Saturday, December 26, 2009

Two really good posts from James Fallows

I'm still in Kansas and making the most of this holiday season, but I recently came across two James Fallows posts that I can't help passing along. (I've also just started Postcards from Tomorrow Square -- checked out from the local library -- and have decided to buy this book. Among China watchers and all-around journalists, few, in my opinion, are better than Fallows.)

Post 1: Copenhagen follow-up

Reaction to the Guardian story yesterday, alleging that Chinese negotiators "intentionally" embarrassed Barack Obama and sabotaged the Copenhagen talks, turns out to be a Rorschach test for views on a variety of issues. Views of China (inherently untrustworthy); views of the US and the West (inherently biased against rising China); views of Obama (ludicrously out of his depth in dealing with the Chinese); views of man-made climate change and big international conclaves like this (big frauds in both cases).

Post 2: Liu Xiaobao

...The charges apparently arise mainly from his role last year in promoting "Charter 08," a manifesto for civil society in China. There is nothing about his life, work, or efforts that a truly confident government should fear. That the Chinese government cannot tolerate his views speaks volumes.

There is much to admire in modern China, and even more to sympathize with in the aspirations and efforts of its people. But this is a reminder of what is wrong with the way it is run, and is a moment that friends of China and of Chinese people should note, regret, and deplore.

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