Questions for the Day

Generating questions should be the goal of more active blogging, practice of academic freedom, and production of scholarship.  So my first question is: Why the hell are all the links below in English?  Every single one. This is a serious problem which I intend to contemplate, and hopefully, to never repeat.  Anyway, please enjoy:

What if Wen Jiabao came to the United States and no one noticed?  Transcript and analysis of Wen’s CNN interview with Fareed Zakaria.

Is it possible that Kim Jong Il could be any more explicit that he needs Chinese support, badly?  And indeed, exclusively and now in the field of agriculture?  Do you suppose that self-criticisms of “Chinese cultural hauteur” that are emerging concurrently have anything to do with this?

Are we looking at the recrudescence of Cold War alignments in East Asia (as in this piece on Sino-North Korean relations), or should we assume things never changed?  What do a guffawing U.S. Defense Department spokesman and the barely contained Huanqiu Shibao have to say about the prospect of upcoming U.S.-Japan naval drills which will simulate retaking the very island which has just caused some of the biggest anti-Japanese waves to rock Chinese public opinion in the past several years?  (hat tip to inveterate Huanqiu translator JustRecently)

When the National Endowment for the Humanities schedules a conference on US-China cultural cooperation at Berkeley, is it encouraging? Does it make you, like former Secretary of State Kissinger, want to play ping pong with Chinese leaders?  If your personal answer to either of these questions is a resounding “no,” then please do some reflection on why this is the case.  Is it that you would you rather play ping pong with Chinese leaders who have just signed some Shigemitsuesque declaration of unconditional surrender on the deck of an American aircraft carrier which is floating in the Taiwan Straits with victorious F-16 rocketing noisily overhead?  Or is it because you consider ping pong with Chinese leaders to be undignified in the absence of actual pandas ( in other words, that ping pong is in itself hardly enough to guarantee a durable series of peaceful exchanges)?  Perhaps all of these scenarios are deserving of some thought.

Finally, religion: How has the USA’s “let one hundred flowers bloom” policy toward religion led to chaos in the States as opposed to “freedom from religion” in China?  A new editorial voice at Seattle’s anti-authoritarian Eat the State, writing from Chengdu, answers. And why does the Chinese government need to issue new guidelines against foreigners meddling in Tibetan Buddhist affairs on the same day that I meet a recognized “living Buddha” in Chengdu?

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5 thoughts on “Questions for the Day

  1. I like Wen Jiabao’s point about placing sanctions on export businesses in China would be tantamount to bombing ourselves. Also, noticed you linkbacked to my op-ed which is linkbacked to my (resurrected) blog.

  2. just that phrase “US-China cultural cooperation” makes me feel a bit sick. it seems irredeemably evocative of some ultramodernist project of working together with appropriate government leadership to create a bright future. or if you dont go along with that idea, then the question remains: cooperation unto what??

    what the fuck is cultural cooperation? isnt that shit grass-rootsy by definition? who’s going to sponsor a conference on that? big government? just way too freaky sounding.

    academics and their dorky projects sometimes make me despair. and that piece by the eat the state . . . entertaining in a macabre sort of way. its nice to have a change from constantly reading stuff about china that was written by knowledgeable people.

    • just that phrase “US-China cultural cooperation” makes me feel a bit sick. it seems irredeemably evocative of some ultramodernist project of working together with appropriate government leadership to create a bright future. or if you dont go along with that idea, then the question remains: cooperation unto what??

      what the fuck is cultural cooperation? isnt that shit grass-rootsy by definition? who’s going to sponsor a conference on that? big government? just way too freaky sounding.

      PeachPeach, fantastic! I got a kick out of reading this. And please never apologize for being rantsey, your writing has a wonderful verve and flavor. I think I will need to think about this whole notion of big-gov co-opting of actual cultural cooperation, etc. I think that avant-garde artists usually run against the grain in this regard…

  3. sorry i’m being a bit tiradey.

    im just trying to imagine a panel of artists and scholars talking about how cool it is to ship exhibitions over…. im trying to imagine what the point of such a talkup would be.

    or, a joint artistic project by leading chinese and american artists exploring the theme of their common former suffering at the hands of the historically incorrect and evil british empire. maybe a show with these pissed off-looking american and chinese children singing martially “we shall join together in our vigilance of our historical foe oh how i love my friends from across the ocean.”

  4. i’ve been thinking about family and childrearing style as cornerstones of a nation/culture’s political culture because your family is your first political community. i’m pretty sure it’s how everyone learn’s their basic lessons in politics.
    in semirelated news, i think china’s softpower cultural foreign policy (confucius centres and the even more egregious high school-based confucius classrooms et al), while bad, are related to chinese hospitality, which is a good phenuminun. phenomenomnomnomnom (cos you have to eat lots of nice food).
    so, the whole thrust of current soft power is partly animated by a fucked up government wanting to get people in other countries to like it/the country it represents, and partly by all these eager naive good-intentioned teachers and musicians and stuff who want to show ‘china’ sunny side up….
    i feel sad about the current age of confucius-institute style outreach because it’s pretty much a waste of money and long term it will produce fuck all for anyone. for example, if you have dickheaded generals thinking they can do the job of foreign ministry heads, a whole bucket of expensively-cultivated goodwill can evaporate in seconds.

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