Performative declamation        people talking without speaking …

note: I am reminded that this needs more than a little editing and a bit of shortening.  Ok.  You may skim rather than read.  And I am now reminded of how GOP apparatchiks fall into line when defending the latest from their current dear leader.  Another way in which the GOP has bought the Chinese export. 

 

At Gettysburg,  the featured speaker Edward Everett talked for two hours, and Lincoln for three minutes.  Some thought Lincoln’s remarks were foolish and inappropriate.  Chinese leaders never want to look foolish.  I have sat through the one and two hour speeches that might have been delivered  in ten minutes - if content were what mattered, rather than performance. 

Was Democracy Just A Moment?

This is the title of a 1997(!) Atlantic piece by Robert Kaplan, the foreign correspondent and advisor to various elements of US defense and foreign affairs institutions.   I have long recommended the piece as a warning against American complacency about the health of our own democracy, and the futility of promoting democracy in places without the cultural means to sustain it - Russia and China being  prime examples.  Again, strongly recommended -

Robert Kaplan.  Was Democracy Just A Moment?  Atlantic Magazine, December, 1997.

The global triumph of democracy was to be the glorious climax of the American Century. But democracy may not be the system that will best serve the world—or even the one that will prevail in places that now consider themselves bastions of freedom.

This is the executive summary of a report prepared by students in my Modern Chinese Economic History course in spring 2014.

At that time, every Chinese university was competing to admit foreign students, mostly from Africa and the middle east.  University programs got put together on very short timeframes, with no training for staff and procedures more or less made up on the spot.  The pawns in this process were the foreign students themselves, who often arrived unprepared for college work, unfamiliar with China, lacking any Chinese language, their first time out of the home country, and certainly unprepared for Chinese university norms.   This work was an attempt to bring some efficacy, functionality (rather than efficiency) to the international student program.  Although this report is from 2014, there is no doubt that international programs in China still require upgrading to bring them to a minimal acceptable standard of responsiveness and care.

 Any student looking to attend school in China should read this, at least to get the jist of the boots-on-the-ground feel among foreign students.  This is not to say, do not attend school in China.  But forewarned is forearmed.   The full report is available by emailing me. 

This is the executive summary of a group research project conducted by students in my Modern Chinese Economic History course in spring of 2014.

This work could only have been conducted under my direction - no Chinese faculty member would dare to investigate the rampant cheating in the civil engineering department.   In addition to the widespread academic dishonesty, the investigation found that there seems to be no civil engineering program in China - with the possible exception of a program at Tsinghua - that meets international accreditation standards - meaning that no graduate from a school in China will be eligible to take the PE exam for most countries without significant additional training or experience. 

The full report is available.  Contact me if interested.

Intimidation Knows No Boundaries

This direct threat to a New Zealand academic - her office and home invaded -  is part of the intimidation pattern – transition from hard power to soft power to sharp power.  CCP is always watching.  In this case, Anne Marie Brady has studied Chinese politics, and recently wrote a report describing Chinese government infiltration in New Zealand politics, education, and media.

Zhejiang University of Science and  Technology       Hangzhou

Note to Foreign Students, late 2014

Before you came to China, you were aware of censorship by the Chinese government.   You likely knew that Youtube,  Twitter,  Facebook, and some blog site hosts – blogspot, among others – were blocked by the Chinese government.    You understand that the CCP is so desperately afraid of the Chinese people that it cannot tolerate information from the outside – or inside - that is too “dangerous” to Party longevity.

In 2012, both the New York Times and any news sites operated by Bloomberg were blocked by the Chinese government, in retaliation for reporting on the fabulous family wealth of wen jiabao and xi jinping.    All of their sites are still blocked, including economic information and opinion from Paul Krugman, the Nobel prize winning economist.

Recent

  • The Great American Cultural Revolution

    The Great American Cultural Revolution

    Further to  Xi, DJT, GOP, CCP

    About two years ago, I wrote a series of posts pointing out similarities between Mr. Xi and Donald Trump and their respective political parties.  Now comes the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution – with American characteristics. 

    We have a leader who promotes violence but keep his hands sufficiently clean by not leading, like Mao. We have a political party with fortunes tied to the words of this mercurial leader.  Dissension has risen within GOP, as it did in CCP, but the political leaders who are rebels will be slapped down. The entire party is in thrall to a crazed minority, who determine policy for years.  From a trumpian perspective, Mao's famous quote is right on target - “there is great disorder under the Heavens and the situation is excellent.”

    It would be too delicious if it weren't so scary. I can’t help but paraphrase the wiki entry on the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Go ahead and read that first. Won’t take but a minute. The parallels are eerie.  Below, I changed a few words from the wiki.

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  • Political values and social media in Trumpworld-GOP and CCP

     Political values and social media in Trumpworld-GOP and CCP

    Written back in June. Seems like ages ago, but the virus in all its forms is still with us, even after the election. And the Covid-19 vaccine will have 0% effectiveness on the political virus.  Michelle Goldberg back then on the recent NYT Tom Cotton op-ed business –

     It’s important to understand what the people around the president are thinking. But if they’re honest about what they’re thinking, it’s usually too disgusting to engage with. This creates a crisis for traditional understandings of how the so-called marketplace of ideas functions. It’s a subsidiary of the crisis that has the country on fire.

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  • Once Upon a Time, America

    Once Upon a Time, America

     

    At the end of 2018, I wrote a series of posts on similarities between Xi and Trump, CCP and GOP.  See below.

    Now, about six weeks before the election, Barton Gellman at the Atlantic has an analysis of how Trump can disrupt the election and refuse to leave.   This is by no means the only story like this, and the idea seems more and more possible.  What if Trump Refuses to Concede?

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