Category Archives: Today in China

KOREA PEACE MARCH (MAY 14, 2 PM)

Sunday, May 15 2017

2 PM

March for Peace

@

Front of Sejong Culture Center

Gwanghwamun, Seoul

 

MAY 14 PEACE MARCH

The Korea Peace Movement and the Asia Institute are holding a March for Peace on Sunday, May 15, starting at 2 PM in front of the Sejong Culture in Gwanghwamun, Seoul.

 

We live in an age in which conflict and destruction has torn so many countries apart and there is a real threat of world war if we do not make an effort to promote peaceful cooperation and offer up a peaceful model for how we can combine forces to address the tremendous challenges of our age.

 

Please do join us for this march and show that world that it is not enough to stand by in silence, we must actively wage peace.

 

Labor and Slavery using Chinese (the case of the “coolies”)

cheap-chinese-labour-cartoon

Emanuel Pastreich

February 25, 2017

We are increasingly seeing a return to cruel and inhuman approach to human labor that produced industrial slavery in the 19th century. In effect, humans were used as a complement to the coal-driven engine for their physical strength at that time.We are seeing such actions taken regarding humans now tied to the computer-driven global economy.

The exploitation of Africans then is well known. That of Chinese, less so. This passage from the book “American Involvement in the Coolie Trade” is most revealing. Of course American companies are still involved in similar exploitation of Chinese workers today–even at the same time that China is presented as an enemy.

People seeking profit were able to do the most terrible things to other humans using the thinnest of arguments about how some humans where less equal than others, and they did it for centuries. I wanted to believe that humans have a strand of goodness in them that can be awakened when confronted with truth, but it turns out that such a process only works on rare occasions.

If we look at the slave trade, the British captured people and sent them over piled in boats knowing that half would die on the trip.But the profits were sufficient to do it for three hundred years.The move against slavery only emerged slowly and was only successful because the industrial revolution made slavery less profitable.

The passage below describes the guano caves where Chinese slave labor was forced to work. Guano is the piles of excrement of seabirds, seals or bats and has a high concentration of nitrogen and phosphates that make it a perfect fertilizer for intense farming. So also were Chinese drafted into the whaling industry which slaughtered whales to the edge of extinction in the pursuit of their oil which was used for lighting. That whale oil trade was the forerunner of the petroleum industry which continues to dominate our economy.

The irrational drive for profit at any cost, to the degree that it became obsessive, was the topic of Herman Meville’s novel Moby Dick. The captain of the boat Pequod in Moby Dick is the captain Ahab, who remarks,

“All my means are sane, my motive and my object mad.”

The point of Ahab’s comment is that his drive to catch the whale, as part of an increasingly crazed consumer culture, is completely insane, but each and every step along the way seems quite logical, even coldly rational. No doubt the coolie trade was quite similar.

American Involvement in the Coolie Trade

by

Shih-shan H. Tsai

page 54

The treatment of the Chinese coolies on board ship was even more inhuman. The transport ships were usually badly equipped and overcrowded. Food was poor and sanitary facilities lacking. Brutal Treatment of the coolies was often reported. The American ship “Waverly” bound from Sawtow to Callao, Peru, with 450 coolies on board, was a good example. On October 27, 1855, while preparations were being made to buy the body of Mr. F.O. Wellman, the captain of the ship, at Carito, Philippines, the coolies believed that they had arrived at their destination. They wished to go on shore and attempted. to take possession of the boats in order to do so. The new captain, to prevent this, fired into them. The crew, fearing a revolt, armed themselves. The Chinese were, after a struggle, driven below and the hatches closed up, and “on opening them soem twelve or fourteen hours afterwards it was found that nearly three hundred of the unfortunate beings had perished by suffocation.”

Many coolies could not endure the treatment they recieved. Some of them committed suicide while the militant ones instigated mutinies. Many of the coolies stabbed themselves with pieces of wood, or hung themselves to the masts of guano ships, “while three hundred, in 1856, drowned themselves in the ocean during a single day off hte Guano Islands near the coast of Peru.” Mutinies frequently erupted when the coolies discovered they had been tricked into contract bondage.

Angry and desperate coolies butchered crew and officers, and often set fires aboard their ships in mid-passage. One case of mutiny that attracted the attention of the United States government occured aboard the American ship “Robert Brown,” sailing from Amoy in 1852. “Four hundred Chinese emigrants had been enticed aboard the vessel normally bound for San Francisco. When they discovered that they had been deceived and were being carried into contract service in another country, they mutinied and killed the officers.”: Afterwards, they testified in court that they had been promised four dollars a month as hired laborers and not as contract laborers.

file:///C:/Users/Administrator/Desktop/12011679494.pdf

A Modern Romance of the Three Kingdoms

The great three-way battle after the end of the Han Dynasty for control of the realm under heaven in ancient China forms a  perfect parallel for the current geopolitical rivalry between the United States, Russia and China.

Back in the second century A.D. the states of  Wei, Shu and Wu competed with each other in an effort to unify China and establish their political authority.

In a previous age, there was some resistance to this analogy because the United States considered itself to be in a special class, but with the rise of Donald Trump, and the cultural degradation of the United States, the analogy is rather apt.

Here is my own analogy for the three states of ancient China. Tell me what you think.

Sun Quan (孫權) the King of the State of Wu (吴)

800px-sun_quan_wu

Is the equivalent of Donald Trump, Emperor of the United States

donald-trump

Liu Bei (劉備) King of the State of Shu ( 蜀)

liu-bei

Is the equivalent of Xi Jinping, Emperor of China

xi152way

Cao Cao (曹操) King of the State of Wei 魏

cao-cao

Is the equivalent of Vladimir Putin, Emperor  of Russia

vladimirputin_c0-84-3676-2227_s885x516

 

“Chinese Dream: Western Imitation or Radical Alternative?” (Foreign Policy in Focus August 12, 2016)

Foreign Policy in Focus

“Chinese Dream: Western Imitation or Radical Alternative?”

August 12, 2016

 

 

Emanuel Pastreich

 

 

When I arrived in Nanjing to attend a conference recently, I asked the student assigned to show me around whether he could take me to the famed Confucian temple Fuzimiao in the old city. It was my first visit to Nanjing, and I wanted to explore its back streets and perhaps stop at a traditional tea house.

I knew Nanjing — or Jinling as it was known before the Ming Dynasty —even though I had never visited before. I had read many poems set in Nanjing when studying Chinese literature at the University of Tokyo and at Harvard University. The landscape of the Qinghuai River was familiar to me from seventeenth-century miscellanies, and I had fantasized about the sprawling mansions of Nanjing in the eighteenth century when I read the novel Dream of the Red Chamber in college.

But my quest for traces of old Jinling in the frenetic streets of contemporary Nanjing was a failure. All traditional buildings around the Fuzimiao Confucian Temple have been torn down and replaced with bland concrete buildings housing fast food restaurants and shops selling t-shirts. Although some stores had fine teas, for the most part the food and the gear available was not much different from that found in Bangkok, or in Los Angeles for that matter. Nothing was manufactured in Nanjing. The city has lost its community of artisans and craftsmen, not to mention its poets and novelists.

The interior of the Fuzimiao Confucian Temple did not feel authentic. The walls were formed from poured concrete, not stone or plaster. The woodwork was cut by rough hands, and the corners where the floor met the walls were not carefully finished. The furniture was poorly crafted and the calligraphy hanging on the walls mediocre.

I found no grand history that afternoon in Nanjing, nothing like the relics of an inspiring past that you find at Notre Dame in Paris or around the Todaiji Temple in Nara. I got the impression from some explanations that I read that Nanjing’s past is something that Chinese are obligated to read about, but not much in that civilization is relevant to the present day.

My student guide was extremely helpful in the search for a traditional teahouse, but I came away with a feeling of deep sadness that so much of traditional China has been lost—not so much because of the Cultural Revolution but from the growth of a ruthless consumer culture. This sadness was most certainly not sentimentality.

The true tragedy is that China had at one time offered the world the most sophisticated system for supporting a complex bureaucracy and a large population entirely on the basis of fully sustainable organic agriculture. When the American agronomist F. H. King wrote the bookFarmers of Forty Centuries, or Permanent Agriculture in China, Korea, and Japan in 1911, he argued that East Asia offered a model for truly sustainable agriculture that the United States should adopt as soon as possible. Tragically, China has imported the lethal American mix of fertilizer and pesticides that makes nothing sustainable. The Chinese wisdom of agriculture has been lost on young people at exactly the moment it is most needed.

So also, the Chinese traditions of modesty and low consumption, respect for the elderly, and personal humility have tremendous appeal as an alternative to a ruthless consumer society. But if you come to China looking for these virtues, you will be disappointed.

 

The West Dreams of China

Many Westerners are seeking in China an alternative to the deep malaise that infects Western culture. It was a similar impetus that inspired me to study Chinese literature: a disillusionment with the materialism and militarism that were slowly eating away at the institutions that make up the United States. Confucianism, Buddhism, and Daoism offer Americans an alternative to a society in which the individual’s every action is calculated in monetary terms.

I was inspired by China as a student because of the appeal of frugality and the commitment to the unity of learning and ethical practice. Many of the great Confucian scholars made it a practice only to eat what they needed and to refrain from indulgence. Even well-off Chinese avoided waste and ostentation and considered literature and philosophy to be the highest calling. China represented a civilization dedicated to tranquility in which villages maintained a careful harmony with nature that assured their survival for centuries.

But when I visit China today, I find the same blind worship of the false gods that I wanted to leave behind in the United States. I am shocked to see the pointless waste of food at restaurants in China, and the impulsive, needless purchase of unnecessary products and accessories by Chinese. Such actions would have been seen as shameful by Chinese 100 years ago—and such consumption is shameful today in this age of radical climate change. Today most young Chinese throw away plastic bottles and bags like their American peers, without a thought for the consequences.

Most tragically, Chinese bureaucrats also evaluate success according to the same twisted economic theories and fetishisms that have done such damage in the West. Chinese are drawn to fancy department stores packed with disposable goods, and they view flashy fighter planes as symbols of national power. I am sensitive to this shift because as an American I have watched my own country lose its way, its citizens seeking shelter from the harsher realities of society in consumer fantasies.

America has failed miserably to set an ethical model for the world. Not only has my country engaged in a series of illegal wars for over almost two decades, Americans have become so narcissistic that they make no effort to set higher standards for the world to follow in terms of environmental policy or their concern for those who do not have the benefits of wealth.

China, meanwhile, is setting the pace for developing nations around the world today. The nations of Africa and Asia turn to China as a model of successful development and receive an increasing amount of aid from Beijing. China has an impact on the world unlike any other country because one out of five people live in China. China’s culture is impacting nations in Africa and South America directly, and many from developing nations are scrambling to learn Chinese.

China has the tremendous wisdom and depth in its culture, a long tradition of sustainable agriculture and low-consumption intellectual engagement that could provide an alternative for development. China is not offering a fundamental alternative to the consumption-based U.S. model.

 

The Chinese Dream

Many Chinese imagine a strong China that can stand up for its interests and leave behind forever the humiliations it suffered after the Opium Wars (1839-1842; 1856-1860). The desire on the part of Chinese to build up national strength to resist foreign powers is understandable. Unfortunately, the assertion of national power often takes the form of imitating the trappings of national power so loved by the United States, such as the building of aircraft carriers and tanks, rather than a commitment to addressing real security threats like climate change.

The debate in China has been whether China should further embrace neoliberalism, or revive its Maoist traditions. The return to traditional approaches to economics, ecology, and governance have not been considered as a third way. President Xi Jinping introduced the “Chinese Dream” in the midst of the debate on how far to take Chinese globalization.

Xi used the term “Chinese Dream” (Zhongguomeng) in November 2012 after the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, predicting a “rejuvenation of China” that would take the form of “a dream of the whole nation, as well as of every individual.” Although the dream was presented as a spiritual challenge to citizens to work together for a better country, and a better world, for many Chinese the “Chinese dream” means simply a rich China packed with big cars, long highways, soaring skyscrapers, and stores packed with consumer goods. They dream of a day that they can eat at expensive restaurants and order so much food that they leave piles of it behind. Many see Chinese see the Western good life as progress even as we observe all around us signs of impending doom.

We should not glorify traditional China, given the rigidity of Confucian teaching in the late imperial period and the severe limitations on the activities of women. At the same time, Chinese should see their past not as something to overcome but as an inspiration for the future. Chinese culture assumed that students were to be trained to read poetry from childhood and should study ethics and philosophy, rather than business administration and marketing. Intellectuals were expected to maintain a commitment to society and to good governance, and government officials were expected to be intellectuals who valued the humanities above all. What we need is something closer to what E. F. Schumacher referred to as the “middle way” between “materialist heedlessness” and “traditional immobility” in his book Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered.

China did not grow economically by exploiting the peoples of the world and their natural resources in the way that Europeans and Americans did, and still do. Perhaps we can imagine a world in the future in which China, rather than joining the club of rapacious globalists, returns to its original roots in a sustainable economy that values the humanities and wisdom above all, and reinterpret this as a “Chinese dream” for all Chinese as well as for the developing world.

The Chinese must incorporate into their dream a focus on long-term economic and environmental justice — values that in many respects form the core of the Confucian and Daoist tradition. China should draw on its tradition of ecology and political ethics as the foundation for a new worldview that offers alternatives to “economic growth” metrics and “consumer indexes.” China has the philosophical foundations — the aesthetic — required to build such an intellectual institution. Chinese in the Ming and Qing dynasty were entirely capable of formulating and implementing agricultural and irrigation plans spanning centuries.

Perhaps the rediscovery of traditional Chinese concepts of sustainable agriculture will serve as the necessary stimulus to create a “synthesis that will fuse economics and environmentalism in a way that fundamentally reorients both disciplines,” as John Feffer suggested in his article “The New Marx.” The question is whether Chinese are ready to recognize the treasure that they already hold in their hands.

Whether China is equipped to play a lead role in the world is not relevant. China has been thrust to center stage by circumstances, ready or not. The deep decay of American culture over the last three decades, combined with the striking irresponsibility of American intellectuals, has left the United States embroiled in international and domestic problems that will prevent it from such central role in the international community, regardless of what American media may say.

China is the only country that has the financial assets, the expertise in the sciences, the scale and the depth in its institutions and culture to play such a global role. Moreover, because China was a hegemon in Asia, but not a colonial power in the sense that England, France, Spain, and Germany were, there is a chance that China will promote a level playing field around the world. But that last point is far from guaranteed. The critical question is whether China has the creativity and the moral authority to stand back from the excitement of wealth and power and critically assess how its traditional culture offers a viable alternative for both China and the world.

The majority of Chinese still have not grasped the fact that it is now China’s responsibility, and not merely its opportunity, to advocate for the rule of law, for a peaceful world, and for a better sustainable future around the world. Some countries choose to offer an alternative, and some countries have that responsibility thrust upon them. China finds itself in the latter position, and the world awaits China’s decision.

 

The Future of “One Belt One Road”

Exactly at this moment, when China is called upon to play a central role in the global economy, the country has launched its “One Belt One Road” project. China has invited nations from around the world to participate in this project to promote integration and cooperation among the nations of Eurasia.

The “One Belt One Road” has focused on infrastructure and resource development so far. These projects can sometimes be useful for developing a sustainable future, but in many cases are not. Emphasis has been placed on increasing the flow of oil, gas, and other raw materials into China to fuel further growth and investment. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the New Silk Road Fund (NSRF), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Silk Road Gold Fund, and the Mining Industry Development Fund have little to do with preserving the environment. This drive towards consumption as national strength does not bode well as Chinese consumption of food and fuel has such an impact on the entire world, as Lester Brown has demonstrated in his book Who will Feed China?

Still, the project is just beginning, and China may ultimately use this project to establish new institutions, policies, and habits that lead the Earth in the right direction.

“One Belt One Road” is an unprecedented opportunity for two reasons. It is an opportunity to establish a new international community that follows directly the prescriptions of the United Nations charter, a tradition that has been all but forgotten in Europe and the United States. But it also offers us the possibility of establishing institutions for global governance appropriate to a densely integrated Earth that are not dominated by private equity funds and multinational corporations in the manner that the World Bank is.

The “One Belt One Road” project requires global cooperation and cannot be dictated by China. That fact also offers a rare chance to create new institutions of consensus that are not run by superpowers, but that potential can only be realized if other nations take the project seriously as a plan for humanity, not just a chance to make money.

China should also think more profoundly about the common term for this project, the “new silk road.” The term “silk road” harkens back to the overland trade between China and the rest of Eurasia in the Tang Dynasty through trading centers such as Samarkand and Andijon and over the sea route connecting China with India, Persia, and Africa. But the silk road was not just about money and trade. The silk road also refers to the profound cultural exchanges between China, central Asia, India, and Persia that resulted in the flowering of Buddhist philosophy, the exquisite murals of the Dunhuang Caves, the delicate porcelain and sculpture of Changan, and the lyrical poetry of Li Bai and Du Fu in Tang Dynasty that set the course for the rest of Chinese literary history.

Might this new silk road avoid the well-worn path of Western-style economic development and put its sights on achieving the highest levels of cultural expression? Or could it put more emphasis on organic farming than on building dozens of new airports? Might joint projects to improve the production of sustainable energy replace the extraction of fuel and metals?

At the moment there are few indications of such a shift. But China has demonstrated such radical transformations in the past. China has the solution in its past, although many Chinese are unaware of it. Perhaps China’s past offers that last opportunity for our tortured world.

Read more of this post

“The poor Chinese book section” (JoongAng Daily June 8, 2016)

JoongAng Daily

“The poor Chinese book section”

June 8, 2016

 

Emanuel Pastreich

 

 

I visited a big bookstore in Gwanghwamun last week looking for some recent books written in Chinese about politics and economics.

Since May 16, the fiftieth anniversary of the launch of the Cultural Revolution in China, there has been a very heated debate within China about the legacy of Mao Zedong, which includes a diverse range of opinions. I have read a bit on the Internet about recent debates in China and I wanted to read in a bit more detail.

The foreign books section of the mammoth bookstore has been remodeled recently and I was told that there would be a Chinese book section a few months ago. That made sense. After all, there is a substantial population of Koreans who read Chinese and many Koreans take a strong interest in contemporary China. Moreover, the Chinese population of Seoul has increased not only in terms of tourists, but also in terms of exchange students and long-term residents.

But the Chinese book section that I found at the bookstore is one of the poorest collections of books I have ever seen. The Chinese books are hidden away in a corner of the Japanese book section without any signage indicating that the books are in the Chinese language. Unless you asked an employee, you would not know this section existed.

There are only seven shelves of Chinese language books, and Chinese language textbooks take up the top two shelves. The remaining shelves are filled with Chinese translations of foreign books by notable authors like Murakami Haruki and J. K. Rowling — and a biography of Barack Obama and a few Chinese translations of the Bible.  Read more of this post

Renminbi’s new status and its implications

The Chinese renminbi has been added to the basket of global currencies making up the International Monetary Fund’s special drawing rights (SDRs).

Stratfor notes in this article that this is the first time ever that a currency of a nation not allied with the US is included. Previously only

US dollar, the British pound, the Japanese yen & the euro were in SDR.

See article below:

https://www.stratfor.com/sample/weekly/china-and-changing-global-economic-order

The significance is tremendous and I would suggest that the US has no choice at this point but to come to an understanding at a high level with China concerning economic cooperation–and cooperation on the environment, security and many other fields as well.

“中国文化在公共外交中的角色” 贝一明 演讲于 上海国际问题研究院

China edited_1

研讨会

贝一明 Emanuel Pastreich 亚洲研究所 所长 为主

“中国文化在公共外交中的角色”

上海国际问题研究院

2015年 6月 23日 (星期二) 10:30-11:30  AM Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (SIIS) 上海国际问题研究院 上海市徐汇区田林路195弄15号 邮编:200233

WHAT DEMOCRACY MEANS TO US?

 

A SEMINAR ON DEMOCRACY IN EAST ASIA BY MEMBERS OF PEACE EAST ASIA

 

 

PRODUCED BY:

PEACE EAST ASIA

WITH THE SUPPORT OF

THE ASIA INSTITUTE

 

 AI logo small

Participants:

 

Discussion Members:

Jingyu GAO  (China)

LeoYao LU  (China)

Myeongsu Ryu TODA  (ROK)

Sunny Chan Yiu LAM  (HK)

Shi Pong LEE  (HK)

Yumiko SHIMOGAKI  (Japan)

 

Moderator:

Emanuel Pastreich (United States)

(Director, The Asia Institute)

 

(Based on a series of discussions held on October 5, November 15, November 22, and December 6, 2014)

 

 

Opening Remarks by Emanuel Pastreich (United States)

This seminar presented us with a valuable opportunity to learn about each other, and also to learn about our own perspectives and our own biases. We came to the question of democracy, and specifically the case of Hong Kong, with a general impression the issue based on how we saw it presented in the media. But in fact that are many aspects of politics in Hong Kong and of democracy today that we do not understand all that well. The very term “democracy” is not a given like “tomato” or “oxygen” but rather a vague term subject to an infinite number of interpretations. The value of this effort by youth from many different countries to create a platform for an honest and non-political discussion about the important issues of our age is critical to our future and it is an honor to be here today for this event.

I was struck by the sincerity of the questions raised and the care of the responses given in the course of this discussion. There was a sincerity that was striking about the discussion and I was touched by the clear desire of the students to understand the problems in Hong Kong in a larger context. By extending their discussion to all of Asia, and avoiding a narrow definition of democracy, they have opened the way to a constructive dialog that will extend to the rest of Asia, and to the world.

Youth in Hong Kong are facing incredible pressures. They face economic pressures related to the breakdown of the economic system that supported their parents; political pressures related to the immense influence that other nations have on Hong Kong because of its links to global capital; social pressures related to an aging society and the profound alienation among young people today. Read more of this post

“Revising U.S. Grand Strategy Toward China” (Council on Foreign Relations)

Here a link to the special report from Carnegie Endowment entitled

“Revising U.S. Grand Strategy Toward China”

 

Council on Foreign Relations

 

(by Robert D. Blackwill & Ashley J. Tellis)

 

which has been much discussed recently.

 

I have not read it all, but it strikes me as a rather complex document. In parts it seems rather positive in direction:

“In this context, take into account the negative consequences for each
country’s formidable domestic challenges if the United States and
China seriously mismanage their relationship. Imagine the tumultuous
effects on the global economy. Consider the dramatic increase in tension
throughout Asia and the fact that no country in this vast region
wants to have to choose between China and the United States. Envision
the corrosive impact on U.S.-China collaboration on climate change.
Picture the fallout over attempts to deal with the nuclear weapons programs of North Korea and Iran.”

“With this in mind, the U.S.-China discourse should be more
candid, high level, and private than current practice—no rows of officials
principally trading sermons across the table in Washington or
Beijing. Bureaucracies wish to do today what they did yesterday, and
wish to do tomorrow what they did today. It is, therefore, inevitable
that representatives from Washington and Beijing routinely mount
bills of indictment regarding the other side. All are familiar with these
calcified and endlessly repeated talking points.”

But at the same time there are multiple sections in which a militaristic response, a modified containment policy, is proposed without any particular justification.

As I have said before, China is 1 in 5 people in the world. It is integrated into the global economy at every level. There is no containment possible. But don’t worry, there is plenty of work to do. Start with climate change. Climate change is mentioned only three times in the document, and there only as one of a list of areas for possible cooperation.

Read more of this post

“Under the Dome” Remarkable Chinese documentary released about the air pollution crisis

“Under the Dome”

Remarkable Chinese documentary released about the air pollution crisis

柴静 雾霾调查 “同呼吸共命运”

The journalist and filmmaker Chai Jing 柴静 left her position at CNTV in 2014 to devote herself to producing a detailed documentary about air pollution in China at her own expense. This remarkable film, “Under the Dome: We Breath together and share a common fate” (Qiongding zhi xia: Tong huxi gong mingyun  穹顶之下 同呼吸共命运) presents a blunt and brutal assessment of the tremendous impact of air pollution on China today and its far-reaching implications for health and for society and culture as a whole.

When I watched the documentary, I was struck by the careful explanation of scientific and geological aspects of air pollution and the discussion of the impact of coal and other pollutants on the atmosphere.

The comparisons with other nations were also striking, suggesting a truly new sense of China’s role in the world.

The film opens with Chai Jing showing an ultrasound picture of her daughter before she was born and relating her expectations. Her daughter was born with a lung tumor. The film closes with a view of the earth from outer space suggesting just how small this globe it. Chai Jing imagines that although she might die and leave this world, her child would still be there on earth. The implication being that we cannot assume that just because we may avoid climate change, that our children will. Or more importantly, that we share our earth with future generations we have not met.

Video Link:

link 

My friend from YAP  (Young Ambassadors Program) Gao Jingyu has worked closely with the Asia Institute. He wrote from  Beijing:

“Yesterday the hottest news on Chinese media was an documentary on the environment made and sponsored independently by a well-known woman journalist. She conducted remarkable in-depth research about the smog that is engulfing China.

Some of the issues touched on such as governance and inefficiency in the energy industry were previously considered so sensitive that noone would dare to expose them. But with Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign in full swing these days the whole story has come out. The video has been re-tweeted over 30 million times, and more, and it is being discussed everywhere in the country. This is the first time I came to feel a strong civic common sense—such as I’ve never experienced before, at least in China. I expect this film can have as much impact as the Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring” did for the United States now in my country.

All I can say is

“STOP POLLUTING AND MAKE THE BLUE SKY RETURN”

 Hope the English translation of this documentary will be released shortly on YouTube.”

It is a very exciting moment to see such enthusiasm, but not a moment too soon. I have seen such devotion among the members of Future Forest 未来林 in the past and it has inspired me. For me it feels like this might be the first step towards China playing a true leadership role.

And in an odd sense, I think this marks the end of the Cultural Revolution legacy. Read more of this post