Firemen are firemen, even in China …          Spring, 2011

 

... although they are members of a national service, run out of Beijing, not by local governments.  So that is the reason for the army guys, not the police, doing traffic control when the local fire brigade ran through some training exercises yesterday.   But firemen are, down deep inside, guys, and high school guys at that.   So part of the training is a run, about 100 meters, with hose and connections.  At the end of the run, they have to hook up the hoses and put out a small electrical fire.  The water was already hooked up to a small pump, and came from our on-campus lake.

 

 

 

 

Some of you remember Victoria, from Taizhou   Spring, 2010

Some of you remember Victoria, from Taizhou.   For those of you who don’t, Victoria is- I think the east coast term is wicked- smart, clever, beautiful, and ambitious as all hell.   In other words, a dream.  Last year she put on a show for Scott and his kids and me.   You know that these trips for Scott and me are fun and we learn a lot, but there is an awful lot of showing off and maneuvering behind the scenes of every event.   There is a lot of jockeying to see who sits at the head point of the (round) table, next to the person paying for lunch.  Last year, Scott usually got to sit next to the person paying for lunch, and on the other side was the most senior or most powerful leader (this is where the personal jockeying comes in- sometimes we spent two or three minutes standing around the table, while two people fight out who is going to be the least important.  Sort of Alphonse and Gaston, with every “No, you go first,” a bluff.  First one to call the bluff wins).  

Jazz at the JZ Club                                                    October, 2009

Went with Jonathan Gong Wei, one of the IIT students from four years ago, to the JZ Club, a jazz club on Nanshan Road next to West Lake.  I invited two of my fellow faculty members, Wu De Gang (Dominick) and Zheng Li, to join us.

Nanshan Road is the place to see and be seen in Hangzhou.  It runs adjacent to West Lake, so the views across the river are beautiful.  Think of the view of downtown Chicago from the Fullerton Avenue bridge over the pond at night, or the view of downtown from the Planetarium. Except that the lake here is small enough to see across, and in the distance are hills lit up with lights from houses, and the moon is out, and the city has worked very hard to make this area attractive to the "gold collared workers" that my friend Bob Yovovich talks about.

The Grade School Performance Gap                                                                                                                             

April, 2010

Vicky invited me to the opening ceremonies of the 3rd Annual Hangzhou Reading Festival.   She promised me a visit to the new Hangzhou main library, a gift of books from the No. 1 in Hangzhou, dancing girls, and a chance to be on TV.    Stronger men might have been able to say no, but books and dancing girls were just too much.

The new main library is in the new Central Business District, the new CBD, as everyone here call it.   Predictably wonderful.   New building, of course, with a grand interior atrium and nice blending of marble and wood for accents on walls and detailing on doors.

 Into Clean Air                                       October, 2009 

 

Steven Shen Kanming and his wife and son and I went to Anji, which is in Huzhou, a small city in Zhejiang Province.  A couple of you will like this one, because it is an adventure, not hiking through Afghanistan for sure, but an adventure nevertheless - hidden dragons, many waterfalls, and how face can be made in China (sometimes).

Update on the Occupation in Hangzhou - The G-20 in the Potemkin Village                             September 2, 2016

 

First off, let us stipulate –

 

  • It is vitally important for a nation to ensure security during the G20. National leaders will be present, en mass.  With terrorism threats salient everywhere, China wants to show off its prowess as a new member of the elite club.  In Hangzhou, terrorists and protesters,  ils ne passeront pas!
  • At the same time, China shows the major democracies, all of which are G20 members, and the world, that there are ways to ensure stability and harmony. No Seattle 1999 here!   Chinese soft power in action. 

 
The question for the G20 members, all of whom are seeing a Potemkin village Hangzhou, is what cost for stability.

News Comments

  • Huawei - Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas

    Huawei - Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas

    You know the meme – when you work with bad guys, you should expect to be labeled a bad guy. I mean no disrespect to the thousands of Chinese companies doing business across the world that manage to be profitable without intimate Chinese government relations.  But in our globalized, internet era, it is impossible for a high tech company, particularly one as fundamentally important to internet networks, to not be tarnished with the specter of theft of intellectual property and CCP internet control and monitoring of Chinese businesspeople, students, even foreigners.

    Probably no one outside a small group of analysts has the actual evidence of real dirt on Huawei.  But that is the risk of being a national champion in China.  If the government is promoting you, then there must be a government interest in promoting you, beyond just “go team.”  This is simply Chinese practical reasoning.

    But it seems that lying down with dogs is more than just a saying here.  In his extraordinary Sinocism news blog, Bill Bishop continues the Huawei stories.  From the February 9 edition, with no repetition in the stories (all should be clickable) -

    Read more ...  
  • Shuang yin Win-Win

    Shuang yin  Win-Win    February, 2019

    Now that a crash-out Brexit seems all but assured, where will Britain turn for trade deals?  The kind of relationship that the British government wanted – like that of Canada or Norway with the EU – takes years to negotiate, under favorable circumstances.  There has been discussion for more than ten years that the special relationship between the US and Britain - forged from the mid-19th century and cemented between President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill in World War II – is no longer so compelling.  The EU without Britain is still a huge and attractive market for US trade in both directions.

    As of March 29, 2019 – in a bit more than a month - there will be hundreds of treaties and agreements to negotiate, suddenly, quickly, and in great detail.  Some agreements will probably get done – ability of British truck drivers to deliver goods through the Chunnel into EU turf, and ability of airplanes to take off from Heathrow bound for destinations in Europe using parts and crew that, without certification by the EU, would be not allowed.

    But where can Britain turn for trade deals, quickly, without years of complicated negotiations?  What large trading partner is willing to set aside the details of complex agreements when mercantile interests, not to mention future geopolitical support, are at stake?  What large trading partner can act quickly, based on personal leadership from a president or prime minister or general secretary?

    In October, 2015, a few months before the Brexit vote, Xi Jinping demonstrated his prescience –

    "The UK has stated that it will be the Western country that is most open to China," Xi told Reuters ahead of his first visit to the country as president.

    "This is a visionary and strategic choice that fully meets Britain's own long-term interest."

    UK Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking on CCTV, China's state broadcaster, said the visit would mark a "golden era" in the two countries' relationship.

     

    Read more ...  
  • Update on Peking U Ideological Battle

    Update on Peking U Ideological Battle    January, 2019

    In a recent post, The Ideology of Occupation, I described an ideological struggle being played out last month at Peking University, the combined Harvard-Yale of China.   Now, a followup on what has happened to the "Old Marxist" students who questioned the manner in which CCP has been providing leadership of the proletariat.  Spoiler - they are in jail.

    Read more ...  

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