Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Inside Peking University - Public Lecture on 'Shengren'

WESTERN 'China Studies', and by this I mean the army of scholars dedicated to the Westernization of Chinese history and thought, steals its victim’s ideas, buries its socio-cultural originality under sophisticated layers of biblical and philosophical European translations and interpretations. China is not alone. Foreign ideas and thoughts everywhere are quickly translated or re-named in order to claim ‘Deutungshoheit’ – a German words meaning "having the sovereignty over the definition of thought."

In contemporary ‘China studies’ 99% of its scholars are what I call 'language imperialists'. It is plainly their best career option, and there is no blaming them for that. To be true, most of the sinologists describe China in Western terms, using European categories and taxonomies. Good examples are “democracy,” “human rights,” “freedom,” religion,” “philosophy,” and infinite more.
As a result of language imperialism the China that you were told is essential Chinese-free. This is good for the West, so, naturally, Western scholars are rewarded with Western fellowships, academic chairs, publishing contracts, prizes, awards, and numerous other academic distinctions and accolades. In other words: they are celebrated in their cultural circle like conquerors.
"The East-Asian shengren have been misjudged by Western scholars for over 350 years and conveniently translated as “philosophers” or “saints”, which is wrong. The shengren are above philosophy and beyond religion. It is time to revive an old Asian tradition." (Shengren, 2011)
Foreign history is thus slowly digested into the ‘Story of the Victorious’. Foreign taxonomies are discontinued, foreign words are shunned, and foreign categories are erased and purposely omitted. It doesn't have to be this way forever. Seeing cultural originality as a form of copyright, and looking at vocabularies as a (natural) resource of this culture, China could easily promote its own names, titles, and brands.

Image credits: The Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies, Peking University - The Future of Global Language and The Rise of Chinese Terminologies, Oct 2013

Scholarship Is A Battlefield...

..Scholars just like mercenaries or soldiers are constantly at war with competing groups, corporations, and guilds, opposition forces, cultural terrorists, and, yes, even foreign countries. There are personal agendas, of course, but mostly group interests, ideologies, and allegiances. The idea of the unbiased neutral scholar is a fiction. In fact, the very opposite is the case; the most biased, partial, and corrupt scholars often make it to their nation’s top (think of the works [all avidly studied in academia] of Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao Zedong, Ayatollah Khomeini, Karl Marx, Martin Heidegger, Max Weber, and so on), because such thinkers produce precisely those ideologies and manifestos which every nation needs to justify nationalism, fascism, expansionism, imperialism, and colonialism –in that order. 
READ AT BIG THINK Scholars and Soldiers

Monday, February 24, 2014

China, eyeing Japan, seeks WW2 focus for Xi during Germany visit...

COMMENTED: That was not supposed to happen in world history. No one but the mighty USA was supposed to PATRONIZE Germany. But now China comes along and pads Germany on her shoulders for good behavior. Japan and Germany are traditionally very respectful to each other. But I guess the Germans will snub the Japanese this time. China is just too powerful and beneficial right now. Berlin may have to knuckle under Beijing's propaganda campaign this time. It's a historical moment. --TP

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Chinese migrants are taking corruption abroad

ONCE you lived in China for a bit longer, you start seeing truth, honesty, and trust in a very uncomfortable light. In order to get by and rising in the ranks, many Chinese lie, cheat, embezzle, and bribe whenever they can, and I don't mean that as an offence because it's the only way, I believe, to survive in China. Naturally, many continue their crooked ways when applying for going abroad.

READ MORE Asylum Fraud in Chinatown: Industry of Lies -by Kirk Semple, Joseph Goldstein, and Jeffrey E. Singer

There once were lectures on corruption at Peking University, with several case studies. To our surprise, Chinese scholars mostly thought nothing wrong with rent seeking, forgery and bribery. Students were oblivious to fraud, with over half of them in one class I witnessed at Tsinghua University admitting that they employ 'agencies' that ghostwrite their applications and personal statements for studying abroad. Zero feelings of guilt. Everyone is doing it, they say. It is the herd instinct, or, shall we say, the will to succeed in such an ultra-competitive culture at all costs.

READ MORE Chinese Top Universities Plagued With Corruption  -by Thorsten Pattberg

As may forms of corruption like the abuse of officialdom and the wining-dining-doing-favors culture are institutionalized, many young Chinese scholars think this is simply how the world works. Moreover, it confirms their daily experiences and they way they were brought up. At that was Peking University, mind you! In fact, many Chinese want to quit China for the West because they are tired of all the stress, cheating, callousness, exploitation and abuse in the Chinese society or, worse, they are afraid of getting caught in Xi Jinping's recent anti-corruption campaign.

READ MORE Author: In China, 'everyone is guilty of corruption' -by Zhang Lijia

We are going to witness hundreds of thousands of new corruption scandals in the coming years. [Here is today's latest]. It won't look pretty, but it needs to be done. This is a very rotten society, and the Chinese people deserve better!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Roderick MacFarquhar sees in Xi Jinping's sex trade clampdown an 'earthquake'

Roderick MacFarquhar
at the Stanford Center of Peking University,
October 2013
INTERESTING quotes from Roderick MacFarquhar (Harvard University) in this latest media bomb:
China's Crackdown On Sex Trade: An Anti-Corruption Campaign In Disguise? by Heng Shao
Roderick MacFarquhar, a professor at Harvard University, is quoted in the above article as saying that Confucianism is about virtuous women and "men un-corrupt!" It is quite a stretch of imagination that Xi Jinping's thought is guided by Confucius, and a very interesting statement in itself that, if it's true, may change 300 years of China Studies. That's because Confucianism, a 2500 years old tradition, is ANYTHING BUT un-corrupt, at least from a modern perspective. It's about hierarchies, patriarchy, nepotism, abuse of officialdom, and moral dictatorship, and not a few people (Lu Xun, say, and most European philosophers and world historians, and Japan who willfully abandoned Confucianism, for a starter) in fact have argued that Confucianism had been the main reason for China's cultural backwardness, no offense intended.

The Confucian canon, often referred to as a code of conduct rather than a proper religion, is essentially an instruction manual for cult leaders and dictators on how to morally blackmail the people into obedience. Hence the absence of universal concepts of freedom, individualism, and human rights (although there's a lot in it about human responsibilities, like filial piety, obedience, dependence) in China. The vibrant sex trade might as well be an afterbirth or direct expression of the out-dated but  not defeated Confucian tradition, and Xi Jinping's Anti-Corruption Campaign might as well be another attempt of modernism to drive out out-dated customs that blemished China's image in the world. How so? Well, we know quite well that it was the Communist Party who battled the Confucian traditions of polygamy, concubinage, arranged marriages, and mistress culture (albeit not always successfully). In fact, it takes forever to establish the rule of law in China precisely because Confucianism thought that coercing people with a sense of obligation, shame and "face" works just fine, with the unenviable consequences that the people of China, in Hegel's words, "cherish the meanest opinion of themselves, and believe that they are born only to drag the car of Imperial Power."

Professor MacFarquhar, a political analyst, must know all this well but he and/or the article may have intentionally linked corruption in China to Communism, rather than Confucianism. I don't know which one is the greater evil. But I have this notion that actions such as the crackdown on rampant prostitution and corruption are based on reason and common sense of modern statesmanship and should not be attributed to the recommendations of Jesus Christ, the Buddha, Confucius, or any other quack who lived in the 1st millennium BC. This is the 21st Century!

Professor MacFarquhar seems to suggest that the troubled Communist Party of China under Xi Jinping, instead of dashing into an unknown future (of liberal democracy and Westernization, perhaps?), may want to revive Confucianism in order to justify its authoritarian leadership. As said, Confucianism works pretty good at that: The Confucian ideal of a government run by supreme human beings -the junzi- with superior moral values, not dissimilar to Plato's Philosopher Kings, is possibly the greatest corruption of all.

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Friday, February 21, 2014

What if 99% of all books written on China are wrong...

...because they relied on erroneous and misleading translations? Because they are de facto Chinese-free. It is strange that no one seemed to have noticed this before...
A book on China entirely written in English is literally Chinese-free and cannot be taken serious, I think. Yes, ALL Western media reports on China are
READ MORE Language and Empire - Why We Shun Asian Words

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Pondering about self-destructive behavior

BEIJING - The list of people with a death-wish is long - James Dean, Elvis Presley, Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, Leslie Cheung, Marilyn Monroe, Yukio Mishima, or the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. Balzac, too, cared little about his health. He brutally beat his fat, ugly body with 45 cups of coffee a night to stay awake and write as much as he could. By then, he wasn't able to function properly in society either. Vincent van Gogh was too tired of living, and so was Friedrich Nietzsche, the great nihilist, whose madness became legendary...

Read at Big Think People with a death-wish

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Sunrise screens on Tiananmen Square, Shirtless Putin in Sochi's Hotel Rooms

BEIJING - Western journalists (and bloggers) understandably often take deep satisfaction from exposing the corruption, megalomania, and banalities of authoritarian regimes -preferably great powers like China and Russia. But beware of the chupacabras and forgeries. Here are two recent stories that ain't so true... Read at Big Think Is Western Media Biased Against China and Russia?

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

With friends like that we don't need enemies: US targeted German chancellor's mobile phone

BERLIN - Former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder in an interview with BILD, Germany's leading tabloid newspaper, accused the USA of impudence towards its allies and friends. He went as far as using the word "disrespect" towards the "sovereignty of his country." Mr. Schröder said he expected a political backlash when he declined to go to war against Iraq during his time as German Chancellor, but he never thought that America would go so far as to spy the phones of European leaders. Background of this story is the NSA's global espionage activity that wiretapped Mr. Schröder's phone and the mobile phone of his predecessor Chancellor Angela Merkel. Mr. Schröder showed especially discontent over the US's reluctance, if not outright dismissal, of Europe's proposal for a future 'anti-spy-agreement.' The US ignored such a proposal and continues to eavesdrop on all German communication regardless of German laws and the constitution.
Read at Spiegel Online English Version: Iraq War Critic: NSA Targeted Gerhard Schröder's Mobile Phone
Image credit: GlynLowe/Flickr.com

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

China Digital Times: Phrasebook of terms essential to understanding infidelity in China

China Digital Times takes on corrupt officials and their playthings in 'China's Mistress Industrial Complex'. Always glad my Asia Times feature article is being mentioned... Thanks again to Chris from Atimes and to Josh from Digital Times! The appreciations are always mutual! All the Best!

Read at Big Think: Why marrying a Chinese woman is a good idea

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Can Asians think? Yes, and no

BEIJING - A book published in 2001 entitled 'Can Asians think?' recently surfaced on my desk again after having met its famous author, Kishore Mahbubani, in Beijing in October 2013. Mr. Mahbubani is a Dean, Professor, former diplomat, and author of other East-West books like his latest 'Asia, the West, and the Logic of One World' or, his best known one, 'The New Asian Hemisphere'. The 'Can Asians think?' question is both rhetorical and self-deprecating, if not self-loathing. Asia was believed to be on top of things until small European powers set out to colonize the world. That Asians can think is unquestionable the case since Rene Descartes, the French philosopher, reminded us that he who thinks necessarily exists - Cogito, ergo sum -; yet what Mr. Mahbubani has in mind, I think, is the quality of that Asian thinking.

Leaving the great Western philosophers, inventors, and Nobel Laureates aside, the Western hemisphere for the last 300 years of Western imperialism, colonialism, and orientalism, has been credited with leading humanity not only into bloody wars but also into the Ages of Enlightenment, Sciences and Technologies, Modernity, Globalization, and, finally, the total Westernization of economics, politics, scholarship, education, entertainment, and the arts. Even uniquely Asian originals can only achieve global recognition and credentials - like Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism - if those traditions are studied and understood by the West and leading Western scholars, and it is still the case, as a general rule, that Asians who want to study their own cultures, must do so in the United States or Europe because it's there where they have all the theories.

Mr. Mahbubani argues in this book and his three others that the East, having absorbed and studied the Western theories, is now coming back onto the stage of world history with some sort of peaceful vengeance. What is more, the East was always thinking, Mr. Mahbubani argues, but quite differently from the West and therefore never quite being understood by Western analysts. This line of argument falls well into the well-known East-West discourse which argues that there is some kind of benign, spiritual competition going on between East and West, as ancient as the 'Greeks versus the Persians', that has seen the 'West versus the rest' throughout the centuries competing not only for the better arts and the better theories, but also for world domination. Mr. Mahbubani believes that certain Asian values like hard-working, filial piety, love for learning, patriarchy, and Confucian family values were ill-advisable in the past, but might be just the right formula to success in the 21st century. [Read more on Asian Values here.]

Despite Asia's rise little has been reported on what Asian intellectuals truly think when they are not just thinking about the West. Mr. Mahbubani's education, career, and intellectual output (he writes in beautiful English) are but the products of his westernization.

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