Shibboleth                                  

October 2007 and Spring, 2015

 

The first time was in 2007, in Dalian, one of my favorite cities.

One of my students - government officials from China – was showing me her hometown, and we were late night driving from Dalian to our next stop that would take me to the airport in the morning.

She was not driving.  Her driver did that, so we had plenty of time to talk.  And there were two other of my students in the van, and we moved from topic to topic about China and the US and national monuments and American history and  9-11 and terrorism in China and the US.   And I said that the 9-11 terrorists missed the most important target – the Statue of Liberty.

Moller Villa           October, 2008

 

You will all like this one, Rob particularly.   I am staying at the Moeller Villa in Shanghai, which was a family home built by a Swedish/English shipping magnate in the 1930's for his daughter.  The story is that the daughter envisioned living in a fairy tale castle, and her father proceeded to comply with her wish.  The villa, interior and exterior, is phenomenal - beautiful brickwork and wonderful carved wood, like in some European... well, castle.  The villa was used in turn by both the Guomindang and the Gongchandang (Nationalists and Communists) after 1945 – no reason for leaders of any stripe to stint on luxurious surroundings. 

Source: Legolas1024 [CC BY-SA 4.0  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)],from Wikimedia Commons

American History, and a Memorial           October, 2010                                                                                           

When Rob Mier died, in 1995, a good part of the national progressive community, in academia and neighborhoods, felt the loss.   Rob was not simply an academic – professor of urban planning and policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and head of the Center for Urban Economic Development, a research unit in public policy and community development.    “Not simply” because other teachers, at other schools, could match his academic pedigree.   But Rob was … more.   He was a professional engineer (a piece of his past that he used to great advantage in meetings and negotiations with government planning officials) and had a passion for activism in community development.   Theory, yes, but always balanced with real community action. 

                                                            Contents

 PREFACE 

CHAPTER 1 - INTRODUCTION - WHAT IS CHINESENESS  

CHAPTER 2 - WHAT LIES BEHIND – CHINESENESS – THE EARLY YEARS  

CHAPTER 3 - WHAT LIES BENEATH – LANGUAGE AND CULTURE 

CHAPTER 4 -  WE ARE ALL FAMILY

CHAPTER 5 -  WE ARE ALL BROTHERS AND SISTERS… 

CHAPTER 6 -  WHAT MANIFESTS ITSELF

CHAPTER 7 - CONFUCIAN VALUES AND CIVIL SOCIETY 

CHAPTER 8 -  ANOTHER CHINA METAPHOR

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 click for more detail ...

 What comes after Don’t Be Evil?

 

From a comment of mine in 2015 - We are in the crackdown on foreigners in China (for foreigners, one might read, Americans).  When access to the internet is largely blocked for me, even with a VPN, access for many of my German students is still good.  Perhaps spotty, perhaps needing a couple of different VPN to get around, but it works.

 

Google's problems in China began in 2010, when it began redirecting searches to its Hong Kong site to get around blocking on the mainland.  After some negotiations, and fits and starts on blocking of gmail, Google chose to leave China rather than submit to censorship.  Those were the old days.  To  be fair, Google was doing some light blocking of its own at that time, and the issue as reported was the hacking of the gmail accounts of activists within China, presumably by the government.

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.

 

 

 

 

News Comments

  • When Internet Blocking Fails

    When Internet Blocking Fails

     An internet not coming to a computer near you …

    CCP gets more paranoid than usual around June 4 of every year, particularly those years a multiple of five from 1989.   This year is 30 years since the Tian’anmen massacre.

    I was in Chicago around June 4 of 2009, but I made the 2014 anniversary.  Internet blocking began early in May.  Every foreigner in China gets accustomed to internet and social media blocking, but in 2014 the online ban was nearly total.  It was a lesson in how particular the censorship could be.   You know, it’s China – it’s complicated.

    Read more ...  
  • How to End June 4, et al.

    How to End June 4, et al.

     

    A Country That Controls the Internet Should be Able to Control the Calendar

    A few years ago, it was reported in the Australian Financial Review that senior party members in the Chinese Communist Party were reading deTocqueville’s The Old Regime and the Revolution.  This was at the suggestion of Xi Jinping, who apparently wanted to call attention to the fate of leaders who ignore the people in favor of corruption and the easy life.  The end times of the French monarchy is a good model for what rulers should not do.

    Read more ...  
  • What Chinese cannot not talk about …

    What Chinese cannot not talk about …

    In a previous post, I mentioned the heavy hand of CCP coming down on internet access each year in the weeks leading up to date of the Tian'anmen Massacre in 1989.

    What CCP sincerely wants is for Chinese netizens to model the three monkeys – see, hear, speak no evil – evil, of course, being in the eye of the CCP beholder and specifically any sight, sound, voice or thought related to the events leading up to and during June 4, 1989. 

    Read more ...  

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