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Denial of guilt and unforgiveness feed off each other

by on Sep.11, 2014, under Posts>Opinions>Politics>World Affairs>Asia

I do not know what to make of this poll: “More than half of Chinese see war with Japan: poll“. Do those people think there may be a war between China and Japan because that is what is likely to happen or because that is what they want to happen?

Regardless of what people really think, one thing is for sure: the Chinese government and the Japanese government are not friendly to each other at this time. One major reason is the issue of Japanese war time past. Japan seems to be unable to acknowledge some of it and China seems to be unable to forgive Japan for that.

It is hard to forgive someone who does not admit his guilt. For example, those who want justice for Meredith Kercher and think that Amanda Knox was responsible for Meredith’s death can not forgive Amanda Knox because she has steadfastly refused to admit her guilt. China can not forgive Japan for similar reason.

Meanwhile, when someone feels that he will not be forgiven, he is not willing to admit his guilt because he does not want to take responsibility for a crime or to be abused for being guilty of a crime. For example, if Amanda Knox was truly responsible for Meredith’s death, which I believe is the case, she does not want to admit her guilt because she does not want to take responsibility for the crime or to be abused for being guilty of such a heinous crime. Some Japanese do not want to admit that the Japanese army committed certain atrocities during WWII because they do not want to have to take responsibility for those atrocities or to be abused or discriminated against for those atrocities.

If someone is willing to forgive, he does not dwell into the past. So when someone can not stop dwelling into the past, he risks being seen as being unforgiving. Those who relentlessly pursue justice for Meredith Kercher and will not rest until Amanda Knox is held responsible for Meredith’s death may risk being seen as unforgiving. China may also risk being seen as unforgiving for talking about WWII atrocities committed by the Japanese army every chance she gets. [Compared to present day China, China of a few decades ago had more Japanese TV shows and books translated from Japanese than TV programs talking about WWII atrocities committed by the Japanese army. Japan was a country to learn from, and the Japanese were a people to learn from, to Chinese back then. I suspect the change in China's attitude towards Japan has to do with the change in the balance of power between the two countries. It seems to always be harder for the stronger ones to forgive the weaker ones - abusive behaviors are rooted in a sense of superiority.]

[With all of the above being said, there may be another reason for China to not want to forgive Japan. There is a territorial dispute between the two countries. And by demonizing your opponent, you have a better chance of defeating him.]

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Comments on “Killings by China anti-terror cops raise concerns”

by on Sep.08, 2014, under Posts>Opinions>Politics>Terrorism

This AP article by Gillian Wong “Killings by China anti-terror cops raise concerns” discusses the issue of how terrorism in Xinjiang has been handled by the Chinese government and how it should be handled to reduce terrorism, an issue which I have been very concerned with, in a very educated and constructive way. But it has been met with hostilities from both Chinese and American readers.

To agree with the author, one needs to be rather educated in human rights. The world’s methods of fighting terrorism are still so primitive that terrorism is only getting worse and worse. This article is pointing out why China is failing in her fight against terrorism. Learn from it and China can see a better future.

From the comment section, you can see that some people did not like this article also for the reason that there are similar problems with how the US government treats ethnic minorities in the US and how the US government handles terrorism in the US and abroad. I want to point out that this article is discussing a problem in China. It does not discuss anything about similar problems in the US or problems with US anti-terrorism policies. There are plenty of other articles discussing issues in the US and issues with the US government’s policies. Nobody says that problems are limited to China. If every time a problem in some place in the world is discussed, we reject the discussion on the basis that there are similar problems elsewhere, nothing will ever change and no problem will ever be solved.

By the way, since there are lots of comments from White Americans living in China criticizing the article, I think I should also point out that White Americans living in China can not speak on behalf of ethnic minorities in China. Han Chinese, who are the majority in China, look up to White Americans while looking down on most Chinese ethnic minorities including Uighurs, probably because White Americans are considered as more wealthy and powerful. After all, White Americans can leave China if they feel uncomfortable living there.

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Recommended readings on the South China Sea disputes

by on Sep.06, 2014, under Posts>Opinions>Politics>World Affairs>Asia>South China Sea

Financial Times’ “A sense of destiny inspires China’s maritime claims“. To get a better understanding of current events, it always helps to have some knowledge in relevant history.

The Diplomat’s “4 Reasons China Removed Oil Rig HYSY-981 Sooner Than Planned“. As I read this article, I wondered where Xi Jinping was when all the events leading to the rig withdrawal unfolded.

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Is the South China Sea “China’s backyard”?

by on Sep.06, 2014, under Posts>Opinions>Politics>World Affairs>Asia>South China Sea

I found an article on Asia Times attacking the US position on the disputes in the South China Sea to have been written in very good English. But there is something in that article that has caught my attention more. Here is what the author said: “Or, to put it less charitably, combine dubious US doctrine and bullshit US lawyering (and the predictable assistance of a complaisant Western press and compliant allies) and the United States can unilaterally declare a compelling national interest to intervene in bilateral economic disputes thousands of miles from home … and declare China an outlaw in its own maritime backyard! ”

Is the South China Sea “China’s backyard”? I think this may be what is at issue in the disputes in the South China Sea.

There are quite a few countries that are sharing the South China Sea. Why is the South China Sea considered “China’s backyard”?

What is more worrisome is that even some other people, who are supposed to be impartial, think that the South China Sea is “China’s backyard” and that if it takes too much for the US to keep it from China, forget about it. These people are like the Chinese hardliners on the South China Sea issues. They only see two countries in the entire world: China and the USA. According to them, the world is divided between just China and the USA. So, according to them, if China is challenged, it is for the protection of American interests; if something is not against American interests or if the US is expected to have to pay too high a price for something, China can have it. Why? Because China and the USA are the only two countries that have the power to defend their interests, and if a country does not have the power to defend any of her interests, she does not deserve to have that interest?

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Extremism and Group Dynamics

by on Sep.06, 2014, under Posts>Opinions>Religions

I think extremism could be an effect of group dynamics. People tend to be more extreme and more likely to accept extremism when they are surrounded by others who share their views and passion. Being surrounded by others who share their views and passion would encourage them to go to extremes. This is why we have religious extremism, nationalism-chauvinism -jingoism-fascism, corporatism, gangism, etc. Even when people who are only similar in some ways just happen to be together in the same place at the same time, they can commit extreme acts of violence against an individual or a smaller group of people. This is why there are gang rapes, hazing, and the like.

Read the following paragraph which was taken from Mark Rondeau’s Writing on Religion: Prayer in captivity.

“PERSECUTION WATCH: I think it’s important not to demonize a whole religion because of the chaos and slaughter going on right now in the Middle East. Under the right — or rather wrong circumstances — people of any religious group — or none — can become extremists.

For instance, in Myanmar, the Buddhist majority, including the current authoritarian government, is harshly persecuting the Rohingya, a resented Muslim minority.

The persecution includes shootings, rapes, confinement to camps and denial of medical care.

In a recent online chat about the persecution, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof replied to a questioner who said the repression “Doesn’t seem like something Buddhists would do. What part of story is missing?”

“Frankly, everybody commits atrocities every now and then. It’s not the fault of this or that religion. Buddhists have often been particularly mellow, but Sri Lanka is an example of a Buddhist majority country that has engaged in a long and brutal civil war with its Tamil minority,” Kristof replied. “And Bhutan is a Buddhist country that has been profoundly repressive of its Nepalese minority. Don’t blame any of that on Buddha or on Buddhism, any more than you can blame Serbia’s mass atrocities on Christianity.””

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The consistency and inconsistency in US Middle East policy objectives

by on Aug.28, 2014, under Posts>Opinions>Politics>World Affairs>Middle East

The US Middle East policy objectives seem to be consistent in that almost all governments in the Middle East, be it secular or religious, Sunni dominated or Shiite dominated, are considered to be undemocratic and deserving to be overthrown.

Because of this consistency, there are inconsistencies in US Middle East policy objectives also. For example, the US has supported Shiite Muslims in Iraq and Sunni Muslims in Syria because they were both oppressed in their countries. As a result, the same Sunni group could have been supported by the US in Syria while at the same time is suppressed by the US in Iraq. Americans getting caught in the middle of all of these can be killed by the same group that they are there to help. And America has become the common enemy to all these different people.

The US needs a fundamental change in how it views and manages conflicts around the world. Conflicts always exist everywhere in the world. Not every conflict needs to be resolved immediately and with force. It takes time to resolve most conflicts and a lot of conflicts can be resolved without the use of force.

If resolving conflicts is only an excuse for military interventions to achieve the goal of regime change for the protection or promotion of American interests, then forget about it. American interests can not be promoted or protected by using such a flimsy excuse.

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What causes the rise of Islamic extremism?

by on Aug.26, 2014, under Posts>Opinions>Politics>World Affairs

This may sound like something that would offend some of those who believe in communism and are still fighting for it. But to understand the reason for Islamic extremism to rise, it helps to look back at the historical background for the rise of communism.

Communism was and still is seen by the West as a threat, just like Islamic extremism is. And there is a good reason for that fear, although not a justification for that fear or for what is done to address that fear. For countries that are not able to fight against the West’s interference, which is assisted by its formidable military machine, faith is the only weapon that they have that can be effective. And the power of a strong faith is in fact more formidable than the power of any military machine. Short of being completely physically eliminated from the earth, people with a strong faith will not be defeated by any military machine.

Interference and oppression of the Muslim populations in some countries and regions by the West and other powers have made it impossible for those people to remain secular. To fight for their independence, they have to become religious.

Not all religious people become extremists. Some do and some do not. I do not know why some religious people become extremists. But I suspect that extremists on each side of a power struggle call out extremists on the other side of the power struggle. Extremists tend to think that being tough physically can intimidate the other side and force them into submission. They believe in the power of physical intimidation, not the power of persuasion or compassion, not even the power of non-physical intimidation such as threats of legal actions or economic sanctions.

To fight religious extremism, getting tougher is not going to help. The tougher you get, the more extremists there will be. If your goal is not to completely eliminate some people from the earth, only easing up the interference and oppression will help.

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A tribute to photo journalist James Wright Foley

by on Aug.23, 2014, under Posts>Literature>Essays

I did not know anything about photo journalist James Foley until his death. But I have never been so shocked by anyone’s death as by his. His mother is right in saying that he was courageous to the end and that he had a big heart. In his execution, he looked shaken, probably from subconscious fear of what was going to happen to him. What shocked me and made me really admire him and unable to forget him was his determination to face it despite of that fear. He is human. So he had the fear that all human beings would have had. But he had the courage to overcome that fear, a courage that is not often seen. From the courage that he showed, I guess he was very willing to sacrifice for the greater good. Only a very strong desire to serve the greater good could have given him that kind of courage.

James Foley reminds me of what has been said by a famous Chinese poet Zang Kejia: “Some people are still living, but they are already dead. Some people are already dead, yet they are still living…” James Foley has been living in my heart since his death.

I think James was trying to send us a strong message with his death. If we have not got the message he was willing to die to tell us, he would have died in vain.

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Am I Mr. Dongguo?

by on Jul.10, 2014, under Posts>Opinions>Politics>World Affairs

Sometimes I feel that you can not reason with people who only understand the language of violence. If they refuse to reason, you just have to give up.

In fact, the Wolf of Zhongshan was willing to reason and was killed as a result. That maybe why some people are not willing to reason any more. However, the story of the Wolf of Zhongshan was meant to tell us that some people are evil and their evil nature can not be changed.

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China of Zheng He’s time vs. China today

by on Jul.04, 2014, under Posts>Opinions>Politics>World Affairs>Asia>South China Sea

China today wants to use Zheng He to prove that China deserves whatever China is claiming. But Zheng He did not claim any of the land he had been to. The purpose of his voyages was not to claim lands but to trade and exchange. Zheng He was not serving a capitalist country. China in his days was not looking for resources or markets. It would be an insult to the memory of Zheng He to say that his voyages helped China make land claims.

The days when capitalist countries went around the world looking for lands to claim have long passed. Most of the lands claimed back then have been either returned or developed into new independent countries. What China has been doing in the South China Sea is not developing but extracting resources which can even be harmful to the South China Sea (see The Environmental Impact of Oil Drilling on eHow.com). (The same thing can be said about some of the activities by Vietnam and some other ASEAN countries in the South China Sea.) Off shore oil drilling hurts the sea environment. Fishing of endangered species is also harmful.

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