Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

China to maintain its family planning policy: official [Xinhua]

Family planning: China pledges to continue keeping its population in check.

Li Bin, director of the The National Population and Family Planning Commission (国家人口和计划生育委员会) acknowledges over-population as a major challenge to socio-economic development. This other document from 2006 building on its 1994 vision of China Agenda 21, with detailed future goals – defines the mid 21st century as the apex of China’s population growth, tipping what it sees as its optimum ceiling at 1.6 billion.

This is where Chinese planners see its socio-economic system running at its most ‘rational’ with a per capita income at the level of medium-developed countries. It also suggests that the milestone of balance was always a target, a trait synonymous with Chinese philosophy in a societal ideal where harmony and ‘balance will be struck between population and economy, society, natural resources and environment.’ This is when ‘the nation, in short, will have achieved modernization;’ its fundamental goal all along.

Along with that, is an effort visible throughout China in the form of public service messages covering every permutation of media to remind the Chinese to ‘return’ to a more ‘civilized’ society (click for a light-hearted example).

I am however unsure how this can be carried out in practice as the Chinese become more affluent and with the one-child policy progressively being relaxed.

It may have had its criticisms, tragedies and consequences (For every 100 girls born in 2010, 118 boys were born) but Li argues China’s population would have breached 1.7 billion otherwise, creating ‘more difficulties for society’. Perhaps the overarching political goal had a utilitarian insight carried out in a ‘hard way’, fingers crossed that the 21st century ruling party adapts to its evolved citizenry, and continues bettering and building a ‘favorable environment for the country’s economic development and social stability’.

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China to maintain its family planning policy: official
Editor: Tang Danlu
Xinhua, published October 30, 2011

Photo taken on July 19, 2011 shows people queuing for visiting at the Tian’anmen Square in Beijing, capital of China. The world’s population will reach 7 billion on October 31, according to the United Nations. (Xinhua/Wan Xiang)

BEIJING, Oct. 30 (Xinhua) — China will adhere to its family planning policy so as to maintain a low reproduction rate, said the country’s family planning chief on Sunday, expected to be the eve of the world’s population reaching seven billion.

“Over-population remains one of the major challenges to social and economic development,” said Li Bin, director of the State Population and Family Planning Commission in an exclusive interview with Xinhua, adding that the population of China will hit 1.45 billion in 2020.

Li said maintaining and improving the existing family planning policy and keeping a low reproduction rate, along with addressing the issues of gender imbalance and an aging population, will be the major tasks in the future. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Confucius, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Health, Human Rights, Influence, Infrastructure, Modernisation, Politics, Population, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, xinhua

[Inaccuracy in BBC report?] Henan riot: China anger after drunk police accident [BBC]

No longer another brick in the wall: Some more evidence the Chinese people are more and more unwilling to tolerate social inequity in the name of collective growth.

This report from the BBC claims that because China’s official media is wary of reporting social unrest it did not mention the disturbances, which perplexed me as it is not entirely accurate.

Here’s the official Xinhua report in question – ‘The accident has triggered a public outcry on Weibo.com, China’s popular Twitter-like microblogging service, after pictures posted on the site showed gruesome scenes in the aftermath of the crash.’ The ruling party has been keen to demonstrate its legitimacy to rule an increasingly knowledgable populace.  They have little qualm exposing and making an example of most breaches of its 52 unacceptable practices publicly and firmly, though some argue this rule does not apply to the highest echelons.

Other sources: From the Associated Press – China cop accused of crashing police van while drunk, killing 5; crowds smash cars in protest (Washinton Post / AP, October 31, 2011) and Chinese cop accused of drunken crash (Sydney Morning Herald / AP, October 31, 2011)

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Henan riot: China anger after drunk police accident
Source – BBC, published October 30, 2011

There have been violent protests in the central Chinese province of Henan after a policeman suspected of drunk driving crashed his car and killed five people.

According to China’s official Xinhua news agency, the policeman was arrested after his car hit two lamp posts, which fell on top of people.

Witnesses and local reports said a crowd stopped the police taking away bodies, damaging and flipping hearses and a police van. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: 52 Unacceptable Practices, BBC, Censorship, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Corruption, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Human Rights, Mapping Feelings, Media, People, Politics, Population, Reform, Social, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

[How can China get better?] China at No. 1 — already [CNN]

It can be easy to be critical of China.

Maybe because it is so large.

It consists of so many people, dreams, desires and motivations arguably all running in the same direction under top-down direction since the first epochs of dynastic systems, and now for the first time, they are all set free.

Maybe because it encompasses such a land mass, a large chunk of which is inherited from the foreign rulers of the Qing dynasty  and is now under ethnic and political contention.

Large can sometimes mean – easy target. And some have not forgotten how not to bully it.

That said, it can also be easy to wax lyrical about what some see as the longest continuing civilisation in the world. In some ways that is true, the fundamental Chinese mindset has not changed much. But let’s not forget China was ruled for about a third of its dynastic era by foreign powers. Perhaps one way to examine this is to study its performance and give it constructive feedback that resonates with the Chinese mind.

The article I focus on examines how China fares economically. It’s been a year since this interactive from CNNMoney claiming that China’s already No. 1 in a broad spread of areas.

So far so good for China it seems.

It has been largely able to keep its prime directive of having its immediate environment relatively stable. Flashpoints do exist still. Externally we see  socio-economic and geopolitical tensions in the South China Sea, the Sino-US proxy chess game with Taiwan, and a North Korea China seems increasingly less willing to tolerate. As a matter of history, China also casts a constantly vigilant eye over Russia and Japan and India.

Domestically the Autonomous Regions are giving the Chinese two major lessons.

First they’ve learnt the Great Firewall is not too good at denting the amplifier properties of social media. With its reach, the dissent that has always been there can be heard, felt, shared and acted upon by global communities breaking the tyranny of distance and time.

Second, they have to regulate and manage , or better integrate the internal migration of the Han majority to its outlying territories which is fundamentally the reason for dissent in the first place.

Further, the cost of capitalism and self-interest over its age-old collective nature are leaving scars (See: Tragedy forces nation to reflect, China Daily October 28, 2011) .Despite pockets of domestic issues that need fixing, the capitalist authoritarian machine stays on course to achieve the overarching goal capitalist roader Deng set out; that money talks. In the developed part of the global village today  soft power deployed through networks of economic interdependence (some see it as a redux of China’s dynastic tributary systems) yields more return of investment than the dated veneer of hard power.

The Chinese have become hungry consumers, having been cooped up behind the physical and mental constructs of the Great Wall for too long. For example in 2009 China surpassed the US in terms of car sales, we’re looking at 13.6 versus 10.4m cars sold in US and China respectively. I remember my father relating to me how China almost single handedly saved Volkswagen on the turn of the millennium. In 2010 there were an estimated 420 million internet users, more people were online than the entire population of the US.  Further, the Agricultural Bank of China raised the biggest IPO ever seen, raising 22.1 billion, a demonstration of China’s immense domestic people power.

It’s not all positive though.

One third of smokers on the planet come from China.

China took over the US as the biggest emitter of carbon emissions (in ’07 they expelled 14% more than the US though this is a tricky one as the consumers and trans-national corporations and the domestic industries are guilty too – they’re all involved in the global production network). Interestingly enough, it is the largest producer of solar cells in the world, taking up a third of the market.

One year on since the article how else has China been No. 1?

For one it’s on course to be the largest consumer of luxury goods having bypassed the US in 2009 and it’s now neck to neck with Japan and due to overtake sometime this year (optimistically reportedly since  as early as May, though this article’s in September, by Chinese state media).

China has been providing foreign aid since 1950. In recent times, its international aid presence has increased significantly, with the Africa, and of course the US benefiting from Chinese aid and investments. Now that it is doing better, will it correspondingly take over as the the most generous nation in the world?

Europe and the growing pains the Eurozone seem to be exhibiting has been in focus of late. A Reuters report in late October 2011 revealed China was willing to invest up to 100 billion U.S. dollars for injection into Europe. Declaring their shared common interest in the image of a concerned and increasingly responsible international citizen to step in to help, China also comes under scrutiny – some say they’re stepping in to buy Europe’s silence over its human rights record. Others paint a gloomier picture with China’s central role in global production networks meaning it will inevitably be ‘kidnapped’ by European debt. Later, a report from Bloomberg stated Vice Finance Minister Zhu claiming that it was ‘too soon to weigh more Europe-Fund bond purchases‘.

Its immense rapid rail networks also come to mind charting out new silk routes with a twenty-first century mind. How about its spanking new cross sea-bridge (36.48km, under the length of a marathon) that happens to be the longest in the world.

Its growing use of public diplomacy through cultural capital (Confucius Institutes are one obvious example) and intercultural exchange have been commanding international mind share and eyeballs. The volume of state-funded epic films is one such charge into popular culture. From the Beijing Olympics to the Guangzhou Asian Games to the Shanghai World Expo, the surge has been relentless. Its vigour in hosting international events trigger a strong positive visual reminder in the media scape, doing just enough to take away mass attention to its domestic human right issues it is still learning to sort out.

So what does all this this say?

Though one may be inclined at times to still think of China as a sepia-toned postcard with bicycle-filled roads, perhaps it’s time to reconsider that China has arrived. And they’re learning their lessons pretty quick.

Let’s share with them how not to pick up  bad habits that will have a collateral effect on the rest of us along the way.

Any thoughts?

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China at No. 1 — already
By Kevin Voigt
Source – CNN, published November 12, 2010

(CNN) — As this interactive from CNNMoney shows, the U.S. is still by far the world’s largest economy, despite the Great Recession and tepid recovery.

But China is coming on strong, passing Japan as the world’s second largest economy and predictions that sometime in the next 10 to 15 years it will eclipse the U.S., too.

Some think it’s already happened. A Pew Research Center poll last year found that 44 percent of Americans already thought China had become the world’s number one economic power. Only 27 percent knew that the U.S. economy is still on top, nearly three times the size of China.

Still, there are several areas where China has already taken the mantle from the U.S. China has become the world’s largest car market, a symbolic transition after the recession left Detroit in shambles. But some may not know that before cars, Chinese beer drinkers passed U.S. as top consumers in 2002, and now knock back nearly a quarter of all beer produced in the world.

Beijing is aiming to steer its economy away from exports toward domestic consumption — and, in doing so, will inevitably supplant the U.S. as the top market destination for consumer goods.

“We expect China will overtake the U.S. as the largest consumer market in 2020,” Fan Cheuk Wan, head of research for Credit Suisse Asia Pacific, told CNN.

If so, China will reach its goal of having half its GDP generated by domestic consumption in the next 10 years; currently about 33 percent of China’s economy comes from domestic spending, Wan said.

“China cannot rely on the indebted consumers in the developed economies any more as a key growth engine in the next decade,” Wan said.

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, CNN, Communications, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Environment, Finance, Government & Policy, Influence, Media, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Resources, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Transport, U.S., Yuan

Emerging economies ‘to help bail out EU’ [China Daily]

Charm Offensive: China Daily portrays a Chinese position of humility to advance its interests. Note the use of ’emerging economies’ in the title, I’m not sure China still technically qualifies as an emerging economy. But here’s a chance to play its EU strategic alliance card to advance voting leverage ahead of the G20 summit. A stable EU has become intertwined with its longer term economic and strategic plans anyway. Seems a short-term win-win for China and the global economy at large.

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Emerging economies ‘to help bail out EU’
by Fu Jing
Source – China Daily, published October 27, 2011

BRUSSELS – Leading emerging economies such as China have reportedly agreed to help the European Union increase its bailout fund through the International Monetary Fund (IMF), said a reliable source close to EU decision-makers.

If this happens, China and other emerging economies may obtain more influence in the global financial system ahead of G20 summit scheduled for Nov 3 to 4 in Cannes, France.

Within the IMF, an increased contribution means more voting rights. Emerging economies have long calling for a bigger say in the organization, which has been dominated by developed economies and in which the United States has a veto. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, China Daily, Chinese Model, Communications, Domestic Growth, Economics, European Union, Finance, Foreign aid, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, Media, Nationalism, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.S., xinhua

China: US embargo against Cuba unreasonable [China Daily]

China maintains its prime directive of equitable international socio-economic stability or is this a sign the Beijing Consensus is getting a confident voice using the soft power human rights card toward the US?

Ambassador Wang Min levels a charge toward the US, “They have violated the basic human rights of the Cuban people to food, health and education and their right to survival and development, and affected the normal economic, commercial and financial interactions between other countries and Cuba.

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China: US embargo against Cuba unreasonable
Source – China Daily, published October 26, 2011

UNITED NATIONS — The international community is faced with multiple serious challenges, which makes the US sanctions and embargo against Cuba “all the more unreasonable”, Wang Min, Chinese deputy representative to the UN said here Tuesday.

Wang made the remarks as he addressed the UN General Assembly on voting the resolution, which calls for an end of US embargo on Cuba.

Wang said that the resolutions adopted in the past 19 consecutive years have not been effectively implemented, and the economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba imposed by the United States is yet to be lifted. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Foreign aid, Greater China, Human Rights, Influence, International Relations, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, xinhua

50 million Chinese left homeless by developers [The Age]

Social divison: Looks like China’s leaders know where the work is cut out if they are to achieve more equitable wealth distribution and social equilibrium. Especially so if 60 million more farmers stand to lose land over the next two decades.

The problem is just going to get bigger as China becomes increasingly urbanised. Backtrack to 1982-86 just a little after opening up, we were looking at 37%. By the end of 2010, we were looking an urban population at almost 50% or 665 million. The target is 75% by 2030 (that’s a staggering 1 billion in urban areas) with 20,000 to 50,000 skyscrapers on the drawing board to support that push.

Arguably this reversal of its core revolutionary value may reveal – there is some way to go before the Chinese sensibilities of its socialist market economy learns how to manage the domestic socio-economic cons of engaging with the wider capitalist free market.

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50 million Chinese left homeless by developers
Source – The Age, published October 25, 2011

Bulldozers razed Li Liguang’s farmhouse four years ago after officials in the Chinese city of Loudi told him the land was needed for a 30,000-seat stadium.

What Li, 28, says they didn’t tell him is that he would be paid a fraction of what his plot was worth and get stuck living in a cinder-block home, looking on as officials do what he never could: Grow rich off his family’s land.

It’s a reversal of one of the core principles of the Communist Revolution. Mao Zedong won the hearts of the masses by redistributing land from rich landlords to penniless peasants. Now, powerful local officials are snatching it back, sometimes violently, to make way for luxury apartment blocks, malls and sports complexes in a debt-fueled building binge. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Bloomberg, Chinese Model, Corruption, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Government & Policy, Infrastructure, Lifestyle, Mapping Feelings, Migrant Workers, Migration (Internal), Modernisation, National Medium- and Long- term Talent Development Plan, Nationalism, People, Politics, Population, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, The Age, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

How can I be proud of my China if we are a nation of 1.4bn cold hearts? [Guardian]

On the surface, this looks like an overblown + sensationalist title.

I’ve been following the series of events from A seriously ill society’: Hit-run case of little Yueyue shocks China – and the world’ when it appeared in Melbourne broadsheets on the 18th. Trending in social media like wildfire, different interest groups engage in heated discourse interpreting what such a piece of news means.

So when this transnational piece by a Chinese writer appeared in the UK’s Guardian it got my attention.

‘How can I be proud of my China if we are a nation of 1.4bn cold hearts?’

How can one lump 1.4 billion individuals across 56 ethncities and demographics into one broad value judgement?

Are the actions of 18 representative in one city market street of the symptoms of a cold hearted population?

There are some interesting thoughts in her hypothesis. Unpackaged, they seem to allude to the factors shaping contemporary ‘Chinese characteristics’, a term commonly flogged around by politicians to wrap the international community around their little fingers. But in the real sense on the ground, perhaps here are clues.

It reflects another significant paradigm shift in two centuries of revolutionary change. Now we look at an East/West operational hybrid still predicated in ingrained self-determinism based on guanxi.

Also of note is the particular experimentation with ideology (they’ve dealt with dynasty, democracy, civil war, communism, and now capitalist authoritarianism in the span of one century) and what that says about the extent of the Chinese mindscape.

1. Socio-Economics: China (by choice or otherwise) did not inherit much of the ethic and social science dimensions of the import of the market economy from the West. Correspondingly the traditional moral principles of China have trouble adapting to the market economy model. However China, as the world factory and key producer in global production networks is so intertwined with the world economy there’s no time for it to pause and reflect.

2. Ideology: spiritual vacuum as a result of hardline communism has eroded, this is one that’s increasingly, and to sometimes drastic effects, of an over-focus on money-making. What’s the predominant force guiding the Chinese moral compass today?

3.  Culture: Guanxi is not the reserve of strangers, especially if it damages self-interest. It’s an instinctive reflex en-culturated over millennia and perpetuated throughout Chinese media content today.

In focus – and why there may be some truth to the claim.

Driver of second vehicle – “If she is dead, I may pay only about 20,000 yuan (£2,000). But if she is injured, it may cost me hundreds of thousands of yuan.” 

One of the 18 passersby –  “That wasn’t my child. Why should I bother?”

That said, it can be difficult to just call all Chinese apathetic. See this story for example –  Photo of Girl Putting Little Brother to sleep in Class moved Netizens (China Hush, October 22nd, 2011).

To my friends who wondered if there were any Occupy events in China, here’s the evidence. It never quite made it out to mainstream media, but here’s evidence of the social activist aspect of the Chinese mind many may not be aware of yet – Citizens of China rally to support the Occupy Wall Street Movement (China Hush, October 9, 2011)

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How can I be proud of my China if we are a nation of 1.4bn cold hearts?

The death of the two-year-old run over as passersby ignored her is symptomatic of a deepening moral crisis
by Lijia, Zhang
Source – Guardian, published October 22, 2011 

Yueyue’s mother after she was called to where her daughter was found. Photograph: China Foto Press / Barcroft Medi

Shame on us Chinese! Last Thursday a two-year-old girl was run over twice, about 100 metres from her home in a hardware market district of Foshan, a prosperous city in southern China. As she lay on the ground, writhing in pain, before being hit by the second vehicle, 18 people, on their bicycles, in cars or on foot, passed by but chose to ignore her. Among them a young woman with her own child.

Finally, a 58-year-old female rubbish collector came to the girl’s rescue, but it was too late. By the time she was brought to the hospital, the girl Yueyue, (whose name translates as Little Joy), was brain dead. She was declared dead early on Friday morning. She was a good girl, full of life, her mother said a few days ago in an interview. She said she had just brought Yueyue back from her kindergarten. She popped out to collect the dry clothes and returned to find Yueyue gone – probably trying to look for her elder brother.

It might have been a different story if one of the 18 people had lent Yueyue a hand. None even bothered to call for emergency services. Later, when interviewed by a journalist, one of the passersby, a middle-aged man riding a scooter, said with an uncomfortable smile on his face: “That wasn’t my child. Why should I bother?”

Before giving himself up to the police, the driver of the second vehicle, a van, told the media why he had run away. “If she is dead, I may pay only about 20,000 yuan (£2,000). But if she is injured, it may cost me hundreds of thousands of yuan.” What’s wrong with these people? How could they be so cold-hearted? The horrific scene was caught by a surveillance camera and has been watched by millions of viewers since it was posted on Youku, China’s equivalent of YouTube.

This is only the latest incident where tragedy has struck as a result of the callous inactivity of onlookers. Last month an 88-year-old man fell over face down at the entrance of a vegetable market near his home. For almost 90 minutes, he was ignored by people in the busy market. After his daughter found him and called an ambulance, the old man died “because of a respiratory tract clogged by a nosebleed”. If anyone had turned him over, he might have survived.

Both cases, the death of Yueyue in particular, have provoked much public outrage and a nationwide discussion about morality in today’s China. From Shanghai, someone with the cybername 60sunsetred wrote: “The Chinese people have arrived at their most morality-free moment!” There was plenty of condemnation of the cold-heartedness of the passersby. But, astonishingly, a large percentage of posters said they understood why the onlookers did not lend a helping hand. Some admitted they would do the same – for fear of getting into trouble and fear of facing another “Nanjing judge”.

Let me explain the story of the muddle-headed Nanjing judge. In 2006, in the capital of Jiangsu province, a young man named Peng Yu helped an old woman who had fallen on the street and took her to a hospital and waited to see if the old woman was all right. Later, however, the woman and her family accused Peng of causing her fall. A judge decided in favour of the woman, based on the assumption that “Peng must be at fault. Otherwise why would he want to help?”, saying that Peng acted against “common sense”. The outcry from the public in support of Peng forced the court to adjust its verdict and resulted in Peng paying 10% of the costs instead of the total. Since that incident Peng has become a national cautionary tale: the Good Samaritan being framed by the beneficiary of their compassion.

It’s true that in China you can get into trouble when you try to help. Weeks ago I spotted an accident on the fourth ring road in Beijing as I returned home one night. A man was hit by a “black car”, an “illegal taxi”, and his face was all bloody. Watched over by a crowd, the injured man behaved aggressively towards the driver. I got off my scooter. As I tried to pull the two men apart, I was struck myself. When I asked if anyone had reported this to the police, the driver said no. I couldn’t believe that people just stared as if enjoying a free show, without doing anything. I called the helpline and the policemen turned up soon after.

The fundamental problem, in my view, lies in one word that describes a state of mind: shaoguanxianshi, meaning don’t get involved if it’s not your business. In our culture, there’s a lack of willingness to show compassion to strangers. We are brought up to show kindness to people in our network of guanxi, family and friends and business associates, but not particularly to strangers, especially if such kindness may potentially damage your interest.

Fei Xiaotong, China’s first sociologist, described Chinese people’s moral and ethical characteristics in his book, From the Soil, in the middle of the last century. He pointed out that selfishness is the most serious shortcoming of the Chinese. “When we think of selfishness, we think of the proverb ‘Each person should sweep the snow from his own doorsteps and should not fret about the frost on his neighbour’s roof,'” wrote Fei. He offered the example of how the Chinese of that period threw rubbish out of their windows without the slightest public concern. Things are much the same today.

Under Mao, citizens were forced to behave themselves in both public and private spheres. Every March, people were obliged to go into the street to do good deeds: cleaning buses, fixing bicycles and offering haircuts. Now relaxed social control and commercialisation over the past three decades have led people to behave more selfishly again.

People are enjoying, and sometimes abusing, the vast personal freedoms that didn’t exist before. To start with, it is now safe to be “naughty”. Back in the early 1980s, when I worked at a rocket factory in Nanjing, one of my colleagues, a married man, was caught having an affair with an unmarried woman. He was given a three-year sentence in a labour camp and the girl was disgraced. In today’s society, having extramarital affairs or keeping an ernai – second wife or concubine – is as common as “cow hair”, as the Chinese would say. For a novel I am writing on prostitution, I have interviewed many prostitutes and ernai. Many see their profession as a way to gather wealth quickly, feeling few moral qualms.

China’s moral crisis doesn’t just manifest itself in personal life but also in business practice and many other areas. The high-profile “poisoned milk powder” case and the scandal of using “gutter oil” as cooking oil have shocked and disgusted people around the world. Last year an article, “Why have Chinese lost their sense of morality?”, in which the author tried to find an explanation, was widely read. He reasoned that China has introduced the concept of a market economy from the west but failed to import the corresponding ethics, while the traditional moral principles of China no longer fit the market economy model.

There’s a lot of sense in that. I believe that the lack of a value system is also deepening the moral crisis. Before Mao, the indifference towards others once so accurately described by Fei existed but was mitigated by a traditional moral and religious system. That system was then almost destroyed by the communists, especially during the 10 mad years of the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976. Nowadays communism, the ideology that dominated Chinese people’s lives like a religion, has also more or less collapsed. As a result, there’s a spiritual vacuum that cannot be filled by the mere opportunity of money-making.

To drag China out of its moral crisis will be a long battle. The pressing question is how to make people act in cases of emergency and the solution is law. After the “Nanjing case”, there have been discussions about introducing a law that imposes a “duty of rescue” as exists in many European countries. I am all for it, because that’s probably the only way to propel action for a people who do not see a moral obligation in rescuing others.

The Yueyue incident revealed an ugly side of China. I hope the entire nation will take the opportunity to take a hard look at ourselves and ask ourselves what’s wrong with society. There’s at least hope in the action of the rubbish collector who rushed to Yueyue’s side without hesitation.

China’s economy is galloping like a horse without a rein and its position in the world is rising. We Chinese have every reason to feel proud about what we’ve achieved. Now we demand respect. But how can we possibly win respect and play the role of a world leader if this is a nation with 1.4 billion cold hearts?

Filed under: Chinese Model, Culture, Mapping Feelings, People, Population, Social, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Yue Yue

Women still face bias on the job: survey [China Daily]

Gender determinism under the microscope in China by the All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF, interestingly founded in 1949, as old as the PRC) and National Bureau of Statistics – signs of progressive steps to social equilibrum?

As it is : Female urbanites make 67 percent of that of their male counterparts. Women work 37 minutes longer (574 minutes) than men and rest an hour less (240 minutes) during the weekends. Results from a poll of > 105,000 women older than 18 and 20,400 girls aged from 10 to 17.

Now that they’ve got the data, I remain optimistic the ruling party keeps to the promises of its new five-year plan – one of which is to prioritise more equitable wealth distribution.

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Women still face bias on the job: survey
by He Dan
Source – China Daily, published October 22, 2011

BEIJING – Chinese women face discrimination in the job market and earn less than men even though they spend more time on the job and working at home, a survey found.

Nearly one out of four female college students said they have been discriminated against when looking for jobs, according to a survey released by the All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF) and National Bureau of Statistics on Friday.

Female professional respondents also said they encountered discrimination in their careers, as about 20 percent of their employers preferred to “hire only men or give men priority over women when both have the same capabilities”. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: China Daily, Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Human Rights, Mapping Feelings, People, Population, Social, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

Greetings Overseas Chinese friends, have you got time for a survey?

Greetings friends,

I am seeking the inputs of Overseas Chinese  to identify key Chinese imagery (icons, symbols, texts) Chinese diaspora of all age groups and ancestries, from all parts of the world, connect with.

It should take about ten minutes to complete.

Your time and valuable inputs are most appreciated.  The findings from this survey will go toward an ‘edutainment’ video I am working on the contemporary Overseas Chinese imagination of China. Thank you also for spreading the word!

If you would like to keep updated on the progress of the video, please leave your contact email address and we’ll be in touch!


Filed under: Bob's Opinion, Research, Research Question.

Non-Communist parties urged to contribute to China’s cultural development [Xinhua]

Chinese public diplomacy: reshaped to ‘more inclusive’ and wider trans-political participation as China adopts cultural development guidelines to boost soft power and maintain cultural security?

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Non-Communist parties urged to contribute to China’s cultural development
Editor: Wang Guanqun
Source – Xinhua, published October 19, 2011

BEIJING, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) — Hu Jintao, chief of the Communist Party of China (CPC), has expressed hope that non-Communist parties and people of influence contribute more to the country’s cultural development and soft power building.

Hu, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks at a recent seminar to solicit non-Communist parties’ opinions on the CPC Central Committee’s decision on deepening cultural system reform and promoting cultural development.

Hu said he hopes that workers in cultural field from non-Communist parties can be mobilized to contribute their wisdom and strength to building China into a strong nation in terms of the influence of its culture, according to an official statement issued Wednesday at the seminar. Read the rest of this entry »

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