game
photo
retro
rant
Not logged in. · Lost password · Register

All content © NFGworld, unless otherwise noted, except for stuff we stole. Contact the editor-in-chief : baldbutsuave@thissitesdomain, especially if you are an attractive young female willing to do nude photography modelling. All rights reversed. 602

Forum: Our World The World RSS
(Now the Official China thread)
submit to reddit
Author name #121
Member since Oct 2007 · 316 posts
Group memberships: Citizens, Members
Show profile · Link to this post
In reply to post ID 4107
It means something that Judo and Tae Kwon Do are official events at the Olympic games, but there's no corresponding kung fu competition. Anecdotally, here in the States kung fu schools are outnumbered by their Korean and Japanese counterparts nearly fifty-to-one. And that's to say nothing about Israeli Krav Maga, Brazilian Capoeira or the murkier MMA programs.

I had forgotten about the Bruce Lee thing, and you're right that his peers strongly objected to his teaching in the west. I think that ironically, that Lee was effectively shut down as a cultural ambassador meant that his work only opened the door for all the other martial arts, which grew to meet a demand that kung fu did not at the time. How much more soft power would China have been able to wield forty years ago if their borders had been open to the students who went instead to Japan and Korea?
Author name #122
Member since Oct 2007 · 316 posts
Group memberships: Citizens, Members
Show profile · Link to this post
We're screwed. Somebody in the politburo woke up and decided that a market economy shouldn't be centrally directed. The current prime minister announced a limited (but otherwise groundbreaking) plan to get the Chinese government (and by extension, the communist party) out of the business of determining economic planning.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/25/business/global/beijing-…

   In a bold speech to party cadres, the country's new prime minister, Li
   Keqiang, said this month that the central government would reduce the 
   state's role in economic matters in the hope of unleashing the creative
   energies of the nation. On Friday, the Chinese government issued a set
   of policy proposals that appeared to be intended to show that Mr. Li
   and other leaders were serious about giving market competition and
   private businesses a bigger role in investment and setting prices.

There will be some push-back from entrenched old-world government types who will be grumpy that they can't get an obligatory bribe from a life-long friend any more. And the social change that comes from grassroots business development will be undeniably liberal and populist. If this isn't just theatre, if this is for real and for truly, and if it's not just about being able to sell cars in the west with Chinese branding, then we're looking at some really interesting years ahead.
Author name (Administrator) #123
Avatar
Member since May 2011 · 2485 posts · Location: Brisbane
Group memberships: Administrators, Members
Show profile · Link to this post
That's just stunning news, wow.  My first thought was holy shit, a billion people cut loose to innovate and create, what's that going to be like?

It was closely followed by is China ready for this?

and then

are we?

This will be a very interesting story to follow.
BLEARGH
Author name #124
Member since Oct 2007 · 316 posts
Group memberships: Citizens, Members
Show profile · Link to this post
It's hard to cut through the glut of recent China news, partly because so much of it is repetitive. Pollution? Seen it. Population crisis? Old news. Dissident surveillance? Take a number. So it's getting increasingly rare now for news about China to make an impact on me personally.

So it's a surprise to see this story hit me so hard out of left field:

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/07/09/the_slow_…

... China's 12th Five-Year Plan, enacted in 2011, calls for a shift to an economy driven increasingly by domestic consumption, rather than one driven largely by exports and investments.

Holy crap. China's thinking about a sustainable economy built on native consumers? Finally, some of that Harvard business school teaching is taking effect. Maybe fifty years late, but if China is really embracing this form of market then this is a watershed moment.

This five-year plan explains a lot about the public face of Xi Jinping's government. Having squeezed all the growth they possibly can out of central planning and forced labor, China finds themselves having to trade away some peace and stability in exchange for public trust. Also, it does them no good domestically to enrich their citizens if they're going to be buying western luxury goods and family sedans made in Germany. As the article implies, a China that turns inward is short-term bad news for western markets.
Author name (Administrator) #125
Avatar
Member since May 2011 · 2485 posts · Location: Brisbane
Group memberships: Administrators, Members
Show profile · Link to this post
I had to read your post a few times to be sure you weren't being sarcastic, because I've been reading about China's need to increase internal consumption for many years.  That it's now in their 5-year-plan seems only to indicate an acceptance of common knowledge.  It's been a central tenet of the reporting I read for half a decade, at a guess.

But there's still plenty of news to surprise us both.

China may un-ban game consoles.
BLEARGH
Author name #126
Member since Oct 2007 · 316 posts
Group memberships: Citizens, Members
Show profile · Link to this post
Smog, mining accidents, Senkaku Island disputes and a knife attack massacre at a railroad station were all less than exceptional news to me. So it took a diplomatic breach to get my attention.

By way of summary: Gary Locke, US ambassador to China, is finishing up his term in which he reached out to dissidents and the disadvantaged in the nation to which he was posted. In a clumsy newspaper editorial, the Chinese state press decided to throw the most juvenile of racial epithets.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/05/opinion/liu-china-…?hpt=hp…

Eric Liu, for Time Magazine, covers the news pretty clinically and uses it to show how the United States has a more flexible philosophy that makes it the global leader that China is not. But he also has an interesting perspective on propaganda:

Let's start with the fact that the editorial was published in an organ of state media. It got attention because in a country where the government controls the press, editorials are assumed to express the views of top national leaders. They may not, in fact. It's quite possible this particular opinion writer was just an individual. But in the absence of a free press, who can really tell?

This is the price of propaganda: No one believes what you say, but they believe you meant to say it.
Author name #127
Member since Oct 2007 · 316 posts
Group memberships: Citizens, Members
Show profile · Link to this post
More Time Magazine. American researcher Thomas Talhelm thinks the agricultural history of the different regions of China explains the different demeanor of north and southern Chinese people.

As it turns out, the Yangtze doesn’t just divide China between the north and the south—it also marks the rough boundary between the chiefly rice-producing regions below the river and the mainly wheat-producing regions above it. That gave Talhelm an idea. Rice production is extremely labor-intensive, requiring about twice the number of hours from planting to harvest that wheat does. Rice is also mostly grown on irrigated land, which requires communities to build canals and dikes cooperatively, while sharing water... By contrast, the only thing wheat farmers need to cooperate with is the rain, which allows them a greater measure of independence.

Full article here:
http://time.com/92627/in-china-personality-could-come-down…
 
The article doesn't go into localized contrariness, but it's interesting to read about this theory in light of what I personally know of Chinese regional foibles. My parents are from the collaborative, risk-averse south of China, where the people who are brave enough to admit that they hate farming leave the mountains and go west to become software engineers. By contrast, the rebels in the north are people who can smooth over rough edges and don't always say what pops into their head, which makes them more suited to leadership and organizational roles.
Author name (Administrator) #128
Avatar
Member since May 2011 · 2485 posts · Location: Brisbane
Group memberships: Administrators, Members
Show profile · Link to this post
Interesting, I'll give that a read shortly.

One thing I've been meaning to mention here, but never got around to because this forum's inability to send email notifications is really pissing me off, is this one:

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/45998/lucian-w-pye/…

I see now that you can't read it anymore, because the window of time where the entire article was free has expired.  I'm sorry.  Angry, too, but sorry, because it was very interesting.  And now I don't even remember why.  =(

AHA, found it.  Someone helpfully made a DOC file out of it, I've converted it to a PDF.  China: Erratic State, Frustrated Society.pdf

It's long and quite comprehensively puts forward a very nice case for China being the way it is.

One secret of the unity of China has been a conspiracy of make-believe, which masks the strengths and limitations of both the state and society. The Chinese state, both imperial and communist, has always pretended to omnipotence, but in reality its policy-implementing authority has been surprisingly limited. Chinese society for its part has gone along with the pretense of official omnipotence while following its own lead and making almost no demands on the government. Rulers and subjects have thus tended to keep their distance from each other while pretending to be harmoniously close.

    This peculiar relationship sets the stage for the great Chinese political game of feigned compliance. Central authorities issue their "absolute" orders and local authorities proclaim their obedience, even as they quietly proceed to do what they think best. Higher authorities are hesitant to check too carefully about implementation of their orders for fear that it might reveal their impotence and shatter the pretensions of absolute power. Lower authorities are careful not to be too blatant in disregarding more troublesome orders, while overzealously carrying out those that are untroublesome. Should central authorities be embarrassed, however, they can act with mad fury.
BLEARGH
This post was edited on 2014-05-09, 23:31 by NFG.
Author name #129
Member since Oct 2007 · 316 posts
Group memberships: Citizens, Members
Show profile · Link to this post
Add this to the things that I didn't already know, but that I think I might already have understood. Josh Keating, Slate's international affairs writer, talks about how a fear of failure in Chinese society holds back innovation and personal growth:

Business leaders like Steve Jobs who bounced back from embarrassing failure to reach their greatest success are a common American archetype, and a common motif for the TED Talk set. But in China, where entrepreneurship is a newer phenomenon and millions are only recently emerging from poverty, the idea that you need to fail before you can succeed is a tougher sell.

A similar dynamic is at work in the country’s scientific research system. “Because of the intolerance of failure, scientists are likely to take on projects that lead to guaranteed success,” Cao says. “They are less likely to venture into something new that nobody had been doing before. If you fail at something, you can be stigmatized in society.”

I have to say that Chinese who have left China seems to carry this attitude around the world with them. In my childhood at least, there was a notion that you didn't do things if you couldn't predict a reasonably positive outcome. And when you did fail you carried the shame of it around with you for the rest of your life. This may be why the shamelessness of western behavior outside of business confuses Chinese people, and why massive world-changing successes remain out of their reach.

Full article here:

http://www.slate.com/articles/business/how_failure_breeds_…
Author name #130
Member since Oct 2007 · 316 posts
Group memberships: Citizens, Members
Show profile · Link to this post
Wargaming is a lost pastime. Most board games (and the computer games they inspired) are pretty abstract and sanitized, and it's uncommon and even unusual for the people who play Monopoly to also be interested in something like Axis and Allies. But the idea of simulating something from history, or speculating about the wars of the future, are concepts that appear to have left us in the 1970s.

I promise this ties back to China. One of my favorite periodicals is Strategy and Tactics, a bi-monthly that includes a full wargame with every issue. They pack in a giant map, twenty pages of rules, and a full cardboard sheet of counters in a magazine that examines historical conflict with fresh eyes. Recently they decided to triple their output by spinning off two sister magazines: World at War to focus on the mid-20th century period, and Modern War with an eye on the future.

The August 2014 issue of Modern War I just received posits that China and Russia might enter into open warfare if they mutually decide that the status quo of fluid borders is no longer tenable. Writer Terence Co observes that China's military operations are opaque, smaller than they used to be, and increasingly focused on local defense rather than expeditionary strikes.

...each military region's headquarters was given a free hand to create its own SOF (Special Operation Forces) units. The objective was a regionally-raised SOF that could take advantage of specialized training in local terrain against nearby enemies. Such units would also have the fastest possible response time for local emergencies.

China's People's Liberation Army is assumed to be thoroughly modern and well-trained, if not well supported. And while their SOF forces have participated in UN actions in the past, their regular army doesn't venture from their borders very often. I'm compelled to remember Wired magazine's analysis that China lacks the supply and logistical means to keep a division or a brigade running too far from the mainland. But as Co points out, that doesn't keep neighbors like Taiwan and Japan from fearing the worst anyway.

That I got this issue is timely because I was looking through old S&T magazines and found my copy from October 1979, with the title 'The China War' and which theorizes about what a conflict between China and the Soviet Union would have looked like in the 1980s. The fascinating part of the supporting articles is not that there was a parallel, but how much more worried about Chinese progress we were at the time. Stephen B. Patrick could not have anticipated Chinese manufacturing and electronics dominance when he wrote:

China's main problem seems to be the distance which must be covered to make themselves a modern industrial power. The Soviets achieved this by cutting off the consumer production end of their industry, but even by doing that they have yet to achieve the degree of overall sophistication found in the west. There is a certain synergy which builds up in any economy and which tends to propel it to higher levels, in a spiral effect. It can be seen in major companies, such as IBM, which build up a technological lead over their rivals which is so great that the gap tends to expand rather than shrink, as years go by. The obvious question is whether an agrarian economy can ever reach a level of industrialization equal to the great power of the world, regardless of its internal resources.

It's only been a third of a century since he wrote that, and none of his peers would contradict him to predict the China we have today.

The October 1979 issue of Strategy and Tactics is long out of print. But the new issue of Modern War just now hit newsstands. I say that as if there were still newsstands in the world. Link:

http://shop.strategyandtacticspress.com/ProductD…?Produc…
Author name #131
Member since Oct 2007 · 316 posts
Group memberships: Citizens, Members
Show profile · Link to this post
Two things today. In Time, Rana Foroohar talks about how blind obedience to tradition is making China less than effective, and how it relates to the cultural blind spot that covers up the yearly anniversary of the Tiananmen protests.

I think the lack of a top-shelf innovation culture has a lot to do with the lack of choice in Chinese society. I once spoke to a Wal-Mart executive in China who told me that he had trouble getting employees in one department to address basic problems in another–picking up boxes that had fallen off a shelf, or order new supplies, for example–because they were afraid of stepping out of their silos. That’s not about work ethic–the Chinese have that in spades–but a culture of compliance. In China, it’s important, sometimes deadly important, to swim in your own lane.

Full link here: http://time.com/2797346/tiananmen-square-anniversary/

In unrelated news, the New York Times observes how Chinese pragmatism is viewed as disruptive favoritism by western eyes. Expat American scholar Stephen Asma describes the monetary gift of the red envelope, or the hongbao, and how different cultures see the sharing of it with different cultural baggage.

This simple confusion exposes tectonic ethical differences between the two cultures. Many Americans see patronage like hongbao as intrinsic corruption. Sure, it starts simple, they suggest, but it scales up to corrupt party members taking bribes and absconding with great wealth. The Chinese on the other hand recognize that hongbao exchange is good manners and important social grooming (guanxi), and has nothing to do with graft, which they also condemn as selfish. Most Westerners cannot understand the pragmatic ethics of the Chinese, dismissing any preferential system as unethical because it fails to respect every citizen equally.

Full link: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/06/08/from-china…
Author name (Administrator) #132
Avatar
Member since May 2011 · 2485 posts · Location: Brisbane
Group memberships: Administrators, Members
Show profile · Link to this post
That first one really resonates with the point made a while back about the Chinese not being particularly keen to take risks when the government has a tendency to swoop in and seize/close/meddle with things.  Stick to what you're told to do, obey the letter of the law, and not the spirit, for to think and act unpredictably may end in tragedy.

I increasingly see sad parallels in Western culture, with America's litigious culture essentially ensuring no one dares go above or beyond because it's basically a quick way to get shat on.
BLEARGH
Close Smaller – Larger + Reply to this post:
Smileys: :-) ;-) :-D :-p :blush: :cool: :rolleyes: :huh: :-/ <_< :-( :'( :#: :scared: 8-( :nuts: :-O
Special characters:
Page:  previous  1  2  3 ... 7  8  9 
We love UNB by Yves Goergen!