Monday, January 30, 2012

Your Happy-Times-Back-at-Work Links Edition

Photo by Ren Hang via NeochaEDGE

Yesterday, most Chinese returned to work. By yesterday I do indeed mean Sunday. The holiday schedule is fucked up, don't ask questions.

Oops. "[Famous architect] Liang [Sicheng's] 'siheyuan,' the traditional courtyard home, was reportedly bulldozed by a real estate developer on Thursday in the name of preservation. // The former rectangle brick structure in Beizongbu hutong where Liang and his also architect wife Lin Huiyin (Phyllis Lin) resided and started the unprecedented profiling of ancient Chinese architecture during the 1930s was reduced to piles of rubble surrounding a lone wooden gate. // The government said Saturday that the demolition was not approved by the cultural heritage authorities and officials would investigate and deal with the case in accordance of the law." [Xinhua via China Daily]


Well, this pretty much sucks a big stinky asshole. "Obama... made it a point to remind the world that though the defence budget had been trimmed, U.S. defence spending would still continue to remain higher than the combined defence budgets of the next 14 biggest militaries in the world.... // The latest Pentagon doctrine identifies China as the enemy the U.S. will have to confront. 'Over the long term, China's emergence as a regional power will have the potential to affect the U.S. economy and our security in a variety of ways…. The U.S. will continue to make a variety of investments to ensure that we maintain regional access and the ability to operate freely,' the document states. 'The growth of China's military power must be accompanied by greater clarity of its strategic intentions in order to avoid causing friction in the region.' Though U.S. officials keep on harping about the China threat, they do concede that the country is far away from achieving any kind of parity in military capabilities with the U.S." [Frontline, "India's national magazine"]

Corollary: "China should impose 'sanctions' against the Philippines after it offered to allow more US troops on its soil, state media said Sunday, amid growing tensions over disputed waters in the South China Sea." [AFP]


Interview about democracy in China. Uh-oh. "I still think China needs democracy, that it needs to change."

Fuc... wait a minute. This is actually intelligent...

Ian Johnson interviews former deputy editor of Southern Metropolis Weekly Zhang Ping in the New York Review of Books.

I really oppose several arguments [that are commonly made] about why China can’t have democracy, such as the argument that China is unique—that Chinese people need to wait because their “quality” [a Chinese term, suzhi, that implies everything from educational level to manners] isn’t high enough and other ridiculous things like that. Some people said that democracy wasn’t part of Chinese culture, and then Taiwan became democratic. Then they said that Taiwan was a special case. Now look at Wukan. They had their own elections. People say it’s special, but in fact Wukan is really typically Chinese. It’s a Chinese town but they organized everything. So what argument are you left with? If Wukan can have democracy so can other parts of China.

I’m not saying that China should have western-style democracy. In fact, there’s not a single western model. What do they mean? Germany didn’t copy America and America didn’t copy Britain. The issue isn’t copying. It’s do you or don’t you want democracy? Of course democracy has a lot of problems but it’s a way forward.

Who knew, democracy really is sunshine.

A Global Times editorial done right... not by Global Times, of course. Oh no -- if you want something done right, you gotta let someone like Eric from Sinostand do it (I'm assuming Eric, who owns the site, wrote the post, but if not, apologies to the real author). "I’ve taken the liberty of re-writing it so that it has a chance of actually influencing some people toward GT’s viewpoint," the author writes. Go compare the results: Original vs. Modified. [Sinostand]

The Economist just can't catch a break. This is the third straight links post in which the London-based news magazine has been dissed. "Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi derided western economic prescriptions of the late 20th century as 'medicine that turned out to be worse than the disease.' // He singled out The Economist magazine for criticism, saying policies it advocated a decade ago had set the continent on the path to recolonization." By the way, the story is about the African Union's new headquarters in Ethiopia, and yes, it is somehow related to China. [Voices of America]

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