Matt On China, Is Bad On China

In my travels through the internet I’ve come across a lot written on China. This is a prime example of it; it’s from a blog called Matt On China[1]:

“I’d like to pause for a moment to reflect on these two criticisms: indebted to banks; and dependent on migrant workers without equal rights. Sound familiar? If you live in the United States then it should, because essentially you live in a giant Nanjie, but without the benefits. It’s interesting that such parallels can be drawn between a traditional communist village in central China and the world’s foremost capitalist nation. In this respect, Nanjie tells us less about different political systems and economic models, and more about human nature. It seems that no matter the circumstances or conditions, the incompetence of humans will bring about the same results: corruption; inequality; and exploitation.”

This paragraph is a complete mess.

I was able to find an actual source for the claim of being greatly in debt.[2] Perhaps it would have collapsed under the weight of this “massive debt” by now? Notice how the 2011 and 2012 articles shows it’s still using a commune like system. I going to go ahead and take this claim of a supposed “massive debt” as baseless. In actuality “it’s true Nanjie has a 1.7-billion-yuan debt, but it’s also true it has assets of 900 million yuan. So it is “nowhere near” bankruptcy.”

This is all from 2008, so by the fact that it is still here and operating, then they must be doing something right and surviving.

Even if this debt existed, it is completely illogical to think human nature had anything to do with it. Exactly how does human nature correspond to being “indebted to banks”? If a business owner is going about his producing when a global recession hits, he is unable to make profits and begin to go into debt in order to try and keeping going and survive the recession. Exactly how is the businessman responsible for going into debt? The circumstances were caused by market forces well beyond his ability to control, or even maybe even be able to see coming?

If a business takes out a loan to begin production and does not sell its product making a profit, then therefore it went into debt because of human nature. By this idiotic logic, anyone who isn’t in debt therefore isn’t human.

What he’s saying is absolute nonsense. What does human nature have to do with debt? Debt is a recent historical development that originated with commodity societies, which are recent modes of production. Rights are also a recent development. Migrant workers exist because there are several nation states. Guess what? These are also modern developments. Nanjie and the United States are both economic organizations that operate under the same logic of the market. Moreover, you only have 2 common points between the US and Nanjie, while I could find dozens points of divergence, so this is a false affinity.

* * *
[1] Matt On China, The Last Maoist Village in China

[2] China Daily, The village and the controversy

Norman Bethune A Hero, Conservatives Not

The Conservative Party are such terribly petty human beings sometimes. This time its over a monument to Norman Bethune, a Canadian doctor who exemplified self-sacrifice. He exemplified the spirit of doing what is right and helping people at risk to himself. He eventually died because of what he gave to the world in order to help the most disadvantaged and ravaged people. All this, even if you don’t take into account all the inventions he came up with that have saved literally millions of lives. He was the one who invented the mobile blood clinic, and surgery supplies during the Spanish Civil War that was the basis for the development of Mobile Army Surgical Hospital.

Bethune gave free medical care to residents of Montreal during the economic depression when no one could afford it. He was an early supporter of socialized medicine and formed the Montreal Group for the Security of People’s Health. With this alone it is no wonder the Conservative party doesn’t want a statue of him, or why that worthless wretch MP Rob Anders is slandering him. They would rather use money to go ahead and kill more in Afghanistan. Adequately showing what they really think about helping people. They would rather order killings from behind a an oak desk like cowards than than allow the PUBLIC’S money to be used for health care and education, the foundations of dignified human life.

This is how the Chinese remember Bethune in their textbooks:

” Comrade Bethune’s spirit, his utter devotion to others without any thought of self, was shown in his great sense of responsibility in his work and his great warm-heartedness towards all comrades and the people … We must all learn the spirit of absolute selflessness from him. With this spirit everyone can be very useful to the people. A man’s ability may be great or small, but if he has this spirit, he is already noble-minded and pure, a man of moral integrity and above vulgar interests, a man who is of value to the people (In Memory of Bethune, Mao 1939, pp. 337–338) “

What we get is the petty low life’s of the Conservative Party unwilling to recognize the sacrifice of a great man who gave everything he had to help the poor. All for the purpose of sticking their tongs out and saying “nah nah we don’t like those evil commies.”

CBC Article:

China McDonald’s Accused of Expired Food

In the Chinese capital city of Beijing, a local McDonald’s is accused of selling food beyond its expiration date. China Central Television is reporting that a French retailer Carrefour is also selling expired food as well. The report claims that expired chicken products were served to customers. Also claimed was that chicken wings must be served 30 minutes after they have been cooked and that they were served 90 minutes after, 3 times longer than what company’s rules permit.

If that is not bad enough, the Chinese state television had also discovered employees at the Carrefour restaurant in the city of Zhengzhou altered the expiration dates by changing the time placed on food packages so that they may be used later than is recommended as safe.

CCTV reporters interviewed a spokesmen for the restaurant who apologized for the incident.

“McDonald’s China attaches great importance to this. We will immediately investigate this isolated incident, resolutely deal with it earnestly and take concrete actions to apologize to consumers.”

In the past McDonald’s has been frequently criticized for the way they do business. Accusations of errors in food preparation is nothing new to the food giant. This is one more example of the changes that has been brought to China as a result of capitalist economic reforms. These incidents are inevitable as a system based on profit drives towards cutting costs and increasing that profit at any consequence.

China & Russia Veto Action on Syria

The latest UN Security Council draft resolution for action against Syria has been vetoed by both Russia and China. The move was predicted by pretty much everyone involved. Both China and Russia made statements expressing their concerns over the draft, saying that it did not adequately reflect the situation on the ground. They both felt that what was contained in the resolution would negatively affect the situation and was likely to make matters worse through intervention. Russia and China were the only voting members to oppose the draft. And as permanent members of the UNSC, they had the option to use veto power to block the draft’s passage.

“China actively participated in the draft version of the UN resolution. But unfortunately the proposing nation, despite major disputes among various countries, forced a vote… Such practices do not help maintain the unity and authority of the UN Security Council, nor do they help to properly solve the issues. On the issue of Syria, China is not sheltering anyone, nor do we intentionally oppose anyone. We uphold justice and take a responsible attitude. Our goal is to make sure that Syrians are spared from violent conflict and war, not to complicate the issue.”

– Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin

“The Russian delegation was forced to vote against this draft resolution. We seriously regret this outcome of our joint work.”

– Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin

Both Beijing and Moscow felt that the wording of the draft was too vague and that it left an opening for military intervention which they feel would lead to more deaths than benefits. They also said that the draft favoured the side of the opposition forces over that of the Syrian government, that it was not their “place” to take sides in an internal conflict. Both China and Russia have maintained that this incident in Syria is an internal matter that needs to be solved by those in the country.

The United States did not react well to the pair of vetos. American Ambassador Susan Rice told the Security Council after the vote that she was “disgusted” with Russia and China in their decision not to go along wit the draft proposal. She warned that if action was not taken soon there would be more blood spilled in Syria. Russia responded with Vitaly Churkin saying that it was unfortunate that some colleagues have bizarre interpretations of their intent.

If history is any indication then I feel Syria should be left alone to deal with its own situation by itself. The so-called humanitarian interventions by NATO forces in the past have almost always lead to more bloodshed that it was claimed they were trying to stop. Libya is a good indication of that.

Christian Scott Bale Defends Nanjing Massacre Film

City of Life and Death is the name of a movie by Chinese director Lu Chuan which depicts the story of the Japanese massacre of the city of Nanjing. 70 years ago as Japanese Imperial troops occupied China, they massacred tens of thousands of men, women and children. The film depicts the reality of what happened to Nanjing under Japanese occupation, it shows scenes of rape, murder and cruelty. In an interview with the BBC, the director said he had wanted to make a movie that represented the truth of what went on in Nanjing. Lu Chuan said that it was his goal to show people why the Chinese sill have a tremendous amount of animosity towards the Japanese. This also comes at a time when the relations between the two countries is not very good.

During the film they show “both sides of the story”. In it is the tale of a Japanese soldier who eventually commits suicide. He said he also wants other Chinese to see that the Japanese are not monsters, but that they are people just like them. The film has generated a lot of angry denunciations from people in China. Many in China see this as an insult to those who died, attempting to drum up sympathy for the perpetrators. The subject of the Nanjing massacre is still a touchy subject. Especially in Nanjing itself.

Angry denunciations have come out about the film in the West too. Many on the right wing are claiming its “communist propaganda”. A hollow claim coming from people who think the fictional work “Red Dawn” is academy award winning material. It is a true story of a crime against humanity that was committed by the Japanese Empire.

The problems did not stop there. While the film was being made, there were reports of altercations between Japanese and Chinese actors. There are also a report of a fight between actors. During a scene in which Japanese soldiers were dancing to the beat of a drum, which had drummers brought in from Japan, got angry from noise around him and hit a Chinese actor.

As angry sentiment around the film began to rise, Christian Bale who stars in the movie publicly defend his role in it. He said that the movie was far more a movie about human beings and the nature of human beings’ responses to crisis”. He said it was a historical piece, and anyone describing it as propaganda was not looking at it closely enough.

According to the director, and many of his compatriots, the Japanese have not yet properly apologized for their wartime aggression – including the Rape of Nanjing.

US Caught Smuggling Weapons to South Korea

It appears that the United States government has been caught secretly shipping weapons to South Korea. The government of Finland has leaked information that they have detained a shipment of US manufactured weapons on their way to South Korea. According to the leak the ship was impounded on December 15, but its explosive contents were only leaked to the media on Wednesday. The ship docked in the Finish port of Mussalo in Kotka on December 13. The shipment was believed to be en route to South Korea from its departure from Germany.

When the Finnish government started investigating, it turned out that the ship, called the ‘Thor Liberty’, is privately owned. While docked in Finland it took on a cargo of wood that was said to be on its way to China and South Korea. While it was loading the cargo it attracted the attention of law enforcement. This was reported by the Finnish Interior Minister who called the situation ‘abnormal’. The minister added that the weapons were not a danger to the population around the port, but the weapons were being “transported in an unsafe manner.”

According to Russia’s RT, the Thor Liberty was built in Germany in 1994 and belongs to Dania Marine, which is registered on the Isle of Man. The crew reportedly consists of citizens of Ukraine.

On board the ship law enforcement found 69 surface-to-air Patriot missiles and 160 tons of picrite explosives, all of them listed on the manifest as being “fireworks”. The underhanded nature of labelling of them as “fireworks” shows that these weapons were intended to be delivered somewhere covertly. The fact that South Korea is the intended destination of the weapons makes it positive that it was the US sending the weapons. Interesting to note is that since the weapons were being sent in such a covert manner, they were clearly not made public, possibly even Congress was not aware they were being sent. This shipment of weapons was being done without the knowledge of the American taxpayer.

The minister said German police are co-operating with the Finish investigation team who are looking into the incident. However since the government says that the ship will be released after Christmas, we’re all aware that these weapons are not going to be confiscated or the shipment be stopped. Nor will any “investigation” by Germany turn up anything incriminating as they are a staunch ally of the US.

Many are waiting for a statement from China regarding the matter. Given that the ship was going to dock in China at some point on its way to South Korea, a cargo of US weapons was clearly going to be in China. This may raise Chinese ire considering these weapons were clearly intended to be used against its ally North Korea. No statement from the Chinese has been given yet.

Time will tell how Americans deal with their government being caught selling weapons without their knowledge.


The Wukan Village Uprising

An intense situation is developing China at this very moment. The contradictions of restored capitalism are making themselves very acute, leading to violence between the people of Wukan village and the fake Communist Party of China. When socialism died in China in 1976, property was no longer communal and could be sold to private interests. This was the progenitor to what lead to the situation we have in the Wukan village today. The introduction of private property has not only decreased the living standards of working class Chinese and peasants, but it has led to greater and greater incidents of social unrest.

With the restoration of capitalism in the mid-1970s, much of the income the Chinese government has received has come from taxes and selling off state owned production facilities and state enterprises. Later this trend continued when they discovered that selling off communal land to private interests was immensely profitable. Since the abolition of agricultural taxes in 2006, the government has had great success in collecting funds from the selling of peasant lands. The government seizes them from peasants and gives them money for it, then sells it to a private interest for much more money than it was taken. These land seizures and sales are called profit-making. The land is sold for more than what it was obtained for. Its an unequal exchange between peasant-the government-private owner. This unequal exchange is the only way in which profit can exist.

This has been so profitable for local governments that its has become a major source of annual revenue. These land seizures however, are a great source of social unrest as well. Many of these land grabs are done illegally and/or have incidents of corruption behind them. The dubious nature of these land grabs and other such incidents have caused an estimated 90,000 civil disturbances each year. It is also estimated that 180,000 such incidents, called “mass incidents”, occurred in 2010 alone. Farmers have not been receiving a fair price for their land, leading to cases of violence across the country.

The people of Wukan village (which is about 20,000 people) have suffered through these seizures as well. The local government grabbed hundreds of hectares of cooperative land and sold it to a private real estate firm. The villagers are accusing the local party officials of keeping a great deal of the money that was supposed to be given to the people of the village as compensation. They allege that about $110m US dollars has been pocketed by those officials that was intended for the local population. This loss of land has made it very difficult for farmers to survive.

The villagers say they have had no knowledge of the latest sales. They only found out about the recent ones when construction in the land began.

The reality of what is happening here is disgusting. These communal lands were once the achievement of revolution. Private property that had been used to brutalize and exploit the population was reorganized to serve the masses of people who saw a dramatic increase in their living standards. This was the model by which a new society would be formed. In a few places in China, those new places were formed. New human social relations that were not determined or controlled by the relations of production. The relations of production were determined by the social relations. Where once a land was striving for equality, the likes of which the world had never seen before, is now being dominated by ‘expensive new government building and a sumptuous holiday hotel resort that contained a row of 60 luxury villas. A glitzy new “Golden Sands” nightclub is a new attraction that brings rich visitors from out of town.’ The promise of a better world is being trampled by mindless self-indulgence, and profit motive corruption.

When this situation of endemic corruption and land theft became too much for the population to endure, protest broke out at the party offices in Lufeng. These protests began as sit-in protests that were estimated to be about 50 people holding signs. Some signs read, “give us back our farmland” and “let us continue farming”. As the protest grew larger it became more aggressive. Peaceful protests have done little in the past to change the mind of the Chinese government. Many residents started “damaging buildings and equipment in an industrial park” while also blocking the road. police were called and they severely beat several teenagers who were banging a gong to alert others to the protest. That day 3 people were arrested, the next day more than a hundred people showed up to the police station and demanded their release.

The news that several youngsters had been seriously injured after being set upon by ‘thugs’ caused hundreds of irate villagers armed with makeshift weapons to besiege a local police station where 30 to 40 officials were sheltering. Hundreds of well-equipped riot police were dispatched; they engaged in a stand-off with the peasants. Video footage shot by villagers in Wukan showed people of all ages being chased and beaten with truncheons by riot police. One Wukan villager described the police and other security staff as “like mad dogs, beating everyone they saw”. The Financial Times reported that two children, aged nine and 13, were “badly injured”, and that one may have died. Villagers said elderly and children protesting peacefully were harassed and assaulted by “hired thugs”, provoking an angry reaction from villagers. The attacks on civilians by 400 police officers were described by the Financial Times as “indiscriminate”.

On the third day of protests the government reported that a dozen police officers had been injured and six police vehicles had been damaged. Discussion of this incident on social media have been removed, and little information has been allowed to pass through censors in the Chinese media.

Villagers awaited retaliation from the government, but did not receive it. Instead the Guangdong provincial party chief Wang Yang had the police move away from the area in protest. In a public statement Wang said that he was prepared to accept less economic growth in order to obtain an increase in harmony within the province. Many do not believe Wang and instead see this as a political ploy to protect his image. For quite some time the village of Wukan has been seen as a model of peace and prosperity. An image Wang wishes to keep up as he is being considered a good candidate for the politburo when Hu Jintao retires as the head of the government. The police returned on the fourth day of the riots.

After these riots the village elected 13 representatives to deal with the government over the matter of the seized land. One of those representatives was Xue Jinbo who was arrested outside a restaurant by plain clothes police. While in police custody Xue Jinbo died. The Lufeng city government, which oversees Wukan, said in a statement he died of heart problems, though Wukan’s residents widely suspected he was murdered while in custody.

Ten family members, including Xue’s daughter and wife, were permitted to see Xue’s body, but were prevented by police from using cameras and telephones. Xue’s daughter said her father “was covered in bruises and cuts, both his nostrils were caked with blood, his thumbs were bent and twisted backwards, and a large bruise on his back suggested he had been kicked from behind.” Xue’s son-in-law Gao said that he had seen the body in the morgue and that Xue’s “knees were bruised, his nostrils were caked with blood and his thumbs appeared to be broken.” Xue was aged 42 or 43 at the time of his death. Since Xue’s clothes were clean, his family believed that he may have been stripped prior to being tortured.

The state run Xinhua News said that Xue had a history of asthma and heart disease, however Xue’s eldest daughter told a Hong Kong online journal, iSun Affairs, that her father had “absolutely no history of heart problems”.

After this incident protesters stormed the local police station and forced law enforcement personnel and party members out of the village. Later 1000 police returned attempting to take the city but failed to do so. The police responded by blocking food and other essential supplies from entering the city. Afterwards daily meetings between the protesters and provincial officials that ended with the government having “vowed to temporarily halt questionable property sales and to investigate claims that the local government illegally confiscated farmland for private development”. That same day a vigil was held for Xue where 7,000 people attended.

A stand off between protesters and police still remain.


Violence against teenagers

Xue’s body

No Massacre At Tiananmen Square: WikiLeaks

In a strange turn of events, a series of secret cables released by WikiLeaks shows communications between the US Embassy in Beijing and Washington saying there was no bloodshed at Tiananmen Square 22 years ago. This news was released in the UK paper ‘The Telegraph’ who had exclusive access to the WikiLeaks cables. The secret US cables actually partly confirm the Chinese government’s story that no massacre occurred at the June 4, 1989 Tiananmen Square protest. The new revelation goes in stark contrast to the official line propagated by Western powers that a massive killing of peaceful protesters took place.

In the cables it is detailed what US diplomats were told at the time. They were advised not to go into the streets unless they were involved in front-line reporting. This can be confirmed as several news agency’s from around the world covered the event live. A cable carries the story that a Chilean diplomat gave when he witnessed the events.

“He watched the military enter the square and did not observe any mass firing of weapons into the crowds, although sporadic gunfire was heard. He said that most of the troops which entered the square were actually armed only with anti-riot gear – truncheons and wooden clubs; they were backed up by armed soldiers.”

The diplomat was working with a Red Cross station inside Tiananmen Square, the one that was claimed to have been attacked with people dying by the hands of the Chinese Military. In fact he said that a line of troops had surrounded them and they panicked fleeing. However, he said that there was “no mass firing into the crowd of students at the monument”.

One of the leaders of the protest, Liu Xiaobo (the man who won the Nobel Peace Prize last year), had actually order the students to leave Tiananmen Square. The Chilean diplomat said, “once agreement was reached for the students to withdraw, linking hands to form a column, the students left the square through the south east corner.” This sharply contradicts the testimony of several journalists who were in Beijing claiming that government troops had attacked the unarmed civilians.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

‘In 2009, James Miles, who was the BBC correspondent in Beijing at the time, admitted that he had “conveyed the wrong impression” and that “there was no massacre on Tiananmen Square. Protesters who were still in the square when the army reached it were allowed to leave after negotiations with martial law troops [ …] There was no Tiananmen Square massacre, but there was a Beijing massacre’.

I am loath to give any credit to Deng Xiaoping, he is the revisionist leader who brought capitalism back to China. He was the one who caused those legitimate protests to take place. The people were protesting against the dismantling of the People’s Communes, the dissolving of the “Barefoot Doctors” which effectively ended healthcare for the rural population. The people were protesting to bring back the “Iron Rice Bowl” which had been established under Mao’s Revolutionary China. Footage is available of demonstrators singing the International, the communist anthem in defiance of the Deng Xiaoping regime.

I for one believed the story of the Tiananmen Square, that Deng Xiaoping did kill those who protested against him. I however and proven wrong, along with the rest of the world.


Google Comes Back To China

Despite all the protests made by Google, they have decided to resume business with the Chinese government. As you may recall China discontinued the use of the popular search engine service after Google complained about being censored. It was a nonsense complaint given that Google signed on to the censorship as a part of their agreement to do business in China. Once the situation began to heat up, Google accused the Chinese government of hacking their service. A claim that has yet to be backed up by any evidence. Normally I would have believed such a claim, China has taken such actions. However given the lack of evidence and the timing of the claim, I’m incline to disbelieve it.

The timing of the incident could not have been anymore continent. This accusation of agreed to censorship and supposed hacking came as the US was accusing China of all sorts of wrong doing as the economic situation between them heated up. The move was seen by many as being politically motivated at the behest of Hillary Clinton who was the main political force on it at the time.

All of which now has proven to be essentially useless considering Google has resumed its service where the censorship still remains.

However I think this is an important to point out exactly what has happened in this situation and how China has actually won this little battle. It was of course expected that China would not back down to criticisms of its censorship, that was a complete given. After Google let loose the crocodile tears for censorship (after having previously agreed to them), they made all their righteous indignation speeches but eventually returned to do business. Now however they are reported to be making less money than they did under the previous agreement. The exact amount is not known as of this broadcast, but it is rumoured to be much less.

This has a two fold benefit to China. They save face (which is very important in China) making them look strong and they managed to hang on to the service using them in the end. This makes it appear as though Google came crawling back to China asking for forgiveness. Which is not far from the truth, after all Google does want their money. (This may be related to Google’s 30% drop in stock price this year). Second it saves China from having to create an alternative to the search engine. Possibly saving them all kinds of research and development money and resources.

In the end, really China won out in this situation. Essentially all for no benefit to Google.