The debate shifted towards questioning whether Western values are truly universal. Prominent among the Indian critique is a book by Rajiv Malhotra, Being Different, which argues that India differs significantly from the West, specifically US culture. This is because its dharma tradition (incorporating Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism) offers a diversity of beliefs that differs radically from the Judeo-Christian origins of Western culture.

The Chinese response, as expounded by Fudan University professor Zhang Weiwei, is that within China, there are two views on China's development. One is that to be modern, China must adopt universal values; the other is that China must find its own path based on its own cultural traditions.


In his book, The China Wave: Rise of a Civilizational State, Zhang argued that China is the only country which "amalgamated the world's longest continuous civilisation with a huge modern state". He debated with Fukuyama on whether the rise of the middle class in China would give rise to universal values shared by the middle class elsewhere. Fukuyama felt there would be universal values; Zhang thought otherwise.

Recent research by Nanyang Technological University professor Chiu Chi-Yue on cultural mixing suggests Zhang may be right. He studied why the Chinese consumer public objected to putting a Starbucks outlet, a symbol of the modern middle class, in the Forbidden City. He found that people tended to sort values into three categories: business, social and sacred. Most were pretty relaxed over business activities, but they could get offended if social behaviour intruded into personal space. Moreover, over things they considered sacred, the reaction could be very strong, even to the point of violence.

Each culture has icons, institutions or things considered sacred, which may require sacrifice to defend. While people do not mind cultural mixing in the business and social spheres, when they sense foreign contamination in what they hold as sacred, they will resist.

Professor Chiu's work suggests that if different cultures hold different things sacred, there can be no homogeneity in values. But this does not mean that genes, beliefs and ideas do not mix and become hybrids. Society adapts to cultural and genetic mixing. Too much inbreeding creates genetic and social fragility and ultimately decay, whereas openness to new ideas and innovation, however strange, create rejuvenation.

To claim that one faction is superior to another takes only one side of a contradiction of life - that competitiveness is simultaneously creative and destructive. Eastern philosophy realises that to be sustainable, opposites must coexist.

In contrast, Western thinking, originating from Judaic and Christian beliefs, starts with one God and one ideal unity. For every problem, there is a single unique solution. Its scientific approach is to break the whole down into parts for more detailed and specialised examination, knowing more and more about less and less.

But life is all about interconnections and interdependencies that form an ever-changing whole.

The recent failure of neoclassical economic models is the best example of how crises cannot be explained by models based on "rational behaviour". Eastern holistic thinking is fuzzy, contradictory, often non-logical and non-linear - but it is founded on long human experience, pragmatism and is adaptive to change. On the other hand, any theory, however elegant, is based on limited information and experience, and is incomplete and flawed.

History and civilisation must consider the different disciplines of geography, sociology, economics, politics, physics and biology and, today, climate change. Our natural environment has been drastically changed by excess consumption, and we either adapt, cooperate or fail.

Hence, the common factor that unifies East and West, North and South is that technology and climate change are affecting us all at internet speed. As Keynes brutally recognised, in the long run we are all dead, but those who live must try to avoid mutual destruction. Change is the only constant.

Andrew Sheng is a distinguished fellow at the Fung Global Institute

http://www.scmp.com/comment/article/151 ... creativity

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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby Liu » 24 May 2014 14:48

Deleted
Last edited by Suraj on 08 Aug 2014 02:34, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: This is not a news thread

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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby Rony » 08 Aug 2014 02:18

China to establish its own Christian theology

China will establish its own Christian theology compatible with the Communist country's socialist principles, state media has reported, adding that the government will promote it in a correct manner through mass programmes.

The number of Christians in China is rising rapidly but so is, according to rights groups, the simmering tension with the government.

In April, one of the largest churches was demolished in the city of Wenzhou in Zhejiang province ending a standoff between members and authorities. Authorities said the 85000 square foot church was demolished because of permission issues and had nothing to do with religious persecution.

The Communist Party of China (CPC) ruled country does not have a formal relationship with the Vatican. China appoints its own bishops who are not recognised by the Vatican.

According to the state-run China Daily newspaper, China now has 23 million to 40 million Protestants, 1.7% to 2.9% of the total population.

"Each year, about 500,000 people are baptized as Protestants. According to the State Administration for Religious Affairs in 2012, the country has about 139,000 approved religious places. Among them, there are about 56,000 Christian churches and gathering sites," it said.

The newspaper was giving figures quoted at a seminar in Shanghai called "Sinicization of Christianity".

Speaking at the seminar, Wang Zuoan, director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, said: "The construction of Chinese Christian theology should adapt to China's national condition and integrate with Chinese culture."

Wang added that Protestant churches in China have developed very quickly in the past decades with the implementation of the country's religious policy.

"In the future, we will continue to boost the development of Christianity in China," said Wang

"Chinese Protestantism's theological education, literature publishing, research, social services and foreign affairs have seen great development. Over the past years, China's Protestantism has become one of the fastest growing universal churches," the newspaper quoted said Gao Feng, president of the China Christian Council as saying.

The government had launched a five-year campaign in 2013 to promote its version of the religion. It will continue to promote "correct" Christian theology with a "range of publications, exchanges, discussions and evangelism".

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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby Rony » 13 Aug 2014 00:18

From a Chinese member of a unmentionable forum

While it is obvious that modern day relationship between China and India got messed up along the way, often I see it as natural results of collision of strategic and geopolitical interests between our two nations. (and no less thanks to the parting gifts of colonialism) China was fortunate to find a close (or the closest) ally in Pakistan also thanks to the conflicts with india, ever since the days sino soviet spilt, Pakistan was the only friend in the region China could count on. At the same time this also means that China will be at odds with India, even if we are able to resolve the ongoing disputes, unless we want to risk our seasoned friendship with Pakistan. In this context I wish for one day that our dispute will be resolved peacefully, and at the same time for Pakistan and India to find trust in each other, In such time of competition with the established deleloped western powers, China and Pakistan could accomplish so much with india as common friend.

Todays when I am seeing something bad happening in indian society (like rape, crime and extreme poverty caused by outdated tradition), I tend to make some sarcastic jokes just like many chinese would, but afterward I would get bad feeling, disappointment and even sadness. I see India as one of few remaining major ancient civilizations who still hasnt lost its identity and cultural roots completely, same as China. In fact India is probably even older and richer in culture than China. Our two nations are so much different and yet we have experienced the same fate at the end of pre modern age, in that case China was fortunate to be less fragmented at the begin and to be the last station of colonialism, which saved China from being fully colonized. Nevertheless I am very interested in india, its rich history, culture and the progress in making.

Divided by natural obstacles China and India had little political relationship until the new age, but I want to learn more about historical relationship between chinese and indians, especially the impressions of eachother in the "good old days", trying to find common ground and understanding in our rich history for possible future partnership. There are many classical religious legends and tales in which India was described as a heavenly place with indians being the blessed people, many in connection with Buddismus. For example in the more commonly known classical stories like journey to the west, India was the place to find spiritual enlightment. The more precise findings are probably in the tales of foreign traders who have visited china along the silk road during the millennium, and most of all in the writings of chinese traders and great person like admiral ZhengHe. it is stated that Zhenghe loved India so much to even call it his second home, during his whole life with all the voyages he never said similiar thing about anywhere else, and his view was confirmed by the tales of many chinese traders who have visited India before and after him. One of the main task of admiral Zheng was to impress foreign people with the richness and might of China, but in the case of India, he was the one to be impressed. One could only imagine what a maverlous place India was, and those chinese were most fascinated by the indian people, peaceful, well mannered, rich and most of all civilized, it was stated that they have never seen such great civilization ouside China. Considering the arrogance of chinese during the whole pre modern age when our ancestors would see anybody outside China as nothing more than Barbarians, it could even be described as shocking to see them admit the greatness and beauty of India, and those people were the most traveled among our people, they had their footprints from Japan to Arabia (Admiral Zheng went even as far as to Africa),

I would be grateful if somebody are willing to add more opinion and knowledge about this topic. Thanks in advance.

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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby Suraj » 13 Aug 2014 01:21

Surasena wrote:
The Chairman and the Emperor: Historiography of Qin Shi Huang in the late Cultural Revolution Period: 1971-1976
“[A] great, demonic, prescient overwhelming personality,” were the words used by the American National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger in describing Mao Zedong.
1
Kissinger then reached into Chinese history to compare the omnipotent Chairman to QinShi Huang
2
, the first emperor of China. Indeed, the similarities are obvious even for a person with cursory knowledge of Chinese history. After many years of chaos, a hero emerges to unite all of China, and, once in power, that leader uses state violence and intimidation to implement his radical polices. Indeed, Qin Shi Huang [259-210 BCE],the first emperor who unified China in 221 BCE, and Mao Zedong [1893-1976 CE], the founder of the contemporary People’s Republic of China, have been compared almost from the outset of Mao’s rule...
http://www.academia.edu/1075006/The_Cha ... _1971-1976

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticize_ ... _Confucius

There's a huge hole in the Chinese narrative of Qin Shi Huangdi being the first to 'unify China'. The narrative of Chinese dynastic rule attempts to suggest successive dynasties just carried the flame of initial unification. That's not true. This is what the Qin empire looked like:
Image
They were just one of several states who occupied the current boundaries of China. The Qin did not unify China. They just have a position of eminence because Chinese historical narrative chooses them as the dynastic predecessor of the era. Similarly, at various points later in history, Chinese territory was occupied by a range of small kingdoms, only one of whom was later considered the Chinese dynasty of that era.

In comparison, even before the Qin 'unified China', or more accurately the eastern coastal area, the Mauryan Empire already controlled nearly all of modern day India, as well as neighboring SAARC states. The whole Chinese historical dynastic narrative picks a bunch of kingdoms to create a saga of continuous political control, even though in reality, there was no empire that controlled the boundaries of modern China, until the late Qing dynasty in the 1600 CE period, around 1900 years after India was politically unified by the Mauryas.

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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby Yayavar » 13 Aug 2014 03:51

^^probably a single entity for the first time under the Mongolian Kublai Khan?

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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby Suraj » 13 Aug 2014 04:02

Neither the Mongol (Yuan) nor Ming Dynasty encompassed all of present China. The Yuan were not even homegrown, but were the first of the two conquering empires who were retroactively termed Chinese dynasties. The second was the Qing dynasty, who were formed when they Manchurians invaded the Ming and overthrew them. The last Ming emperor ran into the courtyard and hung himself from a tree in the garden, a tree which apparently stood there until the Red Guards uprooted it during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s.

The system of passing on a mandate doesn't necessarily imply smooth transfer of political power. Most of the time, it was messy and millions died or were uprooted. The dynastic definition is an approach to legitimizing the present by legitimizing a continuous sequence of past kingdoms, several of whom did not have a significant overlap beyond the eastern core. In the past 1000 years, approximately half of the period has seen China ruled by foreigners, first the Mongol, then the Manchus, then a puppet of the west. Even their territorial expansion came primarily under the non-Han Yuan and Qing dynasties.

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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby Yayavar » 13 Aug 2014 11:06

Yes, that was my point - that it was an outsider (Mongolians) who created a larger Chinese entity.

Btw, the tree where he hung himself is marked as a memorial and he is referred to as a 'hero' - saw it when I visited the park behind Forbidden

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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby Rony » 16 Sep 2014 01:17

Almost Half of Wealthy Chinese Want to Leave, Study Shows

Image

The top reasons Chinese cite for moving abroad are better educational and employment opportunities for children (78%), economic security and desirable climate (73%), and better health care and social services (18%). Hong Kong is their top destination (30%), followed by Canada (23%).

But for all those money drain, China is also on the receiving end: It’s a top destination for Singapore’s high net-worth individuals, with 30% saying they want to move to the Middle Kingdom.

Home bias is also strong when it comes to retirement. The vast majority of respondents to the survey who have lived in multiple countries during their life retire in the country where they were born. While economic success is a big driver for high-net-worth individuals during most of their lives, emotions and psychology rule in later stages of life, the report says.

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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby Agnimitra » 22 Sep 2014 13:53

Encyclopaedia of India-China cultural Contacts

2 volumes available for free at this link.

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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby member_19686 » 22 Sep 2014 18:54

Kauṭilya, Plato, Lord Shang: Comparative Political Economy
http://www.docdroid.net/hyje/985827.pdf.html

kautilya's "arthashastra" and the legalism of lord shang by R BOESCHE - 2008
http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/4 ... 4197687141

Han feizi's legalism versus kautilya's Arthashastra

Writing only decades apart, Han Feizi (ca. 250 BCE) and Kautilya (ca. 300 BCE) were two great political thinkers who argued for strong leaders, king or emperor, to unify warring states and bring peace, who tried to show how a ruler controls his ministers as well as the populace, defended the need for spies and violence, and developed the key ideas needed to support the bureaucracies of the emerging and unified states of China and India respectively. Whereas both thinkers disliked the new merchants, Han Feizi seems content with a traditional feudal economy, whereas Kautilya wanted to use the state to increase production and the wealth in the king's treasury. Kautilya also had much more extensive discussions of war and diplomacy.

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1 ... CA_ifldX7M
Last edited by member_19686 on 22 Sep 2014 20:13, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby Jarita » 22 Sep 2014 19:15

Should the Chinese post 1948 and prior to that be separated. I think we are dealing with two very different cultures and philosophies here.
The china post cultural revolution has some residues of the past but is really a construction of western ideas of homogeneity and manufacturing. I think we need to understand both. The moral underpinnings informing right and wrong are very different

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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby ramana » 24 Sep 2014 18:58

Surasena, I am going to x-post the China and British India post in the other threads for greater visisbility.

Thanks,

ramana

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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby KrishnaK » 28 Sep 2014 06:18


Suraj
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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby Suraj » 28 Sep 2014 11:00

Saving face, taken to extremes:
How to Hide a Famine
The preparations had been thorough. In 1961, they had to be. In the last throes of the greatest famine on record, China was about to host its first ever World Championships. There would be journalists arriving alongside the athletes and officials. Somehow, China had to make sure the fact that up to 44 million people had died in the last three years remained an internal secret. And the sport chosen to cover such devastation was ping pong.
...

Mao’s five year plan to industrialize his country and catch up with Great Britain’s steel production and American agricultural production was known as ‘The Great Leap Forward’. It had been a disaster, diverting farmers from the land, draining their grain supplies and ultimately starving millions. If industry and agriculture were intended to be the meat and bones of the Great Leap Forward, then sport was going to be New China’s muscle tone. While other countries regarded ping pong as a sporting after-thought, the Chinese were about to make it their centerpiece. Why not? With Montagu in charge, they were guaranteed favorable treatment.
...

Yet even Ivor Montagu couldn’t guarantee victory in 1961. There was no point in spending a fortune on the tournament if it couldn’t be used as valuable propaganda. The Chinese had spent heavily on the ping pong program; one of the very few places in the vast country where the famine could not touch. The team lived in a bubble, driven hard but fed well, while their countrymen perished. At a time when even Premier Zhou Enlai was reduced to drinking teas made from nettles, the Ministry of Sport and Physical Culture sent its shooting team into Mongolia to return with meat for the precious athletes.

And even then, when years of strategic planning, months of training seemed to have produced a fearsome squad, they were reduced to sheer panic just a week before the tournament was due to start. Their greatest rivals, the Japanese, were said to have invented a new serve. Off went the world’s first ping pong spy to attend a tournament in Hong Kong, entering the imperialist colony in the hope of revealing Japan’s secret.
...

From any sporting standard, the Beijing World Championships were a stunning accomplishment. Normally an international sporting event such as the Olympics is aimed as a show of strength to the rest of the world. The 1961 World Championships were even more important as a domestic statement because they implied that the sacrifices made had been worth it. The Great Leap Forward had driven the country to the edge of a shattering rift, but the lie had held: progress was being made. There were many, like the head of the British Mission, who shrugged off the World Championships as “a not entirely negligible fillip to the regime.” That was missing the bigger point. Propaganda is often about hiding, not making news. The death of somewhere between 17 and 45 million Chinese remained an internal secret. Absurdly, Ping-Pong had played its part.

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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby Vivasvat » 02 Oct 2014 05:59

:rotfl: Why 10,000 doves underwent 'anal security checks' in Beijing
workers checked the wings, legs and anus of each pigeon ahead of time to ensure they were "not carrying suspicious material." The entire process was videotaped
"The liberty and dignity of citizens are increasingly vulnerable, and can be expropriated at any time, like with the pigeons," Zhang wrote. "They have to go through the pains and insults of the rude anal check and yet they must appear peaceful and happy on the screen of the state broadcaster."
Last October, three Uighurs in a vehicle rammed through crowds in front of Tiananmen Gate in central Beijing and set off explosives in an attack that killed themselves and three bystanders.

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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby wig » 02 Oct 2014 08:57

Modi-Xi summit in perspective-Need for a clear, long view of China by Inder Malhotra

Some believe the incursion at Chumar was the handiwork of PLA commanders acting on their own. This is absurd. For it is Xi Jinping who controls the PLA


RODERICK MACFARQUHAR, Professor of history and political science at Harvard, is an internationally respected authority on China. Way back in the 1980s he had published a three-volume account of the origins of the Cultural Revolution in that country. In the last of these volumes he had an elaborate chapter tellingly titled “Mao’s India War”. He did not refrain from pointing out what had gone wrong on the Indian side but was masterly in refuting Neville Maxwell’s perverse thesis that the brief but brutal border war in the high Himalayas in 1962 was “India's China War”. The reason I am stating all this is that in a highly noteworthy recent interview he has not only put in perspective the September 17-19 summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping but also pointed out what it really means to the future of relations between these two Asian giants. This should be compulsory reading for all Indians interested in China, and especially for those with any say in the making of New Delhi’s China policy.

Even at the height of bonhomie and warmth between the two leaders on the riverfront of Sabarmati in Ahmedabad — with the honoured guest clad in an Indian-style jacket presented by Modi — many in this country had felt troubled. For exactly at that time a serious and large Chinese incursion into the Chumar area in the Ladakh region to the south of the Line of Actual Control was taking place. The number of Chinese troops on Indian territory was as large as 1,000. To his credit, Modi ordered that 1,500 Indian soldiers should face the intruders. Some Indians tried to comfort themselves with the notion that the unacceptable incident might be the handiwork of the People’s Liberation Army commanders acting on their own. This was absurd. For it had been clear for some time that Xi, the most powerful President of China since Deng Xioping, controlled the PLA. He was the Chairman of the Military Affairs Commissions of both the Chinese Communist Party and the government. Modi publicly took up the border issue and at the joint press conference, demanding its “early solution” as well as clarification of the LAC to avoid repeated incidents like the one at Chumar then taking place. Xi did not reply at the same forum but used his address to the Indian Council of World Affairs to plug the standard Chinese line: that the border issue was left by history and that both China and India were competent enough to settle minor incidents that occurred because claims on where the LAC lay differed.

Macfarquhar confirms this analysis and adds that Xi has repeatedly emphasised the party leadership of the military. Making excessive concessions to India would not be in keeping with the “profile Xi has established with the Chinese public, which is as a strong nationalist leader”. What the eminent Sinologist had to say further needs to be quoted fully and underscored. “If my reading is right, Xi was basically telling Modi that you may be a strong leader, but I am telling you that we have got the advantage of the terrain on the border and we can exploit it”. What Macfarquhar did not say but is a reality we cannot afford to overlook is that the Chinese do not consider us to be in the same league as they. Furthermore, they are proud of the tremendous difference between their economic and military power and India’s.

This does not mean that China either wants or needs a war with this country. What it does want and would try to ensure is that this country, like every other, is unable to challenge or undermine Chinese territorial sovereignty, strategic interests and core concerns. For this reason China is carefully watching the outcome of Prime Minister Modi’s talks with President Obama just as it has watched the development of close relationship between India and Japan after Modi’s visit to Kyoto and Tokyo. India has its own compulsions. It prefers to be a strategic partner of the United States but not an ally. Japan needs India as a major Asian ally and has the US as a “back-up”.

Japan has begun to be worried about the safety of its massive investments in China. That should explain why its promise of investing $35 billion in India over five years is much greater than China’s $20-billion commitment over the same period. Yet China does want greater economic engagement with India while retaining its ability to crack the whip on the disputed India-China border when necessary. One instrument for this is China’s comprehensive help and support - including in nuclear and missiles arena — to its “all-weather friend”, Pakistan. On the other hand, Xi has promised to support India’s claim to be a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation of which China and Russia are the leading members. One more area where China will find it necessary to be on the same page as India is the post-US Afghanistan where a new government has taken over. Uighur rebels in Xinjiang are getting a lot of support from the Islamists on the Afghan-Pakistan border.

Policymakers in South Block will do well to pay heed to Macfarquhar's view that chances of a boundary agreement between India and China are “very slim”. Quite apart from the fact that the Chinese are totally opposed to making any big concessions, they have already indicated that it is no longer the question of a “swap” that Zhou En-lai had proposed in 1960 under which India could have the McMahon Line in the Northeast by ceding Aksai Chin in Ladakh to China. The Chinese are now demanding the Tawang area even though they are claiming the entire Arunachal Pradesh. This India cannot accept. Any hope that there might be a clarification and confirmation of the LAC is also unrealistic. For the present confusion suits Beijing very well.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2014/20141002/edit.htm#4

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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby Ashok Sarraff » 03 Oct 2014 20:05

http://chuanr.de/pallavi-aiyars-talk-opening-ceremony/#

CHindu's Pallavi Aiyer talks about her experience in China versus India. Among other things claims she has Muslim heritage.

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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby member_19686 » 20 Jan 2015 18:46

Is ‘China’s Machiavelli’ Now Its Most Important Political Philosopher?
Xi Jinping quotes an ancient philosopher and offers possible insights into his political beliefs.

By Ryan Mitchell
January 16, 2015

Much like a dragon, “the ruler of men has bristling scales. Only if a speaker can avoid brushing against them can he have any hope of success.”

That, at least, is the dilemma facing Chinese statesmen as described by the ancient philosopher Han Feizi. Officially repudiated – but still influential – throughout China’s 2000+ years of imperial rule, he and his “Legalist School” have gained new prominence recently due to favorable citations by PRC leaders. Above all, those include references made by President Xi Jinping, China’s most powerful ruler in decades. Far from mere casual remarks, such statements serve as ideological guideposts to determine the Communist Party line. Just one sentence of Han Feizi’s that Xi quoted last autumn, for example, subsequently appeared thousands of times in official Chinese media at the local, provincial, and national levels.

Autocrat or Realist?

The trend has been interpreted in various ways. In October, the New York Times called President Xi Jinping’s uses of ancient thought “an overlooked key to his boldly authoritarian agenda,” and specifically noted the importance of Han Feizi, “a Chinese nobleman renowned for his stark advocacy of autocratic rule.”

While many experts would agree with that characterization, even referring to Han Feizi as “China’s Machiavelli,” others see him, and Legalist thought in general, in more positive terms. Scholars Orville Schell and John Delury, in an influential book on the history of Chinese reform efforts, credit “pragmatic” Legalist thought of as being behind both much of China’s historical success and its ongoing rebirth as a great nation. For Confucians, who focus on ideals of loyalty, righteousness, and benevolence, little could be more repugnant than the Legalist position that “if a wise ruler masters wealth and power, he can have whatever he desires.”

Yet Han Feizi’s ideas, and Xi’s uses of them, are far from mere illiberal posturing. Even the remarks cited by the New York Times (the same ones subsequently reprinted thousands of times in Party media) were actually a warning by Xi to the country’s high level political leaders that “when those who uphold the law are strong, the state is strong. When they are weak, the state is weak.” The statement is at once striking, suggestive, and highly ambiguous.

In this sense, Xi’s use of ancient scholarship resembles the other activities characteristic of his unique administration. Observers are divided on how to interpret his high-intensity crackdown on corruption, nearly unprecedented personal popularity, and high-profile reforms aiming for “the rule of law.” Thus, his use of reformist-sounding language can be more than enough to prompt guarded optimism among observers both domestic and foreign. Other analysts, however, remain highly skeptical; pointing to several other statements where Xi vows to crush dissent, resist the West, and ensure ideological unity.

Language and Power

Yet people on both sides more or less admit that while China’s fate increasingly turns on the thoughts and beliefs of one man, there is no clear consensus on what that man actually thinks or believes. That is why the most valuable insight to gain from his Legalist references may actually relate to a more basic question. What can Xi’s many prominent political pronouncements reveal about his political beliefs?

On this topic, Han Feizi’s overall pragmatic approach begins the moment an aspiring politician opens his mouth to speak. Like Machiavelli in the West, he lived in a dangerous political climate where a wrong word could result in disgrace, exile, or worse. As he explicitly stated in his writing, the first task of any political theorist is to avoid getting on his prince’s bad side; or “brushing against the ruler’s scales.” Discretion, and subtlety, are the key to achieving influence. Ideals, and morals, are to be kept private.

Based on that perspective, if Xi really is especially influenced by the Legalist School, it means two important things for his future trajectory. First, neither his calls for reform nor his illiberal pronouncements should be taken as simple statements about what he believes. Instead, he is likely using different forms of compromise language that various factions can agree upon. Xi’s patchwork political platform can be seen as maintaining his own place of authority, largely by avoiding the potential wrath of the Communist Party’s elders and many elite interest groups: the “dragon” whose scales he risks rubbing the wrong way.

Secondly, as a ruler Xi’s signature initiatives – especially his dramatic and escalating crackdown on official corruption – probably do not reflect either high idealism or a mere power grab. Xi undoubtedly does have a vision for where he wants to take his country, his own “Chinese Dream,” but he is unlikely to be so foolish as to try to realize that dream too early. In order to achieve his goals, Xi first has to “master wealth and power,” and a robust, predictable legal system is one key to such mastery.

Pragmatist in Chief

As a recent People’s Daily editorial admits, it is simply beside the point to ask whether or not Xi intends for “the rule of law” to limit the Party’s authority, or his own as the Party’s representative. Very pragmatically – very much like a Legalist – Xi is looking for formulas that can achieve his goals for the nation. For now, the wealth of corrupt officials has to be seized, and the power of elites over the law has to be abolished. It doesn’t much matter whether that process is called liberal or conservative, left or right, traditional or modern. What matters, at least for the moment, is whether or not it works.

Ryan Mitchell is pursuing a Ph.D. in Law at Yale, where his research focuses on political philosophy and international law. He is also an attorney admitted to the State Bar of California.

http://thediplomat.com/2015/01/is-china ... ilosopher/

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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby AjayKK » 23 Jan 2015 11:34

Venezuela’s economic collapse owes a debt to China


What makes China unusual is not just the amount it is willing to lend but the way it lends. First, Beijing has chosen to be opaque: we know neither the terms of the loans nor the uses of the money. The debt is repaid in oil, making Wall Street bondholders junior to China.

The Venezuelan public has little information on where the money is being spent. There are railways that were announced but abandoned, plants that never went far beyond the ribbon-cutting ceremony. There are allegations of corruption: in 2013, eight people in Venezuela were arrested for appropriating $84m from the Joint Chinese-Venezuela Fund.

Second, the debt was never authorised by the Venezuelan parliament due to the specious argument that it was not debt, but “finance”, because it was not to be paid in dollars but in oil. As a consequence, spending the money was never part of the national budget, thus escaping all forms of control and bypassing oil-revenue sharing rules, which would have transferred part of the income to opposition state and local governments.

Third, PDVSA — the national oil company — was asked to pay back a debt it had not borrowed. Since it could not afford to forgo the income on the oil it sent to China, it ended up borrowing the equivalent of tens of billions of dollars from the central bank, fuelling Venezuela’s inflation problem.



Other than being a SouthiPakistan, what are the Lankans going to pay back with?

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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby pankajs » 28 Jan 2015 17:28

http://articles.economictimes.indiatime ... gar-troops
China deploys more troops in Xinjiang to plug infiltration
BEIJING: China arrested 27,164 criminal suspects last year in the volatile Xinjiang and authorities have beefed up security in the violence-prone region which borders PoK and Afghanistan by deploying more troops, making it the country's largest provincial-level military region.

The military reinforcement comes against a backdrop of the US troops pulling out of Afghanistan and extremists launching terrorist attacks on civilian targets, state-run China Daily reported.

Xinjiang, the province with majority of Uygur Muslims is experiencing most violent attacks in by East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), an Al-Qaeda backed outfit which became active in the backdrop of unrest between Uygurs and Han migrants.

Peng Yong, commander of the PLA Xinjiang military region, said troops will vigorously enforce border controls and carry out "realistic combat training".

The Xinjiang military region is a regional command that covers Xinjiang and the Ali area in the west of the Tibet not far from Indian border.

"We have the responsibility to stay on high alert and strike hard against terrorist activities in the region," Peng said.

Three more PLA Generals have been appointed to the Xinjiang military region, including Li Wei, a major general, who will serve as its commissar.

The two other appointees, Ye Jianjun and Han Bingcheng, are also major generals, the Daily report said.

Sources familiar with the Chinese military system said Xinjiang is the largest provincial-level military region in China, the report said.

It has four deputy commanders and four deputy commissars, while other military regions normally have only one deputy commander and one deputy commissar.

Meanwhile, prosecutors have approved the arrests of 27,164 criminal suspects last year, an increase of more than 95 per cent year-on-year, the chief prosecutor of the region was quoted as saying by the report.

"We've shortened the time between approving arrests and prosecution in major terrorist-related cases so the suspects can be tried as soon as possible to show the region's determination to fight terrorism in accordance with the law," said Nixiang Yibulayin, Xinjiang's chief prosecutor was quoted as saying to the region's legislature.

Significantly like other Chinese official media, the China Daily report too stated that Xinjiang shared border with Pakistan, while that part of the territory is part of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir which links up with Chinese city Kashgar.

Li Wei, an expert on anti-terrorism said: "The PLA troops in Xinjiang will deal with large-scale terrorist forces."

"They will concentrate especially on those carrying firearms smuggled from Pakistan and Afghanistan, rather than on individual terrorist attacks. They also need to keep an eye on the combat forces formed jointly by international and domestic terrorist groups," he said.

Meanwhile, another official daily Global Times reported that 300 Chinese nationals, mostly Uygurs, used Malaysia as a transit point on their way to Syria and Iraq to join the Islamic State (IS) militant group.

Malaysian Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the Chinese nationals had moved on to a third country from -Malaysia and then entered into Syria and Iraq, adding that the information was disclosed with Chinese officials.

Recent reports said Uygurs started using Vietnam border to sneak out of China to travel to Syria, Iraq and Pakistan.

"Ahmad Zahid's disclosure showed the importance of strengthening anti-terrorism cooperation between both countries," said Li Wei, an anti--terrorism expert with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

"Southeast Asian countries, particularly Malaysia and Indonesia, have become popular transit points for Chinese nationals travelling to jihadist hotspots," Rohan Gunaratna, a terrorism expert and head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University said.

"They used to travel via Pakistan, but more of them are going via Southeast Asia now because Pakistan is working closely with China," Gunaratna was quoted as saying by Hong Kong based South China Morning Post.

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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby member_19686 » 15 Feb 2015 20:33




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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby Agnimitra » 05 Mar 2015 06:33

Thought I'd X-post this here from Tibet thread:

Channel Indian Diplomacy came out with this documentary:

Indian Roots of Tibetan Buddhism (Japanese Subtitles)


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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby Agnimitra » 28 Apr 2015 05:55

Those "ghost cities" are filling up now:

Coming down to earth
The new district (pictured), on the eastern side of Zhengzhou, a city of 9m in central China, took off when the provincial and city governments relocated many of their offices there. Then, high schools with university-sized campuses began admitting students, drawing families to the area. Last autumn one of the world’s biggest children’s hospitals opened, a gleaming facility with cheery colours and 1,100 beds. Chen Jinbo, one of the area’s earlier residents, bemoans the lost quiet of a few years ago. “Rush hour is a hassle now.”

The success of Zhengzhou’s development belies some of the worst fears about China’s overinvestment. What appear to be ghost cities can, with the right catalysts and a bit of time, acquire flesh and bones.

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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby Agnimitra » 08 May 2015 22:58

Chinese school of thought different from Legalism (Realist) OR Idealism (Confucian) :

http://nationalinterest.org/feature/chi ... ught-12823

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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby panduranghari » 09 May 2015 01:43

yayavar wrote:The Chinese government keeps the memory alive and uses that to invigorate - for its own sustenance perhaps - the nationalism that it has cultivated. Indian textbooks dont spend much time on these - we had a lot more happening in that timeframe . The English funded themselves easily (like Columbia cartels) for other endeavours and wars. I dont think my history books in school made that connection clear.

Let us not lament too much - the bar mentioned in the above article does not have Indian literature displayed. Only European. But this thread is wrt understanding the Chinese.


I have heard Han nationalism is different from patriotism. How true is this?

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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby Karthik S » 09 May 2015 05:22

[quote="Rony"]Almost Half of Wealthy Chinese Want to Leave, Study Shows

OT but are Indian HNW individuals are more patriotic or they see more opportunities in India in the near future?

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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby member_19686 » 14 Dec 2015 08:55

Chinese Legalism (In Our Time, 10/12/15)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zix0bFUXlHM

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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby member_19686 » 22 Dec 2015 00:57

Evan Osnos, a staff writer for the New Yorker who for years reported on China, tells producer Nancy Updike about an incredibly shrewd and successful propaganda campaign that hinged on two words. Evan's book about China, Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China, won the national book award in 2014. (12 1/2 minutes)

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-a ... act=4#play

Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China
Evan Osnos

From abroad, we often see China as a caricature: a nation of pragmatic plutocrats and ruthlessly dedicated students destined to rule the global economy-or an addled Goliath, riddled with corruption and on the edge of stagnation. What we don't see is how both powerful and ordinary people are remaking their lives as their country dramatically changes.
As the Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker, Evan Osnos was on the ground in China for years, witness to profound political, economic, and cultural upheaval. In Age of Ambition, he describes the greatest collision taking place in that country: the clash between the rise of the individual and the Communist Party's struggle to retain control. He asks probing questions: Why does a government with more success lifting people from poverty than any civilization in history choose to put strict restraints on freedom of expression? Why do millions of young Chinese professionals-fluent in English and devoted to Western pop culture-consider themselves "angry youth," dedicated to resisting the West's influence? How are Chinese from all strata finding meaning after two decades of the relentless pursuit of wealth?
Writing with great narrative verve and a keen sense of irony, Osnos follows the moving stories of everyday people and reveals life in the new China to be a battleground between aspiration and authoritarianism, in which only one can prevail.

https://books.google.ca/books?id=qy2SAg ... navlinks_s

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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby member_19686 » 22 Dec 2015 01:04

Confucius (In Our Time, 1/11/01)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPzI7pGozYg

Daoism (In Our Time, 16/12/10)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FDIikzPCoI

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Re: Let us Understand the Chinese - II

Postby member_19686 » 24 Dec 2015 04:34

Lee Kuan Yew and Richard Nixon exchange views on China's future, April 10, 1973
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOM1947ek2k

click cc


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