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I Have No Enemies: My Final Statement (2009) (nobelprize.org)
227 points by z3t1 on July 15, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 212 comments



If aren't sure who Liu Xiaobo is or want to learn more, this essay by China expert Perry Link is excellent: http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2017/07/13/the-passion-of-liu-x...


[flagged]


Personal insults like this don't belong on HN. If you have a point to make, it needs to be made civilly and substantively.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Such censored view is not good for anyone.

"It took Hong Kong 100 years to become what it is. Given the size of China, certainly it would need 300 years of colonisation for it to become like what Hong Kong is today. I even doubt whether 300 years would be enough." Liu Xiaobo made himself quite clear back in the 1980s. The in 1996, he further argued that

"progress in China depends on westernisation and the more westernisation, the more progress."

Western, independent source here: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/dec/15/nobel-...

I thought China should be allowed to preserve it own culture and independence. Liu seemed to hold a quite different idea.

btw, it must be quite a shock for you to know such fact. I mean please feel free to downvote if you agree with Liu's very repressive view on how China should be colonized by the west for 300 years to get better argument. The whole "progress in China depends on westernisation" also sounds like a cultural genocide to me.


> I thought China should be allowed to preserve it own culture and independence.

Alas, the 'cultural revolution' destroyed most of that culture. You can still find some remnants of parts of it in the overseas chinese communities of southeast asia.


I always felt that China simply faced much starker realities and choices than ever we are able to fully appreciate when we complain about the systems they have.

I'm no Sinophile, and I think Great Britain should have built a floating desalination plant before ceding Hong Kong Island. But the little I know about Chinas history, the fragmentation of historically antagonistic races among the Chinese diaspora we call a people, and the immense variety of issues that have developed in isolation unique to their world, I believe all conspire to alienate the most rational observers from true neutrality. My mind blows fuses just contemplating the pressures and tensions that abound seemingly everywhere in their daily lives.


Is he actually arguing that China should be colonised? Or just making a comparison with Hong Kong's development and hypothesizing how long it'd take the mainland under similar yoke and rule.


I believe he did believe China should be colonized. Even he didn't, his audience are genuinely considering and discussing that option.

We have a word called "带路党", which literally means road-leading party, to describe people who think China being colonized is a viable idea and do whatever they feel it's helpful to achieve that goal. "Road-leading" means giving directions to intruders (or saviours in their view), in many cases, the US army.

Yeah, amusing, I know.

I don't have the exact definition of the word, here's an old meme people used during NSA's PRISM went viral, hope you get the idea. http://photocdn.sohu.com/20130613/Img378667270.jpg

The text on the right means "it's necessary to speak English well."

This comment is not going to be popular here though, predictable downvotes incoming, but I'm fine with it.


From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liu_Xiaobo

> Liu admitted in 2006 that the response was extemporaneous, although he did not intend to take it back, because it represented "an extreme expression of his longheld belief."[32] The quote was nonetheless used against him. He has commented, "Even today [in 2006], radical patriotic 'angry youth' still frequently use these words to paint me with 'treason'."[32]

Take that as you will. I've heard many Chinese call him racist and treacherous because of these words, that he deserved to die in prison. That is ridiculous, the position was definitely cringe worthy to many people, it isn't one I would agree with, but it was just one position made with lots of resignation.

There is a reason why we just shrug out arms at this, not because we agree with the opinion, but because intellectuals are bound to hold a few opinions that are worse (as judged by whoever) than others. You can crucify almost anyone if you cherry pick.


Thanks for your reply, I don't see it getting lots of down votes - it seems reasonable and has contributed to this discussion in a way lots of comments here haven't!

> Even he didn't, his audience are genuinely considering and discussing that option.

Imagine if this was a thirty year misunderstanding! In that case though, it'd be 100% his fault for allowing it to continue.

I suppose we can only really go on by taking the view that the man is dead, and said a lot of things that you might and might not agree with.

Take the good, learn from the bad, remember the writer of both as a flawed human like we all are and move on to the future right?


you can believe what you choose to believe. His comments were widely reported and he never ever even tried to dispute about the general interruption.


Hi there.

I see you've posted a lot in this thread. Lots of very short replies like this one repeating the same basic thing over and over.

I do think there is merit in condemning even entertaining the idea we're discussing but your many posts give a very desperate air to your position.

Perhaps you could allow others to have side conversations in this thread without popping in constantly.


I posted my comments above because you are blindly defending Liu's repressive comments without providing any 3rd party proof that can be publicly verified.

For your concerns regarding my post above, maybe you can start to back up your claims by providing some proof? For example, when you painted Liu's "China should be colonized by the west for 300 years" comments as some so called "misunderstanding", can you be more specific and shed some light on what makes you to believe that? Surely some convincing evidence is going to mute my doubts.

If you check my posts, I've provided his comments together with some analysis on his stands from a mainstream western media. You posted 4 times in this thread but everything was just what _YOU_ believe.

Sounds reasonable to you?


> I posted my comments above because you are blindly defending Liu's repressive comments without providing any 3rd party proof that can be publicly verified.

I'm not defending them. I'm questioning the interpretation of the quote posted which doesn't imply should. There is a difference and I can be swayed either way.

> when you painted Liu's "China should be colonized by the west for 300 years" comments as some so called "misunderstanding"

It was a joke. Can you imagine the absurdity if it was a 30 year misunderstanding?

Your hostility in this thread isn't helping your case at all, which in spite of you attacking me I still believe can probably be made very well!

I believe my questions have been quite reasonable, and I am the kind of person who can be 'won' over with good argument.

What really turns me off is the kind of absolutist hostility that you're displaying.


Check the rest of the thread. A number of people have indicated that there isn't much doubt about the interpretation of Liu's comments. You aren't contributing anything to the discussion by continuing to ask a question that's already been answered by a number of native Chinese speakers.


> that's already been answered by a number of native Chinese speakers.

I don't think it's been answered to a reasonable level of certainty.

The closest to a good answer was one guy who said he'd seen an interview in which the guy clarified that yes he did mean that.

But nobody has been able to find that interview, so to my mind it's still an open question. I'm being very careful to not accept statements of opinion as statements of fact.


>The closest to a good answer was one guy who said he'd seen an interview in which the guy clarified that yes he did mean that.

No, the closest was this: https://news.ycombinator.com/reply?id=14775990

You can find further confirmation of his views very easily by googling the English language media. Doing this could have saved a lot of pointless back and forth:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/dec/15/nobel-...

> In a 1988 interview he stated that "to choose westernisation is to choose to be human".

> In a well-known statement of 1988, Liu said:

> It took Hong Kong 100 years to become what it is. Given the size of China, certainly it would need 300 years of colonisation for it to become like what Hong Kong is today. I even doubt whether 300 years would be enough.

> Affirming this sentiment in Open magazine in 2006, he added that progress in China depends on westernisation and the more westernisation, the more progress.


> No, the closest was this: https://news.ycombinator.com/reply?id=14775990

Well, now we have this:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14780074

> In a 1988 interview he stated that "to choose westernisation is to choose to be human".

> Affirming this sentiment in Open magazine in 2006, he added that progress in China depends on westernisation and the more westernisation, the more progress.

Westernisation doesn't imply colonisation in the traditional sense. I've removed the quote we are discussing for clarity of my reply I hope you understand.

My takeaway from everything I've read in the past few hours is that he was a bit of a cantankerous guy who said some dumb shit that was widely misinterpreted and used to ruin him. He then refused to take it back either because he was unable to or too stubborn to do so.

I'm glad I pushed as hard as I did for clarification of the colonisation thing. In the end there were a few good interpretations (some conflicting!) and we are richer for having read them rather than taking the first presented as gospel.

The funny thing is I don't really give a shit about this dude, and actually don't think that he should have been given a nobel prize (nor Obama lol...) I think Nobel prizes for peace should go to those who actually promote or create peace... in whatever political framework that comes. Democracy isn't a panacea!

But I feel like a lot of the criticism of this guy has been super heavy handed and like many young western men I bristle at the idea of being told what is right/acceptable without good explanation. I hope you understand my perspective and why I kept questioning when I I did.


>who said some dumb shit that was widely misinterpreted

It wasn't misinterpreted. He explicitly stood by what he said. If it was sarcasm, he could just have clarified that it was sarcasm.

>Westernisation doesn't imply colonisation in the traditional sense

It kind of does, in the context of talking about a former British colony.


I was hoping for a more conciliatory ending to our conversation from you, but I suppose when you arouse someone's passions that isn't possible. Have a nice week.


> 三百年殖民地。香港一百年殖民地变成今天这样,中国那么大,当然需要三百年殖民地,才会变成今天香港这样,三百年够不够,我还有怀疑。

I am a decently educated Chinese native speaker. The quoted Chinese sentence from Liu is not acceptable to me. I do not think it is a direct comparison against HongKong.

I am fine with him arguing about changing the political situation of China or whatsoever. And, actually, the discussion on that should be more open. However, I cannot agree on his view about changing China through colonial no matter what he tries to justify. And I believe no rational Chinese people will agree him on this.


Well, I am from China too. Unlike some of my fellow countrymen, I don't find it offensive at all because I know the speaker is a true patriot who cares about basic human rights for every Chinese and fights for the cause until his very end. This statement is more about the weakness of Chinese citizen than an actual call for China to be colonized. It is brought up during an interview[1], and for some reason Liu may be speaking with a hot head and a big mouth. Let's stop attacking Liu's character with just one careless sentence.

May him rest in peace.

[1]: The interviewer's clarification of context (in Chinese) http://www.open.com.hk/content.php?id=44#.WWoeRjcRWrw


That appears to be just the same quote in Chinese. I'm not sure if it contains more nuance to bring clarity to the situation - perhaps you can assist there?

What would also help is more context for the quote. Is it a part of a bigger piece of writing?

I'm not asking you to do all the research for me, feel free not to reply - my interest is only really in passing. Though if you do reply feel free to use as much original Chinese text as you like to lend clarity. [1]真是我会度看可是我写中文写得不好。

[1] For those of you playing at home I can read, but my written Chinese is a bloody disaster.


The interviewer's clarification of context (in Chinese) http://www.open.com.hk/content.php?id=44#.WWoeRjcRWrw

The interviewer says “colonial” is an expression and sarcasm. It’s Liu’s writing style. It’s said to him as he’s Liu’s editor and long time friend, so he understood what Liu meant. Liu did explain what he meant in an article sent to him in 2007.

Some excerpts:

  1. “由此可見,劉曉波的意思是要在中國實行英國在香港推行的資本主義政策,起碼需要三百年,才會變得和香港一樣好。他並不是
      要中國再去當誰的殖民地”
      Liu meant China can benefit from westernisation like HK, he didn’t meant for it to be really
      colonised.

  2. “為甚麼搞「一國兩制,港人治港」?皆出於此:香港人認為殖民地好過共產專制...”
      How to view colonisation is a debated issue in HK, Liu pick it up as he just arrived there.

  3. “曉波從北京發來一篇〈我與開放雜誌結緣十九年〉稿子。文中主動談起八八年那次訪問,寫道... 他說,一句「三百年殖民地」
     的即興回答,成為中共迫害他的「典型證據」,但他不會為自己辯解,「特別是民族主義佔據話語制高點的今日中國,
     我更不想收回這句話。」... 他用一句話來解釋那犯眾怒的「三百年殖民地」之說。即「中國的現代化需要經過長期的西化過
     程方能實現。」”
      He sent me an article mentioned the 88’ interview. He said the prompt answer has been used as 
      an accusation against him. Yet as China’s nationalism is now the highest moral, he will not
      take it back. In the article he explained “300 years’ colonisation”, as “China’s modernisation 
      needs a long process as westernisation.”

  4. “劉曉波被稱為「黑馬」,那放言無忌、一針見血的表達方式,已成為他的標誌… ”
      Liu is an abrupt literature critic. Sarcasm is his writing style.

As a native Chinese, I think Mr. Liu is a rare hero in China. I didn’t think or hear much people was still fighting for democracy in Mainland, since the 89’ Tiananmen crackdown. For it’s risking your job, freedom and putting your family in danger. Not until I heard of Mr. Liu and his persistent work. It’s so sad most of my countrymen don’t even have an access to know who he was and what he really did. Due to the censorship in Mainland, you can’t find any concrete facts about what he did on the internet. Most people searched to know him from “baike”[1],Chinese equivalent of wikipedia. It only mentions his “colonial” comment, offers no facts about his pro-democracy work. I’ve heard college professor who doesn’t know how to use VPN to visit internet outside China asks “Who is Liu Xiaobo? What did he do except making the ‘colonial’ comment?” No wonder some of the hatred towards him. Yet his relentless effort kindled a fire in those who still wish for democracy in China. Just hope his work will be known to ordinary Chinese other than the ‘colonial’ comment in the future. He will be judged fairly and get the respect he deserves from fellow countrymen.

[1] http://baike.baidu.com/link?url=JKnyWvjwNqi81otv8InKVm28EZGa... (in Chinese)


讀*


I can read Chinese as well and I don't see anything opinionated in that quote. There is nothing that says anything positive or negative about Hong Kong. It just says that he suspects that China would have to be colonized for 300 years to reach the same state as Hong Kong, due to its large size.

He does not say whether it would be a good or bad thing. I don't even notice an undertone.


> I can read Chinese as well

I am a native Chinese, which also implies I understand more of the language context. Also it implies I probably can share more of the sentiment as other Chinese people do. So, yes, there is a difference between how people view the exact same content. And I was trying to clarify that.

> China would have to be colonized for 300 years to reach the same state as Hong Kong

Why China needs to reach the same state as Hongkong through Colonial? Does he feel HongKong was at a worse state compared to China at that point? Or HongKong was at a better state?

And, yes, no matter what state Hongkong was at due to the Colonial, China SHOULD NEVER go that path. That is where I cannot agree with Liu.

Any one can justify his words. But I will still hold my opinion on this specific issue after I read quite a lot about Liu, about what he said, about what he wrote, in both Chinese and English articles and documentary.


Neither I nor the quote said that China has to reach the same state as Hong Kong. Nor did I or the quote say that Hong Kong's state was better than China's.

Now maybe it is Liu Xiaobo's belief that China should be like Hong Kong, but that is not necessarily implied by the quote.

Do you also believe that "brain in a jar" thought experiments imply that someone wants to cut your brain out and put it in a jar?


He doesn't need to say if it's good or bad. Google "china africa neo colonialism" to decide for your self if colonization is a good thing for the colonized countries in the eyes of the Western people, unless you think the Chinese merchants and the government behind them are meaning well toward the African poor?

If colonization is a good thing, why in the first place the colonies all sought independence as soon as they had a chance?

Why should China be colonized if colonization is not a good thing (for the Chinese people)?


Do you agree with his jail sentence and permanent house arrest?


What are you trying to say? Is this a question related to my last view or trying to question me?! I cannot figure your point really.


I'm honestly curious to know if you feel that his treatment by the Chinese authorities was just (i.e. in proportion to the perceived crime).


There are a lot of problems with Chinese authorities. There are a lot of things I cannot agree on with them, and I am one of the Chinese people that are trying hard to fix them by doing real work.

Moreover, China != Chinese government. I, personally, hate the opinion that Chinese people who has a "traditional" view is inferior. Yes, they might be "washed" by todays "Chinese system" or education, and you disagree with them. But, it is not their fault.

And most of Liu's view is going towards the direction I really hate. Another example is his calling Chinese people "slaves transformed by the education system".

Again, I am not saying the authorities did the right or best thing. But just Liu is not the person that I would respect.


In other words, if I understand you, imprisoning someone for advocating white supremacy, say, is wrong. On the other hand, advocating white supremacy is not good even if it would be wrong to imprison someone for it.


It's a very simple question, you know.

Love it when topics on China or India pop up. You get all the same subservient pundits posting, but anecdotally the Chinese bots have spelling on their side.


I'd imagine that's not a 'safe' question for a Chinese national to answer publicly.


how about just focus on the core issue here? the core issue here is how come someone with such an extremist style view got awarded a nobel prize.

or you may want to explain to me how this whole "China needs to be colonized by the west for 300 years" crap is not extremist style.


Did you actually read the "I Have No Enemies" speech (the linked article)? It is as far from extremism as you can get.

In the speech, Liu spends considerable time praising the Communist Party's progress on human rights:

'The weakening of the enemy mentality has paved the way for the regime to gradually accept the universality of human rights. In [1997 and] 1998 the Chinese government made a commitment to sign two major United Nations international human rights covenants, signaling China's acceptance of universal human rights standards. In 2004, the National People's Congress (NPC) amended the Constitution, writing into the Constitution for the first time that "the state respects and guarantees human rights," signaling that human rights have already become one of the fundamental principles of China's rule of law. At the same time, the current regime puts forth the ideas of “putting people first" and "Creating a harmonious society," signaling progress in the CPC's concept of rule.'

After that, he even praises the progress he saw in jail conditions during the decades he's been in and out of the prison system, and offers thanks to a corrections officer who treated him well!


That is not even close to the core issue.

The core issue is that the Chinese government locked someone up for stating an opinion. An opinion not much different in substance than then ones you are stating in this thread.

Would you consider it just for you to be imprisoned for your views alone? I would not, and I think that is also true for other people.


>Would you consider it just for you to be imprisoned for your views alone?

In most western democracies, you can be imprisoned for a multitude of "thought crimes" - denying the holocaust, inciting racial or religious hatred, encouraging acts of terrorism etc.

The US has uniquely strong protections for free speech, but even there I expect that many people would support a ban on certain kinds of speech. How many Fox News viewers believe that jihadi preachers should be locked up? How many New York Times readers believe that white supremacists should be locked up?


Would you consider it just for Snowden to be exiled out of the country?

Would you consider it just for Assange to be under house arrest in an Embassy?

Would you consider it just for Liu Xiaobo to be under house arrest at his own home?

Well, IMHO, all 3 incidents are unjust. However, they all happened.

Interestingly, Liu Xiaobo earned a Nobel price, but Snowden didn't. Not sure what would happen if the Chinese government awarded Snowden or Assange some special prizes.


The difference is this: Assange and Snowden exposed state secrets. If Liu had done that, he would have been executed a long time ago.

I don't agree with Snowden's treatment either, but it's important not to confuse freedom of speech with dissemination of confidential information.


I agree with you on all those fronts. All three should be free, without harassment.


Remember Assange is wanted for sexual assault and probably should face the sexual assault charges. But it's not realistic that he could do without facing charges related to wikileaks.


There are two core issues:

1. Liu is not acceptable by a lot of Chinese people due to his aggressive words on colonial and slavers.

2. Liu was sentenced by the gov due to "subversion".

So to judge Liu, we have to look from at least two different angles, not just "he was sentenced".

Few people thinks 2 is right. I, personally, do not agree on 2 too.

And I am now thinking why most people outside China only know about 2 when they try to judge about Liu?


Freedom of speech isn't such a hard concept to understand. Even if you disagree with someone, you don't put them in prison.


This has been repeatedly explained: he was not jailed for what he said. His very offensive comments should not get him jailed but with those words in mind, do you think he deserve the nobel peace prize?

If you are interested in how he was jailed, search google, there are tons of articles there.


Hello, I did google it and all I got was he was jailed for 11 years after being convicted of a mysterious charge called "Inciting subversion of state power (煽动颠覆国家政权罪)".

It's not a charge that means a lot to those educated in the west, who would probably view it as a thought crime charge.

Can you explain its use and value better?


Why are you avoiding explaining what he was jailed for?


Hmm, if Trump speaks for the Russian, persuading the Americans that the US should be colonized by the Russians for 300 years, would you think he should be free doing his presidential business? Especially after he (for example's sake) got awarded some Russian prizes?

If he only expresses some views of his, it's probably OK if he's not influential. If he got awarded some prize that's important worldwide and sometimes awarded to POTUS, well, it's totally a different thing.


Would I think it was good? No.

Would that alone be enough that I would ask him to be imprisoned? Never.

You're confusing a dislike of his opinions for justification for jailing him, yet again.


he is not jailed for stating that view. the reason for this lock up can be easily searched online.


Why don't you provide a credible source? "Just google for it" is generally what people say to support arguments based on conspiracy theories.


[flagged]


You're clearly trying to seed doubt about why Liu was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

He was condemned for "subversion", a vaguely defined crime that doesn't exist in democracies, but has been a popular legal tool in dictatorships.


eh...

Liu was not sentenced due to this <三百年殖民地。香港一百年殖民地变成今天这样,中国那么大,当然需要三百年殖民地,才会变成今天香港这样,三百年够不够,我还有怀疑。>

And, yes, what you just described is also well known. No one in this thread said Liu should be sentenced. And no one in this thread said they agree with what Chinese gov did.

What we suggest is that some of Liu's opinions are not acceptable by Chinese people. And he is not well respected as people might think. Some facts are provided in this thread.


Since that is a well known issue about him. No one thinks it is conspiracy theory. If you want to discuss about Liu, I assume you should do some homework first?


Holy cow, how is him getting a prize the core issue, compared to him and his wife being imprisoned for years for stating political views?


Ok, here is another quote from Xiaobo in 1990 which shows that he did not hold extremist views as you falsely claim:

My tendency to idealize Western civilization arises from my nationalistic desire to use the West in order to reform China. But this has led me to overlook the flaws in Western culture — or, even if I see them, to set them aside intentionally. I have not, therefore, been able to stand apart from Western culture, take a critical view of it and perhaps get a better view of human frailty more generally. I have been obsequious toward Western civilization, exaggerating its merits, and at the same time exaggerating my own merits. I have viewed the West as if it were not only the salvation of China but also the natural and ultimate destination of all humanity.


he was. and in a later interview he clarified he was not joking, nor metaphorically speaking. he said he literally wanted China to be colonised for 300 years.

the best explanation I could think of, is that he was young and tried to make an extraordinary statement to express his view. we all did this.


I would love to see that interview! Link? That pretty much solves it and leaves no room for doubt.

> the best explanation I could think of, is that he was young and tried to make an extraordinary statement to express his view. we all did this.

That is a very charitable interpretation. It's a difficult thing to view view someone's contentious statements through a kind lens like that. I don't mean to lay it on thick but in a thread with a lot of hostility I'm thankful for your thoughtful contribution.


sorry I couldn't find it any more b/c suddenly articles about him is all over the internet and google doesn't help.

since 1898, China has been through a process longer than a century trying to figure out why we lagged behind. many had sharply criticised Chinese history, political system/heritages, culture, language, writing system, geological layout, even Chinese as a race. amongst them, Liu's view was actually not that extreme, nor innovative. It's fascinating to read through this slice of history, laughing at some remarks made by great figures, while appreciate their frustration as flawed human beings constrained by their times/knowledge/visions/environments.

as an entrepreneur, I think Liu's view is probably wrong and his political campaign has no clear target market. but he deserved a longer and healthy life.


Oh well, c'est la vie :) Thanks for trying.

You make a good point about famous figures remarks. It's important to keep in mind the kind of absurdity we've seen from prominent people in the past when we hear something shocking from the public figures of our own time. The people of the past are flawed, and the people of the present are flawed.


I don’t think he made such an interview. The only time he explained his comments was in an article he sent to the original interviewer Jin Zhong in 2007. Jin later wrote to clarify the context of the comment in 2011. As by then Liu was in jail and never offered an explanation publicly. People have turned to Jin for clarification.


he made that argument almost 30 years ago, he never offered any explanation or clarification to state that his comments were just a comparison.

note that:

1. he had numerous interviews after publicly making that comments. 2. he is widely criticised for that even by his peers, if that was an misunderstanding, why he refused to offer any clarification?


Cultural genocide is an abomination of a term. It misappropriates a word that conjures up unspeakable horror of mass extermination in order to make suppression of cultural activities / works as bad as mass murder. Its about as bad as statutory rape.


It's just a colorful metaphore. Chill out.


Especially egregious considering that all culture is a lie and it genocides itself by default anyway.


Here's the thing. You don't have to agree with his political views. You don't have to pick a side. But you can still see his treatment as bad. This man is in prison for disagreeing with the government, that is very bad.


[dead]


"My tendency to idealize Western civilization arises from my nationalistic desire to use the West in order to reform China"

I cannot read this without translating it in the way I imagined it would be heard in the offices of power, to mean he is freely admitting to the desire to subvert his own nation with foreign culture, no matter or difference his meaning or intent.

I'm being as literal as ever I can be, but I have understood that sentence as if I just read it being said about my country and not China. I would not be amused with someone saying that about England.


That's pretty much what happens any time someone tries to improve their country though. You look at what works elsewhere, and then you do it.


FYI, there's an interesting commentator machine operating in China for public manipulation https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/50_Cent_Party

I'm not ruling out genuine believer of their opinions but there's also this possibility.

They're getting pretty sophisticated and sometimes instead of supporting the government, their goal would be disinformation, induce hatred (i.e. troll) to divide and conquer.

If you're interested in the perspective of some HongKongness (myself included) I'd recommend this film https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Years_(2015_film)

It's so touching to me because it's dystopian but really just exaggeration what I perceive in real life that how the changes are creeping in during recent years, continual development of public swaying psyops is just one of them.

Not that I like Britain nor UN either as they both dropped the ball of enforcing the Sino-British Joint Declaration or giving HongKong a chance to decide its own fate as other post-colony.


This thread has nothing relate to Hong Kong. Could you please stop introducing such completely off-topic stuff? Thank you.


Well there's comparison of cultural and citizen quality between HongKong an China in some heated debates here.

Or do you think my comment should be censored?


As an aside, even though the Norwegian government has nothing to do with the prize, China quickly ended lots of relations with Norway, losing Norwegian companies billions.

Now, the government is too afraid to publicly speak about Liu, to not sour what they have spent years trying to fix. Weak.


The weakness is democracy. The Norwegian governing party - whoever it is - now knows that China's default position to perceived outside interference is disproportionate economic punishment, leading to pressure on the living standards of the voters they depend on. Autocratic states have discovered a critical weakness in the representative democracy and there's little we can currently do about it


What if Norway was another autocratic state? Economic punishment could have made them bent anyway. Maybe your point is that autocracies bend less than democracies and you could be right: dictators usually don't care about economic sanctions because what they care about is to stay in charge. A poor or wealthy country doesn't matter much. Actually sanctions help them to build a narrative of world against the country and strengthen their grip.

I'm not aware of what happened in Norway after those Chinese sanctions. They could democratically decided that it was ethically worth losing those businesses. Any Norwegian people here?


Norwegian here!

I'd like to take the opportunity to say that the feeling at the time was that we got left out in the storm by ourselves by other western countries once the Chinese sanctions came on. In the direct aftermath everyone else just kinda looked the other way, and in the long run there is no way a tiny country like us can withstand that pressure over time.


Do you and your countrymen ever doubt whether the potential political toxicity of the prize is worth it for Norway to maintain sole administration? Has there ever been talk of transferring it to something like a multi-country consortium under the U.N.?


I like this plan, but I'd imagine in Alfred Nobel's will there is something requiring that the peace prize be awarded only in Norway.


I imagine what it should have been like. For once, I didn't even remember the issue. Sorry for that.

I found this analysis comparing the sanctions to Norway and Mongolia and the final result.

https://cpianalysis.org/2017/02/22/the-costs-of-normalisatio...


Democracies can choose not to trade with dictatorship.


True. However, the parties currently in government when that decision is made would prefer not to be voted out of power due to economic pressures.


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I can understand some of your critiques of democracy and its current Western implementation.

What makes me wonder is the assumption that the Chinese government acts for well-being of Chinese people in general, and not the prosperity of the relatively narrow upper ruling layer. It's not based on any evidence; if anything, Chinese history is full of examples of the contrary.

To play an honest neo-reactionary, you should at least assume that an autocratic ruler, collective or personal, cares about its own well-being, but it somehow trickles down to non-ruling layes, and does so more effectively that what a democracy would provide.


it's okay. nine_k and i are on "different sides" in view of this. I know nine_k does not want to see it differently. we shall not agree.

but for anyone else who comes across this and is still working out how they feel about this here's a thought experiment:

okay, so you've heard that China is led by selfish autocrats who are evil. now imagine the PRC ruling elite actually does act in the best interests of the Chinese people. just for the sake of the experience, try it on. conceive of the possibility.

next imagine a state that doesn't do that. there's plenty of examples of selfish failed dynastic dictators to pick from. philippines, north korea. we're not even touching on africa. the trajectory is clear. pillaged prosperity.

now look at China's trajectory since Mao kicked the nationalists out. compare to examples of failed single party states.

which type of leadership matches more closely the trajectory of China?

i get if you want to stick to the "evil elite" story. it's easier to dismiss China if you think their leaders are selfish and evil. if you don't live in China, it's more comfortable to deal with envy of their rise by paying yourself off by pretending they're worse in some ways. and if your view is correct, no foul, probably. there probably wasn't anything to learn there anyway, since you were "right" and they were "wrong". you can safely ignore China. but...what if that view wasn't correct? What if they were doing it right? doesn't being blind to that forfeit a chance to be inspired by their achievements and learn from them?

would you entertain the possibility you were mistaken about the leaders? what if you were? what if China is led by people who act in the interests of the Chinese and seek the revival of China? what if they were successful doing it?

maybe you think, well, who cares, it actually it doesn't matter what their motivations are, as long as they deliver. and they sure have delivered growth, prosperity and harmony.

but what if it does matter what their motivations are? what if their motivations their ultimate goal, the cherishing of the Chinese people, is key to their success? I fully understand the painful resistance to anything that is like self-confidence, national pride, or englightened nationalism in a country that is very publicly going through a "dark night of the soul", exposing its self-doubts and self-hatred, equivocation and division for all the world to see. "please don't remind us of anything that looks like shining nationalism that works. don't remind us what we lost!" but, if you really understood the chinese people you'd see that their unity of pride in who they are is really key to who they are becoming, and to their success in this transition.

americans used to be proud of themselves as well. now they're going through their adolescent "low confidence" "self doubt" and "conflict" stage. it's messy. it's not helping their country in obvious ways. but surely the tumult is helping the long term. i'm sure there is a future they can get to where their self confidence and pride in who they are guides them again. but that's probably a very very long way off.

you've got to make up your own mind about what you see about china. i hope my enthusiasm or openness to other points of view has helped you see a bigger picture than the mainstream self-soothing anti-China propaganda, that obscures the truth and doesn't really help anyone -- except to console, for a little while.

but who needs consolation when you get results?

success is a far better consolation than pretending the other side are "bad".

ok, so on to other stuff now. i shall not continue this thread. :);p xx


your assumption that anyone/organization/party might have superior knowledge to lay out a perfect plan (70 years!), is not true. without this assumption, your argument becomes invalid.


not assuming anything. just looking at the results. from poverty to riches in 70 years, civil harmony and > 1bn people, clearly the proof the party doesn't know what they're doing.

the truth is the PRC is ruled by technocratic geniuses. Even their critics admit as much. most of them are engineers. you SV Cali republic folks ought to be eyeing this as a model of development + progress can be done right at scale.

but i get there's years of propaganda to see through to get to that point.


The results? China has not yet achieved the wealth of liberal democracies in the West and taken decades or centuries longer to get there. Moreover, Taiwan, South Korea and (earlier) Japan have enjoyed similar economic booms whilst (or subsequently) enjoying democracy.

Honest question: how do these data points fit into your theory?


Firstly, tho, the economic success of these three countries is on many fronts a direct result of China's rise, while their own policies have kept them back on some fronts, economic integration with China has helped grow them.

Second, these other countries are smaller. It's easier to administer a smaller country. You next next level social organization and governance to guide over 1bn from poor to rich.

And specifically, Japan copied a Western economic model wholesale, and is stagnating. Their loss of national mojo, and lower fertility paint bleak outlook. They still hold their inflexible idealism, which no longer really works for them, while Chinese are far more flexible, pragmatic and entrepreneurial, culturally, by nature. Their dynamism couldn't be farther apart. China wins hands down. Plus, militarily, they depend on US. China has independent command of the world's largest standing army. Japan's more exposed to future risks.

S K is a success. I respect and admire. Also grew prosperity from conflict in short time. But it's a bit player economically. Its economic drivers are more fragile, and overly concentrated, than China, politically it's beholden to US alliance despite new leadership, and it's hobbled, culturally and sociological by its division. China is stronger.

Taiwan is a great country to stay in, it's very comfortable and they have great social infrastructure, far more than compared to China. It's, in some ways, a model for what aspects of China may trend towards. But it's also a lesson. Policy stagnation, fabricated protectionism against the "Chinese bogeyman", a result of willful exploitation of historical ignorance, where the Chinese mainland is blamed incorrectly for the abuses of the initial KMT under CKS after they fled the civil war, wasted decades of opportunity of economic integration with skyrocketing China, while democratic leaders spent this as political capital on bickering, that seriously retarded growth, and gave the people an unnecessary persistent suspicion and chip on their shoulders. Things are changing rapidly now, but they'll never recover those decades of lost growth that resulted from those policy blunders. Also on average the people are far more laid back and lazy than the average mainlander, less ambitious, and more likely to blame their economic stagnation on other nations success rather than taking responsibility and working to create improvements themselves. While the mainland would compete, the Taiwanese will complain. Their generous welfare state has already created a much acknowledged culture of dependence which plunders dynamism and productivity. I wouldn't say China beats Taiwan, but China has made the most of their many opportunities, while Taiwan has missed many.

So these three countries have exhibited the familiar failures of our Western democracies that China has avoided: economic and policy stagnation, welfare dependent suppressed productivity, lack of focus and direction, are just some of the symptoms.

As much as they are each successes, they're not as successful as China has been with a very different model.

It's not just economic policy and single party rule, China cultivates national pride and controls information in a way that has worked for increasing productivity. This concept is anathema to western liberal orthodoxy because it's incorrectly seen as an affront to personal liberty. But personal liberty doesn't exist in a vacuum, it is contingent upon the state (no time nor inclination to refute the anticipated W liberal objections to this now,we simply see things differently as we're on different sides), and when control of information and cultivation of national attitudes leads to greater personal freedoms, the Western intellectual ideal view is left looking sterile, ineffective, dishonest, contrived, impractical, unhelpful and naive.

As to comparing the wealth of nations of China vs WLDs, it's on a different timescale, but, China has grown faster (look at GDP) and more, and discount the future value with a cool headed view of Western and Eastern trajectories, and maybe you'll see they're on the same page. They'll probably exceed US eventually in raw terms. But even if they never did, the Chinese have a wealth of national pride, cultural and value coherence and civil harmony, that constitutes significant civil wealth.

Also, their system is more honest. The Chinese are open about their propoganda, information control, and single party rule. But in the democracy, the state needs to pretend the citizens have more say then they do, while persisting a deep executive branch behind the changing set pieces of democratic theatre, that is overtly lied about and itself rendered ineffective with regard to the greater good of the people, and limited from taking bold across to advanced their long term interests, because of its need for secrecy. It's a self crippled system that leads to it being less accountable to the citizens well-being, and more inclined to fight only for its own equilibrium, than an honest single party state with a more transparent and honest interface to the population, like China. Unfortunately in WLDs this has led to a runaway and in some aspects irresponsible growth of secret security and intelligence apparatus because of its dislocation from the overt rhythms of the front-of-stage state, necessitating the prolonging or fabrication of conditions to pretend to justify its existence and continued expenditure of resources, such as terrorism, civil conflict and division, and constant war. It would seem WLDs are incentivized in ways that doesn't work for their people.

My view is we need to run the experiment on both systems, the Chinese and the American. And that they both have significant opportunities for improvement and can learn from each other. Even if West exceeds China now in fiscal wealth (tho probably not in net present value considering discounted future returns), China exceeds West in civil wealth. Obviously less learning will occur the more each pretends the other is stupid or bad.


Thanks for the honest and detailed response. It definitely makes it easier to engage with an opposing view :-)

Firstly regarding the size of China. I do take the point that this makes administration easier. A counterpoint is that it also makes internal markets smaller. China's protectionist approach to the internet for instance likely wouldn't work in Taiwan. I'm unclear of the effect of protectionism in general here. It certainly seems to have worked well for China so far but what will happen if or when these markets are really opened up to foreign competition?

The effect of China's rise on the Asian tigers is almost certainly true. Although you could make the same argument for China benefiting from economic integration with the West. I don't think it diminishes either achievement.

I think I certainly disagree with the notion that the Chinese system is more honest. Chinese media very much gives me the opposite impression. The Great Firewall (protectionist reasons aside) doesn't speak to a "transparent and honest interface to the population" nor the state controlled media. That said, I can align with some of the things you say about democracy in the West. We would certainly do well not to delude ourselves into thinking that the West is free and China is not - though I have no doubts about which society I would choose to live in.

Lastly and most importantly for your argument, I really think its too early to say that China has avoided the stagnation that has afflicted the Asian tigers or WLDs. China's GDP per capita is only around a quarter of Japan's. I think if China were at half or three quarters of that figure and still achieving such impressive growth, I would be more convinced. Until then, we need to compare it to much more distant points in those countries' histories, when they were still posting spectacular growth figures (and in the case of Japan, also predicted to surpass the USA). The experiment needs more time to run in my opinion.


China has more skill to be able to run a larger system than places that only know how to run smaller systems. So they have socio-political governing ideas that work at scale, and they've produced consistent results. It's probably because they've been doing stable bureaucracies for 5000 years.

Yes smaller markets are harder to run protectionism on. So it's harder to have an economic policy direction independent of other countries. But that doesn't mean you can't make skillful policy and trade engagements with other big players, and benefit as much as possible from their growth. I don't think this East Asian set has done that, and I think they've let partisan politics and historical resentments get in the way of this. Swapped long term prosperity and regionalism for short term political capital, incentivized by a democratic system.

You're right about trade. It's a nothing point. Since everything is basically equal. Even if China had an asymmetric relationship where it "contributed more" in its trade with the East Asian set, and in its trade with the West, ( and I'm not saying it does have that ) that still doesn't really speak to the differences in any of those traders political systems. So it's totally useless of me to bring that up here when we're evaluating different socio-political systems. Good catch. I think I just raised it to say "you can't judge their success on their Western merits alone, you have to see their interconnection with the China model" but as you correctly point out, that's two way street. It doesn't matter where the trade money comes from, it matters what you choose to do with it. And that's where I think China has more skilfully used their opportunities, as a result of their model, by focusing heavily on infrastructure and long term projects, than the East Asian "WLD" set. You got to play to the short term in a democracy. And in a changing, globalized world, that might be the wrong set of incentives to best serve your population's well being. Too limiting. You're playing the global economy and local long term prosperity with both hands tied behind your back. In the Chinese model they're more free to act in their citizens best interests. Everyone is envious of that. Europe acknowledges this advantage openly. But does nothing. So European.

In terms of living in a society, for me the ideal is to have the option to live in whichever and move between them. They all ( or both, considering USA and China as the two biggest examples of the different models ) have their benefits and challenges. Differences are fun. No one system offers everything. In terms of honesty, what I mean is that they are honest about their censorship and control. Whereas censorship and information control in the West is necessarily secret to preserve the stagecraft of "moral supremacy" and freedom. Yes, controlling information is not honest, but you can be honest that you do it, which is what they are. This is important to me. In the West the spies just lie to your face, and shadow you, in China, they openly harass you in the street and put you under house arrest. A system of control that hides in the shadows is one harder for the average individual to comprehend. One that is out in the open is easier for people to understand. Notice how Chinese citizens routinely circumvent censors activities? The transparency and openness make this possible, and this is just one example. To me, that is the Chinese state showing its citizens respect. In the West, or a Western style East Asian state, the average citizen doesn't know who is watching, what their policy or agenda is, nor what they are doing. To me, that is the Western model showing contempt for the individual it pretends to protect the freedoms of. I sort of see it like, if your partner betrays you would you rather it be an honest open relationship or secret betrayals behind your back? At least the Chinese sec intel apparatus are honest about how they try to control. And Westerners criticize China's human rights and praise their own credibility to do so. Ha. 5D doublethink masters. That kind of dishonesty is just not my style. It's too inefficient. Just be straight up. Own what you do. Stop being such a coward and lying about everything. Is how I see it. This is just one aspect of the transparent and honest interface to the population. But enough for now from me.

Sure the experiment still has longer to run. Maybe you're right and China will have the same stagnation once its economy moves beyond the current hyper growth period or becomes a net importer. It's a good point about Japan. I didn't know it was predicted to surpass USA at some point in the past as well. I guess personally I just find a country that can provide a pretty-much first-world-standard of living ( in the cities, anyway, for a price ), and develop so quickly with so many people, more interesting and inspiring than those that already are stagnating. A country where people are still charging forward, optimistic about the future, rather than bickering over welfare benefits. So, in a sense, I'm pinning my hopes for proof of civilizational advance on the success of the Chinese experiment. I hope they keep winning, so I'm cheering them on. I see a lot of signs to say they will, and I like to counter the ignorance and negative propos about them, but you're right that we don't know yet what path their road will take.

Even if the economy stagnates the same, I'm inclined to think the Chinese will have more social harmony. I'm comfortable with how much I've conveyed about that already, but to summarise it's really based on a culture that I see promotes harmony and values-based-nationalism ( even tho they it is tied to ethnicity currently ), and I hope that is successful in avoiding the painful and wasteful division and fabricated conflict along exaggerated identity politics / tribalistic differences, that I feel is so destructive to social fabric ( and productivity, optimism, focus ) in the West. So while I say they will have more social harmony, clearly I am an optimist and I probably just hope they do, because I hope their system has success where I see the Western one has failed, and lead to a divided society, indulging in policy stagnation and civil ideological conflict.

When you say, "protectionism in general here", do you mean the USA?


When I referred to "protectionism in general here" I was thinking mostly of its consequences for developing countries during and after their rise to prosperity. I'm afraid my history isn't really good enough to say whether this applies to the USA in the last few centuries :-) I imagine it's quite possible that it does.

I definitely get where you're coming from with optimism for China and can align with it to some extent. I do think we need to be a little careful about giving the CCP or the political structure too much credit for China's achievements when the ingenuity and hard work of the citizens seems to be the much greater part of the explanation to me. OTOH I agree they've made some good decisions along the way - infrastructure in particular. Time will tell I guess.

Whatever the outcome politically I certainly hope the Chinese people carry on along the path towards prosperity.


> democracy is simply an effective means for social control to maintain a status quo

Occasionally, democracies elect a party that promises change and then actually delivers on it. That the status quo is mostly maintained has more to do with the fact that one high-stakes mistake can obliterate a party's reputation and completely ruin their chance at reelection, so representatives end up being more careful. It is essentially the "autocrat suppressing a revolution by populism" dynamic, except revolutions are regularly scheduled and less bloody.

> A technocratic-governed advanced society like China, can afford to make long term bets and bold moves for the good of its people, and thus in my view better deserves the mantle of caring for its citizens wellbeing.

I think caring for the wellbeing of citizens and making bold moves are mostly orthogonal, since you can make bold moves that completely ignore your citizens, but you can also care about them and not make a bold move when the risk isn't worth the benefit.

I do agree that that an autocracy can make longer-term plans and execute them more efficiently than a democracy, but if those plans turn out to be wrong, people tend to lose their lives. If you bet big, you lose big. China's 5 year plans may have lead to seventy years of economic growth, but occasionally there was widespread famine due to planning failure.

I very much doubt that China would be able to forge ahead at its current speed even after reaching a distribution of purchasing power similar to the West. Productivity gains only get you so far until there are diminishing returns. China's current growth mostly comes from taking established solutions and applying them at humongous scale. I'm not trying to imply that Chinese are only capable of copying, just that it's a hellishly effective method to further economic growth, and that growth will drop to Western levels as soon as all low-hanging fruit has been picked and copying doesn't cut it anymore.

I also don't think abusing "harmony" as an excuse to keep the population complacent is much of a Western thing. I have seen enough Chinese propaganda banners of a similar tone to believe that it is used pretty much universally to discourage dissenting opinions. You mention it yourself as a motivation for propaganda and mass deception, but phrase it as if it was a good thing.

I don't believe much of that propaganda actually ends up benefiting the people (although the daily reminder to brush your teeth might ;) ). I don't doubt that some of the people involved have good intentions, but the higher up in the party hierarchy you go, the more officials will care about securing their rank, and attempt to gain more influence. (This holds true of most social hierarchies.)

To summarize my point, I don't think China is as good as you claim it to be, nor is the West as bad, all the while not being as black-and-white as what you seem to be arguing against.


you want to engage, but I'm not going to right now. thanks anyway. for serious consideration etc.

i realize my comment is a little too extreme even for my own view. i criticize the West very strongly here, and while i don't walk back from any of it -- this comment doesn't express any of the deep love I have for the US.

anyway, this thread is not about me, so I won't bother spilling what the full spectrum of my views are. i'm fine to misrepresent myself to make an important point as I have done: there's so much anti-China propos that Westerners are blind to what they could learn, so a strong pro China stance is required to counter all the anti-China rubbish, also even those "pro China sinophiles" are often blind to the absolute illusory fantasy scale of Western liberal democracy, and so I wanted to combine those two things together in one mega punch hit. :p :) xx


Yes, democratic political culture is a culture of popular, low risk decisions, and stagnation. This limits how far these countries can develop. The problem with assuming China will reach the same stagnation, is because that outlook is the situation democracies accept as inevitable, because it's the best they've been able to achieve. It doesn't mean that's the best there is. China runs on a different engine. I believe it can go further. I hope it does, because then they've created a new system that we can all learn from. The current results of political rule in western liberal democracies i find disappointing, so i sincerely cheer on the Chinese for doing something different and hope they have created something better in some aspects.

As you point out, the Chinese are expert copiers. What i love about this is that it means they are open to taking the best parts of what's worked, and adapting it themselves. They're pragmatic, and flexible. I love that about them, because that adaptability and openness to achievements of others ( instead of insecurely insisting their existing way is superior ) means they are effective learners, and can effectively make the most of opportunities. So we can say they are simply doing this with policy, politics and governance, to create a new system.

Their risk taking attitude means they can run lots of experiments, different policies in different cities, and learn from the results. Remember tho, their scale didn't just happen. They built a country that big. Also, it's not just about having scale, it's about how skillful the choices you make with what you have, are. Russia and India also possesses scale of d different sorts, but they're not as successful to me as China.

yorwba and I believe different things about propaganda and harmony. I think the gap in beliefs is too much to cover here now. We agree that propos is an effective tool, but I believe it can be put to good and that's what the Chinese do. yorwba views propos cynically, and doesn't see it that way at all. Similarly, i think, differ our beliefs about harmony.

Finally i believe the option, the freedom, to make a bold move is a requirement, for taking care of your citizens well being. If your can't take risks because your political system disincentivizes you from doing so, then you're not not able to serve your citizens well being as much as you could. I don't know how you get around that weakness.


Not weak, but fragile.

In fact, the government structure designed by Lisi in Qin dynasty 2000 years ago, and still being used today, is a fragile structure in peaceful times. It's a structure designed for war and the law enforcement tends to vanish if no direct threats are present to ordinary people. The central government will lose authority if the officials cannot contain dissenters, especially those who may be backed up by the provincial government officials.

Liu tried to restructure the aforementioned political structure through 08 Charter: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charter_08

We still don't know the details about what he actually had done besides drafting the manifesto.If he tried to create a political group to materialize the 08 Charter, then it's definitely a substantial threat to the central government and even to most of the Chinese people, though it would be a trivial issue in any western countries.

The Norwegian government officials apparently had no idea about the severity of backing a dissenter challenging the central government in China due to cultural gap. In fact, many NGOs failed the same way in China. Those few who helps the central government are successful though.

Liu spotted many flaws in the current political structure that many Chinese people know for years. Even scholars in northern Song dynasty and late Ming dynasty also tried to fix the same drawbacks Liu mentioned, but they failed miserably and gave up the entire civilization to Mongolians and Manchurians.

In my opinion, Liu's importance is exaggerated by western media. His solution to our centuries-old problem is completely non-realistic and very dangerous. Ordinary Chinese people will laugh at his naiveness instead of respecting his idealism.

To do a successful political system reform to attain the same achievements that western civilization has obtained through hundreds of years of improvement, China needs to meet Chinese people's most urgent demands step by step and reason from First Principles instead of mimic any model countries.

It's kind of similar to the way for a startup to succeed.

Edit: Added the Norwegian government paragraph and fixed some grammar issues.


> Now, the government is too afraid to publicly speak about Liu

As it should be. Speaking up would only draw more attention to Norway's unscrupulous actions in conflicted and autocratic regions, especially considering its public image of neutrality, diplomacy, non-interference, and promoting progressive values. Denmark and Sweden are also in this as well - they say they promote human rights while exporting billions of euros in military technology and services to regions with known human rights abuses.


Sources?


I found this link: https://www.earthrights.org/campaigns/norway-complicit-human... but haven't read it fully.


Looks like $5b of their pension fund investments include multinational oil and gas companies in Burma.

The article says Norway is complicit in these companies' actions which are complicit in "forced labor, killings, and land confiscation"


China also quickly reestablished relations with Norway when it needed a foothold in Europe against incumbent Trump.


You ever get the feeling this Nobel Prize and the western media's fawning coverage of Liu Xiaobo is really just about westerners making themselves feel better?

China will get democracy one day. It will be because a large swath of Chinese people want it. Although there have been some high profile dissidents in China over the last 30 years, including Liu Xiaobo and the 1989 students, most Chinese are probably not ready for their message of political openness. They're still focused on lower levels of the Maslow hierarchy like shelter and food.

These dissidents have the bad luck of poor timing. In another 30 or 40 years when China is fully developed, their ideas may be well accepted among citizenry and party reformers.


Under what conditions, exactly, do you think democracy originally came to be? This is a really bizarre, historically nonsensical comment that is unnecessarily dismissive of people who have sacrificed lives or livelihoods to pave the way for fundamental human rights in their country.


Democracy used to include only middle and upper class people (i.e. you had to have some wealth to be able to vote) and was only relatively recently extended to everyone.


Exactly.

In my father's life, it was not allowed to vote unless you were the owner outright of property and women gained suffrage in his early years. My father lacked a birth certificate, and this prevented him from voting, until resolved. Imagine every child of a single parent family disenfranchised...


If you asked me this in 1989, we were all sure china will get democracy in 20 or 30 years, it was just a matter of time. The 30th anniversary of Tiananmen is in a couple of years, and things haven't gotten much better.

I was told in 2006 by a prominent Chinese researcher when visiting that there were just a bunch of old fogeys in government and that's why some internet sites were blocked. They would die off/retire soon and the internet would be completely open. Of course, that isn't what happened: after the 2008 Olympics things got much worse and today we fondly look back on 2006 as s time when we could actually use Facebook in china without fiddling through a VPN.

We were told in 2010 that Beijing's air pollution problem would definitely be solved by 2020.

When I first lived in china 2002, I found longer term expats to be so salty and cynical, wow they are so close minded! Before I left just last year I of course had become that expat.

In another 30 or 40 year what china will be honestly can't be predicted.


>You ever get the feeling this Nobel Prize and the western media's fawning coverage of Liu Xiaobo is really just about westerners making themselves feel better?

Not really. Imagine if the Nobel institute only granted the prize to Europeans. Imagine the furore that would cause. Now, sure, the winners have often been controversial. Here, I can't disagree. I mean, what's not to like about someone who wants to change their own country for the better?


Sure, the man himself seems beyond reproach, and I admire his courage. But in another sense that's just what I mean, that we can sit here, read this news, and nod approvingly at this man's actions.

But beyond our own consumption of this narrative, his efforts are pretty much irrelevant to any eventual democratization in China.


That sounds defeatist. It all has to start somewhere. Someone has to get the ideas rolling. The road to democracy in the western world was long and tortuous and stretched back a millennium or more, but we got there. His ideas are not in vain.


We can't just simply discount the effect of the Nobel prize and world media coverage of Liu Xiaobo. I am reading the book Perfect Hostage by Justin Wintle, it's about the life of Aung San Suu Kyi. And, yes there were a lot of Burmese people and their leader who fought fearlessly for democracy, but I think in addition to that there is a real sizable effect of Suu Kyi winning the Nobel peace prize and world media coverage following it. Whether you like to attribute it or not, I think the effect is very real. Suu Kyi was house arrested for few years when she was awarded the Nobel prize, this was followed by many other awards and recognition, the world media coverage about Suu Kyi and their cause increased and so did the general awareness about the plight of the people and their struggle, and so did the diplomatic pressure from other countries, sanctions, embargoes etc. I know the situation of present day China and Burma in the early 90s is very different but I think the point still stands.


Suu Kyi gained her freedom, won an election, then ignored a genocide.

Democracy is not magic. A failing state is a failing state, regardless of the system of government. Great rebels rarely make for great politicians.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/rohingya-muslim... https://theintercept.com/2017/04/13/burmese-nobel-prize-winn...


Exactly my point.

Myanmar got their freedom. Now, there is another problem and the current establishment isn't doing enough. And, what you shared is, again, the world media covering these lapses. Suu Kyi did a lot right in the fight for freedom, but doesn't make her infallible. Perhaps some one else from within Myanmar will rise up and champion the cause. And, the world media and external entities do their part to help in terms of coverage, spreading awareness, diplomatic pressure, sanctions etc. We cannot just brush off the efforts of the latter saying they are doing it just to please themselves.


There is an assumption that the "One person one vote democratic system is the best system for any country in any stage". However, the data just don't support this assumption.

https://www.ted.com/talks/eric_x_li_a_tale_of_two_political_...


I absolutely agree with your premise.

But I cannot help but feel saddened, to reduce the prize to a level of the publicity it conveys.

Neither can I eradicate the thought that awarding such a prize in this manner surely is felt as a provocation by the Chinese government as you rightly point out that the sole effect is of publicising and canonising a man whom they are, by their values, imprisoning justly for admitted subversion.


It's definitely more than just publicity. There's a difference. Being on the cover of a Time magazine is publicity. But a Nobel Prize (or similar recognition) is not just publicity. It's elevating a person to the same stature as Nelson Mandela, MLK etc. It's hope to the people following them, it's inspiration, it's recognition. It's a signal to the establishment that it's no longer just a dissident but perhaps birth of a movement, if history has taught us anything. It's definitely more. If not anything, there is a big chunk of prize money, it generally is put to use for a good cause too. :)


Just yesterday I heard someone talking about Liu Xiaobo on BBC. Sorry, I did not get the name or anything else, but I assume that was woman from China. She said pretty much the same: before the Nobel prize he was just one of the many, not particularly interesting. After the prize he was singled out and his wife was put on the house arrest.


> most Chinese are probably not ready for their message of political openness

Isn't this exactly the problem. Someone else deciding what you are ready or not ready for. For me democracy is about everyone having a voice, even those on the lower levels. There will always be different levels.


This assumes that Chinese will want to be more like the west. Maybe this would have been true when China was economically underdeveloped, but as living standards improve they might care less what outsiders think and instead think they have something better. There's too much "White Man's Burden" ( https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_White_Man's_Burden ) thinking going on here.


This idea - that democracy and freedom of thought/speech are Western values - is incredibly dangerous and needs to die.

Japan, Korea, Taiwan etc aren't Western countries.


Well. I guess most chinese people agree that "freedom of thought/speech" is a great thing. Actually, Chinese people did enjoy most of this freedom now except one thing "Promote one person, one vote and multi-party" political system in public.

Korea and Taiwan got their best economic growth stage when they are in an authoritarian stage. China is still in this stage.

Japan is an interesting story worths to study.

Besides these countries, there are many countries, such as many in Africa, doesn't become better after the democratic process.

The Chinese government has a point that "Let's concentrate and grow the economic first. After everybody has a much better economic status, we can consider other things". I think they did have a good point on it.


I found this to be quite condescending -- "lower levels of Maslow hierarchy".

Have you considered that perhaps most Chinese people are "made unready" for democracy simply because of the extreme suppressions by an authoritarian regime?

Or have you considered that perhaps food, shelter, and openness are not mutually exclusive -- that one must have one in order to have another?


But it's true, equally so for the U.S., by the way. People with high income are twice as likely to participate in the democratic process as poor people: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voter_turnout_in_the_United_St...

It also makes perfect sense if you look at the post-medieval revival of the democratic idea: It was the emerging middle-class, rich people, who demanded participation in the governing processes.


To some in the west, China is a land of opportunities, a booming economy with tech giants and a supply chain for the industrial world. To others it's a bloody dictatorship that assassinated thousands of people for the sole crime of speaking their mind in 1989.

To me it's the embodiment of the hypocrisy of the west when it comes to the defense human rights. Let's be frank, we didn't abolish slavery, we just outsourced it to make it more acceptable. It's also a proof that capitalism doesn't need democracy or free-speech to function.


> Let's be frank, we didn't abolish slavery, we just outsourced it to make it more acceptable.

As Joan Robinson said, "the misery of being exploited by capitalists is nothing compared to the misery of not being exploited at all."

Being paid for work you do not have to do is not slavery. You see we built this thing called civilization whereby instead of starving when crops fail, dying at age 30 with dysentery and living in fear of being bludgeoned to death by a rival clan, we can exchange our labour for security, health and resources.

It's not perfect but if Capitalism ain't pleasing you then ask the person working that outsourced job what their grandparents thought of Communism, an ideology that crushed the very soul of China and brought misery, mass death and madness.

Or just ask them what work they'd be doing if Capitalism wasn't keeping them enslaved in jobs.


There are more political ideologies out there than just capitalism and communism. It seems to be a very American thing to argue as if there are only ever two possible alternatives.


If your only options are "work here" and "die of starvation", then I'm not sure you can really call it a decision at all. Frequently the people doing the work can not, in fact, make any decisions. The guy who owns the factory, on the other hand, will make sure his thugs beat up anyone who brings up fire safety or asks for better working conditions. If that's not slavery, then what is?


As a point, what are your thoughts of a Meritocracy as a paradigm to follow? Nationalise everything, pay everyone an equal amount, to begin with, but based on their "merits" boost their pay. Seems to have all the advantages of capitalism, without the perceived negatives of communism equally a dictatorship or "fat cats", which could be managed by the government.


It's easier to model countries with sane wealth distribution - Sweden, Germany etc. Allow everyone to get rich as they wish, but tax them.

In return you get to live in a society with high trust, little crime and good social services.

This requires trust and ethics and the will to enforce it politically (and maybe a small homogeneous population).


Feels like one of those nice ideas that would never work well in the real world. Any defined measuring system would be gamed (Goodhart's law), and any undefined measuring system would be abused by nepotism/cronyism ("my brother adds tons of value").


Why would you ever trust the government to decide how meritocratous people were? "Why yes, commissar, the merit department thinks you did very well and deserve a 3000% bonus this year. Please remember this when looking at my nephew's resume, as he's applying to your division. Ah, sorry comrade Bob, you don't get any bonus this year. (That's what you get for cutting me off in traffic last Monday!)"

The incentives in capitalism actually work out. When you can only spend your own money, and you have the freedom to choose how to spend it, markets are stochastically optimal for a huge range of allocation problems. Any sort of centralized system that tries to have only "the advantages of capitalism" usually fails because it doesn't make any sense game-theoretically or from an optimization perspective.


Who measures the merits?

I'd say very soon you'd see fat cats sitting and deciding that on average their friends do better than the rest and here we are again.


I'm sure the native Americans would disagree with Joan Robinson.

The fact is there is no opt-out, you do have to participate in the capitalist system to survive, and even if you somehow manage to live in the wilderness, capitalism will eventually come and beat down your door to tell you that the land you're camping on now belongs to someone else, and would you kindly move along? Capitalism claims all resources, then sells them back to you in exchange for your soul. It was this realization that eventually motivated the Unabomber.


You don't have a generalized cancer, you just have a small tumor. All is good.


[flagged]


> Capitalism (more specifically, wealth-creating economic growth) is the cure.

The problem usually is what people mean by "capitalism". In the last decades, too much people equate neoliberalism to capitalism. They are completely different, as neoliberalism is closer to corporativism and fascism than actual capitalism (the state needs to spy you, wealth redistribution is bad, companies have the same rights as people, ...).

Public health care, compulsory education, the rule of law are the source of wealth creation. For that you need people with the freedom to pursue their business and their careers, but also progressive taxes and wealth redistribution.

Capitalism is a word charged with a too much political charge to get reasonable discussions.


Can you show the chart before 1980?


It's about slavery here, not capitalism. And since infinite growth cannot happen in a finite system, you need to learn some math anyway.


Equation of work conditions in China with slavery is flatly idiotic.


He's equating slave labor in China with slavery, which is ... not? idiotic, I imagine. At the outbreak of the US Civil War there were about 4 million slaves living in America. Today there are, according to international estimates, about 3.4 million slaves living and working in China[1].

To claim that it is a non-existent problem or that it isn't severe or that it doesn't merit outrage or to imagine that it is somehow on a different level to the chattel slavery of 19th century America is to turn a blind eye to the truth or to try to finely grade suffering in a way that is dehumanizing.

[1] https://www.globalslaveryindex.org/country/china/


you do realize that your suggested site clearly states that the modern slavery situation in China is almost the same as Japan/Italy and better than South Korea?

How about you go back to your suggest site and read it carefully?

https://www.globalslaveryindex.org/index/#


I've seen an excellent documentary on South Korea's rural slavery problem.. Can you point me to a Chinese one?


People nowadays often don't know that the abolitionist movement in the states saw chattel slavery and wage slavery as not particularly different and wanted to abolish both.


I am not sure what your point is. Are you telling me, if I have no interest in Chinese industry, that empathizing (which I do, as a human being) with Liu Xiaobo is a hypocrisy?

I think you're doing an aggregation error of sorts. The fact that different people in the West have different opinions about China (and some of them are perhaps even hypocritical) doesn't make every westerner's opinion a hypocritical one.


Capitalism needs government guaranteed private property. Was there ever the need for anything else?


Capitalism is changing China and the world for the better. Wealth is leading to more educated Chinese people who through enlightenment will support better government. If Russia could create the same culture of wealth generation rather than relying on military and natural resources, they’d be improving as well.

Is it the best system? Hardly, but I don’t think withdrawing from globalism is going to help matters. The more we find ways to work together the better.


>To me it's the embodiment of the hypocrisy of the west when it comes to the defense human rights.

The Iraq War, The American War on Vietnam, daily drone bombings in Afghanistan and Pakistan by a nobel peace prize winner would be more like it.


Exactly. Too many people in our countries are very pushy about their value system but see no problem communicating about it through orwelian services using hardawre built by children.

I mean, I'm veggie but I wouldn't dare considering eat lovers bad persons given what else I consume.

That doesn't mean we should feel guilty. It's a hard problem. But that's certainly means we should not feel entitled. And boy do we love to be.


Culture-lock is the very reason China is having such a hard time become a modern technology leading state.

Its the same as in martial arts, the fixed form practices got absolutely decimated by MMA, diversity is a strength and modern cultures are very bad at accepting outsiders.


Until those so-called activists don't have to looking for funding from sides with their own agendas, or more clearly, having stable and large cashflow, they are fighting for their own fames and interests instead of the people living on that land.

For outsiders, they are icons/symbols. For most of insiders, they are someone unrelated to their life. In events like this, both sides can consume the news and get what they want without anything really meaningful happens.

This is a kind of hopeless in the real world.

Icons get selected and pushed to their directions and have no means to actually do anything useful.

As an average Joe, the best thing to do is reducing this kind of consumption, taking care of yourself and, hopefully, not getting involved in/caught. This can somewhat explain, from one dimension, why there is no truly strong and cohesive Chinese community in the western world.

More money only spoils unrestricted kids even more. They don't settle down for the progress they gain, just want even more. That's a DNA in the core of the whole system and affects people within.

There is nothing to look for, just strong dark currents.


As a Chinese, I need to clarify some facts.

I think that the Communist Party of China made a really big mistake, which caused a serious impact on China's national image. But I also do not agree with Liu Xiaobo's political views.

Finally, China's political environment indeed bad, but most of the Western media coverage distorted the facts, including the Liu Xiaobo event.


As someone who visits China almost every year, and has spent quite a lot of time there including for study please consider what I'm going to say not as a criticism, but an attempt to help you understand how your words will likely be received.

You haven't clarified any facts, you've just made two statements of opinion without any supporting evidence or greater explanation.


As someone who lived in china for 9 years, and married a Chinese woman, perhaps you could recognize that you might live in a very specific bubble in a culture very different from China, and that the perspective is so different that reaching out and trying to understand this person's world view might be more productive than tritely dismissing the comment on technicalities.

I hate China's government and the way they operate but I also recognize that the world is very complex and cultures are ancient and have very different but also successful mechanisms of operation. On the same note I would not write off an American's perspective because the president is a wack job.


I would write off someone posting about any country if their entire statement could be boiled down to "X is reporting it wrong" without any evidence or examples...

It just so happens that this kind of statement is common in the Chinese people that I speak with.

You can make a very good case that Western media is terrible in its China reporting, but a blunt statement like that isn't going to be received well in a community like HN that likes to think of itself as critical.

As I said, I was trying to help them understand how their statement was likely to be received not "tritely dismissing the comment on technicalities." which is an interpretation entirely of your own that wasn't contained in my original post.


Most posts on HN are statements or opinion not backed up by facts. Occasionally an academic type will provide footnotes to their post but it's not the norm. Typically if someone's post is not received well, people respond by asking for references or a challenge to back up their statement.

You take a comment that is not really qualitatively different from any other post on HN and give it special status because it's posted by a Chinese national.


I think the difference is that on many issues, people on HN agree on the basic assumptions and skip the 'sources plz' part. In part because many of us are from the same country or similar cultures.

That in itself is not necessarily a good thing; more than once I've seen it lead to fruitless discussion because it turns out those involved actually did not agree on those assumptions.

But on the other hand it's sometimes necessary. We can't have a discussion, practically speaking, where we define every term we use journal-article-style, or provide references for every single assumption.

My point is that it strikes me as perfectly reasonable that when 'we' are confronted with a perspective that is very different from our own, some more effort should be put into providing arguments (and/or definitions).

Not to mention that on the whole I'd say HN already demands elaboration even from those who have a relatively-similar perspective or background, and I think more of that wouldn't hurt.

I do understand how it can seem unfair, but I don't think it's unreasonable.


The original comment contributed nothing of substance: "China's political environment is indeed bad, but most of the Western media coverage distorted the facts"

You're the one asking others to give this empty argument special status because it was posted by someone who claims to be Chinese.


How is that insubstantial? Many do not realize that the west is also a purveyor of lots of propaganda and perhaps they should challenge what they hear from the western media about controversial China topics. That is a very valid point.


It would be substantial (that is, having substance) if the grandfather post perhaps included an example of how the western media screws up its China coverage. I have no doubt there are a lot to choose from.

"Oh the coverage is all wrong" is a pretty empty statement by itself.


So ask for an example to back it up rather than write the person off. Like I said, most posts here on HN are not backed up by references until they are asked for.


The President of the United States goes around saying CNN is "fake news", and you're trying to tell me that nobody challenges the Western news media.


As someone who also lived in China for 9 years and married a Chinese woman...well...really that doesn't make me an expert on anything.

But grandparent's post genuinely just presented two opinions without elaboration. It could have come from a westerner and it would downvoted, because it just isn't a high quality comment (though definitely not an offensive one either).


It's fine to disagree with his political views. That's precisely his point: the freedom to disagree is the foundation of a free society.

What facts were distorted? That he was jailed, multiple times, for defending freedom of expression? That he died in custody? That his wife Liu Xia was under house arrest for years without charges? Or was it his role during the Tiananmen protests and subsequent massacre? That he negotiated the free passage of students from Tiananmen, saving many from the advancing tanks?


There are certain views that should never ever be publicly stated, e.g. Liu said China needs to be colonized for 300 years to get better, is it just free of speech? sound quite repressive to me.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/dec/15/nobel-...


> There is certain views that should never ever be publicly stated

Who gets to decide what is or is not allowed to be spoken?

> Liu said China needs to be colonized for 300 years to get better, is it just free of speech? sound quite repressive to me.

Even if it is repressive, preventing him to say it by arresting him and his family is not repressive to you?


>Who gets to decide what is or is not allowed to be spoken?

In America we have helpful groups like Southern Poverty Law Center which direct us to which ideas are bad speech that shouldn't be allowed. Maybe China should follow our example and privatize their speech curatorship police, then they would be more free.


You are free to disregard the southern poverty law center if you'd like, and the last time I checked, they can't throw you in jail.


> Who gets to decide what is or is not allowed to be spoken?

You can spend your entire life arguing whether it is good or bad for China to be colonized by the west for 300 years, I am not going to waste my time on that.


And by your words no one else is allowed to either? Why?


Sure, it might be a stupid argument, why is it banned again?

Oh, you just don't like it.


> Even if it is repressive, preventing him to say it by arresting him and his family is not repressive to you?

Are you sure he was arrest because of saying that? Do you have any facts to support your view?

> Liu said China needs to be colonized for 300 years to get better, is it just free of speech? sound quite repressive to me.

Do you think Liu deserves Nobel Peace Prize after saying that publicly?

Remember that the argument was "There is certain views that should never ever be publicly stated".


> Do you think Liu deserves Nobel Peace Prize after saying that publicly?

I don't care one way or the other, it's the Nobel committee's decision who they award the prize to. It makes no difference to me. It doesn't make what he, or any other Nobel Laureate say any more true or worthy of consideration.

> Remember that the argument was "There is certain views that should never ever be publicly stated".

There was no argument, it was a statement. If you want to argue in favor of why some views should never be publicly stated and who is gonna decide what is/is not allowed, go ahead.


> I don't care one way or the other, it's the Nobel committee's decision who they award the prize to. It makes no difference to me. It doesn't make what he, or any other Nobel Laureate say any more true or worthy of consideration.

Yea. That is what I want to learn. You do not care about the Prize.

> If you want to argue in favor of why some views should never be publicly stated and who is gonna decide what is/is not allowed, go ahead.

It seems that is you want to know about it. Probably I misunderstood you. I have no interest :P. So we can stop here.


you came to this thread largely because Liu is not a random dude on street, he had the nobel peace prize. if you want to argue "I don't care", you need to back yourself up better.

the core issue here is simple: how come such a man who repeatedly made such extremist styles comments in public got awarded the nobel peace prize.


> the core issue here is simple: how come such a man who repeatedly made such extremist styles comments in public got awarded the nobel peace prize.

That is your issue, not mine.

> you came to this thread largely because Liu is not a random dude on street, he had the nobel peace prize.

I am here because of the outrageous comment you made about ‘certain views that should never ever be publicly stated’. If you can’t defend your opinions then why are you here? Can you, or can you not explain how do you support your extremist views?


what? saying "certain views should never ever be publicly stated" is outrageous?

what a joke.


It absolutely is outrageous. You cannot put any limits on free speech in a free society. The people should monitor their own behavior, not the state.


> You cannot put any limits on free speech in a free society

But that doesn't exist anywhere in the world. The closest is the US, but even their extremist version of freedom of speech has government imposed limits.


Well right, we strive to do the best we can. Threat of harm is obviously limited due to the implication of action. I was more referring to the exchange of ideas between people, which should never be restricted.


You can't defend your position. That's what I thought.

A joke indeed.


I said "certain views should never ever be publicly stated", and suddenly I need to defend such position?

If you live in a society that allows you to publicly state anything without consequences, I'd say that is horrible.

If you live in the US, try talk about some racial stuff and bring in the same colonization elements in, see how that is going to end.

Time to grow up talk like an adult.


I think the consequences should be decided by the people, rather than an what must be a very insecure central power


Right. And you still know something is not acceptable by the people, and you probably wont go across that line. Same thing in China. Many of Liu's opinions are hated by Chinese people in general, not by the central power.


That is the exact consequence Liu got - he is never respected by the Chinese people in general. Why Chinese people should respect someone who openly suggested that they should be colonized by the west for 300 years?

For his sentence, no one in this thread ever supported that, for me, it is as bad as giving this man the nobel peace prize.


> I said "certain views should never ever be publicly stated", and suddenly I need to defend such position?

Yes. You must defend every word you say.

> Time to grow up talk like an adult.

You mean like an adult who can't defend his/her positions and is willing to send to jail everyone who disagrees with him/her? What a wonderful "adult" you must be.



I’d argue that they are not being disagreed with because of what is “socially acceptable”, but because their comment added no additional facts or information, and was instead just a couple of opinions without much to inform them.


This user was downvoted for his views which are the rough equivalent of "she was asking for it".

To see this as people simply being closed-minded to different cultures is really myopic.

I personally refuse to hold people to different moral standards because they come from another country.


Now in Chinese weibo.com, if your message includes "javascript", it can not be sent and return "content is illegal!". A guess is that the word "javascript" includes "RIP".


That's just a poor implementation of xss prevention


That's not the case. The problem only started to pop up several hours ago.


I'm surprised China gets away with so much! They recently banned kids from being named Mohammad. And had Imams dance. I wish our war-mongering republicans would switch their attention to countries that really violate human rights.

EDIT: Of course they do much worse, I was pointing to the fact that not a peep was heard on Fox or CNN.


Taking threads like this even deeper into nationalistic-political-religious flamewar territory does no good. Please don't post like this on Hacker News, it's not the kind of discussion we're here for.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Here's one suggestion from a Chinese perspective: Can you guys fix your democracy first? If you can't set a good example on how good democracy can be, then there's no incentives for any other countries to follow.

You realize that US influence can never achieve anything without the citizens of China agree with it right? Like now majority of Chinese think your political system is a joke. And you know what? The majority of Chinese like those policies that's violating certain human rights. If US can only be ever weaker as time goes by then the values you hold dear can only be more insignificant in other part of the world.


Fix what? Your government is the one telling you it's broken. Your idea of US democracy has been spoon fed to you by your government. You're throwing stones from a greenhouse.

While US democracy isnt a particularly good form as it puts too much power in the executive branch, it's overly partisan and two-party, there's nothing fundamentally broken about it. There's disadvantages to proportional representation, which would break the two party rule, and as we see with Trump, an autocratic president seems, in reality, pretty ineffectual when the other arms.of government start balking at their demands.


I think you'll find that it's not only Chinese people who find it a little difficult to take the US democratic process all that seriously these days. It doesn't take reams of government propaganda to make Donald Trump look like a buffoon, or the people who voted for him look deeply misguided.


It does take reams of propaganda to deflect on how America doesn't overwhelmingly love their dear leader, or how the press can be allowed to openly criticize him. Imagine if Xi had such a low approval rating, or if such an approval rating was even allowed to be measured.

I would claim that someone like Trump shows us just how robust western democracy really is (if we survive him, of course!).


>It does take reams of propaganda to deflect on how America doesn't overwhelmingly love their dear leader

Does Chinese propaganda deflect on this? I can only check their English language media, but they don't exactly seem to be trying to keep it a secret:

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2017-01/20/content_2801...

>I would claim that someone like Trump shows us just how robust western democracy really is (if we survive him, of course!).

You would claim that because you already believe in democracy in principle. The point is that the current US administration does little to make democracy attractive to people who aren't already in favor of democracy.

Also, the "if we survive him" part clearly contradicts the claim of robustness.


The Chinese press has gone super soft on Trump in the last few months, and they rarely talk about his discontentment at home. But that isn't much evidence, of course.

My comment on robustness is a bit tongue and cheek. Democracy provides pressure valves via elections (vs. brittle revolutions), so is a bit more stable than an autocracy, while American government provides further stability via separation of powers and checks and balances. I honestly think we will be ok with Trump, he can't do too much damage on his own, well, except for that whole nuclear football thing.


the two party is a problem, despite you not seeing it. and the cult of personality instead of ideological elections is mostly what the Chinese media mocks the west for.


> the two party is a problem

Although as a European I disagree with some specifics of U.S. culture (and also American foreign policy), I have to say U.S. democracy is actually surprisingly strong at the more local level. Lots of states have semi-direct democracy instruments, for example town halls and referenda. People have it in their blood.


By the same token, elected judges and sheriffs have largely been a disaster, especially in states with partisan elections for those offices. Direct democracy is a very dangerous tool.


Not sure about that, however I do not consider direct election of officials to be a form of direct democracy, it's representative democracy. I know for many people the difference is confusing, but direct democracy means direct voting about issues, not voting for parties or people.


The two-party system absolutely is a problem, but it's still better than a one-party system.


It's obviously better if you already believe in democracy for ideological reasons. The question is, if you're a Chinese person who doesn't, how well is the USA advertising democracy right now?


With the current political scene, I cannot say this advertisement has any convincing effect, except the negative ones.


And you know what? The majority of Chinese like those policies that's violating certain human rights.

How do you know this? It's impossible to measure the support for those policies when discussion and criticism of them is not permitted.

There is a way to measure whether policies are actually supported by the people. It's called multi-party elections.


I wish I could recall the source, one of the dozens of histories that I read published almost contemporaneously with the collapse of the Soviet Union, but the paraphrase was "If for one day our people were once to cease stealing from one another, we would have attained the goal of our utopia for all time."

First spoken by Kruschev in his infamous "thawing" address to the party, and repeated apparently verbatim by Gorbachev in his speech announcing Perestroika.

I may have been muddled in the detail, but I only meant to convey the sentiment.

I am prompted to recall this, because of the recent inferno of a high rise in London which claimed a appalling loss of life.

The culprit in the death toll is suspect cladding which massively multiplied the blaze. .

I too lived in such a high rise, formerly a project and since 1994 privately owned.

Anyhow few years ago in our building, two floors above, a similar fire erupted.

Well we're spared inevitable casualties only because the defrauding of the building funds had ensured that the minimum work was completed.

That flat is owned by a kingmaker of British politics and the 2 bedroom apartment had just been moved into by a young Italian woman, who I slack jawed observed receiving 8 beds counting the space in doubles and a sofa bed for good measure for the tiny kitchen. Criminal overcrowding absolutely known by all owners of the properties. Shortly after my life and everything around me was systematically destroyed and I was continually imprisoned upon a forged court order and suffered multiple attacks I was lucky to survive, one clearly engineered with massive coordination of the prison staff, and one time a senior judge point blank telling me to forget about bail or trial.

I'm in total agreement with the necessity of sorting out our so called democracy. We simply don't police the rules that are supposed to protect us, and I am just barely recovering testament to corruption overriding every protection society is supposed to afford to protect the politically privileged while they steal


The majority of Chinese ruling class who send their children to US surely think different.


Not sure banning kids from being named a certain name really compares to the actual human rights violations at place in China...


Denmark, Sweden, Germany, France, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Iceland, and others all practice banning certain baby names. It's just that when China does it it's in the news.

In Iceland, if the name is not on the National Registry's list of approved names parents first have to get approval of the name with Icelandic Naming Committee. About 50% of submitted names get rejected. For example Zoe, Harriet, Duncan, Ludwig... all violate naming requirements and are not allowed.

Some countries ban only names that would be degrading to children like naming them after product names or outright insults like Anus or gibberish names like random string. Others have ban rules based on politics, religion, terrorism, celebreties and so on. You can't name child Binyamin and Linda in Saudi Arabia, Osama Bin Laden and Adolf Hitler in Germany, Elvis in Sweden, Rambo in Mexico, Jimmy in Portugal, Lucifer in New Zealand and so on.


There was a Kiwi couple who weren't allowed to name their kid Lucifer a few years ago. That name is about as religiously charged too. As a bonus, not being named Mo helps you not get picked for random check-ups.


My point is that these are pretty petty problems compared to actual travesties committed by the Chinese government. There are bigger fish to fry than what you can name your child.


Its not random- its based on pure statistics. I wished at least "hackers" here would understand.

More than that actually, there are politicians who are notorious for being hand-in-gloves in their home countries. They always get picked for these "random" checks in the US.


Of course they are not random. I meant that in a tongue in cheek way. How else would a name affect randomness?


If one has money and power, one can get away with almost everything.




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