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Losing Tibet in Translation

by marco Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 06:55:02 AM EST

These following two paragraphs are from what is left of Isaac Stone Fish's February 17 Newsweek article "Charity Case -- Whether they like it or not, China has been good for Tibet" [as it was translated into Chinese and published in 参考消息 Cānkǎo Xiāoxí, China's answer to Courrier International]:

对西藏来说,中国是合适的 | 美国《新闻周刊》 2月17日文章
艾萨克 斯通 菲什
China Has Been Good For Tibet | U.S. Newsweek (February 17)
Isaac Stone Fish
原题:慈善实例Original Title: Charity Case
奥巴马总统本周与达赖喇嘛的会面充满争议,这件事已经 激怒中国。中国表示,西藏是其领土的一部分,此次会晤 是对其内政的不必要干涉。但大多数美国人仍视达赖喇嘛 为一个受中国统治压迫的民族的代表。然而事实上,中国 已经在这个多山的地区建立起了繁荣的经济。看看经济增 长、生活水平、基础设施、国内生产总值,有一件事十分 明显:对于西藏来说,中国是合适的。President Obama's controversial meeting with the Dalai Lama will take place this week. But most Americans still see the Dalai Lama as the representative of a people oppressed by Chinese rule. Despite China's many blunders in Tibet, it has erected a booming economy there. Looking at growth, standard of living, infrastructure, and GDP, one thing is clear: China has been good for Tibet.
<...> <...>
美国凯斯--西部保留地大学西藏研究中心负责人梅尔文?戈尔茨坦说:"我为这些村子花的钱感到吃惊。"戈尔茨坦发现,"医疗保险计划变得更好了,银行贷款更容易拿到了,小学和中学教育免费,水电供应也在改善"。在改善后的学校,学生们学习汉语普通话,藏人因此可以到西藏政府办公室去工作,也有机会在全中国的公司工作。"I was amazed at the amount of money actually being spent in these villages," said Melvyn Goldstein, codirector of the Center for Research on Tibet at Case Western Reserve University. Goldstein found that "health-insurance plans are getting better, bank loans are now more accessible, schooling is free for primary school and middle school, and access to electricity and water is improving." At the improved schools, students learn Mandarin, which gives Tibetans access to work opportunities in government offices in Tibet and in companies throughout China.

Bruce Humes does a nice job of highlighting which parts of Fish's original article were censored [abridged] and which parts of the 参考消息 Cānkǎo Xiāoxí version were inserted by the Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda [conscientious editors].  For example, below you can see how the above two paragraphs were edited:


Bruce Humes » Blog Archive » Newsweek via Cankao Xiaoxi: The Tibetans Have Never Had it So Good

President Obama's controversial meeting with the Dalai Lama [will take place] this week has already infuriated China and stirred up Tibet advocates who thought it should have come sooner. China says Tibet is part of its territory, and that the meeting represents an unwanted intrusion into its domestic affairs. But most Americans still see the Dalai Lama as the representative of a people oppressed by Chinese rule. Tibetans feel chafed by the restrictions on their political and religious freedoms; many are dissatisfied with Chinese rule, and this has led to widespread rioting over the past few years. They want self-determination; fair enough. But that seems to be the only story about Tibet that is ever told. The other story is that, for [Despite] China's many blunders in [Tibet] mountainous region, it has erected a booming economy there. Looking at growth, standard of living, infrastructure, and GDP, one thing is clear: China has been good for Tibet.
<...>
"I was amazed at the amount of money actually being spent in these villages," said Melvyn Goldstein, codirector of the Center for Research on Tibet at Case Western Reserve University. Through extensive rural fieldwork in the TAR, Goldstein found that "health-insurance plans are getting better, bank loans are now more accessible, schooling is free for primary school and middle school, and access to electricity and water is improving." At the improved schools, students learn Mandarin, which gives Tibetans access to work opportunities in government offices in Tibet and in companies throughout China.

Go to Humes's link see the entire article in Fish's original compared to the Cānkǎo Xiāoxí version.  It's disheartening to see what is cut out.  And in some cases puzzling.  For example, although the following paragraph offers evidence of constructive Communist Party attention to Tibet (with a plug for "a healthy eco-environment", to boot), it was removed entirely:

Last month, President Hu Jintao held the Communist Party's fifth Tibet planning conference, the first since 2001, to strategize on the upcoming years. He said that Tibetan rural income will likely match China's average by 2020. And he stressed the need for Tibet, beset by the "special contradiction" of the Dalai Lama, to develop using the "combination of economic growth, well-off life, a healthy eco-environment, and social stability and progress."

Worth reading as well is Humes's background remarks about 参考消息 Cānkǎo Xiāoxí:

The World according to Cankao Xiaoxi by Bruce Humes | Danwei.org

Cankao Xiaoxi (参考消息) is in fact a much-respected Chinese-language digest of the world press with a long history. Published nowadays for the public by Xinhua News Agency, until the 1980s the only eyeballs that scanned these pages were those of elite party cadres who received this sensitive, "internal-circulation" publication featuring reportage and opinion from the outside world. Claimed daily circulation exceeds several million. As a publishing consultant, I generally take such figures with several grains of salt, but in just about every city I've been throughout China, Cankao Xiaoxi is on the newsstand early in the morning, and often sold out by early afternoon.

Unlike many other publications in China, Cankao Xiaoxi implements strict standards for translation: Virtually no English is used, no content is added, and politically incorrect terms - such as the Republic of China (中华民国) - are translated directly into the Chinese if they appear as such in the original. Such practices make for a good read and have endowed the brandname with an air of authoritativeness over the years.

But there are three areas in which Cankao Xiaoxi takes liberties: It runs its own headlines, creates its own captions, and - this is the killer - deletes references deemed unbecoming to China's image.

As a minor end-note:  In Hume's post, Fish's final paragraph, though decimated, nevertheless preserves a single sentence:

Tibetans have benefited -- a fact Obama might keep in mind when he meets the Dalai Lama.

But I can't find even that sentence in 参考消息 Cānkǎo Xiāoxí's online version.  Maybe it was removed afterwards, or maybe Hume was working from the paper copy of the journal which might have had a slightly different version than the online version.

______________________

[UPDATE Cross-posted at DailyKos.com]

Display:
For some reason, simplified Chinese characters get garbled on EuroTrib, although traditional Chinese characters come through fine.  See for example here.

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.
by marco on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 06:56:08 AM EST
I can't see anything garbled in either that diary or this.

Where have you used simplified characters?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 08:59:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The characters are also garbled on my old computer, where I'm running Firefox 2.xx, but everything is fine on my laptop running Firefox 3.5 (I guess I need a new computer).
by Bernard on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 09:19:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Everything looks clear on Firefox 3.5, Safari, IE7, and Chrome.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 09:25:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's mostly okay, but for some reason, some characters (or maybe character combinations) get corrupted and show up with numbers and weird symbols.

For example, in the first line of the Chinese text in the diary, do you see the "340;" as follows:

奥巴马总统本周与达赖喇嘛 340;会面充满争议

Or do you see a boxed symbol followed by 159; following it approximately in the second line as follows:

中国表示,西藏 159;

Those numbers shouldn't be appearing.  (I am guessing they are Unicode numbers for certain characters, but I don't see why the glyphs themselves are not getting displayed and are throwing up the Unicode numbers instead.)

Partially to see what would happen on DailyKos, I put this up as a diary over there, and while it looked fine in Preview mode, the same problem appears once the diary is published.  Since it also still runs on Scoop (I think), I am betting this is an issue with Scoop or a configuration setting on Scoop.

(Since I can't recall seeing this problem on other websites, I am tentatively ruling out issues with my own computer's configuration.  But if no one else sees these number cropping up, then I'll double-check.)

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

by marco on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 01:45:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Right, there are numbers as you show.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 02:19:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for checking that out.

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.
by marco on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 02:28:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The source looks like this:


click and hold to enlarge

End-of-line numbers are getting chopped, and their second part displayed as numerals (see every other line beginning).

Perhaps the table width is doing it, but I don't know how to overcome that.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 02:29:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, managed to edit the line breaks.

Tibet found in translation.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 02:32:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow!  You rock, afew!

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.
by marco on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 02:36:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
nah, nah, nah! <attempts rocking bow, falls over>

I expect it's tribext's Translate function's line break management that can't find a space anywhere in the long line of codes, and so puts a break in the middle of a code.

For you, the hassle is to check that out in the editing window before posting. Make sure the line breaks happen after a semi-colon so no odd numerals are carried over to the next line. Lines should begin with an ampersand. So if you see

............................&#35
340;&#26548;......................

place the cursor at the end of the first line and use Delete (or at the beginning of the second line and use Backspace), so the code joins up again:

............................&#35340;&#26548;........

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 02:55:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Interestingly, this solution does not seem to work on DailyKos: the bad line-breaks just keep getting reinserted when the diary is re-published -- even though everything looks fine in preview mode.  Whatever:  my main concern was figuring out how to get simplified Chinese characters working on ET, and even if it's a bit of work, at least we have a solution.  Thanks very much.

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.
by marco on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 02:51:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Spurious line breaks?

Always use HTML formatted when copying material from other sites.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 03:53:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That seems to be scoop processing.

The way that it is encoding the Unicode is with numeric entities, such as &#22885; for 奥

However, the "159;" is missing the leading &# and the value is much too low ... its one less than the start of the Latin-1 code-points.

Unicode was originally 16-bit (UCS-2), but that was found to not provide enough character code points, so that was redefined to be the first 16-bit "page" of multiple pages in the 32-bit UCS-4.

Chinese is one of the character sets that spills over outside of UCS-2, so it may be that scoop has a 16-bit integer for characters and its being messed up by one of the Chinese characters in the next page of UCS-4.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 10:58:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you for this, Marco, very good stuff.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 07:10:23 AM EST
is in the eye of the beholder.  But if there was anything relatively balanced, it was in what Fish wrote.  It was surprising to read that in a Newsweek article on the eve of the Dalai Lama's White House visit.

And yet, it still had to be cut down to size before being deemed fit for consumption by the Chinese public.

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

by marco on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 02:34:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and one wonders to what extent some of this is overkill. It can be portrayed, sometimes rightfully so, as silly and make the leadership look not very bright. PR is not, even now, a Beijing leadership specialty.

But I do think your diary is a really good one, and hits subtly at both this and also at certain sacred cows to which some putatively progressive Westerners tend to take kindly.

And you are right, the Fish article is quite good and, coming from Newsweek, surprising. Perhaps official America is finally coming to grips with PRC power? (Meaning the PRC world view needs finally, in America, to be taken seriously..)  

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 05:22:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
redstar: Perhaps official America is finally coming to grips with PRC power? (Meaning the PRC world view needs finally, in America, to be taken seriously..)

I understand how the media and journalism can usually be conflated with "officialdom".  But I am going to put this journalist along with many others closer to the camp of "the people" and "popular opinion".  Why?  Because, with respect to the Tibet issue, I feel that on the Chinese side, it's the government that is the originator and most passionate agent of its point of view, while on the non-Chinese side, it's "the people", i.e. popular opinion, who are most aactive in forming the conventional wisdom/consensus on "The Truth" about Tibet.

This is oversimplifying things, but if the Chinese government had not been so long and so obstinately obsessed with Tibet, I wonder how strongly the general Han Chinese population would feel about it.  And on the U.S. side (among others), would the government put Tibet-related concerns for "human rights", "economic imperialism", "cultural genocide", etc. above other China-U.S. issues that directly affect the U.S.?  For example, Obama did not meet with the Dalai Lama last October almost certainly in order not to jeopardize any chance of success for the impending summit in Beijing the following month.

On the U.S. (non-Chinese) side, I think the pressure for "freeing Tibet" comes from popular opinion, and the media there has been responsive to and even complicit with that popular opinion.  I don't see the U.S. media serving Washington in this bias, but rather simply being the conduit and expression of this popular opinion (in turn reinforcing it).  Thus, Fish's article is a surprising break in that feedback loop that does not, I think, represent a coming to grips with "PRC power" (I would say, with "the Chinese way of seeing things") by official America, but rather by public or popular America.

A note on the Chinese side:  It's true that if the PRC comes out looking too "soft" regarding Tibet, then it will get blasted in Chinese popular opinion, and in this sense, it may seem that in China, like in the U.S., it's popular opinion that drives government.  But the original source of the Chinese fixation and sensitivity about Chinese sovereignty over Tibet is the government itself.  And it's the government's propaganda machine that has in turn engendered the public's fixation and sensitivity about Tibet, especially vis-a-vis world criticism.  In short, extreme reaction by the Chinese public in regards to Tibet is in large part blowback to their government's extreme propaganda efforts on that issue.

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

by marco on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 03:11:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Incidentally, how do you see popular views on Japan in China? Is it as strong as often reported? Was it enhanced propagandistically in recent times, or all the continuing memory of Japanese occupation?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 06:44:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
DoDo: Incidentally, how do you see popular views on Japan in China? Is it as strong as often reported? Was it enhanced propagandistically in recent times, or all the continuing memory of Japanese occupation?

Needless to say, this topic deserves (at least) a diary of its own, but I'm afraid the situation is still quite bad.  I can only speak anecdotally, but in addition to coming across the usual 憤青 fènqīng hyper-xenophobic, anti-Japanese comments online, I've seen/heard a troublingly high number of comments about Japan that indicted a deep and lasting ("積重難返 jīzhòngnánfǎn") antipathy towards Japan and the Japanese.  The most recent occurrence was particularly disturbing:  In Beijing I hung out with some Italian friends who were also friends with a young woman from Nanjing.  This Nanjinger is brilliant, open, cultivated, fun.  After we had become relatively casual with one another, one evening, lubricated by a glass of wine too many, I stupidly dared to ask her for her opinion about whether I should declare my Japanese background if I were ever asked in Nanjing.  She gave the same advice that a friend of mine from Tianjin did: don't bother, avoid the question, avoid the topic.  But the really disturbing part of the conversation was when she later recounted how  a Japanese tourist was beaten up in a McDonald's in Beijing and though the police came to intervene, when they found out the nationality of the victim, they waited outside until it was over.  As she told the story, I sensed it was a urban legend (I could not find any evidence of it online, at least in English).  But regardless of its veracity, you could tell that she could hardly suppress the grim satisfaction she felt at the image of a Japanese getting beaten up by a group of Nanjingers in a McDonald's while not only customers and other staff, but even the police, looked on doing nothing.  But beneath that rage, I sensed an extreme anguish, since she had just told us some horrible stories that her grandmother had witnessed in person (e.g. a Japanese soldier running a young neighbor through and tossing her away  with his bayonet).  She did not actually weep, but she was obviously on the brink of it.  And this feeling is generalized to the entire (at least Han) Chinese population, through education, television shows, news (or news suppression), movies, and so on.

I have a similar take on the Chinese-Japanese antipathy that I do on the Chinese-non-Chinese debate about Tibet:  On the Chinese side, the primary instigator is the government, through its tacit approval if not active encouragement of negative portrayals of Japan in education, media, etc.  But on the Japanese side, I have, with utter regret, the feeling that it is Japanese people, not the Japanese government, who are the source of most anti-Chinese sentiment and portrayals in China.  And as the U.S. media is the conduit and expression of "pro-Tibet" anti-PRC opinion among the public in the U.S., the Japanese media is the conduit and expression of anti-China popular opinion in Japan.  How many times did I hear, the last time I was in Japan in late 2008, the phrase "中国怖い!China is scary/I'm afraid of China!".  From cab drivers, friends, relatives, relatives of friends, whoever.  Though I have to admit that such statements usually came from people in their 30s and older.  And of course, as always, popular opinion feeds the media and the media in turns feeds it back into popular opinion.  That's why I am a fan of Watanabe Tsuneo.

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

by marco on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 08:05:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
marco: beaten up in a McDonald's in Beijing

That should be:

   beaten up in a McDonald's in Nanjing

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

by marco on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 08:18:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or even Burgerjing ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 08:31:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There seems to be some indication that the new government in Japan is interested in moving toward closer relations with China and being less cozy with the US.
by Richard Lyon (rllyon@gmail.com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 09:45:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed.  But my feeling is that a lot of the sinophobia in Japan is "grass roots", not government-led.  While a more China-positive government in Japan will hopefully help, a significant change in popular perceptions of China will probably have to be ground-up.

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.
by marco on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 10:16:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I recently saw an article about cash flush middle class Chinese going on shopping binges in Tokyo. Closer economic ties might be a means of burring the past.
by Richard Lyon (rllyon@gmail.com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 10:27:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, shopping-binges by Chinese "nouveaux riches" in Tokyo are probably not the sort of "closer economic ties" that will improve things.  Ironically, back in 1986, I remember hearing locals grumble about cash-flush middle class Japanese going on shopping binges ... in Paris!

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.
by marco on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 11:10:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed, the elites are not the people.

I wonder if the cross-Chinese-Sea popularity of manga/manhua and anime has a small but wider positive effect, though.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 01:10:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Elites do have a disproportionate ability to influence public opinion in a direction that supports their interest.
by Richard Lyon (rllyon@gmail.com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 01:15:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also in the opposite way...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 01:50:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It would be nice if there would be Chinese and Japanese leaders at the same time who would see the Franco-German rappochement as an example to follow. (Of course, it could not be followed 1:1, given the much stronger economic and size differences between the partners.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 01:14:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There some early stirrings for the creation of an AU.
by Richard Lyon (rllyon@gmail.com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 01:16:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tibet is one of many things about China that I find myself scratching my head about. There is one reading of history that sees the the theocracy of the monks as oppressing the "native" people. However, the notion that the PRC liberated them doesn't come off as particularly plausible.

At this point the development that has occurred has moved so many Han Chinese into the area that they are probably close to becoming a majority of the population. The whole thing is a competition between different myths of nationalism.
 

by Richard Lyon (rllyon@gmail.com) on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 10:21:05 AM EST
the notion that the PRC liberated them doesn't come off as particularly plausible

It might, if one were disposed to regard Tibet as an historical frontier to imperial and communist leaders in as much the same way as American capitalists viewed the occupied territories and wilderness of NA.  

I began recently to read aloud A People's History to my daughter, after Mr Zinn passed. I picked up the story at the onset of "Jacksonian Democracy," because this is the period her where her social studies readings are poised, following the War of 1812. Zinn quotes an article (North American Review, 1830) written by Lewis Cass --Secretary of War, governor of Michigan territory, minister to France, presidential candidate-- on the morality of so-called Indian Removal.

"We must frequently promote their interest against their inclination.... [T]he progress of civilization and improvement, the triumph of industry and art, by which these regions have been reclaimed, and over which freedom, religion, and science are extending their sway." He wished that all this could have been done with "a smaller sacrifice; that the aboriginal population had accommodated themselves to the inevitable change of their condition... But such a wish is vain."

What proceeded of course was systematic disintegration of those portions of Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Cherokee societies subject either to federal treaty of resettlement (western bands) or to hostilities or to states' governance (eastern bands). Resale of their commons into individual holdings accelerated the dual processes of ethnic cleansing and capitulation to free-booters that characterized, generally, economic opportunity at that time.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 11:31:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The notion of US manifest destiny was founded on a belief of God's call to make the best use of his gift of resources. The heathen aboriginal inhabitants lack the spiritual enlightenment to  answer that call.
 
by Richard Lyon (rllyon@gmail.com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 11:51:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Three messy inter-related questions, and possibly a fourth, are raised by your comment:

  • Do U.S. citizens automatically lose the "right" to criticize China with respect to Tibet by sheer virtue of the fact that they are beneficiaries of the native American genocide?
  • Do U.S. citizens have to recognize and repudiate the native American genocide in order to "regain" the "right" to criticize China with respect to this issue?
  • If so, what would count as sufficient "repudiation"?  Must they give up their citizenship and leave the country?  Would a formal, public apology by the head of state to the indigenous populations be sufficient? necessary?
  • Do U.S. citizens have to recognize and repudiate the role played by U.S. troops in suppressing the Boxer Rebellion as well as return the war reparations their country extracted from China in order to "regain" the "right" to criticize it with respect to Tibet?

I wonder how many Chinese would find these questions as preposterous as I suspect many Americans might.

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

by marco on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 01:03:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It seems to me, this line of questioning avoids the more problematic subject of nationalism. That is an ideology that takes totalitarian characteristics as a logical structure for reasoning about associations between subjects. Race (earlier, ethnic culture), governance (secular, religious, or late Darwinian species* competition), and historicity: if one will argue all or a statistically derived majority of members of a group share identical experiences in society with one another, one may argue also that these people may identify themselves and be identified by others as forming a nation. That's a theory. In practice reasoning about people --or citizens-- thus frequently fails logical tests of those totalizing principles.

In this case the question --who has the "right" to criticize-- nonsensically extends nationalism of one party to the nationalism of another in order to accommodate a superficial interrogation of the morality of events deemed, I hesitate to say, "crimes against humanity". Where humanity denotes so-called "inalienable rights" or innumerable, intrinsic expressions of human being. And where such events occur in which the interrogator doesn't participate, effects no affective or objective agency, are conceived in abstract thus ficticious boundaries of nationalism in which he or she does proclaim moral judgements.

How many US citizens are ill-equipped intellectually to recognize the methods and national objective of either China's citizens or it's state as "identical" to those of their own? How many mourn the genocidal product, the millions of marked and unmarked graves, of civil war and Japan-China wars? How many can count the times the state has prevented the Dalai traveling abroad, actually, or withdrawn its "hospitality" to foreign nationals --despite it all.  

An opinion survey will not suffice to answer a question that is impudent in itself. For US citizens are neither citizens nor nationals of China. And morality determined by nationalism itself perforce forebears articulations of self-determination and autonomy required for "repudiation" of one's own citizenship, much less the repressive economies of others.

Citizen or nationalist, she cannot lose what she does not possess. He cannot recognize what he's never experienced.

I'm truly glad you've taken up this project, marco. I look forward to the day you translate Chinese "criticism" of imprisonment, discriminatory civil liberty, and industrial violence in the US.

--
* type or denomination such as of currency

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 07:52:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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