China sees US as a partner in future space exploration initiatives...

Insignia of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Prog...Image via WikipediaSPACE.com -- China Hopes for Place on Space Station

The Chinese have announced that they hope to be included in the international space station (ISS) project, which has been in operation since 2000 under the control of US, Russian and European astronauts. China has only recently become the third nation to launch a man into space on its own, and if it joins the ISS it would be the 17th nation participating in the long-term orbital experimentation platform. The US has thus far relented from including the Chinese in ISS missions because of the ideological stigma of a strong Communist Chinese space program operating as an equal with NASA and its now democratic Russian partners.
China frightened many in the scientific community last year when it obliterated an aging weather satellite with a ground-based anti-satellite missile. It was the first time any nation, the US and Russia included, had conducted such a test of a land-based missile and has fueled concerns around the world that we are on the verge of an arms race in space. Such experiments can pose real threats to the long-term space exploration capability of mankind, as debris clutters and inhibits near-Earth orbit, making missions to the furtherest reaches of the solar system more complicated and dangerous.

China will launch a lunar probe to map the moon's surface later this month, though they are significantly behind their Japanese rivals, who have just this week seen their lunar orbiter around Earth's only natural satellite. The regional space race will become even more heated once India launches their lunar module next April.

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Americans are in no position to judge Chinese human rights...

Olympics Highlight Human Rights in China - washingtonpost.com

I used to think that I was a moral absolutist, and I would regularly dismiss my friends when they would attempt to justify something I considered "inhumane" as the position of a moral relativist, who sees fundamental differences in the way one human-being values the life of another based on cultural differences. It did not take long after I became interested in China for me to abandon my preconceived notions, which were likely the by-product of nearly two decades attending Catholic schools, and an attempt to more fully understand why it is that human life is not valued equally by all, or more importantly, why it cannot be such.

I always knew China was huge, but it never registered with me exactly how huge until I began studying the Chinese Communist Revolution and the major social movements subsequently led by Mao Zedong in an effort to "purge" his country of right-wing dissidents that may eventually pose a threat to the Communist Party's universal authority. The two largest massacres of human life in the 20th century were at the hands of Communist Chinese cadre, some of whom reverted to truly barbaric practices like cannibalism at the instigation of local and national party leaders. Literally tens-of-millions of Chinese citizens were murdered piecemeal during the "Long March" and "Cultural Revolution", yet still the country's population multiplied exponentially during the baby boom era. Growth was so amazing and untenable that the Party was forced to institute drastic population control laws, which we know as the "One Child Policy". Every living Chinese citizen has spent most, if not all, of their life in a fractured society built according to a strict social plan that harshly punished even the slightest deviation.

It is through the lens of this grossly incomplete history of 20th century Chinese growth and development that the West has chosen to judge the ethical standards of a civilization that makes up one-fifth of the worlds population, and has been wholly isolated from the world community until the last thirty years because of internal strife and political instability. I would never pretend that these are ideal circumstances from a Western perspective, or that these tragedies were unavoidable, but I believe it is essential that we not hold the common Chinese citizen responsible for the sins of paranoid men now but a memory. We must recognize that the Chinese people are aware of the differences between our cultures, and are ashamed of the history that we consider to be barbaric.

I have friends from China who comment to me often on how compassionate American culture is compared to their own. They can hardly believe it when they turn on the news to see 30 minutes of coverage on the investigation into the disappearance of one person, and they comment often on the propensity of Chinese media to completely ignore incidents such as floods, and poisonings of water reserves that literally kill whole towns of people in rural provinces.

I had a very difficult time trying to understand what the fundamental difference between the two civilizations that creates this culture of apathy on matters that we in America mourn daily as a nation. The value of each individual life in the US is truly held sacred by the media, which is largely due to the fact that these stories are the driving force behind stronger ratings because of the emotional response they elicit from viewers. Chinese media are much more interested in telling stories about great economic growth and massive engineering projects instead of the more emotionally charged stories, both because they cast the government in the most favorable light possible, and because this is what draws the attention and fascination of the average Chinese citizen.

You may be asking yourself, what is the underlying cause of this cultural divide? After much thought and reflection, I have reached two conclusions. First, Chinese society is essentially atheist, the antithesis of traditional American society, which has largely evolved from small communities built around the local church. Those who are deeply religious in China are absolutely in the minority, and their activities are viewed with great suspicion by the political classes of society because of the role religion has played historically in revolutionary political movements around the world. Secondly, the collective pride of Chinese society and the feelings of inferiority and lack of appreciation they have received from the more "developed" societies of the world, have created within the greater society a more focused and goal oriented vision of where their country is going and how progress toward that end earns them the respect they deserve around the world.

Though this narrow-minded, and less compassionate view on the world is largely the result of government suppression of dissent and censorship of news that serves as a distraction from Party plan, we should not be so jingoistic as to assume that we have any right or reason to pass judgment on a society that we should not even claim to understand. 1.5 billion human-beings is a staggering thought, and such circumstances are truly unprecedented in the history of nation-states.

To judge the undoubtedly complex and morally taxing decisions of the Communist Party Officials according to moral absolutes that we have concluded to be non-negotiable measures of social progress and worthiness of full diplomatic and economic recognition, is to me one of the most ignorant distortions of 21st century realities and further evidence of the poisonous opportunistic political culture that currently reigns in Washington. We cannot presume to understand the responsibility facing the Chinese Communist Party, and it is highly ignorant and dangerously presumptuous to arbitrarily decide that we can better judge the method of governance that is best for a country that in no way, demographically or ethically, resembles our own.

Continuing the movement to boycott the Beijing Olympics next summer is one of the most disturbing examples of political opportunism, worse than most because it is based on an assumption of clearly non-existent moral absolutisms. The only way to effect the social ethos of Chinese, or any other civilization, is to earn both their trust and respect. The more American politicians deride the "values" of our competitors, the greater the chances that mutual prosperity will fall victim to cultural resentment and unhealthy competition between the two greatest and most dynamic societies the world has ever known.

This was written in a stream of consciousness, so it may be fractured and incoherent. I would appreciate any comments that you may have so I can revise and clarify my thought. Thanks.

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Great web tool for understanding censorship in China...

Great Firewall of China

I was very intrigued to stumble upon this web service which offers bloggers and web developers a tool for determining if their site's url is blocked by the censors employed by the Chinese Communist Party in an effort to control the information made available to its country's citizens via the internet. I have two primary blogs on which I write frequently about issues of international politics, economics and globalization more generally. This is one of those blogs, and as you can see, it is entirely devoted to my thought and evaluation of all things Chinese.

Naturally, I take great pleasure in receiving feedback from similarly thoughtful and curious Chinese who are moved one way or the other by things that I have written about their country, culture and future as a global superpower. I use Google Analytics to track the visitors to this blog, and one of the features of Google's service is a geographical representation of visitors. I am always excited to see a dot super-imposed over Beijing, or Shanghai, which I have noticed on several occasions on both of my blogs, and I just assumed they represented curious young students of the world like myself. However, when I typed my web addresses into The Great Firewall of China, I was shocked and disappointed to find out that my pages are in fact censored from web searches in China.

I guess that the visits I have received from China must have been individuals working for the state's massive internet censoring armies, which have been rumored to number in the tens of thousands. I cannot imagine what about my opinions are seen to be threatening, or worth censoring, with perhaps the previous criticism I have leveled against these very paranoid and unnecessary actions of the the CCP to retain their fleeting control over a society that deserves the right to express itself freely. Otherwise, I think that I am one of the most aggressively pro-Chinese conservative American bloggers on the internet, and it is too bad that my ideas aren't even available for consumption where they would be most appreciated. I hope there will be a day when the Chinese people are truly brought into the global community and allowed to flourish in the arena of free and open thought.

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Internet forum from People's Daily offers elaborate and engaging glimpse into Chinese perception of US post-9/11 policy...

"Subject: A nation bickering about smoking while Iraq burns"

A discussion forum feed published by a People's Daily blogger named Shanhuang on the day of the US invasion of Iraq that I stumbled upon this evening is full of some very astute and disconcerting thoughts on the US and the priorities of American culture. With the fourth anniversary of "Shock and Awe" passing just yesterday (with little notice since the media is more concerned over the Justice Dept. and the who is Anna Nicole Smith's baby-daddy) this thread provides a voluminous log of the day-to-day and week-to-week sway of the cerebral tides between the different factions that emerged around the world in the post-September 11th world, and has once again set me thinking about the perception of the US in China.

I have written recently on the flawed perception of the Chinese amongst nearly every person within Middle Class America. I fret regularly to my friend Victor about what I feel will be the ultimate determinant of whether or not China and the US will come to a peaceful understanding and cultural diffusion (a la Japan and South Korea)-- the oft overlooked and underestimated possibility that there could arise a jealousy and spite for China across the United States if/when the US loses its economic stranglehold on the global markets.

Political realities and national interests across the Western Hemisphere will undoubtedly result in a unified resistance to the first substantial threat posed it by another civilization in several centuries time. The lack of careful consideration of the how to best manage/balance the Sino-American alliance by the American press (which I will elaborate on in a subsequent post) coupled with a preoccupation with a sensationalized conflict in the Middle East among concerned citizens (a.k.a. voters) is likely to be remembered as the primary catalyst of opportunistic political pandering by politicians who were similarly complacent, or more accurately negligent, in their careful consideration of the countries interests.

An America that exists under the institutions of our founding Republican principles will not, and must not, allow China to establish an alternative political model under the banner of Mao, even if the guiding wisdom which underlies it be rooted in a less draconian code. There are several reasons why I believe this is an indispensable maxim, the least of which is my nostalgia for the greatness of the the colonial founder's experiment. However, the Chinese must also never become a casualty of US domestic politics in the same manner that the Soviet Union became the issue of greatest concern and source of ideological alliances during the bygone, bi-lateral era of the Cold War, because if the Chinese are anything, they are VERY proud (similar to most Americans as this article makes clear).

Consequently, I see the future of Chinese politics (in light of both the China and the United State's long term interests) through the lens of Japan's US-styled (authored) system, which is basically a rotation of leadership of one political party, the LDP, through the occasional polling of the general populace. So essentially, the political realities faced by the US in the far Pacific Rim as they compete in the 21st century global economy have the potential to be at once unified, at least stylistically between the Japanese and Chinese peoples. However, one need not get too close before the glaring differences in lifestyle and social values- as well as the echo's of bitter diplomatic rifts stemming from Japanese aggression at the outset of the 20th century- rush into view and cloud the thoughts of men tasked with forgetting about these issues and getting on with the jobs of making peace and creating wealth.

It is so easy to forget about China these days, as it seems the only region of the world that is worthy of the media's time, well at least the US media. So many thoughts are provoked by just this one statement; thoughts that send the mind irrecoverably into the depths of my political consciousness. With hope, this issue can soon emerge from suppression and regain its importance on the mantle of US foreign policy, in the spot now occupied by the criminal files of radical Islamic terrorists and politicians, where it will soon so apparently belong.


China uses "shock therapy" to cure internet addiction...

Tech2.com India > China Launches Campaign For Net Addicts > News on Internet

MSNBC- China treats internet "addicts" sternly

According to several international news outlets, the Chinese government has decided to take severe measures to curb the internet addiction that has afflicted many of the countries younger citizens. Using shock therapy, the government hopes to discourage these internet users, who often spend every minute they are awake in internet cafes playing video games and chatting with their friends, from maintaining unhealthy levels of usage. I doubt that the government will find the international reaction to this controversial program to be very favorable, and it certainly won't do very much to bolster the countries image in the eyes of the world. Can anyone seriously consider China to be a civilized nation when they have such Draconian policies for dealing with excessive internet usage?

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China sentences man convicted of "ant" fraud to death..

BBC-- Death Penalty Over China Ant Scam

Google News Related Links

The Chinese government has sentenced a man convicted of defrauding several unsuspecting investors out of millions by selling them ants at a disgustingly inflated price. Wang Zhendong promised investors returns of up to 60% if they put their money into the fake ant-breeding program. Wang's scheme caused great distress to his victims, with one man committing suicide because of the despair he suffered after learning that he had squandered his savings on a false investment opportunity.

Human rights activists will likely strike out at the disturbing impudence used by Chinese officials when it comes to the liberal use of the death penalty for matters of economic corruption and fraud. Rent seeking and favor-trading dominate in local Chinese economies, and fraudulent scams are common, but it is difficult for a Western perspective to ever understand how death is a proportionate penalty for fraud. However, it is impossible for a Westerner to ever truly understand the pressures of governing a country of the size and complexity that characterizes modern China.

I suspect that a government truly of the people would never endorse such Draconian policies, but it is unclear to me whether a government "of" 1.4 Billion people could ever effectively manage the development the country has undergone in the post-modern era under the authoritarian Chinese Communist Party.

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Chicago's Mayor Daley announces Chicago-China Development Corporation...

Google News Related Links

Chicago Tribune- Chicago Opening Office in Shanghai

Chicago's Mayor Richard Daley announced on Thursday the creation of the Chicago China Development Corporation, a non-profit economic development agency under the administration of the the Mayor's office and charged with exposing the benefits of Chicago as a location for investment and US-based operations for Chinese companies. Contrived during a 2004 visit to the Chinese mainland, the group will bring much needed and deserved exposure to the Second City as it continues to expand its sphere of influence around the world. With expectations of hosting the Olympics in 2016, Chicago is anticipating a surge in direct investment.

In political terms, China and Chicago share many similar characteristics. Effectively, both have a political structure akin to a publicly-endorsed monarchy, with formal dissent all but silenced. A fair argument could be made that this a common-flaw shared by the two far-left political administrations. In my opinion, as long as a constructive and prosperous partnership can be established between the Chicago and China, political reform can wait...

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Chinese launch rival to US Global Positioning System (GPS)...

FT.com / Asia-Pacific / China - China launches first navigation satellite

Beidou Navigation System

After nearly twenty years of geo-spacial monopoly, the US GPS system, which so many people around the world have come to rely on when traveling to an unknown destination. The European Union has recently closed in on full operational capability of their real-time navigational system Galileo, and the Chinese took major steps toward implementing a third in the launch of a key satellite over the weekend in their Beidou Navigation System.

There exists fundamental differences between the US system and its EU contemporary which are as indicative of the fundamental differences in the guiding economic philosophies of the two continents. The GPS system that has been in operation under the Department of Defense since the 1970's has, since its declassification, been open for use at no cost to any company that can harness its vast capacities for use at the level of the individual consumer or corporate entity. Since that time the US has embraced GPS culture and all of our ground based commercial traffic is guided by the pulsing satellites that make up the GPS network. Galileo will take a different approach, instead charging its users a fee for usage with the value-added benefits not entirely clear as of yet, though to be fair, the system is hardly up and running.

The Beidou (Chinese name for the "Big Dipper" constellation) Navigation System is even further down the road than Magellan, and just as the US and EU networks are reflections of the fundamental economic differences that exist between the two Western civilizations, the Chinese strategy for its commercialization strategy is like all other economic policies in China: vague and highly speculative.

As the Chinese become wealthier and their country-sides are transformed into concrete jungles awash in semi-trucks and FedEx vans, their decision to enter the Global-Positioning market early and aggressively will likely prove to have been wise. If they choose, as I suspect they will, to follow the path of the free markets paved by their American competitor they will most likely outshine the Galileo network even if they are years behind in bringing the service to consumers.

Considering China is still a developing economy by official classification, it should be noted that they are making aggressive commercial, and not just militaristic advances in the space industry. If American policymakers, entrepreneurs and bankers heed the warnings that such an aggressive push by a growing competitor into an industry with limitless potential the US should have no problem competing with the Middle Kingdom anywhere in the known universe.

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