Wandering China

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

Martin Jacques – A Point Of View: How China sees a multicultural world [BBC]

Professor Jacques repeats his call for Western strategist and politicians for a change in prism in understanding the Chinese mind with another timely US/China grand narrative comparison on the BBC. Ultimately  I think he asks, where and how do we want to see the Chinese pendulum swing under pressure?

Just as with the US, China will naturally tend to see the world in its own image. An unusual feature of China, in this respect, is that its history is so atypical: a huge population who overwhelmingly consider themselves to share the same identity. This helps to explain why the Chinese have tended to think of Africa as one, just like China, rather than a complex mosaic of different ethnicities and cultures. Martin Jacques, 2012

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A Point Of View: How China sees a multicultural world
by Martin Jacques
Source – BBC, published October 26, 2012

Photo source – Getty Images, n.d.

The vast majority of the Chinese population regard themselves as belonging to the same race, a stark contrast to the multiracial composition of other populous countries. What effect does this have on how China views the world, ask Martin Jacques.

I was on a taxi journey in Shanghai with a very intelligent young Chinese student, who was helping me with interviews and interpreting. She was shortly to study for her doctorate at a top American university. She casually mentioned that some Chinese students who went to the US ended up marrying Americans.

I told her that I had recently seen such a mixed couple in Hong Kong, a Chinese woman with a black American. This was clearly not what she had in mind. Her reaction was a look of revulsion. I was shocked. Why did she react that way to someone black, but not someone white? This was over a decade ago, but I doubt much has changed. What does her response tell us – if anything – about Chinese attitudes towards ethnicity? Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Africa, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Environment, Ethnicity, Go West Strategy, Government & Policy, Han, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, People, Politics, Population, Public Diplomacy, Social, Soft Power, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.S., , , , , , , , , , ,

Dalai Lama questions wisdom of self-immolations [BBC]

Immolations in protest against Chinese rule to date: 11.

Perhaps the death of spiritual leaders resonate stronger within the populace. China has condemned the ‘immoral and inhuman’ self-immolation campaign and the response by the Dalai Lama, reportedly to be against the effectiveness of such a sacrifice: “Courage alone is no substitute. You must utilise your wisdom.”

For the alleged video – Horrifying video of Tibetan nun in flames on street in latest self-immolation protest against China (Daily Mail, 22 November 2011). For more by the AP wires: Video released by Tibetan rights group allegedly shows Buddhist nun burning herself in protest (Washington Post 22 November 2011)

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Dalai Lama questions wisdom of self-immolations
Source – BBC, published November 18, 2011

The Dalai Lama speaks exclusively to the BBC about his worries for Tibetan monks and nuns

The Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, says he is very worried about the growing number of monks and nuns setting themselves on fire to protest against Chinese rule in Tibet.

He told the BBC he was not encouraging such actions – saying there was no doubt they required courage, but questioning how effective they were.

There have been 11 cases of self-immolation so far this year. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: 52 Unacceptable Practices, Beijing Consensus, Censorship, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Greater China, Han, Influence, International Relations, Media, Migrant Workers, Migration (Internal), Nationalism, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Tibet

China’s power should not make it immune to criticism over Tibet [The Age]

TIBET: Of late, Tibet has almost all but dropped out of political debate surrounding Sino-Australian ties. Is the cost of economic interdependence with China Australia’s right to speak on human rights issues – ‘The habit of rolling over and allowing Beijing to dictate the terms and shrug off constructive criticism of its handling of Tibet will hold inevitable consequences for Australia down the line.’? That said, how often do Australian politicians criticise their American strategic partners? Here’s a look at a small sample of netizen responses to this opinion piece on the Age.

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The true cost of Chinese imperialism is borne by those hiddden far away from the disinterested gaze of the outside world.
SteveH. – September 30, 2011, 7:04AM

Why do we keep seeing so much rubbish written about China and Tibet. I suggest more Australians should travel to Tibet and Nepal and see the great contrasts in these closely related regions. I have traveled in Tibet and neighboring areas many times and I see there is no evidence that the people are oppressed. They can freely practice their religion and they are enjoying an unprecedented economic boom. The regions they live in are very harsh and cold and that led to a terrible feudal system which the present Chinese Govt has eliminated. Do we long to see these people go back to their oppressive feudal system? Is that what we want to see as tourists??
Dr B S Goh | Australian in Asia – September 30, 2011, 8:16AM

Absolutely…the western world remains largely silent whilst the ethnic cleansing of Tibet continues. It’s a disgrace.
Help Tibet | Sydney – September 30, 2011, 9:18AM

There is large Chinese community in Australia, most of them are still sympathy to Communist Chinese. There is no clear benefit for Australia to concern such issues like Tibet or Taiwan. But Thanks Dr Simon, you are alone on this issue, but a like a candle light in a dark room, you will be shining like a ray of light penetrate through darkness of ignorant, greedy, and injustice. Keep it up, your soul will be enlightened and your heart will be joyed due to your moral to stand up for the weak such as Tibetan. Good work.
Elite | Lidcombe – September 30, 2011, 9:37AM

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China’s power should not make it immune to criticism over Tibet
Simon Bradshaw
Source – The Age, published September 29, 2011

You’ve likely not read about it, but tragic news emerged this week from remote Sichuan province that two teenage monks of a besieged Tibetan monastery had set themselves alight in a desperate last defence of their culture and heritage. Also this week, and given far more prominence in Australian media, Prime Minister Julia Gillard signalled a greater emphasis on relations with China while commissioning a White Paper on Australia in the Asian Century.

While clearly there was no direct link between these two incidents, their juxtaposition highlights an uncomfortable truth for the Chinese and Australian governments alike.

Such stories from Tibet have become frighteningly common and it’s well understood among a majority of Australian politicians that China’s “economic miracle” and unrelenting development drive has exacted a grave toll on the land and people of Tibet. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Australia, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Environment, Foreign aid, Greater China, Han, Human Rights, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Nationalism, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Territorial Disputes, The Age, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Tibet

Dalai Lama optimistic on spread of democracy [The Age]

Melbourne: the Dalai Lama arrives in Australia, arriving via Melbourne and saying yesterday- ”By force, the human mind never can change.”

Whether he will be meeting Julia Gillard is a question featuring heavily on the radar. Interestingly, former New South Wales Labor premier Bob Carr weighs in, ”Tibet has been part of China since the Manchu dynasty. There is no more reason China would accept a loosening of its ties with Tibet than we would accept West Australian autonomous status within the Australian federation…”

Official website here.

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Dalai Lama optimistic on spread of democracy
Farah Farouque
Source – The Age, published June 11, 2011

CHINA’S authoritarian system could not remain forever impervious to democracy, the Dalai Lama has predicted.

While governments could control people by physical force, controlling the mind and desire for freedom was a different idea, the Nobel peace prize winner said yesterday. ”By force, the human mind never can change.”

Inevitably as China became more open, repressive regimes in Burma and North Korea would follow suit. ”Plenty of reason to be optimistic,” the Dalai Lama told the Melbourne Press Club. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Han, Influence, International Relations, Media, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Strategy, The Age, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Tibet

2009 Guardian Opinion: Tibet is off the agenda

To draw reference to the coming Tibet talks with China, here’s a opinion piece from the Guardian last year in 2009.

The Tibet issue certainly stirs up many things, for one the West likes to take sides with Tibet to find legitimate human rights reasons to pressure China, whilst it has a counter effect – it really bothers Chinese pride (both internal, and more strongly so, Chinese overseas and the Overseas-born Chinese, and it rouses nationalism in Chinese all around the world, loathe to bow to Western standards and demands after a century of bowing down to them.

The end product? Massive hysteria by the people on both sides over what is a matter between two neighbours.

I have seen it, my friends from the mainland, many travelled to Canberra for the Olympic Torch relay in full force, red flags waving, et al, a blast from the past – mainly galvanized by the Tibet issue. Their consensus? Tibet has belonged to the Chinese for centuries. But what I feel is this – the CCP inherited land won by China’s last dynasty, the Qing who actively expanded China’s borders, and now has a simple pride issue (beyond the land mass, extensive border buffer to China proper, and vast resources).

How dare you tell us what to do? Is the key underlying message.

I will be eager to hear the outcome of the ninth round of talks.

Quotable Quotes – “It was a very clear signal to Beijing, that Britain won’t seriously push the Tibet issue, and one that delighted China…

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Tibet is off the agenda
In this crisis, China, the US and UK will rise or fall together. But this new camaraderie leaves little room for debate on Tibet
Ed Douglas
Source – The Guardian, 06 March 2009

Noel Gallagher isn’t the sort to wring his hands about the future of the planet. This is, after all, the man who told Bono to ‘Play One, [and] shut the fuck up about Africa.” So when China announced this week it was banning Oasis from playing two gigs there because Gallagher supported a Tibet benefit in 1997, it was tough to decide what was more surprising. China’s petulance? Or Gallagher standing up for a cause?

China’s hypersensitivity is certainly confusing. One moment, its leaders are saying Tibet is an increasingly harmonious and prosperous corner of the Motherland and any dissent is caused entirely by foreign-based “splittists” like the Dalai Lama.

Next they turn purple and start foaming because Bjork, bless her pixie socks, shouted out the “T” word at her own Beijing gig. Forget Oasis, if Bjork can do that to the government of the most populous nation on Earth, then you get the feeling it’s not just a small clique surrounding one ageing monk who are unhappy about the situation in Tibet.

Fury at western support of Tibetan culture or autonomy isn’t confined to China’s leaders. No issue unites the Chinese people more quickly than Tibet’s sovereignty, a factor China’s leaders exploit again and again. But however much critics of China’s conduct in Tibet are dismissed as ignorant or naive, the awkward fact remains that after almost 60 years of occupation, Tibetans inside Tibet still cling to their identity, their culture and, most of all, their religion.

A week ago, just before the Oasis gig was canned, a Tibetan monk called Tapey is reported to have doused himself in oil and set himself alight near his monastery in Sichuan province. Authorities had told monks at Kirti monastery they wouldn’t be allowed to perform a prayer ceremony called Monlam, held soon after the Tibetan New Year.

The only way this young monk had to express his anger and frustration was self-immolation. As he burned, he held up a picture of the Dalai Lama and chanted. Reports from Kirti say police then shot the monk. China’s state media has said the monk was taken to hospital suffering from burns.

This is far from an isolated case. Across Tibet, the riots that prefigured last summer’s Olympics have turned into barely contained resentment at China’s continuing repression. This month sees the 50th anniversary of the Lhasa Uprising and the Dalai Lama’s flight into exile. In the face of an unremitting security operation, protests continue. The International Campaign for Tibet says 1,200 Tibetans remain unaccounted for, and will publish a list of more than 600 names on Monday.

Tibet’s pop stars, along with writers and artists, are detained if their work so much as hints at a separate Tibetan identity. But despite this, bloggers continue to post accounts from inside Tibet, including Woeser, a Beijing-based Tibetan who must be just about the bravest woman in cyberspace. In the absence of independent reporting, it’s all we’ve got that isn’t state sanctioned.

If there’s a new sense among Tibetans that following the global attention paid to China during the Olympics they are now on their own, there’s plenty of evidence for that. Last November, the foreign secretary, David Miliband, quietly changed the UK’s long standing policy on the legal position of China’s relationship with Tibet.

What the UK government got in return is anybody’s guess, but with a deepening world recession, the appetite to press China on Tibet has obviously withered.

During her trip to China in February, the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, warned that issues like Tibet couldn’t interfere with solving the economic crisis. “We are truly going to rise or fall together. We are in the same boat and, thankfully, we are rowing in the same direction.” It seems the issue of Tibet has already been tossed overboard to keep the ship afloat.

Filed under: Beijing OIympics, Charm Offensive, Chinese overseas, Guardian, Han, Human Rights, International Relations, Overseas Chinese, The Chinese Identity

Research Teams Map Genetic, Genomic Patterns in Han Chinese Population

Very intriguing article. Definitely worth a bit of a read.

Also. This report has more or less confirmed one of the key suspicions why born and bred Chinese Singaporeans have trouble being one with the mainland Chinese workforce currently flooding the country. We already know historically that today’s Chinese Singaporeans have their roots from the mainland’s southern provinces – Fujian, Guangdong, Hainan to name a few. Now we know genetically this much is true too. The bulk of the foreign Chinese workforce in Singapore come from the north of China. Traditionally, northern and southern Chinese (despite the poorly defined line… where does north or south start?) have been at loggerheads (a wiki entry here has some decent info) so naturally, the two will not find it easy to meet eye to eye!

Quotable Quotes – “Their results suggest most — but not all — Han Chinese individuals in Singapore are most closely related to individuals in southern China…

Research Teams Map Genetic, Genomic Patterns in Han Chinese Population
Source – GenomeWeb News, 25 November 2009

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – A pair of papers in the American Journal of Human Genetics today are highlighting the genetic and genomic variation present within the Han Chinese population.

In the first of these papers, a Genome Institute of Singapore-led team developed a genetic map of the Han Chinese population by genotyping thousands of individuals from across China. The genetic variation they detected is providing insights into Han Chinese population structure and evolutionary history — for instance, revealing North-South population structure in China. And down the road, researchers say, the results should pave the way for genome-wide association and other studies in the population.

“By investigating the genome-wide DNA variation, we can determine whether an anonymous person is a Chinese, what the ancestral origin of this person in China may be, and sometimes which dialect group of the Han Chinese this person may belong to,” senior author Liu Jianjun, leader of the GIS Human Genetics Group, said in a statement. “More importantly, our study provides information for a better design of genetic studies in the search for genes that confer susceptibility to various diseases.”

More than 90 percent of individuals in China belong to the Han Chinese population. Nevertheless, most large international genetic studies have sampled Han Chinese individuals from just a few sites, revealing a fraction of the genetic diversity thought to exist in the population.

To remedy this, Jianjun and his team obtained samples from 6,580 Han Chinese individuals in ten Chinese provinces, along with 1,050 samples from the cities of Beijing and Shanghai and another 570 samples from Han Chinese individuals living in Singapore. They then genotyped the samples using the Illumina Human 610-Quad BeadChip arrays.

They found that individuals from the same provinces tended to roughly cluster together. And within a region in China’s Guangdong province, the researchers found genetic differentiation that correlated with language dialect groups.

The researchers were also able to distinguish a gradient of genetic patterns that varied from north to south, though they didn’t see the same differentiation when looking from east to west. In contrast to the pattern in the provinces, though, the cities (Beijing, Shanghai, and Singapore) were home to individuals with a range of north-south genetic patterns.

Their results suggest most — but not all — Han Chinese individuals in Singapore are most closely related to individuals in southern China. Meanwhile, comparisons with HapMap samples were consistent with the notion that individuals from Japan are more closely related to northern than southern Han Chinese individuals.

In the future, the team hopes the genetic map will inform the way future GWAS are designed and interpreted in China. Indeed, the team’s simulations illustrate how inaccurate associations can result from GWAS that are done without a clear understanding of population structure.

“Genome association studies have provided significant insights into the genes involved in common disorders such as diabetes, high cholesterol, allergies, and neurological disorders, but most of this work has been done on Caucasian populations,” GIS Executive Director Edison Liu, who was not directly involved in the current research, said in a statement. “This work refined those tools so that the results will not be obscured by subtle differences in the genetic diversity of Asian populations.”

In a second AJHG paper, a Chinese research team genotyped more than 1,700 Han Chinese individuals from dozens of sites in China as part of another study aimed at understanding the genetic and genomic patterns within the Han Chinese population.

For that paper, researchers genotyped 1,721 Han Chinese samples at about 160,000 SNPs using Affymetrix or Illumina microarrays. They collected more than 1,500 of the samples, while 44 were collected through the Human Genome Diversity Panel project and 171 were collected in Beijing and Denver as part of the HapMap project.

That team detected north-south stratification similar to that reported by the Singapore-led team, though they designated three main Han Chinese clusters from northern, southern, and central parts of China. Again, individuals from the cities — in this case Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou — did not represent populations that were as homogenous as those in other locations.

The researchers also found some SNPs that were strongly differentiated in different parts of the country. For instance, they reported, the frequency of SNPs in the genes FADS2 and HCP5 varied from north to south.

And based on several simulated GWAS, each involving 300 cases and 300 controls, the team suggested that even the relatively subtle genetic variation within China could lead to excess false-positive associations.

“[A]lthough differences in allele frequencies among Han Chinese clusters are small, our study has demonstrated the importance of accounting for population stratification in order to reduce false-positive associations,” the researchers wrote.

Filed under: Chinese overseas, Culture, Ethnicity, GenomeWeb News, Han, Science, Singapore

The Division by the Han

Just the article I needed!

China misfires with divisive ‘people’s war’
By Wu Zhong, China Editor
Source http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/JH27Ad01.html (Date of Access 2 September 2008)

“HONG KONG – Chinese leaders can now let out a long and satisfied sigh of relief: the Beijing Summer Olympic Games have ended safely and without the interruption of any unsightly incident.
But the security of the Games was not achieved without cost. Certain heavy-handed tactics served to polarize China’s ethnic groups and the government must now devote greater efforts to establishing solidarity between them. This is particularly important considering the growing distrust of the majority Han ethnic bloc towards the minority Tibetan and the Uyghur people.

China’s Han majority accounts for over 90% of the country’s 1.3 billion population. Many Han believe the successful Olympics
came at a great national price. They were humiliated and angry when the Olympic flame was dogged by Tibetan independence activists in overseas torch relays. They were shocked and outraged on hearing that the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), an exiled group seeking independence for Xinjiang, had threatened to launch terror attacks against Olympic venues.

A series of terrorist attacks did rock Kashi and Kuqa in Xinjiang before and after the opening of the Games, leaving dozens dead, including policemen. According to Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang, the ETIM is suspected in the attacks.

Still, subsequent terror strikes in Xinjiang were successfully contained and Beijing and China’s other venue cities were not attacked. This was due in part to tightened security in Xinjiang, but also to the so-called “people’s war” launched by authorities against attempted sabotage of the Olympics.

In the long term, however, the “people’s war” may have increased the Han majority’s suspicion of Tibetan and Uyghur minorities.

Following the first terror attack on armed police in Kashi on August 4, the Beijing Municipal State Security Bureau, the city’s secret police, posted public notices asking citizens to alert them to suspicious persons or anything that “attempts to create ethnic conflicts, instigate national secession and threaten national security”, media in Beijing reported. It was unusual for the State Security Bureau to make such a high-profile move. Reading the Chinese text, it was easily understood that Uyghur and Tibetan “separatists” were targeted.

Society in Beijing is well organized. In collaboration with a local police, several community committees (jumin weiyuanhui) are set up to help maintain social order. Members of such committees are normally housewives, retired cadre or workers familiar with the community. They keep an eye on strangers and inform the police of any abnormal happenings. Despite the rapid expansion of the city and increased social mobility, the system remains intact.

And with the recent surge of nationalist and patriotic sentiment, Beijing residents – who are mostly Han – were more than enthusiastic to help contain any attempt to sabotage the Olympics. Tibetans and Uyghurs generally have different physical characteristics from Hans and could be easily identified when arriving in a typical Beijing neighborhood. For ambitious Tibetan and Uyghur activists, the secret police notice must have been, at the very least, a deterrent…”

Full article here…

Filed under: Culture, Han

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