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Google is Drifting

Friday, December 12th, 2008

It is Friday. It’s a beautiful, beautiful day. I’m in an excellent mood this morning, pondering the unexpected turns of Fate and Fortune.

I mean, take the weather in Shanghai, for example. Did you ever imagine we would see these long weeks of clean blue skies? You lose faith in things and then they happen, and it makes you dream. If this is possible, then everything else must be: World Peace, End of Poverty, China winning the soccer World Cup.

On Fridays like this my mind drifts on the world wide web and I end up reading funny bits of information, like this delicious “boat drifting skills” I found over at the Engrish website. I saw it and laughed for a bit, and then I read the comments and I thought I might do something useful for the community.

So I went on Google Translator and I asked it to translate the drifting instructions into English. This is the disappointing message I got:

What! No translation English-English? What kind of service is this? And who said that it was English in the first place?  If there is someone at Google reading this now (other than my friends the bots) please raise the issue immediately to your management:

“You are missing out on the largest market in the World. Develop Chinglish translator ASAP!”

One Update and one Statement

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

After what I wrote last week in my sensationalistic post of the Tower of Babel, I have continued to follow as promised my Path to Enlightment. The results are modest for the moment, but I’ve found already five good links to get me closer to smelling Chinese politics. And I have added these 5 links on a separate section of the sidebar called “Intelligence”. This is not to say that the links in the Normal Blogroll are any less intelligent, I continue to read them and respect them as much as ever.

Now, the difficult part. In my quest to knowledge I have been lucky enough to speak (through email and blog comments) with some of the best specialists in Chinese politics and media. One of them who I am not allowed to quote has confirmed to me that the China Daily editorial was probably just that: an article by an editor in the paper looking for controversy to get the sales up. This is not so unusual nowadays in Chinese newspapers, neither is this article considered particularly risky, as it is not attacking any of the CCP holy principles.  So yeah, my thesis is limping a bit after this.

This doesn’t mean that I regret posting that entry. Some of the hypothesis might be wrong, but the core of the message (tensions in Zhongnanhai) still rings very true. In the end, each entry in the blog has a different role, and this one clearly specified its own: propose some wild hypothesis, incite discussion and try to get some commenters to come in the aid of the party. And yes, let’s admit it, I am still quite proud of having quoted the Bible and China Daily in one single post.

Finally, I would like to make a statement: I set a high value on the accuracy of this blog. Yes, I might write some weird stuff sometimes,  post on politics like a paparazzo or draft nonsensical Chinese lessons. But this has nothing to do with me not taking seriously my readers. What CHINAYOUREN will never do is tell you that a word is fact, or a fact is none, unless it has the proof or citations to support it. I feel the need to say this particularly because I know my being (semi)anonymous takes away part of my credibility. And I wouldn’t want to have people mistaken about me.

So, there’s that for today. And now if you excuse me I will continue with my Blog Optimization Routine (BOR):

“Dalai Lama, Dalai Lama, Dalai Lama, Dalai Lama, Dalai Lama … “

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Dalai, the French and The Art of War

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

Today was a pretty stressful day in the office, but in between meetings I was able to join a lively discussion on the Fool’s Mountain about the latest Dalai incident.

To wit, the French President said he will meet the DL in Poland during a ceremony in honour of Lech Walesa. China immediately threatened EU with cancelling the 11th EU-China Summit this week, and has indeed cancelled it. BBC tells it here. Also see the reaction of Chinese netizens to Pomfret’s article and the account of Xinhua.

Here are my thoughts as posted on the Mountain (minus rants and comebacks):

Is China using France?

Is China using France strategically, as a wedge to divide EU, following the classic “divide and win” from SunTzu’s Art of War?

Could be, but this is nothing new, all the world powers use this old trick when negotiating with EU. The fact is China will listen or not to EU representatives depending on the power it perceives they have, and depending on China’s own interests. For economic aspects such as tariffs, EU does have power and will be listened. In other fields it can be completely ignored. Points to keep in mind:

1- The EU has a problem with unity, and this has nothing to do with China’s policies.

2- China has a problem to deal with DL, and this has nothing to do with the Sarko meeting.

3- Universal Rule in International Relations: If you need to distract attention bash the French.

4- DL is not a terrorist. Comparing him to bin Laden is low and slanderous.

5- China is crying for nothing: In Europe anyone could speak with the equivalent of DL.

For example, the president of the Basque Country (who actively demands independence from Spain) has met up with authorities of many countries and sends representatives regularly to support Basque industry in Shanghai. No whining from Spain, why? because unlike bin Laden, he does NOT support violence.

What are the consequences of this incident? And the real Reasons?

In fact, there shouldn’t be any serious practical consequence of missing this Summit. The real meeting is the one that will happen in April when the G20 + Obama meet to speak of the Crisis.

This little conflict with the French is just a classic IR trick to create some noise. Perhaps Zhongnanhai have decided that it’s time to rally the people in advance of the social shocks of the Crisis. Or perhaps they are preparing the way for a conflictive period in foreign affairs when China tries to implement protectionist/low RMB policies, strongly opposed by the West.

Chinese leaders are well known for thinking one step ahead. Hopefully I am wrong with this one.

Please comment. No swearwords.