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The Thoughts of Chairman Xi (bbc.co.uk)
175 points by princetman on Oct 13, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 99 comments



It's also worth reading the leaked 2009 US diplomatic cables about Xi published by Wikileaks. They're cited by the BBC story and give a lot of background. The source is from a former close friend of Xi who is currently a professor at a U.S. university.

https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/09BEIJING3128_a.html

I found this section quite interesting.

  Familiarity with the West and Taiwan

  ------------------------------------

  25. (C) Based on personal experience, the professor noted, Xi 
  is very familiar with the West, with a sister in Canada, an 
  ex-wife in England, a brother in Hong Kong, many friends 
  overseas, and prior travel to the United States.  As far as 
  the professor can discern, Xi's family and friends have had a 
  good experience in the West.  The professor contrasted Xi's 
  experience and attitudes toward the West with those of people 
  sent to the United States by their work units, such as the 
  nationalist and sometime anti-U.S. Tsinghua University 
  scholar Yan Xuetong.  Xi was the only one of his immediate 
  family to stay behind in China, the professor noted, 
  speculating that Xi knew early on that he would "not be 
  special" outside of China.

  26. (C) Xi is favorably disposed toward the United States, 
  the professor maintained, and would want to maintain good 
  relations with Washington.  The professor said Xi has "no 
  ambition" to "confront" the United States.  During Xi's visit 
  to Washington, D.C., in 1987, he told the professor that he 
  had no strong impressions of the United States.  Although Xi 
  was not particularly impressed by the United States, he had 
  nothing bad to say about it either.  Xi took a detached 
  stance, as if observing from a distance, viewing what he saw 
  as just a normal part of life, not strange, the professor 
  said.


It's rather remarkable to read this about a current leader of a nation like China. I've always enjoyed reading autobiographies because figures often relate a personal evaluation of those they worked with. A sort of mini biography within an autobiography. I feel like these sort of evaluations often tell you much more than an "history" book can tell you about a person.

For example, Albert Speer wrote that although Adolf Hitler had a very well established reputation of being impatient and intolerant of mistakes in the public sphere, he apparently was totally opposite in private. Speer wrote that even if a civil servant's work was completely inadequate Hitler would simply send it back until it was acceptable. If this failed he'd just move the person to another role and ask someone else to complete it.


You may enjoy Lee Kuan Yew's biography, The Singapore Story, and to a lesser extent his more recent Conversations with Tom Plate. There is a lot in common between Xi and Lee's thinking and way of doing things.

Reading the BBC and Wikileaks texts, the events fit neatly in the "Singapore experiment with a billion citizen" narrative which the PRC has been doing since Deng Xiao Ping, ethnocentrism excepted.


Good to know. But I bet Xi is able to hide a lot of his real thoughts and feelings from many, esp. someone is in the US. I would suggest to read some information about his father's experience in those movements(运动). And you'll have a better idea why many of his family are outside of China. And how strong and capable he is to be able to reestablish everything from the bottom.


It's an aside - but is there a way to read quotes like this on a smartphone without constantly scrolling left and right?


25. (C) Based on personal experience, the professor noted, Xi is very familiar with the West, with a sister in Canada, an ex-wife in England, a brother in Hong Kong, many friends overseas, and prior travel to the United States. As far as the professor can discern, Xi's family and friends have had a good experience in the West. The professor contrasted Xi's experience and attitudes toward the West with those of people sent to the United States by their work units, such as the nationalist and sometime anti-U.S. Tsinghua University scholar Yan Xuetong. Xi was the only one of his immediate family to stay behind in China, the professor noted, speculating that Xi knew early on that he would "not be special" outside of China.

26. (C) Xi is favorably disposed toward the United States, the professor maintained, and would want to maintain good relations with Washington. The professor said Xi has "no ambition" to "confront" the United States. During Xi's visit to Washington, D.C., in 1987, he told the professor that he had no strong impressions of the United States. Although Xi was not particularly impressed by the United States, he had nothing bad to say about it either. Xi took a detached stance, as if observing from a distance, viewing what he saw as just a normal part of life, not strange, the professor said.

I think the best thing is to just disable pre in mobile.

:%le


> I think the best thing is to just disable pre in mobile.

That sounds great, do you know how to do this? I'm on Firefox mobile so user styles might be an option


I think it is best to fix this for everyone.

Dang, looks like adding white-space: normal; in pre and pre:hover in the css can make things much better for mobile web users. Can we consider it? Demo on Firefox nightly https://i.imgur.com/j4qvqfo.png

Edit: https://stackoverflow.com/a/27126549


If you have uBlock Origin installed, you can tweak styles with its "My Filters". I have these in there:

  news.ycombinator.com##.comment code:style(white-space:pre-wrap)
  news.ycombinator.com##.comment pre:style(max-width:none!important)
The first line makes code blocks in HN comments word-wrap (while still preserving whitespace otherwise); the second lets them expand to the width of their containing comment.


That works great, thank you! I never realized uBlock could do CSS modification like that, though in hindsight it is probably a simple enough extension of how the thing works in the first place.


I have written a bookmarklet that sets the viewport width to 800px (I wrote the bookmarklet on a Mac and have iCloud sync it over to my iPhone). It’s as easy as changing an attribute of a meta element. Makes the font size a bit small though.


This is a fairly devastating passage:

"And money talks. When Xi visited Seattle in 2015, America’s technology giants allowed themselves to be summoned

The bosses of Apple, Microsoft, Cisco, IBM and Amazon all stood alongside Xi in the front row of a group photograph. All have since embarked on multiple partnerships with China despite its commitment to perfecting internet censorship.

Also prominent in that photo was Mark Zuckerberg, but despite a charm offensive which included inviting the Chinese Communist leader to suggest a name for his baby, and praising Xi’s book on governance, Facebook is still barred from China. Google’s founders were not even invited to be in Xi’s photo.

Xi has ambitious plans for control of the internet and that means leverage over foreign companies.

Facebook’s messaging tool Whatsapp is increasingly blocked in China and Apple has now removed from its China App Store the VPNs which once gave Chinese users access to social media tools in the West, including the YouTube channel which gave the gleeful Guo Wengui such a devastating platform to discredit Xi’s rule.

To fully control China’s cyberspace, Xi has had to take action against the world’s."


I find the parallels between Xi and Putin fascinating: both had "modest" origins (or modest spells in the case of Xi) and much publicize them. Both were not really accounted for much, simply managing to rise through the ranks without making a wave, and always scrupulously deferring to authority. Both were nominated to the head of their respective party as a compromise or a strawman. That is until they took power, after which they both consolidated their grasp quickly, much to the surprise of everyone.

Interesting that the leaders of two of the world's superpowers (and the two formerly communist ones at that) share such a similar journey.


Can someone explain to me why Xi is considered to have "consolidated his grasp"? This seems to be a well accepted idea but I don't see what substantiates that. He starts his second term as prime minister of China, and serving two terms has been the norm in recent times.

I did not remark China becoming more authoritarian under his rule. I do not see indications that he may stay after 2022, his scheduled depart. What did I miss?


He isn't prime minister, but party secretary and president. Li Keqiang is premier, the closest thing to a PM, but not as powerful as a party secretary (the president position is ceremonial).

Hu Jintao served two terms as party secretary, but never consolidated his power base (Jiang Zemin protruded a lot into his reign), so was not very powerful, even compared to his premier (wen jiabao). Xi, on the other hand, has completely consolidated his power base and sidelined Li Keqiang. His competitors and apparent successors have been hit up on corruption (they are all corrupt, but who gets prosecuted depends on power plays).

If his successor (maybe another Hu) isn't apparent at this congress, then there will be a lot of talk of him staying passed his terms. If the successor is named, which is probable, then that talk will stop. However, he could totally pull a Jiang Zemin and retain some powerful poets (e.g. Head of the military commission) to keep more influence afterward. But in reality, all the retired leaders retain power behind the scenes, and it's just a matter of how much (him putting his protégés in power and kicking out Hu's will help a lot).


- Accumulation of many titles, not always held by the General Secretary. Sometimes this is Xi gaining a title of an already existing leadership group, sometimes he has created new groups, such as the "Central Commission for Integrated Military and Civilian Development" ( which is about funding military industries, sort of like the US military-industrial model ). Titles like this mean he has effective policy control over many branches of China's administration. His ability to create new groups shows his ability to reform the bureaucratic hierarchy.

- Anti corruption campaign, restore legitimacy in party with regard to people's opinions, level some playing fields, purge the party of corruption and also strengthen ideological and political support for Xi.

- Xi has been called "The Core", this term was only ever used for Mao and Deng.

- Anti-corruption has also focused on military. Result seems to be Xi has greater control of and greater loyalty from the military.

- The PLA garrison in HK broke tradition this year to address Xi as "Chairman", instead of "Commander" --a first. Perhaps this reflects that while usually the leader also Chairs the Central Military Commission, as Xi does, Xi's power is less figurehead and more effective.

- Xi has achieved many things internationally that have not been done by China ever: first overseas military base, in Africa; taking control of disputed islands in its coastal waters in defiance of neighbours; creation of the ambitious, "One Belt One Road", infrastructure, trade and investment project, to expand China's influence along a "new silk road" Westward; and exercised tighter control over old and new media, with very effective online censorship.

- In summary, he does a lot, has made many changes, is always in the news cycle as an effective leader, and has presided over a very successful period for China both with regard to domestic growth and stability, and international standing and ambitious expansion.


> I did not remark China becoming more authoritarian under his rule.

Xi greatly suppressed political dissent, online and off. There was a burgeoning, very interesting online debate about democracy and governance, full of thoughtful ideas, brilliant satire, and more. AFAIK, that's mostly gone. You can read about it here:

http://chinadigitaltimes.net/

He also arrested and otherwise suppressed many political opponents, at least in large part under the guise of an 'anti-corruption' campaign.

He's also revived Communist ideology and a Mao-ish cult of personality for himself. In contrast, Deng Xiaopeng avoided it - my understanding is that he even was cremated and had his ashes scattered at sea so there would be no shrine to him.

Finally, he has helped create an intense wave of nationalism.

(I will say, in fairness, that cults of personality and nationalism are trendy in other countries too, such as the U.S. I don't know how everyone forgot the evil that those things lead to.)


> Xi greatly suppressed political dissent, online and off.

But was that different from his predecessors?

> He also arrested and otherwise suppressed many political opponents, at least in large part under the guise of an 'anti-corruption' campaign.

That I would like to know more about. Most of the times, people just quote Bo Xilai (who seem to have been a genuinel crime ring boss) and his successor. I have a hard time understanding why the official version is just dismissed.

> and a Mao-ish cult of personality for himself.

Is there a place to read about that?


>> Xi greatly suppressed political dissent, online and off.

> But was that different from his predecessors?

Yes; I meant to say he greatly increased suppression of dissent

> Is there a place to read about that?

I'd start with the link above. The NY Times covers it occasionally, including a recent story about Xi's childhood home (AFAICT - I didn't read much more than a paragraph).


Political observers have called Xi "the most powerful Chinese leader since Deng Xiaoping."[84] Xi has notably departed from the "collective rule" practices of his predecessor Hu Jintao.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xi_Jinping#Consolidation_of_po...

The entire article is a good read, it's amazing how much power he has.


It's a good idea to question assumptions. And to me living in China since Hu, the main difference is that Chinese people themselves perceive Xi as much stronger than his predecessors, and probably rightly so: the crackdown on corruption is no joke, I have relatives who gave back their German cars to avoid issues. Also people of the diaspora or in Taiwan follow closely the tiger hunt at the head of the state and it seems to not be nowhere like catching butterflies. So yes Xi has earned a reputation.


His anti-corruption campaign is the main one. There's a focus on "tigers" and "flies" - high profile targets and a general clean-up of low-level corruption. It seems like quite a lot of the "tigers" were opponents of Xi.

Also, he gets compared to his immediate predecessor (Hu) who was was very bland and worked more on a consensus model.


But his anti-corruption campaign really looked like an anti-corruption campaign. I understand that they can be used as power tools but what are the elements to believe this is the case presently?


People never fight for the fighting's sake, they fight for profit, all sorts of profit.

Why Xi wants to put down the tigers and flys?

It's because those are in his way to achieve his idea of "revitalize the Chinese nation". Because those people are having different ideas on how to do the same thing, or entirely having a different purpose.

Conveniently, it's always been true that absolute power comes with absolute corruption. That has never been more true since the economic take-off of China. And anti-corruption has always been the most effective weapon to put down powerful people.


So basically, you are assuming the conclusion.


What conclusion?

What I was saying is that anti-corruption always will be the most effective weapon to take down powerful people in China, because of its political structure. It does not matter if the motivation is to save the economy, or whatever, there isn't much sense to guess the motivation of political activities, which always have very complex combination and reasoning can change with different angles.


I think he's genuine. Corruption is rotting the Communist Party inside and hurting China. And for all their faults Chinese politicians are nationalist.


Exactly.

Check this article out: "Xi Jinping May Be Less Powerful Than He Seems" ( https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/04/xi... )

The fact of the matter is that the outside world knows very little about the inner workings at the top of the Communist Party in China.


As a foreigner this feels a bit like a US' reaction about their loss of leadership. There has to be something wrong about China's rise. Imagining that it will surpass their own economic power through good management by a central government is something they just refuse to accept. It has to be some authoritarian cheat mode.


I don't think the Atlantic piece is suggesting that at all. The article is making the point that the delicate power balances behind the Chinese Communist Party is very complex, and that the soundbites we hear from our Western media (or any media for that matter) probably do not capture the full extent of the power dynamics, wheeling and dealing, and inner workings of the Chinese Communist Party.


Last time I checked, the power balances are not necessarily complex, they are opaque. They could rely on tea leaves readings for all we know.

Most of the "analysis" you read are pure speculations based more on wishful thinking and prejudice than on facts.


Reminds me of how every "expert" said Trump wouldn't win. It was amusing how everyone was surprised to find out there's a whole landmass between NY and California. Fly over country for sure but eligible to vote.


Wishful thinking? Most of the news seem to be very pessimistic about the future.


In general, 'something nefarious is going on overseas', beyond the Anglo cultural domain. Interesting thing to me is, as you point out, how the "mechanics of power" are held to be a byzantine mystery in Communist Party of China, but it is over here just a matter of a 'pick the least ugly' beauty contest over here in US of A.

Of course, what is truly opaque is just which groupings in the West hold the true power and just what is the nature of the "mechanics of power" here in the West.


If there were not something nefarious going on overseas, I would want to know their amazing secret.


Good management is hardly necessary. China has ~5 times the population of the US; it would be shocking (is shocking, sadly...) for it to be economically weaker.


India has almost the same population as China and is much poorer.


Hmmm ... that's pretty speculative, or really completely speculative.

This movie has been made before. The USSR claimed something similar. Now of course, China's aggregate economy could match the U.S.'s when its citizens are only 25% as wealthy, but that is not a sign of great economic performance.

> good management by a central government

I think you mean by an undemocratic authoritarian government (I don't think centrality is the issue). Regardless, I don't see good management, mostly effective suppression and international propaganda. If management is so great, why do they need to censor and propagandize their own citizens on a massive scale, not to mention outlawing dissent and imprisoning dissenters? Who needs the 'Great Firewll', in that case.

I don't think people in Tibet, Hong Kong, Taiwan, or Xinjian would say China is so well managed, as obvious examples.


Why has this post been downvoted so many times? Would someone who downvoted this post care to put down any word on which of those statements that you don't agree?

Sometimes the downvoting and its related visibility mechanism here really puzzles me...I really feel that perhaps we should give more weights, in terms of visibility, to those downvotes that come with even a little bit of explanation, or otherwise we are not much different from a group of mobs in the Spartan assembly (i.e. "Apella") who would consider themselves democratic and then vote by shouting loudly...

=====

PS: I am not the original poster (so in case anyone feels like to cast his downvote for the sole reason of complaining about downvoting, just go ahead and downvote mine and leave alone the OP's)...but I really don't understand (and feel a bit curious about it...) why it attracted some many downvotes, without any explicit criticism...

the reduced points really do not matter, but the reduced visibility might turn some inexperienced readers away and thus further decrease the probability of having them join in the discussion and share their perspective...


(I posted the GP.)

I can provide some hypotheses based on experience: Comments that support certain political positions are consistently downvoted. IME it happens with comments that are,

- critical of the Chinese government

- discuss Russian propaganda and trolling/astroturfing (other than to deny their existence)

- critical or questioning of the white male supremacist movement (alt-right) principles, in their propagandized 'reasonable' forms - though those comments are regularly voted back up by others; I've seen some wild fluctuations.

- critical or questioning of Elon Musk

I'm sure there are other topics that I'm not remembering. I guessed that the GP comment would be downvoted when I posted it.

Note that the first two subjects in my list have massive, well-documented online astroturfing and propaganda operations, and the third is no slouch in that area. HN policy, in kind of an odd political correctness, protects those people by forbidding any suggestion that such things are occurring - even as a possibility to consider. Don't mention the Emperor's clothes. That must make it heaven for astroturfers, propagandists, and naked Emperors everywhere.

Musk's fanboys are extreme: Drink the kool-ade or die. The man himself seems obsessed with image but enough to run an astroturfing operation? I have no knowledge that he does but would it be a surprise? Certainly he's not in the category with the other three for many very obvious reasons. For example, I hope he isn't in the dustbin of history but succeeds wildly.

Finally, the first sentence of my comment didn't help; it's a bit sharp, but that imperfection shouldn't be a big deal.

EDIT: I also wonder why alphaalpha101's comment is dead. It's not brilliant, IMHO, but certainly sufficient.


One way he is more powerful is he has greatly restricted freedom of press and internet discussion, and use this to halt criticism of the regime and the opportunity for any organized opposition to arise. Nowadays people rarely say in public anything except what the regime wants it to say.


I honestly find it suspect that the media is full of "russia! russia! russia!", but nobody ever mentions China, which is in a far greater position for war (1.6 MILLION TROOPS) and accounts for like 28% of all known hack attempts.

And speaking of influencing elections... there was this thing in the 90's called... Chinagate. [1] With millions directly found to influence an election. As well as leaked weapons and nuclear secrets as recently as >>2009<<. But I guess 6 years is forever ago and China has completely changed its ways.

p.s. And I'm NOT saying "don't talk about Russia" I'm saying, why aren't we talking about BOTH?

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1996_United_States_campaign_fi...


The Chinese don’t feel the US needs to regress for them to succeed. They have confidence in themselves that they will continue growing, and probably grow faster, with a strong US as a partner.

Russia, on the other hand, has been regressing and getting smaller. Set aside their nuclear arsenal, and they aren’t leading in anything, and are falling behind in nearly everything (they are barely within the top 10 of countries in terms of GDP). This is quite a comedown from 30 years ago and the Russian, especially Putin’s, response has been to create havoc amongst Western democracies.

China will continue to hack into other countries’ systems to steal technology and IP etc (and the various intelligence agencies have been warning against this for over a decade) but they are not gonna try and create political havoc unlike the Russians.


There was that whole annexation of Crimea thing.


Don't forget the drones with GPS flooding the world and taking pictures of everything everywhere


This is because our intelligence agencies currently view China as a tamed bitch and Russia as a wild threat.

This view may or not be in tune with reality, but that is the view none the less


And it is suprising that such social mobility is possible in autocratic regimes but not in US.


Well, given that the established aristocracy was mostly destroyed in communist revolutions in each country, it's not entirely surprising. You need political support from that class of people in the U.S., although being one of them isn't necessary. A few presidents have been from middle class (or upper middle class) backgrounds, Obama and Bill Clinton both did.


> Interesting that the leaders of two of the world's superpowers (and the two formerly communist ones at that) share such a similar journey.

Maybe it's just two autocrats who use cults of personality and tactics from the same playbook.


And it's almost the same trajectory for Leonid Brezhnev.


This is the classic "what breaks you only make you stronger" but in a very aggressive way. Throughout history those who were oppressed and then made it to the top would usually end up wanting to seize full control and more oppressive than their oppressors. Xi looks friendly to the people, but there is a Chinese saying: 笑裡藏刀 (xiào lǐ cáng dāo)or "smile in hiding knife.” He is the alpha male of the entire Party.

On one hand I like Xi's effort to clean up the corrupted senior officials. It was about time, but now he has the absolute power (military, justice, and executive) under the chair of the Party's control is alarming. I know a lot of Chinese natives (for what it is worth, I was born and raised in HK until I was 12) who refuse to believe in all the bad things happening in China, and refuse to recognize tragedy such as Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. They also become very emotional when it comes to Taiwan's relationship with China. But China isn't the only country in the world censoring and rewriting history. Japan tried to cover up its war crime during WW2. Other Western countries tried too. [1]

I hate the fact today we still have governments and citizens who refuse to recognize the wrongdoings in their country's history, and fail to work toward a peaceful resolution once and for all. All the fights for territories and borders, all the ethic group fighting over historical hates and war crimes (e.g. Myanmar vs Rohingya). Time to wake THE FUCK UP...

If we let go of our pasts, and our irrational prides, especially those we inherited from generations before us, then this world would finally have peace. Of course, the sad reality is we won't and will never be able to. Money prints off blood, and power is measured by the number of coffins and the fall of oppositions. Make no mistake, we can't compromise human values in exchange for stability. But this is how Xi and every leader in the world thinks of governance. Forgive, and be more compassionate. What is more important than saving lives and make people feel they are humans again, and not a war machine?

[1]: http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v06/v06p--9_Bennett.html


You're not wrong about some mainland Chinese refusing to believe (or never learning in the first place) anything about 6/4. My wife is among them, or used to be at least. Then again if you ask the average US freshman if the US military shot and killed a bunch of student protestors, you'd find a number who wouldn't believe you. Difference is in the US a trivial we search answers that question for you, while in China all record of 6/4 is scrubbed, and even acronyms that you use to mention it get scrubbed, etc.


It isn't 6/4, but May 35th (5/35). It isn't completely scrubbed, many know it happened, they just don't talk about it because (a) they don't care and (b) they aren't allowed to (in that order). Historical reflection is where the Chinese gov really clamps down, and even the cultural revolution is taboo even if everyone knows just about what happened.

Kent state happened so long ago that most American students just don't know, or anything much that happened during Vietnam, which our history classes don't seem to have time to cover. In china, its a bit worse, as they have the siege of Changchun (the communists basically starved out a few hundred thousand civilians), or the 1938 yellow river flood, where the nationalists killed millions of civilians to thwart the Japanese. In those contexts, Tiananmen is just a blip.


AFAIK as a Chinese, the 1938 incident is known to many since it was said to be Jiang's decision. As of Changchun, I saw that topic a few times in some forums 10+ years ago.

The things people want to know change over time as well. Now, China is feeling its power and strength like a growing teenager (not very accurate, but you get what I mean), so the glory of the past, now and future is what people want to know. Zhanlang 2 (War Wolf 2)'s phenomenal financial success (close to 1bn usd box office maybe?) is a recent strong signal.


> "growing teenager"

This is an incrediable naive and patronizing phrase to describe China's accumulation of power.

As a matter of fact, China's ascending is the most peaceful and constrained among all past super powers in the world history.


Peaceful and constrained to whom?

I guess a better question, so that I can understand, is when are you considering their ascension to have begun?

Also, the person you responded to is Chinese. I suppose they can be patronizing if they want? In fact, I can't think of a person more able to be justifiably patronizing. I find criticism from within to be better than criticism from abroad, generally speaking.

But, mostly I just am curious about what point in time you're using as the start of China's ascension. If it is 1990, I'm inclined to agree. If it is 1945, I am skeptical.


> As a matter of fact, China's ascending is the most peaceful and constrained among all past super powers in the world history.

Alternative facts, maybe. Just look up the South China Sea, Doklam, constant agitation with India and Japan to see how peaceful China's rise is.


Well, China has solid legal ground to claim that she owns those areas. Peaceful rise does not translate to blindly avoiding conflicts.


China does not have solid legal founds for their claims, they do have a bunch of anecdotes though (e.g. The nationalists got a small USN boat to take them to visit them, so they think this means the USA must have approved of their claim).


>magically appearing artificial islands

>solid legal ground

one of those things has to be false.


I specifically mentioned that analogy was not accurate. I have to add that it's the kind of feeling that directly reflects teenager's physical growth, taller, quicker, faster, stronger, etc. Perhaps my original analogy led you to relate to the emotional side more. Especially in western societies, that can turn to more physical impact. Teenagers in China actually have that kind of things as well, but there is simply less room for them.

Another thing is, in a world with several nuclear weapon equipped states, can two such nations simply confront with each other? Look around east Asia, you have to play very carefully.

So I guess there should have been more context to put in to have a better idea of what I was trying to deliver. If some big and vague words can explain, yeah, it's cultural difference, too.


> As a matter of fact, China's ascending is the most peaceful and constrained among all past super powers in the world history

The late forties granted the United States a global nuclear, and near industrial, monopoly. We didn’t exploit it.


China has 5000 years of ascending to superpower status, not all of it very peaceful. If you mean China hasn't invaded another country since 1979, well, sure, I'll give you that.


Yes, I think this post pretty much frame the discussion after the "open and reform" era.


So the era just before that when they were not doing very well and we're engaged in non peaceful activities doesn't count. Got it.


I am not sure what you want to say.

This post is about Xi, which took office in 2012. And the aspects initiates my post is about China's recent movement to more openly show off its power.

What's the point of "when they were not doing very well" in this context?

> we're engaged in non peaceful activities

What does this refer to?


I mean, you count China's rise as coinciding with the time just after they were being hostile to their neighbors. A rosy filter to be sure.


I said China's rise is the most peaceful among all super powers in history, I did not say that China's rise will be that it is nice to neighbors.

I also did not count any timing. I just said it's the most peaceful.

Realistically, a super power by definition means it wields more power than others, that definitely means unfriendly behavior to others, especially the neighbors. That's why China uses the word "the Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation", that's both a correct and accurate slogan, and a non-aggressive way of rosy filtering what gonna happen.


Chest beating is a thing in the USA also, some of our block buster movies can be like that.


For everyone else who doesn't know what "6/4" refers to, it refers to the date of the Tiananmen Square protests:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiananmen_Square_protests_of_1...


A Day To Remember. A short video where they ask Chinese University students, "what day is today." Filmed in 2005...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCPkkGArVy4

I watch this clip a lot around the 6/4 anniversary. This is not the original copy, that's somewhere on Vimeo I think.


Wow, the discomfort is intense. How much is that from being video recorded w/o consent?


That's in 2005.

CCP's online control only got worst these years.

Today if you ask average young people on the street in China about 4 Jun, some (If not many) of them may even don't understand what you're talking about.


To be exact, it refers to the massacre. The protests lasted for a long time before the crackdown.


Then again if you ask the average US freshman if the US military shot and killed a bunch of student protestors, you'd find a number who wouldn't believe you.

Saying "US military" is somewhat misleading.

The soldiers who shot and killed four students at Kent State University were part of what we call the "National Guard".[1] These are reserve military units.

National Guardsmen usually have full-time civilian jobs and are only called into service when needed. Sometimes these soldiers are called "weekend warriors". A National Guard unit is controlled by an individual state up until the time that the US government needs its services.

It would be more correct to call those soldiers "Ohio state military". At the time of the shootings, the National Guard unit involved was under the control of Governor Rhodes of the State of Ohio.[2]

There is a big distinction in the USA between "federal" (aka national US) and "state" government. This distinction isn't necessarily clear to foreigners. Granted, this distinction isn't necessarily clear to about 70% of US citizens either. But that's an entire other discussion.

Edit: the law has been updated since then, but something called the Posse Comitatus Act was in effect at the time.[3] It is against the law for the US military to act as a domestic police force:

From and after the passage of this act it shall not be lawful to employ any part of the Army of the United States, as a posse comitatus, or otherwise, for the purpose of executing the laws, except in such cases and under such circumstances as such employment of said force may be expressly authorized by the Constitution or by act of Congress

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Guard_of_the_United_S... [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kent_State_shootings [3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posse_Comitatus_Act


Downvotes? Really? I've never complained about downvotes before, but this is rich!

Today's millennials aren't interested in understanding "federalism", which is one of the founding tenets of the USA?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federalism


> Other Western countries tried too. [1]

> [1]: http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v06/v06p--9_Bennett.html

I read 2/3 of that article with some interest and occasional surprise until I ran into the part where the holocaust is flat out denied and the bombing of German cities called the greatest war crime of WWII.

Judging by the fact that you share that link as if it's well-researched truth I wonder what your agenda is. Do you believe that, and I quote, "there was no plan to exterminate Jews in World War II"? If not, why do you quote that article as if it has merit?

The weird thing is that the article does not support your argument. Your argument is against nationalism, and I passionately agree with you there. The article you quote is all about, and I quote again, "the fallacious belief that multi-racial societies are viable".


A better translation for 笑裡藏刀 is "Hide a knife behind a smile". I'm not being critical, just making it easier to understand for others.

> This is the classic "what breaks you only make you stronger" but in a very aggressive way.

imo This is just continuing effects from the trauma of Cultural Revolution, with fear & self preservation being the primary motivation of the China's red nobility. I remember reading that one of Deng Xiaoping's major reasons to crush the Democracy rallies was because he feared an uprising and being under house arrest again. It makes you wonder what China will be like if you have leadership who didn't experience the bad end of the Cultural Revolution firsthand


If you are aware of the movements(运动) in the ruling party's history, the effort to cleanse is nothing new. But we did not see that for a while.

Today is tomorrow's history. Compared with yesterday, today is not that different from yesterday. But history does not simply repeat itself, either.


This article mentioned China's debt as a problem, which I've seen before, so I finally looked it up. One article I found said China has added $24 trillion in debt in the last ten years alone, with a debt-to-GDP ratio of about 300%. With so much money appearing out of thin air to finance this or that program or development or expansion, it's easy to imagine opportunities for corruption. Add to that giant spigot all the smaller ones, as banks participate in the boom indirectly. It's no surprise then that Xi would have to address corruption overtly, given how it must be a daily temptation for party members to steer the wealth this way or that. Considering the scale of China's growth, it's remarkable how smoothly things are going. If there's any fractiousness within party ranks, it doesn't translate into churn we can see that slows things down. https://seekingalpha.com/article/4091155-update-china-debt?p...


The story was formatted with Shorthand [1]

Does anybody know an open source equivalent? Thanks.

[1] https://shorthand.com/


Unfortunately this article has an annoying habit of jumping position when changing scroll for me (iOS Chrome). Makes going back to re-read a paragraph tricky.


Problem with leaders that consolidate power is that one successor will eventually be a weak link and things will go wrong.


Xi graduated from middle school and his leading style is more like culture-revolution-movement than anything else. he is probably the least capable but most ambitious leader there since Mao, thus the most dangerous, just wait and see.


Another article on New Yorker (published in 2015), "Born Red", is quite interesting as well on this subject.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/04/06/born-red

According to the article, Xi once said,

  "People who have little experience with power, 
   those who have been far away from it, tend 
   to regard these things as mysterious and 
   novel. But I look past the superficial 
   things: the power and  the flowers and 
   the glory and the applause. I see the 
   detention houses, the fickleness of 
   human relationships. I understand politics 
   on a deeper level." 
I am sympathetic about Xi's early traumatic experience; but I also feel that if he considers that "human relationship" is essentially "fickle", it would be quite scary as well, especially for a decision maker at a country's top level, as he is. I don't know how much trust he has for any one who is not in his family (or even for his family members); but a society with a very low level of mutual trust is a horrible place to live -- not to mention its average interpersonal cooperation cost would be very high, people would even hurt and damage each other's interest just to obtain a bit more sense of security. The harsh censorship there is one such example; as well as that in China more and more people these days are being sent to prison, after some staged trial in a kangaroo court -- simply because they voiced something that the administration does not want to hear.

Humanity itself is a quite complex matter. It's true that sometimes, certain people can be quite cruel, ruthless, or even cold-blooded; but this should not be a universal trait for the overall human beings -- or otherwise, it would have been a definition for the concept of "human" many centuries ago. There is a dynamic motley of benignity and malignity in any individual -- and the concept of "benignity" or "malignity" can be relative in certain cases. It's better for us all, if we construct a system that could inspire more benignity (-- or if possible, maximize ) out of us.

But today, many dealings by the Chinese government seems to simply view its citizens as objects or even tools, with "fickling" worthiness that does not lie within themselves but is based on the external perspective of the ruling party, to perpetuate their ruling.

Perhaps that is why Xi would raise the question to Biden in 2011/2, "why does the U.S. put so much emphasis on human rights." [1]

Note: [1] see https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/04/06/born-red for the details about that episode...


> Humanity itself is a quite complex matter

I cannot help to remind you that Xi is the president of a country with 1.3 BB people. If you think he does not know this fact, you are plain ignorant.

Chinese political sphere isn't any another-world strange thing. It's just like any such things: human-dealing and power-plays... Xi knows too well how to deal with people, and how complex they are, otherwise he would not reach his currnet power at all...


  > If you think he does not know this fact, 
  > you are plain ignorant.
Thanks for reminding me about that...

I won't deny that I am indeed ignorant -- and on that, I would concur in Socrates' words, "I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance"...

  > Xi knows too well how to deal with people, 
  > and how complex they are, otherwise he would 
  > not reach his currnet power at all
I am not really sure -- bear with my ignorance again -- what you mean by "know how to deal with people"...

I think everyone knows his own way of dealing with people -- that's the social aspect of every human being...it's just that their knowledge about that matter could be very different from each other...

When I state "humanity itself is a quite complex matter", I am just stating it's complex; and I am not stating _how_ it is complex -- I feel that's a very very broad and involved matter; and on that, too, different people may have different opinion and understanding, which could be evolving and changing all the time...

For instance, you could say that half a century ago another Chinese "power" leader, Mao Zedong, understood how to deal with people -- for "otherwise he would not reach his then current power at all" -- and the manner of his dealing was to simply destroy or even annihilate those who did not agree with him; and he termed that dealing as "revolution". It's indeed a great achievement for Mao to somewhat successfully reach that goal; but this does not mean that kind of policy really benefited the average Chinese people living in those days...


Knowing how to rise to power while mostly staying under the radar, knowing how to consolidate power, and knowing how best to wield power are different things. The truth is, he's likely still rising to power; so what happens after the next Congress will be very interesting to watch.

Power is a great test of one's mettle and humanity, a test most fail historically - though I make no predictions about Xi.


To me, this sounds a lot like "Make China Great Again".

Temperamentally, of course, Xi is almost the exact opposite of Trump...


There is actually a group of researchers tasked to measure the progress of "make China great again", they reported back in 2012 that the goal is 62% completed.

Chinese source from People's Daily -

http://politics.people.com.cn/n/2012/0805/c1001-18670287.htm...

Trump just copied the idea from Hu and Xi.


...and Reagan.


Haha, I wonder if the Chinese premier in Veep is based off of him.


Obama made Xi look like Winnie the Pooh. Xi must be much happier with Trump, as unhinged he is.


Alright, I have to ask. How did he make him look like Pooh? When I think of Pooh, I think calm to the point of naive, not very smart but sometimes philosophical, friends with all, and very fond of honey.

I'm well and truly confused. This is not entirely unusual.


It’s mostly appearance based, Xi Jinping looks like Winnie the Pooh and lanky Obama looks like Tigger, and it’s popularity as a meme soared after China censored them on Weibo.

Examples:

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02590/TIGGER_259...

https://i.imgur.com/qouV61I.jpg


I found that greatly amusing, though I'm not sure that the comment was just concerning physical traits. After all, who doesn't like honey?


[flagged]


Explain?


What have I contributed?

I am now more confused than I was originally.


What are you talking about?




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