陳光誠事件和香港人的關係 – 李怡

May 4, 2012

For the record.

蘋論:陳光誠事件和香港人的關係 – 李怡 – 2012年05月05日

陳光誠事件帶出了幾個問題。
一,事情會如何了結?在陳光誠明確表達他要求出國的意願之後,相信這是有可能實現的。據說在中美雙方談判之初,中方談判者就聲稱陳光誠的「唯一出路是出國」。但如果陳光誠要求全家一道出國,中方可能未必馬上答應。現在中美雙方恐怕只在他一人出國還是一家出國之間的爭持。從中方的角度考慮,陳光誠只要離開中國,他就失去聚光點。流亡美國將大幅降低陳光誠對中國的影響力。這是中方樂見的。從美方來說,讓陳光誠到美國,算是體現了美國的人權和人道精神。從陳光誠本人來說,他脫離在中國的恐怖日子,可在美國過正常人的生活,儘管會有一堆適應問題。
二,陳光誠不想離開中國,前天他對美聯社說:如果安全能保障,他還是希望留下。因為離開中國就意味他將失去人生的舞台,他能為中國的人權民主所做的事不多了。靠着多年承受艱險苦難積累而成的道義、人格的影響力也會流失。然而,留在中國,縱使有很大意義,卻同時有很大危險。即使有中方的安全保證,即使陳光誠也一度同意到天津盲人大學讀書,但他從妻子口中得悉在山東受虐待,被威脅要打死她,以及他在朝陽醫院大半天沒有食物之後,他對中方的承諾失去信心。其他大陸和海外的維權人士,也都認為陳光誠留在中國不會安全。這是他改變態度的原因。
三,陳光誠若留在中國,是不是真有危險呢?在一黨專政之下,長期堅持表達異議的人,必定處於某種危險之中。但流亡海外的民運人士胡平認為,陳光誠在經歷了這次一系列事件後,他面臨的危險要比以前小很多。因為其一,媒體對他的關注度和他的知名度都大增。國際社會的關注,也達到前所未有的程度。其次,陳光誠在小小的東師古,就算被打死了,中央很容易把責任推給地方。現在中央就負上責任了。專制者擅長假手他人做壞事,一旦要他自己直接負責,他就會有所忌憚。其三,這次事件使美國深捲其中,希拉莉出面力保他安全,美國主流媒體大幅報道,美國議會舉行聽證會,共和黨總統候選人羅姆尼力促政府維護人權。總統選舉期間,美國兩黨在這件事上不敢造次,以免損害自己。
因此,胡平認為這是陳光誠留在中國繼續從事他的維權事業的好時機。然而,大多數海外民運人士和大陸維權人士卻不這麼認為。中共一向以政治需要凌駕言諾,歷史和現實的例子不勝枚舉。加上中方在中美戰略對話中又一再強調中國的核心利益(它的主要含意就是維持現有的政治體制,即一黨專政),中共對書面承諾尚會不認賬,更何況只是口頭承諾。
因此,陳光誠事件帶出的意義是:中共當局絕不可信,即使有美國保證,即使在全球媒體曝光,也不能保證異見人士在中國的安全。
四,陳光誠事件跟香港人有甚麼關係?如果你認為無關的話,那麼陳光誠與美國影星 Christian Bale有甚麼關係?為甚麼 Bale要冒被打的危險去探望他?陳光誠與那些被強迫節育墮胎的人有甚麼關係?為甚麼他要為她們維權?
陳光誠事件讓我們更認清一個專制政權的真面目,它與香港人的關係是:如果我們對種票、種人、種疑似中共黨員的特首、種共青團的官、種政協委員的律政司,對行政凌駕法律的種種行為,或掉以輕心,或鬧一陣就忘諸九霄雲外的話,那麼像陳光誠這種事情說不定哪一天也會降臨香港。

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Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon Google+ Hangout at Fox LA

May 3, 2012

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon - Fox LA Google+ Hangout - pix 08

It was my great pleasure to G+ Hangout with Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister+Danny Ayalon (Wikipedia) hosted by +Maria Quiban +Tshaka Armstrong at+myFOXla / FOX Los Angeles. The following is my question to Mr. Ayalon (I added a few words to give the readers some context).

Question: I understand you just attended the Jerusalem Post conference [in New York on Sunday Apr 29th]. And I’ve watched a video of sparks flying between Environmental Minister Gilad Erdan, and Meir Dagan, former chief of Mossad [national intelligence agency of Israel].

My question is about your view on the idea of an Israeli pre-emptive strike of Iran. Do you agree with Meir Dagan that [I paraphrase] “War is the the kind of thing where we know how it starts, but not how it will end” and Israel should exhaust all other means first before considering war?

Here is the full hangout video and you can watch my question and Mr. Ayalon’s answer (at 14:33 mark)

Background & Research material

The following are part of the research materials I gathered in order to ask an informed question. I tried to be as fair and as diplomatic as I could when asking my question without losing anything important in my question.

* May 1st, 2012 Jerusalem Post report of The Jerusalem Post Conference “Dagan and Erdan’s caustic exchange at the ‘Post’ Conference“. I’ve excerpted part of the exchange from a transcript of the acrimonious argument in a panel discussion on Israel’s security situation. To better understand the tone and context, I also found and watched a video clip of part of the exchange on YouTube. I think you get a sense of the heat from reading the words. (note: emphasis added, pix of Mr. Dagan via CBS 60 Minutes)

The Spymaster - Meir Dagan on Iran's threat - CBS 60 Minutes

An excerpt from “Dagan and Erdan’s caustic exchange at the ‘Post’ Conference“,

Keinon [Jerusalem Post’s diplomatic reporter]: But do you think it’s appropriate for him to make those kind of comments? He could have made them when he was the head of the Shin Bet (the Israel Security Agency)?

Dagan: First of all, I think he presented his position loudly and clearly about his refusal to the prime minister and defense minister. He didn’t announce it. It was in a closed room. To speak openly? (Turning to Gilad Erdan) I heard that a member of your party is now formulating a law… on behalf of my name, Dagan, preventing ex-people of the military and security establishment from speaking. Let me remind you of something, sir, what was started in Germany in the beginning.

You know how you are starting it; you don’t know how it is ending.

About Diskin, I believe that he is a very serious man and he is presenting a very serious point of view. And I know that serious point of view was presented to the prime minister and defense minister on many occasions.

[…] Erdan: Thank you very much, but I know that the Shin Bet is under the Prime Minister’s Office. (laughter) I also used to work there 15 or 16 years ago.

But the minister of defense still works together [with the prime minister], and if Yuval Diskin thought the prime minister was doing things so dangerous for the future of Israel, so in order to save Israel, he should resign, and not wait five years as head of the Shin Bet and then even agree to serve one more year.

And then, when resigning and when the prime minister does not accept his guy to be appointed as head of the Shin Bet…

Dagan:It’s not true. (boos) You are lying, sir. I am maybe not polite, but I prefer ministers of the State of Israel who speak the truth.

Erdan: I prefer that former heads of Mossad and Shin Bet won’t make damage to Israel…. That’s what I expect from you. Mr. Netanyahu goes around the world, and he never says that we are going to attack Iran, or when or where, but he is doing a lot of efforts in order to raise the awareness, and it is working.”

* Jerusalem Post Apr 29, 2012, “Dagan, Erdan trade barbs over Diskin comments

* Jerusalem Post Apr 29, 2012, “Former Shin Bet chief slams ‘messianic’ PM, Barak

* The Atlantic has an interesting and insightful piece “Netanyahu’s Bad Weekend

* National Post, “Netanyahu under fire from within over Iran strike

* CBS 60 Minutes “The Spymaster: Meir Dagan on Iran’s threat


Crisis (危機) part 2: Blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng (陳光誠) and the Chinese dark cloud of lawlessness

May 2, 2012

Yesterday I posted “Crisis (危機): Will blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng (陳光誠) break through Chinese dark cloud of lawlessness?

Today, after reading “CNN Transcript: Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng” I realized I was so wrong and wrote the following.

This is a horrible turn of event in the words of Chinese blind activist lawyer Chen Guangcheng and his wife Yuan Weijing. Reading Chen saying “(My wife) was tied to a chair by police for two days. Then they carried sticks to our home, threatening to beat her to death. Now they have moved into the house” breaks my heart and makes me realize I was wrong in thinking that Chen could and would want to stay in China.
The world is watching how the US and Chinese governments will behave tomorrow and in the next few days. I am sadly pessimistic.

I know Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will be in China Thursday (“is already”? because of time difference). All eyes will now be on Secretary Clinton and President Obama’s actions. At the moment, I am sadly pessimistic.


Crisis (危機): Will blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng (陳光誠) break through Chinese dark cloud of lawlessness?

May 1, 2012

Chen Guangcheng, blind Chinese lawyer activist recently escaped brutal and groundless Chinese detention

In Chinese the word “crisis” is “危機”, a word compose of two parts, “危” for danger and “機” for opportunity. I am serious when I asked “Will blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng (陳光誠) break through Chinese dark cloud of lawlessness?” As if by chance (and I don’t believe in “pure chance”), Guangcheng‘s Chinese name is “光誠”, “光” is light and “誠” for frankness. I am keeping my fingers crossed for all parties involved, for Chen and his family members and supporters, for the US and Chinese governments, and for the powerless Chinese citizens that rights lawyers like Chen are trying to help in China!

Here are a few latest articles about Chen Guangcheng,

* NYT editorial, “Chen Guangcheng

* CNN, “Arrests, beatings fail to deter Chinese human rights crusader Chen

Note: I think the following WaPo and CBS reporters underestimated Chen‘s desire and determination to stay in China to help powerless Chinese citizens.

* WaPo, “Chen Guangcheng must weigh loss of prominence against protection of U.S. asylum

* CBS, “High stakes for U.S. in China standoff over Chen Guangcheng

* New Yorker, “CHEN GUANGCHENG’S JOURNEY

Chen in his own words.


艾未未称当局令他拆除网络镜头

April 6, 2012

WeiWeiCam - bedroom pix

BBC, “艾未未称当局令他拆除网络镜头

RT @bengmugenr “摄像头果然下线了。难为@aiww了,整天和一帮神经病打交道。他们装摄像头看你可以,你装摄像头帮他们看你却不可以。呵呵,荒唐至极。RT@Scswga: RT @langzichn RT @thisisrui: 艾未未称当局令他拆除网络镜头”


中國走上資本主義 邊際革命之路 – Video interview Ning Wang – How China Became Capitalist, co-author with Ronald Coase Nobel Laureate in Economics

March 29, 2012

Kempton interview Ning Wang (co-author with Ronald Coase (Nobel Laureate in Economics)) re their new book How China Became Capitalist

諾貝爾經濟學獎得主高斯(Ronald Coase, 科斯)今年101歲,他與亞利桑那州立大學(Arizona State University)的Ning Wang合作出版一本花了四年時間研究和撰寫的新書(How China Became Capitalist)(我臨時中譯成為《中國微革 走上資本主義之路》)。我很高興有機會訪問Ning。這裡是我跟Ning的英文訪問。(see note 1 re book’s temp Chinese title)

I had a great interview with Ning Wang (co-author with Ronald Coase (Nobel Laureate in Economics)) to talk about their new book How China Became Capitalist. (Sample Chapter: You can download a free sample book chapter from Palgrave.)

I appreciate very much professor Wang spending over an hour sharing his insight with me about How China Became Capitalist and answering questions I have related to the Chinese economy. The following are edited clips of the video interview. By the way, feel free to share your comments and questions. When I finish reading the book, I plan to arrange another interview with Ning to talk more. And I may be able to incorporate some of the comments/questions into my next interview.

I have edited the interview into 3 clips with a list of questions/themes. Enjoy.

*** Main interview (see below for list of questions/themes)

Main interview (list of questions/themes)

Q1) Can you talk about the Shenzhen stock exchange in mid-90s where it had 300 offices for people to buy or sell stocks when the stock exchange actually had NO official permission to allow for these trades?!

Q2) China is now the world largest producer of Ph.Ds. Yet Qian Xuesen (錢學森), a most respected Chinese scientist asked a sobering question before his death in 2009 and the question is known as the “Qian Puzzle”.

“Why have Chinese universities not produced a single world-class original thinker or innovative scientist since 1949 ?”

Q3) Quoting the book,

“After more than three decades, the Chinese legal system is still far away from where it can “guarantee the equality of all people before the people’s laws and deny anyone the privilege of being above the law.”” 

This is a tough assessment which I agree with very much. Can you share your thoughts?

Q4) So far I’ve only read parts of the book but I feel more pessimistic of the possibility in seeing China makeing positive changes. I’m feeling more constrained by the history I now know. Can you share your thoughts?

Q5) I love this quote in the book,

“Capitalism with Chinese characteristics is very much like traffic in Chinese cities, chaotic and intimidating for many western tourists. Yet Chinese roads deliver more goods and transport more passengers than those in any other country.

Can you share your thoughts?

*** More in-depth questions

List of more in-depth questions/themes

Q1) China’s “Rule by Law” as opposite to the western practice of “Rule of Law“, that one word (“by” vs “of”) makes the difference of night and day! Can you share your thoughts? (see note 2)

Q2) “Do you see institutional arrangement as something culturally oriented or is base upon universally applicable principles? i.e. if every country is of certain uniqueness or that there exists a ‘one size fits all’ economic system?” [Thanks goes to my economist friend Wallace for this question.]

Q3) What is your and prof. Coase’s main discovery or new understanding gained from the years of research compare to the original understanding in 2008 when you started the research?

Q4) Can you talk about research topics that you and prof. Coase like to see more of? Any interesting puzzles worth further research?

*** Background questions about the book

List of background questions/themes about the book

Q1) Can you talk about the process of writing the book with professor Coase? I understand there was the 2008 Chicago Conference on China’s Market Transformation and then the 2010 Chicago Workshop on the Industrial Structure of Production.

Q2) I understand the book title has a history and may be traced back to 1982! Can you talk about it?

Q3) Given Ning’s Ph.D. wasn’t in Economics, how did he get to write this economics book and meet professor Coase?

How China Became Capitalist by Ronald Coase (Nobel Laureate in Economics) & Ning Wang - published Mar 23, 2012

Notes:

1) The book “How China Became Capitalist” currently does NOT have an official Chinese title. I originally translated “How China Became Capitalist” in a straight forward manner as “中國怎樣變成資本主義國家”. And then I found someone else translated it as “中國如何走向資本主義” which seems ok too. But I just realized that a good name can only come after reading the whole book which I haven’t done yet. I thought of using “中國微革 走上資本主義之路” You see, Marginal Revolution is an important concept in the book but its straight forward translation “邊際革命”  doesn’t quite work for me. I like “微革” for Marginal Revolution but I am also coining a new term here. So I am not happy but settling for “中國走上資本主義 邊際革命之路” for now. If “資本主義” is too sensitive to be used, I am ok with “中國邊際革命之路” or “中國微革之路”.

2) During the writing of this post, I found a link to a book chapter “The Institutional Diffusion of Courts in China: Evidence from Survey Data” (pdf) by Pierre F. Landry, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Yale University. This book chapter is one of the chapters in the book “Rule By Law: The Politics of Courts in Authoritarian Regimes“. While I haven’t read it, it may be something that is worth reading further.


“Hannibal and Me” 美國總統杜魯門在韓戰中大敗於中國? Harry S Truman in Korean War

February 24, 2012

Interviewing Andreas Kluth, author of Hannibal and Me, The Economist U.S. West Coast correspondent

有很多中國人都認為美國總統杜魯門在韓戰中大敗於中國手上,但“Hannibal and Me: What History’s Greatest Military Strategist Can Teach Us About Success and Failure“ 的作者 Andreas Kluth在以下短片談到他對杜魯門當時處理戰事的見解。 Andreas 是經濟學人(The Economist)的美國西岸通訊員,前駐香港通訊員。

Andreas Kluth, “Hannibal and Me” author, on Harry S Truman – interview extra