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The world's next superpower
Taipei Times ^ | 07.23.03 | Jonathan Fenby

Posted on 07/23/2003 3:49:12 AM PDT by Enemy Of The State

The world's next superpower

China is growing with bewildering speed, but it is undergoing social upheavals on the way to becoming an economic superpower
 
 

By Jonathan Fenby
THE OBSERVER
Wednesday, Jul 23, 2003,Page 9


ILLUSTRATION: MOUNTAIN PEOPLE
Conventional wisdom insists that nations ruled by communist parties are regimented, unimaginative failures. Yet nowhere on earth is changing so fast and on such a scale as in China, where market economics and rampant consumerism meet the remnants of Maoism, throwing up paradoxes with profound implications for its 1.3 billion people -- and for the rest of the world.

It is not clear, however, if even the leadership in its heavily guarded Beijing compound knows exactly what is going on in the 9.5 million km2 between the booming development zones of the coast and the huge deserts and mountains on the doorstep of Central Asia.

China is racing to meet its future, confident it will grow into a superpower within a couple of decades, with all that implies for the West and for its Asian neighbors. Yet it remains stunted under the authoritarian hand of a Communist Party for which the retention of power has become an end in itself.

It is the main motor of international expansion, but it contains an uncomfortable expanse of shady zones and, owing to its size and diversity, is very hard to control.

China's gleaming airports put Heathrow to shame. The size of construction projects have led to the joke about the crane being the national bird.

The tycoon class has expanded so substantially that the American business magazine Forbes produces an annual list of China's 100 richest. Car production is rising by millions of vehicles a year.

There are about 300 million mobile-phone users. Shopping malls are crammed with designer clothes, real and counterfeit. Top tickets for Real Madrid's forthcoming game against a Chinese team are priced at ?125 (US$200) each.

Figures issued last week showed that, despite a dip last spring because of the SARS epidemic, China's economic growth should still hit the 7 percent target for the year, with industrial production up by 16 percent in the first six months. Though there are doubts about the precision of official figures, this rate is even higher in the special economic development zones where big, modern factories ally automation with low-cost labour

Having started by making cheap goods, Chinese firms are moving on to more profitable ones as their country's membership of the WTO guarantees them access to world markets.

From toys to computer chips, just about everything seems to come from China these days. Despite SARS, exports in the first half of this year bounded by 34 percent to the equivalent of ?120 billion (US$192 billion). Foreign investment, bringing money, technology and expertise, rises by the year as Western and Japanese executives put the country at the top of their plans.

Made in China

A recent article by an American economist was headlined: "What happens when everything is made in China?"

That raises concern about foreign jobs being exported to China -- as in the decision by Waterford Wedgwood crystal to close British factories and shift production to China for lower costs. But, while international pressure on Beijing to revalue its currency upwards grows, economic expansion is making the mainland a major importer of raw materials, machinery and factory components. Its purchases of crude oil rose by a third in the first half of this year and it could be the salvation of the world steel industry.

On his drive from the airport, British Prime Minister Tony Blair would have seen Beijing engaged in a huge building program running up to its staging of the 2008 Olympics. In Shanghai, a new business district has gone up on marshland and gleaming blocks of flats line the eight-lane roads into the city. A German magnetic-levitation train whisks passengers in from Shanghai's new Pudong airport at 402kph, and a Japanese bullet train is likely to link the city to Beijing. Shenzhen, a pioneering economic development zone across the border from Hong Kong, has grown from a small town into a city of millions attracted by work in its fast-growing factories. Chongqing, capital of the biggest province, Sichuan, is being transformed from a shabby city notorious for its nasty climate into what aims to be a model of growth in a special zone containing 30 million people.

The Three Gorges dam, with its enormous hydro-electric potential, has gone into operation, and there are plans for a mammoth waterway across the country to check the recurrent pattern of droughts and floods. Visit city centers from the once-isolated Kunming in the lush south-west to Manchuria on the border with Russia, and you find the same lines of glass and concrete offices, shops and flats on proud display as signs of modernity.

A middle class is emerging and, this being China, it is numbered in hundreds of millions. Artists and writers challenge tradition in a major way. The "iron rice bowl" of cradle-to-grave welfare promised by Mao Zedong is being smashed. Beijing's development is demolishing the alleyway hutong houses that were a characteristic of the capital for eight centuries.

Modern life is eating away at the traditional family: 14 percent of households now consist of either a single adult or a childless couple who both work. Older people are deeply worried about the future, as their children save to pay for health care and private education. At a lunch in Beijing, the Education Minister spoke to me enthusiastically about the model set by Warwick University for attracting paying students.

A lot of dark areas lie behind the bright lights on the Yangtze cliffs of Chongqing and the Shanghai Bund, where the huge Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank building from before the World War II has been restored as the headquarters of a local development organization.

Income inequalities are enormous. Factory modernization has boosted unemployment, and there are periodic demonstrations by workers who have not been paid. Outside the city centers and modern apartment blocks, China's urban areas are dirty, unhealthy and overcrowded. Workers newly arrived from the country sleep out around train and bus stations, and drive down the already tiny wages paid for manual labor on all those building sites.

Health and safety

Low health and safety standards are highlighted by repeated industrial accidents and the recent spread of SARS. Pollution and environmental destruction are high. Floods kill an average of nearly 4,000 people a year.

The government has launched a series of high-profile crackdowns on major offenders, but corruption is embedded. Badly paid officials exploit their position -- in one city, police stopped motorists to tell them their cars contravened cleanliness regulations: they had a friend standing by to wash vehicles for a small fee.

Much of rural China, which contains most of the country's people, is left behind. Depending on the criteria adopted, upwards of 100 million Chinese live below the absolute poverty line. Though cities are linked by a fast-expanding motorway network, rural communications remain poor. Farmers stage periodic protests about local officials levying "special taxes" for their own enrichment.

Many villages are age-old huddles of mud or adobe huts without sanitation. One villager joked that, if the government really wanted to reduce the number of children, it should lay on electricity so people could watch television at night rather than having sex.

Foreign financial houses have started trading in Chinese shares, but the stock market is run largely for speculation and to direct capital to well-connected firms. The banking system is shot through with huge bad debts as a result of channelling money to politically favored enterprises rather than those which could best use the cash.

The reform of state enterprises seems to be taking longer than expected. Corporate accounts often bear little relation to reality.

An inquiry found recently that most state firms cooked the books. No wonder some commentators see as inevitable the scenario outlined in a recent book called The Coming Collapse of China.

Some of the highest-flying businessmen have crashed to Earth -- the second-ranking person on the Forbes list for 2001 has just been jailed for 18 years for fraud. Huge smuggling rings involving local dignitaries have been uncovered. Municipal officials in Manchuria's main city were found to have been in cahoots with the local mafia.

This is partly the result of such rapid development in a country with no independent legal system, where favors that bring the chance to make a fortune are bought and sold. But the way China is developing poses a distinct problem for the organization that sits obstinately on top of that system and has used its ability to hand out favors and punishment, as the glue that holds it together.

As an old Maoist once said, if the Communist Party does not get rid of corruption, it is done for; but, if does get rid of corruption, it is doomed anyway. Since the move to the market launched by the patriarch Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平) two decades ago, individual liberty has grown enormously. Walking in the streets of Chinese cities, you do not feel the oppression that characterized eastern Europe under communism.

Taxi drivers joke about the leadership, and only the politically ambitious pay much attention to its ideological forays.

Basic gamble

That is, in its way, is what the leadership is after. Its basic gamble is that growing wealth will provide a legitimacy to replace the tenets of Maoism. After the first, second and third ways of politics, welcome to China's fourth way where the prospect of getting rich means that politics, in the conventional Western sense, can be pigeonholed for so long as the economy roars ahead.

So, though there have been some electoral experiments at local level,democracy is far away, as it has been throughout China's history. For the new leadership of President Hu Jintao, as for his predecessor, Jiang Zemin stability is paramount -- the Cultural Revolution is held up as a terrible example of what can happen when things get out of hand.

Crossing the political line is perilous. Dissidents are out of the headlines in the West, but they are still persecuted relentlessly. Members of the deep-breathing Falun Gong exercise group are arrested as a security threat. Tibet remains tightly policed, and the war on terrorism is a convenient pretext for cracking down on the mainly Muslim population of the vast western territory of Xinjiang.

China has put on its best face for the world, particularly since it realized the benefits to be gained from Sept. 11. Blair and the other leaders beating a path to Beijing should realize, however, that, useful as foreigners are, China has never set much store by them. The round-eyes can provide technology and money, but the country will go its own path, making temporary alliances that suit it while increasingly using its clout as it chooses, in its bid to displace Japan as Asia's economic and political motor.

To do that, the leaders Blair met this week have to maintain the breakneck momentum of "socialism with Chinese characteristics" to demonstrate that "It's the economy, stupid."

Jonathan Fenby edited the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong from 1995 to 1999 and is the author of Dealing with the Dragon: A Year in the new Hong Kong.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: china; chinastuff; next; superpower
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To: logic
Plse don't forget History, ie that China war totally feudal and only began to modernize in 1911, but even then this modernization process were disruped again and again and again, first by Japan attacking in 1938, (WW2 1938-1945), the Civil war between the Communist and the Nationalist 1945-1949, the Great-leap foward Madness of Mao, the Cultural revolution 1965-1978. And overall , China did not invent anything much from 1922-1978, is because they were too busy with either fighting or politicing. also they DID NOT spend any money resorces on R & D. R & D cost money

But plse observe that once they began the Reform nd Open-Door policy in 1978, they began to modernizes pretty fast---too fast for comfort
101 posted on 07/23/2003 9:18:01 AM PDT by The Pheonix
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To: Jeff Head
China ping.
102 posted on 07/23/2003 9:22:03 AM PDT by Travis McGee (----- www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com -----)
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To: Enemy Of The State
"Try not paying your taxes and see what happens!"

Heck, just try re-roofing your house without (Government permission) a permit....

103 posted on 07/23/2003 9:24:38 AM PDT by logic ("all that is required for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing")
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To: Quix
<< Your declarations seem overwrought to me . . . >>

That's a nice way to put it. Droll! That was my intent.

The Peter-Principled I was referring to, though, are those in America's corporations not in China's. My wife and half of my famaily are of Chinese ethnicity and, as the experience of Once-Free-British Hong Kong demonstrates and I can vouch, outside of Peking there aren't too many idiots among the Chinese People.

But our Peter Principled are of the execrable variety that will sell Peking's psychopaths the rope with which they would hang us -- and weapons with which those mandarin-wannabe thieves and liars and mass-murderers would, if they could, destroy Our Nation and with US, Human Civilization.

And Chase and BoA and CitiBank et al, who will bump our credit card interest rates a few points to pay for it all -- and the institutionalized fraud misnamed the "ExIm Bank" will send the bill for the balance to Treasury.
104 posted on 07/23/2003 9:24:49 AM PDT by Brian Allen ( Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God - Thomas Jefferson)
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To: Brian Allen
FARRRRRRR

TOO MUCH

TRUTH

in what you say.

Thanks.
105 posted on 07/23/2003 9:27:27 AM PDT by Quix (PLEASE SHARE THE TRUTH RE BILLDO AND SHRILLERY FAR AND WIDE)
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To: logic
True.

AT least seemingly.
106 posted on 07/23/2003 9:28:03 AM PDT by Quix (PLEASE SHARE THE TRUTH RE BILLDO AND SHRILLERY FAR AND WIDE)
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To: Enemy Of The State
You're probably right about the disappearances.

They must have video coverage of every public nook and crany and vista.

And they are ruthless, relentless, persistent and patient about revenge.
107 posted on 07/23/2003 9:29:38 AM PDT by Quix (PLEASE SHARE THE TRUTH RE BILLDO AND SHRILLERY FAR AND WIDE)
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To: the gillman@blacklagoon.com
"Siberia is supposed to be vast and rich in resources..."

It is, and the Chinese will be demanding 'access' soon enough.

They may also wish to 'revisit' certain old border-adjusting treaties with Russia.
108 posted on 07/23/2003 9:32:03 AM PDT by headsonpikes
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To: The Pheonix
But in view of the fact that the US has enough nuclear might (superiority) to vaporize the whole of China, this alone will make the Chinese think twice before they even dare to dream of world conquest

It doesn't have to be an out-right military conquest. They can be subtle and long-range about it, with Chinese investors coming in and opening companies that would hire Filipinos to do various things. With that would come pressure to allow more Chinese "executives" and "technicians" in, along with some bribes to officials to make it easier. At no point would China need to be openly aggressive.

Then if "civil unrest" threatened the safety of Chinese nationals, they could "help".

Yes the US has nukes. So does China. Will the US be willing to trade the major cities on our west coast to stop China taking the Phillipeans? We may find ourselves in that position some day. And the Chinese can wait until we have a prez that would not be interested in the trade

109 posted on 07/23/2003 9:32:57 AM PDT by SauronOfMordor (Java/C++/Unix/Web Developer === will work for food)
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To: Always Right
Aren't all of the tycoons communist party elite?
110 posted on 07/23/2003 9:33:46 AM PDT by Constitutional Patriot
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To: Travis McGee
Thanks bro. Harpseal pinged me at 28, gillman spoke to me at 67 and I responded at 77.

The evidence and actions regarding the PRC's intent and plans are obvious for all to see who want to open their eyes. I pray more will open their eyes.

It was with that hope that I embarked on the entire Dragon's Fury Series project.

111 posted on 07/23/2003 9:34:55 AM PDT by Jeff Head
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To: SauronOfMordor

You brought out good , valid points

That's why it is vital for the US to take advanstage of her wealth to spend more on R&D in order to be always ahead of China.

it is thru R&D that the US could maintain her miltary superiority, in order to keep China in check

Having true meritocracy in American universities is important for the US to be the best in the IT and Scientific field
112 posted on 07/23/2003 9:38:11 AM PDT by The Pheonix
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To: wbill
What do you think a population gender imbalance of 60-40 men to women (or worse) would be like?

According to CIA World Factbook, it's more like 109 boys for every 100 girls in the 0-14 generation, so it's not that bad

113 posted on 07/23/2003 9:38:50 AM PDT by SauronOfMordor (Java/C++/Unix/Web Developer === will work for food)
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To: The Pheonix
"But in view of the fact that the US has enough nuclear might (superiority) to vaporize the whole of China, this alone will make the Chinese think twice before they even dare to dream of world conquest"

I don't think the MAD idea works nearly as well with them as it did with Russia. We always enjoyed a pretty sizeable technological advantage over Russia, we either are loosing that advantage with China or we have already lost it thanks to the 'Felon in Chief.' They know we would never launch unless we were backed to a wall or recieved a first strike. I think they would attack in such a way that we look like we have hope until they gain enough control to prevent us from launching, then they would show who really was in control.

Not necesarily factual, but it's my take on the situation. : )

114 posted on 07/23/2003 9:40:31 AM PDT by logic ("all that is required for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing")
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To: sergeantdave
The Chinese Supermen, who have created all the many inventions we enjoy today, including...uh, ummmm, uh...

The Chinese had moveable type in 1045 A.D. They were making paper perhaps has early as 5 A.D., but certainly by 105 A.D. They invented Gunpowder in the eighth century. They were using magnetic compasses for marine navigation by the 11th century.

Say what you will about the Chinese, but they are not historically an ignorant or uninventive people.

115 posted on 07/23/2003 9:43:25 AM PDT by RogueIsland
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To: Jeff Head
I should have figured! Nothing like having a network of pingers looking out for you!
116 posted on 07/23/2003 9:43:59 AM PDT by Travis McGee (----- www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com -----)
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To: Enemy Of The State
You will first have to translate that into English for me. I dont speak any German. :)

Translates in English as "Night and Fog". References Nazi Germany, where those that got uppity got quietly "disappeared". Since doing stuff like Tianamen Square is too public, it's better (for the guys at the top) to just "disappear" dissidents quietly, so the regime doesn't get the PR hit.

117 posted on 07/23/2003 9:44:15 AM PDT by adx (Will produce tag lines for beer)
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To: Quix
"I think now, they'd bring out the water canon and remove people with a minimum of deaths if at all possible. "

Don't you mean: I think now, they'd bring out the water canon and remove people with a minimum of PUBLIC deaths if at all possible. Then kill them later....

Not to put words in your mouth or anything..... : )

118 posted on 07/23/2003 9:44:23 AM PDT by logic ("all that is required for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing")
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To: The Pheonix
That's why it is vital for the US to take advanstage of her wealth to spend more on R&D in order to be always ahead of China.

Currently, the bulk of US R&D will be done by Chinese and Indian grad students in US universities -- who will return with those skills to their native countries

The most valuable intellectual wealth of a country is not in its patent files or published scientific papers -- it is in the skulls of the people who are doing the work. It's hard to transfer skill purely by books and papers -- sometimes you need to work alongside people who know what their doing and absorb it by osmosis.

The way the US lost its immense tech lead was by letting in so many foreign tech students, who then returned to their home countries with knowledge that US companies had spent large fortunes to figure out.

119 posted on 07/23/2003 9:49:26 AM PDT by SauronOfMordor (Java/C++/Unix/Web Developer === will work for food)
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To: SauronOfMordor

Re you post # 119

Too true
120 posted on 07/23/2003 9:51:28 AM PDT by The Pheonix
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To: Jeremiah Jr

Time to order new stationery!

121 posted on 07/23/2003 9:52:17 AM PDT by Thinkin' Gal (Guten Tag!)
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To: Quix
"And they are ruthless, relentless, persistent and patient about revenge"

Makes sense. Wasn't it an old Chinese proverb that says revenge is a dish best served cold?
122 posted on 07/23/2003 9:57:34 AM PDT by Enemy Of The State (If we don't take action now, We settle for nothing later!)
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To: Enemy Of The State

And 90 % of Kung Fu movies has a story line that it is the sacred duty of NUMBER ONE SON to avenge the father's death-----the revenge against the father's killers is a MUST for the son, no matter even if it is one against a 1000 enemies,........
123 posted on 07/23/2003 10:02:17 AM PDT by The Pheonix
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To: logic
It would depend on a lot of things.

They really are sensitive to public opinion to a point and in certain contexts and when it involves a significant percentage of the public/grass roots etc.

Li Peng is STILL one of the most hated men in China.

In some respects, the Chinese care little about anything but themselves and their nuclear family and sometimes some parts of their extended family and to put on a front at New Years that the extended family is one harmonious group of warm and fuzzy people.

HOWEVER, in other respects, in certain contexts and contingencies, they are a boiling cauldron underneath the surface and it wouldn't take much to have a mass demonstration spring up and flash into a forest fire.

The leaders would NOT want to trigger undue demonstration and public outcry.

Therefore, they'd want to minimize the deaths and maximize the intimidation.

I doubt they'd want many deaths--especially near to the incident in time or easily tracable to the incident over the next 6-12 months.
124 posted on 07/23/2003 10:02:19 AM PDT by Quix (PLEASE SHARE THE TRUTH RE BILLDO AND SHRILLERY FAR AND WIDE)
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To: the gillman@blacklagoon.com
Where would they be most likely to try to acquire? It seems to me that their immediate neighbors to the south and west are heavily populated and are already pushing their land to the limits. Siberia is supposed to be vast and rich in resources but the Russians can be pretty tough to handle

Not that tough any more. Alexander Solzhenitsyn was saying thirty years ago that Chinese expansionism into Siberia was the really serious long-term threat to Russia, and he is right. The Chinese have always contended that Siberia rightfully should belong to them. There is plenty of oil and minerals there, plenty of timber, plenty of water, plenty of land (cold though it may be) -- and it is contiguous to their existing territory.

At the rate present trends are going, I don't see how Russia can continue to hold Siberia against the Chinese for more than another 2 or 3 decades at the most. Given China's 5000 history, that is only a blink of an eye.

125 posted on 07/23/2003 10:04:26 AM PDT by Stefan Stackhouse
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To: The Pheonix
Was that supposed to be humor or were you making a point?
126 posted on 07/23/2003 10:05:21 AM PDT by Enemy Of The State (If we don't take action now, We settle for nothing later!)
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To: Quix
THEIR SIGHTS ARE AT LEAST ON AUSTRALIA and the world. Well placed military and other types have persistently insisted that taking over Australia was not only their right, reasonable and inevitable--it was their duty to their people.

Tell them to pack lots of water with them when they come!

127 posted on 07/23/2003 10:05:23 AM PDT by Stefan Stackhouse
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To: Quix
My Chinese friends locally insist that China has targeted the USA for acquisition but only after plenty of their other ducks are in a row.

I am sure that there are a few people in China with a dream of someday making the entire globe Chinese. . . a pipe dream, that is.

128 posted on 07/23/2003 10:08:07 AM PDT by Stefan Stackhouse
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To: Quix
Re your post #124

You are correct there

The Chinese Govt would be reluctant to push their luck too far, by having another Tien-An-Men type of incident

Another such tragedy may finally cost them to lose their "MANDATE OF HEAVEN"
129 posted on 07/23/2003 10:08:11 AM PDT by The Pheonix
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To: Stefan Stackhouse
I've heard they are already doing a La Raza on them.

Hope they are paying better attention than our leaders are.
130 posted on 07/23/2003 10:10:56 AM PDT by the gillman@blacklagoon.com
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To: Enemy Of The State
I am trying to illustrate that in traditional Chinese Culture, revenge for perceived crime against one's family . in many cases seen as a form of "natural justice"
131 posted on 07/23/2003 10:12:45 AM PDT by The Pheonix
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To: The Pheonix
Ok gotcha, but Im not sure that I follow the reasons that led you to point this out?

Anyway, the "traditional culture" for revenge you speak of is actually something form ancient Chinese culture and not something that is practiced today. Unless of cours you are a member of the Triad family.
132 posted on 07/23/2003 10:20:29 AM PDT by Enemy Of The State (If we don't take action now, We settle for nothing later!)
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To: SauronOfMordor
Interesting. That's more like 52-48.
133 posted on 07/23/2003 10:24:24 AM PDT by wbill
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To: The Pheonix
Nevermind, I think I must have been running a little slow on figuring out where you were coming from on that comment. I didn't realize that you were referring to the converation that I was having with Quix. My apologies.
134 posted on 07/23/2003 10:24:38 AM PDT by Enemy Of The State (If we don't take action now, We settle for nothing later!)
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To: Enemy Of The State
Yes, in modern times, a lot of old, feudal mindset , like this revenge syndrome would have just passed away
135 posted on 07/23/2003 10:25:14 AM PDT by The Pheonix
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To: Enemy Of The State
Thanks for your explanation, but no need to apologise

i must confess that I tend to ramble on, sometimes. Yes, I was refering to your converstion with Quix and your mentioning the word "revenge"
136 posted on 07/23/2003 10:29:13 AM PDT by The Pheonix
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To: Quix
HOWEVER, in other respects, in certain contexts and contingencies, they are a boiling cauldron underneath the surface and it wouldn't take much to have a mass demonstration spring up and flash into a forest fire.

I agree! Now satellites are beaming America to China for them to see how life may be lived and the tv's lack of morals going into their subconscious minds.

With that supposed lack of female companionship, and seeing how to get the ladies with the $$$$s, the youth may be mobilized into revolution--or coming our way to get our stuff? They can raise a 200 million-man army according to our State Dept., I believe...

137 posted on 07/23/2003 11:34:35 AM PDT by Ff--150 (Hold fast the form of sound words)
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To: The Pheonix
Thanx, but I was referring to the dragon mentioned in the Bible's book of Revelation actually. Though that refers to the devil in the Bible, IMHO I believe Red China's worship, if you will, of the dragon is more than a cowinkidink with that biblical reference.

I'd forgoten about the Mandate of Heaven...

138 posted on 07/23/2003 11:47:29 AM PDT by Ff--150 (Hold fast the form of sound words)
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To: Always Right
If China were a pure communist state there would be no 'tycoon class'. The only reason China is having success is it has let some degree of capitalism in and it has elimated some of its socialsitic ways. Unfortunately China still is run by a brutal totalitarian regime.

What is more important, capitalism or representative republic and freedom? In other words is the capitalist dictatorship better than socialist democracy with powerfull middle class? What about bankrupt Latin American style oligarchy?

139 posted on 07/23/2003 12:19:39 PM PDT by A. Pole
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To: RogueIsland
Say what you will about the Chinese, but they are not historically an ignorant or uninventive people.

No, but they were very slow at innovation compared to last millenium Europe, and they have never been rapid innovators. A good portion of the power of the West and particularly the US has been its ability to innovate at blinding speed. Things just don't move that fast in Chinese culture.

Gunpowder is a good example. The Chinese had it for the better part of a millenium before the Europeans imported it. Even though the Chinese knew how to make it, after all that time they still hadn't even come close to mastering practical applications of it and it served mostly as curiosity. When the English got their hands on it, they mastered the technology in a couple generations. Remember, one of the first exports of England to China was well-engineered and functional gunpowder weaponry, less than a hundred years after bringing gunpowder to Europe. For all the time they spent at it, the Chinese never came close to producing anything like what the Europeans figured how to make in a matter of decades.

The Chinese had a huge head start on the Europeans technologically, but innovated at a very slow rate. When the Europeans finally wandered out of their primitive dark ages, they brought with them a culture that could innovate and adopt technology at a startling rate. This ability allowed them to catch up to and surpass all the advanced cultures in the world very quickly technology-wise, despite their late start.

140 posted on 07/23/2003 12:48:45 PM PDT by tortoise (All these moments lost in time, like tears in the rain.)
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To: tortoise
The lack of technological innovation in Chinese civilization was the result of a tremendous luxury Imperial China enjoyed. No civilized enemies. The constant arms race since the invention of the crossbow that triggered Western technological progress was the result of Europe having three or so major powers (England, France, the Hapsburgs/Holy Roman Empire) and occasionally dangerous ambitious wannabees to balance things (Holland, Prussia, Venice, Sweden, Saxony, etc). A major military innovation could turn a wannabee into major player and a major player into an empire.

Also, Northern Sung China came within an inch of an industrial revolution. The key to firearms isn't gunpowder. It's making good, cheap metal. The development of the coking process for making purer, stronger, cheaper iron made the mass conscript armies and plentiful artillery of the Napoleonic Wars possible. Chinese entrepreneurs were beginning to create large scale iron production enterprises. But the imperial bureaucracy, fearing a rival bourgeous class, had them shut down. So China never had a chance to develop the firearms that might have stopped the Mongols. To them technological innovation was suspect and potentially dangerous.

Modern China had a tremendous advantage that Russia did not. It had that enormous pool of talent and wealth to draw from; the overseas Chinese. Their role cannot be understated. Chinese wherever they go practice the higher return Jewish model (high education, the professions, retail business ownership) instead of the lower return Irish-Italian-Black model (sports, entertainment, organized crime, machine politics, civil service). As such China will be vastly more formidable than the Soviet Union ever was. Try as they might the Russians just can't seem to get past a Mafia model of capitalism. They have yet to produce world quality export goods.

China will always have a strong state capitalist sector of the economy. That is their culture. Chinese civilization is built around organized water control on a massive scale from the rice paddy to two enormous rivers that do great damage with great loss of life when dikes or canals are neglected. Libertarianism is only for people or societies that think the world is a safe place and China is none such.

I think it incredibly significant when people like Kissinger are flatly saying that if the level of offshoring continues America will not be a great power a generation from now. People who can see past the next quarter are scared.
141 posted on 07/23/2003 3:09:13 PM PDT by Tokhtamish
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To: tortoise
What you are basically saying is "Racial white superiority"

which is pure emotional prejudice, Nazi kind of stuff

Any scientific evidence to back it up ?

Bell Curve ? Anything ?
142 posted on 07/23/2003 8:19:30 PM PDT by The Pheonix
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To: Tokhtamish
You hit the nail on the head. Spot on

"Neccessity is the Mother of Invention"

The Chinese Emperor does not feel the need to progress any further. China was the top dog, the only superpower in her part of the world, East Asia for the last several millenia. The Japanese was not a threat. The Japanese samurai class prevented the use of firearms as it violates the spirit of the Bushido, and the supremecy of the sword---only cowardly scum uses firearms. Similarly in China, the Kung Fu warriors regarded the firearms as coward's weapons.

Without any credible enemies, China felt over-confident and became covered in a time warp, and stagnated while the west progressed and modernized. The Western powers realized the importance of Scientific research into weaponry and spent lots of money into it.

The Chinese Qing Dynasty was on the other hand keen to keep the people poor and stupid so that it could continue its rule---if the people were educated and smart they would question the "Mandate of Heaven" and rebel. The Qing were Manchu conquerors of China, you see. One British General wrote in 1890 that the Chinese emperor was so fearful of the Han Chinese people having good quality artillary with which they could use to fight Qing that all the Chinese artillary were of poor quality, with the cannon more likely to explode in the faces of the artillarymen themselves. The Qing Manchu Army had a fearsome cavalry ,you see.

The feudal Emperor did not provide any universal education to the people, unlike Europe which went all-out to educate the people.

The feudal Emperor did not spend any money on R&D on weaponry
143 posted on 07/23/2003 10:18:40 PM PDT by The Pheonix
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To: The Pheonix
What you are basically saying is "Racial white superiority" which is pure emotional prejudice, Nazi kind of stuff. Any scientific evidence to back it up ? Bell Curve ? Anything ?

I'm not going to waste words with you, so here it goes:

Read what I wrote. What makes you think I'm white? If you didn't have your head up your ass and actually read just a little bit of history, you would realize that the primary differences in the development curves between, say, the Chinese and the Europeans was cultural and social. Which is what I stated. The Europeans were very backward for a long time in terms of science and technology, but due to various social and cultural factors (no real centralization of power being very important), they adapted much more quickly than most other cultures. It wasn't that they were so damn brilliant, but that the decentralized power structure made them highly adaptive and fostered a free market of ideas, even if they were too backward to develop many of the original core technologies themselves. The real important difference was that the Europeans were vastly better at metalwork and machining than anyone else even in the dark ages, and capitalized on this fact immensely.

Which essentially proves that you are not only illiterate, but ignorant as well. If I want to hear from a drooling imbecile, I'll ask for it. I don't need to hear whatever baseless and self-righteous assertions you can pull out of your ass. I have neither the time nor patience for it.

Do you even have an excuse?

144 posted on 07/24/2003 12:50:34 AM PDT by tortoise (All these moments lost in time, like tears in the rain.)
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To: Tokhtamish
Chinese entrepreneurs were beginning to create large scale iron production enterprises. But the imperial bureaucracy, fearing a rival bourgeous class, had them shut down.

The problem in a nutshell. Europe eventually came into its own in no small part because there was very limited centralization of power. While they started way behind the curve, outside technologies really fueled and bootstrapped what was otherwise a (relatively) highly competitive free market system with a mediocre educational basis. Europe was never amenable to centralization and this made it very competitive. For a while, the Catholic church came close to making Europe share the fate of China, but it slipped through their fingers as well. China was very advanced, but the environment wasn't competitive which dampened progress. Europe was backward but also highly competitive and adaptive, and only needed to be primed with someone else's technologies.

The Europeans had difficulty developing the core technologies, but the social, political, and cultural climate allowed them to exploit the core technologies developed by other peoples despite their initial barbarian status, allowing them to bootstrap to the same level as other cultures rather quickly.

145 posted on 07/24/2003 1:03:39 AM PDT by tortoise (All these moments lost in time, like tears in the rain.)
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To: tortoise
at the end of the day, you will stand by your opinion, and I will stand by mine. That's our respective birth-rights.We also have the right to just ignore each other in the future. Isn't that wonderful ?

that's the beauty of a democracy, that's real "freedom of speech"

let's just agree to leave it at that
146 posted on 07/24/2003 4:32:53 AM PDT by The Pheonix
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To: RogueIsland
The Chinese had moveable type in 1045 A.D. They were making paper perhaps has early as 5 A.D., but certainly by 105 A.D. They invented Gunpowder in the eighth century. They were using magnetic compasses for marine navigation by the 11th century.

And what else?

American innovations and achievements can fill a room full of encyclopedias. The Chinese rockets couldn't get off the pad until Clinton gave them the know-how.

Chinese achievements wouldn't fill a small notebook. The reason why is because the people have been living under various dictatorships for a thousand years. A dictatorship does not create a setting for creativity. Need proof?

Look at the Chinese descendents working here in our country - creative, intelligent and innovative.

China will always be a second rate country until it throws off the dictatorship. A compass does not make a people special.

147 posted on 07/24/2003 6:08:17 AM PDT by sergeantdave
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To: Quix; Enemy Of The State
<< And they are ruthless, relentless, persistent and patient about revenge. >>

But they also suffer psychopathological hesperophobia, of the kind that, for example, makes them all cringe with humiliation every time they remember that a hundred-odd years ago, a handful of Englishmen in a few wooden ships at the end of a ten-thousand miles long supply line took on the Middle Kingdom and soundly whipped its arse.

That's why they are still making anguished films about mindless barbarians, ang moh kwi and gwai loh forcing opium [Then as ordinary a commodity as is, say, perrier water today] on them -- and will be in another hundred and fifty years time.

It is also why they have about done looting Hong Kong, which on July 1 1997 comprised 27.5% of "china's" net worth -- and now doesn't amount to a hill of beans -- and why they will inevitably brutally, barbarically and savagely repress any real movement toward independence there in a way that will make the slaughter of Tiananmen Square's four thousand look like a disagreement among friends.

And they are cringing cravenly-cowardly bullies which is why although they will most certainly slaughter Hong Kong's unarmed and innocent once-FRee-British-Hong-Kong Citizens by the thousands, should they feel the need, they will not touch the FRee Men of the FRee Republic of China on Taiwan unless with massive mass-destructive [Nuclear] force.

Knowing as they do that should they try to take Taiwan by any means other than behind weapons of mass destruction, Taiwan's FRee Men will kick their much-vaunted billion plus arses all the way to Kunming -- and beyond! As, all those scores of years ago, did that handful of Englishmen they cannot get out of their minds.
148 posted on 07/24/2003 6:28:33 AM PDT by Brian Allen ( Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God - Thomas Jefferson)
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To: Brian Allen
Your emotion is quite understandable.

However, Taiwan personnel need to shore up/improve their personal disciplines . . . especially in terms of training, maintenance etc. of advanced military equipment.

Experts I have known involved extensively in trying to train etc. Taiwan personnel in the maintenance and operation of advanced military equipment found it almost impossible.

Persistently the personnel would excuse their laziness by: "It's not the Chinese way. We don't do it that way."

When "that way" was something as basic as reading the manual, doing the training and such basic things as cleaning, greasing etc. the mechanical equipment.

Thankfully, most of the Dah Lu personnel are probably as bad or worse. But I'm not that impressed with how well Taiwan personnel are likely to defend that precious island.

Prayer still seems like Taiwan's only hope.
149 posted on 07/24/2003 7:45:35 AM PDT by Quix (PLEASE SHARE THE TRUTH RE BILLDO AND SHRILLERY FAR AND WIDE)
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To: Quix
The Manchu Qing Emperor avoided committing all his military to fight the British in the 1800s, thinking that he could buy the foreign invaders off with money, as the Chinese had traditionally done. The Manchu Qing was peserving his best armies to oppress the Han Chinese who comprised 95% of the population, for Qing knew that the Han were plotting a major rebellion, thru the secret societies. Besides , Qing Dynasty was weakened by the huge Taiping Rebellion. The Emperor only ordered his brother prince Kung to do one battle with the Beritish with a 20,000 strong Manchu cavalry, near Peking. And indeed the Manchu Emperor paid the British with many millons in silver to try to buy them off. Qing was more interested in maintianing/preserving their Dynasty

The cowardly ,decadent Manchu Emperor fled Peking rather han fight the British, (unlike his ancestors ,Manchus who were great warriors, managing even to conquer China from the Ming). If the Emperor was a full-blooded Han Chinese , he would had fought the British to the last. These British sure had cow's luck on their side
150 posted on 07/24/2003 8:10:59 AM PDT by The Pheonix
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